Friday, April 28, 2017

Racism -- in the Leftist sense -- is normal

In Leftist usage, "racist" is a very rubbery term.  Any mention of race can cause that mention to be categorized as racist. And consciousness of racial differences is an abomination to the Left.  One would hope that the term were used to describe only those people who propose some sort of adverse discrimination against others solely because of their race but that is clearly not to be.

But it has been known in the psychology textbooks for many decades that some sort of consciousness of one's own group and loyalty to it is in fact just about universal. For instance, Brown in his 1986 introductory social psychology textbook also describes ethnocentrism, racism and their associated phenomena as "universal ineradicable psychological processes".

So Leftist usage flies in the face of psychological reality.  We are ALL racists in the Leftist sense, Leftists themselves included.  The Left are in fact obsessed with race, as their incessant campaigning for "affirmative action" shows.

So it is pleasing to see the latest bit of research that shows we get on best with members of our own group.  See below:

Identity and Bias: Insights from Driving Tests

By Revital Bar and Asaf Zussman


How does one's identity affect the evaluation of others? To shed light on this question, we analyze the universe of driving tests conducted in Israel during 2006-2015, leveraging the effectively random assignment of students and testers to tests. We find strong and robust evidence of both ethnic (Arab/Jewish) in-group bias and gender out-group bias: a student is 15 percent more (or less) likely to pass a test when assigned a tester from the same ethnicity (gender). We show that these patterns are consistent with a utility-based interpretation, along the lines of Becker's (1957) taste-based discrimination model.


REFERENCE:  Brown, R.(1986) Social psychology (2nd. Ed.) N.Y.: Free Press.


Identifying ill-intended refugees

President Donald Trump's first executive order on "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals," has been met with objection, which grew into hysteria, by opponents on the Left and some on the Right, at home and abroad. The opponents turned to friendly courts, which halted the President's orders.

The opponents of the immigration executive orders vehemently oppose the new American president and his actions to protect the country, as he promised to do. The Left joined by pro-Muslim organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood's affiliated Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), have been protesting the suspension of U.S. visas to Muslim refugees and travelers from only seven out of fifty Muslim-majority countries.

The first order suspended immigration from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. All have been identified by the Obama administration as Islamic-terrorist prone countries. The second EO omitted Iraq, after arrangements were made to increase the country's vetting of applicants for U.S. visas.

Trump's first executive order proclaims: "The United States must be vigilant during the visa issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism. In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes towards our country and its founding principles. Section 2 of the active order states that the policy of the U.S. is

"(a) protect our citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States, and (b) prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes"

To prevent such individuals from entering the U.S., the executive order requests the development of a uniform screening program, which in fact would reinforce requirements that have been deliberately ignored by the Obama administration.

The virulent criticism against the EO began with a deliberate disinformation campaign that Trump has issued a ban on Muslims. While he mentioned such a ban before his election, the EO he issued calls for suspension, not a ban.

A major problem with the EO, as some pointed out, was the signaling out of those seven countries, because radical-Islamic terrorists are not limited to the countries listed. There are unknown numbers of ISIS volunteers who returned to Europe and other Western nations, which the new EO exempts. But even if the screening is done by the book, and all necessary documentation has been obtained and verified, and the applicant declares he holds no ill intentions toward America and Americans, nothing efficient is available to the screeners today that would easily reveal that he or she is lying.

An effective way to find out the applicant's intentions would be screening through an efficient, unbiased, and non-intrusive system.  Such a system was developed by an Israeli company with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, which the Obama administration refused to utilize.

The Suspect Detection System (SDS) has developed counter-terrorist and insider-threat detection technology named COGITO.  This technology enables law enforcement agencies to rapidly investigate U.S. visa applicants (and other travelers) entering the country, insider threats among employees, etc.

COGITO technology is an automated interrogation system that can determine in 5-7 minutes if an individual is harboring hostile intent.  The system interviews the examinee with up to 36 questions while measuring the psychophysical signals of the human body.  The system has 95% accuracy and has helped security agencies globally to catch terrorists and solve crimes.

According to the company's website, the SDS allows the screening of a large number of people in a short time. It "does not require operator training. One operator can handle simultaneously ten stations.  It has a central management and database system that allows storing all tests results, analysis, and data mining, and is deployed and integrated with governmental agencies."

Using this system would eliminate the need to use often biased U.S. Consulate employees.  Moreover, the SDS uses an automated decision-making system, which is "adaptable to a variety of different questioning contexts, different cultures, and languages. The examination lasts 5 minutes when there are no indications of harmful intent, and 7 minutes to ascertain it (with only 4% false positive, and 10% false negative)."

The COGITO is used in 15 countries including Israel, Singapore, China, India, and Mexico.  U.S. airlines operating in Latin America are using COGITO to check their employees.

But last year DHS refused to use the SDS, claiming that it "would constitute an intrusion on the privacy of those screened by the system" and "[i]t may reflect on VISA applicants or Immigrant's civil rights."  However, foreigners applying for a U.S. visa are not protected by American laws.

SDS capability to detect intent seems to fit President Trump's promise of "extreme vetting" of Muslim refugees from high-risk regions.  This and other similarly objective systems would not only assist in making America safer but also be in keeping its policy and tradition of accepting refugees who do not wish us harm.



Wait, Tariffs Cost Consumers Money?

When Democrats propose health insurance mandates, or a carbon tax, or a higher gas tax, or energy regulations, or a minimum wage hike, or a tax increase on “the wealthy” (i.e., small business owners), or any number of other burdensome costs on the economy, the Leftmedia can only coo about how fair and good those things are. But when Donald Trump slaps a tariff on Canadian lumber, the Leftmedia blares headlines about how much it’s going to cost American homebuilders — between $1,200 and $3,000 per house.

Now, to be clear, they’re not wrong about the cost, but these fair-weather free marketeers are profound hypocrites.

Whenever you tax or regulate something, and a tariff is a tax, the price of that thing goes up and the consumer pays more. This is economics 101. Yet leftists only see this when Trump’s at work.

So what’s going on here? First of all, Trump has long argued that NAFTA is a terrible trade deal for the U.S. and needs to be renegotiated. Without going through the whole history of that deal, suffice it to say that he has a point about other nations not always trading fairly — and there’s definitely a difference between free and fair. For example, Canada and Mexico both subsidize goods more than the U.S. does, which undercuts American producers.

In this case, Canadian lumber is subsidized, and it’s a dispute that has been ongoing since the early 1980s. Trump’s Commerce Department calculated its tariff rates on how much various Canadian lumber producers are subsidized. But the tariff also has to do with Canada’s own tariffs on imported dairy products, which the Trump administration argues particularly hurts Wisconsin dairy farmers. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “The Trump administration has been much more focused on enforcement than had been true previously.”

And whether it’s trade or immigration or foreign policy, Trump the dealmaker is all about sending signals that he means business. Yes, this lumber tariff will cost Americans money, and we’re not arguing in favor of tariffs. But Trump has set about to seek what he believes are fair trade terms. Don’t think Mexico and China aren’t also getting the message.



Energy Economy Challenges Elitist-Centralized Wealth

It’s easy to understand why there exists an elitist bubble in Washington, DC, and other metroplexes in the Northeast. The nation’s capital and its surroundings have a long history of attracting wealthy individuals. In terms of adjusted gross income, the District is second only to Connecticut. At number three, four and five are Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. While riches aren’t indubitably a bad thing, the old adage is true: Money begets power. And power corrupts — particularly when that power is put into the hands of lawmakers and their lobbyist cohorts. That’s why Thomas Jefferson in 1821 warned, “[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another.”

So those of us in flyover country won’t be shedding tears over the accumulation of wealth in more middle class areas of the country. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the Lone Star State is quickly climbing the ranks on the list of highest county-specific wealth. Time magazine reports, “What’s most surprising is that a state that used to never figure in at the top now dominates the top 10 — including the overall #1 spot on the list. According to [the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse], McMullen County, Texas, which lies in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale patch south of San Antonio, now has the highest average adjusted gross income in the U.S.: $303,717. At #4 is Texas’s Glasscock County ($181,375), which sits in the equally productive Permian Basin in west Texas. And #10 is Texas’s La Salle County ($146,991), which neighbors McMullen County, to the southwest of San Antonio. In 2005, no Texas county was ranked among the top 30 most wealthy in the U.S.”

This is the free market in action. As a caveat, the large conglomeration of wealth in DC isn’t exactly dwindling. It has been ranked as the second-highest “state” in adjusted gross income since 2011, and Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have all occupied the top five list since 2012. However, the finer details show that middle America is experiencing an influx of cash flow. That’s great news. The better news will be if the trend continues. And the best news? That would be when all extravagant wealth is driven out of Washington, DC.



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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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