Friday, November 30, 2012

Is Harvard a Jewish plot?  And does it matter?

Jewish Harvard graduate Ron Unz says yes to both questions.  He has just written a VERY long article examining bias in Ivy League admissions which would persuade me to change my surname to Goldberg if I wanted admission there.

All sociologists have the unenviable task of extracting viable generalizations from very imperfect data and Unz is a champion in those black arts.  I have disputed such generalizations from him in the past but the evidence he marshalls on this occasion is pretty massive.  When evidence from multiple sources converges on one conclusion, it elicits at least provisional assent.

My heading above does of course caricature what Unz finds but not by much.  What he finds is that admissions to the Ivies in recent years have been grotesquely skewed in favour of Jews and grotesquely skewed to the disadvantage of Asians, with non-Hispanic, non-Jewish whites also unfairly treated.

And Unz's criterion for fairness is hard to criticize.  He looks to pre-university educational attainment.  High achievement up to the end of high school suddenly fails people trying to get into Harvard, Princeton or Yale.  And if your surname is Goldberg you don't even have to be a high achiever at High School level.

I myself read Unz's findings with considerable disquiet but despite my background in social science statistics, I can't see any fault in his overall conclusions --  provided he represents his sources accurately.  He does sometimes cherry-pick and I am not familiar with the datasets he uses.  But as far as I can see, he meticulously covers all the bases, which is why his article is so long.  There are by now many comments about his article online and I have not so far seen one that rebuts his statistics.  Most criticisms put up theoretical points that Unz has already covered.  It is a long article and I guess that the critics could not be bothered to read it all.

So what the heck is going on?  Unz initially points to the overwhelmingly (Leftist) Jewish administration of the Ivies, which does have some plausibility.  But he then puts forward something I had never guessed at and which will surely surprise most others:  Admissions officers at the Ivies tend to be poorly-paid dumb bunnies, much dumber than the student body they select.  Their poor academic background is sometimes quite startling.  At Britain's leading universities (Oxford and Cambridge) it is the opposite.  Selection is by the academics who will be doing the teaching.

So Unz concludes, and I am inclined to agree, that simple fear of being seen as antisemitic (particularly seeing that their bosses are Jewish) is often the factor that makes admissions officers transfer "Goldberg" applications to the "accept" basket without much scrutiny.

And this bias in favor of Jews does of course put a big squeeze on other ethnicities, particularly Asians and other whites.  Even considering that, however, Unz marshalls strong evidence for a systematic bias against Asians, a bias that looks very much like a deliberate quota.  A student body that should be around 40% Asian if selected by prior attainment is in fact only around 16% Asian.

It's pretty clear Leftist racism.  But Leftists have never ceased being race-obsessed so the only mystery is how the people responsible for it justify it in their own minds.  Asians are "gooks", apparently.  They don't look remotely like a Goldberg.

So does it all matter?  Unz argues that it is in fact vital. Some quotes:
In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America’s most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students. Indeed, the early success of Facebook was largely due to the powerful imprimatur it enjoyed from its exclusive availability first only at Harvard and later restricted to just the Ivy League....

Power corrupts and an extreme concentration of power even more so, especially when that concentration of power is endlessly praised and glorified by the major media and the prominent intellectuals which together constitute such an important element of that power. But as time goes by and more and more Americans notice that they are poorer and more indebted than they have ever been before, the blandishments of such propaganda machinery will eventually lose effectiveness, much as did the similar propaganda organs of the decaying Soviet state. Kahlenberg quotes Pat Moynihan as noting that the stagnant American earnings between 1970 and 1985 represented “the longest stretch of ‘flat’ income in the history of the European settlement of North America.”120 The only difference today is that this period of economic stagnation has now extended nearly three times as long, and has also been combined with numerous social, moral, and foreign policy disasters.

Over the last few decades America’s ruling elites have been produced largely as a consequence of the particular selection methods adopted by our top national universities in the late 1960s. Leaving aside the question of whether these methods have been fair or have instead been based on corruption and ethnic favoritism, the elites they have produced have clearly done a very poor job of leading our country, and we must change the methods used to select them. Conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. once famously quipped that he would rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 names listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard. So perhaps an important step in solving our national problems would be to apply a similar method to selecting the vast majority of Harvard’s students.
As the quote shows, Unz favours a partially random solution to the undoubted problem that the Ivies now pose.  My own solution would be less drastic.  I would favour revival of the rule that all students who receive a perfect SAT score should be automatically admitted -- and any leftover places after that could be allocated any wacky way the university liked.

Under that rule, it would be amusing to see the faces of all the Leftist Jewish administrators when they looked out their windows and saw a sea of Asian faces in the grounds.  Again, I would be interested to hear how they justified their racism

Being a people who have themselves suffered greatly from irrational bias, it is particularly saddening to see Jews practicing it.  Yet more evidence that Leftism rots the mind, I guess -- JR


A generation of debtors

Debt, debt everywhere in Obama's America.  And a particular  nightmare for young people

Consumer Credit default: Student Loans

We have already discussed the student loan bubble, and its popping previously, most extensively in this article. Today, we get the Q3 consumer credit breakdown update courtesy of the NY Fed's quarterly credit breakdown. And it is quite ghastly. As of September 30, Federal (not total, just Federal) rose to a gargantuan $956 billion, an increase of $42 billion in the quarter - the biggest quarterly update since 2006.

But this is no surprise to anyone who read our latest piece on the topic. What also shouldn't be a surprise, at least to our readers who read about it here first, but what will stun the general public are the two charts below, the first of which shows the amount of 90+ day student loan delinquencies, and the second shows the amount of newly delinquent 30+ day student loan balances. The charts speak for themselves.

This is how the Fed described this "anomaly":

"Outstanding student loan debt now stands at $956 billion, an increase of $42 billion since last quarter.  However, of the $42 billion, $23 billion is new debt while the remaining $19 billion is attributed to previously defaulted student loans that have been updated on credit reports this quarter. As a result, the percent of student loan balances 90+ days delinquent increased to 11 percent this quarter."

oh and this from footnote 2:

"As explained in a Liberty Street Economics blog post, these delinquency rates for student loans are likely to understate actual delinquency rates because almost half of these loans are currently in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance and therefore temporarily not in the repayment cycle. This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle delinquency rates are roughly twice as high."

We'll let readers calculate on their own what a surge in 90+ day delinquency from 9% to 11% (or as footnote 2 explains: 22%) in one quarter on $1 trillion in student debt means. For those confused, read all about it in this September article: "The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default" which predicted just this.

And so it's official: Pop goes the student loan bubble, as just confirmed by the Fed.

Luckily student debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Oh wait. It isn't.



Gene that may have helped make people smart ID'd

Leftists act as if genetics didn't matter but there is a torrent of findings showing that they do

Researchers have found a gene that they say helps explain how humans evolved from apes.

Called miR941, it seems to have played a crucial role in brain development and may shed light on how we learned to use tools and language, the scientists say. They add that it's the first time a new gene, carried only by people and not by apes, has been shown to have a specific function in the body.

"This new molecule sprang from nowhere at a time when our species was undergoing dramatic changes: living longer, walking upright, learning how to use tools and how to communicate," said Martin Taylor of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who led the study. "We're now hopeful that we will find more new genes that help show what makes us human."

The gene has been found to be highly active in two areas of the brain that control our decision making and language abilities. The study suggests it could have a role in the advanced brain functions that make us human.

A team at the university compared the human genome to 11 other species of mammals, including chimpanzees, gorillas, mouse and rat, to find the differences between them. The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, indicate the gene is unique to humans. The researchers say it emerged between six and one million years ago, after the human lineage had branched off from apes.

Most differences between species occur as a result of changes to existing genes, or the duplication and deletion of genes. But scientists say this gene emerged fully functional out of noncoding genetic material, previously termed "junk DNA," in a startlingly short time in evolutionary terms.



The Power of High Places: Academia and Media are Hives of the Left That Sway the Culture

The second book of Kings in the Old Testament is a usefully depressing history on national decline. It starts with fire coming down from heaven to convince a king, and Elijah ascending to heaven via chariots of fire. It ends with the former king of Judah taken into captivity and dependent on the ruler of Babylon, who condescends to give him an allowance.

Not all kings were part of the descent. Jehoash, Amaziah, and Azariah, for example, all “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord,” except for one thing: “The high places were not removed; the people still sacrificed and made offerings on the high places” (2 Kings 12:2-3, 14:3-4, 15:3-4). Many who gave lip service to Yahweh hedged their bets by visiting a “high place” (in Hebrew, bamah) that was usually but not always on a hill or mountain.

A bamah, in short, was a cultural security blanket: High places could make people feel like far-seeing gods possessing gnostic wisdom.

Question: What are the high places in our culture? Answer: Academia and media. See how people donate to their alma maters even when professors teach doctrines that label the contributors as little more than criminals. See how millions reverently give to PBS and NPR, and how ABC, CBS, and NBC still have the power to insinuate liberal messages. See how hundreds of thousands read the Sunday New York Times and email its sermons.

I saw the power of the high places not only teaching at The University of Texas for two decades, but through my failure to convince one king to attack them. During the 1990s, when I very occasionally advised Texas Gov. George W. Bush, we talked about how academically totalitarian UT was becoming. He sympathized but said he was not strong enough to take it on. Unions, sure. Later, al Qaeda, sure. Bamah, no.

Our academic high places are hives of the left. The Daily Princetonian says 155 members of Princeton University’s faculty or staff donated to Barack Obama, and only two (one visiting lecturer in engineering, one janitor) to Mitt Romney. I’ve seen similar stats from other schools. When taxpayers and parents pay tens of thousands of dollars to require students to listen to leftist propaganda from generally persuasive individuals, should we be surprised that young people vote left?

Our media high places cover up misdeeds. For six weeks this fall CBS concealed information it had that showed President Obama confused at best and, more probably, lying concerning the Libya attack that killed four Americans. Had CBS released that footage after the second presidential debate, the course of the campaign could have changed.

More basically, though, the media problem is not what’s omitted but what’s been presented for decades as the new normal: marriage as dull and readily breakable, singleness as sexy and independent. This propaganda-fueled drive toward singleness hurts millions of individuals who learn the downside of no one to depend on. It also has a political kick, as the increasing number of never-married and divorced women depend more on government and vote overwhelmingly for more of it.

What’s next? Democrats’ pro-abortion rhetoric this year was not forward but backward to the time of Judah’s King Ahaz, who “did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord....  He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations.” The good news is that after Ahaz came Hezekiah, who “removed the high places and broke the pillars” (2 Kings 16:2-4, 18:3-4).

Ronald Reagan and the Bushes did not remove the high places. We need a Hezekiah, but we need more: America is not ancient Israel, and the president does not have the power to remove high places. We fall for the blandishments of big media and academia because we are ready to fall: If we concentrate solely on their sin we won’t come to grip with ours.

This all means that breaking bamah pillars is the work of every generation, but providential technology —online courses and publications— is opening wide a door in our day for Christian education and Christian publications..




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, November 29, 2012

What Is The Real Difference Between High-Income Earners and Low-Income Earners

Not as much as you would think, believe it or not.

Everyone is talking about 'taxing the rich!', 'redistributing the wealth!' and 'income inequality!' as if it is something from a fairy tale or something. If you didn't know better, you would think you were reading history from the French Revolution ('Off with their heads!) or the writings of Leon Trosky and the others who brought 'income-equality' (as in 'low' income for everyone but the rulers) in Soviet Russia for almost a century.

Let's take a very close look at the reality of the situation on the ground in real terms, how about it?

Does everyone know what a FICA tax is?  I have been lecturing at various universities over the past couple of years and hardly any student knows what a payroll or FICA tax is.

The FICA tax is the 'Federal Income Contributions Act' which is about as deliberate of a misnomer and  deceptive advertising as ever was one.  Since when did paying taxes ever become known as a 'contribution' anyway?

The thought here is that since you receive a benefit down the road, if you live long enough, you are making a 'contribution' to your future retirement needs. As we have seen in many previous posts, you are making no such 'contribution' to any such trust fund because:

A) They are all broke today

B) You are paying current benefits for current retirees, nothing more, nothing less

C) The only way you will get what you think your future SS and Medicare benefits should be is if your children and grandchildren pay far higher taxes than you do today

D) If you are under the age of 50, you can fully expect and count on receiving far, far less than you will ever 'contribute' in FICA taxes in SS and Medicare benefits when you retire.  Just the time-value of money and the lack of truly invested principal in any form guarantees that you will be underwater in terms of the benefits you will ever receive from either major entitlement program.

Anyway, with regards to the current debate over 'income-equality', let's take a close look at the real post-tax difference between a high-income self-employed individual and a person making $60,000 per year to support a family of four.

Let's assume the high-income person, as defined by the President, OMB, CBO and the Census Bureau makes $180,000 per year in a two-income family.  One spouse is in business for himself as an insurance agent and the other spouse is an independent researcher at a local university.

After family deductions and mortgage interest and charitable deductions, the net taxable income falls to $150,000.

So far, so good it seems for the higher-income family, huh?

Right off the top, this high income family can expect to pay $23,550 in payroll taxes since it is 15.7% of your earned income for self-employed people. All non-deductible from any other taxes they may pay.

Add to that approximately another $17,000 of federal income taxes and their take-home income is down to about $110,000.

State taxes will claim another $10,000 so now they are down to $100,000.  Local and property taxes, depending the number of cars they own, for example, could claim another couple of thousand or so.

So the higher-income self-employed couple is down to around $95,000 of disposable income when all is said and done after sales taxes and every other tax is added in each year.

Over $55,000 in taxes paid at some level or roughly what the average American household makes in income each year. Paid for by 1 couple. Not bad.  It is far better than anyone in the middle-or-lower income categories, right?

But by how much?  And does the difference justify all of the polemics and class warfare we see out there coming from President Obama and the political left?

Consider a couple making $60,000 as employees at two companies, both making exactly $30,000/year in salary. For one thing, they immediately only have to pay half as much in FICA taxes as the self-employed couple because that is the law.  The reason is that the corporations they work for have to pay a matching percentage from the employer side to get to the 15.7% rate for FICA taxes.

Let's assume their mortgage interest and charitable contributions amount to $10,000/year.  Now they are down to $50,000 in income to spend.

That would mean that this couple has about $3850 total withheld from their paychecks during the year.  They may not fall low enough to not pay any federal income taxes each year but they are not far from it.  Let's say they pay $1250 in state taxes to get to a round $45,000 of disposable income for the year.

So with all of the discussion about rich versus poor, big versus small, fat cats versus the small guy, in many cases we are talking about a difference of $50,000 in income per year for American citizens.  Or about the income earned by an average American household, once again.

$50,000 is a lot of money, don't get us wrong.  We would rather have $50,000 more to spend on education,  vacations, clothes and cars than not have it, to be sure.

But we are not talking about the routine disparity in income in America as being $1 million+ or $10 billion+ per year amongst perhaps 98% of all American families.  The whole debate is driven by perceptions not reality.

Not all the rich people in America live or act like the Kardashian family on cable. (Thank God!)

Plus, we could tax the rich people out the wazoo and guess what would happen?

* They would find legal tax shelters and pay the same next year as this year.

* They would move to the Cayman Islands or somewhere that doesn't tax them as much and declare legal residence there. We would not balance our federal budget.  Not even come close.

* Or they would just quit investing in more business in America and just retire and enjoy life.

None of us should want any wealthy person to pull up stakes and just sit back and 'enjoy life'!  We want them to keep working their tails off and taking risks right and left with their money!  We should all be begging and encouraging them to make more investments so we can all get a job working at their new business!

We want them to be like those talented, somewhat crazy football coaches who win a national title at one school, retire to 'spend more time with the family' (which they never do) and then take the next job to lead another team to the national championship. Or the Super Bowl.

That is what great business people and entrepreneurs do.  They were put here on earth not to just make money for themselves but to provide jobs and help create wealth for the rest of us!

Sometimes they will fail.  But we would still get paid salary and benefits out of their capital (and the money they can borrow from banks that you and I can't) until the business failed.  And then, we should hope they would try again.

That is where we think this current debate over 'income-disparity' is so messed up.  We want everyone to have the chance to work for themselves or someone else and move up the income ladder, not drag everyone above them down to our level.

We want wealthy people to keep investing in business in America.  We want them to become the next Apple.  If someone had gone to work at Apple just 10 years ago and had stock benefits in their compensation that included about $10,000 in value then, they would have over $660,000 in their nest egg today, give or take a few thousand dollars on any given day.

Now, let's stop all this class warfare and figure out ways to stop spending so much money on everything, balance our budgets and let this great American money-making, job-creating machine get back to work putting us back to work as well.  



The West Fights Back

W. Kristol

There are some facts so obvious that only a liberal could deny them. One of them is that, from Benghazi to Be’er Sheva, the West is under attack.

By the West I mean those nations—wherever on the globe they are—that hold aloft and carry the torch of liberal civilization, that seek to build on the achievements of modern liberalism and the older traditions of Athens and Jerusalem. The United States stands at the head of the West, having had leadership thrust upon us several decades ago—at about the same time the state of Israel came into existence after the collapse of Western civilization in Europe.

The West was saved, primarily by Britain and the United States, and its revival after the war was somehow exemplified by the founding of the state of Israel, which, as the philosopher Leo Strauss put it in 1956, “is a Western country, which educates its many immigrants from the East in the ways of the West: Israel is the only country which as a country is an outpost of the West in the East.”

To be an outpost is to be under the threat of attack. To be a leader is to be subject to attack. And so Israel and the United States bear the brunt of the attacks on Western civilization.

George W. Bush was ridiculed by the left, and criticized by some on the right, for speaking of the Global War on Terror. The left hated the notion of a global war of any sort, and the right disliked the imprecision of “terror.” But the term “war on terror” has always struck me as good enough for government work.

For what the West stands against is terror—whether the terror of modern secular totalitarianism or the terror of an older, and now revitalized, religious fanaticism. From the Great Terrors of Stalin and Hitler to the attacks on New York and Tel Aviv, and on Madrid, Bali, and Mumbai, terrorists of all stripes know who their enemies are. They attack across the world and kill Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike—but they grasp that the centers of resistance, the nations that stand most squarely in their path, are the United States and Israel.

And so these two very different nations—Christian and Jewish, large and small, new world and old (though the new world nation is older than its newly reborn old world counterpart)—find themselves allied. More than allied: They find themselves joined at the hip in a brotherhood that is more than a diplomatic or political or military alliance. Everyone senses that the ties are deeper than those of mere allies. Israelis know that if the United States fails, so shall Israel. Americans sense, in the words of Eric Hoffer, “as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.”

I write this on the eve of Thanksgiving, the most Old Testament, the most Hebraic, of our national holidays. On Thanksgiving we don’t celebrate our rights or our achievements, or honor our soldiers or great men. Rather, we thank the Almighty for our blessings here in America. We might also thank Him for restoring the homeland of the Jewish people, as Israelis might thank Him for the existence, side by side with Israel, of a loyal and steadfast America.



Did Rush Limbaugh Cause a Suicide?

According to syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, no, not directly, but Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, etc. polluted the rhetorical waters in which Henry Hamilton swam.

Hamilton, 64, of Key West, FL, was found dead two days after the election with empty prescription bottles by his side, one for an anti-anxiety medication and the other for a drug to treat schizophrenia.  The tanning salon owner had reportedly been stressed about his business and, according to a witness, remarked that if Obama were re-elected, “I’m not going to be around.”  Supposedly written on his will was “[expletive] Obama.”

Aside from the heart-wrenching tragedy of any suicide, one is left to wonder why this story didn’t make a greater impact nationally.  Apparently the media was too busy gloating to indulge in their favorite dessert: rich, decadent liberal outrage.  Still, Pitts took up any slack, blaming the aforementioned, along with Cal Thomas, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump for nudging Hamilton over the edge with their “nonstop litany of half-truths, untruths and fear-mongering.”  According to Pitts, they are zealots who believe the “garbage” they say.

Just countering Pitts’ drama-queen hysterics continues the overheated cycle — we’re not likely changing many minds here, rather we’re continuing the tit-for-tat, surface-level narrative that makes rational, informed discourse all but impossible.  But at the same time, we on the right must not surrender our passions in the name of “civility” or forgo the truth for the sake of “changing the tone.”  Rule of thumb: whenever anyone complains about the negative tone in politics, they usually mean that conservatives are exercising their First Amendment rights again.

Of course, it will never dawn on anyone that the anti-business, you-didn’t-build-that rhetoric of this administration might drive someone to despair.  Oh, no, couldn’t happen.  Someone who has never held a single day of elective office must bear the blame before the president or America’s reigning party that actually enacts policy.

To those who claim that conservatives are overreacting to the election and need to get over it, consider the vow of Barack Obama (yes, the same Obama who was nurtured by the soothing, dispassionate oratory of Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright) to fundamentally “transform” the United States of America.  That’s his word, not Rush Limbaugh’s, not Sean Hannity’s.

Would I be contributing to the national suicide rate if I asked if maybe Obama wasn’t over-reaching just a little?  Even if you write that one-off as standard pre-election hype, consider ads that ran in swing states claiming “Mitt Romney:  Not one of us.”  Nice.  Just a sample of the unifying, civil dialogue emanating from the left.

Not one of us.  What is he, a Martian?

Instead of countering the supposed half-truths and untruths of prominent conservatives, Pitts avoids the heavy-lifting and just writes them off as bad people.  According to PItts, we on the right think our fellow Americans are “idiots.”  No, we don’t, and that is the very point of conservatism.  We consider our fellow citizens far better equipped to handle their own affairs than Washington bureaucrats far removed from their day-to-day lives, which is why we find the election outcome so disappointing.

Conservatives tend to view their fellow citizens individually, while liberals see them collectively.  The death of Henry Hamilton, by all accounts a productive member of society and a fellow human being, elicits sadness, regardless of party affiliation or choice of political commentary. The fact that this American citizen died an apparently troubled man makes his passing all the more poignant.  Period.  He was one of us.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, November 28, 2012

Jensen and Flynn

Thomas Sowell

Anyone who has followed the decades-long controversies over the role of genes in IQ scores will recognize the names of the two leading advocates of opposite conclusions on that subject-- Professor Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley and Professor James R. Flynn, an American expatriate at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

What is so unusual in the academic world of today is that Professor Flynn's latest book, "Are We Getting Smarter?" is dedicated to Arthur Jensen, whose integrity he praises, even as he opposes his conclusions. That is what scholarship and science are supposed to be like, but so seldom are.

Professor Jensen, who died recently, is best known for reopening the age-old controversy about heredity versus environment with his 1969 article titled, "How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?"

His answer-- long since lost in the storms of controversy that followed-- was that scholastic achievement could be much improved by different teaching methods, but that these different teaching methods were not likely to change I.Q. scores much.

Jensen argued for educational reforms, saying that "scholastic performance-- the acquisition of the basic skills-- can be boosted much more, at least in the early years, than can the IQ" and that, among "the disadvantaged," there are "high school students who have failed to learn basic skills which they could easily have learned many years earlier" if taught in different ways.

But, regardless of what Arthur Jensen actually said, too many in the media, and even in academia, heard what they wanted to hear. He was lumped in with earlier writers who had promoted racial inferiority doctrines that depicted some races as being unable to rise above the level of "hewers of wood and drawers of water."

These earlier writers from the Progressive era were saying, in effect, that there was a ceiling to the mental potential of some races, while Jensen argued that there was no ceiling but, by his reading of the evidence, a difference in average IQ, influenced by genes.

When I first read Arthur Jensen's landmark article, back in 1969, I was struck by his careful and painstaking analysis of a wide range of complex data. It impressed me but did not convince me. What it did was cause me to dig up more data on my own.

A few years later, I headed a research project that, among other things, collected tens of thousands of past and present IQ scores from a wide range of racial and ethnic groups at schools across the United States. Despite serious limitations in these data, due to constraints of time and circumstances, these data nevertheless threw some additional light on the subject.

A feature article of mine in the Sunday New York Times Magazine of March 27, 1977 pointed out that any number of white groups, here and overseas, had at some point in time had IQs similar to, and in some cases lower than, the IQs of black Americans. During the First World War, for example, white soldiers from some Southern states scored lower on army mental tests than black soldiers from some Northern states.

Professor Jensen read this article and came over to Stanford University to meet with me and discuss the data. That is what a scholar should do when challenged. But the opposite approach was shown by Professor Kenneth B. Clark, who earlier had sought to dissuade me from doing IQ research. He said it would "dignify" Jensen's work, which Clark wanted ignored or discredited instead.

Unfortunately, Professor Clark's ideological approach became far more common in academia, so much so that Jensen's attempts to speak on campuses around the country provoked dangerous disruptions, instead of reasoned arguments.

Years later, Professor James R. Flynn created the biggest challenge to the hereditary theory of intelligence, when he showed that whole nations had risen to much higher results on IQ tests in just one or two generations. Genes don't change that fast.

Professor Flynn told me that he would never have done his research, except that it was provoked by Jensen's research. That is just one of the reasons for having a free marketplace of ideas, instead of turning academic campuses into fortresses of politically correct intolerance.


Sowell's comments are those of an unusually decent man but his argument is unpersuasive.  You can to this day find some whites who are dumber than some blacks but it is the groups OVERALL (and preferably across time) that are of greatest interest and the overall black/white gap has been consistent as far back as it has been measured.  But there are exceptions to every rule and some blacks are very bright.  Sowell is one of them.


Yes, slash farm subsidies - but don't stop there

by Jeff Jacoby

As a candidate for the US Senate, Elizabeth Warren showed a livelier interest in raising federal revenues than in cutting government spending. But about one spending target the senator-elect has been admirably blunt. When asked to name some items in the federal budget she'd like to see slashed, the first program she cites is one of the most indefensible: agriculture subsidies.

To be sure, it's easier to oppose welfare for agribusiness when you represent Massachusetts, which ranks 44th among the 50 states in federal farm payments, and where only 7.7 percent of local farms collect subsidies. But that doesn't alter the fact that farm subsidies are egregiously bad policy in every way, and Warren will deserve hearty bipartisan applause if she leads a serious effort to eliminate them.

According to the Environmental Working Group, agriculture subsidies have robbed taxpayers of more than $275 billion over the past six years. Like most corporate welfare, farm programs redistribute wealth upward. In congressional testimony last June, Cato Institute analysts Chris Edwards and Tad DeHaven pointed out that the average income of farm households was $84,400 in 2010, or 25 percent higher than the average income earned by all US households that year. Moreover, the great majority of American farms (62 percent) collect no subsidies at all. Nearly 75 percent of government payments go to just 10 percent of all farm businesses.

For years critics have pointed out glaring problems with the government's farm program: The tens of millions of dollars paid annually to recipients who are millionaires. The more than $1.1 billion disbursed to people who were dead - in many cases, dead for years. The damage inflicted on the environment, and on farmers in poor nations.

Then there are the lavish "farm" subsidies shelled out to owners of land not used for farming at all. In some communities, ABC News reported in 2008, real-estate agents were using the prospect of agriculture payments as a lure to entice home buyers. "Do you have to farm . to receive it?" one woman was shown asking a realtor during a home showing. "No, no, no, no," the agent assures her. "It's like a little bonus that you don't really have to do anything to get."

US agriculture doesn't require tax dollars to flourish. The proof was on your Thanksgiving table - and in the grocery where you stocked up before the feast. Most varieties of food grown in America aren't subsidized, as ABC's reported noted. There's no apple subsidy, no banana subsidy, no subsidy for carrots or lemons or lettuce. Yet walk into any supermarket and you can find all of them in abundance.

The case against farm subsidies is clear and compelling. Most Americans rightly oppose them, and Warren rightly calls for ending them. Granted, that wouldn't make more than a small dent in the $1 trillion annual deficits Washington has been running. But it would make a good start. And wiping out all the other corporate welfare in the federal budget - the equally indefensible subsidies for high-speech rail and alternative energy, for automakers and broadband networks, for small business and mortgage lending, for export promotion and shipbuilding - would make an even better one.

Yet earnest talk about cutting the budget never seems to lead to earnest budget-cutting. Every subsidy has its vocal defenders, every taxpayer has his favorite subsidies, and no matter how much evidence piles up to the contrary, Americans continue to believe that government spending is essentially virtuous. No political truth seems harder to bear in mind than this one: Every dollar the government gives to X is a dollar the government must take from Y. Yet no political truth is more ironclad.

We are beguiled by what political scientist James Payne calls the "philanthropic illusion" -- the idea that the government has money to bestow on needy people and worthy causes. It doesn't. Washington is not a source of wealth, and its subsidies are not largesse.

It is heartening that Massachusetts' senator-elect can brush aside the philanthropic illusion when it comes to crop supports. Here's hoping she comes to see that what is true of Washington's farm programs is true of every budget item: Government can only help some by hurting others.



More on Swedish healthcare

While Sweden has long taken pride in its public healthcare system, lengthening queues and at times inconsistent care have prompted many Swedes to opt for private healthcare with many gaining the benefit through insurance policies offered by employers, currently responsible for 80 percent of healthcare insurance market.

The idea behind private health insurance is simple enough: those put off by the idea of heading to publicly funded clinics and hospitals can purchase a policy through an insurance company and instead enjoy speedy medical attention with private doctors.

Of course, the option doesn't come cheap.   While the public system will set a patient back no more than 350 kronor per visit ($52), regardless of the procedure, and this fee is capped at a total of 900 kronor annually, insurance policies can run into thousands of kronor, depending on how much or how little is covered.

"We've got several different premiums to choose from, but the standard one costs about 4,000 kronor per year," says Andersson.

Despite the cost, as many as 500,000 Swedes [out of 8 million] are now estimated to be using private healthcare insurance, up from 100,000 only ten years ago, according to a recent report from daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

And a flawed public system is often cited as the cause of the rapid expansion.  "It's a question of people not being satisfied with the accessibility of today's public healthcare," explains Andersson.

Long queues are one of the main complaints for consumers of Sweden's public healthcare services, with patients sometimes forced to wait as much as fifteen times longer for treatment compared to private options.

Insurance company IF, for example, offers insurance policies which guarantee specialist care within two days, while patients can wait at least a month to see a specialist in the public system.

Long wait times have been a long-standing problem with the Swedish healthcare system and one that the government has attempted to address.  The Healthcare Guarantee (V+rdgaranti), a reform implemented in 2007, was supposed to ensure patients can visit a doctor and receive treatment within specific time frames.

Despite much fanfare at the time, the reform's results have been limited, according to Andersson.  "The Healthcare Guarantee isn't a guarantee," he explains.

"If you don't receive care within the promised time, there are no sanctions, and you don't get any compensation."

As a result, private healthcare remains in demand, despite some objections that the development results in a two-track system in which wealthy, employed patients receive better, faster care.

But with more and more Swedes opting for private healthcare, Andersson is hopeful that Swedish healthcare can evolve into a system where public healthcare is capable of offering good care for all, and private insurance becomes an extra option for those who wish to invest more.




SCOTUS revives challenge to Obama health law:  "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived a challenge to President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, allowing a Christian college to pursue litigation raising First Amendment objections to a law that the court mostly upheld in June. Liberty University, based in Lynchburg, Virginia, had challenged both the individual mandate, which required all people to obtain insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, and a separate mandate requiring large employers to provide coverage for workers."

TX: Man pulls gun on line cutting shopper:  "Black Friday got off to a rowdy start at a San Antonio mall where police say one shopper pulled a gun on another who punched him in the face while they were waiting in line at a Sears store. Police Sgt. Rob Carey tells the San Antonio Express-News a man rushed into the store when it opened Thursday night to get to the front of a line, started arguing with people and tried cutting in front of them. One man who got punched pulled a gun and that scattered shoppers, including the impatient line-cutter who took cover behind a refrigerator. Then he fled"

Cold cash Jefferson off to jail at last:  "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the appeal of former Louisiana congressman William Jefferson, who had challenged his 2009 conviction on multiple charges of bribery and money laundering. ... A federal jury had found Jefferson guilty of soliciting bribes, money laundering and participation in a racketeering scheme. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison but remained free while pursuing an appeal."

How to spot a sociopath:  "Sociopaths are masters at influence and deception. Very little of what they say actually checks out in terms of facts or reality, but they're extremely skillful at making the things they say sound believable, even if they're just making them up out of thin air. Here, I'm going to present quotes and videos of some legendary sociopaths who convinced everyday people to participate in mass suicides. And then I'm going to demonstrate how and why similar sociopaths are operating right now ... today."

The morass that is Obamacare:  "Another physician told me, two weeks ago, about the nightmare that is the compliance requirement for Electronic Medical Records, where 'one size is required to fit all,' and the same questions must be asked of every patient, and those results MUST be reported to the Federal government. Do you smoke? MUST be reported to the Feds. Have you ever used marijuana? MUST be reported to the Feds. Ever suffered from depression? MUST be reported to the Feds. Are you pregnant? If you are a 17-year-old female, this MUST be reported by the doctor to the Feds, even though s/he is not allowed to report it to your parents."



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, November 27, 2012

Israel as a scapegoat:  Another target for Leftist hatreds

Brendan O'Neill is pretty right in the excerpt below but he misses the larger context:  The Left have always hated Jews. It goes at least as far back as Karl Marx, who hated Jews even though he was himself one!  Leftist Jews who hate Jewry are still with us, of course.  Hate swamps reason.  Marx in fact hated just about everyone and so do Leftists today. O'Neill writes from Britain and antisemitism is particularly virulent among the British intelligentsia.  See the links in the sidebar at EYE ON BRITAIN

Among people who consider themselves liberal and progressive, who cleave to fashionable ideas about fairness, social justice and having an ‘international community’ to oversee global problems, who might be described as the cultural elite, hostility towards Israel is intense, bordering on hysterical. Israeli military action riles this political set far more than the military action of any other nation on Earth, including America and Britain. Where America and Britain’s numerous military excursions, particularly in Iraq, are described by this political set as ‘mistakes’ or as ‘counterproductive’, in that they apparently generate more terrorism than they defeat, Israel’s militarism is described in the most heated language imaginable: as ‘murderous’, a kind of ‘bloodletting’, even Nazi-like. Israel’s militarism never fails to generate large protests in European capitals, from Rome to Berlin to London, at which gatherings of Islamists, leftists and respectable academics wave placards denouncing Israeli apartheid, murder, barbarism, and so on.

The double standard inherent in this shrill, ahistorical response to Israeli militarism is clear if one contrasts it with the response to something like the Obama administration’s bombings in Pakistan. In many ways, Obama has already done to rural parts of Pakistan what Israel is currently doing to Gaza – that is, he has launched bombing raids against militants which have inevitably killed or injured large numbers of innocents, too. Where Israel has said to have killed 130 in Gaza over the past week – some of them Hamas militants but many of them not – Obama’s drone attacks in Pakistan in recent years have killed many more: an estimated 2,600, in fact, only around 13 per cent of whom were militants. This means that around 2,200 ordinary Pakistanis have been killed in bomb attacks okayed by Obama. Yet far from Obama’s drone attacks generating public protests, or being described as ‘murderous’ and ‘Nazi-esque’ by respectable, caring newspapers, Obama remains a hero of the very same set that sees red whenever Israel fires a missile or a gun.

The best way to understand this extraordinary and shameless double standard that Europe’s cultural elite in particular applies to Israel is as a consequence of how these people view Israel: not simply as another country that does questionable military things, like America or Britain or France, but rather as a remnant, or a reminder, of an era that every right-minded, progressive person defines him or herself against – the era of colonialism and of nationalism. Israel has effectively been turned into a conduit for Western colonial guilt, for Western self-disgust with the crimes committed by our nations in history. Israel, through its use of rather old-fashioned, sometimes belligerent language about pacifying those people who allegedly threaten its values or existence, has come to be treated as the embodiment of those colonial values that every decent Western politician now explicitly eschews and every serious academic writes scabrous revisionist histories about. Uniquely among nations that pursue military objectives, Israel is frequently said to be driven by ‘an expansionist, lawless and racist ideology’ and is said to be led by ‘colonialists’, ‘racists’ and even ‘fascists’.

It is important to note how much this transformation of Israel into a whipping boy for the sins of colonialism is a project initiated by the elites rather than by radicals. Anti-Israel posturing and protesting dresses itself up in radical garb, with Israel-hating street protesters frequently claiming a lineage with anti-imperialist movements of the past. But in truth, the demonisation of Israel as the embodiment of ideologies from the past – particularly colonialism and racism – is led by elite elements. The United Nations in particular has played a key role in projecting on to Israel the sins of colonialism. The UN’s jumped-up Human Rights Council has passed more resolutions condemning Israel than it has against all other states combined. In 1975, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which explicitly ‘determined that Zionism is a form of racism’ and condemned Israel for its adherence to doctrines of ‘racial differentiation or superiority’ and for its ‘colonialism’ (2). It is this frequent intergovernmental denouncement of Israeli behaviour and colonialism which informs radical protesting against Israel. Indeed, today’s shrill agitators against Israel, those left-wingers and liberals who make up today’s Israel-hating respectable classes, will often cite UN resolutions as a justification for their disproportionate fury with Israeli militarism. Such protesters are better understood, not as a genuinely independent or radical movement against militarism, but rather as a spin-off from international elites’ cynical, self-serving transformation of Israel into the embodiment of ugly outdated colonial values.

This means there is a great irony to anti-Israel sentiment in the West today: it depicts itself as anti-colonialist, sometimes even as anti-imperialist, but it actually helps to rehabilitate Western and particularly UN authority in global affairs in a new way. The transformation of Israel into a kind of scapegoat for the crimes of colonialism is itself a neo-colonial act, driven as it is by the needs of Western and other powers to assert their post-colonial diplomatic and military authority over so-called deviant states, like those that exist in the Middle East. Indeed, radical protesters’ description of Israel as a ‘rogue state’, as ‘the real rogue state in the Middle East’, as a ‘state of insanity’, speaks to their instinct to fashion a foreign territory that both they and their leaders might reprimand and punish. Anti-Israel activists and thinkers frequently call on ‘Our Leaders’ to enforce sanctions against Israel or to criminalise it with the tag ‘rogue state’ or even to intervene in it, militarily if necessary, to put a stop to its ‘barbarism’ and ‘bloodletting’. This reveals that modern, fashionable anti-colonialism, the reckoning with past colonial crimes, is underpinned by its own brand of colonial-style moral superiority and disgust with disobedient foreigners, in this case Israelis.

A key trend in Western public life today, particularly among those who define themselves as progressive, is to feel and proclaim alienation from the past, to express a profound discomfort with the things and events that brought about the modern, industrial world. From re-appraising the Enlightenment to handwringing over the Industrial Revolution to churning out texts on how horrendous exploration and colonialism proved to be, it is now de rigueur for Western intellectuals and activists to be consumed by a kind of self-disgust that dresses itself up as a radical stance. It is in this context that intense anti-Israel sentiment emerges, where, in George Gilder’s words, Israel comes to be hated for its ‘virtues’, primarily for the perception that it is a stubbornly old-fashioned outpost of ‘freedom and capitalism’.



Demonizing others is essential to the Left

Lincoln Brown

Listening to Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, and reading the latest headlines that say that the president’s new constituency form does not have a place for whites or for men, I have to ask myself, what does the Democratic Party have against old, white men? Joe Biden is an old white man. Harry Reid is an old white man; Barney Frank is an old white man. Michael Moore is a white man and a darn rich one, at that.

In fact as a young liberal, nearly all of many the liberals I knew growing up were white. I have to confess I am a middle-aged white man, who still has trouble thinking of myself as middle aged. I don’t burn crosses, or abuse women. I don’t hate Hispanics or blacks or Arabs. But somehow, people like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz seem keen to paint people like me as misogynistic racists. And all of the protesting I might do to the contrary would not change that. I could talk myself hoarse about how non-racist I am, but my cries would fall upon deaf ears.

I’m not going to fall back on the old saw “Some of my best friends are black (or Hispanic). Some of my friends over the years have been black, and my best friend in high school was in fact, a native of Mexico.

I have done charity work for my community, served a mission to stop human trafficking, and yes I am a conservative, but have always been kind to every liberal I have ever interviewed, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios. I’ll admit that when I started out, I was just as angry as any guy on the AM dial, but I learned listening can be more important than speaking, and a loud voice does not always make one’s case. Maybe it’s because I’ve mellowed with age, maybe it was getting re-baptized and accepting Christ that made me view things in a different light. But I evolved. The political party of my birth has seemed to move in the opposite direction.

As a conservative, my issue has never been with race, but with policy. My desire for America has not been to see the poor stay poor while I get rich. I work in radio for crying out loud, I’ll never be rich. Rather, it is the idea that if people earn their own money and are responsible for their own homes and build their own lives and they have the pride of having ownership and stewardship of those things.

I’ve read the Koran. In fact, I own a copy.

I don’t care who or what one worships, or even if one does worship, but I believe that those who chose to do so should be left in peace.

I didn’t agree with Occupy Wall Street, but I would go to the mat to allow them to protest. Because I believe that the First Amendment is first for a reason. People have the right to assemble and speak out, even those who don’t agree with me.

Yes, I think if you own a business, you are entitled to make a profit. In my direct experience, the “rich” people I have met, and for that matter the people who aren’t rich are extremely generous with their money and their time. I see it every day on the streets of the little town in which I live.

Sadly, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Marsha Fudge, or any Democrat around would not take sixty seconds to look at who I am or where I came from, what I actually think, and for that matter, they would not do the same for you, either. You are either one of them and hence a friend, or not one of them and hence an enemy.

It is a different scenario, but it is the same story and it has been going on for years. It has been reflected in every power-oriented regime in history and in fiction. To consolidate power, and rally people to your cause, you must create someone to hate. There must be “The Other”. The Other that wants to kill you, The Other that wants to enslave you, The Other that must be isolated and ultimately dealt with in some definitive manner if society is to move forward. To isolate and defeat The Other, his character flaws must be exaggerated, and if necessary manufactured. The Other must be vilified, caricatured, lampooned and turned into a monster. Unfortunately one of the most effective ways to unify a nation is to create a common enemy, and strip then him of any vestige of humanity.

Are we seeing such a thing now? History will tell, but history seems to move pretty fast these days. And if we are dividing up the nation, those who are siding with the majority should take note: when you side with people who only crave power that becomes your lot in life. You must side with them forever, even if they day comes that you do not agree with them.

I’ve told this story before but it bears re-telling. When the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia, they eventually ran out of enemies to lock up, and began arresting seemingly loyal party members out of paranoia and a need to maintain a grip on the country. People with power will do many things to hold on to that power, and if you step out of line, then suddenly, you may become The Other.

Take care that in your zeal you do not become the thing you claim to despise. You may be one complaint away from becoming one of us.


Lincoln Brown (above) might also have mentioned that after the Russian revolution Lenin executed most of the old Bolsheviks.  Hate can turn on the haters


Not Enough Dead Jews

In the aftermath of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas terrorists, it seems that the Jewish state’s greatest failing was that it did not suffer enough casualties to satisfy its critics. And so, once again, the world is railing against “Israeli aggression” and casting its sympathies with those who seek to slaughter its civilians, and this despite the outrageous statements of the Islamic radicals hell-bent on destroying Israel.

On Thursday, November 23rd, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said, “Israel screamed with pain from what the resistance did to it. I thank everyone who provided us with arms and money, especially Iran.” Yes, to make Israel scream with pain is something virtuous.

Shortly after the bomb blast in Tel Aviv that wounded 22 Israelis, Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV aired a report showing footage of the bloody scene and commenting: “These are scenes of the casualties. God willing, we will soon see black body bags. I pray to God the exalted we will see body bags in a short while. . . . Right now in these moments, the mosques in the Gaza Strip, their minarets are loudly sounding cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and cries of joy, and the residents of the Gaza Strip are bowing down to Allah for this offering [or, gift]. The morale of the Gaza residents is in the sky right now, and is rising just as the rockets of the resistance.”

This is in keeping with Articles 6 and 8 of the Hamas charter which read (in part): “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it … The Islamic Resistance Movement…strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine … Allah is our goal, the Prophet our model, the Qur’an our Constitution, Jihad our path and death for the cause of Allah our most sublime belief.” (The last sentence is the motto of Hamas.)

Danny Ayalon, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, noted “that Hamas's charter includes the aspiration that ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)’.” In contrast, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that, “For us, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational failure. For them, every time there are civilian casualties, that’s an operational success.”

In fact, an Israeli soldier cannot leave base without having in his or her possession the Israel Defense Forces Code of Ethics, including values like these: “The IDF serviceman will, above all, preserve human life, in the recognition of its supreme value and will place himself or others at risk solely to the extent required to carry out his mission.

“The sanctity of life in the eyes of the IDF servicemen will find expression in all of their actions, in deliberate and meticulous planning, in safe and intelligent training and in proper execution of their mission. In evaluating the risk to self and others, they will use the appropriate standards and will exercise constant care to limit injury to life to the extent required to accomplish the mission.”

Yet so much of the world still sees Israel as the evil aggressor, and when a caller to Geraldo Rivera’s KABC radio show observed that, “there's absolutely no moral equivalency between a free democratic nation trying to protect its citizens and a terrorist organization that's trying to sow conflict by firing rockets at innocent civilians from amongst highly populated residential, civilian areas,” Rivera replied, “No moral equivalency? Yeah, yeah, I get that too, I get that too, except that's not the way the world sees it. You know, that's just not the way the world sees it. And there is, you got 116 dead Palestinians and three dead Israelis. I mean, that’s a, where's the equivalence there either?”

If only there were more dead Jews!

In keeping with this perverse mentality, on November 20th, in an interview with Gil Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post, BBC World News presenter Mishal Hussein asked, “OK, you say that Israelis have been running for their lives ..erm…from rockets from Gaza, so tell me then; until this current confrontation, how many Israelis have been killed by these rockets from Gaza this year?”

Similarly, BBC correspondent Kevin Connolly claimed that on the Israeli side, “there is anxiety . . . there is fear,” whereas he claimed that the people of Gaza (in the words of one woman) are “surrounded by death.” Connolly also noted that, “I think we have to be clear about this, that there is an asymmetry in the casualty figures . . . and there is a colossal asymmetry in military hardware deployed here as well.”

How dare Israel defend itself so forcefully. And how dare its new Iron Dome defense system work so well in intercepting more than 400 Hamas rockets, including new long range missiles supplied by Iran. If only more Jews had been killed!

Even before Israel began its attack on Hamas last week, the student senate at the University of California Irvine (UCI) passed a resolution by a vote of 16-0, accusing Israel of “human rights abuse and institutionalized structural violence against the Palestinian people.” But terrorist groups like Hamas are apparently guilty of no such thing.

If only their rockets and missiles were more accurate. If only more Israelis died. Then Israel wouldn’t be quite so evil in the eyes of the world.


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



List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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, November 26, 2012

Socialized medicine in Sweden

Free medical care for all!  What a wonderful socialist dream!

It's a dream that never works.  Whenever it is attempted it leads to heavily rationed care at generally low standards.  The GOP now seems inclined to give up the fight against Obamacare so America too will soon be getting its version of socialized medicine.

EVERY DAY I put up reports of the woeful way people are treated  in Britain under socialized medicine and roughly a couple of days a week I put up similar reports from Australia.  (See EYE ON BRITAIN and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

But what about Sweden?  What about the socialist paradise?  Surely it works there!  It doesn't.  I haven't got the time to blog regularly about the Swedish situation but below are three recent reports from Sweden that should steel the resolve of American conservatives not to give up the fight against Obamacare.

America's health system right now is not perfect but if you want to find out how bad it can become, just do nothing.  Reports from Sweden follow.  They are eerily similar to what we hear from Britain and Australia -- JR:

Child's appendix bursts after 20 hour ER wait

A nine-year-old boy with appendicitis was made to wait more than 20 hours for surgery at the emergency ward of a Stockholm-area children's hospital before his appendix finally burst.

William arrived at Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm last Thursday after suffering stomach pains for days. He was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis, but then nothing happened.

After having his operation repeatedly pushed back by doctors, William's desperate parents were told by the chief surgeon that an operation would only be possible if it was carried out "the old-fashioned way", rather than using a procedure which resulted in less scarring.

"There was only one overnight operating room to handle all of Stockholm's children," William's father told DN.  "I'm convinced that if we hadn't demanded to speak with the chief surgeon we would have had to wait yet another night."

But by the time doctors operated on the nine-year-old, his appendix had already burst, resulting in an extended hospital stay, two weeks of missed school, and no ice hockey for young William until after Christmas.  "If they had operated sooner, I'd be home now," the nine-year-old told the paper.

Employees at the hospital acknowledged that patient safety is in jeopardy.  "Tough budget cuts, staff shortages, and recruitment difficulties have unfortunately put more pressure on surgeries and meant that children and parents have had to wait longer as a result," a hospital employee told DN.


Man left with rotting leg after hospital 'loses' him

A 21-year-old Swedish man fears that he will be unable to walk unaided again after Linköping University Hospital lost track of him, leading to a delay in the treatment of a routine foot fracture.

John Bruhne broke his foot while skateboarding and was told by the hospital that he would be home within a couple of days. Six weeks and eight operations later Bruhne was however still in hospital, according to a report by Sveriges Television Östnytt.

The extended hospital stay was made necessary after staff at the hospital lost track of him as he was moved across several wards.

The subsequent delay in his treatment meant that the muscles surrounding the broken bone began to wither and rot.

Once the hospital had finally located him, Bruhne underwent an emergency operation and three muscles were removed from his bone. He has since undergone a further seven operations to address the injury and ensuing complications.

The 21-year-old expressed concern that he would be unable to make a full recovery from his injury.  "Perhaps I will never be able to walk again. then I think about the sports. That I will never be able to play football or inner-bandy," he said to SVT.  "It is awful that this type of thing has to happen just to save money."

The incident has been reported to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) in accordance with Sweden's Lex-Maria laws, the informal name for regulations governing the reporting of injuries and incidents in the healthcare system.


Swede forced to fake stroke to get x-ray for brain tumor

A Swedish man has reported his local hospital after being forced to fake stroke symptoms to finally get an x-ray, following years of debilitating headaches and high blood pressure.

“I have filed a report so that this won’t happen to others,” Mats Johannesson told The Local.

Johannesson, who is in his forties and was working as a truck driver, fell ill some five years ago. After seeking medical help from his local clinic in Mellerud he was referred to the nearest hospital, the Norra Älvsborgs lasarett, but was sent home again with some painkillers.

“I asked for an x-ray but they didn’t think there was enough reason to carry one out,” Johannsesson said.

This continued on and off for the next five years. By last summer, Johannesson had gone to hospital by ambulance 47 times. Every time he was sent back by taxi – and without the x-ray he asked for.  “I have lived with this for so long now,” Johannesson said.

On the May 20th this year, Johannesson collapsed again but was sent home once more without an x-ray. When it happened again on July 19th Johannesson was determined not to be brushed off. “I thought to myself ‘ I am going to get a scan this time’,” Johannesson told The Local.

When the doctor came to check him over, Johannesson therefore pretended to have had a stroke, making himself go limp on the left side of his body . When the attending physician asked him to touch his nose with his fingertips, he missed on purpose.

“And then they got worried and I was taken for an emergency x-ray straight away,” Johannesson said.

When they had performed the scan the doctor told him that there was no haemorrhage but that they had detected a tumour in his brain. He is now getting anti-retroviral drugs and is set to be admitted to hospital in two weeks.

Johannesson has now reported the hospital to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen). The hospital is also conducting an internal investigation and mulling reporting itself in accordance with Lex Maria regulations on reporting instances of patient harm in the Swedish healthcare system.

“I am frankly furious with what has happened. I could have been spared all these years’ suffering. When I was put on the drugs the symptoms disappeared over night,” Johannesson told The Local.


Note: Strictly speaking, Swedish healthcare is not wholly socialized.  There is some choice of hospital.  But most Swedes end up relying on the local government hospital, as we see above.  Obamacare will not be fully socialized either in that many people will retain private insurance.  But those who rely on Obamacare will have experiences such as the above


Failures of Intelligence

Mark Steyn

I blow hot and cold on the Petraeus sex scandal. Initially, it seemed the best shot at getting a largely uninterested public to take notice of the national humiliation and subsequent cover-up over the deaths of American diplomats and the sacking of our consulate in Benghazi.

On the other hand, everyone involved in this sorry excuse for a sex scandal seems to have been too busy e-mailing each other to have had any sex. The FBI was initially reported to have printed out 20,000–30,000 pages of e-mails and other communications between General Allen, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Jill Kelley of Tampa, one-half of a pair of identical twins dressed like understudies for the CentCom mess-hall production of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Thirty thousand pages! The complete works of Shakespeare come to about three and a half thousand pages, but American officials can’t even have a sex scandal without getting bogged down in the paperwork.

For the cost of running those FBI documents off the photocopier, you could fly some broad to the Bahamas and have a real sex scandal. Instead, we’ll “investigate” it for a year or three, as we’re doing with Benghazi itself. At her press conference the other day, soon-to-be Secretary of State Susan Rice explained that she would be misspeaking if she were to explain why she misspoke about Benghazi until something called the “Accountability Review Board” has finished “conducting investigations” into “all aspects” of the investigations being conducted, which should be completed by roughly midway through Joe Biden’s second term.

Pending that “definitive accounting,” one or two aspects stand out. Paula Broadwell had access to General Petraeus because she was supposedly writing his biography. As it turns out, she can’t write, so her publisher was obliged to hire a ghostwriter from the Washington Post. Some years ago, at a low point in my career, I was asked to ghostwrite a book for a supermodel. That’s usually the type of “writer” who requires a ghost: models, singers, athletes, celebrities. When a first-time biographer requires a ghostwriter, that person is not a biographer but something else. Yet she had classified documents at her home — and yes, as the president suggested, they’re probably not that classified, not the real top-secret stuff. But in a speech at the University of Denver Mrs. Broadwell appeared to reveal accidentally that she is privy to operational knowledge of illegal CIA interrogation chambers in Benghazi.

Now let us move from General Petraeus’s mistress to General Allen’s non-mistress, Tampa socialite and identical twin Jill Kelley. Mrs. Kelley had clearance for all parts of the MacDill Air Base and was given some kind of commemorative certificate as “honorary ambassador” to CentCom, on the basis of which, in a recent 9-1-1 call, she claimed the right to “diplomatic protection.” Yeah, that’s what Chris Stevens thought in Benghazi. As appears to be well known, the Kelleys have financial problems and their luxury home faces foreclosure. For a while they ran a charity, the Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation, which makes terminal cancer patients’ final wishes come true. In 2007, they took in $157,284 in donations, and ran up expenses of $81,927 on dining, entertainment, and travel. So, if you’ve got cancer and your dying wish is for Jill Kelley to party, this is the charity for you.

In other words, neither of these women pass the smell test. Which is a problem insofar as Petraeus, as CIA director, is supposed to be head of the national smell test, and General Allen, as Petraeus’s successor in Kabul, is supposed to be head of the smell test in Afghanistan. In the Gaza “peace agreement” signed last week, they flew in Hillary Clinton to give the impression that she had something to do with it, whereas in reality she was entirely peripheral to the deal. But Jill Kelley is apparently essential to anything that matters in CentCom: When Pastor Terry Jones was threatening to burn a Koran, General Allen asked Mrs. Kelley to mediate. When radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge was threatening to “deep-fat fry” a Koran, General Allen recommended the mayor of Tampa ask Mrs. Kelley to intervene.

The U.S. government is responsible for 43 percent of the planet’s military spending, and apparently all that gets you is that, when the feces hits the fan, the four-star brass start e-mailing Jill Kelley of Tampa. If only she’d been hosting a champagne reception at the Sigonella air base in southern Italy, maybe we could have parachuted her into Benghazi to defuse the situation. Jill is the woman Hillary can only dream of being — at the confluence of all the great geostrategic currents of the age. Why didn’t we fly Jill Kelley to broker the Gaza deal? Instead of a patsy peddling risible talking points like Susan Rice, why can’t we have Jill Kelley as secretary of state?

As far as I can tell, our enemies in Afghanistan don’t go in for Soviet-style honey traps. Which is just as well, considering the ease with which, say, a pretend biographer can wind up sitting next to the U.S. commander on his personal Gulfstream. In different ways, Director Petraeus’s judgment and Director Clapper’s obtuseness testify to the problems of America’s vast, sprawling, over-bureaucratized intelligence community. If Director Petraeus can’t see the obvious under his nose in his interventions in the Kelley twins’ various difficulties, why would you expect Director Clapper to have any greater grasp of what’s happening in Cairo or Damascus?

Having consolidated his grip in Egypt, Morsi is now looking beyond. His “peace deal” legitimizes the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliate in Gaza, and increases the likelihood of the Brothers advancing to power in Syria and elsewhere. As on that night in Benghazi when the most lavishly funded military/intelligence operation on the planet watched for eight hours as a mob devoured America’s emissaries, America in a broader sense is a spectator in its own fate. As for Afghanistan, it seems a fitting comment on America’s longest unwon war that the last two U.S. commanders exit in a Benny Hill finale, trousers round their ankles, pursued to speeded-up chase music by bunny-boiling mistresses, stalker socialites, identical twins, and Bubba the Love Sponge.



Eliminating corporate tax for U.S. firms will create American jobs

One idea policymakers might consider in the upcoming calendar year is the elimination of the corporate income tax for goods and services produced here in the U.S.  Senator Rick Santorum touted a similar proposal on the campaign trail during the Republican presidential primary.

At 35 percent, the U.S. has the highest such tax rate in the developed world, more than even Japan. Combined with an ever-weakening dollar, high labor costs, and a regulatory environment that would make Soviet Russia blush, there is an enormous disincentive for new companies to ever set up shop here.

But, with the population growing as fast as it is, the private sector in particular, which employs 85 percent of workers, will need to expand robustly in order to get everyone back to work and the economy back on track. We cannot all work for the government.

So, it needs to become a whole lot cheaper to do business here. And until it does, there is little reason to expect the job market to improve dramatically as the U.S. fails to compete globally for capital.

U.S. exporters should be encouraged too to repatriate profits made overseas back into the country by restoring the foreign income tax credit. They should not be paying any taxes either on those profits.

Relative to individual income and payroll taxes that raise $2 trillion annually, the corporate tax does not raise that much revenue anyway — just $240 billion.

But if eliminating it for goods and services produced here — and halving it as Santorum suggested for all other firms — could help create just half of the jobs needed this decade, much of that revenue would eventually be made up for. The deficit would be reduced further by saving hundreds of billions from unemployment, food stamps, and other welfare programs.

Some will object to favorable treatment or incentives for domestic industries, label it protectionism, or warn of a trade war with overseas competitors. But would those not be the same arguments against a stronger dollar or rolling back restrictive domestic regulations that might make it cheaper to do business here? Those policies would be beneficial to many U.S.-based firms, too.

With any policy, there will always be winners and losers. In this case, the idea would be to create jobs here to accommodate a growing population, not to favor any particular industry’s bottom line.

Consider the alternative, which is to stay on the path we have laid out for ourselves as a nation the past many years.

A failure to create 40 million jobs this decade will mean millions more people becoming dependent on government benefits — essentially creating a permanent underclass. Making matters worse, already dire public finances would become even more swamped, as a dwindling base of taxpayers are expected to pay more of the bills.

At that stage, politicians will be tempted to raise taxes further to reduce the deficit — only even worse than is being called for today. All of which would place even further pressure on job creators, shift more capital overseas, and push more Americans into the ranks of the unemployed — a vicious cycle.

That is why the best social program is a job. The most urgent question facing the nation now is how best to create new ones here.

In the meantime, now is not the time to raise taxes on the job creators we do have during this month’s fiscal cliff negotiations. If anything, politicians need to find ways to make it less expensive to do business here so we all can get back to work. Assuming anyone’s listening, eliminating the corporate tax for U.S. businesses might be a good place to start.




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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)


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The death of simplicity

I sometimes think (but have no intention of acting on it or urging others to) that the world would be a better place if all architects were shot.  In their desperation for "originality" and novelty, architects these days seem to specialize in designing structures that are ever more ugly and dysfunctional.  A return to simpler, more traditional forms would work better, look better and cost a lot less.

But the desperation for originality is not confined to architects.  It is society-wide.  There is a society-wide fascination with the new.  For many poor souls, it is prestigious to have the newest of everything.

But that novelty is almost always dysfunctional in at least one way:  complexity.  New things are usually more complex than the old.  And that gets very tiring.  Thomas Sowell gives some excellent examples in his comments about hotels below  -- points that will undoubtedly be ignored by all hotels.  His points clash with the ego needs of the hoteliers.  They see prestige in having "the latest" of everything, regardless of how well "the latest" works.

I have lived long enough to have had a stream of electronic gadgets pass through my hands: radios, phones, TVs etc.  And each generation of them gets harder to use.  As Sowell found, the days of turning on a TV and using a simple rotary dial to find a station are long gone.  When you buy a new TV there are all sorts of complex performances required before any stations are accessible -- and poring over a manual to see what is required is a must.  And even after that ritual has been performed, changing stations can still be a puzzle for a while.

I don't suppose anybody uses VHS videotape recorders any more but they were a good example of the problem too.  If you had a power outage, all your settings were lost and there were guys who made a good living going around after outages and resetting videorecorders for confused ladies.

I myself took revenge on this loss of simplicity by doing something very eccentric:  I paid $300 for my kitchen radio (Illustration here).  Why did I do that?  I bought it because it was simple.  On the front on it are only three controls:  An on/off switch, a tuning dial and a volume knob.  I could use it the moment I turned it on!  Expensive though!  -- JR

Few things can make you appreciate home like staying in a hotel. This includes not only low-budget, bare bones hotels but also sweepingly large and ornate luxury hotels. What many hotels seem to have in common are needless hassles.

Since most people who stay in hotels do so while traveling, and stay only a few days in a given hotel, you might think that those who run hotels would want to make it easy for someone who arrives a little tired (or a lot tired) from traveling to use the various devices they find in their hotel room. But you would be wrong. That thought never seems to have crossed their minds.

Recently, at a well-known luxury hotel in Los Angeles, I found that something as simple as turning on a television set can require a phone call to the front desk, and then waiting for the arrival of a technician. Then it took another phone call to get a list of which of the dozens of channels were for which networks.

Why the turning on of a television set should be anything other than obvious to a newly arrived hotel guest is apparently a question that never occurred to the people who ran this hotel. Nor did it apparently ever occur to them that someone just arriving from a journey might want to be able to relax, instead of having to cope with complications that the hotel could easily have avoided.

The next morning, in the shower, I found myself confronted with a dazzling array of knobs and levers, none of which provided any clue as to what they did. The lever rotated and four of the surrounding knobs both rotated and tilted forward and backward.

Apparently it was not considered sporting to come right out and tell you how to get hot water or cold water. That was something you could find out for yourself by being either scalded or chilled.

Being fancy and opaque seemed to be the guiding principle. Getting on the Internet required another phone call to the front desk. In fact, it required two phone calls, because I was first referred to the wrong technical support group.

It is easier to get on the Internet at almost any institution other than a hotel. And, at this particular hotel, you had to go through the whole procedure every day, instead of just signing up for Internet access for your entire stay when you checked in or logged on.

Being a luxury hotel, this one provided bathrobes. But I had my own bathrobe. At least I had it until the maids took it away when cleaning the room while I was out. Another phone call to the front desk.

Since my bathrobe was a white, terry-cloth robe and the hotel's robes were a light tan and made of a different material, I thought there was no danger that one would be mistaken for the other. But I was wrong.

Just how wrong I discovered when, after a long delay, late at night when I wanted to get to sleep, a man appeared with a large bag containing two bathrobes. Apparently their search had also turned up another guest's bathrobe that the maids had taken. It looked even less like the hotel's bathrobe than mine did.

Something as simple as turning on a light can be a puzzle at some hotels. Again, the fatal allure of the fancy seems to be the problem with people who choose things to put in hotel rooms. Moreover, it is not uncommon for different lamps in the same hotel room to have different fancy ways of being turned on.

Years ago, at a hotel where I stayed for a week, it was only on the last day that I finally figured out, or stumbled on, the way to turn one of the floor lamps off and on.

Since I was very busy on that trip, I didn't feel like adding this to the list of things to phone the front desk about, especially late at night, when I was more interested in getting to sleep than in waiting for some technician to show up and unravel the mystery.

After my misadventures in Los Angeles, I was off to San Diego, where a hotel maid had to replace a light bulb in the bedroom and a technician had to fix a lamp in the living room. Later I had to fix a toilet that kept running after being flushed. I once had a toilet like that at home, so I knew what to do. But I replaced my malfunctioning toilet at home, unlike the hotel.

No amount of fancy things makes up for hassles.



The Twinkies story reviewed

Mike Shedlock returns to the fray below.  His summary is good but I think he takes insufficient account of history.

The union concerned is one of those power-drunk unions that repeatedly made restrictive and uneconomic demands that deprived management of the ability to manage.  Such unions can only be crushed rather than reformed -- as Ronald Reagan showed with PATCO  and Margaret Thatcher showed with the Fleet St print unions.

So the bosses at Hostess must have been heartily tired of dealing with the thugs concerned and the big money the bosses paid themselves were a "golden escape" for them -- to make it easy on themselves if they had to shut down the company.  (All value for the shareholders had already been lost through the earlier bankruptcy proceedings).

So Leftists rage at the money paid to management but if the union had been reasonable neither the big money to management nor the job losses would have been needed.  Both the big money to management and the shutdown were revenge for years of union thuggery.

The big money to management might even have been foreseen by management as a provocation that would cause the union to dig its heels in and thus justify the shutdown.  So an embittered management punched the union oppressors in the face by making them responsible for 15,000 lost jobs -- JR

At least a dozen readers sent emails in response to my previous two posts on Twinkies.

One misguided soul from the Netherlands wrote "Your article on the bankruptcy of Hostess is so extremely biased. I am NOT surprised because you're ALWAYS bashing the unions."

Many emails including the one from the Netherlands pointed to articles such as Vulture capitalism ate your Hostess Twinkies.

One person accused me of being an extreme right-winger. I also received comments about me being an extreme left-wing Obama fan.

Silliness is clearly in the eyes of the beholder as it is impossible for both of those to be true. (In fact, neither is true because I am issue-based, not political party based, and I have huge differences with both major political parties).

I sometimes wonder if people can read.  Regarding Twinkies, I distinctly stated on my blog and I repeat ...

"There is plenty of blame to go around, including untenable wages and benefits, leveraged debt, untenable management salaries etc.

However, the enabling factor behind the debt is loose monetary policy by the Fed coupled with fractional reserve lending. Factor in unions and corrupt management and there is no way the company could make it without huge concessions from the union.

Still, it is difficult to have much sympathy for those who vote to have no job in these trying times.

The union will likely see pension benefits slashed by 50% or more when handed over to the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). The PBGC is of course US taxpayers who should not have to pick up any of this tab at all (but they will)."

The person who accused me of being an extreme right-winger heard me on Coast-to-Coast where I mentioned "vulture capitalists" and leveraged debt.

So yes, I am aware of leverage. I am also aware of huge raises and other poor management decisions.  The facts remain as follows

*    The Fed's loose monetary policy and fractional reserve lending enable leveraged buyouts

*    The unions made a piss poor choice

*    Past is Irrelevant

There was an offer on the table that would have saved 15,000 jobs. The union said no. Are those 15,000 people better off with no job than a job?

That is all that matters. Management salaries and leveraged debt are in effect sunken costs. If the majority of those people can go out and find a better deal, then they made the correct choice. If not, they didn't.

Given that accrued pension benefits went up in smoke in addition to all those jobs, I strongly suggest the union made a very poor choice.

I freely admit that if a majority of those workers can find better jobs with better benefits, then I am mistaken. However, that begs the question: If those workers could do better elsewhere, than why were they working for Hostess in the first place?

Like it or not, nothing else matters. Cutting off your nose (or your job) to spite management is not a smart thing to do.



A vast moral difference

by Jeff Jacoby

Palestinians have a fierce new song to accompany their intensified conflict with Israel. "Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv," recorded by Shadi al-Bourini and Qassem al-Najjar, was posted last week on various Palestinian websites, including the Facebook page of the TV show Fenjan Al-Balad, which describes its mission as "trying to influence young Palestinian society for the better." The video, which features images of wounded Israelis and massed Qassam artillery rockets, opens with these lines:

Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv and frighten the Zionists.
The more you build it, the more we will destroy it.
Strike a blow at Tel Aviv.

Over a driving beat, the lyrics (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute) grow increasingly bellicose. "We don't want no truce or bargain," they proclaim. They exhort the missiles to "explode in the Knesset" and "terrorize Tel Aviv," while mocking the Israelis in bomb shelters who "cower with fear."

There have been many Israeli war songs over the years. Indeed, the endless conflict with the Arabs has engendered some of Israel's most enduring music. But most of it revolves around a longing for peace and the desire for normality. An Israeli equivalent of "Strike a Blow at Tel Aviv," ecstatic at the prospect of killing the enemy, is virtually unthinkable.

Other Palestinian videos have also been getting attention this week. Al-Aqsa TV, the official Hamas-run television channel, has been airing messages that extol suicide bombings and advise Israelis to get ready for more of them. "We've missed the suicide attacks," one video jeers. "Expect us soon at bus stations and in cafés." A second, along with video of rockets being fired into Israel, warns "the Zionists" not to go to bed: "We may get you in your sleep." In still another, Hamas reiterates the oft-repeated boast of murderous jihadists everywhere: "[We] love death more than you love life."

Media coverage of the hostilities in Gaza tends to focus on rockets and casualties and diplomatic maneuvering. Not emphasized nearly enough is the vast moral distance that separates Israel from its terrorist enemy. Israel and Hamas are not at war over territory. What divides them is an unbridgeable cultural abyss. On one side is a Jewish state that seeks peace with its neighbors and has repeatedly offered deep concessions to achieve it; on the other, a fanatic regime of jihadists who glorify death, abominate Jews – and are obsessed with eradicating that solitary Jewish state.

"Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave," avows the hate-drenched Hamas charter. Success will not come, declares Article 7, "until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 'O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!'"

By now it shouldn't come as news that Hamas means what it says. By now it should be obvious even to the congenitally naïve that so long as Hamas rules Gaza – a de facto Palestinian state, no matter what anyone calls it – it will never end its quest for Israel's annihilation. To Western eyes that may seem an improbable objective, given Israel's enormous military edge. But Hamas understands the value of terror. When it can send hundreds of rockets slamming over the border, when it can force Israelis to listen constantly for the siren that means they have just 15 seconds to find shelter, Hamas inches toward its goal. And when Israel finally retaliates and only then does an international uproar ensue, Hamas inches closer still.

What can diplomacy achieve with an enemy that rejects the basic norms of international behavior? That is not only indifferent to the suffering of its own people, but welcomes it for its propaganda value? That rejoices in suicide terrorism, and runs TV spots promising more of it?

Diplomacy cannot solve the problem of terrorist regimes. Neither can unilateral concessions or UN resolutions. The only solution is to deprive the terrorists of power. So long as Gaza remains a Hamas-ruled tyranny, peace will remain but a dream.




List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for 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)