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Time to Panic?

by Iron Fist ( 217 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, government, Politics at October 5th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Good article in the Free Beacon:

Deadly, irrational, and determined, the intruder snuck across a weakened perimeter. Eluding capture, the intruder was detained only after missteps and close calls. The spin began soon after the threat was isolated. Information was selectively leaked. Half-truths and untruths were uttered. Responsibility was avoided; privileges and credentials asserted; authority reasserted. Trust us. Remain calm. Don’t panic.

This is the template of recent events. A mental case jumps the White House fence. He makes it to the East Room before he’s tackled by an off-duty Secret Service agent. Initial statements turn out to be misleading or false. We discover that lapses in security are much worse than previously understood, that in recent memory the White House was sprayed with bullets, and that an armed man with a criminal record rode in an elevator with the president. The official in charge of the Secret Service, promoted for reasons of affirmative action, resigns hours after the White House expresses its confidence in her abilities. The overriding impression is of disarray, confusion, bad management, failed communication, anomie, disillusion, corruption, and secrecy. But do not worry. Things are under control.

The elevator? It was in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where the president told the American people that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not a threat to our country. President Obama said the chances of Ebola appearing in the United States are “extremely low.” If a carrier somehow finds his way to the 50 states, “We have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place.” Two weeks later, as Byron York points out, the president was proven utterly wrong.

And he goes on with more examples. The upshot:

It is precisely the intersection of Ebola and globalization that worries me. The only response to a virus this deadly is to quarantine it. Stop flights, suspend visas, and beef up customs and security. It can be done. If the FAA can cancel flights to Israel, why can’t it cancel flights to and from the West African countries whence the outbreak originated?

Simple: because doing so would violate the sacred principles by which our bourgeois liberal elite operate. To deny an individual entry to the United States over fears of contamination would offend our elite’s sense of humanitarian cosmopolitanism. For them, “singling out” nations or cultures from which threats to the public health or safety of the United States originate is illegitimate. It “stigmatizes” those nations or cultures, it “shames” them, it makes them feel unequal. It’s judgmental. It suggests that America prefers her already existing citizens to others.

Such pieties endanger us. They are the reason we were slow to contain the influx of Central American refugees, the reason we do not follow-up on illegal immigrants who fail to show up for hearings, the reason we remain unable to strip jihadists of U.S. citizenship, the reason that a year after two Chechen refugees bombed the Boston Marathon, America is preparing to expand resettlement of Syrian refugees. The imperatives of the caste, the desire to make actual whatever is rattling around Tom Friedman’s brain at a given moment, take precedence over reality.

The system can withstand only so many shocks. For the last two years it has suffered nothing but blows, traumas, national and international concussions. The response by our government has been denial and delusion. But that has further alienated the public, and it won’t be long before things get really weird. Maybe it is time for the political class to panic, too.

Know hope? That’s passé.

Know fear.

He is right. Over and over our political class is falling short. We are proving again and a gain that our leaders simply aren’t up to the task of governing. My only question is what if they are doing it out of malice? I have been posing that question about Obama recently. I would say that at this point it is impossible to determine whether he is supremely incompetent or supremely malicious. It could be either of these, or both. But when they keep getting the same results from doing the same things, repeatedly and predictably, you have to ask if they are satisfied with the results that they are getting. The same is true of the political class as it is Obama himself. They insist on doing the same old same old, repeatedly, and they get the same piss poor results every time that they do it. It isn’t as though their policies have ever succeeded at bringing peace and prosperity to America. They always produce the same failures. Are our political elites somehow damaged intellectually, that they cannot see the results of their policies on every issue from gun control to foreign policy to the economy? Are they completely stupid? Even someone with mental handicaps is capable of recognizing when their actions produce negative results. They are (for the most part) capable of being self-critical, and of learning from their mistakes, and improving on the outcomes of their actions. Only the most severely mentally handicapped person is incapable of this (in my years in the restaurant industry I’ve worked with a number of developmentally handicapped people, and they have always shown the ability to do this). It is self-evident from their actions that either the Left must be incapable of this level of cognition (i;.e. rational and critical thinking), or they are acting with malice aforethought. You can’t necessarily prove which of these it is, but I ask you, if it were malice, what would they be doing differently than they are right now? I can’t think of much of anything. They do have to live in a world where they can only go so far openly, lest the LIVs catch on and vote them out of their offices, fire them from their jobs as academians, o r otherwise take steps to neutralize their malice.

How the US government trashed the diesel fuel cost advantage

by 1389AD ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, EPA, Food and Drink, Regulation at September 30th, 2014 - 8:00 am
Pain at the pump
Diesel or petrol, pain at the pump

I’m no Jay Leno but I do know a thing or two about motor vehicles, and a thing or three about tyranny, of which I have made a lifelong object of study. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that anything that raises the costs of road transportation also hamstrings the US economy, makes ordinary Americans poorer, strangles our liberty, and helps our enemies who are burdened by no such constraints.

I’ve owned both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Diesel was once the way to go when it came to saving money at the fuel pump. Diesel engines still outlast the gasoline variety and can deliver impressive power, but the US grabbermint deliberately wiped out the diesel fuel dollars-per-mile advantage.

Here’s how they did it:

Eric Peters: The Diesel Dilemma

The last time people began to sweat the cost of gas, they were able to turn to diesels. The cars delivered tremendous mileage (e.g., a VW Rabbit diesel was capable of 50-plus MPG, as good or better than a new Prius hybrid) and – perhaps as important – the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline.

You may recall.

What happened?

Government.

Diesel fuel became more expensive than gasoline – because of government edicts that made it more rather than less expensive to refine. Today’s “ultra-low sulfur” diesel runs close to $4 a gallon in my neck of the Woods vs. just over $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

This cost-to-feed disparity takes a lot away from the economic argument in favor of buying a diesel-powered car. Especially given that modern diesel-powered cars – though excellent in many ways – are also a great deal less fuel-efficient than the diesel powered cars of the ’70s and ’80s (the era before government got around to hassling diesels to the extent that it had been hassling gas-powered cars). Engine design had to be altered; exhaust systems changed up. Almost all current-year diesel-powered passenger cars have particulate traps and “regeneration” (diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust to after-burn it for emissions control reasons; of course, fuel used to burn off soot is fuel not used to propel the car – and your mileage goes down).

Most (virtually all) current-year diesel-powered passenger cars also require something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to achieve compliance with emissions regs. That is, to placate the government (at your expense). The DEF – basically, urea (that is, piss) – is contained in a separate tank that must be regularly topped off. The DEF works kind of like a gas engine’s catalytic converter, chemically altering the composition of the exhaust stream.

Whether this is good or bad is ultimately neither here nor there as far as the consumer appeal of diesel-powered cars.

Historically, the primary reason for going with a diesel rather than a gas-engined car (all else being equal) was the prospect that the diesel would – hopefully – save you money.

Unfortunately, that’s less likely today than it was yesterday. Because of the higher cost of the fuel – and the lower fuel-efficiency of modern diesels.

Here’s an example:

I recently reviewed the 2014 VW Jetta TDI (see here). For a modern car – relative to other modern cars – it delivers excellent fuel economy: 30 MPG in city driving and 42 MPG on the highway. But back in 1979, a VW Rabbit diesel delivered 45 MPG … in citydriving.

And 57 on the highway.

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Now, granted, the ’79 Rabbit is (was) a smaller car than the ’14 Jetta. But the difference is startling nonetheless – because the Jetta has all the putative advantages of the intervening 40 years (almost) of technological advances.

Shouldn’t it deliver better economy than a Carter-era car?

Well, it could.

If VW were not forced to festoon its brilliant TDI (turbo direct injection) diesel with all the foregoing folderol. If the federal obsession with soot – aka “particulate” emissions – were not so fervid. And here it is important to point out that diesel emissions aredifferent. Particulates may be obnoxious to some, but they are not a factor in the formation of smog – the main justification for swaddling gas engines with a Hannibal Lecter-esque suit of “controls” to tamp them down.

Everything – like it or not – is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis. And frequently there is a conflict between one desired thing and another desired thing. In this case, the desire of the government to effectively curb tailpipe emissions of cars (both diesel and gas) to nil conflicts with the consumer’s desire for a fuel-efficient (to say nothing of affordable) vehicle.

And this is why – for the most part (the Jetta I reviewed being one of literally two exceptions) the diesel-powered cars available today are almost all high-end/expensive cars. The diesel engines available in vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 3 and 5 are touted as much for their performance as their economy – and of course, the cars they’re installed in are sold on the basis of luxury and status. These are the sweeteners that make so-so-efficient modern diesels more palatable to buyers.

But on the economy end of the scale, it is harder to make a sound case for a modern diesel-powered car. Even the thoroughly excellent Jetta TDI. It costs about $5k more than the base trim gas-engined Jetta. And then there’s the 50-75 cents more per gallon you pay at the pump. Sure, the TDI’s mileage is 10-plus MPG better than the gas-engined models. But $5k buys oceans of gas … and don’t forget the extra $8-10 or so more you’ll be paying at each fill-up, diesel vs. regular unleaded.

To sum up:

The proverbial low-hanging fruit was plucked decades ago. That is, on the order of 90 percent of the harmful (e.g., smog forming, respiratory distress-inducing) byproducts of internal combustion were “controlled” by the first simple – but very effective – emissions technologies, such as catalytic converters (for gas-engined vehicles). Since the ’90s, the government’s increasingly demented crusade has been to “control” the remaining fractional part of a vehicle’s exhaust output that is less-than-pure.

I italicize this for emphasis because it is not a literary or editorial flourish. It is the literal truth.  The government will push for – and impose – a new round of emissions rigmarole in order to “cut” what they will invariably describe as “harmful emissions” by half a percent. But they will tout this as a 50 percent reduction – which it technically is. Because if you reduce 1 percent by half you have reduced it by 50 percent. But “50 percent” sounds a helluva lot better, PR-wise, than “half of one percent.”

So, we end with pretty pricey diesels that are only so-so efficient – relative to what they should and easily could be.

Continue reading…

Mixing alcohol with gasoline

Governmental bodies and various private organizations harp endlessly on the dangers of, and legal penalties against, driving under the influence of ethyl alcohol. At the same time, the US government is doing all it can to force you to feed ethyl alcohol into your gasoline-powered engine! Problem is, ethyl alcohol damages equipment that is not purpose-built to use it as fuel. Gasoline adulterated with alcohol can destroy your car, your motorcycle, your aircraft, your boat, your power tools, your generator…you name it. Seems to me that this is a stealth method to force older vehicles and equipment into the junkyard.

Arguably, “gasohol” harms the environment, in that the energy cost of producing the corn (maize), distilling ethyl alcohol from it, and transporting it to the pump, exceeds its yield as a vehicular energy source.

Corn is food. It is especially suited as fuel for people and animals, not machines. It makes economic sense to use corn as animal feed and to consume corn directly as sweet corn, hominy grits, cornbread, tortillas, popcorn, you name it. Burning corn, or for that matter, any food, as substandard vehicle fuel raises food prices worldwide, making people go hungry who otherwise would not.

If you own an older car or motorcycle, or would like to buy one, you owe it to yourself to read this:

Eric Peters: Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

Scotland!

by coldwarrior ( 85 Comments › )
Filed under government, Open thread, Politics, UK at September 17th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Aye! The Vote for or against independence from the United Kingdom is Thursday, the 18th. I would have to say that if I were allowed to vote, It would be ‘YES!’. Succeed or Fail, Local sovereignty makes more sense to me than rule from afar.

Tomorrow, my Dad and I are at our yearly outing at a very, very nice Country Club enjoying a round of the Scots own game, Golf. After we will have a wee dram with dinner in the club house and see what the Scots have decided.

After more than 300 years of political union, a Scots army, this time made up of voters, has a date with destiny, writes Hugh Reilly

It is June 1314, the place is Stirlingshire. The English army has tramped up the Middle Ages version of the M74 to sort out some treasonous Jocks who have challenged King Edward’s right to rule over his Scottish serfs. The rebellious Scots to be crushed are led by Robert the Bruce, a warrior king whose destiny could have been oh-so-different had he suffered from acute arachnophobia. Earlier, he had taken up residence in a damp cave, an ideal location for the fugitive on the go, and watched a hapless spider endeavour to swing Tarzan-like across the grotto’s entrance. On its sixth attempt, it finally succeeded.

Bruce interpreted the dodgy acrobatics as a sign that he could defeat the English. In terms of symptoms of a certifiable mental illness, waging a war based on the trapezium-type exploits of a spider was right up there with listening to the ranting of a burning bush.

Nevertheless, Bruce managed to gather a small army. Those who had answered his call to arms with a resounding “Yes” knew the dire consequences of defeat; yet, they felt the fear and did it anyway. They let out a huge groan when Bruce replied in the affirmative to Henry De Bohun’s demand for an equestrian square-go but how they cheered when Bruce stood tall in his stirrups and gave the English knight the pure malky with a battle-axe. Once the corpse was shuffled off the battlefield, the mortal combat began in earnest.

Despite being outnumbered two to one, the Scots prevailed, forcing Edward to catch the first cruise ship departing Dunbar for London. Across England, town-criers employed by the BBC declared it an outstanding English success. Sadly, the sacrifices of the men and women who fought for Scotland’s freedom were betrayed with the signing of the Act of Union 1707. The treachery of the ruling class is wonderfully encapsulated in the Robert Burns song, Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation. The people of Scotland were not consulted on whether they wished to give up the country’s sovereignty; indeed, when the terms were revealed, riots erupted in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On Thursday, Scots have a once- in-a-lifetime chance to end 300 years of a being a junior partner in the artificial country known as Britain. I say artificial because, despite three centuries of trying to weld four distinct peoples into one homogeneous race, the traits and differences persist. Ask a Londoner his nationality and he’ll answer “English” – likewise, a guy from Glasgow declares himself to be “Scottish”. No-one, with possible exception of hard-line Ulster Orangemen, states they are “British”.

Back in 2012, only around 26 per cent of voters supported independence. Last week, on accepting that the referendum result was on finely sharpened knife edge, Alistair Darling claimed that “it was inevitable that the gap would narrow” as polling day neared. He rather unhelpfully didn’t explain why it was somehow unavoidable that the pro-independence vote would gather momentum. I think I can give Mr Darling some clues.

Firstly, the scaremongering tactics haven’t played well with a highly educated, highly sceptical electorate. Project Fear has backfired spectacularly on the pro-Unionists as, one by one, the doom and gloom scenarios have been ushered into the light and exposed. Should Scottish voters have the cheek to back independence, Scotland would be evicted from the EU, said the nay-sayers. Nato wouldn’t want Alba either. Worse, the cost of sending worthwhile mobile phone texts such as “Ah’m oan the bus, c u in 10 mins” would rise due to roaming charges imposed by avaricious telecommunications companies.

The bluff that Scotland would not be permitted a currency union with its southern neighbour was called when the value of sterling fell on news of the possibility of Scotland regaining sovereignty. It’s abundantly clear that the penchants of the financial market will have a greater input on a currency union than the anti-independence utterings of Gideon Oliver Osborne (yes folks, that’s the Chancellor’s name as it appears on his birth certificate). Denying Scotland the use of the pound would be cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face, akin to Van Gogh cutting off his ear to stop folk pestering him to wear spectacles.

Secondly, once the bluster and froth disappeared from the debate, Scots began to observe that objective evidence exists that their country will not descend into a land resembling the set of Mad Max. A league table of GDP wealth produced by the OECD – the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development – puts Scotland 14th in the world. The discussion between oil experts as to how much fossil fuel lies around our coastline told us that even the most Jeramiah of black gold drillers admits there are at least 16 billion barrels. Consequently, the unique attempt by Britain-firsters to paint carbon fuel assets to be burdensome liabilities failed to convince those cursed with possessing critical faculties.

A Yes victory would mean no more wars of adventure. Disastrous British foreign policy has led to the deaths of hundreds of UK soldiers and the maiming of thousands of others. And for what? Afghanistan is still a mediaeval basket case and IS rules large swathes of Iraq, a country we “liberated”. At home, a new Scotland would build on the sense of social justice that sets it apart from its southern neighbour. Despite the off-stage grumblings of arch-unionist Johann Lamont, the notions of free university education, free prescriptions and free personal care resonate with the majority of Scots who agree with a collectivist approach to helping those in need.

On Thursday, we have a date with destiny. I urge voters to seize the moment, to give us back full sovereignty over our affairs.

The alternative – more years of Westminster governments led by Cameron, Miliband or, heaven forbid, Boris Johnson – fills me with dread.

At Bannockburn, the “wee folk” bled for liberty. We need only place a cross in the Yes box. Cry freedom!

 

There is entirely too much history and information to cover in one blog post. So if I may, two columns and some links. The first is from Bill Jamieson:

THE CASE FOR ‘YES’ YOU’VE NEVER HEARD

Good morning, Scotland!

SCOT-BUZZ EDITOR BILL JAMIESON says it’s forty eight hours to the biggest political decision we’ve ever made – not just how we want to be governed but which country we want to be in…

Scotland is at fever pitch. Never before has such argument raged, mass rallies held, the TV studios packed and tens of thousands of windows plastered with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ stickers. Banners are everywhere.

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Never has a question more polarised Scots’ opinion. Views for and against have been put with increasing passion. Towns, communities and families have been split.

Accusations of “scaremongering” and “Project Fear” have marked the battle. The pound has trembled and markets have swooned.

We’re global news. You can’t walk down Edinburgh’s Princes Street or Buchanan Street in Glasgow without being jostled by competing teams of camera crews.

We’ve never had such world attention.

Now it’s up to us to cast our vote.

You might think by now you’ve heard all the arguments there could be for independence.

But here’s one you almost certainly haven’t heard from the mouths of politicians – the argument that dare not speak its name…

Let’s call it Consequences, or facing up at last to the honest truth.

We’ve heard promises of more public spending, better welfare benefits, protected spending on the NHS, more secure pensions, and a Scottish government able to deliver with those North Sea oil revenues. We’ll escape austerity. We’ll be better off.

Many ‘Yes’ voters fervently believe this. And many traditional Labour voters have been won over by it. The ranks of ‘Yes’ have been swollen by the deep unpopularity of austerity, cuts in welfare spending and a prolonged squeeze on wages and earnings that have lagged inflation – pay reduction in real terms.

Five years of austerity. Little wonder there’s deep resentment.

But how likely is it that independence per se will change this? How credible are the promises?

It’s said Scotland has had a great referendum debate. That it has re-invigorated democracy.

But is this really true?

Throughout this long campaign there’s been a huge hole.

There’s been barely any analysis of the real cause of our grievance, of what lies behind austerity and why public spending is being squeezed.

This long, raucous relentless debate has proceeded without an honest assessment of why government has been unable to deliver, why politicians are distrusted and why voters feel so disenfranchised.

Two words have been barely mentioned by either side. But they’re the biggest words in politics today. Those words are deficit and debt.

Here are two figures to consider.  UK government debt now stands at £1.35 trillion. It will continue to rise next year, the year after that and the year after that.

While the annual budget deficit has been brought down, this only slows the rate at which the debt total continues to rise. B y 2018-19 that debt total is projected to climb to £1.5 trillion.

We can argue forever as to who or what was to blame, the wicked Tories or spendthrift Labour. But this debt has imposed a colossal burden.

It’s a figure almost too big to contemplate. So let’s focus instead on the annual debt interest alone.

This year, we need to find £52 billion to meet the interest bill. This, too, continues to rise. By 2018-19 it is set to hit £75 billion.

This means, it soaks up the entire tax revenue from fuel duties, Petroleum Revenue Tax, tobacco duties, spirits duty, wine duty, beer duty, Air Passenger Duty, insurance Premium Tax, the Climate Change Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty – and we will still have £3 billion to find!

Little wonder politicians hate talking about debt. Because debt interest is ‘dead money’. It brings in no votes. But it’s one of the first things deducted from government spending. And it compels cuts in other areas to make room for it.

SCOTTISH CONSEQUENTIALS

An independent Scotland’s share of UK debt is reckoned at between £126 billion and £140 billion. Just taking the lower figure would leave Holyrood with £3.8 billion to find in annual interest charges.

Surely, then, we should vote ‘No’? But the case for independence is strengthened, not weakened, by the prospect of a Scottish government having to come to terms with this Consequence.

Not having to deal with the realities of tax and borrowing and debt has left our politics infantalised for too long. It’s bred and fostered the culture of false promises and more spending without concern for the reality before us.

An independent Scotland would have to cope, very quickly and credibly, with this reality. To hold and retain business and investor confidence, the independent government would need to recognise, in a way the referendum battle has failed to do, the reality of government today and the constraints that come with it.

Spending commitments will be deferred as finance minister John Swinney earnestly tells the Scottish parliament of the need to establish early credibility as one of “regrettable necessities of building independence”.

Remember, too, the resources he will need to find to build up our reserves to put behind a currency board to ensure currency stability and halt capital flight (see elsewhere this page).

The parliament will ponder the option of tax increases rather than spending cuts. But it will also need to weigh up the cost of those tax increases – voter consequence and business exodus.

It will be a moment of truth like no other.

So why not avoid this and vote ‘No’? The problem here is that it will leave ‘Yes’ voters, not with a recognition of this reality, but with a bitter sense of grievance. A large proportion of Scotland will feel cheated and frustrated. These feelings will be stoked by claims that independence was wrested from our grasp at the last moment by a conspiracy of Westminster scare tactics, dirty tricks with banks and big business and the collusion of the BBC. The myth of the Stab in the Back is already being woven.

We will have learnt nothing and gained nothing. Instead, there’ll be the old enemy to blame – the London government, the Westminster parties, the metropolitan elite.

A ‘No’ vote does not put the issue to rest. On the contrary. It will condemn us to more years of infantile politics and reality evasion. The chance to come to terms with a major cause of our discontents will have been missed.

It’s not a comfortable case for independence. It’s not the case you’ll have heard from politicians.

But it’s the case far nearer to the truth than we’ve ever been told.

Now, Paul Krugman. Like him or not, he is absolutely right on this (however, Scotland has oil coming out of its ears and that changes the economics):

Scots, What the Heck?
SEPT. 7, 2014
Paul Krugman

Next week Scotland will hold a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom. And polling suggests that support for independence has surged over the past few months, largely because pro-independence campaigners have managed to reduce the “fear factor” — that is, concern about the economic risks of going it alone. At this point the outcome looks like a tossup.

Well, I have a message for the Scots: Be afraid, be very afraid. The risks of going it alone are huge. You may think that Scotland can become another Canada, but it’s all too likely that it would end up becoming Spain without the sunshine.

Comparing Scotland with Canada seems, at first, pretty reasonable. After all, Canada, like Scotland, is a relatively small economy that does most of its trade with a much larger neighbor. Also like Scotland, it is politically to the left of that giant neighbor. And what the Canadian example shows is that this can work. Canada is prosperous, economically stable (although I worry about high household debt and what looks like a major housing bubble) and has successfully pursued policies well to the left of those south of the border: single-payer health insurance, more generous aid to the poor, higher overall taxation.

Does Canada pay any price for independence? Probably. Labor productivity is only about three-quarters as high as it is in the United States, and some of the gap may reflect the small size of the Canadian market (yes, we have a free-trade agreement, but a lot of evidence shows that borders discourage trade all the same). Still, you can argue that Canada is doing O.K.

But Canada has its own currency, which means that its government can’t run out of money, that it can bail out its own banks if necessary, and more. An independent Scotland wouldn’t. And that makes a huge difference.

Could Scotland have its own currency? Maybe, although Scotland’s economy is even more tightly integrated with that of the rest of Britain than Canada’s is with the United States, so that trying to maintain a separate currency would be hard. It’s a moot point, however: The Scottish independence movement has been very clear that it intends to keep the pound as the national currency. And the combination of political independence with a shared currency is a recipe for disaster. Which is where the cautionary tale of Spain comes in.

If Spain and the other countries that gave up their own currencies to adopt the euro were part of a true federal system, with shared institutions of government, the recent economic history of Spain would have looked a lot like that of Florida. Both economies experienced a huge housing boom between 2000 and 2007. Both saw that boom turn into a spectacular bust. Both suffered a sharp downturn as a result of that bust. In both places the slump meant a plunge in tax receipts and a surge in spending on unemployment benefits and other forms of aid.

Then, however, the paths diverged. In Florida’s case, most of the fiscal burden of the slump fell not on the local government but on Washington, which continued to pay for the state’s Social Security and Medicare benefits, as well as for much of the increased aid to the unemployed. There were large losses on housing loans, and many Florida banks failed, but many of the losses fell on federal lending agencies, while bank depositors were protected by federal insurance. You get the picture. In effect, Florida received large-scale aid in its time of distress.

Spain, by contrast, bore all the costs of the housing bust on its own. The result was a fiscal crisis, made much worse by fears of a banking crisis that the Spanish government would be unable to manage, because it might literally run out of cash. Spanish borrowing costs soared, and the government was forced into brutal austerity measures. The result was a horrific depression — including youth unemployment above 50 percent — from which Spain has barely begun to recover.

And it wasn’t just Spain, it was all of southern Europe and more. Even euro-area countries with sound finances, like Finland and the Netherlands, have suffered deep and prolonged slumps.

In short, everything that has happened in Europe since 2009 or so has demonstrated that sharing a currency without sharing a government is very dangerous. In economics jargon, fiscal and banking integration are essential elements of an optimum currency area. And an independent Scotland using Britain’s pound would be in even worse shape than euro countries, which at least have some say in how the European Central Bank is run.

I find it mind-boggling that Scotland would consider going down this path after all that has happened in the last few years. If Scottish voters really believe that it’s safe to become a country without a currency, they have been badly misled.

 

This Link has all of the articles, data, polling and otherwise that you need to become informed.:

http://www.scotsman.com/scottish-independence/

Two articles to wrap up the discussion:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/09/scottish-independence-surge-has-forced-complacent-and-smug-elite-take-notice http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/blog/jobs-jobs-jobs

Mars Attacks: Oops WSU Deadly Force Racism Study Doesn’t Follow the Script

by Mars ( 66 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Bigotry, Blogmocracy, Crime, Democratic Party, DOJ, Education, Eric Holder, Free Speech, Guest Post, Hate Speech, Political Correctness, Politics, Racism, Second Amendment at September 4th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Apparently Washington State University wanted to find out why racial “minorities” are shot more often in police incidents. The study did not go quite as the liberals in this country would have wanted it to. My explanation why the disparity exists will be at the end of the article.

WSU ‘deadly force’ lab finds racial disparities in shootings
Blacks more feared, but shot less quickly

SPOKANE, Wash.—Participants in an innovative Washington State University study of deadly force were more likely to feel threatened in scenarios involving black people. But when it came time to shoot, participants were biased in favor of black suspects, taking longer to pull the trigger against them than against armed white or Hispanic suspects.

The findings, published in the recent Journal of Experimental Criminology, grow out of dozens of simulations aimed at explaining the disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities shot by police. The studies use the most advanced technology available, as participants with laser-equipped guns react to potentially threatening scenarios displayed in full-size, high-definition video.

The findings surprised Lois James, lead author and assistant research professor at Washington State University Spokane’s Sleep and Performance Research Center. Other, less realistic studies have found people are more willing to think a black person has a gun instead of a tool and will more readily push a “shoot” button against a potentially armed black person.

The findings also run counter to the public perception, heightened with the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., that police are more willing to shoot black suspects. Statistics show that police shoot ethnic and racial minorities disproportionately to their population.

But the last comprehensive look at the racial makeup of justifiable and non-justifiable shootings was a 2001 study (pdf) using more than two decades of U.S. Bureau of Justice data, said James. And while statistics show black suspects are shot at more frequently than white suspects, the 2001 study found black suspects were also as likely to shoot at police as be shot at.

“At the moment, there are no comprehensive statistics on whether the police do inappropriately shoot at black males more than they do at white males,” said James. “Although isolated incidents of black males being shot by the police are devastating and well documented, at the aggregate level we need to understand whether the police are shooting black unarmed males more than they are white unarmed males. And at the moment, nobody knows that.”

Shootings in the field are particularly difficult to study because they can have a multitude of complex, confounding and hard-to-control variables. But WSU Spokane’s Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory can control variables like suspect clothing, hand positions, threatening stance and race, while giving observers precise data on when participants are fired upon and how many milliseconds they take to fire back.

James’ study is a follow-up to one in which she found active police officers, military personnel and the general public took longer to shoot black suspects than white or Hispanic suspects. Participants were also more likely to shoot unarmed white suspects than black or Hispanic ones and more likely to fail to fire at armed black suspects.

“In other words,” wrote James and her co-authors, “there was significant bias favoring blacks where decisions to shoot were concerned.”

When confronted by an armed white person, participants took an average of 1.37 seconds to fire back. Confronted by an armed black person, they took 1.61 seconds to fire and were less likely to fire in error. The 24-millisecond difference may seem small, but it’s enough to be fatal in a shooting

The recent study analyzed data from electroencephalograph sensors that measured participants’ alpha brain waves, which are suppressed in situations that appear threatening.

The participants, 85 percent of whom were white, “demonstrated significantly greater threat responses against black suspects than white or Hispanic suspects,” wrote James and her co-authors, University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger and WSU Spokane’s Bryan Vila. This, they said, suggests the participants “held subconscious biases associating blacks and threats,” which is consistent with previous psychological research on racial stereotypes.

However, the current study only measured the alpha waves of participants drawn from the general public, not law enforcement or the military. Consequently, wrote the authors, “results from this sample are not generalizable to sworn officers.”

“However,” they added, “there is some evidence from the field to support the proposition that an officer’s threat bias could cause him or her to tend to take more time to make decisions to shoot people whom they subconsciously perceived as more threatening because of race or ethnicity. This behavioral ‘counter-bias’ might be rooted in people’s concerns about the social and legal consequences of shooting a member of a historically oppressed racial or ethnic group.”

James said she has data on subconscious associations between race and threat from law enforcement subjects, and she awaits funding to analyze whether these biases predict decisions to shoot in the simulator. Like study participants from the general public, she said, “they were still more hesitant to shoot black suspects than white suspects. They took longer and they made fewer errors.”

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/wsu-wf082914.php

Ok, has anyone here figured out the real reason more “minorities” are shot in police incidents even though this study shows the opposite should occur? It’s pretty simple, the reason is right in the article, buried under a bunch of other information. Here’s the money quote.

the 2001 study found black suspects were also as likely to shoot at police as be shot at.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Right in the article it shows that a previous study proved that black suspects were far more likely to shoot at the police than any other group. Yet, somehow with that information there is still a mystery here that this research team needs Scooby and the gang to help figure out. Oh, and maybe the bit about police thinking that african americans might be more violent. Well, I’m not sure where they would get that Idea.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/228479.pdf

In 2008, although black youth account­
ed for just 16% of the youth population
ages 10–17, they were involved in 52%
of juvenile Violent Crime Index arrests
and 33% of juvenile Property Crime
Index Arrests

http://ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05261

The Violent Crime Index arrest rate in 2011 for black juveniles (627) was 5 times the rate for white (125) youth, 6 times the rate for American Indian juveniles (105), and 15 times the rate for Asian juveniles (41).
In the 1980s, the Violent Crime Index arrest rate for black juveniles was 6 times the white rate. This ratio declined during the 1990s, holding at 4 to 1 from 1998 to 2004. Since 2004, the racial disparity in the rates increased, reaching 5 to 1 in the late 2000s.

My advice to people is if you want the cops to stop shooting your minority group “youths”, then you should get your children to stop killing cops and other people. It would go a long way to changing the perception of potential violence seen by the police responding.

I’m trying to put this information out there without coming off insensitive, but I think we’ve hit the point where the majority of violent crime is committed by one group in this country, and that same group screams racism anytime that the police are forced to stop a violent criminal. I don’t get how this solves anything. Believe me when I say that 99% of the police out there have no interest in killing someone. That is a situation that leaves scars that few ever fully recover from. (Their leadership with their militarization goals are something else entirely, it’s always easier when you aren’t the one pulling the trigger.) If people would take the time to stop blaming others for doing their job and actually take the time to engage with their own families (or in many of these cases even admit that they have a family) a lot of this could be solved.

Shootout at the Cold Stone Corral: The Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary

by The Osprey ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Business, Corruption, Democratic Party, DOJ, Economy, Election 2014, EPA, Eric Holder, Health Care, immigration, Immigration, IRS, Janet Napolitano, Misery Index, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, The Political Right, unemployment at August 24th, 2014 - 6:02 pm

AZnObamaTruck

Damn. The Arizona Republican Primary is Tuesday, and I have still not been able to make up my mind who I am going to vote for to be our contender for Governor in November. There are 6 – count ‘em – 6 candidates!

Nicknames in quotes are mine :lol:

I break them down like this:

The Corporates – pushing their experience in the private sector:

Doug Ducey. “The Ice Cream Man” : Current AZ Treasurer. Founder of Cold Stone Creamery, the upscale ice cream chain. Has gotten endorsement of Republican heavy hitters from outside the state – Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, radio talker Hugh Hewitt. On the hand, he has been endorsed by John McCain and there have been questions of impropriety raised around some of his dealings with Cold Stone franchisees. UPDATE: It appears that Doug Ducey has been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Christine Jones. “Go Daddy’s Girl”: Kind of a dark horse, or should I say, ginger horse. (She’s a red head). Was corporate attorney for Scottsdale based internet hosting company Go Daddy – they of the racy Superbowl ads and Danica Patrick ad campaign. Claims to be for strong border enforcement, but recent revelations of her social media posts from a few years back supporting Obama and other liberal positions, resume embellishments (she claimed to have worked as a prosecuting attorney prior to her Go Daddy days) have made me skeptical of her.

The Politicos – claiming the voice of moderation:

Ken Bennett: “Cool, Calm Ken” Current Arizona Secretary of State. Long term AZ politico seen by many as a balancing force in AZ Republican politics. Presents a “cool calm and collected” image but may be a RINO. Many Arizonans who support Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigation of Obama’s document fraud feel Bennett allowed himself to be bamboozled by Democrat officials in the Hawaii State Dept. of Records, and his lack of experience outside government has caused some criticism as well.

Scott Smith: “Mayor McRINO” Current Mayor of Mesa. Presents himself as a moderate Republican. Has a pretty good record as Mayor, but his support of Brewer’s Obamacare associated Medicare expansion which was passed in the dead of night by RINOS and Democrats and his participation in national Mayors conferences heavily influenced by Democrats has left a sour taste in the mouth of small government and balanced budget advocates in AZ. Endorsed by Jan Brewer.

The Lawmen- For border security and state’s rights :

Frank Riggs: “Marshall Dillon” Frank is a California transplant who moved to AZ in 2001. An army veteran and former police officer, he represented a conservative district in California in the Reagan years. This is his first foray back into politics since moving to Arizona. Has the endorsement for former State Senator Russell Pierce, author of SB 1070. A Border hawk. Those who object to him site a congressional voting record that is not quite as conservative as Riggs claims it to be.

Andrew Thomas: “The Boy Scout” Former Maricopa County Attorney. Defended Sheriff Joe’s immigration law enforcement in court, exposed and lead prosecution of various corrupt State representatives and Maricopa county supervisors. This gained him many enemies in the liberal Democrat run AZ Bar Association, who filed a lawsuit against him that while ultimately defeated, nonetheless lead to him being disbarred. He is very well liked in among AZ conservatives, but even many who like him feel that he is “damaged goods” and vulnerable to a Dem lead smear campaign in the General.

My initial thoughts back in February or March favored either Doug Ducey or Christine Jones. Having someone in the Governor’s office with private sector experience could help Arizona divert a lot of those California companies fleeing that state’s regulatory environment to Texas, into Arizona instead.

However, with the Bundy Ranch vs. Fed Gov showdown in April, the ongoing controversy over Sheriff Joe’s investigation into Obama’s document fraud, the “Camp of the Saints”/”Children’s Crusade” on the border, and the threat of ISIS infiltration via the border, has me leaning now towards one of “The Lawmen”. I don’t think the “Corporates” would have enough spine to stand up to Obama and Holder.

Polls are all over the map, there are some in the media who say the race is Ducey’s to lose, but I think there is a strong undercurrent for Andrew Thomas, as an F-YOU! to the Dems locally and nationally.

Curious to hear what other Blogmocers either in AZ or out of state think. We, along with Texas are on the front lines of the border crisis, Obama and Holder have been meddling in our local politics and the economy here has been struggling since 2008.

UPDATE: It appears that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has endorsed Doug Ducey.

Sunday At The Movies: Bill Whittle’s, “What We Believe,” Full Version

by Flyovercountry ( 107 Comments › )
Filed under Climate, Environmentalism, EPA, Global Warming Hoax, Science, Weather at July 27th, 2014 - 3:09 pm

So, here’s this weeks submission for a replacement hour of network television over your weekend. Think of it as an alternative to that hour long conservative bash fest that all Hollywood produced crime dramas seem to have become. It’s all seven of the excellent Bill Whittle, “What We Believe,” videos put together in one shot. Personally, I’d not seen all seven previously, as I missed one or two of them. As the sunspot activity this week is actually something that’s been labeled an, “All Quiet Event,” you may have noticed that the weather in much of the country will not match the typical hot sunny out doorsy model we’re used to seeing this time of year.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Mars Attacks: Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

by Mars ( 376 Comments › )
Filed under Abortion, Academia, Bigotry, Blogmocracy, Censorship, Communism, Corruption, Democratic Party, Education, Environmentalism, Fascism, Free Speech, Global Warming Hoax, government, Guest Post, Hate Speech, Hipsters, History, Leftist-Islamic Alliance, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Multiculturalism, Nazism, Patriotism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Racism, Socialism, Tranzis at June 26th, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries

By: Human Events
5/31/2005 03:00 AM

HUMAN EVENTS asked a panel of 15 conservative scholars and public policy leaders to help us compile a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Each panelist nominated a number of titles and then voted on a ballot including all books nominated. A title received a score of 10 points for being listed No. 1 by one of our panelists, 9 points for being listed No. 2, etc. Appropriately, The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, earned the highest aggregate score and the No. 1 listing.

1. The Communist Manifesto

Authors: Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels
Publication date: 1848
Score: 74
Summary: Marx and Engels, born in Germany in 1818 and 1820, respectively, were the intellectual godfathers of communism. Engels was the original limousine leftist: A wealthy textile heir, he financed Marx for much of his life. In 1848, the two co-authored The Communist Manifesto as a platform for a group they belonged to called the Communist League. The Manifesto envisions history as a class struggle between oppressed workers and oppressive owners, calling for a workers’ revolution so property, family and nation-states can be abolished and a proletarian Utopia established. The Evil Empire of the Soviet Union put the Manifesto into practice.

2. Mein Kampf

Author: Adolf Hitler
Publication date: 1925-26
Score: 41
Summary: Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was initially published in two parts in 1925 and 1926 after Hitler was imprisoned for leading Nazi Brown Shirts in the so-called “Beer Hall Putsch” that tried to overthrow the Bavarian government. Here Hitler explained his racist, anti-Semitic vision for Germany, laying out a Nazi program pointing directly to World War II and the Holocaust. He envisioned the mass murder of Jews, and a war against France to precede a war against Russia to carve out “lebensraum” (“living room”) for Germans in Eastern Europe. The book was originally ignored. But not after Hitler rose to power. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, there were 10 million copies in circulation by 1945.

3. Quotations from Chairman Mao

Author: Mao Zedong
Publication date: 1966
Score: 38
Summary: Mao, who died in 1976, was the leader of the Red Army in the fight for control of China against the anti-Communist forces of Chiang Kai-shek before, during and after World War II. Victorious, in 1949, he founded the People’s Republic of China, enslaving the world’s most populous nation in communism. In 1966, he published Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, otherwise known as The Little Red Book, as a tool in the “Cultural Revolution” he launched to push the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese society back in his ideological direction. Aided by compulsory distribution in China, billions were printed. Western leftists were enamored with its Marxist anti-Americanism. “It is the task of the people of the whole world to put an end to the aggression and oppression perpetrated by imperialism, and chiefly by U.S. imperialism,” wrote Mao.

4. The Kinsey Report

Author: Alfred Kinsey
Publication date: 1948
Score: 37
Summary: Alfred Kinsey was a zoologist at Indiana University who, in 1948, published a study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, commonly known as The Kinsey Report. Five years later, he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. The reports were designed to give a scientific gloss to the normalization of promiscuity and deviancy. “Kinsey’s initial report, released in 1948 . . . stunned the nation by saying that American men were so sexually wild that 95% of them could be accused of some kind of sexual offense under 1940s laws,” the Washington Times reported last year when a movie on Kinsey was released. “The report included reports of sexual activity by boys–even babies–and said that 37% of adult males had had at least one homosexual experience. . . . The 1953 book also included reports of sexual activity involving girls younger than age 4, and suggested that sex between adults and children could be beneficial.”

5. Democracy and Education

Author: John Dewey
Publication date: 1916
Score: 36
Summary: John Dewey, who lived from 1859 until 1952, was a “progressive” philosopher and leading advocate for secular humanism in American life, who taught at the University of Chicago and at Columbia. He signed the Humanist Manifesto and rejected traditional religion and moral absolutes. In Democracy and Education, in pompous and opaque prose, he disparaged schooling that focused on traditional character development and endowing children with hard knowledge, and encouraged the teaching of thinking “skills” instead. His views had great influence on the direction of American education–particularly in public schools–and helped nurture the Clinton generation.

6. Das Kapital

Author: Karl Marx
Publication date: 1867-1894
Score: 31
Summary: Marx died after publishing a first volume of this massive book, after which his benefactor Engels edited and published two additional volumes that Marx had drafted. Das Kapital forces the round peg of capitalism into the square hole of Marx’s materialistic theory of history, portraying capitalism as an ugly phase in the development of human society in which capitalists inevitably and amorally exploit labor by paying the cheapest possible wages to earn the greatest possible profits. Marx theorized that the inevitable eventual outcome would be global proletarian revolution. He could not have predicted 21st Century America: a free, affluent society based on capitalism and representative government that people the world over envy and seek to emulate.

7. The Feminine Mystique

Author: Betty Friedan
Publication date: 1963
Score: 30
Summary: In The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan, born in 1921, disparaged traditional stay-at-home motherhood as life in “a comfortable concentration camp”–a role that degraded women and denied them true fulfillment in life. She later became founding president of the National Organization for Women. Her original vocation, tellingly, was not stay-at-home motherhood but left-wing journalism. As David Horowitz wrote in a review for Salon.com of Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique by Daniel Horowitz (no relation to David): The author documents that “Friedan was from her college days, and until her mid-30s, a Stalinist Marxist, the political intimate of the leaders of America’s Cold War fifth column and for a time even the lover of a young Communist physicist working on atomic bomb projects in Berkeley’s radiation lab with J. Robert Oppenheimer.”

8. The Course of Positive Philosophy

Author: Auguste Comte
Publication date: 1830-1842
Score: 28
Summary: Comte, the product of a royalist Catholic family that survived the French Revolution, turned his back on his political and cultural heritage, announcing as a teenager, “I have naturally ceased to believe in God.” Later, in the six volumes of The Course of Positive Philosophy, he coined the term “sociology.” He did so while theorizing that the human mind had developed beyond “theology” (a belief that there is a God who governs the universe), through “metaphysics” (in this case defined as the French revolutionaries’ reliance on abstract assertions of “rights” without a God), to “positivism,” in which man alone, through scientific observation, could determine the way things ought to be.

9. Beyond Good and Evil

Author: Freidrich Nietzsche
Publication date: 1886
Score: 28
Summary: An oft-scribbled bit of college-campus graffiti says: “‘God is dead’–Nietzsche” followed by “‘Nietzsche is dead’–God.” Nietzsche’s profession that “God is dead” appeared in his 1882 book, The Gay Science, but under-girded the basic theme of Beyond Good and Evil, which was published four years later. Here Nietzsche argued that men are driven by an amoral “Will to Power,” and that superior men will sweep aside religiously inspired moral rules, which he deemed as artificial as any other moral rules, to craft whatever rules would help them dominate the world around them. “Life itself is essentially appropriation, injury, overpowering of the strange and weaker, suppression, severity, imposition of one’s own forms, incorporation and, at the least and mildest, exploitation,” he wrote. The Nazis loved Nietzsche.

10. General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

Author: John Maynard Keynes
Publication date: 1936
Score: 23
Summary: Keynes was a member of the British elite–educated at Eton and Cambridge–who as a liberal Cambridge economics professor wrote General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in the midst of the Great Depression. The book is a recipe for ever-expanding government. When the business cycle threatens a contraction of industry, and thus of jobs, he argued, the government should run up deficits, borrowing and spending money to spur economic activity. FDR adopted the idea as U.S. policy, and the U.S. government now has a $2.6-trillion annual budget and an $8-trillion dollar debt.

Honorable Mention

These books won votes from two or more judges:

The Population Bomb
by Paul Ehrlich
Score: 22

What Is To Be Done
by V.I. Lenin
Score: 20

Authoritarian Personality
by Theodor Adorno
Score: 19

On Liberty
by John Stuart Mill
Score: 18

Beyond Freedom and Dignity
by B.F. Skinner
Score: 18

Reflections on Violence
by Georges Sorel
Score: 18

The Promise of American Life
by Herbert Croly
Score: 17

The Origin of Species
by Charles Darwin
Score: 17

Madness and Civilization
by Michel Foucault
Score: 12

Soviet Communism: A New Civilization
by Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Score: 12

Coming of Age in Samoa
by Margaret Mead
Score: 11

Unsafe at Any Speed
by Ralph Nader
Score: 11

Second Sex
by Simone de Beauvoir
Score: 10

Prison Notebooks
by Antonio Gramsci
Score: 10

Silent Spring
by Rachel Carson
Score: 9

Wretched of the Earth
by Frantz Fanon
Score: 9

Introduction to Psychoanalysis
by Sigmund Freud
Score: 9

The Greening of America
by Charles Reich
Score: 9

The Limits to Growth
by Club of Rome
Score: 4

Descent of Man
by Charles Darwin
Score: 2

The Judges

These 15 scholars and public policy leaders served as judges in selecting the Ten Most Harmful Books.

Arnold Beichman
Research Fellow
Hoover Institution

Prof. Brad Birzer
Hillsdale College

Harry Crocker
Vice President & Executive Editor
Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Prof. Marshall DeRosa
Florida Atlantic University

Dr. Don Devine
Second Vice Chairman
American Conservative Union

Prof. Robert George
Princeton University

Prof. Paul Gottfried
Elizabethtown College

Prof. William Anthony Hay
Mississippi State University

Herb London
President
Hudson Institute

Prof. Mark Malvasi
Randolph-Macon College

Douglas Minson
Associate Rector
The Witherspoon Fellowships

Prof. Mark Molesky
Seton Hall University

Prof. Stephen Presser
Northwestern University

Phyllis Schlafly
President
Eagle Forum

Fred Smith
President
Competitive Enterprise Institute

http://www.humanevents.com/2005/05/31/ten-most-harmful-books-of-the-19th-and-20th-centuries/

Mars Attacks: Psychology says it’s okay if you are evil, it’s not actually your fault.

by Mars ( 108 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Blogmocracy, Communism, Corruption, Crime, Democratic Party, DOJ, Fascism, Free Speech, Guest Post, Hate Speech, Hipsters, Leftist-Islamic Alliance, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Racism, Second Amendment, Socialism, Tranzis at June 19th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Here is another case of Psych “experts” trying to excuse behavior because “you’re just programmed that way”. Hey, but there’s good news. According to this self-serving article, the more you read articles like this, the less you believe in prison and capital punishment. So, see there is a silver lining.

Free will is just a myth according to these people you are just a preprogrammed set of impulses so it’s wrong (and probably racist) to insist that these people be locked away or executed where they can’t continue to harm those around them.

Hey, maybe this is the basis behind Obama’s catch and release terrorist program.

Enjoy this exercise in absurdity in it’s entirety.

Minimizing belief in free will may lessen support for criminal punishment

Exposure to information that diminishes free will, including brain-based accounts of behavior, seems to decrease people’s support for retributive punishment, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

People who learned about neuroscientific research, either by reading a magazine article or through undergraduate coursework, proposed less severe punishment for a hypothetical criminal than did their peers. The findings suggest that they did so because they saw the criminal as less blameworthy.

“There is no academic consensus on free will, but we already do see discussions of brain processes and responsibility trickling through the justice system and other social institutions — for better or worse,” says psychological scientist and study author Azim Shariff of the University of Oregon.

While research suggests that most people believe in free will, Shariff and colleagues wondered whether increasing exposure to information about the brain, which suggests a more mechanistic account of human behavior, might have consequences for how we reason about morality and make moral attributions.

They hypothesized that exposing people to information that diminishes belief in free will — neuroscientific or otherwise — would, in turn, diminish perceptions of moral responsibility; ultimately, this shift in belief would influence how people think about crime and punishment.

So, for example, if people come to believe that the brain drives behavior, they may be less likely to hold others morally responsible for criminal actions, eliminating the need to punish so that they receive their “just deserts.”

In an initial experiment, Shariff and colleagues had college students read a passage and then read a fictional scenario about a man who beat another man to death. Some of the students read a passage that rejected free will and advocated a mechanistic view of behavior, while others read a passage unrelated to free will.

Those students who read the passage rejecting free will chose significantly shorter prison sentences, about 5 years, than did those who read the neutral passage, about 10 years.

The effect also emerged when the manipulation was more subtle: Students who read an article about neuroscience findings that only implied mechanistic explanations for human behavior chose shorter prison sentences than did their peers who read about nuclear power or natural headache remedies.

Not only that, they also placed less blame on the transgressor. Further analyses revealed that decreased blameworthiness actually accounted for the relationship between diminished belief in free will and lighter sentences.

Interestingly, students who freely enrolled and participated in an undergraduate course in cognitive neuroscience also showed the effect. Students who took a neuroscience course chose a lighter prison sentence at the end of the semester than they had at the beginning of the semester; this decrease in recommended sentence was associated with self-reported increases in knowledge about the brain over the course of the semester.

Students enrolled in a geography course, on the other hand, showed no change in their sentencing recommendations over time.

“These results show that our students are not only absorbing some of what we’re teaching them, but also seeing implications of that content for their attitudes about things as fundamental as morality and responsibility,” says Shariff. “It underscores the consequences that science education — and perhaps psychological science education, in particular — can have on our students and, ultimately, the broader public.”

Shariff and colleagues believe that their findings could have broad implications, especially in the domains of criminal justice and law.

###

This project was supported in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Award 07-89249-000-HCD), by the Regents of the University of California, and by the John Templeton Foundation.

In addition to Shariff, study co-authors include Joshua D. Greene of Harvard University; Johan C. Karremans of Radboud University Nijmegen; Jamie B. Luguri of Yale University; Cory J. Clark of the University of California, Irvine; Jonathan W. Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara; Roy F. Baumeister of Florida State University; and Kathleen D. Vohs of the University of Minnesota.

All materials have been made publicly available via Open Science Framework and can be accessed at osf.io/dy3pm. The complete Open Practices Disclosure for this article can be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplementaldata.

This article has received the badge for Open Materials. More information about the Open Practices badges can be found at https://osf.io/tvyxz/wiki/view/ and http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/3.full.

For more information about this study, please contact: Azim Shariff at shariff@uoregon.edu.

The article abstract is available online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/06/09/0956797614534693.abstract

We’re All Racists Now!

by coldwarrior ( 43 Comments › )
Filed under Bigotry, Economy, government, Islam, Open thread, Politics, Progressives, Racism, UK at May 29th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

It was, after all, just a matter of time!

RAAAAACIST!

 

Are we all racist now?

As a survey of British social attitudes reveals a shocking upturn in prejudice, Allison Pearson argues that the political elite’s desire to advance multiculturalism with mass immigration has backfired

With impeccable timing, the children chose Mother’s Day lunch to tell their grandmother she was racist. And what vile abuse had my poor mother bandied about? She had asked her grandson if his choir sang Negro spirituals.

“Raaaa-cisst,” chorused my junior Thought Police with more than a hint of witchfinder glee.

“I’m not racist,” said my mother, clearly shocked. “What did I say that was racist?”

“You’re not allowed to call them Negro spirituals any more,” my Daughter informed her.

“What do you call them, then?” asked Grandma.

“African-American spirituals,” announced Daughter, a creature of such impeccable liberal certitude that she makes Nick Clegg look like Oswald Mosley.

“People of Colour spirituals,” hazarded the Boy. He obviously didn’t have a clue, but was enjoying his generation’s favourite baiting game: More Politically Correct Than Thou.

“Grandma is not racist,” said Himself. “Heinrich Himmler is a racist. Grandma, not so much.”

“Who’s Henry Himmer?” asked the Boy.

“Heinrich HIMMLER,” said Himself, “was a foul, Jew-exterminating, Nazi fiend whom your grandmother’s parents and their whole generation fought a world war to defeat in order that she could sit here 70 years later and be called racist by her sanctimonious and ungrateful grandchildren. Anyone for crumble?”

When my mum had gone for a nap, I explained to the kids that racism was not as black and white as they seemed to think. During their grandmother’s lifetime, the UK had seen vast social changes. Certain words once in common usage were now regarded as toxic, and rightly so. I blenched to think that, as a child myself, I went down the “Paki” shop to get some Blackjacks (inky toffees in a wrapper decorated with the faces of, then unremarkable, golliwogs). Miss Leyshon, my lovely primary school teacher, taught us to count with the help of three toys, Teddy, Dolly and Golly. In 2014, she would be considered guilty of inciting racial hatred.

I told the kids that, over the past 15 years, my mother’s town in South Wales had seen a huge influx of Eastern Europeans. It was possible for Grandma and her friends to note that the character of their birthplace had changed, and express some unease about it, but also for them to enthuse about their excellent Romanian dentist. Tolerance was not a one-way street. Tolerance meant treating elderly people who used outdated language with understanding, not finger-pointing and yelling “Raaa-cisst!” Real racism – the ugly, frightening, visceral kind – would flourish if people’s tolerance was taken for granted, and their communities changed too fast without any regard for the consequences.

That was two months ago, and I wish I were more surprised to learn that a new British Social Attitudes survey has found that more than a third of Britons admit they are racially prejudiced. Prejudice fell to an all-time low in 2001, but the latest figures show that the problem has returned to the level of 30 years ago. More than 90 per cent of those who say they are racist want to see immigration halted. More interestingly, 72 per cent of those who do not consider themselves racist also want to see immigration cut drastically.

As shell-shocked politicians from the main parties struggle to discern the causes of Ukip’s deafening electoral success, here’s a tip: look in the mirror, chaps! It is politicians, not the British people, who are to blame for a resurgence in racism; politicians who have ignored public opinion and created the conditions in which resentments fester and grow. Specifically, though not exclusively, it is New Labour who welcomed workers from the new, accession countries of the EU at a time when countries such as France and Germany wisely exercised their right to keep them out for another seven years. According to Jack Straw, this was a “spectacular” error. And Jack should know, because he was Home Secretary at the time. The plan of Tony Blair’s government, as laid bare by Andrew Neather, then a Blair speechwriter, was to banish that old, hideously white, retrograde England and usher in a new, vibrant, multicultural country which, rather conveniently, would vote Labour. Mr Blair now works in international conflict resolution, having stored up enough conflict in his homeland to keep future generations busy for centuries.

You bigoted xenophobic nazis can read the rest here.

Conservative?

by coldwarrior ( 123 Comments › )
Filed under Anarcho-Capitalism, Conservatism, Debt, Economy, government, Immigration, Libertarianism, Open thread, Politics, Regulation, Republican Party, taxation, Tea Parties, unemployment at May 16th, 2014 - 1:12 pm

Then I guess I ain’t one. No mention of deregulation at the federal level. No mention of any fiscally conservative issues like, oh, I don’t know, getting the budget and spending under control to avoid the obvious wall we are going to hit in a few years. No mention of tax reform. No mention of State’s rights. No mention of personal liberty. No mention of limiting the Federal Government’s role in our lives. These should be the ‘Agenda’ for the GOP. These should be Bedrock Issues.

 

But, predictably, No…It’s Abortion, ‘the family’ (not sure why fedgov needs to be involved in that), and illegal immigration. Now, if its up to me, abortion is up to the states where they could really make some headway like is being made on the second amendment. Mexico would be read the riot act and forced to close their side of the border, we would seal our southern border and the northern border. Hiring managers and HR and CEOs would do hard time for hiring illegals. There would be a path to citizenship, but it would be hard, and there would be work permits but they would only seasonal. Easy fix. took me 5 minutes.

 

Instead the usual crowd met and they talked about family values and abortion and fags. THE ECONOMY IS WRECKED!!!  WE HAVE 25% REAL UNEMPLOYMENT!!! WE ARE GOING TO RUN OUT OF MONEY IN A FEW YEARS!!! REGULATION IS KILLING US!!! FEDGOV VIEWS THE CITIZENS AS CATTLE!!! But no, let’s beat our chests about abortion and fags.

I have begun to ask myself, why does this  GOP ‘conservative wing’ not want to focus on why America is becoming poorer and losing ground by the minute while stacking up debt by the minute that will enslave our kids and grand-kids? Do they not see or not care about the train wreck that is coming for the economy? Why does this group have a willful disregard for economics and liberty? Having Grover Norquist natter on and subscribing to the economically illiterate idea of a balanced budget amendment does not address the serious fiscal issues that we face. Not even close. If these guys were the board and GOP was a corporation, they would be fired by the shareholders for negligence.

Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year’s elections, some of Washington’s leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November.

The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to “recommit” to bedrock principles.

Some of those principles laid out in the new document — strict opposition to illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion — represent the hot-button positions that many Republican congressional candidates are trying to avoid as the party attempts to broaden its appeal.

Several attendees said they fear that elected Republicans, even if they succeed in retaining control of the House and winning the Senate majority, would cast aside the core conservative base.

“Conservatives ought not to delude themselves that if Republicans win the Senate majority, it will somehow be a conservative majority,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, which monitors perceived media bias. “We should have no expectation whatsoever that they will listen. That’s why we’re fighting.”

Others worry that a toned-down campaign message by the party would dim GOP turnout and undercut Republicans in competitive races.

“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

Stand for something!?! How about standing for State’s rights, personal liberty and less regulation/federal control as ‘Bedrock Issues’? Why not restrain Fedzilla and get them off of our backs as a Bedrock Issue? They can start with USDA agents with machine guns and bullet proof vests then move to the BLM and ATF and EPA. How about standing for not selling our kids and grand-kids into debt slavery as a Bedrock Issue?

Debt is slavery and regulation is the whip.

Liberty is a gift. Liberty is a real and universal family value.

Debt and Liberty weren’t on the agenda.

 

*SO, this is what drives me mad about these people who call themselves conservative* Where is the liberty? Where is the reduction of enslaving debt?   Makes me crazy…so don’t get all out of whack over this post. It is for illustration purposes only.

 

Oh well…have a great friday and weekend yinz!