Friday, May 09, 2014

Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America


Bullying!  Bullying!  Bullying! Bullying is rampant in the United States according to Obama's Left and the popular media.  In reality, there has been no increase in bullying across America.  "In fact, by all available statistics, bullying is down across the board with young Americans demonstrating particular tolerance for those of different backgrounds."

The Left propagandizes that bullying has morphed into a "brilliant gambit:  they appropriated bullying to apply only to anything remotely conservative."  Shapiro identifies the Left's ability to unify all Americans against bullying and then to redefine bullying as anything the Conservatives oppose.  "A unified coalition against bullying becomes a unified coalition against Conservatism."  Shapiro's bullying list of the Left includes the Tea Party, religious people, global warming unbelievers, defense hawks, venture capitalists, fans of voter identification, traditional marriage, opponents of affirmative action, right-to-work advocates, supporters of Israel, and haters of Glee!

Ben Shapiro is a brilliant, caustically humorous writer who presents with clarity the current nuanced political situation.  His thesis is fresh and is one that the American public must quickly comprehend if Conservatives and America are to survive.  "The Obama embrace of the anti-bullying cause, and the subsequent linguistic trick of conflating anti-bullying with anticonservatism, is the single best bully tactic in the history of American politics." Shapiro's insight could be the key in alerting Conservatives to wake up and smell the Left's deception.  Conservatives have only been playing a bewildered defense up to this point. This is perhaps our last opportunity to play offensive politics and to save our Republic.

In Shapiro's political evolution, his meeting with Andrew Brietbart was pivotal.  He first met his future friend and mentor through his Conservative column in the UCLA Daily Bruin. Leftist-turned-Conservative activist, Breitbart hated the bullying of the Left and considered political correctness the ultimate form of bullying.  The Left's passion for bullying and its use of the propaganda manufactured by the "Democrat-Media Complex" and Left-based sources such as Soros-funded Media Matters bring constant pressure to silence their political opponents. Breitbart's exposure of these bullying tactics brought down upon him the extreme enmity of the Left, who actually celebrated his unfortunate and untimely death.

Shapiro states, "Conservatives have allowed liberals to win the culture war because we're generally civil people.  When the left says we're uncivil, we tend to shy away from the fight rather than, as Andrew put it, walking toward the fire."  Ben Shapiro is today the editor-at-large at

Shapiro believes that bullying requires power which the Left wields through the growth of government, the media, Hollywood, the education system, and the nonprofits.  "The right thinks individually; the left thinks institutionally."

The author covers the vast array of bullying engaged in by the Left.  He treats it all in a thorough, fresh, and scholarly fashion.  Shapiro covers with documentation, examples, and illustrations the following types of bullies:  Institutional Bullies, Anti-Patriotic Bullies, Race Bullies, Class Bullies, Sex Bullies, Green Bullies, and Secular Bullies.

"This is the world the left has bequeathed to us.  It is filled with lies; it says that truth is thuggish, and obfuscation of truth a required element of civility.  It says that moral clarity is nasty and uncouth, and moral relativism morally preferable.  It reverses bullies and victims, emboldening the world's true bullies in the process."

It is past time to expose the bullies and stand up to them. This is, indeed, an enjoyable, eye opening and provocative read.


Cruz Lists Obama Admin's Lawless Actions in Legal Limit Reports

"Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the President's persistent pattern of lawlessness," according to Texas Senator and Harvard Law graduate Ted Cruz.

Cruz exposed the Obama Administration’s illegal actions in four Legal Limit reports released Wednesday.

 Rule of law means that we are a nation ruled by laws, not men. No one—and especially not the president—is above the law. For that reason, the U.S. Constitution imposes on every president the express duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

Rather than honor this duty, President Obama has openly defied it by repeatedly suspending, delaying, and waiving portions of the laws that he is charged to enforce. When President Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The documents include a laundry list of the Administration's lawless actions relating to executive fiat, national security, free speech and privacy, Obamacare, executive nominees and personnel, and the economy. Two additional categories exist to encompass "other lawless acts" and "other abuses of power."

Here are two highlights:

Obama may have been a Constitutional Law professor back in the day, however, his actions as president reveal he knows very little about how to abide by the document.


Where has the money gone?

Most people, perhaps even the super-wealthy, who are usually accountable to auditors, want to know where their money goes. This is especially true when they detect money for which they can't account. Not so with the federal government.

Some recent headlines reflect a disturbing pattern that has contributed to our $17 trillion debt and to a growing cynicism among the public, which increasingly regards government in a negative light.

Here are just a few recent gems gleaned from reading newspaper stories and wire service reports: "Pentagon to destroy $1 billion in ammunition." This USA Today story says, "It is impossible to know what portion of the arsenal slated for destruction ... remains viable because the Defense Department's inventory systems can't share data effectively, according to a Government Accountability Office report..."

So in addition to nonfeasance add incompetence.

The New York Times reports on a modest medical office in Brooklyn that received $4.1 million in Medicare funds for "therapy." The Times says the money went to one person. Maybe the government needs therapy. Taxpayers certainly do.

A personal favorite, again from USA Today: "IRS workers who didn't pay taxes get bonuses."

Then there's this from the Washington Post: "Navy to award contract for Marine One helicopter fleet in shadow of previous failure." Why let failure get in the way of a government program?

"$6 billion goes missing at State Department," reports the Fiscal Times. I'm constantly misplacing billions, aren't you?

Again the Fiscal Times: "Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year." The key word is "blatantly."

Just in time for this year's university commencement exercises we learn, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal: "Government programs to reduce (student loan) defaults are encouraging more debt."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) this week releases its 2014 "Pig Book" listing some of the outrageous spending by the federal government. The book focuses mostly on "pork," those earmarks added to a bill after the normal budget process. Earmarks have been outlawed since fiscal 2011, but members of Congress always seem to find ways around the many laws they pass.

This year's Pig Book has found earmarks attached to the 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government. One paragraph from the introduction reveals the lengths to which some members of Congress will go to circumvent the law in pursuit of their own political interests:

"The 2012 Pig Book noted that although there were fewer earmarks than in prior years, the projects involved larger amounts of money and included fewer details. This is also true in 2014. For instance, a $25 million earmark for the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund appearing in the FY 2014 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act corresponds to 58 earmarks totaling $24.6 million for the same program in the FY 2010 DHS bill. The 2010 earmarks appeared in the 'Congressionally Directed Spending' section at the end of the bill, which contained the names of the members of Congress requesting each project and its location, as required by the pertinent transparency rules. "This is in stark contrast to the FY 2014 earmark, which contains no such information."

When committing a crime, some criminals try not to leave fingerprints at the scene. Congress engages in criminality on a higher plain by not leaving "fingerprints" on their earmarks. Who will hold them accountable? Apparently not enough voters, too many of whom appear indifferent, or deliberately ignorant of it all.

To paraphrase the old Peter, Paul and Mary song: where has all the money gone? Long time passing. Gone to earmarks and down a sinkhole. When will we ever learn?


Federal Land Ownership: Is It Constitutional?

The ongoing Cliven Bundy situation in Nevada has raised awareness of the hazards of federal land management.

In Nevada, the federal government owns a stunning 81 percent of the land. On the land they manage, the feds are threatening to evict tenants who refuse to pay outrageous fees. Bundy is the last of a dying breed, the only holdout who hasn’t been driven off land in Clark County in recent years, land his family has utilized and improved for nearly a century.

This behavior raises and important question: Is this how the Founding Fathers intended for the federal government to manage land when they created the Constitution? A 2005 University of Colorado Law Review article by Robert G. Natelson of the Independence Institute titled “Federal Land Retention and the Constitution’s Property Clause: The Original Understanding” attempts to answer that question by carefully examining the historical record against conservative and liberal interpretations of the Property Clause of the Constitution.

The article begins by talking about the case of a Bozeman, Montana native by the name of Casey Emerson. Emerson wants the feds to cede their land holdings back to the people. He argues that the feds don’t tend to the land as well as local folks could, and make blunders that harm the environment and livelihood of Montana residents. Natelson argues that while Emerson’s opinion doesn’t reflect present case law, there is a strong historical basis for his argument against the excessive hoarding of land by the federal government.

This becomes clear when you examine the core principles that the Republic was based upon. It is widely recognized that the principles of republicanism and decentralization were crucial in founding the United States of America, but there were also some principles that fell by the wayside as time passed. While they aren’t necessarily acknowledged now, they were considered to be essential for the continuance of a well-functioning Republic by our predecessors. These principles are fiduciary government, sympathy and independence.

Fiduciary government refers to the idea of government officials as “guardians, agents, servants, or trustees of the people.” Sympathy meant that public officials and private individuals are meant to share an “identity of interest, rather than conflict of interest.” Government officials are therefore expected to serve the public as a whole rather than serve a specific faction or political party. Independence is necessary to prevent collusion between government actors, to keep them free from each other and dependent only upon the public. Knowing these bedrock principles upon which the Republic was founded is key in understanding the appropriate purpose of federal land management.

Natelson brought up an example to illustrate how these principles weren’t respected during the Articles of Confederation era. In the early Republic, an angry band of former soldiers who felt they weren’t properly compensated stormed Congress. This was when Congress still operated out of Philadelphia, rather than Washington D.C. The Congress didn’t have the means to defend itself. Delegates asked Pennsylvania to send militiamen to help, and the state refused. Although nobody was injured, this incident was harmful to the principle of independence. The founders did not want one state to receive preferential benefits over another. They didn’t want a mob of folks from Pennsylvania intimidating Congress into granting special favors to people of that state at the expense of others.

The Constitution therefore allows the federal government to possess land in three forms: territories, enclaves and other property. Territories referred to land that was owned by the federal government but had not been formally made into states. Enclaves referred to land within a state that was owned by the federal government for essential purposes such as ‘Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards.’ Other property refers to land holdings for enumerated purposes, and gives the federal government limited discretion to possess land.

However, the Constitution does not authorize permanent land-grabs by the federal government. It authorizes Congress to make “all needful Rules and Regulations” pertaining to land. ‘Needful’ was a word carefully chosen to indicate that the regulatory power only expanded to powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution. The feds were expected to sell off non-essential land and distribute the subsequent monies in ways that benefited the public good such as paying off the debt or tax cuts.

The current regime of federal land management is blatantly unconstitutional. The founding fathers never intended to create a Republic where the feds could impose draconian fees on peaceful individuals and force them from the land. As a matter of fact, that is exactly the arrangement that the Constitution was written to prevent, as it clearly violates the principles of fiduciary government, sympathy and independence.

When the historical record is examined, it makes it abundantly clear that the Republic has gone awry since the days of the founders. Systematic attacks on the property rights of Americans have been justified through deliberate misreadings of the Constitution. This will only be changed when the public wakes up, re-discovers their rights and takes action against unjust federal power. Natelson’s article can provide a kick start toward creating a proper understanding of the Constitution amongst the American people.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Liberals: Exempt from Scrutiny

Victor Davis Hanson

The qualifications of a Tommy “Dude” Vietor or Ben Rhodes that placed them in the Situation Room during Obama-administration crises were not years of distinguished public service, military service, prior elected office, a string of impressive publications, an academic career, previous diplomatic postings, or any of the usual criteria that have placed others at the nerve center of America in times of crisis. Their trajectory was based on yeoman partisan PR work, and largely on being young, hip, and well connected politically. I don’t think either of these operatives has a particular worldview or competency that would promote the interests of the United States. But they do talk well, know the right people, and are hip. Again, they have no real expertise or even ideology other than that.

Al Gore is said to be our leading green activist, and the Steyer brothers the most preeminent green political donors. But do they really believe in reducing carbon emissions to cool down the planet?

Not really. The latter made much of their fortune in the sort of high-stakes speculations that the Left supposedly despises. Many of their financial payoffs derived from promoting coal burning abroad, of the sort most liberals wish to stop.

As for Gore, he cannot really believe in big green government or he would not have tried to beat the capital-gains tax hike when he peddled his failed cable network to a petrodollar-rich Al Jazeera, whose cash comes from the very sources of energy that Gore claims he hates. Do you make millions, and then in eleventh-century fashion repent so that you can enjoy them all the more? Gore certainly in the past has not lived modestly; the carbon footprint of keeping Al Gore going — housing, travel, and tastes — is quite stunning. Both the Steyers and the Gores of our human comedy know that it is lucrative business to appear green, and that by doing so one can keep one’s personal life largely exempt from scrutiny in general and charges of hypocrisy in particular. For them, 21st-century liberalism is a useful badge, a fashion not unlike wearing good shades or having the right sort of cell phone.

The 1 percent fetish is also not really ideological. Elizabeth Warren, one of its greatest supporters, is not just a 1 percent but a 0.1 percent grandee. Her house, habits, household income, past corporate consulting, and net worth all reflect a desire for profits and refinement not accorded to most Americans. Her life is about as much a part of the 99.9 percent as she is Native American. She is not worried about welders getting some work on the Keystone Pipeline or farmworkers put out of their jobs in Mendota, Calif., over a baitfish.

Ditto Paul Krugman. He is eloquent about inequality and about the sort of insider privileges that give so much to so few. But nothing about his own circumstances suggests that he lives the life he professes, as opposed to professing abstractions that psychologically make the quite different life he lives more palatable.

Certainly, Krugman’s liberalism means that few care that he once worked in the Reagan administration, that he was a paid adviser to Enron, or that he has just taken a part-time $225,000 post-retirement job at City University of New York — one that, at least initially, requires no teaching. Given what CUNY is said to pay its exploited part-timers, the university could have offered 75 courses with the salary it will be paying Krugman. Or, put another way, Professor Krugman will make the same as do 75 part-timers who each teach one class — and thus one class more than Krugman will teach.

Bravo for Professor Krugman to have marketed himself so well and to have earned all the compensation that the market will bear — and too bad for the part-timers, who don’t understand market-based economics, where there are winners like Krugman and losers like themselves who can’t earn commensurate hanging-around money. One last question: Is part-time teacher Krugman going to study the inequality inherent in the modern university’s exploitation of part-time teachers?

Such hypocrisy taxes Krugman’s supporters to find ingenious arguments for the idea that noble ends justify almost any means, and so they argue that Krugman’s advocacy for research into income equality trumps this minor embarrassment, or that he can be very rich and still fight the 1 percent, or that the salary in the metrosexual world of the Boston–New York–Washington corridor is not all that high.

Of course, the CUNY billet is likely just a small stream that feeds into Krugman’s other sizable income rivers. Indeed, he more likely belongs not just to the 1 percent, but to the same 0.1 percent as Senator Warren, which he so castigates. When President Obama exclaimed that at some point one needs to know when one has made enough money, Krugman would have agreed. He could now put that agreement into action by donating his salary to double the meager wages of 75 part-timers, who, unlike himself, are contracted professors who really do teach and are not “generously” compensated.

Does the NAACP stand as our watchdog over racism? In theory, yes; in fact, not so much. The L.A. branch was quite content to overlook Donald Sterling’s sterling racialism, given his donations. Sterling apparently thought that supporting the local NAACP either was not antithetical to his racist sloppy talk and rental practices, or was a wise investment in progressive insurance.

Al Sharpton receiving a “person of the year” award from the same branch of the NAACP is no less absurd than Donald Sterling’s “lifetime-achievement award” — given that Sharpton is on record as an anti-Semite, homophobe, inciter of riot, former FBI informant, tax delinquent, and convicted defamer of a district attorney. But the NAACP brand nowadays functions much like our green culture, as a sort of way to display correct coolness. It surely would not go after Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor — or Barack Obama — for either using racialist speech or denigrating others on the basis of race or tribe. Such a fact is widely accepted because it is just as widely assumed that the NAACP has become something fossilized, like Betamax in its waning days, as it existed for a bit longer because it had once thrived.

Too many modern liberal fetishes are predicated on the medieval notion of exemption, and should not be taken as anything much other than useful pretensions or smart career moves — something like joining the Masonic lodge in the 1920s in small-town America. Charter schools are bad, and troubled public schools are noble, but the coastal elites, whether at Sidwell Friends or the Menlo School, assume that they should not sacrifice their children on the altar of their own ideology. Diversions of Central Valley canal water from agriculture to fish are good, but diversions of Hetch Hetchy canal water from San Francisco to fish are bad. Dreaming about salmon jumping in a hot Central Valley river is a lot easier than bathing with recycled grey water three times a week.

Concern for the Sierra toad and frog should stop logging-road and mountain development, but incinerating fauna with solar mirrors or grinding up eagles and hawks in wind turbines is the necessary price of green membership.

The Koch brothers have allegedly polluted politics with their ill-gotten cash; the Steyer brothers have not with their coal money. The revolving door is what right-wing operators do, not what a Tommy Vietor or Peter Orszag does. Affirmative action is necessary to stop “old boy” hiring and power wielding, but the sort of incestuous D.C. relationships that the Carneys or the Rhodes brothers have (Jay Carney’s wife, Claire Shipman, is a senior correspondent for ABC News; Ben Rhodes’s brother, David, is the president of CBS News) are not what we are talking about.

The issues per se are not so important. No prominent progressive really believes that his children belong in a public school with the “other.” He does not wish to live in an integrated neighborhood in order to promote his notion of high-density, non-suburban racial assimilation. A Che poster does not mean you want to live somewhere like Venezuela and wait in line for toilet paper.

The liberal is not immune from the material allurements of the 1 percent. Whizzing off on a private jet or climbing into a huge black ten-mile-a-gallon SUV limo is no problem. You do not necessarily denounce all racist stereotyping, given that sometimes attacking friendly bigots could be a headache. Taking the Google bus with like kind instead of the messy public bus or the uncertainties of the commuter train does not mean you are against mass transit for “them.” You surely don’t want the Coastal Commission enforcing beach-access rights for hoi polloi when who knows how many of the 99 percent wish to walk right by your deck in Malibu. It would be like ruining your beach view with a wind farm.

Liberalism offers a wise investment for a politician, a celebrity, an academic, or a journalist, by letting him take out inexpensive insurance against a politically incorrect slip of the tongue. Donald Sterling almost achieved exemption by his donations to Democratic candidates and the NAACP and his trial-lawyer billions; he lost it by keeping his ossified Republican registration while being an old, sick white guy who said the sort of reprehensible racist things that one hears sometimes in bits and pieces from some NBA players.

So, in medieval fashion, liberalism serves as a powerful psychological crutch: You can be noble in the abstract to assuage worries of not being so at all in the concrete. It adds a hip flourish to the otherwise mundane pursuit of power, lucre, and influence that plays out on the golf course, at the Malibu party, in front-row seats at NBA games, or in the tony Martha’s Vineyard summer home. About three decades ago, sipping a fine wine at a Napa bed and breakfast, or getting the right Italian-granite and teak flooring, became a force multiplier of being loudly liberal.

If a liberal has a really nice Chevy Chase estate or Upper West Side brownstone or Tahoe summer home, it is important to sound all the more liberal. Or maybe it is just the opposite: You cannot sound credibly liberal unless you first have the correct liberal address and square footage. The joke is on us. Having lots of stuff and lots of money, while deriding the system that provides it, is perverse, but perverse in a postmodern sense: You fools love the free market, where you didn’t do too well; we whose parents or selves did very well in it don’t like it all that much. How postmodern — like guffawing that lots of smoke came out of that Gulfstream ride, or lecturing about inequality from Rancho Mirage or the back nine at Augusta.

We are told that the Kennedys, the Pelosis, the Kerrys, and others like them are noble because they vote against their class interests. But they really do not; they vote for them. Liberalism is now the domain of the elite, and antithetical to the aspirations of the upper middle class that lacks the capital and tastes of the 0.1 percent. The higher the taxes, the more numerous the regulations, the greater the redistribution, so all the more the elite liberal distances himself from those less cool who breathe down his neck, and the less guilty he feels about the growing divide between him and the poor he worries about, but never worries about enough to associate with.

Liberalism professes a leftwing ideology, but these days it has absolutely no effect on the lives of those who most vehemently embrace it. In other words, being liberal is professionally useful and psychologically better than Xanax, but we need not assume any more that it is a serious belief.



The truth about a great American massacre

The Sacrament, a new suspense film closely based on the 1978 Jonestown massacre, illustrates the extremes to which leftism corrupts and the ends to which its philosophy can ultimately lead. The fictional movie turns out to be more accurate than many documentaries and news articles in its treatment of Jim Jones’s radical left-wing politics — a topic that is inescapable when (honestly) broaching the subject of Jonestown.

The 1978 massacre at Jonestown, Guyana, was the largest mass suicide in recorded history and the largest single-day mass killing of American civilians prior to the 9/11 attacks. Some 909 members of Jones’s “People’s Temple” cult were murdered or (in an unknown but probably large number of instances) were forced to commit suicide by drinking a poison-laced fruit drink. The popular phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” to describe herd mentalities originated with the Jonestown massacre.

Yet the Jonestown massacre itself is only dimly known to contemporary Americans, and the details of the event are often ignored by news and academia. It is, after all, an inconvenient story, in which a Communist community, led by a committed Marxist and ’60s Bay Area radical, came to a horrifying end.

Following the mass suicide, the mainstream media spun the story into one of religious fanaticism rather than leftist fanaticism. Had a right-winger persuaded followers to join him in retreating from society and building their own enclave, then held them prisoner and ultimately persuaded or forced them to take their own lives in some sort of revolutionary act, Jonestown would be taught more widely in schools than Abe Lincoln. Instead, when Jonestown is addressed, the Marxism of the People’s Temple is whitewashed and the story is packaged as one of a religious cult gone awry, or as a warning against the perils of organized religion.

This deliberate obfuscation happened immediately. As a contemporaneous (1978) Accuracy in Media report made clear, “The ideology of Jonestown was communism, not Christianity, but the media have obscured rather than explained that fact.”

AIM explained, “Our media have concealed, misrepresented, or downplayed the key element in the philosophy of Jim Jones,” rightly noting that Jones was, contrary to the misleading media reports, “a long-time dedicated Marxist communist who admired totalitarian communist dictatorships such as the Soviet Union and Cuba so much that he built one of his own in Guyana.”

Even weeks after the event, AIM found there was not a single article in the mainstream press that delved into Jones’s Marxist beliefs and connections. Instead, despite his views and his well-known admiration for Castro’s Cuba and the Soviet Union, reporters went out of their way to avoid labeling Jones a Communist. Some in the media, such as Walter Cronkite, even reported on Jones as a “fascist” — any “ist” as long as it wasn’t a Communist.

Yet Marxist he was, and so was his group. Jonestown life was nearly identical to that in Communist nations: Inhabitants were essentially prisoners (prohibited from leaving the settlement and punished if caught trying to leave); no private ownership of any goods was allowed; no communication with the outside world was allowed; hard labor in the fields was mandatory, as was attendance at Jones’s lengthy, Castro-like sermons; armed henchmen spied on and intimidated others who dared step out of line or complain; family structures were deliberately destroyed, with Jones encouraging adultery or assigning husbands and wives to separate living quarters; residents were poorly fed and overworked, while Jones himself lived in luxury; and, of course, in keeping with Jonestown’s Marxism, there was almost no religious observance, making the media’s description of Jonestown cultists as religious fanatics, over more than 30 years, all the more dishonest.

As for the enigmatic Reverend Jim Jones, who was he? The Indiana-born Jones, a former community organizer, was a committed Marxist since at least the age of 18. (His idol was Mao Tse-tung.) He believed himself to be the reincarnation of Lenin and dreamed of a socialist America. Jones began attending Communist-party meetings in 1951 and was soon a full-fledged radical.

An atheist, Jones cleverly realized, quite early on, that religion could serve as a vehicle to attract followers to his social-justice views and his “church.” Masquerading as a Christian preacher, he ultimately founded the People’s Temple, which grew substantially thanks to followers’ donations. Jones would later readily admit that he asked himself what would be the best method to spread Marxism and decided on doing so by infiltrating Christians and preaching Marxism disguised as religion. In a 1977 New York Times interview, his wife reportedly admitted that Jones was promoting Marxism by mobilizing people via religion, and that he referred to the Bible as a paper idol he must destroy.

Lest there be any doubt about Jones’s political views and those of his fellow Jonestown residents, he once boasted: “I believe we’re the purest Communists there are.” When a Soviet diplomat visited Jonestown, Jones gushed: “Thank you, comrade. For many years, we have let our sympathies be quite publicly known, that the United States government was not our mother but that the Soviet Union was our spiritual motherland.”

This was not a church — this was a Communist organization.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

It is not possible to get leftists to feel embarrassment or shame

Typical of psychopaths

Various members of the White House staff, mostly fresh-faced twenty or thirty-something leftists, have been out there lately demonstrating that they have no capability to admit error or feel the slightest bit of shame in mistakes made by this administration.

They quite literally act as if they just don’t see the problem. “Dude, this was like two years ago.” Four people were killed, and around here, we all believed at the time that incompetence was covered up for political purposes. Every piece of information that comes out confirms it.

But leftists are now in permanent “deny, deny, deny” mode. Bill Clinton taught them well. If you never admit mistakes or problems, you effectively reduce your opponents to sputtering frustration. If you never show shame or embarrassment no matter how silly you look, it’s never necessary to admit that your opponents have any valid points whatsoever.

The only thing you need is the willing cooperation of the legacy media so that you get first shot at persuading the legions of rationally ignorant people who don’t much like politics. If the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS/NBC/ABC/CNN all refuse to call you on it, or do so way after the fact so that editors can just say “old news, move on”, then you’ll get away with it.

I’ve long thought that people such as this ass Veitor literally don’t see the mistakes. Their post-modern training allows them to believe that whatever they convince the media and the people to believe is the truth. It doesn’t matter what facts contradict it. It doesn’t matter what the negative long-term effects are. It doesn’t even matter if it dissolves the bonds that hold civil society together. By post-modern axioms, the consensus narrative is the truth. It must be advanced.

Post-modernists don’t feel shame because they don’t think they’re lying. You could probably hook up Veitor to a lie detector and get no indication whatever that he thinks he’s lying. He believes it’s impossible to lie in support of leftist policies and practitioners. Leftism is right by axiomatic certainty, so anything that supports it must be true and right.

No doubt such people would, if pressed hard enough, admit that there are other viewpoints and details that support them. But they would simply say that the human mind can be irrational, blah, blah, blah, and none of it matters. The idea that they might be irrational in support of collectivism never, ever enters their mind.

They are very much like fundamentalists who see the will of God in everything that happens. No religious fundamentalist is capable of feeling shame about believing in God, or shame in the outcomes of what they claim are God’s works. It’s just all part of a grand plan that we can’t see.

Similarly, leftists see the validation of leftism is everything. They are cognitively incapable of seeing the facts and realities that dispute leftism. They are incapable of believing that anyone who denies leftism is interacting in good faith.

They can only see the narrative that upholds leftism. Only that can be true. It doesn’t matter how preposterous it is to someone connected to reality. For them, leftism is reality.

But, as kennycan said in a comment over at Daily Pundit concerning the Ukraine spokesbint, some realities are more real than others. Ezra Klein’s “reality” that the federal government cannot run out of dollars is just a comfortable fantasy in support of leftism. It doesn’t even pass basic logical analysis. For example if that were true, there would never be any reason to collect taxes! If the government can’t run out of dollars, those taxes are not needed.

That’s obviously preposterous. Even more preposterous is the idea that an exponential curve can continue its natural shape indefinitely. As Herb Stein said, what can’t go on forever will stop.

But, if leftists can use their post-modern approach to deny that Obamacare is a disaster and that Benghazi was a horrible, botched mistake that was covered up, or that the IRS is engaging in politically targeted harassment, then why should we believe they will be any different when the debt mountain collapses? They will come up with some narrative that blames Republicans for talking bad about the debt and spooking the financial markets, or whatever.

Using the “never let a crisis go to waste” mentality, they’ll demand that the rich have to just give up everything they own for the sake of society – why do you think they’re pounding so hard right now on the income inequality thing? They’re setting the stage to have options to advance leftism, no matter what happens.

This explains why arguing with them is fruitless. Remember the conversational dictum that you don’t discuss religion in polite company? That is what you are doing when you discuss collectivism with a leftist. (Though their concept of politeness is pretty far degraded from mine.)

Make your case to the muddled middle if you must, but trying to convince a leftist that he has to give up his post-modern, collectivist religion is no more likely to succeed than trying to convince a fundamentalist that his wife’s death in a car accident is evidence of either a cruel God or that God had nothing to do with it. They both have constructed elaborate mental models of how the world satisfies their religion, and there is no talking them out of it.



Benghazi. Again. Still.

I am not generally a conspiracy believer, but last week, as the result of a Freedom of Information action by Judicial Watch -- a conservative legal organization -- at least one email was released that directly linked the White House to the immediate reaction to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including the American Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

The Benghazi attacks took place on September 11, 2012. The Obama Administration's first response -- and it was a significant response -- was that the attack on the American compound in Benghazi was a reaction by "extremists" to a video that had been released that Muslims felt mocked the Prophet Mohammed.

According to the Los Angeles Times: The email, sent by Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security advisor, help prepare Susan Rice, for a round of interviews on Sunday TV talk shows...He urged Rice "to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

Susan Rice, then U.S. representative to the United Nations, went on the shows to make that exact point: That the attack was spontaneous and, therefore, neither the State Department nor the Defense Department were in a position to offer aid to those under attack.

According to the Pulitzer Prize winning, that was inaccurate. According to a posting on its website yesterday: "In a series of interviews on the Sunday news shows in 2012, Rice stressed that the violence was a reaction to an anti-Muslim Internet video and not part of an organized terrorist assault."

In spite of Cokie Roberts' attempts to bail out Susan Rice on ABC's This Week, on the issue of the video being the catalyst, says that when Roberts said: "Rice stressed protests related to the anti-Muslim video and downplayed suggestions that the attacks were planned." stated that claim was "mostly false" because Rice used the word "extremists" - suggesting these were spontaneous demonstrators - and not "terrorists" which would have suggested a planned attack - on that September 11.

This point was at issue during the October 16, 2012 President debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when Obama asked debate moderator, Candy Crowley, whether the Administration had said terrorists had been involved.

She said, from the moderator position, that it had use the word "terrorists", but months later, on her CNN Sunday show she said that in the immediate aftermath of the attack the Administration had not blamed it on terrorists, that only 17 days later did they admit it was a terrorist attack.

White House press secretary Jay Carney tried to deflect attention from the newly released email by saying Ben Rhodes' note was not specifically about Benghazi but was about the broader protests that were taking place across the Middle East at the time.

That, in spite of the fact that, according to the Real Clear Politics, ABC's Jonathon Karl sparred with Carney over the impact of this email. At one point, Karl asked:

"Ambassador Rice went on those shows, and she said that the attack in Benghazi was rooted in protests over an Internet video. We now know that that was not true, that, in fact, former [CIA] Director Morell just testified last month that quote, "when she talked about the video, my reaction was, that's not something the analysts have attributed this attack to."

From the transcript of the White House briefing:

KARL: Why did it take a court case for you to release this - (inaudible) -

MR. CARNEY: Jon, I can say it again and again, and I know you can keep asking again and again. This document was not about Benghazi.

KARL: It was her prep for the - for the Sunday shows.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Oh) has announced his intention to bring to the House floor a resolution to form a select committee - bi-partisan - to look into - a throwback to the Watergate hearings - what members of the Obama Administration knew and when they knew it.

I am not a conspiracy guy, but the White House has some explaining to do and all the bluster by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) will not change that fact.



Why Occupational Licensing Is Unjust, Unneeded, and Increases Income Inequality

Employment gives people earned satisfaction and upward mobility. It can be especially fulfilling when a person is employed in their preferred field. But government policies often deprive some people of these benefits by establishing artificial barriers to employment.

One such barrier is occupational licensure that prohibits employment in a specific occupation unless a would-be worker obtains government permission by first satisfying various licensing requirements. These requirements are typically enacted in the name of “protecting public health and safety,” but their true purpose is to stifle competition from aspiring workers and businesses.

The common perception is that occupational licenses are required primarily of doctors, dentists, nurses, and other high-skill occupations where an unqualified practitioner could do serious harm to a customer. But many government licenses are required of relatively low-skill jobs, and these requirements eliminate the bottom rungs of the economic ladder for many poor and less-educated people.

The Institute for Justice examined licensing requirements for 102 low- and moderate-income occupations such as barber, florist, makeup artist, massage therapist, preschool teacher, shampooer, and tree trimmer in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The report found that five of the six states that impose the heaviest licensing burdens in the country are in the West (see the graphic below on the 20 worst states). Consider, for example, the nation’s most populous state of California, ranked second worst.

California licenses 62 of the 102 occupations studied—the 3rd highest. The average state licenses 43 of the occupations.

California charges its aspiring workers an average fee of $300 in the occupations it licenses, and imposes an average education-and-experience requirement of 549 days. Would-be workers must also pass one exam in the licensed occupations. The average state requires $203 in fees and 307 days in education and experience.

A year and a half of education/training, $300 in license fees, and one passed test might not sound like a heavy burden in California, but to a poorer or less-educated person these can be roadblocks to entry into their preferred field. Time spent in education is typically time spent not earning income, so the opportunity cost of the education requirements alone, in terms of foregone income, can be prohibitively expensive.

The report also found that California:

Is one of only a few states that license tree trimmers, landscape workers, dietetic technicians, psychiatric aides, still machine setters, funeral attendants, dental assistants, and farm labor contractors.

Requires tree trimmers and landscape contractors to hold a contractor’s license, requiring four years of training—the most burdensome requirements in the nation for those jobs.

Imposes four years of education-and-experience requirements with fees and examinations on would-be construction workers. Many states either require no education or experience or do not license this occupation at all.

Is the only state besides Florida to require farm labor contractors to pass a test.

Has the longest education-and-training requirement—a full two years—for teachers’ assistants.

California’s heavy licensure burdens make it harder for people to get hired or start new businesses that create jobs. The barriers are especially harmful to poorer people aspiring to climb out of poverty, those with less education, and minorities. People with means and education are little affected by licensure rules, while the poor and minorities can be shut out of entry points into the job market. This is unjust and regressive.

People have strong incentives to obtain the education they need to be qualified for employment in their preferred field. Businesses have strong incentives to screen prospective employees for minimum qualifications and to provide needed on-the-job training for employees. Professional and occupational associations often maintain certification standards. Customers often share bad experiences through word of mouth and social media. They also have strong incentives, encouraged by personal injury lawyers, to sue if they are damaged. These multiple layers provide sufficient protection of “public health and safety.” Government licensure is unneeded.

The real reason for government licensure is to artificially restrict entry into occupations to increase the wages of current practitioners. In the 1950s, one out of 20 U.S. workers were required to obtain a government license. Today that number is nearly one out of every three workers, according to economists Morris Kleiner and Alan Krueger.

Licensure increases the wages of current practitioners by 15 percent by erecting barriers to outside entrants. And these barriers disproportionately exclude the poor from jobs. Occupational licensing requirements, therefore, tend to artificially increase income inequality—a hot topic among progressives these days.

Lawmakers should eliminate occupational licensing requirements, which harm people of modest means the most.


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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

French Islamic Congress Sinks into Anti-Semitic Hate Fest

In some deep corner of hell, Hitler is smiling.  One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Muslims gathered in Paris to attend the Union of Islamic Organization’s Thirty First Congress. It was advertised as a gathering about immigration, assimilation, and culture, but it soon descended into an anti-Semitic hate fest.

When the “Jew” was cast into the convention’s spotlight, the crowd was whipped into frenzy with as much emotion as Albert Speer could have ignited from his Nazi rallies orchestrated with cascading lights and burning torches. The atrocities in Syria, the bloodbaths in the streets of Cairo, the barbaric behavior of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and all the evil and wanton cruelty in the Islamic world that daily leap out at us from television, print, and the Internet, all of this was explained as being guided by an invisible hand, the Jew.

Hatred is the great unifier of mass movements. Hitler dressed millions of compliant Germans in uniforms and marched them to their deaths to fight the international Jew. He convinced the Germans they were Aryan superman. The ideal version of which was blond, tall, and slim.  So, consider, here was Hitler with dark hair; Goering  who was morbidly obese; and Goebbels who was a dwarf, all  preaching the genetic virtue of the blond, slim, and tall Aryan superman. And the incongruity escaped mass detection because hatred is also the enemy of rational thought.

In Paris, Hani Ramadan (brother of Tariq) took his place in the pantheon of Jew haters while spewing the irrational to an overly enthusiastic audience, who suspended disbelief. Does any rational human being believe that all the evil in the world, all the violence and barbarism in the imploding Islamic world, and all the backwardness of Islam is due to the all powerful Jew, who is clinging to a sliver of land the size of Rhode Island in a region that is one huge cesspool, whose peoples, like those meeting in Paris, are seeking eagerly to return to the seventh century?

Ramadan’s words, like Speer’s torchlight parades, echo manifestations of violence in the streets. Ilan Halimi, in 2006, was the first Jew killed in France since World War II for simply being a Jew. He was grotesquely tortured, beaten, set on fire, and left to die. His killers were Muslims steeped in anti-Semitism. Andrew Hussey, the British cultural biographer and expert on France, investigated Halimi’s murder and found that people in the Muslim neighborhood where he had been held knew where he was. Yet, they chose to do nothing, even finding convenient justification for the kidnapping because Halimi was Jewish.

Halimi was not the last Jew to die in France because he was Jewish. In 2012, a rabbi and two children were slaughtered in Toulouse as part of a hate crime. Again the murderer was Muslim, and elements of the Muslim community have not only justified in the crime; they cheered it.

Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the Muslim French comedian, who is said to be the progenitor of the popular reverse Nazi salute, the quenelle, is obsessed with making Holocaust denial -- a crime in France -- mainstream. Dieudonne, of African origin, apparently is ignorant of the special hatred the Nazis held for blacks, whom they considered animals.

Anti-Semitism, embedded in the pages of French history, has taken on new life with the vast immigration of Muslims. A Jew can no longer go out on the streets of Paris dressed like a Jew. Europe’s largest Jewish community is faced with whether to remain amid the rising Islamic-fueled hatred or leave. The numbers that are leaving increase from year to year. French Jews buy second homes in Tel Aviv as a safety valve. And French Hasids have moved entire congregations to Brooklyn.

“If we do not stop these words that kill and that tear apart our society, there will be other Ilan Halimis,” former French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned. Of course, as Hani Ramadan has shown, the words will not stop, and they will be received with the same passion that Albert Speer was able to choreograph at a torchlight ceremony in Nazi Germany.

Words do kill where there is a clear and present danger. They just need time and opportunity to incubate. One hundred and fifty thousand Muslims in their hate-fest frenzy are the creators of France’s future brown shirts.



Poverty, not inequality, is the source of (some) social ills

By Shikha Dalmia

Conservatives are upset that Pope Francis' recent tweet “inequality is the root of social evil” was meant as a nod to French economist Thomas Piketty's 500-plus page controversial bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which warns that Western capitalist countries are headed for ever-widening inequality.

That the Pope is on Piketty's side is hardly a revelation given that he has previously blamed “unfettered” capitalism for perpetuating oppression, tyranny and every other ill on God's great planet. But he was wrong then, and wrong now.
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Setting aside the irony that this sweeping condemnation of inequality is being offered by the head of the most hierarchical organization in the world, there isn’t much empirical evidence for the Pope’s claims.

For example, the rap against rising inequality is that it slows economic growth and leads to bad health and social outcomes for the poor. But Harvard University’s Christopher Jencks found little impact of inequality on the poor’s standard of living, life expectancy, violent crime, political participation or even happiness.

Consumers in America, the most unequal of all Western countries, he found, “do better than their counterparts in other large democracies.”

Indeed, after looking for all the ills that liberals attribute to rising inequality in Western countries for over a decade, he has come up with so little that he has abandoned his book plans, he told New York Times' Eduardo Porter last week. (He feared headlines like, “Professor Doesn't Know What he is Talking About.”)

Jencks’ findings sound counterintuitive, but they aren’t. Why? Because the real issue is not inequality but poverty: If the rising income gap between the rich and the poor stemmed from the poor losing ground, Jencks would have found the dreaded ill effects. But even Piketty doesn’t claim that the poor are getting poorer in America or the West – only that the rich are getting richer faster. He expects this trend to grow because advanced capitalist economies offer bigger returns on capital investments (rich people's main asset) over labor (poor people’s main asset).

But even if inequality due to the rising income of the rich doesn’t affect economic and social outcomes of the poor, it is still possible that it is inherently corrupting for society. That’s because rich people can be arrogant jerks. Being vastly better off makes them feel that they are better: smarter, more talented, more virtuous and therefore more entitled. Such attitudes erode social bonds and trust.

Indeed, research by University of California’s Paul Piff found just that last year. He conducted lab experiments in which rich people consistently demonstrated an “empathy gap.” Even when their wealth resulted from pure chance, they became less generous and ethical.

That might be true. But my experience with rich people in a rich country like America and rich people in a poor country like my native India suggests that India’s rich are bigger jerks than America’s on all those counts. Whereas in America, expensive cars and designer clothes define a rich person’s style, in India they define his status and worth. India’s wealthy classes are far likelier to blame not the system and its lack of opportunities for rampant poverty, but the poor themselves. Conversely, they are more likely to attribute their success to their own superiority, not good fortune.


Because the scarcity of wealth elevates its social importance, making it a far more important metric for judging people. Since abject poverty has been more or less eliminated in America, wealth itself has become something of a lifestyle choice. Plenty of Americans opt for modest lifestyles not because they are losers; it’s because they cherish some other value -- leisure or family time or intellectual/artistic pursuits -- over extra income.

This undermines the notion that wealth is the sole measure of success, tempering the pathologies of wealth. This is one reason why America’s rich are far more apologetic – and less flamboyant – than their more in-your-face Indian counterparts.

All of this suggests that the Pope needs to bear in mind that not all inequalities are equal: Inequality that stems from prosperity isn't nearly as big a problem as that resulting from poverty. Wealth, paradoxically, is its own cure.



DOJ's 'Operation Choke Point' May Be Root of Porn Star Bank Account Closings

Despite being in good financial standing, adult film performers and others in the porn industry have had bank accounts abruptly terminated—and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may have had something to do with it.

Under "Operation Choke Point," the DOJ and its allies are going after legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures by pressuring banks to terminate their bank accounts or refuse their business. The very premise is clearly chilling—the DOJ is coercing private businesses in an attempt to centrally engineer the American marketplace based on it's own politically biased moral judgements. Targeted business categories so far have included payday lenders, ammunition sales, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia, and online gambling sites.

"Operation Chokepoint is flooding payments companies that provide processing service to those industries with subpoenas, civil investigative demands, and other burdensome and costly legal demands," wrote Jason Oxman, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, at The Hill.

    "The theory behind this enforcement program has superficial logic: increase the legal and compliance costs of serving certain disfavored merchant categories, and payments companies will simply stop providing service to such merchants. And it’s working—payments companies across the country are cutting off service to categories of merchants that—although providing a legal service—are creating the potential for significant financial and reputational harm as law enforcement publicizes its activities.

    Thus far, payday lenders have been the most frequent target. ... And if payday lenders are today’s target–what category will be next and who makes that decision?"

I'm not sure who made the decision, but it seems the next big targeted category is the adult film industry. Last week, adult film actress Teagan Presley and an unknown number of others in the porn industry received notices that their Chase Bank accounts were being abruptly terminated.

Layton Benton/TwitterLayton Benton/Twitter"When Presley went to the bank in person to ask why, she was told it’s because she’s considered 'high risk,'" according to VICE News. VICE's Mary O'Hara was the first to note a likely link between the porn bank account closings and Operation Choke Point. The DOJ did not respond to VICE News’ request for comment.

For years, various government initiatives have been aimed at reaching the "unbanked" and "underbanked." Federal officials claim to want to help these individuals avoid high fees and other downsides of nontraditional financial services, but it's hard not to suspect these efforts have at least as much to do with wanting a record of everyone's financial goings-on. If the unbanked were such a real concern, why would federal agencies be simultaneously encouraging banks to drop more customers?

Targeting porn performers or not, Operation Choke Point represents an incredible abuse of regulatory power. In a recent American Banker op-ed, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman William M. Isaac called it "a direct assault on the democratic system and free-market economy."

In a March 2013 hearing before a Senate Banking subcommittee, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) pointed out the obvious: that DOJ has "no statutory authority" to be doing this. But why bother with statutory authority when you can just secretly strong-arm highly regulated businesses into doing what you want? I've never been much of a cryptocurrency evangelist myself, but I'm beginning to come around...



The prison door keeps revolving

by Jeff Jacoby

Longer sentences are the only thing that reduces crime

THE UNITED STATES jails more prisoners than any nation on earth — about 2.3 million, or more than 1 percent of all American adults. Our gigantic penal system is regularly characterized as a national disgrace. I've applied the label myself.

Plainly there is something deeply disquieting about a democratic superpower locking up so many people that 25 percent of the world's reported prisoners are housed in US cells. How can a country with an incarceration rate of 716 inmates per 100,000 residents, roughly five times the global average, think of itself as "The Land of the Free?"

Yet whether America's vast prison population really represents such a scandalous failure depends on what prison is supposed to do. In that light, consider a trove of data released last month by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an agency of the US Department of Justice.

In the first major federal study of recidivism since 1994, BJS statisticians tracked nearly 405,000 inmates in 30 states who were released from prison in 2005. Within six months, 28 percent of those freed prisoners had been arrested for a new crime. After three years, 68 percent had been arrested. By the end of the five years (the period covered by the study), the percentage had grown to a whopping 77 percent.

The report breaks down these new crimes by category. Five years after regaining their freedom, 29 percent of the prisoners had been arrested for a violent offense, 38 percent for a property crime, 39 percent for a drug offense, and 58 percent for public-order offenses. (Many released inmates were arrested on multiple charges.) Only 23 states could provide researchers with complete data on inmates who returned to prison; but among the released prisoners in those states, more than half — 55 percent — ended up behind bars once more.

The Justice Department's earlier recidivism study, though organized and presented differently, came to similar findings. It found that 67 percent of former inmates released from prisons in just 15 states had been rearrested for at least one serious new crime within three years. Those included, the bureau noted, "2,900 new homicides, 2,400 new kidnappings, 2,400 rapes, 3,200 other sexual assaults, 21,200 robberies, 54,600 assaults, and nearly 13,900 other violent crimes."

In April 2011, meanwhile, the Pew Center on the States issued its own report on recidivism. Its conclusion: "More than four out of 10 adult American offenders … return to prison within three years of their release."

Such recidivism rates are terrible. It is heartbreaking and alarming that so many criminal offenders emerge from prison only too ready to offend again. Too many inmates come out hardened and more antisocial than they went in. For decades, scholars, policy makers, social workers, and public-safety experts have searched for the holy grail of rehabilitation and effective sentencing that would give us a more humane corrections network — one less congested, less expensive, less unfair, and less of a revolving door for the addicted and the unstable.

The problem with holy grails is that they are more easily sought than found. Bill Keller of The New York Times recently described a range of seemingly promising strategies for addressing what has become "the hottest subject in criminal justice," the US system of mass incarceration. Among them: Easing mandatory-minimum sentences and three-strikes laws. Diverting nonviolent drug offenders to specialized courts focused on treatment. Counseling for inmates about to be paroled. Repeal of rules that bar felons from getting many kinds of occupational licences.

But would they work? Prison reform and rehabilitation programs have been earnestly advanced for decades, but that holy grail remains elusive — and recidivism remains sky-high. American sociologist Robert Martinson made waves 40 years ago with an influential essay that concluded: "With few and isolated exceptions, the rehabilitative efforts that have been reported so far have had no appreciable effect on recidivism." Decades later, reformers are still trying to figure out what works.

Prison is awful, there's no question about it. It doesn't turn criminals into model citizens. It can't be expected to cure dysfunction whose roots go back to a broken home or a lousy school.

But one thing we know prison can do: It can isolate criminals from society, and thereby make society safer. In the 1980s we began locking up more convicts for longer terms. Now we have the largest prison population on earth — and crime rates at 30-year lows. When it comes to crime and punishment, there's always a trade-off. At least until we find that holy grail.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, May 05, 2014

Black NBA Owner Held Black Only Party, Whites Turned Away; NBA Did Nothing

By Debbie Schlussel

In the wake of this week’s NBA proposed lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine for Donald Sterling, a longtime reader reminded me that I’d written about another NBA owner, a Black man, who held a party in which Whites were refused entry and turned away. And, yet, the NBA did nothing.

As I’ve already pointed out, Black racism and bigotry against Whites, Jews, Mormons, and gays is tolerated by the NBA. But a private racist conversation by a White owner is not. And here is an instance of a Black then-NBA owner whose public, deliberate racism was tolerated and ignored. Jay-Z a/k/a Shawn Carter was an owner of the Brooklyn Nets, an NBA Team, from 2003 through mid-April 2013. But, as I noted on this site, in February 2010, Jay-Z held a lavish party at the Merah club in central London, and banned White people from attending. The party, for music industry executives, reporters, and other Jay-Z ass-kissers was for Blacks only. Bouncers were instructed to refuse entry to Whites.

Reader Chris reminded me that I’d written about this, and noted:

    "Wasn’t Jay-Z part owner of Brooklyn/New Jersey Nets when he threw that racist party you wrote about? I don’t remember any NBA controversy over that."

I don’t either, but here’s a reminder from my 2010 post, “More Obama ‘Post-Racialism’ Courtesy of Jay-Z“:

    "Jay-Z was caught up in a race row when bouncers at his BRITs after-show party “banned” white people from boozing with the star. Chart legend Jay-Z threw a lavish bash but music industry executives, journalists and revellers were turned away from the roped-off area because of the colour of their skin.

    Minders were spotted banning clubbers from the private event because they were not “of colour”. . . . One clubber said: “The security guards were happy to let in all party-goers apart from the white people."

Again, this was a deliberate, public, racist act by a Black NBA owner, as opposed to a private telephone conversation. I wonder how many current NBA owners would keep their teams if we heard everything they say in private. Probably none.

And remember, this is Jay-Z, who was a drug dealer, shot his own brother, and stabbed a record executive in 1999. He was indicted in 2000 over the stabbing and was given a plead deal in which he was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

Yet, the NBA had no problem with this racist, violent thug owning a team. Because, hey, he’s Black!

Did Donald Sterling (who is a jerk, but so is Jay-Z and so are many NBA owners) ever stab anyone? Shoot anyone? Deal drugs? Ban Blacks from his NBA games with security guards turning them away based on skin color?




Neither Bundy nor Sterling are racists

 Just like the Senator McCarthy inspired communist witch hunts in the 1950’s many Americans today are engaging in the wholly irrational activity of racist witch hunting. Some see a racist behind every bush and these morons are eager to scream for blood when they think they’ve found one.

Of course there are certainly vestiges of personal racism in the minds of some folks. Racism, however, is a matter of degree.
On the one hand we still have an extremely tiny minority of people who actually harbor violent, venomous and irrational hatred for others simply because of the color of their skin. Those kinds of racists are often dangerous criminals and deserve to be dealt with and punished by society accordingly.

On the other end of the spectrum are those who simply can’t seem to eliminate all of the common age old racial stereotypes from their consciousness. That often causes them to innocently make irrational judgments or say things which might seem bigoted and shameful but are clearly not motivated by any amount of hatred, personal animosity or violence.

I would not call this latter type of person a racist. It’s not fair. If they are racists then we must logically conclude then that just about everyone at some time or another is a racist. We would have to conclude that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and yes, even Abraham Lincoln were racists.  Every one of the founding fathers and every great historical American figure that we admire today were racists by that definition of racist.

The folks who demand racial preferences based upon race are racists. The ones who today are screaming for the blood of people they deem to be racists -- the ones who see racists behind every bush -- are themselves racists by that broad definition of the term racist. Everywhere they look they see racists, even when they look in the mirror.

Poor Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher involved with the federal government standoff over grazing rights for his cattle has been savagely vilified as a racist by the American racist witch hunting mob for simply using the term “Negro” when referring to blacks. That man doesn’t hate blacks. He’s not a racist.

Need I remind anyone that the great Dr. Martin Luther King used the term “Negro” all the time. I doubt if he ever said “African American” once in his entire life. I guess that means that Dr. King was a racist by today’s ridiculous cultural standards. I’ll wager money that the term “African American” will one day have users of it branded as racists.

What the hell is an African American anyway? Is a white skinned person born in South Africa and naturalized as an American citizen an African American? No he is certainly not. Why; because he’s not black, that’s why. The white guy is an American but the black guy is an African American. It’s ridiculous.

What the hell is a “Native American” anyway? I was born in America. Doesn’t that make me a Native American? I think it does. I’m a Native American. I’m not a European American. I’ve never even been to Europe. I’m an American just like any black person born in America is an American. It insults those people to call them African Americans.

And now the savage pack of American racist witch hunters have viciously descended upon 80-year-old Los Angles NBA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for saying in a private conversation taped without his knowledge -- in private mind you -- that he was disappointed with his former mistress for consorting openly with “black people.” For this unforgivable transgression, Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has banned him from the NBA for life.

The whole nation wants his blood. But this guy doesn’t hate black people. He pays black people millions of dollars to play basketball on his team. He invites black people to his daughter’s wedding. He’s just burdened with a few negative stereotypes about blacks. He may be bigoted to some extent but he’s no racist. He probably doesn’t have a violent thought in his mind about blacks.

The people who want his blood are the ones who are un-American.
They’re guilty of American racist witch hunting.



What's going on in Egypt?

Since the coup of July 3, 2013, Egypt's de facto ruler Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pursued a clear and uncompromising policy toward the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Islamists.

Sisi has blocked any return to politics for the Brotherhood, instead seeking to maneuver them into open confrontation with the authorities. He has dismissed any genuine distinction between the Brotherhood and the more extreme and openly insurgent jihadist currents.

In so doing, Sisi and his colleagues upturned what had slowly become conventional wisdom in the West and part of the region – namely, that the Muslim Brotherhood was a legitimate political organization, and that their rise was possibly benign, and probably inevitable.

So far, Sisi's policy has been relatively successful. It has provoked a campaign of mass civil disobedience by the Brotherhood and its supporters, as its instigators probably knew it would. The authorities in Cairo are also dealing with an ongoing problem of terrorism in northern Sinai. The jihadist groups sometimes manage to strike west of the Suez Canal.

But in terms of power, none of this poses any threat to the field marshal's continued rule.

In recent days in Egypt, a series of developments have further reflected the stark and uncompromising nature of Egypt's counter-revolution.

On Monday, a court in the town of Minya passed death sentences against 683 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and the government of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Among the condemned were Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie. Badie, as the most senior official of the Brotherhood in Egypt, was arguably the most powerful man in the country during the rule of the Brotherhood.

He and 682 others were convicted on Monday of attacking a police station in Adawa on August 14, 2013, and killing a police officer, Mamdouh Kotb Mohamed Kotb, following the breakup by the Egyptian authorities of the Brotherhood protest at the Rabaa Square in Cairo.

The verdicts must be ratified by Egypt's grand mufti before they can be carried out. June 21 has been set as the deadline for ratification. It is likely that a large proportion of the death sentences will be commuted. Of 529 death sentences handed down in March against supporters of the Brotherhood, 37 were this week confirmed.

In addition, Egyptian authorities this week ordered the banning of the April 6 youth movement.

Established in 2008, the group played a prominent role in the toppling of former president Hosni Mubarak in January 2011.

The Court for Urgent Matters confirmed the ban on the group's activities, charging it with engaging in "espionage and defamation of the state." The April 6 movement is set to appeal the ban.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Egypt are scheduled to take place in the coming months.

Sisi is likely to be elected president in polls set for May 26-27. Parliamentary elections will take place later in the year. The Tamarod movement, which supported the coup, has said that it will run as a party in the elections.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood's campaign of civil disobedience continues to fizzle on. One man was killed in clashes between supporters of the movement and police at a funeral in the Nile Delta. Brotherhood supporters also tried to block a main highway in the greater Cairo area, leading to 12 arrests.

Western countries are expressing concern at the draconian measures adopted by Sisi. US Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, has refused to sign off on military aid to Egypt following the announcement of the 683 death sentences this week. Germany summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Berlin to protest the sentences.

Certainly, Sisi's approach is paradigmatically different from the Western response to the "Arab Spring" unrest of 2011-12.

Former US secretary of defense Robert Gates, in his recent book of memoirs Duty, describes how President Barack Obama overrode the advice of his most senior national security officials when the unrest against Mubarak began.

Concerned, Gates contends, not to appear on the "wrong side of history," and influenced above all by security advisers Denis McDonough, John Brennan and Ben Rhodes, the president called Mubarak to demand his resignation.

This act made Mubarak's fall inevitable. It also set the tone for what then became received wisdom on the inevitability and desirability of this fall, and set in motion the events that led to the Muslim Brotherhood's subsequent triumph.

Sisi and his colleagues, by contrast, have taken the view that with regard to the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, politics must mean the continuation of war by other means.

This conclusion is shared by Sisi's key regional backers – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – and by Israel. It derives from the understanding that the Brotherhood itself, like other totalitarian movements, regards politics as a method of waging war by other means, and therefore any effective response to the movement must involve a similar approach.

The new political dispensation set to emerge this year will not represent a shining example of democracy for the Arab world. It is likely to combine authoritarian and representative elements, and to be accompanied by a smoldering Islamist attempt at insurgency.

It will, however, conclusively draw a line under the possibility of the emergence of a Sunni Iran on the Nile. For this, Sisi will continue to enjoy the quiet gratitude of opponents of Iran in Jerusalem, Riyadh and elsewhere in the region.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, May 04, 2014

Are pills or psychology best for treating mental illness?

JAMA, a major medical journal, has just published a review of reviews which tries to answer that question.  They found a slight edge in favour of psychology, somewhat surprisingly.  Excerpt of results  below:

Efficacy of Pharmacotherapy and Psychotherapy for Adult Psychiatric Disorders:  A Systematic Overview of Meta-analyses

By Maximilian Huhn et al


The search yielded 45 233 results. We included 61 meta-analyses on 21 psychiatric disorders, which contained 852 individual trials and 137 126 participants. The mean effect size of the meta-analyses was medium (mean, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.41-0.59). Effect sizes of psychotherapies vs placebo tended to be higher than those of medication, but direct comparisons, albeit usually based on few trials, did not reveal consistent differences. Individual pharmacotherapy trials were more likely to have large sample sizes, blinding, control groups, and intention-to-treat analyses. In contrast, psychotherapy trials had lower dropout rates and provided follow-up data. In psychotherapy studies, wait-list designs showed larger effects than did comparisons with placebo.

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online April 30, 2014.


Inequality isn't a problem: it's a driver of progress

Is there a genuine "issue of inequality"? I say no. There are (or at least may be) genuine issues of poverty, market and regulatory failure in the financial sector, or how best to raise taxes to fund public services. Very often discussions of "inequality" are either disguised discussions of one of these things or else inequality is seen a symptom of problems elsewhere (e.g. bonuses in the banking sector seen as a symptom of poor regulatory risk management oversight).

But once we strip out these other potential issues all that is left of the "inequality" discussion is this: is it bad if some folk are rich? And in truth, almost no-one claims that it is.

Try this thought experiment. Suppose each of us lived on our own desert island, like Robinson Crusoe, with identical resources and skills – so we're all perfectly equal  - and get our food in the form of fish from the teeming oceans (there is no scarcity of fish). Then suppose one of us works out a way to fish better, so inequality increases. Is everyone else somehow worse off? Clearly the answer is that everyone else is not worse off unless the better fisherman makes fish scarcer for them. The one person's riches do not come at others' expense.

Obviously this is a rather abstract thought experiment, but it points at something simple and important: almost all inequality in developed economies does not arise by the wealth of almost anyone else declining. (That does happen in less socially and politically developed societies, in which wealth arises from political control of resources or access to corruption.) In modern developed economies inequality arises when someone – a Gates or Zuckerberg or Cowell or Ronaldo or Rowling or just an ordinary businessman or professional – finds some way (some skill or invention or investment) that adds considerable value, and that value is not then shared equally.

In our modern globalised economy, the gains from a new idea or skill can now be leveraged over enormously more people. Instead of your new and better mousetrap being sold just to the fair folk of Wolverhampton, the whole world beats a path to your door. In such a world, improved added value creates large inequalities. But that is precisely because the added value of a Windows or Facebook or awesome evening's football skill benefits so enormously many people – even if each only benefits a little compared with the huge aggregate benefits benefits taken by the value-creator.

Many of those preaching the evils of inequality will at this point start to deny that this is actually how high inequality arises. They might claim that remuneration of executives or in the financial sector do not come from added value but, rather, from market failure. I would probably disagree, but at least they would then be talking about something interesting – the alleged market failure – rather than something of no intrinsic policy concern (the fact that some folk are rich).

Others will start telling you of the terrible social problems associated with inequality – the depression, violence, low life expectancy and so on. Well, insofar as these arise from poverty, we can debate how much to alleviate poverty. But then poverty is the issue, not inequality.

"Ah," say the evils-of-inequality purists, "but you miss the point that some of these social problems are psychologically connected to the fact that there are very rich people, not simply the result of the poverty itself." If that is the case offered, then my response is that you are either talking of aspiration or of envy.

Aspiration – being discontent in your current circumstances and hoping to improve your lot and that of those you love – is a driver of progress. Obviously some will fail in their aspiration, and may suffer psychological consequences. But are we really saying it would be better if no-one aspired at all, than for some to aspire and not succeed?

Others may not simply aspire, but may instead envy the success of those that have done better or who were luckier to begin with. It's hardly controversial that envy exists or that it may have negative consequences – that is, after all, presumably why it's one of the Seven Deadly Sins?

If someone said: "Women with beautiful eyes should cover them up to avoid inciting lust in others" we would say that's silly or oppressive. It's the luster's problem, not the person lusted after. Yet in the case of envy, somehow we're supposed to believe it's the envied person that's the bad one, not the envier? No. Envy may be harmful, but to the very limited extent it's a policy concern the correct response is to teach people not to envy.

Others say "In studies, unequal societies have lower social mobility". But that wouldn't be surprising if either low social mobility were a cause of high and persistent inequality (which it might be) or if the same forces that drove low social mobility also drive high returns (e.g. if societies are already highly meritocratic, social mobility is likely to be low, because children are likely to be similar in innate talent to their parents, and returns are likely to be high, because meritocracy is efficient).

The intellectual case that inequality is a concern in itself collapses fairly rapidly under probing, and always has done. Yet the political concern is remarkably durable. I suspect that is because an important element in the inequality discussion is actually a disguised and somewhat incoherent discussion about something else – namely, unearned income.

Truly unearned income can be an issue for Right-wingers as well as the left. Right-wing thinkers tend to subscribe to the Lockean theory of property, according to which property (as opposed to mere possession) arises from combining work with the "common treasury". For example, if you find a stick in the road, the stick is part of the common treasury and thus far your possession but not your property. But if you sharpen the end of the stick to make it a spear, that spear is your property.

Now, think about investment income. According to the Capitalist theory of lending at interest, the return on investment arises from two forms of work (risk-taking and investment project analysis) and one of sacrifice (giving up other opportunities to use the money). That means no investment income is strictly "unearned".

But now suppose, instead, that the way things worked were this: the wealthy lend money at interest, which grows systematically faster than wages, and the money lent is at no risk of loss, because if there is any risk of loss the State will intervene to bail the project out (e.g. by bailing out failed banks). Under that sort of system, it would be difficult to provide a justification for that element of wealth growth that was then truly unearned. Under the Lockean theory it isn't even the property of the wealthy person – who has done no work to produce it! It's mere possession and control of riches, not property at all.

Now 19th-century radicals, and radicals such as Thomas Piketty today, appear to me to have a rather pessimistic and fatalistic conception of politics. They believe it is inevitable that the wealthy will use their political influence to defend their wealth in this way. Consequently, the recommendation is that the wealthy be charged by the state in the form of wealth taxes – which we can see as a kind of payment to the state for defending their riches. Furthermore, it seems pretty obvious that once one started to charge the wealthy such wealth taxes, the political and moral pressure to bail them out to defend their position would be overwhelming – otherwise, what are the wealth taxes being paid for?

I would prefer a system in which the wealthy were allowed to lose their money if their investments go bad, in which the state does not intervene in the economy to keep the rich rich.  I grant that we do not have such a political system now – the bank bailouts of 2008 and since have made that clear to everyone, and things like deposit insurance have become even more extensive in recent years. But I am optimistic that one day we can achieve a politics, society and economy in which investment capital is always genuinely at risk and the state does not think it is its job to keep the rich rich. It's nice to dream that, anyway…



Churchill, Hitler and Islam

The English patriot Paul Weston, chairman of the party Liberty GB, was arrested by the police on April 26 2014 in his native Britain… for the crime of quoting Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister during the Second World War. Yes, it has come to that.

The passage quoted by Weston was published in 1899. It focuses on Churchill’s negative observations about Islam while serving during the Anglo-Egyptian reconquest of the Sudan. The young man commented on the repressive and warlike nature of Islam and concluded that “ No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”

As the commentator Daniel Hannan noted: You may or may not agree with these comments, which Mr. Weston cited. That does not change the fact that this was a political arrest. A British political candidate running for elections was arrested in mid-speech simply for publicly addressing potential voters by quoting a former Prime Minister.

For this, Paul Weston was arrested and put in a cell for some hours. He was suspected of having committed a “racially aggravated crime under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.” I’m not quite sure what that is, but it sounds very much like something George Orwell might have invented in one of his novels.

Reality has moved beyond parody. Britain, once a champion of political liberty, is no longer a free country. It is now a Monty Python sketch — except it’s not funny — or a banana republic without the bananas.

Sadly, it’s not the only European country that could be classified as such these days. From Hamburg to Helsinki, from Marseille to Stockholm and from Barcelona to Brussels, the natives have to endure seeing their heritage being dismantled and being turned into strangers in their own cities.

In this atmosphere, saying negative things about Christianity is not merely allowed, but in certain quarters actively encouraged. At the same time, saying negative things about Islam may end your career, trigger violent threats and maybe even get you arrested by the police.

The supreme irony in all of this is that if Paul Weston had quoted Adolf Hitler’s favorable views on Islam instead of Winston Churchill’s unfavorable views, he would presumably have encountered no problems. That’s because Hitler’s positive view of Islam is more in line with that of today’s ruling Multiculturalists.

There is a tendency in the mass media to portray opposition to Islamization as something “far-Right,” at the same time as they portray Nazis as far-Right. This is questionable. The political terms “Left” and “Right” date back to a random seating arrangement in France in the late eighteenth century.

Perhaps we need a new political vocabulary, more in tune with the realities of the twenty-first century. For example, some of the established so-called “right-wing” parties are every bit as much in favor of mass immigration and open borders as the “left-wing” parties are, if not always for the same reasons. That fact now undermines the very fabric of the Western democratic system. Many Western citizens do not want mass immigration to their countries, but they get it, anyway.

Nevertheless, to the extent that you talk about Left vs. Right, you could argue that the national Socialists (Nazis) formed a part of the political Left, just like other Socialist parties and movements. It was Vladimir Lenin and his followers, not Adolf Hitler, who founded the first major totalitarian state of the twentieth century. The Nazis copied tools of propaganda and methods of repression pioneered by the Communists. People are often led to forget that today.

There is arguably a direct line from the revolutionary terror of the Jacobins during the French Revolution to the revolutionary terror of the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, from the political mass murders under Robespierre in the 1790s to the political mass murders under Lenin after 1917. Most (some might even claim all) of the mass-murdering totalitarian movements in the modern world have come from the political Left. It is therefore strange that to be “left-wing” is now seen as something neutral or positive, whereas to be “right-wing” is seen as suspect. Viewed in the light of history, it should be the other way around.

The Dutch politician Geert Wilders has been criticized and branded an “extremist” for comparing the Koran to the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”). Yet as Wilders notes in his book Marked for Death, no lesser man than Winston Churchill, who led the fight against Hitler and the Nazis, did the same.

Churchill did this in his six-volume history The Second World War, which partly earned him the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature. In it, the conservative British statesman called Mein Kampf “the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.” [Original quote by Winston S. Churchill in The Second World War, vol. 1, The Gathering Storm, page 50.]

Hitler openly lamented the fact that the Franks had defeated the invading Arabs in AD 732. “Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers,” Hitler told his inner circle, “then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone.” [Original statement by Adolf Hitler, 28 August 1942. Quoted in page 667 of Hitler’s Table Talk; 1941-1944, translated by N. Cameron and R.H. Stevens, Enigma Books (1953)]

Albert Speer wrote in his diary that Hitler regretted that Islam had not conquered Germany, as it was much more compatible with Nazism. “It’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion,” he told Speer. “Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” [A quote from Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich, chapter 6]

Hitler repeatedly expressed his great respect and admiration for Islam and his contempt for silly Christian notions of compassion. Similarly, Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS and the Gestapo and by extension one of the most feared men in Germany and Europe, was full of admiration for Islam. He was sad that the combined Polish, German and Austrian troops of King Sobieski of Poland had halted the invading Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Himmler told Felix Kersten, his personal masseur and confidant, that Islam with its concept of Jihad and promises of beautiful women and instant rewards in the afterlife if you fall in battle was a wise religion, well-suited as a male warrior creed. [Source: Felix Kersten’s memoirs, Totenkopf und Treue, page 203.] The SS leadership for the same reason considered Islam to be a practical religion for soldiers.

The admiration between Islam and Nazis was often mutual, and sometimes still is. Scholars such as Andrew G. Bostom have meticulously documented this fact.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC,  AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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)