Saturday, July 27, 2013

Facing Facts about Race

Young black males are at greater risk from their peers than from the police or white civilians

By  Victor Davis Hanson

Last week President Obama weighed in again on the Trayvon Martin episode. Sadly, most of what he said was wrong, both literally and ethically.

Pace the president, the Zimmerman case was not about Stand Your Ground laws. It was not a white-on-black episode. The shooting involved a Latino of mixed heritage in a violent altercation with a black youth.

Is it ethical for the president to weigh in on a civil-rights case apparently being examined by his own Justice Department? The president knows that if it is true that African-American males are viewed suspiciously, it is probably because statistically they commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. If that were not true, they might well be given no more attention as supposed suspects than is accorded to white, Asian, or Latino youths. Had George Zimmerman been black, he would have been, statistically at least, more likely to have shot Trayvon Martin — and statistically likewise less likely to have been tried.

Barack Obama knows that if non-African-Americans were to cease all inordinate scrutiny of young African-American males, the latters’ inordinate crime rates would probably not be affected — given other causation for disproportionate incidences of criminality. Yet should their statistical crime profiles suddenly resemble those of other racial and ethnic groups, the so-called profiling would likely cease.

The president, I think, spoke out for three reasons: 1) He is an unbound,  lame-duck president, with a ruined agenda, facing mounting ethical scandals; from now on, he will say things more consonant with being a community organizer than with being a nation’s president; 2) he knows the federal civil-rights case has little merit and cannot be pursued, and thus wanted to shore up his bona fides with an aggrieved black community; and 3) as with the ginned-up “assault-weapons ban” and the claim that Republicans are waging a “war on women,” Obama knows, as a community activist, that tension can mask culpability — in his case, the utter failure to address soaring unemployment in the inner city, epidemic black murder rates, the bankruptcy of Detroit, and the ways his failed economic policies disproportionately affect inner-city youth.

Attorney General Eric Holder earlier gave an address to the NAACP on the Zimmerman trial. His oration was likewise not aimed at binding wounds. Apparently he wanted to remind his anguished audience that because of the acquittal of Zimmerman, there still is not racial justice in America.

Holder noted in lamentation that he had to repeat to his own son the lecture that his father long ago gave him. The sermon was about the dangers of police stereotyping of young black males. Apparently, Holder believes that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Yet I fear that for every lecture of the sort that Holder is forced to give his son, millions of non-African-Americans are offering their own versions of ensuring safety to their progeny.

In my case, the sermon — aside from constant reminders to judge a man on his merits, not on his class or race — was very precise.

First, let me say that my father was a lifelong Democrat. He had helped to establish a local junior college aimed at providing vocational education for at-risk minorities, and as a hands-on administrator he found himself on some occasions in a physical altercation with a disaffected student. In middle age, he and my mother once were parking their car on a visit to San Francisco when they were suddenly surrounded by several African-American teens. When confronted with their demands, he offered to give the thieves all his cash if they would leave him and my mother alone. Thankfully they took his cash and left.

I think that experience — and others — is why he once advised me, “When you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you.” Note what he did not say to me. He did not employ language like “typical black person.” He did not advise extra caution about black women, the elderly, or the very young — or about young Asian Punjabi, or Native American males.  In other words, the advice was not about race per se, but instead about the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime.

It was after some first-hand episodes with young African-American males that I offered a similar lecture to my own son. The advice was born out of experience rather than subjective stereotyping. When I was a graduate student living in East Palo Alto, two adult black males once tried to break through the door of my apartment — while I was in it. On a second occasion, four black males attempted to steal my bicycle — while I was on it. I could cite three more examples that more or less conform to the same apprehensions once expressed by a younger Jesse Jackson. Regrettably, I expect that my son already has his own warnings prepared to pass on to his own future children.

Holder, of course, knows that there are two narratives about race in America, and increasingly they have nothing to do with each other. In one, African-Americans understandably cite racism and its baleful legacy to explain vast present-day disparities in income, education, and rates of criminality. Others often counter by instead emphasizing the wages of an inner-city culture of single-parent families and government dependence, and the glorification of violence in the popular media.

In the old days of the Great Society, we once dreamed of splitting the difference — the government would invest more in the inner city, while black leadership in turn would emphasize more self-help and self-critique.

Not now. Both sides have almost given up on persuading the other. Eric Holder’s speech to the NAACP might as well have been given on Mars. It will convince zero Americans that stereotyping of young African-American males and Stand Your Ground laws are the two key racial problems facing America.

Again, Holder may offer his 15-year-old son the same warning that his father gave him about the dangers of racist, stereotyping police. Yet I suspect — and statistics would again support such supposition — that Holder privately is more worried that his son is in greater danger of being attacked by other black youths than by either the police or a nation of white-Hispanic George Zimmermans on the loose.

Besides, two developments over recent decades have made Holder’s reactionary argument about black/white relations mostly irrelevant. First, America is now a multiracial nation. The divide is not white versus black. And as the Zimmerman trial reminds us, it is no longer a nation where most of the authority figures are white males. We saw a female judge, a female jury, and an Hispanic in confrontation with an African-American; today those of various racial pedigrees and different genders interact in ways that transcend the supposed culpability of white males.

Second, the attitude of the so-called white community toward racial challenges is not so much political as class driven. White liberals have largely won the argument that massive government expenditure must be infused into the black community. Yet they have probably lost the argument that such vast government investments have done much to alleviate the plight of urban black youth.

Stranger still, there is no evidence in our increasingly self-segregated society that white liberals stand out as integrationists. The latter increasingly have the capital to school their children far from the inner city, to live largely apart from inner-city blacks, and in general to avoid the black underclass in the concrete as much as they profess liberal nostrums for it in the abstract.

No one seems to care that the children of our liberal elite, black and white, go to places like Sidwell Friends rather than to Washington public schools, where the consequences of 50 years of liberal social policy are all too real. If Chris Matthews wishes to apologize collectively for whites, then he should have long ago moved to an integrated neighborhood, put his children in integrated schools, and walked to work through a black neighborhood to get to know local residents. Anything else, and his apology remains what it is: cheap psychological recompense for his own elite apartheid.

Just as Eric Holder preferred anecdote to statistics, so too I end with an unscientific vignette of my own. Last week I was driving in northern California with the attorney general’s speech playing on the car radio. North of San Francisco I stopped to buy coffee and two local newspapers.

In one, there was a gruesome story of a young African-American male charged with ransacking a San Francisco jewelry store and murdering two employees, Khin Min, 35, of San Francisco, and Lina Lim, 51, of Daly City. The owner of the shop, Vic Hung, fought back and survived, despite receiving gunshot and stab wounds in the attack.

The suspected attacker had a prior record of violent assault. The victims were all of Asian ancestry. I don’t think their families would agree with Eric Holder that self-defense laws were the cause of such interracial violence. Nor would the six policemen who were fired upon by the suspect agree that stereotyping prompted this sort of mayhem.

Barack Obama will never suggest that the suspected killer physically resembles himself some three decades ago — and there would be no point in doing so. Nor will he admit that if Barack Obama owned an urban jewelry store and needed its profits to send his daughters to Sidwell Friends, he too might have become apprehensive when a young black male entered his store.

In the other paper, there was a strangely similar tale. Not far away, in Santa Rosa, at about the same time, two African-American youths in hoodies attacked another jewelry store, also had a shoot-out with the owner, and also failed to evade the police — though in this case none of the employees or customers was injured.

In such cases, too many Americans find there is a sort of tired sameness. The victims were white or Asian. The murder and robbery suspects were young African-American males. The violence was aimed not at acquiring food or clothing, but at stealing luxury goods. The armed small-business owners tried to defend themselves by firing back at their attackers. Had they been unarmed, both would have probably perished. In one case, the police were fired upon. The suspects had prior arrests.

And on and on and on across America each day, this same tragedy is played out of a small percentage of Americans committing violent crimes at rates far exceeding their proportion of the general population.

The world will long remember Trayvon Martin, but few people — and certainly not Barack Obama or Eric Holder, who have a bad habit, in an increasingly multiracial country, of claiming solidarity on the basis of race — will care that Khin Min and Lina Lim were torn to pieces by bullets and a knife. Few will care that they died in a vicious assault that had nothing to do with stereotyping, Stand Your Ground self-defense, weak gun laws, insufficient federal civil-rights legislation, or any of the other causes of interracial violence falsely advanced by the attorney general — but quite a lot to do with an urban culture that for unspoken reasons has spawned an epidemic of disproportionate violent crime on the part of young African-American males.

I offer one final surreal footnote to this strange juxtaposition of reading the real news while listening to the mytho-history that a Eric Holder constructed from the death of Trayvon Martin to indict both the police and the public.

What were the names of two of the men suspected of being the ones who last week shot it out with the Santa Rosa jeweler as Eric Holder demagogued the Trayvon Martin shooting?

Traveon Banks-Austin and Alexander Tyvon Brandon.

And so the tragedy continues.



Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin and the Four Dirty Little Secrets of Black America

The reality about blacks offends Leftists (or they pretend it does) but it remains reality -- JR

By Nicholas Stix

Thousands gathered Saturday at rallies in more than 100 cities nationwide to remember Trayvon Martin, to press for federal civil rights charges against the man who shot him, and to attack stand-your-ground self-defense laws.  (by John Bacon, July 20 2013)
The Leftist-Main Stream Media Complex took a little time to get going, maybe because they really believed their own propaganda and were stunned by George Zimmerman’s acquittal, but the Community-Organizer-In-Chief’s disingenuous speech Friday has spurred things along—just like his helpful reminder that Martin would have looked like a little Obama Jr. as last year’s hysteria was being orchestrated.

I watched the Martin/ Zimmerman trial carefully. And—unlike many  readers and, let it be noted, all MSM Bigfoots—I have lived all my life surrounded by “diversity” in New York’s outer boroughs. My thoughts:

I. Blacks Don’t Mean What They Say

On Friday, the race-man-in-chief led another “dialogue” on his favorite subject: Whites are racists.

For generations, it’s always been the same “conversation”: blacks lecture, hector, and demand that whites agree that 2 + 2 = 5.

In 2008, after Barack Obama was exposed as an adherent of genocidal Black Liberation Theology, he notoriously threw his octogenarian white maternal grandmother under the bus by saying that she had “once confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street.” (Actually, she was just worried about a specific suspicious black man on her way to work.) [Transcript: Barack Obama's Speech on Race, NPR, March 18, 2008.]

In Friday’s monologue, Obama talked of, how prior to his political career, white women would see him approaching, and clutch their purses and lock their car doors; of his sponsorship as a state senator of an Illinois law prohibiting “racial profiling”; and of his desire to have all “Stand Your Ground” laws repealed, even though SYG was irrelevant to this case. [President Obama’s remarks on Trayvon Martin (full transcript), Washington Post, July 19, 2013.]

But blacks, even black nationalists like actor-director Mario Van Peebles who celebrate murderous black men, clutch their purses and lock their car doors at the sight of even harmless black men. Indeed, Obama himself has confessed to doing this.

And there’s a simple reason: A white who doesn’t take such precautions, as do prudent blacks, is a white who is going to be harmed or murdered. Every single day in America, blacks murder whites, often in horrific fashion.

Laws banning “racial profiling” have but one purpose: Aiding and abetting black criminals. Ditto for repealing Stand Your Ground laws, which have disproportionately helped blacks.

I will stipulate: even now, I have found one righteous black man: The Zimmerman Case Exposes Black Racism by Kevin Jackson, (The Black Sphere with Kevin Jackson, July 11, 2013.)

And time was, I really cared about conversing with blacks. But that was back when I was my teens and early twenties and considered myself a liberal.

Thus circa 1980 at a political meeting at my undergraduate alma mater, SUNY Stony Brook, my tall, sassy, gorgeous, black classmate, Dahlia Castillo got up to demand more privileges for black students. I stood up and shouted at her that blacks already received more financial aid than whites with the identical income. She yelled back: “Lemme talk to this little Jew!”

We continued arguing one-on-one. (Her Spanish name notwithstanding, Dahlia looked and sounded black, but not “ghetto.”)

But today, if you’re white—or “white enough”—you can’t talk with most blacks about the weather.

 One day in 1998, I spent my bus ride home from work conversing with a middle-aged black woman who taught Special Ed in (black) Far Rockaway, where I had recently lived.

When we reached my Queens neighborhood, she started explaining it to me with great self-assurance, saying it was full of military families who served at the local army base. I wasn’t aware of any military base, but I’d only been living there for a year and change, and maybe she knew something I didn’t.

Soon enough, I determined that there were no military families, and no base.

A few years later, on the same bus, the black driver started talking about the “military base.” I couldn’t take it anymore and told him there wasn’t any base. “It’s a secret,” came his response.

You see, in addition to being experts on race, black folks know all of these secrets that are unknown to whites.

If whites were in charge, this black hypocrisy and irrationality would not be a major problem. But under Jim Snow, blacks and white racial socialists are running things. And so, we get these Orwellian “2 + 2 = 5” lectures every time we turn on the TV, go to work, ride the bus, or go to school.

And if you even look like you’re about to invoke the number four, you get fired from your job, assaulted, your life destroyed, and maybe jailed.

II. Black Society’s Problems Go Much Deeper than Illegitimacy

The standard racial fairy tale promoted by blacks and their white Leftist allies: blacks’ only problem is white racism.

The standard racial fairy tale among white conservatives: blacks’ problems derive from fatherless homes.

If only.

Thus many right-of-center Internet commenters saw Trayvon Martin and prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel as personifying the illegitimacy, illiteracy, and crime of the black underclass.

Notwithstanding her thuggish demeanor, I don’t know about Jeantel. But Martin was not from the underclass. He was born to married parents. During most of his childhood (i.e., after they split up), both of them worked for a living.

The problem that Martin illustrates: black dysfunction and criminality are not limited to the underclass. (Indeed, the New Century Foundation report The Color of Crime debunked the racial fairy tale that poverty causes crime back in 2005.)

III. The “Respectable” Black Lady Problem

Anytime a white has trouble with blacks today, a “respectable” black lady cannot be far away, supporting the thuggery.

In 1987, I was temping as muscle hefting boxes of books for an educational publisher in lower Manhattan. Someone told me of a rumor claiming I had stolen money from a woman employee’s purse. I confronted the white boss lady, who apologized and confessed that the thief was a black boy who had gotten his job via his aunt—the black head secretary.

But to my knowledge, nothing happened to the thief or his aunt.

In 1994, while I was riding the A train home to black Far Rockaway at 9:30 p.m., a couple of black street urchins about eight years of age sat down next to me and whistled loudly, to make it impossible to read. When I walked away, they followed me to the first car. When I told them to beat it, the whole (black) car started threatening to kill me.

A black woman of about 40 told the boys, “They don’t like when you do something good.” (“Something good” = harassing whites.) I called her a racist, to which she responded, “I’m racist, and I’m proud!”

In May 2010, while shopping in a local Waldbaum’s with my 10-year-old son, I was jumped by a 20-year-old, 220-pound black female from whom I was walking away, who had gone there with her toddler, a girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s child solely for that purpose. (They blocked an aisle with bodies and empty shopping carts, and didn’t even pretend to be shopping.)

Immediately, two “respectable” middle-aged black ladies popped up to lie to the police, saying I had rammed the attacker’s shopping cart. Since I was the one with the bloody scratches, the cops arrested both of us. (All charges were later dropped).

In 2011, I was on a bus with a majority of whites coming home from shopping in Brooklyn, when a black man of about 20 decided to start blasting his radio. I asked him to turn it down. He played dumb, but wised up when a huge off-duty Irish cop bent over him to tell him to turn it off. However, a “respectable” black lady of about 60 sitting opposite him consoled him—as if he had been victimized.

The ultimate “respectable” black lady: 87-year-old Adelaide Sanford, for many years a New York school principal. After she retired, liberal politicians named her to powerful jobs on the New York City Board of Education and the State Board of Regents.

Sanford speaks with pedantic over-enunciation, but she has long embraced black racial violence. Her closest political ally was black supremacist extortionist, kidnapper, and murderer Sonny Carson (1935?-2002). In the early 2000s on the late Gil Noble’s Afrocentric ABC show, Like It is, Sanford condemned the placement of police and metal detectors in city schools as “militarization”—targeting “our most gifted young people,” i.e. weapons-toting teenage thugs.

As Jim Sleeper chronicled in The Closest of Strangers, Sanford systematically ran white teachers out of her school. Sleeper reported she had thousands of booklets printed up and distributed in city schools, at white taxpayers’ expense, claiming that blacks’ “learning styles”  were morally superior to whites.[See Educators Call Regents' Booklet Racist, By Mark A. Uhlig, NYT, October 02, 1987]

IV. The Black Sympathy Deficit: Blacks Don’t Actually Care About Black Children

The Trayvonistas claim to care about “the child.” But they’re all lying. The community doesn’t care about black kids, or they’d be demanding that authorities dismantle all of the street gang and disarm the thugs who are shooting up black areas and killing black kids. They would be demanding that black parents raise their children to forswear crime, since the failure of black parents to do their job is the cause of the bloodshed. (Did you notice Obama urging that on Friday?)

Stop teaching black kids to violate people, based on the color of their skin, and stop teaching them to violate the law because it’s just “the white man’s law.” It’s that simple.

If Trayvonistas who live in black communities cared about black kids, they would be dropping a dime on the bad guys, instead of saying, “Don’t snitch!” But they apparently have no problem with black kids getting murdered, as long as the murderers are also black. They just blame it all on the Man.

Had those blacks on my A train back in 1994 cared about black kids, they would have demanded the street urchins’ names, and either taken them home, or called child welfare on their parents for child neglect.

Instead, they encouraged them to become racist criminals.

You want to know who cares about black kids? White and “white-enough” people—like George Zimmerman, Obama voter!

My conclusion: America is in a deeper hole than even we know.



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 and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Possible hiatus

I seem to be having some delayed after-effects of some recent medical treatment so my blogging might be a bit erratic for the next few days

The usual Left-driven hypocrisy


The Sharing Economy

by Don Boudreaux

One of the political left’s most popular (the most popular?) trope is to complain that free markets promote and exacerbate economic “inequality” (where “inequality” is used as a synonym for “observed differences across people – or statistical categories of people – in some variable, usually pecuniary income or wealth, that we presume to be especially important”).

But what are too often overlooked are the many ways that markets spread economic benefits and costs and, in the process, promote greater economic equality than would otherwise exist.  The ways that markets promote this sharing of benefits or costs are numerous.  Here’s just one example: the real-world consequences of what economists identify as the “law of one price.”  This sharing works across geographic space and across time.


Suppose you’re strolling down 5th Avenue in Manhattan on a beautiful Autumn day.  You notice as you cross 14th Street that Golden Delicious apples are selling for $3.00 a piece.  A few minutes later, when you reach Washington Square park, at the foot of 5th Avenue, you notice that Golden Delicious apples are selling there for $1.00 a piece.  Having nothing urgent to do that day, you buy several boxes of Golden Delicious apples in Washington Square park and then haul them up to 14th St. to sell them.  You buy low ($1.00) and sell high ($3.00).  Your buying low in Washington Square park will, of course, cause the price of Golden Delicious apples sold in Washington Square park to rise, and your selling those apples up at 14th St. will cause the price of Golden Delicious apples sold at 14th St. to fall.  You – and other apple arbitrageurs – will continue to haul apples from Washington Square park up to 14th St. until the price of apples in both places is pretty much the same (say, $2.00 per apple).  One price will reign in both places for Golden Delicious apples.

Your profit-seeking actions here enable people up at 14th St. to share in the relative good fortune of people down at Washington Square park – that relative good fortune being an initially higher supply of Golden Delicious apples at Washington Square (or, more generally, a lower marginal value of those apples at Washington Square than at 14th St.).  Or, looked at differently, your profit-seeking actions oblige people down at Washington Square park to shoulder some of the relative misfortune of people up at 14th St. – that relative misfortune being an initially lower supply of Golden Delicious apples at 14th St. (or, more generally, a higher marginal value of those apples at 14th St. than at Washington Square).

Your profit-seeking actions moved a valuable good from where it was relatively more abundant to where it was relatively less abundant, causing the relative abundance of Golden Delicious apples at both sites to be pretty much equal to each other.

(If you doubt the veracity of my hypothetical, imagine how surprised you would be if, in fact, you saw interchangeable apples selling for one price at some location and, at pretty much the same time, selling for a very different price at a nearby location.  The very fact that such price differences aren’t common attests to the validity of the law of one price.)

Now suppose that before any of this arbitrage takes place, a neighborhood association up at 14th St., upon hearing rumors that Golden Delicious apples sell at Washington Square park for a mere $1.00 a piece, enacts and enforces legislation to force the price of those apples at 14th St. down to $1.00 each.  What’s the consequence?  Answer: no one down at Washington Square bothers to haul apples from Washington Square up to 14th St.  The (presumably well-intentioned) legislation prevents the market from performing its sharing function.  People down at Washington Square continue to enjoy apples at a price so low that it doesn’t reflect – as it otherwise would – the demands for apples of the folks up at 14th St.  The legislation meant to help the folks at 14th St. ends up benefitting the folks down at Washington Square by eliminating the incentives of arbitrageurs to haul apples from Washington Square up to 14th St.  And this legislation harms the people at 14th St. by artificially eliminating the incentives that would otherwise have driven arbitrageurs to haul apples from where they are relatively more abundant (Washington Square park) to where they are relatively less abundant (14th St.).


The very same analysis holds over time.  When speculators buy today in the hopes of selling tomorrow at higher prices, these speculators move goods across time; goods are moved from a time when they are relatively more abundant to a time when they are relatively less abundant.  Successful speculation obliges people in times of relative abundance to share their good fortune with people existing in times of relatively less abundance.  Or, alternatively stated, successful speculation enables people in times of relatively less abundance to share in some of the good fortune of people existing in times of relatively great abundance.

And, of course, what’s true for ‘long’ speculation (buying today in hopes of selling at higher prices tomorrow) is true for ‘short’ speculation (selling today in hopes of buying tomorrow at lower prices).  ’Short’ speculators, if they are successful, move goods from tomorrow (when these goods are relatively more abundant) to today (when these goods are relatively less abundant).

Beautiful, isn’t’ it?!  (And no, I do not ask this rhetorical question facetiously.)



Why are tax campaigners campaigning to make the poorest of the poor poorer?

Written by Tim Worstall in Britain

Most here will know that my favourite blood sport is hunting Richard Murphy and his buddies in the Tax Justice movement. But even I am appalled at the latest demand from them: that multinationals should be forced into paying more corporation tax in poor countries. They make this demand because they are willfully blind to the most basic point about corporation taxation: the incidence of said taxes. Here's what is said:

Corporate taxes are incredibly important to many developing countries. When many in their populations are too poor to pay any taxes and when corruption undermines much of the local tax base from commerce (and this fact has to be recognised at present) then the revenues to be earned from multinational companies form a significant part of the tax base of these states. In that case the base erosion that is now well documented due to transfer mispricing out of these countries on royalties, management services, interest, insurance and other charges levied on an intra-group basis, usually from tax haven subsidiaries within the same multinational entity, is of massive concern to these states and forms a major part of the illicit flows that prevent the provision of adequate services by many governments, undermining democracy and blighting many lives over succeeding generations.

We have argued for fundamental reform on behalf of these countries.

They're arguing that the poorest of the poor should be pushed further into poverty as a result of their determined ignorance about that tax incidence. We've known for well over a century now that companies do not actually bear the economic burden of taxes levied at the company level. It is either the workers, in the form of lower wages, or the investors, in the form of lower returns that do. This is not an arguable theoretical point: it's just a truth about this particular universe that we inhabit. No, don't worry about why for the moment, simply take it as being one of those truths.

We also know what it is that influences who carries the burden, workers or investors. The mobility of capital and the size of the economy of the taxing jurisdiction relative to the size of the world economy. The precise splits are argued about, volubly, but but all economists are agreed on those two basic points. It's some combination of the workers and shareholders and the smaller the economy and the more mobile capital the more it is the workers, the less the investors.

One more interesting point: Atkinson and Stiglitz, back in 1980 or so, showed that the burden could in fact be greater than 100%: the loss to workers and or shareholders could be greater than the sum raised in revenue. And yes, the smaller the economy and the more mobile capital the more likely this is and that this burden will be on the workers. So, what do we know about these developing economies where we are told that companies really must cough up more corporation tax in? In fact, that multinational companies must cough up more tax in? Quite: we know that these economies are very small compared to the world economy. That's why we call them developing economies: because they're small and poor ones.

Further, given that we are specifically talking about multinationals, the capital we're talking about must be perfectly mobile. It is outside investment going in: not domestic investment pondering whether to leave or not. If we piece all of this together then we get the ugly reality. The truth is that the burden of higher corporate tax on multinationals in these poor countries will be upon the backs of the workers. Those workers being, by our very definitions of poor and developing country, the poorest of the poor. These are the people we actually want to help and here the "Tax Justice" campaigners are insisting that their wages should be driven even lower. And as Joe Stiglitz has pointed out, their wages could be driven down by more than the actual revenue raised.

This is not, I would submit, a sensible way of improving people's incomes: imposing a tax which we know will reduce those incomes.

As above I usually take my pursuit of these people as a rather jolly blood sport. A day out with the hounds and if the odd vulpine gets harmed well, no matter and that's not really the point of it all: it's the jolly day out that is. But then we find them proposing something quite as barmy, even evil, as this. They simply will not listen to what they are being told about the incidence of corporate taxation. They just don't want to believe that it's not either the company or the evil capitalists who bear the burden of these taxes. As a result they ignore that their recommendations will grind the faces of the poor even more firmly into the dust. At which point the pursuit of their errors become less a jolly day out and more of a necessary duty.

If you want to raise wages in poor and small economies then you want more multinationals to invest in those poor and small economies. Trying to tax said multinationals more so that they invest less and thus depress wages just isn't a good method of raising living standards in these places. We want to tax less, not more.



Cost-Cutting Board Ready to Veto Your Doctor

By Nat Hentoff

A major section of Obamacare that requires employers to provide health insurance for their employees or pay a fine has been postponed until 2015, resulting in much confusion and controversy around the nation. But little attention has been paid to the president’s most threatening weapon for cutting health care costs: the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It still remains, causing the administration fury when it’s called a “death panel.”

The IPAB is, according to the authors, “directed to ‘develop detailed and specific proposals related to the Medicare program,’ including proposals cutting Medicare spending below a statutorily prescribed level.”

For instance, as I’ve pointed out, whatever Medicare-paid prescriptions your physician has authorized for your benefit can be vetoed by the IPAB (whose members have never examined you) if they cost too much.

Meanwhile, this 15-member board, which can remove you from the universe, “will control more than a half-trillion dollars of federal spending annually.”

Rivkin and Foley continue: “Once the board acts, its decisions can be overruled only by Congress, and only through unprecedented and constitutionally dubious legislative procedures — featuring restricted debate, short deadlines for actions by congressional committees … and super-majoritarian voting requirements.”

In this United States of Obama, “The law allows Congress to kill the otherwise inextirpable board only by a three-fifths super majority, and only by a vote that takes place in 2017 between Jan. 1 and Aug. 15.”

If this board “fails to implement cuts, all of its powers are to be exercised by (Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen) Sebelius or her successor.”

I don’t remember voting for her or him.

Rivkin and Foley say with fearful logic: “At a time when many Americans have been unsettled by abuses at the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department, the introduction of a powerful and largely unaccountable board into health care merits special scrutiny.”

It sure does. What will members of Congress do about this next outrage by Obama? What will the 2016 presidential candidates say about it?

There’s more that needs special scrutiny. When I first heard of what follows — “Another ObamaCare Tax That Is Bad for Your Health” (Fred Burbank and Thomas J. Fogarty, The Wall Street Journal, July 8) — I was very disturbed. This cold-hearted Obama reduction of our health care possibilities took me back almost 20 years. I was 69 at the time, and my physician told me, “Your life is hanging by a thread. I must prepare you for open-heart bypass surgery.”

As described at, during this procedure, the chest is opened with an incision that allows the surgeon access to the heart, which is temporarily stopped with a solution of potassium (“What Happens During Open Heart Surgery,”

“At this time,” the article continues, “the heart-lung machine does the work of the heart and the lungs.”

While I was getting ready for this very daunting surgery, my doctor and others told me how lucky I was because this particular open-heart procedure had only become possible some years before with newly researched techniques.

But now, under Obama, as physicians Burbank and Fogarty report in their op-ed for The Wall Street Journal: “On Jan. 1, manufacturers of medical devices in the U.S. were hit with a new 2.3 percent tax on revenue, one of the many sources of money tapped to pay for Obamacare …

“Its effect on U.S. medical-device startups— the small companies that fuel innovation — may prove devastating.”

Why? Burbank and Fogarty answer: “Coincident with the 2.3 percent tax, venture capital investment in medical devices has all but ceased. … Ask yourself two questions: Who would want to invest in a highly regulated, government-controlled industry that faces a unique tax? What startup medical device company can reach the magical break-even point with a (special) tax on its revenue?

“When combined with the ever-increasing time it takes to get approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration, this levy is bound to destroy startups and stunt medical-device innovation in the U.S. and thus the quality of health care worldwide.”



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 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, July 25, 2013

The Shawarma Republics are Burning


(A Shawarma is a Middle-Eastern sandwich comprised of different meats mixed together -- JR)

Syria is burning, not because of the Arab Spring or Tyranny or Twitter, or any of the other popular explanations. The fire in Syria is the same firestorm burning in Iraq, in Turkey, in Lebanon and throughout much of the Muslim world. It has nothing to do with human rights or democracy. There is no revolution here. Only the eternal civil war.

Most people accept countries with ancient names like Egypt, Jordan and Syria as a given. If they think about it at all they assume that they were always around, or were restored after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. But actually the countries of the Middle East are mostly artificial creations borrowing a history that is not their own.

When Mohammed unleashed a fanatical round of conquests and crusades, he began by wrecking the cultures and religions of his native region. And his followers went on to do the same throughout the region and across the world.

Entire peoples lost their history, their past, their religion and their way of life. This cultural genocide was worst in Africa, Asia and parts of Europe. But the Middle Eastern peoples lost much of their heritage as well.

The Muslim conquerors made a special point of persecuting and exterminating the native beliefs and indigenous inhabitants they dominated. Israeli Jews, Assyrian Christians and Persian Zoroastrians faced special persecution.

Conquered peoples were expected to become Muslims. Those who resisted were repressed as Dhimmis. But those who submitted and became Muslims suffered a much worse fate, losing major portions of their traditions and history. They were expected to define themselves as Muslims first and look back to the great day when their conquerors subjugated them as the beginning of their history. Their pre-Islamic history faded into the mists of the ignorant past.

But Islam did not lead to a unified region, only to a prison of nations. The Caliphates, like the USSR, held sway over a divided empire through repression and force. Many of those peoples had lost a clear sense of themselves, but they still maintained differences that they expressed by modifying Islam to accommodate their existing beliefs and customs.

Islamic authorities viewed this as nothing short of heresy. It was against some such heresies that the Wahhabi movement was born. But these attempts to force the peoples of the region into one mold were doomed to fail.

Islam came about to stamp out all differences, to reduce all men to one, to blend state and mosque into one monstrous law for all. And it did succeed to some extent. Many cultures and beliefs were driven nearly to extinction. Jews, Christians and others struggled to survive in the walls of a hostile civilization. But Islam could not remain united and the divisions resurfaced in other ways.

Muslim armies did succeed in conquering much of the world in a frenzy of plunder and death. But they quickly turned on each other. Rather than conquering the world, they went on to fight over the plunder and the power. Nothing has really changed since then.

The fall of the Ottoman Empire brought in the Europeans to reconstruct the Middle East. The modern states are the work of their hands. A clumsy mismatch of borders and warring peoples. The USSR came after with its own line of coups and Arab Socialist dictatorships. Now the third wave of Islamist tyrannies is on the march. But none of them can solve the basic problems of the region.

Syria is burning not because of human rights, but because it's a collection of different peoples with different variants of Islam who don't get along. A handful are descended from the original natives. The rest are foreign Arab invaders, some more recent than others. The story repeats itself across the region. And across the world.

Iraq, Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon are just some examples of countries permanently divided by such a mismatch of peoples. Agreements and elections come to nothing because no group believes that they will be treated as equals if they aren't in power. And they're right. Equality doesn't just come from open elections, but from a cultural acceptance of differences. This simply does not exist in the Muslim world where gender differences mean you're a force of corruption or a slave, ethnic differences mean you are the son of a dog, and religious differences mean you're an enemy.

Had the forces of Islam not turned the Middle East upside down, the nation state might have evolved out of individual cultures, rather than as a strange hybrid of feudalism and Great Powers colonialism. For all their bluster and viciousness, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon are abandoned colonies. The Gulf states are even worse, backward clans of cutthroat merchants who are parasitically feeding off the West, even as they try to destroy it.

The rulers invariably marry Western women or women with a large dose of Western blood. Sadat married the daughter of an English woman. Mubarak married the daughter of a Welsh woman. For all that the Hashemites tout their descent from Mohammed, Queen Noor is more Anglo-Saxon than Arab. And the current Jordanian King's mother was originally known as Toni Gardner. Even when they do marry Arab women, they are usually Christian Arabs and British educated.

There's something pathetic about the sight of the post-colonial Arab leadership trying to gain some psychological legitimacy by intermarrying with their former rulers. As if pumping enough English blood into the veins of their offspring will somehow make them as capable as the Empire that ruled them and then left to attend to its own affairs.

But not nearly as pathetic as half of them claiming descent from Mohammed. Both reveal the underlying historical instability of their rule. These aren't nation states, they're hopelessly dysfunctional geographical divisions bristling with Western weapons and money, with interpretations of the Koran and texts on Arab Socialism, where everyone is a philosopher and a scholar-- but no government lasts longer than it takes to overthrow it.

Every colonel and general dreams of empire, and every cleric in his flea ridden robes theorizes on the Islamic state, but none of them can do anything but act out the same murderous dramas. Building their house of cards and then watching it tumble down.

Had Western shenanigans not raised the price of bread, while providing support to local leftists from wealthy families, the Arab Spring would not exist. Now that it has, it's only another excuse for locals to fight their civil wars and then erect another ramshackle regime on the ruins of the old.

This isn't 1848 as some have theorized. It's 848, over and over again. Worse still, it's 748.

When you don't have a nation, but you do have an army, then what you have is not a state, but a Shawarma Republic. To keep the army from overthrowing the leader, he must find internal or external enemies. When a downturn occurs, and the mobs gather, either the army massacres the mob or overthrows the ruler. Or the rebels cut a deal with some internal elements and wipe out the loyalists.

This is an old regional narrative that has nothing to do with democracy, human rights, Twitter or any of the other nonsense flowing through New York Times columns faster than the sewers of Cairo.

The modern Shawarma Republic has some royal or military ruler at the top who receives money from the West or from its enemies to hold up his end of the bargain. Which to him means stowing the money into foreign bank accounts, sending his trophy wife on shopping trips to Paris and striking a fine balancing between wiping out his enemies and buying them off.

Naturally he carries on the ritualistic chant of "Death to Israel", and if Israel ever looks weak enough, or his new Chinese or Iranian allies kick in the money for a full fledged invasion, he may even take a whack at it. But mostly the chants of "Death to Israel" are a convenient way of executing his enemies for collaborating with Israel.

In Syria, Assad's Shawarma Republic (officially the Syrian Arab Republic, formerly the United Arab Republic, after a bunch of coups and one kingdom, the privately owned fiefdom of the dumbest scion of the clan) is on fire. Because the enemies of the regime, and some of its former allies, got around to exploiting Bashar Assad's weakness.

For now Assad's armies backed by his Iranian allies are in control of the Shawarma Republic of Syria but that might change. Especially now that Turkey and much of the Arab world have stepped into the anti-Assad camp. And when the fireworks die down, and the corpses are cleaned up off the streets, there will be another Shawarma Republic. This one may not be run by the Alawites. But it will be run by someone, and it won't be the people.

The irony is that after turning Lebanon into its puppet, Syria got the same treatment from Iran. And if a revolt succeeds, then it might get the same treatment from Turkey. The big dog bites the little dog, and the bigger dog bites it.

The process can't be stopped, because the Islamic conquests that wrecked the region, the Caliphates that tried to make it static, and the colonial mapmakers who turned it into a ridiculous puzzle of fake countries filled with people who hate each other-- make it impossible.

There was a brief window after the war when the exit of empires and the presence of a large Western educated class seemed as if they might lead to working societies. Instead they led to the pathetic imitations of the worst of the West, dress up generals and scholars cranking out monographs explaining how everything could be made right with their theory. Now it's leading back to Islamism and the bloody clashes in the desert that originated this permanent state of dysfunction.

The Islamic Caliphate as a panacea for the problems caused by Islamic caliphates is about as good an idea as pouring gasoline on a fire. Which is exactly what the Islamists financed by Gulf royals, who can't help cutting throats even when it's their own, are doing.

You can't build a country out of armies and billions of dollars. The reason that Israel works and the Arab world doesn't is very simple. The Jews retained their identity. The perpetrators and victims of Islam who surround them have no roots. Only the sword in their hand and the shifting sands under their feet.



“Stand Your Ground” Critics Personify European Pacifism, Not American Values

The legal concept of standing one’s ground against deadly force has been a part of American culture since our founding as a nation; and has been an explicit component of our country’s law for more than 100 years. An individual’s right to possess a firearm to defend one’s self is guaranteed unequivocally in the Second Amendment to our Constitution. And, in the case known as Beard v. United States, the Supreme Court in 1895 ruled that a person facing a violent assault may repel that action by force, including deadly force, without first “retreating.”

This century-old legal precedent defined what now are commonly referred to as “Stand Your Ground” laws, which have been adopted by some 30 states. Those laws now are being targeted by anti-gun advocates such as President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as by some moderate Republican lawmakers, including Arizona Sen. John McCain. The catalyst for such criticism is the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman by a Florida jury, which found him not guilty in the shooting death last year of Trayvon Martin.

In fact, the Florida jury’s recent decision acquitting Zimmerman was based not on that state’s Stand Your Ground law, but on the even more basic common law principle of self-defense. Never pausing to allow facts to get in the way of excuses to push their gun-control agenda, however, Obama and Holder are leading the crusade to weaken or repeal state Stand Your Ground Laws based on the Zimmerman verdict.

Even if Zimmerman’s lawyers had invoked Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, it might not have cleared him of wrongdoing. The fact of the matter is – despite the effort to demonize such laws by the gun-control crowd – the statutes do not offer a blank check to “shoot first and ask questions later;” neither do they serve as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for those involved in contested shooting incidents. The Tampa Bay Times, for example, compiled a list of more than 200 shooting incidents across Florida involving the Stand Your Ground law. Of the 133 incidents in which the shootings were fatal, only 54 percent were deemed justified by the courts.

Yet, in a speech delivered to the NAACP mere days after the Zimmerman verdict, Holder slammed Stand Your Ground laws, saying they “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense.” He added that such laws undermine public safety by “allowing -- and perhaps encouraging -- violent situations to escalate in public.” Holder has also criticized Stand Your Ground supporters for “creating an issue where none existed,” which is, ironically, exactly what he is doing.

Obama, Holder, and other critics of Stand Your Ground laws are, in effect, adopting the notion that it is not the responsibility of the individual to defend himself or herself against attack, but rather the government’s duty to do so for them. In this worldview, the individual is supposed meekly to “back away” from a confrontation and let the State, through police intervention -- one supposes – take over. This is the European cultural view -- a philosophy very much at odds with that on which our nation was founded, and which served us well until recently, when the gun-control crowd began its push for cultural recognition.

We are a nation that was founded precisely on the notion of taking a stand and repelling aggressors who sought to take away what was rightfully ours. Ours was not a nation that retreated when the British sent their ships to our shores. We always have protected our homeland and defended it from harm. “The west was won,” not by retreating and backing away from confrontations with adverse forces, but rather by meeting and overcoming those challenges. It is the quintessential American way. And it is one reason America is the sole remaining world superpower and European nations are not.

This same principle is at work in Stand Your Ground laws across America; laws reflecting the reality that retreating when facing a violent assailant rarely, if ever, carries the day for the victim.

Moreover, Stand Your Ground laws remove the confusion over when, and how, citizens may legally defend themselves in situations of peril. It takes much of the “legal guesswork” out of situations where every second counts, and second-guessing could lead to extreme bodily harm, or even death.

Rather than weaken Americans’ right to self-defense, we should be strengthening such a fundamental right, and trust the courts to adjudicate and render justice when and where needed. Europeans may think otherwise -- as apparently do Obama, Holder, McCain and others here in America. However, most Americans would, I suspect, put their faith not in European pacifism, but in the understanding and resolve of the American people and our forbears.



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 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, July 24, 2013

Conservatives Should Point and Laugh as Detroit Dies

Detroit represents the epitome of the blue state, Democrat machine liberalism that Barack Obama represents. Well, not one damn cent for Barry’s Kids.

Liberal media mouthpieces like the New York Times are all in a tizzy because the consequences conservatives have been warning America about for years are finally arriving. “We have to step in and save Detroit,” it cries.  We don’t have to do any such thing.

Steven Rattner, writing in the Times, says “But apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually Congress decided to help them.” And apart from the iceberg, the Titanic’s maiden voyage went swimmingly.

This is a problem created by the people of Detroit. It’s their problem to solve – without our money.

If you listen to the hand-wringers, you’ll never hear an honest examination of why Detroit is imploding. Nor do they offer any evidence that the half-wits who elected the quarter-wit Democrats governing them have learned anything at all from this trip to the precipice.

The most hilarious arguments are the ones where liberals whine about the middle class fleeing from the city, taking jobs and the tax base with them. Sure, regular folks took a look at the well-governed, stable, crime-free Utopia that was Detroit and thought, “Yeah, we need to get the hell out of here.”

Liberalism and the political, economic and social pathologies it spawned drove everyone out of Detroit who wasn’t feeding at the municipal trough, whether through some form of government job or some form of government handout.

This isn’t a chicken and the egg brainteaser. It’s simple cause and effect. Liberalism turned Detroit into a hideous dump that milked those who contribute to society to pay off the Democrat machine’s constituents who don’t. People didn’t feel like living in a pig sty while serving as piggy banks for corrupt Democrats. The productive decided that while the non-productive might win by voting at the ballot box, the productive would win by voting with their feet.

Yeah, Detroit had some hard knocks. The auto industry collapsed, which is not surprising since it was the blue state model in corporatist form. But every city takes hits. Dallas and Houston have been slammed again and again by the energy sector, and they keep coming back.

Not Detroit. It keeps milking the “GM went bye-bye” excuse, with its apologists never mentioning that GM didn’t just disappear. GM just went to places that didn’t suck.

What did Detroit do about it? Nothing. The auto industry started changing decades ago, but liberals act as if that change somehow excuses Detroit’s legacy of corruption and incompetence. Detroit’s most significant export in decades was Eminem. That’s reason enough to want to see a stake driven through its metaphorical heart.

But, of course it’s all the Republicans’ fault…for some reason. Rattner says, “If I thought it could pass Congress, I’d happily support a special appropriation, but the politics of any spending are toxic in Washington these days.” Yeah, it is toxic to suggest that those of us who didn’t vote in a succession of criminals to run our governments give our money to morons who did. And, in any sane universe, no one would ever suggest doing so.

But this is the Times, the voice of Big Liberalism. It opines that, “America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility.” Except, America isn’t about “aiding the less fortunate.” It’s about the “less fortunate” working to make themselves “more fortunate” – understanding that liberals think people become financially stable not through hard work but by dumb luck.

Not surprisingly, in a Times article referring to the miserable condition of a city run by a liberal Democrat machine for half a century, there is no mention of either liberalism or Democrats. That’s like writing about obesity and not mentioning food.

The liberal elite, which loves root causes, absolutely refuses to admit that the root cause of Detroit’s woes is liberalism itself.



The US could learn from Britain's healthcare mistakes

After the sordid mud-wrestling session in the [House of] Commons last week (official title: statement on the Keogh report by the Health Secretary), could anyone still believe that politicians are the right people to be in charge of healthcare? As Jeremy Hunt and Andy Burnham traded accusations and self-serving denials of blame for the thousands of unnecessary (remember that word) deaths in 14 NHS [British government] hospitals, they almost clean forgot to offer expressions of remorse, regret or sympathy to the victims and their families.

For what it’s worth, Mr Burnham was rather worse than Mr Hunt, but that is by-the-by. This was about as low as party politics gets. Egged on by their screaming supporters behind them, the front bench spokesmen presented us with a very nearly perfect case for removing the care of the sick from government manipulation altogether.

An edited video of that squalid parliamentary occasion should be made available to every member of the Obama administration and every Democratic congressman who is desperate for the US federal government to take charge of healthcare. Lesson: this is what happens when political parties are directly responsible for the dispensation of medical treatment. If you have power over a system, then you are held responsible when it fails. If medical and administrative personnel know that they are accountable to government, they are liable to put the demands of politicians over the concerns of patients – even if they know those demands to be mistaken or absurd. Not that the White House plan (inevitably known – in spite of the President’s people insisting that it is the Affordable Care Act – as Obamacare) is as remotely monolithic as our own government-owned, government-run, government-funded system. That would be anathema to the political culture of the United States.

In fact, our two countries have precisely opposite phobias: in Britain, anything that is private (or worse, privatised) must be assumed to exist solely to produce Profit, which is axiomatically regarded as wicked. In the US, anything that is run by central government is seen as inherently threatening to personal liberty. So Obamacare had to square an impossible circle, and ended up with something like the worst of all worlds. In order to guarantee medical care for everyone in the country while avoiding universal government provision – which would be socialist in the true sense of the word – the plan makes it a legal requirement for everyone to buy private health insurance.

The original rule was that all companies with more than 50 employees would be required by law to provide them with health cover but that has gone out the window (sorry, been delayed) because the business community objected.

Unfortunately, the poor individual, not having quite the same clout in Washington as big companies, is still stuck. He will have to pay for a health insurance policy – whether he wants it, or thinks he needs it, or not – or be fined.

Now that would be a very strange sort of law in any free society, let alone one that is positively paranoid about personal liberty. Should a democratic government be able to make it legally necessary for you to buy a product you do not want to cover the cost of your potential needs? It is true that in most countries you are legally obliged to have certain kinds of third party cover – on car insurance, for example – but that is to provide for the protection of other members of society, not yourself. What the Obamacare law is designed to do is pull the young and fit compulsorily into the health insurance net so that, in actuarial terms, risks are spread more widely and the cost of premiums comes down. It is a matter of hot debate at the moment in Washington as to whether this will actually be the result. In the meantime, there is huge popular resistance to the compulsion involved and to the overweening political interference in what most Americans see as the highly personal relationship between doctor and patient.

But America’s stumbling healthcare programme is not alone in creating bizarre anomalies. The absolute terror in which politicians of all parties in Britain confront the impossible dilemma of funding the NHS has led us into a positive Wonderland of self-contradiction and absurdity. The Nuffield Trust estimates that there will be roughly a £50 billion deficit between funding and demand for healthcare by the end of the next parliament.

Every sane politician knows that the present arrangements are unsustainable: even if we managed to reform the standards of hospital care to prevent patients dying of starvation and thirst, there is no way that a fit-for-the-21st-century comprehensive medical system can be afforded solely out of taxation. But say this to a Tory minister (or one of his team) and he will start shrieking about electoral doom. As one very sensible Conservative said to me recently: “You can’t start charging for things that people now get for free. We’d lose the next election.”

Well no, that is not the way to introduce a mixed economy in healthcare: you don’t “start charging for things” willy-nilly. You just start allowing people to pay for things above and beyond their NHS care without penalising them. Which, of course, is what they do already every time they go to the chemist and buy aspirin for a headache – on which grounds nobody threatens to take away their right to NHS treatment for the headache.

But try that with a cancer drug that the NHS doesn’t believe is cost-effective and will not administer, and you will be accused of illicitly “topping up” your NHS care and possibly (as has actually happened) be denied further treatment for your illness. Our healthcare system is so monopolistic that it will not permit you to spend your own money (for fear of creating “two-tier” healthcare), while the proposed US system is determined to force you to spend your money on a product you don’t want. This is crazy.

Lessons: no country can afford modern health care without a mixed funding system of some kind. The more power politicians have over the running of that system, the more likely it is to get bogged down in partisan point-scoring. The more choice and responsibility reside with the patient and the clinician respectively (rather than with the bureaucrat and the government), the greater the chance that people will receive proper care. The more government tends to function as an exacting purchaser and regulator of services, rather than as a provider of them, the less likely it is to cover up or ignore the fact that thousands of people are dying unnecessarily on its watch.

Couldn’t we start treating voters like grown-ups, and talk sense about this?



Lies, damn lies, and America’s astonishingly partisan, corrupt media

The disgracefully slanted coverage of the trial of George Zimmerman is only the latest, prominent example of liberal media bias. Since the 2012 presidential election, America’s national media hasn’t let up. It’s pushing harder on its pro-liberal Democrat and anti-conservative Republican slant.

Consider Obamacare.

In recent days, organized labor turned harshly and vocally against the so called “Affordable Care Act.” Three leaders of America’s largest unions, including Jimmy Hoffa, wrote a jaw-dropping letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Excerpts of their arguments sound like a Republican opposition brief:

“When you and the President sought oursupport for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”

“We have been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision. Now this vision has come back to haunt us.”

“Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios.”

“The law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits”

“As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies.”

“On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans”

Days later, the Laborers International Union of North America (“International of North America? Gee, do they consider themselves American? But I digress) followed up with a letter to President Obama, warning of “the destructive consequences” of Obamacare if it weren’t drastically modified.

Scathing criticisms of the president’s signature achievement from bulwarks of the liberal Democratic establishment should register high on America’s political Richter scale. Instead, they’re practically tree-fall in an empty forest, because the corrupt broadcast networks aren’t reporting them. Consider if America’s biggest business leaders had delivered comparable blasts at the economic policies of Presidents Bush, Bush, or Reagan. The network amplifiers would have blown their fuses, prolongedly.

The deception reaches deep into new media, as well. This weekend, AOL News informed its millions of viewers that Republicans are “still attacking Obamacare.” Yes, Republicans like Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters. The kids online don’t have a clue.

From Big Labor’s pains to the IRS’s depredations, the media con game shifts from silence to farce.   Congressional hearings last week revealed the scheme to target conservative groups was directed out of the Office of the IRS Chief Counsel. The Chief Counsel is one of only two agency employees who are appointed by Barack Obama! That bombshell might do more damage than all the explosions in “White House Down,” Hollywood’s flop valentine to Obama.

But it’s not the story from our leading talking heads, who, if they deigned to cover the story at all, either mocked Republicans’ clumsy questioning, or gave heroic, spotlight treatment to Ranking Member and Court-Distractor Elijah Cummings’ idiotic queries whether any witness had discovered a murder weapon with the president’s fingerprints on it, or something like that.

The script is universal and firm: Play stories that help Democrats hard, thoroughly, repeatedly. Stories that help Republicans, if they can’t be ignored, should be delivered quietly and, especially if they hurt the president, for no more than two news cycles at most.

Thus, a recent study by Obama’s own Justice Department concluding that gun control laws are ineffective in reducing gun violence likely will never cross the silky lips of Brian Williams.

An EPA study that failed to link fracking—hydraulic fracturing—with environmental contamination will not see the broadcast big screen.

Coverage of abortion must emphasize that pro-life is extreme and pro-choice is reasonable. You will never hear the network big-hairs try to pin down Democratic politicians on extreme positions or defying public opinion on things like late term abortion, partial birth abortion, parental consent, or many other vulnerabilities of the NARAL Democrats. It’s not in the script.

No, they’ll stalk and bait and quiz pro-life Republicans, eagerly hunting the next gaffe that can go big time.

The cynical, despicable thing about all this is that even though the public knows it’s being played by cosmopolitan liberals, the game still works. Average  Americans might not trust the media further than Barack Obama can throw a game-opening pitch, but the networks still set the agenda and control the subject.

Partisans of right and left seek their favored outlets. But the consciousness of the non-political middle is shaped by the legacy media, and the legacy media is a corrupt PR arm for the Democratic Party.



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 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, July 23, 2013

A prince is born

The crowd outside Buckingham Palace

The birth of a healthy baby is always a time of happiness but the birth of a Royal baby has just sent much of Britan demented.  And that joy is felt in other countries where the Queen reigns too.  It is great news in Australia where  I live.  Americans usually seem not to understand at all what it is like to grow up in a monarchy. There are ancient tribal emotions involved.   It is very uplifting and a source of pride.  The secret is that the Royal family are seen as the splendid branch of OUR family.  We know them well and feel a connection to them.  Their glory is our glory. French "gloire" is a phantasm.  The glory of the Royal family is real.

No lurch is too far:  Far Left magazine now honors anti-American terrorist

The dwindling number of people still reading Rolling Stone knows that just as MTV no longer is a music station, this is not just a music magazine. Nevertheless, the magazine's covers are almost always rock and pop stars, and sometimes movie and TV actors. In recent months, that list has included glamorizing shots of Jay-Z, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Justin Bieber (who's now "Hot, Ready, Legal").

But nearly every issue also carries political commentary from fiercely frothing leftist writers like Matt Taibbi. When the editors decided to put Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover, they knew they were courting controversy. They must have known they were chasing notoriety by insulting people who lost relatives or their own limbs in Dzhokhar's terrorist attack.

What must have been the reaction of the parents who lost 8-year-old Martin Richard?

The victims and their families surely choked when the magazine responded to the furor by claiming, "Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, our thoughts are always with them and their families." What arrogant nonsense.

Boston's liberal Democrat mayor, Tom Menino, delivered a scathing rebuke in a letter to publisher Jann Wenner. "The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them."

Rolling Stone claimed the cover story would showcase everything writer Janet Reitman found by spending "two months interviewing dozens of sources — childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents, many of whom spoke for the first time about the case — to deliver a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster."

And then they put his picture, James Dean-like, on the cover. They claimed this kind of reporting is part of their journalistic tradition. It isn't.

Their tradition has not included regular covers with newsmakers or notorious bombers. When their journalism on Afghanistan abruptly ended the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal in 2010, the cover displayed Lady Gaga nearly nude, her body covered only by a thong bikini and two machine guns.

Some tried to defend Rolling Stone by noting that several news organizations had used the same picture of Tsarnaev, including the front page of The New York Times.
But Rolling Stone occupies a special zone in the popular culture, where top musicians hope and pray to know they've "made it" by making the cover.

If Sports Illustrated had put Dzhokhar on its cover, that would also be jarring. They could have. They didn't. They put cops and a disoriented runner on the cover at the time of the murders.

The text of the cover doesn't glorify the killer. It reads: "The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam, and Became a Monster."

But that glimmer of sadness for the bomber's lost childhood, the disappearance of a "charming kid with a bright future," shows more effort to find a terrorist's moral center than the magazine showed any of the last three Republican presidential nominees.

Last year, Rolling Stone's cover carried a cartoon of Mitt Romney in a top hat and an ascot with the words "Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital." Matt Taibbi sold Romney as pure evil:

"Romney's run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy. ... Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who'd be honored to tell Oliver Twist there's no more soup left."

In 2008, John McCain was also a cartoon on the cover, with the words "Make-Believe Maverick: A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty."

Rolling Stone also ran two cartoon covers of George W. Bush, both making him look very much like a chimpanzee. Keith Olbermann lovingly promoted the 2006 cover titled, "The Worst President In History?" They followed in 2008 with "How Bush Destroyed the Republican Party." Both were written by socialist historian Sean Wilentz. In 2006, Wilentz admitted to Olbermann, "I think the cover actually is a bit over the top."

When Obama was inaugurated, the magazine did it again with a more serious illustration of Bush 43 and a cover story that was completely made up. "Exclusive! Bush Apologizes: The Farewell Interview We Wish He'd Give."

No one expects Rolling Stone to follow up with a cover that imagines "Dzhokar Apologizes: The Prison Interview We Wish He'd Give." If they had ever really had the Boston victims in their hearts, they might. But they don't.



Harvard Historian Warns the State Is Causing the West’s ‘Great Degeneration’

Jay Lehr reviews  "The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die"  By Niall Ferguson

What causes rich countries to lose their way? Symptoms of decline are all around us: slowing growth, crushing debts, increasing inequality, and aging populations. What exactly has gone wrong? Niall Ferguson argues in this book that the intricate framework of our institutions is degenerating.

Representative government, the free market, the rule of law, and a free society are each addressed in separate chapters of this brief book. These institutions set the West on the path to prosperity, and they have dramatically declined Ferguson, tells us.

Governments have broken the implied contracts among generations by heaping IOUs on our children and grandchildren. Our markets are hindered by overly complex regulations. Why is it 100 times more expensive to bring a new medicine to market than it was 60 years ago? he asks. And he wonders if the Food and Drug Administration would prohibit the sale of table salt if it were put forward as a new product because of its toxicity in large doses.

Having been more than 20 times wealthier than the average Chinese as recently as 1978, the average American is now just five times wealthier, Ferguson notes. In a whole range of dimensions the gap between the West and the rest has narrowed dramatically. In terms of life expectancy and educational attainment, some Asian countries are now ahead of most in the West.

Ferguson argues these declines in institutional leadership have been partly a result of a lack of transparency, which could not be allowed in private business. The only hope for improvement will come when all institutions enter into the daylight.

Complexity vs. Simplicity

Today it seems that the balance of opinion favors complexity over simplicity, rules over discretion, codes of compliance over individual and corporate responsibility. Ferguson believes this results from a flawed understanding of how financial markets work.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 is a nearly perfect example of excessive complexity of regulation, according to Ferguson. The Act requires that regulators create 243 new financial rules, conduct 67 studies,  and issue 22 periodic reports.

The author shows that the most regulated institutions in the financial system have become the most disaster-prone. Furthermore, no one is regulating the regulators. Ferguson draws parallels between economic development and Darwin’s theories of biologic development.

Reminiscent of Tocqueville

Ferguson’s analysis calls to mind that of Alexis de Tocqueville nearly 180 years ago. Many persons can recall Tocqueville’s complimentary essays in his book Democracy in America, in which the French political philosopher and historian favorably describes the national character and institutions of America during his travels around the country in the 1830s. Readers of Democracy in America seem to have forgotten his warnings. He anticipated a future society in which associational life has died.

“I see an innumerable crowd of like and equal men who revolve on themselves without repose procuring the small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls,” Tocqueville wrote. “Each of them, withdrawn and apart is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others; his children and particular friends form the whole human species for him; as for dwelling with his fellow citizens, he is beside them but he does not see them, he touches them but does not feel them; he exists only in himself and for his self alone.

“Thus, after taking each individual by turns in its powerful hands and kneading him as it likes, the sovereign extends its arms over society as a whole. It covers its surface as a network of small complicated, painstaking, uniform rules to which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls can not clear away to surpass the crowd, it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.”

Tocqueville saw the state -- with its seductive promise of security from the cradle to the grave -- as the real enemy of civil society. Ferguson is in sympathy with this view.

Need for Private Schools

Toward the end of his both depressing and hopeful book, Ferguson makes a great case for dramatically increasing the number private kindergarten through grade 12 schools. He notes American universities, largely private, are considered among the best in the world, whereas the nation’s government-run K-12 schools are widely regarded as having sharply fallen in quality and behind those of many other nations. He says to expect continued educational mediocrity until there are substantially more private and charter schools that must compete for students.

In his closing paragraphs he quotes much of President Barack Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” speech, which he delivered while campaigning for reelection in 2012.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Ferguson calls it the voice of a state destined to further degeneration.



R.I.P. Larry Grathwohl

Our friend, Larry Grathwohl, has died.

Larry served our country above and beyond the call of duty by infiltrating Weather Underground subversives and reporting on their seditious plots to the FBI, on which he would later testify before Congress.

Lest people think that the Weather Underground is a forgotten movement from US history, many of its former leaders now hold prominent roles in academia and serve in key Obama administration positions. The WU still calls the shots, having exchanged bombs for briefcases, and actively promoting the destruction of America.

This year Larry republished his book Bringing Down America, which chronicles his experiences with the Weathermen, and went on a book tour. We met him when he visited Florida and became friends.

He was funny, had a sharp mind, and was an eloquent speaker. We consider ourselves lucky for being able to spend some quality downtime with Larry and on several occasions pick his brain about his life with the radicals and beyond, over a bottle of Maker's Mark, his favorite.

If the world were fair, the news of Larry's passing would be scrawled across every news broadcast. But in a world run by the former subversives, "fairness" means lynch mobs, government-organized theft, suppression of the truth, and glorification of crime.

If the world were fair, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, et. al, would be in federal prison, schoolchildren would be taught the real definition of communism, and American ideals would continue to be the guiding light of the free world.

With the passing of Larry Grathwohl, America grew a little dimmer.



Israelis, Palestinians skeptical about Kerry's peace talks

The talks are just a facesaver for flip-flop Kerry (who probably still has the hat)

Israeli and Palestinian officials voiced skepticism Sunday that they can move toward a peace deal, as the sides inched toward what may be the first round of significant negotiations in five years.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced late last week that an agreement has been reached that establishes the basis for resuming peace talks. He cautioned that such an agreement still needs to be formalized, suggesting that gaps remain.

In his first on-camera comment Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to lower expectations by saying the talks will be tough and any agreement would have to be ratified by Israelis in a national referendum.

Netanyahu pledged to insist on Israel's security needs above all — saying his main guiding principles will be to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel and avoid a future Palestinian state in the West Bank becoming an Iranian-backed "terror state."

"I am committed to two objectives that must guide the result — if there will be a result. And if there will be a result, it will be put to a national referendum," he said at the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting. "It won't be easy. But we are entering the talks with integrity, honesty, and hope that this process is handled responsibly, seriously and to the point."


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 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, July 22, 2013

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Blacks are dying at the hands of other blacks daily in Chicago and elsewhere.  What do we hear from the Left about that?  Crickets.  A white man kills a black man in an act of self defense and what do we hear about that?  Boiling outrage nationwide!  At the very least it is clear that whites (even "Hispanic whites") are held to a much higher standard of behavior than blacks.

All those protesting would appear to believe that their protest will do some good.  They clearly believe that Zimmerman has slipped from the very high standard applicable to whites and should be punished for that.  If different standards for different races don't equate to racism, I don't know what would.

Faced with a problem like Chicago, Leftists clearly just throw up  their hands. They clearly see blacks as different  -- and different in a most alarming and incurable way. The Christian adage that all life is sacred clearly does not apply to blacks as perceived by Leftists.  Black life taken by another black is not worth one thousandth of the protest that is being aimed at George Zimmerman.  All the world knows of George Zimmerman but who knows even the names of the black killers in Chicago?

While they would never admit it in words, Leftist behaviour clearly shows that they regard blacks as chronically inferior and beyond redemption.  In their secret minds, they may even put it down to genetics  -- JR


Sorry, the Zimmerman Case Still Has Nothing to Do With 'Stand Your Ground'

The story that George Zimmerman told about his fight with Trayvon Martin, the one that yesterday persuaded a jury to acquit him of second-degree murder and manslaughter, never had anything to do with the right to stand your ground when attacked in a public place.

Knocked down and pinned to the ground by Martin, Zimmerman would not have had an opportunity to escape as Martin hit him and knocked his head against the concrete. The duty to retreat therefore was irrelevant.

The initial decision not to arrest Zimmerman, former Sanford, Florida, Police Chief Bill Lee said last week (as paraphrased by CNN),  "had nothing to do with Florida's controversial 'Stand Your Ground' law" because "from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense."

And as The New York Times explained last month, "Florida's Stand Your Ground law...has not been invoked in this case." The only context in which "stand your ground" was mentioned during the trial was as part of the prosecution's attempt to undermine Zimmerman's credibility by arguing that he lied when he told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he had not heard of the law until after the shooting. During his rebuttal on Friday, prosecutor John Guy declared, "This case is not about standing your ground."

So how did Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, respond to Zimmerman's acquittal last night? By announcing that "we will continue to fight for the removal of Stand Your Ground laws in every state."

And how did the Times, the same paper that last month noted Zimmerman's defense did not rely on the right to stand your ground, describe Florida's self-defense law after he was acquitted? This way:

"The shooting brought attention to Florida's expansive self-defense laws. The laws allow someone with a reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death to use lethal force, even if retreating from danger is an option. In court, the gunman is given the benefit of the doubt."

While it's true that Florida has eliminated the duty to retreat for people attacked in public, that provision played no role in Zimmerman's defense or his acquittal. And contrary to what the Times seems to think, giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt is not unique to Florida. It is a basic principle of criminal justice in America.

NPR likewise keeps insisting that the Zimmerman case somehow casts doubt on the wisdom or fairness of "stand your ground" laws. In a story that summarized the events leading to Zimmerman's trial, correspondent Gene Demby said Florida's "stand-your-ground self-defense law...figured to be a major pillar of Zimmerman's defense."

No, it didn't, given his description of the fight. And once the trial started, it was obvious that "stand your ground" had nothing to do with Zimmerman's defense. Yet Greg Allen, the NPR reporter covering the trial, said this last week: "Under Florida's Stand Your Ground law, Zimmerman need only convince the jury that he was acting in self-defense and was in fear of death or great bodily harm to win acquittal."

Allen forgot to mention that the fear must be reasonable, and he implied that the jury had to be fully convinced by Zimmerman's story to acquit him, when in fact it only needed reasonable doubt regarding the prosecution's version of events, in which the shooting was not justified.

Most important, Allen conflated "stand your ground" with the general principle, accepted even in states that impose a duty to retreat in public places, that a reasonable fear your life is in jeopardy justifies the use of lethal force.

You might think that, given all we now know about Zimmerman's actual defense, critics of "stand your ground" laws would have to find a different, more apposite case to illustrate their concerns. Instead they just barrel along, citing the same phony example again and again, without regard to the facts. It does not inspire confidence in their argument.



Black America's Real Problem Isn't White Racism

In the aftermath of the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous of the NAACP are calling on the black community to rise up in national protest.

Yet they know — and Barack Obama, whose silence speaks volumes, knows — nothing is going to happen.

"Stand-Your-Ground" laws in Florida and other states are not going to be repealed. George Zimmerman is not going to be prosecuted for a federal "hate crime" in the death of Trayvon Martin.

The result of all this ginned-up rage that has produced vandalism and violence is simply going to be an ever-deepening racial divide.

Consider the matter of crime and fear of crime.  From listening to cable channels and hearing Holder, Sharpton, Jealous and others, one would think the great threat to black children today emanates from white vigilantes and white cops.

Hence, every black father must have a "conversation" with his son, warning him not to resist or run if pulled over or hassled by a cop. Make the wrong move, son, and you may be dead is the implication.  But is this the reality in Black America?

When Holder delivered his 2009 "nation-of-cowards" speech blaming racism for racial separation, Manhattan Institute's Heather Mac Donald suggested that our attorney general study his crime statistics.

In New York from January to June 2008, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black, according to witnesses and victims, though blacks were only 24 percent of the population. Blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of all gun assailants. Forty-nine of every 50 muggings and murders in the Big Apple were the work of black or Hispanic criminals.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirms Mac Donald's facts. Blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crimes in the city, he says, but only 85 percent of the stop-and-frisks are of blacks and Hispanics.  And these may involve the kind of pat-downs all of us have had at the airport.

Is stop-and-frisk the work of racist cops in New York, where the crime rate has been driven down to levels unseen in decades?

According to Kelly, a majority of his police force, which he has been able to cut from 41,000 officers to 35,000, is now made up of minorities.

But blacks are also, per capita, the principal victims of crime. Would black fathers prefer their sons to grow up in Chicago, rather than low-crime New York City, with its stop-and-frisk policy?

Fernando Mateo, head of the New York taxicab union, urges his drivers to profile blacks and Hispanics for their own safety: "The God's honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics."

Mateo is what The New York Times would describe as "a black Hispanic" Yet he may be closer to the 'hood than Holder, who says he was stopped by police when running to a movie — in Georgetown.

Which raises a relevant question. Georgetown is an elitist enclave of a national capital that has been ruled by black mayors for half a century. It's never had a white mayor.

Is Holder saying we've got racist cops in the district where Obama carried 86 percent of the white vote and 97 percent of the black vote? And his son should fear the white cops in Washington, D.C.?

What about interracial crime, white-on-black attacks and the reverse?

After researching the FBI numbers for "Suicide of a Superpower," this writer concluded: "An analysis of 'single offender victimization figures' from the FBI for 2007 finds blacks committed 433,934 crimes against whites, eight times the 55,685 whites committed against blacks. Interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white — with 14,000 assaults on white women by African Americans in 2007. Not one case of a white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study."

Though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.

If interracial crime is the ugliest manifestation of racism, what does this tell us about where racism really resides — in America?

And if the FBI stats for 2007 represent an average year since the Tawana Brawley rape-hoax of 1987, over one-third of a million white women have been sexually assaulted by black males since 1987 — with no visible protest from the civil rights leadership.

Today, 73 percent of all black kids are born out of wedlock. Growing up, these kids drop out, use drugs, are unemployed, commit crimes and are incarcerated at many times the rate of Asians and whites — or Hispanics, who are taking the jobs that used to go to young black Americans.

Are white vigilantes or white cops really Black America's problem?

Obama seems not to think so. The Rev. Sharpton notwithstanding, he is touting Ray Kelly as a possible chief of homeland security.



Some exegesis

The intended meaning of Matthew 17:27‏

In the Matthew gospel have you ever asked yourself how we would ever come to understand what Jesus really meant when he told Peter to cast a hook into the lake and take the first fish that comes up; for Peter was to open its mouth, find a coin and take it to the collectors of the temple tax for both of them?

When this Scripture is understood in its literary form, it becomes apparent that Peter is asked by Jesus to go down to the lake as a fisher-of-men, to proclaim the good news.  When he raised from the water the first of those who had welcomed the spoken Word and was baptized, what came forth from the mouth of the new disciple were words of praise spoken in the Spirit toward the Father in heaven. [These words of praise are precious, of great value, something of weight: this is the meaning of the Greek word that was translated into the English word, coin.]  So, Peter was to return to the collectors of the temple tax at the Father’s house, the temple, to give what is truly acceptable from both he and Jesus–thanksgiving and praise [as an example to the collectors of the temple tax of what was truly acceptable].



The witch is dead!

Many on the extreme left (by that we mean all “journalists”) today are celebrating Helen Thomas’ life. Granted she achieved quite a lot for a woman in the 50s and 60s becoming a prolific White House journalist. It was quite a feat to break into that “man’s world” of the day.

But succeeding in one area does not erase the hate she evinced during that rise. She was always, always a reliable hater of the Joooos, for sure. She was also a reflexive, unfair, and unthinking hater of everything right of the Stalinist left and used her high perch in the world of journalism to attack every Republican she could.

Naturally her pals in the Old Media establishment are using the mild descriptive “controversial” to describe this odious woman... In 2010 Thomas regurgitated some of her hatred for the Jews by wishing that all Jews would go back to Hitler’s Germany.



Funeral Directors want the courts to protect their businesses from competition

Given the outrageous costs of most funerals,  they certainly deserve to lose this one

The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn lower court rulings that let Benedictine monks sell caskets from their monastery outside New Orleans because protecting funeral directors' pocketbooks is a legitimate state interest, Louisiana's board of funeral directors says.

Federal district and appeals courts struck down a regulation that only state-licensed funeral directors may sell coffins in Louisiana, saying it existed only to protect special interests and lacked any reasonable legal grounds such as protecting consumers or public health.

The funeral directors' attorneys said their arguments are supported by a 1955 Supreme Court ruling that Oklahoma could require someone who wanted an existing glasses lens fitted into a new frame to get a new prescription and a 1963 decision to uphold a Kansas law limiting the business of debt adjustment to attorneys. The high court said in those cases that judges could not substitute its own opinion of a law's wisdom or whether it supported the public good for a legislature's opinion on those matters.



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 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)