Saturday, September 30, 2017

Freedom for Catalonia!

I don't normally post anything today but this weekend is a referendum in Catalonia sponsored by the Catalan regional government that asks Catalans if they want to be an independent republic rather than part of Spain.

The Spanish government is doing all it can to prevent the referendum from taking place as it knows what the result will be -- a bit majority in favour of independence.  Agitation for Catalan independence goes back a long way

As a libertarian, I always support independence movements so I feel obliged to do my little bit here to support the Catalans. Catalonia has a population similar to Israel and is very prosperous.  They also have their own language.  An article below gives some background -- JR

BARCELONA — In a mass demonstration of youth and enthusiasm, thousands of students marched down the Gran Via here Thursday afternoon, presenting the well-scrubbed face of a separatist movement hoping to sever the Catalonia region from Spain.

The rally, the largest in recent memory, featured throngs of university and high school students draped in Catalan flags and protected by cadres of sympathetic firefighters in yellow helmets.

The young people took countless selfies, smoked a little marijuana and plastered signposts with posters featuring cartoon characters.

The atmosphere was festive, raucous, contagious — with folk songs from a generation ago. When elderly supporters came out on their balconies to bang pots and pans in support, the students stopped to honor them with chants, “No revolutions without the grandmothers!”

But the situation is growing serious.

The secessionist leaders here are pressing forward with their promise to stage a controversial referendum Sunday that asks a seemingly simple question: Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state, in the form of a republic? Yes or no.

The central government in Madrid, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Popular Party, says the plebiscite violates Spain’s 1978 constitution that declares the country indivisible — and therefore is illegal.

The Rajoy government, backed byconstitutional court rulings, has vowed to stop the vote, and it has deployed thousands of national police and paramilitary Guardia Civil officers to the region.

“We have no idea really what will happen Sunday. But it’s hard to see a peaceful ending, no?” said Pablo Sanchez Crespo, 21, a psychology major hunkered down in the courtyard of Barcelona University, which has been occupied by striking students sleeping on mattresses and swinging in hammocks.

“If they want to stop the vote, they are going to have to put many, many cops at the polling stations, and if the people still want to vote? I don’t know,” he said. “I think there will trouble.”

A few minutes earlier, Jordi Graupera, a professor and pro-independence activist, was conducting a 2017 version of a U.S.-style 1960s teach-in in the courtyard, explaining to the students the concept of civil disobedience and telling them about the winning tactics of Martin Luther King Jr.

“You don’t have to attack anyone,” the professor said. “But you have the right to resist.”

He encouraged the students, if they were willing, to occupy and defend polling places — school gymnasiums, community centers, city halls — and to bring plenty of food and water.

The professor said they would not go to jail for forcing open the polling spots but might be fined.

The showdown between the prosperous but restive region of Catalonia and the distant central government in Madrid could become Spain’s most profound political crisis since the end of the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco four decades ago.

A lot depends on the next few days — and which side yields, and who is seen as oppressed or oppressor. Many editorialists in Catalonia describe the impasse as two locomotives rushing toward each other on the same track.

On Tuesday at a news conference, President Trump said, “I think that Spain is a great country, and it should remain united.”

A dozen Catalan functionaries have been arrested, charged and released. The police have raided warehouses and printing presses, and confiscated 13 million sheets of paper — including ballots.

Many of the students interviewed mentioned Franco and his 40-year oppression of Catalonia’s language, culture and autonomy as a rallying cry.

Asked what he knew about Franco, who died in 1975, a quarter century before he was born, Marc Garcia said, “We heard all about it from our parents and grandparents.”

Garcia and his friend Judit Marti, both 17, said they also had been informed and stirred by programing on the public broadcaster, TV3, which is sponsored by the Catalan government.

Some of the students said they thought the current standoff was a legacy of the Spanish civil war in the 1930s and all the unfinished business left after Franco’s long reign.

“Franco didn’t lose this war, he just died,” said Pau Subirana Garcia, 21, a computer science student. “All the people around him are still around.”

Subirana was carrying a black flag with a star and cross, which he said dated back to the 1714 Siege of Barcelona. “The black is about no surrender,” he explained.

The student said that many of his friends care less about whether Catalonia chooses independence than that they have the right to vote.

“Our ancestors gave their lives for these freedoms,” Subirana said. “It shouldn’t be a crime to vote,” he said. “We won’t do anything bad.”

Polls taken during the summer show that more voters in Catalonia would choose to remain in Spain than strike for independence — but moves by the central government considered heavy handed here might have shifted sentiments.

The students occupying the university and joining the rally spoke with passion, especially about their right to vote, but they were unsure exactly what independence would bring.

Catalonia pays an oversize share of its taxes to the central government, but the region enjoys fairly broad autonomy and controls its own police, education, health care, schools, parliament and media. The dominant language is Catalan.

There are now so many national police from outside the region in Catalonia that the Spanish government chartered two commercial cruise ships and docked them in the Barcelona port to berth the overflow.

One of the ships sports large cartoon drawings on its hull of Looney Tunes characters Daffy Duck, Wile E. Coyote and Tweety, and the yellow bird has been adopted by the students as their symbol of resistance.

At Barcelona University, a pair of large photocopy machines sat in the hallway, churning out ballots for Sunday’s election. The students had erected tables to pass them out. How such votes would be counted — and seen as legitimate — is unclear.

“I know lots of friends — they say yes or no about independence. But the response cannot be to send in the police against the people. That means force wins,” said Elisabet Lliteres Deia, a student who said this was the biggest youth rally she had seen in Spain.

She was marching with two friends. The three represented a mix of yes, no and unsure votes. They also believed that the referendum was not binding.

Catalan politicians, however, have vowed that if more than 50 percent of ballots read “yes,” the regional parliament will declare independence within 48 hours, no matter the size of the turnout or whether the vote is disrupted.

Many people in Catalonia and Spain suspect that this is a bluff and that low participation would weaken the leverage of separatists.

Can Madrid stop the vote?

On Thursday, Catalonia’s interior minister said the region’s own Mossos d’Esquadra police force will act to protect public safety, but it would be impossible to stop thousands from gathering to vote. Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont, vowed the plebiscite would happen no matter what.


Friday, September 29, 2017

Bloodbath 2018

By Rich Kozlovich

It appears Judge Roy Moore - called a conservative firebrand by the media - won the vote against currently appointed sitting Sen. Luther Strange, in spite of the millions spent by the Republican Party to defeat him.  I'm not shocked!

I've stated a number of times in the past this midterm election is going to be a bloodbath for both parties.  Bigger than anything we've seen in recent years, and it will be pivotal in American history.  I've also stated this bloodbath will be in the general election for the Democrats, but in the primaries for the Republicans.  That's already being acknowledged by incumbent Republicans by retiring before being defeated.  What I don't understand is Trump's willingness to support Mitch McConnell in this.

McConnell is part of the problem, not part of the solution - and time for him to go home.  After the midterms he's going to be even more toothless than he is now.  As for the 2020 election when his term is up - If he runs and is re-elected he'll be sworn in by January.  He'll turn 79 in February.  He needs to go home.

Lindsay Graham is 62 currently and will also be up for re-election in 2020, and he's not all that popular in his state.  I think this will set the tone for a challenge in the primary. 

Then there's John McCain.  As I've said - the particular cancer he has is a death sentence with the average life span after diagnosis being 14 months.  I don't think he'll live out his term, and at some point he's going to be too sick to do anything.  Of course he could do the right thing and resign - but I don't think he will. I've outlined his career and life in other articles and I not impressed with his character.  Everyone seems to have forgotten he was part of the Keating Five scandal where he's referred to as "The most reprehensible of the Keating Five".  And there's still a hidden cloud about his military career since he refuses to release his records. 

I really think after the 2020 election there's going to be changes taking place we couldn't have imagined a few years ago.   The Republican Party is going through a metamorphosis from a party of faux conservatives to a party of real conservatives.  I also think those conservatives will have to attack the Republican party structure and elite to win, just as did Judge Moore. 

The Democratic Party is going to remain what it is today.  Irrational, leftist, Saul Alinsky radicals, and unelectable except in totally hard left districts.  Maxine Waters will continue to be elected as long as she can breath and act as their Mother Teresa.  Chuck Schumer will continue as the chief strategist and he's not up again until 2022.   Neither of them are going to budge an inch in their hard left approach as to how they think the world should work, and they won't let anyone change that in their party.  They're going to be the gifts that keep on giving. 

I also think Governor John Kasich is going to change parties. I think this will happen not long after the election.  He might do it before leaving office, but I don't think so.  I also think he'll do this in order to run for President of the United States as a Democrat.  Strange as it may seem - given the mess the Democrat Party is facing - I think the Democrats may accept him.  He has all the qualities they so admire in their leaders.  He's weird, he's arrogant, he's capable of talking unendingly without saying anything, and he's a heretic.  What more could they want?

Let me tell you!  They're going to demand he support abortion!  If he doesn't - he's done.  So this question remains: Is he going to be just like Dennis Kucinich?  Kucinich was a life long anti-abortion Catholic until he ran for President,  and then all of a sudden had an epiphany that abortion wasn't murder after all.  I think Kasich is capable of that kind of metamorphosis, but make no mistake about this - he knows that's what it will take.  Heresy!

I don't see Independents taking a place on the political landscape in a large way, even if a few RINO's decide to make a play in that direction.  And where they do show up - I think they'll impact the Democrats more than Republicans because the Tea Party types made up their minds long ago that forming a third party was totally counterproductive to pushing a conservative agenda.  Their goal was to take over which ever mainstream party that would accept the conservative values of less government, less taxes and less regulations. 

That's the Republican party.  Get over it!



IRONY: CNN Calls Trump Racist While They're Getting Sued By 175 Black Employees For Discrimination,/b>

News personalities and writers at CNN repeatedly try to paint President Donald Trump as a racist, which is ironic considering that they’re being sued by 175 African-American former and current employees for racial discrimination.

Whether it’s Don Lemon claiming that anyone who supports Trump is “complicit” in racism or bitter Ana Navarro calling Trump a “misogynist racist bigoted pig,” CNN’s obsession with trying to connect Trump to racism is obvious.

Ironically, the network that desperately tries to portray itself as strongly opposed to racism is being sued for just that — racial discrimination.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2016, has gone largely unreported by the media as left-leaning news organizations would rather focus on the recent struggles of Fox News instead.

The lawsuit alleges racial discrimination by CNN against 175 former and current African-American employees:

Unlike the lawsuit against Fox News, the one against CNN and sister companies is much broader, claiming among other things that African-Americans receive lower performance ratings in evaluations, that there are dramatic differences in pay between similarly situated employees of different races and that the promotion of African-American employees is blocked by a "glass ceiling."

The complaint cites hiring and advancement statistics while alleging that African-American employees have endured slurs from superiors, including "It's hard to manage black people" and "Who would be worth more: black slaves from times past, or new slaves?" …

According to a plaintiffs' motion to amend that was filed March 23, "Since the filing of this action, counsels for the plaintiffs have been contacted by more than 175 people, both former and current employees of the Defendant, requesting to be members of the putative class action, all having similar complaints of intentional racial discrimination, discrimination impact and discriminatory practices employed by the Defendants."

Despite these allegations, CNN continues to attack Trump for his “racism,” using various innuendos they have concocted but that are not rooted anywhere in reality.

For example, CNN’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, insinuated that Trump’s remarks about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem were based on racism.

"Why is it that the president over the weekend is going after or seeming to go after African-American athletes?" Acosta asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday. "And then this morning he's putting out a tweet praising NASCAR, which obviously is geared towards a different demographic, and the way they stand and respect and honor the flag. Is he trying to wage something of a culture war?"

None of Trump’s tweets have mentioned anything about the racial or ethnic backgrounds of any of the players or teams involved:

In addition to his tweets, none of the remarks made by the president on TV have referenced anything regarding race or ethnicity.



Watermelons v. Cherry Pie

For news junkies there is one consistent story at the moment: an ongoing and systematic attack on President Trump from without and within. On the outside is a web of the Fourth Estate, the Democratic Party, the Republican Establishment, the Academy and Corporate America that see in the president a threat to the prevailing left-wing cultural agenda. On the inside are the reformers who by dint of influence persuaded the president to rid his staff of Trump partisans so that the administration is essentially anti-Trump in ideology and orientation.

Notwithstanding the internal purge, anti-Trump campaigners foment fear about the White House and the often erratic and impulsive behavior of the president. Here is a Watermelon alliance of Islamists and left wing ideologues that recognizes their victory will come only after American ideals and political identity are destroyed. The major tactic this alliance employs in cultural battle is reducing American groups to silos of sex, race and class. Categorical rights, in the emerging scenario, will replace individual rights, even though this is manifestly in opposition to Constitutional principles.

Steve Coughlin, the Defense analyst, among others, has argued for years that political warfare of the Left operates under the cover of non-violent methods ultimately designed to undermine morale and serve as a prelude to violent action. The game plan was organized by Antonio Gramci in the 1920's and is still used as the operational perspective against Trump. In fact, as George Orwell pointed out, the language of political discourse must turn logic on its head. Tolerance is seen as intolerance, war as peace, truth as domination. Through these post-modern constructs Islamist groups can reach a modus vivendi with the revolutionaries even though policy narratives have them in different camps.

One area that has already captured the imagination of many Americans is the "hate speech" narrative. Hate speech memes are coordinated through a variety of domestic and international forums reducing - in ways once though unimaginable - freedom of speech. From television programming to the State Department the "hate speech" position is front and center limiting what one can say about Islam, immigration, feminism, etc. In fact, the overall objective is a more powerful government than we now have to police the violators of this meme.

The propaganda success of the Left cannot be overemphasized. News cycles are in thrall to the Marxist agenda, without the slightest recognition of the ideological content. President Trump is routinely described as illegitimate and dishonest. Clearly his impulsive response to criticism often reinforces those judgments, but even without his defensive tweets, those claims are repeated so often that they appear to be incontrovertible.

There is little doubt Trump will face this critique throughout his presidency. However, these attacks are not only about President Trump. Those seeking to bury Trump see in this administration as an opportunity to suffocate a vision of America, to place before the public a stark contrast between a "new" America that embraces Marxist assumptions and a traditional America reliant on the rule of law.

Who would have thought that the Trump victory would yield a result of this kind? This America of 2017 often resembles 1984. One wonders if we are going back or going forward.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, September 28, 2017

CNN’s Top 6 Hypocrisies and Lies in Defense of NFL Crybabies

If nothing else, the uproar over these spoiled NFL millionaires who work only 16 days a year but still feel the need to spit on the American flag and anthem, has proven once again that our national media is infected with a lethal dose of Groupthink.

Within the MSM, no one has shown the courage or even the ability to think for themselves. It is quite a thing to witness.

Just as fascinating is the media’s glaring, audacious hypocrisy — most especially from CNN. In its never-ending quest to destroy President Trump,  the leftwing cable network’s credibility-killing shamelessness has been on display for quite a long time. But in defense of these crybaby one-percenters, it has been especially shameless.

CNN’s Definition of ‘Divisive’

According to CNN, it is not at all divisive for a bunch of pampered millionaires to politicize a sport, to take a side in the culture wars during a football game, to openly disrespect the American flag and anthem.

No, according to CNN, this issue only gets “divisive” when you criticize this abominable behavior.

You see, in order to keep things from becoming divisive, normal people are just supposed to shut up and take it.

* Criticizing NFL Whiners Who Trash America Is … Raaaaaacist

While I believe Trump went too far in calling for NFL players to be fired, I personally cannot think of a more important role for an American president than to shame a bunch of millionaires expressing contempt for a country that has given them everything, including the freedom to disrespect that country.

But of course proven serial liars, like CNN’s Jake Tapper, have intentionally lied by insinuating Trump’s criticism is an act of racism.

Missing from this ongoing CNN smear is the fact that Trump also spent last week criticizing a number of white people, like Hillary Clinton, and even some white people in his own party, like Senators John McCain and Rand Paul.

* Trump Given Zero Credit for Criticizing His Own Billionaire Supporters

Does CNN not want politicians who are not bought?

Does CNN not want politicians willing to stand up against their own donors?

Does CNN not want politicians who are not puppets to big donors?

Then why is Trump getting zero credit for blasting away at the nine anti-American football owners who donated more than $10 million to his campaign and inauguration?

* Suddenly CNN Claims We Have First Amendment Rights in the Workplace

CNN’s Chris Cillizza, who is both breathtakingly dumb and a proven liar, best summed up the glaring hypocrisies at work here. In defiance of Trump and in defense of millionaires trashing America, Cillizza tweeted…

"The US is literally premised on the right of people to freely express their beliefs without fear of reprisal"

And this:

"But that is the athlete’s choice. If they want to speak out, they should be allowed to. That they are athletes is meaningless."

And this:

"That we shouldn’t be allowed to express our 1st amendment rights because you happen to play a pro sport? Really?"

One question…

Where was this very same CNN’s defense of Americans expressing their constitutional right to “freely express themselves without reprisal” when Christians bakers and florists protested participating in the sacramentalization of sin that is a same-sex marriage?

Well, as we all know, CNN did not defend those Christians; in fact, CNN spent countless hours smearing those Christians as haters and bigots.

Moreover, CNN mercilessly attacked Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk protesting same-sex marriage by refusing to personally issue gay marriage licenses.

CNN was nowhere to be found in defense of Brenden Eich, the CEO of Mozilla, after he was bullied out of his job over his support of traditional marriage.

Where was the CNN campaign to defend the Google engineer fired just last month for expressing his pro-science opinion about gender?

And where was the CNN campaign to protect these very same NFL players when the league threatened to fine them for their free expression in support of police officers. 9/11 victims, and breast cancer awareness?

CNN so believes in the right to express yourself without fear of reprisal that CNN itself threatened to destroy a man’s life after he ridiculed CNN.

* CNN Claims Trump Is Distracted from Important Stuff

As I said above, I can think of nothing more important for a president than to defend our flag and country against a bunch of crybaby one-percenters.

But because this is a winning issue for Trump, and the left hates it when the right engages in the culture wars, CNN anchors are snidely and sarcastically criticizing Trump for his focus on “important things” — as though Trump cannot possibly do more than one thing at a time.

And yet, here was this very same CNN just last year gushing over President Obama’s annual NCAA tournament picks.

Oh, and here is CNN gushing over their Precious Barry’s 2015 picks. Man alive, you just gotta see this to believe it…

* CNN Used to Be Fine With Presidents Who Told The NFL What to Do

When President Obama told the Washington Redskins to change their name, here was CNN’s reaction. No freak out, no questioning of Precious Barry’s focus on priorities…

But when a president criticizes a football team for trashing the flag, CNN goes nuclear.

What does that tell us about CNN?



Time to Base Nutrition Policy on Science

A recent article in the Washington Post details five nutrition “facts” we used to be believe. It ends by saying something that you rarely read but is entirely accurate: “In fact, we don’t have a lot of answers about nutrition, which is considered a relatively new science.” But to listen to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and popular food activists, you would think the only issue is that Americans just aren’t listening.

The real problems don’t start with consumers, they start with scientific and economic shortcuts. The consequences of bad policies are dire: poor nutrition is linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Unfortunately, one out of every two adults suffer from one or more preventable chronic diseases.

But the federal officials who are charged with making nutrition policies continue to make poorly informed decisions. In 2009, the USDA instituted a program that excluded white potatoes from the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), presumably to address obesity. They did this despite the fact that many Americans have shortfalls in potassium and potatoes are a great source of this nutrient. Five years later, they finally asked the Institute of Medicine whether this was a good move.

Predictably, one of the Institute’s findings was that “Intakes of … potassium … among low-income women, fall short of current nutrient intake recommendations.” The program may have slightly affected obesity in children, although it is not clear that it has anything to do with potatoes.

The FDA, meanwhile, just finalized its regulations to put calorie labeling in restaurants, theaters, and grocery stores. The rule was initially finalized in 2014 but put on hold by the current administration. Studies are mixed as to whether or not posting calories will do just a little bit or no good whatsoever. But science is not the reason this rule is going forward.

The National Restaurant Association supported the rule, originally as part of the Affordable Care Act, because there was a growing “patchwork” of local and state laws requiring it. This is a perfect example of how not to make scientifically based health policies. In letting the rule go, the Commissioner announced that the rule would institute “predictable, uniform federal standards,” precisely what industry needed. Again, the real problem was with that we did not pay attention to the first adopters, who demonstrated that the information wouldn’t help with obesity.

At least the five nutrition facts cited earlier were originally based on some science. One myth in the article was that “All fat is bad.” But it was only in 2010 when the Dietary Guidelines committee stopped recommending limits on total fats, although they still recommended reducing saturated fat. The original myth was about total fat, but recently multiple studies have found that polyunsaturated fats (and possibly monounsaturated fats) found in foods such as walnuts, salmon, and soybean oil are now considered good for you.

Even more recently, a 2014 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine was unable to conclude that even saturated fats caused heart disease. Moreover, it remains unclear whether unsaturated fats are good for you. These are still controversial findings, and, without clear scientific backing, policymakers should proceed with caution.

More specifically, public health policy must always be preceded by both sound science and cost-benefit analysis.

Sound scientific evidence must be present for a positive public health benefit to be amply demonstrated. Had there been more research to indicate what manufacturers might do to replace animal fats in the 1980s, activists might not have campaigned so hard against trans fats. As for cost-benefit analysis: “Trying” out public policies, such as nutrition labeling, without credible analysis showing that benefits exceed costs, removes public resources that can be better spent addressing public policies that do pass such a test.

These problems are exacerbated in the case of the new science of nutrition. For diet and disease relationships, dietary guidance and nutrition policy based on memory-based recall data have been shown by professor Edward Archer to be “pseudoscience and inadmissible.” These data, which underpin most of the advice from the Dietary Guidelines, ask consumers to remember what and how much they ate in the last 24 hours. Unfortunately, well over half of consumers do not report eating enough to stay alive. If the data that go into diet-disease relationships are flawed, then the correlations between dietary choices and disease may be wrong. This means that much of the current advice and policies may be wrong. 

Taking shortcuts to policy without sound science and cost-benefit analysis leads to policy failures — resulting in poorer health and declining faith in nutrition policies.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The mystery of socialism’s enduring appeal

One of the mysteries of our age is why socialism continues to appeal to so many people. Whether in the Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Cambodia or Venezuela, it has resulted in the suppression of free speech, the imprisonment of political dissidents and, more often than not, state-sanctioned mass murder. Socialist economics nearly always produce widespread starvation, something we were reminded of last week when the President of Venezuela urged people not to be squeamish about eating their rabbits. That perfectly captures the trajectory of nearly every socialist experiment: it begins with the dream of a more equal society and ends with people eating their pets. Has there ever been an ideology with a more miserable track record?

Why, then, did 40 per cent of the British electorate vote for a party led by Jeremy Corbyn last June? It wasn’t as if he acknowledged that all previous attempts to create a socialist utopia had failed and explained why it would be different under him. There was no fancy talk of ‘post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory’ or ‘pre-distribution’, as there had been by his two predecessors. No, he was selling exactly the same snake oil that every left-wing huckster has been peddling for the past 100 years, and in exactly the same bottle. He reminded me of a pharmacist trying to flog thalidomide to an expectant mother while making no attempt to hide the fact that it has caused the deaths of at least 2,000 children and serious birth defects in more than 10,000 others. And yet, nearly 13 million Britons voted for Corbyn. Could it be that they just don’t know about all the misery and suffering that socialism has unleashed?

That’s a popular theory on my side of the political divide and has prompted a good deal of head-scratching about how best to teach elementary history — such as that more people were killed by Stalin than by Hitler. One suggestion is to create a museum of communist terror that documents all the people murdered in the great socialist republics — and full credit to the journalist James Bartholomew for getting some traction behind this idea. But is it really historical ignorance that prompts people to invest their hopes in Corbyn? An inconvenient fact for holders of this theory is that those who voted Labour at the last election tended to be better educated than those who voted Tory.

To try and solve the puzzle of socialism’s enduring appeal, we have to turn to evolutionary psychologists and in particular Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, two of the leading thinkers in the field. They contend that we don’t come into the world as tabulae rasae, ready to take on the imprint of whatever society we happen to be born into. Rather, we are more like smartphones that come pre-loaded with various apps, including a set of moral intuitions. The problem is, these apps haven’t been updated for 40,000 years. They were designed for small bands of hunter-gatherers rather than citizens of the modern world and prompt us to look more favourably on socialism than free-market capitalism. Why? Because in hunter-gatherer societies, where the pooling of resources is essential for survival, the principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’ makes perfect sense. By the same token, we have a great deal of difficulty grasping that people acting in an individual, self-interested way can create huge communal benefits, as it does under capitalism. Back in the primeval forest, our survival depended upon distrusting people who weren’t willing to engage in reciprocal altruism.

In hunter-gatherer societies, goods are finite. If someone has more than his fair share of meat, there is less for everyone else. That’s not true of capitalist societies, where successful entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs create wealth without taking anything away from others; but because we’re programmed to think of resources in a zero-sum way we cannot easily understand this. Instead, we’re inclined to believe people like Corbyn when they tell us the rich only got that way by stealing from the poor.

This zero-sum thinking doesn’t just explain why people cannot readily understand the concept of wealth being created under capitalism; it also explains why seeing people with more than us can lead to envy and resentment. We look at their lavish property and, on some primitive, hunter-gatherer level, believe they’ve only come by what they have by depriving us of what we’re entitled to. All property is theft.

This thinking can often lead to a desire to tear down the person in question, to reduce their status so it’s level with ours. The anthropologist Christopher Boehm believes that this violent impulse underpins all egalitarian ideologies, which might explain why intellectuals, Jews and middle-class property owners are often interned in prison camps and/or put to death in socialist societies. (See Russia, China, Cambodia, etc.) Interestingly, Boehm points out that chimpanzees, with whom we share a common ancestor, are also prone to the same tall-poppy syndrome. I recommend his book "Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior" if you want to learn more about the pathological roots of socialism.

So what’s the solution? Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? Hopefully not, but we need to tell a story about capitalism that is just as appealing to people’s 40,000-year-old moral intuitions as the sales patter of socialist snake oil salesmen.



How crazy can California get as a sanctuary state?

By Printus LeBlanc

California is one step closer to full lunacy, and the final step is expected to be taken this week. Late last week the California State Assembly passed the California Values Act. Over the weekend the Senate followed suit and passed the legislation, and Democrat Governor Jerry Brown hinted he intends to sign the bill. What kind of nation can we have if states can choose which federal laws to follow and not follow, especially when immigration is clearly a federal issue?

What California is attempting to do is nothing more than nullification. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land. To put it simply, a state cannot make a law that supersedes federal law.

California has a history of prioritizing the needs of illegal and non-U.S. citizens over their own citizens. District Attorneys are intentionally reducing violent felonies to misdemeanors in order to prevent immigration enforcement from being notified. The Santa Clara DA ignored a woman being beating and tortured for years for fear if a felony was charged the immigrant would be kicked out of the country, obviously not caring about the woman was being subjected to on a daily basis.

Just one month ago Erick Garcia-Pineda was linked to the killing of a popular community volunteer in San Francisco. Garcia-Pineda was awaiting deportation when he was picked up by local sheriffs for battery charges. Upon his arrest, ICE sent a detainer to the sheriff’s department. The department ignored the detainer and released the violent criminal on the population. The result was the murder of 23-year-old Abel Esquivel.

Many like to argue that enforcing immigration law makes communities less safe, and the job of law enforcement harder. If only someone asked law enforcement. Bill Brown, the sheriff for Santa Barbara County who serves as president of the California State Sheriffs Association stated, “It’s a hazardous law for Californians and people sworn to protect and serve Californians and we would like to see it changed.”

Michael Durant, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, a union representing 70,000 law enforcement officers in California and Nevada, echoed his statements asserting, “I do believe those who voted for this law are making California less safe, and at some point, there is going to be an incident that is going to backfire on the legislature when one of these criminal aliens is released.”

President Donald Trump and Congress can help to fix this. H.Amdt 301 was introduced to the year-end omnibus to be voted on December. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and passed with bipartisan support. The legislation would block federal funds from flowing into jurisdictions that interfere with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including jurisdictions that do not honor ICE detainers.

Another option is the removal of immunity from local government officials. If a local official refuses to cooperate with federal officials and releases an illegal immigrant, the official can be held financially liable for crimes committed by the illegal immigrant after release. There is a bill in the Colorado General Assembly that does just that. It is time to bring SB17-281 to Washington D.C. Local officials will never change unless they feel the pain financially.

In the meantime, the Trump administration must be prepared to fight sanctuary jurisdictions like California in federal court to uphold the law of the land.

Illegal immigration was one of the top campaign issues across the nation that put President Trump over the top in 2016. He won on the issue of getting illegal immigration under control. Republicans were given control of the House and Senate for the purpose of backing up the President. They, particularly the GOP Congress, cannot afford ignore this threat to the Constitution and homeland security, or they will risk losing any credibility they have left.



NASCAR draws line on protesting during national anthem

It appeared no drivers, crew or other team members participated in a protest during the national anthem to start the NASCAR Cup series race Sunday in Loudon, New Hampshire.

Several team owners and executives had said they wouldn’t want anyone in their organizations to protest. Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt’s longtime team owner, said of protesting, “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Childress says he told his team that “anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”

Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty’s sentiments took it a step further, saying: “Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ‘em where they’re at? The United States.” When asked if a protester at Richard Petty Motorsports would be fired, he said, “You’re right.”

Another team owner Chip Ganassi says he supports Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s comments. Tomlin said before the Steelers played on Sunday that players would remain in the locker room and that “we’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”



Liberal Revolt Threatens Democrats’ Entire Strategy

Democratic leaders fighting to enact the DREAM Act this year are taking fire from a surprising group: liberal immigrant-rights activists.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sounded off last week after top Democrats cut a tentative agreement with President Trump to pair a version of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act with tougher immigration enforcement measures.

More recently, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was heckled in her own district over the deal, with a group of young advocates urging Democrats to pass a “clean” Dream Act while protecting the other 10 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

The episodes suggest the coming debate over immigration reform — a perennial headache for Republican leaders — will also be no small challenge for the Democrats.
Complicating matters further, the immigration activists are a multi-faceted force with their own internal disagreements.



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Former CIA Officer: On Wiretapping, Trump Was Right All Along

CNN, which had previously denounced President Donald Trump’s claims that he had been wiretapped at Trump Tower, reported late on Monday that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was tapped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Depending on the political inclinations of the journalists covering the story, the tale has been framed as either a vindication of Trump’s generally derided claims that Trump Tower was wiretapped by the Obama Administration or yet another bit of evidence demonstrating that Team Trump was in collusion to with the Russians to influence the results of the presidential election.

Insofar as can be determined given the lack of any corroboration coming from the government, the narrative surrounding Manafort goes something like this: Manafort, together with a number of other Washington based consultants, was a top adviser to former pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich between 2004 and 2014. His involvement somehow came to the attention of the FBI in 2014 and a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was sought by the Bureau and then issued to permit teltapping and other forms of investigation to determine if foreign lobbying laws had been broken. The initial inquiry was eventually allowed to lapse “for lack of evidence.”

A second warrant was obtained in the summer of 2016, presumably when Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager, based on apparently new information that had been obtained by the Bureau. Manafort was wiretapped, presumably to include his residence in Trump Tower, and the eavesdropping continued until early in 2017, after Donald Trump was inaugurated. Manafort reportedly spoke with Trump throughout that period though it is not clear whether the president-elect or president was personally recorded as a consequence of the tap.

Since the appointment of Robert Mueller as Russiagate special counsel in May, some of the ongoing investigation has again focused on Manafort, investigating whether his relationship with Ukraine violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), since he may have been acting on behalf of the government in Kiev, or regarding possible money laundering or tax irregularities. The principal focus, however, has been on the possibility that Manafort actively colluded with the Russian government to influence the U.S. election. To that end, Manafort has been questioned by a Grand Jury and has had his home in Alexandria raided by FBI agents in the early morning of July 26th, while he and his family were sleeping. The lock on the door to his house was picked to enable entry. His computer drives were copied, hard files were taken and even his suits were photographed to provide evidence that his attire was “expensive.” Prosecutors subsequently told Manafort that they were planning to indict him.

So based on what has been reported as well as on available evidence, you can select the “meaning” of the Manafort affair. Either Donald Trump is vindicated or Team Trump was acting in collusion with the Russians. Those who are more cautious might well be inclined to hedge their bets, positing that both interpretations are partially correct, that Trump Tower might not have been the actual target and that Manafort possibly behaved indiscreetly and might have violated FARA, but he would never have attempted to interfere with the election. So everyone would be somewhat wrong and somewhat right.

Parsing what might or might not have been is interesting but we will never know the truth until the federal government feels free to reveal more evidence regarding what triggered the two FBI inquiries in the first place. And the analysis at this point is missing some important considerations. First of all, someone in the Obama Administration had to make the extremely politically sensitive decision to secretly investigate the campaign manager of the Republican Party nominee when the surveillance was renewed in the summer of 2016. Ex-President Obama has denied that he did any such thing and a Justice Department investigation has asserted that there was no “evidence” of any Trump Tower surveillance. But sift through the lawyerly language, and it becomes clear that while Obama might not have personally approved the eavesdropping, someone in his White House surely did. And as for the Justice Department, evidence can easily be destroyed or erased or never recorded in the first place.

Second, it is being claimed that FISA warrants are only issued when there is significant probable cause that a crime has been committed, meaning that Manafort “must have done something,” but the fact is that nearly all FISA requests are approved and few of them result in actual prosecution. FISA warrants are also top secret and exposing them is a felony. The fact that details of FISA involvement with Manafort vis-à-vis Ukraine began to leak to the media shortly after the investigation was reopened in 2016 is suggestive, and it eventually forced Manafort to resign, embarrassing Trump. And the fact that stories damaging to Trump based on classified information are continuing to appear in the media is yet another indication that the war of the leaks against the current administration is continuing. As the leakers and other government officials cited in the media coverage are anonymous, conclusions drawn by allegations of guilt or innocence should be regarded with some skepticism.

Third and possibly most important, the Manafort case from start to finish demonstrates once again that the unitary executive concept that has prevailed in the White House since 2001 is alive and well. A White House team dedicated to getting its candidate elected can and will use all the mechanisms of power that are at hand to achieve that goal, including surveilling and digging up dirt on a political opponent. The possible misuse of the FBI and the FISA court is in some ways even worse that Richard Nixon’s Watergate as Nixon used mostly non-government resources to corrupt the process while the Manafort investigation has taken corruption up a notch, employing federal agencies acting in secret during a hotly contested electoral campaign.

Will anyone running for high office in the future want to be confronted by executive power acting secretly through the law enforcement and intelligence services to discredit him or her as well as a large and widening group of family and associates? It is a hostile winnowing process that many potentially good candidates would not want to endure. It is also manifestly an abuse of power. Some believe that Robert Mueller is conducting something like a fish hunt that is at its heart politically motivated. If that is so, it will ultimately become clear. Meanwhile Paul Manafort, who has fully cooperated with the multiple investigations being conducted around Russiagate, is innocent until proven guilty. So is Donald Trump.



As Evidence of Election Fraud Emerges, the Media Wants to Keep You in the Dark

If you have no idea what happened at the second meeting of President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in New Hampshire on Sept. 12, I’m not surprised.

Though a horde of reporters attended the meeting, almost all of the media stories that emerged from it simply repeated the progressive left’s mantra that the commission is a “sham.”

Almost no one covered the substantive and very concerning testimony of 10 expert witnesses on the problems that exist in our voter registration and election system.

The witnesses included academics, election lawyers, state election officials, data analysts, software experts, and computer scientists.

The existing and potential problems they exposed would give any American with any common sense and any concern for our democratic process cause for alarm.

The first panel included Andrew Smith of the University of New Hampshire, Kimball Brace of Election Data Services Inc., and John Lott. They testified about historical election turnout statistics and the effects of election integrity issues on voter confidence.

Lott also testified that his statistical analyses show that contrary to the narrative myth pushed by some, voter ID does not depress voter turnout. In fact, there is some evidence that it may increase turnout because it increases public confidence in elections.

In a second panel, Donald Palmer, the former chief election official in two states—Florida and Virginia—testified about the problems that exist in state voter registration systems.

He made a series of recommendations to improve the accuracy of voter rolls, including working toward “interoperability” of state voter lists so that states “can identify and remove duplicate registration of citizens who are registered to vote in more than one state.”

Robert Popper, a former Justice Department lawyer now with Judicial Watch, testified about the failure of the Justice Department to enforce the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act that require states to maintain the accuracy of their voter lists.

He said there has been a “pervasive failure by state and county officials” to comply with the National Voter Registration Act, and complained about the under-enforcement of state laws against voter fraud.

Ken Block of Simpatico Software Systems gave a stunning report on the comparison that his company did of voter registration and voter history data from 21 states. He discussed how difficult and expensive it was to get voter data from many states—data that is supposed to be freely available to the public.

According to Block, “the variability in access, quality, cost, and data provided impedes the ability to examine voter activity between states.”

Yet using an extremely conservative matching formula that included name, birthdate, and Social Security number, Block found approximately 8,500 voters who voted in two different states in the November 2016 election, including 200 couples who voted illegally together. He estimated that “there would be 40,000 duplicate votes if data from every state were available.”

Of those duplicate voters, 2,200 cast a ballot in Florida—four times George W. Bush’s margin of victory in 2000. His analysis “indicates a high likelihood [of] voter fraud” and that there is “likely much more to be found.”

As a member of the commission, I testified about The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database. That non-comprehensive database has 1,071 examples of proven incidents of fraud ranging from one illegal vote to hundreds. It includes 938 criminal convictions, 43 civil penalties, and miscellaneous other cases.

Heritage is about to add another 19 cases to the database. This is likely just the tip of the iceberg, since many cases are never prosecuted and there is no central source for information on election fraud.

The commission also heard about a report published by Shawn Jasper, the Republican speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. That report stated that over 6,500 individuals in 2016 used an out-of-state driver’s license to take advantage of New Hampshire’s same-day registration law to register and vote on Election Day.

Despite a law that requires an individual with an out-of-state license to obtain a New Hampshire license within 60 days of establishing residency in the state, only 15.5 percent have done so.

Many have tried to explain this away be saying those voters must all have been college students living in New Hampshire. Perhaps that is true.

But it may also be true that voters from Massachusetts and other surrounding states decided to take advantage of New Hampshire’s law to cross the border and vote in a presidential and Senate race, which were decided by only 3,000 and 1,000 voters, respectively.

Of course, we won’t know the truth of what happened unless we do what should be done, and what the commission’s critics don’t want to be done: investigate these cases.

Finally, the commission heard from three computer experts—Andrew Appel of Princeton University, Ronald Rivest of MIT, and Harri Hursti of Nordic Innovation Labs. Their testimony about the ability of hackers to get into electronic voting equipment and just about every other device that uses the internet (and even those that don’t) was chilling.

As Appel stated, our challenge is to ensure that when voters go to the polls, they can “trust that their votes will be recorded accurately, counted accurately, and aggregated accurately.” He made a series of “technological and organization” recommendations for achieving that objective.

All in all, the Sept. 12 meeting, which was hosted by Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s longtime Democratic secretary of state, was both informative and comprehensive. But anyone who didn’t attend would never know that based on the skimpy and biased coverage it received in the media.

The hearing is evidence of the good work the commission is already doing in bringing to light the problems we face in ensuring the integrity of our election 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, September 25, 2017


Unlike SCOTUS, the High Court of Australia mostly sticks to judging rather than legislating.  So Australians have not had homosexual marriage imposed on them by a court.  Instead Australians have been asked to vote -- via a postal vote -- on whether homosexual marriage should be permitted, an impeccably democratic procedure.

As a result there has been a huge outbreak of authoritarian behaviour from the Left designed to shut up opponents of such 'marriage' and to "persuade" people to vote "Yes".  Why they think they can persuade people to vote their way by aggressive behavior is a mystery and that may well in fact lose them the vote.  But coercion is just in the Leftist nature so it comes out under any provocation. Below is just a sampling of the recent reports of it

'Mind your own business!' Voters outraged as their weekend is interrupted by pro-gay marriage campaigners going door-to-door urging them to vote 'yes' in plebiscite

Australians have been left annoyed and outraged as doorknockers encouraging people to 'Vote Yes' descended on homes this weekend.

The nationwide campaign saw voters taking to social media to express their frustration at the 'bullying' tactics, instead asking them to 'mind your own business'.

It came as mobile phones across Australia were bombarded with unsolicited text messages on Saturday from Marriage Equality.

Alex Greenwich from the Equality Campaign said that 'thousands of Australians' had volunteered for the door-knock 'because they want everyone to have the same dignity and respect.'

'The campaign is using every resource available to make sure fairness and equality are achieved for all Australians,' he said.

'The campaign has a responsibility to encourage every Australian to post their survey and we have done this through door knocking, media, advertising, social media and SMS messaging.'

But many people took to Twitter and Facebook to express their anger at the weekend disturbance.

'I cannot believe that there were people knocking on doors today... our answer to them was mind your own business,' one person wrote.

Another added: 'Why is there a door knock campaign for the 'yes' vote on the weekend? Let people make up their own mind in peace. This won't end well.'

However, others said they received an 'overwhelmingly positive response' from the homes they visited.

'Doorknocking to check people had their postal survey today was wonderful. So many people were very supportive, saying yes they'd voted and they'd voted yes,' one campaigner wrote.

Another person added: 'Met some lovely 'yes' voters while doorknocking for #marriageequality today.'

The door-to-door campaign came as thousands of people across the country were sent a message asking them to 'vote YES for a fairer Australia'.

The move sparked outrage from people online, with many flocking to social media to express their concern about how the campaign had got their numbers.

A spokesperson for Australian Marriage Equality said the messages were sent out to random computer-generated numbers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The messages were sent by 'YesEquality' and stated the survey forms had arrived and that people could 'help make history'.

But those who received the message did not take kindly to the campaign's effort, with Facebook and Twitter users stating they felt 'violated'.

'Excuse me but did anyone else get a 'vote yes for marriage equality' text message? How did they get my phone number? I feel violated,' one person wrote.

Another labelled the message 'spam,' while many users called it an 'invasion of privacy'.

'Not sure how the got my mobile number to test me with a message to vote yes. Not sure if I'm cool with that...' one wrote.

Another angered person added: 'Wish the YES campaigners would back off!'

While one woman said: 'Just received a text message from the vote yes campaign... how dare they force their opinions on me.' 'I didn't give them my number or my permission to contact me. More bullying from the LGBTQI community,' she added.


'Is the yes campaign trying to turn people off?': Radio host Kate Langbroek is left FURIOUS after being 'spammed' a text message from a same-sex marriage group

Radio star Kate Langbroek is not happy about receiving a text message promoting same-sex marriage

The KIIS FM star was one of the many Australians who received an SMS message from YesEquality on Saturday, reminding her that her postal form had arrived.

Taking to Instagram, she wrote: 'Spammed. Is the 'yes' campaign trying to put people off?' Kate added the hashtag 'delete my number.'

The full text read: 'The Marriage Equality Survey forms have arrived! Help make history and vote YES for a fairer Australia.'

The messages, which are believed to have been sent randomly, have been described by critics as 'harassment' and 'unsolicited.'


Gay marriage supporters hide their faces, chant slogans and wave ‘transphobia kills’ signs as they interrupt a rally against changing Australia’s wedding laws

Supporters of same-sex marriage have been met with a heavy police presence after they interrupted a rally against changing Australia’s wedding laws.

Police attended the ‘straight lives matter’ rally at Green Park in Darlinghurst, Sydney on Saturday after it threatened to spill out of control.

Counter-protestors turned up carrying signs saying 'Nazis GTFO [get the f**k out] of Darlinghurst' and  'transphobia kills'.


Coalition for Marriage's Melbourne launch is gatecrashed by two female protesters who storm the stage and KISS – before being dragged away by security

Coalition for Marriage's Melbourne launch was interrupted by two female protesters who shared a kiss in front of shocked onlookers before being removed by security.

The two women who have yet to be identified ran up to the podium before campaigner and 'parental rights advocate' Cella White was due to speak and embraced passionately.

Security rushed forward and grabbed one of the women's coats before pulling them both off the stage and out of the building.

In the images released from the rally the women appear to have spoken into the microphone in front of the crowd of no-voters before deciding to kiss.

Melbourne campaigner Cella White - accused of falsely claiming her son was told he could wear a dress to Frankston High School - spoke at the CFM event on Saturday night about the abuse she has received since appearing in the group's anti-gay marriage ad.

The sultry kiss wasn't the only disruption that night though with protesters storming the hall with a sign that said 'burn churches not queers.'

Audience members were seen taking pictures of the duo dressed in disguised sunglasses before security was again asked to escort them from the premises.

Australian Christian Lobby chief Lyle Shelton and Keith Mills, the leader of Ireland's unsuccessful No campaign, also addressed the Coalition for Marriage in Melbourne today.

CFM has this week been holding meetings across Australia to convince voters to reject a change to the legal definition of marriage.

Both sides of the marriage debate ramped up their campaigning on Saturday with rallies, door-knockings and text message among the mediums used.

Thousands rallied through Brisbane for the annual pride festival while 'yes' campaigners doorknocked tens of thousands of homes across the nation.

Meanwhile, a smattering of same-sex marriage opponents gathered in Sydney's gay heartland while preparations were made for the Coalition for Marriage's Victorian launch.

Alex Greenwich, who is a NSW MP, urged supporters of the Yes campaign to focus on the task at hand.

'It is so important for the marriage equality campaign that we do not get distracted by the people who are always trying to throw red herrings,' he told AAP.

He said he was heartened by the feedback from same-sex marriage supporters involved in the door-knocking campaign and said there was strong support 'across all demographics, all ages'.



Ahead of Trump Rally for Strange, Moore Leads By Eight Points in Alabama Senate Runoff

In the Alabama race, Trump is backing the establishment candidate against Christian hero Roy Moore.  Fortunately Moore is ahead in the polls

President Donald Trump is set to step into a Senate race in Alabama that will test whether his word is enough to sway Republican voters in a hard-fought Bible Belt contest.  Trump will campaign Friday night in Huntsville alongside Sen. Luther Strange -- a recent appointee who has based his entire campaign on his allegiance with the President.

Strange faces Roy Moore, the twice-ousted former state Supreme Court chief justice, in a Republican primary runoff Tuesday for the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Trump's popularity is Strange's strongest asset against Moore, who has over decades developed a loyal following in Alabama based on his message of making Christianity prominent in public policy-making and restricting LGBT rights.

In a debate against Moore on Thursday night, Strange boasted that he'd spent 30 minutes on the phone with Trump the previous night. "We've developed a close, personal friendship. We both come from the same background, the same mission, the same motivation to make this country great again," Strange said. "We've sort of bonded," he said. "I've not been in Washington as long as the President has. He's learned the ways of Washington the hard way -- lots of criticism, lots of people standing in the way -- and so have I."...

Moore said the Senate majority leader is to blame for the failure, thus far, to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature health care law. "President Trump's being cut off in his office. He's being redirected by people like McConnell who do not support his agenda -- who will not support his agenda in the future," he said. Strange shot back that to suggest Trump "is being manipulated by Mitch McConnell is insulting to the President."

As the two closed their moderator-free debate Thursday, Moore said that "there is a God in Heaven that's in this campaign." Strange shot back that he believes God is on both sides of the contest. But, he added: "The President is on my side."

The latest poll in this battle suggests that Strange will need every ounce of help he can get from the president over the campaign's home stretch.  Moore holds a sizable lead:

The telephone survey of 2,000 Republicans, who have voted at least once in the last 4 elections and said they planned to vote next week, asked, “If the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate race were held today, for which of the following two candidates would you vote?” 54% said they would vote for Roy Moore, while 46% said Luther Strange.

By the way, why is Trump pushing so hard for Strange, when much of his base might me more inclined toward the law-defying former judge?  My guess is that it's a combination of factors.  First, he and Strange have developed a working relationship in Washington, so there's some personal loyalty there.

Second, Moore is a hardcore religious social conservative, which isn't exactly Trump's milieu.  For instance, Trump is "fine" with gay marriage and went out of his way to appeal to the LGBTQ community during the campaign.  Moore says that homosexuality itself (not same-sex marriage) should be, um, illegal.

Finally, Trump wants to get things done in Washington, and Strange would be a reliable partner.  Moore, by contrast, is embracing Rand Paul's purist approach to Obamacare repeal, opposing the last remaining bill to replace the failing law because it doesn't go far enough.  Trump is pushing hard for Graham-Cassidy right now; Strange is a yes vote, Moore would be a no.  Does Trump have the juice to pull Strange over the finish line in a significant upset?  Stay tuned.



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Female beauty

It is an almost worldwide  form of racism and I have commented on it a couple of times before: There is a largely wordwide ideal of beauty and that ideal is Nordic. A more "incorrect" thing to note would be hard to imagine but the facts of the matter are there. One cartoonist put it rather cruelly as under:

Even Mrs Obama clearly likes the Nordic look.  All she can do towards it is to straighten her normal "nappy" mop of hair but she regularly does that. Other than that she has no Nordic attributes at all.  If her skin were white she would be seen as ugly.  She has received acceptance for political reasons only

Like it or not, the de facto worldwide standard of female beauty is Nordic -- narrow faces, fine features, white skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. Light brown hair instead of blond hair can squeak into the top standard and tanned white skin is OK but that is about the only variation accepted.

More on "narrow faces":

Something that seems very little noticed -- probably because it is a subtle difference -- is that narrow faces seem to trump wide faces.  Famous models and other women regarded as beautiful seem almost universally to have rather narrow faces

It's not a strong effect but it is remarkably common.

Russian women are well-known for beauty.  All billionaires seem to have one.  And narrow faces are notable there too.

Yana Ciganova

Inna Zobova

What about German women?  There are of course women there with narrow faces but I am inclined to think that Germany is in fact the home of wide faces.  The lady below is much esteemed in Germany but I think even her face is a trifle wide

lena gercke

But there are exceptions to every rule and the French girl who was once known as the most beautiful girl in the world has a rather wide face

Thylane Blondeau

The title of must beautiful girl in the world did not go uncontested however.  The entrant from Russia is below and she has a narrow face

Kristina Pimenova

It may be noted that blue eyes are preponderant above -- which is part of the Nordic pattern.  Blue eyes will always be well regarded but before the era of political correctness they were even more so.  They were said to be "treu", a German word meaning faithful, reliable, true, honest. See, for instance the song "Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau" in the operetta IM WEISSEN RÖSSL

So there is no doubt about how well people react to blue eyes.

And then there is blonde hair.  And high esteem for that goes back st least as far as Claudio Monteverdi, writing roughly 400 years ago.  His madrigal "Chiome d' oro" ("tresses of gold") in praise of a blonde lady is as devoted as you get.

We may deplore the Nordic standard but saying that people should adopt other standards for females that they like to look at is pissing into the wind.  It won't happen.  It will have zero influence.

An episode in my life highlighted the prestige of the Nordic look. When my son was about 18 months old, we took him to Lone Pine Koala park here in Brisbane so that we could all see the Koalas.  And a lot of Japanese people go to Lone Pine to see the Koalas too.  And they come with cameras at the ready.  So when Jenny was wheeling Joey along in his stroller, that came to the attention of the Japanese.  With his paper-white skin, emerald-blue eyes and golden-blond hair he looked like an angel to them.  So Joey was as much photographed as were the Koalas.

And something that Americans and Indians will find familiar has recently become big in South Africa:  Skin bleaching.  Even where the Nordic ideal of very white skin is not available, any approach to it is seen as prestigious.

Beauty and sexual attraction, however, are not coterminous.

The words of "Chiome d'oro can be found here in both English and the original Italian.

I can't find a translation of "Die ganze Welt is Himmelblau" so I give below my translation in interlinear form

Die ganze Welt ist himmelblau
The whole world is heaven blue
Wenn ich in Deine Augen schau'
If I look into your eyes

Und ich frag dabei: Bist auch Du so treu
And I ask then:  Are you really that true
Wie das Blau, wie das Blau Deiner Augen
Like the blue, like the blue of your eyes

Ein Blick nur in Dein Angesicht
Just one glance at your face
Und ringsum blüht Vergissmeinnicht
And all around forget-me-nots bloom

Ja, die ganze Welt machst Du schöne Frau
Yes you make the whole world, beautiful woman
So blau, so blau, so blau
So blue, so blue, so blue


The Welfare State’s Legacy

That the problems of today’s black Americans are a result of a legacy of slavery, racial discrimination and poverty has achieved an axiomatic status, thought to be self-evident and beyond question. This is what academics and the civil rights establishment have taught. But as with so much of what’s claimed by leftists, there is little evidence to support it.

The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households. But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery? In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery? The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

At one time, almost all black families were poor, regardless of whether one or both parents were present. Today roughly 30 percent of blacks are poor. However, two-parent black families are rarely poor. Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent. The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has.

The black family structure is not the only retrogression suffered by blacks in the age of racial enlightenment. In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it’s about 30 percent longer. Would anyone suggest that during earlier periods, there was less racial discrimination? What goes a long way toward an explanation of yesteryear and today are the various labor laws and regulations promoted by liberals and their union allies that cut off the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and encourage racial discrimination.

Labor unions have a long history of discrimination against blacks. Frederick Douglass wrote about this in his 1874 essay titled “The Folly, Tyranny, and Wickedness of Labor Unions,” and Booker T. Washington did so in his 1913 essay titled “The Negro and the Labor Unions.” To the detriment of their constituents, most of today’s black politicians give unquestioning support to labor laws pushed by unions and white liberal organizations.

Then there’s education. Many black 12th-graders deal with scientific problems at the level of whites in the sixth grade. They write and do math about as well as white seventh- and eighth-graders. All of this means that an employer hiring or a college admitting the typical black high school graduate is in effect hiring or admitting an eighth-grader. Thus, one should not be surprised by the outcomes.

The most damage done to black Americans is inflicted by those politicians, civil rights leaders and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination. That’s a vision that guarantees perpetuity for the problems.



Leftist intolerance goes back a long way

Ray Joseph Cormier found out in 1976

While Americans celebrated their American Revolution, as a Canadian, I was having the best time of my life living in Venice Beach, California in the Spirit of ´76. It was my first winter in the warm sun in my lifetime. The Times and Winds of Change were favourable toward me since this unexpected Day.

At that time, Venice Beach was the self-proclaimed, last bastion of Freedom in the un-United States. The idea was anyone was Free to do anything, as long as there was no harm done to others, or diminished their equal rights.

I had a Free place to stay 1/2 block from the Ocean. I got lunch and supper for washing dishes for $1/hour at Suzanne's Kitchen on the boardwalk. For setting up the tables and chairs on the patio of the Sea And Shore Restaurant at 7am, I got a full breakfast, and could sit on the patio talking with anyone and everyone, with free coffee until closing.

One Day, I decided to test how real the right of Freedom of Speech was practised in Venice? Sitting on a bench on the Boardwalk with my back to the ocean, I started to read from the Bible in a very loud voice. It seemed as though the Wind from the sea carried the words so that they reverberated among the buildings and along the Beach.

Watching the passersby, there were so many comments to the effect, ¨You can´t do that here. Go some place else.¨ People actually covered their ears, saying ¨Stop that! Stop that!” It was appearing more and more, many people don´t practice what they preach or believe in Freedom of Speech except for their own.

Continuing to read, someone came up to me sitting on the bench and cracked an egg on my head! I was temporarily stunned as the yoke dripped down my hair and face, onto my shirt and the Bible in my hands. How to react? Should I stand up in the anger and wrath of God? Should I condemn him to Hell?

It took a few seconds, but recovering, I stood up and said,
¨Have you never read these words in this Book? Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly. Take my yoke upon you, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -- Matthew 11:28-30    
 After that, others came and ministered to me.

As some of you have seen, I'm still dealing with that kind of attitude on this site these 41 years later.



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Friday, September 22, 2017

As Kurds vote for independence, Americans should cheer

I heartily agree with Jeff Jacoby below -- JR

IN A LANDMARK referendum next Monday, Iraqi Kurdistan will vote on whether to declare independence. The outcome is not in question. Iraq's Kurds have been largely self-governing for 25 years, but they yearn to be sovereign in a state of their own, just like the region's other great ethnic and linguistic groups — Arabs, Turks, Persians, Jews.

The Kurdish campaign for statehood ought to have the robust backing of the United States. Iraqi Kurds are ardently pro-American, unabashed allies in a region where the US has few true friends. The Kurds make no secret of their deep gratitude to the United States for toppling Saddam Hussein, the tyrant who waged a war of genocide against Kurdistan in the 1980s, slaughtering at least 50,000 civilians with chemical weapons and aerial assaults.

Kurdistan isn't just a grateful ally, it's a capable and skillful one. Kurdish soldiers, known as Peshmerga, are widely acknowledged to be America's most effective partners in the fight against the Islamic State. They played a central role in the recent liberation of Raqqa and of Mosul from ISIS. As waves of refugees have fled the violence unleashed by the Islamic State and the Syrian civil war, nearly 2 million have found a safe haven in Kurdistan. Among them are many thousands of Christians.

Yet instead of applauding the Kurds' bid for independence, the United States keeps dousing it with cold water.

For weeks, the Trump administration has pressed Kurdish officials to call off the scheduled plebiscite. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis worry that a vote for independence — bitterly opposed by Turkey, Iran, and the central Iraqi government in Baghdad — would imperil the coalition's efforts to crush ISIS. On Friday, the White House spokeswoman announced flatly that the United States "does not support the Kurdistan Regional Government's intention to hold a referendum."

This is foolish and short-sighted. It is also reminiscent of George H.W. Bush's notorious "Chicken Kiev" speech 25 years ago.

In the summer of 1991, when it was clear that the Soviet Union's days were numbered, pro-independence sentiment surged in Ukraine, which had long chafed under Moscow's rule. On Aug. 1, Bush traveled to Kiev and delivered a speech cautioning Ukrainians not to be seduced by "suicidal nationalism" — i.e., not to seek a path out of the Soviet empire. Ukrainians rightly scorned Bush's message. Four months later, they voted overwhelmingly to approve a declaration of independence.

Iraqi Kurds will do the same next week. And if any country should be applauding, it is the United States.

It's true that an independent Kurdistan would mean the end of Iraq as a unitary state. It's also true that it might inspire restlessness among Kurdish minorities in other countries. So what? Iraq's borders, an artifact of post-World War I colonialism, have never made much sense. Is it in Washington's interest that Iraq remain indivisible? No more than it was when it came to the USSR or Czechoslovakia.

And if an independent Kurdish state discomfits Turkey, Iran, Syria — well, what of it? For decades, all three have brutally repressed the Kurds within their borders. All three today are dictatorships largely hostile to US interests. That includes Turkey, which, though formally a NATO ally, now sides regularly with America's enemies and has moved decisively into the Islamist camp.

Kurds have earned the right to sovereignty. Like the Jews of pre-statehood Palestine, they have used their limited autonomy to prove their fitness for independence — building up the elements of democracy and civil society, developing a lively economy, choosing responsible leaders, and nourishing institutions of culture and education. A sovereign Kurdistan would advance America's goals in the Middle East, while impeding those of Russia and Iran. It would be a force for peace, stability, and minority rights, and against terrorism, tyranny, and jihadist extremism.

A free and democratic Kurdistan will be a blessing to its people, a model for the Middle East, and a rock-solid ally of America. When Kurds go to the polls next week, it should be with our admiration and support.



When the melting pot stops melting
No American identity any more?

At a National Archives ceremony last Friday in Washington, DC, 30 immigrants became naturalized U.S. citizens. In a video, President Trump encouraged them to embrace the “full rights, and the sacred duties, that come with American citizenship.”

It was a noble sentiment that once resonated with Americans who believed passing along their history to a new generation of citizens was something that ought to be done. Not anymore.

One of the new citizens, Juliet Sanchez, a teacher born in Colombia, told The Washington Post: “We can and should respect, celebrate and embrace our new culture, but you shouldn’t tell us to assimilate.” This attitude may be one factor contributing to an increasingly divided America. The other is equally disturbing.

A recent poll conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center discovered that Americans are ignorant about the Constitution and the rights it protects.

The poll found that 37 percent of those interviewed could not name any of the five rights protected by the First Amendment. Forty-eight percent got freedom of speech right. Thirty-three percent could not name one of the three branches of government and only 26 percent correctly named all three.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, responded to the poll: “Protecting the rights guaranteed by the Constitution presupposes that we know what they are. The fact that many don’t is worrisome.”

One can’t have a country if citizens are ignorant of its origins and purpose. When I was in public school, civics was a required subject. That it is rarely taught today likely explains the disturbing Annenberg poll results. Adds Jamieson: “These results emphasize the need for high-quality civics education in the schools and for press reporting that underscores the existence of constitutional principles.”

Good luck with that. In an era emphasizing diversity and multiculturalism and the fear that anyone teaching the superiority of the Constitution might be named a xenophobe, or bigot, even the Pledge of Allegiance is being challenged in some schools in an effort not to offend immigrants.

Another study by the Newseum Institute discovered just 19 percent of those polled know the First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion.

Ignorance about the documents that founded and have sustained America through many challenges ensures the country we have known will not be recognized by future generations. That is fine with some on the far Left who appear embarrassed and ashamed of America and think it the cause of many of the world’s problems.

Hillsdale College in Michigan is trying to make up for this ignorance about the Constitution by offering a free online course.

The problem begins in the public schools and extends into overpriced universities. Writing in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said: “Few of the liberal arts and sciences faculty at these schools offer courses that explore the origins, structure, substance and aims of the education that they supposedly deliver. Instead they provide a smattering of classes on hot-button topics in higher education such as multiculturalism, inequality, gender and immigration. This is no trivial oversight, as the quality of American freedom depends on the quality of Americans’ education about freedom.”

Higher education’s failure to educate produces graduates who find it difficult to find jobs and must return home to live with parents. Unfortunately, when they return they’re burdened with crushing student loan debt, which, according to the Department of Education, is at an all-time high of $1.33 trillion. So desperate are graduates to wipe out their debt that the personal finance website Credible surveyed Millennials (ages 18 to 34) and found that 50 percent of them would give up their right to vote during the next two presidential election cycles in order to never make another loan payment.

What does this say about our next generation of Americans?

These polls demonstrate the failed products of a once-great American education system. It is why those who can afford it are turning to private schools or to home-schooling. Many consider public education to be America’s last monopoly, but these polls indicate that it isn’t working for individual Americans and it isn’t working for the nation.



Right To Work Scores A Major Win In Wisconsin

The Free Beacon updates us on the right to work movement in Wisconsin, where the state court of appeals has just delivered a major ruling which comes as a serious blow to the state’s unions. The Badger State passed a right to work law back in 2015 which forbids companies from making union membership compulsory as a condition of employment, but the unions have been throwing their full weight into challenging the law and tying it up in court.

That may have finally come to an end this week as the justices tossed out one of their final claims. The unions argued that the law was somehow in violation of the state constitution, but the court found the argument unpersuasive.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the state’s right-to-work law was constitutional and ordered a district court to dismiss a union lawsuit on Tuesday.

The three-judge panel effectively ended a suit from a coalition of the state’s largest labor unions seeking to block the 2015 law, known as Act 1, from taking effect. The Court said the unions failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the law, which prohibits companies from mandating union membership as a condition of employment, violated the state Constitution by unlawfully denying them property without compensation.

“Act 1 does not take property within the meaning of the Wisconsin Constitution. … The Unions have no constitutional entitlement to the fees of non-member employees,” the ruling says.
What made the unions’ claim in this case so remarkably outrageous was the way they framed their objection. The plaintiffs claimed that the law deprived them of property without compensation. In essence, what they were saying was that a portion of every worker’s paycheck was theirs by right and passing a law denying them their cut of the money was therefore unconstitutional.

That’s a staggering level of hubris, but in earlier times the unions were able to get away with that sort of claim in far too many cases. Their arguments about the “free rider” problem (saying that the non-union members benefited from the unions’ negotiations) also fell on deaf ears. A federal judge in an earlier case had found that one persuasive, but that claim has now also hit a dead end.

That wasn’t the only victory on the right to work front this week. As the Free Beacon mentions later, the West Virginia state supreme court also halted a preliminary injunction placed on that state’s own 2016 right to work law on Monday.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals dismissed a lower court’s preliminary injunction that blocked the state from implementing right to work legislation passed last year…

“The unions have not directed us to any federal or state appellate court that, in over seven decades, has struck down such a law,” the court said in a Friday court order. “The circuit court erred in granting the preliminary injunction.”
We’re building up a significant body of precedent in these cases. The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t been entirely consistent on the matter, but they’ve always treated First Amendment claims in questions of mandatory union membership and dues collection seriously. This dates back to the 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education as well as Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson in 1986. Even when forced unionization was allowed, the courts have insisted that the purpose of the dues collected had to be limited in use to actual work benefiting the workers, not political speech on their behalf.

The unions have failed in that task (intentionally by the looks of it) and the courts are increasingly rejecting their claims. The irony in all of this is that the unions don’t seem to realize that if they’d just stuck to the business of representing their members at the bargaining table and spending their dues money on strike funds, retirement programs and other direct benefits, they would probably still be holding a lot of power. But when they decided to become the primary financiers of the Democratic Party, everything began going downhill for them.



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.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)