Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent"

The study excerpted below is amusing. It is coming out in a sociology journal but concentrates on psychology to the exclusion of sociology! Amazing what can happen when you have an axe to grind!

The article is mostly speculation and theorizing but it does have some actual findings about IQ on which to build its house of cards. But the writer totally overlooks the social context in which the findings were gathered. They are not IQ findings from adults but rather findings about adolescents. The fact that data about adults were not presented is of course the giveaway.

The study found that the more intelligent adolescents were more liberal. So what does that prove? As someone who has taught both psychology and sociology at university level, I have little doubt what it means: It means that more intelligent kids are better at picking up and absorbing the lessons drummed into them by our Left-dominated educational system. It means no more than that. The sociological context overlooked is, in other words, the fact that the individuals concerned were still at school. I think that can reasonably be called: "Overlooking the obvious".

For the findings among random samples of adults, see here. Much more pesky!

More intelligent people are significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history. Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values. The theory suggests that more intelligent people are more likely than less intelligent people to adopt evolutionarily novel preferences and values, but intelligence does not correlate with preferences and values that are old enough to have been shaped by evolution over millions of years." ....

In the current study, Kanazawa argues that humans are evolutionarily designed to be conservative, caring mostly about their family and friends, and being liberal, caring about an indefinite number of genetically unrelated strangers they never meet or interact with, is evolutionarily novel. So more intelligent children may be more likely to grow up to be liberals.

Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) support Kanazawa's hypothesis. Young adults who subjectively identify themselves as "very liberal" have an average IQ of 106 during adolescence while those who identify themselves as "very conservative" have an average IQ of 95 during adolescence.

Similarly, religion is a byproduct of humans' tendency to perceive agency and intention as causes of events, to see "the hands of God" at work behind otherwise natural phenomena. "Humans are evolutionarily designed to be paranoid, and they believe in God because they are paranoid," says Kanazawa. This innate bias toward paranoia served humans well when self-preservation and protection of their families and clans depended on extreme vigilance to all potential dangers. "So, more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to go against their natural evolutionary tendency to believe in God, and they become atheists."

Young adults who identify themselves as "not at all religious" have an average IQ of 103 during adolescence, while those who identify themselves as "very religious" have an average IQ of 97 during adolescence.



An Unbridgeable Philosophical Divide?

One quickly realizes the major philosophical and principle divide between liberals and conservatives when they painfully deconstruct and analyze their respective rhetoric. Conservatives and liberals are worlds apart in their ideology; an ideology that is now more than ever serving as the impetus for bold and endlessly complex legislation foisted on the already burdened American people. Conservative cling to the power of equality of opportunity and unfettered freedom; while liberals, on the other hand, are fearfully willing to sacrifice the hard earned dollars of honest Americans for the freedom of equal outcomes.

To illustrate the point, let’s examine some of the more recent contentious political issues to better test and illuminate this hypothesis.

Healthcare: The Left was willing to sacrifice individual freedom to choose doctors, opting instead to impose a state-run monopoly on medical care at the expense of a market driven health system. They unabashedly didn't care that they were redistributing income from the more productive to the less productive; from the young to the old; from the healthy to the less healthy. In contrast, conservatives looked towards market solutions to resolve many of the existing health care issues, one that operated within a framework of the invisible hand of rational behaviors and the proper incentives. If cost is a factor in health care as liberals would argue, then why not ensure the solution has a price-based fixture?

Cap and Trade: Under the Democratic plan, income derived from a cap and trade scheme would be redistributed from productive carbon producing enterprises to non-carbon emitting enterprises. In effect, jobs would be lost, shifting from the USA to less responsible, emerging countries. Wealth would also shift from America to non- compliant nations; for what reason? Because of spotty, inconclusive scientific evidence that reduced carbon emissions would prevent global warming. Conservatives questioned that science. Not because they were Neanderthals. But when you ask the average American to pay $5 for a gallon of gas to save an iceberg in a remote part of the north he may never see when that same person is struggling to pay that month’s mortgage or he himself will be out in the cold, you better be damn sure of the consequences of “global warming.” Frankly, the Left failed in that argument.

Union Card Check: Democrats were willing to sacrifice the sanctity of a secret ballot to insure that Unions could fleece more American workers. With members (and clout) dissipating at record rates, it’s evident union bosses are feeling their grip on power lifting. It was easy to see this political exercise for what it was – a desperate bid to win at all costs, even if it meant cooking the ballot box at union halls. Here again, conservatives stood on an obvious side – the one for more freedom and more individualism.

McCain-Feingold: Democrats howled when the Supreme Court recently overturned corporate prohibitions in the landmark McCain-Feingold law. Here again, they’re willing to sacrifice the constitutionally-protected free speech of corporations and their shareholders. This has the long term effect of preventing this segment of society from spending their corporate dollars on political issues that are or are not in their best interest. The beauty of our First Amendment is captured best in its simplicity – when you abridge someone’s right to speak out for causes he/she believes in, no amount of demagoguing will cover that injustice.

In the real world, most Americans are neither completely liberal nor conservative in their overall views. Views and opinions change, based on one's own station in life and through differing circumstances. That's why we have laws, based on fundamental principles of what's just. Because if left to the devices and whims of populists, so-called principles would change in an instant, and freedoms would suffer. That's why conservatives look back to the Founders - they approached the building of this nation with the freshest of views - chief among them was the unfailing pursuit toward more, not less, freedom.

For the most part, Americans prefer their politicians this way as well. They would much rather have a President in the middle of the political spectrum, regardless of political affiliation, rather than have a polarizing dictator trying to sink their teeth into the free world. In fact, when policy is proposed, whether it has the appearance of being liberal or conservative, once it's vetted through the rigor of intense partisan debate, it usually comes out somewhere along the middle of the political divide. When it comes to the personal lives of Americans it is important to realize that views and opinions continue changing as individuals move up the economic bracket, get an education, have a family and gain a matured perspective.

Our laws are continuously based on fundamental social philosophies of what elevates the quality of the society as a whole. After all, we do not only live for ourselves, but we are active members in a society of people in which dignity, respect and honor must be at the core of growing our great nation. However, with that being noted, the populous is an accurate gauge to feel the pulse of a nation that can only survive if the populous are in the middle class and don’t infest the lower strata of the economic stratosphere.

Conservatives will never be able to cogently persuade a true liberal who is more than willing to sacrifice his freedom and income (and yours) so that there is absolute perceived equality. Likewise, liberals will never persuade conservatives to sacrifice their individual freedom and hard earned wealth to be redistributed by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC. For this reason alone, the Left and Right will never meet. It’s probably good that they don’t, for conflict is at the heart of democracy. I’m just glad I and my conservative colleagues are on the side of liberty!



Tax cuts and deregulation ended the Great Depression

Obama has a glimmering of that but much more needs to be done in that department

What finally ended the Great Depression? That question may be the most important in economic history. If we can answer it, we can better grasp what perpetuates economic stagnation and what cures it.

The Great Depression was the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. From 1931 to 1940 unemployment was always in double digits. In April 1939, almost ten years after the crisis began, more than one in five Americans still could not find work.

On the surface World War II seems to mark the end of the Great Depression. During the war more than 12 million Americans were sent into the military, and a similar number toiled in defense-related jobs. Those war jobs seemingly took care of the 17 million unemployed in 1939. Most historians have therefore cited the massive spending during wartime as the event that ended the Great Depression.

Some economists —especially Robert Higgs— have wisely challenged that conclusion. Let’s be blunt. If the recipe for economic recovery is putting tens of millions of people in defense plants or military marches, then having them make or drop bombs on our enemies overseas, the value of world peace is called into question. In truth, building tanks and feeding soldiers —necessary as it was to winning the war— became a crushing financial burden. We merely traded debt for unemployment. The expense of funding World War II hiked the national debt from $49 billion in 1941 to almost $260 billion in 1945. In other words, the war had only postponed the issue of recovery.

Even President Roosevelt and his New Dealers sensed that war spending was not the ultimate solution; they feared that the Great Depression —with more unemployment than ever— would resume after Hitler and Hirohito surrendered. Yet FDR’s team was blindly wedded to the federal spending that (as I argue in New Deal or Raw Deal?) had perpetuated the Great Depression during the 1930s.

FDR had halted many of his New Deal programs during the war —and he allowed Congress to kill the WPA, the CCC, the NYA, and others— because winning the war came first. In 1944, however, as it became apparent that the Allies would prevail, he and his New Dealers prepared the country for his New Deal revival by promising a second bill of rights. Included in the President’s package of new entitlements was the right to “adequate medical care,” a “decent home,” and a “useful and remunerative job.” These rights (unlike free speech and freedom of religion) imposed obligations on other Americans to pay taxes for eyeglasses, “decent” houses, and “useful” jobs, but FDR believed his second bill of rights was an advance in thinking from what the Founders had conceived.

Roosevelt’s death in the last year of the war prevented him from unveiling his New Deal revival. But President Harry Truman was on board for most of the new reforms. In the months after the end of the war Truman gave major speeches showcasing a full employment bill —with jobs and spending to be triggered if people failed to find work in the private sector. He also endorsed a national health care program and a federal housing program.

But 1946 was very different from 1933. In 1933 large Democratic majorities in Congress and public support gave FDR his New Deal, but stagnation and unemployment persisted. By contrast, Truman had only a small Democratic majority —and no majority at all if you subtract the more conservative southern Democrats. Plus, the failure of FDR’s New Deal left fewer Americans cheering for an encore.

In short the Republicans and southern Democrats refused to give Truman his New Deal revival. Sometimes they emasculated his bills; other times they just killed them...

After many years of confiscatory taxes, businessmen desperately needed incentives to expand. By 1945 the top marginal income tax rate was 94 percent on all income over $200,000. We also had a high excess-profits tax that had absorbed more than one-third of all corporate profits since 1943 —and another corporate tax that reached as high as 40 percent on other profits.

In 1945 and 1946 Congress repealed the excess-profits tax, cut the corporate tax to a maximum 38 percent, and cut the top income tax rate to 86 percent. In 1948 Congress sliced the top marginal rate further, to 82 percent.

Those rates were still high, but they were the first cuts since the 1920s and sent the message that businesses could keep much of what they earned. The year 1946 was not without ups and downs in employment, occasional strikes, and rising prices. But the “regime certainty” of the 1920s had largely returned, and entrepreneurs believed they could invest again and be allowed to make money.

As Sears, Roebuck and Company Chairman Robert E. Wood observed, after the war “we were warned by private sources that a serious recession was impending. . . . I have never believed that any depression was in store for us.” With freer markets, balanced budgets, and lower taxes, Wood was right. Unemployment was only 3.9 percent in 1946, and it remained at roughly that level during most of the next decade. The Great Depression was over.

More here



Report: Obama drops Consumer Protection Agency plan: "The Obama administration is reportedly backing down from demanding a separate consumer protection agency in its plan to overhaul the financial regulatory system. The Washington Post reported Thursday that the White House is willing to compromise with lawmakers skeptical of creating a stand-alone agency. … The agency had been envisioned to regulate sales and marketing of mortgages, home equity lines of credit, credit cards and other consumer financial products. Supporters have suggested that community group representatives sit on the board to make sure it addresses individuals’ concerns. Many business groups have stood in strong opposition to the creation of a new bureaucracy, arguing that such an agency would add an unnecessary layer of regulation and bureaucracy that will raise the costs of consumer financial products and limit innovation.”

Spain: Abortion law angers conservatives, Catholics: "Spain approved a sweeping new law yesterday that eases restrictions on abortion, declaring the practice a woman’s right and doing away with the threat of imprisonment, in part of a drive toward liberal policies that has angered conservatives and the Catholic Church. The new law allows the procedure without restrictions up to 14 weeks and gives 16- and 17-year-olds the right to have abortions without parental consent. The senate’s passage of the bill yesterday gives it final approval. The bill brings the country in line with its more secular neighbors in northern Europe and is the latest of a series of bold social reforms undertaken by Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who first took office in 2004 and has ruffled feathers among many in the traditionally Catholic country.”

Whose body is it?: "[Bruce] Tower has prostate cancer. He wanted to take a drug that showed promise against his cancer, but the Food and Drug Administration would not allow it. One bureaucrat told him the government was protecting him from dangerous side effects. Tower’s outraged response was: ‘Side effects — who cares? Every treatment I’ve had I’ve suffered from side effects. If I’m terminal, it should be my option to endure any side effects.’ Of course it should be his option. Why, in our ‘free’ country, do Americans meekly stand aside and let the state limit our choices, even when we are dying?”

The Marco Rubio phenomenon: "Rubio is still behind Crist in fundraising, but Rubio’s rise is something those who favor more limited government should note. If he wins the Senate race he will look like a giant killer, and will be a credible presidential candidate in 2016. From a distance it appears that Rubio is a lot like President Obama, notwithstanding their very different political views. Both rose out of nowhere, apparently, and as a Hispanic minority Rubio, like Obama, will appeal to the ‘diversity’ crowd. If Rubio wins the Senate that parallel will surely be noted. But Rubio and Obama differ in more than just their political views.”

"Historic" Obama victory plates that sold for $20 now $2 at Big Lots: "Just got back from Big Lots while making my weekly Arugula and Wagu Beef run and they had a big stack of handsomely boxed limited run Obama commemorative plates for $2. They used to sell for $20+S&H on TV. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Even though they were placed on an endcap at the front of the store, it didn't look like they were moving. Anyone want to wager this rather embarrassing remaindered stock vanishes very quickly due to an "anonymous" bulk buy?"


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, February 25, 2010

PCUSA: Presbyterians who no longer accept the authority of the scriptures

Which separates them from all their traditions as Presbyterians. They have fallen under the influence of a Satanic Leftist gospel rather than the true gospel. Needless to say, they have lost a huge slice of their membership over the years (estimated at nearly half in the last forty years) as there are many other Presbyterian denominations in the USA for faith-filled Christians to choose from. This latest act of hate will drive many more of their members away

The Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUSA) is about to release a report which denounces Israel as a “racist” nation which has absolutely no historical, covenantal, or theological right to the Holy Land. The report calls for the United States to withhold financial and military aid to Israel and for boycotts and sanctions against Israel. That’s not all. The report also endorses a Palestinian “right of return” and “apologizes to Palestinians for even conceding that Israel has a right to exist.” According to the press release, it also states that Israel’s history begins only with the Holocaust and that Israel is “a nation mistakenly created by Western powers at the expense of the Palestinian people to solve the ‘Jewish problem’.”

In addition, PCUSA has also resolved to divest in companies that supply military equipment to the American Army, e.g. Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, etc.

In 2004, this Church became the first mainline Protestant denomination in America to “approve a policy of divestment from Israel.” This was rescinded, but in 2008 the Church “created a committee dominated by seven activists holding strong anti-Israel beliefs. The lone member sympathetic to Israel, quit in protest when he saw their radical agenda.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center notes that 46 members of the US Congress and Senate are Presbyterians and fears potentially “significant repercussions in the political domain” as well as a negative “impact on interfaith relations.” They urge us all to protest directly to the top leadership of the PCUSA “to stop this dangerous campaign which denies the legitimacy and security of Israel,” and to “reach out to your Presbyterian friends.”

Amalek (the eternal enemy of the Jews) has arrived, right on time for the Purim festival. The war against the Jews is precisely what Purim is about. We read the classic indictment against the Jews for the first time in full in the haunting story of Esther. Haman, the Persian King’s advisor, tells him this: “There exists a particular people, far-flung, widespread among the peoples in all the colonies of your realm. Their customs differ from those of all peoples, and they do not abide by his majesty’s bylaws; his majesty has nothing to gain by tolerating them.” Haman also points out that the Jews are wealthy and offers the King the lion’s share of the spoils.

The Jews have been looked at suspiciously, murderously before — in Egypt for example, where their prosperity, fertility, and potential of becoming a fifth column greatly worried the new Pharaoh. But even Pharaoh did not propose what Haman (and Hitler after him) proposed: send the same edict everywhere, “to devastate, slaughter, and annihilate all the Jews (Yehudim), from the youngest to the oldest, children, women, in a single day…with their booty to be despoiled.”



More hatred of black conservatives

Leftists are great haters. That's why they are always desperate to find something in conservatives that they can label as hate

As Black History Month draws to a close, the web site The Root has chosen to publish a hateful article that demeans black conservatives solely for their political views -- grouping them with brutal dictators, convicted criminals and self-centered celebrities. This has drawn a stinging rebuke from Project 21 member Bob Parks. "It doesn't take much for liberals to call black conservatives 'self-hating,'" noted Parks, "but what is it called when someone decides that blacks deemed inappropriate should be wholly removed from history? What kind of egos are we talking about here?"

The Root is operated by The Washington Post. Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. serves as The Root's editor-in-chief. In a recent posting, "Black Folks We'd Like to Remove From Black History" by Jada Smith, 21 blacks are singled out for being "embarrassing." Smith wrote: "[W]hile we love our own, we sure do dream of erasing a few of them."

"It's not enough that progressives intentionally distort and rewrite black history to their political advantage, but now The Root, the Post and Professor Gates are showing additional contempt for black people by allowing open suggestions about who should be excluded from that rewritten history," Parks pointed out.

Of the 21 blacks selected by Smith to purge from black memory, there are five American political figures, five infamous foreign dictators, two criminals and nine celebrities. The two liberal politicos -- current D.C. councilman and former mayor Marion Barry and former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon -- earned their shame by being convicted of breaking the law.

The three black conservatives are demeaned solely for their politics. Republican Party chairman Michael Steele is the "Bozo of politics." Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas allegedly lacks "standing" among blacks because "he looks to the Constitution as 'colorblind.'" Former presidential candidate Alan Keyes, whose activism extols the values of the Declaration of Independence and the rights of the unborn, has "never managed to make a lick of sense."

Project 21's Parks added: "The Root meticulously nominated five political figures among narcissistic celebrities and murderous dictators. The two liberals broke written laws, while the others were convicted of the crime of being black and conservative. It's ironic that the hyper-sensitive Professor Gates presided over this fantasy of removing certain onerous blacks from our history. Now that he's got me riled up, I wonder if he and his bosses at the Washington Post will have me over for a beer to talk about their writer acting stupidly."



Obama's nanny care insults the American spirit

You are victims. You are helpless against the wiles of big corporations and insurance companies and you need protection. You need the government to take over and do things you cannot do for yourself. That is the thinking of what David Brooks calls "the educated class" that favors the Democrats' health care bills. Members of this elite spout tales of woe of people denied coverage or care with the implication that there but for the grace of government go you. So sign on and the government will take care of everything.

It's an argument that has often been appealing to Europeans but that has always been unappealing to Americans. That's why these advocates segue to other arguments, like Barack Obama's assertion that the government can expand coverage and save money at the same time. But voters quickly sniff out what this means. The government will use the "science" of comparative effectiveness research to achieve cost savings the only way government can: denial of care. The Soviet medical system kept down the heart disease caseload by placing cardiac care units on the fifth floor, walk up. Death panels, anyone?

In the meantime, the House, Senate and the latest iteration of the Obama health care legislation -- which is too vague for a cost estimate, according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf -- promise to eliminate Medicare Advantage and cut $500 billion from Medicare, and increase federal spending by something like $1 trillion. Obamacare Plan B would add a new layer of federal regulation on health insurance.

Why do Americans reject such policies while Europeans seem content with them? One reason is history. Twentieth-century history -- and 19th- and 18th-century history too -- showed Europeans that they were often the helpless victims of tyrants and total war. That made them content to rely on government for security. Americans have had a different experience. As scholars like Seymour Martin Lipset have documented, Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe that there is a connection between effort and reward. And to believe that they can improve their situation by their own hard work and ingenuity.

As a result, Americans cherish their independence. One interesting aspect of the spontaneous Tea Party movement is the constant invocation of the Founders and the prominence of the "Don't Tread on Me" flag. Eighteenth-century Americans declared their independence, 19th-century Americans fought so that blacks could be independent too, and 20th-century Americans sacrificed to extend the blessings of independence to the wider world.

Americans tend to see themselves as independent doers, not dependent victims. They don't like to be told, especially by those with fancy academic pedigrees, that they are helpless and in need of government aid. That's why the politically popular American big-government programs -- Social Security, Medicare, veterans' benefits, student loans -- all make a connection between effort and reward. You get a benefit because you've worked for it.

In contrast, Americans have loathed and rejected big-government programs with no nexus between effort and reward. Welfare was begun in the 1930s to help widows with children, whose plight, as Russell Baker's memoir "Growing Up" showed, was often dismal. But when welfare became a mass program to subsidize mothers who didn't work and to excuse fathers from responsibility for their actions, it became wildly unpopular.

Bill Clinton recognized this when he signed welfare reform in 1996. Clinton worked his way up in Arkansas, a state with a highly unequal income distribution, with a few very rich families -- the Waltons, Tysons, Stephenses -- and many people with modest incomes. But polling shows that the Democrats' health care plans are overwhelmingly unpopular in Arkansas, even more than nationally.

Obama, who has chosen to live his adult life in university precincts, sees Arkansans and Americans generally as victims who need his help, people who would be better off dependent on government than on their own. Most American voters don't want to see themselves that way and resent this condescension.

Obama hopes to embarrass Republicans at his Thursday summit and persuade Democrats to change the legislative rules and jam through a health care bill. Tactically he's not likely to succeed. But his greater problem, on health care and other issues, is strategic. Most Americans don't share his view that they are victims, in need of protection and supervision by "the educated class."



The "stimulus" may have created some jobs, but it created no real optimism

A new government analysis says the stimulus act funded between 1 million and 2.1 million jobs as of December and kept the economy humming at a faster rate than it would otherwise, but consumer confidence has tumbled anyway - potentially hindering the continued recovery. With the economy and the unemployment rate crowding out much of the rest of President Obama's agenda, both the jobs figures and consumer confidence will become key pieces of evidence as Republicans and Democrats argue over last year's stimulus and how much more spending is needed.

The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed a little more than a year ago, was responsible for lowering the unemployment rate by between 0.5 percent and 1.1 percent in the final three months of 2009, and added 1.5 percent to 3.8 percent to the country's gross domestic product. "The policies that were enacted in the stimulus bill are increasing GDP and employment relative to what they otherwise would be," said Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans, though, said the stimulus has been good for government but not for creating private-sector jobs. "The fact is, if you are a government worker you probably got a pay raise from the stimulus; if you are a manufacturing or construction worker you got a pink slip," said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas Republican.

Stimulus contractors say they've created about 600,000 jobs directly from spending, but CBO uses economic modeling to reach its conclusions. That accounts for the wide range of potential job creation. Going forward, CBO said, the effects of the stimulus on GDP will peak next quarter, and its effects on job creation will peak over the next six months before diminishing.

At the same time, consumer confidence is already dipping, according to the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, a private group that surveys consumer confidence. The board, in a survey released Tuesday, recorded a giant drop in confidence from January to February and said its "present situation" index, which measures confidence in the economy as it stands now, is at its lowest point in 27 years. The expectations index, which measures optimism about the future economy, also dropped after three months of improvement.




I can't help noticing that the problem with runaway acceleration in Toyota cars affects drivers of automatic cars only. If my Toyota Echo started uncontrolled acceleration, I would just push in the clutch and move the gearshift into neutral: An entirely mechanical process under my complete control and the end of the problem. Another triumph for old-fashioned tried and true systems?

Public Opinion of Unions Plummets, ALG Cites Public Sector Union Kickbacks as Cause : "A new poll conducted by Pew Research shows public opinion of unions plummeting, which Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson said was caused “by the endless handouts and kickbacks to public sector unions that are milking taxpayers and bankrupting the states.” According to the poll, as reported by, “Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.” “The American people are sick and tired of the class warfare engaged through public policy by government unions and their willing accomplices in federal and state legislatures,” said Wilson."

"Broken" Government is when Liberals Lose: "When Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced last week he wasn't running for re-election, he didn't state what may have seemed obvious. He couldn't say he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of losing, or that he worried he'd never achieve national office if that happened. Instead, he launched into a lecture about what was wrong with everyone else. The government is "dysfunctional" with "brain-dead partisanship." It's "Groundhog Day." This scenario repeats itself every time the Democrats take control. Bayh's bleats hardened quickly into the media's conventional wisdom. Why can't the politicians hold hands in a "Kumbaya" circle and get "something" done? Translation: When Obama and a Democrat-dominated Congress can't nationalize the health care system and force everyone to drive a Prius, suddenly government is "dysfunctional." When gridlock is holding up the liberals' agenda, Washington should know "the people" sent them to pass massive ultraliberal bills."

Obama Begins His Assault on Your Life Savings: "The welfare state and your life savings are two cars heading down a one-lane road in opposite directions. One must yield, or there will be a crash. For Americans who believe in the old-fashioned virtues of hard work, self reliance and respect for private property, the solution is obvious. The welfare state must yield. For politicians who believe in the welfare state and redistributing wealth, the solution is equally obvious. Your savings must yield. Barack Obama is of the latter group. In the new health care proposal he outlined this week, he suggested a series of unprecedented tax increases that would extend the greedy hands of government into the life savings of hard-working Americans. These new taxes would essentially construct a new fiscal pipeline capable of carrying money out of the savings of private citizens and dumping it into government coffers specifically for subsidizing Medicare under the new health care system Obama envisions. The White House summary of Obama's proposal presents this would-be pipeline as a facilitator of economic justice."


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, February 24, 2010

Pathetic argument for more government spending

We know that Democrats are great haters but being anti-men is hardly wise -- particularly when the abuse is based on a lie. Reid just does not sound very bright

Advocates for men are calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to apologize for suggesting that men are more likely than women to commit domestic violence, especially when they're out of work for long periods of time. But Reid's spokesman told on Tuesday that the Nevada Democrat is not apologizing for arguing during Senate debate a day earlier that the $15 billion jobs bill he is sponsoring should be passed to help prevent an uptick in violence.

Marty Nemko, co-president of The National Organization for Men, described Reid's comments as "irresponsible," citing numerous studies that show women are just as likely or even more so to commit domestic violence against their male partners. Nemko also noted that that the police reports women advocacy organizations use are misleading because "men are embarrassed to say their wives beat them over the head with a frying pan." "Instead of looking to try and find men jobs, he's bashing men completely unfairly," Nemko told

On Monday, the Nevada Democrat seized on a trend in the rise of domestic violence cases across the country that experts say can be linked partly to the recession that has left millions of Americans unemployed. "I have met with some people while I was home dealing with domestic abuse. It has gotten out of hand. Why? Men don't have jobs. Women don't have jobs either, but women aren't abusive -- most of the time. Men, when they're out of work, tend to become abusive. Our domestic crisis shelters in Nevada are jammed. It's the way it is all over the country." questioned Reid's suggestion that abusive men outnumber their female counterparts, citing a British study in 2000 that found that women are just as likely to initiate domestic violence." "If recession-related stress and money woes are shortening men's tempers, they're probably shortening women's too -- which, ironically, only improves Reid's argument about the jobs bill, although he's too captive to identify politics to try to make that point," reads one post.

Nemko also cited a California State University study that finds that women are as physically aggressive or more aggressive than men in their relationships with male partners.

More here


A very interesting interview with Rupert Murdoch, the new owner of the WSJ

I liked the bit where it was noted that out of ten major American newspapers, nine had lost circulation recently while the WSJ actually increased its circulation.


Obama’s Phony Populism

President Obama likes to portray himself as a man of the people. But a look behind the veil shows this to be a deception. Take the financial regulatory overhaul brewing in Washington. I know what you’re thinking: What could better illustrate Obama’s bona fides as a champion of the people? He wants to regulate the banking industry after the recent debacle and is being fought by the banks and the Republicans. Doesn’t this clearly demonstrate his pro-people agenda?

A closer looks reveals the real story to be something quite different. First, there has never been an unregulated banking industry in the United States. You can look it up. And since 1914 we’ve had a central bank, the Fed, whose regulatory powers have only increased over the decades. Several other agencies also regulate the banks. There are regulators at the state level too.

But to focus only on regulation is to miss a big part of the story. In truth what we have had is a banking cartel, a partnership of government (state or national) and nominally private financial institutions. This partnership has two broad aspects that function as a quid pro quo: regulation and protection from free competition, that is, special privilege. The two sides haven’t always agreed on the exact proportions of the two elements, and the bankers have even disagreed among themselves. But lack of unanimity about details should not be mistaken for lack of agreement about the fundamental nature of the system. It is a government-banking alliance. Neither side would have it any other way....

The upshot is that the government’s promise to represent the public is false. Even if it wanted to, it wouldn’t have the information required to do the job. The irony is that in presenting itself as the guardian against “systemic risk,” the regulators present the largest systemic risk of all. It’s the Federal Reserve after all that brought us the Great Depression and damaging inflationary booms and bust ever since.

So what can we do? A real program aimed at the people’s well-being would take decision-making away from the government-banking cartel and put the financial industry into a free and open market, where competition would discipline bankers and decentralize decision- making. No small group would be in a position to make economywide mistakes and then get bailed out by their friends in high places. Only in the free market is there accountability. Profits would be private, but so would losses.

Obama should study the Democrats of the 19th century, who stood for competition and free trade in all things, especially money and banking. The party has surely gone downhill since then.

More here


ACORN Gives Itself a Makeover

ACORN, the community organizing group unable to erase the scandals associated with them, appears to be dismantling their operating structure. Politico’s Ben Smith reports:
"The embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local-chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed.

"'Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency,' said the official, citing ACORN's 'diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks."'

"The new organizations, he said 'will be constituted under new banners and new bylaws and new governance,' he said, consistent with the recommendations of an outside panel."

No matter the structure, this is the same group shown on video last summer recommending methods to create an illegal prostitution business. It is the same group which intimidated banks into risky financial practices before the financial collapse. It is the same group whose employees have been indicted for voter registration fraud.

It's my fear that rather than confronting their shady actions of the past, it will just be business as usual for ACORN going forward.

SOURCE. Fuller coverage of the ACORN makeover here


The Really Dark Side of the Proposed Employee Free Choice Act

Many observers are justly alarmed by one of the biggest pending thank-you gifts from the Obama administration to Big Labor—the proposed Employee “Free Choice” Act (EFCA). Already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (HR 800), the measure would radically change how unions organize employees. Under federal law since 1935, employees have voted by secret ballot on whether to accept a union as their bargaining agent.

But union bosses are now in a panic because not enough workers have been voting the “right” way. Private-sector union membership has plunged from 30 percent in 1958 to just 7.2 percent in 2009. And for the future? A poll conducted by Opinion Research Corp. last year found that, by a margin of 82 to 13 percent, non-union workers did not want their jobs unionized.

But under EFCA, once a bare majority of employees in the target “bargaining unit” signs authorization cards, the National Labor Relations Board will install the union as bargaining agent for all employees in the group. Never mind that the Supreme Court has declared such cards “inherently unreliable” — no more secret ballot.

When confronted by union organizers, workers would have to vote publically for or against the union by either signing a card or not. And most employees know that if they don’t sign and the union is installed, they will, as “scabs,” be marked men and women on the union-dominated shop floor.

Though there have been outcries against this attack on individual voting rights, another feature of EFCA that could do real damage to the economy has been less publicized. A brave worker can still say no to signing a union card, but if EFCA becomes law, firms whose employees become unionized must roll over to union demands in first contract negotiations.

EFCA would force the parties to submit to federal mediation if they cannot reach agreement in 90 days. If that fails, government appointed arbitrators would dictate the new labor contract. Knowing that the purpose of EFCA is to reward unions for supporting the political party to which they have been joined at the hip pocket for 80 years, these arbitrators will not be confused about their marching orders: give the unions what they want.

Such fiats will be binding for two years. There is no appeal. It matters not that arbitrators might lack knowledge of business operations, of the employer’s competitive position, or of the long term implications of their orders, e.g., cancelled expansion plans.

If passed, EFCA will thus be one more step toward nationalization of the U.S. economy, and the tab will be paid in higher consumer prices, higher unemployment, curtailed business investment, or all three.

More here



Hands up: Who has heard of Senator Joseph McCarthy? All hands shoot up. The Left make sure that we never forget him. Hands up again: Who has heard of Richard Ichord? All hands stay down. Yet both men did much the same thing: Endeavour to expose crypto-Communists in America's public life. And Ichord's House Un-American Activities Committee ran for much, much longer than Senator McCarthy's inquiry. So how come we hear so much of one man but hear virtually nothing of the other? Easy: McCarthy was a Republican. Ichord was a Democrat.

America's failed communist past: "Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America, established in Virginia in 1607, had an experience similar to the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Early years of starvation were followed by converting to a system of property rights and a free market, which brought abundance. Under collectivism, less than half of every shipload of settlers survived the first 12 months at Jamestown. Most of the work was done by only one-fifth of the men, to whom the socialist system gave the same rations as to the others. During the winter of 1609-10, called ‘The Starving Time,’ the population fell from 500 to 60. But when Jamestown converted to a free market, there was ‘plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure,’ wrote the colony secretary Ralph Hamor in 1614.”

Credit CARD Act penalizes thrift and entrepreneurship: "Today, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 goes into effect. While the law, passed last May, is being hailed as a boon for consumers, it's already causing a slew of unintended consequences. Congress should carefully consider how the CARD Act will harm consumers and entrepreneurs and revise the law’s flawed provisions. Furthermore, Congress should resist populist proposals that would further distort the credit card market, such as interest rate caps or price controls on payment card interchange fees. The CARD Act will make it harder for consumers to get credit just as policymakers are trying to get credit flowing. Ironically, the bill will result in higher interest rates for many cardholders, because it limits the ability of banks to properly price the risks associated with cardholders who make late payments."

The incredible, vanishing greenback : "The ruling elite in Washington is going to try to inflate its way out of its debt conundrum, attempting to pay off the government’s foreign creditors with greenbacks that lose value right before your eyes, like an ice cream cone melting on a hot summer day. The process is already well under way. If you could once buy a silver dollar for one greenback, but it now costs 15 greenbacks, then the dollar is now worth seven 1960 cents. If gold once cost $35 an ounce and it now costs $1,100 an ounce, than the greenback is now worth about three 1940 pennies.”

City to be barred from hiring the most competent firefighters? "The Supreme Court signaled yesterday that it may be willing to let a group of African-Americans sue Chicago for discrimination over a hiring test that weeded out black applicants to become firefighters. It is the second time in as many years the high court has tackled discrimination in testing within the firefighting ranks. In a landmark case last year, the Supreme Court in a 5-to-4 decision said New Haven violated white firefighters’ civil rights by throwing out an exam in which no African-Americans scored high enough to be promoted to lieutenant or captain. In yesterday’s case, the City of Chicago decided to use a test to weed out potential firefighter trainee applicants. Anyone who scored 64 or below was deemed not qualified. But the city set a second cutoff score of 89 points. Officials told applicants who scored below 89 but above 64 that although they passed the test, they probably would not be hired because of the large number of people who scored 89 or above. The majority of those in the top-scoring group were white; only 11 percent were black.” [If my house was on fire, I'd like the guys trying to save it to be REALLY smart]

We gain from trade with China: "To protectionists and Sinophobes, the news of China recently surpassing Germany to become the world’s largest exporter represents yet another nail in the coffin for manufacturing in ‘[insert Western country].’ But China’s exports include Apple’s ubiquitous iPods and countless other products designed in the West. More than a reflection of China’s growing economic might, this is testament to the erosion of economic, political, physical and technological barriers to production. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism as a viable model, together with containerised shipping, GPS, just-in-time supply, and other technological marvels, has spawned a global division of labour and production that defies traditional analysis — and trade accounting.”

The “stimulus” actually raised unemployment: "Since federal spending accounted for exactly zero of the only significant increase in GDP, how could such spending possibly have ‘created or saved’ 2 million jobs? The bill was launched last year amid grandiose promises of ’shovel ready’ make-work projects. In reality, as the CBO explains, ‘five programs accounted for more than 80% of the outlays from ARRA in 2009: Medicaid, unemployment compensation, Social Security … grants to state and local governments … and student aid.’ In other words, what was labeled a ’stimulus’ bill was actually a stimulus to government transfer payments — cash and benefits that are primarily rewards for not working, or at least not working too hard.”


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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, February 23, 2010

The Australian Leftist government can say "jihad" and "terrorism". Why can't Obama?

Could Obama say ANY of the things below? Americans eat your heart out!

Prime Minister Rudd, above, is a committed Christian, and, unlike Mr. Obama, is not known to believe that the Muslim call to prayer is "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset"

THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, will today try to regain political momentum with the release of the Counter-Terrorism White Paper which warns of an increased threat from people born or raised in Australia who have become influenced by a "violent jihadist message". The paper, commissioned after the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008, finds successes in fighting terrorism, such as the diminution of al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and other groups in South-East Asia, have been offset by the rise of movements in Yemen and Somalia.

Mr Rudd will accompany the launch by pledging to spend $69 million over the next four years for the introduction of biometric checks on visa applicants from the 10 top suspect countries. Anyone applying for a visa will have to present in person to be fingerprinted and photographed. The information will be used to prove the applicant's identity, in part by matching it against information held in the databases of other nations. Mr Rudd will not reveal the identity of the 10 countries until the measures in each are implemented over the next year....

The paper found terrorism had "emerged as a persistent and permanent feature of Australia's security environment". "The main threat to Australia's security comes from a global jihadist movement, including al-Qaeda and those inspired by a similar world view," it says.

The new white paper says the threat has evolved to incorporate one that is more home-grown in nature. "There has been an increase in the threat from people born or raised in Australia who have become influenced by the violent jihadist message," it says.

More here


Destruction of the world's money

The U.S. dollar and the British pound have lost value and now the Euro is way down too. Only minor currencies such as Swiss Francs and Australian dollars have kept their value. People with savings have already lost a lot with more to come -- all because most governments printed a heap of new money during the GFC

Derivative traders are signalling that the euro's slump to a nine-month low will continue even if European Union leaders bail out Greece. Short-term rates for borrowing in euros in the forwards market are the cheapest relative to loans in dollars since September. The 50 per cent collapse in that spread this month signals investors are betting the European Central Bank will keep its target interest rate at a record low, sacrificing euro strength to prevent deficit cutting by debt-laden economies in the region from stymieing growth.

"Investors have already started to think about the next likely phase of the present crisis, and it appears that all they are finding are new reasons to sell the euro," said David Woo, global head of foreign-exchange strategy at Barclays Plc in London. "Aggressive fiscal tightening by Greece, Spain and Portugal are likely to plunge their economies back into recession. All else being equal, this calls for a looser monetary policy."

The shift underscores a turnabout in the two most-traded currencies. In the last three quarters of 2009, the euro outperformed the dollar relative to 15 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg, with Deutsche Bank AG's euro index gaining 1 per cent and the IntercontinentalExchange Inc.'s Dollar Index down 9 per cent. Since Nov. 25, the dollar is up 8.3 per cent and has outdone all but four major currencies as the euro lost ground against them. The euro traded at $US1.3613 in New York, unchanged from Feb. 19. The currency is down 5 per cent against the U.S. currency this year.

More here


Worried Democrat governors turn on Obama

BARACK Obama has copped a political hiding from state governors in his party who believe he has failed to connect with voters and needs to rethink his strategy. At a meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington yesterday, many Democrats said the US President had lost the communications battle with his Republican opponents over the past year. Worried about their future and their party's prospects in mid-term congressional elections in November, Democrat governors pointed the finger at the head of their party.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said the White House strategy needed to be better thought out after Republicans successfully tarnished last year's $US787 billion ($874bn) economic stimulus package to combat the recession. "Ironically, the best communicator in the history of political campaigning turned out, in his first year in office, not to communicate very well," Mr Rendell said. "They let the Republicans take the spin right from the beginning. The stimulus got beat up before one dollar was spent."

Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico and an Obama supporter, urged the President to quickly decide on the future of the healthcare legislation, which is stalled by the Republicans in the Senate, and then move on to jobs and the economy.

The Democrats' tough advice comes as Mr Obama tries to revive his health legislation by proposing a pared-back version at a bipartisan summit with party leaders later this week. Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell confirmed yesterday that his party would attend the summit, to be televised nationally. Mr Obama is expected to offer a trimmed-down proposal to overhaul US healthcare with limits on premium increases by the health insurance firms to help stop a costs blowout.

After a year of acrimony on the health reforms, Senator McConnell yesterday lashed out at the White House and signalled a rough year ahead in the lead-up to the mid-term congressional elections at which his party expects to win back many seats and possibly regain majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The White House hopes Mr Obama's oratory and debating skills will help win public support in the televised health summit. But Senator McConnell said: "The fundamental point I want to make is the arrogance of all this. You know, they are saying, `Ignore the wishes of the American people. We know more about this than you do, and we're going to jam it down your throats no matter what'."

Mr Obama sought support from both parties for his stimulus package, which has been revised upwards to $US864bn. Speaking to the governors, he said the economic crisis had forced urgency and extraordinary measures to "right the ship". While many Obama opponents have blasted big government spending, California's Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, praised the stimulus package as positive



Obama the philosopher king

President Obama is readying to unleash a variety of executive powers to circumvent Congress and push his agenda. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that a review of mechanisms was under way to "get the job done across a front of issues." The president claims he has to resort to extraordinary methods because of partisan gridlock, but he has learned the wrong lessons from his failed freshman year in office. Mr. Obama's initiatives haven't stalled because of partisanship but because they are transparently bad for America.

It's odd that the president and his apologists blame partisanship for his legislative problems. Mr. Obama came into office with a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate majority, the largest since the Jimmy Carter era, and the most Democratic House members since the early 1990s. Those comfortable majorities should have meant smooth sailing for Mr. Obama's legislative agenda, and some of his early initiatives, such as the so-called stimulus package, passed fairly easily. Republicans were shunted aside unceremoniously and could not stop the liberal juggernaut.

The reason Mr. Obama began to run into problems had less to do with partisanship than with public opposition to his ideological agenda.

When the ambiguous "hope and change" theme was replaced with a series of hard-left policies, America balked. A Feb. 8 Gallup survey shows that Mr. Obama suffered 60 percent or worse disapproval ratings on his economic policies, health care proposals and budget deficit management. Resistance in Congress reflects the mood of the electorate, and the critical push-back comes from within the Democratic Party. Previously safe congressional seats are suddenly in play, and many members of Congress wonder if they will soon be joining the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

A prudent president would understand that his policies are the problem and move to the center to give moderates in his party room to breathe. Instead, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to advance his agenda by circumventing Congress, even though Democrats will bear the brunt of the blame in November.

Exploiting executive power is nothing new for Mr. Obama. He has appointed more executive-branch policy "czars" than any of his predecessors. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a liberal West Virginia Democrat, sent a letter to the White House in February 2009 expressing concern that a surfeit of czars can "threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances." But last fall, Mr. Obama pressured Democrats in the Senate to kill legislation that would have brought his czars under congressional oversight.

Mr. Obama claimed emergency powers to reshape two of the Big Three auto manufacturers. He has sought the authority to assume extraordinary powers to deal with cyberthreats and purported climate change. He has used executive orders to pursue pet causes, such as EO 13502, which effectively banned nonunion labor from federal construction projects, and EO 13509, which established the Soviet-sounding Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. Even Mr. Obama's liberal supporters have blanched at his claims of power regarding extraordinary rendition, surveillance, state secrets, signing statements and executive privilege.

Mr. Obama seems to have basic problems with democracy. He doesn't like it when people disagree with him; he resists compromise, and he seems to think he should be free to reshape the country to suit his vision. Those who challenge him are ignored, mocked or told to shut up.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama said, "Let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am president of the United States." As president, however, he seems increasingly to view himself as a philosopher king. If Mr. Obama seeks to exploit executive power to ram through policies the American people oppose, they will hold him and his party accountable. There will be a lot for his successor to undo in 2013.



Coverup! Obama Administration Denies Public Access to Fannie and Freddie Documents

Judicial Watch has been digging hard into the scandals behind the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their role in helping trigger the global financial crisis. A key component of this investigation involves the role political corruption played in the failure of adequate congressional oversight and the catastrophic collapse of these "government sponsored entities" in 2008. That's why we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Obama administration to get hold of documents related to Fannie and Freddie's campaign contributions over the last several election cycles.

We figure since American taxpayers are on the hook for trillions of dollars, potentially including $400 billion alone for Fannie and Freddie, we deserve to know how and why this financial collapse occurred and who in Washington, D.C. is responsible. Unfortunately the Obama administration disagrees. Just last month the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the agency responsible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, responded to our FOIA lawsuit by telling us that all of the documents we seek are not "FOIA-able"!....

So there you have it. You and I are paying the tab for the collapse of Fannie and Freddie, but we are not allowed to ask any questions about why it happened. The Obama administration is saying, in effect, "None of your business."

This is an outrage! Obama administration officials and their lawyers can argue until they are blue in the face that Fannie and Freddie are not federal agencies. But their reasoning is straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

More here



Va. Episcopalians narrowly vote not to recognize gay marriage: "The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia hedged on recognizing same-sex unions Saturday, instead voting to form a committee to set standards for church-sanctioned blessings of such unions once they are approved by the entire 2-million-member Episcopal Church. About 346 delegates to the dioceses annual council meeting at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria narrowly voted -- by a show of hands -- to form the committee. It was a less radical choice for the 80,000-member Virginia diocese, the largest in the Episcopal Church. A substitute amendment suggesting the diocese allow openly gay clergy and same-sex blessings failed after a lengthy debate."

Lawmakers to press military on fate of homosexual ban: “Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ makes sense or would be too disruptive. The testimony from each of the service chiefs on Capitol Hill will be crucial to the debate in Congress on whether to repeal the 17-year-old law, which bans gays from serving openly in the military.”


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 (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)


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)


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Avandia beatup

I would normally cover this on my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog but as it seems to be part of a political war against the drug companies designed to shore up support for Obamacare, I am covering it here. It is a huge crock, as I will point out at the foot of the article below. Politicians faulting the super-cautious FDA on drug safety really is a laugh

A Senate report that revives concerns about a GlaxoSmithKline PLC diabetes drug's link to heart attacks is putting pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to make changes to its drug-safety program. People familiar with the situation say agency leaders held calls over the weekend to discuss how to address complaints from Sens. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) and Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), who released a new report Saturday on the Glaxo drug, called Avandia.

The FDA is trying to assemble a timeline of what the FDA knew of risks associated with Avandia, these people say, and plans to call a meeting of an outside advisory committee in the next few months to look at recent information on the drug, which Glaxo reported as having global sales of £771 million ($1.2 billion) in 2009.

According to a two-year investigation by the Senate Finance Committee, Glaxo knew about data linking Avandia to elevated risk of cardiovascular events for several years, but played down the information and tried to suppress doctors who raised concerns. Starting in 1999, Glaxo executives complained to superiors about researchers who questioned Avandia's safety, the report says.

Glaxo rejected those conclusions. It said in a statement that the increased risk of heart attacks hasn't been proven and noted that the FDA "has ruled that Avandia remain available." The company says it never tried to suppress doctors' views but sought to correct what it considered misinformation.

Internal FDA reviews included in the Senate report show that in 2008, longtime FDA scientists David Graham and Kate Gelperin urged the FDA to get Avandia off the market. They analyzed data on side effects in dozens of Avandia studies, but their recommendations were rejected by FDA chiefs. The senators want to know why.

Avandia is still on the market, but it has a strong warning label about cardiac risks. Its sales dropped after a widely publicized study in May 2007 by the Cleveland Clinic's Steven Nissen that linked Avandia to a 43% greater risk for heart attack.


Below is a meta-analysis of the data upon which the FDA based its decision. The meta-analysis appeared in the prestigious "Journal of the American Medical Association"

Long-term Risk of Cardiovascular Events With Rosiglitazone: A Meta-analysis

By Sonal Singh et al.

Context: Recent reports of serious adverse events with rosiglitazone use have raised questions about whether the evidence of harm justifies its use for treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Objective: To systematically review the long-term cardiovascular risks of rosiglitazone, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality.

Data Sources: We searched MEDLINE, the GlaxoSmithKline clinical trials register, the US Food and Drug Administration Web site, and product information sheets for randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses published in English through May 2007.

Study Selection: Studies were selected for inclusion if they were randomized controlled trials of rosiglitazone for prevention or treatment of type 2 diabetes, had at least 12 months of follow-up, and monitored cardiovascular adverse events and provided numerical data on all adverse events. Four studies were included after detailed screening of 140 trials for cardiovascular events.

Data Extraction: Relative risks (RRs) of myocardial infarction, heart failure, and cardiovascular mortality were estimated using a fixed-effects meta-analysis of 4 randomized controlled trials (n = 14 291, including 6421 receiving rosiglitazone and 7870 receiving control therapy, with a duration of follow-up of 1-4 years).

Results: Rosiglitazone significantly increased the risk of myocardial infarction (n = 94/6421 vs 83/7870; RR, 1.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.06-1.91; P = .02) and heart failure (n = 102/6421 vs 62/7870; RR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.52-2.88; P < .001) without a significant increase in risk of cardiovascular mortality (n = 59/6421 vs 72/7870; RR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.63-1.26; P = .53). There was no evidence of substantial heterogeneity among the trials for these end points (I2 = 0% for myocardial infarction, 18% for heart failure, and 0% for cardiovascular mortality).

Conclusion: Among patients with impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes, rosiglitazone use for at least 12 months is associated with a significantly increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure, without a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.

JAMA Vol. 298 No. 10, 1189-1195, September 12, 2007

In other words, a survey of the strongest data available showed that taking Avandia increased your risk of having a heart attack from 1.05% to 1.46%, an increase in risk of less than one half of one percent -- which is vanishingly trivial compared to the risks we take in most things we do. Given the large sample size, however, the result is statistically significant, if not significant in any other sense. If we were to reject such small risks as that we would have NO drugs on the market because all drugs have some adverse side-effects.

But here's the real kicker. Read the last clause in the abstract above. What it means in plain English is this: Although Avandia takers had a minutely greater risk of having heart attacks, the "extra" heart attacks DID NOT KILL THEM. Avandia takers were no more likely to die from a heart attack than anybody else! And THAT is the drug that is so evil that the Senate Democrats are making a huge fuss about it! It's just the usual search for evil in the world about them that IS Leftism. See the article immediately following this one.


Grassley is a Republican but he was an easy target to get sucked into this affair as he has in the past made something of a career of exposing researchers who had failed to declare payments received from drug companies. His interest is clearly in the possibility of corruption rather than in the science.


The Perpetual-Crisis Machine Of The Apocalyptic Left

The left is in crisis-overdrive. Imminent disaster is its rallying cry. The world will end, if we don’t appropriate billions, launch another massive government program, shower condoms on 6-year-olds, socialize another sector of the economy, cede more of our freedom to Washington, and venerate the polar bears.

Since at least the early 1960s, the left has been in a constant state of agitation, prophesying doom at every turn. Any who question its hysteria-mongering are labeled anti-science, a tool of corporate interests, insensitive or just plain Republican.

The refrain is always the same: Don’t question. Don’t examine the evidence too closely. Don’t debate the proposals. Whatever you do, don’t read the legislation before you vote. Just give us what we want, or civilization, as we know it, will cease to exist, millions will die horrible deaths – and it will be your fault.

Like its progenitor, Karl Marx, the left is always wrong – often hilariously so. On September 24, 2008, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (to speak of a Kennedy scion from the low end of the gene pool implies there’s another end), in a commentary for the Los Angeles Times, pointed to recent mild winters in the D.C. area (“anemic” he called them) as conclusive evidence of global warming.

Junior disclosed, “Once, my father, Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, brought a delegation of visiting Eskimos home … for lunch. They spent the afternoon building a great igloo in the deep snow of our back yard.” Yet, in the face of irrefutable evidence of lack of igloo-building, “Exxon Mobil and its carbon cronies continue to pour money into think tanks whose purpose is to deceive the American public into believing that global warming is a fantasy.” Kennedys know a lot about deceiving the American public.

Meanwhile, the blizzard from which Washingtonians just dug out surpassed the record snowfall of 1899. At one point, Dulles Airport reported that 72 inches had fallen. The response of the apocalyptic left? Well, we told you global warming will result in extreme weather conditions. You see, mild winters prove global warming – as do severe winters. Any questions?

Karl Marx was the original progressive doom-and-gloomer. In the mid-19th century, Marx (who never set foot in a factory or met a blue-collar worker) confidently predicted the “crisis of capitalism” – the rich would keep getting richer, while the proletariat would have children, until, on the verge of starvation, the latter would throw off their chains in a worldwide revolution.

Instead of poverty, the proletariat got collective bargaining, employer-paid health insurance, and comfortable pensions. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your 401-k plans.

It wasn’t quite a straight line from “The Communist Manifesto” to Rachel Carson’s “The Silent Spring” (1962). The Al Gore of her day, Carson warned of environmental catastrophe from the widespread use of DDT to control the mosquitos that spread malaria. Considered the mother of the environmentalist movement, Carson was responsible for the 30-year ban on DDT, finally lifted by the World Health Organization in 2006. Her book claimed the compound caused cancer in humans and genetic damage to birds and beneficial insects – all based on anecdotal evidence and rats doing laps in vats of DDT.

In 1981, Rachel Carson got a commemorative U.S. postage stamp. Millions in the Third World – especially pregnant women and children – got early deaths from malaria, which DDT had largely eliminated by the mid-60s.

From “The Silent Sprint” to “An Inconvenient Truth" and beyond, it’s been a steady march of hysteria, manufactured statistics and speculation totally detached from reality. Stroll down memory lane and meet the ghosts of liberal crises past.

• The Homeless – The “homelessness crisis” suddenly appeared in the early ‘80s, conveniently, just as the left was looking for an emotional way to indict Reaganomics. Supposedly, millions of homeless wandered the streets of our cities, pushing shopping carts, sleeping on heating grates and mooching change. Shelters were filled to capacity. Rising unemployment, lack of affordable housing and the disappearance of the proverbial safety net were to blame, liberals charged. We were all just a few steps away from the streets, they told us.

Mitch Snyder, self-anointed advocate for pavement people (Martin Sheen played him in a made-for-T.V. Movie – “Samaritan: The Mitch Snyder Story”), informed an ever-credulous media that there were 3 million homeless, a statistic he later admitted making up. In a campus address, Snyder, who committed suicide in 1990, tearfully told us that in America, 45 homeless people die every second. That would mean 1.4 billion (four times the total U.S. population) expire annually, and then are resurrected to die again the following year.

P.J. O’Rourke once wrote that if you put all of the homeless in affordable housing, half are so crazy they’d jump out the windows and the other half would sell the plumbing for drugs or booze. According to one study, between 65% and 85% of the homeless are mentally ill, alcoholics, addicts, or a combination thereof.

We were all just a few cases of Thunderbird or a psychotic episode away from the streets.

• The AIDS Epidemic – Discovered about the same time as the homeless crisis, the dread contagion wasn’t a gay disease, we were assured – on the theory that, if it was, we wouldn’t care enough. Everyone was susceptible. If we didn’t spend billions pronto, AIDS would sweep the nation like wildfire.

“Now No One Is Safe From AIDS,” screeched the cover of Life magazine. It was worse than the Black Plague, a Joe Biden speech and daytime television combined. Then-Surgeon General C. Everett Koop (who was co-opted by the AIDS lobby) forecast a “heterosexual AIDS explosion.” Oprah said that by 1990, 20% of all heterosexuals would be dead from AIDS. Clinton’s HHS Secretary Donna Shalala said AIDS may leave “nobody left.”

These projections were delusional, to put it mildly. According to The Centers for Disease Control, in 2007, 14,561 died from AIDS – not much of a mega-plague, when compared to 631,636 deaths from heart disease, 559,888 from cancer and 137,119 from stroke in the same year.

A 1988 New York Times story (“Researchers List Odds of Getting AIDS in Heterosexual Intercourse’) gave away the game. According to the paper, which never misses a chance to proselytize for the gay agenda, the chances of contracting AIDS from a single act of heterosexual intercourse – with an infected partner and without a condom -- were 1 in 500. No one was safe from AIDS – no one who was gay, bisexual or into sharing (needles).

• The National Epidemic of Hate Crimes – The late Sen. Edward Kennedy called hate crimes “domestic terrorism” – thereby suggesting that they were just as much a threat to our nation’s security as al-Qaeda, Taliban, Hezbollah and every jihad-preaching imam around the world. Neo-Nazis, Ku-Kluxers and freelance haters were roaming our streets looking for victims on which to inflict their vile animus. The alleged epidemic led to the passage last year of The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which added “sexual orientation” to the category of protected classes.

Just how much of a hate-crimes crisis there is may be seen from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. (The FBI is required to compile statistics of so-called bias offenses.) According to the UCR, in 2007, there were 16,929 murders and over 855, 000 cases of aggravated assault in the United States. There were also a grand total of 7,624 hate crimes of all kinds – motivated by race, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, whatever.

Of that number, 78% involved either intimidation (words alone), or simple assault (no serious injury occurred), which included pushing and shoving. In 2007, 9 murders were classified as hate crimes – which constituted .0005 % of total homicides. Your chances of being the victim of a hate crime – any hate crime – are comparable to being struck by lightening twice while bungee-jumping on Groundhog Day. For this, we abrogated the First Amendment’s Free Speech clause.

• Global Warming—To justify spending trillions of dollars, drastically altering our way of life and wrecking our economy with idiocies like Cap and Trade, in “An Inconvenient Truth,” Gore forecast that the sea level could rise by as much as 20 feet, due to melting polar ice caps. Even, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, run by the global-warming alarmists, was more modest – predicting that sea levels would rise 17 inches by 2100.

Besides his Oscar, Gore deserved a Nebula Award for science fiction writing. Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, a Swedish geologist and physicist who formerly headed the International Commission on Sea Level Change, says that, despite fluctuations, the sea level “has not risen in the past 50 years.” And if there is any change in this century, it will “not be more than 10 cm (4 inches), with an uncertainty of plus or minus 10 cm.” The mainstream media would call Dr. Morner a “global-warming denier.”

Still, Gore’s forecast could come to pass. If the 1.4 billion homeless who die in America every year each had a burial at sea … .

• Over-population – The world was “overpopulated” in 1798, when Thomas Malthus wrote “Principles of Population” and planet earth contained less than a billion people. In his tract, Malthus predicted mass starvation in the coming century. Instead, we got the Industrial Revolution and the greatest expansion of material well-being in history.

The world was overpopulated in 1968, when there were 3.63 billion on earth and Paul Ehrlich wrote “The Population Bomb,” in which he predicted mass starvation in the 1970s – and thus joined the ranks of Malthus and Marx as a prophet of dumb. Today, the world’s population is 6.8 billion. It’s been said that you could fit everyone currently on earth into Texas, and they’d have 1,000 sq. feet of living space. If those quarters are too tight, you could send them all to Brazil, where they'd each have three acres.

If starvation and overcrowding won’t do the trick, how about climate change? Now, it’s argued that a growing population increases carbon fuel consumption, depletes the ozone layer and – aaaaarah! We’re all going to die! Thus, the left has one of its newest myths (global warming) driving one of its oldest myths (overpopulation).

• The Health Insurance Crisis – In his State of the Union address, Barack Obama warned, “By the time I’m finished speaking …. more Americans (45 a second?) will have lost their health insurance.” “Millions will lose it this year.” Plus, (you guessed it) we’re all just a job away from being one of the health insurance-less.

Obama and the Democrats are wedded to the figure 46 million for the number of uninsured in America. For a change, the stat comes from a reliable source, the U.S. Census Bureau. But this is a snapshot of a point in time. It does not mean that 46 million Americans are uninsured over the course of a year. It also doesn’t tell us why they’re uninsured. (Some are between jobs.)

The same data shows that 38% of the uninsured earn more than $50,000 a year and 9.1 million earn more than $75,000. They could afford health insurance. Many are young and healthy and willing to gamble the cost of insurance against the prospect of a serious illness. Another 14 million qualify for government programs that they’re not currently using. And almost 10 million aren’t U.S. citizens. Obama swears on a stack of Korans they’ll never get federally mandated health insurance.

The chronically uninsured are about 8 million, in a population of 305 million. For this we’re expected to turn the best health-care system in the world over to the politicians and bureaucrats who gave us sub-prime mortgages, $1,000 toilet seats and the U.S. Postal Service – and get rationing, death panels, and federally funded abortion in the process.

If they were honest, liberals would confess: “There’s a severe power crisis in this country. When it comes to power over your own life, you have too much and we have too little. Please help us to rectify this situation.”

Of course, that would get them nowhere. Hence, the left’s perpetual-crisis machine – apocalypse now. ”Unless you let us do something drastic right away, you could get AIDS, end up homeless, lose your health insurance, see your beachfront property under 20 feet of water, and watch as beach towels are airlifted to the Eskimos." Goebbels wouldn’t have the gall to concoct the lies they’ve been peddling for half a century.

But more than a power grab is involved. The left hates the middle-class, hates private property and hates limited, constitutional government. It wants to make us feel guilty for what we have. Whatever the crisis, ultimately, it’s our fault – it’s our greed, stupidity, callousness or bigotry that fuels the catastrophe.

In the movie “The Invention of Lying,” Ricky Gervais lives in a world where everyone tells the absolute truth. The protagonist becomes the first person to intentionally tell a lie. (Could the invention of liberals be far behind?) To see how much he can get away with, in one memorable scene, Gervais approaches a beautiful woman on the street and tells her, “If we don’t have sex right now, the world will end.” She responds, “Do we have time to go to a motel, or do we have to do it here?”

That's the way liberal crisis-mongers operate – Let us screw you, right now, or the world will end.




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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)