Friday, September 12, 2014

A Case Against Product Regulation

By Sean Gabb, commenting from Britain

There is currently much protest in the British media against proposals to regulate the consumption of home electrical appliances. For example, it is claimed that washing machines and kettles use more electricity than they need, and that limits should somehow be set to their wattage.

These protests have been given a European dimension. Since they come from the European Commission, the proposals have generated headlines almost as bad as “Now Brussels wants us to wear smelly knickers.” This is a pity. As Richard North often points out, the same proposals have been made in America and elsewhere in the world, and they come to Britain via Brussels only so far as the European Union is the means by which global regulations are implemented in Europe.

Regardless of who is making them, I deny that product regulation is necessary. Here are some brief objections:

First, it may be that modern electrical appliances need less electricity to do their job than we are in the habit of believing. If this makes appliances noticeably cheaper – either to buy or over their whole lifecycle – consumers will tend to choose them. All it needs is normal product advertising, or the urging of private advocacy groups. If, for whatever reason, people remain indifferent to noticeable savings, that is their concern. People surely have a right to waste their own money. Or, looking from a “green” point of view, every extra penny spent on boiling a kettle means one penny less to spend on petrol.

Second, it may be that the savings from lower wattage appliances are not significant at the individual level, but add up, at the collective level, to the saving of several new power stations. This is more likely to be the case, and here is an argument for what the economists call “external cost” or “market failure.” In such cases, the balance of cost and benefit to each individual produces outcomes that most individuals do not think desirable. The standard answer is regulation by the State.

On full examination, however, most alleged cases of external cost turn out to be other than they seem. Rather than a failure of unregulated markets to tend towards an optimal use of resources, they are evidence of state-imposed distortions in some other market. Here, the distortion is in the electricity market. Ever since the nationalisation of domestic gas supply in the 19th century, the ruling assumption has been that utilities should be provided through centralised networks at least underwritten by the State. This generally means that not all costs of supply are reflected in retail prices. Some of these costs – control of foreign supplies, for example – are loaded onto the people as taxpayers. Others – compulsory purchase laws for land, or privileged rights of way – are loaded onto specific property owners.

If this complex shuffling of costs were ended, it might be that a higher retail price for electricity would encourage the desired savings. Or it might be that the present system would be shown up as less efficient than some other way of generating or distributing electricity. Before pointing at one spot on the picture and crying “Market Failure!” we should try looking at the whole picture.

Third, product regulations are hardly ever made by disinterested experts. Mostly, they emerge from a dirty mix of bureaucratic sloth and ignorance, and capture of decision-making bodies by special interest groups, and outright corruption. That is how the ratios were set for automatic gear boxes in the American car market. That is how they are being set for electric light bulbs throughout the world. If products are safer or cheaper as a result, that is at best an accidental side effect of the process.

Fourth, even supposing a regulation achieves its stated purpose, it should be resisted. States rely on legitimation ideologies. Most of these ideologies include the claim that state regulation works in the public interest. Being able to show a regulation that does this is useful propaganda for a system that, as a whole, is both exploitative and inefficient.

Let me give a famous example. There is reason to believe that, had the British Government taken an active interest, during the 1840s, in telling the railway companies where to build their lines, we could have had a better network than we did in fact get. There is a continuous literature of cost benefit analyses of the burdens imposed by having two spines to connect London to the industrial cities of the North, and flowing from the largely accidental emergence of the railway gauge that we still use.

This being granted, the propaganda value of successful state direction would have offset any gains from efficiency by giving us a bigger State by 1870 than we had. The officials and the relevant interest groups would have ruthlessly used the precedent of successful regulation of the railways to justify regulating everything else.

It would be the same now. Let it be shown that cutting the consumption of vacuum cleaners from 2KW to 700W had saved the cost of building three new power stations, and that would not the end of the matter. The cry would go up for linking refrigerators to the Internet, so their temperatures could be turned up or down according to some agenda by the authorities, or for built-in motion detectors on electric lights to turn them off in probably empty rooms. Where regulation by the State is concerned, nothing ever ends in itself. Everything that works is made a precedent for something else. Anything that fails becomes an argument for something else.

In summary, governments impose greater costs on a country than washing machines and kettles that may use up more electricity than they technically require. State failure is more pervasive than market failure. This, not European scare stories, should be the case against the proposed regulations.



Obamacare's bill for small businesses? Big bucks, fewer jobs

Obamacare is taking a toll on small businesses, according to a new analysis of the effects of the health-care reform law, which found billions of dollars in reduced pay and hundreds of thousands fewer jobs.

Take-home pay at small businesses was trimmed by some $22.6 billion annually because of the Affordable Care Act and related insurance premium hikes, researchers at the American Action Forum, a center-right think tank headed by former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, found in a report released Tuesday.

Individual year-round employees at businesses with 50 to 99 workers lost $935 annually, while those at firms with 20 to 49 workers are out an average of $827.50 per person in take-home pay, the report found.

That report also says that there has been the loss of more than 350,000 jobs due to Obamacare-era premium hikes at small businesses.

In five states, the losses have exceeded more than 20,000 jobs apiece, including Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas. California lost an estimated 42,788 jobs due to Obamacare, the report estimated.

And those wage and job-level effects have come before the implementation of Obamacare's employer mandate, which beginning in 2016 will compel firms with 50 to 99 full-time workers to offer them health coverage or pay a fine.

"We find evidence that the labor force is absorbing these detrimental costs even before the government has started enforcing the most stringent ACA regulations," the report said. "These costs are likely a result of businesses preparing for the employer mandate, providing health insurance to workers and losing access to low-cost coverage."

"Obviously, these are huge numbers," lead author Sam Batkins said about the findings.

And because of the employer mandate coming down the road, "we expect the trends to worsen," Batkins added.

Batkins said the research detected a marked response at small businesses to insurance premium prices after the implementation of the ACA in 2010, in contrast to how those employers responded to price hikes before the law was adopted. Specifically, there was a correlation between small businesses' cutting jobs and workers' take-home pay being reduced when premiums went up after the ACA took effect, as opposed to before.

"While there was no significant relationship between health-care premiums and employment before the ACA, since 2010 small businesses have slowly started shedding jobs and reducing wages," the report said.

Batkins said, "The data sort of points to the law itself. ... Post-ACA, the trends are pretty stark in terms of reduced employment and reduced take-home pay."

For instance, for every 1 percent increase in total premiums paid for insurance for workers at firms employing 50 to 99 people, there was a 0.109 decrease in average weekly pay since the ACA, the report said. Before the ACA was passed, "we do not identify any statistically significant relationships" between wages and health premiums, the report said.

"Although the estimates might appear small, when one considers how premiums have changed since the ACA, the costs are profound," the report said. "Pre-ACA, total premiums in the average state cost $4,653 in 2009 and grew by 19.8 percent to $5,576 by 2013."

"So a 19.8 percent increase in total premiums is associated with a 2.2 percent decrease in average weekly pay," the report said.

In all, the $22.6 billion in reduced take-home pay equals 6 percent of all wages in the small-business category.

The 350,000 estimated jobs the report said have been lost in small businesses because of Obamacare came entirely from employers with just 20 to 49 workers.

"We do not find any statistically significant relationships between health-insurance premiums and jobs in businesses with between 50 and 99 employees," the report said.

Asked if the overall costs to small business employment and wages are warranted by Obamacare's goal of providing affordable health insurance to millions of uninsured people, and of improving the quality of insurance offered to enrollees, Batkins said, "I think the jury is still out."

"This report has shown that the costs are fairly high," Batkins said. "And the enrollment is going to have to be fairly high, as well, to cover the costs."



Why Is Dependency Rising, and Can It Be Reversed?

Often during an economic recovery, welfare caseloads fall as jobs return. In this recovery, welfare caseloads kept climbing through 2012. That’s the message of a new Census Bureau report released last week, which found that, at the end of 2012, the number of Americans in households collecting “means tested” welfare assistance was officially 109 million.

That’s close to the number of people huddled around TV sets to watch the Super Bowl.

It’s also 35 percent of all households that receive at least one form of public assistance – food stamps, Medicaid, supplemental security income, nutrition programs for kids, housing aid, and so on. Many tens of millions receive multiple forms of aid.

This number does not include those on disability and unemployment insurance. That’s millions more. Social Security and Medicare are earned programs, so they are not included.

When 109 million Americans are on some form of welfare assistance, we have to wonder whether we have reached some kind of welfare tipping point.

Have we reached a welfare tipping point? No. I disagree that the trend of dependency is irreversible.

We succeeded in reducing government dependency in the 1990s, when governors like Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin and John Engler of Michigan began to experiment with work and educational requirements, time limits and so on, to encourage work over welfare. Then the feds enacted a landmark welfare reform bill in 1996, which adopted many of these reforms on a national level. These reforms – coupled with an economy that was creating millions of new jobs – helped reduce cash welfare caseloads by more than half in five years.

Why is dependency again on the rise? Today many of those reforms are gone. Only 5 percent of the welfare today is through the old cash assistance program. Now the new welfare is food stamps, disability, and unemployment insurance, to name a few. President Obama repealed the limited work requirements for these programs. Last year when Republicans dared insert even modest work requirements for food stamps applied only to nondisabled adults without children, they were accused of being cruel.

The Left has encouraged more welfare participation. President Obama boasts that Obamacare has already added 3 million people to Medicaid rolls, as if more welfare caseloads is a policy triumph. Nancy Pelosi has called food stamps and unemployment insurance one of the most effective economic stimulus programs.

Welfare caseloads aren’t falling in part because this administration doesn’t want them to. Times sure have changed. Bill Clinton boasted about the reduction in welfare caseloads in the 1990s.

What’s most important as a first step toward restoring self-reliance is to at least acknowledge as a nation that when there are 109 million Americans collecting some form of welfare, we have a crisis on our hands. It’s partly the economy, but partly cultural. The poverty lobby has worked hard to erase any negative stigma attached to welfare benefits. In some cities in America food stamps are like a parallel currency. By the way, in 2012 there were 51 million Americans on food stamps.

One possible approach has been suggested by Rep. Paul Ryan. He would turn many of the welfare programs, like food stamps, back to the states so they can find ways to expeditiously move people swiftly back into work.

What is for sure is that the feds have failed in replacing welfare with the dignity of work. Or worse, they haven’t even tried.



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 11, 2014

IQ in decline across the world as scientists say we’re getting dumber

This is a generally good article below but it needs a little more background.  In particular, one needs to know why IQ scores rose for most of the 20th century (the "Flynn effect").  The evidence seems to converge on more schooling. As people got more and more  schooling (as they mostly did throughout the 20th century) they learned more and more test-taking strategies and that helped when they did IQ tests.  But that process obviously had its limits and that limit has now generally been reached.  Now that the Flynn effect has run its course we see what the underlying tendency is -- towards a dumbing down of the population.  With dumb women having most of the babies, any other result would be a surprise

FOR at least a century, average IQ has been on the rise, thanks to improved nutrition, living conditions and technology.  But now, scientists think the trend is going into reverse.

In Denmark, every man aged 18 is given an IQ test, to assess them in case of military conscription. It means around 30,000 people have been taking the same test for years — and scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998.

The pattern is repeated around the world, according to New Scientist, with tests showing the same thing happening everywhere from Australia and the UK to Brazil and China.

The most rapid signs of IQ growth in the US appeared between the 1950s and 1980s, the magazine reported, with “intelligence” rocketing by around 3 points per decade.

The trend for rising IQs was first documented by New Zealand scientist James Flynn, and is known as the Flynn Effect. It has been attributed to advances in health and medicine, as well as ever-expanding technology and culture forcing us to contend with a multi-layered world.

Now, the theory is that in developed countries, improvements such as public sanitation and more stimulating environments may have gone as far as they can in terms of increasing our intelligence.

The first evidence of a dip in IQ was reported in Norway in 2004, closely followed by similar studies emerging from developed countries including Sweden and the Netherlands.

Dr Flynn has said that such minor decreases could be attributable to reversible issues with social conditions, such as falling income, unhealthy diet or problems with education.

But some experts believe our IQs are in a state of permanent decline.

Some researchers suggest that the Flynn effect has masked an underlying decline in our genetic intelligence — meaning more people have been developing closer to their full potential, but that potential has been dropping.

This has been attributed in some quarters to the fact that the most highly educated people in society are having fewer children than the general population.

It is an uncomfortable thought, and one that strays worryingly close to controversial theories on genetic modification and even eugenics.

Richard Lynn of the University of Ulster in the UK says our IQ has declined by 1 point between 1950 and 2000, which seems very small.

But Michael Woodley, a psychologist at Free University of Brussels in Belgium, said even such a small drop can mean a dramatic reduction in the number of highly intelligent people — those geniuses who are responsible for our greatest innovations.

In fact, Dr Woodley says our IQ has been in decline since Victorian times, while Professor Gerald Crabtree says it happened as soon as we started to live in densely populated areas with a steady supply of food — 5000 to 12,000 years ago.

The importance of IQ trends is up for debate in itself, since IQ tests can be an unreliable measure of intelligence, skewed by education and preparation for solving certain kinds of problems.

Furthermore, many experts say there are multiple forms of intelligence. While academic intelligence is important, it is often people with other qualities, such as determination and self-control, who are most successful or socially productive.

When we say we are becoming more intelligent, are we simply learning different ways of thinking?

As Dr Flynn himself said: “There are other intellectual qualities, namely, critical acumen and wisdom, that IQ tests were not designed to measure and do not measure and these are equally worthy of attention.

“Our obsession with IQ is one indication that rising wisdom has not characterised our time.”



A nasty one for the meat haters

The medical literature is full of admonishments to eat less red meat.  Is a backflip on the way?  Meat is certainly the easiest way to get a high protein diet

The study  was of a good sample of people people aged 30–54 years and featured very extensive controls -- so the inferences are fairly secure  -- which is unlikely to be equally true of other studies in the area

You might think that a diet involving juicy steaks, blocks of cheese or pots of houmous is a heart-attack waiting to happen.

But people who eat a high-protein diet have a lower risk of high blood pressure than those who eat less protein.

U.S. researchers found people who consumed about 102g of protein a day had a 40 per cent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than people who consumed half this amount.

In terms of food, 102g equates to about four beef steaks, five chicken breasts or ten tins of chickpeas.

Fibre was also found to be beneficial, so a diet high in this and protein led to a 59 per cent reduction in the risk of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure - also known as 'hypertension' - is called the 'silent killer' because it rarely has obvious symptoms.  If left untreated, however, it can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

According to NHS figures, around 30 per cent of people in England have high blood pressure but may not know it.  The only way of knowing there is a problem is to have blood pressure measured by a GP or other healthcare professional.

Previous studies have shown protein-rich foods like eggs or seafood have blood pressure-lowering qualities.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, tracked 1,361 healthy people for an average of 11.3 years to see if they developed high blood pressure.

Researchers found both animal and plant proteins were associated with lower blood pressure readings.

Both types of protein also led to a statistically significant reductions in the risk of high blood pressure.

The beneficial effects of protein were apparent for men and women and those of any weight.

The study's author Justin Buendia, a research assistant at Boston University School of Medicine in the U.S., said eating more protein could mean we might feel fuller sooner,

As a result, we eat less of other high-calorie food groups, improving our overall diet.

He told Yahoo news: 'It may be that people who eat more protein have healthier diets in general.

'With higher protein consumption, you may eat less of other high-calorie foods.

You may feel full sooner, and that would lead to lower weight, which would lead to beneficial metabolic outcomes, such as lower blood pressure.'

However, he added that protein itself might have a quality that reduces hypertension because the amino acids in proteins may help dilate blood vessels, effectively lowering blood pressure.

Arginine - an amino acid found in both plant and animal protein sources, including eggs - plays a role in blood-vessel dilation, he said.

He added that recent animal studies suggest some amino acids in dairy products may have similar effects.

'Having an egg or some milk for breakfast is probably a good way to start the day. In terms of snacking, instead of going for a bag of chips or bread, have yogurt or a piece of cheese or a small handful of nuts.'

However, another study found for middle-aged people, eating protein from animal sources like meat and cheese was as deadly as smoking.

The University of Southern California study found for those aged 50 or more, people who ate the most animal proteins were almost twice as likely to die early as those who ate low amounts.

They were also four times as likely to be killed by cancer, a figure comparable to smoking.

The protein found in meat, cheese, eggs and other animal products was responsible for feeding tumours and fuelling the ageing of the body's cells, the researchers said.

Protein could also be bad for your kidneys, increasing the risk of developing kidney disease, and can also increase the risk of calcium kidney stones.



Favors and Loot for Sale

By Walter E. Williams

At a July fundraising event in Chicago, Mrs. Michelle Obama remarked, "So, yeah, there's too much money in politics. There's (sic) special interests that have too much influence."

Sen. John McCain has been complaining for years that "there is too much money washing around political campaigns today." According to a 2012 Reuters poll, "Seventy-five percent of Americans feel there is too much money in politics." Let's think about money in politics, but first a few facts.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Barack Obama raised a little over $1 billion, while Mitt Romney raised a little under $1 billion. Congressional candidates raised over $3.5 billion. In 2013, there were 12,341 registered lobbyists and $3.2 billion was spent on lobbying. During the years the Clintons have been in national politics, they've received at least $1.4 billion in contributions, according to Time magazine and the Center for Responsive Politics, making them "The First Family of Fundraising."

Here are my questions to you: Why do people and organizations cough up billions of dollars to line political coffers? One might answer that these groups and individuals are simply extraordinarily civic-minded Americans who have a deep and abiding interest in encouraging elected officials to live up to their oath of office to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Another possible answer is that the people who spend these billions of dollars on politicians just love participating in the political process. If you believe either of these explanations for coughing up billions for politicians, you're probably a candidate for psychiatric attention, a straitjacket and a padded cell.

A far better explanation for the billions going to the campaign coffers of Washington politicians and lobbyists lies in the awesome government power and control over business, property, employment and other areas of our lives. Having such power, Washington politicians are in the position to grant special privileges, extend favors, change laws and do other things that if done by a private person would land him in jail. The major component of congressional power is the use of the IRS to take the earnings of one American to give to another.

The Dow Chemical Co. posted record lobbying expenditures last year, spending over $12 million. Joined by Alcoa, who spent $3.5 million, Dow supports the campaigns of congressmen who support natural gas export restrictions. Natural gas is a raw material for both companies. They fear natural gas prices would rise if export restrictions were lifted. Dow and other big users of natural gas make charitable contributions to environmentalists who seek to limit natural gas exploration. Natural gas export restrictions empower Russia's Vladimir Putin by making Europeans more dependent on Russian natural gas.

General Electric spends tens of millions of dollars lobbying. Part of their agenda was to help get Congress to outlaw incandescent light bulbs so that they could sell their more expensive compact fluorescent bulbs. It should come as no surprise that General Electric is a contributor to global warmers who helped convince Congress that incandescent bulbs were destroying the planet.

These are just two examples, among thousands, of the role of money in politics. Most concerns about money in politics tend to focus on relatively trivial matters such as the costs of running for office and interest-group influence on Congress and the White House. The bedrock problem is the awesome power of Congress. We Americans have asked, demanded and allowed congressmen to ignore their oaths of office and ignore the constitutional limitations imposed on them. The greater the congressional power to give handouts and grant favors and make special privileges the greater the value of being able to influence congressional decision-making. There's no better influence than money.

You say, "Williams, you've explained the problem. What's your solution?" Maybe we should think about enacting a law mandating that Congress cannot do for one American what it does not do for all Americans. For example, if Congress creates a monopoly for one American, it should create a monopoly for all Americans. Of course, a better solution is for Congress to obey our Constitution.



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 10, 2014

Aging antisemite now crawling up Muslim anuses

His hatred of Israel has beome obsessional

Former President of the United States and unapologetic friend of violent extremists around the globe Jimmy Carter spoke this past weekend at an Islamic conference and hailed the “principles of Allah” as the key to finally seeing peace in the Middle East.

The failed president who was too weak to retrieve our captured U.S. citizens from the hands of Iranian college students has been seen, until recent years, as the worst president with regards to foreign policy. With the numerous failures of President Obama having devastating consequences around the globe, it’s clear that Jimmy Carter has been downgraded to being the second most-cowardly president in history.

During his speech at the annual convention for the Islamic Society of North America on Saturday, Carter  called for “justice for the Palestinians,” saying, “You can’t bring peace to the Middle East without justice and human rights for the Palestinians. When my prayers are answered and we have peace in that Holy Land then the Israelis and all their neighbors will be blessed to live in peace and prosperity.”

Of course, proposals of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been routinely rejected by Hamas and other Palestinian thugs.

During a luncheon earlier in the day, Carter hailed his own efforts to bring peace to the world and declared,

“We are all Americans in a system that allows basic human rights: peace, justice and the ability to treat each other as equals. I hope all of you will use the principles of Allah to bring peace and justice to all.”

Of course, these “principles of Allah” by which ISIS, Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to commit horrific acts by citing Allah as the driving force.

Last week, ISIS marched 250 half-naked Syrian soldiers into the desert and slaughtered each and every one of them for supposed affronts to the principles of Allah. The event was celebrated by extremists on Twitter. claims that in the last ten years, 18,000 terror attacks have been carried out by those looking to fulfill the “principles of Allah.” highlights the supposed “principles of Allah” to which Carter refers. These include a command from the messenger of Allah that Muslims must “fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah.”

While Carter has carved out a place in history as the coddler of despots, it’s curious that he has not approached the pursuit of peace by calling for the Muslim world to adhere to the principles of Christ. It’s equally odd that he has not appealed to the Muslim world to adhere to the principles of Judaism.



How Conservatives Can Win the Hearts and Minds of Hispanics and Women

The Left has a perceived monopoly on female and Hispanic voters. After all, it has its “war on women” refrain and the push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. Leftists proclaim the government gospel for the common man, and in so doing, they have won the hearts and minds of the downtrodden – or so they assume.

The conservative movement needs to rebrand and return to its core values to snatch this near-victory from the Left.

Examine the numbers and it appears the Democrat Party has picked the demographics to pander to in order to win for generations to come. Women outnumber men in this country 161 million to 156.1 million, and women are more likely to vote, with 63.7% of them voting in the election that gave Barack Obama his second term. The turnout for men was 59.7%.

The Hispanic population has climbed steadily since the 1970s. There are now 54 million Hispanics in the U.S. In the next 30 years, whites will become a minority, something that probably leaves the Left tickled pink because 78% of Obama’s support came from minority groups. Indeed, Pew Research Center said the Hispanic population surpassed the white population in California this year.

These numbers appear likely to produce long-term wins for Democrats, but demographic groups this large fracture into subgroups that conservatives can reach with their message. In essence, conservatives should take advantage of the Democrats' own divide and conquer strategy, winning those who are receptive to Liberty. Not all women want the Left’s version of “reproductive rights.” Not all Hispanics are illegal immigrants or wards of the state.

Mike Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, believes if conservatives vigorously reach out to Latinos, they can find allies in the Hispanic community. He recently released a book about his fellow Hispanics called “A Race for the Future: How Conservatives Can Break the Liberal Monopoly on Hispanic Americans.”

“Nobody came here to be Balkanized into different neighborhoods,” Gonzalez said. “They came here to succeed.”

Mexican culture has been with America from the beginning. Mexicans lived inside Texas when it was incorporated into the rest of the states, for example. The tortilla is just as American as hamburger (German), pizza (Italian) and apple pie (Dutch).

Don’t think Hispanics are one homogeneous group. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Cubans landed in Florida to escape communism. And remember: Liberty is colorblind.

Gonzalez said the word “Hispanic,” as used to describe all people hailing from the Spanish-speaking world, only came into use in the 1970s when the government designated “Hispanics” a minority group. This time of social upheaval and the influx of Latino immigration created the heavy Democrat support found among Latinos, according to Gonzalez:

“That millions of immigrants, the majority from Latin America, began arriving just as the United States was being hit by a social and cultural tornado receives surprisingly little analysis. This whirlwind, after all, ripped up norms that had been in place for generations.

"These new immigrants had no memory of what the country had been like. In the media, in schools and in entertainment, they began to hear dubious reinterpretations of America and a denigration of traditional values. For many of them, ‘assimilation’ meant adopting the emerging standards of a rapidly evolving country.”
And Democrats have treated women in the same manner – as ignorant dupes who can only vote Democrat. Thanks to the Left’s rhetoric and polices, women view the Republican Party as “stuck in the past” and “intolerant,” according to a Republican study leaked to Politico. The study found 49% of women dislike Republicans, while only 39% view Democrats with distain. But those numbers almost flip if women are married and possess a college education, with 48% supporting the GOP and 38% backing Democrats. No wonder Democrats want to destroy marriage.

R.R. Reno of First Things offered a thoughtful response to the Politico story, and an even better rebuttal to a Slate rejoinder.

Reno argues Democrats tap into women’s sense of vulnerability:

“[M]y explanation of the profound difference between single and married female voters involves a final assumption: The Democratic Party is the party that promises to expand government to take care of people whose lives aren’t working out. This doesn’t mean Republicans are cold-hearted. It’s just that, for many different reasons, Republicans don’t think government can or should take care of all our needs.

"Put those assumptions together, and I have an explanation for why single women vote so heavily for Democratic candidates: Their inability to achieve a core life-goal (marriage) makes them feel vulnerable, and so they vote for the party that promises to use government to protect the vulnerable.”

America has people – the poor, immigrants, single moms – that are vulnerable. They’re afraid that if rules and regulations are thrown back, then the more powerful – the big business, the men with fists – will grab power in the vacuum and do harm. And how will the weak get more power without the benevolent power above that keeps them safe? They don’t realize progressives need to keep them poor and weak in order to preserve their own power. The question for lovers of Liberty is this: How do we empower people to pull themselves up through hard work, to self-govern?

This is where the conservative movement must rebrand. Instead of poorly delivering the same message, hoping that minorities are convinced into voting for the same white male politicians, conservatives must embrace more diverse leadership and show that conservative policies made that advancement possible. Let’s welcome female politicians who support Liberty and conservative ideals with their own unique governing style. Let’s fill the school boards with concerned mothers and town councils with Latino businessmen. Then, let’s unfetter the people by decentralizing the government – kicking the power back to the local level. And we’ll see who will be the party of the people.



In praise of a great Christian empire: Byzantium

The author below does not mention it but the fact that Byzantium was fanatically Christian may have helped it to survive.  The Greek and Russian Orthodox churches are its descendants

Based in Constantinople (modern Istanbul), it lasted until 1453. At times, it was the richest and most powerful state in the known world. Today, it is almost forgotten. Its main presence in the English language is as a word meaning complex bureaucracy.

Why should we remember Byzantium? Well, everyone admires the Greeks and the Roman Empires. But, once your eyes adjust, and you look below the glittering surface, you see that it wasn’t a time any reasonable person would choose to be alive. The Greeks were a collection of ethnocentric tribes who fought and killed each other till they nearly died out. The Roman Empire was held together by a vampire bureaucracy directed more often than in any European state since then by idiots or lunatics. Life was jolly enough for the privileged two or three per cent. But everything they had was got from the enslavement or fiscal exploitation of everyone else.

Yet, while the Roman State grew steadily worse until the collapse of its Western half, the Eastern half that remained went into reverse. The more Byzantine the Eastern Roman Empire became, the less awful it was for ordinary people. This is why it lasted another thousand years. The consensus of educated opinion used to be that it survived by accident. Even without looking at the evidence, this doesn’t seem likely. In fact, during the seventh century, the Empire faced three challenges. First, there was the combined assault of the Persians from the east and the Avars and Slavs from the north. Though the Balkans and much of the East were temporarily lost, the Persians were annihilated. Then a few years after the victory celebrations in Jerusalem, Islam burst into the world. Syria and Egypt were overrun at once. North Africa followed. But the Home Provinces – these being roughly the territory of modern Turkey – held firm. The Arabs could sometimes invade, and occasionally devastate. They couldn’t conquer.

One of the few certain lessons that History teaches is that, when it goes on the warpath, you don’t face down Islam by accident. More often than not, you don’t face it down at all. In the 630s, the Arabs took what remained of the Persian Empire in a single campaign. Despite immensely long chains of supply and command, they took Spain within a dozen years. Yet, repeatedly and with their entire force, they beat against the Home Provinces of the Byzantine Empire. Each time, they were thrown back with catastrophic losses. The Byzantines never lost overall control of the sea. Eventually, they hit back, retaking large parts of Syria. More than once, the Caliphs were forced to pay tribute. You don’t manage this by accident.

The Byzantine historians themselves are disappointingly vague about the seventh and eighth centuries. Our only evidence for what happened comes from the description of established facts in the tenth century. As early as the seventh century, though, the Byzantine State pulled off the miracle of reforming itself internally while fighting a war of survival on every frontier. Large parts of the bureaucracy were scrapped. Taxes were cut. The silver coinage was stabilised. Above all, the great senatorial estates of the Later Roman Empire were broken up. Land was given to the peasants in return for military service. In the West, the Goths and Franks and Lombards had moved among populations of disarmed tax-slaves. Not surprisingly, no one raised a hand against them. Time and again, the Arabs smashed against a wall of armed freeholders. A few generations after losing Syria and Egypt, the Byzantine Empire was the richest and most powerful state in the known world.

This is an inspiring story – as inspiring as the resistance put up by the Greek city states a thousand years before to Darius and Xerxes. If the Turks, who destroyed it in 1453, can admire the Byzantine Empire, and even feel proud of it, why shouldn’t the rest of humanity admire it?



Guy Who Tried to Shut Down Kid's Lemonade Stand Gets a Taste of His Own Medicine

Remember Doug Wilkey, the grumpy Floridian who tried to get a lemonade stand that was operating next door to his house shut down by local authorites? Whelp, looks like he's getting a taste of his own medicine.

A tipster contacted the city and pointed officials toward records that show Wilkey, as recently as March, listed his Patricia Avenue home as the principal business address for Bayport Financial Services.

Planning director Greg Rice said officials were drafting a letter notifying Wilkey, 61, that all companies operating in the city require a business tax license, which costs about $45 a year, and that home-based-business owners must sign an affidavit agreeing to follow special rules.

It's tempting to say "Karma's a bitch, sucka!" and leave it at that.  But that's the wrong response.

Yes, Wilkey, 61, started it by trying to bring in the government where simple human-to-human interaction should have sufficed. But is is just as troubling that the local government has now decided to use its powers to harass this man, simply because he's kind of a jerk with unpopular opinions.

Crotchety old men aren't as photogenic as entrepreneurial kids, but they deserve the same rights and protections. All the reasons why Guerrero deserves to be left alone to make an honest buck apply equally to Wilkey. In fact, running a financial services company out of your home likely has even fewer negative externalities than setting up a lemonade stand.

It seems pretty clear the city is looking into this guy's business because he managed to draw attention to himself in a negative way. And of course the hypocrisy here is as delicious as a glass of Country Time on a hot day.

But I guarantee you that there are other home-based businesses on that block. In a time and place where nearly every human action is smothered in laws, rules, and regulations, enforcement will necessarily be arbitrary. Limited resources mean that cops and licensing bureaus get to choose who they go after, and those choices will usually be made for reasons that have little to do with efficiency or justice.

When I wrote about the lemonade stand, I gave the local Dunedin authorities "three cheers." I take them back. When a grumpy tipster complained about a commercial activity by a cute kid who wasn't hurting anyone, they looked into the matter and wisely chose inaction. Then the same situation presented itself with a less appealing protagonist, and they did the opposite. Zero cheers.



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 09, 2014

Is Obama presidentially-incapacitated by narcissistic rage?

Dr Sellin has got part of the story below but he puts too much weight on narcissism alone.  Obama is undoubtedly narcissistic.  Most Leftists are.  That is why they are so arrogant and insensitive to rational argument.  But Obama is more than narcissistic.  He is psychopathic.  There have been many manifestations of that.  See here

An individual with narcissistic personality disorder exhibits extreme self-importance, has a constant need for attention and admiration, is secretive and controlling, cannot empathize with others, and has a heightened sensitivity to criticism. To get the attention he craves, a narcissist may try to create crises or diversions that return the focus to him. The narcissist feels entitled, that the world owes him, regardless of whether he makes a contribution.

Narcissists are selfish and self-centered people, who are capable only of thinking about their own issues regarding power, prestige, and personal adequacy. They cannot understand the problems of people around them, and are not aware of other peoples' feelings. Although they act superior and confident, this actually hides the fact that they have very fragile egos. They live with the illusion that they are perfectionists and that people revere them. The slightest disrespect or challenge can quickly lead to the development of "Narcissistic Rage," a term coined by Heinz Kohut in his 1972 book "The Analysis of the Self." The fuming rage the narcissist exhibits is different from the anger that people usually feel; it is either irrational or severely blown out of proportion from an insignificant remark or action. According to Kohut, this rage impairs a narcissist's cognition, therefore impairing his judgment.

A narcissist needs to sustain the illusion of being bigger, larger, smarter and more successful than everyone else in order to feel stable. Narcissists need constant admiration, attention and compliments, not to increase their self-esteem, but to prevent a feeling of instability that could lead to dysfunction or breakdown. Narcissistic rage occurs when that core instability is heightened. In essence, the reason narcissists are so self-centered is that their grandiosity-based personality needs to be constantly reinforced to remain stable.

In the present context, narcissistic rage can take two forms:

I. Explosive - The narcissist attacks everyone in his immediate vicinity and is verbally and psychologically abusive.

II. Pernicious or Passive-Aggressive - The narcissist sulks, gives the silent treatment or is vindictive, plotting how to put the transgressors in their proper place. They can sabotage the work of people whom they regard to be the sources of their mounting wrath.

As described by Ernest Istook, Obama's behavior matches the American Psychiatric Association's definition of passive-aggressive behavior, "a habitual pattern of passive resistance to expected work requirements, opposition, stubbornness, and negativistic attitudes in response to requirements for normal performance levels expected of others." Often, such persons see themselves as blameless victims, projecting fault onto others. Commonly, they follow erratic paths and cause constant conflicts.

Obama is cautious and dithers even on perilous issues like confronting the ISIS threat, not as a result of campaign promises, but because to make any decision risks the reassuring adulation of his political base and a fawning media.

And nothing the narcissist says is ever what he means. Language is simply used as a tool for deception, and manipulation. Everything they do is for show, or only meant in the moment. That's why everything around them seems so chaotic and confusing.

Obama's vindictive and illegal use of the IRS results from his perception that critics are enemies, seeing Republicans as a greater threat to him personally than terrorists. When you are a narcissist, the world looks like it should approve, adore, agree and obey you. Anything less than that seems like an assault and a narcissist feels justified in raging back at it.

No one should expect a significant change in Obama's behavior because narcissists demonstrate an enduring pattern of inflexibility that is pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.

Nevertheless, even narcissists eventually have to be held accountable for their actions.



Obama’s Benghazi Narrative Falls Apart!

A groundbreaking claim has been made by the five commandos who were charged with protecting the CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya.

In a book they are authoring together, these five commandos have admitted what we have all suspected for the past two years: that they were ordered to “stand down” and not rescue Ambassador Chris Stevens and the rest of the inhabitants of the Benghazi Consulate.

Words can’t express how groundbreaking this allegation is.

They heard a consular security agent screaming on the radio, pleading for help. “If you guys do not get here, we are going to die,” he pleaded over the radio.

So the Commandos suited up, got their gear, and jumped in the car. They were only one mile away from the Consulate and felt that they could have affected the outcome of the terrorist attack. But they were stopped. They were prohibited from leaving the CIA facility and were allegedly told to “stand down” multiple times by the CIA’s own Station Chief.

The Obama administration and Congress have both released reports claiming that rescue teams were never ordered to ‘stand down.’ Both branches of government have perpetuated the narrative that there was nothing anyone could have done. We now know that is a complete lie!

It really is this simple. We have suspected for years that our boys on the ground were given ‘stand down’ orders. It simply doesn’t make sense for the administration team to claim that it took so long for trained security personnel to travel one mile to the compound!

These men were given the order to stand down and forced to wait.  They sat and did nothing for almost THIRTY minutes before they disregarded their orders and left anyway.

Imagine how things could have changed if these five men were allowed to launch their rescue mission immediately… imagine how many people might still be alive if they weren’t told to stand down…

Now imagine what it would take for the entire federal government to perpetuate a narrative that was a complete lie!

The Obama administration said that a stand down order was never issued… the military said the same… the CIA as well… even Congress perpetuated the narrative that the administration did all it could…

But the five men on the ground know the truth and they are making sure the world knows as well! They know that they were told to ‘stand down’ and that people died as a result! Had it not been for the multiple ‘stand down’ orders given, the Security Annex Team might have been able to save Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, and the rest of the staff.

In the next week, the House Select Committee on Benghazi will hold its first public hearing. The Democrats and administration bureaucrats are already mudslinging, making claims that the entire investigation is a farce.

They are doing everything they can to perpetuate the narrative that President Obama and his administration did everything they could on that fateful night… They are doing everything they can to shutdown the Congressional investigation…



Meet the Left-Wing Extremist Running for U.S. Senate

Amanda Curtis seeks to replace plagiarist Democrat John Walsh.

Did you hear about the Republican candidate for Senate out West who wants to overthrow the entire American economic system? The one who, when asked about his view on the situation on Iraq, said he needed more time? Who said he couldn’t answer questions about the situation at the Mexican border because “only 11 days ago I was painting my storm windows”?

Of course you didn’t. Because he is a she, and a Democrat. Her name is Amanda Curtis.

You certainly would have heard about a Republican candidate like that, though. He would have been banner-headline material on The Huffington Post, Salon, and other liberal redoubts. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would have given him the business. Op/ed columnists around the country would have held him up as an example of how radical wingnuts had seized control of the GOP.

After all: Any time some random Republican somewhere says something idiotic, you can pretty much count on it making national news. If he or she says something especially stupid (see: Akin, Todd) it’s likely to launch a national debate, in the sense of “debate” meaning “weeks of discussion in which everyone agrees the comment was heinous and keeps saying so, over and over.”

This happens with such regularity there’s even a term for it (coined by Slate’s David Weigel): the Republican Lawmaker Principle. There is, however, no corresponding Democratic Lawmaker Principle—though not because Democrats never say outrageous things. They do, and the conservative blogosphere delights in raking them over the coals for it.

But the broader media generally don’t pick up on Democratic inanities because, viewed through the filter of unconscious liberal bias, the comments are just unfortunate isolated incidents, rather than what dumb Republican comments are seen as: yet more data points supporting the thesis that Those People Are Swivel-Eyed Lunatics. This is true of every dumb Democratic remark, no matter how many occur.

This brings us back to Curtis, a state lawmaker in Montana. Democrats chose her to run for the Senate after the six-month incumbent, John Walsh, was busted for plagiarism.

Curtis has said some unflattering things about gun rights, and Christians, and her desire to punch other lawmakers in the face—all of them in YouTube diaries she broadcast as commentaries on the Montana legislative session. Nothing terribly far-out there. The far-out part is her association with the Wobblies.

The Wobblies are the Industrial Workers of the World, a hard-left union of historical vintage that let the 20th century pass it by. “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common,” the group proclaims. “Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”

Nothing says “modern, forward-thinking progressive” like warmed-over Lenin.

Curtis’ husband is more active in the IWW than she, but her admiration for communist economics doesn’t stop there. Not long ago she replaced her Facebook profile picture with a photo of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, the former chairwoman of the Communist Party USA.

Question: If a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate signified his admiration for the president of the American Nazi Party—or even the John Birch Society—do you think the media would find that at all newsworthy? Sure they would. What if a Republican had written for a newsletter of the Ku Klux Klan, as Curtis has written for the IWW? Ditto. Yet on the rare occasions when news outlets have seen fit to mention such details, they have done so in terms of conservatives “pouncing on” them. Man, those critics have some nerve, don’t they?

Curtis might be a fallback candidate, but that did not stop Montana Democrats from nominating her at a convention—just as Virginia Republicans last year nominated E.W. Jackson, a fire-and-brimstone minister, to be the state’s lieutenant governor. Jackson’s off-the-wall ravings about the sickness inherent in homosexuality, the satanic peril of yoga and so forth turned him into an object of national sport—and he wasn’t even seeking national office.

Curtis, however, is. Will she wind up getting the Jackson treatment before November? It’s possible—but don’t sit on a hot stove while you wait.



A nasty one for vegetarians and other food freaks

Adding soy to your diet could speed up the rate at which breast cancer cells spread, scientists have warned.  Researchers at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York studied 140 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

Half took soy protein powder containing genistein while the other half took a placebo for between seven and 30 days before they had surgery to remove their cancer.

The scientists compared tumour tissues from before and after the operation and found changes in the expressions of certain genes, that are known to promote cell growth, in those women taking the soy supplement.  The findings led them to conclude the soy protein could potentially accelerate the progression of the disease.

The study states: 'These data raise concern that soy may exert a stimulating effect on breast cancer in a sub set of women.'

All those taking part in the study had recently had breast biopsies and were diagnosed with stage one or two breast cancer. They were all scheduled to have a mastectomy or lumpectomy two to three weeks later.

The researchers said it is not yet clear if the effects can be reversed.

Jacqueline Bromberg, co-author of the study, said: 'Although the genes were being expressed, it is not clear that this will translate into actual tumour growth.  'But the concern is that there may be the potential.  'Only 20 per cent of those patients who took the soy had really high levels of the genistein metabolite.'

She said the reasons behind the disparity are unclear, adding that there is no way to predict who would have this reaction after consuming soy.

Of the women with high genistein levels, a few of them experienced changes in a specified set of genes that are known to affect breast cancer cell growth, death, or some aspect of breast cancer pathology, Dr Bromberg, said.

The changes were seen in women who consumed around 51.6 grams of soy - the equivalent of about four cups of soy milk a day.

The researchers concluded those who eat soy regularly could 'reasonably consume that amount' through the course of a day, particularly vegetarians and those who do not eat dairy products.


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


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, 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 08, 2014

The white liberal fantasy collides head-on with the reality of Islam

by Robert Henderson

NB: The territory taken from Iraq and Syria has gone by various titles: ISIS, ISIL and IS. I shall use ISIS standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The present mess in the Middle East and North Africa is largely the creation of the prime political absurdity which lies at the heart of the modern liberal fantasy, namely, that what they call liberal democracy (in truth a politically correct illiberal state) can be manufactured if only the right circumstances are created. This woefully wrongheaded idea reprises today the mistake made during the dissolution of the British Empire. The British withdrawal strategy was simple: for each ex-colony create the formal structures of a parliamentary democracy – parliaments, written constitutions, electoral systems and so on – and then, like a climbing plant covering a trellis, democratic behaviour would grow and wrap itself around the formal structures. It was at best laughably naïve and at worst a cynical fig leaf to cover the unseemly haste with which Britain relinquished control of their colonies.

The reason why the British post-colonial strategy failed is beautifully simple: political systems cannot be self-consciously created. They are organic growths. When it comes to representative government elected on a broad franchise ( a more honest description of the reality than democracy) , such growths are remarkably rare. Look around the world and see how many secure representative political systems there are. The Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand qualify because they have such representative systems and have not experienced violent revolution either at all or for centuries. All are Anglo-Saxon in origin. Who else? Switzerland and Iceland. Being generous we can perhaps add the Scandinavians and Holland. For the rest, including all the major European states, there is not one which has not had governments overthrown by outright violence or unconstitutional means since 1900.

To the rarity of stable and lasting representative government growing organically, can be added the insuperable problem of territories with immense ethnic and racial variety accepting the outcomes of elections with which they disagree. Indeed, such variety is probably the prime reason why representative government is so rare. Such disabling heterogeneity of population was the situation with the colonies Britain freed after 1945 and is the situation with the ethnic, racial and religious kaleidoscope that is the Middle East and North Africa.

A complaint is often made that the European colonial powers caused much of the post-colonial difficulty through their drawing of colonial boundaries which produced territories without a natural national unity. This complaint does not hold water. It is not that the European imperial powers did not draw such boundaries, but rather that it would not have made any general difference where the boundaries were drawn because the same problem would have arisen as a consequence of the exceptionally diverse nature of the lands involved. There were no discrete territories with populations which were large enough and homogeneous enough in race, religion and culture to form a natural nation state.

The fruits of recent Western meddling

The consequences of Western interference since the turn of the century has been uniformly dismal: it has either replaced harsh order with growing chaos or replaced one dictatorship with another. Consider how the present situation in the Middle East and North Africa has come about. First, Bush junior and Blair go gallivanting into Afghanistan and reduce that to a battleground for violent Islam and tribal hatreds and jealousies to play out. From there they decide to meddle in Iraq by invading on the entirely spurious grounds that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the West because he had weapons of mass destruction. That the UN Weapons inspectors reported they had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and asked for more time counted for nothing. Neither did the fact that at the time of the invasion Saddam was being restrained in his behaviour by sanctions and a Western-enforced no-fly zone over the Kurdish areas. Having deposed Saddam and his regime Iraq was placed under a military occupation which went the way of all military occupations, gradual dissolution through the exhaustion of the occupying power.

Then came the miserably entitled Arab Spring, whose fruits have been bitter indeed. Because there are nonatural nation states in the area, the “Arab Spring” was doomed to the failure it has been because the states involved were all fissile territories whose diverse populations were only held in check from internecine fighting by harsh dictators, whether republican or monarchical.

Libya has been reduced to a state of anarchy with rival militias, tribes, gangs – call them what you will- making hay with the weapons made freely available by the overthrow of Gadhafi. With a grim irony Egypt has swapped a covert military dictatorship for an overt military dictatorship, whilst dispensing with an elected if Islamist president on the way. Iraq has lurched into an increasing state of disorder as the US has gradually withdrawn and is now divided between Iraq, Kurdistan and ISIS.

Most gruesomely for Western politicians, the tyrant of Syria Bashir Assad has withstood the attempts, vociferously supported by the West, to destroy him and his regime by the rag-tag and politically indeterminate “Free Syrian Army” and is now through the emergence of ISIS the only plausible obstacle to ISIS ‘ continued existence and expansion. If realpolitik ruled the West would be making common cause with Assad but because they have labelled him a devil they cannot bring themselves to do the sensible thing and make common cause with him so that he can restore some sort of order to Syria.

What can and should be done by the West?

The liberal warmongers are ever more eagerly saying that If the West does not intervene militarily to destroy aggressive Islam then parts of the Middle East will be breeding grounds and safe havens for terrorists to carry their terror into the West.

But if the West does intervene militarily to successfully snuff out ISIS, then the likelihood would be that ISIS members, especially those who come from Western states, would return to their various countries determined to wage terrorist war there. Moreover, the West would be committed to remaining indefinitely in the territory they have taken from ISIS, their very presence being a standing motive for violent Muslims in the West to attack the countries which harbour them.

Nor would the destruction of ISIS in Iraq and Syria be an end of violent Islam creating havens to protect, train and send terrorists into to the West. Afghanistan is ripe to fall to the Taliban once Western military forces are withdrawn. Parts of Pakistan are controlled by violent Islam. Libya is little more than a geographical expression filled with petty warlords and ripe for violent Islam to go to if it is not already there. Deeper into Africa there is the Boko Haram spreading throughout the West. In the East Kenya and Uganda suffer from Muslim terrorist attacks, Ethiopia and Somalia have serious Islamist incursions to deal with while in Sudan violent Islam holds power. It is increasingly difficult to point to parts of Africa which remain untouched by violent Islam.

The plain truth is that even if the West were willing and able to suppress ISIS in Syria and Iraq by force, they could never control violent Islam because violent Islam would simply keep on the move from one accommodating territory to another.

How serious a threat to the West is ISIS?

The potential of ISIS to create a lasting aggressive and powerful Islamic state is grossly overblown. It has taken a great deal of territory very rapidly, but that is unsurprising in a place like the Middle East where there is a good deal of desert and the formal states whose land has been taken were all in some governmental disarray , which is not a recipe for inspiring troops to resolutely fight a determined aggressor such as ISIS. In the case of Iraq the discriminatory behaviour of the Maliki government had seriously alienated the Sunni minority which provided a reason for Iraqi Sunnis to have some fellow feeling with the Sunni ISIS. Moreover, even where there are large numbers of people willing to resist ISIS, as appears to be the case in Kurdistan, that is of little avail if they are equipped with much inferior weaponry and training.

But taking territory is one thing, maintaining control of it quite another. That is particularly the case where the territory conquered has a population which is chronically divided by religion and ethnicity and is spread over several formal states. ISIS need to rapidly show they are up to administering the land they have taken. Easier said than done, especially as they are likely to be engaging in warfare for quite some time to come, both with elements within the territory they have taken and from outside. Terror tactics only take a conqueror go so far. They are not a sufficient basis for ruling.

There is also considerable scope for ISIS to fracture because the land they have captured is exceptionally ethnically and religiously diverse, the ISIS personnel is very cosmopolitan and may come to be resented by even the native Sunnis in the ISIS territory and ISIS will have to fight the remnant of Iraq (with its hostile Shia majority) and Assad’s Syrian Army. There is also the possibility that Iran may join in.

Much has been made of the modern weaponry and auxiliary military equipment ISIS have taken , but the equipment will require considerable expertise to maintain and operate it. Such skills, especially that needed to maintain the equipment, will probably not be available in the quantities needed. Moreover, ISIS will need to buy more modern weaponry, especially munitions, as time goes on and it is not clear who will sell it to them in sufficient quantity and quality.

A ghastly irony for the West, and most particularly the USA, is the fact that they have supplied much of the military equipment which ISIS are using , either because the equipment has been captured from Iraqi forces or because the equipment was supplied by the West to the Syrian rebels fighting Assad, significant numbers of whom share the mentality of ISIS. The fact that ISIS have had the success they have had is unsurprising given the circumstances. Keeping hold of what they have will take up all their energies for the foreseeable future.

The enemy within

The real threat to the West comes not from ISIS but the large Muslim populations in the West which the treacherous and deluded liberal internationalists have allowed to settle as they pursued their fatuous dream of a world without borders or nation states. The last UK Census in 2011 shows 2.7 million people identifying themselves as Muslims (4.8 per cent of the population). This is almost certainly substantially less than the real figure because the Census depends on self-reporting and there is a significant minority of the UK population who never complete the Census form because they are either here illegally or have a mentality which makes them think that giving any information about themselves to a government is dangerous.

How does the West protect itself from homicidal Muslims within its own territory? It would be a next to impossible question to find an adequate answer to even in a country which has meaningful border controls because of the number of Muslims born and bred in the West. In a country such as Britain which effectively has open borders the question becomes not merely hideously difficult but absurd.

In Britain the Coalition government has floundered around talking about removing passports from people trying to leave Britain if they are suspected Jihadis, , the banning from Britain of those who have been in Iraq and Syria, the reintroduction of control orders and, most pathetically, the idea that Muslim coming back from fighting for ISIS can be turned into good British citizens through re-education.

Any action by Western politicians is problematic because as a class they have lost the ability to instinctively act in the national interests of the people they are supposed to represent. They ignore the first duty of a politician in a democracy which is to ask what is best for their own people. Instead their calamitous mentality is that described in Jean Raspail’s “Camp of the Saints” where the response of politicians and the liberal elite generally to the passive-aggressive misery of huge numbers of migrants from the Third World arriving in the West overwhelms the needs of their own people.

But Western elites are becoming seriously afraid of both the danger represented by violent Muslims in their countries and the anger of their native populations . As a consequence there are things being said now by public figures which would have been unthinkable only a few short weeks ago. The one-time Shadow Home Secretary David Davis pushes for British Muslims who go to fight with the likes of Isis to be stripped of their British citizenship regardless of whether this leaves them stateless so that their “trip to Syria is no longer a short violent holiday but a life sentence to the lifestyle they claim to espouse, complete with Sharia law and a desert climate”. The Leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage advocates the same thing while the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey says that “ Multiculturalism has resulted in honour killings, female genital mutilation and rule by Sharia law” and supports the call to remove British citizenship from those who go to join violent Islam. The Mayor London Boris Johnson wants Muslims returning from Syria and Iraq to be considered guilty until proven innocent of terrorist activity, a bald reversal of the ancient right under English law to be considered innocent until proven guilty. .

The journalist Leo McKinstry places the responsibility for the present danger firmly on successive British governments :

“The fact is that extremism has flourished in a climate formed by the twin strategies of mass immigration and multiculturalism. Open borders have led to a phenomenal expansion in Britain’s Muslim population to almost three million, many of the new arrivals hailing from parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where Islamic sectarianism is rife.

At the same time the dogma of cultural diversity has become one of the central obsessions of the state. We are constantly told that we must celebrate the vibrant enrichment of our society. But, by its emphasis on cultural differences and its loathing for traditional British values the doctrine of diversity has been a catastrophe for Britain.

In place of integration it has promoted division and separatism. We are a land increasingly without a mutual sense of belonging or shared national identity. It is little wonder that, according to one recent survey, 26 per cent of Muslims here said they feel no loyalty to Britain.”

The problem is that while the public rhetoric is changing nothing significant alters on the ground. The words change but the circumstances remain much the same. The liberal elites are still paralysed by both political correctness and the ghastly fact that dangerous fifth columns now exist because of their mass immigration policies and the consequent need to suppress native British dissent about its effects. In addition through their policy of multiculturalism the liberal elite has encouraged ethnic and racial minorities to both live culturally apart from and behave in a flagrantly provocative manner towards the native population. The upshot of all this is that those with power in the West dare not admit there is a general problem amongst immigrant communities ( which live largely separate lives in their own communities) because to do so would be to admit that the fault lay with them.

In an attempt to circumvent the danger of being held to account, Western politicians and the mainstream media try to peddle the “violent Muslims are only a tiny percentage of Muslims living amongst us; the vast majority are well educated, peace loving, hardworking law abiding citizens”. This is a dubious proposition in itself when the crime, educational attainment, benefit take up and unemployment statistics show Muslims to be more prone to crime, have below average educational attainment and are more likely to be unemployed or on in-work benefits than the population as a whole. But even if none of those things were true the problem of violent Islam in Britain would still be there because many of the Muslims who have been outed as sharing violent Islam’s ideas are not from the lower reaches of society.

The important thing to understand is that it is never the peaceful minority which counts in these circumstances. What matters is the terrorist minority. They drive the terror and enlist the non-violent to aid them in various ways. The Provisional IRA (PIRA) in Ireland probably never had no more than a thousand people actively engaged in terrorism: sanctioning and planning terrorist attacks, making bombs, planting bombs, killing or maiming those thought to untrustworthy or simply disobedient to PIRA’s will. But there were very large numbers who were willing to provide PIRA with safe houses, to store of weapons, to tell PIRA about informers and come out on the streets at the drop of a hat to protest in the PIRA interest. In addition, the existence of a large population with a sense of victimhood (the Irish Catholics) allowed in Mao’s words the PIRA “guerrilla to move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. “

But there are terrorist and terrorists. There are two radical differences between PIRA and violent Islam. PIRA were not driven by religious fanaticism (it was a Marxist organisation) and its members were drawn from communities which shared similar moral values to those of the British. This meant that when the time came to make a peace of sorts between Britain and Irish Republicans there was a great deal of cultural similarity between the two parties. The representatives of violent Islam, even those born and bred here, will have little fellow feeling with or understanding of the native British population.

The second and most important difference is that the nature of the PIRA and ISIS end games. For PIRA it was a united Ireland. That was a genuinely possibility because the British government accepted that if Northern Ireland voted for union with the Irish Republic they could have it provided the Republic agreed. Although hardline members of PIRA did not want to make peace, many PIRA members did , together with a majority of ordinary republicans . Crucially, the republicans in favour of peace could see it simply as a stepping stone to the unification of Ireland, not as a defeat for their cause. In addition, the demographics of Northern Ireland were heading towards a Catholic and therefore largely republican majority by the time peace was formally made.

Violent Islam does not have an end game which any Western government could concede either in whole or in part. Its practitioners want the overthrow of Western society and the imposition of Islam. There is no conception of compromise. If Britain existed under the control of such people it would be an unforgiving theocracy. Because violent Islam is implacable, no concession short of outright victory for violent Islam will end the violence. If Western governments make concessions such as granting Sharia courts parity with civil courts violent Islam will simply pocket the bribe and march on towards the final end of total dominance.

Where does this leave the West? It leaves the countries with large Muslim populations at perpetual risk from both terrorism and the likelihood of Western elites attempting to appease Muslims by granting them more and more privileges. These risks will increase because Western Muslims have higher birth rates than native Western populations. In addition, further substantial Muslim immigration will probably occur because Western governments will try to placate Muslims by relaxing entry requirements and border controls are always likely to be ineffective . Western black converts to Islam could also swell the numbers significantly.

Is there a silver lining or two amongst the Islamic clouds? Well, at least the realities of the situation the liberal elite have created are becoming impossible to ignore. Most encouragingly, the concept of treason is suddenly back on the political agenda. This is fundamentally important because patriotism is not an optional extra but the glue which sticks a society together. But the storm cloud which cannot be dispersed is the immoveable fact of millions of Muslims living within Western societies who harbour substantial numbers of people who are unquestioningly hostile to the countries in which they reside. That is what rule by the politically correct devotees to internationalism have brought us. It has been an act of the most fundamental treason.



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, September 07, 2014

Pictures, pictures!

I have just gone through my blogs for the first half of this year and picked out what I think are the "best" pictures that appeared in that period.  You can access the result here or here.


Leftist president of France is revealed as an elitist snob – common on the Left 

As well as being a bore, a fornicator and a nincompoop, François Hollande stands accused of being a snob. His former mistress, Valérie Trierweiler, has revealed – along with other peccadilloes too excruciating to recount here – that the man who publicly professes to loathe the rich privately despises the poor. The son of a solidly bourgeois home, Hollande apparently sneered at Miss Trierweiler’s humbler origins, and referred privately to the underprivileged as “les sans-dents”: the toothless.

Miss Trierweiler finds this attitude incongruous in a Leftist politician, which makes me wonder how many Leftist politicians she can have spent time with. Snobbery is a well-established socialist vice. It began with Karl Marx, who could be vicious about the people modern Leftists primly call “the most vulnerable in our society”. The old cadger had no time for such euphemisms.

Alongside decayed roués with dubious means of subsistence and of dubious origin, alongside ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, pimps, porters, literati, organ grinders, ragpickers, knife grinders, tinkers, beggars — in short, the whole indefinite, disintegrated mass which the French call la bohème.

Not all Leftist politicians are snobs, obviously. Some honourably speak to and for their poorest constituents without ever patronising them – Tony Benn was an outstanding example. But others are clandestinely dismissive of the people they purport to represent. Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” remark was a rare – because recorded – glimpse into the way Labour can privately view its core voters.

After a lifetime of observing such hypocrisy, George Orwell – who was a socialist, but no snob – brilliantly portrayed it in Nineteen Eighty-Four. On the one hand, the Party claimed to be on the side of the masses.  But simultaneously, true to the Principles of doublethink, the Party taught that the proles were natural inferiors who must be kept in subjection, like animals, by the application of a few simple rules.

Snobbery is not confined to any party or faction, of course. What seems far more common on the Left, though, is the need to find some inert, subjugated, grateful mass to champion. At first, that mass was supposed to be the industrialised proletariat. But, when working people were enfranchised, they often turned out to have troublingly conservative opinions. The needy politicians then turned to immigrants and other minorities. Annoyingly for them, some of these groups were equally unwilling to play the part allotted to them.

So Lefties began to cast the net wider, searching for people who could be relied on not to contradict the official line: oppressed colonials, Palestinians, black South Africans. Sadly, these groups, too, refused to be either unconditionally grateful or politically correct.

I sometimes wonder whether political neediness explains the popularity of the animal rights movement: here, finally, is a constituency that can be relied on never to gainsay its self-proclaimed champions. Passive, predictable and in need of protection, animals are the perfect political prop.

As for Hollande, the French saw through him long ago. With 13 per cent approval ratings, he is the most unpopular leader in the history of his country (though, in fairness, there were no opinion polls during Charles X’s reign). Some French people may be toothless, but they’re evidently not mindless. They are on the receiving end of  the Euro-correct socialism that is immiserating France, and they know it. Vivent les sans-dents!



American warmongers at work

All Democrats or "progresives"

By Patrick J. Buchanan

About how America became involved in certain wars, many conspiracy theories have been advanced — and some have been proved correct.

When James K. Polk got his declaration of war as Mexico had "shed American blood upon the American soil," Rep. Abraham Lincoln demanded to know the exact spot where it had happened.

And did the Spanish really blow up the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, the casus belli for the Spanish-American War?

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, involving U.S. destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy, remains in dispute. But charges that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked U.S. warships on the high seas led to the 1964 resolution authorizing the war in Vietnam.

In 2003, Americans were stampeded into backing an invasion of Iraq because Saddam Hussein had allegedly been complicit in 9/11, had weapons of mass destruction and was able to douse our East Coast with anthrax.

"(He) lied us into war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it," said Rep. Clare Luce of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, according to many historians, made efforts to provoke German subs into attacking U.S. warships and bring us into the European war through the "back door" of a war with Japan.

This week marks the 75th anniversary of World War II, as last month marked the 100th anniversary of World War I.

Thus, it is a good time for Eugene Windchy's "Twelve American Wars: Nine of Them Avoidable." A compelling chapter in this new book, by the author of "Tonkin Gulf," deals with how Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, schemed to drag America into Britain's war in 1915.

In 1907, Britain launched the Lusitania, "the greyhound of the sea," the fastest passenger ship afloat. In 1913, Churchill called in the head of Cunard and said Lusitania would have to be refitted for a war he predicted would break out in September 1914.

The Lusitania, writes Windchy, was "refitted as a cargo ship with hidden compartments to hold shells and other munitions. By all accounts there were installed revolving gun mounts."

On Aug. 4, 1914, after war was declared, Lusitania went back into dry dock. More space was provided for cargo, and the vessel was now carried on Cunard's books as "an auxiliary cruiser."

Churchill visited the ship in dry dock and referred to Lusitania as "just another 45,000 tons of live bait."

When war began, German submarine captains, to save torpedoes, would surface and permit the crews of cargo ships to scramble into lifeboats, and then they would plant bombs or use gunfire to sink the vessels.

Churchill's response was to outfit merchant ships with hidden guns, order them to ram submarines, and put out "Q-ships," disguised as merchant ships, which would not expose their guns until submarines surfaced.

German naval commanders began to order submarines to sink merchant ships on sight. First Sea Lord Sir John ("Jackie") Fisher said he would have done the same.

Churchill, seeing an opportunity to bring America into Britain's war, wrote the Board of Trade: "It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the United States with Germany. ... We want the traffic — the more the better — and if some of it gets into trouble, the better still."

Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan wanted to warn Americans not to travel aboard British ships. But President Woodrow Wilson, writes Windchy, "said that American citizens had a right to travel on belligerent ships with impunity, even within a war zone," a defiance of common sense and an absurd interpretation of international law.

On May 1, 1915, Lusitania set sail from New York. As Windchy writes, the ship "secretly carried munitions and Canadian troops in civilian clothes, which legally made it fair game for (German) U-boats.

"After the war, Churchill ... admitted that the Lusitania carried a 'small consignment of rifle ammunition and shrapnel shells weighing 173 tons.' New York Customs Collector Dudley Malone told President Wilson that 'practically all her cargo was contraband of various kinds.'"

Future Secretary of State Robert Lansing knew that British passenger ships carried war materiel. German diplomats in New York warned American passengers they were in danger on the Lusitania. And instead of sailing north of Ireland to Liverpool, the Lusitania sailed to the south, into waters known to be the hunting ground of German submarines.

Lusitania blew up and sank in 18 minutes. Munitions may have caused the secondary explosion when the torpedo hit. Some 1,200 people perished, including 128 Americans. America was on fire, ready for war when the next incidents occurred, as they would in 1917 with the sinking of U.S. merchant ships in similar waters.

Had Wilson publicly warned U.S. citizens not to sail on the ships of belligerent nations and forbidden U.S.-flagged merchant ships to carry contraband to nations at war, America might have stayed out of the war, which might have ended in a truce, not a German defeat.

There might have been no Adolf Hitler and no World War II.


By the Way, ObamaCare Is Killing Employer-Based Insurance

When then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously declared in 2010 that Congress had to pass ObamaCare in order “to find out what’s in it,” who knew that the contra-factually named Affordable Care Act would be the unwanted gift that just keeps on giving (or, rather, taking)? Well, actually, everyone who opposed the bill knew – and warned against it. But it’s become increasingly obvious that even the ObamaCare-loving Democrats knew. Only they lied about it. And that’s putting it nicely.

According to Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House special adviser on health policy who was in the inner circle of designing ObamaCare, 80% of employer-provided health coverage will be gone within the next 10 years. And according to research by S&P Capital IQ, that number will be closer to 90%. This isn’t an “oops” side effect of Obama’s health care plan – it was the plan all along.

Of the disappearing health plans, Emanuel said, “It’s going to actually be better for people. They’ll have more choice. Most people who work for an employer and get their coverage through an employer do not have choice.” Of course, what he leaves unsaid is that Barack Obama’s White House firmly believes the government knows what’s “better” for Americans more than Americans do.

Recall, if you will, that Obama criticized a Republican health care proposal during his first campaign, arguing it “would lead to the unraveling of the employer-based health care system. That I don’t think is the kind of change that we need.” Then again, he also repeatedly said, “If you like your plan you can keep you plan.” And we’ve all seen how well that turned out.

Alas, a lot can happen between campaign promises and government takeover. And politicians developing a penchant for truth-telling typically isn’t one of them.

The reason so many employer-based plans will be going the way of Obama’s campaign promises is, under ObamaCare, companies pay a $2,000-per-employee penalty for not providing a government-approved health care plan – far less than the cost of actually providing coverage. But that’s okay, supporters argue, because those who lose their employer-provided coverage will be dumped into the ObamaCare exchange. Of course, that’s exactly where Democrats planned for them to be all along – a government run health care system with “more choices,” as long as those choices are within the limits of what the government deems Americans should want to choose. It’s for your own good.

That truth made it all the more laughable when Obama declared this week, “[P]eople want more control over their lives, not less.” He’s the one taking that control away.

This isn’t to say employer-provided insurance plans are perfect. Written into our tax law for the past seven decades is a provision (born from Word War II wage freezes) that gives tax preference to employer-provided insurance, making the cost of the insurance deductible for employers and not counted as income for employees. The problem, as political analyst Michael Barone points out, is this: “High-earning employees with gold-plated, employer-provided health insurance get deductions that are worth many thousands of dollars. Those without employer-provided health insurance, or low-earners who are among the 40 percent of earners who do not pay income tax, get exactly zero.”

In another column, Barone notes, “A freer market in health insurance means eliminating this tax preference, presumably through a tax credit for those purchasing health insurance on their own.”

This is what Sen. John McCain suggested in 2008 when Obama accused him of yanking the string to unravel employer-based coverage. Which brings us exactly to where we are today thanks to ObamaCare: the unraveling of employer-based coverage, only this time, dishonestly and covertly.

As imperfect as this coverage may be, it’s undoubtedly better than the debacle we are only really beginning to suffer, and eliminating employer coverage is hardly how Obama billed his plan. Then again, his advertising isn’t known for accuracy. Far truer were the warnings that from the beginning ObamaCare was little more than a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. Just watch out. As things on the health care front get even worse, the Left will undoubtedly swoop in with the “real” fix. Forget Greeks bearing gifts. Beware of Democrats bearing promises.



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)