Friday, July 22, 2016

Ryan Gives Surprisingly Pro-Trump Speech at Republican Convention

On Tuesday night, House speaker Paul Ryan gave a surprisingly enthusiastic speech on behalf of Donald Trump, imploring Republicans to give it their all in 2016 and "unify this party" in the interest of achieving "a conservative governing majority."

Here is an edited version of Ryan's remarks:

"…Democracy is a series of choices. We Republicans have made our choice. Have we had our arguments this year? Sure, we have. You know what I call those? Signs of life, signs of a party that's not just going through the motions, not just mouthing new words for the same old stuff….

"Watch the Democratic Party convention next week, that four-day infomercial of politically correct moralizing, and let it be a reminder of all that is at stake in this election.

"You can get through four days of it with a little help from the mute button, but four more years of it?

"...Look, the Obama years are almost over. The Clinton years are way over. 2016 is the year America moves on!

"…Progressives like to talk, like our president, like to talk forever about poverty in America. And if high-sounding talk did any good, we'd have overcome those deep problems long ago. This explains why under the most liberal president we have had so far, poverty in America is worse, especially for our fellow citizens who were promised better and who need it most.

"The result is a record of discarded promises, empty gestures, phony straw-man arguments, reforms put off forever, shady power plays like the one that gave us Obamacare, constitutional limits brushed off as nothing, and all the while dangers in the world downplayed, even as the threats go bolder and come closer.

"It's the last chapter of an old story. Progressives deliver everything except progress.



A Culturally Suicidal Progressive Ideology

We either reject progressive ideology, or endure a "reasonable" amount of terror as the new normal.

Unless Western society is willing to commit mass suicide — and one cannot say for certain that it isn’t — we cannot abide a bankrupt progressive ideology whose symbiotic relationship with Islamic terror can no longer be disputed.

The latest attack in Nice was perpetrated by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, another Islamic State-recruited savage representing an equally bankrupt political system governed by Sharia Law. One whose “Religion of Peace™” component can only be separated from the whole by Muslim apostates and deluded progressives. Progressives who imagine they are welcoming one without the other into their nations. Progressives so corrupted by political correctness they are incapable of seeing — or are willing to abide — the disintegration of their own nations, lest they offend the enemies of civilization.

The roots of progressive rot run deep. The secularist welfare state, and its cultivated indifference for the nuclear family, has produced a demographic crisis whereby native populations in Europe and the United States are reproducing at below-replacement birthrates, even as those same populations have been nurtured to embrace a bounty of entitlements far in excess of what is affordable.

The progressive “solution” to the problem? Import millions of unassimilable immigrants sold as humanitarianism. Stripped of pious platitudes, this devil’s bargain should be seen for what it really is: the sacrifice of national heritage for a retirement check, and the further indoctrination of the young with the belief that cultural self-loathing is the natural order of things.

In the EU this date with cultural extinction is facilitated by appeasers like French President Francois Hollande, a socialist hypocrite who pays nearly $11,000 per month for haircuts while his nation burns, or German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who welcomed more than 1.1 million “refugees” into Germany — along with the virtually inevitable rape epidemic that attends those who view women as chattel.

Yet as bad as these feckless EU leaders are, they pale by comparison to their American counterparts. Our nation is afflicted with Secretary of State John Kerry, a terminally arrogant windbag with a long track record of undermining American interests that include betraying his Vietnam War comrades-in-arms, warning a subsequent generation of potential soldiers that only the uneducated “get stuck” in Iraq, and thanking the Iranians for the return of American soldiers they captured and humiliated as propaganda props. The same John Kerry who insists that increasing levels of Islamic State-perpetrated slaughter indicate they are “desperate” and “on the run.”

We also endure the equally arrogant and far more narcissistic Barack Obama, who accommodated the same apocalyptic-minded regime by not “meddling” while Iranian dissidents were being slaughtered in the streets in 2009, and who would now allow Boeing to sell the foremost sponsor of state terror jetliners less than a generation removed from 9/11. A commander in chief whose adamant avoidance of the term “radical Islamist,” even when San Bernardino and Orlando slaughterers openly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State, was finally abandoned — not to identify the enemy, but rather to disparage Donald Trump and all “bigoted” Americans connecting Islam to terror.

A 2012 re-election candidate who assured us al-Qaida was “on the run” while his premature withdrawal from Iraq was enabling its reinvigoration. A man who reflexively sides with Islamist thugs, be it Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while funding a progressive NGO attempting to prevent the re-election of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015.

A man whose nearly two-year-old promise to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State rings hollower and hollower with each successive tragedy. Did it ever occur to a single politician or journalist to ask why “degrade” is even part of the equation?

And worst of all, progressives abide an amoral Hillary Clinton, who could face the families of Americans killed in Benghazi and lie without conscience or remorse. A woman whose own tenure as secretary of state engendered a series of unmitigated disasters that began with a Russian “reset” enabling the tyrannical urges of Vladimir Putin, and ended with the devolution of Libya into another jihadist playground following her determination to remove Moammar Gadhafi. A woman so bereft of genuine accomplishments she herself couldn’t even name one in an interview with Diane Sawyer. A woman so consumed by personal interest she willingly compromised national security to avoid personal accountability — even as she has the unmitigated gall to assure us she would be “focused on the intelligence surge” to fight terror.

Their followers are equally compromised. In 2015, 28,328 people were killed in terrorist attacks, and yet progressives abide rolling out the red carpet for invaders — including an Obama administration that conspires with the UN to find “alternative safe pathways” aimed at settling as many as 200,000 woefully under-vetted Syrian refugees in America rather than the 10,000 originally announced — and then “fixing” the inevitably catastrophic results with an ever-increasing expansion of police-state initiatives. Simultaneously, they virtually ignore terrorist incubators abroad whose ability to inspire grossly misnamed “lone wolf” attacks remain as viable as ever.

Moreover, progressives remain mindlessly wedded to the standard-issue narrative that the majority of Muslims side with Western nations, when nothing could be further from the truth. Is America or the EU witnessing a mass uprising of condemnation from Muslim communities following these attacks? Are Muslims turning in the potential time bombs living in their midst? Is there a major movement among young Muslim men to liberate their own societies from the scourge of terror?

No, no and no. Instead we get terrorist co-conspirators CAIR and a corrupt media bemoaning a wave of “Islamophobia,” as if increased skepticism of Islamic intentions following actual atrocities is irrational. We get reports of jihadists able to plot their attacks from the safe confines of separatist enclaves like Schaerbeek and Molenbeek, where the populace protects its own, and cowardly progressive politicians look the other way while they do so. And on both sides of the Atlantic, able-bodied male “refugees” prefer indulging the in bounties of EU and American welfare state largesse.

Moreover, we get the Islamic State openly admitting they’re infiltrating refugee populations, and fulfilling promises to attack the West during the month of Ramadan.

“[Nice] is a security failure on a colossal level,” stated counterterrorism expert Aaron Cohen. No doubt it was. But what precedes that failure is an infuriating progressive denialism that make genuine security virtually impossible.

Western society is at an inflection point. We either reject progressive ideology, or endure a “reasonable” amount of terror as the new normal. Better to declare war against every Islamic terror group, and ignore progressive surrenderists who insist you can’t stamp out an idea.

This struggle is not about ideas. It’s about willpower, perseverance and the triumph of civilization over savagery. And while we’re at it, finally and forcefully dismissing the intellectual degeneracy of those who would literally abide the West’s destruction to preserve their open border, multiculturalist, one world fantasies.



Who Gets Absolute Moral Authority?

Michelle Malkin

It seems like yesterday when Champion of Wimmin Maureen Dowd, bemoaning the lack of sympathy for anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan, declared in The New York Times that "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."  No ifs, ands or other hedging qualifiers. Absolutely absolute.

And it was just a blink of an eye ago that the same New York Times spilled barrels of adulatory ink on the 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls. Remember them? The quartet of Democratic women parlayed their post-terror attack plight into powerful roles as Bush-bashing citizen lobbyists.

Their story, the lib narrative-shaping paper of record reported, was a "tale of a political education, and a sisterhood born of grief."

Moms and widows deserved special consideration in the public square, the argument went a decade ago. Their experience and their testimony warranted respect, deference and the national spotlight.

But then, as now, only a special class of victims is entitled to cash in the Absolute Moral Authority card. Not all parents and spouses who have lost loved ones can join the Club of the Unquestioned and Unassailable.

On Monday night at the Republican National Convention, Pat Smith shared her own tale of a political education born of grief after her diplomat son, Sean Smith, died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. Hillary Clinton, she passionately insisted, "deserves to be in stripes!"

GQ sports writer Nathaniel Friedman showed his compassion for Smith's loss and pain by tweeting, "I don't care how many children Pat Smith lost I would like to beat her to death."

MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who had helped make Cindy Sheehan a media star and urged her to run for Congress based on her status as a grieving war mom, fumed that Pat Smith had "ruined" the entire convention with her heartfelt testimony. The smug Democratic political operative turned TV bloviator, who had also elevated the Jersey Girls' celebrity status with multiple bookings on his show, couldn't bear to speak Smith's name:

"I don't care what that woman up there, the mother, has felt. Her emotions are her own, but for the country in choosing a leader, it's wrong to have someone get up there and tell a lie about Hillary Clinton."

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chimed in on the same network that he was disgusted with how the GOP convention was using Smith to "exploit a tragedy."

GOP-bashers heaped similar derision on father Jamiel Shaw Sr. and mothers Sabine Durden and Mary Ann Mendoza, who all spoke at the convention about losing children to criminals who had slipped illegally through open borders and revolving deportation doors. "Progressives" sneered at Shaw as an "Uncle Tom" for pointing out that Latino gangbangers targeted his black son because of his race. The intolerant tolerance mob also accused Durden of being "fooled" and Durden and Mendoza of being "exploited for apocalyptic theater."

Will these horrified hang-wringers be as outspokenly offended next week when the Democratic National Convention dedicates an entire evening to the so-called Mothers of the Movement?

Among the sainted moms of the Black Lives Matter movement who will speak on Hillary Clinton's behalf are Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis; Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, mother of Hadiya Pendleton; and Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland.

Each of these cases lumped under supposedly unjustified gun violence and systemic racism is complicated and distinct. For starters, Bland hanged herself when her friends and family wouldn't bail her out of jail after she had kicked a police officer. Two of the "children" involved in police shootings (Brown and Hamilton) had assaulted cops during their fatal encounters.

But drop all questions and doubts. "These mothers have worked tirelessly to raise awareness around the issues that surround their children's deaths," the liberal Huffington Post reports.

Because these women endorse race-baiting, gun-grabbing narratives and left-wing candidates, no one working in the mainstream media will ever challenge their parental prerogative to participate in politics on behalf of their loved ones.

Moms who have lost their children to Democratic incompetence, corruption and open-borders treachery are out of luck. The dealers of Absolute Moral Authority play with a loaded deck.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump Jr. gives an impassioned speech that hits all the right themes

Trump has reason to be proud of his family


No, President Obama, not everyone is guilty of bigotry

President Obama and his band of Clouseau-like detectives are looking for the motive of the latest murder of men in blue, this time three Baton Rouge officers. A motive that is obvious to everyone who has paid attention to Obama and his Justice Department’s non-stop assault on law enforcement, but one which Obama pretends to not see.

Obama’s presidency has been pockmarked with knee-jerk reactions against law enforcement.  From the beer summit necessitated by his overly harsh condemnation of the Cambridge Police in their arresting one of his friends, a professor, for disorderly conduct to his Administration’s reactions to Trayvon Martin, Ferguson and Baltimore as well as welcoming Black Lives Matter anarchists into the White House, President Obama and his Justice Department team have set the anti-cop tone in America.

Even in his speech at the memorial for the five assassinated Dallas law enforcement officers, Obama could not resist providing a rationale for shooting cops bringing up two black men who were recently shot by police.

As an attorney, Obama had to know that his focus upon two cases that are being adjudicated in the context of a memorial service for executed cops created a moral equivalency that can only lead to additional violence against the police.

Obama’s deliberate decision to equate the targeted deaths of five officers who were protecting a Black Lives Matter rally to two separate in the line of duty shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana and created the implicit okay for the future targeting of the police.

Make no mistake, I don’t know enough facts about the police shootings that he referenced to know if they were justified or not, but the truth is, neither did Obama.

I do know that the rash of ambushes and executions targeting law enforcement is a direct attack on the rule of law and any semblance of an orderly society. And Obama should know this as well.

Yet, his response is to double down with his 1960s radical rhetoric aimed at stoking racial division and hatred aimed at whites. It is Adjunct Professor Obama lecturing the nation about the justness of the cause of those who march against the police in Dallas saying, “We have all seen this bigotry in our lives at some point.” Obama continued at the memorial, “None of us is entirely innocent. No institution is entirely immune. And that includes our police departments. We know this.”

No, President Obama, you are wrong. As if the dead cops deserved to die.

Those police officers went to work to protect the community they served. They were targeted and executed by someone who was incited by the very rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement that has marched chanting for police to be murdered.  You allowed those very elements into the White House and have helped nourish and legitimize those voices of hate who have called for cops to be killed.

President Obama, you don’t get to blame the rest of us for the evil that has been unleashed as you play the role of “Agitator in Chief” as the Black Lives Matter movement that Politico reports is funded by the far left, George Soros supported Democracy Alliance continues their hate speech.

If Obama really wanted to do something to stop the escalating violence, he would directly signal to his left wing media sycophants that the Black Lives Matter should be treated the same as their counterparts the Ku Klux Klan, forever ending their legitimacy.

But instead he just continues blaming America. If Obama really wants to find the motive for these police murders, he merely needs to read his own speeches and statements that always contextualize the attacks on the enforcers of our nation’s laws. His own unwillingness to just say no to racial hatred of all stripes is the clue that he dare not look at in his search for the motive behind these heinous attacks on police.

The motive is hate, but Obama cannot see it, because the left’s ideology demands that racial hatred is a one-way street and to admit anything else would force an honest discussion about race in America, rather than the finger pointing lecture series that Obama prefers.



Is America Losing Its Manhood?

Witnessing the myriad problems facing America, the shock and confusion as to what's happening to this great nation is overwhelming. From San Bernadino to Orlando, we have experienced multiple "lone wolf" Jihadist attacks by Americans against Americans on our home soil. Overseas, we are experiencing many foreign policy and national security challenges, including a resurgent Russia, barbarism by ISIS, and a defiant North Korea. We are facing possible economic meltdown in the U.S. with the debt surging beyond $19-trillion and the continued loss of American economic power to overseas competitors. Finally, we are seeing American police officers being targeted for assassination as they are demeaned by many attempting to cause racial strife. America previously appeared so strong and secure, and yet we now wonder why we face so many internal issues and loss of respect overseas.

What I propose as the answer is provocative, but I believe the facts will show many of our problems directly and indirectly resulting from the marginalization of the ideal of manhood.

First, statistics from the National Center for Fathering help show the extent of the problem of males not acting as men by being husbands and fathers and results:  Of students in grades 1-through-12, approximately 39 percent (17.7 million) live in homes absent their biological fathers (57.6 percent of black children, 31.2 percent of Hispanic children, and 20.7 percent of white children are living absent their biological fathers). Critically important, according to 72.2 percent of the U.S. population, fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. Those raised without fathers are exponentially more likely to drop out of school, become incarcerated, live in poverty and continue the cycle of fatherlessness. Despite the attempts by so many in politics and the media to downplay traditional families and fatherhood, the statistics make clear the importance. As famed Word War II General George S. Patton said, "Duty is the essence of manhood."

Being a man means staying true to commitments, most importantly the commitment to lifelong marriage and fatherhood.

Beyond the importance of manhood in encouraging intact families (helping fix the many social problems driving our national debt), manhood is also indirectly tied to national security. Since the late 1970s, the number of women in universities in America has surpassed that of men, and for almost two decades the gap has been almost 60-percent female and 40-percent male in colleges and universities. During almost the same period of time, the American fertility rate has plunged from 3.7 in the 1960s to under 1.9 today.

Males have not been encouraged to succeed in higher education and become leaders of their families (thereby allowing women more opportunity for children raised by two parents). Virtually all encouragement from media, Hollywood, and even primary education has been toward female education and leadership, at the expense of our boys. Strong male role models for boys, depicted as competent and engaged leaders of families (in television, movies and other media) are almost non-existent. From "Married with Children" to the modern version of "Poltergeist," the fathers are invariably depicted as weak, incompetent, and not respected by family members who turn to the mothers for leadership. Men are made to appear as practically irrelevant to families in most instances informing our boys' views on their future roles.

The deemphasis and marginalization of manhood is also a direct threat to national security:  The Pentagon recently published a study which estimated only 25 percent of American youth are able to serve in the military (that's enlisted service, and officer standards of admission are even more selective). As U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski explained about the numbers, "Obesity is the single greatest non-criminal hindrance for our young people seeking to enlist in the armed forces." This statistic is shocking, but tied directly to the deemphasis of physical education and traditional rites-of-passage for men in the area of physical fitness. Men have, on average, 50 percent more upper body strength than women, and natural physical abilities which must be exercised.

Traditionally, military service has been seen as one of the rites-of-passage for men, and all men were expected to remain fit to military standards. The concept of "militia" in America has meant every man between the ages of 15 and 45 being able to serve militarily if necessary. The many recent Hollywood depictions of heroic protagonist physically fit characters are solely women (see the Hunger Games series, Divergent series, etc.). Boys are just not encouraged to challenge themselves in physical activities. In fact, many argue they are drugged with Ritalin to discourage natural impulse toward physical play. This is having a direct impact on national defense, and even the way competitor nations view America.

The recent decisions in the Department of Defense to integrate women into the Infantry and Special operations (like SEALs, Special Forces, and Rangers), as well as the decision of allow transgender service are having further impacts on marginalizing manhood.

Throughout all cultures in history, rites-of-passage for manhood have been critical to the development of men in a society. The Bible makes this clear with a number of references in the Old Testament to the idea of men being warriors with the duty to protect families. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul recognizes this inherent distinction of men when he says "Act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).   There is a time in every young man's life when he has the inborn need to prove himself to fellow men on the way to being a man. Again, enemy nations are watching and likely emboldened to know of possible weaknesses in national defense.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was emphatic in telling his male followers: "Don't let anybody take your manhood." That rhetoric for everyone was standard at the time, and followed similar statements from Hollywood stars like John Wayne and others. Today it would likely be considered "politically incorrect" and even sexist to even acknowledge the idea someone could take away someone's manhood. Dr. King was right. I commend him, and his message transcends the Civil Rights movement.  It is time for introspection about his advice. We, as a nation, should ask ourselves if we really care about the development of our boys into men. This is not just a question of the next generation of boys, but for the nation as a whole. Based on the numbers, the answer is clear. It may not be politically correct to say so, but we cannot afford to let anybody strip our nation of its manhood.



The Dumbest Idea

Thomas Sowell

If there were a contest for the most stupid idea in politics, my choice would be the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly under-represented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an “under-representation” of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?

Are girls and boys not allowed to have different interests? If girls had the same interest in chess as boys had, but were banned from chess clubs, that would be something very different from their not choosing to play chess as often as boys do. As for chess ratings, that is not subjective. It is based on which players, with which ratings, you have won against and lost to.

Are women and men not to be allowed to make different decisions as to how they choose to spend their time and live their lives?

Chess is not the only endeavor which can take a huge chunk of time out of your life, and unremitting efforts, to reach the top. If you want to become a top scientist, a partner in a big law firm or a top executive in a major corporation, you are very unlikely to do it working from 9 to 5, or taking a few years off, here and there, to have children and raise them.

Applying the same unsubstantiated assumption to differences in “representation” between different racial and ethnic groups likewise produces many loudly expressed grievances, political crusades, and millions of dollars from lawsuits charging discrimination — all without a speck of evidence beyond numbers that do not match the prevailing assumptions.

People who base their conclusions on hard facts often reach very different conclusions than those who base their conclusions on the preconception that outcomes would be even or random in the absence of somebody treating somebody wrong.

Something as simple as age differences among groups can doom any assumption of even or random outcomes.

If every 20-year-old Puerto Rican in the United States had an income identical with the income of every 20-year-old Japanese American — and identical incomes at every other age — Japanese Americans as a group would still have a higher average income than Puerto Ricans in the United States. That is because the median age of Japanese Americans is more than 20 years older.

People with 20 years more work experience usually make higher incomes. And age difference is just one of many differences between groups.

You can study innumerable groups in countries around the world today, or over centuries of recorded history, without finding a single example of the even or random outcomes that are used as a benchmark for determining discrimination.

Nevertheless, courts of law — including the Supreme Court of the United States — use something that has never been found anywhere as a norm to which current realities are to be compared. Billions of dollars, in the aggregate, have changed hands as a result of individual lawsuits charging discrimination.

Life is undoubtedly unfair. But that is not the same as saying that the unfairness occurred wherever the statistics were collected. The origins of this unfairness often go back to different childhood environments for individuals or different geographic or cultural settings for groups and nations.

These differences between nations, as well as differences between individuals and groups, reflect the fact that the world “has never been a level playing field,” as economic historian David S. Landes put it. Renowned historian Fernand Braudel said, “In no society have all regions and all parts of the population developed equally.”

How long will we continue to take something that has never happened, and never had much chance of happening, as a norm?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, July 20, 2016

Direct measurement of IQ getting closer

Researchers say MRI scans can measure human intelligence, and define exactly what it is.

This could lead to radical leaps in AI with machines programmed to think in the same way we do.

'Human intelligence is a widely and hotly debated topic and only recently have advanced brain imaging techniques, such as those used in our current study, given us the opportunity to gain sufficient insights to resolve this and inform developments in artificial intelligence, as well as help establish the basis for understanding and diagnosis of debilitating human mental disorders such as schizophrenia and depression,' said Professor Jianfeng Feng of the University of Warwick, who led the research.

Together with a team in China he has has been working to quantify the brain's dynamic functions, and identify how different parts of the brain interact with each other at different times – to discover how intellect works.

Professor Jianfeng found the more variable a brain is, and the more its different parts frequently connect with each other, the higher a person's IQ and creativity are.

This study may also have implications for a deeper understanding of another largely misunderstood field: mental health.

Altered patterns of variability were observed in the brain's default network with schizophrenia, autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) patients.

Knowing the root cause of mental health defects brings scientists exponentially closer to treating and preventing them in the future.

Using resting-state MRI analysis on thousands of people's brains around the world, the research found that the areas of the brain which are associated with learning and development show high levels of variability, meaning that they change their neural connections with other parts of the brain more frequently, over a matter of minutes or seconds.

On the other hand, regions of the brain which aren't associated with intelligence - the visual, auditory, and sensory-motor areas - show small variability and adaptability.


I have reproduced above only the parts dealing with the latest brain research.  In an rendeavour to rubbish IQ tests, the article also included a re-run of the old Hampshire research, with its extravagant conclusions.  I cover all that here


Why Donald Trump will win

NO POLITICAL LEADER since Ronald Reagan has created the excitement and buzz that Donald Trump has. He is the first politician since that late, great president to go over the heads of the media and elite ruling class and speak directly to the American people.

He is concerned that our country is no longer a country, and that America has sold out its sovereignty to a nondemocratic internationalist order, at the expense of the American worker and of American jobs. He has been criticized by opponents for not having elaborate position papers down to the last detail. Trump, unlike the robotic and dull Mitt Romney, gives no slick PowerPoint presentations. Trump merely says, “We are getting killed.” And the people know exactly what he is talking about.

Trump is an exciting political presence, responsible for drawing new people into the political process. The American people today are frustrated. They feel our whole political process is unresponsive. They continually vote for political reform, sending people to Washington hoping they will do something, and are then betrayed as the newly elected representatives become a saccharine travesty of the reform they clamored for.

What makes a country a country is its sovereignty. A country that has no borders, and whose independence is restricted by internationalist agreements, is no longer a sovereign nation. The Democrats and, sadly, some Republicans (House Speaker Ryan) would allow noncitizens the right to vote, provide free college tuition for them, and would provide welfare benefits while letting more of them stream over our unprotected borders.

It must be reiterated that Trump is not against immigration. He advocates legal immigration. His mother was an immigrant, a Gaelic speaker from the isle of Lewis, off Scotland. Trump believes the process must be legal, as it was for the millions of those who came to America’s shores over the past two centuries seeking the American dream of economic betterment, peace, and prosperity. Trump’s popularity is perplexing to the establishment. But it is readily understood by the majority of Americans.

Trump speaks for the average American worker. He wants prosperity at home and peace abroad. His conservatism is not a dogma. Trump seeks to conserve our best values at home, and not go abroad promoting monolithic internationalism — a monster of many tentacles, as John Quincy Adams warned.

Trump is not a conservative as defined by George F. Will on one of his Weekly Standard cruises. Will, a former Democrat, is in reality no conservative, but is actually a 19th-century liberal ideologue, of the Manchester school of economics. Trump’s thinking is more akin to the nationalism expressed by Theodore Roosevelt, who believed the government should intervene in the economy to protect all Americans, under what he called the Square Deal.

I believe Trump has been under political assault by the media and establishment because he is beholden to no one. Trump runs his own operation from the fifth floor of Trump Tower, in a kind of unfinished storage area. It is not from the plush surroundings of marble and gold featured in “The Apprentice.” Yet from here, with his small group of campaign staff, he has let forth a cry to Washington insiders and the corrupt political establishment: “You’re fired!” It is a cry like a voice from Mount Olympus that echoes in the hearts of the American people and will put him in the White House by a landslide.



Libertarian Caring

Aaron Ross Powell  debunks the notion that libertarians are uncaring

We value liberty at the expense of caring. That’s the takeaway about libertarians from Jonathan Haidt’s compelling new book, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. The basic idea in The Righteous Mind is that humans have six “moral foundations.” We vary in how much importance we place on each—and that variety explains our political views. Libertarians give the “care/harm” foundation very little weight at all.

I think Haidt is wrong about libertarians—or at least not completely right. Of course libertarians value liberty. But a great many of us, myself included, value caring very highly too. In fact, the reason I shifted from being a progressive to a libertarian was not because my moral foundations changed but because I came to realize that genuine caring means making an effort to actually help people—and that government programs intended to help have a rather poor track record.

I am a libertarian because I want a better—more caring, more fair—society and I believe enhancing the private sphere at the expense of government power is the best way to achieve that. I also strongly believe that liberty, which is after all entirely about how we treat other people, is central to both caring and fairness. Expansive government not only makes things worse from the standpoint of economic consequences, but also creates a world that is less caring and less fair.

Of libertarians, Haidt writes,

> We found that libertarians look more like liberals than like conservatives on most measures of personality (for example, both groups score higher than conservatives on openness to experience, and lower than conservatives on disgust sensitivity and conscientiousness). On the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, libertarians join liberals in scoring very low on the Loyalty, Authority, and Sanctity foundations. Where they diverge from liberals most sharply is on two measures: the Care foundation, where they score very low (even lower than conservatives), and on some new questions we added about economic liberty, where they score extremely high (a little higher than conservatives, a lot higher than liberals).

You can take Haidt’s tests online and see how you compare to his findings. (I encourage you to do so, as the tests are quite interesting and revealing.)

Here’s his explanation of how libertarians diverge from liberals on specific questions:

> For example, do you agree that “the government should do more to advance the common good, even if that means limiting the freedom and choices of individuals”? If so, then you are probably a liberal. If not, then you could be either a libertarian or a conservative. The split between liberals (progressives) and libertarians (classical liberals) occurred over exactly this question more than a hundred years ago, and it shows up clearly in our data today. People with libertarian ideals have generally supported the Republican Party since the 1930s because libertarians and Republicans have a common enemy: the liberal welfare society that they believe is destroying America’s liberty (for libertarians) and moral fiber (for social conservatives).

Yes, libertarians believe the welfare state impinges liberty. But we also believe it harms those it’s intended to help. Thus, we want to reform welfare and entitlement programs in large part because we care about their recipients.1 Social Security doesn’t just mean the government deciding what to do with your money. It also means making you poorer in your twilight years than you would’ve been had you invested that money in a private account.

Of course, libertarians might be wrong about what helps and what hurts. Maybe we’re mistaken in our policy prescriptions. But those mistakes, if they exist, aren’t because we “care” less than liberals, just as mistakes by liberals (should their policies in fact not work) aren’t the result of them caring less than libertarians.

Haidt writes,

> This helps explain why libertarians have sided with the Republican Party in recent decades. Libertarians care about liberty almost to the exclusion of all other concerns, and their conception of liberty is the same as that of the Republicans: it is the right to be left alone, free from government interference.

Again, no. Liberty does not come at the exclusion of all other concerns. Rather, liberty is the best way to maximize all other concerns. Yes there are libertarians who want nothing more than “to be left alone.” But that feeling doesn’t carry with it Haidt’s implied “and screw all the rest of you.” Instead, “left alone” means freed from officious government so we can better go about making the world a happier, healthier, richer, and more caring place.

I also find the wording of Haidt’s question troubling. What’s the “common good?” Who decides? What sorts of limits on “freedom and choices” are we talking about? The answers to those questions are awfully important before any of us can respond with a simple yes or no.



Just How 'Far Right' Is the GOP Platform?

Both The New York Times and NBC News have recently run stories on the GOP’s preparation for its upcoming national convention in Cleveland next week. In their “reporting” on the Republican platform and its field of speakers, two telling words were invoked — “far” and “extreme” — buzz words that the Left often uses in seeking to dissuade anyone from taking conservative ideas seriously.

“Rudy Giuliani … the far-right former mayor of New York City will also speak [at the GOP national convention],” reported NBC News. That was later redacted and replaced with the description that Giuliani is “extremely conservative on national security issues.” Giuliani is strong on national defense, but he’s also pro-gun control and pro-abortion. Hardly “far right.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times headlined, “Emerging Republican Platform Goes Far to the Right.” What are these “far” right and “extreme” conservative issues that make up the Republican Party platform? Four of the major planks of the party’s platform to be highlighted at the convention are: 1. a strong immigration policy, 2. support for traditional marriage and opposition to forced assimilation into the Barack Obama’s transgender bathroom directive, 3. support for a strong national defense, and 4. an “America First” policy when it comes to international trade agreements.

There is nothing novel about these Republican ideals — and most certainly no movement to the “far right.” In fact, was it not Obama who stated in October 2010, “I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understanding of the traditional definitions of marriage”? In other words, until just a few years ago, the Republican platform was what nearly all Americans believed. So exactly which party should more accurately be described as being “far” and “extreme”? Where Leftmedia outlets are concerned, if you’re not moving their direction, then you are the “extremist.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, July 19, 2016

The Goldwater era changed the GOP, so could the Trump nomination

A combustible, contrarian candidate. A mood of revolt inside the Republican Party. The repudiation of a governor from a family that enjoyed the warm embrace of the political establishment. Political elders in retreat — and in horror.

Donald J. Trump and the insurgents who open their nominating convention tomorrow night in Cleveland may be the vanguard of a Republican insurrection that could remake a 160-year-old political party with roots in a frontier and abolitionist past. And if they are, they are part of a tradition that at hectic hours of history has seen American parties, which don’t change easily or often, adapt to new political conditions and adopt new ideas, transforming themselves even as they may also be agents of social and cultural transformation.

Already this year, the Trump insurrection — a hostile takeover rather than an internal mutiny — has set in motion unpredictable tidal waves of change in the nation and the party, waves that utterly and easily swamped the early favorite and the field.

But it has also summoned echoes of an earlier GOP rebellion, one that began with Barry Goldwater in 1964 and in less than two decades overhauled the Republican Party, challenged many of the assumptions of American life, altered the way politics is practiced, and, by the time that tide was at full flood, in 1980, began an era of Republican domination of the White House that lasted for 20 of the next 28 years.

Back in 1964, 1,308 Republican delegates crowded into San Francisco’s primitive Cow Palace for the party’s convention. For months, Republicans had fought not only to determine the identity of their White House nominee but also to reshape the identity of a party that, to the Goldwater forces, seemed a mere mirror of their Democratic rivals — “dime-store New Dealers,’’ in the withering phrase of the Arizona senator.

Fortified with a sense of daring and destiny, those 1964 Republicans nominated the personification of that era’s new conservatism, a son of the desert West, supported by theorists and publicists in the urban East, determined to reshape a party with a liberal wing into an unalloyedly conservative movement. In doing so, they rendered Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York, the establishment Republican who was primed for the presidency but never really got close, a figure of a discredited past — the precursor, historians may conclude, to the mortifying end of the 2016 candidacy of former governor Jeb Bush of Florida.

Even after Goldwater lost 44 states in a landslide repudiation, the future profile of the Republican Party was not yet clear — a cautionary tale for commentators and worried Republicans who predict a GOP debacle this year and perhaps extending to the future.

“Goldwater got clobbered in 1964 but set in motion the modern Republican conservative movement,’’ said Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University historian. “He made it palatable to be a conservative. It wasn’t clear then that that would be the result, nor was it clear that out of the ashes of that disaster would come Ronald Reagan. We also don’t know the result of the Trump nomination. It may be a disaster for the Republicans — or the beginning of a new Republican populist movement.’’

And so now the Republicans prepare to nominate another outsider determined to remold the party. Though this time the intruder is not so much conservative as confrontational, not so much an ideologue as an insurrectionist, not so much inspired by ideas as by his mood of the moment — impulses, sometimes outrageous but always attention grabbing, meted out tweet by tweet and jibe by jibe.

Trump is every bit as disruptive a force as Goldwater, with a constituency — resentful of immigrants, distrustful of establishment figures, disdainful of the totems and taboos of politics — even more rebellious and incongruous than the 1964 rebels, whose ranks included both intellectuals and the Young Americans for Freedom. Indeed, he may be the greater disruptor: Goldwater was careful not to inflame in talking about matters of race, for example, and his famous trope, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” wouldn’t sound especially radical in the mouth of a GOP contender today.

“I hope we end up in a position where the party can heal and rebuild itself after this,” said former representative Vin Weber of Minnesota, a GOP strategist. “This is a challenge to the party at the level we faced in 1964 and again after Watergate.’’

This is not, of course, the first time rebels have assailed a major political party, and in fact in his “House Divided’’ speech in June 1859, delivered in Springfield, Ill., Abraham Lincoln spoke of the young Republican Party as having been made up of “strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements.’’

The Republicans of that early era survived, and today’s almost certainly will, too. The GOP, after all, controls 34 of the 50 governors’ chairs in the nation and the Congress. Still, some see the potential for a seismic shift.

“There’s a chance,’’ said former GOP governor William F. Weld, now the vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, “that the Republican Party could be in the middle of a dissolution.’’

Major political parties vanish from the American landscape very rarely, and then only as a result of a challenge prompted by an explosion of new issues. The last major party to disappear was the Whig Party, the victim of anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly in the South, and of pressure on the slavery issue.

“The Whigs were pretty powerful in their day,’’ said Eric Foner, the Columbia University historian regarded as perhaps the nation’s preeminent scholar of mid-19th-century America. “They elected presidents, they competed pretty effectively across the country. But they were overcome in the early 1850s as the issues changed.”

The populists under William Jennings Bryan took over the Democratic Party in 1896, beginning a transformation that, under Woodrow Wilson and then Franklin Roosevelt, would embrace government as a powerful tool of social change.

And then came the transformative flood tide begun in 1964. Only 16 years after the Goldwater debacle, conservatives under Reagan, a onetime New Deal Democrat, took over the Republican Party and created perhaps the most powerful and devoutly conservative coalition in American history, their principal competition being the Tories who opposed the American Revolution and some pre-1861 supporters of slavery.

This forced both parties to become more ideological, with the Republicans eventually losing their liberal wing and the Democrats, an unwieldy collection of northern liberals and Southern conservatives and segregationists, eventually becoming a progressive party under the sway of, among others, women employed outside the home, minorities, and campus intellectuals shaped by 1960s rebellion.

Indeed, 1964 was also a key moment in the life of the Democratic Party. That was the year Lyndon B. Johnson fought for, and won, a civil rights bill that transformed the lives of black people in America but also began a transformation of the character of the Democratic Party. Its Solid South withered away; former governor George C. Wallace of Alabama and former vice president Richard Nixon would woo and win many of those Southern Democrats in 1968, and Reagan would complete the transformation in 1980. Today, three-quarters of the House seats in the Old Confederacy are controlled by the GOP.

As a result, the Republicans, who once ran city machines in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and San Francisco, are now a resolutely Southern and suburban party. The Democrats, their dependence on the South for electoral primacy now a faint and painful memory, have evolved into a party whose strength resides in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic states, and the Pacific West.

And both parties are still evolving, the GOP most obviously.

“Trump has said he sees a different party in a few years,’’ Weld said, “and I think he’s right.’’

An important new addition to the Republican Party, attracted into the GOP by Trump, is what Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist, calls “the middle-finger segment of the American electorate.’’ Many of those voters were Democrats a generation ago.

The Goldwater insurgency eventually produced an entirely different Republican Party, and there are some similarities to the Trump ascendancy, particularly in the ire or worry it inspires in some.

“The Republicans seem to be about to nominate a candidate whose views of war and peace and other subjects have alarmed and alienated great numbers of people in his own party,’’ the commentator Joseph Alsop wrote on the eve of the GOP convention in 1964. The columnist Walter Lippmann, who by 1964 was regarded as the mouthpiece of the capital establishment, had a similar view. “Senator Goldwater,’’ he said, “has a passion to divide and dominate.’’

That alarm — and that passion — takes its modern form in Trump, whose contempt for what Capitol Hill parliamentarians call the “regular order’’ is if anything greater than that of Goldwater, who was liked by Democrats and was friendly with John F. Kennedy.

The agony in the modern Republican Party may be best reflected in the pages of The National Review, the conservative magazine that was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. and that provided much of the philosophical rigor of the Goldwater movement.

In the space of four pages in its June 13 issue, Ramesh Ponnuru warned that Trump “would make the Republican Party less conservative while simultaneously discrediting conservatism with large portions of the public, perhaps for many years,’’ while another writer, Jay Nordlinger, added: “He is the brand of the party. As I see it, or smell it, an odor now attaches to the GOP, and it will linger long past 2016, no matter what happens on Election Day.’’

The verdict of Election Day may be the least significant part of this. Like Andrew Jackson in the first third of the 19th century, Mr. Trump is an unusual political figure, with no apparent successor of even remotely equal voltage. But the emergence of Trump as the GOP nominee has itself presented the Republican Party with either the threat or the opportunity to change its composition and its image, as the early Democrats did under Jackson.

“Parties continually change,’’ said former Republican governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. “There are people in both parties who want something different. But I’m not sure they know what they want.’’

The Manhattan businessman appeals to a group of voters the Republicans have had difficulty attracting — working-class whites and those in sales and clerical positions. Along with the middle-finger voters, Americans with this profile have from time to time backed Republicans; they supported Reagan, for example, in 1980 and 1984. But they haven’t become enduringly aligned with the party. It’s possible Trump could move them into the GOP permanently.

“If that happened, and if it persisted, the Republicans would be a very different party,’’ said John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. “Trump doesn’t have to win to reorganize the coalition. If he simply gets a different set of voters than George W. Bush and John McCain attracted, and if it persisted, we could see a reorganization of all of our politics, including the Democratic Party.’’

The Democrats have had their rebellions, too, the last one occurring as the young Hillary Rodham, a onetime “Goldwater Girl,’’ was coming of age politically as an activist student at Wellesley College and later as a law student at Yale.

The assault on the party establishment and the effort to reshape the party after Vietnam and the youth rebellions is congruent with the life of another onetime presidential candidate, former senator Gary Hart of Colorado, who was the campaign manager for Senator George S. McGovern of South Dakota in 1972 and later was a reform-oriented presidential candidate in 1984 and in 1988.

The Hart critique has eerie similarities to the current crisis in the Republican Party.

“I don’t think the Democratic Party has ever gotten ahead of the change curve,’’ Hart said in an interview. “We’ve been responding to events more than anticipating them. But so have the Republicans. . . . Trump took over a party that was stagnant and exploited people’s frustrations.’’

Now those frustrations are expressed and addressed in a Republican Party platform that will likely attract careful attention and likely will be studied by historians for decades. The meaning of the Trump moment can only now be guessed at — just as was true of those struggling to make sense of Goldwater’s nomination in 1964.

“No one can yet define accurately what happened to the Republican Party at San Francisco — whether the forces that seized it were ephemeral or were to become permanently a majority that would alter and perhaps end the Republican Party as known through a century of American history,’’ the election chronicler Theodore H. White wrote months after the 1964 Republican convention. “This will become clear only as the years throw perspective.’’

The 2016 platform, and the party that is to ratify it, represents a major departure in American history. As White wrote almost a half-century ago, their import and impact will become clear only as the years throw perspective. They may prove, as so many Trump critics inside the Republican Party are arguing, a recipe for trouble come Election Day and a longer term narrowing of GOP prospects. They may prove quite the opposite. But, as with the party’s proudly provocative nominee, they will not be ignored.



Something the media will never tellyou


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, July 18, 2016

The Progressively Bloody Price of Obama/Clinton Appeasement

An Islamic terrorist added more than 85 civilians to the growing list of murdered Western civilians. The Obama/Clinton silence is deafening.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, we are preparing solemn observances for the five military personnel murdered by an Islamic terrorist on July 16th of last year.

Barack Obama waited five long days before ordering flags to half staff in their honor. His administration waited five long months before declaring the attack terrorism, and finally issuing Purple Hearts to those killed and wounded at the Naval Reserve center here. The Chattanooga attack was followed by increasingly violent attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando.

Notably, my friend LCDR Tim White, was the only armed person at that Navy facility — and he returned fire to provide cover for his people. As I wrote after the Jihad attack at Ft. Hood, military personnel are prohibited from having firearms on military bases, but The Patriot Post and military support groups objected to prosecution of White and the Navy filed no charges. In fact, today the Navy officially announced it will require armed personnel at Naval centers nationwide, no longer leaving them exposed as “gun-free zones.”

Last night, more Americans were killed by an Islamist assailant. Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son Brodie from Austin, Texas, were among 84 men, women and children murdered, and many more critically injured, after Islamist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, yelling “Allahu Akbar,” plowed his deadly 15-ton “assault weapon” into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France. This was the bloodiest attack on French soil since last November’s Paris attack by another “JV team” member, as Obama calls them.

There were also French Muslims among the infidels slaughtered by their fellow Muslim on the Promenade of Angels. Hamza Charrihi, whose mother was among the dead, told L'Express: “She wore the veil of Islam and practiced a true and balanced religion … a real Islam. Not the one of the terrorists.”

The assailant had “assault rifles and grenades,” all of which were later determined to be inert. But his assault truck was anything but.

Bouhlel and his truck were on the closed street hours before the celebration. He had been questioned several times by French police. Though he had been investigated by police for a violent crime in the last year, they did not ask him to move his truck — most likely avoiding any charges of profiling.

So, let’s quickly review.

After 9/11, George Bush declared a global “War on Terror,” prosecuting al-Qa'ida terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere — and keeping the battle on their soil rather than ours.

Shortly after his 2008 election, Obama declared an end to the War on Terror and vowed to retreat from the region.

As we noted in 2011, Obama’s foreign policy appeasement, particularly his ill-advised re-election campaign retreat from Iraq, created a meltdown in the Middle East, and the resulting power vacuum was quickly filled by the Islamic State.

Consequently, hundreds of thousands of Christians and Muslims have been slaughtered in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia, and growing numbers of civilians in Europe and the United States are being murdered. Their blood is, irrevocably, on Obama’s hands, and by extension, that of his inept former secretary of state and heir-apparent, Hillary Clinton.

For her part, when asked about the latest Islamic attack, Clinton reasserted her ineptitude. “They would love to draw the United States into a ground war,” she said. “I would be very focused on the intelligence surge.” Asked about the Islamic ideology behind the attacks, she said, “It’s not so important what we call these people as what we do about them.”

Memo to Clinton: We are in a ground war right now, and it is, with increasing frequency and lethality, on western ground. As for an “intelligence surge,” she has not experienced one of those since partnering with Bill Clinton back in 1975. On “what we do about them,” Clinton, like Obama, has no idea.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Obama’s former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, repeated what he has also been warning about the War on Terror since Obama ordered the withdrawal from Iraq: We’re “losing the war.” He added, “The enemy has more than doubled in capacity and capability and geographical footprint around the world. We’ve lost the strategic initiative in this war. And the enemy has the strategic initiative.”

Flynn asserts, “Good intelligence has to start with properly and clearly defining this enemy. Within the government, within the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, [Obama] has eliminated any training or any use of the term ‘radical Islam.’ That’s what we’re facing. The president says, ‘What difference does it make what you call the enemy.’ Are you kidding me?”

Yesterday, political observer Charles Krauthammer declared, “Obama is certainly responsible for the resurgence. … Al-Qa'ida in Iraq, the progenitor of ISIS, was defeated, humiliated in 2008 by the [Bush administration]. We had the boot on the neck of ISIS and al-Qa'ida in Iraq and released it. Obama thought if we could run away, if we could withdraw, if we get out of the region, we could show the Muslims, as he said in the Cairo speech, that we are their friends and everything would be fine. Of course the opposite happened — he’s been in denial.”

With equal clarity, Newt Gingrich responded, “Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be. Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported. Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia — glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door. We need to be fairly relentless about defining who our enemies are. Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS or al-Qa'ida or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail.”

Following each attack on American soil, Obama has politically pivoted to “gun control” as the solution. But neither “gun control” nor “truck control” will resolve this metastasizing threat.

As for all the media “terrorism experts,” two key points.

First, some have suggested that because ISIL is claimed to be losing ground in Iraq, that assaults in the West are increasing.

That claim is absurd. As I have warned, Jihadistan, the worldwide caliphate that Islamist extremists are seeking to establish, is not about geographic territory. It is about ideological territory.

Second, they are trotting out the “lone wolf” profile, but that claim is equally absurd. All Jihad Terrorists are directly tied to worldwide Jihad by way of the Qur'an, the foundational fabric linking all of Islamist violence. Describing Islamist assailants as “lone wolf” actors or “radicalized” constitutes a lethal misunderstanding of the Jihadi threat.

Finally, as I warned in “Islamic Jihad — Target USA,” “The most likely near-term form of attack against civilians on our turf will be modeled after the conventional Islamist assaults in the Middle East — vehicle bombs, suicide bombs and mass shootings.” We have now seen that across Western Europe and increasingly in the U.S.

But as I noted previously, Islamists have proposed using vehicles as assault weapons since 9/11. Vehicle attacks are common in Israel and this was the fourth Islamist attack in France using a vehicle. Recall that Mohammed Taheri-azar drove his SUV into a crowd of students at the University of North Carolina, and Omeed Aziz Popal drove his SUV in a crowd at a Jewish community center in San Francisco. What would this look like at Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or other mass pedestrian venues?

A new easily accessible weapon of mass murder has emerged.

Footnote: Regarding the “deafening silence” from Obama and Clinton, I am still awaiting the stern condemnation of these Islamist assaults, foreign or domestic, from a unified chorus of American Muslim clerics, national or local…or even one Imam’s condemnation.



The Democrat party's platform is more socialist all the time

Back in the waning days of the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama told a frenzied crowd in Columbia, Missouri, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Eight years later, as the Democrat Party prepares to formally anoint Hillary Clinton as his would-be successor, we find that the transformation has occurred in the party as well.

The Democrats' official platform will be released next week, but as The Wall Street Journal’s William Galston writes, Democrats are “animated by the frustrations of the Obama years and reshaped by waves of economic and social activism.” We’re not sure exactly what the Democrats could be frustrated about, considering they’ve effectively taken over the health and financial sectors, redefined the concepts of marriage and gender, all but erased our southern border to allow nearly unfettered immigration, and decimated viable industries like coal through ham-fisted regulation — and that’s just in the last eight years. They even have the convenient bogeyman of a Republican Congress — one that has talked tough to its base but was mostly steamrolled by the purveyors of these far-Left initiatives.

If you ask the Democrats, though, this election will be about “free” stuff: a vastly increased minimum wage, “no-cost” college education, wealth transfers from rich to poor and old to young, and money for nothing by way of a paid-leave revision to the Family and Medical Leave Act. (The funds to pay for all this would magically appear by taxing certain financial transactions — never mind the economic damage that those taxes would cause.) They call it addressing “inequality,” but no one can ensure equal outcomes except through brute force. Which reminds us — the Left also wants further regulations on the type and ownership of weapons for private citizens interested in exercising their Second Amendment rights.

And the party that booed the very mention of God last time around will push to be the judge and jury of what constitutes “environmental and climate justice.” Gaia would be so proud.

Democrats also “reward” the ethnic group that votes with them more than 90% of the time by keeping them wards of the welfare state and shamefully supporting the racist “Black Lives Matter” movement. It’s worth pointing out that black lives only matter to Democrats once they emerge from the womb, as the plurality of abortions in this country are of black babies. And black lives don’t matter much to the Left when the vast majority of their murders are committed by other blacks on Democrat-run urban poverty plantations. The unfortunate truth is, black votes are what matter to Democrats.

So while the Republican platform is being described as a “far-right” one, it’s unclear whether the presumptive nominee will follow it to the letter, particularly on its more socially conservative aspects. But no such problem will exist for Democrats with Hillary Clinton. In fact, given the precarious balance of the Supreme Court, she may do more damage in one four-year term than Obama did in eight — especially if she has long enough coattails to flip the House and Senate. (Then again, a toothless Republican-controlled Congress provides a perfect lightning rod for criticism when the Democrats hold the White House.)

The last eight years have emboldened the Left to think they can get away with almost anything, so it’s not a shock that their platform is ambitious, pedal-to-the-medal socialism. We may be fortunate that the face of it belongs to the wildly unlikable and untrustworthy Hillary Clinton.



There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about Muslim matters


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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, July 17, 2016

Latest Terrorist attack demolishes Obama's crusade against  guns

Every time there is a terrorist attack, Obama blames not the terrorist but guns.  But there was huge slaughter caused in Nice by a simple truck.  Should we ban all trucks?  In Obama's crazy world we would.  Will anything drag him into contact with reality? There are none so blind as those who will not see


On Nice attack, Trump gets it, Clinton doesn’t

A view from Boston:

One man driving a truck, 84 people dead.  Donald Trump wants to declare war on that.  It isn’t real policy. It’s rhetoric, a direct appeal to the gut, to the anger and fear people experience when they watch the reports from Nice.

Hillary Clinton wants us to be smarter, talk to our allies, and maybe hold a summit. Her typically wonky response reflects little understanding of what average Americans feel when they see bodies, strollers, and a stuffed animal strewn along a beach promenade.

Those families in France were celebrating a holiday with fireworks and fun, just as Americans did less than two weeks ago. It could have been the Boston Esplanade, or anywhere we gathered with children and friends to celebrate Independence Day. Trump gets that and he instinctively knows how to play to that dread. If Clinton gets it too, it didn’t come through in the aftermath of the latest horrific attack.

Statistically, the likelihood of a terror attack may still be small, but at a certain point, statistics don’t matter. After terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Istanbul, such violence feels possible in any major city. And attacks at home, in San Bernardino and Orlando, instill fear of the lone wolf terrorist next door, making us suspicious of each other. Last week’s murders of five Dallas police officers were not inspired by any foreign terrorist cause, but elevate the fear and suspicion.

Calling for gun control doesn’t work when a truck is the weapon of mass destruction. Calling for voters to try to understand the motivation behind such attacks is fine. But a presidential candidate must also understand those voters who aren’t students of psychology or advanced international relations. As they watch that long white truck roll down a palm-tree lined boulevard, the relations they are thinking of are their mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and grandchildren. Clinton needs to get out of her cerebral bubble and start thinking about Chelsea and the grandkids, and how she would feel if they were in the path of that truck-turned-deadly-missile.



Libs Gone Insane

Liberals aren’t exactly pro-law and order, except for the TV show, one of the most left-wing on TV. Anything else and they are ready to storm the barricades and sing like a bad version of “Do You Hear the People Sing” from “Les Miserables.” From Occupy Wall Street to Ferguson to Black Friday to Hands Up, Don’t Shoot to Freddie Grey to Black Lives Matter, liberals love to protest, hate cops, spit at cops, attack cops and riot. For the left, it’s an altogether fun time.

This week they showed their true colors (red, just not the red idiot journalists use on their maps).

Making a Glass Out of Yourself:

If you don’t like something, break it. Sounds like the beginnings of a new liberal motto. The left is doing its best to Taliban America, removing statues, graves and anything else it doesn’t like. In their eyes history is, well, history.

It’s only appropriate that this erasure of history hit college campuses like Yale. Only it’s stained glass and not academia that’s getting smashed. “A black cafeteria worker at Yale has been arrested for shattering a glass dining hall window that showed slaves carrying bales of cotton,” wrote Slate.  Thanks libs. Actual quote: “I would guess that many members of the Yale community appreciate Menafee’s precise surgical excision of a malignant image that once glowed balefully down upon their heads as they tried to enjoy the dining hall’s famous tofu apple crisp.”

Cops Are Like Communist Dictators. Or Something:

I’m color blind like many men and a few women. Even then I can tell the difference between red and blue. Of course, I don’t work for Huffington Post. The Posties are like many on the left, they hate cops and pretend they don’t. This week, they took a carefully manufactured liberal event and showed their disdain for the men and women in blue.

HuffPo highlighted a photo of a young African-American woman standing in the street getting arrested by police. Naturally, it was just like the famous Tiananmen Square tank man to the left. The site ran the actual headline: “Woman’s Peaceful Act of Resistance Becomes BLM Movement’s Tiananmen Square Moment.” HuffPo quickly changed the headline, but even then it linked to a story making the same comparison. Wonder if someone robbed the HuffPo offices, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?

No, I Wasn’t Kidding. They Hate Cops II:

Racist black terrorist guns down police – killing five in an event so horrific that two presidents preside over the memorial service. The normal human reaction is to have A) sympathy for the slain and celebrate their lives or B) trash the white guy. If you work for the left, you probably chose B. And that’s what they did. Based on inference, Facebook likes and their interpretation of tattoos, liberals decided to savage heroic Senior Cpl. Lorne Ahrens. Actual headline: “Slain Dallas Cop Might’ve Been A White Supremacist: Still A Hero?” Moronic author Jesse Benn let it be known where he was going right away. Actual quote: “Naturally, bootlickers across the globe are unquestioningly celebrating the slain officers as heroes, innocents, and protectors.” Probably because they were heroes, innocents and protectors.

But hey, Jesse also advocated for violent protest as “logical” and somehow still is allowed to write for HuffPo. Benn attacked Ahrens because he didn’t like his tattoo choices including a “Crusader’s Shield tattoo.” Scary. After piling inference on top of inference, Benn concluded: “So, is he still a hero? He never was to me.” Benn’s Twitter profile photo makes him appear as a lame, hipster wannabe. Probably the bravest thing he has ever done is play Pokemon Go. OK, even that might be too much for HuffPo.

If Cops Are Bad, America Is Worse:

For you geezers out there (ahem), remember the scene in Animal House where Eric Stratton talks about how problems at Delta House equal an indictment of the entire educational system? That’s how the left views America. It hates the nation in micro and in macro. Salon delivered the macro, blaming America and our allies for problems with Russia and China. Actual headline: “The West escalates with Russia: Make no mistake, a second Cold War is now official NATO policy.”

Yeah, and Russia didn’t invade several of its neighbors and steal land, which is official Russian policy. If it’s a new Cold War, it’s only because Russia is the one doing the climate change. Actual quote: “Russia has signaled no intention whatsoever of doing anything more than defending its borders.” Assuming you extend Russia’s borders into the Crimea, Georgia and possibly Alaska. (We might offer them Detroit, but them’s fightin’ words.)

Let’s Make Up Nazi Stuff About Trump:

Liberals complain conservatives don’t like facts and then turn around and make up news more ridiculous than The Onion. Slate’s Shon Arieh-Lerer, a “freelance production associate,” (Hint: Not a word guy.) made up a whole piece about: “If Donald Trump Tweeted About Triumph of the Will.” Arieh-Lerer is part of what purports to be a comedy troupe, but if this piece is any indication, they won’t be getting an SXSW invite any time soon.

The piece is a bunch of made-up Tweets depicting Trump as pro-Nazi. So edgy. Arieh-Lerer’s problem is the piece reads like a typical Salon/Slate piece attacking the right. It’s phony and stupid, pretty much defining what liberal sites do. Actual made-up quote: “My wife @MELANIATRUMP made a very funny joke: “Trump of the Will.” Very good, Melania! Good girl!” HuffPo wants to be the original Producers or even Hogan’s Heroes. Instead, it’s as funny as a bad Nazi zombie flick. And about as lively.

You Thought No One Would Go There:

Just when you thought you’d heard enough Pokemon Go trend stories, the left goes one step further – “Pokemon Go Erotica.” According to Esquire, (Esquire?), “what's a phenomenon without a little bit of weirdly pitched porn.” Actual quote: “Pokebutt Go: Pounded By 'Em All is Kindle Edition erotica which is highly NSFW and only possibly taking itself seriously.” Actual quote from the promotional material for whatever this is: “This erotic tale is 4,000 words of sizzling human on gay Pokebutt action, including” and I’m going to cut to the chase here and spare you, gay “digital monster love." I’m sure this is just more about the conventional Modern Family lifestyle the media tell us all about.



For Obama, Leftist Rhetoric Is Always Innocent and Conservatives Are Always Guilty

When it comes to the linkage between violence and rhetoric, I abide by a fairly simple rule: If you're not advocating violence, you're not responsible for violence. That doesn't mean your rhetoric is decent or appropriate; it may be vile, awful and factually incorrect. But it isn't the cause for violence.

President Barack Obama also abides by a simple rule when it comes to linking violence and rhetoric: If he doesn't like the rhetoric, it's responsible for violence. And if there's violence associated with rhetoric he likes, then the violence must have been caused by something else.

This shining double standard was on full display this week after an anti-white racist black man shot 14 police officers in Dallas just hours after Obama appeared on national television explaining that alleged instances of police brutality and racism were "not isolated incidents" but rather "symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system." Obama was happy to label the shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, without evidence, as part of a broader racist trend in law enforcement across the country.

Then Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on white police officers — and anti-police racist radicals attacked officers in Minnesota, Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia and Texas again — and Obama suddenly got amnesia. Now, it turned out, rhetoric had nothing to do with their actions. In fact, said Obama, he had no idea why Johnson — who explicitly said he wanted to murder white cops — would do such a thing. "I think it's very hard to untangle the motives of this shooter," Obama said while in Poland. "What triggers that, what feeds it, what sets it off — I'll leave that to psychologists and people who study these kinds of incidents." He did blame one element for the attack, however: lack of gun control. "If you care about the safety of our police officers," he lied, "you can't set aside the gun issue and pretend that that's irrelevant."

Odd how this works. When a white racist shoots up a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, Obama targets America's legacy of racism, and the entire media call for a national fight against Confederate flags; when a nut tries to shoot up a Planned Parenthood building in Colorado, the left emerges to claim that the pro-life movement bears culpability. But when an Orlando jihadi shoots up a gay nightclub, Obama and company declare the motives totally mysterious and then impugn Christian social conservatives and the National Rifle Association.

Here's the truth: Obama's rhetoric isn't responsible for murder, but it's certainly responsible for death. That's because Obama's racist rhetoric has led to the greatest rise in racial polarization since the 1970s. In 2010, just 13 percent of Americans worried about race relations, whereas in April 2016, 35 percent of Americans did. That racial polarization has, in turn, led to distrust of police officers, many of whom respond by pulling out of the communities that need their help most. Crime rates go up, including murder rates. Ironically, Obama's supposed rage at white officers killing blacks leads to more blacks killing blacks in cities no longer policed by whites.

But there's good news: Obama can always blame everyone else. When you're held responsible for your feelings rather than your actions, it's always simple to direct attention toward the evil conservatives who insist that all lives matter rather than care enough about black lives to save them by endorsing the police who work to protect black men and women every day.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both 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.

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