Saturday, July 30, 2011

Leftists DON'T condemn terrorism

Most terrorism is OK to them. They only condemn it when it hits them. Fundamentalist Islam is by far the chief source of terrorism in the world today but Leftists go to great length to cover up and excuse that -- and nowhere is that permissiveness towards Islamic terrorism more pronounced than in Norway

Breivik's manifesto has become the center of the international discussion of his actions largely as a result of the sources he cited.

Kaczynski, like his fellow eco-terrorist Jason Jay Lee, who took several people hostage at the Discovery Channel in Maryland last September, was influenced by the writings of former US vice president Al Gore. A well worn copy of Gore's book Earth in the Balance was reportedly found by federal agents when they searched Kaczynski's cabin in Montana in 1996. Lee claimed that he was "awakened" to the need to commit terrorism to save the environment after he watched Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth."

Aside from Kaczynski, (whom he plagiarized without naming), certain parts of Breivik's manifesto read like a source guide to leading conservative writers and bloggers in the Western world. And this is unprecedented. Never before has a terrorist cited so many conservatives to justify his positions.

Breivik particularly noted writers who focus on critical examinations of multiculturalism and the dangers emanating from jihadists and the cause of global jihad. He also cited the work of earlier political philosophers and writers including John Stuart Mill, George Orwell, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson.

Breivik's citation of conservative writers, (including myself and many of my friends and colleagues in the US and Europe), has dominated the public discussion of his actions. The leftist dominated Western media - most notably the New York Times -- and the left wing of the blogosphere have used his reliance on their ideological opponents' arguments as a means of blaming the ideas propounded by conservative thinkers and the thinkers themselves for Breivik's heinous acts of murder.

For instance, a front page news story in the Times on Monday claimed, "The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam."

The reporter, Scott Shane named several popular anti-jihadist blogs that Breivik mentioned in his manifesto. Shane then quoted left-leaning terrorism expert Marc Sageman who alleged that that the writings of anti-jihad authors "are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged."

That is, Shane quoted Sageman accusing these writers of responsibility for Breivik's acts of murder.

Before considering the veracity of Sageman's claim, it is worth noting that no similar allegations were leveled by the media or their favored terror experts against Gore in the wake of Lee's hostage taking last year, or in the aftermath of Kaczynski's arrest in 1996. Moreover, Noam Chomsky, Michael Scheuer, Stephen Walt and John Mearshimer, whose writings were endorsed by Osama Bin Laden, have not been accused of responsibility for al Qaeda terrorism.

That is, leftist writers whose works have been admired by terrorists have not been held accountable for the acts of terrorism conducted by their readers.

Nor should they have been. And to understand why this sort of guilt-by-readership is wrong, it is worth considering what separates liberal democracies from what the great Israeli historian Jacob Talmon referred to as totalitarian democracies. Liberal democracies are founded on the notion that it is not simply acceptable for citizens to participate in debates about the issues facing their societies. It is admirable for citizens in democracies to participate in debates - even heated ones -- about their government's policies as well as their societies' cultural and moral direction. A citizenry unengaged is a citizenry that is in danger of losing its freedom.

One of the reasons that argument and debate are the foundations of a liberal democratic order is because the more engaged citizens feel in the life of their societies, the less likely they will be to reject the rules governing their society and turn to violence to get their way. As a rule, liberal democracies reject the resort to violence as a means of winning an argument. This is why, for liberal democracies, terrorism in all forms is absolutely unacceptable.

Whether or not one agrees with the ideological self-justifications of a terrorist, as a member of a liberal democratic society, one is expected to abhor his act of terrorism. Because by resorting to violence to achieve his aims, the terrorist is acting in a manner that fundamentally undermines the liberal democratic order.

Liberal democracies are always works in progress. Their citizens do not expect for a day to come when the debaters fall silent because everyone agrees with one another as all are convinced of the rightness of one side. This is because liberal democracies are not founded on messianic aspirations to create a perfect society.

In contrast, totalitarian democracies - and totalitarian democrats -- do have a messianic temperament and a utopian mission to create a perfect society. And so its members do have hopes of ending debate and argument once and for all.

As Talmon explained in his 1952 classic, The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy, the totalitarian democratic model was envisioned by Jean Jacques Rousseau the philosophical godfather of the French Revolution. Rousseau believed that a group of anointed leaders could push a society towards perfection by essentially coercing the people to accept their view of right and wrong. Talmon drew a direct line between Rousseau and the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century - Nazism, fascism and communism.

Today, those who seek to silence conservative thinkers by making a criminal connection between our writings and the acts of a terrorist are doing so in pursuit of patently illiberal ends to say the least. If they can convince the public that our ideas cause the mass murder of children, then our voices will be silenced.

Another aspect of the same anti-liberal behavior is the tendency by many to pick and choose which sorts of terrorism are acceptable and which are unacceptable in accordance with the ideological justifications the terrorists give for their actions. The most recent notable example of this behavior is an interview that Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sevje gave to Maariv on Tuesday. Maariv asked Sevje whether in the wake of Breivik's terrorist attack Norwegians would be more sympathetic to the victimization of innocent Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.

Sevje said no, and explained, "We Norwegians view the occupation as the reason for terror against Israel. Many Norwegians still see the occupation as the reason for attacks against Israel. Whoever thinks this way, will not change his mind as a result of the attack in Oslo."

So in the mind of the illiberal Norwegians, terrorism is justified if the ideology behind it is considered justified. For them it is unacceptable for Breivik to murder Norwegian children because his ideology is wrong. But it is acceptable for Palestinians to murder Israeli children because their ideology is right.

There is only one point at which political philosophy merges into terrorism. That point is when political thinkers call on their followers to carry out acts of terrorism in the name of their political philosophy and they make this call with the reasonable expectation that their followers will fulfill their wishes. Political thinkers who fit this description include the likes of Muslim Brotherhood "spiritual" leader Yousef Qaradawi, Osama Bin Laden, Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin, al Qaeda in Yemen leader Anwar Awlaki and other jihadist leaders.

These leaders are dangerous because they operate outside of the boundaries of democratic polemics. They do not care whether the wider public agrees with their views. Like Mao -- who murdered 70 million people -- they believe that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun not out of rational discourse.

Revealingly, many not particularly liberal Western democracies have granted these terrorist philosophers visas, and embraced them as legitimate thinkers. The hero's welcome Qaradawi enjoyed during his 2005 visit to Britain by then London mayor Ken Livingstone is a particularly vivid example of this practice. The illiberal trajectory British politics has veered onto was similarly demonstrated by the government's 2009 refusal to grant a visa to Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders. Wilders has been demonized as an enemy of freedom for his criticism of Islamic totalitarianism.

The Left's attempts to link conservative writers, politicians and philosophers with Breivik are nothing new. The same thing happened in 1995, when the Left tried to blame rabbis and politicians for the sociopathic Yigal Amir's assassination of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The same thing happened in the US last winter with the Left's insistent attempts to link the psychotic Jared Loughner who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her constituents, with Governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

And it is this tendency that most endangers the future of liberal democracies. If the Left is ever successful in its bid to criminalize ideological opponents and justify acts of terrorism against their opponents, their victory will destroy the liberal democratic foundations of Western civilization.



Bad economic news for America

And for the anti-business morons running the country

Fears that a recovery in the world’s biggest economy is running out of steam were heightened as official figures showed GDP in the US rising 1.3pc in the second quarter, against expectations of a 1.8pc rise.

In a chastening statement, the Commerce Department also downgraded first-quarter growth from an initial estimate of 1.9pc to just 0.4pc. The news helped the Dow to its biggest weekly decline in a year.

The Commerce Department also said household spending had risen at an annual rate of just 0.1pc in the second quarter, prompting fears that high unemployment and a lack of wage growth could mean any resurgence in consumer spending is unlikely to materialise at all in 2011.

“The economy is stuck in a very slow growth scenario,” said Julia Coronado, chief economist for BNP Paribas in New York. “Consumers are still very cautious and vulnerable. This is a very challenging report for policymakers.” That view was echoed by economist Nouriel Roubini: “ This isn’t a soft patch,” he said.

In a further blow to the economy, officials also revised down GDP numbers going back to 2003. The new figures showed the US economy contracted 5.1pc between the final quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, compared with a previous reading of 4.1pc.

Volatility in stock markets came as figures from trade group Investment Company Institute showed that investors last week pulled more cash from money-market mutual funds than in any other week this year as fears grew over the debt situation.

US inflation figures also showed consumer prices, stripping out food and energy, climbing at 2.1pc between April and June, the fastest pace since the last quarter of 2009.

“This is the worst of all worlds for the Fed,” John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo, told Bloomberg. “A little too much inflation, not enough growth, that is a tough scenario.”



The unfeeling psychopath is now getting ratted out even by his own supporters

Peggy Noonan

Nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton's troubles there were always people who'd say, "Look, I love the guy." They'd often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.

The past few weeks I've asked Democrats who supported him how they feel about him. I got back nothing that showed personal investment. Here are the words of a hard-line progressive and wise veteran of the political wars: "I never loved Barack Obama. That said, among my crowd who did 'love' him, I can't think of anyone who still does." Why is Mr. Obama different from Messrs. Clinton and Bush? "Clinton radiated personality. As angry as folks got with him about Nafta or Monica, there was always a sense of genuine, generous caring." With Bush, "if folks were upset with him, he still had this goofy kind of personality that folks could relate to. You might think he was totally misguided but he seemed genuinely so. . . . Maybe the most important word that described Clinton and Bush but not Obama is 'genuine.'" He "doesn't exude any feeling that what he says and does is genuine."

Maybe Mr. Obama is living proof of the political maxim that they don't care what you know unless they know that you care. But the idea that he is aloof and so inspires aloofness may be too pat. No one was colder than FDR, deep down. But he loved the game and did a wonderful daily impersonation of jut-jawed joy. And people loved him.

The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics, and he isn't good at politics because he doesn't really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions."

This wasn't the passionate, take-no-prisoners Clinton War Room of '92, it was high-tech and bloodless. Is that what politics is now? Or does the Obama re-election effort reflect the candidate and his flaws?

Mr. Obama seemed brilliant at politics when he first emerged in 2004. He understood the nation's longing for unity. We're not divided into red states and blue, he said, we're Big Purple, we can solve our problems together. Four years later he read the lay of the land perfectly—really, perfectly. The nation and the Democratic Party were tired of the Clinton machine. He came from nowhere and dismantled it. It was breathtaking. He went into the 2008 general election with a miraculously unified party and took down another machine, bundling up all the accrued resentment of eight years with one message: "You know the two losing wars and the economic collapse we've been dealing with? I won't do that. I'm not Bush."

The fact is, he's good at dismantling. He's good at critiquing. He's good at not being the last guy, the one you didn't like. But he's not good at building, creating, calling into being. He was good at summoning hope, but he's not good at directing it and turning it into something concrete that answers a broad public desire.

And so his failures in the debt ceiling fight. He wasn't serious, he was only shrewd—and shrewdness wasn't enough. He demagogued the issue—no Social Security checks—until he was called out, and then went on the hustings spouting inanities. He left conservatives scratching their heads: They could have made a better, more moving case for the liberal ideal as translated into the modern moment, than he did. He never offered a plan. In a crisis he was merely sly. And no one likes sly, no one respects it.



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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)


Friday, July 29, 2011

"Psycho-analysing" terrorist Breivik

There are by now innumerable psychological assessments of Breivik online. Practically every publication you log on to has one. And they are all rather laughable when one looks at the things upon which the various diagnoses are based:

Breivik played violent computer games. So do a billion other men. Breivik did not relate well to women. That's also true of millions of American men -- particularly if you ask American women. Breivik lived with his mother well into adulthood. That too is common these days. It's almost the norm in Italy and Japan. He liked dressing up and giving himself titles. So do the freemasons. And so it goes: Things that do not cause terrorism in millions of others suddenly caused terrorism in Breivik? What a heap of nonsense!

My Ph.D. is in psychology, my academic specialty is political psychology and I have had over 100 papers in that field published in the academic journals -- including papers on what would seem to be relevant phenomena, such as neo-Nazism and psychopathy. So can I do better? Perhaps. To make any diagnosis when you have never even met the person is a very bad start but I will try.

So, for starters, is Breivik mad? Is he insane? There is general agreement that he is not and I agree with that. He shows no signs of delusions and has normal reality contact. He is not psychotic.

The one glaringly salient fact about Breivik is that he is a one-off. People with broadly conservative views are almost never terrorists. Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh is the nearest comparable case and there are considerable differences beteeen him and Breivik. Breivik is much more intellectual, for a start.

And that one salient fact is in my view the key to Breivik. Terrorism is not the product of personality. It is ideologically motivated. Personality plays some part but ideology is the overwhelming influence behind terrorist deeds. Nearly two years ago, U.S. army Major Nidal Hasan stood up at Ft. Hood shouting "Allahu Akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" -- before opening fire methodically from two handguns, killing 13 and wounding 32. Very similar behaviour to Breivik and with the motive being clearly ideological, in his case the ideology of fundamentalist Islam.

And there is no denying where Breivik got most of his ideas. He got them from fairly mainstream conservative sources. What he says in his manifesto about the Left and about Islam could be duplicated from many mainstream conservative sources. Indeed, he quotes such sources at length in his manifesto.

So how come hundreds of millions of conservatives have ideas similar to Breivik but only Breivik used them as a basis for a terrorist attack?

To answer that we have to move from ideology to sociology. I taught sociology for some years in a major Australian university so perhaps I have a few ideas in that department too.

And what seems to be the key sociological context is Norwegian society itself. Norwegians are very self-righteous and politically correct and one result of that is that Norway's penal code (Straffeloven, section 135 a) prohibits "hate speech" and defines it as publicly making statements that threaten or ridicule someone or that incite hatred, persecution or contempt for someone due to their skin colour, ethnic origin, homosexual life style or orientation or, religion or philosophy of life. So criticism of Muslims is illegal in Norway.

And yet, of all Western countries, Muslim aggression against the host country would seem to be at its peak in Norway and Sweden, two of the world's most permissive countries. Permissiveness is NOT the key to restraint and as the old proverb has it: "Give them an inch and they will take a mile". Because Norway and Sweden not only put up with Muslim lawlessness but actually protect it from view, the misbehaviour has escalated in those countries to quite appalling levels. Rapes in those countries in recent years have almost entirely been the doing of Muslims, for instance.

And the average Norwegian is not oblivious to that, for all the clampdown on mentioning it by Norway's Leftist government. Norwegian experts say that Breivik's attitude to Muslims is in fact common among ordinary Norwegians. Leftist reality denial doesn't work for long.

So the pressure towards retaliation against Muslims is in proportion to the Muslim outrages committed. Muslim behavior is at a peak of unacceptability in Norway and that generates a peak head of steam for retaliation against Muslims. Muslims are not as indulgently treated in other countries (even Britain locks some Muslim haters up) so their behaviour is better and that in turn means that resentment against them does not build up so much.

So Breivik was simply the point at which the Norwegian dam burst. When any dam bursts it is always possible in retrospect to say where the weak point was but that is rarely apparent in advance. The point at which the dam bursts can be essentially random.

So we come back to the question: Why was Breivik the weak point? I think it was essentially random. Other Norwegians would have eventually done something similar if Breivik had not.

One thing that I do notice, however, is that a lot of his mental characteristics seem rather adolescent. So we have adolescent mental characteristics combined with a very capable adult brain. And adolescents make great warriors, warriors who are largely heedless of their own wellbeing in fighting for what they are told is the common good. The undoubted heroism of the Hitler Youth in the closing stages of WWII is an obvious example of that and armies generally do recruit heavily from teenagers.

And it is clear that Breivik saw himself as self-sacrificing in what he did. He acted for what he saw as the general wellbeing by attacking the protectors of Muslims at their weakest point: Their children.

And I see no reason to doubt the account Breivik gives of his motivation: It was self-sacrifice for the common good, a very Norwegian motivation. He wanted Norwegians freed from the very real oppressive burden of their Muslim minority.


Ideals Versus Realities

Thomas Sowell

Many of us never thought that the Republicans would hold tough long enough to get President Obama and the Democrats to agree to a budget deal that does not include raising income tax rates. But they did -- and Speaker of the House John Boehner no doubt desires much of the credit for that.

Despite the widespread notion that raising tax rates automatically means collecting more revenue for the government, history says otherwise. As far back as the 1920s, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon pointed out that the government received a very similar amount of revenue from high-income earners at low tax rates as it did at tax rates several times as high.

How was that possible? Because high tax rates drive investors into tax shelters, such as tax-exempt bonds. Today, as a result of globalization and electronic transfers of money, "the rich" are even less likely to stand still and be sheared like sheep, when they can easily send their money overseas, to places where tax rates are lower.

Money sent overseas creates jobs overseas -- and American workers cannot transfer themselves overseas to get those jobs as readily as investors can send their money there.

All the overheated political rhetoric about needing to tax "millionaires and billionaires" is not about bringing in more revenue to the government. It is about bringing in more votes for politicians who stir up class warfare with rhetoric.

Now that the Republicans seem to have gotten the Democrats off their higher taxes kick, the question is whether a minority of the House Republicans will refuse to pass the Boehner legislation that could lead to a deal that will spare the country a major economic disruption and spare the Republicans from losing the 2012 elections by being blamed -- rightly or wrongly -- for the disruptions.

Is the Boehner legislation the best legislation possible? Of course not! You don't get your heart's desire when you control only one house of Congress and face a presidential veto.

The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one's power. Nor is it selling out one's principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.

That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.

There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington's army had not retreated and retreated and retreated, in the face of an overwhelmingly more powerful British military force bent on annihilating Washington's troops.

Later, when the conditions were right for attack, General Washington attacked. But he would have had nothing to attack with if he had wasted his troops in battles that would have wiped them out.

Similar principles apply in politics. As Edmund Burke said, more than two centuries ago: "Preserving my principles unshaken, I reserve my activity for rational endeavors."

What does "rational" mean? At its most basic, it means an ability to make a ratio, as with "rational numbers" in mathematics. More broadly, it means an ability to weigh one thing against another.

There are a lot of things to weigh against each other, not only as regards the economy, but also what the consequences to this nation would be to have Barack Obama get re-elected and go further down the dangerous path he has put us on, at home and abroad. Is it worth that risk to make a futile symbolic vote in Congress?

One of the good things about the Tea Party movement is that it resisted the temptation to actually form a third political party, which has been an exercise in futility, time and time again, under the American electoral system.

But, if the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party becomes just a rule-or-ruin minority, then they might just as well have formed a separate third party and gone on to oblivion.

Writers can advocate things that have no chance at the moment, for their very writing about those things persuasively can make them possible at some future date. But to adopt the same approach as an elected member of Congress risks losing both the present and the future.



'Swift Boat' Veteran Who Defended Kerry Stripped of Silver Star

One crook defends another

A Vietnam veteran who defended Sen. John Kerry against "Swift Boat" attacks in the 2004 presidential race has been stripped of his Silver Star by the Navy -- more than a year after he was sentenced to prison on a child pornography charge.
But the Silver Star wasn't stripped from Wade Sanders because of the child porn conviction, per se.

Military officials told Fox News the medal was revoked in 2010 after Navy investigators looked into his record and found administrative errors surrounding how the award was created. Sources said Sanders was responsible for those administrative errors and may have lied.

The case indirectly stemmed from the child porn conviction because the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) only looked into his record after the child pornography charge.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced his decision in a memo last August, though it has only now received greater media attention.
"Had the subsequently determined facts and evidence surrounding both the incident for which the award was made and the processing of the award itself been known to the secretary of the Navy in 1992, those facts would have prevented the award of the Silver Star medal to Wade R. Sanders," Mabus said in the memo, without going into detail.

The decision is the latest blow to Sanders, a decorated Navy veteran who in 2004 stood onstage as Kerry accepted the Democratic nomination for president -- Sanders was among several Vietnam veterans who defended the nominee against criticism of his service by other "Swift Boat" members.

Several years after the campaign, Sanders was hit with the child pornography case in federal court in southern California.
An FBI agent claimed to have found several images and videos of underage naked girls on his computer. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2009 to more than three years in prison. At the time, Kerry and others officials presented letters to the court testifying on behalf of his character and service.

Sanders' lawyers had argued that he obtained the graphic images because he was doing research on child pornography. Further, they claimed he was driven to conduct that research in part because of post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He's not a pedophile," Knut Johnson, his defense attorney, told "Wade did a lot of great things for his country and his community."

It's unclear exactly what the justification was for the Silver Star in 1992, though a 2009 court document said it was awarded for "gallantry in action."

Sanders also had been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. According to military officials, those awards were found to be legitimate.




New York Times Reader Kills Dozens in Norway: "The New York Times wasted no time in jumping to conclusions about Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian who staged two deadly attacks in Oslo last weekend, claiming in the first two paragraphs of one story that he was a "gun-loving," "right-wing," "fundamentalist Christian," opposed to "multiculturalism." True, in one lone entry on Breivik's gaseous 1,500-page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence," he calls himself "Christian." But unfortunately he also uses a great number of other words to describe himself, and these other words make clear that he does not mean "Christian" as most Americans understand the term. (Incidentally, he also cites The New York Times more than a half-dozen times.)"

Shut down the Postal Service: "The Postal Service has announced that it is closing 3,700 post offices across the country due to financial troubles. I’ve got a better idea. How about closing the Postal Service itself and turning over the delivery of first-class mail entirely to the private sector? After all, the Postal Service is a monopoly. That means the government has granted it an exclusive privilege to deliver first-class mail without fear of competition."

Bollywood vs. jihad: "Islamic fundamentalists have long worried about the threat that Bollywood poses to their puritanical demands. ... They have ample reason to be worried: About 3 billion people, or half the planet, watches Bollywood, and many of them live in the Islamic world. By depicting assimilated, modernized Muslims, Bollywood -- without even trying -- deromanticizes and thereby disarms fanatical Islam. If you can have Munni and Sheila in this world, why on earth would you want to strap bombs to your waist and blow yourself up for the sake of 72 theoretical virgins?"


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, July 28, 2011

People from the higher latitudes of the world have bigger brains

I reproduce below the results of a small study of an old skull collection. Given the limits of the basic data, the generalizability of the findings is uncertain but they are interesting nonetheless -- in that they confirm other findings about the effect of latitude on IQ.

The authors were apparently rather embarrassed by their findings so they have presented their findings in a very politically correct way. A lot of the presentation is blatantly speculative and certainly over-interpreted. They talk, for instance, about Arctic brains in blithe indifference to the fact that they had zero data on Arctic brains! So I reproduce below only the more factual bits.

The finding that eyes are bigger in Northern latitudes is a genuine contribution to knowledge but saying that bigger eyes lie behind larger brain size is tendentious. The larger brain of the North is much more likely to be a result of the generally greater survival challenge in Northern latitudes.

In support of that it may be noted that the spectacular visual acuity of Australian Aborigines is found among a people who tend to have somewhat smaller brains than Europeans.

It should be noted that the present "native" population of the British Isles is of peri-Baltic origin (North German and Scandinavian) so should be at the high end of brain size. The authors below deny that greater brain size indicates greater intelligence but ignore most of the literature on the subject in doing so. Most research indicates a positive correlation of .30+

Students of ancient history will also be aware that Northerners have been invading the South for a very long time -- and usually leaving some genes behind. Germans have been invading Italy since the days of the Roman Republic (i.e. before the Roman empire) so Teutonic genes are undoubtedly widely spread throughout Europe today. So Northern brains too are undoubtably to be found throughout Europe these days.
People who live in high latitude regions have bigger eyeballs and brains than other individuals, according to new research.

The increase in brain and eye size allows people to see better in places that receive less light than areas closer to the equator, according to the new study, published in the latest issue of the journal Royal Society Biology Letters.

"People living at high latitudes have greater visual acuity than those who live at the equator," added Dunbar, who is head of the Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

"The whole point is that they need to have better vision to compensate for the lower light levels at high latitudes, as indicated by the evidence we provide that visual acuity under ambient/natural light conditions remains constant with latitude."

For the study, Dunbar and colleague Eiluned Pearce measured the skulls of 55 individuals from 12 different populations, focusing on the dimensions for orbital volume and cranial capacity. The people lived about 200 years ago. Their skulls are now part of collections housed at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the University of Cambridge's Duckworth Collection.

The researchers found significant positive relationships between absolute latitude, orbital volume and brain size. Eyeballs varied in size from around a quarter to a third of an ounce in volume.

The brains, in turn, ranged from about 40.6 ounces for Micronesians, on the low end of the size spectrum, and 50.2 ounces for Scandinavians on the high end.

As for the larger eyeballs, they permit smaller proportions of images to fall upon each photoreceptor field so that more details can be distinguished. The amount of light hitting Earth's surface as well as minimum day length decrease with increasing absolute latitude, so people living in such areas need the visual boost.



Norway could learn from Israel

Norway is in the top rank of nations in the number of books printed per capita and it is dedicated to encouraging democracy, responding to climate change and protecting human rights.

Oslo’s quality of life is so high that it has been recognised repeatedly by the United Nations as the best place to live in the world. The United Nations placed Norway at the top of women’s rights and the Norwegians like to exercise their influence through international activism predicated on a collective vision of the global good society.

This ultra-secularized and anti-nationalistic beacon has always been proud of its “lack of prejudice” and for decades it sponsored sex education, health care and freedom of expression. It’s a country that liked to call herself a “moral superpower”, that not only ranked among the world’s handful of richest countries, but also provided the world’s most generous welfare state.

With all this solidarity, why did nobody try to stop the killer, despite the island being crowded with 600 boys and girls in the same age category of the average Israeli who starts military service in the IDF? Is it possible that the Norwegian pacifist and tolerant utopia devitalized its population from the ability to fight back darkness and terrorism?

Only when the police finally got to the island (over 40 minutes after they were called) did the killer surrender.

The answer is deep and hard to measure. Have a look at Norway, many Europeans used to say, listen to their words: we have eradicated wars, nationalism and religion; we do not wage war (in Norway the policemen don’t carry guns); we negotiate; we are the moral country; we all want to make the world a better place.

A comparison can be made with Israel, a country so despised by Oslo’s governments and Norwegian elites and so similar to Oslo. Not by chance, the only two places in Oslo where the security measures stand out are the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community buildings.

Yet the Jewish State was recently ranked the 7th-most happy country in the world, just a few positions after Norway. The Israeli citizens live an average of 80 years, just like in placid and wealthy Norway.

Like Norway, Israel has a history of scintillating enlightenment.

Like Norway, Israel has one of the highest production of scientific publications per capita in the world.

Like Norway, Israel is the second in the world for publication of new books.

Like Norway, Israel is the source of medical and scientific discoveries that are helping to change the course of history.

Like Norway, Israel has the highest proportion of university graduates and Ph.D.s in the world, per capita.

Like Norway, Israel is home to about ten Nobel laureates.

But in Israel, a mass terror spree like in Utoeya would have never happened the way it did. At the doors of supermarkets and department stores, theaters and cinemas, schools and synagogues, during the Second Intifada, an Israeli guard always looked through the bags of any suspect person who wanted to enter. Dozens of Israeli bodyguards have been killed or wounded while trying to protect other human beings, an Israeli brand of valor that has nothing to do with the myth-soaked heroism familiar to us from the propaganda of European fascism and communism.

It is not about gargantuan deeds by superhuman champions; it is family- and home-oriented, and rather intimate in tone. It has the face of Haim Smadar, a Tunisian Jew with a kindly smile and a big salt-and-pepper mustache who could have been an ordinary guard in Utoeya. He was adored by the parents of the autistic children at the school where he had been a guard for years. He was good with children, and had five of his own at home, two of them hearing-impaired. It wasn’t easy to make ends meet, so Haim took side jobs to supplement his income, like the one at the supermarket in Jerusalem.

Haim was a humble and quiet man. Life didn’t smile on him; it was hard to raise a deaf son and a daughter with hearing problems. But he was happy. He was killed by a suicide bomber who had the same dark smile of the Norwegian killer.

But Haim Smadar, with his own body, also saved the life of the two hundred Israelis in the supermarket.

So did young Natan Sendaka, an Ethiopian born immigrant, one of seven children. A graduate of Kfar Hanoar Hadati religious youth village near Haifa and a Border Patrol soldier, he jumped on a suicide bomber on a busy Jerusalem street as the terrorist put his hand to his belt. Natan absorbed the shock of the detonation in his lungs. His youth enabled the tissue to regenerate and although limping and scarred, he is full of hope and joy.

David Shapira, young father and army officer on leave, shot the terrorist who was machine gunning the unarmed Merkaz HaRav yeshiva students studying in the library. He ran across the street to the yeshiva when he heard shots, so did another citizen who shot at the murderer from the roof. Eight were killed, but it could have been eighty if not for their valor, had they hid or run away.

That’s the saddest question that separates Europe and Israel: are we today, we Europeans, really ready to consider our citizens more important than ourselves or our families?

The Jewish State created a new kind of citizen-defender as last line of defense. In the tiny island of Utoeya, that symbol of European weakness, nobody tried to save the innocent youngsters.

The world has a lot to learn from the tiny, besieged and boycotted Jewish State.

The Israeli children in wheelchairs, the disfigured victims of every age, the legions of mourners for family members and friends lost in a moment’s horror, the babies who have had their faces burned or their hands rendered useless, the trembling people who go insane and don’t want to live anymore because they are haunted by the sound of the explosion, are a living reminder of what is evil and why a modern democracy must stop it.



Doubling Down on Class Warfare

In the course of negotiations over the debt limit, President Barack Obama’s rejection of his own bipartisan White House debt commission’s recommendations has become complete. But of greater concern is his decision to double down on class warfare instead of pursuing the policy paths that lead to growth that benefits all.

The consensus position of the president’s fiscal commission was support for tax reforms that would create a broader base of payers paired with lower rates. The recipe makes sense--a broader base corrects the problem of too few Americans having skin in the game, while lower rates encourage the economic and job growth the nation so desperately needs.

In 1997, less than 20 percent of U.S. households owed no taxes to the federal government--today, 47 percent have no tax liability. This is a problem, and unless it’s corrected, the nation’s future is a picture of continued conflict between those who receive entitlements and those who fund them--between workers and those who do not work.

The left has no interest in ending this deadly cycle. That’s readily evident when you examine the deficit plan from the Center for American Progress, George Soros’s think tank in name only (it spends its days working to support whatever the White House wants it to). It is based on incredible expectations for the amount of blood one can drain from a stone.

CAP’s plan assumes tax revenue of 23.8 percent of GDP, achieved almost entirely through a swathe of new and higher taxes on high earners and corporations. Serious economists and historians laugh at these growth, tax, and revenue expectations as simply unprecedented in American history. As one economist pointed out to me, CAP is basing its solution for America’s fiscal future on the assumption that something will happen that has never happened before.

When something that farfetched is proposed, it usually indicates ideological social engineering, not analysis about what the nation truly needs. Republicans should know--they made the same mistake in the previous decade, and they are the most to blame for the current shortage of taxpayers.

One of the largest reasons for the growth in the percentage of Americans who pay no taxes is the increase in the child tax credit under George W. Bush. The initial $400 credit, created in 1998 under Speaker Newt Gingrich, was meant to be a small measure to lighten the tax load on working families. The credit accelerated dramatically in the next decade, with Bush more than doubling it at the prodding of social conservatives--a perfect example of social engineering.

The upshot? The number of taxpaying households has decreased steadily. The nonpartisan Tax Foundation reports in 2000–2004 alone the expanded child credit increased total nonpayers by 10.5 million, a 32 percent jump. The credit is the primary reason for the problem of too few people paying into the system.

Both parties use the tax code to remold society to their preference. Where Republicans erred in unintentionally increasing the number of nonpayers, Democrats are now making the same mistake on an ideologically opposite and much grander scale.

The left knows increasing taxes on job creators suppresses hiring and economic growth. Even President Obama admitted that back in 2009 in explaining why he would not propose new taxes during a recession.

Now the president has gone back on his word. There are no practical reasons to do so. Thus his decision must be based on an ideological conviction that class warfare and permanently larger government are good for the nation. The dismal economic numbers month after month are the direct result of this conviction, and Obama’s current gambit will make things even worse.




PayPal boycott chops $1 billion off eBay stock: "Following the announcement of a boycott by hacktivist groups 'Anonymous' and 'LulzSec,' shares in PayPal parent company eBay plunged by over $1 billion in value before perking back up as opportunistic investors bought into the company in hopes of a deal. ... It was launched in response to the company's refusal to send donations to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. PayPal suspended all transactions headed toward WikiLeaks last year, in the weeks following their groundbreaking publication of secret U.S. diplomatic cables."

What we don’t know about history can hurt us: "What liberates oppressed people? I was taught it's often American power. Just the threat of our military buildup defeated the Soviet Union, and our troops in the Middle East will create islands of freedom. Unlikely, says historian Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States"

All talk, no walk: "President Obama portrays himself as the nonpartisan adult in the room in the struggle over raising the debt limit. In his nationally televised speech Monday, he placed himself above Washington’s 'three-ring circus,' as someone who has 'put politics aside' and is desperate for a bipartisan “compromise” between Democrats and Republicans. But is this the role Obama has actually played over the past few weeks, as the August 2 deadline imposed by his administration nears? Let’s look at the record."


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, July 27, 2011

Ratbag Liberal Theologian Blames Christianity and Conservatism for Breivik without even reading what he himself said about his beliefs

Some chapter headings in Breivik's manifesto she seems to have missed. Some of the chapters were not written by Breivik himself but he included them approvingly:

Globalised capitalism – another reason for the Fall of Europe

Is Capitalism Always a Force for Freedom?

Big Business, a Driving Force behind Immigration

Thou Shalt Hate Christianity and Judaism

Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, a senior fellow at the left-wing Center for American Progress and a board member for Faith in Public Life (a progressive, religious organization), believes that Christianity — and right-leaning political beliefs — are responsible for the tragic Oslo rampage. In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled, "When Christianity Becomes Lethal," Thistlethwaite lectures readers about the perils of "extreme Christianity" and the failure of believers to see the connections between their beliefs and associated violence.

Before continuing, it would probably be worth noting that Thistlethwaite is the former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) and a preacher ordained through the United Church of Christ (UCC). The infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright has also taught at CTS and is, of course, ordained by UCC as well.

You can read a piece in which Thistlethwaite defends Rev. Wright’s preaching style here, but providing even more of a backdrop to frame her views beyond this probably isn’t needed. Let’s get back to her controversial take on Christianity‘s involvement in the world’s latest terroristic tragedy.

In her lede, Thistlethwaite plays up the notion that the Norwegian terorist Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian. In fact, her entire piece hinges on this notion. She writes, "He has been described by police there as a ‘Christian fundamentalist.’" After attempting to firmly convince readers that Breivik was, indeed, a follow of Jesus, she explains:
Christians should not turn away from this information, but try to come to terms with the temptations to violence in the theologies of right-wing Christianity.

Breivik’s chosen targets were political in nature, emblematic of his hatred of "multiculturalism" and "left-wing political ideology." This does not mean that the Christian element in his ultra-nationalist views is irrelevant. The religious and political views in right-wing ideologies are mutually reinforcing, and ignoring or dismissing the role played by certain kinds of Christian theology in such extremism is distorting.

She goes on to explain that Christians are all-too-reluctant to see the connections between their faith and extreme violence. Rather than delving into these issues, Thistlethwaite says that Christians often dismiss horrific violence that is perpetuated by other believers as "madness." Christians should be more willing, in her opinion, to accept the inherent violence and then deal with its impact and roots.

It doesn‘t take long for Thistlethwaite’s true intentions to emerge. She isn’t simply saying that Christianity is to blame. She is taking the opportunity to attach conservative values to this particular maniac’s actions, blaming both his faith and political affiliation for his violent behavior:
…I believe that certain theological constructions of Christianity "tempt" individuals and groups to violence; combined with right-wing political ideologies, these views can give a divine justification to the use of lethal force…

When I consider the theological perspectives that "tempt" some Christians to justify hatred and even violence against others, such as, in this case in Norway, the following perspectives seem especially prevalent: 1) making supremacist claims that Christianity is the "only" truth; 2) holding the related view that other religions are not merely wrong, but "evil" and "of the devil"; 3) being highly selective in the use of biblical literalism, for example ignoring the justice claims of the prophets and using biblical texts that seem to justify violence…

Thistlethwaite goes on even further to list her reasoning. Yet, if these elements are universal, one wonders why it is virtually impossible for individuals to list a multitude of radical Christian murderers who have acted similarly? If these values are so widespread in Christianity, where are all of the other Breiviks? This is not to say that people who call themselves Christian are blameless and have never committed violence. Rather, it is intended to disprove the author‘s use of an anecdotal example to apply universalities that simply don’t exist.

The way in which this article is written appears to indicate that this is a widespread problem — and that those who embrace conservative values, while espousing Christianity, are at a high risk of either exploding or imploding. This, based on both anecdotal and concrete evidence simply doesn’t stand as meritorious. Thistlethwaite choses to conclude her piece with the following:
It is absolutely critical that Christians not turn away from the Christian theological elements in such religiously inspired terrorism. We must acknowledge these elements in Christianity and forthrightly reject these extremist interpretations of our religion. How can we ask Muslims to do the same with Islam, if we won’t confront extremists distorting Christianity?

Denny Burk, a Bible professor at Boyce College and a blogger, differentiates between "cultural" and "religious" Christianity, debunking the notion that Breivik is the latter (Thistlethwaite’s theories are built on the premise that he is, indeed, a religious Christian):
Contrary to early reports, Anders Behring Breivik is not a Christian. In fact in his 1,518 page manifesto, the perpetrator of the atrocities in Norway has specifically disavowed any real commitment to Christ. In his own words:
A majority of so called agnostics and atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians without even knowing it. So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians?

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian (p. 1307).

Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly also took issue with the Christian label that has been applied to the mass murder. Below, watch him discuss the controversy on his show on Monday night

It’s surprising that Thistlethwaite, a professor who is purportedly an expert in religious matters, would distort information so freely. Perhaps she failed to read Breivik’s own words, which seem to disprove her perplex theories on Christianity’s ability, when applied through political lenses she dislikes, to incite violence.



Breivik's charge of deadly provocation is false

By Keith Windschuttle -- who is the editor of Quadrant, an Australian conservative magazine -- one of the many publications quoted by Breivik

It took just two days after Australians awoke on Saturday morning to the terrible news of the mass murder in Norway for the left-wing commentariat to start exploiting the event for political capital.

On Monday, July 25, Aron Paul in New Matilda said the massacre was not only a manifestation of one man's troubled psyche but of "an increasingly toxic political culture plagued by incivility and extremist rhetoric". Anders Breivik should not be dismissed as a lone madman, Paul wrote. Breivik's statement that he killed because "we must do our duty by decimating cultural Marxism" revealed the alleged source of his motivation. These words did not originate in the terrorist's own mind, Paul argued, "but were planted there with the help of poisonous political discourses which have enthusiastic proponents here in Australia".

Among the ideological culprits Paul listed was Herald Sun journalist Andrew Bolt. Pundits such as Bolt were "masters of sowing fear and indignation among their followers -- and then threatening to unleash that anger". Our greatest living historian was also implicated: "It is the old Geoffrey Blainey argument: if you dare to dismantle White Australia, then White Australians will riot in the streets." The magazine I edit, Quadrant, was more culpable than most because of "the deliberately provocative language with which Quadrant and other right-wing forums are awash".

The next day the Crikey website joined the fray. According to Guy Rundle, Breivik was not alone but represented "the armed wing of hysterical Right commentary". Rundle advised conservative writers to reflect on "the role that a decade-long discourse of hysterical commentary on immigration and culture in Europe played in forming the thinking of killer Breivik".

The first thing to note is that most of this commentary is completely false. I read Bolt regularly and, while he spends a lot of time and provides much amusement exposing the hypocrisy and sloppy thinking of left-wing politicians and intellectuals, I have yet to see him conjuring up fear and indignation. The charge against Blainey is pure invention. In his critique of the continuation of high immigration during the recession of the early 1980s he never discussed the long-defunct White Australia policy, let alone predicted race riots in its defence.

However, yesterday morning an ABC journalist informed me some of my own writings had been quoted in Breivik's 1500-page manifesto, "2083: A European Declaration of Independence". Since then, this fact has apparently been repeated on several online sites and innumerable times over Twitter, accompanied in many cases by quite gleeful comments celebrating some kind of victory over the forces of conservative darkness.

Since learning of this, I have certainly been reflecting on whether I or my magazine can really be held responsible for the events of last Friday. Have I ever used "deliberately provocative language" that might have caused Breivik to take up a rifle and shoot more than 80 unarmed teenagers in cold blood? It is a very disturbing accusation.

Breivik quotes several statements I made in a paper to a conference in New Zealand in February 2006, titled The Adversary Culture: The Perverse Anti-Westernism of the Cultural Elite. This is his version of what I said:
"For the past three decades and more, many of the leading opinion makers in our universities, the media and the arts have regarded Western culture as, at best, something to be ashamed of, or at worst, something to be opposed. The scientific knowledge that the West has produced is simply one of many 'ways of knowing' . . . Cultural relativism claims there are no absolute standards for assessing human culture. Hence all cultures should be regarded as equal, though different . . .

The plea for acceptance and open-mindedness does not extend to Western culture itself, whose history is regarded as little more than a crime against the rest of humanity. The West cannot judge other cultures but must condemn its own . . .

The concepts of free [inquiry] and free expression and the right to criticise entrenched beliefs are things we take so much for granted they are almost part of the air we breathe. We need to recognise them as distinctly Western phenomena. They were never produced by Confucian or Hindu culture . . . But without this concept, the world would not be as it is today. There would have been no Copernicus, Galileo, Newton or Darwin."

This is a truncated version that leaves out a great deal of context but it is not inaccurate or misleading. I made every one of these statements and I still stand by them. In this and similar papers I have provided numerous examples to establish the case.

Having read them several times again, I am still at a complete loss to find any connection between them and the disgusting and cowardly actions of Breivik. The charge that any of this is a provocation to murder is unsustainable.

Anyone who goes through the rest of the killer's manifesto will find him quoting several other Australians approvingly, including John Howard, Peter Costello and George Pell.

Nothing they say in defence of Christianity or about the problems of integrating Muslims into Australian society could be read by anyone as a provocation to murder.

Perhaps I should qualify that last statement since several left-wing intellectuals, including journalists David Marr and Marian Wilkinson in their book Dark Victory and playwright Hannie Rayson in Two Brothers, actually accused members of the Howard government of having the blood of boatpeople on their hands.

In contrast, the quality that stands out in the work of most conservative writers today is restraint. Even though the stakes in the present conflict over multiculturalism in the West are very high -- with the concepts of free speech, the rule of law, equality of women and freedom of religion all open to debate -- most conservatives have respected the rules of evidence and the avoidance of ad hominem abuse.

Their left-wing opponents, however, as the Norwegian tragedy has demonstrated yet again, will resort to the lowest tactics to shut down debate they do not like and to kill off arguments they cannot refute by any other means.




Free market anti-corporatism: "To favour a genuine free market is to be directly opposed to the interests of big businesses. As a libertarian, I want a system where any firm, however big it is, can go bust, and where market entry is easy and cheap so new players can compete with the old ones. Businesses that already exist don't want this free system -- they want protection from new entrants, to avoid being competed out of business. Businesses don’t want free markets, because in a free market, they’re vulnerable to competition."

Wikileaks revisited: "The political establishment decided to dislike, discredit and destroy Julian Assange not because he is a bad journalist — but precisely because he is a good journalist who exposes bad leaders. The campaign to destroy Wikileaks last year was never about logic, but creating a bulletproof narrative to protect establishment interests. Wikileaks has said it takes great care to not release any information that might actually harm innocent parties, as any decent journalist outfit would. Today, it continues to do much of the work the mainstream media won’t — even as those same outlets now cite Wikileaks as a respectable source."

Tim Pawlenty’s illusion of dullness: "He recites his achievements: In Minnesota, he 'took spending from historic highs to historic lows.' During his time, it was one of the first states to implement merit pay for public school teachers. He curbed public employee compensation 'before it was cool.' He got reforms in state workers' health care coverage that empowered patients and reduced costs. The list goes on, but the point has been made. 'I'm not just up here flapping my jaws,' Pawlenty informs the crowd. 'I did it.' Believe it or not, his claims largely check out."

Health exchange regulation and state implementation: "The massive and complex package of proposed health exchange rules released recently by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services illustrates once again why states should think twice before implementing the exchanges mandated by President Barack Obama’s health care law. The announced requirements offer more questions than answers – and HHS says further regulations are yet to come."

Plugged-in poverty: "The Census Bureau reported last fall that 43 million Americans — one in seven of us — were poor. But what is poverty in America today? ... The typical poor family has at least two color TVs, a VCR, and a DVD player. One-third have a wide-screen, plasma, or LCD TV. And the typical poor family with children has a video-game system such as Xbox or PlayStation."


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, July 26, 2011

Another potshot at conservative IQ

This won't detain us long. It's an abstract of an article by former Yugoslav psychologist Lazar Stankov. Considering its poor quality and dogmatic conclusion, it is rather a surprise that it got published in Intelligence (37, 2009, 294–304), which is a respectable academic journal.
Conservatism and cognitive ability


Conservatism and cognitive ability are negatively correlated. The evidence is based on 1254 community college students and 1600 foreign students seeking entry to United States' universities. At the individual level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with SAT, Vocabulary, and Analogy test scores. At the national level of analysis, conservatism scores correlate negatively with measures of education (e.g., gross enrollment at primary, secondary, and tertiary levels) and performance on mathematics and reading assessments from the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project. They also correlate with components of the Failed States Index and several other measures of economic and political development of nations. Conservatism scores have higher correlations with economic and political measures than estimated IQ scores.

The "sample" is of course laughable and provides no basis for generalizing to any known population. Its representativeness is unknown. If the findings suggest any inferences at all, they may tell us that only dumb conservatives need to go to community colleges but even some smart Leftists need to, perhaps because they were less conscientious during their high school studies.


Al Jazeera Op-Ed Compares Glenn Beck to Al Qaeda Terrorist Over Norway Massacre‏

Al Jazeera accusing someone of being a terrorist while they encourage kids to become suicide bombers, amazing

Remember when conservatives were blamed for the massive shooting in Arizona in January? Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were among the scapegoats. And while the U.S. media hasn’t yet pointed the finger at popular American conservatives, one outlet has just published an op-ed piece doing just that. Which outlet? The White House’s favorite foreign news source, Al Jazeera.

The op-ed, posted on Al Jazeera’s website on Sunday, is the work of Ahmed Moor. The outlet calls him “a Palestinian-American freelance journalist based in Cairo“ who ”was born in the Gaza Strip, Palestine.” What it doesn’t say, but what is clear in the piece, is that he’s not a fan of Glenn Beck.

He opens his article by decrying “right-wing propaganda“ and ”reactionary bigotry:”
The Norwegian terrorist who murdered more than ninety innocent civilians – many of whom were teenagers – did not act alone. Or rather, he acted within a cultural and political context that legitimises his fearful and hate-infested worldview. It is now clear that Anders Behring Breivik was exposed to large amounts of right-wing propaganda. This tragedy underlines the urgency with which normal people around the world must combat fundamentalist nationalists and chauvinists wherever they may be. But it also demonstrates the extent to which reactionary bigotry has infected mainstream thought.

What kind of “right-wing propaganda?“ How about ”right-wing zealots” like Glenn Beck who, according to Moor, is comparable to American-born Al Qaeda operative Anwar Al-Awlaki:
[...] But the combatants are not Islam and the West. Instead, the war is between the normal, sane people of the world and the right-wing zealots who see doom, destruction, hellfire and God’s Will at every turn.

Anders Behring Breivik, Mohammed Atta and Baruch Goldstein are all cut from the same rotten cloth. Anwar Al-Awlaki and Glenn Beck – the peddlers of the faith – all share the same core afflictions.

These men are insecure, violently inclined, and illiberal. The outside world scares them. They hate homosexuals and strong women. For them, difference is a source of insecurity. Their values are militarism, conformism, chauvinism and jingoism. Worst of all they seek to pressure us into compliance while they work frantically to destroy themselves – and the rest of us with them.

The accusation that Beck is somehow responsible for the Norway attacks is laughable. Beck has never expressed a hate toward homosexuals or women, and certainly doesn’t advocate violence (one of his greatest heros is Ghandi). He regularly calls for peace and even held a non-political event in Washington, D.C. last year to encourage people to find God.

So how absurd is the charge? Well, even Al Jazeera made sure to keep some distance from the claim. At the bottom of its op-ed (as with all its op-eds), the outlet posted the following message: "The views expressed in this article are the author‘s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy".

But could this be a veiled attack on Beck for his support for Israel? Beck has been an ardent support of Israel’s right to exist in the face of pressure from Palestinians who accuse the country of “occupation.” That has made him a regular target.

Considering Moor is originally from the Gaza Strip — one of the hotly-contested territories in Israel — is this a chance to demonize Beck ahead of his upcoming Restoring Courage event in the Holy Land?

In 2010, Moor regularly penned anti-Israel op-eds for the Huffington Post, including “Israel Cannot be Both Jewish and Democratic” and “Zionism Is Not Judaism.”



Norwegian Killer Admired Obama

In its online edition, British left-leaning newspaper The Guardian has released an article which maintains that the Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik was in communication with the British anti-Islamic group known as the English Defence League (EDL). The article states that Breivik:
“boasted online about his discussions with the far right English Defence League and other anti-Islamic European organisations.”
His claims had appeared on various Scandinavian online forums, including a Norwegian forum called “Nordisk” which is described by the Guardian as “a site frequented by neo-Nazis, far right radicals and Islamophobes since 2009.” The Guardian continues:
‘Breivik had talked admiringly about conversations he had had with unnamed English Defence League members and the organisation Stop the Islamification of Europe over the success of provocative street actions leading to violence.
"I have on some occasions had discussions with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use certain strategies," he wrote two years ago.
"The tactics of the EDL are now to 'lure' an overreaction from the Jihad Youth/Extreme-Marxists, something they have succeeded in doing several times already." Contacted about the allegation by email by last night the EDL had not answered.’
Another website on which Breivik published his opinions is, an anti-Islamic Norwegian website which has published all of the comments made by Breivik. He posted on this site as “Anders Behring.” These posts can be accessed in a “Bing” translation.
Behring/Breivik states there, on September 14, 2009:
The pan-European/US environment around Robert Spencer, Fjordman, Atlas, Analekta + 50 other EU/US bloggers (and Facebook groups) is the epicenteret of political analysis and has been there a few years...
... the EDL PROVIDED/how to create outlines SIOE [for how] such an organization will look like. We can develop the f example SIOE or create a new one. The EDL PROVIDED have been Temple and racists are working hard to get rid of this (all individuals included racist/discriminatory speech is now thrown out).”
The support that Breivik had for anti-Islamist websites may cause some embarrassment to websites that do not consider themselves to have connections to neo-Nazis. The “Atlas” mentioned above is the website Atlas Shrugs, run by Pamela Geller.
The left-leaning former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, explores this further on his blog, where he makes a suggestion that:
Anders Behring Breivik posted links to the Atlas Shrugs website of the Tea Party’s Pamela Geller. Here you can see him under the name of Anders Behring (his middle name) posting links to Geller’s “Atlas Shrugs” site. That cache page is bing translated from Norwegian.
Here is a video of Pamela Geller addressing the Tennessee Tea Party convention. This is a list of links I just copied off her Atlas shrugs website to a stream of virulent anti Norwegian-Muslim articles Geller has been publishing.....”
The suggestion that Murray appears to be making is that Pamela Geller’s criticism of Norway’s political outlook (exemplified by Jens Stoltenberg and this Labor Party) has influenced Breivik’s political views. It is only a small step to therefore imply that she influenced Breivik’s killing rampage.
This line of argument is dangerous and misguided, and also smacks of poor journalism. The Guardian is similarly keen to suggest that Breivik’s mindset which led to murder have been created by “others” who uphold views they do not like. The EDL and other groups can not be said to have influenced Breivik to become a murderer, unless he himself had expressly stated in some document that this was the case.
To take this argument to its logical conclusion, one could equally state that the economic philosopher John Stuart Mill was responsible for Breivik’s rampage of murder and mayhem. After all, the only comment that Breivik had made on his Tweet account, posted on July 17th, only five days before the murders, reads:
 “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”
This is a slightly altered quotation from John Stuart Mill, where the original statement referred to 99, rather than 100,000:
“To think that because those who wield power in society wield in the end that of government, therefore it is of no use to attempt to influence the constitution of the government by acting on opinion, is to forget that opinion is itself one of the greatest active social forces. One person with a belief is a social power equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”
It is dispiriting to find elements of the media and blogosphere attempting to suggest that Breivik’s interests in certain anti-Islamist groups may have influenced his metamorphosis into a mass-murdering terrorist. If there is a pattern to such abuse of logic, it could be suggested that J.D. Salinger, creator of the character Holden Caulfield with whom killer Mark Chapman identified, was responsible for the murder of John Lennon. Similarly, it could be suggested that as the 1931 movie King Kong was apparently Hitler’s favorite movie, it had some bearing on Nazi militaristic and genocidal outcomes.
While the left-leaning media is promoting this prurient “guilt by association” barely 24 hours after the victims’ bodies have gone cold, it should also be pointed out that Breivik also admired Obama.
The anti-Islamic website Islam versus Europe contains more quotes from Breivik’s postings on the website, including the following:
“I completely agree that Obama is a brilliant retoriker [rhetorician] and communicator, one of the best we've seen over the past 30 years.”
It is not the role of any journalists to attempt to “define” the mindset of a mass-killer by trying to score political points against groups and people they dislike.
After all, why are these same outlets not also highlighting Breivik’s admiration for President Obama?



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, July 25, 2011

The success of Anders Behring Breivik

It looks like Anders Behring Breivik may have achieved his goal. We see already in the media (e.g. here) a recognition that failure to hold full and fair discussions of immigration issues has been a mistake and some view that more openness might have prevented the massacre

For many years, the USA, Australia, Britain, Norway and many other advanced countries were perfectly at ease with immigration but when some groups started arriving that caused problems for the existing population, the public rightly expected their governments to do something about it. But governments instead tried to suppress debate about the issues concerned. One result of that policy is Anders Behring Breivik -- and his clear and very loud message that the Leftist elite have got it wrong. He killed nearly 90 of their children.

He will go to one of Norway's humane jails for 10 years and make many converts whilst there. To be in a Norwegian jail you have to have shown considerable disrespect for society's rules and most probably an inclination to violence. So as his fellow prisoners complete their terms and get out of jail we could well see a stream of deaths among the children of pro-immigration politicians.

So if the recent massacre has not done so it seems highly likely that some crackdown on the menace that Muslims pose to Norwegian society will eventually be initiated. I am confident that the Norwegian police could rapidly curb Muslim lawnessness once given the go-ahead by the politicians.

One of many reports here about the mayhem Muslim "refugees" have inflicted on Norwegian society.

And it does seem that the more permissive and "progressive" a country is, the worse the Muslim behaviour becomes. So that a reaction against those who foster Muslim immigration should come from one of the Scandinavian countries was in retrospect to be expected. Muslim aggression against the rest of the population certainly seems to be at a peak in Norway and Sweden. And Viking ancestry probably helped Breivik along too. The Vikings were not notable humanitarians.

I have read or skimmed most of Breivik's manifesto and find it exceptionally rational and well-informed. His extensive survey of Muslim history is a horror story but is to my knowledge perfectly accurate. I get the impression that his lengthy exploration of the horrors that Muslims have inflicted on others may have been the spark that spurred him into action.

And the action that he took also follows easily from a close study of Muslims. Violence and threats of violence have served Muslims in Western countries very well in recent years. It was surely inevitable that some non-Muslims would learn from that.

And Breivik's one/two punch -- a bomb in the city centre followed by an attack on an outlying island -- was pure Al Qaida


Feds to complile a huge dossier on any Americans who travel overseas

For American readers who do not travel, this article may only set off a vague sense of disquiet. But for those who either have traveled out of the country, or believe they might “someday” what you are about to read will disturb you.

According to a 60-day notice in the Federal Register, the State Department is seeking approval for a proposed new passport application form, Form DS-5513.

The new Biographical Questionnaire for U.S. Passport allegedly would require 45 minutes to complete, according to the notice. That estimate includes “the time required for searching existing data sources, gathering the necessary data, providing the information and/or documents required, and reviewing the final collection.”

If approved it will be a mandatory form. Failure to provide the information requested “may result in the denial of a United States passport, related documents, or service to the individual seeking such passport, documents or service.”

The notice states that the questionnaire would be submitted in conjunction with the regular application for a passport, and would be required to “establish citizenship, identity, and eligibility for a U.S. Passport Book or Passport Card.

According to the Privacy Act Statement on the proposed form, the information solicited on the form may also be made available as a routine use to other government agencies and private contractors “to assist the U.S. Department of State in adjudicating passport applications and requests for related services, and for law enforcement, fraud prevention, border security, counterterrorism, litigation activities, and administrative purposes.

“The information may be made available to foreign government agencies to fulfill passport control and immigration duties. The information may also be provided to foreign government agencies, international organizations and, in limited cases, private persons and organizations to investigate, prosecute, or otherwise address potential violations of law or to further the Secretary's responsibility for the protection of U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals abroad.

“The information may be made available to the Department of Homeland Security and private employers for employment verification purposes. “

The proposed form requests the full names of relatives living and deceased, their birthplace (city, state, country), full date of birth, and whether that person was/is a U.S. citizen, for parents, step-parents, siblings, step-siblings, spouse, and children. It's not clear whether aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and cousins are included as well.

Other items include requests for one's mother's residence one year before applicant's birth (street address, city, state, country) and residence at time of the birth, as well as residence one year after applicant's birth. Another question asks whether the applicant's mother received prenatal or postnatal medical care, and where it was performed – including address, name of doctor and dates of the appointments.

Another question: “Please describe the circumstances of your birth, including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth.”

The form also asks for information on baptism, circumcision, confirmation and “other religious ceremony” occurring around the time of birth. Again, details are requested including the name, location of the institution and date of the ceremony.

On the third of five pages, the form asks the applicant to list all residences inside and outside the United States, starting with birth up to the date of the application.

The fourth page requests a list of all current and former places of employment in the United States and abroad. This table includes the name of the workplace, address, city, state, country, time employed, supervisor's name and phone number. Also on this page is a request to list all schools attended by the applicant, inside and outside the U.S., including name, full address and dates of attendance.

The fifth and final page is a signature that all of the above was answered truthfully, under threat of arrest for perjury if not.



Rupert Murdoch Plays Fair

Murdoch’s competitors are playing dirty. Instead of upping their game and trying to improve their journalistic standards, they are lowering themselves to the level of slanderous cheaters in a brazen attempt to knock Murdoch and his company News Corp. down.

Murdoch owns media companies all over the world and employs 53,000 people. His now inoperative British tabloid News of the World comprised less than one percent of his company’s holdings.

Allegedly, at least one employee within News of the World betrayed Murdoch and Murdoch’s key executives, including one employee who allegedly hacked into a missing 13-year-old girl’s cell phone and erased messages, thereby leading her parents to believe she was still alive.

Murdoch apologized profusely to the girl’s family and the public. He shut down News of the World. He refused to allow his other companies, such as Fox News, to downplay the scandal. His top tabloid executives stepped down. He dropped his $12 billion bid for British Sky Broadcasting. He submitted himself to questioning before Britain’s Parliament.

For this honorable behavior, his rivals in the media and politics have slandered his good name and chipped away at his job-creating ability.

Most people don’t have time to watch Murdoch and his key executives defend News Corp. in three-hour-long parliamentary committee meetings. Most busy people simply scan headlines and leading paragraphs of stories written by Murdoch’s competitors like the Guardian, the Washington Post, the New York Times, TIME Magazine and the Huffington Post. Sadly, these competitors paint Murdoch as a corporate cheater without sufficient evidence. Here are some key examples:

FBI Probe: U.S. politicians impulsively lent credibility to media allegations that Murdoch’s British outlets hacked phones of 9/11 victims. Their panic sparked an FBI probe. No substantive evidence backs up these horrendous allegations. If legitimate, these claims are oddly a decade late.

Source Inflation: TIME Magazine’s July 25 issue plasters Murdoch’s face on the cover under the headline “SCANDAL!” TIME cites several “anonymous” (and therefore non-credible) “public figures” with juicy examples of News of the World’s allegedly unethical behavior.

Besides anonymous celebrities, TIME cites Hugh Grant for this feature cover story. Yes, that pretty boy who needs a 20th Century Fox film script (think Nine Months) to sound witty.

TIME reports how Grant secretly records one former News of the World journalist stating that 20 percent of Scotland Yard takes bribes from tabloids. TIME implies that Grant caught an omniscient ex-Murdoch journalist on tape who somehow knows the exact percentage of underhanded dealings between journalists and law enforcement officials (impossible) and that Murdoch controls all British tabloid journalists (false).

Murdoch invests in high-quality journalism. Before acquiring The Wall Street Journal, he stated: “This is the greatest newspaper in America, one of the greatest in the world. It has great journalists which deserve, I think, a much wider audience.”

The evidence shows Murdoch plays to win the ethical way. His competitors in the media should follow the NFL’s lead: Teasing is fine, but slander and defamation are forms of classless cheating.



First of Many Union Pensions Takes Blow

In a scene that is going to play out in scores of cities across the nation, unions are going to come to grips with the fact that pensions are not sacrosanct. Please consider Rhode Island city asks retirees to cut their pensions:

As cities across the United States struggle to keep their finances afloat, Central Falls, Rhode Island, is taking a novel approach to try to avoid bankruptcy. The city is asking police and firefighter retirees to give up 50% of their pension.

On Tuesday, a state-appointed receiver, Judge Robert Flanders, met with constituents to discuss options that will prevent the city from filing for bankruptcy, but the choices seemed limited: either volunteer for the pension cut, or risk losing it all.

Each of the 141 city retirees will receive a voting ballot and a packet by the end of the week, showing how much of their pensions will be slashed if they agree to volunteer for the benefits cut.

With August set as the deadline for further decisions on the financial future of the city, Flanders hopes to find out residents' decisions by the end of the month.

Though the measures seem drastic, residents are being told that it's a far better choice than "being at the mercy of the bankruptcy court." "It was a very difficult meeting, there was a lot of concern and anger," said Trainor of Tuesday's event. Flanders "hopes, in the case of the retirees, that they would agree," Trainor said. "Better to accept his proposal than taking a chance with the bankruptcy court," he added.

What cannot be paid won't. Taxpayers have had enough. Central Falls is a small and troubled city, but this same scene is going to eventually hit Pittsburgh, Oakland, Houston, Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and most likely every major city in the country. Benefits are untenable. The sooner something is done, the better off everyone will be.

Things That Must Change: Defined benefit pension plans for government workers must end; Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage laws that drive up costs of Federal projects and clobber city and municipal governments must come to an end; National right-to-work laws must be enacted; Collective bargaining of public unions must end; Existing pension benefits must be renegotiated

Unions will not like any of those but they are all going to happen.




Calculated attack on future of nation's Left wing: "He IS a man of vision. Anders Behring Breivik did not kill just any group of teenagers. He targeted the Norwegian Labour Party's next generation of leaders. Every year since 1974, teenagers interested in left-wing politics had gathered at the summer camp on the idyllic island of Utoya to play, debate and meet political leaders. This is where the party shaped its idealistic young. The Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, remembers it as "the paradise of my youth". Mr Breivik, the man who has admitted he slaughtered at least 86 of those young people and seven more in the Oslo bomb blast in what is the bloodiest day of Norway's peacetime history, has told his lawyer the killings had been "gruesome but necessary"

Remove the parasites: "When I say parasites, an admittedly a harsh characterization, I mean persons and entities that consume vast sums of national financial resources while providing little or no substantive value in return to benefit the common people or the nation as a whole. Remove these parasites and the financial health of the United States would be completely restored; the overall health of the nation greatly revitalized."

The truth about the debt ceiling: "Failing to raise the debt ceiling will not necessarily result in default. The federal government has plenty of revenue to cover interest payments, even if it must shift that money out of other parts of the budget. Any claims of immediate default and imminent financial collapse are disingenuous fearmongering designed to fool a gullible and economically ignorant public and force an increase of the debt ceiling and an increase in taxes."

Israel intercepts boat with weapons on Dead Sea: "Israeli security forces on Monday intercepted a boat on the Dead Sea carrying two Palestinians trying to smuggle assault rifles, ammunition magazines and other unspecified weapons, the military said. The military did not provide other details but said they were treating the incident as an attempted weapons-smuggling operation and not as an attempted militant attack."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc. He is particularly pleased at the death of that painter of ugliness, Lucian Freud.


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)