Friday, May 17, 2013

Truth is no defense: The case of Jason Richwine

Richwine's resignation is emblematic of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse, says Charles Murray

On Monday, May 6, Robert Rector and Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation published a study of the fiscal effects of immigration amnesty, arguing that the costs would amount to $6.3 trillion. Controversy greeted the report, but of the normal kind, with critics making specific allegations that the costs were calculated using unrealistic assumptions.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post revealed that Richwine’s 2009 Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard’s Kennedy School had said that, on average, Latinos have lower IQs than do non-Latino white Americans and the nation should consider incorporating IQ into immigration decisions. The blogosphere and some elements of the mainstream media erupted in denunciations.

On Friday, the Heritage Foundation announced that Richwine had resigned.

I have a personal interest in this story because Jason Richwine was awarded a fellowship from my employer, the American Enterprise Institute, in 2008–09, and I reviewed the draft of his dissertation. A rereading of the dissertation last weekend confirmed my recollection that Richwine had meticulously assembled and analyzed the test-score data, which showed exactly what he said they showed: mean IQ-score differences between Latinos and non-Latino whites, found consistently across many datasets and across time after taking factors such as language proficiency and cultural bias into account. I had disagreements then and now about his policy recommendations, but not about the empirical accuracy of his research or the scholarly integrity of the interpretations with which I disagreed.

In resigning, Dr. Richwine joins distinguished company. The most famous biologist in the world, James D. Watson, was forced to retire from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2007 because of a factually accurate remark to a British journalist about low IQ scores among African blacks. In 2006, Larry Summers, president of Harvard, had to resign after a series of attacks that began with his empirically well-informed remarks about gender differences. These are just the most visible examples of a corruption that has spread throughout American intellectual discourse: If you take certain positions, you will be cast into outer darkness. Whether your statements are empirically accurate is irrelevant.

In academia, only the tenured can safely write on these topics. Assistant professors know that their chances of getting tenure will be close to zero if they publish politically incorrect findings on climate change, homosexuality, race differences, gender differences, or renewable energy. Their chances will not be much higher if they have published anything with a distinctly conservative perspective of any sort. To borrow George Orwell’s word, they will have proved themselves to be guilty of crimethink.

Everybody who does research in the social sciences or biology is aware how treacherous the environment has become, and so scholars take defensive measures. They bury important findings in obscurely worded technical articles lest they be discovered by reporters and lead to disastrous publicity. A few years ago, a brilliant young evolutionary geneticist publicly announced he would not pursue his work on the evolution of brain size after his preliminary results were attacked as crimethink. Others have deliberately refrained from discussing race or gender differences in works that ordinarily would have called for treating those topics. When I chided the author of a successful book for avoiding some obvious issues involving race, he quite rightly replied that if he had included anything about race, everything else in the book would have been ignored.

These examples are only the visible tip of a much broader problem of self-censorship in the questions that scholars are willing to ask. I am not referring just to scholars who might otherwise engage the taboo topics directly. We can have no idea of the full extent to which important avenues of inquiry in economics, sociology, genetics, and neuroscience that indirectly touch on the taboo topics are also self-censored by scholars who fear becoming pariahs.

But let’s not pretend that the problem is confined to academia or intellectuals. It infects the culture more broadly.

Freedom of expression used to be a big deal in the United States. When the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights, freedom of speech was first on the list. Americans didn’t originate “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (maybe Voltaire said it, maybe not), but it became part of the American credo. The celebration of freedom of expression was still in full flower in the 1950s, when a play based on the Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind, was a Broadway hit. The American Civil Liberties Union of that era was passionately absolutist about freedom of expression, defending the right of free expression for even odious groups such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The lonely individual saying what he believed in the face of pressure to keep silent was a staple of American films and television drama.

Few remnants of those American themes survive. We too seldom engage our adversaries’ arguments in good faith. Often, we don’t even bother to find out what they are, attacking instead what we want them to be. When we don’t like what someone else thinks, we troll the Internet relentlessly until we find something with which to destroy that person professionally or personally — one is as good as the other. Hollywood still does films about lonely voices standing up against evil corporations or racist sheriffs, but never about lonely voices standing up against intellectual orthodoxy.

I’m sick of it. I also have no idea how to fix it. But we can light candles. Here is what I undertake to do, and I invite you to join me: Look for opportunities to praise people with whom you disagree but who have made an argument that deserves to be taken seriously. Look for opportunities to criticize allies who have used crimethink tactics against your adversaries. Identify yourself not just with those who agree with you, but with all those who stand for something and play fair.



See below


The IRS Wants You

The scandal over politicized tax enforcement is growing

President Obama famously joked in a college commencement address in 2009 that he could use the IRS to target political enemies but of course he never would. It appears that people at the Internal Revenue Service didn't think he was joking.

That's become clear since IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner admitted on Friday that the agency targeted conservatives for special tax-exempt scrutiny during the 2012 election season. The story has already blossomed into the latest abuse of government power, as documents show the IRS targeted tea party types and groups that specifically opposed the Obama Administration.

According to an appendix to a forthcoming Treasury Inspector General report obtained by the Journal, in June 2011 the IRS expanded its special attention to groups that met the following criteria:

 * 'Tea Party,' 'Patriots,' or '9/12 Project' is referenced in the case file.

 *  Issues include Government spending, Government debt, or taxes.

 *  Education of the public via advocacy/lobbying to 'make America a better place to live.'

 *  Statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run."

We've also learned that IRS officials knew about this earlier than they have let on. News reports suggest that Ms. Lerner knew about the targeting of conservatives in June 2011, and perhaps as early as 2010. That's a long time before IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman flatly denied any political targeting when he testified at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing in March 2012.

IRS officials are still claiming that the questions weren't meant to intimidate these groups. But the evidence that the inquiries were political is already voluminous.

The IRS sent questionnaires to conservative groups that included requests for everything from the resumes of directors past and present to whether an employee or employee family member had plans to run for public office. Cincinnati Tea Party founder Justin Binik-Thomas wrote in the Washington Examiner recently that one nonprofit received a questionnaire that demanded that it "Provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas."

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents some of the IRS targets, the IRS letters did not come only from the Cincinnati office (as Ms. Lerner implied on Friday), but also from IRS offices in Laguna Niguel and El Monte in California as well as from Washington D.C. In addition to intrusive questionnaires, the groups were subjected to unusual delays in obtaining tax-exempt status. Of the law center's 27 clients, 15 were approved, two withdrew out of frustration and 10 are still pending.

Some Democrats took to the airwaves on the weekend to suggest that while the IRS shouldn't have been targeting conservatives, no one was harmed.

The harm is in fact real, if hard to measure precisely, because any missive from the IRS is enough to chill political spending and speech. Answering the IRS questionnaires can take hundreds of hours. The Jefferson Area Tea Party dropped its plan to register as a 501(c)(4) to avoid the atmosphere of intimidation.

Asked about the IRS news on Monday, Mr. Obama said that "if in fact IRS personnel" targeted conservatives, that would be "outrageous" and those responsible would be held "accountable." That's nice to hear, but he was making conditional what the IRS has already admitted, which is not as bad as what we are learning it really did.

Our Kimberley Strassel reported last year that Idaho businessman and Mitt Romney donor Frank VanderSloot was first maligned publicly by an Obama campaign website as disreputable, and then was mysteriously targeted by the IRS and the Labor Department for audits. The press corps ignored that ugly coincidence and no one to our knowledge was punished.

In other words, there is a pattern here. Oppose the Obama Administration or liberal priorities, and you too can become an IRS target.



Obama unmasked

Friday’s bombshell admission that the IRS has been targeting political opponents since 2010 may have been trumped on Monday as it was revealed that the Obama Justice Department used its immense information gathering power against Associated Press reporters.

What a disaster for the Obama administration.

Now more than ever, Obama needs his media partners to rally the wagons against those who are trying to learn whether their failure to act caused the deaths of four Americans in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Yet, at this very time of need, Holder's Justice Department may have turned Obama’s media allies against him.

It is one thing when that weird Tea Party kid you don’t like gets bullied. The media can rationalize that he deserved it for having radical pro-constitutional government views. But it is quite another when your buddies get a heavy dose of Obama’s Big Brother government. At that point, something has to be done.

AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt sent a warning to the media that this can happen to you when he called the Obama administration’s actions a, “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

Pruitt went on to explain the devastating impact of the Justice Department's actions, writing,

    “There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters. These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.”

A little truth to the formerly complicit Fourth Estate: The actions of the Justice Department are a direct attack on your ability to protect sources, develop stories and have those you speak with have any expectation that their anonymity will be preserved.

If Richard Nixon had Eric Holder doing his bidding at Justice, Deep Throat’s identity would not have remained a secret for more than 30 years, and it is likely few would have ever heard of Woodward and Bernstein.

Every reporter instinctively knows this, and their willingness to turn a blind eye toward Obama’s Chicago way of governing has hopefully been irrevocably shattered.

The first test will not be the IRS story that everyone in D.C. is scrambling to uncover. Instead, it is Benghazi.

Yesterday, the media were subjected to a standard Obama Jedi mind trick when he declared, “There’s no there, there,” referencing the Benghazi hearing in the House last week.

Now the only question is will the media go back to their mesmerized state of awestruck obedience, or will they wake up and do their jobs?

How aggressively they pursue Benghazi will provide the answer. The ball is in the media's court.



Socialist French President faces fresh pressure as France plunges back into recession

France plunged back into recession last night exactly a year after Francois Hollande took office, piling more misery on the beleaguered socialist president.  Figures showed the single currency’s second largest economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year.  As it shrank by the same amount in the final three months of 2012, it means France has experienced a double-dip recession – after the economy contracted in 2009 when the banking crisis sparked the deepest global slump since the Second World War.

Mr Hollande is the most unpopular president in French history, according to opinion polls. He has often been criticised for his handling of the economy, ridiculed for attempting and failing to introduce a 75 per cent tax on the wealthiest, and lampooned for his personal life and his relationship with partner Valerie Trierweiler.

Under the tenure of the tax-and-spend Left-winger, the country has seen unemployment soar and business confidence drop. Unemployment in France has reached 3.22 million, or 10.6 per cent, the worst since 1997. Youth unemployment is  25.4 per cent.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Progressive Group Admits IRS Gave Them Conservative Groups' Confidential Documents

This goes from bad to worse

Now that the public is fully aware of the IRS’s corrupt practices back in 2012 election cycle, more information is coming to light by the minute. We have now become aware that not only did the IRS scrutinize tea party groups more than others, but they also leaked some of that info to liberal groups. “The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.”

Although this is a surprising admission, it is a commendable one from one of our liberal counterparts. The group said:

    "The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year... In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)"

The group also says that they did not receive any information on pending applications for liberal groups during the cycle. ProPublica is a well-known liberal group, with many donors following the Democratic Party lines.

The House Ways and Means Committee is set to have a formal hearing on the IRS conservative targeting scandal next week. Top officials from that organization will be making an appearance to testify.



The Heretic at Heritage

Pat Buchanan

Jason Richwine, the young conservative scholar who co-authored the Heritage Foundation report on the long-term costs of the amnesty bill backed by the "Gang of Eight," is gone from Heritage.

He was purged after The Washington Post unearthed his doctoral dissertation at the JFK School of Government.

Richwine's thesis:

IQ tests fairly measure mental ability. The average IQ of immigrants is well below that of white Americans. This difference in IQ is likely to persist through several generations.

And the potential consequences of this?

"A lack of socioeconomic assimilation among low IQ immigrant groups, more underclass behavior, less social trust and an increase in the proportion of unskilled workers in the American labor market."

Richwine defended his 166-page thesis before Harvard's George Borjas, Richard Zeckhauser and Christopher Jencks, who once edited The New Republic. But while his thesis was acceptable at Harvard -- it earned Richwine a Ph.D. -- it has scandalized the Potomac priesthood.

Our elites appear unanimous: Richwine's view that intelligence is not equally distributed among ethnic and racial groups, and is partly inherited, is rankest heresy. Yet no one seems to want to prove him wrong.

Consider Richwine's contention that differences in mental ability exist and seem to persist among racial and ethnic groups.

In The Wall Street Journal last month, Warren Kozak noted that 28,000 students in America's citadel of diversity, New York City, took the eighth-grade exam to enter Stuyvesant, the Bronx School of Science and Brooklyn Tech, the city's most elite high schools. Students are admitted solely on their entrance test scores.

Of the 830 students who will be entering Stuyvesant as freshmen this fall, 1 percent are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, 21 percent are white -- and 75 percent are Asian.

Now, blacks and Hispanics far outnumber Asians in New York. But at Stuyvesant, Asians will outnumber blacks and Hispanics together 19-to-1.

Is this the result of racially biased tests at Stuyvesant?

At Berkeley, crown jewel of the California university system, Hispanics, 40 percent of California's population and an even larger share of California's young, are 12 percent of the freshman class. Asians, outnumbered almost 3-to-1 by Hispanics in California, have almost four times as many slots as Hispanics in the freshman class. Another example of racial bias?

The 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA, which measures the academic ability of 15-year-olds worldwide, found the U.S.A. falling to 17th in reading, 23rd in science, 31st in math.

Yet, Spain aside, not one Hispanic nation, from which a plurality of our immigrants come, was among the top 40 in reading, science or math.

But these folks are going to come here and make us No. 1 again?

Is there greater "underclass behavior" among Hispanics?

The crime rate among Hispanics is about three times that of white Americans, while the Asian crime rate is about a third that of whites.

Among white folks, the recent illegitimacy rate was 28 percent; among Hispanics, 53 percent. According to one study a few years back, Hispanics were 19 times as likely as whites to join gangs.

What about Richwine's point regarding "social trust"?

Six years ago, in "E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the 21st Century," Robert Putnam, author of "Bowling Alone," wrote that after 30,000 interviews he found that ethnic and racial diversity can be devastating to communities and destructive of community values.

In racially mixed communities, Putnam wrote, not only do people not trust strangers, they do not even trust their own kind.

"People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to 'hunker down,' that is, to pull in like a turtle ... (to) withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television."

With the immigration bill granting amnesty to 12 million illegals, an open door to their dependents and a million new immigrants each year, almost all from the Third World, America in 2040 is going to look like Los Angeles today. Yet, it was in L.A. that Putnam found social capital at its most depleted and exhausted.

If Richwine is right, America in 2040 will be a country with whites and Asians dominating the professions, and 100 million Hispanics concentrated in semiskilled work and manual labor.

The issues Richwine raises go to the question of whether we shall survive as one nation and one people.

If our huge bloc of Hispanics, already America's largest minority at 53 million, is fed by constant new immigration, but fails for a couple of generations to reach the middle-class status that Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians and Poles attained after two generations, what becomes of our "indivisible" nation?

Rather than face this question, better to purge and silence the Harvard extremist who dared to raise it.



The licensing effect

Green/Left "hypocrisy" explained

Good intentions rarely make good laws. Those who do evil almost always think they are doing good for goodness’ sake. Nobody sees himself as evil. As Will Smith, the American actor, once quipped, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’” Friedrich Hayek took this idea a step further, writing: “It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.”1

There is little to prevent do–gooders and their actions from unexpectedly metamorphosing into holocaustic bloodbaths, especially when considering the “licensing effect.” Under this effect, people can rationalize bad conduct, if they first do something good. Whether in dieting, consumer choice, or politicking, the licensing effect permits people to be wicked after they have performed something deemed good.

According to Dale Miller, a psychology professor at Stanford Business School, “With licensing, the first act doesn’t commit you, it liberates you.” This liberating euphoria permits the human psyche to do what it supposedly is against. Miller’s experiments uncovered business managers who publicly declared their lack of bias in hiring minorities, for instance, but in practice showed a strong prejudice against minorities. Since these managers had declared their support for minorities, they were now free to be extremely biased.2

A major study by a sociologist at the University of Arizona exposed the twisted dilemmas and unintended consequences of the licensing effect. The 2007 study provided clear analytical evidence of the ineffectiveness of involuntary diversity training in the workplace. It would be reasonable to presume that by the late 20th Century, encouraging diversity within the workplace had become an easy sell. But after reviewing 31 years of data from 830 mid–sized and large corporations, sociologist Alexandra Kalev concluded that involuntary diversity training was “ineffective and counterproductive.”

How counterproductive? The figures are shocking. A comprehensive review of data revealed that those businesses’ mandated diversity training exercises for their managerial staff were followed by a “7.5 percent drop in the number of women in management.” For black female managers, the decrease was 10 percent, with a 12 percent drop for black men. “The effect was similar for Latinos and Asians.”3 So what is going on?

This study shows that mandatory enforcements routinely backfire, because they are set up with unrealistic and artificial expectations. Real change comes when people voluntarily modify their opinions. Any other way makes people feel that they have been imposed upon. Professor Kalev confirmed this reality by noting: “When attendance is voluntary, diversity training is followed by an increase in managerial diversity.”4

When companies with government contracts are put under the gun to teach diversity, managers get the impression that, having taken a course, they’ve performed their good–citizen duty. They’ve been trained by experts to be a lean, mean antidiscrimination machine. And yet, the sacrifice they made in taking the compulsory training shouts out for compensation. They have been put upon to do something good. They have spent long, boring hours in the classroom. They can now subconsciously overlook or avoid the hiring of minorities. In Kalev’s words, “Forcing people to go through training creates a backlash against diversity.”5

Many corporations also bring diversity training into the workplace for legal protection. In this case, the training becomes an exercise in public and legal relations, instead of reaching toward true, long–term change. After all, companies understand that their diversity training bestows some legal protection, if later they are hit by a discrimination lawsuit. In short, preventing lawsuits is more important than efficacious training. Bill Vaughn, cofounder of Diversity Training University International, confirms what the study foreshadowed. “If they are doing it for legal protection, they don’t care whether their training is successful.

The licensing effect affords us an explanation for a time–honored way to justify violating principles. For instance, if someone is always condemning greed, he is now entitled to a binge of overt self–indulgence. Having cleared his conscience of any avarice, he can waltz into a Mercedes–Benz showroom and splurge like a rapacious man of wealth. Further, he can brand others as greedy SOBs while taking comfort in the fact that the saintly blood of altruism flows through his own noble veins. For the virtuous, to act self–centered is impossible, as such behavior is unthinkable to the enlightened mind; therefore, narcissistic greed can run wild. Habitually, the greediest are blissfully unaware of their own selfish motives.

In an interesting article in Psychological Science, two researchers argued that people who feel morally virtuous have a tendency to engage in the “licensing (of) selfish and morally questionable behavior,” also known as “moral balancing” or “compensatory ethics.” The researchers, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen–Bo Zhong, revealed that when people try to save the planet or do noble deeds, they become less kind to others and more likely to cheat and steal. They wrote: “Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behavior.”

 The licensing effect is also found among public employee unions who act as if they still represent government employees receiving little compensation for their work. For over 150 years, that was true of American civil servants, but no longer. According to economist Chris Edwards, “As of 2008, the average federal salary was $119,982, compared with $59,909 for the average private sector employee. In other words, the average federal bureaucrat makes twice as much as the average working taxpayer.”8 Despite this disparity in pay between the public and private sectors, the political and bureaucratic classes routinely accuse opponents of greed. They condemn tax–averse corporations and taxpayers as selfish pigs obsessed with money. And yet, as columnist Steven Greenhut observed: “there are few things as greedy as running up debt and lobbying for more taxes from the peons so that an elite class can keep retiring earlier with ever–greater pension and other benefits.”

But this greedy disposition is just the tip of a bloating iceberg. Many government and union–operated retirement programs have no qualms about taking big risks in the stock market. Why? Because the political class always holds the winning hand. Applying a Las Vegas metaphor, Greenhut asked: How would you bet if you could keep all your gains at the casino, but dump your losses on someone else? But this is exactly how many of these public retirement systems operate. If a Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) fails to make a profit, the taxpaying public is often responsible for making up the deficiencies. So, who are the real greedy profiteers here?

In the electoral politics realm, the licensing effect grants politicos the prerogative to flip–flop their principles. When President Richard Nixon, fervently anticommunist, visited Red China in the 1970s, political pundits came up with a proverbial apothegm: “Only Nixon could go to China.” Fluent in altruistic doublespeak, those in control of command–based systems rely on the fulcrum of well–respected virtues. Since they are public servants—supposedly hired to serve up healthy scoops of community goodwill—they find themselves confronted with a license to act contrary to stated purposes. This situation supplies a politico the license to sabotage principles of good governance by becoming a player in society, instead of a referee.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Misuse of the IRS  by the Obama administration

IRS also targeted the Freedom Center‏ run by the outspoken David Horowitz.  David comments:

And now, on top of everything else—the appeasement of Islamic terror, Obamacare and other aspects of the "radical transformation" of our domestic society—this White House has turned the IRS loose on Americans it regards as enemies.

While it was too cowardly to confront the terrorists who killed our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, the Obama administration has had no trouble, we now learn, going after conservative non profits with "patriot" and "tea party" in their official names. And just for good measure, the administration has also set the IRS on some Jewish organizations it thinks might be hostile to its anti Israel agenda and on groups that are trying to fight against the spread of big government.

We know how these conservative groups targeted by the White House feel. Our name doesn't include "tea party" or "patriot," but it does have the word "freedom" and maybe that's considered just as dangerous by the White House because we too were recently audited by the IRS.

The Center sailed through, not a mark to our record and we are proud of that. But, as those of you who have been subject to an IRS audit know, it was a time consuming and financially draining process. The IRS bureaucrats demanded reams of paperwork and records; they tried to intimidate us with a generalized interrogation that called to mind the famous comment of Laventri Beria, head of Stalin's secret police: "Bring me the man, and I'll find the crime." But they were never able to tell us exactly why we were being subjected to this treatment.

Perhaps a reason why the IRS was on the Freedom Center's case was that we publish FrontPageMagazine, which has called the President out for appeasing terror, and DiscoverTheNetworks, which has created an encyclopedia of the left showing how the progressive conspiracy that elected the President operates. Perhaps the IRS had taken note of the series of pamphlets we have published critical of the character and agenda of the current administration, most recently David Horowitz's How Obama Betrayed America, a shocking look at our foreign policy has itself become anti American.

That we and other conservative groups were targeted by the goons at the IRS for creating the robust debate about ideas that keeps our nation free should make us all shudder. We thought the days of government "enemies lists" were over. But we were not intimidated and we hope that other conservative organizations weren't either.

The IRS scandal is just beginning, but it has already proved one thing: that this administration is trying to silence exactly those groups who are telling the American people the truth about its sinister policies. If we submit to this coercion, we weaken our country's immune system to despotism.

Via email


A bit of fun


The Victorians were smarter than us, study suggests

Reaction times are far from the best measure of IQ but they are important so a decline in them is certainly cause for concern -- JR

The Victorians achieved so much because they were cleverer than us, a new study suggests.

Reaction times – a reliable marker of general intelligence – have declined steadily since the Victorian era from about 183 milliseconds to 250ms in men, and from 187ms to 277ms in women.

The slowing of our reflexes points to a decrease in general intelligence equivalent to 1.23 IQ points per decade since the 1880s or about 14 IQ points overall, researchers said.

Actual IQ scores from different decades cannot be directly compared because people today enjoy better teaching, health and nutrition which would help improve their results, the scientists explained.

But the reaction times signify that the genetic component of general intelligence – which leads to the type of creativity and invention typical of the Victorian era – has been dwindling over the past century.

Dr Michael Woodley, who led the study published in the Intelligence journal this month, identified the trend by comparing reaction times from trials conducted by Victorian scientists against those carried out in recent decades.

Our declining intelligence is most likely down to a "reverse" in the process of natural selection, he explained. The most intelligent people now have fewer children on average than in previous decades, while there are higher survival rates among people with less favourable genes.

"The pressures of modern life, a nine-to-five modern lifestyle, have created all these pressures against very smart people having break-even numbers of children," he said.



Why health insurance makes no difference to many Americans

John C. Goodman points out that the poor already get healthcare and that government insurance mostly makes it harder to  see a doctor

Within the White House, within the Democratic chambers in Congress and among the (overwhelmingly liberal) health policy community there was considerable anguish last week. The reason: a new study finds that (as far as physical health is concerned) there is no difference between being in Medicaid and being uninsured.

It’s hard to exaggerate what a blow this is to the people who gave us the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Everything about ObamaCare—from the money we are spending to the damage being done to the labor market to the hassles the whole nation is going through—depends on one central idea: that enrolling people in Medicaid will give them access to better health. (Tens of thousands of lives will be saved every year, the president told us.)

It gets worse. Beginning next year, ObamaCare is expected to newly insure about 34 million people. About half of these will enroll in Medicaid. The other half are supposed to get their insurance in health insurance exchanges, where most will qualify for generous premium subsidies paid for by federal taxpayers. If the Massachusetts health reform is precedent, however, these people will be in health plans that pay doctors only about 10 percent morethan what Medicaid pays. Think of these plans as Medicaid Plus.

Yet, if Medicaid doesn’t make people any healthier than they were when they were uninsured, that implies that the entire ObamaCare program could be one huge waste of money.

(Actually, the results weren’t a complete disappointment. There was less depression among the Medicaid enrollees; they reported that they were a tiny bit happier; and among those who had out-of-pocket expenses, they spent about $215 less out of pocket each year. But, remember, we could have reimbursed out-of-pocket spending and spent far less than was actually spent on this program.)

Aaron Carroll and Austin Frakt argue that the study may have been “underpowered”—failing to show significant effects because there were too few people in each disease category. However, as the Wall Street Journal editorial page pointed out, if this were a drug, it would fail to get FDA approval.

The study released last week is not the first to find that enrollees in Medicaid do no better than the uninsured. In fact there are studies that show that Medicaid enrollees find it more difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and have worse outcomes than the uninsured. Each of these studies has been subjected to a lot of nitpicking on various grounds, however, and a fair-minded person would probably have to say that how much difference Medicaid makes is an open question.

Until now. Thanks to a budget crunch in Oregon, scholars had the ability to do a double-blind study (the gold standard for researchers) and it came out very, very badly for the supporters of the new health reform law.

The study doesn’t speculate on the reasons for its findings, but I will.

The uninsured in this country have access to a patch work system of free care when they are unable to pay for it out of their own pockets. In Dallas, Texas, where I live, for example, the entire county is part of a health district which makes indigent health care available to needy families. It covers people up to 250% of the poverty level, with sliding scale co-payments, based on family income. Parkland Memorial Hospital and its satellite clinics is the primary provider.

You could argue that uninsured, low-income families in Dallas are actually “insured” in this way, although they face the problems of rationing by waiting and other non-price barriers to care. Officially, they are counted as “uninsured,” however. When these very same individuals enroll in Medicaid, they enter another system of patchwork care and are classified as “insured.” However, a third of the doctors aren’t taking any new Medicaid patients. There is rationing by waiting in Medicaid along with its non-price barriers to care. Often, the uninsured and Medicaid enrollees are getting the same care from the same doctors at the same facilities—even though one group is labeled “insured” and the other “uninsured.”

Here is what I wrote in the Handbook on State Health Reform:

    "Consider the case of Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Both uninsured and Medicaid patients enter the same emergency room door and see the same doctors. The hospital rooms are the same, the beds are the same and the care is the same.

    As a result, patients have no reason to fill out the lengthy forms and answer the intrusive questions that Medicaid enrollment so often requires. Furthermore, the doctors and nurses who treat these patients are paid the same, regardless of patients’ enrollment in an insurance plan. Therefore, they tend to be indifferent about who is insured by whom, or if they’re even insured at all. In fact, the only people concerned about who is or is not enrolled in what plan are hospital administrators, who worry about who will pay the bills.

    At Children’s Medical Center, next door to Parkland, a similar exercise takes place. Medicaid, S-CHIP and uninsured children all enter the same emergency room door; they all see the same doctors and receive the same care.

    Interestingly, at both institutions, paid staffers make a heroic effort to enroll people in public programs — even as patients wait in the emergency room for medical care. Yet they apparently fail to enroll eligible patients more than half the time! After patients are admitted, staffers valiantly go from room to room to continue this bureaucratic exercise. But even among those in hospital beds, the failure-to-enroll rate is significant — apparently because it has no impact on the care they receive [or the financial burden they incur]."

If what happens in Dallas is similar to other cities, “insuring the uninsured” is not going to make a great deal of difference anywhere.

For the country as a whole, one third of all people who are eligible for Medicaid have not bothered to enroll, indicating that millions of potential beneficiaries do not view the program as very valuable. In Oregon, the situation is even more dramatic. As Avik Roy explains:

    "Of the 35,169 Oregonians who “won” the lottery to gain enrollment in Medicaid, only about 30 percent actually enrolled. Indeed, only 60 percent of those who were selected bothered to fill out the forms necessary to sign up for the benefits — which tells you a bit about how uninsured Oregonians perceive the Medicaid program.

Consider Massachusetts. RomneyCare cut the official “uninsurance” rate in half. But it created no new doctors or nurses or clinics. As far as I can tell, the same people are going to the same places and getting pretty much the same care that they got before. Hospital emergency room traffic is higher than ever. The traffic to the community health centers has changed very little.

But since they have expanded health insurance in Massachusetts, the demand for care has grown, even as the supply has remained unchanged. As a result, the time price of care has increased. The wait to see a new doctor in Boston is two months ― the longest waiting time in the entire country. People are getting the same care they got before, but they are paying a higher “price” for it.

I expect to see the Massachusetts results replicated nationwide.

In the developed world, the health policy community is excessively focused on health insurance, even to the point of ignoring health care. In fact, studies of waiting times and inability to get care are often derided as right wing attempts to undermine the concept of social insurance. The less developed world has the opposite vision. Almost all the countries south of our border generally offer free care to the general population. But they don’t go around handing everyone an insurance card.

I believe this difference in vision is partly explained by the difference in income and wealth. Middle- and upper-middle income families need insurance to protect their assets. Poor families don’t have assets. They don’t need insurance. They may need health care, however.

ObamaCare was designed by middle- and upper-middle income people. They chose for poor people the same thing they would want for themselves. They didn’t think about access to care because they have never had a personal problem with it.

C’est la vie.



Memo to Christian Troops: ‘We’ve Got Your Back’

President Obama’s Pentagon recently released a statement threatening military personnel: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense … Court Martials and nonjudicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Although the Pentagon has walked back its new anti-Christian “proselytizing” policy within the realm of public relations (a policy drafted in concert with foul-mouthed atheist and anti-Christian bigot Mikey Weinstein) the DoD has yet to offer evidence that it intends to walk it back within the realm of application.

And so, to any member of the armed services who is harassed, demeaned, reprimanded or charged by this Obama Pentagon with obeying Jesus – with endeavoring to “recruit or convert” others to His exclusive saving grace – we at Liberty Counsel are delighted to say, “We’ve Got your back!” Free of charge. Pro bono legal defense.

How are we able to do this? Through the generous financial and prayer support of more than 1.2 million Liberty Counsel donors and supporters.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The doctor is in, America: Get with the Estonian program

Don’t let the optimism surrounding last month’s job numbers fool you. The unemployment rate’s decline from 7.6 percent in March to 7.5 percent in April is more statistical artifact than progress.  Like that of our Western European neighbors—and the U.K. in particular—the U.S. economy is stuck in a rut. Why? The answer is simple. Government profligacy overburdens the economy while propping up private inefficiencies, as I explain in Investors Business Daily.

    Since 2008, Washington policymakers have been pacing around the doctor’s office too afraid to take the bitter but effective pill America needs: slash federal spending and end the U.S. Fed’s life support for zombie banks.

    Economically stagnant Britain shows us where this continued procrastination leads. Instead of dashing after our tea-drinking transatlantic neighbors, American policymakers should look to Estonia, which took its austerity meds and quickly returned to prosperity.

Although media relentlessly talks of supposed “austerity” in the U.K. and the rest of Europe, cuts to spending and taxation are starkly absent in budget data. That is, of course, until looking to Estonia.

    In the four quarters following the British government’s announcement of austerity in June 2010, general government spending increased by 4.3%, a rate of growth that has increased since then.  Some “austerity.”

    Whitehall also has been squeezing more taxes out of British citizens, with revenues increasing by 7.8% the first year and the rate of growth shooting up into double digits the next two.

    And the Bank of England’s balance sheet has grown 334% since September 2008, as it’s tried to prop up bad assets held at London banks.

    For a better way forward, let’s look at Estonia, which took its medicine as soon as the global financial crisis broke. It cut government spending relative to its pre-crisis level drastically — 2.8% in 2009 and 9.5% in 2010 — and is now one of Europe’s fastest growing economies.

    Tax revenues fell, too. Moreover, Estonia’s central bank refused to prop up banks that shipwrecked on the rocks of a real estate bubble.

Unsurprisingly, Estonia has had greater net economic gains since 2008 and is set to outpace the U.K. into the future.

Austerity works, but as the case of Estonia shows, it must be real austerity. In order to facilitate the natural market process of resources moving to their most efficient use, the public sector must shrink as the private endures recession. Government must not continue to gorge itself on a smarting private economy while simultaneously propping up its inefficiencies.



The Mecca Metric -- keeping track of what is being preached to Muslims is important

How to protect Americans from jihadist violence

All around America, people are waking up to the fact that Islam can inspire Muslims to kill civilians. Examples:

 *  Bill Maher: “I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the Prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. [...] Now, obviously, most Muslim people are not terrorists. But ask most Muslim people in the world — if you insult the Prophet, do you have what’s coming to you? It’s more than just a fringe element.”

 *  Andrew Sullivan: “[Boston bomber] Tamerlan’s brain was damaged by religious fanaticism and fundamentalism.”


The question is often asked, “What percentage of Muslims wish to carry out, or condone violence against civilians in the name of Islam?” A frequent assumption behind the question is that because an unknown percentage of Muslims does not do so, it would of course be wrong to deport all Muslims, and therefore — and this is the key point — nothing can be done to protect the U.S. from Islamic jihadists.

We Americans are used to thinking in terms of a single new law or a single new policy to take action for the public good.  But to protect Americans from Islamic jihadists will take a different approach. It will not be a single new law or a single new policy that achieves this goal. It will be a marathon, over a number of years, of new laws and new policies, new awareness and new attitudes, that will do so.

New awareness and attitudes often come before legislation. Before we even begin to consider specific new laws, it may be helpful to begin with awareness, attitudes, and policies that do not require the force of law.

One possible place to begin is with public naming and shaming of mosques that encourage Muslims to support, condone, and pursue violent jihad. Investor’s Business Daily provides an example with the article “Bombers’ Mosque In Boston A Factory For Terrorists.” USA Today provides another example with the article “Mosque that Boston suspects attended has radical ties.” Fox News has an article stating, “The mosque where at least one of the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers prayed has a controversial history, with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, terror funding and frequent fiery sermons, according to a group that has long monitored the house of worship.”

Another possible place to begin would be to rigorously quantify and analyze relevant information. One example would be to examine what might be called the Mecca Metric. This is a measurement of what imams at mosques preach to congregations of Muslims gathered there for religious guidance:

 *  What percentage of these imams preach that Islam is a peaceful religion?

 *  What percentage of these imams preach that the September 11 hijackers violated Islam and did not go to Islamic paradise?

 *  What percentage of these imams preach that Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, violated Islam?

 *  What percentage of these imams preach that the Boston Marathon bombers violated Islam?

 *  How many imams will accept a challenge to include such a message every single time they preach?

 *  How many imams will assist by releasing video of their weekly preaching? If imams will not do so at this time, when 30 of the FBI’s 31 most wanted terrorists are Muslim, why not?

The Mecca Metric is relevant because an Internet search for what imams say at mosques currently reveals imams preaching hatred, killing, jihad, and death to congregations of Muslims who gather at mosques for religious guidance. Conversely, an Internet search currently reveals few if any instances of imams preaching peace. I have yet to discover any imams preaching at mosques that the September 11 hijackers, or Major Nidal Hasan, or the Boston bombers violated Islam.

Note that the Mecca Metric does not include statements made to the press, at interfaith events, or otherwise to the non-Islamic public by imams or by organizations such as CAIR or MPAC. Such statements are made explicitly for PR purposes. Islam apologists often take refuge behind such statements. But these PR statements mean nothing if they aren’t repeated day after day, week after week, month after month by imams at mosques to congregations of Muslims.

Establishing the Mecca Metric can help evaluate the degree to which Islam in America is in fact peaceful. A higher percentage of imams preaching peace would indicate a higher degree of peacefulness.

Those are just two suggestions for ways to begin. There are doubtless many more. Protecting Americans from jihadist violence will be a marathon, not a sprint.



Grave robbers: Anti-competitive regulations for the dead

The monks of St. Joseph Abbey in Covington, Louisiana leave this world in the same simple way as they live in it.

And when public interest in their basic, handmade wooden caskets grew, the monks proved to have a shrewd business sense too. They opened a woodworking shop in 2005 to produce caskets that they sell for about $2,000 each, far below the average price for a casket in the state.

But where the monks saw an opportunity, a state cartel of funeral home owners and funeral directors saw unwanted competition.

In 2007, the Louisiana State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors—eight of the nine members of which are licensed funeral directors—voted to ban the abbey from selling their caskets, because under state law only licensed funeral directors are allowed to sell caskets, and they are only allowed to do so from state-licensed funeral homes.

Those two simple requirements buried the monks in a tangle of red tape.

To get a license, St. Joseph Abbey would have to build a funeral parlor with room for 30 people, a display room for at least six caskets, an arrangement room and an embalming room. They also would have had to hire a funeral director and pay him a full-time salary.

The monks launched a petition to the state legislature to change the regulations. When that failed, they took the board to court.

In March, a panel of federal judges upheld a lower court ruling in the monks’ favor. In a scathing rebuke to the state board, the judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that “funeral homes, not independent sellers, have been the problem for consumers with their bundling of product and markups of caskets.”

The casket-selling laws in Louisiana are unique, but there are regulations on the books in almost every state designed to protect funeral homes from competition and lower prices.

Joshua Slocum is the executive director of the Funeral Consumers Alliance, a Vermont-based organization that favors a more open market for funeral providers and customers. He says the funeral industry is unlike most other businesses in two key ways.

“For one, there are no repeat customers,” Slocum says glibly. “I have but one life to give to my funeral director.”

No repeat customers mean little in way of competition for the best services. And since literally everyone has one life to give, there is no shortage of customers.

There is also little market pressure on the establishments because it is rare for anyone to “shop around” for a funeral home in the way they might seek the best deal for a cruise or any other once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

This is partially psychological—we have a natural aversion to thinking or talking about the inevitable end of our lives, and cost is rarely in the front of mourning family members’ minds.

But does a dead body’s final moments above ground or a family’s last good-byes to loved ones require a three-story Victorian home, a $30,000 embalming room, a Mercedes hearse and a $4,000 casket?  In most places, you’d have a hard time finding an alternative.

That is slowly starting to change, thanks to entrepreneurs like Verlin Stoll, who believe there is an untapped market for affordable, no-frills funerals that would appeal to those with modest means.

Stoll opened Crescent Tides funeral home in St. Paul, Minn., in 2006. He offers low-cost funerals in a nondescript building in an office park that does not have a viewing chapel or other amenities. The basic package at Crescent Tides starts at $250, about 10 percent of the average Twin Cities funeral.



Can how well we read and count at seven REALLY predict how successful we will be in later life?

Another proof that all men are not equal and that kids who are born smart get most of the prizes in life

How well we count and read aged seven can influence how successful we will be, researchers have claimed.

Edinburgh researchers analysed data from over 17,000 people in England, Scotland, and Wales over a span of about 50 years.

They found the abilities at seven predict socioeconomic status in adulthood over and above associations with intelligence, education, and socioeconomic status in childhood.

Stuart Ritchie and Timothy Bates of the University of Edinburgh said they wanted to investigate whether early math and reading skills might have effects that go beyond the classroom.

'We wanted to test whether being better at math or reading in childhood would be linked with a rise through the social ranks: a better job, better housing, and higher income as an adult,' they said.

The researchers explored these relationships using data from the National Child Development Study, a large, nationally representative study that followed over 17,000 people in England, Scotland, and Wales over a span of about 50 years, from when they were born in 1958 to present day.

The data revealed that childhood reading and math skills really do matter.  Ritchie and Bates found that participants' reading and math ability at age 7 were linked to their social class a full 35 years later.

Participants who had higher reading and math skills as children ended up having higher incomes, better housing, and better jobs in adulthood.

The data suggest, for example, that going up one reading level at age 7 was associated with a £5,000, or roughly $7,750, increase in income at age 42.

The long-term associations held even after the researchers took other common factors into account.

'These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school, or the social class you started off in, will be important throughout your life,' say Ritchie and Bates.

The researchers believe that genes may play a role.  'Genes underlie many of the differences among children on all the variables we've looked at here,' they said.

'The genetically-controlled study using twins that we're conducting now should allow us to separate out genetic and environmental effects.'

The researchers hope that the twin study will illuminate the extent to which environmental interventions might strengthen the links they've identified in their current research.


The academic journal article is "Enduring Links From Childhood Mathematics and Reading Achievement to Adult Socioeconomic Status"


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Monday, May 13, 2013

No description of the New Orleans shooters?

Police were accompanying the parade and saw the three offenders run off and yet the reports give no whiff of a description of the perps.   I have read through every report of the shooting that Google news threw up.

I surmised that the reason for the silence might be that any reasonable attempt at description would include the word "black".   And I was right.  CBS, of all people, have breached the wall of silence.  They couldn't bear to mention the B-word but they went close. We read from them:  "Police are looking for three suspects, one of which was described the suspect as a dark skin male, 18-22 years old with short hair, a white shirt and blue jeans."  Poor grammar but real information.

I am guessing that reporting of this crime will rapidly fade away.

Bad Faith and Benghazi

Jonah Goldberg

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference -- at this point, what difference does it make?"

That was how then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously brushed off the question of when she knew that the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were, in fact, a terrorist assault and not a "protest" of an anti-Islam video that got out of hand.

Clinton's fans, in and out of the press, loved her defiant response, and they should be ashamed of themselves for it.

What Clinton was really doing there was deflecting attention away from the fact that she lied. We now know, thanks to Wednesday's congressional hearings and reporting by The Weekly Standard's Steve Hayes, that administration officials knew from the outset the video had nothing to do with it. Intelligence sources on the ground in Libya and officials in Washington knew that it was a terrorist attack from the beginning. The video was a "non-event in Libya" according to Gregory Hicks, the man who inherited Stevens' duties after the ambassador was killed by al-Qaeda-linked militants. The false video story was simply imposed from above by Clinton, President Obama and their subalterns.

Let's return to that lie in a moment.

The hearings exposed another lie. Obama and Clinton have insisted that they did everything they could to help the Americans besieged in Libya; they just couldn't get help to them in time.

That's simply untrue.  But even if that were true, it would still be a self-serving falsehood.

If you see a child struggling in the ocean, you have no idea how long she will flail and paddle before she goes under for the last time. The moral response is to swim for her in the hope that you get there in time. If you fail and she dies, you can console yourself that you did your best to rescue her.

But if you just stand on the beach and do nothing as the child struggles for life, saying, "Well, there's just no way I can get to her in time," it doesn't really matter whether you guessed right or not. You didn't try.

The White House and State Department insist they guessed right, as if that somehow absolves them of responsibility. They would have sent help if they could have, they claim, but they simply weren't ready to deploy forces on Sept. 11, the one day of the year you'd expect our military and intelligence agencies to be ready for trouble in the Middle East, particularly given that before his murder, Stevens warned of security problems in Benghazi.

But we know the administration ordered others who were willing, able and obliged to come to the consulate's rescue to "stand down." They in effect told the lifeguards, "Don't get out of your chairs."

Though an unmanned drone was there to capture the whole thing on video, which must have been reassuring as the mortar rounds rained down.

Leon Panetta, who was the secretary of defense during the attack, mocked critics who wanted to know why the Pentagon didn't scramble any jets from Italy to the scene. "You can't willy-nilly send F-16s there and blow the hell out of place. ... You have to have good intelligence."

Never mind that real-time video of the attack is pretty good intelligence. An F-16 doesn't need to blow anyone to hell to have an impact. As military expert and former assistant defense secretary Bing West notes, "99 percent of air sorties over Afghanistan never drop a single bomb." Just showing up is often intimidating enough.

What motivated the White House and the State Department to deceive the public about what they did is unknown. Maybe it was incompetence or politics or simply understandable bureaucratic confusion.

But we do know they deceived the public. Which brings us back to the lies over the video. In the wake of Benghazi, the country endured an intense debate over how much free speech we could afford because of the savage intolerance of rioters half a world away. Obama and Clinton fueled this debate by incessantly blaming the video -- as if the First Amendment was the problem.

Clinton and Obama both swore oaths to support and defend the Constitution. But after failing to support and defend Americans left to die, they blamed the Constitution for their failure. That's what difference it makes.



Ariel Castro, Cleveland Kidnapper, is a Registered Democrat

Had he been a Republican, it would have been front page, coast to coast.  As it is: crickets

According to voter registration records, Ariel Castro, the Cleveland kidnapper, is a registered Democrat. He was also the alleged leader among the three Castro brothers, who were arrested this week, and the owner of the house at 2207 Seymour Ave., where the three abducted local women had been kept in captivity for over a decade.

Why is this important? Whenever a crime or a scandal captures national attention, the pattern in the mainstream media is to either identify the culprit as a Republican or hold silence -- in which case we can rest assured that the culprit is a Democrat.

When the identity or the party affiliation is yet unknown, the pattern is to speculate publicly about the possibility of the criminal being a privileged white conservative Christian, Republican, and a Tea Party member -- and never that he could be an immigrant Hispanic Democrat voter playing bass in a meringue band.

In today's divisive climate, the identity of a perpetrator is always a political issue, especially when a crime is committed by men against women. According to the Daily News, "What the neighbors saw was terrifying and dehumanizing: Naked women on dog leashes, crawling in the dirt. A lady clutching an infant and pounding on a window for help."

If any of the brothers were a Republican, this news would have been trumpeted by the mainstream media as tangible proof of the Republican War on Women -- a narrative invented by Democrat strategists and maintained by the media in a successful effort to defeat Republican candidates in the 2012 election cycle.

However, when a real act of war on women is perpetrated by a Democrat voter in the manner that even the most zealous Democrat strategist couldn't have dreamed up in their worst nightmares -- involving abduction, imprisonment, rape, torture, malnutrition, beatings while pregnant, and killing babies -- the media doesn't think the party affiliation is relevant.

I'm not saying that in this case it is. What's relevant is the relentless media bias, taunting, and bullying of conservatives and Republicans.



Court Reinstates Christian College's Obamacare Lawsuit

A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Wednesday reinstated Geneva College's lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's contraception mandate.

The Christian college, which "prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society," objects to the administration's requirement that it include coverage for abortion-producing products and contraceptives as well as sterilization procedures.

Geneva's original lawsuit, filed in February, was dismissed a few weeks later "for lack of ripeness," based partly on the Obama administration's announcement that it was offering accommodation to religious entities such as Geneva that do not fit Obamacare's definition of a “religious employer.”

But in its motion to reconsider, Geneva College called the "accommodation" a "smoke and mirrors" approach that would still require the college to provide and pay for a plan that allows employees access to the objectionable services.

Geneva told the court its objection to the contraceptive mandate remains unchanged despite the Obama administration's proposed accommodation; and it further argued that it has already begun negotiating the terms of its student health insurance plan for the 2013-2014 plan year (which begins on August 1, 2013), and must now choose between making available insurance with objectionable provisions -- or eliminating its student health insurance plan altogether.

“All Americans, including job creators and providers, should be free to live according to their faith rather than be forced into violating their own consciences," said Gregory S. Baylor, a senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Geneva. "The court has done the right thing in allowing Geneva College to remain in this ensure that the government doesn’t punish people of faith for making decisions consistent with that faith.”

On its website, Geneva College explains that the administration's proposed accommodation is no accommodation at all:

We would have welcomed a real modification to the rule being promulgated by HHS; had there been a real accommodation we would likely not have filed suit.  Unfortunately, on February 10, the same day President Obama announced there would be a compromise, HHS filed the final rule in the Federal Register with no change.  HHS’s announcement also failed to make or even propose any substantive change.

"Had the President announced that the administration was not going to finalize the rule until it worked out the terms of a compromise, we would have had greater confidence that a real accommodation might be made.  As it stands, no compromise exists either in law or regulation.  The President’s non-binding suggestion that our insurance company would provide objectionable items “for free” is not plausible, and misses the moral point that HHS will still be forcing us to provide a plan that directly enables the coverage of items that attack human life in violation of our beliefs."



Nationalism is historically Leftist; patriotism is conservative

Nationalism is a most touchy subject. People prefer the term “Patriotism” and slide over the nationalistic characteristics of their beliefs and what the advocacy of those beliefs would actually signify.  In fact, it is difficult to discuss or write about nationalism in a negative vein. People are naturally hostile to an attack on what they feel is a positive attribute that all sensible people should share.

Nevertheless, evidence abounds that nationalism is an insidious, enveloping excuse for increasing the power of the State over the individual. This is something that many supporters of nationalistic policies claim they do not desire. But make no mistake, nationalism is anti-individual. Once the supremacy of the “Nation State” is accepted, the template is applied.

To be fair, let us use the most intellectual nationalistic example for illustration. That would be the Fascist State of Italy under [Marxist] Mussolini.  It would qualify as more intellectual, or some might say, pseudo-intellectual, than some other examples. The document I am referencing is a carefully developed statement of philosophy. Its purpose and its focus was on the particular criteria necessary to achieve more directly and singularly the nationalistic objectives it desired. Historically it is well known as the co-written essay by Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile.

One might ask why it is important to read and understand this rather obscure Document. Primarily because it is an outline of the desirability of nationalism and the ideas within it have not been rejected. Though Mussolini himself fell out of favor, the ideas behind fascism are very much still in favor. Certainly pre-World War I these ideas were in the ascension. Mussolini won the approval, favor and glorification of many well known and influential people. Besides the many famous politicians (Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill) and others such as Bernard Baruch, many held him and his fascist state in high esteem. Their praise and promotion left a legacy for a strong Nationalistic State that has endured through every President since that time. Though his excesses and cruelty were noted, the essence of a corporate state and a nationalistic regime are not just excused but emulated and encouraged.  

Although this might seem rather involved, it is actually an outline to understanding nationalism, its objectives and most critically, the impact of these ideas on our own thinking. Please read this document and analyze for yourself just what the ramifications are for your personal political and economic philosophy.

I was piecing information together when my friend and mentor, Charles Burris sent me this much more comprehensive link, already translated into English. Charles is a history teacher, but most important an ongoing dedicated student of history. Our appreciation and thanks to Charles Burris for such a complete document. For those readers who are merely curious about fascism this is a unique document. For others who are searchers for truth, even when unpleasant, this is indeed the truth of nationalism in the raw.

SOURCE.  The document referred to is Mussolini's 1932 statement of Fascist principles.


Live Free or Move

John Stossel

It's good that we can move! Moving provides one of the few limits on the megalomania of state bureaucrats.

The National ArchivesThe National ArchivesAmericans have moved away from high-taxed, heavily regulated states to lower-taxed, less-regulated states. Most don't think of it as a political decision. They just go where opportunities are, and that usually means where there's less government.

They're leaving my state, New York, in droves. California, despite its great weather, also lost people, and wealth. Other biggest losers were Illinois, New Jersey and Ohio.

Travis Brown, author of "Money Walks," tracked the movements using IRS data. On my TV show, he revealed that Florida was the state that gained the most: "You're seeing a massive amount of people and their income coming in: $86 billion."

Arizona and Texas also gained, which made me wonder if Americans just move to states where it's warm. "No," said Darcy Olsen, president of Arizona's Goldwater Institute. "Weather explains just 5 percent of the migration ... the Census Bureau asks, and they say, 'to find a job.'"

People move where jobs are, and the states gaining the most -- which also include North Carolina and Nevada -- follow what she calls "the magic formula. Lower taxes and good labor policy, which means, to a business, being free to hire and fire the people you want. (In) the most successful states you see both -- no income tax or low taxes coupled with right-to-work laws."


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


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)


Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Crucifixion of Jason Richwine

Michelle Malkin presents the facts below but may not make it completely clear that there are two pieces of writing involved:  The Heritage report on the costs of immigration and Richwine's Ph.D. dissertation.  Richwine was only a junior contributor to the Heritage report.

When the open-borders clique found that the Heritage report was too difficult to rebut, they went off on a tangent and started to shriek about Richwine's Ph.D. dissertation and the bad things he said in it.  In good Leftist "ad hominem" style, they attempted to discredit the Heritage report by saying that one of its authors was a bad man.

What they found in Richwine's dissertation did surprise me.  Richwine touched the third rail of American politics:  IQ.  IQ  studies are not terribly controversial among professors of psychology who work in the field but they are dynamite in American politics.  IQ studies are COMPLETELY inconsistent with the great Leftist myth that "All men are equal".  God may value all men equally (a rather unscriptural assertion) but they are not equal in any other sense.  All men are different.  And  IQ studies show that clearly.

Even worse, however, is that some RACES are different too.  That is not intrinsically surprising but it clashes with the widespread American wish that the whole topic of race will go away and that any effect of slavery or Jim Crow will simply wash out eventually.  It won't.  IQ tests have been showing time after time for around the last 100 years that blacks have a severe intellectual disadvantage compared to whites.  Every effort under the sun has been made to find fault with that finding but nothing works.  After all criticisms are allowed for, the large  black/white gap remains.

So why a young researcher like Richwine stepped into that quagmire, I do not know.  He showed that Hispanics too have low average IQs, though not as low as for blacks.  He was taking a huge risk of being attacked just by mentioning the topic  -- let alone by doing a comprehensive survey of the evidence on it.

I am myself a psychometrician who has made a couple of minor contributions to the academic literature on IQ but I can assure you that I said nothing on the topic until I had tenure.

So it is sad that an honest man has had his name dragged through the mud for no good reason but he really should have left the topic to those who are in a better position to resist the slings and arrows of a deeply corrupt but powerful Left.

The people I condemn most are the powers that be at Heritage.  They have fired Richwine in a cowardly attempt to take the heat off themselves.  I am a regular donor to American and Israeli conservative organizations but Heritage will get not one cent from me from now on.  Any existing donors reading this should also write to them and tell them "no more"

How low will supporters of the Gang of Eight immigration bill go to get their way? This low: They've shamelessly branded an accomplished Ivy League-trained quantitative analyst a "racist" and will stop at nothing to destroy his career as they pave their legislative path to another massive illegal alien benefits bonanza.

Jason Richwine works for the conservative Heritage Foundation. He's a Harvard University Ph.D. who co-authored a study that pegs the cost of the Ted Kennedy Memorial Open Borders Act 2.0 legislation at $6.3 trillion. Lead author Robert Rector is a senior research fellow at Heritage, a former United States Office of Personnel Management analyst and the intellectual godfather of welfare reform. He holds a master's degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University.

Both Democrats and Republicans leaped to discredit the 102-page report without bothering to read it. The Washington Post falsely claimed that the study did not take into account increased revenues from amnestied illegal alien workers. It did. Haley Barbour immediately proclaimed that the Heritage assessment of government costs incurred by amnestied illegal aliens was "not serious."

They want to talk gravitas? Let's talk gravitas. Blowhard Barbour is a career politician and paid lobbyist for the government of Mexico who has carried water for open borders since the Bush years.

Richwine received his doctorate in public policy in 2009 from Harvard University's prestigious Kennedy School of Government. He holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and political science from American University. Before joining Heritage in 2010, he worked at the American Enterprise Institute on a dissertation fellowship.

Richwine's 166-page dissertation, "IQ and Immigration Policy," is now being used to smear him -- and, by extension, all of Heritage's scholarship -- as "racist." While the punditocracy and political establishment sanctimoniously call for "honest discussions" on race, they rush to crush bona fide, dispassionate academic inquiries into the controversial subjects of intelligence, racial and ethnic differences, and domestic policy.

Richwine's entire thesis is now online here.

Part One reviews the science of IQ. Part Two delves into empirical research comparing IQs of the native-born American population with that of immigrant groups, with the Hispanic population broken out. Richwine explores the causes of an immigrant IQ deficit that appears to persist among Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. through several generations.

The thesis analyzes social policy consequences of these findings and uses a model of the labor market "to show how immigrant IQ affects the economic surplus accruing to natives and the wage impact on low-skill natives."

The smug dismissal of Richwine's credentials and scholarship is to be expected by liberal hacks and clown operatives. But a reckless and cowardly pileup of knee-jerk dilettantes on the right -- including former McCain campaign co-chair Ana Navarro and conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin -- have joined the character assassins of the Soros-sphere, MSNBC and Mother Jones in deeming Richwine a "racist." The drooling attack dogs of the far-left blog Daily Kos have now launched a pressure campaign against the JFK School demanding to know "why the school awarded Richwine a Ph.D. and what they plan to do in the future to prevent it from happening again.”

No researcher or academic institution is safe if this smear campaign succeeds. Richwine's dissertation committee at Harvard included George Borjas, Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy. The Cuban-born scholar received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia. He is an award-winning labor economist, a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research and the author of countless books, including a widely used labor economics textbook now in its sixth edition.

Richard J. Zeckhauser, the Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy at JFK, also signed off on Richwine's dissertation. Zeckhauser earned a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard. He belongs to the Econometric Society, the American Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences).

The final member of Richwine's "racist" thesis committee is Christopher Jencks, the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Social Policy at Harvard's JFK School. He is a renowned left-wing academic who has taught at Harvard, Northwestern, the University of Chicago and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He edited the liberal New Republic magazine in the 1960s and has written several scholarly books tackling poverty, economic inequality, affirmative action, welfare reform and, yes, racial differences ("The Black-White Test Score Gap").

The willingness of Republican Gang of 8'ers to allow a young conservative researcher and married father of two to be strung up by the p.c. lynch mob for the crime of unflinching social science research is chilling, sickening and suicidal.

These are serious people doing serious work. The crucifiers of Jason Richwine pretend to defend sound science. But if it is now inherently racist to study racial and ethnic differences among demographic groups, then it's time to shut down every social sciences department in the country.



The Left Hates Us

Emmett Tyrrell

Though it pains me to say it, I have made my final judgment about the left. They do not like conservatives very much. In fact, they come to an immediate boil when we enter their admittedly quite limited range of perception. It all began back in the 1960s when radical thought gained a footing with American liberals. Back in those days liberals relished America, the mixed economy (as they called capitalism), our system of government, and they were free of the bees in their bonnets that eventually drove them to collective suicide: feminism, socialism, identity politics, and all the little stuff: consumerism, the sky is falling, something about organic foods. Taken one thing with another, it finally consumed liberalism, moving me last year to administer the last rites to the whole gaudy set of bugaboos and to pronounce liberalism dead in a sad little book, The Death of Liberalism.

Now liberalism's heirs compose the left. From the radicalism of the 1960s, the left emerged, grew powerful in the Democratic Party, and replaced the corpses of liberalism to become the reigning orthodoxy of the Democratic Party. As recently as 2006, Machiavels like Rahm Emanuel tried to reinvigorate the party by running moderates and traditional liberals as candidates in congressional races. But his achievement was completely undone by the Republican sweep of 2010, and by 2012, the left, led by their leader, the improbable president, Barack Obama, finally completely took over the Democratic Party. These people are not like the liberals, who, while condescending to conservatives, did not hate us. These left-wingers really do hate us. That is why in the Congress not much in the way of compromise can be achieved. Sometime back, I dined on Capitol Hill with a senator who had been around some three decades. He said it with telling precision, "Up here the two sides almost never meet." The left hates us.

I personally discovered this back in the Clinton days. A friend probably of the moderate left came banging into my gym to announce, "Well, if Clinton had sex with a young intern you were right. He should be impeached." My friend held to this view for about a month whereupon he came again into the gym and announced, "But we can't possibly side with Ken Starr." In the months ahead the Clintons diabolized Starr so successfully that the Democrats and their allies in the media came to disrelish anyone favoring the Boy President's impeachment. Clinton survived. Even Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a moderate liberal if there ever was one, voted against impeaching good old lovable Bill, after having said on national television that to lie under oath was cause for impeachment.

By manipulating moderate liberals' passions, the left has come to this happy pass; they dominate the Democratic Party and they hate us. I know we are very likable people. We do many good works. We are kind to children and to household pets, but the left hates us. That is the way it is today. The left rarely has any dealings with conservatives whatsoever.

On a growing list of issues, from guns to affirmative action to whatever militant gays want, the very mention of our side of the issue brings the left to a boil. Talk radio brings the left to a boil. Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin can sally forth into comedic genius. I laugh. You laugh. Even a moderate laughs. Yet the left-wingers see no humor at all and they have even tried to limit talk radio's First Amendment rights. Such extreme measures would have been unthinkable when Hubert Humphrey was in his prime, say in 1968.

Yet in 1968, Hubert would never have had to confront talk radio. He would never have had to confront the Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fox News or many of the other organs of conservatism. The conservative movement back then was but a small percentage of the population. It was easily dubbed the "extreme wing" of the Republican Party. Back then we said jokingly that we conservatives could all meet in a telephone booth. Today there are few telephone booths, but you get the idea. Conservatism accounts for some 42 percent of the vote. No wonder the Left is angry.

Yet I have watched the left for years. I watched them spread through the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1990s they finally took over the Democratic Party. They were always irritable. In fact, I wonder what came first, the irritable disposition or the crazy ideological desiderata. At any rate here we are in 2013, and boy do they hate us.



Black rescuer Charles Ramsey -- Media Delete His 'Pretty White Girl' Comment

Three young Cleveland girls missing and presumed dead turned up alive and in good health. A hero of the story is a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, a black man who helped free the girls from the home in which they were apparently imprisoned for some 10 years.

Among other things, Ramsey said: "I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway. Either she homeless or she got problems. That's the only reason she run to a black man." Presumably the black man the "pretty white girl" ran up to was Ramsey himself.

But a check of The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Cleveland Plain Dealer shows that while the papers quoted Ramsey, none saw fit to include his observation that "a pretty white girl" running up to a black man means "something is wrong here." Looking uncomfortable, the television reporter, from local Channel 5, an ABC affiliate, promptly broke off the interview.

News sometimes makes reporters feel uncomfortable. So what? Ramsey's comments reflect how the Good Samaritan felt -- which makes it news. If Ramsey's other comments get reported, why not that one? Besides, Homeland Security tells us, "See something, say something," But when this particular citizen does, many in our establishment media do not want to tell us what he said?!

Question: Assume Ramsey were white and said: "I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into my black neighbor's arms. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway." Does the comment get removed, excised or cleaned up? Not likely, for a favorite media narrative is that racism remains a major problem in America. Put Ramsey's comment in a white man's mouth, and voila! In the soul of this otherwise Good Samaritan, we have "stereotyping," if not "bigotry" or "racism."

Years ago, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page story about black tradesmen who work in predominately wealthy white areas like Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. All experienced instances of racism. One said a woman refused to open her door when he, a suspicious looking black man, came to answer her service call. Another talked about the time someone sicced dogs on him.

I discussed this article with a non-reporter friend who works for the Times. I told him a white roofer recently did work for me and told me that someone shot at him as he tried to repair the roof on a building in Compton, a predominately working-class black and Hispanic neighborhood in the Los Angeles area. The roofer told me that he experienced other instances of mistreatment that could only be attributed to anti-white racism.

"Where are the stories of white tradespeople working in predominately black and brown areas? What about their stories?" I asked my newspaper friend. "You won't get that story," he admitted. "Too many people would be upset. But a story about how badly whites treat blacks offends no one."

Whites, he said, remain deeply guilty about white racism -- and feel comfortable about being called on it. Stories about black or brown racism against whites can spark angry calls and letters from the "civil rights establishment," ever vigilant for examples to show the "persistence" of white racism.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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)