Friday, September 05, 2014

Time to Divide Ukraine?

Time to concentrate on ISIS.  Putin could either hinder or help with that.  Guess which way he will go in the present climate of hostility towards him

Michael H. McGee

The United States needs to stay out of the current dispute between Russia and the Ukraine. We should withdraw our sanctions against Russia, and withdraw our threats and rhetoric as well. Let the parties involved work out the solution between themselves. Vladimir Putin is correct that there are a lot of Russian nationalists in eastern Ukraine, and a lot of others who identify themselves as ethnic Russians. Eastern Ukraine probably should be a part of Russia.

Some national borders are not worth fighting over or going to war over, particularly those somewhat arbitrarily established within the last few generations. And particularly when the border fails to take account of the natural loyalties of those encompassed within an arbitrary line drawn on a map.

Getting out of the way of the Russians will not harm the United States. Russia is not our enemy. We have much more to gain by retaining friendly relations with Russia than we do by attempting to fight Ukraine’s battles for them. The United States has no defense treaties with Ukraine, and that nation is not a member of NATO.

The Ukraine has only been an independent nation since 1991, and the long history of the area does not support the border as it is currently drawn. For example, in 1686 the area presently known as the Ukraine was provisionally partitioned between Poland and Russia. Russia obtained the areas to the east of the Dnieper River. Poland retained the areas to the west of the Dnieper. After some more changes of ownership, in 1795 even the Polish parts of Ukraine were annexed by Russia. After that time, the Ukraine was always a part of Russia and the Soviet Union until 1991. See here

Of course we do have an obligation to defend our NATO allies in Europe. It’s perfectly appropriate for us to do what we have to do to give both aid and comfort to our NATO allies. To the extent that our rhetoric is intended to reassure Europe that Russia will not threaten their borders, then we need to do just that.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry, though, seem to be going well beyond what is necessary to reassure our NATO allies. They need to STOP IT! RIGHT NOW! Getting involved in a dispute over an arbitrarily established border in an underdeveloped eastern European country will only weaken the United States in the eyes of the world, and will take our focus off the real problems we face. It’s not our fight.

Barack Obama must reestablish an atmosphere of cooperation with Vladimir Putin and seek to help restore a firm sense of security among our NATO allies in Europe. Putin is not going to try to invade Poland or Germany in this lifetime! There is no Threat from the East to our primary European allies. There is no danger to Capitalism and market economies. The fears of our allies are neither justified nor reasonable. Let it go, guys!

Many leaders in Congress and in Western Europe seem to be reacting with the old Cold War mentality, a product of the Twentieth Century, and still want to “crush” the Russian Bear. Even the Obama administration seems to have a low-grade infection of the Cold War disease. Take your antibiotics and let it go, boys and girls.

There is no threat to the United States, whom we love so dearly. Perhaps we are confusing love of our country with a fear of any and all change in the world. Not all change is bad, and some changes, if not good, are merely neutral to the security of both the United States and NATO.

Ukraine is about the same size as the US State of Texas. Below is a map which shows the natural fault-lines in Ukraine. The blue areas are those Oblasts (which are similar to US counties) which in the 2004 election results supported a Russian-leaning candidate. The yellow areas are those Oblasts which in the 2004 elections supported a Western-leaning candidate. There is no overlap in these results. There are no yellow Oblasts scattered among the blue, or blue among the yellow. Yellow is very yellow, and blue is very blue.

The 2004 election results could represent a proxy for a referendum regarding the wishes of the people of the Ukraine. These election results demonstrated the deep divisions between the western and eastern regions of Ukraine. See here

There needs also, though, to be a geographic logic to any division of the country, and Ukraine must retain enough territory to retain its viability as a nation. Russia could annex the eastern part of the country along the physical lines depicted above, and there could be peace.

Draw the new border beginning at the southern and eastern side of the Dnieper River from where it empties into the Black Sea at Kherson. Go up the eastern side of the Dnieper River to near the turn at Dnepropetrovsk, and then follow the eastern side of the Samara Lake. Go from there to the north along the eastern side of Highway M18, to where it ends at the intersection with Highway M03 west of Kharkov. The border could then follow along the eastern side of the railroad tracks from where they meet M18/M03, and push north to the Russian border.

Borders do not need to be a cause for war, conflict or sanctions. Not always.


Where Have the Immigrant Children and Students Gone?

Thomas Jefferson once said, “A country with no border is not a country.” It was true wisdom.

In the 1950s the United States had an immigration policy that maintained national security and unity in a country of peoples with hundreds of different nationalities, races and ethnicities. The system did largely favor immigrants of Western nations, but a nation has an absolute right to decide who immigrates within its borders. If citizens want to change immigration policy, so be it. But what citizens want and what they get are two very different things in Washington, DC.

In 1965 Ted Kennedy arose to do the Democrat thing and fundamentally transform America with his proposed immigration bill. He denied his intentions vigorously: “Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same. … [T]he bill will not inundate America with immigrants from any one country or area. … [The] ethnic pattern of immigration is not expected to change as sharply as critics think.”

That bill became the first in a series of immigration “reform” bills that passed and gave us our present rancorous multicultural society.

Sixty-five years later, with a population far more than “substantially” changed, we face critical, urgent problems caused by unrestrained immigration that must be solved soon if we are to remain a nation. We offer two examples.

First, even after the lessons of 9/11, government has failed to sufficiently track student visas, and some recipients simply disappear before or after their visas expire. Last year alone 58,000 failed to leave when required, and of that group, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is trying to find 6,000 considered to be of “heightened concern.”

Between 2003 and 2012 the number of students on visas nearly doubled, climbing from 663,000 to 1.2 million. It now exceeds a million per year. And virtually any kind of school qualifies: beauty school, massage school and, yes, flight school, a third of which have no FAA certification.

One school with four campuses remains in operation even though five top executives have been indicted for visa fraud. The indictment charges that 80% of enrolled foreign students had delinquent attendance, which the school failed to report. The execs pled not guilty.

The ICE official in charge of investigating student visa violations said ICE has no choice but to allow the school to continue facilitating student visas, explaining, “[T]his is the United States of America and everyone has due process.”

Second, where are the thousands of illegal alien children who continue entering our country? Some in the government know, but ABC News could not get an answer. The Department of Health and Human Services website says, “We cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.”

Not compromising illegal aliens' identity now takes precedence over not compromising national security. Remember, many of those “children” are in their late teens or early 20s. Some belong to either of the two most dangerous Latino gangs that have been recruiting heavily at detention centers. Plus there’s no way of knowing how many terrorists have infiltrated our nation after Barack Obama’s emasculation of the Border Patrol and the laughable performance of ICE.

Reportedly, more than 100 shelters are spread throughout the country to house children, and more are going up. Additionally, more than 37,000 children have been released to relatives or sponsors. How many of the relatives are here illegally themselves?

One private social welfare organization refused $50 million for housing children to avoid “negative backlash.” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) did the math, and it comes to a cool $166,000 annually per child.

Even members of Congress can’t get information out of the administration, a typical Obama game.

Bottom line: Wherever these kids land, local costs rise immensely. By law they are entitled to health and social services as well as education, meaning bursting hospitals, welfare rolls and classrooms. Adding kids who can’t speak English, and are probably illiterate in their own language, will require more specialized teachers. It’s too bad the full costs won’t hit before November.

Finally, what’s going on at the border now? Certainly the influx of illegals hasn’t ended, but ISIL beheadings and Vladimir Putin’s adventures are front page now. The alien invasion is old news.

We’ve seen much of what Obama meant by “fundamentally transforming” America, but with almost two-and-a-half years remaining in his presidency, it looks like we ain’t seen nothing yet.


Of Racial Delusions and Riots

Last week, as riots in Ferguson, Missouri decrescendoed and the country held its collective breath over the question of the indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, rappers Diddy (formerly P. Diddy, formerly Puff Daddy, formerly Sean Combs), 2 Chainz, The Game, and Rick Ross, along with 10 of their fellows, released a song: “Don’t Shoot.”

The Game explained why he felt the necessity to record the song: “I am a black man with kids of my own that I love more than anything, and I cannot fathom a horrific tragedy like Michael Brown’s happening to them. This possibility has shaken me to my core.”

The lyrics of the song speak to a perverse view of race in America – a view reinforced day after day by a media dedicated to the proposition that American law enforcement maliciously targets black men at random. To this point, nobody knows the facts of the case in the Brown shooting. Nonetheless, the rappers label the shooting cold-blooded, first-degree murder. Because facts are unnecessary; only feelings are real. “God ain’t put us on the Earth to get murdered, it’s murder,” says one rapper, TGT. Another, The Game, raps, “They killin' teens, they killin' dreams, it’s murder.”

Next, Diddy launches into a listing of various black men killed under controversial circumstances. Some, like Emmett Till, were murdered in acts of pure and evil racism. But Diddy lumps together Till with Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown – and even Ezell Ford. Last week, the Los Angeles Police Department released the identities of the two police officers who shot Ford. One was Asian; the other was Hispanic. The Huffington Post did not even cover their races. The Los Angeles Times buried that relevant fact in paragraph 13 of their comprehensive story. But again, facts do not matter: Only a feeling of persecution matters.

Then Rick Ross sums up the generalized view of America created by media-stoked racial conflagrations like the Michael Brown situation: “Black men, we pay the toll, the price is your life, Uncle Sam want a slice, black dress code now we looting in the night, now we throwing Molotovs in this Holocaust.” A grand total of just under 100 young black men are killed by white police officers each year, according to statistics provided to the FBI by local police. To compare police treatment of young black men to the Holocaust is not only statistically idiotic, but also morally dangerous.

Nonetheless, that is the view of police for many blacks: police as paramilitary white force out to target black men. When I was recently in the CNN green room with former Obama green jobs czar Van Jones, he and I got to talking about the Ferguson situation. I asked him why he believed there was such a racial gap in the interpretation of the situation. His answer: “You’re Jewish, right? Wouldn’t you jump to conclusions if you heard that the Nazis or Hamas had killed a Jew?”

Of course, not even Van Jones, Diddy, 2 Chainz, and the rest truly believe what they say about the police. All those who spout about a “Holocaust” by police against blacks would call 911 in approximately 3.5 seconds if their houses were robbed. But if we truly believe that America’s police forces are akin to Nazis or Islamic terrorists, there can be no decent solution. Fighting police would be a moral imperative, not a moral evil.

And therein lies the problem. The only real answer to the antipathy between large segments of the black community and police is threefold: first, taking seriously fact-based allegations of racism against the authorities, and investigating and prosecuting such allegations if well-founded; second, not jumping to conclusions about non-fact-based allegations; and third, lowering crime rates among young black men, thereby lowering interactions between police and young black men.

But those are not solutions backed by the racially delusional. Instead, they suggest an unending and circular “conversation” about race that goes something like this: Police sometimes shoot young black men; that’s because police are racist; therefore, those who resist police are not morally unjustified; rinse, wash, repeat.

Sadly, America’s media backs this second approach. And so we end up with damaging foolishness like “Don’t Shoot” infusing our pop culture and the snarky but empty-headed racial guilting of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert invading our news. And nothing gets solved. We just get more hate, more rage and more violence.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, September 04, 2014

How to squash liberal nonsense

The comments below are part of a larger study  -- introduction here.  It fits in well with my contention that Leftists have large but weak egos so are desperate for praise

Mike Wallace was a Liberal correspondent for the television show 60 Minutes. He was your typical Liberal hack, using every underhanded means to try and portray his subjects as somehow inferior, regardless of whether they were or not. Some depictions of him behind the scenes show an almost psychopathic quality to his nature. There is an article here, showing how he sought to get hours of interview time on an honorable interviewee, in the hopes he could find 60 or 90 seconds of damaging tape to sprinkle through a piece, to ostensibly solidify whatever accusations of impropriety he was leveling. When offered a live interview instead, he declined, and ran his hit piece. He died recently.

I have found that you will often find such abandonment of honesty and rule adherence among extreme Narcissists. I assume this is because the Narcissist desperately wants to be able to assert the inferiority of another, and the superiority of themselves by comparison. By this means, they temporarily assuage their amygdala, and avert the agony of being forced to honestly confront their own damaged nature. See, they are not defective, because this other guy is the real scumbag!

The underlying mechanism by which this behavior is produced, is the Narcissist seeking to shield their fragile amygdala from stimulation by their own knowledge of what they are. Like Nancy Hopkins, the alternative is finding themselves physically ill, and wracked with panic. By drawing attention to the faults in others, they are fortifying their false reality against attack by real reality, and sparing themselves this agony.

However the practical effect of this psychological drive in a sociodynamic environment is a much more complex behavioral strategy. In such a group environment, they are driven, from a practical perspective, towards turning others against an individual they feel is vulnerable to such an attack. If you are the r-type traitor in a group, such an urge can help you to keep everyone’s attention focused upon who you perceive to be vulnerable to ostracization. This will spare you the possible retribution you would otherwise get if everyone were distracted, and looked at you honestly.

Ironically, even as the Narcissist executes such a brilliant strategy perfectly, they are unaware of it, since their whole focus is on establishing a false reality in which everyone else is defective, and they are superior. The more they can make others buy into their false reality, the more they assuage their own amygdala. It is but a coincidence, retained purposely by Darwin of course, that they will also have manipulated things in a way that will be beneficial to them in the group socio-dynamic environment.

In 1988 and 1989 a 10 part series titled Ethics In America aired on PBS. Funded by the Annenburg Corporation for Public Broadcasting, it was organized as a moderated discussion, in which the moderator posed ethical dilemmas to various luminaries from media, academia, the military, government, law, and other areas, then directed discussions of their answers, and conducted probing followups as necessary.

In the episode titled Under Orders, Under Fire (Ethics in the Military, Part II), there was a telling segment, in which two journalists, ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings, and CBS News Correspondent Mike Wallace, took part in a debate on the responsibility of journalists covering a war.

The relevant portion of this video begins at 33 minutes and 30 seconds into the debate. The premise is that the US is involved in a war, similar to Vietnam, in a country called Kosan. We have allied with the South Kosanese, in their war against the North Kosanese. ABC News reporter Peter Jennings has been offered the opportunity to join a North Kosanese Patrol, and videotape what he experiences, for airing on the nightly news.

In this video, Mike Wallace will make the mistake of trying to assert intellectual superiority/dominance over Peter Jennings by asserting that a real reporter would leave a US combat Patrol to be ambushed and killed, so he can get “the story.” Few others on the panel truly believe this to be noble, and many offer spirited logical arguments focusing on the value of soldier’s lives, the morals involved, and other logical arguments. Wallace repels them all, and then becomes even more assertive of his position.

After almost ten minutes of successfully fighting off polite, logical criticisms, Col. George M. Connell, USMC, is asked his opinion. He sneers with disgust and slowly and angrily says,

“I feel utter contempt. Two days later they (the reporters – Jennings and Wallace) are both walking off my hilltop and they’re 200 yards away, and they get ambushed and they’re lying there wounded. And they’re going to expect I’m going to send Marines out there to get them. They’re just journalists. They’re not Americans. Is that a fair reaction? You can’t have it both ways.”

This segment begins at 42 minutes and 30 seconds.

This argument presents several emotional images to the Liberal.

“I feel utter contempt.”

First, Colonel Connell ignores the reasoned, logical debate over the necessity of news reports, the relative value between the reporter’s report, and the soldier’s lives, the importance of the citizenry being informed, and all other logical, reasoned debates related to the issue and it’s morals. Rather, Colonel Connell goes straight for the Liberal jugular, and simply describes his gut emotional reaction to Wallace’s position, and implies it should be every other individual’s response as well.

Second, and even more important, Colonel Connell “out-groups” Mike Wallace. Wallace isn’t in the in-group anymore – he is a traitor on the outside of our group. Liberals are innately programmed to fear this.

Today, we see Liberals promoting the idea that dissent during wartime, as our troops are engaging an enemy, is patriotic. Such is the bizarre lengths Liberals will go to, to shield their amygdala, and avoid being out-grouped. This is probably because in the more primitive environment, if an r-type Liberal got out-grouped, they were dead. Does anybody think Cass Sunstein could make it on his own, in a K-selected state of nature, filled with prehistoric versions of SEAL Teams, where the only way you got food was to fight off groups of others for it? Of course not. This is why Liberals are evolutionarily programmed to be terrified of out-grouping.

As a hard-core Liberal ideologue, Wallace was undoubtedly programmed to betray his in-group, of course. Have no illusions, as a Liberal, he was subconsciously programmed to betray our nation and our people. If a war would benefit us with cheap oil, he would oppose it, saying, “No blood for oil.” If a war had no benefit to us but would kill our troops, he would have no problem sending our military men to some place like the Sudan or Somalia, to die for outsiders who wouldn’t even appreciate their sacrifice. He would have wanted deeply (though he was probably ignorant of the urge’s existence) to betray the US and his fellow in-group members.

Here, he wanted to justify this emotional urge with some complex discussion of the moral requirements of journalism, the necessity of providing the information, the need to get the story, the system by which reporters are embedded with an enemy, etc. And he manages to maintain that line of argument as others argue with him logically. As he maintains his position, he is successfully assuaging his amygdala, leading him to become ever more emboldened, right up until Colonel Connell out-groups him with several short sentences. Game over – amygdala shakked by a Warrior extraordinaire.

Colonel Connell’s delivery is well crafted in several other regards.

“Two days later they (the reporters – Jennings and Wallace) are both walking off my hilltop and they’re 200 yards away, and they get ambushed and they’re lying there wounded. And they’re going to expect I’m going to send Marines out there to get them.”

Here, Colonel Connell presents an image of Wallace as weak, cowardly, and helpless, and he presents it as ancillary to the main argument.

This is devastating to the Narcissist’s necessary self-image of being the superior individual (a similar trait to the Liberal’s need to feel superior to the Conservative in some fashion, despite their laughable patheity). Notice, Colonel Connell presents this with no debate, as almost an irrelevant afterthought to another, more important issue. Most people wouldn’t even register it, but Wallace did, and even worse, he never even got to argue with the portrayal. Deep down, every Liberal ideologue knows they are a psychological pansy in a species which reviles such – and the characterization hurts them far more than we can imagine. Here, it affected his mood and his ability to focus, in a way which a person without such a disorder couldn’t possibly imagine. His false reality was attacked, and he didn’t even get a chance to defend it. Even worse, in his mind, everyone else now accepts that he is inferior, on the word of another. Someone has done to him what he is programmed to do to others. He has been inferior-ized, and the group is now focused on him, his aberrance, and his weakness.

Colonel Connell also reinforced this effect through his use of the word contempt. The words angry, saddened, infuriated, etc all portray to a Narcissist (and a Liberal ideologue) their own power to evoke such emotions in their adversary, as well as their adversary’s ability to be emotionally unbalanced and controlled. This is seen by the Liberal as a sense of subtle power and importance (more on this later). As a result, such evincing of emotion, or use of emotional terminology will provide them with strength.

The word contempt carries a subconscious air of their K-type adversary’s superiority, and the Liberal’s inferiority. Although minor, such aspects of language have profound effect upon Narcissists and Liberals. Always denigrate the Liberal’s importance and power within the social environment, and never imply they are important enough to warrant a real emotion. In the language of Heartiste, this would be referred to as “frame.” You are so awesome, and the Liberal such a pathetic peon, you really could care less about them, beyond a passing feeling of contempt when they cross your radar.

Had Colonel Connell operated on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum, and become legitimately enraged, and shown a profound emotional outburst, Wallace would have drawn strength from that, perhaps even using it to argue to others that his enemy was unbalanced, thereby out-grouping Colonel Connell. Had Colonel Connell used emotional wording which conveyed power on the Liberal, such as hurt, angry, enraged, incensed, etc, the Liberal would have gained strength as well, just not as much.

Instead, Colonel Connell evoked an air of uncaring, unemotional contempt for Wallace, diminishing Wallace’s stature in the eyes of everyone present, and forcing Wallace’s amygdala to confront his own actual patheity and unimportance.

Colonel Connell’s use of the phrases “my hilltop” and “they’re lying there wounded. And … going to expect I’m going to send Marines out there,” similarly reduces Wallace to but an infinitesimal peon, prone to injury and helplessness, in a real man’s world. Together the effects on Wallace’s psyche were priceless, and added to the shock of his out-grouping.

“They’re just journalists. They’re not Americans. Is that a fair reaction? You can’t have it both ways.”

Many have noted that Narcissists are like children. Offer them two options to explain their behavior, both bad, and those are the only two options they will see. “Either you are [bad option one] or you are [bad option two]? Which is it?” Whatever it is about their personality quirk, this will trip them up quite reliably, especially if you offer some fact, however tenuous, supporting the idea that one of the two bad options must be true. I have used it, and it is incredible how they will limit their thought processes to the two options, and panic if neither is acceptable. They actually do not have the ability in the midst of debate to find their way to a third option which would rescue them from their conundrum.

Here, Wallace hears two options. Either he continues to maintain he is a journalist, and therefore allowed to betray his nation, in which case he is firmly out-grouped as a traitor, or he admits he is wrong, and he is an American, but a particularly stupid one who was prone to believe he could betray, and he is again on the way to being out-grouped. Neither is particularly attractive, and Wallace knows this. This “bad option two-fer” debate technique completely disabled Wallace’s ability to backtrack back to the use of logic or reason, however tortured to support his position.

“You can’t have it both ways”

The Coup de Grace. The subconscious goal of every Liberal ideologue in matters of group conflict is to have it both ways. Betray their in-group to gain the favor of the out-group, while maintaining they cannot be attacked by the in-group they betrayed due to the warrior’s loyalty to in-group. If the in-group wins, they protest they are a part of the in-group, and shouldn’t be killed by their own people. If the out-group wins, then they plead that they helped the out-group and should benefit from favoritism.

If a cop shoots a criminal, then take the side of the criminal, since the cop can’t shoot you, but the criminal can. If it’s a war against Saddam, take Saddam’s side, since the Marines can’t kill you legally and Saddam can. Viet Cong, Communists, whoever. Liberalism in group competition is just a strategy of using intellectualism to justify treason to in-group for personal self-interest. The most amazing aspect is, Liberals can blind themselves to this reality, right up until you find a way to unarguably call them out on it.

Here, Wallace is called out on this, and told, by a man who kills other men for a living, you can’t have it both ways. Never underestimate the power of calling the Liberal out on the exact nature of their strategy openly. Single mom-hood arises from diminished concern for quality child-rearing. Sex ed facilitates the r-strategy of earlier onset of sexual behavior in youth, and Liberals don’t oppose that because they are r-strategists. High taxes are about creating the r-selected environment of free resources for all, including the losers. And treason in group competition is a selfish, cowardly survival strategy born of r-selection.

The visceral, desperate protestations that Liberals launch into when so confronted, are evidence of the Liberal’s fear of, and susceptibility to, this type of attack. In my experience with Narcissists, the more vicious their counterattack to a statement, the more that statement traumatizes them, and savages their amygdala. The aggressiveness of their response is a direct attempt to assuage their wounded amygdala, and make you stop targeting it. I have no doubt it is the same with Liberals.

Thus the more the Liberal protests, the harder you press, unemotionally, and contemptuously. “Dissent is patriotic?” In War? Ever hear of the definition of treason? What are you an idiot?” “Collateral damage is wrong.” Better our own soldiers die? Typical Liberal Traitor. What a disloyal scumbag! These are out-grouping techniques which can alter the tone of a debate quite quickly, and put an end to Liberal advocacy.

Of course, Colonel Connell’s’ delivery, totally unemotional, with slit thin eyes delivering a death stare of hatred, was perfect. It even carried just the right amount of a subconscious air of violent conflict. Not so much Wallace could portray Colonel Connell as an extremist who might kill him, but enough Wallace knew that a battlefield execution for such disloyalty might be a possibility in Colonel Connell’s world. There is nothing like the threat of K-selection to make the r-type bunny rabbits scurry.

At the end, Colonel Connell looks directly into Mike Wallace’s eyes, as Mike Wallace avoids eye contact by staring ahead. This is interesting, since it is established that those with amygdala damage cannot make eye contact, or even examine the areas around another person’s eyes to gather emotional cues. Here, Wallace assiduously avoids any eye contact.

I have seen this myself on a couple of occasions, especially in my primary Narcissistic guinea pig. After a marathon session tripping his amygdala in conversation, he actually compulsively looked at the floor when talking to me, despite there being no intimation of physical threat on my part. This trait was actually identical to what one would see in an extremely autistic child, and was much different from his normal countenance. I was fascinated, and thought it might indicate an increased desire to avoid any amygdala stimulation resulting from the subtle stress of direct eye contact.

Based upon several instances I have observed, I suspect that humans have evolved an innate tendency to avoid eye contact when the amygdala has been overwhelmed. In individuals facing a superior threat (for which the amygdala cannot find a solution to quiet itself, and is overwhelmed), this probably serves as an unconscious threat avoidance behavior. It might speak to the utility of forcing direct eye contact in debate with Liberals, as you stimulate their amygdala while maintaining a totally unconcerned, domineering frame.

This interview is interesting in the context of our national debate over politics in that it highlights two different styles of debate with Liberals. For the first seven and a half minutes, debaters treat Mike Wallace as a reasonable equal, and seek to sway his opinion with logic. In response, Wallace becomes ever more forceful in his treasonous assertions, even as he trips himself up with his own arguments. Of course, this is exactly what our reasonable and respectful treatment of Liberals in our national political debates has gotten us today, on the national stage.

After seven and a half minutes, one man utters a few contemptuous sentences, reducing Mike Wallace to a traitor whom everyone should ignore. And Mike Wallace’s response to this contemptuous dismissal of his views?

A chastened, hand-wringing coward, saying, “It’s a fair reaction,” followed by a complete cessation of his traitorous Liberal assertions. If you examine the video at 42 minutes and 57 seconds, Mike Wallace’s face actually contorts into a micro-expression of extreme agony. Pause the video, and it is astonishing. I have seen that expression in real life myself – this was not a once in a lifetime event. All Liberal ideologues have that pain inside them. In a state of nature, that force within their brain probably kept them alive, by forcing them to swallow their pride, and avoid confrontations at all cost. Today, it lays there within them dormant, waiting for a Conservative, with sufficient testicular fortitude, to step up to the debate, and use it to modify their behavior, and train them to not espouse Liberalism.

Of course the most important aspect of Colonel Connell’s response is that in arguing with emotion and crushing the Liberal, he has just set the course for the Lemmings within the group. Not a single individual on that panel will even begin to support Mike Wallace’s position at that point. Indeed, the issue would not even be raised again.

In this debate, Colonel Connell could have chosen to try and debate Mike Wallace logically, and convert him to a more Conservative position using facts, logic, and reasoned argument. The result would have been a recalcitrant Mike Wallace, a Liberal convert in Peter Jennings, and a whole panel of Lemmings, unsure of who to follow, at best. Instead Colonel Connell abandoned logic, crushed Mike Wallace emotionally as an example to the crowd, and on seeing the example, the Lemmings immediately fell in behind Colonel Connell.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you debate a Liberal, and lead a movement. The Liberal is the example waiting to be made, not an equal. The Liberal is deserving of nothing more than passing contempt.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, September 03, 2014

Paul Ryan's Way Forward

To take the measure of this uncommonly interesting public man, begin with two related facts about him. Paul Ryan has at least 67 cousins in his Wisconsin hometown of Janesville, where there are six Ryan households within eight blocks of his home. And in his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea,” he says something few politicians say, which is why so many are neither trusted nor respected. Ryan says he was wrong.

At a Wisconsin 4-H fair in 2012, Ryan encountered a Democrat who objected to what then was one of Ryan’s signature rhetorical tropes – his distinction between “makers” and “takers,” the latter being persons who receive more in government spending than they pay in taxes. He had been struck by a report that 60 percent of Americans were already – this was before Obamacare – “net receivers.” But his encounter at the fair reminded him that, for a while, he and many people he cared about had been takers, too.

The morning after a night “working the Quarter Pounder grill at McDonald’s,” Ryan, 16, found his father, who had been troubled by alcohol, dead in bed. Janesville’s strong sinews of community sustained Ryan and his mother; so did Social Security survivor benefits. When GM’s Janesville assembly plant closed, draining about $220 million of annual payroll from a town of 60,000, many relatives, friends and constituents needed the social safety net – unemployment compensation, job training, etc.

“At the fair that day, I realized I’d been careless with my language,” he writes. “The phrase gave insult where none was intended.” He has changed his language and his mind somewhat but thinks the fundamental things still apply.

“Society,” Ryan writes, “functions through institutions that operate in the space between the individual and the state,” and “government exists to protect the space where all of these great things occur.” Hence government has a “supporting role” as “the enabler of other institutions.” Progressive government, however, works, sometimes inadvertently but often deliberately, to subordinate or supplant those institutions. This depletion of social capital is comprehensively injurious to the culture. And “all the tax cuts in the world don’t matter much if you don’t get the culture right.”

Progressivism aims to place individuals in unmediated dependency on a government that can proclaim, as Barack Obama does: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Meaning, people depend on government for what they are and have.

Few of today’s progressives are acquainted with their doctrine’s intellectual pedigree or its consistent agenda. Progressivism’s founders, however, considered it essential that the nation make progress, as they understood this, beyond the Founders' natural rights philosophy, which limits government by saying (in the Declaration of Independence) that it is “instituted” to “secure” these rights.

Hence Woodrow Wilson, a progressive who understood his doctrine’s premises, urged Americans to “not repeat the [Declaration’s] preface.” Progressivism preaches that rights do not pre-exist government, that they are dispensed and respected by government as it sees fit and to fit its purposes. Those purposes grow unconstrained by the Constitution that progressives construe as a “living” – meaning infinitely elastic – document.

Since 1999, when he became its second-youngest member, Ryan has been an intellectual ornament to the House of Representatives – and a headache for risk-averse Republican Party operatives. They pay lip service to electing conservatives who will make the choices necessary to stabilize the architecture of the entitlement system and unleash the economic growth that must finance the system’s promises. But they want to let voters remain oblivious about the choices required by that architecture’s rickety condition.

Such Republicans are complicit with Obama, who demonstrated the self-destructive nature of his now-evaporating presidency by his contemptuous, and contemptible, treatment of Ryan on April 13, 2011. After he loftily aspired to teach Washington civility, the White House invited Ryan to sit in the front row at a speech in which Obama gave an implacably hostile and mendacious depiction of Ryan’s suggestions for entitlement reforms. Obama thereby repeated his tawdry performance in his 2010 State of the Union address, when, with Supreme Court justices in the front row of the House chamber, he castigated them for the Citizens United decision, which he misrepresented.

Both times, Obama’s behavior bespoke the insecurity of someone who, surrounded by sycophants, shuns disputations with people who can reply. Ryan, however, has replied with a book that demonstrates Obama’s wisdom in not arguing with a man who has a better mind and better manners.



Eric Holder as a cry-baby & Obama as a perpetual adolescent

ATTORNEY GENERAL and all around scum-bucket Eric Holder felt it imperative to rush off to Ferguson, MO, to toss in his two cents worth of gas on a burning fire. He could have pointed out that the reason there is 50% unemployment among the black males in town, men who have nothing better to do than cause mischief for the benefit of the TV cameras, was because three-quarters of them never even finish high school. Instead, he took the opportunity to let them know he shared their grievances against the police because twice in his younger days, he, too, had been – oh, the humanity! -- stopped by traffic cops.

The odd thing is that I am a white man roughly 10 years older than Holder, and I was stopped by cops about a dozen times between the ages of 13 and 21. The first couple of times, I was stopped by Beverly Hills cops because we lived in an apartment just outside the city border, and, so, if I were spotted walking or riding my bike at dusk, on my way home from the playground or on my way to a book store, I would find myself being questioned by the guys in blue. Nobody, they would explain, exaggerating only slightly, walked or rode a bicycle in Beverly Hills after sunset.

Once I began driving, I was stopped on a regular basis even by L.A. cops because I looked too young to be driving legally. Finally, by the time I was going to UCLA, and work on the Daily Bruin would occasionally keep me on campus until late at night, I was often stopped and questioned by those same Beverly Hills cops on my way home. But now it was because, as they pointed out, nobody rode a motorcycle before or after dusk in Beverly Hills.

Whether or not Mr. Holder believes me, I never took it amiss. I did not think they were picking on me because I was young or short or Jewish. I believed they stopped me because I looked suspicious to them, and I figured they were just earning their salaries, and that if I had their job, I, too, would be stopping me and asking a few questions.

What Holder doesn’t mention is that, as a young man, he had been an Afro-haired college activist who had been part of a student uprising at Columbia University that took over and held an ROTC building for five days in 1970. Because even back then, college administrators were a gaggle of cowards, he wasn’t booted out on his butt, but allowed to hang around and get a law degree.

Only someone as race-fixated as Barack Obama would have appointed Holder in the first place or stood by while his attorney general refused to indict the Black Panthers for intimidating white voters in Philadelphia.

Speaking of Obama, the thing I have come to understand about him is that in addition to being a leftist with a scary agenda, a bigot and a narcissist, he is an adolescent. That’s why he’s so lazy. Sometimes, students are bored because they’re very bright and grasp a subject so quickly that they tend to doze off while waiting for their fellow classmates to catch up. Other times, students are bored because they are those other classmates and simply can’t grasp the lesson.

And sometimes, as I believe is the case with Obama, it’s because their minds are so lazy and self-absorbed that the only things they can manage to focus on for any length of time are those amusements such as golf and basketball or attending galas, that simply don’t call for mental discipline.



NLRB goes rogue against small business

Labor Day provides the opportunity to evaluate those government agencies that impact the workplace, and gauge if they are helping or hurting the employment situation in America.

In the six Labor Days since President Obama took office, his appointees have gone to outrageous lengths to compel the 93 percent of the private-sector workforce who don't belong to an organized labor union to become dues-paying members.

While the Labor Department and the National Mediation Board have each pushed hard to create rules that overwhelmingly favor union organizers over those employees who oppose unionization, it is the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has taken the most outlandish actions in their attempt to tip the balance toward primary Democratic Party funders in Big Labor.

Few need to be reminded of the NLRB's general counsel's failed attempt to compel Boeing Corp. to remain in union-friendly Washington state, rather than relocating to South Carolina. After garnering national headlines and sending Congress into a frenzy, the NLRB backed down from their attempt to stop the aircraft manufacturer's move to the right-to-work state. But the audacity displayed by the agency — that they believed they could dictate company relocation or expansion decisions — made this obscure entity a national talking point of big government gone wrong.

The general counsel, at the same time, filed a lawsuit against two states whose voters had affirmed the right to secret ballots in union elections through their state constitutional amendment processes. The uproar in the states being sued was real, but this NLRB threat largely faded away as Big Labor's attempt to do away with secret elections through congressional action failed.

Now, the NLRB is going off the rails again. They have decided to destroy business franchise/franchisee agreements by allowing the corporations that spin out thousands of small businesses using their name, business model and products to be sued over the alleged actions of a few of the small, independent business.

This strikes at the heart of the independence of almost 1 million locally owned franchise businesses. If the actions of a few franchises can drag the corporate partner into legal action, then the cost of operating this small business model rapidly escalates, and the advantages of splitting profits with local, independent store operators rapidly disintegrate.

If the left wants to change the franchise laws, that is their prerogative. They need to go to Congress and seek to change the law, not go to the rogue, Big Labor-controlled NLRB to rewrite the law.

It's three strikes and you're out for the NLRB's ability to play investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner when it comes to our nation's labor laws. Legislation by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) that would rein in the NLRB's outrageous, one-sided behavior by stripping away the NLRB's adjudicatory authority, returning it to the federal justice system where it belongs.

It is time to rip the power over our nation's labor laws from this rogue body's grip and give it back to Congress and the federal court system. It is time for the House of Representatives to pass Austin Scott's Protecting American Jobs Act.



Price transparency lowers healthcare costs

A study recently published in Health Affairs describes how price transparency drove down the cost of MRIs by almost twenty percent from 2010 to 2012. Compared to patients who did not have the advantage of transparent pricing, patients who knew what their MRI procedure would cost saw a cost reduction of $220 per procedure. Further, price transparency was associated with a significant shift from hospitals to outpatient facilities.

This result is just the beginning. It was not a result of true consumer-driven health policy, but an intervention by an insurer. When a physician referred a patient for an MRI, the insurer required prior authorization before paying for it. When the patient called for prior authorization, the customer-service rep was able to give the patient the choice of a lower-cost provider in the same area. Importantly, the insurer’s rep was able to tell the patient how much he or she would save by using the lower-cost provider.

This is something that healthcare providers resist mightily—for obvious reasons. As a consequence, more expensive providers, especially hospitals, dropped their fees significantly. This resulted in a 30 percent compression of prices.

It is a step in the right direction. The Health Affairs article notes that government dictating price transparency has no effect—as discussed previously at this blog. Nevertheless, there is a lot further to go. For example, one-third of the patients had zero co-pay or deductible, and so were completely insensitive to price. Also, it still requires too much bureaucratic intervention. Why should a patient have to call the insurer to figure out the best price for the service?

For reducing costs, imaging is probably low-hanging fruit. Nevertheless, this experience teaches valuable lessons. Prior authorization alone (when an insurer simply makes a yes or no decision on whether it will pay for a procedure) is a cause of irresolvable conflict between payers and providers. Because the patient remains insensitive to price, if the physician decides to do the paperwork for prior authorization, it does not reduce costs. This was confirmed for Medicare in a Congressional Budget Office estimate in 2013.
However, introducing price sensitivity to prior authorization “softens up” the decision for both patient and insurer: The patient understands that the insurer is trying to get the best bang for the buck, not just prevent access to diagnosis.

What are the next steps?

    Private insurers can make prices of credentialed providers even more transparent, by posting fees on their websites and clearly informing patients about how much money they will save by going to low-cost providers.

    Private insurers can design ways to financially reward patients who have no co-pays or deductibles to make price-conscious decisions also.

    Medicare can also design ways to reward beneficiaries for making cost-saving imaging decisions (likely through Medigap plans, which often cover beneficiaries’ co-pays).

This is still a long way from consumer-driven health care. However, like reference pricing for surgery, this experience should motivate insurers to continue experimenting with letting patients know, understand and respond to the prices of medical care.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, September 02, 2014

The self-loathing of the British Left is now a problem for us all

A British perspective on Leftist hate.  The reference to Rotherham concerns child abuse  of white girls by Muslims-- abuse that was long covered up by political correctness

It’s often been observed that a certain type of British Lefty hates Britain – and that they reserve particularly hatred for Englishness. Back in 1941 George Orwell made this acute remark:

    "England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution"

So what’s new? The difference today is that this shame and self-hatred now dominates Left-wing thought, whereas it was once balanced by the decent Left: who were proud to inherit the noble traditions of radical English patriotism.

Evidence for this disease is all around us, but shows up particularly in two red-button issues-of-the-day: the independence referendum, and the appalling revelations from Rotherham.

First, Scotland. The latest polls show that the United Kingdom is close to breaking up. This is a remarkable state of affairs when you consider that, a year ago, polls were two to one against partition. How has this occurred? Because we have allowed the British Labour party to lead the No debate.

This was a disastrous decision, given that, as Orwell noted, Labourites and Lefties revile and deride so many of the things perceived as quintessentially British. Take your pick from the monarchy, the flag, the Army, the history of rampant conquest, the biggest empire in the world, the supremacy of the English language, anyone who lives in the countryside, the national anthem, the City of London, the Royal Navy, a nuclear deterrent, the lion and the unicorn, duffing up the French, eating loads of beef – all this, for Lefties, is a source of shame.

The result, north of the Border, is plain to see. Whenever the passionate and patriotic SNP asks the No campaign for a positive vision of the UK (instead of dry economic facts, and negative fear-mongering) all we hear is silence, or maybe a quiet murmur about “the NHS”. Yes, the NHS. For many Lefties, the NHS – an average European health system with several notable flaws – is the only good thing about Britain. It’s like saying we should keep the United Kingdom because of PAYE. Thus we tiptoe towards the dissolution of the nation.

There is a deep irony here. If Scotland secedes it will hurt the Labour Party more than anyone, electorally. But such is the subconscious hatred of Britain and Britishness in Lefty hearts, I believe many of them think that’s a price worth paying: just to kick the “Tory Unionists” in the nuts, just to deliver the final death-blow to British “delusions of grandeur”.

It is a tragic state of affairs. And yet there is worse. Rotherham.

We don’t need to rehearse the facts. We’ve all read them, and reeled away in horror. The interesting question is how and why would any country allow the racialised gang-rape of its own daughters?

Why? Because too many in that country, especially on the Left, most especially in the Labour Party, despise their own ordinary people: the white working classes.

Take this comment by Jack Straw, Labour MP for Blackburn, and Home Secretary from 1997-2001, when the Rotherham atrocities were beginning. “The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent.” It is almost unimaginable that any senior politician would say this of his own people in America, Russia or France. Yet here it comes straight out of the mouth of a very senior politician indeed – along with many other expressions of Guardianista sneering: at the white working classes with their “chav culture”, “BNP values”, “Gillian Duffy bigotry” and so forth.

What kind of message does Straw’s statement send to everyone else? It says that the English are dislikeable, that they are to be feared, and contained, to be treated with contempt. It says that the ordinary English are a nasty race who need to be diluted by mass immigration; it says, in particular, that poor white English people are especially worthless.

And thus, Rotherham.

Yes, it’s infinitely depressing. But we cannot give in to despair. Instead we could listen again to George Orwell, who once said that, however silly or sentimental, English patriotism is “a comelier thing than the shallow self-righteousness of the left-wing intelligentsia”. Orwell wrote those words seventy years ago. It is time we paid attention, and turned the tide.



My Journey from Tyranny to Liberty


I am an Chinese immigrant who come to America to seek freedom from the Communist China. I was born right before China’s Cultural Revolution and grew up in Chengdu, Capitol of Sichuan province, China. As you know, in China there is only one party that is truly in power: The Communist Party. The government, which is the Communist Party, controls everything: Factories, schools, the press, hospitals, land, and universities. Growing up there, I never heard of such a thing as a “private company." There were no choices of any sort. We were all poor. We had no gas or stove, no TV, no phones, no refrigerators, and no washing machines. In the cities, electricity was rationed. In the countryside, there was no electricity.

Our family of five had to live on the very low wages my parents earned. The local government issued coupons for people to buy everything from pork to rice, sugar, and flour and there was never enough. We got to buy only 2.2 pounds of pork per month for our family of five. We lived in a two room 'apartment', without heat in the winter and no indoor plumbing. I got impetigo every winter from the cold damp winter weather, which was common for kids to get. Eight families lived in our complex, and we had to share bathrooms (holes in the ground outside), one for all males, and one for all females. When the lights were out, no one would replace the bulb for a while so it would be totally dark to go to the bathroom. It became a quite scary adventure at night for us to go there. We had only government run hospitals which were filthy. I was afraid of going to a hospital because I might get diseases. The last two years before I left for college, we moved into a three-room apartment provided by my dad's work-unit. It had concrete walls and a concrete floor, a water faucet and sink, but no heat. It had a shared public restroom without a shower or bathtub - but, it was infinitely better than what we had before.

I was eager to go to school when I turned 6 years old. My parents did not let me to go to school because they needed me to babysit my younger brother who was one year old. They could not afford his child care. I cried for a long time that night. My parents felt so guilty so they bought me a movie ticket next day. Finally, I went to school at age of 7. I was so happy and motivated to be a top student. As a child, we were brainwashed in public school every day. We were taught that two-thirds of the world population were suffering and living in hunger and our socialist country was the best. We didn't think that maybe China should be counted as part of the two thirds of suffering humanity! We believed whatever the government told us because we did not know anything else. I thought the other countries must be hellish if they were worse than we were. Anyway, we chanted daily: “Long Live Chairman Mao, Long Live the Communist Party. I love Chairman Mao." I was so brainwashed as a small child that I could see Chairman Mao in the clouds or the cooking fire. He was like a god to me. We were required to read all of Mao’s Red books, wear Mao’s buttons, write journals, and confess any bad thoughts to Mao.

We were required to conform, not stand out as an individual. I was held back to join the Young Pioneers because I was not humble enough (I told my classmates I should be in the first batch to join due to my 100% grade on every subject and they reported on me). The big powerful state from top to bottom was always watching us very closely: from Beijing’s central government to our neighborhood block committees and police stations. We had no rights, even though our constitution said we did. It was very scary that local police could stop by our home to pound on the doors at night for any reason. The government told us how to dress (Mao’s suit), what to buy and eat (coupons), where to live (household registration system) and what to read (government newspapers). The land belonged to the people (the government actually) and citizens were not allowed to have any weapons or off to prison they would go. Things have changed a lot in China since the open door policy of Deng Xiaoping really got going in the early 1980s; people have more freedom than ever before to start businesses, get jobs in another city, travel overseas, etc, but the political system is still fundamentally the same one party rule.

My favorite teacher in high school told me that he was sent to a Re-education Labor Camp because the Communist Party punished those who criticized the party even though the party was asking for feedback. His health was ruined during those years. He said “China is not a country of laws." I was determined to study law in college. After three whole days, eight hours of testing each day, I scored very high and was admitted by Fudan University (one of the top five universities) in Shanghai law school. I became the first one in my entire extended family ever to go to college. When there I was depressed to find out that what we learned in school and what was reality were totally different things. The society was not ruled by law but ruled by men. After I became a law school faculty member at Fudan University in Shanghai, I had to be careful about what to say in the classroom or during the party political study and self-criticism meetings. My leaders in law school even intruded into my private life telling me, for example, that I received too many letters (I was too social), or I should not go to my boyfriend’s parents’ house for dinner and spend a night. I was a law school faculty member and yet I was still being treated as a child!

I realized I could not really have the personal freedom I dreamed to have if I stayed in China, so I decided to re-enter school in the USA. It was a long and stressful process for me to step down from my position and leave China. I went to the local security office to apply for my passport seven times and was treated as a deserter with papers literally thrown at my face. My law school made me sign a paper saying that I must return to my job in Shanghai after two years of graduate study, or they will eliminate my position and send my personnel file (everyone has one in China which follows you from birth to death) to my hometown in Chengdu, which would be a death sentence for my law teaching career. However, I was determined to leave and did not care about what I had to sign.

I arrived in America in 1988 with $100 in my pocket. The first ten years when I was in the U.S, I still had nightmares about being trapped in China by the government and having to dig a big hole in the ground, into the blue Pacific Ocean, so I could escape, jump into the Ocean, and swim to the United States. Even when I went back to China later to visit with my American husband in 1991, my fears would return. For example, staying at a friend’s apartment in Beijing, one night the police came to pound on the door and wanted to check our papers. Someone must have reported to them that that there was a foreigner in the neighborhood. I was pregnant with our first son at that time, and we were in deep sleep after midnight when the police’s door-pounding scared the heck out of me and brought all the childhood bad memories back. Fortunately, they only wanted to check our papers, or maybe just let us know who was in charge. Another time I was in China during June 4th (Tian An Men crackdown) anniversary for a business trip, I was in a business-friend’s car, when we were randomly pulled over by the local police to check out our IDs and search our car. They did not have to show any search warrant. I used to also travel often to Guangdong Province for business when I worked in Hong Kong. I remember the taxi drivers called the local police “mafia” because of their brutality and corruption.

I did not hesitate to become an American citizen in 1995. Here I could speak freely and have my rights protected. I do not take my new freedom for granted. I vote in every election. As a U.S. citizen, I have worked for private companies in Hong Kong and Denver. Later, I started my own business and worked hard to grow my business. For the past 15 years, my husband and I have raised three children in Parker, Colorado, enjoying a middle class life: kids, a house, a dog, and 2 cars. From the $100 I brought over from China to having my own businesses and properties, I know I am living the American Dream. All the immigrants I know who come to this country do so because they believe America is a land of opportunity and freedom. We know that if you are smart, work very hard, and save your money, you will be successful and make a nice living here. I love this country. I want my children to continue to enjoy the freedom that brought me here. I want my children to have the same opportunity I had to succeed.

By telling my own story, I wanted to share my message with you: big governments do not work; big governments are very dangerous because they eventually use force. Big government attracts people who love power and control. Big government seems to want to distract you and direct your choices to unimportant social conventions yet limit your choices on really important things like speech, self-defense, and property rights. The freedom we have in this country is precious. The governments in the US are essentially pretty good. However, we are losing more and more liberty every day. The two major parties of this country have always expanded the government (federal or state), even when they say they are shrinking them. Whoever is in power always wants to 'do' something, to 'solve' some problem. It never really works because government must use force to solve whatever problem of the day arises. Now the federal government is $17 trillion in debt from all the problems it has 'solved'; we are losing our freedom to choose in many aspects of our life: health care, education, speech, privacy, what we want to buy to protect our families, how much money we want to keep after our hard work, etc., and even in New York drink sizes! Big government is like a cancer; it will grow and spread and keep growing if we don’t stop it. Do not believe things will always get better. I know that people are born the same everywhere, yet their cultures and systems of government can be vastly different. Our culture, our people, and our increasing reliance on more government are, I think, a very dangerous trend.

The country has been on the wrong path for too long, all our governments have been growing bigger for too long. What kind of country is this if we have to work over a half of the year to pay all the taxes and fees: federal, state, city, county; including payroll, phone, gas, car license, eating out, hotel stays, air travel, licenses, tariffs, etc. We are taxed to death for many things we don't want and the country is broke. This is astounding to me. What kind of country is this if the government uses force to take your money and spend the way they see fit and still tell you it is good for you? Are you its servant or master? Do you own yourself or not? What kind of country is this if the government takes away your choice of marrying anyone who makes you happy? Are you a consenting adult or not? What kind of country is this if the government can put you into a prison for what you are consuming? What kind of country is this if we become like a China Socialist Iron Rice Bowl, where people are treated the same everywhere; where it does not matter whether you work hard or not, that you are told "If you've got a business—you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." and where you must redistribute what you produce. What kind of country is this where the government monitors our private email and phone calls? What kind of country is this if the IRS can target you based on your political affiliation? Why have we Americans become so unsure of ourselves that we want to be like other countries and to think like them instead of wanting them to be like us? When did this change happen? Where is the America I dreamed of - full of strong men and women without fear of acting on their own behalf?

Big government people have always been attracted to power, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Big government people are perpetually alarmed busybodies who fearfully want to insert themselves into everybody's business here and abroad, telling them what to do or not do. That is why I felt I had to become an advocate for liberty. Let us stop these people now. Wake up and stand up. Remember how this country was founded and what our constitution really protects - Individual Liberty! Vote for liberty, vote for small, effective, and limited government



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, September 01, 2014

Some amusing medical news

One of the enduring myths among health freaks is the magical power of fish oil.  There has however always been a lot of doubts about that among medical researchers so there have been many studies looking into the matter.  The latest review of the medical literature knocks the whole thing on its head.  The article concerned is hidden behind a fierce paywall but I think it is too amusing to stay only there.  So I am reproducing the abstract below.  Reproducing abstracts is not generally considered a breach of copyright.  The abstract was in fact sent to me by JAMA so I infer that they want the findings to be known in professional circles

Fish Oil Supplements

Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are present in cold-water fish such as herring or salmon and are commercially available in capsules (over the counter and by prescription), can decrease fasting triglyceride concentrations 20-50% by reducing hepatic triglyceride production and increasing triglyceride clearance. 1 With long-term intake, they may increase HDL-C.


The results of recent studies do not offer any convincing evidence that fish oil supplements either prevent cardiovascular disease or improve outcomes in patients who already have it. 2 3

Lovaza (formerly Omacor), a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was the first omega-3 PUFA product to be approved by the FDA for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia (Table). Daily doses of 3-12 g can lower triglycerides by 20-50%, but have not been shown to prevent pancreatitis, which is a major concern in patients with very high triglycerides. Vascepa, the second FDA-approved omega-3 PUFA product for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia, is the ethyl ester of EPA. In controlled trials, it has reduced triglyceride levels by 22-33% compared to placebo. 4

Adverse Effects

DHA can increase LDL-C levels, but EPA apparently does not. Fish oil supplements are generally well tolerated. Adverse effects have included eructation, dyspepsia, and an unpleasant aftertaste. Worsening glycemic control has been reported in diabetic patients taking large doses. Fish oil in large doses can also inhibit platelet aggregation and increase bleeding time; whether it could cause clinically significant bleeding has not been established.


Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids can lower high plasma triglycerides, but they have not been shown to decrease the risk of pancreatitis. The results of recent studies do not offer any convincing evidence that fish oil supplements prevent cardiovascular disease.

From The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics

JAMA. 2014;312(8):839-840. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9758.  Adapted from "Drugs for Lipids." Treat. Guide Med. Lett. 2014;12(137):1-6.


The Stage Is Set for Executive Amnesty

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared immigration would dominate the news headlines leading up to the November election. But war in the Middle East and Ukraine and riots in Ferguson have pushed the situation at the border down to a few sidebar stories.

Yet the political stakes are high, and the red line of Barack Obama’s promise to take steps on immigration reform by the end of summer – with or without Congress – means there could be an executive action on his part in the next few weeks. “[H]ave no doubt, um, in the absence of congressional action, uh, I’m going to do what I can to make sure the system works better,” he said Thursday. The president has nothing to lose and everything to gain politically.

Most likely his action will be an expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) order, which essentially served as a permission slip for more than 1.5 million illegal aliens who came as children with their parents. Administration insiders believe five or six million more illegals will benefit from any new Obama move. Proponents argue it’s a necessary step to take because resources are limited and Congress didn’t act. Meanwhile, Democrats believe the Republican reaction would be beneficial to their side. They’re just daring Republicans to say the “i-word” should Obama go through with this DACA-expansion amnesty.

But Obama himself made the case against executive action not all that long ago. In 2012, he argued he couldn’t go any further than deferring deportations for children: “If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option.”

Much of this could have been avoided, claims “Gang of Eight” member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “I’ve been warning that [Obama] would do something unilaterally on immigration at some point, despite his denials of any intention to do that,” said Rubio. “My fundamental warning was that if [Republicans] didn’t like the legalization provisions in the bill, it was quite possible, if we didn’t act, that we would get the Gang of Eight-style legalization but without any of the bill’s enforcement mechanisms,” he added, defending his participation.

While Rubio was in favor of the Gang of Eight approach at the time, he now believes it was a mistake. If done again, he would secure the border first, then install broader E-verify requirements and reform the tracking of visa entries and exits. Of course, enforcement is all up to the will of the Executive Branch. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), for one, is of the opinion that Obama is “threatening to rewrite our immigration laws unilaterally” rather than provide enforcement.

Nor is enforcement on the mind of governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who introduced Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto by saying all immigrants were welcome in his state, legal or not.

In his speech, the Mexican president called the United States “the other Mexico” and gushed that California had “evolved” compared to other states which “skimp on recognition of … the rights of immigrants.” It’s estimated that 11.4 million immigrants who were born in Mexico reside in the United States, a sizable chunk of the roughly 120 million who populate Mexico. A recent Pew survey found just over one-third of Mexicans would move to the United States if they had the chance, and one-sixth would even do so illegally. That’s about 20 million more for the permanent underclass of likely Democrat voters.

Clearly, much of this immigration furor is political posturing for both the November midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. But with either result, Obama has the chance to emerge victorious – either he gets a Democrat-controlled Senate to keep House Republicans at bay, or he gets a completely Republican-controlled Congress that will incentivize him to use his pen, if not his phone. Amnesty is just one place where he can whet his appetite for dictatorial power, with climate change being another.

The irony, of course, is that mass amnesty will hurt Obama’s own low-income constituents most by depressing wages and making it hard to find jobs. All net job gains since 2000 went to immigrants.

Thus, despite polls which for years have shown Americans would prefer no greater number of immigrants – if not a decrease in the rate – it’s likely that executive policy will take us in the other direction while ignoring the vital function of border security. The system isn’t actually broken, but the laws aren’t being enforced.



The Democratic Shift to the Left

The Democratic Party is torn between a liberal establishment that wants more government, and an even more liberal wing that wants the same thing squared

It would take a heart of stone, as the fellow said, not to laugh out loud at President Barack Obama's recent comparison between the two major political parties.

"Ideological extremism," he told The New York Times, "is much more prominent right now in the Republican Party than the Democrats. Democrats have problems, but overall if you look at the Democratic consensus, it's a pretty commonsense, mainstream consensus. It's not a lot of wacky ideological nonsense, the way it is generally fact-based and reason-based."

Spoken like a true partisan: My Side is calm and reasonable, and Your Side is full of raving lunatics.

The tea party movement has indeed created a rift on the right between a somewhat conservative establishment and a viscerally conservative insurgency. The struggle between those two factions has provided the grist for roughly 2.3 gajillion news stories over the past few years.

But as Commentary magazine's Seth Mandel put it so nicely a few months ago, "complaints over the last few years about the GOP being pulled to the right by conservatives were not about liberals' desire to meet in the middle and compromise, no matter how much they might decry the supposed extremist drift of the right. What they wanted was their very own Tea Party."

The judgment is, as the president would say, fact-based. You can see that in the fawning adulation that greeted the Occupy protests, which amounted to one long primal scream against capitalism. Whatever the protests lacked in coherence (which was a lot), they made up for in passion. And for a while, the most dangerous place to stand in America was between a microphone and the cadre of Democratic politicians racing to express their proud solidarity with that inspiring movement of starry-eyed young dreamers.

You can see the desire for a Democratic tea party in the cheers that greet Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Tribune of the Proletariat, whose angry tirades against the moneyed interests draw standing ovations and chants of "Run, Liz, run!"

And you can see it in the polls: Two decades ago, 35 percent of active Democrats said their views were mostly or always liberal. Now 70 percent say so. The Democratic Party's mainstream consensus, as the president calls it, has moved decidedly to the left. (Granted, Democrats do not all think alike, any more than Republicans do; generalizations are vexing. But if the president employs them, so can we.)

Just as the Republican Party now has many big-government conservatives—those who think Washington should export democracy abroad and impose virtue here at home—the Democratic Party once had what might be called small-government liberals: those who thought government could make some things better, yet still leave other things alone.

Where is the small-government liberal today? He or she is not to be found in the economic realm, where the mainstream Democratic consensus supports a higher minimum wage, more regulation of business, systemic government control of certain sectors (e.g., education and health care) and massive government intervention in the rest.

Likewise, there is scant dispute on the left regarding the welfare state.

The biggest fight over social programs in the past few years dealt with health care, and it concerned whether to settle for Obamacare or push for single-payer. Liberals who argue that the country might have too many social-welfare programs and spend too much on them are mostly unheard from. To paraphrase conservative author William Voegeli: Democrats do not want the social-welfare state to grow indefinitely—they just want it to be bigger than it is right now.

One might think the small-government liberal shows up in the realm of personal choice. And it is true that on one very narrow band of issues—sex and abortion—liberals agree government should butt out. Yet this is where the butting-out largely ends.

For while liberals largely support, say, the legalization of marijuana, that is not owing to any broader sense that people own their bodies and should be free to do as they like with them—such as ride a motorcycle without a helmet, or engage in sex for profit, or drink a 64-ounce sugary soft drink, or forgo health insurance.

Rather, the contemporary mainstream liberal view of such things holds that individual choices affect the collective good. And since government's job is to safeguard the collective good, government should therefore regulate individual choices. If it allows people to smoke marijuana, that is because it has decided a little reefer now and then causes less collective harm than the harm caused by prohibition.

In other words, the mainstream Democratic view asks how much personal freedom smart public policy should permit. It has little room for the notion that some personal freedom should lie beyond the reach of public policy in the first place.

Does that seem too strong? Then consider the campaign to eviscerate the First Amendment. Democratic leaders such as John Kerry, Sen. Patrick Leahy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and many others—including countless grass-roots activists—want to amend the Constitution to nullify the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, so the government can once again dictate what people can and cannot say about politicians in the weeks leading up to an election. Tellingly, the proposals include provisions stipulating that the press would still be allowed to speak freely about political candidates.

This is a tacit concession that everyone else would not. In that event, rights are no longer trumps; they are simply one more consideration to be balanced against all the rest. Which means they are not really rights at all.

In short, the Democratic Party is torn between a liberal establishment that wants more government, and an even more liberal wing that wants the same thing squared. At bottom, both wings believe the formula for perfection is simple: Put the government in charge of everything, and put the right people in charge of the government. Then just sit back and wait for Shangri-La.

History has falsified that premise time after time. But to the president, it's just plain common sense. Now who's peddling wacky ideological nonsense?


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


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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, August 31, 2014

In town halls, US lawmakers hear voter anger over migrants

When Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling sat down with olleagues and constituents at a recent Chamber of Commerce lunch in Dallas, the first question he faced was whether Congress planned to address immigration policy and a burgeoning border crisis.

"I'm supposed to do this in 30 seconds?" he joked, noting the issue's complexity. While he was optimistic about long-term prospects for dealing with border security and immigration, he said, "between now and the end of this Congress, I'm a little less sanguine about it."

It has been a question heard repeatedly by lawmakers this month in "town hall" district meetings punctuated - and sometimes dominated - by concerns and angry outbursts over immigration policy and the crisis caused by a flood of child migrants at the southwestern border in recent months.

Those summer town halls have provided lawmakers a first-hand glimpse of growing discontent among Americans over U.S. immigration policy. Seventy percent of Americans - including 86 percent of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in mid-July.

Those fears have been exacerbated by the recent wave of illegal child migrants from Central America. An issue that had been simmering is now hotting up as voters prepare to go to the polls in congressional elections due in November.

The anger and frustration expressed in the town halls suggests there will be a fierce debate when U.S. lawmakers return to Washington on Sept. 8 and take up proposals to address a flood of child migrants crossing the southwestern U.S. border.

While conservative anger has not approached the levels seen during the healthcare debate in August 2009, when town halls across the country were frequently disrupted, members of both parties have been confronted on the issue.

From border states like Texas to less likely hot spots like Oregon, Colorado, and New York, Democratic and Republican lawmakers have heard a steady stream of questions and complaints from voters - most pushing for a crackdown on illegal immigration and some worried about what they see as Washington's inaction.

"I hear it everywhere I go," said Oregon Republican Greg Walden, who travels the country in his role as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"The anger is palpable," Hensarling, a six-term conservative congressman who is often identified by colleagues as a possible next Speaker of the House, told Reuters.

Local media reported police were called to a meeting in Hollister, California hosted by Democratic Rep. Sam Farr after an audience member shouted at Farr and the crowd about the dangers posed by the child migrants.

A town hall hosted by Democrat Jared Polis of Colorado featured constituents shouting at Polis and each other, and applauding those who contradicted him, on a range of issues, most prominently immigration, a local newspaper said

"We've had seven town halls, and immigration is the number one issue that comes up," Polis told Reuters.

Opinion polls show concerns about immigration extend to every region of the country, although they are most acutely felt in the southwestern states near the Mexican border.



Protecting us from umbrellas and cameramen

A hysterical California gun phobe called the police reporting a man with a rifle strolling on the University of San Marcos campus.

The trained, enthusiastic, protectors of the peace responded with a SWAT team and campus lockdown.

They should have sent A Peace Officer to investigate. You DO remember when we hired peace officers instead of ENFORCERS, don’t you?

No reports of shots fired. Only ONE of the thousand cell phones on campus indicated threatening behavior.

Just one caller who saw a man carrying what might be a rifle… or a stick … or a broom … or … an umbrella on a day when it just might rain.

So one loony can call out an entire swat team with no corroborating evidence, no investigation, no scouting party. That is much like the community fire departments sending out every truck and team in the county to find it is just a back yard barbeque happily, innocently grilling burgers.

At least when the firemen arrived, they wouldn’t hose down the neighborhood.

Muzzle sweeping the dormitories.

Full-auto M-16 aimed at the cameraman, and at they guy who dropped his assault umbrella, hands up, with three goons surrounding him … Yeah, he needs to be looking down the barrel of an M-16 too.

Rather obviously, that is what it takes to make these sissies feel whole. Every once in a while they get to gear up and feel like a man. Trust me, little boys, that is not the same feeling.

Corrections officer training stresses rifles or shotguns at “ready” safely pointed at a 45 degree angle to the ground UNLESS you are going to fire. Military and Peace Officer training did as well.

When did this become okay?  Aiming at unarmed bystanders is outrageous.

Probably about the same time government shooters began using what they strategically named “No Hesitation Targets” like the one on the left for practice. Click on the link to see that article and more of those we are the enemy targets they began using a couple years ago.

Of course we sympathize – they do risk their lives every day to protect us, don’t they?

Uh, not exactly. In fact cops don’t even rank in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the country... The reality is, at 16th, police fall just below below taxi drivers …

And of the police deaths, 56% are from traffic accidents not related to high-speed chases. If they walked their beats, they probably wouldn’t make the top 40. Better still, if they carried no more firepower than a revolver and did no SWAT training, it would be safer than running a day care.

The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.” Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged.

The Baltimore Sun did an analysis of SWAT deployment in Maryland and found the militarized team was sent out nearly five times each day. Only 6% of SWAT-involved incidents were for extreme emergency situations (bank robberies, barricades, hostage holding) – most were for search warrants or apprehending suspects involved in trivial matters like misdemeanors.

This shift toward a heavy reliance on SWAT teams does not fulfill the mission of “protecting and serving.” If anything, the violent tactics put everyone – including bystanders – in more danger. Let’s not understate the psychology of the situation either – when you dress police in war gear, they’re going to feel like soldiers out for a kill, not officers of peace.

In the last decade alone the number of people murdered by police has reached 5,000. The number of soldiers killed since the inception of the Iraq war, 4489.

So as it turns out, everybody BUT the police should be armed…

Oh yeah, and that California caller who can’t tell an umbrella from a rifle.



Who’d a-thunk it? Employers respond predictably to a hike in the minimum wage

San Jose, CA, recently raised a tax that it imposes on the use of low-skilled workers its minimum wage.  One result is that an employer reduced the size of the annual bonuses that she pays to her employees.  (NPR has the story; this particular part starts at around the 3 minute, 25 second mark in the audio version of the report.  [What is called at this NPR link the "Transcript" is not a complete transcript of what you'll hear if you click "Listen to the Story".])

Note that these particular workers are among the lucky ones.  While the higher minimum wage didn’t help them, it didn’t hurt them – or at least not very much.*  When bonuses are factored in, these employees were, in fact, already being paid more than even the now-higher minimum wage.  So their employer merely had to rearrange the method by which she paid her employees: more in hourly wages and less in the form of bonuses.

But what if the workers in question were not so productive as to justify total hourly compensation as high as the new legislated minimum wage?  The employer would then have had to resort to less pleasant and more substantive means of adjusting to the higher minimum wage, means that likely would have included employing fewer such workers....

* I say “or at least not very much” because the particular method of compensation used – hourly wages in combination with bonuses – presumably serves some useful purpose for both the employer and the employees.  (My guess is that it is a means of rewarding – and, hence, of encouraging – greater employee productivity.)  By reducing the employer’s and employees’ flexibility in choosing the particular forms in which compensation is paid, the higher minimum wage reduces the ability of payment options to elicit optimal efficiency.



Forget economic patriotism — it’s time for economic freedom

Political rhetoric in the United States, particularly on the right, has a strong tendency to focus on the incomparable economic freedom of Americans and American businesses. They portray the rest of the world as more socialistic and the American system as the closest thing to a free market economy operating in the world. Yet that is far from the truth. In fact, America is swiftly being supplanted as a preferred place of business by many other countries in the rich world.

The reason for America’s declining business attractiveness is a matter of simple economics: The US corporate tax rate is ruinously high, and the tax compliance system is mind-bogglingly byzantine. While the average corporate income tax in the OECD, a club of rich countries, is 25 percent, the US federal corporate tax rate is 35 percent. Add state corporate taxes on top of that and the average corporate tax rate in the United States comes out to a whopping 39.1 percent. Even the socialist playground of France has a tax rate of 34.4 percent. America’s bizarrely high corporate tax rates are largely the product of standing still in the face of changes in the global marketplace. European countries have long been skeptical of the free market, yet they have slowly adopted many market precepts over the past few decades. In order to maintain and expand high qualities of living, these countries had no choice but to embrace the market and make doing business easier. Their relatively small economies could not survive with high barriers to doing business in the face of growing emerging market competition.

America, on the other hand, has not faced those same pressures. Thanks to its size and centrality in the global economic system, the United States was able, throughout the Cold War and the two decades after its conclusion, to maintain a particular cachet that attracted businesses to its shores in spite of the erosion, and ultimate inversion, of its tax advantages. Business leaders were (and many still are) willing to pay the tax premium for being incorporated in America where they would be protected by its size, and would be able to trade principally in the dollar, which is still the world’s reserve currency (though for how much longer remains an open question). That willingness to put up with America’s tax regime is beginning to dissipate.

The American business climate is confronted with two market forces that threaten to tear it apart. On the one hand, the marketplace has become ever more choked with regulations which has made doing business harder every year. For example, American-based businesses could balance the relatively high taxes against a more fluid labor force. That advantage has been clogged up by red tape. On the other hand, the perks of being based in the United States have diminished in comparison to the rest of the world. As other countries have slashed corporate tax rates and made their labor forces more adaptable, America has marched resolutely in the opposite direction, toward greater state control of the economy.

America is finally starting to pay the price for its broken corporate tax regime. The recent increase in so-called tax inversions, in which American corporations seek lower tax rates via mergers with companies based in foreign countries. Tax inversions result in American firms effectively becoming foreign businesses, something many politicians on the left have come to fear and despise. At least 47 American tax inversions have occurred in the last decade, but it was not until this month that they started making serious headlines. When the American pharmaceutical firm Abbvie announced it would be taking over the Ireland-based Shire corporation in a $57 billion deal, major figures in the Obama administration and in Congress began to lash out at such corporate maneuvers. Jack Lew, the Secretary of the Treasury, wrote a letter to Congress arguing for “a new sense of economic patriotism, where we all rise and fall together.” Lew’s comments hold frightful echoes of the statists Ayn Rand describes in Atlas Shrugged, officials and bureaucrats who would shackle the productive power of individuals to what they perceive to be the “public good.”

Even Warren Buffett, erstwhile champion of Obama’s higher tax agenda, has gotten in on the inversion action. He is helping Burger King take over Canada’s Tim Horton’s, which will move the headquarters north of the border.

The answer to America’s problems is not more restrictions on businesses, or denying them the ability to leave the country. The answer is to transform the business environment so that companies want to come and stay in the United States. That is the only way to end the flight of firms from America’s shores. America is in dire need of economic freedom, not economic patriotism.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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)