Saturday, March 12, 2011

Politics is just another beauty contest

By Dr. Oliver Marc Hartwich, a German economist

Those working in politics and the media often assume that elections are lost or won on the big issues that so excite them. In reality, very few voters actually care about the intricate details of the National Broadband Network, Australia’s role in the G20, or the next round of the Doha talks. Sometimes even a politician’s smile is more important than his or her policies.

Voters bias towards more beautiful politicians has long been confirmed in surveys. Where voters are uninformed about politicians’ plans and beliefs, they instinctively go by their appearance. But new research from Scandinavia reveals that good looks are quite unevenly distributed in this beauty contest.

In their discussion paper The Right Look: Conservative Politicians Look Better and Their Voters Reward It, economists Niclas Berggren, Henrik Jordahl, and Panu Poutvaara analysed the attractiveness of more than 1,300 Finnish politicians by asking non-Finns to rate their facial appearance.

Given that most people outside Finland would not recognise the Finnish president, let alone obscure politicians from Jämsänkoski and Lappeenranta, it is safe to assume that there was no political bias involved.

The results were surprising. Right-wingers were on average found to be more attractive and more competent than left-wingers, especially in local government. Perhaps even more interestingly, right-wing voters also cared more about good looks than left-wingers. The ‘beauty premium’ in electoral contests was bigger on the right than on the left.

As the authors of the study suggest, this could lead clever right-wingers to go for a dual strategy. While investing in a new pair of glasses and a stylish haircut, they could be running their campaigns on a more left-wing platform. They could harvest the beauty-conscious right-wing voters while simultaneously reaching deep into left-wing spectrum with their policies. Ironically, right-wing beauty would then generate left-wing outcomes.

The study also speculates whether the increasing role of television in elections tends to favour right-wing candidates. But they may be at an advantage anyway. Left-wing election strategists, unaware of the importance of appearance, still try to woo the electorate with boring policy details when all that voters really care about are lipstick colours and beard fashions.

Without a doubt, the Scandinavian research team has opened a can of worms with their survey. New existential questions in politics urgently need to be answered: Why does conservatism make you more beautiful? Or why are beautiful people more conservative? Why don’t lefties care about looks? And why do people believe that being attractive automatically makes you more competent?

After this seminal piece of research, politics will never look the same again. Quite literally, politics may be more of a beauty contest than political wonks realise.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated Mar. 11. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.


Democrat Thuggery in Its Worst Form

After Democratic state senators fled the state to block a fair vote, and after union members took over the capitol building, and after Republican senators received death threats, Wisconsin state Sen. Robert Jauch, D-Poplar, labeled Republican passage of a bill to reduce public employee collective bargaining power "political thuggery in its worst form."

And the left wonders why so much of America doesn't take it seriously.

At 9:18 Wednesday night, an e-mail was sent to Republican state senators in Wisconsin. Its first paragraph reads:
Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your familes [sic] will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell. Read below for more information on possible scenarios in which you will die.

Republican senators reported receiving harassing and threatening phone calls, being physically bumped around at the state capitol, and having their cars struck by protesters. Yet here is how Sen. Jauch described the protests:
I have deeply respected the mature, responsible and thoughtful manner in which hundreds of thousands of citizens have politely exercised free speech in protesting Governor Walker's proposal to end 52 years of collective bargaining.

Unfortunately for Sen. Jauch, more than three-fourths of Americans have Internet access, and, therefore, the ability to see for themselves whether the protesters and Democratic senators were being mature, responsible and thoughtful.

They can decide whether Jauch was more correct than Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman, who said: "This has been all about intimidating, be it the death threats, the screaming in the face, the late night phone calls or the recalls, this has been all about trying to intimidate Republican legislators into bowing to the public unions, and it has only steeled our resolve."

Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said Republicans had denied Wisconsin citizens a "voice." OK, just so we have this straight, fleeing the state to strip the majority of the duly elected Senate of a quorum, shutting down the capitol building, and intimidating the majority with phone and e-mail threats is OK, but passing a bill by majority vote after getting the OK of the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Legislative Council and the Legislative Reference Bureau is silencing the people?

Speaking of denying the people their voice, former Democratic Congressman David Obey is trying to have Gov. Scott Walker recalled. That's not legal under Wisconsin law. Only politicians in office for at least a year can be recalled, and Walker has been in office for eight weeks. But Obey says he should be recalled anyway, ABC News reports, because he's "abusive."

Obey isn't alone. Wisconsin Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca made an effort to have Speaker Joe Fitzgerald removed from office, yelling on the Assembly floor, "your speaker is impaired."

Wisconsin Democrats are trying to recall every Republican senator who has been in office for at least a year. Republicans are trying to recall eight Democrats who fled the state to avoid voting on the union compensation and bargaining bill. Democrats want to recall the Republicans "because they support Walker's anti-union bill," according to ABC News.

But it's the Republicans who are trying to silence the people? Gov. Scott Walker won election last fall with 52 percent of the vote. The state Senate went from 18-15 Democrat to 19-14 Republican. The Assembly went from 50-45 Democrat (with two independents) to 60-38 Republican (with one independent). Sen. Russ Feingold lost the seat he'd held for 18 years, and the House seat Obey held for 41 years went Republican.

It was a Republican electoral victory of historic proportions. And the Democrats and public-sector labor unions are trying to undo it by shutting down the legislature, intimidating the majority, and removing fairly elected politicians simply because they disagree with them. In Wisconsin, it's not the Republicans who are subverting the will of the people.



Another Unqualified, Unethical Liberal Appointed to the Court

Apparently she thought that a superior American liberal like her had no need to take seriously a gang of slanty-eyed gooks and that lies would suffice as a response to them

On January 5, 2011 President Obama renominated Susan Carney to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Carney is unqualified to serve as an appeals court judge. She has never tried a case to conclusion, she has rarely examined witnesses, and she has never even argued a case before an appeals court. Even the American Bar Association gave her a lackluster rating of Substantial Majority Qualified, Minority Unqualified. Fn.1.

While serving as Yale’s Deputy General Counsel, Carney was heavily involved in a scandal, which calls her integrity and competence into question. The following is an excerpt from the Yale Daily News about the scandal:
In September 2005, officials at Dongguk [University] sent a letter to Yale requesting confirmation of a letter provided by one of their professors, Shin Jeong-ah, who said she had received her doctorate from Yale’s Graduate School. Pamela Schirmeister, associate dean at the Graduate School, told Dongguk officials that she had signed the letter, failing to check her records or notice that her name had been misspelled, the lawsuit claims.

In 2007, suspicious of Shin’s credentials, Dongguk University President Youngkyo Oh sent a letter to University President Richard Levin asking if Shin had graduated from the University. Yale officials checked their records and found that Shin never did. Still, they denied that Dongguk had sent the original letter asking for verification.

When Oh contacted Levin in July 2007, Yale officials had already been sent a copy of the 2005 letter and a facsimile of Schirmeister’s response. The next day, Yale Deputy General Counsel Susan Carney replied to Oh, saying that the facsimile of her response was not authentic. But, as the Dongguk lawyers found, Yale officials had made this assessment without checking their files.

And despite what she told Oh, Carney described the letters as “troubling” in an e-mail to Nina Glickson, an assistant to Levin, expressing concern that the 2005 letter and her response might be real.

The following August, Dongguk officials again tried to prove that Yale had received and responded to the 2005 letter. They e-mailed Carney, telling her they had a receipt for the letter that said it had been handled in the Yale Central Mailroom by an employee named Michael Moore.

Still, even with the specific information provided by the receipt, the lawsuit claims that no Yale official attempted to search University records to check if the letter had been received.

Dongguk’s lawyers said the internal e-mails show that Yale officials were not taking Dongguk’s request seriously. For example, one Yale official — Edward Barnaby, a graduate school assistant dean ­— joked in an e-mail to Carney that “maybe the letter wound up in the hands of the controversial documentary filmmaker …”

[Yale] officials took action when, at the request of Korean prosecutors, the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed Yale on Oct. 17, 2007 for documents related to Shin’s upcoming criminal trial in Korea. The next day, an assistant to Schirmeister searched the dean’s files — and found the September 2005 letter, with its original envelope.

Yale’s actions following the discovery of the letter, Weiner said, went beyond negligence and constituted “dishonorable and disgraceful behavior.” Rather than correcting themselves, the lawsuit claims, Yale officials met over the next week to develop strategy to contain the mistake.

On Oct. 29, they finally told the Department of Justice that they had received and responded to a letter from Dongguk in 2005 that sought to verify Shin’s degree. They told Dongguk the same on Nov. 29. Yale did not release a public statement until Dec. 29, two days after Dongguk held its own a press conference. During this time, the lawyers said, the Korean media continued to condemn Dongguk for the scandal, which it termed “Shingate.”

Dongguk has since alleged that Yale’s actions led to damages equivalent to $50 million.

Weiner said his team plans to take depositions from Carney, Reinstein and Schirmeister in December [2009].

Carney’s liberalism is evidenced by her board service and contributions. For example, she has given money to Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and the National Organization for Women (NOW). She served as a boardmember and officer of Women Organizing Women Political Action Committee (WOWPAC), another pro-abortion group. She also served on the board of Fine by Me, a gay advocacy group.



Planet Washington

By earth-logic, if you got a raise of 10 percent last year, but this year you're only getting a raise of 8 percent, you're still getting a raise. On Planet Washington, that qualifies as an indefensible slashing.

So when the GOP cut $4 billion from the budget last week, the Democrats acted as if it was an involuntary amputation.

Now the GOP wants to cut $61 billion of discretionary nondefense spending from the total budget of $3.7 trillion, and Democrats are responding as if this will spell the end of Western civilization.

But given their terror of forcing a government shutdown, Democrats were forced to counteroffer with a cut of $10.5 billion, or 0.28 percent of the federal budget.

Imagine you have a budget of $10,000 (about 40 percent of it borrowed on a credit card), then "slash" 28 bucks. That's what it's like to be a frugal Democrat....

Look at it this way. Those heartless Republican bastards would cut 2011 nondefense discretionary spending from 3.6 percent to 3.2 percent of GDP. Under Bill Clinton, such spending averaged 3.1 percent of GDP.

We owe $14 trillion we don't have. Our total liabilities -- i.e., Social Security and other entitlements -- dwarf that. So we can't just cut discretionary spending alone. But if it's this hard to ask cowboy poets to pony up, how are we going to deal with what everyone agrees is the much harder stuff?



Obama regime pushes massive mortgage bailout; would rip off pension funds, bank shareholders

Back before the election, intellectuals with ties to the Obama Administration proposed a trillion-dollar bailout for some (but not all) underwater mortgage borrowers, as a way to increase consumer spending.

Now, the Washington Post reports that bureaucrats at the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) want to do something similar on a smaller scale. Their proposal would require banks to write off part of the mortgages of certain (but not all) mortgage borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their house is worth. Worse, they would require mortgage servicers to write off loan principal on loans owned by other institutions, like pension funds, violating their property rights.

Virtually all of America’s pension funds own mortgage-backed securities. Pension funds (including the unions) that millions of people rely on for their retirements would lose billions of dollars due to reduced mortgage value. These demands are contained in a 27-page proposed settlement sent to the banks by the CFPB, the Justice Department, and state attorney generals who sued the banks over their recent foreclosure documentation lapses. Such demands flout court rulings like Louisville Joint Stock Land Bank v. Radford (1935), which overturned a federal law that wiped out mortgage value.

Meanwhile, the write-offs would reward the most financially irresponsible borrowers, while punishing responsibility. If you were thrifty, and made a big downpayment, you will not be eligible for a write-off, since your mortgage will still be smaller than your house is worth, even if your house declined in value. But if you saved little money, and took out a no-downpayment loan, your loan may be bigger than the value of your house even if the value of your house didn’t fall much. Even a small fall in value would leave you “underwater” on your loan, and thus eligible for a bailout under the proposed settlement, to reduce the size of your mortgage to less than your home value.




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)


No comments: