Friday, December 05, 2014

The Mediterranean myth again

For years health freaks have been claiming that a Mediterranean diet increases your lifespan.  So how come Australians are one of the world's longest-lived groups (longer than any Mediterraneans) and yet traditionally live on a diet that is just about opposite to a Mediterranean one?

A traditional breakfast often includes fried bacon and eggs -- and steak and eggs was pretty common once too, particularly in country areas. Lunch is big on hamburgers, beef pies and sausage rolls (which often ooze fat). Dinner consists of "meat and 3 veg" -- meaning various forms of red meat, usually fried, plus boiled vegetables. All accompanied by bread and butter and followed by "pudding" -- a very sugary dessert of infinite variety.

And the result?  Almost all Australian families have (or have had) a nonagenerian tottering around among them -- after having lived all their lives on the diet I have described.  Japan has its centenarians.  Australia has legions of nonagenarians.  And the result in both cases is long and roughly comparable average lifespans.

The Australian diet has of course changed in recent years but not perhaps as much as one might think.  I asked one of my young stepdaughters last night what she mostly cooked for dinner.  She promptly replied "meat and 3 veg".  So both her kids and her husband could live to 90!

So what is the foundation of the claims below?  It follows the unfortunate precedent set by Ancel Keys long ago.  It looks at just part of the picture rather than the whole.  Keys showed that Mediterraneans have much less frequent heart attacks but forgot to look at other causes of death

The Harvard galoots below looked at telomere length only, which is even more specific than what Keys did.  There is indeed some correlation between telomere length and lifespan but it is miles short of a 1 to 1 relationship -- leaving plenty of room for other factors to come into play  -- including "meat and 3 veg"!


A Mediterranean diet increases life expectancy by protecting the DNA from damage, research shows

Harvard academics studied 4,676 middle-aged women comparing their typical eating habits with the make-up of their cells.

Importantly, they looked at their telomeres – biological caps which are found at the ends of chromosomes that protect the DNA inside.

As we get older, our telomeres get progressively shorter, causing the DNA to become damaged and raising the odds of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer' s, diabetes and heart disease.

The research – published in the BMJ – found that women whose diets were generally low in fat and high in fruit and veg had longer telomeres.

But this was even more pronounced for those who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, veg, nuts and pulses.



Those who live in glass houses...

The presidential pardon of a turkey or two every Thanksgiving is just one of the silly events the Washington elite do every year – just like the softball games in summer and the cherry blossom princesses in the spring. But let’s not blame Barack Obama’s daughters Malia and Sasha Obama for being bored by the event.

Elizabeth Lauten, the Communications Director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), critiqued the two teens on Facebook, writing, “Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play.” It was a cheap shot, but the Leftmedia jumped down Lauten’s throat: How dare someone say such a thing to the children of the president. Lauten apologized and then resigned from her position.

Yet her criticism was nothing compared to the mockery Slate spewed about Rick Santorum’s daughters, and let’s not forget how the Leftmedia cackled over the Palin family’s birthday party brawl or speculated over Trig Palin’s parentage. Double standard much?



Leftists can do no wrong

If real estate mogul and deep-pocketed White House donor Terry Bean were a Republican, he’d be a household name by now.

Bean’s face would be splashed all over the covers of grocery-stand newsweeklies. The garrulous hostesses of ABC’s “The View” would be haranguing the GOP to return his campaign contributions. Child-welfare advocates would be demanding his resignation from top political advocacy and civic groups.

Media satellite trucks from NBC’s “Today” show would be parked outside the Lane County, Ore., Circuit Court on Dec. 3 for his first appearance.

And The New York Times archives would be teeming with thousand-word editorials and multiple lead stories about his grand jury indictment on horrifying sexual abuse allegations involving multiple victims – including a 15-year-old boy.

Instead, a search for “Terry Bean” on the left-wing paper of record’s website on Tuesday yielded exactly one story dated Jan. 16, 1880, about a Westchester County, N.Y., elder with that name – plus a sponsored advertising link to retailer L.L. Bean.

So, who is Terry Bean? He’s a wealthy, high-flying liberal and celebrated gay-rights activist who co-founded the influential Human Rights Campaign organization. He is also a veteran member of the board of the HRC Foundation, which disseminates Common Core-aligned “anti-bullying” material to children’s schools nationwide.

Bean shelled out more than $500,000 for President Obama and the Democrats in 2012. He was rewarded with an exclusive Air Force One ride with Obama. The president also gave the developer a special shout-out at an opulent fundraiser in Portland, where Bean’s family had established a longstanding political and corporate fiefdom. Bean gleefully rubbed elbows with first lady Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton – and made sure everyone on his Flickr photo-sharing site knew it.

A relentless schmoozer, the campaign finance bundler introduced the commander in chief to his 25-year-old ex-boyfriend, Kiah Lawson. The pair posed for a cozy snapshot beneath an august portrait of George Washington in the White House library in 2013.

Late last month, however, the former lovebirds posed for a seedier set of pics: their creepy mug shots at the Multnomah County, Ore., Detention Center. After a sweeping investigation led by the Portland police department’s sex crime units and two county district attorney’s offices, authorities charged Bean with two felony counts of third-degree sodomy and one misdemeanor count of third-degree sex abuse. Lawson was indicted on third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse.

Allegations of Bean’s lurid sexual trysts with young men, which Lawson says the Democratic donor secretly videotaped, first surfaced in the local Willamette Week newspaper in June. Police say the pair enticed a 15-year-old boy to a hotel in Eugene, Ore., after meeting him through the iPhone app Grinder, which helps men locate “local gay, bi and curious guys for dating.”

Consider this: Harry Reid has taken to the Senate floor to repeatedly demonize GOP donors and upstanding businessmen Charles and David Koch for exercising their First Amendment rights. Hollywood celebrities Alec Baldwin, Kathleen Turner, Jason Alexander and Stephen Colbert have all targeted conservative Citizens United for its historic role in protecting political free speech. All are mute on a powerful Democratic donor actually accused of heinous sexual abuse crimes against a child.

While The New York Times has spilled gallons of ink on the campus rape epidemic, the GOP’s Mark Foley underage page scandal and the Catholic Church’s pedophilia problem, it has remained silent the past six months on the alleged child rape scheme of one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent campaign contributors and activists.

On Tuesday, the paper saw fit to run a 652-word A-section story on an obscure GOP aide who was forced to quit her job after criticizing Obama’s daughters on her Facebook page.

Nothing on Terry Bean.



Can Racial Discrimination Explain Much?

In the medical profession, there is the admonition primum non nocere, the Latin expression for “first, do no harm.” In order not to do harm, at the minimum, requires accurate diagnostics. Suppose a patient presents with abdominal pains, and the physician diagnoses it as caused by the patient’s ingrown toenails. If that isn’t the cause, the physician can spend all the resources he wants treating the patient’s ingrown toenails and not remedy the patient’s abdominal pains.

The decency of accurate diagnosis should be given to analyzing the problems of a large segment of the black community. Very often, major problems are erroneously seen as being caused by racial discrimination. No one argues that racial discrimination does not exist or does not have effects. The question that’s relevant to policy, as well as resource allocation, is: How much of what we see is caused by discrimination?

Let’s apply this question to the tragic state of black education. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the nation’s report card, the average black 12th-grader has the academic achievement level of the average white seventh- or eighth-grader. In some cities, there’s even a larger achievement gap. If, as some people assert, this is the result of racially discriminatory education funding, then demonstrations, legal suits and other measures might be taken to promote funding equity. Also, resources could be spent to politically organize and elect black people as mayors, city councilors and school superintendents.

If the cause of the black/white achievement gap has little to do with racial discrimination, then focusing on discrimination will lead us to ignore or downplay factors that do affect black education. In some school districts, 700 teachers are annually assaulted and threatened. At one time, Philadelphia employed 500 school police officers. Similar stories of school violence can be told in other cities with large black populations, such as Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, California, and Newark, New Jersey. How useful is it to spend resources on discrimination while allowing unsafe and chaotic educational environments to exist?

Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he’s poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep. Someone has to fix him a wholesome breakfast and ensure that he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers. Here’s my question: Which one of those basic requirements can be accomplished through a presidential executive order, a congressional mandate or the edict of a mayor, a superintendent of schools or a teacher? If those basic requirements aren’t met, whatever else that is done in the name of education is for naught.

Spending more money on education is not a substitute. If it were, black academic achievement wouldn’t be a problem. For example, in 2012, Washington, D.C., public schools led the nation in spending per pupil, at $29,409. In terms of academic performance, “the nation’s report card” shows that over 80 percent of D.C.’s predominantly black eighth-graders scored either “basic” or “below basic” in reading and math. “Basic” indicates only partial mastery of the knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at grade level, and “below basic” means that the student doesn’t even have partial mastery.

Other devastating problems that are faced by many blacks and cannot be attributed to racial discrimination are a high crime rate – featured by a homicide victimization rate of 51 percent – over 70 percent of blacks being born to single females and only slightly more than 30 percent of black children being raised in two-parent households.

Solutions to these truly challenging problems will not be found in the political arena or in government programs. For black politicians, civil rights leaders, the intellectual elite and others to blame racial discrimination for the problems of today is dereliction. If a medical practitioner made the same kind of incorrect diagnosis, we’d indict him for malpractice.



Americans Are Spending 42 Percent More on Health Insurance Than They Did in 2007

Data on consumer spending show that spending on health insurance surged 42 percent from 2007 to 2013, according to analysis by the Wall Street Journal. The rise reflects the increasing cost of health insurance and the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that everyone buy extensive health insurance.

Another feature shown by the data is the movement away from home ownership and associated costs. Families are more likely to rent than in 2007, so mortgage spending is down and rent spending is up. Some of the other categories where spending fell – appliances and furniture – are complements to home-owning.

Spending increases are not the same as cost increases. Home internet and mobile phones are the fastest growing expenditure categories because new services are available, not because of rising costs on old services. It’s a good thing when increased spending comes from more people choosing to buy better services.

As any Black Friday shopper can tell you, consumers are happy when they get more goods for lower unit costs. Congress can augment buying power by repealing policies that raise costs, such as trade barriers, the fuel ethanol mandate, and of course Obamacare. Reducing the cost of food, gasoline and health insurance would give American consumers more choice and extra disposable income.



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, December 04, 2014

Progressivism's Last Gasp

Early Sunday morning, 32-year-old Bosnian man Zemir Begic was killed in a hammer attack in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of St. Louis, MO. The murderous assault was perpetrated by three or four teens, described as “black and Hispanic.” Approximately 50 people, mostly, if not all Bosnians, staged a demonstration on Gravois Avenue at Itaska Street on Sunday night to protest the killing. No stores were burned, no businesses were looted. The mainstream media was nowhere to be found.

A picture of Begic can be seen here. And while he is clearly of the Caucasian persuasion, the media that have covered the story prefer to use the term “Bosnian” to describe him. More than likely that is the case because the word “white” would force them to consider the possibility that Begic was killed because of his race, or as a spillover reaction to the jury verdict and subsequent rioting in Ferguson.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson immediately dismissed those possibilities when he spoke with the protesters. He insisted Begic was not targeted because of his race or ethnicity. "There is no indication that the gentleman last night was targeted because he was Bosnian,“ Dotson said. "There’s no indication that they knew each other.”

One is left to wonder how Dotson could reach that conclusion so quickly. Two of the four suspects, ages 15 and 16, are in custody, and police claim to know the nickname of a third suspect still at large, and believe a fourth man may have been involved in the carnage as well. Thus it stands to reason the only way Dotson can be sure there was no racial motivation involved in this murder is to take the word of the alleged murderers themselves in that regard.

One is reminded the entire “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” movement, that reached the heights of absurdity when members of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams entered the field for Sunday’s game with their hands in the air, was based on similar reassurances from eyewitness Dorian Johnson. It was Johnson who insisted that “gentle giant” Mike Brown had been shot in the back while he had his hands up in surrender. And it was the mainstream media, for whom truth and accuracy take a back seat to ratings-driven heat and light, that ran with the lie repeated often enough it became the truth.

Suad Nuranjkovic, 49, was with Begic when he was killed. They were heading home from a bar when Begic’s car was surrounded by at least five teens who began banging on it. Nuranjkovic fled to a nearby parking lot and hid. “I was afraid that if one of them had a gun, they were going to shoot me, so I didn’t know what to do,” he explained. Begic’s wife of six months, Arijana Mujkanovic, was also at the scene and witnessed her husband’s death. “The last thing he did before he actually died was pull me out of the way and put himself in front of me, basically giving up his life for me,” she revealed.

Begic was beaten with hammers, striking his head, face and abdomen. After the attack he was taken to SLU Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and died.

Remarkably – or perhaps predictably – Begic was not the first victim allegedly attacked by this group of thugs. Seldin Dzananoic, 24, was also targeted by a group of teens with hammers on the same street about an hour earlier. He escaped with only minor injuries. “I’m just lucky,” he said. “God is on my side.” And in true keeping with today’s media, it remains unclear if there was a third victim. According to St. Louis’s NewsChannel 5, they spoke with a man who encountered “one of the groups,” who insulted one of his family members. The victim, who asked not to be identified, claims someone struck him with a hammer when he went after them.

His statement following the encounter was chilling. “One of them told me they were doing it for fun, just for the heck of it,” he said. “I’m shaken because it’s the first time I’ve got into a confrontation. I was just trying to protect my family, that’s all.”

Perhaps the most pathetic assessment of this murder and subsequent protest by the Bosnian community was perpetrated by the Huffington Post. “The demonstrations over Begic’s death join the nationwide protests over the grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown on Aug. 9,” the Post stated.

Really? People protesting a clear-cut case of murder by black and Hispanic thugs are part of the nationwide protests engendered by an out-and-out lie, along with a grand jury’s courageous effort not to be intimidated by a bloodthirsty mob? “We’re just angry because we’re trying to protect our community,” said protester Mirza Nukic, 29, of St. Louis. “We’re just trying to be peaceful.”

Begic’s sister, Denisa 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D., illuminated the bitter irony attached to her brother’s death.  "We come from Bosnia because we were getting killed and our homes and families were getting destroyed,“ she said. "Never in my life did I think he would get murdered.”

Denisa also displayed a remarkable sense of proportion in the face of tragedy. "(Zemir) loved everybody. I don’t know what to think of it. It’s so wrong what they did. They didn’t just hurt Zemir’s family. They also hurt their own family because I’m pretty sure their moms will never see them again,“ she said. "I hope justice is served for my brother because he didn’t deserve this at all,” she added.

Justice has a split personality these days. The racialist undertones that from the heart of the Ferguson protests have already been dismissed here. The same media that descended on Ferguson en masse, in all their fact-free, hysteria-inducing, narrative-perpetrating glory, will be nowhere to be found. The thugs who roamed the streets with hammers, “just for the fun of it,” will never have a bounty placed on their heads, or be forced to go into hiding in fear of their lives. Attorney General Eric Holder will not descend upon the scene to determine the motives of those thugs, or conduct a follow-up investigation to see if Begic’s civil rights were violated.

Al Sharpton and his traveling band of racial arsonists will make no grand gestures or statements about the black American thug culture that drives such attacks. Attacks whose percentages dwarf those of every other ethnic group. Attacks in which black-on-white murders far outnumber white-on-black murders. President Obama will not inject himself into the incident, nor will he hold three separate White House meetings to address the concerns of a Bosnian community living in fear. There will be no white equivalent of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urging his followers to “tear this goddamn country apart!” or telling the parents of white teenagers to “teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can,” in reference to Molotov cocktails.

Instead Begic will have a quiet funeral held in Iowa, funded in large part by a GoFundMe page on the Internet set up for that purpose. Perhaps at some later date, there will be minimal media coverage of the trial, buried in the back pages of the local papers, or posted on relatively obscure Internet sites. Soon after that, Zemir Begic will be completely forgotten – which is exactly what happens to countless victims whose narrative cannot be exploited by an American left whose pathways to power and relevance rely upon keeping Americans at each other’s throats, irrespective of facts, common sense – or common decency.

Yet in the midst of the current mayhem, I remain very hopeful. Hopeful because the despicable over-reach of the American left remains on display, day in, day out. It is a display that reeks of progressive desperation and hysteria, aided and abetted by a media that no longer hides its affection for it. Either you’re with the mob, or you’re racist collaborator hiding behind “anachronistic” concepts such as law and order, innocent until proven guilty, or resisting the siren song of looting and pillaging. Looting and pillaging, according to Time Magazine’s execrable columnist Darlena Cunha, that are “a necessary part of the evolution of society” and peaceful protesting “is a luxury only available to those safely in mainstream culture.”

It is precisely that mainstream culture rightly appalled by the latest outburst from the usual suspects. One that has no interest in the "fundamental transformation" of their nation into a Third World banana republic as "atonement" for the "sin" of being the greatest nation on earth. It is they who will ultimately prevail, people of all ethnicities, religions, and genders, tired of being told what to think by those who believe they’re too “stupid” to think for themselves. Progressive bankruptcy is unsustainable and headed for the ash heap of history.

One race-bating, riot-inciting demagogue after another.



Opinions Versus Facts

Thomas Sowell

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Soon after the shooting death of Michael Brown, this 285-pound young man was depicted as a “gentle giant.” But, after a video was leaked, showing him bullying the owner of a store from which he had stolen some merchandise, Attorney General Eric Holder expressed displeasure that the video was leaked. In other words, to Holder the truth was offensive, but the lie it exposed was not.

Many people who claimed to have been eyewitnesses to the fatal shooting gave opposite accounts of what happened. Some even gave accounts that contradicted what they themselves had said earlier.

Fortunately, the grand jury did not have to rely on such statements, though some in the media seemed to. What the grand jury had, that the rest of us did not have until the grand jury’s decision was announced, was a set of physical facts that told a story that was independent of what anybody said.

Three different medical forensic experts – one representing Michael Brown’s parents – examined the physical facts. These facts included the autopsy results, Michael Brown’s DNA on the door of the police car and on the policeman’s gun, photographs of the bruised and swollen face of policeman Darren Wilson and the pattern of blood stains on the street where Brown was shot.

This physical evidence was hard to square with the loudly proclaimed assertions that Brown was shot in the back, or was shot with his hands up, while trying to surrender. But it was consistent with the policeman’s testimony.

Moreover, the physical facts were consistent with what a number of black witnesses said under oath, despite expressing fears for their own safety for contradicting what those in the rampaging mobs were saying.

The riots, looting and setting things on fire that some in the media are treating as reactions to the grand jury’s decision not to indict the policeman, actually began long before the grand jury had begun its investigation, much less announced any decision.

Why some people insist on believing whatever they want to believe is a question that is hard to answer. But a more important question is: What are the consequences to be expected from an orgy of anarchy that started in Ferguson, Missouri and has spread around the country?

The first victims of the mob rampages in Ferguson have been people who had nothing to do with Michael Brown or the police. These include people – many of them black or members of other minorities – who have seen the businesses they worked to build destroyed, perhaps never to be revived.

But these are only the first victims. If the history of other communities ravaged by riots in years past is any indication, there are blacks yet unborn who will be paying the price of these riots for years to come.

Sometimes it is a particular neighborhood that never recovers, and sometimes it is a whole city. Detroit is a classic example. It had the worst riot of the 1960s, with 43 deaths – 33 of them black people. Businesses left Detroit, taking with them jobs and taxes that were very much needed to keep the city viable. Middle class people – both black and white – also fled.

Harlem was one of many ghettos across the country that have still not recovered from the riots of the 1960s. In later years, a niece of mine, who had grown up in the same Harlem tenement where I grew up years earlier, bitterly complained about how few stores and other businesses there were in the neighborhood.

There were plenty of stores in that same neighborhood when I was growing up, as well as a dentist, a pharmacist and an optician, all less than a block away. But that was before the neighborhood was swept by riots.

Who benefits from the Ferguson riots? The biggest beneficiaries are politicians and racial demagogues. In Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young was one of many political demagogues who were able to ensure their own reelection, using rhetoric and policies that drove away people who provided jobs and taxes, but who were likely to vote against him if they stayed. Such demagogues thrived as Detroit became a wasteland.



ObamaCare isn't working: Americans are putting off medical care on cost grounds

Though President Barack Obama and administration officials still insist that ObamaCare is keeping healthcare costs down, the percentage of Americans who have put off seeking medical care for themselves or family due to cost concerns has reached an all-time high, according to a survey released last week by Gallup.

In an October speech at Northwestern University, President Obama touted the "dramatic slowdown in the rising cost of healthcare," tying the phenomenon to ObamaCare. The suggestion, repeated ad nauseam by supporters of the law, is misleading to say the least. An analysis published this summer in Health Affairs concluded that the slowdown in healthcare spending is primarily a result of the Great Recession.

Still, though, the myth continues to be pushed. "[B]ecause the insurance marketplaces we created encourage insurers to compete for your business, in many of the cities that have announced next year's premiums, something important is happening – premiums are actually falling," said President Obama. "That's progress we can be proud of."

Gallup, however, finds that 33 percent of Americans have put off medical care because of cost, the highest figure in the 14-year history of the question. "Last year, many hoped that the opening of the government healthcare exchanges and the resulting increase in the number of Americans with health insurance would enable more people to seek medical treatment," writes Rebecca Riffkin of Gallup. "But, despite a drop in the uninsured rate, a slightly higher percentage of Americans than in previous years report having put off medical treatment, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act has not immediately affected this measure."

Among the most notable findings is percentage of Americans with private health insurance who are putting off treatment. The survey found that 34 percent of those with private health coverage put off medical care in 2014, up from 25 percent in 2013.

While fewer households earning less than $30,000 are putting off medical care, Gallup shows that more middle class Americans are. Thirty-eight percent of Americans earning between $30,000 and $74,999 and 28 percent earning $75,000 or more report foregoing care in the last 12 months, up from 33 percent and 17 percent last year.

Though most of the focus has been on premiums and subsidies, health plans on the exchanges are notorious for eye-popping out of pocket costs, the average of which increased by 42 percent compared to pre-ObamaCare plans. An Associated Press survey released in October found similar results, noting that Americans with high-deductible plans were more likely to forgo seeking care in the event of a major medical problem. For its part, Gallup notes that the percentage of those with private coverage putting off care "may reflect high deductibles or copays that are part of the newly insured's plans."

No one disagrees that healthcare costs needed to be addressed, but ObamaCare -- with its expensive mandates and overbearing regulations -- only exacerbates the problem, creating a dangerous atmosphere for patients who have real medical needs that may go unaddressed because they're been priced out of seeking care.



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

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


Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mayhem's Clueless Enablers

If a column by Georgetown University senior Oliver Friedfeld is any indication, the old bromide, “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged,” no longer applies.

“I Was Mugged and I Understand Why” graced the Nov. 18 issue of university newspaper The Hoya, revisiting Friedfeld’s and his housemate’s experience with a gunpoint mugging the week before. During the incident, Friedfeld was “forced to the floor,” patted down and relieved of his phone.

One would think such an experience would engender a string of emotions including fear, relief and ultimately anger at the thought of being completely vulnerable to thuggery – or far worse. In Friedfeld’s case, one would be completely wrong. Asked by a reporter if he was surprised he was mugged in Georgetown, perhaps the toniest neighborhood in Washington, DC, he was adamant. “Not at all,” Friedfeld replied. “It was so clear to me that we live in the most privileged neighborhood within a city that has historically been, and continues to be, harshly unequal. While we aren’t often confronted by this stark reality west of Rock Creek Park, the economic inequality is very real.”

Friedfeld goes on to cite the statistics he firmly believes were the impetus behind his takedown, noting that Washington is ranked as one of the “most unequal” cities in the nation, where the wealthiest 5% earn approximately 54 times what the poorest 20% do. Yet in Friedfeld’s addled mind, impetus quickly becomes justification:

“What has been most startling to me, even more so than the incident itself, have been the reactions I’ve gotten. I kept hearing ‘thugs,’ ‘criminals’ and ‘bad people.’ While I understand why one might jump to that conclusion, I don’t think this is fair.

"Not once did I consider our attackers to be ‘bad people.’ I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me. In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. They wanted my stuff, not me. While I don’t know what exactly they needed the money for, I do know that I’ve never once had to think about going out on a Saturday night to mug people. I had never before seen a gun, let alone known where to get one. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

Friedfeld’s own universe is light years removed from common sense. Without any way of knowing, he embraces the “root cause” argument first entertained in the 1960s. It is the one where well-meaning but equally addled people were far more concerned with what drove criminals to perpetrate crimes than the victims who endured them. He simply assumes his two assailants have no support system similar to his own, be it “parents who willingly sat down with me and helped me work through (my struggles in school),” or “countless people who I can turn to for solid advice.”

Those assumptions lead directly to guilt. “Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?’” Friedfeld explains. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Young Oliver remains willfully oblivious to the reality that he and his housemate were the ones being “otherized” by a couple of young punks looking for a couple of easy marks. Furthermore, he has no idea how lucky he is. While he points to statistics regarding inequality, he fails to note that, according to 2012 FBI data, Washington, DC, had the eighth highest murder rate among cities with a population of 500,000 or more, and that rate increased sharply from 2013 to 2014. Moreover, it is virtually certain that some of those victims were every bit as “okay” as Friedfeld.

He briefly acknowledges reality after speaking with a DC cop who came from “difficult circumstances, and yet had made the decision not to get involved in crime.” But he quickly dismisses that officer as an anomaly, insisting that the decision to steal is tied directly to one’s economic circumstances – as opposed to the moral choices Friedfeld reserves solely for the victims. “As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges,” he concludes. “Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.”

Last week, the entire nation was forced to “get comfortable” with a plethora of violence in Ferguson, Missouri, courtesy of people more than willing to “otherize” vast swaths of that city and its residents. Those rioters, looters and building-burners were driven by an equally contemptible sense of “morality” arising from an equally specious narrative, one that engendered “justified mayhem” as the price to be extracted for the failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the “murder” of “gentle giant” Michael Brown.

It was a price seemingly accepted by Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon, who refused to deploy the National Guard prior to, or during, the initial outbreak of violence, allowing rioters a free hand in the destruction of scores of businesses – the majority of which were minority-owned. It was a move Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder attributed to pressure from the Obama administration, who “leaned on” Nixon to “keep them out.” Kinder insisted, “I cannot imagine any other reason why the governor who mobilized the National Guard would not have them in there to stop this before it started.”

The mindset epitomized by Friedfeld’s column might be a good place to look for that reason. It is a mindset that purports itself as enlightened, even as it reeks with the kind of bigotry that maintains certain segments of society cannot possibly be held to the same standards of civilization as everyone else. And not because of their failings, but ours.

Oliver Friedfeld may be willing to take one for the societal team, but one suspects most Americans would pass on the opportunity to trod this particular “path to enlightenment” – or the morgue. As for the violence in Ferguson, we have witnessed scores of young black Americans assuming all the characteristics of a wannabe lynch mob, continuing with the passing out of posters reading “Wanted for Racist Murder” following Wilson’s resignation from the force. If there is a greater historical irony than that, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.



Income Inequality Is by itself a meaningless statistic

You can show as much or as little of it as you like, just by choosing the group within which you measure it. And even a very rich society within which no-one was poor, could still show large inequalities. Inequality by itself tells you nothing. Most Bangladeshis would probably argue that no-one is poor in the United States.  It all depends on your frame of reference.

By Robert Higgs

The past year or so has witnessed a tremendous outpouring of commentary about income inequality. Pundits and politicians have huffed and puffed about it, mainly about its alleged evils and what governments should do to diminish it. Mainstream economists have devoted a great deal of attention to dissecting French economist Thomas Piketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a book focused on income inequality—and also a book whose shoddy craftsmanship would have repelled such attention had the book dealt with a different topic.

All of this is unfortunate because it only helps to mislead the public and hence to increase support for pernicious economic policies to deal with a problem that, truth be known, is not even a real human condition, much less one that cries out for political remedy.

Income inequality is a statistical artifact, not a real human condition. As Thomas Szasz might have said, “Show me the lesion.” If you were to conduct autopsies on a random collection of human beings, you would find nothing to show that some of them had lived in societies with a high degree of income inequality and others in societies with a low degree of income inequality. The personal (or family or household) distribution of income is not a human condition. It is only, to repeat, a statistical artifact. It is a measure such as the Gini coefficient for describing the degree of inequality of the values of individual observations in any aggregate of such observations.

The aggregate of the measurement is arbitrary: why, for example, should inequality be measured for the entire U.S. population, rather than for population of the city or state in which one lives, the entire North American population (including Mexico), the entire Western Hemisphere population, or indeed the entire world population? The answer is that the measurement is done for certain political units with an eye to “doing something about” the measured inequality, which is always to say, doing something to reduce it, whatever it now happens to be. Thus, this topic is and always has been a hobbyhorse for socialists and others whose ideologies rest on a psychological foundation of envy, of seeking to justify taking from high-income recipients and giving to low-income recipients.

Income inequality has no necessary connection with poverty, the lack of material resources for a decent life, such as adequate food, shelter, and clothing. A society with great income inequality may have no poor people, and a society with no income inequality may have nothing but poor people. Coercively reducing income inequality by fiscal measures may do nothing to reduce the extent of real poverty and may indeed—to tell the truth, almost certainly will—create incentives that increase the extent of real poverty (and many other social ills).

Probably no subject in the social sciences has created so much unnecessary heat. Yet, at the same time, economists actually know a great deal about it and can dispel the public’s confusion about it if they try. Sad to say, many (such as Piketty) do not try in a competent fashion, but only add to the confusion and feed the already raging fires of envy. These economists are therefore acting as ideologues, rather than economists, in such work.

Twenty years ago I wrote an essay on this subject. Although some of the examples I gave are no longer up to date, the analysis has lost none of its pertinence.



Who Suffers? Race Riots, Then And Now

They riot and loot because they are allowed to. All blacks must be "respected", no matter what they do.    And who cares about the little-guy businesses that lose the lot?  Pity they tend to be black too

The fire in the streets of Ferguson is reminiscent of the urban riots that burned nearly all major U.S. cities in the 1960s. Black rioters burning down black neighborhoods. Once again, there is a false assertion that the rioting is an expression of outrage against “the system.” Sadly, there has been a lack of police or National Guard protection for the real victims of rioting, then and now: small business owners, including many African American business owners and their employees.

Today’s “warrior cops” are better armed with military gear and riot control training, yet the urban policy remains the same: “it is better to let them loot than shoot.” As long as this is the policy of city leaders, riots will continue whenever there is an excuse for young people to loot pharmacies and liquor stores, torch hair salons or furniture stores and wipe out the livelihoods of their neighbors. We have learned nothing from the well-documented tragedies of the 1960s.

Looting and arson in the 1960s wiped out entire business districts in black neighborhoods. Many riots were precipitated by encounters with police, such as a police raid on an illegal after-hours bar in Detroit — an incident that resulted in the destruction of over 2,000 small businesses and buildings. This cycle played out in cities across the nation resulting in 200 deaths and enormous property damage. The physical and emotional scars of those riots remained decades after the fires expired.

Although police were often, rightly or wrongly, blamed for precipitating conflict with black youth, their role was even more important for what they did not do: protect the business owners and the vast majority of blacks who disapproved of the rioting. In the 1960s, civil leaders ordered police to step aside because they lacked discipline, often shot indiscriminately, and had no understanding of riot control. The pages of business magazines were filled with stories of mom-and-pop business owners having an entire lifetime of work destroyed. Their employees (almost always black) were casualties as well when they lost their jobs. And so the same scene plays out in Ferguson despite years of improvements in crowd control.

After four “long hot summers” of riots (1965-1968), police departments developed SWAT teams trained in controlling them. This time the police were better equipped to respond and protect the businesses that serve the community. Nevertheless, the lack of a National Guard presence, combined with a passive role by the police allowed looters and arsonists to prey on unarmed business owners. The police did not retreat from the area (as they did in the 1992 Rodney King riot) but they lacked the presence to protect property owners.

Rioters did not represent the will of their communities, either then or now. Most of those surveyed in Ferguson would agree with the statement made by community activist Jerry G. Watts after the 1992 Los Angeles riot: “rioting is not a democratic act. … Had the rioters polled their neighbors they may have discovered that the majority of the local residents, who were not participants in the rioting, did not want their neighborhood burned down.”

Small business owners did not kill Michael Brown. Self-employed mothers are not “the system” that “social justice” activists say needs changing. How does one explain to Natalie Debose, African American owner of Natalie’s Cakes and More, that her smashed-up store is the result of pent-up anger directed at police? Debose’s fate is a sad repeat of that experienced by business owners in the 1960s: “This is America?” one elderly woman cried, after witnessing the destruction of her family clothing store in 1968. “My husband and I worked 40 years to build this place and now they’ve gone and taken everything we had.” Debose had just started her cake store but her pain is just as real.

Then and now, let us put faces on the riots: also the gleeful grins of rioters as they pour out of stores with goods, juxtaposed with the crying eyes of business owners who baked cakes, styled hair, and otherwise provided something of value to the community. The eyes of the police, covered by riot masks, look on indifferently to the fates of those victimized. “This is America?” Indeed.



Tax piranhas never give up

It may not be baseball season, but outfielder Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins has signed a 13-year contract for $325 million, reportedly the richest deal in the history of sports, at least in North America. That contract reflects the willingness of baseball fans to plunk down their money to see Stanton play. But as Eben Novy-Williams of Bloomberg news observes, there will be less to the contract than meets the eye.

Federal, state, city and payroll taxes will grab $141 million, a full 43.3 percent of the total, nearly half. Giancarlo Stanton will also pay $8.5 million due to the “jock tax” some states levy on visiting professionals. One of those states is California, which shakes down out-of-state athletes for their “duty days” in the Golden State. Taxing out-of-state athletes like residents reportedly brings in some $100 million a year, including $163,000 alone from a three-day trip by the New York Knicks and $106,000 from the 2006 sojourns of Yankee infielder Alex Rodriguez. This confiscatory activity is not limited to athletes.

The California tax also applies to a blues singer from Chicago, a home-care nurse from Nevada, and a novelist from Montana. An out-of-state salesman earning $50,000 a year, about $200 a day, would owe about 9 percent of that, some $18 a day, to California. These types are not as easy to track as Giancarlo Stanton, but all should be clear that the Pillage People are out to grab as much as they can.

As Dan Walters notes in the Sacramento Bee, some years ago Californian Gilbert Hyatt patented a microchip and moved to Nevada, which has no state income tax, before any royalties came in. California’s Franchise Tax Board pursued Hyatt relentlessly and he sued for harassment, winning a judgment of nearly $500 million. Now 76, he charges that California is taking aim at his estate. So the Pillage People are after everybody, for as much as they can grab, and their quest doesn’t end when the taxpayer dies. Government greed is eternal.


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)


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

After Ferguson: no, the US is not ‘congenitally racist’

Following the news that a grand jury had decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for a crime related to the shooting of Michael Brown, many people in Ferguson, Missouri took to the streets to protest and riot. Demonstrations also followed in cities around the US and internationally, including Toronto and London. Protesters carried placards that read ‘Hands up: don’t shoot’ and ‘Black lives matter’.

In the aftermath, Americans expressed a wide range of opinions as to whether justice was carried out, and what Ferguson means for race relations in the country. It seems like the only thing we agree on is that Brown’s death is a tragedy.
America’s race problem

Ferguson cast a spotlight on race in America, and has made clear that this country has a problem. It has been a reminder that, for all of its progress, the US still has unfinished business.

In light of Ferguson, many have noted that blacks are more likely to be killed by police. A ProPublica investigation found that young black males faced a 21 times greater risk of being shot dead by police than whites. Blacks make up 13 per cent of the US population, but 39 per cent of prison inmates. African-Americans are more likely to face longer jail sentences than whites for the same crimes. Behind this disparity in treatment by the police and legal system is a disparity in economic standing: black unemployment is more than twice that for whites, and black poverty is about double that for the US as a whole.

The reaction to the Ferguson shooting itself has revealed that blacks and whites can hold widely divergent views. According to a Pew Research Center survey in August, about two thirds of blacks said the police response in Ferguson went too far, compared to one third of whites. About half of whites said they were confident in the investigation, compared to only 18 per cent of blacks. As President Obama said after the grand jury decision: ‘The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of colour.’ Such distrust is less likely to be found among whites.

Of course, recognition of such differences in views and outcomes between blacks and whites does not, in itself, prove one way or another that traditional racism (with features such as assumed inferiority, thorough social discrimination and a coherent ideology from the top down) is at work. But it does indicate that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

The Brown-Wilson altercation: a faulty prism

Although Ferguson certainly raises important questions, this single event, in itself, was never going to be a useful lens through which to assess the extent of racial discrimination in America.

Supporters of Michael Brown were quick to slot the Ferguson shooting into a narrative about racism, and said this tragedy was symbolic of all that was wrong. Much of the media selected certain evidence and testimony to fit this narrative.

The early reports sought to present Brown as a passive victim, a ‘gentle giant’; but we now know that he was actively engaged, and perhaps hostile, in his altercation with Wilson. The shooting was said to have been unprovoked; but we now know that Brown reached into Wilson’s car and tried to grab his gun. We were told that Brown was shot multiple times in the back; but we now know that was untrue. The most famous detail – Brown putting his hands up, to plead ‘don’t shoot’ – is disputed among eyewitnesses. Do we know everything about the confrontation that day? No, and despite the evidence released by the prosecutor, we may never know the full story. But it is more complicated than the media and campaigners led us to believe.

Writer and Columbia professor John McWhorter, who sympathises with the Ferguson protests, admits ‘I’m not sure that what happened to Michael Brown – and the indictment that did not happen to Officer Darren Wilson – is going to be useful as a rallying cry about police brutality and racism in America’. After describing how the evidence didn’t fit the original narrative, McWhorter says he fears that ‘the facts on this specific incident are too knotted to coax a critical mass of America into seeing a civil rights icon in Brown and an institutionally racist devil in Wilson’. He worries ‘that we have chosen the wrong tragedy to wake this country up,’ and suggests perhaps others – like John Crawford, who was killed for handling a BB gun in an Ohio Wal-Mart – would make a better example.

But maybe the search for single events that can be ‘teachable moments’ that will ‘wake up’ people is misguided. It certainly didn’t work with another would-be symbol, Trayvon Martin, where similarly a simplistic story didn’t hold up after scrutiny. By claiming that one case is a microcosm of a larger problem, there is a temptation to jump to the conclusion that the accused is guilty. And there is a risk it will backfire: the unconvinced might conclude that, if this particular case wasn’t clear-cut racial discrimination, then maybe the campaigners are also exaggerating about the extent of racial inequality. Perhaps it would be better to assume that people can appreciate extended arguments, not just morality tales.

Justice without an indictment?

By the time the grand jury convened, many were already convinced of Wilson’s guilt. Some believed anything less than putting Wilson behind bars would show the system is racist and unjust. This point of view is similar to the one you hear expressed with respect to accusations of rape today: we don’t need to have a trial; we already know the accused is guilty.

In this regard, it is disappointing that the case will not go to trial. A trial would have led to the sifting through of evidence and testimony, held people to cross-examination, and so on. For our public discussion of Ferguson, it would be more transparent and superior to the prosecutor’s dump of materials afterwards.

That’s why I have some sympathy with criticisms of the prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, and how the grand jury operated. This view is not necessarily allied with the ‘we know Wilson is guilty’ crowd; it simply seeks a fair process. As many have pointed out, there were anomalies with this grand-jury process compared with a typical one: it was longer, had more witnesses and evidence, included defendant testimony, and the prosecutor did not recommend a specific charge. It seems pretty clear that McCulloch didn’t think he had a strong case, and took it to the grand jury rather than make a unilateral non-indictment decision, because of the high-profile nature of the case. In providing the full evidence, and releasing it afterwards, McCulloch also seemed to be covering his back.

At the same time, most legal experts I’ve read who have reviewed the materials – with their ambiguous evidence and conflicting accounts – have concluded that it would be hard to imagine that the prosecutor could have proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. It appears that the jurists had grounds to conclude that the case did not rise to a ‘probable cause’ for a trial.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the original principle behind grand juries (leaving aside how they work in practice) is a good one: they are meant to protect the accused from having to endure an unnecessary trial. The aims of public education or soothing community unrest over a controversial case like Ferguson shouldn’t trump an individual defendant’s rights. Perhaps a better demand is to ensure that black defendants have their rights as thoroughly upheld as Darren Wilson did.

It should also be recognised that the absence of a trial and guilty verdict does not make it right. The shooting may not have been a crime, but many would agree that, if the outcome is a dead citizen, then the police have not handled the situation properly. Especially if it’s happening too often across the country.

Furthermore, if you don’t hinge the entire argument on this one case, then the lack of indictment doesn’t mean that there aren’t broader problems of policing and race relations in the US.

The myth of America as irredeemably racist

In response to the grand-jury decision, many seem to want to squeeze events in Ferguson into pre-existing narratives. Some focus only on the rioting and looting, and blame blacks for criminal behaviour. Others believe Ferguson shows an unbroken continuity of racism, in a country built on slavery and Jim Crow.

Such a divide was found in analysis of 200,000 tweets about Ferguson in the run-up to the grand-jury announcement. The most retweeted comment from the ‘red’, or conservative, side was: ‘#Ferguson I would feel safer, any day, to encounter #DarrenWilson on the street, than to meet #MichaelBrown or half of those now protesting!’ From the ‘blue’, or liberal, side, the most popular was: ‘Governor calls State Of Emergency. National Guard waiting. FBI giving warnings. KKK issuing threats. What ’effing year is this? #ferguson.’

As it happens, neither of these views is accurate. Many black Americans face real socioeconomic hurdles. And as black communities are more likely to be at the sharp end of heavyhanded police tactics, they have good reason to distrust law enforcement. Complaints cannot be waved away as victim-mongering or apologies for criminal behaviour.

But the idea that America is irredeemably racist – a view that seems very popular among demonstrators nationwide and internationally – is also wrong. In the aftermath of the Ferguson grand-jury decision, Ta-Nahesi Coates called the US a ‘congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labour, and land’.

This outlook ignores the real progress that has been made. The US is far more tolerant than it was 50 years ago; it takes historical amnesia to think today is anything like the pre-civil rights era. Since that time we’ve seen the creation of a black middle class in the US, and there are now seven black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. There are many more black elected officials than before, including, today, 47 black members of Congress, and of course a black president, which was unimaginable not that long ago. Not enough? Yes, but it hasn’t been one sorry slog of ‘congenital’ racism from the days of slavery to today.

Those who point to Ferguson to argue that America is therefore soaked with prejudice from coast to coast also overlook the specifics in that Missouri town that have made race relations particularly antagonistic. As I have pointed out on spiked before, Ferguson has a distinctive history, shifting from being a predominantly white to predominantly black suburb in recent years, while having a mostly white police force in a mostly black town. For years, poor black people in Ferguson have been routinely harassed by police who charge them with petty offences that produce fines to fill local coffers.

There has also been a notable vacuum of political and community leadership – both white and black – in the area; as one commentator put it: ‘Civil society made up of churches and volunteer groups works with local government, which gets help from the state government, which itself works in concert with and sometimes independent of the federal government. But in Ferguson, nothing seemed to be working. Indeed, the poor local civil society response to Ferguson was one of the reasons why Brown’s tragic death and the subsequent social unrest occurred.’ Ferguson is not one of a kind, especially when it comes to police shootings; but it is not the typical community that black Americans live in either.

The view of America as incorrigibly racist not only ignores history and the local particularities – it is also deeply pessimistic. Indeed, many anti-racists after Ferguson are imbued with fatalism. Writing in the Guardian, Syreeta McFadden sighs: ‘Today, Mike Brown is still dead, and Darren Wilson has not been indicted for his murder. And who among us can say anything but: “I am not surprised”?’

For too many of today’s protesters, racial divisions are not so much the result of specific economic circumstances, state policies or police methods. Instead, disparities are understood to arise from deep-seated prejudice in the hearts of whites, an inability to confess ‘white privilege’, and radically divergent cultural experiences of white and black people. Rather than address specific social improvements, they blame the masses for being inhumane towards blacks, for not believing that ‘black lives matter’. And, of course, if that’s how the problem is conceived, then it is no wonder that the possibility of bridging divisions among races appears hopeless.

Given wider recognition of racial disparities, and the sea change in attitudes in recent decades, there is no need to be pessimistic. Already, a consensus for criminal-justice reforms seems to be emerging between certain Democrats and the more libertarian-minded Republicans like Rand Paul. But progress will take more than reforms.

The only way to break through the current impasse is to embark on rip-roaring economic growth and transformation that will open up opportunities for working people of all colours. Both blacks and whites would benefit from more jobs, better education, better homes – not just as a way of improving living standards, but as a way of delivering a greater sense of autonomy, too. But unfortunately we don’t see a lot of leadership and big ideas for growth today (if anything, we’re more likely to see the brakes being put on growth in the name of ‘sustainability’).

Indeed, too much of today’s race discussion takes for granted that we must make do with a stagnant, rather than dynamic, economy and society. That backdrop is why the discussion often displays an inward, self-flagellating quality: it ends up being a zero-sum fight over scarce resources, and a blame game for why we don’t get along.



The Truth About Thanksgiving

Ben Shapiro takes a look at the true story of Thanksgiving – not the multiculturalism and socialism pushed by leftists every November

Every Thanksgiving we are treated to the usual dumbed down version of the Thanksgiving story: white Europeans landed in America fleeing religious persecution, were too dumb to farm, and relied on the wise Native Americans to help them. Then they had a meal together and learned to share, after which the white Europeans genocided the Native Americans. Let’s watch some football!

The whole story is much more interesting. And it’s also not particularly friendly to leftists.

The Puritans who came to Massachusetts on the Mayflower weren’t emissaries of religious tolerance. They actually left liberal Holland to push for “the glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith,” as it says right in the Mayflower compact. Turns out that Christianity was more important than multiculturalism to the heroes of Plymouth Rock.

And Christianity, not multiculturalism, saved the Puritans. The first winter, half the new settlers died. That was because of drought and plague, and failure to understand the crops. Then Squanto showed up.

Squanto wasn’t just a Native American refugee from the Disney movie Pocahontas. He was a Christian. Apparently, Squanto was just a boy when he met the English for the first time – he was captured and sent back to England for training as a guide. In 1614, he returned to America with John Smith – but he was then kidnapped again by one of Smith’s men, sent back to Spain, and sold into slavery.

Spanish monks bought him and taught him Christianity. He somehow ended up in England, and earned the respect of an Englishman who paid for his passage back to the New World. In 1619, Squanto went home.  But by the time he got back, his entire village had been killed by disease.

One year later, the Pilgrims showed up, settling in Squanto’s devastated village. Governor William Bradford wrote that Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good…[he] never left us till he died.”

It was Christian Squanto, not “native Americans” generally, who taught the Pilgrims how to farm.

With Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims survived to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in 1621. When he died one year later, he asked Bradford to pray for him so that he could “go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.”  But that wasn’t the end of the story, either.

The Pilgrims had set up a massive obstacle for themselves: their idea of a religious utopia was a giant commune. And like all communist organizations, it failed spectacularly.

Governor William Bradford wrote: “The failure of that experiment of communal service, which was tried for several years, and by good and honest men, proves the emptiness of the theory of Plato and other ancients, applauded by some of later times – that the taking away of private property, and the possession of it in community, by a commonwealth, would make a state happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God…community of property was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment which would have been to the general benefit.”

Both men and women refused to work. Stealing became rampant.

So, what did the Puritans do? Bradford described it: in 1623, after the first Thanksgiving, they trashed the system: “The Governor, with the advice of the chief among them, allowed each man to plant corn for his own household…So every family was assigned a parcel of land. This was very successful.”



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, December 01, 2014

There is NO American Dream?

Gregory Clark is very good at both social history and economic history.  His latest work, however, leans on what I see as a very weak reed.  He finds surnames that are associated with wealth and tracks those surnames down the generations.  And he finds that in later generations those surnames continue to be associated with wealth.

That is all well and good but he is using only a very small sampling of the population so can tell us nothing about the society at large.  The well-known effect of a man making a lot of money only for his grandchildren to blow the lot is not captured by his methods.

So if the American dream consists of raising up a whole new lineage of wealth, we can agree that such a raising up is rare, though not unknown.  But if we see the American Dream as just one man "making it" (regardless of what his descendants do) Clark has nothing to tell us about it.  And I think that latter version of the dream is the usual one.

But his findings that SOME lineages stay wealthy is an interesting one.  And he explains it well.  He says (to simplify a little) that what is inherited is not wealth but IQ.  As Charles Murray showed some years back, smarter people tend to be richer and tend to marry other smart people.  So their descendant stay smart and smart people are mostly smart about money too.

And note that although IQ is about two thirds genetically inherited, genetic inheritance can throw up surprises at times.  I once for instance knew two brown-haired parents who had three red-headed kids.  The hair was still genetically inherited (there would have been redheads among their ancestors), but just WHICH genes you get out of the parental pool when you are conceived seems to be random.  So you do get the phenomenon of two ordinary people having a very bright child.  And that child can do very well in various ways -- monetary and otherwise.  I was such a child.


It has powered the hopes and dreams of U.S. citizens for generations.  But the American Dream does not actually exist, according to one economics professor.

Gregory Clark, who works at the University of California, Davis, claims the national ethos is simply an illusion and that social mobility in the country is no higher than in the rest of the world.

'America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden,' he said. 'That’s the most difficult part of talking about social mobility - it's shattering people's dreams.'

After studying figures from the past 100 years and applying a formula to them, Mr Clark concluded that disadvantaged Americans will not be granted more opportunities if they are hard-working.

Instead, they will be stuck in their social status for the rest of their lives - and their position will, in turn, affect the statuses of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, he said.

'The United States is not exceptional in its rates of social mobility,' the professor wrote in an essay published by the Council on Foreign Relations.  'It can perform no special alchemy on the disadvantaged populations of any society in order to transform their life opportunities.'

Speaking to CBS Sacramento, he added: 'The status of your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren will be quite closely related to your average status now.'

However, not all of Mr Clark's students agree with his findings, with some pointing out that although parents' wealth has an effect on a child's life, 'it is not the ultimate deciding factor'.



Does ambien make a sleepwalking criminal out of you?

I took some of this stuff for a little while and I don't believe the claims below.  When millions of people are taking the stuff a small percentage of them will be sleepwalkers (with or without the pill).  And that is all we see, I think.  There doesn't even seem to be a proper epidemiological study below.  It is just anecdote piled on anecdote.  As far as I can see, Zolpidem is just a whipping-boy for faults that lie elsewhere.  It is just a convenient scapegoat for various unknowns.  After all it is made by a DRUG COMPANY and they make PROFITS!  Unforgiveable!

Sleeping pills taken by celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Tiger Woods – and prescribed widely in Britain – could be to blame for numerous cases of dangerous and even criminal behaviour.

Zolpidem [Ambien; Stilnox], which is handed out to 750,000 NHS patients seeking treatment for insomnia each year, has been found to be a factor in dozens of instances of people breaking the law while sleeping.

They include 43 instances of driving, nine rapes, eight assaults, ten murders or manslaughters, and burglaries – all of which were claimed to have been carried out while the perpetrator was apparently asleep. In most cases they also had no memory of the event.

Neurologist Professor Mark Mahowald, of Sleep Forensic Associates, a US-based organisation of doctors who help those who break the law while still asleep, says: ‘It appears that one part of the brain responsible for complex activities, like driving or cooking, is awake, while another, involved in memory, is not.

Numerous studies have reported rare instances of patients driving, eating, making telephone calls and even having sex while under the influence of the medication.

One report, by doctors at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, claimed that up to one per cent of patients had a sleep-eating problem after taking the sedative. The only clues to their nocturnal feasting were morning leftovers and crumbs in the bed [Handy to blame snacking on Zolpidem}.

Patients being prescribed Zolpidem are already warned that changes in sleep behaviour, including sleepwalking, are a possible side effect, but this is the first time data on criminal behaviour linked to the drug has been comprehensively collected.

Mild and fleeting, so-called confusional arousals, such as waking up in a hotel room with no idea where you are, are common, especially in people who are over-tired.

Some researchers say the events seen in users of the drug occur during these arousals, and point out that no drug has ever been shown in laboratory studies to cause sleepwalking, a phenomenon that happens when the cortex is asleep but areas of the brain concerned with movement are active.



Countering the Big Lie

There was a time during one of the so-called intifadas (forgive me for not remembering if it was the first, second, or in-between; all that savagery and murder runs together seamlessly in my head these days) that the Palestinians claimed that the Jews had no connection at all to Jerusalem, or the land of Israel. A statement like that, similar to denying the Holocaust, is so insane it leaves one sputtering in wordless confusion. It’s like being asked to prove you aren’t dead.

Were we not living in a world unspeakably degraded by dumbed-down college programs, propaganda pamphlets parading as newspapers, and the general degradation of moral and intellectual levels in every strata of society all over the world, such lies could be ignored. Given the reality, we ignore it at our peril.

Palestinian big lies seem to be gaining more, not less, steam. According to David Meir Levi in his book History Upside Down, Arafat, a puppet of the KGB, was taught these skills by the Communists: “Using Soviet methods, Arafat reframed attacks on the Jews that had been ongoing since the 1920s motivated by religious obligations of jihad, as secular nationalism motivated by a quest for political self- determination.”

Since then, the Arabs have never attacked the Jews – they have always ‘resisted them.’ General Giap [Ho Chi Minh’s chief strategist] told Arafat that: “the PLO needed to work in a way that concealed its real goals, permitted strategic deception, and gave the appearance of moderation: ‘Stop talking about annihilating Israel and instead turn your terror war into a struggle for human rights. Then you will have the American people eating out of your hand.’”

Similarly, Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of Romanian intelligence who defected to the West, wrote: “In March 1978, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. ‘You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel – over, and over, and over,’ Ceausescu told him for the umpteenth time…”

Another propaganda tool Palestinian leadership learned from the Soviets was “turnspeak,” i.e., disseminating information that is the exact opposite of truth. It was a tool used to great effect by Adolf Hitler to justify his invasion of Czechoslovakia: Whose fault was it that Hitler had to invade? Why, the Czechs of course, who were trying to provoke a regional war by attempting to claim their land as their own.

You will hear the same claims now being made against Israel by its American “friends” for daring to build in its capital, Jerusalem. “Israelis don’t want peace,” the State Department under Muslim-sympathizer Barack Hussein Obama is now claiming, shaking its finger.

Winston, the hero of George Orwell’s prescient novel 1984, is employed changing history by changing old newspaper records to match the new truth as decided by the Party, whose slogan is “He who controls the past, controls the future.” It’s a method Palestinian leadership has perfected.

The Israeli government, and many of its politicians, have never understood this, and in their ignorance have allowed these big lies to gain momentum without any credible challenge. Thankfully, private individuals whose passion for truth and love for Israel burns brightly have tried to take up the slack. One of them is Gloria Z. Greenfield, a documentarian and filmmaker who has dedicated her life to combatting these lies with her passionate, skillful films. Greenfield’s latest documentary “Body and Soul” premiered at the Begin Center on October 20.

Like her previous films, “The Case for Israel, Democracy’s Outpost” and “Unmasked Judeophobia,” this third offering presents the Jewish case to the world through the arguments of eminent men and women scholars, and through photographs and illustrations, trying to explain what even a generation ago would have needed no explanation, i.e., that the Jewish people and the Land of Israel are inextricably intertwined and have been for more than three thousand years.

While the film may not convince those brainwashed to ignore historical fact, it will certainly help most normal people to understand the connection between the Jewish people, the Torah, and the Land of Israel, all three being fundamental pillars of our faith and our identity as Jews. Some might deride that as preaching to the converted, but what I always tell people who use that expression is that even the most pro-Israel person needs to be shored up and strengthened against the gale winds of hatred and disinformation blowing our way these days.

The panel discussion after the film was in itself a truly memorable event. Exquisitely moderated by the inimitable Melanie Phillips, British author, journalist and incomparable defender of the Jewish State and her people, whose sharp wit and brilliant grasp of the facts have punctured the hot air balloons of many a jihadi sympathizer, the panel consisted of Professor Eugene Kontorovich, expert in International Law, Yoram Hazony, Shalem Center Founder and president of the Herzl Foundation, and Professor Robert Wistrich, holder of the Neuberger Chair of Modern European and Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem since 1989, described by the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism as “the leading scholar in the field of antisemitism study.”

According to Dr. Kontorovich, after World War I the old Ottoman Empire, which comprised the Middle East, was divided up into mandates that were to be helped to independence. The Jews were to be given the Mandate of Palestine. Well so far so good, you’ll say, you know this. Yes, but what you don’t know is that the international law hasn’t changed. If the mandate that created Israel is no longer legal (and that mandate included all of the West Bank and Jordan and all of Gaza) then the mandates that created Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen are also invalid.

Unlike our long-held assumption that it was the U.N. vote on the partition that created Israel, it was the League of Nations mandate. The U.N. partition plan merely gave 77% of the Mandate land meant for the Jewish State to Palestinians, creating Jordan. So why was there dancing in the streets of Israel? Kontorovich calls it “Jewish joy,” at being left anything at all.

As for the West Bank, Jordan’s occupation prior to 1967 was illegal under international law which operates under the premise of “stability of borders.” Thus, Kontorovich explained, even though Crimea is filled with ethnic Russians, and was handed over to the Ukraine in a completely arbitrary and dysfunctional way, still International Law decrees that Crimea belongs to the Ukraine now.

Through this looking glass, the claims of Palestinians that the land of Israel should belong to them because of their ethnicity has no validity under International Law. All borders in the present Middle East were created the same way. To claim Israel has no rights to her land, would mean that neither does any other country in the Middle East.

Yoram Hazony made it clear what narrative we Jews must promote to overcome the lies. “Our story must not be defensive …The book connects the land to the people,” he states, reminding us how even the secular Zionist founders of Israel studied the Bible. “AIPAC needs to say this out loud. Birthright needs to say it out loud …Our Bible has been vilified. German academics said it was full of religious nonsense …Our book gave so much light to the world …We need to respect our Book and ourselves, and to stop apologizing for who and what we are.”

Melanie Phillips summed it up: “Palestinians were given a fictional national identity, a national identity invented solely for the purpose of destroying a true one … Many people subscribe to this mad narrative who are not irrational or haters of Jews, but believe in justice. They believe lies, that illegality is law. Many millions have been fed a big lie.”

This lie is two-fold: that the Jews have no connection to the Land of Israel prior to 1948, and that Judaism is unconnected to Israel-Zionism. It will not be easy, but every one of us must do what we can, in every way we can, to counter those lies. Promoting Gloria Greenfield’s film “Body and Soul” is a good start.



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, November 30, 2014

MSNBC Shrill Is No Accident. It’s How Liberals Really Think

William Voegeli

It’s been more than 50 years since William F. Buckley first complained, “Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view.”

Since then, things have only gotten worse. At the dawn of the Obama era, for example, Mark Schmitt, former editor of The American Prospect, wrote that the “conservative power structure” is so “dangerous” because it operates “almost entirely on bad faith,” thriving on “protest, complaint, [and] fear.”

Just before the recent midterm elections The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky called the GOP “as intellectually dishonest and bankrupt and just plain old willfully stupid as a political party can possibly be,” one whose only agenda “is to slash regulations and taxes and let energy companies and megabanks and multinational corporations do whatever it is they wish to do.”

In other words, it is impossible not only for any reasonable person to be conservative, but even to take such idiotic, malignant ideas seriously. And neither Schmitt nor Tomasky is a particularly shrill partisan, compared to the polemicists at, MSNBC or the New York Times editorial page. With such allies, it’s no wonder that Barack Obama’s wish for a new political unity that would transcend and heal the divisions between red states and blue states has come to nothing.

Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.

It’s tempting, but mistaken, for conservatives to think that the problem is as simple as liberals’ failure to observe the Golden Rule of democratic politics: take your adversaries as seriously as you want them to take you. That’s a good standard, of course, but it’s sound advice for everyone. American discourse would benefit if all disputants observed what economist Bryan Caplan calls the “ideological Turing test,” which requires characterizing a viewpoint you disagree with so discerningly and scrupulously that an adherent of that position finds your summary of it as clear and persuasive as any provided by a true believer.

Caplan’s test turns out to be not only a good general rule, but a good way to grasp one of liberalism’s defining features. It’s hard to understand liberals as they understand themselves because they insist there’s really nothing to understand. Liberal rhetoric emphasizes compassion, empathy and kindness—“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” President Obama has said—because these emotions need not and really cannot be theorized.

Even its philosophers reject the need for a theoretical framework. “The idea that liberal societies are bound together by philosophical beliefs seems to me to be ludicrous,” the left-of-center philosopher Richard Rorty contended. Philosophy “is not that important for politics.”

Liberalism, as liberals understand it, is not a philosophy, ideology, body of doctrines or a mode of interpreting political reality. It is, instead, nothing more than common sense and common decency applied to the work of governance.

It follows directly from this premise that opposition to the liberal project is necessarily senseless and indecent. Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.

Convinced that no intelligent, decent person could take conservatism seriously, liberals believe it is not necessary or even possible, when engaging conservative ideas, to go beyond diagnosing the psychological, moral or mental defects that cause people to espouse them. Liberals claim to understand conservatives better than they understand themselves on the basis of seeing through the cynical self-interest of conservative leaders (and funders), and the fanaticism or stupid docility of conservative followers.

The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, scourge of the Koch brothers, went on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show in 2010 to deny that the Tea Party movement was “a spontaneous uprising that came from nowhere.” In fact, Maddow explained, many of those attending its demonstrations “were essentially instructed to rally against things like climate change by billionaire oil tycoons.”

Viewing themselves as simply nice people who want the world to be a nicer and nicer place, liberals regard conservatives as either mean people who want the world to be a mean place, or stupid people who can’t grasp that impeding liberalism means impeding the advance of niceness.

This condescension has always been part of the liberal outlook. In 1972, eight weeks after George McGovern suffered a historically massive defeat against Richard Nixon, film critic Pauline Kael told the professors at a Modern Language Association conference, “I know only one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

Conservatives will wait decades in the hope of a fair hearing from such adversaries. That time would be better spent urging Americans who haven’t made up their minds that the same traits that make liberals contemptuous of conservatism make them dangerous for America. Liberalism exists to solve problems, and liberals regard every source of dissatisfaction or discord as a problem, not an aspect of the human condition that we must always contend with but can never sanely hope to eradicate. In denouncing “Dirty Harry” as a “deeply immoral movie,” Pauline Kael explained in 1972 that crime is caused, not by evil, but by “deprivation, misery, psychopathology and social injustice.”

Yet the crime wave that made urban life intolerable from the early 1960s through the early 1990s has, somehow, receded dramatically, even though liberals are as agitated about deprivation and social injustice today as they were 40 years ago. Such reactionary ideas as more cops, more prisons and longer sentences—all based on the conservative belief that constraining human wickedness through stern disincentives is plausible, but solving it therapeutically through social work is deluded—has made the difference. Liberal disdain for the wary view of human nature, which is conservatism’s foundation, turns out to be of one piece with the “idealism” and “compassion” that culminates in governmental malpractice, rendering liberalism a threat to the American experiment in self-government.



And Then There's the Crony Socialism

One of the largest myths going is that government helps the Little Guy.  On it’s face this is patently absurd.  More government – taxes and/or regulations – raises the costs of everything for everyone.  The Big Guys are far better equipped to absorb the punishment – while the Little Guys are pummeled into un-existence.

Then there’s the Crony Socialism – it’s not Crony Capitalism, because it has very little to do with capitalism.  Wherein Big Guys – who have the wherewithal – bend government policy to their will.  To their advantage – and against that of the Little Guys seeking to compete with them.  For instance:

Green Scam: 80% of Green Energy Loans Went to (President Barack) Obama Donors

Crony Socialists Looking to Ban Online Gambling Don’t Seem to Realize It’s a WORLD WIDE Web

Obama Donor’s Firm Hired to Fix Health Care Web Mess It Created

Obama Crony Wins Contract to Give Phones to Jobless

Obama’s United Auto Workers Bailout

Which brings us to the ridiculous Network Neutrality political rhetoric being extruded by the Obama Administration.

President Obama his own self recently said this:

“(N)et neutrality”…says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations….

Then there’s Tom Wheeler, the Chairman of the President’s allegedly politics-free, independent Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

FCC Chief on Net Neutrality: ‘The Big Dogs Are Going to Sue, Regardless’

First – why are these lawsuits inevitable?  Because the FCC has already twice unilaterally imposed Net Neutrality – and twice the D.C. Circuit Court has unanimously overturned the orders as outside the bounds of their authority.

Rather than complaining about additional suits to again fend off the Leviathan – perhaps the Leviathan should pull in its tentacles.  Especially when it has already had two lopped off by Courts.  As Jonah Goldberg has said: Don’t just do something – stand there.

But wait a minute – which “Big Dogs” does Wheeler mean?  The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) government intends to yet again assault.

To be sure, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, et. al are big companies.

Verizon: ~ $207 billion.

Comcast: ~ $140 billion.

AT&T: ~ $183 billion.

But they aren’t looking for Crony Socialist favors from government – merely protection from its monumental overreaches.

Then there’s this plucky little upstart for whom the Obama Administration is fighting.

Google: ~ $370 billion.

Get that?  Google is bigger than Verizon and Comcast – combined.

Google has spent the last decade-plus shoving Net Neutrality down our throats.

Google…Support(s) Net Neutrality, Call(s) For Extension To Mobile Providers

Google has uber-generously funded pro-Net Neutrality Leftist efforts.  It twice helped President Obama get elected.  Google CEO Eric Schmidt was one of the first Obama Administration “adviser” hires.

The relationship really is that syrupy:

Obama & Google – A Love Story

So this isn’t a galloping shock:

Who Wins the Net Neutrality Debate? Google, of Course

No matter how the FCC rules next year, Google can move forward with fiber rollouts, even if they’re restricted, because it will still be earning far-healthier revenues from carrying content.

Google’s two-pronged strategy has been obvious for a long time, but lately it has looked genius given the net neutrality battle….

(I)t’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake….

Get that?  Google is more than Big Guy enough to absorb the government hit – the Little Guys looking to compete with them aren’t.

“It’s a strategy only a very large company could undertake” - using government to make the marketplace untenable for anyone but themselves.

Creating for Google a for-all-intents-and-purposes government-mandated monopoly.

The very thing the Obama Administration – with its gi-normous Internet overreach – alleges it is attempting to address/prevent.

To paraphrase George Orwell: All monopolies are equal – but some are more equal than others.

To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Google will be a son-of-a-bitch monopoly – but it’ll be our son-of-a-bitch monopoly.

“Don’t be evil.”  Enjoy the Crony Socialism, All.



Surprise: Lois Lerner’s ‘Destroyed’ Emails Magically Reappear!

Friday afternoon, a government watchdog announced that it had magically found 30,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails!

That should be cause for celebration, but remember: the IRS went to great lengths to convince you that Lois Lerner’s emails were lost forever. They went so far as to throw Lois Lerner’s hard drive in an incinerator to make sure that any data left on it was destroyed.

We now have 30,000 potential smoking guns proving Lois Lerner’s, and potentially the Obama White House’s, participation in the targeting of opposition (conservative) non-profit groups!

We were told there was nothing more Congress could do and the IRS flat-out admitted that all during the investigation, it never even bothered to look for Lois Lerner’s emails!

Think about that… The IRS had been saying for weeks that Ms. Lerner’s emails were completely lost, all the while the agency never even bothered to search for them. Saying that is suspicious would be an understatement.

But now, a Federal Watchdog has uncovered what appear to be tens of thousands of Ms. Lerner’s emails.

How did the IRS respond? After months of claiming to have exhausted all recovery methods, you’d think that Obama’s IRS would be excited to hear the news of the recovered emails, right?

The IRS has “no comment.”  That’s right, they have “no comment” on the fact that everything they told Congress was a lie.

It will take weeks for analysts to decode the recovered emails, but one thing is for certain: There’s something out there that the administration doesn’t want you to see. Why else would Ms. Lerner’s hard-drive be incinerated before data could be recovered?



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)