Monday, August 20, 2018



The values of the British political elite

There is a rather naive article from the LSE here which purports to present scientific evidence about the personal values of British politicians.  In its way, it is a careful piece of research and its conclusions are anodyne. Author James Weinberg tells us:

"Focusing on the two main parties in British politics, Labour and Conservative, we can observe significant differences on two higher order values (Self-Transcendence and Conservation) and three lower order values (Conformity, Tradition, Universalism), suggesting that Labour MPs are far more driven by a desire for justice and equality but also less motivated than Conservatives to sustain traditional ways of life."

These conclusions will surprise no-one with any knowledge of politics but they may be false.  They are all based on self-reports. The data behind the findings comes from asking politicians how much they value certain things.  In psychometric jargon it is a type of  Likert scale. But self-reports from Leftists cannot be trusted. As psychopaths do, they say whatever they think suits the moment.

One of the most amusing examples of that was during John Kerry's presidential campaign.  He was critical of George Bush invading Iraq.  And he justified that by an appeal to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.  Talk about desperation!  Appealing to a centuries-old European treaty -- America didn't exist as a nation then -- would have to be one of the most unlikely things ever for a Leftist to do in justifying his policies.  But he obviously felt that it might get him some kudos. The treaty said that nations should not interfere in the internal politics of other nations.

America has of course never stuck by the Treaty of Westphalia. Theodore Roosevelt's invasion of Cuba in 1898 set the ball rolling on a whole series of conquests of the old Spanish empire by American Progressives: The Philippines, Guam, Puerto Rico.  And in more recent times one thinks of Reagan's invasion of Grenada and Bill Clinton's bombing of Serbia -- etc.

But to me the most stark Leftist "flexibility" arose during my extensive survey research into authoritarianism.  Given their love of telling other people what to do, Leftists would have to be the quintessential authoritarians, starting from Napoleon with his police State and foreign wars.  And nothing could be more authoritarian than the various Communist regimes that besmirched the 20th century.  So when I asked Leftists in my surveys what they thought about various instances of authoritarianism, I was surprised to find great caution in the answers.  According to what they said of themselves, they were usually no more authoritarian than anyone else.

And perhaps most revealing of all, I made great efforts to get Communists to answer my questionnaires.  On a couple of occasions, their leadership authorized it but the comrades just would not do the task.  They knew how dismal their motivations were and did not want to reveal it.

So, in summary Leftists lie systematically and their responses to surveys tell you nothing real. James Weinberg's hard work was for naught.  You can guess the real motives of Leftists only from what they actually do.  And their policies uniformly have "unexpected" destructive effects.  Obamacare has destroyed or degraded health insurance for many Americans, for instance.  And the uniform destructiveness of Leftist policy outcomes can surely only be intended. They want to destroy anything they can in the world around them

More on Leftist dissimulation here -- JR

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Load the link below for a vivid picture of Leftist hate and rage

https://twitter.com/i/status/1028811129957625857

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The double standard of justice in the U.S. is risking the collapse of the entire system

The political world is waiting with bated breath for the outcome of Paul Manafort’s trial. The former one-time Trump campaign chairman is being prosecuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for various tax and bank fraud crimes, most of which occurred over a decade ago. Manafort is also facing charges in the District of Columbia for Foreign Agent Registration Act violations. In total, Manafort is looking at more than three centuries behind bars.

Many recall Mueller was appointed to investigate Russian election interference and if the Trump campaign colluded. Yet for some unknown reason, Mueller is vigorously pursuing Manafort even though none of the charges in Virginia or D.C. have nothing to do with Russia or the 2016 election.

Despite being on trial for nothing to do with Russia or the election by someone that is supposed to be investigating Russia and the election, Manafort is likely to spend more time in prison than rapists or murderers. Is that justice?

The mainstream media has reported authorities raided a compound last week in New Mexico and found malnourished children. But what really happened is much more sinister, and the actions of a local judge have called into question what the word “justice” means.

Siraj Wahhaj and his relatives, sisters Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhannah Wahhaj, his partner Jany Leveille, and brother-in-law Lucas Morten were taken into custody with 11 children after law enforcement raided their compound.

The children found to be in horrible living conditions and malnourished. What is more disturbing is according to one of the boys, he was taught to fire a rifle in preparation for a school shooting. The information takes the case well beyond child abuse. The case now takes a turn into possible terrorism.

On top of all that, a child’s remains have been discovered on the compound also. It is believed the body belongs to 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, son of Siraj Wahhaj. Siraj is already wanted for kidnapping the child in Georgia.

That makes the other four adults released accessories to that crime. So we have multiple counts of child abuse, possible terrorism charges, and accessories to kidnapping, surely the judge is going to keep the adults behind bars until the situation can be fully investigated.

That didn’t happen. Despite the danger posed to the children and the community, a judge granted bail with only a $20,000 bond. How does this happen?

Another miscarriage of justice took place in California last week. At a free speech rally in Berkeley on April 15, 2017. Unfortunately, like all public gatherings involving Antifa violence broke out. In an effort to suppress speech they disagree with, Antifa members attacked.

One of the violent thugs was a former Diablo Valley College professor, Eric Clanton. Clanton was captured on video smashing an individual on top of the head with a heavy-duty bicycle lock. The kind of lock with sharp edges that bolt cutters cannot cut. The individual struck immediately went down, and blood poured from the wound on his head.

Clanton would assault seven more people in the head and neck regions with the bike lock according to Berkeley police. Make no mistake about it, Clanton committed multiple counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

Surely this type of behavior is not tolerated in California, right?

And you would be wrong. It is tolerated, and after the “punishment” handed down, it may encourage more violence. Despite having video evidence, the weapon, and the clothing used in the assaults, Clanton was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor battery, only getting probation. Clanton will have served a whopping four days in jail for multiple attempts to cave people’s skulls in.

How can the Justice Department sit on the sidelines when the State of California is going to allow the violation of civil rights? Yes, beating someone over the head with a deadly weapon to silence them is a violation of that person’s civil rights.

There is a problem with the U.S. justice system. Clearly, politics is playing a role when justice is supposed to be blind. How can someone that attempted to cave multiple people’s skull in and people involved in planning and training school shootings be on the streets, but Paul Manafort is such a danger to society he must be locked up in solitary confinement and potentially sentenced to hundreds of years in prison?

The U.S. justice system must get out of the business of politics before it finds itself completely untrusted by the majority of Americans.

SOURCE

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Since the repeal of “net neutrality” took effect on June 11, the U.S. internet speed has gone from 12th to 6th fastest in the world

FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced late last year that he would be repealing the Obama-era internet regulations known as “net neutrality.” Following this announcement, the internet went into an absolute frenzy of criticism.

Even from the day of the announcement for the repeal, internet speeds have steadily been increasing.

This is likely due to the fact that the repeal of net neutrality rules have allowed the market to dictate itself. This, in turn, has spurred competition and innovation which ultimately creates a better product for consumers.

The United States now trails only Singapore, Hong Kong, Iceland, Romania, and South Korea in overall broadband download speed.

SOURCE

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Britain’s Inability to Handle Last Year’s Flu Season Shows Perils of Socialized Medicine

Younger doctors who are flirting with support of government-run health care should consider some hard facts—including the unfortunate results such control would likely have for patients and doctors themselves. They should also look at the recent raw experience of Britain with a government-controlled health care system.

But first, let’s look at the most serious plan for government-run health care: Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act of 2017, which has the support of one-third of Senate Democrats.

Recently, Sanders, I-Vt., claimed that his bill would save more than $2 trillion over a 10-year period. According to the Associated Press, however, the senator “mischaracterized” the analysis upon which that estimate was  based, a major study of the cost of the Sanders bill by Charles Blahous, a former Medicare trustee, now at the Mercatus Center.

As the Associated Press’ fact check notes, the $2.1 trillion “savings” estimate rests on the implausible assumption—studiously ignored by Sanders and others—that hospitals and staffing levels would remain the same—despite an estimated 40 percent reduction in compensation for medical services.

Such a massive pay cut would guarantee, says Blahous, that doctors and hospitals would get paid for services “substantially below” their costs of providing the services. Thus, he warns, “ … whether providers could sustain such losses and remain in operation, and how those who continue operations would adapt to such dramatic payment reductions, are critically important questions.”

Yes, they are. Blahous’ findings are particularly relevant for young men and women entering medical school. As Kaiser Health News recently reported, a growing contingent of young physicians and medical students favor expanding the power of government officials to control medicine, and thus their professional lives.

After all, most students become doctors more out of a desire to care for patients than to make a lot of money. Sanders’ proposed pay cut, however, would likely price many doctors out of independent practice, as well as decimate larger medical systems—neither of which would benefit patients.

Medicare would ostensibly be the model for Sanders’ national health insurance program. Beyond lower payment levels, Medicare is governed by tens of  thousands of pages of rules, regulations, and guidelines.

The transactional or administrative costs that doctors and other medical professionals already incur in compliance with these reams of red tape are real, though they do not show up on Medicare or Medicaid budget documents. That is one reason why Medicare’s official administrative costs are deceptively low; the government shifts a large share of administrative costs onto medical professionals.

By 2030, America faces a physician shortage ranging from roughly 43,000 to 121,000, depending upon the assumptions. The crush of nonclinical administrative duties are today a leading cause of American physician burnout and accelerated retirements.

Ultimately, the Sanders bill, by reducing physician compensation while enlarging the power of Washington’s health care bureaucracy, would only make matters worse.

Young doctors—and anyone else considering government-run health care—should  look at the performance of the British National Health Service.

In a candid Oct. 12, 1975 interview with the London Sunday Times, then-Labor Minister David Owen, conceded:

The health service was launched on a fallacy. First, we were going to finance everything, cure the nation and then spending would drop. That fallacy has been exposed. Then there was a period when everybody thought the public could have whatever they needed on the health service- it was just a question of governmental will. Now we recognize that no country, even if they are prepared to pay the taxes, can supply everything.

Today, the British National Health Service is plagued with long wait times, delayed procedures, and an overstressed medical workforce.

A cursory survey of recent British news sources reveals a worrying trend in the delayed delivery and deteriorating quality of National Health Service health care. While British tabloids can be sensational, with bleeding ledes on hospital problems, sober British analysts are concerned.

Last winter, a particularly virulent strain of influenza hit Britain. British hospital wards are often overcrowded, but the crush of flu patients exacerbated the system’s persistent and underlying problems—inadequate staffing and insufficient resources. The British Medical Association’s quarterly survey of physicians found that 82 percent of respondents felt their workplaces were understaffed.

One doctor described the situation this way to the British Medical Association: “I came on to shift yesterday afternoon and there were patients literally everywhere. The corridor into the hospital was so busy we couldn’t have got a cardiac arrest patient through it into the resuscitation room.” He added, “To say staff were at the end of their tethers would be a complete understatement.”

National Health Service morale has been suffering, and British Medical Association surveys show that complaints about resources, understaffing, and perpetual physician vacancies have been constant.

Aggravated by the flu season, and budget constraints, the National Health Service cancelled some 50,000 “non-urgent” surgeries. The problem is that the urgency for a particular patient’s surgery is, or should be, a doctor’s clinical judgment. For example, surgery for a person to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), for instance, may be delayed. But delaying an AAA repair is risking rupture, and patients with a ruptured AAA have a 90 percent mortality rate.

By March 2018, British emergency departments reached new lows, leaving 15.4 percent of patients waiting over four hours before being seen. This was far short of the goal of less than 5 percent of patients forced to wait over four hours.

When considering only major emergency departments, classified as Type 1 in the National Health Service, the rate increased to 23.6 percent of patients waiting longer than four hours to be seen. The British Medical Journal reports that this is the worst performance since 2004, when these metrics were first tracked.

Outside of emergency departments, the number of British patients waiting 18 weeks or more for treatment increased by 35 percent, which was an increase of 128,575 patients from about 362,000 patients in 2017, to over 490,000 patients in 2018.

Additionally, by March 2018, 2,755 patients had waited over a year to be treated, compared to 1,528 patients in 2017. In England, the National Health Service also broke records by canceling over 25,000 surgeries at the last minute in the first quarter of 2018—this was the highest number of last-minute cancellations in 24 years. Remarkably, this was after the British authorities initiated a series of reforms that started in 2016.

The British, of course, are responsible for their system and its results. They will, or will not, undertake reforms to reduce long queues, delayed care, and the consequent harm to  British patients.

It is na├»ve, however, to believe that Americans can avoid similar consequences—annual budget dramas, long waiting times, and scandalous care denials—by giving members of Congress and officials of the federal bureaucracy control over American health care.

SOURCE

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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)

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