Friday, January 13, 2017

Right-wing people are better looking than those on the left, study claims

The explanation offered below is reasonable enough but may not be true. I suspect that conservatives are better balanced emotionally and that shows up in how attractive you are. The angry people of the Left may look angry -- and that is never attractive.  Whereas contented, peaceful people look good -- probably smile more etc

From improving your salary to making you more popular, being attractive has benefits in a wide range of areas. And a new study suggests that attractiveness of a candidate also correlates with their politics.

The findings indicates that people in Europe, the US and Australia find right-wing politicians better looking than those on the left.

Research suggests that people in Europe, the US and Australia find right-wing politicians, such as Donald Trump, better looking than those on the left, such as Barack Obama

The researchers suggest that being better looking makes you more likely to earn more, and that richer people are typically more opposed to policies favoured by the left, such as progressive taxes and welfare programmes.

Good-looking people also tend to be treated better, and therefore see the world as a more just place.

Previous studies have found that the more attractive people perceive themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism – a value associated with the political left.

An international team of researchers, led by the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Sweden, looked at the correlation between attractiveness and political belief in candidates.

They suggest that being better looking makes you more likely to earn more, and that richer people are typically more opposed to policies favoured by the left, such as progressive taxes and welfare programmes.

In their paper, published in the Journal of Public Economics, the researchers, led by Niclas Berggren, wrote: 'Politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia.

'Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to support redistribution.'

The researchers also suggest that good-looking people tend to be treated better, and so see the world as a more just place.

Previous studies have found that the more attractive people perceive themselves to be, the lower their preference for egalitarianism – a value associated with the political left.

To assess the link between attractiveness and political values, the researchers showed people pictures of political candidates in Finland, the US and Australia, and asked them to rate them on attractiveness.

The results showed that right-wing politicians were seen as more attractive than left-wingers.

They also looked at the Finnish elections in more detail, and found that Republican voters care more about appearance in a candidate than Democratic voters.

In the study, voters who didn't know much about candidates tended to see candidates who were better looking as more likely to be conservative. Pictured left is Jeremy Corbyn, head of the labour party, and pictured right is Theresa May, head of the conservative party

And when voters didn't know much about candidates, they tended to see candidates who were better looking as more likely to be conservative.

The researchers added: 'Our model of within-party competition predicts that voters use beauty as a cue for conservatism when they do not know much about candidates and that politicians on the right benefit more from beauty in low-information elections.'



America’s reality divide

The dying throes of the Obama Administration have exposed the real challenge in America — we don’t know the same things to be true.  And it isn’t because of the latest fad of the left, so-called “fake” news, but instead due to the information flows that we choose to read, view or listen to and the editorial choices they make.

How else can one explain President Barack Obama stating on Nov. 20, 2016 in Lima, Peru the following, “I’m extremely proud of the fact that over eight years we haven’t had the kind of scandals that have plagued other administrations.”

The context of Obama’s almost insane remark was a question about whether President-elect Donald Trump should put all of his assets in a blind trust or not to avoid conflicts of interest.  In an interview with CNN, Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, who many believe was the power behind the throne, unabashedly took the claim a gigantic leap further saying, “The president prides himself on the fact that his administration hasn’t had a scandal and he hasn’t done something to embarrass himself.”

There are real, honest and good people who actually believe this and cannot be dissuaded by facts in spite of the 663 scandals of the Obama Administration ranging from “Fast and Furious” to “Benghazi” to the “IRS targeting conservative groups” and beyond.

These same people have spent the past week posting Meryl Streep’s Golden Globe speech attacking Donald Trump and casting Hollywood as dissident, aggrieved outsiders. Of course George Clooney, Barbra Streisand and others, who somehow remain in the United States in spite of their pledge to leave, weighed in supporting Streep demonstrating the chasm between how they view the world, and how those who voted for Trump view it.

Meryl Streep is a great actress, able to display a vast array of fake emotions to meet the needs of a variety of roles.  Her performance in Sophie’s Choice was perhaps one of the most compelling in the history of cinema. And it should not be surprising that when she stood on the stage being honored by her peers that she would animate words that either she or someone else wrote.

While it is normal for people who just lost an election to feel as if they are out in the cold, it requires a special kind of self-absorption for the wealthiest, best looking and most famous in the world to cast themselves in this role. Yet, there are millions of Americans who will look at these professional fakes who take private jets to conferences on global warming and feel sorry for them.

These same people find it hard to understand that there is no difference between a baker or florist who turn away the business of a homosexual wedding and a performer who declines to perform for an Inaugural function.

But perhaps the most stunning delusional statement of them all was President Obama’s contention to George Stephanopolous on ABC News last week that race relations are better today than when he took office. When pushed by Stephanopolous about the horrific video of four blacks torturing a white disabled man, Obama expressed disgust over the actions, but dismissed it as an insignificant indicator of race relations.

CNN anchor Don Lemon perhaps best demonstrated the true racial divide that has either been exposed or further opened during the Obama Administration when he reacted to the above video stating, “I don’t think it’s evil. I don’t think it’s evil. I think these are young people, and I think they have bad home training… I have no idea who is raising these young people because no one I know on earth who is 17-years-old, or is 70-years-old, would ever think of treating another person like that. It is inhumane, and you wonder, at 18 years old, where is your parent? Where is your guardian?”

And that is the ultimate delusion facing America. The South Carolina shooter who killed nine black Christians in their prayer group is evil just as torturing a special needs white person live on Facebook is evil.

Post-Obama, America is more divided than ever, however the divide is not racial, but rather a reality divide.  This is a divide where half of the country believes that President Obama was scandal-free and the other half has been outraged by the abject abuse of power by the outgoing Administration. It is a divide where the beautiful, wealthy cultural opinion makers in Hollywood feel put upon by the rest of us, and news anchors who are supposed to tell us what is happening cannot see evil even when it is right before their eyes.

Before he was president, in 1858, Abraham Lincoln made what was seen as a politically incorrect, radical speech stating, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

“The complete works of Abraham Lincoln” which was edited by Roy Bastrop puts this speech into context reported Lincoln saying this to his friends who urged him to calm his “house divided” language, “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

Just as Lincoln worried about the future of his nation, it is fair to ask 159 years later if the current reality divide is the modern equivalent of Lincoln’s “house divided” and if so, can our nation stand in light of it.



Kentucky passes right-to-work, Missouri, New Hampshire on its heels

For the first time in nearly a century, Kentucky’s congress is dominated by the Republican Party, and they have already begun passing policy to empower workers. Kentucky has joined the rest of the South in passing a right-to-work law, allowing workers to opt out of joining labor unions.

The legislation acts as the first victory in what The Hill’s Reid Wilson on Jan. 8 called an assault on core pillars of the Democratic coalition. But this right to work legislation means more than a successful fight against Democrats, it is hopefully the first in a long line of policy which will prioritize economic successful and individual freedoms.

Right-to-work laws provide new economic opportunity to the 27 states they currently exist in. By removing barriers to employment such as mandated union membership, right-to-work law adds jobs to the economy and makes companies more competitive.

These states not only experience economic growth, they experience this growth in crucial sectors of the American economy. As  Luke Hilgemann and David Fladeboe explained in the Wall Street Journal of March 2015 explains, in states with right-to-work legislation, personal incomes grew 12 percent more than in state without these laws. Once cost of living is considered, right-to-work states still maintain a 4.1 percent higher per capita person income than non-right-to-work states.

The Democratic Party policy of forced unionization does not just force Americans to comply with union law, it forces them to remain uncompetitive in the national economy.

As the Washington Examiner’s Sean Higgins on Jan. 9 furthers, Kentucky was just the first.  The Missouri legislature, one of few states to go red in the 2016 election to not yet have right to work legislation in place, has already begun discussions to put right-to-work legislation on the books. Patrick Semmens, spokesman for the National Right to Work Committee predicts 2017 will be a historic year against forced unionism, with New Hampshire expected to pass right-to-work law this year as well.

Despite Republican control, labor unions across the country are preparing for a strong defensive. Even in Iowa, a proud right-to-work state, unions on the defensive are eager to regain control.

In Wisconsin, Michigan, and West Virginia, lawsuits have already been filed challenging the constitutionality of the new laws. These group argue that non-union members still receive benefits from unions, even without membership. These individuals would then be “taking” from the unions.

While this argument has had wavering success within district courts, no federal court has agreed. The National Right to Work Foundation cites Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, Communications Workers of America v. Beck, and Air Line Pilots Association v. Miller as only a few of the key Supreme Court case ruling that individuals cannot be forced to comply with union membership that they do not consent to.

While Democratic controlled states continue to fight against right-to-work law nationally, more than half of the states in the country have decided to free their workers of forced unionism. As states like Kentucky experience the economic success to push workers into high wages and better standards of living, the rest of the nation could be in their heels.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Thursday, January 12, 2017

I’m a Lifelong Democrat. Here Are 3 Reasons I Pulled the Lever for Trump

Michael Reeb tells a story from the heart

Asking with a terseness normally associated with changing religions or declaring a new nationality, many people that know me have politely cornered me and demanded: “How could you—a lifelong, left-leaning, Obama-believing, Indy-Dem voter—vote for Donald Trump?”

My answer to them is simple: Our nation is in the middle of a crisis. We are stuck at the crossroad of hometown humiliation, job fabrication, and cultural mutation. Here’s what I mean by that.

Hometown Humiliation

My reasons for going Trump this election cycle weren’t a surprise to my hometown friends in Rust Belt Butler, Pennsylvania, home of the world’s first Jeep.

In Butler, we’ve seen the destruction of our middle class, the loss of our factories, and the pollution of our clean water (Butler is now also home to the nation’s second most polluted waterway, the Connoquenessing). At the same time, we’ve had record-high heroin use and juvenile jailing rates, and the population has shrunk nearly every year since the 1970s.

Butler is my hometown, and Butler is in trouble. My hometown friends and I understand this plain as day, but the nation hasn’t been listening to the decades-old problem of hometown humiliation.

Trump proved to be different, and unpredictably so. Fate would have it that the very last person I would have predicted to show love for the common man would be one of the world’s richest men. A businessman who seems to have been hurt the least by our nation’s outsourcing has become a champion of the working class.

While Hillary Clinton was hiding from press conferences and startling the world with her hard-left policy dash to catch her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, Trump was out visiting Pittsburgh.

While he was out building bridges with working America on any given day, Clinton could be found ducking reporters, recovering from her husband’s latest gaffe about Black Lives Matter. This was but one of many “blunder-then-bunker” examples that came to define the Clinton campaign.

Did Trump blunder? Daily! But his ultimate atonement was that he showed love for the American people and is a patriot. It’s a lot easier to forgive a blundering candidate hugging the American flag in a room full of blue-collar Americans, than one hiding in the back of a 737 dodging press questions.

The trust between small-town America and her political representatives had been broken. As with all great relationships in turmoil, Trump knew he needed to put in quality time and a true love for the small-town cause in order to kick-start the healing process between Rust-Belt America and the national leadership.

Trump unapologetically did just that. His candidacy was the beginning of the healing process for humiliated hometown America, which had been desperate to find a champion.

Job Fabrication

Statistically, Trump was up against a hard economic game. On paper, President Barack Obama has created jobs every month for years and broken many “records” numerically. There’s just one problem—jobs are not just numbers.

In the wake of the promised tidal wave of more and more jobs, somehow fewer jobs appeared. Not fewer in number, necessarily, but in quality.

Butler lost its factories when I was living there in my teens, and they never returned. Some of my most vivid family memories regarding work consist of suffering the humiliation of my uncle being flown to Mexico to train his factory “replacement,” with the threat of no severance pay if he objected.

When you take a man’s craft away from him, no numeric of fast food, retail, or administrative work positions can ever replace that feeling of seeing something of value that you created move down the line and into America’s homes. As we’ve heard it said a thousand times: “Not everything valuable is numeric, and not everything numeric is valuable.”

Our economy had sold us out, and not just in terms of income or the American dream. The corporate and elite classes of America took the craft away from the men and women who built the Jeeps of Butler County that beat Hitler in World War II. Their new “jobs” weren’t jobs at all; we were the victims of job fabrication.

When Trump descended from his golden tower in New York City, I expected a much different presidential announcement. Maybe something witty about how the other side doesn’t understand “real” economics, or perhaps a Ronald Reagan quote from a “gotcha” debate moment.

I was prepared for another in a long line of Republican gaffes about women’s anatomical health, another canned attempt at communicating political ideology, or at the very least something reminiscent of the dehydrated Florida politician that I had on YouTube repeat not so long ago.

In place of that, I was shocked to find a Trump openly criticizing the economic policies that have led to America’s economic decline. He spoke of jobs being lost to China and Mexico, and asked one of the most biting economic questions I’ve ever heard in my life: “When was the last time you saw a Chevy car in Tokyo?”

Somehow, up in a multimillion-dollar New York tower overlooking what seemed like the whole world, Trump heard that our jobs had been fabricated—and he sounded like the only one who had heard.

So we heard him out. And when he unloaded a mouthful of rage on his political opponents about the issue, it left many of them speechless. And it left many of his Rust Belt critics speechless, too.

I don’t know a soul back home who would stand 100 percent behind every single comment Trump has made—but I know many that still trust him despite his gaffes.

We’ve all had that mean-spirited co-worker or boss who had the sole saving grace of being amazingly skilled at their job. That is Trump. You may hate him for his thin skin and explosive “tweet-punches,” but I knew that from the vantage point of my hometown, considering the other candidates, we had no other choice.

With no other boxer to bet on in America’s most dislikable election, and as a last-ditch message of desperation to the political establishment that had sold us out for years, we simply had to believe that Trump could rise to the occasion for us.

A Cultural Mutation

Hypocrisy was as rank as always in this political cycle, but the sources of it were most surprising. Some in the media criticized Trump’s tendency to rate women numerically. This is quite easy to criticize, until we ask ourselves why over 7 million Americans watch women rated numerically every year in our very own swimsuit-laden Miss America pageants.

Should we really be outraged at one and OK with the other?

Ironically, it was not priests and holy men that were castigating Trump’s comments, but a hypocritical media that had done or reported on the exact same things they accused Trump of doing.

Rust Belt America had already been bruised from the last self-righteous political campaign victory in 2012, which played it neutral on moral issues, but ended up trying to legislate men into children’s bathrooms by 2016.

Hometown Americans understood this hypocrisy and, unlike the “tender” millennial generation, didn’t seem to mind a little rough talk. Upon reflection, the American people knew that they had said worse things, or viewed worse things, felt worse things, and even heard the same things from other political leaders (think President Richard Nixon).

The final straw for hometown Americans was Clinton herself—shiftlessly avoiding any hard commitment to a policy, and attempting to mount a cultural attack against a man who is enormously versed in pop culture.

Criticizing Trump’s use of celebrities turned out to be a catastrophic and costly move for Clinton. Her accusations of sexism against Trump followed by her complete, open-armed endorsement of Miley Cyrus and the hardly-PC Jay-Z revealed her selective moralism.

Those paying attention saw that Clinton’s posture of indignation was simply that: a posture.

In the end, my once go-to party had morphed into a party of unrecognizably veiled actors, much like the Hypokrinesthai—ancient actors wearing masks, from whom we derive the English word “hypocrite.” But whereas those once-famous masked actors would play one character, only to pull back the mask to reveal the real hero underneath, this Democratic “hero” was much different.

The Democratic Party did not yield a heroic protagonist this election cycle, but a cultural mutation, constantly in flux and fearful of definition. To many lifelong Democratic voters, Clinton was morally unrecognizable. In political terms, she was the epitome of lukewarm—which, if anything, meant she would not stand up for hometown America.

Given all these factors, many like myself from small-town, Rust Belt America could no longer afford to take the establishment’s candidate by faith. Trump saw the true state of our hometowns, our fake jobs, and the hypocritical elite, and was willing to break every political norm in the book to address these critical issues.

So we voted for Trump. And he won—big league.



Disgusting racist liberals target Jeff Sessions’ baby granddaughter

Leftists are so sure that conservatives are racist -- when it is in fact they who are obsessed with race

The confirmation hearing of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions started as expected, with a torrent of psychotic, racist abuse from liberal reporters and activists.

Shockingly, the most disgusting comments weren’t directed at Sessions, but his baby granddaughter, who is Asian.

When cameras panned to the toddler sitting in her grandfather’s lap, MTV “culture writer” Ira Madison exploded with racist rage.

“Sessions, sir, kindly return this Asian baby to the Toys “R” Us you stole her from,” he tweeted.

Because non-white children aren’t human, but toys?

Session’s daughter Ruth is married to an Asian man.

Thousands of Twitter users immediately blasted Madison, who instead of apologizing, doubled down on his belief that whites can’t have grandchildren of another race unless it’s a political stunt.

He continued to taunt Sessions, accusing him of somehow planning years in advance to have an Asian granddaughter as a political ploy.

Madison defended the tweets by claiming that Sessions supported laws in the 1800s discriminating against Asians. Not only was Sessions not an elected official in the 1800s, he was not born until 1946.

Madison eventually deleted the tweets after users began pressuring MTV to fire him.

Other liberals tried to stop the hearings by throwing physical temper tantrums in the Senate room. Capitol Police had to escort out several protesters who began shrieking while dressed as Ku Klux Klan members.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Putin wants to make Russia great again

The screed below seems to have been written to discredit Vladimir Vladimirovich. Yet in the end he simply portrays Putin as a rational and responsible leader of his country.  Russia is a great country and it should be recognized as such.  Waging a cold war on it is the foolish and irresponsible thing

Putin’s aims are simple, though achieving them is not. He wants to, in Tsar-like fashion, utterly dominate and control Russian politics. Second, he wants to – much as De Gaulle did in France after the war – restore his proud country to great power status. Everything else is secondary, merely means serving these two overriding ends.

It is in this basic chess playing context that the rise of a startlingly pro-Russian American President must be viewed. First and foremost, Putin wants to cajole the new administration into dropping America’s former rock-solid support for the sanctions placed on the Kremlin, following Russia’s successful meddling in Ukraine. , with the Russian finance ministry estimating they have cost the country $40bn a year. With pro-Russian Francois Fillon likely to become the new President of France and Italy’s support for the sanctions flagging, the constellation of power is right for Putin to do away with this serious economic wound.

Second, Putin wants the Trump White House to codify what is already happening, be it the settlement of the Syrian War on Russia’s terms or the annexation of Crimea. Given the strong impulse in the Trump cabinet (emanating from both prospective national security adviser Michael Flynn and defence secretary designate James Mattis) for combating Isis as a priority, a deal over Syria – wherein the US accepts Assad staying in power in return for joint Russian-American efforts to eradicate Isis in Raqqa – seems eminently doable. And while the taking of Crimea is unlikely to be formally recognised, neither is it likely to be much contested by the Trump White House.

Third, Trump – in line with the hapless EU and the Obama administration – must be kept from coming to the aid of a beleaguered Ukraine. As we have written before, Putin’s strategic interest in Kiev is not in taking over the place, but rather in seeing that it does not emerge as a successful, prosperous, pro-Western alternative to Great Russian nationalism on the Kremlin’s doorstep.

Given the venal, incompetent Ukrainian government this task has been made easier. But at all costs, Putin wants both America and Brussels to accept the present status quo in Ukraine, where a semi-failed, castrated state serves as a constant reminder to the Russian-dominated region of the fecklessness of western promises.

Lastly, and perhaps above all, Putin wants to stay out of the disastrous Trump’s way. The first rule of politics is that when an enemy is about to commit suicide, don’t stand between them and the bullet. As Trump provokes China over trade and tilts away from any form of cooperation with Beijing, and as he demeans the western allies (who admittedly have brought this largely on themselves over decades due to an immoral refusal to pay a fair share for the common western defence), Russia can merely stand by and watch, as Trump antagonises both the past (Europe) and the future (China). Chess players know how to be patient.



The out of touch president

Will he leave any legacy at all?

President Barack Obama went up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to counsel congressional Democrats on how to save Obamacare. Or at least that’s how his visit was billed.

But to judge from the responses of some of the Democrats, his advice was typical of the approach he’s taken to legislation in his eight years as president — which is to say disengaged, above the fray, detached from any detailed discussion of how legislation actually works.

He was “very nostalgic,” said Louise Slaughter, a veteran of 30 years in the House and the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee. But, she added, he left it up to Hill Democrats to come up with a strategy to protect Obamacare.

This is in line with the standoffish relations Obama has had with members of Congress, even with Democrats who are inclined to be and capable of being helpful. Schmoozing with those he gives the impression of regarding as his inferiors has not been his style.

Nor has he ever seemed interested in the content of laws, even his trademark health care legislation. His February 2010 decision to move forward on Obamacare despite the election of Republican Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts meant accepting a bill with multiple flaws, many of them glaringly visible after passage.

But policy just hasn’t been his thing. At the Hill meeting, Obama — according to Massachusetts Democrat Bill Keating — was “basically saying, ‘Let’s not get down into policy language.’” The key word there may be “down.”

The problem with this approach has been apparent since the 9 o'clock hour on election night, when it became clear that Donald Trump was going to be elected president. In 2010, Obama assumed there always would be a Democratic Congress to repair any glitches in Obamacare. In 2016, he assumed that there would be a President Hillary Clinton to keep his pen-and-phone regulations and “guidances” in place.

It’s apparent that Obama is thrashing around trying to keep his policies in place. But more than those of other outgoing presidents replaced by successors of the other party, they’re in danger of being overturned.

One reason is that they were never firmly established in the first place — and not just because the Democrats' 60-vote Senate supermajority existed for only eight months, from July 2009 to February 2010.

Rather, the Obama Democrats' policies, passed through slapdash legislation or through questionably legal regulations, never really captured the hearts and minds of the American people.

Obamacare was based on the shaky premise that mandating often expensive and limited health insurance would be seen as guaranteeing good health care. As a result, as historian Walter Russell Mead recently wrote for The American Interest, “it did not generate enough public support to protect itself from its opponents.”

Regulations imposed on coal and other fossil fuel production — instituted after Democrats, even with strong congressional majorities, were unsuccessful in passing cap-and-trade legislation — failed to impress a population that did not share liberal elites' faith that climate change is certain to produce catastrophe.

And regulations legalizing the presence of millions of undocumented immigrants have failed to pass muster in federal courts, thanks to legal maneuverings as sloppy as the legislative legerdemain that shoved through Obamacare.

Public policies prove to be enduring when they address what people regard as genuine needs and thus create constituencies that politicians dare not defy. Social Security retirement benefits are a prime example. You can jigger the taxes and benefits, as a bipartisan majority did in 1983, but voters who believe they paid for their benefits will insist they not be taken away.

Policies that induce long-term reliance also tend to endure, a prime example being the home mortgage interest deduction. There’s a good argument that this policy, like the Social Security benefit formula, unduly benefits the affluent. But that argument doesn’t move most voters.

In my view, Obama owed his election and re-election to the feeling — widely shared by Americans, including many who didn’t vote for him — that it would be a good thing for Americans to elect a black president.

What they didn’t expect, but got, was a president who governed according to the playbook of campus liberals, imposing — or attempting to impose — policies that he believed would be good for people, whether they knew it or not.

This was governance that was both inattentive to detail and law and out of touch with how policies affect people’s lives. That is why so many of these policies seem headed for the ash heap of history.



Levin: Obama Has Been a One-Man Wrecking Ball, Will Leave Office with No Accomplishments

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Thursday, host Mark Levin slammed the first African-American president, Barack Hussein Obama, calling him “a one man wrecking ball” and suggesting that he will leave office with no accomplishments.

Below is a transcript of Levin’s comments from his show:

“Barack Obama will go down in history as the first African-American president, and he has no accomplishments.

“In fact, he’s got one destructive policy after another, one outrageous speech after another.

“He leaves increased unemployment, true unemployment, not the government’s propaganda.

“He leaves increased racial tension of the sort I’ve never seen in my life.

“He leaves a country economically on its back.

“He leaves our enemies abroad stronger than they could possibly have imagined.

“He’s eviscerated law enforcement; he’s eviscerated our health care system; he’s eviscerated our courts – having appointed 40 percent of the judges.

“He’s eviscerated the school lunch program; he’s eviscerated NASA; he’s eviscerated the Justice Department, which now is a left-wing hack political operation.

“He’s eviscerated the Environmental Protection Agency, which isn’t about the environment at all. It’s about destroying our industries.

“He’s eviscerated our immigration system and our border; he’s eviscerated our intelligence community in many respects.

“He’s eviscerated our trust by our allies – including the state of Israel.

“Obama has been a one-man wrecking ball. That’s what I’ve called him for eight years, and I’m actually wrong.

“There’s a lot of wrecking balls in this, including the Democrat Party, the media, academia and these clowns in Hollywood.

“Oh, and yes, he’s done enormous damage to our constitutional system, and you really do have to wonder if it can be repaired based on what you hear today from both parties.”



Boomers: Beware SS BS

Shortly before the holiday season, the Social Security Administration sent out an official letter titled “Important Information.” If you are now at the full retirement age of 66 or older, the letter says, “you may keep all of your benefits no matter how much you earn.” That kind of generosity is hard to top, but on the other hand, if you are younger than the full retirement age, “there is a limit to how much you can earn before we reduce your benefits” and the earnings limit is $16,920. Try paying your bills with that. If you are under 66 and earn more than that, “we deduct $1 from your benefits in 2017 for each $2 you earn over $16,920,” equivalent to a tax of 50 percent. If you are turning 66 in 2017, SS allows you to earn $44,880 and grabs $1 for every $3 you earn above that limit, equivalent to a tax of 33 percent. This kind of federal poverty enforcement, however, does not apply to everybody.

As we noted, those in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) can retire at the age of 55, a full seven years earlier than Social Security allows. By all indications, they are not subject to income restrictions and the government even helps early federal retirees get more money through a secretive Special Retirement Supplement (SRS). For privileged federal employees, this is a Dream Act guaranteed to keep the government ruling class far ahead of the working masses. The Obama administration made no attempt at reform.

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration has been sending money to former Nazis and continued payments to dead people for twenty years. The Social Security Administration has also attempted to grab money from the children of people who were allegedly overpaid benefits decades ago. This happened on the watch of Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin, who faced allegations that on her watch the Administration hid a report on a $300 million computer boondoggle and retaliated against a whistleblower. Obama nominee Colvin remains “acting” commissioner and reports of retaliation against whistleblowers have continued in 2016. Beyond such waste, abuse and incompetence, the Social Security Administration will still punish productive work in 2017. Happy New Year everybody!



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A teachable moment: Muslims burn German church.  Or did they?

A Breitbart report that a Muslim mob attacked a German church has been taken up by many other publications and seems to be widely believed.  German police, by contrast, say that the night concerned was "quiet".  So whom do you believe?  I would normally believe the police but the German police are well-known to either ignore or play dow any disorders associated with Muslims.

Other German sources support the police account.  But Germany is very politically correct and you can in fact be prosecuted for hate speech if you say anything negative about Muslims.  So, again, whom do you believe?

On balance, I suspect that the Breitbart account was exaggerated.  But how exaggerated I have no means of knowing.

Medical journals regularly feature what they call a "teachable moment":  A story about some adverse event in treating a patient which they believe everyone should learn from.  I think this Breitbart story is a teachable moment for the press coverage of Islam and for political censorship generally.  Leftists are behind both those problems.  Their constant attempts to suppress news and views that they do not like has had a lot of success.  They have largely destroyed impartial journalism.

And Leftist causes are suffering from it.  Because we no longer have any reliable news sources, people will readily believe what could be false accounts about Muslims.  There is no effective kick-back against the Breitbart story, for instance. The Left-leaning media are in the position of the boy who cried wolf.  Even when they are speaking truth, what they say will now be widely discounted and dismissed as propaganda. So in their efforts to protect Muslims, they have in fact exposed Muslims to unfair abuse and the possibility of attack.

As is so often the case with Leftist policies, their censorship attempts may have achieved the opposite of what was intended.  They have endangered Muslims not protected them.  Their trust in deception has backfired.  And their lack of moral principles is behind their trust in deception.  It is the Left who have created the environment in which fake news thrives.  They are now bemoaning it as it hits them but it is they who have enabled it -- by their own deceptive practices.

So what is increasingly happening now is a very wide split in the population.  With the decay of generally trustworthy news sources, both sides retreat into reading news sources which tell them what they like.  Leftists read Leftist sources and conservatives read conservative news sources.  The two sides live in completely different mental worlds.

That can hardly be good for mutual understanding.  And without mutual understanding you tend to get hate.  And hate begets hate crimes.  Which is where we are now.  Leftist attack Trump supporters and to a limited extent Trump supporters hit back. If that continues to develop America could become like an ungovernable Latin-American hellhole where nobody is ever safe.

Leftist lack of moral anchors has led us all into a dangerous situation.

Below is an account from Germany disputing the Breitbart story:

Journalists have condemned a report by Breitbart news that claimed a mob of 1,000 men had attacked police and set fire to a church, calling the article a distortion of facts.

Breitbart wrote an article about New Year's Eve in Dortmund on Tuesday with the headline “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve”.

"At New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dortmund a mob of more than 1,000 men chanted ‘Allahu Akhbar’, launched fireworks at police, and set fire to a historic church," the alt-right website reported.

The report was attributed to local news site Ruhr Nachrichten, which fired back on Wednesday, accusing Breitbart of “using our online reports for fake news, hate and propaganda.”

Ruhr Nachrichten pointed out how Breitbart attributed separate unconnected incidents to a larger, collective "mob".

There was in fact a total of around 1,000 people gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Leeds Square, including “large and small groups” of young, foreign men as well as families with children, according to Ruhr Nachrichten.

The original report by the local news site from that night describes how some individuals did start launching fireworks from within the crowd towards police, who told them to stop but were ignored. Broadcaster WDR reported that officers then issued orders for some people to leave and took some into custody.

While Breitbart wrote that the "mob" set the roof of Germany's oldest church on fire, Ruhr Nachrichten pointed out that this was also not accurate.

St. Reinold is not Germany's oldest church - that would be the Cathedral of Trier - and a small fire had started on some netting on scaffolding around the church, not the roof, due to one firework.

And while Breitbart states that the "fireworks were launched at" the church, there was no indication from local news outlets or from the fire services that the fire had been started intentionally.

The fire was small and lasted 12 minutes before firefighters put it out, Ruhr Nachrichten reports.

Police told local media that overall it was a quiet night.

In a report released on Thursday, Dortmund police stated that the number of times they were called out during New Year’s celebrations this year was down from 421 in 2015-16 to 185 in 2016-17.

Breitbart also wrote that a group of Syrians gathered at the square to celebrate the ceasefire in their home country, but claimed that a video posted by a Ruhr Nachrichten journalist showed them holding up a flag of al-Qaeda and Isis collaborators.

In fact, the video shows a man holding a flag widely flown by those opposing the current government.

Ruhr Nachrichten also accuses Breitbart of overemphasizing the fact that the celebrating Syrians chanted “allahu akbar” - which means God is great.

“This statement is a Muslim prayer as normal as ‘Amen’ in the church,” Ruhr Nachrichten's editor wrote. “Fake news producers are connecting the groups of people in Leeds Square to [terrorist] attacks… The fact is: there was no sign that terrorism was being celebrated in Dortmund.”

As Benjamin Konietzny from broadcaster N-tv wrote, the Breitbart report was problematic for how it presented the events. “There are differences in the critical details,” Konietzny stated.

“The report is a lesson on the deliberate over-twisting of facts,” wrote another journalist from the German Meedia industry publication.



A fun cartoon video about Hillary here


Let’s say goodbye to a UN that hates the free world


If the UN is to be believed, there are three Middle Eastern entities that deserve our condemnation and retribution. One is the Syrian regime, which stands accused of using chemical weapons against dissidents. The other is Islamic State, a genocidal jihadist army that decapitates Christians, sexually enslaves women and children and tortures dissidents to death. The third is Israel, a pluralistic democracy that celebrates equality, liberty, free trade and free speech.

With friends like the UN, the free world doesn’t need enemies.

Last year, the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council adopted 18 resolutions against Israel. The final judgment of 2016 was the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2334, which declares that Israel has no right to land its people have inhabited since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Britain and France voted for the resolution while the US chose not to exercise its veto power.

According to Palestinian Media Watch, Fatah (the leading faction of the Palestinian Authority) thanked the UN with a violent image depicting a Palestinian flag fashioned as a weapon stabbing the Jewish settlements. Blood pooled on the earth beneath. Rather than take Fatah’s apparent threat as a sign that the resolution might facilitate mass murder, the UN is standing firm.

The threat to Israel is serious and without the buffering of settlement areas, the state is more vulnerable to attack from jihadists.

The UN should know the history. After Israel withdrew from Gaza and four West Bank settlements in 2005, Islamist terrorist group Hamas established itself as Gaza’s governing force. The notion that Fatah is the moderate reformist alternative to Hamas is appealing, but its response to the UN resolution has distinctly jihadist overtones.

Commentators have defended Resolution 2334 as beneficial to the future of the two-state solution. When pressed, it is common the hear the term “international consensus”. It is misleading. The international consensus, in this case, are the parties to the resolution. However, the citizens of those member states do not necessarily support it. The Republican-dominated US House of Representatives has passed a resolution to condemn the Security Council for censuring Israel over settlements. Importantly, the US resolution includes the call for the outgoing Obama administration to veto any future resolutions concerning the matter. However, fears persist that UN members are determined to pass new resolutions against Israel before president-elect Donald Trump takes office.

A central concern is that rules on the implementation of Resolution 2334 will be established at a Middle East conference in Paris on January 15. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants world leaders to respect bilateralism in negotiating a two-state solution, but Islamist and socialist leaders are keen to impose a supranational ruling.

The majority of member states that passed Resolution 2334 against Israeli settlements are Islamic or socialist in nature. Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, was judged by a panel of theocrats, autocrats and socialists. Of the five permanent Security Council members with the power of veto, three are Western: France, Britain and the US. It is predictable that France would defend the interests of Islamists in line with the socialist EU bloc, but Britain’s Tory PM Theresa May also backed the resolution. May is long-time ally of Israel, but believes the settlements impede a viable two-state solution. She might be encouraged to consider the role of Hamas and Fatah in preventing the two-state solution and the popular Palestinian desire for one state under Islamic rule.

[Australian] Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated if Australia were a Security Council member, we would have opposed the resolution. Israel needs more than words. It needs action. Australia should withdraw funding to protest the UN’s pact with militantly anti-Semitic leaders in Palestine. We should oppose apartheid against Jews, including economic apartheid in the form of boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns, by preparing a broader and mutually beneficial bilateral trade deal with Israel. And the Australian government should withdraw foreign aid funding from states, regimes and supranational groups that act against Western interests.

The resolution is not only against Israel. It is against universalism, a core UN principle in theory. A common alternative to universalism is double standards, which divide populations and produce mass resentment. In the West, double standards are codified in discrimination law. At the UN, they are used to justify repeated denunciations of Western democracies by the world’s worst abusers of human rights. The UN resolution against Israel is a case in point. If Israel is forced to surrender settlements to the Palestinians, surely China, which voted in favour of the resolution, should relinquish Tibet. The Security Council should pass resolutions against Islamic regimes whose actions genuinely constitute a “flagrant violation of international law”. It could begin by imposing sanctions on Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. And the UN should be subject to the law of universality. It should be held accountable for violations of international law, including the violation of national security.

In late 2015, UN envoy Robert Serry noted a significant impediment to ending settlements in the West Bank. While he supported a freeze on settlement activity, Serry observed that about 500,000 Israelis live in them, raising the question of how the land could be transferred to PA control. In 2005, about 9000 Israelis evacuated Gaza. If made enforceable, Resolution 2334 would require the eviction of up to 800,000 Israelis. The UN has not elaborated on the fate of 500,000 Jews if evicted from their homes en masse. This story sounds all too familiar.

Thank God for Israel. If it weren’t for the Jews, the UN would have to battle despots, communists and Islamists. Instead, it observes a minute of silence for the murderous Fidel Castro. It rails against fascism while excusing the most murderous totalitarians of the past century: communists and Islamists. It channels free-world citizens’ money into corrupt regimes, despotic states and jihadist armies whose common resolve is to destroy liberty.

The Security Council resolution on Israel is the latest case of UN aggression against the free world. It’s time to say goodbye.



Something nice

The female voice in song can be a most exciting thing. And none better than the voice of beautiful Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins below.  It reduces me to tears. She sings it in the original Italian.  Italy has given us much. The best known performance of the song is a duet between Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli at the Piazza dei cavalieri in Pisa but Jenkins has a much more powerful voice.  She is, incidentally, a Christian.

The words and translation are here.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Monday, January 09, 2017

WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived

Glenn Greenwald

IN THE PAST six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.

The second story on the electric grid turned out to be far worse than I realized when I wrote about it on Saturday, when it became clear that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid” as the Post had claimed. In addition to the editor’s note, the Russia-hacked-our-electric-grid story now has a full-scale retraction in the form of a separate article admitting that “the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility” and there may not even have been malware at all on this laptop.

But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).

After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process (both Russia stories were widely hyped on cable news), journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.

Baron himself, editorial leader of the Post, is a perfect case study in this irresponsible tactic. It was Baron who went to Twitter on the evening of November 24 to announce the Post’s exposé of the enormous reach of Russia’s fake news operation, based on what he heralded as the findings of “independent researchers.” Baron’s tweet went all over the place; to date, it has been re-tweeted more than 3,000 times, including by many journalists with their own large followings:

But after that story faced a barrage of intense criticism — from Adrian Chen in the New Yorker (“propaganda about Russia propaganda”), Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (“shameful, disgusting”), my own article, and many others — including legal threats from the sites smeared as Russian propaganda outlets by the Post’s “independent researchers” — the Post finally added its lengthy editor’s note distancing itself from the anonymous group that provided the key claims of its story (“The Post … does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings” and “since publication of the Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list”).

What did Baron tell his followers about this editor’s note that gutted the key claims of the story he hyped? Nothing. Not a word. To date, he has been publicly silent about these revisions. Having spread the original claims to tens of thousands of people, if not more, he took no steps to ensure that any of them heard about the major walk back on the article’s most significant, inflammatory claims. He did, however, ironically find the time to promote a different Post story about how terrible and damaging Fake News is

WHETHER THE POST’S false stories here can be distinguished from what is commonly called “Fake News” is, at this point, a semantic dispute, particularly since “Fake News” has no cogent definition. Defenders of Fake News as a distinct category typically emphasize intent in order to differentiate it from bad journalism. That’s really just a way of defining Fake News so as to make it definitionally impossible for mainstream media outlets like the Post ever to be guilty of it (much the way terrorism is defined to ensure that the U.S. government and its allies cannot, by definition, ever commit it).

But what was the Post’s motive in publishing two false stories about Russia that, very predictably, generated massive attention, traffic, and political impact? Was it ideological and political — namely, devotion to the D.C. agenda of elevating Russia into a grave threat to U.S. security? Was it to please its audience — knowing that its readers, in the wake of Trump’s victory, want to be fed stories about Russian treachery? Was it access and source servitude — proving it will serve as a loyal and uncritical repository for any propaganda intelligence officials want disseminated? Was it profit — to generate revenue through sensationalistic click-bait headlines with a reckless disregard to whether its stories are true? In an institution as large as the Post, with numerous reporters and editors participating in these stories, it’s impossible to identify any one motive as definitive.

Whatever the motives, the effects of these false stories are exactly the same as those of whatever one regards as Fake News. The false claims travel all over the internet, deceiving huge numbers into believing them. The propagators of the falsehoods receive ample profit from their false, viral “news.” And there is no accountability of the kind that would disincentivize a repeat of the behavior. (That the Post ultimately corrects its false story does not distinguish it from classic Fake News sites, which also sometimes do the same.)

And while it’s true that all media outlets make mistakes, and that even the most careful journalism sometimes errs, those facts do not remotely mitigate the Post’s behavior here. In these cases, they did not make good faith mistakes after engaging in careful journalism. With both stories, they were reckless (at best) from the start, and the glaring deficiencies in the reporting were immediately self-evident (which is why both stories were widely attacked upon publication).

As this excellent timeline by Kalev Leetaru documents, the Post did not even bother to contact the utility companies in question — the most elementary step of journalistic responsibility — until after the story was published. Intelligence officials insisting on anonymity — so as to ensure no accountability — whispered to them that this happened, and despite how significant the consequences would be, they rushed to print it with no verification at all. This is not a case of good journalism producing inaccurate reporting; it is the case of a media outlet publishing a story that it knew would produce massive benefits and consequences without the slightest due diligence or care.

THE MOST IRONIC aspect of all this is that it is mainstream journalists — the very people who have become obsessed with the crusade against Fake News — who play the key role in enabling and fueling this dissemination of false stories. They do so not only by uncritically spreading them, but also by taking little or no steps to notify the public of their falsity.

The Post’s epic debacle this weekend regarding its electric grid fiction vividly illustrates this dynamic. As I noted on Saturday, many journalists reacted to this story the same way they do every story about Russia: They instantly click and re-tweet and share the story without the slightest critical scrutiny. That these claims are constantly based on the whispers of anonymous officials and accompanied by no evidence whatsoever gives those journalists no pause at all; any official claim that Russia and Putin are behind some global evil is instantly treated as Truth. That’s a significant reason papers like the Post are incentivized to recklessly publish stories of this kind. They know they will be praised and rewarded no matter the accuracy or reliability because their Cause — the agenda — is the right one.

On Friday night, immediately after the Post’s story was published, one of the most dramatic pronouncements came from the New York Times’s editorial writer Brent Staples, who said this:

Now that this story has collapsed and been fully retracted, what has Staples done to note that this tweet was false? Just like Baron, absolutely nothing. Actually, that’s not quite accurate, as he did do something: At some point after Friday night, he quietly deleted his tweet without comment. He has not uttered a word about the fact that the story he promoted has collapsed, and that what he told his 16,000-plus followers — along with the countless number of people who re-tweeted the dramatic claim of this prominent journalist — turned out to be totally false in every respect.

Even more instructive is the case of MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin, a prolific and skilled social media user who has seen his following explode this year with a constant stream of anti-Trump content. On Friday night, when the Post story was published, Griffin hyped it with a series of tweets designed to make the story seem as menacing and consequential as possible. That included hysterical statements from Vermont officials — who believed the Post’s false claim — that in retrospect are unbelievably embarrassing.

That tweet from Griffin — convincing people that Putin was endangering the health and safety of Vermonters — was re-tweeted more than 1,000 times. His other similar tweets — such as this one featuring Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s warning that Putin was trying to “shut down [the grid] in the middle of winter” — were also widely spread.

But the next day, the crux of the story collapsed — the Post’s editor’s note acknowledged that “there is no indication” that “Russian hackers had penetrated the electricity grid” — and Griffin said nothing. Indeed, he said nothing further on any of this until yesterday — four days after his series of widely shared tweets — in which he simply re-tweeted a Post reporter noting an “update” that the story was false without providing any comment himself

In contrast to Griffin’s original inflammatory tweets about the Russian menace, which were widely and enthusiastically spread, this after-the-fact correction has a paltry 289 re-tweets. Thus, a small fraction of those who were exposed to Griffin’s sensationalistic hyping of this story ended up learning that all of it was false.

I genuinely do not mean to single out these individual journalists for scorn. They are just illustrative of a very common dynamic: Any story that bolsters the prevailing D.C. orthodoxy on the Russia Threat, no matter how dubious, is spread far and wide. And then, as has happened so often, when the story turns out to be false or misleading, little or nothing is done to correct the deceitful effects. And, most amazingly of all, these are the same people constantly decrying the threat posed by Fake News.

A VERY COMMON dynamic is driving all of this: media groupthink, greatly exacerbated (as I described on Saturday) by the incentive scheme of Twitter. As the grand media failure of 2002 demonstrated, American journalists are highly susceptible to fueling and leading the parade in demonizing a new Foreign Enemy rather than exerting restraint and skepticism in evaluating the true nature of that threat.

It is no coincidence that many of the most embarrassing journalistic debacles of this year involve the Russia Threat, and they all involve this same dynamic. Perhaps the worst one was the facially ridiculous, pre-election Slate story — which multiple outlets (including The Intercept) had been offered but passed on — alleging that Trump had created a secret server to communicate with a Russian bank; that story was so widely shared that even the Clinton campaign ended up hyping it — a tweet that, by itself, was re-tweeted almost 12,000 times.

But only a small percentage of those who heard of it ended up hearing of the major walk back and debunking from other outlets. The same is true of The Guardian story from last week on WikiLeaks and Putin that ended up going viral, only to have its retraction barely noticed because most of the journalists who spread the story did not bother to note it.

Beyond the journalistic tendency to echo anonymous officials on whatever Scary Foreign Threat they are hyping at the moment, there is an independent incentive scheme sustaining all of this. That Russia is a Grave Menace attacking the U.S. has — for obvious reasons — become a critical narrative for Democrats and other Trump opponents who dominate elite media circles on social media and elsewhere. They reward and herald anyone who bolsters that narrative, while viciously attacking anyone who questions it.

Indeed, in my 10-plus years of writing about politics on an endless number of polarizing issues — including the Snowden reporting — nothing remotely compares to the smear campaign that has been launched as a result of the work I’ve done questioning and challenging claims about Russian hacking and the threat posed by that country generally. This is being engineered not by random, fringe accounts, but by the most prominent Democratic pundits with the largest media followings.

I’ve been transformed, overnight, into an early adherent of alt-right ideology, an avid fan of Breitbart, an enthusiastic Trump supporter, and — needless to say  — a Kremlin operative. That’s literally the explicit script they’re now using, often with outright fabrications of what I say

They, of course, know all of this is false. A primary focus of the last 10 years of my journalism has been a defense of the civil liberties of Muslims. I wrote an entire book on the racism and inequality inherent in the U.S. justice system. My legal career involved numerous representations of victims of racial discrimination. I was one of the first journalists to condemn the misleadingly “neutral” approach to reporting on Trump and to call for more explicit condemnations of his extremism and lies.

I was one of the few to defend Jorge Ramos from widespread media attacks when he challenged Trump’s immigration extremism. Along with many others, I tried to warn Democrats that nominating a candidate as unpopular as Hillary Clinton risked a Trump victory. And as someone who is very publicly in a same-sex, inter-racial marriage — with someone just elected to public office as a socialist — I make for a very unlikely alt-right leader, to put that mildly.

The malice of this campaign is exceeded only by its blatant stupidity. Even having to dignify it with a defense is depressing, though once it becomes this widespread, one has little choice.

But this is the climate Democrats have successfully cultivated — where anyone dissenting or even expressing skepticism about their deeply self-serving Russia narrative is the target of coordinated and potent smears; where, as The Nation’s James Carden documented yesterday, skepticism is literally equated with treason. And the converse is equally true: Those who disseminate claims and stories that bolster this narrative — no matter how divorced from reason and evidence they are — receive an array of benefits and rewards.

That the story ends up being completely discredited matters little. The damage is done, and the benefits received. Fake News in the narrow sense of that term is certainly something worth worrying about. But whatever one wants to call this type of behavior from the Post, it is a much greater menace given how far the reach is of the institutions that engage in it.



Why we need Trump:  "Manufacturing Jobs Declined by 45,000 in 2016; Government Jobs Increased by 183,000--Now Outnumber Manufacturing by 9,948,000


Paul Ryan: Russia Didn’t Put the Server in Hillary Clinton’s Basement


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Sunday, January 08, 2017

Why Are American Automakers Running to Mexico?

Embarrassment:  In part because Mexico has freer trade than the land of the free does

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Wednesday, host Mark Levin explained that American automakers are running to Mexico, in part because Mexico has cheaper labor, but more significantly because Mexico has access to more countries willing to trade tariff-free.

“‘Why is everybody running to Mexico?’ you may ask, and you may think you have the answer,” explained Mark Levin. “‘Well, because they pay their people next to nothing.’ That’s not the whole answer. It’s not even a significant part of the answer. ...

“‘[O]ne of [Mexico’s] key advantages is that it has’ – you ready?” Levin rhetorically asked moments later in response to the question posed above. “‘One of its key advantages is that it has trade agreements with 44 countries giving automakers access to half the global car market tariff-free.’”



Alt-Left Insanity: The Great Race Toward Racism

It’s time once more for the Great Race! No, not the excellent Jack Lemmon/Tony Curtis comedy, I mean the media/alt-left’s quest to make everything in America about race – except when it’s about race in a way they don’t like.

Then it’s not about race at all.

We saw in black and white this week how awful racism can be. It’s not just about what white people do to African-Americans or what African-Americans do to whites. It’s what people do to one another based on race and how the media and the left mock it when it’s a narrative they don’t like.

For purposes of example, there’s Washington Post idiot Callum Borchers who wrote this about the heinous kidnapping and torture: “If you believe discrimination against white people is rampant, that Donald Trump supporters face persecution, that Chicago is a war zone, and the media is dishonest, then your entire worldview is likely to be confirmed by one awful story.”

The empathy just oozes off the page.

Some outlets, like our friends at Huffington Post, went out of their way to hide the racist nature of the assault. Here was their headline: “4 Charged With Hate Crime After Facebook Live Broadcast Shows Man Being Tortured.” Dang, you’d think they worked at major networks with that spin. We finally have reached Obama’s post-racial America after all.

For those who endured watching the torture video, one of the things the attackers said multiple times was: “F--- Donald Trump.” Now, that might just be scumbags mouthing off. Or it might be that our monsters were repeating what they heard during the campaign – the song “F--- Donald Trump,” which features its title phrase 32 times. The remake starred the talented trio of YG, G-Eazy and Macklemore. (Apparently, Nipsey Hussle wasn’t fly enough to make the second recording.)

What we learned in advertising, applies to culture. Repeat something often enough and it sinks in, whether it’s buying a Coca-Cola, learning about violence from Tarantino movies or learning to hate Trump and conservatives from no-talent hacks like YG.

‘Giving Up White Male Authors’:

When you take your reading cues from Buzzfeed, you’ve got problems. But that’s precisely what bigot Layla Schlack did, and she naturally went on to the web to claim moral superiority. Of course, she chose her local Boston NPR outlet. Where else would you post a left-wing, racist tract? In a piece under the elitist category Cognoscenti, she wrote about the modern form of book burning. Maybe call it book Berning, in honor of its far-left roots (and the last item on today’s column.) Under the headline: “Banned Books: Giving Up White Male Authors,” we are treated to blatant, PC racism.

Actual quote: “One day, a friend and I were talking about books, and she said, ‘I’m kind of trying not to read things by white men.’ So there it was, a description of what I had been doing. And I wasn’t the only one.” No, it’s not about what’s written in black and white, it’s about the color of the skin of the author.

Schlack, who is an editor (shocker!) at Wine Enthusiast, claimed her actions were “anti-racist.” I’m sure I could find Klan literature that claims their actions were much the same. She also argues that it’s not much of a loss. Actual quote two: “I'm not looking for a pat on the head for giving up fine literature by white men, because it's not a sacrifice.” Yeah, who needs Shakespeare or Hemingway or Twain or … .

Teach The Children:

Once more, Teen Vogue reminds us how much liberals try to propagandize to your kids. The moron mag attacked conservative Philip Anschutz because he takes profits from his many businesses and uses them to support things he believes in. Horrors!! Actual quote: “For example, the Family Research Council (one of the groups that Anschutz supports) describes itself as a ‘Pro-Marriage and Pro-Life’ organization. Their website shows that it is anti-gay rights, anti-transgender rights, and anti-abortion.” Notice how the less-than-honest turned supporting something like human life into an “anti”?

Teens, who only recently happened to be small children dependent on their moms for existence, are fed this garbage to indoctrinate them. Still, Teen Vogue wants to whine because Anshutz owns AEG and “one of those events that's run by AEG is Coachella.” OMG! Beyonce is, like, performing at Coachella! That’s like she works for the conservative movement! Yes, every Teen Vogue editorial meeting (if they have them) must include a hefty dose of exclamation points and emoji. And all of them must be used to react every time a certified cool person like Queen Bee even interacts with a conservative human. And liberals wonder how Donald Trump got elected.

Bernie Sanders:

The Musical ‘Inspired By The Revolution’: I almost fell over laughing when my coworker Eric Scheiner showed me his video of the Bernie Sanders musical. The play about “Santa Bernie” was performed in the lefty stronghold of Burlington, Vt. Natch. “Feel The Bern, The Musical” depicted a future America where socialism and climate change are both dominant. The dueling dystopias weren’t seen that way by the fellow travelers in the Village Voice. The Christmas themed performance even remade holiday songs as Bernie ballads. According to the Voice’s Michael Appler, “an orange-haired Grinch has slithered down from his tower to promise us gifts.” But never fear, “that dream of a Bernie Sanders utopia is still alive.”

Actual quote: “Her spectacle is also postapocalyptic and takes place in the year 2132: Global warming has washed away the eastern coast of the United States, and the characters have gathered for their holiday on the new shore — in Cleveland.” Perhaps, by that time, the Browns will have had a winning season. Or, Buffy fans might at least hope the hellmouth is closed.

Actual quote two: “Christmas is obsolete in 2132; instead the characters assemble to celebrate NotMeUs, a festival fixated on Sanders, who has returned to Earth in the form of Sanders Claus.” Notice how liberals like to turn their politicians into religious, almost-God-like figures? They did it for Obama all the time, especially the halos in the photos. And they even sang redone hymms (or hers) to Hillary. When you lack a moral center, it’s easy to manufacture one – as long as you wear your Birkenstocks while doing it.



Rep. Dave Brat: ‘The Left Is Trying to Get Rid of History’

In a recent interview with Arutz Sheva TV, Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) talked about the left-leaning bias in U.S. academia, saying, the left is trying to “get rid of history.”

“The left is dismantling history and getting rid of philosophy, because that’s the data points for human nature,” Brat said, “and the left would love to be utopian and think we can all just get along if it wasn’t for us capitalists or Christians, right, or other religious groups. They think we’d be in heaven, you know without the bulk of the American people.”

Brat was attending the Jerusalem Leaders’ Summit and was initially asked about anti-Israel sentiment in academia.

“I’m in academia, and unfortunately, about 90 percent of academia is anti-Israel, and part of that has to do I think unfortunately with first, principles,” he explained in the Dec. 27 interview. “I’m, on the other hand, 110 percent pro-Israel, and I went to seminary, and I’m in the Protestant tradition, but that tradition takes very seriously Hebrew scripture.

“That presumption of first principles and the existence of God implies a certain ethics, and so the antagonism, I think in academia, largely comes from that,” Brat continued. “Roughly the left has Rousseau and Marx, and those are by the way the only two philosophers of note that had a positive view of human nature.”

Brat pointed out in contrast that in Scripture it “takes about two chapters for humanity to fall.”

“The left right now is trying to get rid of history,” he claimed. “Education in our country in the United States has been totally distorted. K-12 kids aren’t taught any religion, no ethics, no ethical system, no philosophers of note.”

“The left is dismantling history and getting rid of philosophy because that’s the data points for human nature,” he emphasized, “and the left would love to be utopian and think we can all just get along if it wasn’t for us capitalists or Christians, right, or other religious groups, they think we’d be in heaven, you know without the bulk of the American people.”

Brat added that the left even uses “scare tactics” on kids over religious ideas, saying “I’ve had kids in my own district say God bless you after a kid sneezes and they get in trouble.”

“When the central question of all liberal arts education beginning with Socrates, right about 2400 years ago, right, is: what is a good human life,” he concluded, “when you can’t ask the central question in the liberal arts tradition, what is a good human life and what makes it good - and by the way how do you define what’s good, in the Judeo-Christian tradition? We have an answer to the definition of good, and the left cannot give you an answer to what is good today.”



Do you carry? Violence against Trump supporters explodes across country

The FBI ran a record-smashing 27.5 million gun-related background checks in 2016, indicating that many Americans are likely getting their carry licenses. And it’s no wonder: a nationwide explosion of violent mob attacks by rabid liberals has Donald Trump supporters trading in “MAGA” for “CCW.”

The heinous kidnapping and torture of a special-needs white man by four black youths in Chicago is just the latest anti-Trump assault/hate crime to take place since the election. Here’s a rundown of some of the others:

    Again in Barack Obama’s hometown of Chicago, a group of black men assaulted a white man after a fender bender because he presumably voted for Trump.

    High school students in Rockville, Md., just outside Washington, D.C., assaulted a fellow student for supporting Trump.

    A black high school student in Redwood City, Calif., accused a white Trump-supporting student of hating Mexicans before viciously beating her.

    An anti-bullying ambassador with ties to Black Lives Matter was charged with felony assault after she shoved a 74-year-old-man to the ground while protesting outside Trump Tower in New York City.

    A man was reportedly attacked and choked on a New York subway for wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

    Prior to the election, Trump supporters were assaulted and bloodied by protestors outside a Trump rally in San Jose, Calif.

    A 62-year-old man wearing a Trump shirt was attacked with a crowbar in New Jersey.

This is far from a comprehensive list. Unlike the myriad hoax assaults reported by liberals, the attacks and hate crimes being carried out against Trump supporters are very, very real. It’s no wonder Americans are choosing to pack heat.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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