Friday, October 31, 2014

Violence genes may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes

Leftists assure us that poverty is the cause of crime.  Could they be wrong?

The genes for extremely violent behaviour have been discovered by scientists who fear they may be responsible for one in 10 serious crimes.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden analysed the genetic make-up of 895 criminals from Finland to see if violence was in their DNA.

The majority of violent crime is committed by a small group of antisocial, repeat offenders, who seem incapable of rehabilitation.

Now scientists believe they have found which genes are responsible for high levels of rage and violence. They believe that they could be responsible for up to 10 per cent of serious crime in Finland.

The criminals who had committed the most serious crimes, such as murder, were found to have variants of two genes; monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) and cadherin 13 (CDH13).

MAOA is linked to dopamine levels in the brain, a chemical which makes people feel happy and fulfilled. CDH13 is linked to impulse control.

“When compared to the control population, non-violent offenders were not observed to exhibit either variant to a greater degree, indicating that these genetic variants may be specific to extremely violent behaviour,” said lead researcher Professor Jari Tiihonen.

The researchers, whose findings were published online in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, also suggest that the low dopamine levels associated with the MAOA gene may make carriers more aggressive when drunk or on drugs, increasing the risk of violent behaviour.

British scientists said the study could help identify potential criminals early when it was still possible to treat their violent tendencies.

However some British researchers criticised claims that the genes could be responsible for such large amounts of crime in Finland.

Prof John Stein, Emeritus Professor of Physiology, University of Oxford, said "This is a very interesting study with plausible aspects.

“But please do not accept the claims that these alleles are 'responsible for 5-10 per cent of violent offences in Finland'. All they show is that they may contribute 5-10 per cent to the chance of an individual being very violent.

“These alleles are quite common and so environmental factors are probably much more important. For instance simply improving prisoners diets can reduce their violent offending by 37 per cent."

Prof Jan Schnupp, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Oxford, added: "Half the people in your office will carry these genes. Odds are 50/50 that you do. How violent has your day been? To call these alleles "genes for violence" would therefore be a massive exaggeration.

“In combination with many other factors these genes may make it a little harder for you to control violent urges, but they most emphatically do not predetermine you for a life of crime.”



Curbing Obama power grabs

The courts and Senate provide no checks and balances. Could a Republican Senate help?

Paul Driessen

You’ve got to admire the sheer audacity: Democratic Senator Mark Begich telling Alaska voters that he stood up to President Obama and fought for oil drilling and jobs in his state. Maybe he had a few chats.

But he certainly knew his concerns and opinions meant nothing, changed nothing, accomplished nothing. And then he voted 97% of the time with Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Dictator Harry Reid

Reid has kept over 300 bills bottled up, squelched almost all proffered Republican amendments on anything that did move, and used the “nuclear option” to end the longstanding 60-vote rule and wipe out any chance that Republicans could block Obama nominees or prevent the President from packing the vital DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The three new liberal judges on that court can now be counted on to defer to Mr. Obama’s policies and “agency discretion” on future arrogations of power.

Ditto for Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. She bellyached from time to time about offshore drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline. But she also voted with Obama, Reid and their agenda 97% of the time, on everything from ObamaCare to Dodd-Frank to packing the DC Court.

The tally for other Democratic Senators running for reelection is revealing: Hagan (NC) 96% for the Obama agenda, policies and fiats … Merkley (OR) 96% … Pryor (AR) 90% … Shaheen (NH) 99% … Udall (CO) 99% … Warner (VA) 97%

Now they’re telling their constituents, next year will be different. Send me back to Washington, and next year I will stand up to Obama and support letting people keep their doctors and insurance, allowing more domestic drilling and pipelines, promoting economic recovery and fiscal responsibility, curbing the fraud and abuses at the Environmental Protection Agency, tackling Ebola and going after Islamic terrorists.

The IRS, Benghazi, Ebola and Middle East screw-ups and cover-ups seem to have set the tone. These Senators seem willing to say almost anything to get them past the elections. However, their votes have had real consequences for millions of Americans, especially the poor, minority, elderly and working classes they profess to care so much about. They should not escape accountability so easily.

A recent political ad by black Democrat-turned-Republican Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory lays it on the line. “While you dig through the couch looking for gas money,” Guillory says, Mary Landrieu “flies around in private jets funded by taxpayer dollars.” To her, “you are just a vote,” every six years.

Nor do liberal stereotypes fit. The four Democratic House and Senate candidates in Northern Virginia are all well-off, middle-age white guys. Republican candidates include one middle-age white dude, plus two working moms and a black man – who’s also Jewish and an 8-year Marine Corps veteran.

Few of us have any personal animosity toward any of these Democrat Senators. They’re all amiable people. But as President Obama himself says, “my policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.” Those policies have been dragging this country down, and as long as Harry Reid maintains his iron grip on the Senate, there can be no checks and balances or budgetary constraints on the Obama policies.

Messrs. Reid and Obama have made it clear that they have no interest in working with Republicans. Indeed, the President prefers Saul Alinsky tactics of community agitation and interest group divide-and-conquer. He disdains democratic processes and bipartisan compromises, and much prefers to simply legislate, regulate and dictate from the White House and Executive Branch – ignoring or rewriting the clear language of laws and our Constitution whenever and however necessary.

The Train of Abuses and Usurpations gets longer by the week. Environmental Protection Agency actions alone could place virtually all our land, air, water, energy and economy under the control of regulatory ideologues, working closely with radical Big Green activists, billionaires and “charitable” foundations.

Climate. As the planet refuses to cooperate with computer models and White House fear mongering, the EPA simply ignores all contradictory studies and evidence – and continues to operate under assumptions that: carbon dioxide levels dictate climate change; natural forces are irrelevant’ America can easily replace the fossil fuels that provide 82% of its energy; skyrocketing energy prices will have no effect on the economy, jobs or human health and welfare; and slashing America’s CO2 emissions will make a difference, even though China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Poland and other nations refuse to do likewise.

Of course, the real goal was never to stop climate change. It was always to control and “fundamentally transform” our nation’s energy, economic, social and legal structure and institutions, regardless of costs.

Water. Proposed rules are so broadly written that they would cover nearly all “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), based on assertions that they would eventually end up in “navigable” waters: rivers, rivulets, lakes, groundwater, stock ponds, occasional puddles and dry creek beds. In the process, they would also control land use activities on farms, forests and other private property. Friendly, collusive lawsuits by radical environmentalists would further expand this EPA jurisdiction.

Ozone. Almost every US county meets current 2008 ozone standards. Proposed regulations would render the vast majority of them “nonattainment” areas, subject to severe restrictions on economic growth. Even EPA says the rules would cost $100 billion a year. The National Association of Manufacturers puts the cost at $270 billion annually. The impact on people’s jobs, incomes, health and welfare would be huge.

Even bigger ambitions. Clearly not satisfied with these unprecedented usurpations of power, EPA has also launched major “sustainable development,” “environmental justice” and “clean power” initiatives. These deliberately vague and infinitely malleable terms would further expand the agency’s mission far beyond anything previously imaginable or contemplated by EPA’s authorizing legislation.

Other agencies are busily writing new regulations governing Christmas lights, automobile and refrigerator coolants, endangered species guidelines that would block ranching, drilling and pipeline projects, while giving bird and bat-killing wind and solar projects carte blanche – and other activities.

Collusion. A recent Senate Minority Staff Report explains in frightening detail how far-left billionaires, foundations and environmentalist groups actively collude with EPA managers and regulators. EPA in turn happily recruits high-level eco-activists, who then help lobby, guide and control agency policies – and channel millions of taxpayer dollars to pressure groups that promote those policies. The agency also engages in frequent friendly lawsuits with activists, to make policies even more extreme.

A Republican Senate will not guarantee the kind of change needed to end these excesses and get the nation’s economy and employment back on track, especially if certain GOP members remain timid or recalcitrant. (Perhaps DePuy or Stryker could donate some spinal implants?) Presidential vetoes could also pose problems, although strong leadership could often craft bipartisan veto-proof majorities.

House and Senate hearings could grill agency heads under oath – and investigate potential fraud in developing regulations, unethical collusion between agencies and activists, improper agency funding of activist groups, sweetheart lawsuits and other activities. These investigations could form the basis for budget reductions and restrictions, legislation to end mission creep or block specific regulations, and laws requiring congressional approval of “major” regulatory actions costing billions of dollars.

Such actions would also help restore our tripartite system of government. Right now, the Executive Branch is riding roughshod over businesses and citizens alike, and the courts merely rubberstamp agency decisions. Meanwhile, the Legislative Branch is little more than an appendix that writes overly broad laws giving unaccountable bureaucrats unfettered discretion to impose an increasingly intrusive, expensive leftist, centralized government agenda. No wonder our nation is foundering on the rocks.

The upcoming elections could help get the USS United States back on course. Let’s hope they do.



Janet Napolitano Says DACA Balances 'Doing What Is Right' and 'Doing What Is Lawful'

Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told law students Monday that she balanced "doing what is right" and "doing what is lawful," as she pushed through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The controversial policy defers deportation for hundreds of thousands of people who came to the United States illegally as children, allowing them to get work permits and driver's licenses.

"This was an initiative that required a careful navigation between the potentially conflicting dictates of doing what is right, of doing what is lawful, of doing
what is doable, and of doing what is defensible, both in the court of law and, to a lesser degree, the court of public opinion," Napolitano told students at the University of Georgia Law School on Monday.

Napolitano confined her remarks to the past. She said she would not anticipate what President Obama plans to do next. But in his own words, Obama has said he intends to "fix as much of our immigration system" as he can, on his own.

He's widely expected to expand Napolitano's deferred deportation program to millions more illegal immigrants after the midterm election.

Napolitano on Monday explained how she helped "more than 675,000 young people, who were already in this country...come out from the shadows."

Categorically applying "deferred action" to that entire group of young people would have "raised serious questions," she admitted.

"It would run the risk of appearing to make law, and usurping Congress. Thus, it would be crucial, both legally and politically, to underscore that each case would be assessed individually, on its own merits -- similar, but not identical, to how a prosecutor decides to charge a case."

Napolitano said her solution was to require the so-called Dreamers to "step forward individually and apply for deferred status."

"At this point, I could not say with any degree of certainty that we would be able to pull off this approach," Napolitano told the students. "Individualized review of potentially hundreds of thousands of cases would require building complex new systems and processes within the existing bureaucracy – a daunting challenge.

"Who knew how it all would turn out? What I did know was that this was the right thing to do. What I believed was that it was lawful. And, while it would be a heavy lift, I expected it would be doable and, in the end, defensible."

Napolitano said she anticipated legal challenges to the new policy, and she got one from "a handful of immigration agents" who objected to DHS's policy of prosecutorial discretion, which prioritizes the removal of illegal aliens with criminal convictions.



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, October 30, 2014

Another attempt to "psychologize" conservatives -- one which overlooks the obvious

Does the Study of Science Lead to Leftward Leanings?  Not  quite. Key excerpts from the latest article below.  It is difficult to know whare to start in such a rubbishy article but I should note initially that the use of student attitudes to draw great inferences about people in general is an act of faith. In the very first piece of research I ever did (in the mid-60s) I used students and found a correlation of .808 between two variables  -- which is very high.  Being a very skeptical person even then, however, I repeated the research using a sample of Army conscripts, a much more representative group.  The correlation dropped to negligibility. Plainly, you CANNOT draw reliable conclusions from student samples

But does the research below tell us anything about institutions of higher education?  Perhaps it does, though what it shows is obvious and no surprise.  It shows that universities and colleges  are hotbeds of Leftism.  So even some students who do not start out as Leftists eventually become brainwashed into it.  The authors found that in the third and fourth year of study, the students had become more Leftist than they were in the first and second year.

So how come the authors found the effect among science students only?  Probably because the social science and humanities students were already asymptotically Leftist from the outset.  They started out Leftist in their studies so had little room to move further Left.  The authors don't give their results in tabular form so I was not able to check that. It is however a common finding that social science and humanities students are the most Leftist

But even the interpretation of the results as showing us something about academe may be too incautious.  The measuring instruments used by the authors were woeful.  The ad hoc scale they used in Study I had a reliability (alpha) of only .58, which is simply too low to conclude that it is measuring any consistent trait.  It implies that the items had virtually nothing in common.  An alpha of .75 is the normal threshold for a usable research instrument.

And the rest of the research relied on an even  more execrable instument -- the SDO scale, which assumes what it has to prove.  The SDO scale must be one of the most uninsightfully put-together instruments in the psychology literature.  See here for details on that.

So the only really safe conclusion is that the research proves nothing at all


According to a research team led by Harvard University psychologist Christine Ma-Kellams, immersion in the world of science tends to shifts students’ attitudes toward the left side of the political spectrum.

In the Journal of Social and Political Psychology, Ma-Kellams and her colleagues describe four studies that support their thesis. In the first, 196 students from a New England university revealed their ideological positions by responding to 18 statements expressing political opinions.

“Across domains,” the researchers report, “those who are in scientific fields exhibited greater political liberalism compared to those in non-hard-scientific fields.”

Importantly, this was only found for students in their third or fourth year of college. This strongly suggests that, rather than political liberals being attracted to science, it was the hands-on study that made the difference.

The second study featured 100 undergraduates, who expressed their views on three hot-button political issues (same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the Affordable Care Act). They also completed the Social Dominance Orientation Scale, in which they expressed their level of agreement or disagreement with such statements as “Sometimes other groups must be kept in their place,” and “In getting what you want, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups.”

Consistent with the first study, the researchers found that “for those with significant exposure to their discipline (i.e., upperclassmen), studying science is associated with more liberal political attitudes.” Furthermore, they found this was due to a lower level of support for the my-group-deserves-to-dominate positions outlined above.

Additional studies featuring Canadian students and a community sample from the Boston area came to the same conclusions.

“Relative to those studying non-sciences, students in the sciences exhibited greater political liberalism across a variety of domains (including foreign policy, health care, and the economy) and a variety of social issues (gay marriage, affirmative action), as well as in general self-reported liberalism,” Ma-Kellams and her colleagues write.

This, they conclude, is the result of “science’s emphasis on rationality, impartiality, fairness, progress, and the idea that we are to use these rational tools for the mutual benefit of all people in society.”

In one sense, these results are something of a surprise. Given the fact the social sciences involve people and politics more directly, one might think the study of these disciplines would be more likely to shape minds in a more liberal direction. But these students were no more liberal than those majoring in disciplines having nothing to do with science.



States Enact Ebola Quarantines, Obama Vows to Fight Them!

Context: Australia has banned all arrivals from West Africa

We’ve been calling for a moratorium on flights to/from Ebola stricken countries in West Africa. The vast majority of Americans (3 in 4) want a travel ban or, at the very least, force travelers exposed to the disease to spend 21 days in quarantine.

As of this writing, 35 countries have instituted travel bans to/from West Africa. Obama has refused to follow suit.

Now, three states have announced mandatory quarantines for health workers returning from West Africa. Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have all announced their new containment policy.

All three refuse to sit by as potentially infected travelers put their populations at risk.

This comes after Dr. Craig Spencer tested positive for Ebola in New York City. The doctor had recently traveled back to the United States from West Africa after being exposed to Ebola patients. He was told to self-quarantine, but instead, Dr. Spencer traveled across NYC using public transportation, a taxi service, and even went to a bowling alley.

This policy could save lives. But Barack Obama has instructed his government to fight these states tooth-and-nail to overturn the quarantines!

Obama is putting Americans at risk! You must DEMAND that Congress institute quarantines for ALL West African travelers!

The country of Nigeria is now officially Ebola-free. Part of the reason for this is the fact that Nigeria has closed its borders to any country with an Ebola outbreak.

Whether it is illegal aliens, ISIS terrorists, or the Ebola disease, Obama simply refuses to close the border and do what is necessary to protect Americans.

Both New Jersey and New York have seen what happens when “self-quarantined” individuals disobey orders and put the population at risk.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her team from NBC news agreed to “self-quarantine” after returning to New Jersey from West Africa. The team struck a deal with the CDC and NJ officials, agreeing to remain indoors and monitor their temperatures.

But the NBC News Correspondent broke protocol and took members of her team out into Princeton, NJ to go buy lunch, putting an entire city in danger.

We’ve tried it “Obama’s way.” We’ve tried letting infected individuals into the U.S. unchecked. We have tried allowing Ebola health workers to “self-quarantine.”

None of that has worked. That hasn’t stopped Ebola from spreading, nor has it stopped infected individuals from breaking quarantine and putting our country at risk.

And now, Barack H. Obama wants to stop New Jersey, New York, and Illinois from quarantining Ebola workers?

Every time I turn around, it seems that Barack Obama has discovered a new policy to put Americans at risk.

Congress MUST act and institute a travel ban and mandatory quarantines for returning health workers. Polling shows that 75% of all Americans believe this is a common-sense response. Yet, the White House and Congressional Democrats continue to push to allow the Ebola virus into the country!

We must stop air travel to/from these countries NOW! We must force returning health workers to enter quarantine NOW!



Life under Obama sucks (except for the wealthy). And the numbers prove it

America is so over Obama. In 2008, the media and a majority of the voters were head-over-heels in love with the man who told them that “yes, we can” overcome war and recession.

By 2012, the amour had cooled but they were willing to give four more years to the guy who was – if nothing else – way hotter than Mitt Romney.  But now it’s 2014 and the passion is totally gone.

The reason? Quality of life is poor. Starting at the very bottom, poverty levels point to stagnation. In January 2009 the poverty rate stood at 14.3 per cent. It rose to around 15 per cent and then fell back down in 2013 to 14.5 per cent (but the actual number of those in poverty remained the same from 2012). Things are worse for black Americans, whose poverty rate has risen in that same period from 25.8 per cent to 27.2 per cent.

Not everyone’s doing badly, of course. The richest 10 per cent are the only group – the only group! – who saw their median income rise from 2010-2013. As the Washington Times points out, that’s the same period in which Barack Robin Hood Obama won re-election painting the GOP as corporate vampires. The richest people have seen their share of taxes decline quite dramatically under this “socialist” president – while, interestingly, the share of federal income tax paid by the middle class has, according to the IRS, slightly risen.

According to the Federal Reserve, middle-class incomes stagnated from 2010-2013 while incomes at the bottom end of the scale continued to fall. Yet its latest finances survey discovered a fascinating anomaly: mean income is up while median income is down. The explanation is that while most Americans’ financial performance remains weak, the very rich are doing splendidly. The scale of inequality of appalling: “The wealth share of the top 3 percent climbed from 44.8 percent in 1989 to 51.8 percent in 2007 and 54.4 percent in 2013. … The share of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent fell from 33.2 percent in 1989 to 24.7 percent in 2013.”

Finally, even the much praised unemployment rates can be misleading. While the number seeking work might be falling, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve found some. In January 2009, the labour force participation rate was 65.7 per cent; today it is 62.7 per cent. In other words, a lot of Americans have simply withdrawn from the labour market.

In short, the middle class has good reasons to be frustrated with Obamanomics – especially given that the President has so often claimed to be on the side of the little man but has largely operated to the benefit of the super rich. In fact, I wouldn’t blame Mitt Romney if he secretly cast a ballot for Obama in 2012.

Add to that the administration’s quixotic handling of the Ebola crisis or its vacillating Middle East policy and you get the sense of a regime that has largely given up. Not that it was particularly “engaged” in the beginning. Barack Obama was elected in 2008 less on the back of a programme than a personality. He embodied rather than articulated change. As such, his election did mark a revolution in American race relations but it did not represent a serious effort at governmental reform.

With the notable – and controversial – exceptions of Obamacare and gay marriage (the latter led entirely by the courts and not the administration), liberals should be asking themselves what Obama has ever done for them. Conservatives will be asking what he’s done to the economy, having over-regulated and over-spent to little obvious advantage. I’m not so sure we can call the Obama administration liberal rather than just chaotic and vain.



Clinton Says Businesses Don't Create Jobs

While campaigning in Massachusetts for gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Hillary Clinton inadvertently revealed exactly how she views American free enterprise. During the rally, the soon-to-be presidential candidate declared, “Don’t let anybody tell you that, uh, you know, it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”

Oh how wrong she is.

After catching heat for sounding eerily reminiscent of Barak Obama and his infamous “you didn’t build that” line, Clinton clarified her comment. According to one of her aides, she had meant to “talk about tax breaks for corporations and businesses in that sentence, which led into a line about how trickle-down economics had ‘failed spectacularly’ – a sentiment she has long held.”

Despite that “clarification,” Clinton’s rhetoric on economic policy is in line with what the Left wants to hear. Supposing that Clinton will seek the Democrat nomination for president in 2016, she might have to contend with a challenge from her left by progressive populist Elizabeth Warren. According to columnist Timothy Carney, “Clinton is a corporatist,” while “Warren is a populist.” In order to head off Warren’s challenge, Clinton will have to say populist things.

In the same speech, Clinton derided the economic policies of Ronald Reagan, which were the main reason for the economic boom and prosperity enjoyed during her husband’s tenure. “Trickle-down economics,” she sneered, “failed rather spectacularly.”

The truth is just the opposite. Reagan successfully reversed Jimmy Carter’s economic malaise. Reagan wanted government to get out of the way so companies and individuals could prosper. To do that, he implemented massive tax reductions, deregulation and anti-inflation monetary policies, which brought inflation down to 3.2% by 1983 and unleashed a historic period of economic growth.

Instead of learning from the economic success during the Reagan years, however, Clinton advocates the opposite. If she wins the Democrat nomination and, heaven forbid, is elected president, we can expect a continuance of Obama’s failed economic policy.



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, October 29, 2014

IRS Confiscating Bank Accounts of Small Business Owners Without Evidence of a Crime

The Internal Revenue Service, still embroiled in controversy over the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups under the leadership of Lois Lerner, is abusing agency rules that allow for the confiscation of bank accounts without evidence of a crime, taking the concept of "guilty until proven innocent" to a whole new extreme by failing to distinguish lawful small business owners from money launderers and illegal drug operations.

According to a report published in the New York Times, the IRS has been confiscating private funds belonging to small business owners based on "suspicions," not evidence of a crime.

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent.

Many give up. The majority of people targeted by the IRS unfairly give up, which is exactly why this abuse of power and government overreach is unacceptable. It is impossible to fight back against the most powerful agency that exists within the federal government. With one confiscation, the IRS destroys the lives of productive, law abiding, middle-class American citizens. The worst part? The IRS has made this a habit. More on this from Jazz Shaw:

According to their records, Ms. Hinders has still yet to be charged with any crime, but has gone into debt while attempting to get the money returned. And she’s not the only one they turned up. The IRS used this tactic 639 in 2012 alone, with only 20% of those cases ever being prosecuted.

Another interesting item of note show up here. When such funds are seized, law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited. If that doesn’t set off some red flags for you, nothing will.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz has repeatedly called for the elimination of the IRS. The revelations and stories of IRS abuse in this manner are just the latest examples of why he is absolutely correct.



A logic gap on the 'gender gap' in politics

by Jeff Jacoby

ARE YOU voting for Charlie Baker for governor, sweetheart? He's been trying hard to win your support, in part through the familiar technique of highlighting those who support him already. For if there's one thing the Republican gubernatorial candidate wants you to know, it's that plenty of women do indeed support him.

There is a "Women for Charlie" Facebook page and a "Women for Charlie" photo gallery. There was a "Women for Charlie" reception in West Roxbury last night, and a "Women for Charlie" fundraiser in the South End last month. "Women for Charlie" phone banks organize call centers every Wednesday night. There was even a recent drawing for "a basket of W4C goodies," complete with "Women for Charlie" T-shirts and earrings. Needless to say, there is a "Women for Charlie" link atop every page of the Baker campaign website.

All of which makes good sense — assuming you believe that biology is political destiny, and that a candidate who loses the women's vote loses the election.

But biology isn't destiny, and it's patronizing or cynical to act as if it were. Candidates win elections all the time without winning a majority of women. Even Republican candidates. Even in Massachusetts.

For decades, pundits and politicos have harped on the "gender gap" in American politics, which is widely understood to mean that Republicans are crippled on Election Day by their lack of appeal to women. It is true enough that women (especially unmarried women) are more likely to vote for Democrats. But it's also true that men are more likely to vote for Republicans — a counter-gap that has spelled defeat for any number of Democratic hopefuls. At the presidential level, Democratic candidates have attracted more women's votes than their GOP opponents in each election since 1980, yet Republicans have won the White House in five of those nine races

The gender gap hasn't been fatal to GOP hopes at the state level, either.

"In every governor's race of the 1990s, the male vote for the Republican candidate exceeded the female vote for the Democratic candidate, thus producing a net GOP advantage," wrote Elaine Kamarck, a former senior staffer in the Clinton White House, in a 2003 CommonWealth magazine analysis of Massachusetts politics. A Boston Globe story in September on how Baker and Martha Coakley are waging a "war for women's votes this fall" was accompanied by a bar graph that usefully broke down the vote by candidate and gender in six hard-fought marquee Massachusetts races since 1998. In four of those statewide races, the candidate who won more men's votes won the election — and three of the four were Republicans. Only twice did a Democrat win without a majority of male voters: when Governor Deval Patrick turned back Baker's challenge in 2010, and when Elizabeth Warren successfully ousted Senator Scott Brown in 2012.

So why the obsessive focus on the GOP's need to do better among women? If the goal is to win elections, Republicans would presumably do just as well to play to their strength, concentrating on boosting their share of men's votes even higher. Alternatively, Democrats should be fretting about their man problem at least as much as the other team keeps agonizing over its woman problem. Where is the "Men for Martha" Facebook page? Why isn't the attorney general grabbing every opportunity to explain why a Coakley administration will be a boon for Massachusetts men?

Barbara Anderson, the intrepid director of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a battle-scarred veteran of Massachusetts politics going back to the fight for Proposition 2½, strongly backs Baker for governor. But she refused to attend a recent "Women for Charlie" event, she writes in the Salem News, "because I don't do events that begin 'Women for' anyone." Anderson doesn't want politicians to see her first and foremost as a member of her sex, or to be pandered to on that account. Why would anyone? She and Coakley agree on nothing and have little in common "other than the reproductive system," Anderson writes. "So why would political consultants assume other women would support either one of us as if we were interchangeable?"

Exactly right. The gender gap is real, and it's likely to be a feature of American politics for years to come. It is one of many discrepancies that make the sexes interesting, maddening, or perplexing to each other. But it is only a tendency, not even a rule of thumb. Plenty of women vote Republican; plenty of men vote Democratic. There are far stronger influences on voting choices than the presence or absence of a Y chromosome — political ideology, religion, and marital status, to name just three. Your gender is a silly reason to vote for any candidate. It's an even worse reason for any candidate to ask for your vote.



The Real Story on How Much Obamacare Increased Coverage

We now have the Medicaid and private-market health insurance enrollment data for the second quarter of 2014 needed to complete the picture of how Obamacare’s rollout affected coverage.

What we’ve learned is that the Obamacare gains in coverage were largely a result of the Medicaid expansion and that most of the gain in private coverage through the government exchanges was offset by a decline in employer-based coverage. In other words, it is likely that most of the people who got coverage through the exchanges were already insured.

The second quarter data captures enrollments that occurred during the last two months of the open enrollment period, or which were otherwise delayed due to the numerous problems experienced by the exchanges, and so did not take effect until after the end of the first quarter.

Our analysis of the data is reported in more detail in our latest paper, but our key findings are that in the first half of 2014:

Enrollment in individual-market plans (both on and off the exchanges) increased by 6,254,564 individuals.

Enrollment in private employer-sponsored group plans declined by 3,788,978 individuals.

In the states implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 5,716,977 individuals.

In the states not implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, enrollment in Medicaid grew by 355,674 individuals.

Applying a little arithmetic to those four key data points yields the following observations:

The drop in employment-based coverage offset 61 percent of the gains in individual-market coverage, for a net increase in private-sector coverage of 2,465,586 individuals.

Total Medicaid enrollment increased by 6,072,651 individuals, with 94 percent of that growth occurring in the states that adopted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

The total, net increase in health insurance coverage (private-market and Medicaid combined) during the first half of 2014 was 8,538,237 individuals, but 71 percent of that coverage gain was attributable to Obamacare expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults

When it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.

Thus, while most of the attention this year focused on the new health insurance exchanges, the data indicate that a significant share of exchange enrollments were likely the result of a substitution effect—meaning that most of those who enrolled in new coverage through the exchanges already had coverage through an individual-market or employer-group plan.

Given that increased enrollment in Medicaid accounted for 71 percent of the net growth in health insurance coverage during the first half of 2014, the inescapable conclusion is that, at least when it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.

The 2015 exchange open enrollment period is scheduled to start less than a month from now (on Nov. 15), while enrollment in state Medicaid programs occurs year round. When the resulting enrollment data for the next phase of Obamacare become available it will be interesting to learn:

The share of 2015 exchange enrollments that represent new applicants, as opposed to reenrollments by individuals who obtained exchange coverage in 2014;

Whether the number of Americans with individual market coverage continues to grow, and whether the number of those with private employer-group coverage continues to decline;

and If expanding Medicaid to able-bodied, working-age adults continues to be the principal source of coverage growth under Obamacare.



Tesla blocked by bipartisan cronies in Michigan

Tesla Motors, the American car maker created in 2003 by “engineers who set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome,” has been banned from opening stores in Michigan to advertise and sell its vehicles.

The “anti-Tesla” bill prevents auto makers like Tesla, who set up shop exclusively through regional stores and sell directly to the customer, from cutting out the middle man when competing with established car companies selling through the traditional franchised dealerships.

The new law, pushed unsurprisingly by General Motors and car dealer associations, was signed by into law by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder after passing the state legislature with a single dissenting vote.

This important, anticompetitive law proves exactly why Michigan automobile innovation is dying at the hand of bipartisan cronies unwilling to allow auto makers adapt to a new business environments.

Arguments in support of the law are silly when put to the test of common sense. Proponents of the ban most often say that car dealerships are best for the consumer because the inherent competitive nature of inter-dealership relationships and that a company selling direct would have too much negotiating leverage over buyers.

So imagine a company (say, for instance, a major tech company named after a popular fruit) that designs and sells a high-end product that never goes on sale while competing with products sold primarily through third-party retailers. Yet, somehow, the same proponents of anti-Tesla laws across the country haven’t signed on to legislation banning Apple from doing the exact same thing by selling Apple products and merchandise through the Apple Store — because it would be ridiculous government interference.

Yet, for some indiscernible reason, automobiles are deemed a transcendent product that can only be sold by big government-approved, traditional means of franchised dealerships.

“Tesla is selling a new product with a new technology,” the company said of the new law in a statement. “The evidence is overwhelming that a traditional dealer-based approach does not work for electric cars.”

Further, Democrats who support this bill betray the global warming alarmism religiously adhered to by members of their party. Kill off the coal industry? No problem. Allow fully electric cars to be sold directly to drivers so that an electric car company can take market share from the gas-guzzling competition? No way!

Republican supporters betray the limited government, free market principles they claim to support. The automobile industry may be on the cusp of dramatic change, and they of all parties should understand the damaging nature of government interference for special interests. But for those concerned first and foremost with special interests, donor dollars from GM will flow far deeper than any Tesla contributions for Michigan state legislators.

The bottom line is that government should have no business telling companies like Tesla, who are innovating and risking tens of billions of dollars in the auto market, how they should conduct their business or sales strategies.

Consumers benefit far more, especially in the long term, when industries explore diverse methods of attracting the consumer’s dollar. Special interests (GM, Michigan dealership associations) will spend millions to maintain the status quo, telling consumers that their vice grip on the market is what’s best all the way to the bank. It’s up to the people’s representatives to know better.



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, October 28, 2014

A silly little Leftist lady tries to "psychologize" conservatives

One does not expect much in the way of profundity from the  crusading Australian Leftist organ, "New Matilda", but a rather long diatribe just up there is particularly feeble.  Author Lissa Johnson starts out claiming that conservatives are psychopaths but gives neither reasoning nor evidence that could lead to that conclusion.  She particularly targets Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Prime Minister.

So what psychopathic characteristics does Mr Abbott show?  Is he, for instance, extremely self centred?  Seeing Mr Abbott has for many years taken substantial time out to work hands-on in Aboriginal communities, creating and upgrading facilities for the use of the community's people, that accusation has to earn a resounding "Not Guilty" verdict.  I know of no Leftist who has shown anything like Mr Abbott's personal committment to Aboriginal welfare.  It is because of that committment that the reviled Prof. Spurr called Abbott an "Abo lover".

So what about the various other attributes of the psychopath?  Ms Johnson is a clinical psychologist so she should know them well. Which of those does she find among conservatives?  She does not say.  She offers no evidence for her assertion.  What she does do is however amusing.  She offers a survey of the psychological literature on the psychology of conservatism.  And her survey is a broadly  accurate one.  But nowhere in that literature are conservatives accused of psychopathy!  Her own literature survey refutes her opening assertion!  The evidence that Leftists are pychopathic is however abundant.

So let us look at the psychology literature Ms Johnson believes in.  The big problem with it is that it is almost  entirely written by Leftists --  with all the lack of ethics and objectivity that one expects from that.  The author in that literature most favoured by Ms Johnson is the amusing John Jost, senior author of a paper that purported to be a meta-analysis of the literature on the psychology of conservatism, and which claimed, inter alia, that Stalin, Khrushchev and Castro were conservatives!

And one of his co-authors was the anti-scientist Frank Sulloway, who tried to use litigation to suppress publication of a research report that contested one of his theories.  Leftist attempts to suppress speech that they disagree with are notorious (See TONGUE-TIED) but Sulloway stands out even in that company.

And suppressing contrary evidence was Jost's bag too.  His article purported to be a meta-analysis and should, as such, have offered a comprehensive view of the relevant literature.  It did not.  It omitted about half of the relevant research.  Which half?  The half that disagreed with his foreordained conclusions, of course!  Any hope of finding truth in the writings of Prof. Jost and his ilk is therefore highly likely to be disappointed.

And even if one conceded every claim about conservatives made by Leftist psychologists, the gruel is thin. They have such a lot of trouble finding something wrong with conservatives that they confine themselves almost entirely to cognitive style variables.  And such variables can be seen in a variety of lights. Even Jost ended up admitting that.  For instance, one of the earliest accusations hurled at conservatives was that they are "intolerant of ambiguity".  But that can equally be parsed as showing that conservatives seek order.  And seeking order in natural phenomena is precisely what real scientists do.  The idea that such a cognitive style is in any way aberrant is simply ludicrous.

I in fact have had many papers published in the academic literature on cognitive style research and repeatedly found that the measuring instuments used fell far short of accepted psychometric standards.  So even the literature that Jost & Co. reviewed was inadequate to support their conclusions.  My most recent article in that genre is here

And I would be remiss if I did not take some note of two more of Ms Johnson's academic inspirations:  Altemeyer's RWA research and the SDO scale associated with Jim Sidanius.  Both are fairly hilarious pieces of work, as I show here in the case of SDO and most recently here in the case of Altemeyer.

The unfortunate Ms Johnson is simply credulous.  But Leftists believe what they want to believe anyway, and damn the evidence


The modern-day Left dislike patriotism

By TANVEER AHMED (An Australian psychiatrist of Bangladeshi origin)

“IT is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during God Save the King than of stealing from a poor box.” So wrote George Orwell. His sentiments could scarcely be more applicable in modern Australia.

On patriotism, as with other national characteristics and policy strategies, Australia sits between individualist, nationalist America and collectivist, patri­otically reluctant Europe.

Recent stormy debate over a T-shirt bearing an Australian flag and the slogan ‘Love it — or leave’ illustrates how difficult it is for Australian progressives to embrace outward displays of patriotism, lest they be stained by, or confused with, chest-beating hyper­masculinity or perceived exclusion of minority groups.

Patriotism is a dirty word. Indeed, hip-hop artist Matt Colwell not only labelled the Australian flag “racist” on the ABC’s Q&A, he said later: “The way those people have used the flag has so tarnished the flag for me personally that it stands for a sort of swastika symbol in my mind.”

American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt writes in The Righteous Mind that conservatives have a broader matrix of moral worlds than progressives, who are skewed towards caring for the weak and distributing wealth. He compiled a catalogue of six fundamental ideas that commonly undergird moral systems: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity.

When psychologists talk about authority, loyalty and sanctity, those who identify with the Left spurn these ideas as the seeds of racism, sexism and homophobia.

Two world wars left a deep scar on the European psyche, especially on the notion of nationalism, which was seen as causing the rise of fascist Italy and Germany.

This ambivalence spawned a belief that countries such as Britain should be a culturally blank canvas; that patriotism is an old fashioned trapping of empire and countries such as Britain could be shaped afresh with new cultures living side by side in unity.

While we may lack the imperial guilt, there can be little doubt this view is apparent in Australia, perhaps even more so given our relative youth and more malleable historical and cultural foundations.

Orwell made a clear distinction between nationalism and patriotism.

He qualified nationalism as “the worst enemy of peace”, the belief one’s country was sup­erior to others while patriotism was an attachment to and admiration of a nation’s way of life and “of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally”.

While Islamic terrorism is attractive to a very small proportion of the population, it highlights a weakness of liberal democracies in their lukewarm, sometimes conflicted promotion of a collective identity.

The gap for Islamists is filled by the fierce transnational identity that the Islamic notion of the ummah can build, a piety so strong they are prepared to sacrifice their lives. Macabre, evil and disgusting the actions may be, but the intensity of belief is in stark contrast to the relative apathy of mild-mannered secular atheists.

French philosopher Michel Onfray said in an interview last year on the topic of the decline of the West: “Who is ready to die for the values of the West or the values of the Enlightenment?”

Onfray questions the will of Westerners to fight for anything, believing we have been numbed by consumerism in a secular age that creates no attachment to God and country.

The strong patriotism of the US that integrates its extremely diverse population so successfully may explain why so few American-Muslims, as a proportion of the population, have gone to fight in Syria, compared with many thousands from Europe. The several hundred estimated to have travelled from Australia, as a percentage of our Muslim population, are many multiples greater than in America.

While an Australian republic is traditionally derided in conservative circles, there is a direct correlation with Tony Abbott’s Team Australia rhetoric and the intensification of patriotism a republic is likely to promote. It holds promise as a key plank in fostering a greater collective identity.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane championed a greater patriotism for the Left in his 2009 book Reclaiming Patriotism: Nation-Building for Australian Progressives. The reaction to a harmless T-shirt promoting love of country suggests the task has a considerable way to go.



Bureaucrat Accountability 101: Retire Early

Why get fired when you can retire?  Lest you think the Veterans Affairs scandal resolved itself and corruption fled of its own accord, it didn’t. What did flee, however, are VA employees involved in the scandal. The evaded the pink slip by retiring. How convenient.

The latest case in point is Susan Taylor, a former deputy chief procurement officer and one of four VA officials “proposed for removal” due to unprofessional conduct. But removed she wasn’t. You see, when Congress passed that VA reform bill over the summer, theoretically making it easier to fire or demote senior executives for “poor performance and misconduct,” VA bureaucrats were none too pleased with the idea of accountability for employees. So the agency created another process to give advance notice to employees who may be fired. Those so notified have five days to retire or otherwise leave of their own accord instead of being fired.

Naturally, faced with getting canned or retiring with full benefits, it’s a no-brainer. So, when advised she had been “proposed for removal,” Taylor instead wrote a letter, stating, “[A]fter 29 years of federal service, I have decided to resign and retire, effective Oct. 14th.” How proactive of her.

But she’s not the only one evading accountability, and this isn't a problem limited to the VA. Remember Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal? She opted for a cushy retirement, too.

This problem is widespread. The government is so incapable of firing people that it’s just putting them on paid leave, in some cases for several years. According to a 62-page report published this week by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), taxpayers forked out more than $700 million to fund paid leave for some 57,000 federal employees -- just for fiscal years 2011-2013. Of these, 53,000 were on paid leave for one to three months, 4,018 for three months to one year and 263 for one to three years. Who needs unemployment benefits when you can find a job with the government and get paid to do nothing?

Here’s the clincher: Some of these employees were on paid leave because they were being investigated for alleged misconduct or criminal acts. Nothing like getting paid to stay home ... while under investigation ... for three years. Nice "work" if you can get it. What’s worse (if that's possible) is that in some cases agencies couldn’t even give a reason the employees received the amount of paid leave they did.

It’s ridiculous, really. Because the government has a seeming inability to fire anyone, we the taxpayers keep paying their salaries. As James Sherk, Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics, recently testified before Congress, “Managers who wish to fire problematic employees, whether because of misconduct or poor performance, must go through draining and time-consuming procedures that take about a year and a half. Consequently the federal government very rarely fires its employees, even when their performance or conduct justifies it. In fiscal year (FY) 2013 the federal government terminated the employment of just 0.26 percent of its tenured workforce for performance or misconduct -- a rate one-fifth that of monthly private-sector layoffs.”

So because of the government’s unparalleled ineptitude and inbred aversion to accountability, incompetent and perhaps even criminal employees avoid firing, collect a paycheck while doing nothing, or write nice retirement letters.

But please don’t claim a smidgeon of corruption. No, not one smidgeon.



Top Ten List of America's Stupidity

Of course we look like idiots .... because we are

Number 10 Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a $35,000.00 per plate Obama campaign fund-raising event.

Number 9 Only in America ...could people claim that the government still discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a black Attorney General and roughly 20% of the federal workforce is black while only 14% of the population is black 40+% of all federal entitlements goes to black Americans - 3X the rate that go to whites, 5X the rate that go to Hispanics!

Number 8 Only in America ...could they have had the two people most responsible for our tax code, Timothy Geithner (the head of the Treasury Department) and Charles Rangel (who once ran the Ways and Means Committee), BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.

Number 7 Only in America ...can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed by the backlash.

Number 6 Only in America...would they make people who want to legally become American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege, while they discuss letting anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just 'magically' become American citizens (probably should be number one).

Number 5 Only in America ....could the people who believe in balancing the budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as EXTREMISTS.

Number 4 Only in America ...could you need to present a driver's license to cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

Number 3 Only in America ...could people demand the government investigate whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. Oil company(Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).

Number 2 Only in America... could you collect more tax dollars from the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars more than it has per year - for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

And Number 1 Only in America...could the rich people- who pay 86% of all income taxes - be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't pay any income taxes at all.

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, October 27, 2014

Shoes to fill


Liberals Push to Regulate and Silence the Conservative Movement

Joe Otto

The day has finally come… Ann M. Ravel, a Democrat and Vice Chair at the Federal Election Commission, announced her plans to begin regulating conservative websites and news sources. “A reexamination of the commission’s approach to the internet and other emerging technologies is long over due,” she said.

Here at Conservative Daily, we reach 30-50 THOUSAND people every day just by email alone. Now, I know that we are not your only source for news, but I’ve looked over the proposals and this is a serious threat to the Conservative movement as a whole!

At the heart of this is the Democrats’ desire to dismantle Conservative online news sources and regulate them whenever they support/oppose political candidates. Under the proposed rule change, the FEC would treat political content, like videos, the same as paid political television ads.

Believe it or not, this is the natural evolution of the Democrat’s War on Free Speech. Harry Reid tried to push through a Constitutional amendment to change the First Amendment and restrict political speech, but that didn’t work. So now, the FEC is doing his bidding!

This all stems from a 2006 FEC ruling on whether a free political video posted online should be regulated the same as paid political advertising. The FEC was split 3-3 on whether an Ohio anti-Obama political campaign violated campaign finance rules when it failed to disclose its finances.

Even though the First Amendment protects the rights of individuals and organizations to engage in political speech, Liberals in the FEC want to restrict and tax anytime someone uses the internet to promote the Conservative agenda!  This is absolutely criminal!

It’s not hard to figure out the natural progression of this. If a free YouTube video can be regulated the same as paid political advertising, then no form of political speech is safe!

These types of regulations don’t make the country safer… they are designed to make it as hard as possible to participate in the political process.

If Liberals in the FEC get their way, we will be out of business… All conservative online news sources will be regulated out of existence!

The only way that these Liberals can win is if they silence their opposition. This is shameful and this scheme must be stopped!

This is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984… The first step towards controlling a population is controlling the news sources they have access to.

Democrats know they can’t win the debate; they know that America cannot physically afford to implement their social engineering programs. All the polling and evidence suggests that the Democrat Party is going to get shellacked in a week and a half when Americans go to the polls.

But instead of changing their platform and adjusting to be more competitive, the Left just wants to control the debate and regulate what information you have access to on a daily basis!

This is one of the greatest threats to the republic that has emerged in my lifetime. If we don’t put a stop to this now, the entire Conservative movement could be dismantled in a matter of weeks.

No more Mark Levin or other Conservative radio shows… no more Fox News commentary… and no more Conservative Daily advocacy alerts to your inbox… This is important! We can put a stop to this right now, but you need to raise your voice and demand it.

But why stop there? What’s to say that the FEC won’t also regulate individual speech?

What’s to say you won’t be silenced because of my political beliefs or be taxed as if your political speech is a paid endorsement?

Without a serious public outcry, Obama’s lackeys in the FEC will roll out these crippling regulations. You MUST raise your voice and force Congress to intervene and stop it!  Only you can protect Conservative media and DEMAND that Congress stop the FEC from introducing burdensome regulations!

Fighting for our lives



Promised savings from grouped medical practice look increasingly unlikely to occur

For several years, the Obama administration has been touting accountable care organizations (ACOs) as a big part of its proposed solution to rising healthcare costs, particularly in Medicare. Early results suggest yet another disconnect between the promise and the reality.

The basic concept of an ACO is fairly simple: A group of doctors and medical facilities agree to coordinate their efforts in an attempt to improve care while cutting costs, and they share in any savings if costs decline or grow less than expected.

In theory there's nothing wrong with this, but in today's bureaucratic, government-directed health system, as simple an idea as "doctors should work together" gets turned into a system rife with unintended consequences and poor outcomes.

As set up under Obamacare and implemented through Medicare, ACOs are in many ways indistinguishable from health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Doctors and facilities are given a limited amount of money to provide care to patients and are expected to manage treatment in order to come in under budget.

This model wasn’t very popular in the 1990s because it gave doctors and medical facilities a powerful incentive to withhold treatment or use lower-cost options than what the doctor believed was the most appropriate treatment.

Why the Obama administration and congressional Democrats jumped on the ACO bandwagon isn’t clear, but I do have two guesses.

First, it fits with their view that central planning is vital to any endeavor. Every time you hear politicians moan about “fragmented care,” what they mean is “bureaucrats aren't in charge.”

ACOs supposedly reduce this fragmentation by bringing all decision-making regarding a patient under one roof, carefully supervised by people who may not know the patient but do know what the proposed treatments for that person will do to the bottom line and their bonuses.

Second, because ACOs supposedly save money, it allowed the planners of Obamacare to spin their abacuses and proclaim the president’s health care overhaul would save billions of dollars over the long run.

Reality now intrudes. Recently released information from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows a wide range of results, with some ACOs showing savings of up to 7 percent while others had spending increase by 5.4 percent. Several of the ACOs that enrolled in Medicare’s Shared Savings Program have dropped out. It’s also important to note many of the ACOs enrolling in the program were among those most likely to perform best, because they had embraced the idea years ago and had experience operating under this model of care.

Another problem with the ACO concept is it is accelerating the trend of hospitals purchasing medical practices, driving up costs because insurers and government programs offer higher reimbursements for hospital-based care.

These outcomes don’t surprise most people who have closely followed ACOs. A November 2012 article in Health Affairs by researchers Lawton Burns and Mark Pauly, for example, observed, “accountable care organizations have limited and uncertain impact, especially on cost savings,” and they “provide little support” for the belief they will limit Medicare spending growth.

It may not be on the scale of “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” or the pledge families would see their health premiums fall by $2,500 per year, but it’s starting to look like the cost savings from ACOs are just as illusionary as those other promises.



Federal Prosecutors Break Rules, Wreck Lives, and Get Promoted

A group of Washington overlords—federal prosecutors—sometimes break rules and wreck people's lives. President Obama may soon appoint one of them to be America's next Attorney General.

The prosecutorial bullying is detailed in a new book by Sidney Powell, Licensed to Lie. She reports that the Department of Justice's (DOJ) narcissistic and dishonest prosecutors destroy people by doing things like deliberately withholding evidence.

Remember the Arthur Andersen accounting firm? It was killed off by ambitious prosecutors who claimed the company helped Enron commit accounting fraud and then shredded the evidence.

But instead of charging people who allegedly ordered evidence destroyed, the DOJ indicted the entire company. That destroyed the accounting firm. Publicly traded companies cannot do business with companies under criminal investigation, so Andersen lost most of its clients.

The prosecutor's purpose, says Powell, was to chill resistance from other companies that might dare fight the Feds. The message: cooperate, or we will destroy you! These pressure tactics were appropriate, said one prosecutor, because shredding documents "attacks the justice system itself by impeding investigators and regulators from getting at the truth."

But who actually hid the truth? The prosecutors, writes Powell. In fact, Andersen had saved most of its documents and gave them to the government. The prosecutors simply lied to the court about it.

Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Arthur Andersen's conviction. But by then, 80,000 employees had lost their jobs—80,000 people who'd done nothing wrong.

You'd think that this would teach federal prosecutors to obey the law. Paul Kamenar of the Washington Legal Foundation said, "this decision will send a strong message to the Justice Department to stop this kind of abusive prosecutorial misconduct."

So were the prosecutors fired or jailed? No. Many were promoted. Washington's overlords protect their own.

Next, some of the same prosecutors accused four Merrill Lynch executives of falsifying Enron's books. The government lawyers told the media that Enron "conspired with Wall Street bankers to carry out a sham transaction." The Merrill Lynch executives charged with fraud got three- to four-year jail sentences.

But Powell writes that the government "failed to allege anything that actually constituted a crime by the Merrill Lynch executives. Instead it cobbled together parts of different statutes to make up some kind of new crime that didn't even make sense."

Sure enough, an appeals court tossed most of the verdict, and the Merrill executives were released. But that was after they had spent a year in jail.

Did the prosecutors hang their heads in shame? No. Far from it. Some of them then went after Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens, the prosecutors claimed, took $250,000 in gifts from rich donors and never reported that.

But later it was revealed that the prosecutors withheld evidence that showed Stevens had not taken anything like $250,000. A judge threw out that conviction, too. But by then, Sen. Stevens had lost his Senate seat. His replacement, a Democrat, became the deciding vote for Obamacare.

So was the lead prosecutor, Matthew Friedrich, finally punished? Again, no. He took a higher-paying job at a private law firm. Leslie Caldwell, who helped destroy Arthur Anderson, got promoted to assistant attorney general at the Justice Department. Andrew Weissmann, who helped prosecute the Andersen and the Merrill Lynch employees, was made deputy director of the FBI.

Finally, prosecutor Kathryn Ruemmler, who helped manipulate the system to unfairly jail four Merrill Lynch employees, was promoted to deputy attorney general, then promoted again to White House counsel. Now Bloomberg reports that she's President Obama's first choice to replace Eric Holder!

If you find these charges as hard to believe as I did, you can read Powell's supporting documents at We invited prosecutors Ruemmler, Friedrich, Caldwell and Weissmann to reply to the charges laid out in Powell's book and on my TV show, but they didn't respond.

Federal prosecutors always have a big advantage over anyone they attack. The U.S. government has endless time and money. Only multi-millionaires can afford to fight back. Most people accused, even those who are innocent, just settle with the prosecutors and get punished. Prosecutors abuse this awesome power and get promoted for it.



Voter ID Laws Suppress White, Latino, and Black Voting About the Same Amount

Republicans Are Trying to Make Sure Minorities and Young People Don't Vote This November," reads a Mother Jones headline. How? MJ continues...."shorter voting hours, restrictions on voter registration drives, and the requirement that voters present a government ID or proof of citizenship to cast a ballot"

With regard to imposing voter ID requirements, a new study reports that the nefarious Republican plot is likely to fail if the goal is to suppress black and Hispanic votes relative to white votes. Researchers Rene Rocha from the University of Iowa and Tetsuya Matsubayashi from Osaka University in Japan have published an article, "The Politics of Race and Voter ID Laws in the States: The Return of Jim Crow?" in the current issue of the Political Research Quarterly.

They do find that states with relatively small minority group populations and dominated by Republican governors and legislatures have passed more voter ID requirements, both photo ID and non-photo ID, than states with larger minority group populations and/or dominated by Democrats. But what effect do such requirements have on voter turnout?

The study cited by the GAO that showed minority group vote suppression and most other prior research compared voting changes between states that had adopted voter ID requirements and those that had not. The researchers in the study Political Research Quarterly parse time series data noting changes in voting participation before and after voter ID requirements were adopted in individual states. Contrary to the earlier state-to-state comparisons, the new study using time-series data extending over the past 30 years finds:

Our primary explanatory variables, photo ID and nonphoto ID laws, have no statistically discernible relationship with the probability that whites, blacks, and Latinos voted in the general elections between 1980 and 2010 except that the nonphoto ID law has a positive and significant relationship with Latino turnout. In short, more stringent ID requirements for voting have no deterring effect on individual turnout across different racial and ethnic groups.



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, October 26, 2014

Obama has no love for our country

David Horowitz

Need more proof of Barack Obama's disastrous foreign policy-a foreign policy that has attacked American national security far more effectively than it has attacked America's enemies? You don't have to look further than Iraq where the most effective "state" is the brutal and bloodthirsty Islamic State (ISIS), becoming everyday larger and more powerful as a result of the President's weak and dithering response.

It took the despicable beheadings of two Americans to get Obama to pay attention to this huge and growing movement of savage jihadists who also beheaded thousands of Christians and other minorities (although not on youtube) on their victorious march from Syria, through Iraq to the Turkish border. And it's not as if ISIS wasn't clear about its ultimate target. "See you in New York," the group's leader said at the beginning of his atrocities.

The President's apathetic response is part of a pattern that has marked this administration's catastrophic record on other foreign policy issues that affect our security: Russian aggression, China's military buildup, the inexorable attack on Israel. Such a disastrous record, along with constant lectures from the White House about how America should not be regarded as exceptional, raises a question. Is this the first President in the history of the United States who doesn't love our country?

More than 3500 U.S. military men and women died in Iraq to keep a terror organization like ISIS from taking over. It is now possible that they will have died in vain because the President who tried to sabotage American troops even while he was in the Senate has not stood up forcefully to a group that even the New York Times admits is worse than al Qaeda.

There is only one word to describe Obama's policy in Iraq and that word is BETRAYAL. It is a harsh word, but it is an accurate one. The betrayal of America's security interests in the Middle East began with Obama's fellow Democrats back in 2003 when the war in Iraq was still winnable.

My book "The Great Betrayal" shows in detail that while the initial response to the attacks of 9/11 was bipartisan, the Democrats turned their backs on our troops in the field the third month of the fighting in Iraq. Taking their cue from the radical left, they betrayed a war policy they had supported a few weeks earlier and then entered a five year war of their own against the War on Terror while our military men and women were still fighting the enemy. They opposed the surge; they opposed victory.

The Democrats' great betrayal at the beginning of the war set the table for a presidency that embraced defeat in Iraq from the moment Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office. And now the final act of that betrayal takes place as the ISIS terror movement becomes the dominant power in Iraq and makes it clear that it regards Iraq as a launching pad for jihad against America.

Via email. Buy David's book here


"Who Are the Racists: Liberals or Conservatives?"

Black Scholar Deconstructs Liberal Myths About Affirmative Action, Voter ID

Derryck Green, a member of the Project 21 black leadership network, is the newest member of the faculty of Prager University, an "online resource promoting knowledge and clarity" that partners with high schools and universities nationwide. Green's first posted lecture is "Who Are the Racists: Liberals or Conservatives?"

"In my Prager University lecture, I argue against the slander of racism that the left directs at conservatives. It's a reflexive mantra to retain power," said Project 21's Green. "Despite the fact that conservatives come in all colors and have ample compassion for blacks and others, the racism charge still hurts. I would further suggest that liberals and leftists are actually more racist. They are preoccupied by race, and they constantly inject it where it shouldn't be."

To say that racism is foolish and stupid -- not to mention evil -- is to understate the case. But, according to many of their critics, conservatives are that stupid and that evil. But, with few exceptions, conservatives are neither. So why is the charge even made? The answer is primarily political: to maintain black support for liberals and liberal policies.

Using racial preferences as an example, Green added:

Conservatives believe that blacks and other minorities are every bit as capable as whites of succeeding as policemen, firemen, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, politicians and college students. Yet, for this belief, conservatives are called racist. The irony, of course, is that those who accuse conservatives of being racist believe that blacks and other minorities are not as capable as whites of succeeding and therefore still need affirmative action almost half a century after it was first implemented.

Green also debunked liberal allegations about conservative-led attempts to protect American voters through commonsense polling place protections such as voter ID and school choice.

Prager University, founded by author and talk radio host Dennis Prager, is a web-based learning resource founded to "promot[e] knowledge and clarity" on difficult and sometimes controversial topics related to fields such as political science, economics and history.



Houston story changes in fight with pastors

No stratgem is too low for Leftists trying to promote their favoured groups

Attorneys for Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, who is defending a city ordinance granting special rights to transgenders, are insisting to the Texas Supreme Court that opponents have no claim in court, because their petition to reconsider the law was never “validated.”

The argument, however, contradicts the sworn testimony of the city secretary, who has the authority to validate the signatures and determined the petition drive met the minimum requirement.

The city’s brief to the state Supreme Court was filed by attorney Lynne Liberato in a case brought by a coalition of local organizations that had collected about 55,000 signatures, three times more than the required amount, to force the city either to repeal the ordinance or let voters decide on it.

After the city adopted the ordinance in May, the signatures were gathered, and the city secretary affirmed the minimum number had been obtained. But the city attorney then stepped in and invalidated most of the signatures.

The opponents filed suit, and a trial was set for January. In the discovery process, the mayor issued subpoenas for any statements, emails or “sermons” on the issue from five local pastors who were members of a coalition opposing the ordinance but not part of the lawsuit. In the uproar that followed, the city changed the word “sermons” to “speeches,” but attorneys for the ministers said it really made no difference.

The coalition asked the state Supreme Court to step in and order the city to follow its charter, which specifies that ordinances opposed by a certain number of residents shall be halted.

In arguing now that the state Supreme Court should keep out of the case, the city said that “because the city secretary did not validate the referendum petition, the second step of the referendum processes – the city council’s ‘immediate’ reconsideration of the ordinance or popular vote – was never triggered.”

The city’s lawyers argued the city charter “does not require respondents to act, immediately or otherwise, on an unsuccessful referendum petition.”

However, the city secretary, Anna Russell, who has served Houston for more than four decades, was asked by plaintiffs’ attorney Andy Taylor in a deposition about validation of the signatures.

Russell had explained it was her understanding “that the [city] charter provides that the city secretary determine the number of qualified voters who sign the petition.”

Taylor then asked: “And based on that understanding, you did that; and the result of your work was that 17,846 signatures had been validated. And that was more than the minimum number necessary, correct?”

“That’s correct,” she replied

Much more HERE


Administration Freed Illegal Immigrants Charged With Violent Crimes

Illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes and serious felonies were among the hundreds of criminals the Obama administration released from jails across the country in February 2013, newly released documents show.

According to records obtained by USA Today, the government released inmates charged with offenses ranging from kidnapping and sexual assault to drug trafficking, armed assault, and homicide.

The evidence contradicts previous assurances by the administration that the 617 criminals who were released as part of a cost-cutting exercise were low-risk offenders charged with misdemeanors "or other criminals whose prior conviction did not pose a violent threat to public safety," USA Today reported.
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) admitted to the newspaper that numerous dangerous criminals had been released but denied direct responsibility.

"Discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency's control," ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told USA Today.

The new records obtained by the newspaper from a Freedom of Information Act request outlined previously undisclosed details about the alleged crimes of specific detainees. One person in Texas was charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault of a child.

Another illegal immigrant from Florida was facing charges of conspiracy to commit homicide, according to USA Today.

Two Massachusetts detainees had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon, while another illegal immigrant from Colorado was being held on a sexual assault charge.
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The Obama administration released more than 2,200 illegal immigrants from jail between Feb. 9 and March 1, 2013, as part of an effort to cut the number of prisoners due to the budget-sequester funding cuts. The detainees had been awaiting deportation or immigration hearings in a court, and the administration did not give advance notice it would be freeing them.

The releases triggered a furor in Congress and hearings with lawmakers who grilled then-ICE director John Morton.

According to USA Today, Virginia GOP Rep. J. Randy Forbes asked Morton directly, "No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?"  Morton, who subsequently resigned, answered, "They were not."

Former White House spokesman Jay Carney had also described the criminals as "low-risk, noncriminal detainees," USA Today reported.

Meanwhile, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma demanded a formal investigation by the inspector general.  The internal audit, which concluded in August 2014, concluded that ICE broke the law in releasing the criminal illegal migrants.

"It is baffling how an agency charged with homeland security and immigration enforcement would knowingly release hundreds of illegals with criminal histories. In this single action, ICE undermined its own credibility, the rule of law, and the safety of Americans and local law enforcement," Coburn said when the audit was released.

He added, "This report provides more evidence that our nation's immigration laws are being flagrantly disregarded. Americans need to be assured the problems within ICE that led to the dangerous release of illegal aliens will be fixed, and DHS and ICE will never again violate the law by releasing known criminals into our streets."

McCain said it is "deeply troubling that ICE would knowingly release thousands of undocumented immigrant detainees — many with prior criminal records — into our streets, while publicly downplaying the danger they posed," USA Today reported.



50 Percent Of American Workers Make Less Than 28,031 Dollars A Year

The Social Security Administration has just released wage statistics for 2013, and the numbers are startling.  Last year, 50 percent of all American workers made less than $28,031, and 39 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000.  If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make $20,000.  So the fact that 39 percent of all workers made less than that amount is rather telling.  This is more evidence of the declining quality of the jobs in this country.

In many homes in America today, both parents are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Our paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just continues to soar.  And the jobs that are being added to the economy pay a lot less than the jobs lost in the last recession.  In fact, it has been estimated that the jobs that have been created since the last recession pay an average of 23 percent less than the jobs that were lost.  We are witnessing the slow-motion destruction of the middle class, and very few of our leaders seem to care.

The "average" yearly wage in America last year was just $43,041.  But after accounting for inflation, that was actually worse than the year before...



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