Saturday, June 13, 2009

The holocaust museum killer was NOT a conservative

Here is what we know about him:
Von Brunn was known to the FBI as “as an anti-Semite and a white supremacist who had established websites that inspired hatred against African-Americans, Jews and others,” Persichini added.... Von Brunn has written books on Adolf Hitler as well as on his conspiracy theories and views on white superiority. In a recent posting on his blog he railed that “America is a Third-World racial garbage-dump - stupid, ignorant, dead-broke, and terminal”.

Just what part of that associates von Brunn with American conservatives? Nothing. So with whom DOES it associate him? Easy: Marx & Engels despised Jews and blacks too. Hitler was a socialist. The Soviets too persecuted Jews. The KKK were almost all Democrats. The most antisemitic statements coming out of US politics in the last few years have been from Democrats such as James Moran and Wesley Clark. Who is today the most prominent American polemicist against Israel? Jimmah Carter.

Who are they today who love America? Conservatives. Who are they who think America is rotten and in need of top to bottom reform? Democrats.

The whole tendency to think and talk in terms of race (such as "Jews") is typical Leftist collectivism. Conservatives think in terms of individuals and individual liberty. Von Brunn had much in common with the Left and little or nothing in common with conservatives


A Silly Game of Connect-the-Dots

by Jonah Goldberg

When an abortion provider in Wichita, Kan., was murdered, the predictable chorus pointed fingers at Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. After all, O'Reilly had said that George Tiller was a "baby killer" and had railed against the doctor's late-term abortion practice for years. He must be to blame! No one bothered to ask whether Tiller's accused murderer had ever watched O'Reilly, or to ponder whether a militant pro-life extremist really needed a talk-show host to tell him anything he didn't already know about one of less than a dozen doctors in the country who still performed third-trimester abortions. But, never mind. Such details don't matter when you're trying to delegitimize people.

Now we have James von Brunn. He is an 88-year-old loon, considered a dangerous nut even within the dangerous-nut community. He took his gun and shot up the Holocaust Museum and murdered a guard. Reporting suggests that von Brunn wanted to fulfill his revenge fantasies against the Jewish-neocon globalist cabal, which apparently outsources much of its work to the Bush family. A 9/11 truther, convinced that the bagel-snarfing, string-pulling Jooooooooooozzz are behind everything, von Brunn is the kind of fanatic the zombies who talk to themselves at the bus station would give a wide berth.

But, of course, we have Sarah Palin to thank for von Brunn. So says some genius at the Daily Kos. A competing braniac at the Huffington Post says, "Thank you very much Karl Rove and your minions." Pretty much the entire media establishment is comfortable labeling von Brunn as a member of the "far right." Putting aside other objections to that nomenclature, if von Brunn is a member of the far right, then it would be helpful and journalistically responsible if the press would start calling Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sean Hannity, et al., moderates and centrists. That won't happen, because the whole point of these exercises is to paint the right as an undifferentiated blob of evil.

Never mind that von Brunn isn't a member of the far right. Nor is he a member of the far left, as some on the right are claiming. He's not a member of anything other than the crazy caucus. Von Brunn's True North is conspiratorial anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. He's not a member of the Christian Right. In fact, he denounces Christianity -- just as Hitler did -- as a Jewish plot against paganism and Western vigor. Nor is he a capitalist. Again, just as Hitler did, he hails socialism as the solution to the West's problems.

Still, if we are going to play this game where we take the words of politicians and pundits, compare them to the words of murderers and psychopaths, and then assign blame accordingly, then let's blame the New York Times, Chris Matthews, left-wing blogs everywhere and the academics who penned "The Lobby" (which blames a fifth column of Israel loyalists for our troubles).

After all, for years, mainstream liberalism and other outposts of paranoid Bush hatred have portrayed neoconservatives -- usually code for conservative Jews and other supporters of Israel -- as an alien, pernicious cabal. "They have penetrated the culture at nearly every level from the halls of academia to the halls of the Pentagon," observed the New York Times. "... They've accumulated the wherewithal financially (and) professionally to broadcast what they think over the airwaves to the masses or over cocktails to those at the highest levels of government."

NBC's Chris Matthews routinely used the word "neocon" as if it was code for "traitor." He asked one guest whether White House neocons are "loyal to the Kristol neoconservative movement, or to the president?" Von Brunn may have wondered the same thing, which is why he reportedly had the offices of Bill Kristol's "Weekly Standard" on his hit list.

Unhinged Bush-hater Andrew Sullivan insists that, "The closer you examine it, the clearer it is that neoconservatism, in large part, is simply about enabling the most irredentist elements in Israel and sustaining a permanent war against anyone or any country who disagrees with the Israeli right." Leading liberal intellectual Michael Lind warned about the alarming fact that "the foreign policy of the world's only global power is being made by a small clique" of neoconservative plotters.

Even with Bush out of the picture, some see the problem emerging again. Just this week, Jeremiah Wright, the president's longtime mentor and pastor, whined that, "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."

Maniacs like von Brunn connect dots that aren't there because that's what paranoid anti-Semites do. What's the left's excuse?




The Rev. Jeremiah Wrong is as crazy as ever: "In a racially charged interview, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said that President Obama hasn't spoken to him since they parted ways last year, because "them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me." He suggested White House advisers were keeping the two separate. "Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," Wright said, according to Virginia's Daily Press. "They will not let him ... talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is." Obama left Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago last year following the very public controversy over his inflammatory sermons. "Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing of the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel," Wright said."

We get it: Museum shooter is a hateful honky: “Scarcely had the cowardly attack taken place than the mug of the hater was plastered on every TV station across the country. (I can’t tell you what the jihadi du jour looks like.) Ditto details of von Brunn’s dysfunctional biography and ideology. In no time the usually lackadaisical liberal media expertly knitted together von Brunn’s years in irons, unsavory associations and the ins-and-outs of his Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic belief system. Still, the ‘parrot press’ could not quite settle on whether this old, evil individual was a ‘lone wolf’ or a mastermind of a conspiracy rivaling al-Qaida. … Suffice it to say that no one will forget James W. von Brunn any time soon. On the other hand, does anyone (besides Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller) know who Wael W. Kalash is?”

The unstimulating stimulus: "The Obama administration was out in full force defending the stimulus this weekend. The mantra is that the economy is getting better but Americans need to be patient to see progress. The problem is that, so far, there hasn't been any economic progress. White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee promised on 'Fox News Sunday': 'It's going to take more than a few months to turn it around.' That contradicts White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers' promise in January that the economy would start improving 'within weeks' so long as the president's $787 billion stimulus was passed. The stimulus actually has dampened economic projections."

AMA opposes “public” health insurance plan: “As the healthcare debate heats up, the American Medical Association is letting Congress know that it will oppose creation of a government-sponsored insurance plan, which President Obama and many other Democrats see as an essential element of legislation to remake the healthcare system. The opposition, which comes as Mr. Obama prepares to address the powerful doctors’ group on Monday in Chicago, could be a major hurdle for advocates of a public insurance plan. The A.M.A., with about 250,000 members, is America’s largest physician organization.”

The New Wage Controls: "The U.S. "market" economy took another hard-to-believe turn this week with the Obama Treasury appointing a "compensation czar" to dictate wage controls on private companies that take taxpayer money and offer guidelines for every other U.S. publicly traded company. Can wage and price controls for everyone be far behind? The Treasury says that's not what it has in mind, but then much of what government has done in the past eight months would have been scoffed at even a year ago. Richard Nixon disavowed wage and price controls right up until the time he imposed them in 1971. The Obama Administration is hardly restrained as a matter of principle against such brute government force, and if prices start rising after our current Great Reflation, well, you read the warning here first... The new pay limits betray once again that Washington's dominant impulse today is leveling and redistribution: Put caps on success, raise taxes on what you can't cap, and then give the money to someone else. None of this will encourage the entrepreneurial spirits we need for a buoyant economic recovery.

TX: Expedited passage of child abuse bill sparks opposition: “A coalition of conservative and libertarian groups rallied on the south steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, asking Gov. Rick Perry to veto a controversial measure they claim would take away parental rights in Child Protective Services cases. The bill would give the Department of Family and Protective Services more control in child protection cases. Supporters of the measure, such as the Center for Public Policy Priorities, say the bill offers a more specific outline for child protection cases. The legislation essentially gives the Department of Family and Protective Services workers more control in the legal process during an investigation of potential child abuse by removing the current requirement of ’showing good cause’ and instead requiring a police affidavit, which is similar to a criminal search warrant.”

MN: Court okays instant runoff in Minneapolis elections : “Ranked-choice voting has been cleared for use in Minneapolis elections this fall by the Minnesota Supreme Court. In a decision released this morning, the court rejected a challenge to the new voting method brought by the Minnesota Voters Alliance, which questioned the constitutionality of having voters rank candidates in the order they prefer them.” [Australia has had that system for years]

Delay the Minimum-Wage Hike: "Despite severe economic difficulties confronting businesses, and soaring unemployment among youths and minorities, the federal minimum wage is slated to increase to $7.25 in July from $6.55 today. This will be the final step of a three-step increase enacted in the spring 2007, when the unemployment rate was 4.5%. Based on 20 years of research, I doubt there is ever a goodtime to raise the minimum wage. However, with the aggregate unemployment rate at 9.4%, the teen unemployment rate exceeding 22%, and the unemployment rate for black teens nearing 40%, next month's increase seems like the worst timing possible. Despite a few exceptions that are tirelessly (and selectively) cited by advocates of a higher minimum wage, the bulk of the evidence -- from scores of studies, using data mainly from the U.S. but also from many other countries -- clearly shows that minimum wages reduceemployment of young, low-skilled people. The best estimates from studies since the early 1990s suggest that the 11% minimum wage increase scheduled for this summer will lead to the loss of an additional 300,000 jobs among teens and young adults. This is on top of the continuing job losses the recession is likely to throw our way."

More confidence-building for the Airbus A330-200: "Hero pilot Ray Banfield has described the 20 terrifying minutes when a cockpit fire threatened the lives of 199 passengers and crew on a Jetstar flight from Japan. At 39,000 feet there was a loud bang and a brilliant white flash of flame from the base of his co-pilot's windscreen, Captain Banfield said. "Never in all my years of flying commercial aircraft had I seen anything like it," he told passengers upon landing safely at Guam. "It was a dangerous situation and we had to get the aircraft down at the nearest airport. Fortunately we were just 20 minutes from Guam." The married father of two sons, aged 7 and 11, donned an oxygen mask, along with his co-pilot and two pilots in training, as fumes and smoke filled the cockpit. One of the trainees grabbed a fire extinguisher from the back of the cockpit and passed it to the co-pilot, who doused the flames rising from the base of the windscreen. "The flames disappeared after about 50 seconds but there was no knowing whether it was properly out," Capt Banfield said. The Airbus A330-200 - the same model and vintage as the Air France jet that plunged into the Atlanic two weeks ago, killing all on board - then made a nerve-racking 20-minute descent to Guam...He said it appeared the fire had started in an electric windscreen heater element. The part was an original component which was installed on the jet when it was built two years ago."

Airbus crash a design fault: "Air France Airbus jets experienced at least five incidents last year in which airspeed probes malfunctioned, two of which caused stall alarms, according to a company report. A probe into last week's loss of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, in which an A330 jet plunged into the Atlantic with the loss of all 228 people on board, has focused on the contradictory speed readings from its "pitot probes". Air France and Airbus insist there is not yet any proof the pitots were to blame for the catastrophe, but accept that automatic error messages sent before the plane went down showed they were malfunctioning. Airbus has urged pilots of the A330 and A340 to update themselves on the emergency procedures to take if the probes give contradictory readings, and Air France has accelerated its program to replace the suspect pitots... According to experts, at high altitude such as that at which AF447 was flying, the margin of airspeed within which a plane can safely manoeuvre, the so-called "coffin corner", is much reduced. Only 55 to 75 km/h separates the lowest safe speed, below which the plane stalls, and the highest, above which it becomes impossible to control and might plunge or break up."


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Australia: TV comedy boss demoted over cruel program

I am glad someone has got the bullet over this horrible affair. How could any decent person laugh at terminally ill children and tell them that they "are going to die anyway"? The ABC (Australia's major public broadcaster) is of course heavily Left-leaning and this episode was yet another example of the Leftist emotional insensitivity that I discussed recently. More background on the story here

The ABC has demoted its head of TV comedy, Amanda Duthie, over last week's controversial Chaser skit about sick children, saying her failure to stop the segment going to air was an error of judgment. Before yesterday Ms Duthie was one of the ABC's most powerful executives - today her once dazzling career prospects are in limbo, The Australian reports.

ABC managing director Mark Scott announced Ms Duthie had been removed as the head of ABC TV comedy following the airing last week of the sketch on The Chaser's War on Everything that satirised the granting of wishes to terminally ill children through the "Make-a-Realistic-Wish Foundation".

ABC management's decision followed a review of the processes that led to the screening of the segment, causing the program to be suspended from broadcast for two weeks.

"The segment should not have been broadcast," Mr Scott said. "We recognise that it caused unnecessary and unreasonable hurt and offence to our viewers and the broader community and we have apologised for this." Mr Scott said Ms Duthie should have referred the skit to the next level of management as was clearly set out in the ABC's editorial policies. "Where staff are concerned about the potential for satirical material to cause harm they should refer the matter to the next level of management. "In this instance, (Ms Duthie) reviewed the segment and did not refer it up. This was an error of judgment."

A spokesperson for the Chaser team last night responded to Ms Duthie's demotion saying: "We are sorry we put the sketch forward and we think it is a harsh call on Amanda who had, and has, our full support".



Why is the right doing so well in Europe?

For a start, they don't spend like drunken sailors

We've been waiting and waiting, but the widely predicted European backlash—against capitalism, free markets, and the right—has never come. There are no demands for Marxist revolution, no calls for nationalization of industry, not even a European campaign for what the Obama administration calls "stimulus"—a policy more colloquially known as "massive government spending."

On the contrary, in last weekend's European parliamentary elections, capitalism triumphed, at least in its mushy European form. Admittedly, these European polls are a peculiar species of election. Far fewer people vote in them than vote in national elections, and those who do vote are far vaguer about what their Euro deputies actually do once they are elected to the European legislature. The European parliament's gradual accumulation of real power seems to have had no effect whatsoever on its popular image, which is still that of a do-nothing institution composed of clapped-out politicians who cost everybody a fortune in airplane tickets. As a result, fringe parties, including the so-called far right, always attract protest voters and do unusually well.

Nevertheless, European parliamentary elections also provide the only cross-continental simultaneous political snapshot currently available. Although national elections take place at different times and according to different national rules, these most recent, largest-ever European elections took place over a four-day period, according to the same rules, in 27 countries. This time around, with some exceptions, they told an unusually consistent story.

In France, Germany, Italy, and Poland—four of Europe's six largest countries—center-right governments got unexpectedly enthusiastic endorsements. In the two other large countries, Britain and Spain, left-wing ruling parties got hammered, as did socialists in Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, and elsewhere. In some places the results were stark indeed: In London this weekend, I could hardly walk down the street without being assaulted by angry, screaming newspaper headlines, all declaring the Labor government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown weak, corrupt, tired, arrogant, and, yes, very unpopular. In some constituencies, European candidates of the ruling Labor Party finished behind fringe parties that normally don't get noticed at all. So rapidly are British ministers resigning from the Cabinet that it's hard to keep track of them (four in the last week—I think).

But how is it possible that the European right is doing so well—and so much better than their U.S. counterparts—during what is widely described as a crisis of global capitalism? At least in part, the Europeans are winning because their leaders have the courage of their economic convictions. While it is true that the continental European welfare states have kicked into high gear over the last six months, there are few equivalents of either George W. Bush's budget deficits or Barack Obama's spending binge. And where there have been—in Britain, for example—the high spending has hardly bought popularity. The theoretical version of this Euro-American policy gap is the recent public spat between economic historian Niall Ferguson and economist Paul Krugman, both of whom are at least as well known for their newspaper polemics as for their academic writing. Very crudely, Ferguson and the German government think massive deficits and government borrowing will lead to inflation and ultimately the collapse of the currency. Equally crudely, Krugman and the U.S. administration think he's wrong.

For the record, Ferguson is, at least by origin, a British Tory. For the record, there aren't any U.S. Republican polemicists making the same arguments in quite as public a way. With a few exceptions, the American center-right's loudest and most articulate voices have been focused almost exclusively on national security for the better part of the last decade. Lip service was paid to "small government" and "reduced spending" while successive Republican Congresses, hand in hand with a Republican White House, enlarged government and spent like crazy. How can they now criticize Obama's possibly lethal budget deficits when their own were so vast, so recently?

None of this is to say that any of Europe's conservatives would necessarily go down well in the United States. (Picture Silvio Berlusconi, paparazzi and alleged teenage mistresses in tow, campaigning in Mississippi.) It's also true that they don't necessarily have much in common: Allegedly, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy can hardly stand to be in the same room at the same time. But if nothing else, the success of the European center-right during the current crisis proves that there is something to their political formula. They are fiscally conservative. They are, if not socially liberal, then at least socially centrist. They haven't been swayed by the fashion for big spending. They are trying to keep some semblance of budget sanity. And, at least at the moment, they win elections.



Capitalism's death announced yet again!

All of the dire and portentous talk about the current “Crisis of Capitalism” carries with it an inescapably familiar, even shopworn feel for all those familiar with recent history. In the “Camelot” era of 1962, African-American activist Malcom X unequivocally announced: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because the system of capitalism needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture…It’s only a matter of time in my opinion before it will collapse completely.”

During the Great Depression, of course, some of the finest minds of the century expected the weakened economic system to disappear altogether. On the eve of FDR’s 1933 inauguration, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr offered an obituary for the old order, written on the assumption that “capitalism is dying and with the conviction that it ought to die.” A member of Congress expressed similar sentiments the same year, as Tom Amlie, a Wisconsin Republican who later returned to the House as a representative of the Progressive Party, told a convention of radicals that the system had no future because Roosevelt wouldn’t spend the huge sums necessary to “keep it alive.” In any event, he declared that “whether capitalism could be kept going for another period of years or not, it is not worth saving.”

A more influential figure of that era, three-term Minnesota Governor Floyd Bjornstjerne Olson, made the destruction of capitalism even more central to his political persona. When asked by visiting journalists whether he considered himself “radical,” the populist governor with the booming voice and larger-than-life personality liked to shock them by announcing “I’m radical as hell!” In 1934, he addressed the convention of his Farmer-Labor Association (the ancestor of today’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party in Minnesota) and explained that he felt tired of “tinkering and patching” and wanted to change the entire business system in his state. The convention obliged by adopting a platform specifically declaring that “capitalism had failed and that immediate steps must be taken by the people to abolish capitalism in a peaceful and lawful manner, and that a new, sane, and just society must be established; a system in which all the natural resources, machinery of production, transportation and communication shall be owned by the government.” Despite the extreme rhetoric of the platform, Olson won re-election in a landslide. He toyed with the idea of challenging FDR from the left as a third party candidate in 1936, but rejected the idea shortly before he died in office of stomach cancer. He was only 44, and remains a wildly popular figure in Minnesota history and folklore.

In the 1930’s, the assumption that the free market system must quickly fall to pieces became so widespread that intellectuals concentrated many of their arguments on selecting the most promising replacement. Lawrence Dennis, former child evangelist, first lieutenant in World War I and Foreign Service officer, passionately rejected both the communist and socialist alternatives. Instead, he became one of the nation’s most influential advocates for fascism in the style of Hitler or Mussolini. In a letter to a friend he wrote, “I should like nothing better than to be a leader or a follower of a Hitler who would crush or destroy many now in power.” In 1932 he published an influential and much-discussed book entitled “Is Capitalism Doomed?” and then answered his own question with his next release, “The Coming American Fascism.”

For many reasons, the commentators, activists and politicians of the 1930’s had far more basis for predicting the end of the free market system than either gloomy conservatives or gleeful leftists in 2009. Most significantly, as the arguments of Lawrence Dennis made clear, developments around the world suggested that the irresistible tides of history favored an international future of Statism. With the unholy trinity of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin riding high in Eurasia, the United States looked increasingly isolated with its capitalist institutions – even as modified and re-arranged and regulated by FDR. Aside from the growing domain of the dictators, huge swaths of the globe had never even developed modern capitalist economies that radicals could reject. China remained paralyzed by a chilling combination of colonialism (both Western and Japanese), feudalism and War Lordism, with Mao’s rebellion already gaining considerable strength. The Japanese Empire ran according to principals of medieval militarism, rejecting the western profit system as soft and corrupt. India remained the “crown jewel” of the British Empire with only the bare rudiments of business development, while colonialism continued to dominate the lives of the vast majority of people in Asia and Africa, with corrupt kleptocracies all but universal in Latin America. Only Canada and a small handful of Western European nations seemed to share the values or economic outlook of the United States and every year brought new progress to the forces of collectivism and dictatorship.

By contrast, the thirty years preceding the economic crisis of 2008-2009 displayed unstoppable momentum in the opposite direction. The embrace of free market ideals became so universal that Francis Fukuyama famously proclaimed “The End of History” in 1992. The world’s two most populous nations, China and India, both pursued radical economic reforms to empower the for-profit private economy and reduce central planning (and control) of the economy. The results for both nations involved unimaginably spectacular and consistent growth, and an unprecedented improvement in living standards for nearly half of humanity. China implacably resisted the long-awaited political reforms to accompany its booming economy, and Russia flirted with one-party rule and showed scant respect for civil liberties, but both nations engaged the world economy in distinctly capitalist terms. Putin’s Russia even experimented (mostly successfully) with a flat tax in a demonstration that should provide encouragement for free marketers everywhere. Other former Communist bloc nations of eastern and central Europe not only flocked to join the European Union and NATO but also developed some of the most vibrant capitalist economies on earth.

The notion that the worldwide economic crisis would lead to a global slide toward socialism ran into populist reality in the first weekend of June, 2009. Voting for the European Parliament expressed a continent-wide rejection of left-wing economic prescriptions, with Center-Right parties crushing their Socialist opponents in every nation (except Greece). In France, Germany and Italy, ruling Center-Right coalitions strengthened their standing with the public, while the opposition conservatives in Britain and Spain gained significant ground. Hungary provided one particularly salient example: candidates of the ruling Socialist Party drew only 17% of the vote, while the right wing opposition party gained 56% (and a far-right anti-Gypsy Party earned an additional 15%). Despite the grim talk of an all-but-inevitable march toward socialism, the recent balloting gives evidences of an international surge toward capitalism. In Canada and Israel, market-oriented coalitions also won recent electoral victories, and only in Latin America (with conspicuous exceptions like Mexico and Columbia) have leftist candidates consistently triumphed.

In the United States, the claim that the election of Barack Obama represents a watershed choice and a decisive realignment looks increasingly tenuous in light of recent polling. The most recent Gallup Poll (in May) to ask respondents to state their party affiliation showed an exact tie between Republicans and Democrats at 32% each, with 34% describing themselves as “independents.” Amazingly enough, even these waffling independents looked evenly divided: when asked to express their preference between the two major parties, these non-partisan participants showed an identical number of Republican and Democratic leaners. These numbers represent a dramatic turnaround from the first month after the ’08 election, with the GOP improving its standing by six points, and the Democrats losing seven points of support.

Such polls will shift quickly and unpredictably in the next months and years but the apparent Republican comeback during the first 140 days of Obama’s presidency (with GOP candidates running ahead in both 2009 governorship races in New Jersey and Virginia) indicate that the American people made no significant ideological shift toward collectivism. Even the President’s stratospheric personal popularity hasn’t produced a reliable majority for the big government reforms he favors. In March, the Pew Research Center asked respondents if we are better off “in a free market economy even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time.” A reassuring 70% agreed, while only 20% disagreed.

Fortunately, the future of capitalism rests on a firmer foundation than the vagaries of public polling or even the electoral fates of pro-market candidates and parties. The unprecedented worldwide improvement in living standards in the last century owes everything to the technological innovation, increased productivity and personal choice that characterize economies driven by competition and the profit motive. Beyond political advances or reverses, beyond the variations in the unemployment figures or the foreclosure rate or the Dow Jones, the fundamental changes in the very terms of human life in the last several generations will help to inspire the sort of confidence (and even gratitude) that will protect the capitalist system from widespread public rejection, destruction or dismantling.

Much more HERE


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A few observations about immigration and intelligence

In my comments on IQ, yesterday, I asked why the descendants of African slaves who have in recent decades come to the USA from the Caribbean tend to outperform in various ways the descendants of African slaves whose ancestors were transported directly to what is now the USA. Afro-Americans themselves are well aware of the difference and refer to Afro-Caribbeans as "coconuts" (brown on the outside, white on the inside).

I attributed the difference between the two groups to an immigration effect: "People who have somehow got themselves out of a Caribbean hellhole such as Jamaica or Haiti and re-established themselves in America are obviously smarter than those who stay behind in their scenic but poor, corrupt and crime-ridden homelands. So they do better in America because they are smarter to start with. They are an environmentally-selected superior subset of their parent population. Most of their success follows from that. The first generation too tend to have better motivation, having grown up in a society lacking welfare payments. It's basically work or starve where they come from. And they do of course tend to pass work-oriented values onto their kids."

A question that flows from that, however, starts from the fact that Americans generally are of immigrant origin. So why is not the average white American IQ higher than the average IQ of (say) Britain? The easy answer, of course is that Americans today originate from all corners of the globe. They are not solely of British descent and some of the incoming groups may originally have come from backward populations and thus have dragged the average down.

But let me look in a bit more detail at that: Unlike the "coconuts", the earliest white settlers in North America were NOT fleeing from backward hellholes. They were in fact fleeing from the most advanced civilizations of the day, predominantly Britain and Germany. They were fleeing mainly for religious reasons rather than economic ones and whether that indicates greater intelligence or not is I think at least not obvious. Later waves of immigration, however, clearly DID come to America for economic reasons: poor people from Ireland, Poland, Germany, Russia and Southern Italy, principally. And as Herrnstein & Murray showed long ago, there is a social class effect on IQ: Poor people tend to be dumber. So the fact that the descendants of that later wave suffer no present-day IQ disadvantage illustrates that the immigration effect DID work for them too: The immigrant poor were smarter than the poor populations that they left behind. So, just looking at the major population groups that today constitute white America, there is no reason to expect in them higher average IQs than the average IQs in (say) Britain or Germany. And the reality corresponds to that expectation.

A small coda to that which I mention with some hesitation concerns Ireland -- seeing that I myself have substantial Irish ancestry. The various 20th century studies of Irish IQ have produced some rather low averages, with a 7-point disadvantage often quoted. There are various possible reasons for that but we may be seeing there the other end of the immigration effect: For various reasons, but particularly the potato blight, the emigration from Ireland was particularly heavy and the smartest people left Ireland long ago for parts of the world with greater opportunities: principally Britain, North America and the Antipodes. I am rather glad that some of them came to the Antipodes because I would not exist otherwise. And I can assure you that I am perfectly delighted by my Irish ancestry.

And that somehow brings me to the Chinese. No-one in his right mind can deny the outstanding academic success and success generally of the Chinese in America. So is that an immigrant effect too? Are they smart solely because they are immigrants who had to overcome large difficulties in order to come to America? I think that there is some truth in that, but it is far from the whole story. The studies of IQ in China itself unfailingly show an above-average result, usually considerably above average. On the other hand, as far as I am aware, none of the studies of IQ in China come from completely representative national population samples and it may be that there are among the poor populations of the more remote regions of China some quite low averages to be found, which could well drag the national average down to something like the Western average if taken into account. But that is speculation. Clearly, the parts of China from which Chinese Americans come show above average IQs so Chinese Americans are a select subset of an already talented population. No wonder they do so well.


Know thy enemy: This is not your mother's Democratic Party

By Andrew Breitbart

The Democratic Party's attitude to elections is admirable: Win. And recent history has shown it will do anything to do so. When, if not now, will Republicans develop such a fighting spirit? Democrats invest - with taxpayer money, mind you - in groups like ACORN that, among other sordid tactics, seek out Skid Row bodies and wheel them to polling places. All the Democratic National Committee needs are vans and smelling salts. Pop culture and the "education system" have done the rest, making "D" the default choice on Election Day.

Democrats brazenly take policy positions - think government services and even amnesty for illegal immigrants - not because they are the right thing to do, but because they are time-tested demographic bribes. Forget cigarettes and beer, Democrats would distribute needles, methadone, medical marijuana and biscotti in voter goodie bags if they could get away with it.

Democrats long ago jettisoned America's melting-pot ideal - E Pluribus Unum ("Out of Many, One") - because it imperils their campaign for permanent rule. Splitting the country into separate identity groups and playing them against each other works a lot better. And anyone who disagrees is a racist.

One of the first things President Obama attempted to do after taking office was to take control of the Census Bureau, an act that could redraw congressional districts and ensure Democratic majorities for years to come. The new president also etched out an enemies list, focusing on conservative talk-radio hosts, including Rush Limbaugh. He also appears to have singled out Fox News. Comedians and mainstream journalists who are usually contemptuous of government bullying and First Amendment threats also continue to do the president's bidding.

These overt political gestures were done amid economic chaos and mainstream media delirium to ensure permanent victory for a newly radicalized Democratic Party., George Soros and the ghost of Saul Alinsky are in charge now. It's not just "tea party" protesters who think we've tilted far left. Self-avowed anarchists and open socialists proudly brandished Obama placards at well-attended May Day parades.

When elected, the Democrats dole out billion-dollar bonuses to their core supporters at taxpayers' expense. Witness the $787 billion stimulus package, an orgy of special-interest payback for labor unions, liberal activist groups and multinational corporations. One would be hard pressed to name a Democratic policy that is motivated more by principle than by winning.

Where is the media to expose this blatant corruption when the media are in the middle of the pile? NBC News, whose parent company General Electric is getting billions in stimulus cash to perpetuate Democrat-friendly "green" technologies and health care information systems, is at the forefront of a bizarre campaign to act as a check on the party that is out of power, not the party in power. NBC anchor Brian Williams bowed to the new president; MSNBC is a Fellini-esque exercise in liberal triumphalism.

With Democrats holding comfortable majorities in the House and Senate, as well as controlling the executive branch, it's only logical that the mainstream media to focus their scrutiny on Mr. Limbaugh, ex-Rep. Tom DeLay, former President George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, the governor of one of the least populous states. Right?

NBC News and MSNBC are certainly not along among the government watchdogs that have been tamed. The New York Times expends its considerable yet waning clout to ensure that our future is in a one-party state. Vocal, liberal Hollywood celebrities - on the same page as the Huffington Post and Keith Olbermann - spread the venom by making membership in the Grand Old Party seem like an anti-social act for young voters.

Such brazenly reprehensible Democratic lawmakers as Nancy Pelosi, John P. Murtha, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and Christopher J. Dodd are not trotted before the media because of their telegenic appeal and oratorical skills, but to act as symbols of what politicians can get away with it. It's a big-league taunt - like gang members in prison sporting "tear" tattoos under their eyes to brag about their kill count. Yeah ... What are you going to do about it, Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell?

Yet Democrats at least wield a logical and workable strategy to defeat their enemy. And "enemy" is precisely how they view the Republican Party.

Republicans, on the other hand, act like a snobby condo board and appear to seek out potential voters for their savoriness. The party expects pre-existing respectable organizations, Protestant churches in particular, to do the heavy lifting. In this day of dwindling Republican appeal, the party's ace in the hole is heard at the end of the polling day: "Have they counted the overseas military vote yet?" It's amazing Republicans ever win.

Most disturbing, Republicans seem to think Democrats can be their friends. Not only does the Republican Party not have a Ronald Reagan, the Democratic Party has no Tip O'Neill. Washington doesn't have end-of-the-day, cross-party social sessions over single-malt scotches. There is no bipartisanship that doesn't end in Republicans acquiescing in defeat of their core principles. A coordinated Democratic campaign against mainstream middle-of-the-road Republicanism is here to stay. And our strategy, as best as I can decipher it, is to be more liked than the last go around.

In the next election cycle, things need to be drastically different. Democracy is not Augusta National Golf Club. It's a messy free-for-all, and in a two-party system, the GOP will not survive if it doesn't accept the fact that the Democrats are its enemy and that it must begin to play for keeps. That means finding another Lee Atwater - only meaner - and not apologizing when we get him.



The awareness-challenged Obama

Barack Obama, through his spokesman, claimed that he was unaware of the Tax Day Tea parties. Granted, the Mainstream Media has done a good job in suppressing any sort of coverage ahead of time (and the little coverage they did provide was derisive at best) but how out of touch is the Community Organizer in Chief, really?

He was unaware that he was attending a church (for 20 years) with a visceral racist pastor who hates America.

He was unaware that he was family friends with, and started his political career in the living room of, a domestic terrorist, William Ayers.

He was unaware that he had invested in two speculative companies (AVI, Skyterra) backed by some of his top donors right after taking office in 2005.

He was unaware that his own aunt was living in the US illegally.

He was unaware that his own step brother lives on pennies a day in a hut in Kenya.

He was unaware of the AIG bonuses that he and his administration approved of and signed into a bill.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Commerce was under investigation in a bribery scandal.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be his Secretary of the Treasury was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be the U.S. Trade Representative was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the woman he nominated to be his Chief Performance Officer was a tax cheat.

He was unaware that the man he nominated to be #2 at the Environmental Protection Agency was under investigation for mismanaging $25 million in EPA grants.

There are people in comas that are more aware of world affairs than this guy.

SOURCE (See the original for links)



Pakistan: Angry villagers fight, surround Taliban: “Pakistani villagers enraged with the Taliban after the bombing of a mosque battled the militants on Monday, underscoring a shift in public opinion away from the hardline Islamists. … Outraged by the attack, villagers formed a militia, known as a lashkar, of about 500 men and began fighting the militants on Saturday in an bid to force them out of their area. A top government official in Upper Dir, Atif-ur-Rehman, said the militia fighters had pushed the Taliban out of three villages and surrounded them in another two.”

Crazy: “High levels” of bacteria in some hand sanitizers: “The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers Monday not to use skin products made by Clarcon because of high levels of disease-causing bacteria found during a recent inspection. Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, issued a voluntary recall of some skin sanitizers and skin protectants marketed under several different brand names, the FDA said in a statement. Consumers should not use any Clarcon products and should throw them away, the FDA said. … Examples of products that should be discarded include Citrushield Lotion, Dermasentials DermaBarrier, Dermassentials by Clarcon, Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer, Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment, Skin Shield Restaurant, Skin Shield Industrial, Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion, Total Skin Care Beauty and Total Skin Care Work.”

Afghan surge: Marines expand base in Taliban stronghold: “Teams of builders worked through dust storms Monday to expand a base for a brigade of U.S. Marines now fanning out across southern Afghanistan to change the course of a war claiming American lives faster than ever before. Some 10,000 Marines have poured into Afghanistan in the last six weeks, the military said Monday, transforming this once small base in the heart of the country’s most violent province, Helmand, into a desert fortress.”

Government Motors is no substitute for General Motors : “Many believe that GM is an example of the state abandoning its hands-off approach to the market and stepping in to control the unbridled market and rescue the company. But that’s a misconception: the idea of a neo-liberal, free-market US economy is a myth. The US government has been intertwined with the nation’s economy for many years (including during the Reagan era); it’s not just jumping in now. The auto industry is a case in point. American politicians have protected the Detroit carmarkers in various ways for decades, most notably by restricting imports. And in setting its fuel economy rules, the government set a lower bar for pickups and light trucks, thus supporting Detroit’s decision to focus on those vehicles. There has not been a bright line separating the market and state in the US. The GM case is a change in degree, not in kind. What’s new about GM is that government intervention is taking the form of direct ownership, which means a qualitative increase in control.”

Michelle O channeling Jackie O? : “Is anyone else getting wrist-slashing bored over the unmitigated giddy slobbering the mainstream media amasses on Michelle Obama? The creepy media mutts and fashion photogs pant after the First Lady like she’s the Second Coming of Jackie Onassis. She’s Movie Idol, Superstar, European Royalty, Cultural Diva and Holy Madonna all rolled into one mega-merchandising mind-manipulating media package. She’s the Imperial Majesty so many Americans lust after but can’t have because that silly old Constitution proscribes crowned craniums in America.”


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The NYT and IQ again

Ya gotta laugh! Below are the first three paragraphs from an article by Kristoff. He is making his second obeisance before the badly-flawed work of Richard Nisbett on IQ:
In the mosaic of America, three groups that have been unusually successful are Asian-Americans, Jews and West Indian blacks — and in that there may be some lessons for the rest of us.

Asian-Americans are renowned — or notorious — for ruining grade curves in schools across the land, and as a result they constitute about 20 percent of students at Harvard College.

As for Jews, they have received about one-third of all Nobel Prizes in science received by Americans. One survey found that a quarter of Jewish adults in the United States have earned a graduate degree, compared with 6 percent of the population as a whole.

West Indian blacks, those like Colin Powell whose roots are in the Caribbean, are one-third more likely to graduate from college than African-Americans as a whole, and their median household income is almost one-third higher.

Equating "coconuts", as American blacks often call them, with Jews and Asians is one extravagant comparison. It's true that they outperform American-born blacks but that does not say much. They are nowhere up to the Jewish/Chinese/Japanese standard.

Kristoff's basic but ludicrous point is that IQ and achievement generally are all due to working hard at your education and that all three groups he mentions do so. I will leave the Jewish/Asian aspect of that aside for the moment and just concentrate on the "coconuts". Their success is largely a reflection of a strong immigration effect. People who have somehow got themselves out of a Caribbean hellhole such as Jamaica or Haiti and re-established themselves in America are obviously smarter than those who stay behind in their scenic but poor, corrupt and crime-ridden homelands. So they do better in America because they are smarter to start with. They are an environmentally-selected superior subset of their parent population. Most of their success follows from that. The first generation too tend to have better motivation, having grown up in a society lacking welfare payments. It's basically work or starve where they come from. And they do of course tend to pass work-oriented values onto their kids. So attitudes do play SOME part in their success. But there is no sign that they are about to rival Jews in Nobel-prize-quality work!

The rest of Kristoff's article is, as far as I can see, just a rehash of points that I have rebutted already in my previous commentaries on Nisbett. See here, here, here and here

One point I have not seen mentioned before, however, is this doozy:
One large study followed a group of Chinese-Americans who initially did slightly worse on the verbal portion of I.Q. tests than other Americans and the same on math portions. But beginning in grade school, the Chinese outperformed their peers, apparently because they worked harder.

So Chinese pre-schoolers did not speak English well but rapidly caught up and surged ahead once they went to a real school. It has apparently not occurred to Kristoff that the Chinese littlies might have not been good at English or understood their classes at all because they mostly heard Chinese at home!


Now that he's been elected, Obama is a Muslim again

One year ago in June 2008, Floyd produced a television ad which asked the simple question, “Was Barack Obama ever a Muslim?” The Obama campaign came unglued. It earned Floyd prominent placement on a special Obama Web site called “Fight the Smears.” The news media jumped on the bandwagon. Newsweek reported: “Barack Obama has never been Muslim and never practiced Islam. But rumors about his religion intended to frighten some voters persist, and they mostly return to one point of fact: his name.” The Boston Globe wrote: “Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. His Kenyan paternal grandfather and Indonesian stepfather were Muslim, but he attended secular and Catholic schools and was never a practicing Muslim.” ...

Now all has changed with Barack Obama’s coming out to the Muslim world. Jake Tapper of ABC News reports, “The other day we heard a comment from a White House aide that never would have been uttered during the primaries or general election campaign. During a conference call in preparation for President Obama’s trip to Cairo, Egypt, where he will address the Muslim world, deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough said ‘the President himself experienced Islam on three continents before he was able to -- or before he’s been able to visit, really, the heart of the Islamic world -- you know, growing up in Indonesia, having a Muslim father -- obviously Muslim Americans (are) a key part of Illinois and Chicago.’”

Tapper also reported, “In his April 6 address to the Turkish Parliament, President Obama referenced how many ‘Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim majority country. I know, because I am one of them.’”



The Media Fall for Phony 'Jobs' Claims: The Obama Numbers Are Pure Fiction

Mr. Fratto was a colleague of mine in the Bush administration, and as a senior member of the White House communications shop, he knows just how difficult it can be to deal with a press corps skeptical about presidential economic claims. It now appears, however, that Mr. Fratto's problem was that he simply lacked the magic words -- jobs "saved or created."

"Saved or created" has become the signature phrase for Barack Obama as he describes what his stimulus is doing for American jobs. His latest invocation came yesterday, when the president declared that the stimulus had already saved or created at least 150,000 American jobs -- and announced he was ramping up some of the stimulus spending so he could "save or create" an additional 600,000 jobs this summer. These numbers come in the context of an earlier Obama promise that his recovery plan will "save or create three to four million jobs over the next two years."

Mr. Fratto sees a double standard at play. "We would never have used a formula like 'save or create,'" he tells me. "To begin with, the number is pure fiction -- the administration has no way to measure how many jobs are actually being 'saved.' And if we had tried to use something this flimsy, the press would never have let us get away with it."

Of course, the inability to measure Mr. Obama's jobs formula is part of its attraction. Never mind that no one -- not the Labor Department, not the Treasury, not the Bureau of Labor Statistics -- actually measures "jobs saved." As the New York Times delicately reports, Mr. Obama's jobs claims are "based on macroeconomic estimates, not an actual counting of jobs." Nice work if you can get away with it.




Obama can walk on water: ""I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in Luxembourg gardens. Those days are over for the moment," he added." [The Seine is a river]

China to spur global recovery: "China's stellar growth could help pull the world out of its current economic slump, the head of the World Bank says. With Chinese growth in the first quarter of 2009 exceeding most expectations, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said overnight that China could act as a catalyst for a global economic resurgence. "Any forecast in this environment is hazardous, but I think China is likely to surprise on the upside," the former US trade envoy said, speaking at a conference in Canada. "By and large (China's growth) has not only been a stabilising force, but a force that will pull the system (out of the downturn)." China's meteoric rise as a global economic player has boosted world trade in manufactured goods and provided western companies with an enormous new market for their products and services."

I think Obama just lost the homosexual vote: “The Supreme Court on Monday agreed with the Obama administration and refused to review Pentagon policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. … During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the White House has said it won’t stop gays and lesbians from being dismissed from the military.”

Ginsburg delays Chrysler sale : “Chrysler LLC’s planned asset sale to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA was delayed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg while the U.S. Supreme Court considers a request for a longer postponement that might scuttle the deal. … A federal appeals court in New York last week allowed the sale, while putting its decision on hold until 4 p.m. today to let opponents including Indiana pension funds seek Supreme Court intervention. Ginsburg’s one-sentence order today said the bankruptcy court orders allowing the sale ‘are stayed pending further order’ of the Supreme Court.”

Democrats declare war on the poor: “Given the abject failure of the War on Poverty — as Ronald Reagan said, ‘Poverty won’ — now Democrats apparently have decided to go right for the heart of the problem, by making war on the poor. That’s the only plausible explanation for S.500, the ‘Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act of 2009,’ introduced earlier this year by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). The bill would limit interest rates in such a way that pawn shop owners say it would drive them out of business. Currently under consideration by the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee, this legislation could only make sense to someone who (a) knows nothing about pawn shops, and (b) knows nothing about economics.”

SCOTUS moves to curb “perception of bias” in judicial ranks: “The US Supreme Court has established a broad, new constitutional standard requiring judges to step aside in cases involving a perceived probability of judicial bias. The 5-to-4 decision was announced on Monday in a case involving a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. Justice Brent Benjamin had refused to step aside in a case involving a company that spent $3 million to help defeat an incumbent justice, whose seat was filled by Justice Benjamin. The Supreme Court ruled that Benjamin violated the due process rights of the litigants before the West Virginia high court when he declined to recuse himself in that case. The majority justices on the US high court viewed the company’s independent campaign expenditure as a significant factor in Benjamin’s electoral success. They concluded the effort created a perception of a ‘probability of actual bias’ when the company later appeared before Benjamin and the other justices.”

NY Senate goes Republican, aided by two renegade Dems: “Republicans who claimed control of the New York state Senate with help from two Democrats cast their action as a rebellion against a $131.8 billion budget negotiated in secret with coerced support. Democrats immediately challenged the claim and described the action as illegal. Governor David Paterson called it ‘despicable.’ The maneuver, just two weeks before the Legislature’s scheduled June 22 adjournment, leaves in doubt the outcome of bills to allow gay marriage, create a new money-saving pension category for future state and city workers and approve taxes to balance New York City’s budget.”

GM, Amtrak and an increasingly fascist America : “Last week, General Motors finally declared bankruptcy. Many in government thought $20 billion in taxpayer dollars would save the company, but as predicted, it only postponed the inevitable. The government will dump another $30 billion into GM and take a 60 percent controlling interest for it. Public officials are now involving themselves in tactical business decisions such as where GM’s headquarters should move and what kind of cars it will build. The promise that this is temporary and will eventually be profitable is supposed to ease the American people into accepting this arrangement, but it is of little comfort to those who remember similar promises when the American taxpayers bought Amtrak. After three years, government was supposed to be out of the passenger rail business. 40 years and billions of dollars later, the government is still operating Amtrak at a loss, despite the fact that they have created a monopoly by making it illegal to compete with Amtrak. Imagine what they can now do to what is left of the great American auto industry!”

“Are you proud to be white?” Uh, no: “I despise the obsession with race that is forced upon us by the nanny state. I’m always having to fill out these forms that ask my race. Liberals are so fixated on race that they would make a Nazi Gauleiter proud. Nowadays, when I get the chance and I come across some official piece of paper that demands ‘race,’ I put an asterisk in the box and at the bottom or along the margin I write this: ‘No, not so much anymore. I’m too old, fat and out-of-shape to win.’ … The reason this came up is that a fellow just sent me an email asking the question: ‘Are you proud to be white?’ My answer went something like this: ‘No, not particularly. I am proud to be an American. My race is incidental. To think otherwise is to buy into racial collectivism, which I refuse to do.’”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- this time mainly looking at the implications of the recent voting in Britain.


List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Leftist emotional insensitivity

During my career as an academic researcher in psychology and sociology, my main interest was in ideological attitudes but I also made forays into personality research at times. One such foray was into the study of psychopathy, using the most widely accepted measure of it: The MMPI PD scale. One of the two articles I wrote on that subject received a very minor but perhaps significant mark of distinction: It was to a small degree quoted by later authors on the subject. One sometimes gets the impression that most academic journal articles are read by only two people: The author and his mother -- though, if you are lucky, the article might also have been read right through by the editor and referees of the journal in which it was published. I think that most authors of academic articles will assure you with some passion that referees have clearly NOT read with any care the articles they comment on.

My article which received some attention was on sub-clinical psychopathy. You can read it here. So I probably am on firmer ground than most in commenting on that subject. The hallmarks of psychopathy are a lack of normal emotional feelings, an absence of any morality or ethics and a well-disguised contempt for everybody else. In extreme cases this can lead to singularly brutal crimes. Like most personality dispositions, however, there are degrees of psychopathy. In milder cases it can have some advantages and it is those cases that I call sub-clinical: i.e. cases where the psychopath manages to keep himself out of trouble with either the law or the mental health system. And it is often asserted that a degree of psychopathy is helpful in business success.

As it was not my main focus of study, however, I never got around to examining the role of psychopathy in politics. Though I did find in my original research that psychopathy was associated with permissiveness and rejection of punitiveness, attitudes which are common on the Left. And these days I would not attempt research that looked directly at the correlation between Leftism and psychopathy because the conclusion I came to at the end of my research career was that most Leftists are incapable or unwilling to describe their real attitudes. For instance: They will almost all, if asked, claim to be ardent supporters of free speech. Yet, as almost daily posts on my TONGUE-TIED blog reveal, they are in fact relentless enemies of it.

So it seems to me that it is real-life behaviour alone that we must look at in assessing Leftists and I have already used that approach to look at some length at the relationship between Leftism and psychopathy here. As you might have inferred from my original description of psychopathy above, there is much about characteristic Leftist behaviour that a psychiatrist would recognize as psychopathic.

A recent article has emerged, however, that reinforces that conclusion. I reprint the central part of it below. It tends to show that, relative to conservatives, Leftists have a deficit in emotional sensitivity to unpleasant things -- something that is very characteristic of the psychopath. That is of course not at all a new conclusion. We know, for instance, the unfailing brutality of Communist regimes. Not the slightest human sensitivity there. And Stalin's mass murders never bothered American "liberals" during the Soviet era, though the brutality sure bothered conservatives. Nonetheless it is interesting (and a little surprising) to see from attitude research a confirmation of something we know to be true from real life. Given the relentless Leftism of academic psychology and sociology, the authors of article do of course try to "spin" their conclusions as in some way detrimental to conservatives but I think the research results speak for themselves.

One point I should make here, however, is that I AGREE with the authors below in seeing a strong relationship between emotional responses and morality. I have previously argued at some length that seeing morality as having an instinctive emotional basis is a strong position from a philosophical viewpoint and the work of Pinker and Haidt and others has also found some empirical association between morality and emotions of disgust etc.

I should perhaps stress strongly at this point, however, that neither psychopaths nor Leftists are DEVOID of emotion. The one emotion which they do have and which they do share is contempt or hate towards other people about them, contempt for the "status quo" in the Leftist case. And that can be a very strong emotion indeed: A dominant emotion, even. I say more about that here. So on to the recent article:
Liberals and conservatives are often disgusted with one another. No surprise there. But conservatives are literally the more easily disgusted of the two when it comes to such squeamish things as maggots, questionable toilet seats and the prospect of eating monkey meat. Such sensitivity, it seems, plays a role in their ideology and moral values.

Two joint studies released Friday from psychologists at Cornell, Harvard and Yale universities determined that conservatives are more fastidious about the creepier, smellier side of life reflective of a hard-wired instinct for safety and self-preservation. It raises questions about the role of disgust an emotion that likely evolved in humans to keep them safe from potentially hazardous or disease-carrying environments in contemporary judgments of morality and purity, said study leader David Pizarro, an assistant professor of psychology at Cornell who led the study.

People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and, in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seems to be recruited for moral judgments....

The researchers surveyed 181 adults from politically mixed swing states, offering them the Disgust Sensitivity Scale, a personality ratings system initially developed by behavioral psychologists at the University of Virginia. It poses all sorts of uncomfortable possibilities to participants gauging their reactions on a scale of 1-5 to vomit, graveyards, preserved body parts, squashed earthworms and monkey meat.

The researchers surveyed the degree of ideological beliefs of the same test group, to reveal a correlation between being more easily disgusted and political conservatism, the study said.

Disgust really is about protecting yourself from disease; it didn't really evolve for the purpose of human morality, Mr. Pizarro said. It clearly has become central to morality, but because of its origins in contamination and avoidance, we should be wary about its influences.

In another study, the researchers offered the disgust scale to 91 Cornell undergraduates, also asking them where they stood on gay marriage, abortion, gun control, labor unions, tax cuts and affirmative action.

Participants who rated higher in disgust sensitivity were more likely to oppose gay marriage and abortion, issues that are related to notions of morality or purity, the study found. Squeamish people were also more likely to disapprove of gays and lesbians in general.

The findings revealed complex emotions, indeed. Conservatives have argued that there is inherent wisdom in repugnance; that feeling disgusted about something gay sex between consenting adults, for example is cause enough to judge it wrong or immoral, even lacking a concrete reason, Mr. Pizarro said. Liberals tend to disagree, and are more likely to base judgments on whether an action or a thing causes actual harm.

He speculated that the link between disgust and moral judgment could help explain stark differences in values among Americans and be of interest to canny political strategists. He added that the findings could offer strategies for persuading some to change their views. The research was published in Cognition and Emotion and Emotion, two academic journals, and funded solely by Cornell University....


And below we have another case in point, where an apparently very Leftist female was not even disgusted by being gang raped:
Well, yes, the Taliban raped me, but they also respected me — they are not monsters

From the Brussels Journal comes the mind-blowing story of a left-wing Dutch journalist, Joanie de Rijke, who went to Afghanistan to conduct a sympathetic interview with Taliban jihadists who had just killed 10 French troops. Naturally, she was abducted and serially raped for six days. And now she is angry ... not at the chief Taliban thug — who showed her "respect," though, regrettably, "he could not control his testosterone" — but at the Dutch and Belgian governments who refused to pay the $2 million ransom the jihadists demanded.




China is once again blocking access to a lot of sites. Even my mirror sites are now inaccessible at times. I have therefore put up a second lot of mirrors as under that ARE so far still accessible:

Mirror site for "Tongue Tied" here

Mirror site for "Dissecting Leftism" here

Mirror site for "Political Correctness Watch" or here

Mirror site for "Greenie Watch" here

Mirror site for "Education Watch International" here

Mirror site for "Gun Watch" here

Mirror site for "Socialized Medicine here

Mirror site for "Australian Politics" here

Mirror site for "Food & Health Skeptic" here

Mirror site for "Immigration Watch International" here


Elections to the European parliament

Conservatives racing ahead in EU parliament voting: "Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe's largest economies on Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis. First projections by the European Union showed centre-right parties would have the most seats - between 263 and 273 - in the 736-member parliament. Centre-left parties were expected to get between 155 to 165 seats. Right-leaning governments were ahead of the opposition in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium, while conservative opposition parties were leading in Britain and Spain. Greece was a notable exception, where the governing conservatives were headed for defeat in the wake of corruption scandals and economic woes. Germany's Social Democrats headed to their worst showing in a nationwide election since World War II. Four months before Germany holds its own national election, the outcome boosted conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes of ending the tense left-right "grand coalition" that has led the European Union's most populous nation since 2005. "We are the force that is acting level-headedly and correctly in this financial and economic crisis," said Volker Kauder, the leader of Merkel's party in the German parliament. France's Interior Ministry said partial results showed the governing conservatives in the lead, with the Socialists in a distant second and the Europe Ecologie environmentalist party a close third.

Anti-EU party wins big in EU elections!: "UKIP early this morning appeared to be the main beneficiary of another set of disastrous results for Labour in the European elections. A big protest vote against all the main political parties because of the MPs’ expenses row led to increases in the votes of all smaller parties, with UKIP making a breakthrough in several regions. The anti-EU party got its first seat in Wales, retained its seats in the Eastern region, the South East and Yorkshire and the Humber and increased its share of the vote. The party looked set to overtake Labour and come second behind the Tories, with the Lib Dems coming fourth. Initial predictions of the share of the vote across Britain suggested that the Tories would poll 27 per cent, roughly the same as in 2004, UKIP would come second with 17 per cent, one percentage point up from last time, with Labour a dismal third on 16 per cent, down 7 percentage points, its worst ever result. The Lib Dems were expected to get about 15 per cent of the vote, with the Greens and BNP getting 7 to 8 per cent each."

Bad news for the Warriors of Destiny: "Fianna Fáil, the most successful political party in Western Europe, was facing up to its worst electoral performance in its history last night with the likelihood that it would lose a European Parliament seat in Dublin. The party’s woes were compounded by disastrous results in local council elections and two Dublin by-elections. Another loser last night appeared to be Declan Ganley, founder and leader of Libertas, which brought the Lisbon Treaty ratification process to a standstill when it spearheaded the No vote in last year’s Irish referendum. Mr Ganley polled better than predicted, but his 16 per cent share in the Ireland North West constituency was not likely, after the first round of counting, to secure him its third seat. [Yes. Fianna Fáil really does mean "Warriors of Destiny". Irish political loyalties owe as much to history as anything else but in non-Irish terms they are a centrist party]

British anti-immigration party wins EP seats: "Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, has won a seat in the European Parliament. Mr Griffin, standing in the Northwest of England region, was the second candidate of the anti-immigration party to be elected. Hours earlier, Andrew Brons won the party's first European seat in the nearby Yorkshire and the Humber region. Both seats were at the expense of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party, which suffered a devastating result across the country. Mr Griffin had earlier hailed Mr Brons' win - with almost 10 per cent of the vote - as "a huge breakthrough'' for his party, and used the victory to reiterate his party's anti-immigration and anti-Islam stance. He denied his party was racist, but said: "We do say this country is full up. The key thing is to shut the door.'' Mr Griffin told Sky News television: "This is a Christian country and Islam is not welcome, because Islam and Christianity, Islam and democracy, Islam and women's rights do not mix. "That's a simple fact that the elites of Europe are going to have to get their heads round and deal with over the next few years.''



Palin defeats all ethics charges: "The accusations made news, but with another dismissal of an ethics charge last week against Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential nominee has quietly been cleared of every ethics complaint filed since the torrent of allegations began in 2008. Mrs. Palin, who became a target of such complaints after being named Sen. John McCain's running mate, is 14-for-14 in fighting off the complaints. She's been cleared of 13 charges by the independent State Personnel Board and of another complaint by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). After the latest complaint in Alaska was dismissed last week, Mrs. Palin's team said that having to fend off the pile of accusations was wasting state money. "This complaint cost the governor personally, and the state of Alaska, thousands of dollars to address," said Thomas Van Flein, the governor's attorney. "It is regrettable that the ethics process has been diverted for partisan purposes by some, but it is also commendable that the board remains focused on the law."

Righteous Gentile: "Nicholas Winton is a name that ought to be better known. He has been called the British Schindler. As the Nazis were dismembering Czechoslovakia and preparing for mass persecutions, he went to Prague and set up an office there. At the time, he was 29 and a stockbroker’s clerk, nobody special. It was a feat to organize eight trains that brought Jewish children to London — they all needed sponsors, complex paperwork, and funding. In all, Winton saved 667 children, though sometimes the figure is given as 669. The ninth train was due to leave on September 3, 1939, the day war was declared, so it was canceled. The 250 children who would have been on that train were soon murdered. There’s been some recognition. Books have been written about him, and films made. The Queen knighted him and the Czechs proposed him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Winton makes no claims for himself, merely saying, “I just saw what was going on and did what I could to help.” This admirable and modest man has just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Funds ask SCOTUS to block Chrysler sale: “Opponents of Chrysler’s sale to Fiat are asking the Supreme Court to block the deal. Three Indiana state pension and construction funds filed emergency papers at the high court early Sunday to put the sale on hold so they can pursue an appeal. The federal appeals court in New York approved the sale Friday, but gave objectors until Monday afternoon to try to get the Supreme Court to intervene. Chrysler wants to sell the bulk of its assets to a group led by Italy’s Fiat as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.”

Israel: Netanyahu to give major speech in response to Obama: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss the future of settlement construction and the establishment of a Palestinian state during a major policy address at Bar-Ilan University on Sunday. In the speech, Netanyahu will lay out his plans for Israel’s relations with the Palestinian Authority and Arab countries, a source close to the premier said yesterday. It remains unclear whether Netanyahu will recognize the principle of two states for two peoples in the speech, which is meant as a response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s address in Cairo last week. Obama stressed the two-state solution, saying it is good for both Israel and the Palestinians”

CA: Politicians contemplate rewrite of “social contract”: “With empty pockets and maxed-out credit, California is debating whether it can continue honoring all parts of its social contract [sic] with the state’s most vulnerable residents. The state faces an unprecedented drop in tax revenue and a widening budget deficit amid the deepest recession in decades, prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to propose cost-cutting steps that once seemed unthinkable.”

North Korea’s defiance puts Obama in a corner: “North Korea’s defiant nuclear test May 25 presents President Obama with a challenging new set of problems on the international scene. The test is a setback for the Obama concept of engagement with rogue nations. It vastly complicates his attempts to defuse Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s leaders may reasonably conclude: If North Korea can get away with building a nuclear arsenal largely unscathed, why not us? Indeed, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quick to rule out nuclear negotiations with other nations, declaring: ‘Iran’s nuclear issue is over, in our opinion.’ This, in turn, injects some tension into Mr. Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)