Friday, October 23, 2015

Israeli PM Netanyahu is covering up for Hitler??

A report below that I will have a lot to say about immediately following it:

The Israeli Prime Minister has caused a storm hours before his visit to Germany by saying the former Palestinian Muslim elder in Jerusalem convinced Adolf Hitler to exterminate the Jews.

In a speech to the Zionist Congress late on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu referred to a series of attacks by Muslims against Jews in Palestine during the 1920s.  He claimed they were instigated by the then Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Husseini famously flew to visit Hitler in Berlin in 1941, and Netanyahu said that meeting was instrumental in the Nazi leader's decision to launch a campaign to annihilate the Jews. 'Hitler didn't want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews,' Netanyahu said in the speech.

'And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, "If you expel them, they'll all come here."

'"So what should I do with them?" Netanyahu said Hitler asked the mufti, who responded: 'Burn them.'

Netanyahu, whose father was an eminent historian, was quickly harangued by opposition politicians and experts on the Holocaust who said he was distorting the historical record.

Palestinian officials said Netanyahu appeared to be absolving Hitler of the murder of six million Jews in order to lay the blame on Muslims. Twitter was awash with criticism.

Saeb Erekat, the PLO's secretary general and chief Palestinian negotiator with the Israelis, said: 'It is a sad day in history when the leader of the Israeli government hates his neighbour so much that he is willing to absolve the most notorious war criminal in history, Adolf Hitler, of the murder of six million Jews.

'Mr Netanyahu should stop using this human tragedy to score points for his political end.'

Even Netanyahu's defence minister, close ally Moshe Yaalon, said the prime minister had got it wrong.   'It certainly wasn't (Husseini) who invented the Final Solution,' Yaalon told Israel's Army Radio. 'That was the evil brainchild of Hitler himself.'

It is not clear what sources Netanyahu was relying on for his comments. A 1947 book 'The Mufti of Jerusalem' and a newspaper report at the time said a former Hitler deputy had testified at the Nuremberg war crimes trials that Husseini had plotted with the Nazi leader to rid Europe of its Jews.

Husseini was sought for war crimes but never appeared at the Nuremberg proceedings and later died in Cairo.


That Netanyahu was in any way excusing Hitler must be one of the most absurd suggestions ever but nothing is too absurd for the Leftist media.  Netanyahu is a long-time student of the relationship between Hitler and the Arabs so his words are well-considered.

There are two issues in the matter.  Did Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, change Hitler's mind about the Jews and was Netanyahu in some way excusing Hitler?

The second is of course absurd and Netanyahu said it was absurd.  Hitler was the man who set the holocaust in train and he and his henchmen are to blame for it.  Nothing can excuse that.  Only the Leftist media would suggest otherwise.  An attempt to understand Hitler's mind is not an attempt to wipe away his guilt.

The more interesting question is what influence the Mufti had on Hitler's thinking.  And here the first thing to know is that it was Hitler's practice in all policy areas to give only general guidance and leave it up to his deputies to sort out the details.

It is certainly crystal clear that Hitler was hostile to the Jews from early on but it is NOT clear exactly what he wanted to do about them. Many historians have suggested that he initially wanted only to expel them but gave up on that idea when nobody else would have them.

Netanyahu however, from his reading, claims that it was not only the difficulty of expelling them but also the advice of the Mufti that changed Hitler's mind.

But again we hit the problem that NOBODY knows Hitler's exact thoughts on the matter.  He certainly kept his public pronouncements vague -- as politicians usually do -- so Netanyahu's reconstruction of his thinking is as good as any other. Hitler may or may not have been swayed by the Mufti in allowing the destruction of the Jews.  Netanyahu has his reasons for his reconstruction and we may in time hear the details of that.

There is an account of what transpired during the meeting beteen Hitler and the Mufti and it does not mention the words that  Netanyahu quoted.  But that fails to note that the account is not verbatim. It is a journalistic account in the third person so involves an element of interpretation and selection by the reporter.

My view is that we will never know at what point Hitler decided that the Jews had to be exterminated.

Now for some other comments on the matter with which I only partially agree.

Mufti Advised Hitler on Holocaust, Says Middle East Forum Scholar

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn criticism for comments about the role of al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in conceiving and perpetrating the Holocaust.

Indeed, leading Nazi aides testified that al-Husaini was one of the instigators of the genocide. In his Damascus memoirs, the mufti admitted how he advised Hitler and other leading Nazis, and that he acquired full knowledge of the ongoing mass murder.

Middle East Forum scholar, historian, and author Wolfgang G. Schwanitz added, "It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust. He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe."

Although Schwanitz hadn't previously heard the dialogue between Hitler and al-Husaini as told by Netanyahu, he says it is absurd to ignore the role played by al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, a war criminal, in encouraging and urging Hitler and other leading Nazis to exterminate European Jewry.

According to the foremost expert on the ties between Nazis and Islamists, there is much evidence that al-Husaini's primary goal was blocking all of the ways out of Europe. He pushed Hitler to slam the last doors of a burning house shut.

In their 2014 book Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, published by Yale University Press, Schwanitz and co-author Barry Rubin delve into the deep ties between Hitler and the Grand Mufti:

"At their meeting [on November 28, 1941, Hitler and al-Husaini] concluded the pact of Jewish genocide in Europe and the Middle East, and immediately afterward, Hitler gave the order to prepare for the Holocaust. The next day invitations went out to thirteen Nazis for the Wannsee Conference to begin organizing the logistics of this mass murder."

The highly acclaimed book also examined the Grand Mufti's efforts to prevent Europe's Jews from finding refuge in the land that would become Israel:

"And since any European Jews let out of Europe might later go to Palestine, al-Husaini made it clear that if Hitler wanted Muslims and Arabs as allies he must close Europe's exits to Jews. At the same time, al-Husaini and Arab rulers also told Britain that if it wanted to keep Arabs and Muslims from being enemies, it must close entrance to Palestine to all Jews. By succeeding on both fronts, al-Husaini contributed to the Holocaust doubly, directly, and from the start."


The comments above about the Wannsee conference are misleading.  It was called, not by Hitler but by Heydrich.  Hitler did not attend.  And the claim: "The next day invitations went out" seems unlikely, as the conference took place on 20 January 1942, nearly two months later.  And we can't be sure what was said and decided there.  Both Eichmann, who took the notes of the meeting, and Heydrich, deliberately made sure that the final record of the conference was kept bland with nothing too specific in it. So, with great respect to Schwanitz and the late Barry Rubin, I can see no way in which the Wannsee conference is at all relevant to what Netanyahu specifically said.

So I stand by what I said earlier:  The matter is indeterminate. Netanyahu has his grounds for his interpretation and others have their grounds


Liberal Extremist Trying to Keep Trump off SNL

Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is set to host Saturday Night Live this November, and liberal pressure groups are doing their best to keep him off the air. This week, a certain liberal congressman chimed in:

According to Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), allowing Trump — who has come under fire for his comments about illegal immigrants — to host SNL is a step too far.

“It is a level of endorsement that says to America that every hateful and racist thing Donald Trump has said since the moment he launched his campaign is acceptable and no big deal,” Gutiérrez wrote in a letter Tuesday to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke.

Gutiérrez highlighted Trump’s early, controversial statements about illegal immigrants which lead to some businesses dropping their affiliations with Trump, including NBC.

“The reaction in July from NBC was swift and clear: ‘Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.’ And NBC said, ‘Respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.’ Serta, Macy’s, NASCAR, Univision, and ESPN were among the others that also acted to dump Trump” he wrote.

The Illinois Democrat continued saying allowing Trump to host SNL would be 90 minutes of “free network airtime” for his campaign.

“I think I speak for a lot of Americans, especially immigrant Americans and Latino Americans, when I say that if SNL is allowed to proceed, it would be a huge corporate blunder,” he added.
Who's Gutierrez? He's the guy who recently demanded that Obamacare coverage be extended to  illegal aliens.  The man who would seek to punish Trump for controversial speech that he disagrees with sees no problem with rewarding those who break our nation's laws and disrespect our borders.

It has become a tradition for presidential candidates to host the late night television show, and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton did recently. Many Republicans were outraged by President Clinton's disgraceful actions in Benghazi that left four Americans, including our ambassador, dead.  Where was Rep Gutierrez then?



This Country Built a Wall, and it Worked

Those who are quick to dismiss candidates like Donald Trump, and the members of the GOP grassroots who demand immigration reform are quick to dismiss the notion that building a wall will solve anything. But if recent developments in Hungary are any example, those folks may need to reconsider:

    Hungary said Monday its shutdown of the border with Croatia had put a stop to the influx of migrants and refugees.

    Only 41 people crossed into the EU member state on Sunday, the government said.

    "The border closure is working, it has effectively stopped illegal border-crossing," government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told reporters in Nagykanizsa, close to the Croatian border.

    "The Hungarian government is determined to keep the measures in place as long as is needed," he said.

    "We are continuously monitoring the situation at the Slovenian, Croatian and Serbian borders, and are ready to react to any situation which might develop."

    The figure of 41 represents a new daily record low in 2015 for Hungary, which witnessed up to 10,000 people stream across its borders daily since the summer.

The rest of Europe is on the verge of chaos, as migrants have caused massive disruptions in Germany and Sweden, where ISIS infiltrators are targeting Assyrian Christians and promising to launch a new Crusade.

This election has been characterized by its disregard for the conventional wisdom. Perhaps we need to dismiss the conventional wisdom on the border as well.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Has Vladimir Putin shown Obama how to do it?

Democracy has always been a rare thing on the world scene.  The Athenian and Roman democracies did not last.  Its only lasting base of support has been in North-Western Europe and its derivative societies.  Even Southern Europe has a poor record of democracy.  I mention Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal the Colonels in Greece, Tito in Yugoslavia and Petain in France.  That's the whole of S. Europe and all those ruled at various times during the C20.  Contrast that with Iceland's Althing, a parliament with a continuous history going back over 1,000 years.  And we all know about King John and the Magna Carta of 1215.

So the idea that democracy should be encouraged everywhere is laudable but seems unrealistic.  It just has no roots in most of the world and certainly does not in the Middle East.  "Choose your dictator" seems to be the only choice in the M.E.  The current chaos in Iraq, the rest of the M.E. and North Africa is surely ample testimony to that.  Where one dictator is not promptly replaced by another, great chaos, not democracy, seems to result.

And American foreign policy used to recognize that.  Conservative Latin American dictators were routinely supported as a preferable alternative to a Communist insurgency. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said about Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza—“He may be a bastard, but he's our bastard”.

But Obama's "fundamental transformation" of America includes ditching as much of America's traditional wisdom and values as possible and we now see the results.  America should have supported Assad in Syria but instead undermined him -- and offered nothing as a replacement other than pious hopes.  The world can therefore probably be grateful that Vladimir Vladomirovich has shown more sense.  Only his intervention seems likely to eliminate the totally foul Islamic State -- an outcome hoped for among people of goodwill worldwide

RUSSIA’S power play in Syria appears to be paying off with the superpower making inroads against Islamic State and other extremist groups, leaving its American rivals looking ineffective and highlighting US failures in the region.

When Russia decided to involve itself in the war in Syria, American officials accused it of “pouring gasoline on the fire” in Syria and being “unprofessional” for only giving the US an hour’s notice of its intention to launch air strikes.

But just weeks later, Russia’s provocative move seems to be paying off.

Professor Clive Williams of Macquarie University’s Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism told that Russia’s support had helped Syrian armed forces make advances in some contested areas and “clearly it has made a difference for them”.

Earlier this year, commentators were writing off the Syrian army and suggesting that the government’s days were numbered.

With Russian air support, Syrians have been able to hit back against Islamic State in central and north-western regions, in a war that has stretched out for four years under the US’s watch.

The US is opposed to the Syrian regime headed by brutal President Bashar al-Assad and has so far refused to help its troops, but Prof Williams said it was better for the Assad regime to be in power, than for the likely alternative of jihadist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra to prevail.

“We know what Islamic State is capable of, they are obviously ruthless and clearly have an agenda to dominate other opposition groups,” he said.

He said Russia’s success highlighted the US’s lack of strategy.

“America doesn’t really have a strategy but Russia’s is clear cut,” he said, adding that Russia aimed to support Assad’s regime and its own strategic interests.

While the US’s aim was to support Iraq and counter Islamic State, Prof Williams said what it was doing “was not really making much of a difference on the ground”. This was partly because the US did not want to put American boots on the ground and was limited in what it could achieve through air strikes.

Iraqi forces backed by the US had corrupt leaders and were poorly motivated, and seemed to be militarily incapable of making advances against Islamic State.

“They rely mainly on the Kurds to do the ground fighting and they are really only interested in establishing their own state,” Prof Williams said.

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama admitted that his efforts to help resolve the Syria crisis had so far failed, but defended his strategy and dismissed assertions that Russian President Vladimir Putin was now the dominant world leader.

But this week former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger argued in The Wall Street Journal that Russia’s military action was the latest symptom of the “disintegration of the American role in stabilising the Middle East order”.

He said the geopolitical alliances in the region were now in “shambles” and that four countries — Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq — had ceased to function.

“American policy has sought to straddle the motivations of all parties and is therefore on the verge of losing the ability to shape events,” Kissinger wrote.

“The US is now opposed to, or at odds in some way or another with, all parties in the region: with Egypt on human rights, with Saudi Arabia over Yemen, with each of the Syrian parties over different objectives.”

He said the US wanted to remove Assad but had been unwilling to generate effective political or military leverage to achieve that aim, or to put forward an alternative political structure to replace him. This had allowed Russia, Iran, Islamic State and other terrorist organisations to move into the vacuum.

Overall if you looked at American involvement in the Middle East since the 1990s, Prof Williams said: “it has all been pretty disastrous in terms of long term outcomes”.

He said that America’s best move to combat Islamic State could actually be to withdraw from the conflict and let regional countries sort out what is essentially a regional problem.



Israel Fights Terror and Moral Relativism

There are a number of insidious aspects that form the heart of progressive ideology. But none are more insidious than the Left’s love affair with moral relativism. And nowhere is that contemptibly bankrupt notion pursued with more vigor than the ongoing attempt to blame both sides in what is looking more and more like a Palestinian-incited third intifada taking shape in Israel.

Unsurprisingly, the latest campaign of murder, assaults and stabbings perpetrated by thugs and wannabe terrorists was engendered by a lie. “Arabs are convinced that Israel is set on destroying, desecrating or ‘Judaizing’ Haram al-Sharif, the Jerusalem compound that includes al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site,” explains New York Post columnist Benny Avni. “As [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas indelicately put it in a mid-September speech, the Jews are trying to ‘defile al-Aqsa with their filthy feet,’ and must be stopped.”

Thus, it doesn’t matter that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied that assertion, banned both Arab and Jewish Israeli officials from visiting the site, and offered to meet with Abbas to defuse the violence. It doesn’t matter that Jewish officials have pointed out the same arrangement in place since 1967, giving the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) de facto control of the site, remains intact.

Nor does it matter that Abbas, who continues to spread that rumor, has also been caught in another vicious lie. In a speech Wednesday, Abbas claimed Israelis “executed” an innocent 13-year-old boy, Ahmad Mansara, “in cold blood.” First, Mansara is hardly an innocent. He and his 15-year-old cousin were captured on video stabbing an Orthodox Jew and a Jewish child. The 13-year-old then attempted to attack two policemen and was shot. “I went there to stab Jews,” he told investigators about his crime spree. As for his “execution,” here is a picture of Mansara recovering from his wounds — in a Jewish hospital.

And it certainly doesn’t matter that during this latest terror campaign, Palestinian assailants have assaulted more than 50 Jews, killing eight. That includes 60-year-old Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky, run over by a thug who drove his car into several people waiting at a bus stop and then emerged with a cleaver and hacked the man to death.

All that matters is the kind of fecklessness demonstrated by Secretary of State John Kerry, who insisted (before it was walked back) the latest murder campaign is due to a “massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years” (they are the same number with more population), or the equally disgusting comment by State Department spokesman Mark Toner, who stated the Obama administration was trying to “drive home the point that both sides need to take affirmative actions that reduce tensions.” He added, “I don’t think it’s necessarily saying that we’re blaming one side or another.”

Another State Department spokesman, John Kirby, upped the moral relativist ante. “Individuals on both sides of this divide are — have proven capable of, and in our view, are guilty of acts of terrorism,” he declared.

Both sides are equally at fault? Perhaps the conglomeration of moral cowards that inhabit the Obama administration can enlighten us regarding an Israeli effort that is “more or less” equal to the torching by Palestinians of the highly revered Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank Thursday night, or a Palestinian diagram displayed by Israel’s UN Ambassador at the United Nations on Friday entitled, “How to stab a Jew.” Perhaps they could point to a Jewish campaign similar to Palestinian calls for a “Friday of revolution” aimed at precipitating additional violence.

Obama condemned the violence perpetrated against Israel, but couldn’t leave moral relativity out of the equation. “It’s important for both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli elected officials and President Abbas and other people in positions of power to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence or anger or misunderstanding,” he insisted.

Misunderstanding? What Obama ignores Netanyahu has clearly understood for decades. “The root cause of terrorism lies not in grievances but in a disposition toward unbridled violence,” he stated back in the ‘80s. “This can be traced to a worldview which asserts that certain ideological and religious goals justify, indeed demand, the shedding of all moral inhibitions.”

Shedding morality itself is also a staple of the left-wing media, led by The New York Times and its shameless attempt to question Jewish history regarding the location of the Temple Mount, insisting that certainty remains “elusive” — before adding a subsequent correction that stated the article does not “directly challenge Jewish claims to the Temple Mount.” Leftmedia behavior is best explained in one sentence by The Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens: “In the Middle East version [of media-covered violence], a higher Palestinian death toll suggests greater Israeli culpability.” Stephens deftly sums up the current state of affairs, writing, “Today in Israel, Palestinians are in the midst of a campaign to knife Jews to death, one at a time. This is psychotic. It is evil. To call it anything less is to serve as an apologist, and an accomplice.”

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of morally equivocating accomplices in the Obama administration, the UN or all the other countries and media outlets that constitute “world opinion.” World opinion that reflexively blames Jews for having the temerity to defend themselves from people like Hamas, whose charter of existence calls for the extermination of the Jewish State, or Palestinians who broadcast TV shows in which cartoonish characters teach young Palestinian children to embrace Jew-hatred.

CNN, long a champion of moral equivalence, published a column on Friday by Yoav Schwartz, CEO of a Tel Aviv tech company. Schwartz, who took the hand-wringing approach to the current violence, noted that immediately after the Boston Marathon was bombed, the fear that gripped that city was similar to the way things felt in Israel this week. Yet he wondered what was in the hearts of the Tsarnaev brothers that drove them to that act, noting Israelis ask the same questions. He then descended into the mindless drivel that drives the moral relativists. “We have to believe there is a solution,” he writes. “But as time marches on, it gets harder to accept, so I have to ask my Palestinian brothers and sisters, what’s really in your heart, 1948 or 1967?”

Schwartz and CNN got the answer less than 24 hours later. Five more knife attacks occurred Saturday, praised by Hamas. On Sunday, an Israeli policeman was killed and 10 others wounded when a man opened fire at a bus station. In the meantime, so-called human rights organization like Amnesty International and the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories insisted police and soldiers are “too quick to shoot to kill.” They also criticized the idea that Israelis should carry weapons to protect themselves.

Ever since 9/11, the American Left has been determined to figure out why terrorists hate us, even as leftists remain utterly blind to the most obvious answer: Terrorists hate us because evil exists, and they are animated by that evil. And those who embrace moral relativism embrace cultural suicide, be it in in Israel, Europe — or the United States.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are firstborns smarter?

This is an old hypothesis that Robert Zajonc devoted considerable work to in the '70s.  He found an effect of up to 3 IQ points.  A recent international study with large samples has however recently re-examined the theory.  There is a popular account of the findings here. The journal abstract is as under:

Examining the effects of birth order on personality

Julia M. Rohrer et al.

This study examined the long-standing question of whether a person’s position among siblings has a lasting impact on that person’s life course. Empirical research on the relation between birth order and intelligence has convincingly documented that performances on psychometric intelligence tests decline slightly from firstborns to later-borns. By contrast, the search for birth-order effects on personality has not yet resulted in conclusive findings. We used data from three large national panels from the United States (n = 5,240), Great Britain (n = 4,489), and Germany (n = 10,457) to resolve this open research question. This database allowed us to identify even very small effects of birth order on personality with sufficiently high statistical power and to investigate whether effects emerge across different samples. We furthermore used two different analytical strategies by comparing siblings with different birth-order positions (i) within the same family (within-family design) and (ii) between different families (between-family design). In our analyses, we confirmed the expected birth-order effect on intelligence. We also observed a significant decline of a 10th of a SD in self-reported intellect with increasing birth-order position, and this effect persisted after controlling for objectively measured intelligence. Most important, however, we consistently found no birth-order effects on extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, or imagination. On the basis of the high statistical power and the consistent results across samples and analytical designs, we must conclude that birth order does not have a lasting effect on broad personality traits outside of the intellectual domain.


So the effect was very small.  In fact, if we look at the supplemental material, we see that the difference in the British sample was just one IQ point -- totally unimportant for all intents and purposes.  So even the small effect found by Zajonc would seem to have been overstated.

Whether a difference of one IQ point requires explanation is unclear but several environmental explanations have been suggested in the links above.

What was NOT found is also interesting. That birth order had NO effect on any personality variable upsets a lot of theories -- but is consistent with genetics rather than the environment being the main influence on personality -- e.g. if you are a miserable whiner like most Leftists are, you were born that way.

One theory that would seem rather damaged by the findings even though it was not directly tested was the pet theory of Frank Sulloway.  Firstborns are conservatives and later-borns are  rebellious, says Sulloway.  Rebelliousness would seem to be a personality variable. See here for a dissection of the strange Prof. Sulloway and his theory.


European wisdom at work

A Czech doctor, who works in a German hospital, is so disgusted and overwhelmed with the Muslim migrant invaders that she is threatening to leave the country and go back home to the Czech Republic. She explains, via an email letter (because the press is forbidden from reporting on this), how horrific the conditions are in these hospitals, with the Muslim invaders bringing diseases they weren’t even prepared to treat. But that’s just part of it. The superior attitudes of these Muslims and their belief that they should get everything for free is wreaking havoc everywhere, from the hospitals to the pharmacies

Her report:

Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff and, we, women, are refusing to go among those animals, especially from Africa. Relations between the staff and migrants are going from bad to worse. Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.

Many migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases that we, in Europe, do not know how to treat them. If they receive a prescription in the pharmacy, they learn they have to pay cash. This leads to unbelievable outbursts, especially when it is about drugs for the children. They abandon the children with pharmacy staff with the words: “So, cure them here yourselves!” So the police are not just guarding the clinics and hospitals, but also large pharmacies.

Truly we said openly: Where are all those who had welcomed in front of TV cameras, with signs at train stations?! Yes, for now, the border has been closed, but a million of them are already here and we will definitely not be able to get rid of them.

Until now, the number of unemployed in Germany was 2.2 million. Now it will be at least 3.5 million. Most of these people are completely unemployable. A bare minimum of them have any education. What is more, their women usually do not work at all. I estimate that one in ten is pregnant. Hundreds of thousands of them have brought along infants and little kids under six, many emaciated and neglected. If this continues and German re-opens its borders, I’m going home to the Czech Republic. Nobody can keep me here in this situation, not even double the salary than at home. I went to Germany, not to Africa or the Middle East.

Even the professor who heads our department told us how sad it makes him to see the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros cleans every day for years, and then meets young men in the hallways who just wait with their hand outstretched, want everything for free, and when they don’t get it they throw a fit.

I really don’t need this! But I’m afraid that if I return, that at some point it will be the same in the Czech Republic. If the Germans, with their nature cannot handle this, there in Czechia it would be total chaos. Nobody who has not come in contact with them has no idea what kind of animals they are, especially the ones from Africa, and how Muslims act superior to our staff, regarding their religious accommodation.

For now, the local hospital staff has not come down with the diseases they brought here, but, with so many hundreds of patients every day – this is just a question of time.

In a hospital near the Rhine, migrants attacked the staff with knives after they had handed over an 8-month-old on the brink of death, which they had dragged across half of Europe for three months. The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany. The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are laid up in the ICU. Nobody has been punished.

The local press is forbidden to write about it, so we know about it through email. What would have happened to a German if he had stabbed a doctor and nurses with a knife? Or if he had flung his own syphilis-infected urine into a nurse’s face and so threatened her with infection? At a minimum he’d go straight to jail and later to court. With these people – so far, nothing has happened.

And so I ask, where are all those greeters and receivers from the train stations? Sitting pretty at home, enjoying their non-profits and looking forward to more trains and their next batch of cash from acting like greeters at the stations. If it were up to me I would round up all these greeters and bring them here first to our hospital’s emergency ward, as attendants. Then, into one building with the migrants so they can look after them there themselves, without armed police, without police dogs who today are in every hospital here in Bavaria, and without medical help.



Sweden Close to Collapse

If the wave of migrants keeps coming, in 10-15 years, Swedes will be a minority in their own country. That there is, in fact, an exchange of populations going on, should be clear in any sober assessment.

    "The final consequence of... Sweden's immigration policy is that the economy will collapse -- because who is going to pay for it all? And economic breakdowns, once they happen, always happen very fast." -- Lars Hedegaard.

    In the last two weeks, more than 1,000 "unaccompanied refugee children" have arrived from Germany via ferry; more than half of them have now vanished and are listed as missing.

    For the last few weeks, the central train station in Sweden's third largest city, Malmö, has been overrun with migrants; the volunteers that for the first few days showed up with food, water and clothes now seem to have lost interest.

    It will not be long until the Swedes realize that the state will not look after them. The country that just 20 years ago was considered one of the safest and most affluent in the world, is now in danger of becoming a failed state.

Sweden is fast approaching a complete collapse. More and more municipalities are raising the alarm that if the migrants keep coming at this pace, the government can no longer guarantee normal service to its citizens. In addition, ominous statements from government officials have left Swedes in fear of what tomorrow may bring. If the migrant wave keeps coming, in 10-15 years, Swedes will be a minority in their own country.

At a press conference October 9, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said that Sweden is in a state of crisis. However, when asked to clarify what he meant by this, Löfven was unable to produce a single coherent sentence.

Three ministers appeared by the Prime Minister's side at the hastily summoned press conference, which came on the heels of an extraordinary government meeting. The purpose of the press conference seems to have been to convey two messages:

    To explain to the world and the Swedish people that Sweden is facing "one of the largest humanitarian efforts in Swedish history."
    That there is no more housing available, and migrants should be prepared to live in tents.

During the question period after the ministers' speeches, journalist Tomas Ramberg of Ekot Public Radio asked: "You say that Sweden is preparing for a crisis situation, what do you mean by those dramatic words?"

Stefan Löfven's reply was incomprehensible:

    "Yes, well first of all we, we are in the middle of what I mean seriously when I'm saying, when I express a, a big thank you to all the people doing such a great job, because it is a humanitarian effort, it's just as the Minister for Justice and Migration just said. What we are actually doing is that we are saving lives when people who come from bombs, from, from killing, from oppression, their lives are shattered. We, we help them and that is a, that is a great humanitarian effort, and of course now that we can see the number of people who need it, that are seeking protection, then it is one of the greatest humanitarian efforts. And that we are facing a crisis situation, that is in part why I, we are outlining today that we are also preparing for a situation where we may need to house people in tents, because we stand up with the humanitarian refugee policy, right of asylum, but we can now also see that we cannot close our eyes to the fact that there are more coming than ever in such a short time, and we need to provide a roof over their heads. Then it is -- other things may be required."

However, the fact that the government is now talking about housing migrants in tents, may be a signal that Sweden, despite everything, may not want to be on the front lines of the "humanitarian" battle anymore, after all. The prospect of spending an ice-cold Swedish winter in a tent may make migrants choose countries other than Sweden. If not, a complete collapse of the Swedish system is imminent.

Right now, the Swedish government is borrowing money abroad to pay for immigration. But that amount is not enough. On October 8, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) warned that municipalities need to increase the tax rate by 2%. The average municipal income tax is already 32%, on top of which many Swedes also pay a federal income tax. A 2% rise in the tax rate would mean 15,000 kronor ($1,825) more in taxes each year for the average household.

High-ranking politicians and officials are also saying the situation is extremely grim. On October 1, Minister for Home Affairs Anders Ygeman said that the current wave of immigrants will lead to "huge economic strains;" and a few days later Immigration Service Director General Anders Danielsson explained that "within the framework of the system we all know, we are now approaching the end of the road." Statements such as these have never been heard before in Sweden, especially in connection with the "sacred" issue of migration. Until now, Swedes have perpetually been told that we live in a rich country that has no problem handling all asylum seekers who want to come here.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (left) said last week that Sweden is in a state of crisis. Pictured at right, the results of rioting in a Stockholm suburb, December 2014.

In the shadow the 1.5 million migrants expected to arrive this year in Germany, the EU's largest country (population 81 million), migrants are also pouring into a rather smaller Sweden. Geographically Sweden is large, but consists mainly of forests and wilderness, and fewer than 10 million people live in the country. Until 2010, Sweden took in about 25,000 migrants a year. However, in 2010, then Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt made a deal with pro-immigration Green Party, (Miljöpartiet) -- by his own admission to punish voters for allowing the anti-mass-immigration Sweden Democrats party (Sverigedemokraterna) into parliament.

Reinfeldt's deal opened the immigration floodgates. In 2014, 81,000 people sought asylum in Sweden; and 33,500 were granted asylum. However, as many of the immigrants subsequently brought over their relatives, that figure substantially increased. Last year, 110,000 people were granted residency status in Sweden. One should add to this figure an unknown number of illegal aliens.

There is now talk of 180,000 asylum seekers coming to Sweden in 2015. That number is more than twice as many as the year before. If half of them are granted asylum, and they each bring over three relatives, we are talking about 270,000 new immigrants to Sweden -- within one year. Over 8000 people arrived just last week, 1,716 of whom were so-called "unaccompanied refugee children."

Swedes who only follow the mainstream media get the impression that all the migrants arriving are war refugees from Syria, but the number of Syrians is actually less than half of the total

Much more HERE

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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Obama’s ‘Behavioral Data’ Order Has Sinister Implications

Logan Albright has some reasonable concerns below but the problem may not be as great as he thinks.  As I have been pointing out rather a lot lately, psychology is mostly bunk, so policies based on it are unlikely to get the results intended

If I had to sum up the Obama administration in a single word, I think that word would be “arrogance.”

The president has always regarded himself as the smartest guy in the room, with an ego that has been relentlessly stroked by the press and the people he surrounds himself with. He has refused to work with Congress, preferring instead to dictate his agenda to them and expect absolute compliance, or else.

He opines about national news before knowing the facts. He expects foreign leaders to bend to the force of his personality in lieu of actual negotiations. He even promised to roll back the tides and heal the planet, as though Mother Nature herself would bow to his raw charisma and mighty intellect.

This arrogance is also displayed in President Obama’s attitude towards the people who elected him. The American public, in his mind, are little more than sheep, to be herded in whatever direction he deems appropriate. It’s the mindset behind all big-government progressives, but it’s been particularly evident under this president.

The latest example is an executive order issued by Obama that asks various government agencies to start using behavioral data in the way they market and implement government services.

Behavioral economics has become fashionable of late, with the core idea being that you can use psychology and data to influence people’s behavior. It’s a sinister twist on marketing, with the idea basically being that people must be tricked into making the “right decision.”

These techniques have been heavily encouraged by Obama’s former regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, who argued in his book “Nudge” that government should paternalistically push people into making better choices.

First of all, what a “better” choice is depends entirely on individuals and their priorities. It’s not government’s place to tell us that we are living our lives wrongly, that we eat too much, that we exercise too little, or that products we like and want to buy just aren’t good enough.

Second, the instructions to use data in promoting federal programs lead to the obvious question of where this data is going to come from. Reading the White House statement, it appears that they plan to draw largely from existing behavioral science research, but the order also creates a social and behavioral sciences team of experts to help advance these tactics.

One line from the statement is particularly worrisome:

"In addition to these federal actions, universities, nonprofits and researchers are announcing expanded efforts to work together to use insights from the social and behavioral sciences to improve programs."

This sounds suspiciously like the White House recruiting private researchers to spy on us and “nudge” us into government programs. We already know that the government collects all kinds of data on innocent citizens, claiming national security as a justification. What happens when they start collecting it to actively influence our decision making?



No, Bernie Sanders, Scandinavia is not a socialist utopia

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN BERNIE SANDERS was asked during CNN's Democratic presidential debate how a self-proclaimed socialist could hope to be elected to the White House, he gave the answer he usually gives: Socialism has been wonderful for the countries of Scandinavia, and America should emulate their example.

"We should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people," Sanders said. When the moderator turned to Hillary Clinton, she agreed that America has to "save capitalism from itself" and that, yes, Scandinavia is great. "I love Denmark," declared Clinton. It was the only time in the debate a candidate uttered the verb "love."

Liberals have had a crush on Scandinavia for decades. "It is a country whose very name has become a synonym for a materialist paradise," observed Time magazine in a 1976 story on Sweden. "Its citizens enjoy one of the world's highest living standards. . . . Neither ill‑health, unemployment nor old age pose the terror of financial hardship. [Sweden's] cradle-to-grave benefits are unmatched in any other free society outside Scandinavia." In 2010, a National Public Radio story marveled at the way "Denmark Thrives Despite High Taxes." The small Nordic nation, said NPR, "seems to violate the laws of the economic universe," improbably balancing low poverty and unemployment rates with stratospheric taxes that were among the world's highest.

Such paeans may inspire Clinton's love and Sanders's faith in America's socialist future. As with most urban legends, however, the reality of Scandinavia's welfare-state utopia doesn't match the hype.

To begin with, explains Swedish scholar Nima Sanandaji, the affluence and cultural norms upon which Scandinavia's social-democratic policies rest are not the product of socialism. In Scandinavian Unexceptionalism, a penetrating new book published by the Institute of Economic Affairs, Sanandaji shows that the Nordic nations' prosperity "developed during periods characterized by free-market policies, low or moderate taxes, and limited state involvement in the economy."

For example, Sweden was a poor nation for most of the 19th century (which helps explain the great wave of Swedish emigration to the United States in the 1800s). That began to change as Stockholm, starting around 1870, turned to free-enterprise reforms. Robust capitalism replaced the formerly agrarian system, and Sweden grew rich. "Property rights, free markets, and the rule of law combined with large numbers of well-educated engineers and entrepreneurs," Sanandaji writes. The result was an environment in which Swedes experienced "an unprecedented period of sustained and rapid economic development." In fact, between 1870 and 1936 Sweden had the highest growth rate in the industrialized world.

Scandinavia's hard-left turn didn't come about until much later. It was in the late 1960s and early 1970s that taxes soared, welfare payments expanded, and entrepreneurship was discouraged.

But what emerged wasn't heaven on earth.

That 1976 story in Time, for example, went on to report that Sweden found itself struggling with crime, drug addiction, welfare dependency, and a plague of red tape. Successful Swedes — most famously, Ingmar Bergman — were fleeing the country to avoid its killing taxes. "Growing numbers are plagued by a persistent, gnawing question: Is their Utopia going sour?"

Sweden's world-beating growth rate dried up. In 1975, it had been the 4th-wealthiest nation on earth (as measured by GDP per capita); by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. By then, Swedes had begun to regard their experiment with socialism as, in Sanandaji's phrase, "a colossal failure."

Denmark has come to a similar conclusion. Its lavish subsidies are being rolled back amid sharp concerns about welfare abuse and an eroding work ethic. In the last general election, Danes replaced a left-leaning government with one tilted to the right. Loving Denmark doesn't mean loving big-government welfarism.

The real key to Scandinavia's unique successes isn't socialism, it's culture. Social trust and cohesion, a broad egalitarian ethic, a strong emphasis on work and responsibility, commitment to the rule of law — these are healthy attributes of a Nordic culture that was ingrained over centuries. In the region's small and homogeneous countries (overwhelmingly white, Protestant, and native-born), those norms took deep root. The good outcomes and high living standards they produced antedated the socialist nostrums of the 1970s. Scandinavia's quality of life didn't spring from leftist policies. It survived them.

Sanandaji makes the acute observation that when Scandinavian emigrants left for the United States, those cultural attributes went with them and produced the same good effects. Scandinavian-Americans have higher incomes and lower poverty rates than the US average. Indeed, Danish-Americans economically outperform Danes still living in Denmark, as do Swedish-Americans compared with Swedes and Finnish-Americans compared with Finns. Scandinavian culture has been a blessing for native Scandinavians — and even more of one for their cousins across the ocean.

No, Scandinavia doesn't "violate the laws of the economic universe." It confirms them. With free markets and healthy values, almost any society will thrive. All socialism does is make things worse.



A Liberal’s Ten Commandments

The best way for liberals to advance their various causes would be to take a pledge to live the rather progressive lives that they advocate. Here are a modest Ten Commandments to lend them credibility in the eyes of the American people.

1. Climate Change. Perhaps the greatest carbon emission sin is jet travel. On an average London-to-New York flight each passenger emits well over 1 ton of C02 emissions, an indulgence that can nullify a year of recycling of other less-privileged Americans. All supporters of government-mandated reductions in fossil-fuel emissions could at least take the following pledge. “I will fly across the Atlantic no more than once every five years.” Private jet travel — the worst of the mortal carbon sins — of course would be banned, at least until we can transition into solar and wind aviation. Al Gore in the middle seat of Row 44, fighting to put his oversized carry-on into the overhead compartment, would be a symbolic act worth far more than all his heated and well-paid rhetoric.

2. Schools. Most liberals oppose charter schools, support teachers’ unions, and encourage generous immigration, legal and illegal. To further diversity in the schools, create easier integration, and to nullify the insidiousness of white privilege, each liberal should pledge, “I will put at least one of my children in an inner-city public school, or in a school where the white enrollment is in a minority.” What better way to acculturate a young elite to the new world around him? Could not the Obama children attend a D.C. public school?

3. Guns. Gun control is an iconic liberal issue, specifically limitations on handguns and concealed weapons. Too many guns in too many places supposedly encourage violent crime. Again, what better way to make a statement than by having all liberal celebrities, business people, and politicians take the following pledge: “I will pledge that no one in my security detail will ever carry a concealed firearm of any sort”? Surely the pope, of all people, did not need armed guards, with lethal concealed weapons, surrounding his pope-mobile?

4. Illegal Immigration. Liberals support the idea of unlimited immigration, legal or not. But the key for successful upward mobility for newly arrived immigrants, attested in nearly all studies, is integration and acculturation with American citizens. Therefore the following pledge seems ideal for any supporter of open borders: “I will socialize weekly with at least one illegal immigrant, whether inviting him to a sporting event, dinner, or recreational activity.” Were one upscale family to adopt an immigrant family from south of the border, the latter’s health care, legal, education, economic, and culture challenges might be alleviated. There are plenty of empty and mostly unused guest houses behind estates in Malibu and Santa Monica, and very few shelters for new arrivals: why not combine need and idleness — and help the helpless?

5. Sanctuary Cities. Most liberals support sanctuary cities and the idea of open borders, including the right of cities to nullify federal law. Why not pledge,  “I will swear support for all American cities that choose to nullify any federal laws that they find oppressive and somehow contrary to the idea of America”? When a cattleman shoots a wolf, and a county sheriff guffaws and claims “that’s a federal problem, not mine,” then we will have come full circle to the sort of disasters that occur in San Francisco.

6. Diversity. “White privilege” and “black lives matters” are slogans that resonate with liberals. Both could be reified with a simple pledge: “I will live in a neighborhood in which at least one of my immediate neighbors is a non-white household.” In addition, why not eliminate the idea of a gated community altogether? Why send not-so-coded signals that the Other is not wanted? (Could not the Obama administration put a $1,000,000 luxury tax on each of a community’s exclusionary gates?)

7. Voting Laws. For liberals, driver’s license IDs are unnecessary for registration or even showing up at the polls to vote. Why, then, not cement that pledge by sanctifying the uselessness of such IDs in everyday life? “As proof of solidarity, I pledge that I will not use my own driver’s license ID either during any commercial purchase or at the airport security line — both being far more important than mere voting.”

8. The Environment. West Coast liberals should do something to alleviate the effect of the drought, given that they have cancelled most of the secondary phases of the California Water Project and released several million acre-feet of stored reservoir water into the ocean: “I pledge that I will not use any water that is stored in, and transferred at great costs from, a man-made, artificial reservoir, especially those at great distances built in sensitive areas such as Yosemite National Park.” There could even be an additional corollary: “I pledge that I will not waste precious water on my lawn or ornamental plants.” (One sees lots of new plastic, artificial lawns in Fresno, which has a vast aquifer, but almost none in Palo Alto and Atherton, which do not). Can one imagine Woodside or Los Altos with Astroturf?

9. The University. The university is a bastion of liberalism and therefore must reflect such progressive values. “I pledge to support no university whose rate of increase in annual tuition exceeds the rate of inflation or that pays different wages to different categories of professor for the exact same class taught.” Why not boycott Harvard or Berkeley, given that their part-time policies make Wal-Mart’s look enlightened?

10. Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action is a bedrock liberal issue, especially the idea of changing evaluation criteria on the basis of perceived social need. Why not strengthen a commitment to affirmative action in deed as well as word, given the insidious nature of white privilege that gives a leg up to white elite youth in a way impossible for the children of the Other?  “I pledge that at least one of my children will enter a reverse affirmative action program by refusing admission to any school that admits only 10% of its applicants. Instead he will only enroll in a more egalitarian one that admits 90% of its applicants.” And for those who cannot live up to their rhetoric, why not at least a lesser oath, “I promise to use no backdoor pressure — alumni, legacy, private phone call, quid-pro-quo — to help my college-age children circumvent the admission process in a way that is unavailable to others”?

Given that these pledges do not reflect current liberal behavior, apparently abiding by them would mean that there would soon be no more liberals.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Monday, October 19, 2015

"Covert" measure of racism invalid

I have been critical of the IAT for over a decade (See e.g. here) so I am pleased to see that its invalidity seems to be becoming widely accepted.  The text below is from a wide-ranging survey of psychological research findings that have not stood up to scrutiny

Perhaps most consequentially, replications failed to validate many uses of the Implicit Association Test, which is the most popular research tool in social psychology. Its designers say the test detects unconscious biases, including racial biases, that persistently drive human behavior. Sifting data from the IAT, social scientists tell us that at least 75 percent of white Americans are racist, whether they know it or not, even when they publicly disavow racial bigotry. This implicit racism induces racist behavior as surely as explicit racism. The paper introducing the IAT’s application to racial attitudes has been cited in more than 6,600 studies, according to Google Scholar. The test is commonly used in courts and classrooms across the country. 

That the United States is in the grip of an epidemic of implicit racism is simply taken for granted by social psychologists​—​another settled fact too good to check. Few of them have ever returned to the original data. Those who have done so have discovered that the direct evidence linking IAT results to specific behavior is in fact negligible, with small samples and weak effects that have seldom if ever been replicated. One team of researchers went through the IAT data on racial attitudes and behavior and concluded there wasn’t much evidence either way.

“The broad picture that emerges from our reanalysis,” they wrote, “is that the published results [confirming the IAT and racism] are likely to be conditional and fragile and do not permit broad conclusions about the prevalence of discriminatory tendencies in American society.” Their debunking paper, “Strong Claims and Weak Evidence,” has been cited in fewer than 100 studies.


The text above is part of an article that looked at replications.  There have been several attempts made recently to see if a research finding will be repeated if the same experiment is repeated. About two thirds of the reports could not be replicated.  When someone else carried out exactly the same research, the original finding was not repeated.  That is of course very destructive to faith in scientific "findings".

There is however another problem that is equally disquieting:  Researchers keep refusing to make their raw data generally available for others to check the analyses.  Many journals have policies saying that authors MUST make their raw data available to other scientists.  But it still does not happen.  As the report below shows, only 38% of psychologists were willing to make their raw data available to others.  That is however good when compared with climate researchers.  The percentage there seems to be 0%.

Are We Wasting a Good Crisis? The Availability of Psychological Research Data after the Storm

By  Wolf Vanpaemel et al.


To study the availability of psychological research data, we requested data from 394 papers, published in all issues of four APA journals in 2012. We found that 38% of the researchers sent their data immediately or after reminders. These findings are in line with estimates of the willingness to share data in psychology from the recent or remote past. Although the recent crisis of confidence that shook psychology has highlighted the importance of open research practices, and technical developments have greatly facilitated data sharing, our findings make clear that psychology is nowhere close to being an open science.


And it's even worse here, where 31 emailed requests for data yielded only 4 positive answers.

"Psychology is bunk" would be a reasonable comment on most of it.  That psychologists are overwhelmingly Leftist does help to explain that.  Leftism is bunk too -- JR


It's Time to Change the Name of the Democrat Party

On major networks across the nation, Tuesday’s Democrat presidential debate was interrupted so viewers could watch a tribute to Karl Marx.

Oh wait, that was the Democrat presidential debate.

Itching to succeed the current progressive occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee took the stage to lay out their plans for America — plans that sounded a lot like “from each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.”

Chafee promised to “close the gap” between the haves and have nots, and self-proclaimed democratic-socialist Bernie Sanders decried the rigging of the American economy to favor the 1%. Rigging is bad. Very bad. Unless people like Bernie do the rigging. Then rigging is good. Very good.

Meanwhile, Clinton donned her Wonder Woman cape to “save capitalism from itself” and address “the kind of inequalities we’re seeing in our economic system.” She must have accidentally deleted the memo that centrally controlled distribution of wealth to achieve equality is also known as socialism. Then again, Clinton has deleted a lot of things lately.

It was quite a show, really — and it’s amazing any podiums were placed stage right, since the whole evening was a performance of Left and Lefter.

Ironically, as The Wall Street Journal notes, “The end of a two-term Presidency is typically a time for taking credit, celebrating achievements and promising to continue successful policies,” but even the Left recognizes a stupid idea from time to time.

After all, what could they possibly point to from Obama’s two terms? A near-doubling of our national debt? Hardly a winning argument.

Instead, the candidates actually admitted that, after seven years of Obama, things are still pretty dreary. O'Malley, for example, pointed to a shrinking middle class. “Our poor families are becoming poorer, and 70% of us are earning the same, or less, than we were 12 years ago. We need new leadership, and we need action.” Of course, he had to go back 12 years to be sufficiently Bush-bashing.

So what would one of these new bosses look like?

A lot like the old boss, actually.

As Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) points out, when asked by debate moderator Anderson Cooper how they would differ from Obama, the candidates proffered Obama 2.0, including a “right” to health care; free college for all; amnesty, in-state tuition and ObamaCare for illegal immigrants; paid family leave; a $15 minimum wage; and a free pony.

Ok, not a pony.

“One thing never came up,” notes IBD: “the national debt. Under Obama, it’s soared from 60% to over 100% of GDP, meaning our national IOU is bigger than our $18 trillion economy. To anybody but Democrats, that’s a crisis.”

But socialism has done so smashingly elsewhere, why not try it here?

In describing his socialistic utopia, Sanders pointed to — where else — the Scandinavian paradise. After all, Denmark, Sweden and Norway have “accomplished” much “for their working people,” says Sanders. Well, if Bernie wants to have a Danish love-fest, he might also want to do some better debate prep.

Admittedly, Denmark has a huge welfare state, which Sanders loves. But that state is propped up by high taxes on the middle class that include not only high income taxes but also a value-added tax — meaning a tax on every stage of production or distribution of a product. This is hardly the “top 1%” paying their “fair share.”

Indeed, as National Review’s Kevin Williamson writes, “If Senator Sanders were an intellectually honest man, he’d acknowledge forthrightly that the only way to pay for generous benefits for the middle class is to tax the middle class, where most of the income earners are.”

Second, Scandinavia is actually more free-market friendly than Sanders thinks. Corporate tax rates are lower there than in the United States, and the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index ranks Sanders' beloved Denmark a slot ahead of the U.S. in freedom level. Does this mean he’ll soon propose cutting our corporate tax rate?

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, now.

In truth, as IBD notes, “The Democratic debate shows just how far left the party’s lurched. Capitalism was on trial, and self-ID’d socialism was literally front and center. Stop the charade. Just change your name to the Democratic Socialist Party.”

Nary a candidate was willing to assert categorical opposition to socialism and all advocated socialistic policies under the guise of equality. In the end, they put on a show that would have made Marx proud.



21st century Nazis going strong

21st century Nazis don't of course exactly mirror the 1930s Nazis but the attitude similarities are great -- including Leftist origins. They are not only hostile to the Jewish state but they champion the quite Fascist Palestinian statelet.  And their biases would do Hitler proud. Even though Israel is just responding to Arab attacks, the demonstrators below see no fault with the Arabs but all fault with the Jews.  "The Jooooos" are a bug in the brain of many Leftists.  Even though he was one himself, even Karl Marx did not like Jews

Hundreds of Free Palestine demonstrators bring London traffic to a standstill with protest outside Israeli embassy and in Oxford Street

Parts of London were brought to a standstill when hundreds of pro-Palestine campaigners took part in rallies yesterday.  In Oxford Circus, stunned shoppers were stopped in their tracks by protesters setting off red and green smoke bombs and carrying 'Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance' banners.

Meanwhile, outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington, campaigners came together to 'oppose the escalating attack on Palestinians'.

People came together outside the Israeli embassy in Kensington to unite for 'peace, freedom and justice'

Layla White, of London Palestine Action which organised the sit-down protest at the crossing between Oxford Street and Regent Street, said: 'We've taken disruptive direct action today to draw attention to the Palestinian popular resistance which is defying curfews and reclaiming the streets of Palestine against military occupation every day.'

Transport for London said about 10 buses were briefly diverted by a group of people blocking the road.

Pro-Palestine groups also organised a protest in High Street Kensington, opposite the Israeli embassy, yesterday, which welcomed hundreds of people waving, and wearing, the Palestinian flag.

A statement on the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website read: 'We have come together to unite for Palestine. We have come together to unite for peace, freedom and justice. To unite against hatred, intolerance and racism.

'We have come together to oppose this escalating attack on Palestinians. We welcome all who stand with us in our opposition to all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.'

The protests came as Israelis shot dead three Palestinian 'knife attackers' in Jerusalem and Hebron, including a 16-year-old boy.  Israeli police spokesman Luba Samri said officers shot and killed the teenager in Jerusalem after he tried to stab them when they stopped to ask him for identification.

Elsewhere today, an Israeli pedestrian shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to stab him in the West Bank city of Hebron - a frequent flashpoint where a few hundred Jewish settlers live in close proximity to tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The military said the Palestinian was shot dead before he could harm the man.  Later, police said a Palestinian woman stabbed a female officer at a border police base in Hebron before the officer shot her dead. The officer's hand was 'lightly wounded'.

Protesters set off smoke bombs during a protest at the crossing between Oxford Street and Regent Street

And this evening, a Palestinian was shot after stabbing an Israeli soldier in the city, the army said.

Over the past month, eight Israelis have been killed in Palestinian attacks - most of them stabbings.  In that time, 39 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire, including 18 labelled as attackers, and the rest in clashes with Israeli troops.

Most of the attacks on Israelis have been carried out by Palestinians with no known ties to militant groups.

The violence erupted a month ago over the Jewish New Year. It was fueled by rumours that Israel was plotting to take over Jerusalem's most sensitive holy site, a hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque - Islam's third-holiest shrine and a key national symbol for the Palestinians.

Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying it has no plans to change the status quo at the site, where Jews are allowed to visit but not pray.

The Palestinian fears have been fueled by a growing number of Jews visiting the compound in recent months, especially during holidays, with the encouragement of Jewish activists groups and senior government officials.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has at times tried to calm the situation by saying violence is not in the Palestinians' interest and behind the scenes has ordered his security forces to reduce frictions.

But Israel accuses him of incitement, saying he has not condemned attacks on Israelis and falsely accused Israel of having 'summarily executed' a Palestinian boy who stabbed an Israeli youngster. The Palestinian teen is recovering in hospital.

Israel has taken unprecedented steps in response to the attacks. It has deployed soldiers in its cities and put up concrete barriers outside some Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, where most of the attackers came from.

Ordinary citizens have also increasingly taken up arms to protect themselves.

On Friday, Palestinian assailants firebombed a West Bank site revered by Jews as the tomb of the biblical figure Joseph.



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. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

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


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Personality and politics

Even since 1950, psychologists have been trying to predict one's politics from one's personality. The idea was that conservatives all had personalities that were defective in some way. It was a big topic in the '50s and 60s but still burbles on today at a low level.  The exciting connections discovered early on have all gradually withered away under criticism of various sorts --  but a last redoubt remains in the form of research with the Altemeyer "Right wing authoritaranism" (RWA) scale -- an attitude inventory that does have a few weak correlations here and there.

One of the old warriors who is still plugging on is John Duckitt -- originally a white South African but now escaped to New Zealand.  Duckitt was for a long time an uncritical acceptor of the conventional wisdom but after some pointed criticism from me (here, here and here) he gradually seems to have become more cautious.

His latest paper reflects that.  He has become very cautious about what the RWA scale measures.  He says: "measures such as the RWA scale cannot be assumed to be assessing anything more than what their items are directly reflecting—a dimension of social attitudes of a broadly ideological nature".  How vague can you get?

In other words he says "search me!" when asked to put a name to what the RWA scale measures. I would say the same.  He does however continue elsewhere to refer to it as a measure of authoritarianism and seems to regard it as a measure of some sort of conservatism, without presenting any evidence to that effect.

In using the RWA scale he inherits an extensive body of prior research that purports to tell us what causes RWA attitudes, with "Openness to experience" being a major candidate.  High RWAs are not very open to experience, it is alleged.

Duckitt has however turned his current skepticism about what the RWA measures onto measures of "Openness to experience" also.  And he concludes, as I also tend to do, that the concept is overly broad.  He has decided that the concept can fruitfully be broken down into two parts:  Openness to intellectual experience and openness to aesthetic experience -- which seems reasonable enough.

But what does he discover when he relates those different sub-components to RWA?  He finds that it is only openness to intellectual experience that predicts RWA.  So a lot of the excitement seems to have gone out of RWA.  There is now only one thin personality dimension that predicts it substantially.  Very thin pickings for 65 years of research!

But here we come to the big question:  What does it all mean for behaviour?  Duckitt has been churning questionnaire answers through his computer for many years but what connection does any of it have with behaviour -- with what people do?  The original measure of authoritarian attitudes -- the F scale -- went out of favour because it had almost NO connection with behaviour.  And Altemeyer himself -- author of the RWA scale -- says that answers on it do not predict vote to any important extent.  When used in Russia it predicts Communist loyalties!  So much for the "Right-wing" tag attached to it: Right-wing Communists??

So Duckitt's correlations would seem to have nothing to do with real-life.  In psychometrician's terms, neither his Intellectual Interest scale nor his RWA scale are satisfactorily validated. What they really measure as general concepts is just speculation.  So let me suggest some possible meanings to Duckitt's findings.  I actually think they are enlightening.

It seems to be early days for us to KNOW what the intellect scale measures but I would have a substantial bet that it is largely a measure of our ubiquitous old friend: IQ.  It is high IQ people who are expressing intellectual interests.  That sounds pretty likely, does it not?

And that in turn throws some light on what the RWA scale measures.  High scorers ("authoritarians") on the RWA scale score low on the intellectual interest scale.  So now we know:  the RWA scale measures dumb opinions!  It too probably correlates negatively with IQ, though I have not seen anything on that.  The RWA does not measure just ANY dumb opinions, however.  There is a universe of dumb opinions and the RWA measures just one subset.  My suggestion would be that the RWA scale reflects primarily the political issues of yesteryear -- old-fashioned attitudes.

UPDATE:  I have now got around to checking my speculation about RWA and IQ and find I was spot-on.  McNamara, P. "Where God and science meet" Vol. 1.  Westport, Praeger. 2006. p. 42. report a correlation of -.37 between them in an adult twin sample

But let's get back to behaviour.  Duckitt at one point does list what he sees as relevant behaviours:

(a) pressures to opinion uniformity among group members,
(b) endorsement of an autocratic leadership and decision making structure,
(c) intolerance of diversity in group composition
(that betokens the potentiality for dissent),
(d) rejection of opinion deviants and extolment of conformists,
(e) in-group favoritism and out-group derogation,
(f) attraction to groups (both in- and out-groups) possessing strong shared realities,
(g) conservatism and adherence to the group’s norms,
(h) loyalty to one’s in-group to the degree to which is constituted a ‘good’ shared reality provider.”

Any conservative would immediately identify that list of behaviours as what he encounters whenever he talks to Leftists, and to Warmists in particular. Duckitt seems to think that those attributes define conservatives but I would like to see the evidence on that.

But conservatives and climate skeptics know from experience who behaves like that.  If you want to encounter closed-mindedness just try to discuss the evidence for global warming with a Leftist.  They just won't listen.  They quote their supreme authority -- Al Gore -- and just get abusive if you talk about such things as the satellite temperature record.  They are so closed-off that they usually don't even know the basic facts about global temperature.   See below for how much the president of the Sierra club knows about it:

And see here and here for the sort of scholarly rejoinder that climate skeptics get from true believers. [/sarcasm]

And for the flood of Fascist-style attempts from the Left to suppress free speech,  see here for just one recent summary.

So Duckitt is happy in his little world of weakly correlated attitude statements but whether they tell us anything about the world outside his window is very dubious. They certainly do not tell us that conservatives are either authoritarian or closed minded -- JR.


The End of the American Century?

In a 1941 Life magazine article, Henry Luce, a publishing magnate once described as "the most influential private citizen in America," coined the phrase, "the American Century" to advance his vision of America becoming a benign global superpower that would use its influence to build a new world order based on political and economic freedom. Historians and political scientists have sometimes adopted the phrase to describe our own times, dating the beginning of the American Century from the end of World War II in 1945.

The American Century has been, as Luce had hoped, on the whole a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity. World War III was avoided. Freedom and human rights have become international norms, largely due to the military, economic and political power of the United States.

Like the Roman Empire's golden age of peace and prosperity called "the Pax Romana," the American Century has been a "Pax Americana," without imperialism, advancing freedoms and human dignity everywhere. The American Century, it is no exaggeration to say, has surpassed the Pax Romana as a golden age, not only for the American people, but for friends and allies and for all mankind fortunate enough to be within the circle of America's benign influence.

Perhaps the apex of the American Century arrived when the United States prevailed over the Soviet Union and the Cold War ended with the collapse of the totalitarian USSR - one of the most unfree societies in history - in 1991. The following year, Francis Fukuyama's book, "The End of History," proclaimed that the centuries-long struggle between freedom and tyranny had finally been decided in favor of freedom.

And many in the Free World believed, and all hoped, that this might be true.

But 2015 may well mark the end of the American Century. It has not lasted as long as a real century - only 70 years.

In 2015, American power and influence is in decline and retreat everywhere. Totalitarian and authoritarian actors are on the march against the United States and the entire Free World.

Russia, under de facto dictator Vladimir Putin, has annexed the Crimea and invaded Ukraine, exposing as worthless the security guarantees made by U.S. President Bill Clinton to Kiev under the Budapest Agreement, in exchange for Ukraine giving up the hundreds of nuclear missiles based on its territory. Russia is embarked on a massive buildup of nuclear missiles and conventional forces against a United States and European NATO that are militarily a pale shadow of the alliance that prevailed during the Cold War.

Russia's return to the Middle East, allied with Syria and Iran, successfully challenging and displacing the United States with military strikes on U.S.-backed Syrian rebels in October, may mark the exact date of death of the American Century. Suddenly, Russia has replaced the U.S. as the dominant power in the Middle East, in a world still dependent on oil.

This latest is perhaps the decisive humiliation, canceling the credibility of U.S. security guarantees that upheld "peace through strength" to contain aggression and sustain the American Century. It was preceded by many other blows:

    China is modernizing and multiplying its nuclear missiles and conventional air and naval forces at an alarming rate, challenging the capability of a weakened U.S. Navy to protect allies in the Pacific.

    North Korea, a failed state in everything except its capability to make nuclear missiles, can now make a nuclear strike on the U.S. mainland with its KN-08 intercontinental missile, moving the North American Aerospace Defense Command to spend nearly $1 billion to better protect its underground command post inside Cheyenne Mountain from an electromagnetic pulse attack.

    Iran has prevailed over the United States in nuclear negotiations that will end economic sanctions and enrich the mullahs with $150 billion, even though Iran probably already has the bomb, or can soon acquire one. This even though Iran is the world's leading sponsor of international terrorism, has toppled a U.S. ally in Yemen, and has virtually taken over Iraq.

    Terrorism grows ever stronger. The Islamic State is the first terror state in history, waging genocidal war against Christians and all who oppose it. Muslim migrants are inundating Europe and the Americas, bringing with them the seeds of terrorism and Shariah law, which is incompatible with Western values.

Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and terrorism are a greater collective threat to freedom than were the USSR or Nazi Germany.

President Obama has in six years virtually destroyed the credibility of the United States as the security guarantor of the Free World, a legacy that was painstakingly built and maintained over six decades by 11 previous presidents and was the foundation of the American Century.

How far will the forces of tyranny and chaos march during the final two years of our transformational president?



Military Strategist: Obama’s Middle East Policies ‘Have Accelerated Christian Genocide’

 Retired Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a military strategist with the Pentagon, said on Wednesday that President Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East has “accelerated Christian genocide” and left the region in chaos.

“[Obama’s] Middle East policies – what they are – not only have accelerated Christian genocide but have left the region totally in turmoil and inflamed,” said Maginnis at a discussion about his new book at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., where he is a senior fellow.

Maginnis said he believes Obama has shaped his foreign policy -- including the fight against the so-called Islamic State and other terrorist groups that are perpetrating genocide -- around his administration’s efforts to cut a nuclear deal with the Islamic state of Iran.

“I think the real reason behind this is because he put that all aside – it was a deal he made with a devil, which is in Tehran and [Obama] says, ‘I won’t do this stuff, which interferes with you, as long as I get a deal with you,’ and, of course, we know that the Iranian deal is his legacy,” he said.

Maginnis described his book, “Never Submit: Will The Extermination of Christians Get Worse Before It Gets Better” as a “call to action to help those that are facing genocide in the Middle East.”

He cited statistics that show that when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, there were 1.5 million Christians living in the country. Now it is estimated that the Christian population in Iraq has declined to around 200,000.

“After all, Saddam Hussein allowed Christians to worship openly. They were part of his government,” Maginnis said. “The removal of Saddam and others, I would argue, started this ugly Shia/Sunni revolution that, in turn, spawned ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), and arguably as well started the Arab Spring, which started in Tunisia and spread across the region.”

Maginnis doesn’t, however, blame only Obama for the ongoing persecution and extermination of Christians throughout the Middle East, including beheadings, the enslavement and rape of women and forced conversions. He claims that the current genocide dates back to toppling Saddam Hussein after the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003.

In his remarks, Maginnis laid out the solution to ending the genocide in the Middle East, including providing enclaves throughout the region where Christians can live safely, identifying the enemy as Islamic terrorists, and U.S. support for officially declaring the situation in the Middle East as genocide.



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