Friday, June 17, 2016

Racism as a convenient but flawed index of evil

Leftists are so suffused by hatred that serious thought is mostly beyond them.  So their doctrines and claims are usually extremely simplistic.  A prime example of that is the way they use cries of racism to answer any argument that is put up against them

And in so doing they make any discussion of race virtually impossible.  And yet the importance of race is as clear as crystal.  A major example of that is the fact that African Americans commit crimes of violence at a rate 9 times higher  than whites.  So the idea that there is only one race, the human race is only trivially true.

The whole of America knows that blacks are in general dangerous neighbors and takes active steps to deal with that:  By "white flight".  But that is often a difficult and costly process -- and one from which poor whites are excluded.  An ability to actually discuss black crime and remedies for it would probably do a lot to make whites safer.

Making selected residential areas "no go" places for blacks would at present be greeted by unbelievably noisy opposition from the Left but a more positive version of that could work.  Settling blacks in areas known for their liberal politics could well work magic.

But black crime is only one instance where race has visible effects.  I am a keen fan of Austro/Hungarian operetta and have, I think, all available DVDs of it.  In most of the world it is a forgotten form of musical entertainment but it lives on in the German lands, particularly in Austria, its old heartland.  So a lot of the DVDs I have are of performances in Austria, particularly from Moerbisch.

And something I note in the Austrian performances is that all the performers and "extras" in a show look just like the people I see walking down the street in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, so I can relate to them easily.  Yet Austria is the most Southerly of the German lands, with Italy to its immediate South -- and I live half a world away from there.

So what improbable thing makes inhabitants of the two countries look so similar?  Race.  Anglo-Saxons have been separated from Germany for over a thousand years but we remain members of the same race.  It's only a trivial example of no political importance but it is another reminder that race does exist and that it can have powerful and long-lasting effects.

In my observation, most alleged racial, ethnic or national differences are either imaginary or temporary -- but some are not -- JR.


Aspirin beats statins in preventing heart attacks

But no drug did much good

Drugs for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: An Overview of Systematic Reviews

Kunal N. Karmali et al.


Importance:  The Million Hearts initiative emphasizes ABCS (aspirin for high-risk patients, blood pressure [BP] control, cholesterol level management, and smoking cessation). Evidence of the effects of drugs used to achieve ABCS has not been synthesized comprehensively in the prevention of primary atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

Objective:  To compare the efficacy and safety of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statins, and tobacco cessation drugs for fatal and nonfatal ASCVD outcomes in primary ASCVD prevention.

Evidence Review:  Structured search of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE), Health Technology Assessment Database (HTA), MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PROSPERO International Prospective Systematic Review Trial Register to identify systematic reviews published from January 1, 2005, to June 17, 2015, that reported the effect of aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, statin, or tobacco cessation drugs on ASCVD events in individuals without prevalent ASCVD.

Additional studies were identified by searching the reference lists of included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and health technology assessment reports. Reviews were selected according to predefined criteria and appraised for methodologic quality using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool (range, 0-11). Studies were independently reviewed for key participant and intervention characteristics. Outcomes that were meta-analyzed in each included review were extracted. Qualitative synthesis was performed, and data were analyzed from July 2 to August 13, 2015.

Findings:  From a total of 1967 reports, 35 systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials were identified, including 15 reviews of aspirin, 4 reviews of BP-lowering therapy, 12 reviews of statins, and 4 reviews of tobacco cessation drugs. Methodologic quality varied, but 30 reviews had AMSTAR ratings of 5 or higher.

Compared with placebo, aspirin (relative risk [RR], 0.90; 95% CI, 0.85-0.96) and statins (RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.70-0.81) reduced the risk for ASCVD.

Compared with placebo, BP-lowering therapy reduced the risk for coronary heart disease (RR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.79-0.90) and stroke (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.56-0.73). Tobacco cessation drugs increased the odds of continued abstinence at 6 months (odds ratio range, 1.82 [95% CI, 1.60-2.06] to 2.88 [95% CI, 2.40-3.47]), but the direct effects on ASCVD were poorly reported. Aspirin increased the risk for major bleeding (RR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.30-1.82), and statins did not increase overall risk for adverse effects (RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97-1.03). Adverse effects of BP-lowering therapy and tobacco cessation drugs were poorly reported.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This overview demonstrates high-quality evidence to support aspirin, BP-lowering therapy, and statins for primary ASCVD prevention and tobacco cessation drugs for smoking cessation. Treatment effects of each drug can be used to enrich discussions between health care professionals and patients in primary ASCVD prevention.

JAMA Cardiology, June 2016, Vol 1, No. 3


The Impossibility of Income Equality

There’s an old William F. Buckley quote that I love – “I’m not going to insult your intelligence by suggesting that you believe what you just said.”  This is how I feel about people who claim to want income equality.  There are just too many problems with the idea that everyone should get paid the same regardless of their skill, work ethic, or contribution to society.  The problems are so numerous that I’m having a hard time imagining a person who truly believes income equality is necessary, or even possible.

Let’s imagine someone does believe this.  There’s a probably a few college freshmen who have never had a job in their life, whose parents pay for everything, that might hold this belief.  But they don’t count.  They still live in virtual reality.  I’m talking about an actual adult, with experience, who has been in the work force.  I have some honest questions.

Who gets the equality?

First serious question:  Is this income equality for everyone?  It wouldn’t be very equal if only certain people got the equality, right?  If I choose not to go to college and just get a nice, easy, low-stress job bagging groceries, or stocking shelves, do I get the equal pay?  If so, how is that fair to the person that worked their butt off in college?  The person that gets a job in a high-demand, high-stress field like a pilot or surgeon?  Or the person that gets a dangerous job like loggers and deep-sea fishers?  All these jobs have an enormous benefit to society, shouldn’t they get compensated more than me for simply bagging groceries?

If you’re advocating for everyone to get paid the same, but you concede that some classes of jobs should get paid more than others, then you’re not advocating for income equality anymore.  You’re advocating for free market capitalism!  In a free market, you get paid for the benefit you provide to your fellow people.  The more benefit you provide, and the more you help others, the more you get paid.

Do we all get paid the same every year?

Second question:  If you still believe that we should still all get paid the same regardless of our jobs, how do you factor in age in order to remain equal?  Let’s say we all get paid $50,000 a year, the person who is 50 years old will have 30 years of that $50,000 pay, but the person who is 20 will only have a couple years of that pay.  So the 50 year old will be vastly wealthier that the 20 year old.  That 50 year old would be able to have a much nicer house, a much nicer car, better food, better clothing, better vacations, etc.  How fair is that?

How will this new inequality be dealt with?

I guess this will be part two of question two:  How do we level things out since older people will have vastly more wealth than younger people?  Do we say that younger people should start out making $100,000 a year and gradually make less every year so things even out?  If that’s the case, it’s far from equal!  Now you’ll have some people making $100,000 a year and some people making $15,000.  Or we could simply tax older people more, but that would be the same thing.  They’d bring home less money than younger people thus making it unfair again.

What about investing and gambling?

Question three:  Would there be any form of investing or gambling allowed?  I’m assuming in this world there will be no such thing as investing.  After all, if you invest wisely you’ll make a lot more money than the person that doesn’t invest wisely or doesn’t invest at all.  The easiest way to solve this “problem” would be to ban investing.

How about gambling?  Same problem.  It would have to be outlawed in all forms.  We can’t have an option for someone to win the lottery or gamble their way into wealth.  That would be unfair to the rest of us!

What about people who don’t work?

Question four:  Do the people who don’t work get the same equal pay?  I’m sure you’d say that someone who has a terrible, debilitating disability would get the pay, but what about people who just say they can’t work?  People with back pain that can’t be easily verified?  Or people who have depression?  Or anxiety?  Or people who just claim they have these things?  Once we’ve crossed that bridge into people who have unverifiable injuries and disorders getting the pay, what’s going to stop more and more people getting their pay while not having to work?  Are we going to pay disabled people less in order to stop people from faking injuries or disorders?  We can’t do that, it would create more inequality.

Income equality is unavoidable and unsolvable.

Like most political issues, income equality is unsolvable.  There will always be people who have more wealth and income than others.  Even in a perfect system, the people who are older will simply have more due to the extra time they’ve spent alive.

This is how politicians like it though.  They don’t want to deal with solvable problems.  They need to pick issues that will always need their benevolent assistance.  This is called job security.  If problems got solved, politicians wouldn’t be necessary!

The only fair system is a free market.  You get paid for what you provide to society.  The more you provide, the more you get paid.  The less you provide, the less you get paid.  What could be more fair than that?



Britain's probable exit from the EU: Don’t think of it as leaving Europe; think of it as rejoining the world

Matt Ridley

Over the past nine years China and India have more than doubled the size of their economies. If that had happened in Europe it would have transformed living standards, government budgets and job opportunities throughout the continent, abolishing the scourge of high youth unemployment.

Yet Europe is the one continent that has shown almost no growth over that period. This great stagnation is not bad luck, it is the fault of policies pursued in Brussels to harmonise, regulate, punish and proscribe economic activity: the single currency, the blizzard of regulations, the precautionary principle, the external tariff and more.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, June 16, 2016

Memorable Donald Trump quotes about himself

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, turns 70 Tuesday. If elected, he'd be the oldest person ever elected to a first term as president.

While his 2016 presidential campaign was his first bid for public office, Trump is hardly new to the public eye. A look back at 70 quotes from interviews, books and tweets that epitomize the man, the brand, the provocateur and the potential president that is Donald J. Trump.

1) "I'm just a f------ businessman." (Fortune, 2004)

2) “The show is ‘Trump.’ And it is sold-out performances everywhere.” (Playboy, 1990)

3) “Certainly a businessperson on television has never had anything close to this success. It’s like being a rock star. Six people do nothing but sort my mail. People come in and want my secretary Robin’s autograph. If a limo pulls up in front of Trump Tower, hundreds of people gather around, even if it’s not mine. I ask, ‘Can this be a normal life?’ Maybe it’s the power that comes from having the hottest show on television, but people like me much better than they did before The Apprentice. And if you think about it, all I did on the show was fire people, which proves how bad my reputation must have been before this.” (Playboy, 2004)

4) “A lot of people like me, and a lot of people don’t. That’s okay, because my brand is solid and so am I. I can take the negative commentary because the positive impressions are so superior to the reports of the detractors.” (Midas Touch, 2011)

5) “If you don’t tell people about your success, they probably won’t know about it.” (How to Get Rich, 2004)

6) “It’s not that I’ve suffered a knockout blow. Far from it. But after a long winning streak I’m being tested under pressure. I’ve also been in the public eye long enough so that the pendulum has swung, and many of the same media people who once put me on a pedestal now can’t wait for me to fall off. People like a hero, a Golden Boy, but many like a fallen hero even better. That was a fact of life long before I came along, and I can handle it. I know that, whatever happens, I’m a survivor — a survivor of success, which is a very rare thing indeed.” (Trump Surviving at the Top, 1990)

7) “I think Eminem is fantastic, and most people think I wouldn’t like Eminem. And did you know my name is in more black songs than any other name in hip-hop? Black entertainers love Donald Trump. Russell Simmons told me that. Russell said, ‘You’re in more hip-hop songs than any other person,’ like five of them lately. That’s a great honor for me.” (Playboy, 2004)

8) “The truth was that (being on the cover of Time) didn’t feel like much of anything. There I was, looking out from every newsstand in America, and holding an ace of diamonds in my hand. But in my mind all I could hear, once again, was Peggy Lee singing ‘Is That All There Is?’ ” (Trump Surviving At The Top, 1990)

9) "You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing." (Press conference, May 2016)

10) “I play into people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.” (The Art of the Deal, 1987)

11) “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest — and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure. It’s not your fault.” (Twitter, 2013)

12) Show me someone without an ego, and I'll show you a loser — having a healthy ego, or high opinion of yourself, is a real positive in life!” (Facebook, 2013)

13) “Every successful person has a very large ego.” (Playboy, 1990)

14) “Because I’ve been successful, make money, get headlines, and have authored bestselling books, I have a better chance to make my ideas public than do people who are less well known.” (The America We Deserve, 2000)



The Left's Culture War 'Victory'

If one is conservative, a recent Washington Post article by Barton Swaim should raise one’s hackles on two counts. First, Swaim asserts the Left has won the culture war. Second, while some conservatives will resist that assertion, Swaim contends “many do not.” He argues, “Many have finally given up on the whole idea of a culture war or are willing to admit they lost it. They are determined only to remain who they are and to live as amiably and productively as they can in a culture that doesn’t look like them and doesn’t belong to them.” Perhaps the surrenderists should reconsider for the simplest of reasons: If the Left has won the culture war, it is the epitome of a Pyrrhic victory.

Or to paraphrase a familiar quote from the Vietnam War era, the Left had to destroy the nation in order to save it.

The signs are everywhere. “In 2014, 28% of young men were living with a spouse or partner in their own home, while 35% were living in the home of their parent(s),” a Pew study reveals. Pew further notes this particular change in status for adults between the ages of 18 and 34 is occurring “for the first time in more than 130 years.” The remaining 22% are living with another relative, a non-relative, or in group quarters such as college dormitories. The primary reason? A “postponement of, if not retreat from, marriage,” Pew explains. “In addition, a growing share of young adults may be eschewing marriage altogether.”

In other words, we are seeing the postponement of a critical component of adulthood for as long as possible by the same cohort of Americans who have heartily embraced “safe spaces” — the foremost of which is apparently mom and dad’s house.

Nevertheless life, as it were, goes on. And it goes on courtesy of another leftist culture war “victory,” as in the reality that by 2012, more than 50% of women under the age of 30 were having babies out of wedlock. “It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal,” the New York Times informs us. The paper also says that statistic is class-based: College graduates “overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.”

And since single parenthood is one of the surest roads to economic deprivation — as in single-parent families are six times more likely to live in poverty than married-parent families — perhaps the victorious leftist culture warriors who champion the “diversity” of family arrangements should also take responsibility for the lion’s share of the “income gap” they routinely attribute to other factors. Even more so for the greater instances of emotional and behavioral problems that attend single parenthood.

The destruction of the nuclear family was made possible by the leftist triumph known as the “Great Society,” an initiative spearheaded by President Lyndon Johnson and a Democrat-controlled Congress. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan rightly predicted in 1966, “A community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families … asks for and gets chaos.”

How conservatives are supposed to live as amiably and productively as they can amid chaos, such as the deadliest May shooting spree in Chicago in 21 years, is anyone’s guess. And Chicago is not alone. Black Lives Matter, another group of leftist “winners,” has demonized police forces to the point where many officers are reluctant to do their jobs. As a result, murder and other violent crimes are soaring in a number of American cities.

Swaim is hopeful the Left’s victory “may bring about a more peaceable public sphere.” But, he says, “that will depend on others — especially the adherents of an ascendant social progressivism — declining to take full advantage of their newfound cultural dominance.” He cites “principled pluralism,” a concept advocating the idea that those who disagree on fundamental principles can still find equitable compromises, as the best path to that peace.

Leftists are many things. Proponents of equitable compromise, a.k.a. live and let live, is not one of them.

Nothing epitomizes this better than the ongoing attempts to completely silence dissent on college campuses across the nation. Even some leftists have noticed. “Wasn’t liberal academe a way for ideas, good and bad, to be subjected to enlightened reason?” asks the New Yorker’s Nathan Heller. “Generations of professors and students imagined the university to be a temple for productive challenge and perpetually questioned certainties. Now, some feared, schools were being reimagined as safe spaces for coddled youths and the self-defined, untested truths that they held dear.”

Generations of professors and students haves turned college campuses into de facto leftist indoctrination camps. Take for instance Yale students' effort to abolish literature requirements that include works by William Shakespeare, John Milton and T.S. Eliot because a curriculum focused on white male authors “creates a culture that is especially hostile to students of color.” “It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings,” states a petition circulated by undergraduates.

Yale is hardly an outlier. Similar historical “purges” are occurring on other college campuses where leftists demand the removal of names, mascots, statues and other symbols of historical figures that “offend” them.

And not just on college campuses. During a recent session of the Louisiana state legislature, Democrat Rep. Barbara Norton opposed a bill mandating that schoolchildren be taught the Declaration of Independence because “only Caucasians [were] free” when it was written, and teaching it to children is a “little bit unfair.” Norton apparently “forgets” the paradigm shift in thinking regarding inalienable rights contained in that document paved the way for the abolition of inequality. But one suspects, like so many other leftists, she prefers historical elimination in lieu of historical enlightenment. Who else demonstrates an appetite for such preferences?

The Islamic State.

Furthermore, purges are not the only problem. The Left is also determined to force-feed their agenda to a recalcitrant public. Thus the attempt to suspend biological and chromosomal reality by force of law continues apace, along with the attempt to prosecute those who deny the Left’s “settled science” with regard to climate change.

Yet the most critical point missed by Swaim is the most obvious: A cultural victory requires a culture. And nothing brings to mind the aforementioned Vietnam-era mindset of “destructive salvation” better than the ongoing invasion of illegal aliens the Left champions. For these power-hungry victors, better the “fundamental transformation of the United States” into a Third World banana republic where they maintain a vice-like grip on power than a First World nation where they’re forced to compete in the arena of ideas. Better the “borderless world” advocated by a clueless John Kerry, even as the Constitution would be rendered meaningless as a result.

A genuine culture war victory requires no coercion, censorship or, as evidenced last Thursday, mob violence to sustain it. Yet with each passing day, it becomes ever clearer leftist victors conflate crushing hearts and minds with winning them. It doesn’t get any hollower — or less sustainable — than that.

As for Swaim’s “pliable” conservatives, they would do well to remember the words often attributed to Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even worse? Collaborating with evil to live as amiably and productively as possible amidst it. If that’s not the essence of political correctness — and consummate surrender — one is hard-pressed to imagine what is.



Democrats' Rank Politicization of Death

Democrats in the House didn't even sit through a moment of silence before they stood on the coffins of the Orlando dead to push their gun control agenda. The leftists in the chamber re-introduced legislation that would prevent anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a firearm or explosives.

To be clear: Democrats don't care about the 49 dead. Monday evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a moment of silence to remember the Americans who died Sunday. In video of the moment, as most of the chamber stood with head bowed, some Democrats paid the ultimate disrespect by walking out of the chamber. Others interrupted the somber moment by chanting, "Where's the bill?" Just as some leftists belittle the prayers of people petitioning God after such a murder spree, these lawmakers demonstrated a disregard for the plight of real Americans so that they could push for bills like the one they introduced this week. Never let a crisis go to waste.

The bill Democrats revived was a measure defeated by Senate Republicans in December. As we pointed out then, preventing people on the terror watch list (which contains 280,000 Americans with no ties to terrorism) from buying guns in no way prevents those on the list from getting guns illegally. Furthermore, the bill would take away Americans' constitutional rights without due process.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, June 15, 2016

Big social media effort to disconnect Orlando massacre from Islam

I have heard of Leftists already blaming the NRA, the teachings of the Christian Church, and Donald Trump for the shooting in Orlando. As far as I know, none of these comments were eliminated due to their political content.

Pamela Geller reports:

In the wake of the monstrous Islamic shooting at a Florida gay nightclub, Earlier today Facebook had removed one of my groups, Stop Islamization of America and now has blocked me from posting to Facebook for 30 days.

The reason? This post:

The White House fails to mention Islam,  jihad or the call for slaughter of gays in Islam. Instead, Obama is importing these savages by the thousands

I am sure we will get warnings of “islamophobia” and “backlashophobia.” Hamas-CAIR has called a press conference, and the leader of the Islamic Society of Central Florida is already at a press conference in Orlando. Islamic supremacist groups use these monstrous acts of carnage and murder to proselytize for Islam and condemn those of us who oppose jihad slaughter and sharia. It is gruesome how these Muslim groups exploit the bloodshed



Why Trump Must Not Apologize

Pat Buchanan

"Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl."
Donald Trump has internalized the maxim Benjamin Jowett gave to his students at Balliol who would soon be running the empire.

And in rejecting demands that he apologize for his remarks about the La Raza judge presiding over the class-action suit against Trump University, the Donald is instinctively correct

Assume, as we must, that Trump believes what he said. Why, then, should he apologize for speaking the truth, as he sees it?

To do so would be to submit to extortion, to recant, to confess to a sin he does not believe he committed. It would be to capitulate to pressure, to tell a lie to stop the beating, to grovel before the Inquisition of Political Correctness.

Trump is cheered today because he defies the commands of political correctness, and, to the astonishment of enemies and admirers alike, he gets away with it.

To the establishment, Trump is thus a far greater menace than Bernie Sanders, who simply wants to push his soak-the-rich party a little further in the direction of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

But Trump, with his defiant refusal to apologize for remarks about "rapists" among illegal immigrants from Mexico, and banning Muslims, is doing something far more significant.

He is hurling his "Non serviam!" in the face of the establishment. He is declaring: "I reject your moral authority. You have no right to sit in judgment of me. I will defy any moral sanction you impose, and get away with it. And my people will stand by me."

Trump's rebellion is not only against the Republican elite but against the establishment's claim to define what is right and wrong, true and false, acceptable and unacceptable, in this republic.

Contrast Trump with Paul Ryan, who has buckled pathetically.

The speaker says Trump's remark about Judge Gonzalo Curiel being hostile to him, probably because the judge is Mexican-American, is the "textbook definition of a racist comment."

But Ryan's remark raises fewer questions about Trump's beliefs than it does about the depth of Ryan's mind.

We have seen a former president of Mexico curse Trump. We have heard Mexican-American journalists and politicians savage him. We have watched Hispanic rioters burn the American flag and flaunt the Mexican flag outside Trump rallies.

We are told Trump "provoked" these folks, to such a degree they are not entirely to blame for their actions.

Yet the simple suggestion that a Mexican-American judge might also be affected is "the textbook definition of a racist comment"?

The most depressing aspect of this episode is to witness the Republican Party in full panic, trashing Trump to mollify the media who detest them. To see how far the party has come, consider:

After he had locked up his nomination, Barry Goldwater rose on the floor of the Senate in June of 1964 and voted "No" on the Civil Rights Act. The senator believed that the federal government was usurping the power of the states. He could not countenance this, no matter how noble the cause.

Say what you will about him, Barry Goldwater would never be found among this cut-and-run crowd that is deserting Trump to appease an angry elite. These Republicans seem to believe that, if or when Trump goes down, this whole unfortunate affair will be over, and they can go back to business as usual.

Sorry, but there is no going back.

The nationalist resistance to the invasion across our Southern border and the will to preserve the unique character of America are surging, and they have their counterparts all across Europe. People sense that the fate and future of the West are in the balance.

While Trump defies political correctness here, in Europe one can scarcely keep track of the anti-EU and anti-immigrant nationalist and separatist parties sprouting up from the Atlantic to the Urals.

Call it identity politics, call it tribalism, call it ethnonationalism; it and Islamism are the two most powerful forces on earth.

A decade ago, if one spoke other than derisively of parties like the National Front in France, the blacklisters would come around. Now, the establishments in the West are on the defensive -- when they are not openly on the run. The day of the Bilderberger is over.

Back to Jowett. When the British were serenely confident in the superiority of their tribe, faith, culture and civilization, they went out and conquered and ruled and remade the world, and for the better.

When they embraced the guilt-besotted liberalism that James Burnham called the "ideology of Western suicide," it all came down.

The empire collapsed, the establishment burbled its endless apologies for how wicked it had been, and the great colonial powers of Europe threw open their borders to the peoples they had colonized, who are now coming to occupy and remake the mother countries.

But suddenly, to the shock of an establishment reconciled to its fate, populist resistance, call it Trumpism, seems everywhere to be rising.



The Little Injun That Shouldn't

Elizabeth Warren is on the short list for the Democrat vice presidential nomination, whether the nominee be Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. Today, she’s going to roll out her audition as attack dog in a blistering speech about Donald Trump. She advance-released some of her planned comments, which appear to be loaded with some real doozies. Warren reportedly plans to call Trump a “nasty, loud, thin-skinned fraud” who is guilty of “racism” in his attack on a federal judge. (For the record, we explored Trump’s comments on the “Mexican judge” last Friday and what the episode illustrates regarding his view of executive power.)

Warren also aims to tie Trump to two men who’ve gone out of their way to criticize him over his comments: Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Particularly, Warren is interested in McConnell because he’s blocking hearings on Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. “Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation of judges,” the senator plans to say. “Trump chose racism as his weapon, but his aim is exactly the same as the rest of the Republicans. Pound the courts into submission to the rich and powerful.” Warren will insist Trump is “a Mitch McConnell kind of candidate … exactly the kind of candidate you’d expect from a Republican Party whose ‘script’ for several years has been to execute a full-scale assault on the integrity of our courts.”

Some observations: First, Warren herself is hardly the right messenger for calling someone a “thin-skinned fraud” for using “racism.” She is the one who fraudulently claimed Native American ancestry to further her career in leftist academia. Instead of being held accountable, “Fauxcahontas” won election to the Senate. But that’s deep blue Massachusetts for you — after all, the state kept re-electing Ted Kennedy.

Second, it is Democrats, not Republicans, who seek to pound the courts into submission, and who use the courts to accomplish statist objectives they fail to produce through legislative means. It may not always be the “rich and powerful” who benefit, but it is always the favored political constituency. That is a “full-scale assault on the integrity of our courts.”

And as for Trump’s comments, consider these statements from now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” And, “Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences … our gender and national origins may and will [emphasis added] make a difference in our judging.”

Democrats raised no objection whatsoever to those racist comments from a woman who now makes judgments from the highest bench in the land. They’re far more concerned with Trump’s intimidating bluster about a specific civil case. But which one should be more concerning?



Democrats too corrupt to have any principles

From Leftist Matt Taibbi:

The sickening thing about the Democrats is they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.

This is especially true now that the Republican Party has collapsed under its own nativist lunacy. It's the moment when the Democrats should feel free to become a real party of ordinary working people.

But politicians are so used to viewing the electorate as a giant thing to be manipulated that no matter what happens at the ballot, their only focus is the Washington-based characters they think pull the strings.

Through this lens, the uprising among Democratic voters this year wasn't an expression of mass disgust, but the fault of Bernie Sanders, who within the Beltway is viewed as a radical who jumped the line.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up --  about immigration and such things


THEY are not tolerant


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, June 14, 2016

Not all homophobias are equal

"There's good homophobia and bad homophobia.  Muslim homophobias are good homophobias.  They can't help it. It's part of their  religion.  And if the phobic one is from a poor group and is a registered Democrat to boot, we must totally forgive him.  And for the sake of his family, we must limit all publicity as far as possible"

Does that sound like a sane response to the Orlando massacre?  I wrote it as a prediction of what Leftists will say about the matter.  I read a lot of Leftist stuff so know the sort of thing they say. So we will see.  The fact that the victims were mostly minorities might slow them down a bit, though.

UPDATE:  I wasn't cynical enough above.  Below is an actual and quite deranged Leftist response:

Christian conservatives are responsible for the mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando because they "created this anti-queer climate," according to American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.

"You know what is gross — your thoughts and prayers and Islamophobia after you created this anti-queer climate," ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio tweeted on Sunday morning.

But Strangio — who "spend[s his] life fighting Christian homophobia while being loved & supported by [his] Muslim family" — and his colleagues connected the shooting back to Christians and Republican politicians who oppose gay marriage. "The Christian Right has introduced 200 anti-LGBT bills in the last six months and people blaming Islam for this," Strangio tweeted. "No."


One wonders how he explains Muslims in the Middle East throwing gays off buildings


Crazy ideologue Obama is still blaming guns, not Muslims, for Muslim terrorism

You can see from his face that he knows he is selling shit.  Leftists are in a constant battle with reality

President Obama furthered his gun control message today when addressing the massacre in Orlando that killed 50 people, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

'Although it's still early in the investigation we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,' Obama said, making no reference to ISIS or Islamic terror in his brief remarks.

Obama called the shooting spree, at the gay nightclub Pulse during Pride month in the United States, a reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a hold of a weapon that could kill people in a 'school, or a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub'.



Trump has the right message for the times

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for President Barack Obama to step down from his position after not linking the Orlando nightclub terror attack to 'Radical Islam'.

In a statement released following Obama's speech, he also said that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should 'get out of this race for Presidency'.

Trump's comments come after 50 people were killed in a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning, marking the most deadly mass shooting in US history.

He said in his statement: 'Last night, our nation was attacked by a radical Islamic terrorist. It was the worst terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11, and the second of its kind in six months. My deepest sympathy and support goes out to the victims, the wounded, and their families.

'In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words "Radical Islam". For that reason alone, he should step down.

'If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words 'Radical Islam' she should get out of this race for the Presidency.

'If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse.

'I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can't afford to be politically correct anymore.'

'Radical Islam advocates hate for women, gays, Jews, Christians and all Americans. I am going to be a President for all Americans, and I am going to protect and defend all Americans. We are going to make America safe again and great again for everyone.'


Trump's full statement is here


Lying Leftist crap about Orlando

The following headline article by "Senior writer" Nick O'Malley is from a leading Leftist newspaper in Australia -- a bit like the NYT.  It was headed: "Orlando shooting: For Republicans, it's easier to ban Muslims than guns".  That's a very slimy pieace of writing.  Most Australians reading it would assume that Muslims have ALREADY  been banned by Republicans -- which would be untrue.  So the writer just talks about what would be easier, which is very much a matter of opinion.

Republicans don't want to ban ANY ethnic  group in America -- though Trump has proposed banning IMMIGRATION by Muslims and tweeted that he has been "right on Islamic terrorism" -- which he has of course been.  He has always been outspoken about Islamic terrorism.  So our Leftist writer, with traditional Leftist disrespect for the facts, has added up 2 and 2 and got 5

The Left Chose Islam Over Gays. Now 100 People Are Dead Or Maimed In Orlando

There have been more than 30 mass shootings in America since President Obama took office in 2009.

In December last year Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik armed themselves with AR-15s - the same type of weapon used to kill 50 people in Orlando - and murdered 14 people at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California, in what was soon classified as a terrorist attack.

The following day Republicans in Congress blocked a bill that would have banned people who were on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. The National Rifle Association opposed the ban on the grounds the list might contain mistakes, and some people might unfairly have their right to bear arms infringed upon.

The NRA's lackeys in Congress did as they were told, as they always do.

Since then Donald Trump has become the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee on a platform that includes a proposal to ban all Muslims from entering America "until we figure out what is going on."

But we already know what is going on. Over 40,000 Americans are dying each year partly because they live in a society in which it is more politically viable to propose banning Muslims than regulate gun sales.



An interesting comment on leading Leftists

Long-time British Labour party insider Lord Bernard Donoughue, has below some choice words for Labour types he does not like.  They encapsulate pretty well how I see Leftists in general

I’m least comfortable with the high-minded, sanctimonious, morally superior, progressive liberal breed, often found in Hampstead and Islington and the older universities, usually reading the Guardian, and infecting the newer Lib Dems and the academic ranks of my Labour party. I find their self-righteous tone difficult to bear.

In the Guardian, [columnist] Hugo Young attacked me for having voted with the Government on the Criminal Justice Bill. Said I was ‘once of repute’, but no longer.

Typical high-minded Hampstead crap. Must remember that Labour has always had an excess of the sanctimonious tendency which, along with envy, is one of our least attractive characteristics.

I always imagine that Hampstead is full of nightly judgmental dinner parties devoted entirely to self-righteous disapproval of everyone else except themselves.

All others, in their view, fall short of the lofty moral standards, which the sanctimonious, having never had responsibility, are able to maintain because they’ve never been tested.

Like Hugo Young, they also usually have private incomes to bolster life on the high moral ground.



The Statin craze is slowly dying

Statins do lower your cholesterol but what if cholesterol doesn't matter?  What if cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart attacks? What if the "bad" cholesterol is not bad at all but may be good? The study below answers those questions. And, most interestingly, it looked only at people over 60, by far the group most likely to have heart attacks and strokes. So the study had high "relevance". If cholesterol was harmless in that group, that is "end of story".  That is the group that the whole discussion is about.

And, as you will read below, "bad" cholesterol was found to be  not bad at all and can be good.  It tends to PROLONG life, not shorten it.  So throw away those pills.  You are most likely doing yourself harm by taking them

Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review

By Uffe Ravnskov et al.


Objective: It is well known that total cholesterol becomes less of a risk factor or not at all for all-cause and cardiovascular (CV) mortality with increasing age, but as little is known as to whether low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), one component of total cholesterol, is associated with mortality in the elderly, we decided to investigate this issue.

Setting, participants and outcome measures: We sought PubMed for cohort studies, where LDL-C had been investigated as a risk factor for all-cause and/or CV mortality in individuals ≥60 years from the general population.

Results: We identified 19 cohort studies including 30 cohorts with a total of 68 094 elderly people, where all-cause mortality was recorded in 28 cohorts and CV mortality in 9 cohorts. Inverse association between all-cause mortality and LDL-C was seen in 16 cohorts (in 14 with statistical significance) representing 92% of the number of participants, where this association was recorded. In the rest, no association was found. In two cohorts, CV mortality was highest in the lowest LDL-C quartile and with statistical significance; in seven cohorts, no association was found.

Conclusions: High LDL-C is inversely associated with mortality in most people over 60 years. This finding is inconsistent with the cholesterol hypothesis (ie, that cholesterol, particularly LDL-C, is inherently atherogenic). Since elderly people with high LDL-C live as long or longer than those with low LDL-C, our analysis provides reason to question the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis. Moreover, our study provides the rationale for a re-evaluation of guidelines recommending pharmacological reduction of LDL-C in the elderly as a component of cardiovascular disease prevention strategies.

BMJ Open 2016;6:e010401 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010401


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, June 13, 2016

The plain truth


The Left's Mobocracy

By Ben Shapiro

For years, the left has been desperate to paint conservatives as the real danger to civil society. Back in 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called conservatives a threat to safety. In a report, it stated that those who oppose abortion and illegal immigration represent a serious domestic terror threat. After presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reprehensibly justified violence against protesters, the media was awash with fears that conservatives would suddenly lose their minds and begin brandishing pitchforks in search of unlucky transgender individuals.

But, for decades, the only real threat of mob violence has come from the political left.

The left proved this once again this week when rioters in San Jose, California ignored do-nothing police officers and assaulted Trump supporters after his campaign rally. They overran police barriers, punched random rallygoers and egged a woman. They spit on people, burned American flags and generally made a violent nuisance of themselves.

The left reacted by blaming Trump.

First off, let's point out that while Trump has encouraged his own rallygoers to participate in violence against peaceful protesters, there has never been a pro-Trump mob or riot. Individuals have engaged in bad behavior, but there has never been any mass activity. The same is not true of the political left, which traffics in mob action, from Ferguson, Missouri, to Baltimore, Maryland, to Seattle, Washington, to Occupy Wall Street.

Why? Because when conservatives act badly, they're condemned by both conservatives and leftists. But when leftists riot, leftists simply blame conservatives for the riots.

That's what happened in San Jose.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said, "At some point, Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign." San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia praised his officers for failing to intervene, saying, "We are not an 'occupying force' and cannot reflect the chaotic tactics of protesters." The San Jose Police Department added that it did not intervene so as to not "further (incite) the crowd and produce more violent behavior."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton blamed Trump, too: "He created an environment in which it seemed to be acceptable for someone running for president to be inciting violence, to be encouraging his supporters. Now we're seeing people who are against him responding in kind." The internet blogging service Vox was forced to suspend editor Emmett Rensin after telling people to "start a riot" if Trump sets foot in their town.

Trump may be a gross thug individually, but conservatives are generally uninterested in the sort of thuggish hordes that roam the streets looking for skulls to crack. We don't like those sorts of folks; we find them an affront to law and order and clean living.

The left has no such compunction. And so long as their leading lights continue to justify such lawlessness in the name of stopping the rhetoric of the right, we're doomed to more broken eggs, broken noses and broken politics.



Elitist Arrogance and stupidity behind minimum wage push

By Walter E. Williams

A basic economic premise holds that when the price of something rises, people seek to economize on its use. They seek substitutes for that which has risen in price. Recent years have seen proposals for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. Some states and localities, such as Seattle, have already legislated a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Nobody should be surprised that fast-food companies such as Wendy's, Panera Bread, McDonald's and others are seeking substitutes for employees who are becoming costlier. One substitute that has emerged for cashiers is automated kiosks where, instead of having a person take your order, you select your meal and pay for it using a machine. Robots are also seen as an alternative to a $15-an-hour minimum wage. In fact, employee costs are much higher than an hourly wage suggests. For every employee paid $15 an hour, a company spends an additional $10 an hour on non-wage benefits, such as medical insurance, Social Security, workers' compensation and other taxes. That means the minimum hourly cost of hiring such an employee is close to $25.

The vision that higher mandated wages (that exceed productivity) produce no employment effects is what economists call a zero-elasticity view of the world — one in which there is no response to price changes. It assumes that customers are insensitive to higher product prices and investors are insensitive to a company's profits. There is little evidence that people are insensitive to price changes, whether they be changes in taxes, gas prices, food prices, labor prices or any other price. The issue is not whether people change their behavior when relative prices rise or fall; it is always how soon and how great the change will be. Thus, with minimum wage increases, it is not an issue of whether firms will economize on labor but an issue of how much they will economize and who will bear the burden of that economizing.

Fast-food restaurants must respond to higher prices because they have two sets of ruthless people to deal with. We can see that with a hypothetical example. Imagine that faced with higher employee costs, Burger King automates and, as a result of finding cheaper ways to do things, it can sell its hamburgers for $3. Its competitor McDonald's does not automate and keeps the same number of employees in the face of higher wages, maybe to be nice and caring. McDonald's might try to forestall declining profits by attempting to recover higher labor costs by raising product prices — say, charging $5 for a hamburger. However, consumers are not insensitive to higher prices. They would seek cheaper substitutes, thereby patronizing Burger King. The bottom line is that in the wake of higher minimum wages, surviving companies will be those that find ways to economize on labor usage.

There is another ruthless set of people. They are investors. If customers were to flock to Burger King, McDonald's profits would fall. What is your guess as to what investors would do? My guess is they would sell shares in McDonald's. An even more dismal picture for McDonald's would be the specter of corporate takeover attempts. Somebody would see that money could be made by bringing McDonald's to its senses.

The saddest aspect of the minimum wage story is the damage it does to human beings. The current hourly wage for a fast-food restaurant cashier is $7.25 to $9 per hour. That produces a yearly salary of $15,000 to $20,000, plus fringes. That's no great shakes, but it is honest work and a start in life. It might be the very best some people could do. Enter the arrogance and callousness of the elite. Their vision of what a person should earn, expressed by higher minimum wages, destroys people's best alternative without offering a superior one in its place. Maybe the elite believe that welfare, unemployment compensation and possibly engaging in illegal activities are a superior alternative to earning an honest and respectable living on a cashier's salary. That is a despicable vision.



The Key Economic Facts Obama’s Recovery Narrative Ignores

President Barack Obama took an economic victory lap in Elkhart, Indiana, on Wednesday.

In a major speech he argued his policies have brought the economy back. He blamed remaining economic weaknesses on trends preceding his administration.

This analysis has the economic facts precisely backwards: Economic growth benefitted Americans up and down the income distribution until the Great Recession. Since then, Americans have struggled considerably.

Obama argued his policies have brought the economy back. While labor market conditions have certainly improved from the depths of the recession—the official unemployment rate has even returned to pre-recession levels—these numbers do not tell the whole story.

Millions of working-age Americans stopped looking for work during the recession. Many have not returned to the labor market. The working-age labor force participation rate remains 2 percentage points below pre-recession levels. The government does not count these ex-workers as unemployed— even if they would have jobs in a stronger economy.

This explains why the unemployment rate has officially recovered in the Elkhart metropolitan area despite it still having fewer jobs today than in 2007.

Workers also take significantly longer to find new jobs today. The average jobless worker still spends over six months unemployed. This recovery has gone far slower than the White House promised when proposing Obama’s recovery plan.

Obama argues pre-existing trends caused this economic weakness:

… where we haven’t finished the job, where folks have good reason to feel anxious, is addressing some of the longer-term trends in the economy—that started long before I was elected—that make working families feel less secure. These are trends that have been happening for decades now and that we’ve got to do more to reverse.

This argument rewrites economic history.

Until the recession family incomes were growing up and down the income ladder. Congressional Budget Office data show market incomes for the middle quintile of (non-elderly) households grew by a third between 1979 and 2007.

Other academic economists estimate higher middle class income growth over that period. Market incomes for families in the bottom quintile grew even faster—by more than 50 percent.

Unsurprisingly, most Americans were happy with the state of the economy then. In February 2007, Gallup polled Americans‘ perceptions of the state of the economy. Forty-three percent said “excellent” or “good.” Only 16 percent answered “poor.”

Then the recession hit and the recovery dragged on. Between 2007 and 2011, middle class households’ market incomes dropped by a tenth (the Congressional Budget Office data only goes through 2011). More Americans today tell Gallup they think the economy is in poor shape than in excellent or good condition. It’s hard to blame this newfound dissatisfaction on long-term trends.

The president argued his administration deserves credit for the recovery thus far. If so, he has engineered the weakest recovery of the post-war era.



CFPB Announces New Proposed Rule to Make Poor People's Lives Harder

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a proposed rule that would allow them to eliminate banking options for poor Americans. Did you miss that headline? Perhaps that’s because the Obama administration and its allies in the press described these new regulations as “cracking down on payday lenders.”

But this spin ignores a crucial detail: many poor Americans do not have and cannot afford traditional banking options such as checking and savings accounts because fees make these products prohibitively expensive for people with low incomes. Payday lenders often provide crucial basic banking services for these poor Americans. For people struggling to make ends meet, a short term loan may be the difference in being able to buy groceries or making a rent payment on time. They should have the freedom to contract and obtain the loans they believe they need, not be subject to the whims of regulators in Washington DC.

Now it is certainly the case that there are unscrupulous companies in the payday loan industry, as in any industry, but every state has regulators watching this industry and making sure that this valuable service is offered safely and ethically. As the Heritage Foundation’s Norbert Michel notes: “Not only does the CFPB lack evidence to support its claims that these lenders engage in ‘predatory behavior,’ the evidence actually suggests just the opposite." These new heavy-handed federal regulations are not meant to protect consumers: state regulators already do that. These rules are meant to eliminate payday lenders because they are disfavored by the left-wing federal administrative state.

In the world of the all-powerful administrative state in which we live, we have an agency in the CFPB which is unaccountable to Congress or the public. It can make rules designed to destroy a targeted industry. Today, they may come for an unpopular industry like payday lenders, but what can stop them from coming for your business or job next?

There is still a chance to stop these destructive and unnecessary regulations. These rules are still just in proposed status, which gives the public and affected companies and consumers the opportunity to comment and express their opposition. This comment period will last until September 14th, 2016. And given the destructive nature of the rules there will likely be court challenges. This rulemaking is yet another signpost on the road to regulatory tyranny and should be rejected.



Refugees in Europe


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, June 12, 2016

WHAAT?  Premature babies are brighter??

When I first saw the findings below I thought I was looking at another example of researchers getting their statistics back to front.  The logical and conventional view is that premature birth harms the baby to some degree.  And that is the official medical view too.  The authors of the study below were obviously pretty perturbed by their results too and turned themselves inside out trying to think of ways in which their very strong study got it wrong.  And I think that they went close to isolating the problem, but did not have the psychometric background needed to get it exactly right

The thing that told me what was going on was the Dutch Famine Study.  In the closing phase of WW2, Nederland experienced a severe food shortage.  The mothers of babies born at that time did the best for their infants but a lot still went very hungry.  But a food shortage at that early age could be expected to handicap the infant to some degree, with brain damage being probable.  So when that birth cohort came up for conscription into the Dutch army 18 years later, there was great interest in what their average IQs would be.  Most armies do carry out ability testing as an aid to weeding out soldiers who would be more dangerous to their companions than to the enemy. Putting lethal weapons into the hands of dummies is not recommended.

So what did the Dutch psychologists discover?  Did they find that the average IQ for that year was low?  No. To the contrary, they found that the average IQ was unusually HIGH for that year.

So what had happened?  It was a eugenic effect.  As has repeatedly been shown, high IQ is a marker of general biological fitness -- and only the fit babies survived the famine.  The less fit were weeded out -- died.  So only the fit survived and they had higher IQs than average.

So you might by now see the strong analogy with the results below.  Less fit babies did not survive pre-term birth.  Those who did survive were generally  more fit biologically and hence of higher IQ.  It's actually interesting confirmation of the Dutch findings.  The other finding below, of a slight probability of physical impairment probably shows that even a selection effect cannot cancel out all the stresses and disadvantages that pre-term birth must be expected to impose

Long-term Cognitive and Health Outcomes of School-Aged Children Who Were Born Late-Term vs Full-Term

David N. Figlio et al.


Importance: Late-term gestation (defined as the 41st week of pregnancy) is associated with increased risk of perinatal health complications. It is not known to what extent late-term gestation is associated with long-term cognitive and physical outcomes. Information about long-term outcomes may influence physician and patient decisions regarding optimal pregnancy length.

Objective: To compare the cognitive and physical outcomes of school-aged children who were born full term or late term.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  We analyzed Florida birth certificates from 1994 to 2002 linked to Florida public school records from 1998 to 2013 and found 1?442?590 singleton births with 37 to 41 weeks' gestation in the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics. Of these, 1?153?716 children (80.0%) were subsequently located in Florida public schools. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of gestational age with cognitive and physical outcomes at school age. Data analysis took place between April 2013 and January 2016.

Exposures: Late-term (born at 41 weeks) vs full-term (born at 39 or 40 weeks) gestation.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  There were a number of measures used, including the average Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test mathematics and reading scores at ages 8 through 15 years; whether a child was classified as gifted, defined as a student with superior intellectual development and capable of high performance; poor cognitive outcome, defined as a child scoring in the fifth percentile of test takers or having a disability that exempted him or her from taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test; and Exceptional Student Education placement owing to orthopedic, speech, or sensory impairment or being hospitalbound or homebound.

Results:  Of 1 536 482 children born in Florida from singleton births from 1994 to 2002 with complete demographic information, 787 105 (51.2%) were male; 338 894 (22.1%) of mothers were black and 999 684 (65.1%) were married at time of birth, and the mean (SD) age for mothers at time of birth was 27.2 (6.2) years. Late-term infants had 0.7% of an SD (95% CI, 0.001-0.013; P = .02) higher average test scores in elementary and middle school, 2.8% (95% CI, 0.4-5.2; P = .02) higher probability of being gifted, and 3.1% (95% CI, 0.0-6.1; P = .05) reduced probability of poor cognitive outcomes compared with full-term infants. These cognitive benefits appeared strongest for children with disadvantaged family background characteristics. Late-term infants were also 2.1% (95% CI, −0.3 to 4.5; P = .08) more likely to be physically impaired.

Conclusions and Relevance: There appears to be a tradeoff between cognitive and physical outcomes associated with late-term gestation. Children born late-term performed better on 3 measures of school-based cognitive functioning but worse on 1 measure of physical functioning relative to children born full term. Our findings provide longer-run information for expectant parents and physicians who are considering delivery at full term vs late term. These findings are most relevant to uncomplicated, low-risk pregnancies.



Another Liberal Publication Calls For Violence Against Trump

These nutty liberals can't help themselves. In response to the violence visited upon Trump supporters, President Obama urged liberals to "stop acting like the other side." A editor urged people in towns on the campaign trail to riot in response to Trump. Now, a writer for the Huffington Post is calling for worse:

A writer for the Huffington Post is defending his recent op-ed that "a violent response” is the “logical” approach to stopping presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Jesse Benn wrote in the op-ed titled “Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any,” posted on Monday, “[T]here’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”

"These denunciations of violence from anti-Trump protestors rest on the misguided view that the divide Trump’s exposed is a typical political disagreement between partisans, and should be handled as such.," he wrote. "This couldn’t be further from the truth. Trump might not be a fascist in the 20th century European sense of the term—though many of his supporters are—but he might represent its 21st century US version."

"Violent resistance matters. Riots can lead to major change," Benn wrote. "It’s not liberal politicians or masses that historians identify as the spark underlying the modern movement for LGBTQ equality. Nor was it a think piece from some smarmy liberal writer. It was the people who took to the streets during the Stonewall Uprising."
Benn has it all wrong. The answer to speech one disagrees with is more speech. The Founders understood that unfettered political speech and a robust marketplace of ideas was the antidote to tyranny, and  that a robust public forum would force the worst ideas to contend with the best ones. The truth might not always win out, but those that knew it could use it to hold the powerful accountable. Martin Luther King understood this when he urged non-violent resistance in the face of terrible persecution and the most vile racist rhetoric. He forced a nation to consider the gravity of "all men are created equal" by not using force.

In a system where irrational violence is condoned, only those willing to commit the most irrational, violent acts win out. The truth is defined by the violent, and the violent decide what is tolerable and what is punishable. That's the very fascism that Benn claims to hate so much.



Trump and the Judge

Something that we think still confuses a lot of conservatives is their presumption that leftwing arguments are supposed to be applied evenhandedly.  Thus their befuddlement over Trump’s comment about the judge. To be clear, we don't like what Trump said and find the implications troubling. We are not defending that position specifically. But we also think that this issue points to an underlying problem resulting from the politicization of the judiciary begun by the left.

When Sonia Sotomayor said that being a “wise Latina” influences her decisions for the better, that—we were told—was not merely nothing to worry about but a sign of her judicial temperament and fitness for the High Court.  When Trump says being a Latino will influence this judge’s hearing of his case, he’s Hitler.

There may seem at first glance to be an inconsistency here.  But there is a common thread.  The left mostly takes for granted, first, that people from certain ethnicities in positions of power will be liberal Democrats and, second, that they will use that power in the interests of their party and co-ethnics.  This is a core reason for shouts of “treason!” “Uncle Tom” (or Tomas) and the like.  People like Clarence Thomas are offending the left’s whole conception of the moral order.  How dare he!

The implicit assumption underlying Sotomayor’s comment and Thomas’ refusal to play to type is that there is a type—an expectation.  By virtue of her being a liberal, a Democrat, a woman, and a Latina (wise or otherwise), Sotomayor’s voting pattern on the Court ought to be predictable.  As, indeed, it is.  So should Thomas’, but he declines to play his assigned role.

The slightly deeper assumption is that this identity-based predictability is necessary, because the institutions and laws as designed will not reliably produce the “correct” outcome.  That’s the logic of diversity in a nutshell.  If everybody in power strictly followed law and procedure, the good guys—the poor, minorities, women, etc.—would lose a great deal of the time and that would be bad.  We need people who will look past the niceties of the rule of law and toward the outcome—the end.  The best way to ensure that is “diversity,” i.e., people more loyal to their own party and tribe than to abstractions like the rule of law.

Trump simply took this very same logic and restated it from his own point-of-view—that is, from the point-of-view of a rich, Republican, ostentatiously hyper-American defendant in a lawsuit being litigated in a highly-charged political environment.  He knows full well that at least 50% of the country will howl like crazy if he wins this suit.  He knows that the judge knows that, too.  He further knows that judge knows what his own “side” expects him to do.  It would take an act of extraordinary courage to act against interest and expectation in this instance.  And our present system is not calibrated to produce such acts of courage but rather to produce the expected outcome.

That’s what diversity is for.  That is, beyond the fairness issue, viz., that in a multiethnic country, it’s unwise and arguably unjust for high offices to be monopolized by one group.  But that’s an argument for something like quotas—or, if you want to be high-minded about it, “distributive justice”—and the quota rationale for diversity is passé.  The current rationale is that diversity provides “perspectives.”  Perspectives to aid in getting around the law and procedure.  Otherwise, who cares about diversity?  Just apply the law.  Simple.

Trump is taking for granted the left's presumption that ethnic Democratic judges will rule in the interests of their party and of their ethnic bloc.  That's what they’re supposed to do.  The MSM and the overall narrative say this is just fine.  It’s only bad when someone like Trump points it out in a negative way.  If a properly sanctified liberal had said “This man is a good judge because his background gives him the perspective to see past narrow, technical legalities and grasp the larger justice,” not only would no one have complained, that comment would have been widely praised.  In fact, comments just like it are celebrated all the time.  That is precisely what Justice Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” phrase was meant to convey.

Plus, Trump has whacked the hornets’ nest by his criticism of Mexican immigration, which he feels this judge is bound to take personally.  And why shouldn’t he conclude that?  The left (and the domesticated right) tell us incessantly that any criticism—however fair or factual—that touches on a specific group will inevitably arouse the ire of that group.  Don’t say anything negative about immigration or the Hispanics will never vote for you!  Don’t say anything critical of Islamic terror or more Muslims will hate us!  But when Trump uses that same logic—I’ve criticized Mexican immigration so it’s likely this judge won’t like me—he’s a villain.

To look for logical consistency in any of this is to miss the point.  Trump is bad, and he is using these leftist arguments for bad (that is, not their intended) ends.  Therefore he is both bad and wrong, even though others who say logically identical things are good and right. Restoring confidence in the impartial rule of law will require eliminating this sort of divisive rhetoric on both sides.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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)