Must not mention child abuse in Aboriginal families

The usual unbalanced response to the issue is coming from the Leftist Aboriginal industry.  The official policy is to leave abused black children with their families and if that does not work the kid is left with other black families, usually relatives. Where all that has been tried the kid may in rare cases be fostered by a white family.

Adoption is usually considered only as a last resort.  Of the four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children adopted between 2016 and 2017, three went to white families, according to government figures.

The protesters act as if the latest call is to place ALL abused black kids with whites, which is not being proposed at all. The proposal is for the most endangered kids to be placed with white families.  There have been deaths among children whom the authorities have simply shuffled around among black families.

A protester below says: "Aboriginal children are being taken away at exponential rates and these rates have grown every year"  --  as if that exonerates the existing procedures.  Surely it in fact shows that the problem is getting worse and in need of fresh thinking

The real driver behind the protests is of course the strange leftist belief that "All men are equal". Mentioning that child abuse if rife among blacks defies that foolish gospel

[TV program] Sunrise has sparked intense backlash after a commentator suggested Indigenous children should be taken from their families

The comments were made on Tuesday morning as part of the breakast show's 'Hot Topics' segment. Samantha Armytage kicked off the discussion by bringing viewers up to speed on assistant minister for children David Gillespie calling for non-Indigenous families to adopt at-risk Aboriginal children.

"It's a no-brainer", Sunrise commentator Prue MacSween supports federal minister David Gillespie's proposal for white families to adopt at-risk Aboriginal children.

"Post-Stolen Generations there's been a huge move to leave Aboriginal children where they are, even if they're being neglected in their own families," she said.

The Sunrise co-host then asked controversial commentator Prue MacSween and Brisbane radio host Ben Davis what they thought. MacSween made headlines last year after she said she was "tempted to run over" former ABC host Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

McSween claimed there was a "fabricated PC outlook" among some people who believed it was better to leave Aboriginal children in abusive homes than have them adopted by white families.

"It's just crazy to just even contemplate that people are arguing against this," she said. "Don't worry about the people that would cry and handwring and say this would be another Stolen Generation. Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of people were taken because it was for their wellbeing... we need to do it again, perhaps."

The comments have been slammed as false and misleading by prominent members of the Indigenous community.

South Sea Islander and Darumbal journalist Amy McQuire said the two minute segment was "packed [with] so many mistruths". "The idea that Aboriginal children are not being placed in white families is a lie," she wrote. "The greater lie is that Aboriginal children are not being taken away and are being kept in dangerous situations for fear of a 'stolen generation'.

"That does not gel with the statistics: Aboriginal children are being taken away at exponential rates and these rates have grown every year since Kevin Rudd gave his apology to the Stolen Generations and promised it would never happen again."

Black Comedy's Nakkiah Lui, meanwhile, has accused Sunrise of "bottom-feeding off people's pain". "If you're talking about the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, communities and culture, maybe speak to Aboriginal children, families and adults that have been affected," she wrote. "Not white people who have zero knowledge."



Integration is key to Australia’s successful migrant story

Alan Tudge, below, is broadly right about the high level of integration of immigrants into Australian society. It is a great success story. But he speaks as if ALL migrants integrate well.  Musims and Africans do not -- and the prospects of improvement there seem slim.

He makes such probably correct statements as "There is almost no difference between the unemployment rates of Australia’s migrants and those born here".  That is largely because our largest minority group by far is Han Chinese.  They are great workers and very enterprising.  Look at the picture for Muslims however and you see heavy welfare dependancy

Blurring of significant distinctions is a form of deception so it is regrettable that a Federal government minister has resorted to it.  Tudge does however seem to be drawing heavily on the latest Scanlon report, which is little more than pro imigrant propaganda.  See here for instance. So Tudge should be more wary of his sources

Australian multiculturalism is different to what is termed multiculturalism in other (particularly European) nations because of our strong emphasis on integration.

That means a person who comes here shares our values, engages in the community and has full rights to government services. In exchange, they must obey the law, participate in and uphold democratic principles, and support other Australians. These things are the glue to building trust between all citizens and consequently help foster social cohesion.

With integrated multiculturalism, there is shared responsibility. The existing population must open its arms to newcomers and the newly arrived have responsibilities to do their best to participate fully in our society.

This model of integrated multiculturalism is different to an “assimilationist” model or a “separatist” model. Assimilation is the idea that we must abandon our cultural and religious heritage and all become the same. We don’t expect or want that in Australia. But where there are conflicts in cultural behaviours, Australian law and values must prevail.

On the other hand, a separatist model of multiculturalism is the opposite to assimilation, and is when people bring their entire practices, languages and cultures and plant them in the new land, with little desire to share or mix with their local community. They live side by side, rather than merged with, the existing population. While not the stated policy intent of Europe, the impact of its policies has been precisely this in some places.

The successful Australian model is one of integration, not assimilation and not separatism.

Our success in integrating people over the decades is evidenced by the 2015 OECD Indicators of Immigrant Integration report. It finds, for example, that we have the third lowest rate of overseas-born unemployment of all 34 OECD countries surveyed.

 There is almost no difference between the unemployment rates of Australia’s migrants and those born here, whereas across the OECD migrants had an unemployment rate that was 2.6 percentage points higher than non-migrants.

Migrants here do better than the Australian-born population in education attainment. Migrant parents want to secure success for their children, in large part through education. Poverty rates among children of migrants are low and home ownership is similar to that of the Australian-born population.

Migrants here have generally participated, succeeded and contributed to our nation.

What is particularly remarkable, however, is that Australia’s success at integration has occurred despite a rate of migration that is much higher than elsewhere — 28 per cent of the total Australian population is born overseas, the third highest in the OECD.

There is, however, no room for complacency. The challenges to successful integration are perhaps greater than in previous decades, and there are indicators we are not doing as well as we once did.

The challenges are greater due to the size of the diasporas, diversity of the migration intake and availability of technology.

In past decades, for example, despite the initial challenges of settling in a new country, new migrants interacted with the existing population through work, school and elsewhere because their diasporas were relatively small.

They tended to maintain less regular contact with their country of origin because of the cost of travel and communications. Today, diasporas can be larger, making it easier for the new migrant to settle initially, but possibly limiting their external interactions.

Technology means a person can communicate easily and cheaply with their birth country or within their diaspora. Today, a person can more easily live here within a language and cultural bubble.

The data also suggests that our success in integrating new migrants has waned. For example, there is an increasing geographic concentration of the overseas-born population. In some respects, there is nothing new about concentrations of newly arrived migrants but the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion report suggests this is getting more pronounced. Further, a very high proportion of those born overseas is often aligned with a considerable absence of English capability.

The 2016 census, for example, shows 24 per cent of the people who arrived between January and August that year reported they did not speak English well or at all. This compared with 18 and 19 per cent respectively in the 2006 and 2011 censuses.

The Scanlon Foundation also highlighted the relatively high level of negative feeling towards Muslims, in part “fed by the reality — and the heightened perception — of radical rejectionism of Australia’s secular democratic values and institutions within segments of the Muslim population”.

These challenges are real and we must be alert to them, but they are not insurmountable. We need to work hard at integration by stamping out any remnants of racism, but also by setting higher expectations for those who want to call Australia home. With rights come responsibilities. Ultimately, this will ensure the migrant has the best opportunity to succeed — and it is essential for the ongoing success of our multicultural nation.



Conservatives tend to find the past informative;  Leftists live in an eternal present

My heading above is a good summary of actual politics and is something conservatives often say.  So,  would you believe it?  Some Leftist psychologists have just "discovered" that historic contrast.  

They found that if you supported a Leftist claim by pointing out some historical support for it then conservatives were more likely to believe it.  They also found that history didn't move Leftists.

Amusing that they think they have discovered something new.  It shows how rarely Leftists listen to conservatives.  They managed a bit of "spin", however.  They refer to interest in the past as "nostalgia" -- showing how Leftist they themselves are.  Nostalgia is roughly definable as a foolish liking for the past.  Conservatives don't think the lessons of the past are at all foolish

Past-Focused Temporal Communication Overcomes Conservatives’ Resistance to Liberal Political Ideas.

Lammers, J., & Baldwin, M.


Nine studies and a meta-analysis test the role of past-focused temporal communication in reducing conservatives’ disagreement with liberal political ideas. We propose that conservatives are more prone to warm, affectionate, and nostalgic feelings for past society. Therefore, they are more likely to support political ideas—including those expressing liberal values—that can be linked to a desirable past state (past focus), rather than a desirable future state (future focus) of society. Study 1 supports our prediction that political conservatives are more nostalgic for the past than liberals. Building on this association, we demonstrate that communicating liberal ideas with a past focus increases conservatives’ support for leniency in criminal justice (Studies 2a and 2b), gun control (Study 3), immigration (Study 4), social diversity (Study 5), and social justice (Study 6). Communicating messages with a past focus reduced political disagreement (compared with a future focus) between liberals and conservatives by between 30 and 100% across studies. Studies 5 and 6 identify the mediating role of state and trait nostalgia, respectively. Study 7 shows that the temporal communication effect only occurs under peripheral (and not central) information processing. Study 8 shows that the effect is asymmetric; a future focus did not increase liberals’ support for conservative ideas. A mixed-effects meta-analysis across all studies confirms that appealing to conservatives’ nostalgia with a past-focused temporal focus increases support for liberal political messages (Study 9). A large portion of the political disagreement between conservatives and liberals appears to be disagreement over style, and not content of political issues.

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000121


The President of Iceland is a nit

There are some things so crazy that only an intellectual would believe them and Gudni Johannesson is dripping with academic qualifications -- none of which are in the sciences, unfortunately.  He is basically an historian.

He recently went to a Greenie-dominated conference and apparently felt that he had to find some way in which global warming would  be bad for Iceland -- a most unlikely task.  Below you can see what he came up with -- basically  nothing, just Warmist boilerplate.

He resorted to the very vague "harming biodiversity", with the example that cod are becoming rarer in the nearby ocean but mackerel are becoming more common.  That's a problem?

Gudni is very popular in Iceland because he is a nice man who is good at having something nice to say about all parties in the country. He is himself politically centrist and belongs to no party.  But his habit of having something for everyone has on this occasion reduced him to absurdity

Icelanders have long joked that global warming was something people on the chilly Nordic island could look forward to, but as ice caps and glaciers melt at record speeds, that gag is wearing thin, according to the country’s president.

Warming oceans around the North Pole are harming biodiversity and fish stocks, and causing acidification in the world’s northern regions, forcing countries like Iceland to adapt to a new reality, said President Gudni Johannesson.

“The common joke in Iceland is to say that on this cold and windy, rain-swept island, global warming is something we should cheer for - but it’s no longer funny,” Johannesson told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.

“Climate change affects us all on this globe, but you can see the effects in particular in the northern regions - the ice cap around the North Pole is melting at record rates, the oceans there are getting warmer,” he said.

On the flip side, climate change could bring some economic benefits to the country of just 340,000 people, which would become a natural trade hub if new routes opened up from Asia to the Atlantic due to melting Arctic ice, he said.

“The fact that the ice cap in the north is melting is no source for joy (but) the undeniable fact is that where there was ice, there will be a free waterway,” he said. “Who knows, as the century goes on, maybe we will see increased traffic via the North Pole with Iceland as a hub.”

Johannesson was speaking on the sidelines of the World Ocean Summit in the Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen on Friday, where environmentalists, politicians and business leaders met to discuss how to improve the state of the oceans.

While warmer temperatures are driving greater stocks of mackerel towards Iceland’s coasts, the cod that was once a mainstay of its fishing industry is likely to head north, said Johannesson, who wore a pink tie made of cod skin at the summit.

Changing patterns of fish migration will make it essential to reach deals with neighboring nations over fish catches, said the president, a former academic who has written about Iceland’s “cod wars”.

Iceland clashed with other states in the region several years ago as it upped the amount of mackerel it hauled in.

Iceland’s relations with places like the Faroe Islands and Norway are usually amicable, and “the only source of potential conflict lies in the distribution of fishing quotas”, Johannesson noted.

In 2016, mackerel was the third-largest catch for Iceland and its third most valuable fish, netting $103 million, or 8 percent of the nation’s total catch value.

Iceland is also weighing up how to expand its salmon-farming industry, while considering its potential environmental impact.

“Fish farming is a part of the blue economy now and... will expand,” said Johannesson. However, it has to be “as safe as possible because nature comes first”, he added.

As one of just a handful of countries in the world that permits commercial whale hunting, Iceland’s whale catch is “sustainable”, said Johannesson, who declined to comment on whether he personally supported the industry.

Whale-watching has boomed alongside the tourism that has underpinned Iceland’s economic rebound, he said, with no sign visitors are staying away in protest at Iceland’s continued hunting of minke and fin whales.

“Sustainability and the miniscule amount of whales being caught in recent years (are) based on scientific advice and way below any figures potentially threatening the future of the two whale stocks in question,” he said.



President Donald Trump has announced he will not impose tariffs on Australian steel and aluminium

A major diplomatic victory for Malcolm Turnbull. His unfailingly polite approach to almost everything has paid off here. Australia has two large raw steel producers  but their output is down to a quarter of what it was.  And they produce less than 1% of world output. So the effect on Australian steelmakers and the coal and iron miners who supply them is likely to be minimal.

Australia is however an aluminium superpower.  It is the world's largest producer of bauxite, the mineral used to produce aluminium.  And there are seven existing plants (alumina refineries) to do that conversion in Australia.  Alumina in turn is converted into aluminium in smelters and there are such smelters in Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria. So there may be a more significant advantage to Australia in aluminium

Mr Trump tweeted the announcement on Saturday morning after authorising new tariffs this week.

Mr Trump said he will not be imposing the tariffs on the 'great nation of Australia', fulfilling a promise he made to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Turnbull replied to Mr Trump's tweet, saying the pair had a 'great discussion on security and trade'.

The President said he was 'committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship'.

'Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminium tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia,' he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump introduced a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminium.

He had hinted that Australia along with Mexico and Canada may be exempted from the tariffs.

Mr Turnbull said the trade relationship between the US and Australia was 'fair and reciprocal, and each of our nations has no closer ally'.

'Thank you for confirming new tariffs won't have to be imposed on Australian steel and aluminium - good for jobs in Australia and in US.'

The announcement is the latest development in the growing relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull. It began in rocky circumstances when Mr Trump berated Mr Turnbull on a call days into his presidency for a 'stupid deal' his counterpart had struck with Barack Obama.

'I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer,' Mr Trump told Mr Turnbull, before reportedly hanging up the phone on him. Mr Trump described the phone call with Mr Turnbull as the 'worst' out of a series he made to foreign leaders after becoming president.

Mr Trump also seemed to refer to Mr Turnbull as 'Malcolm Trumble' when speaking about the Australian leader.

The frosty start to their working relationship seemed to thaw during Mr Turnbull's recent visit to Washington D.C.

Mr Trump signed the tariffs into law on Thursday, flanked by senior officials on one side and a group of steelworkers on the other.

'You are truly the backbone of America, you know that? You are very special people,' he told the blue collar contingent. 'We want a lot of steel coming into our country, but we want it to be fair and we want our workers to be protected.'

The president said his promises to factory workers were a big reason for his 2016 victory, complaining that American steel and aluminum workers have been betrayed – but 'that betrayal is now over.'

The Associated Press reported that every nation in the world will be able to petition the United States for exemptions to the tariffs.

A senior administration official said the national security underpinnings of the new policy were 'unassailable,' and clarified that the offer of loopholes would be somewhat limited

Mr Trump will 'allow any country with which we have a security relationship to discuss with the United States and the president alternate ways' of protecting America's interests, the official said, while cautioning that petitioning countries would have to prove that their steel and aluminum exports aren't harming America's national security capabilities.



Dyer: Migrants will multiply with global warming

Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer is a good military historian but he is not a deep thinker. He just parrots below the old line that global warming will lead to food shortages.  He thinks that 2 degrees of warming will cause Africans to starve. He totally ignores the effect of higher CO2 levels on crops.  If the desperately prophesied coincidence of slightly higher temperatures and elevated CO2 does arrive, crops will thrive.  Crops LIKE warmth and LOVE CO2.  A warmer climate should in fact cause Africans to eat unusually well.

It is in fact in Africa that we already see some of that.  The Sahel desert area has greened noticeably in recent decades as global CO2 level have risen. Elevated ambient CO2 levels enable plants to survive with less water -- look it up, Gwynne.  It's all to do with stomata.

CO2 levels are still steadily rising even though temperatures have been pretty flat in recent decades

Lucky old Italy just got two Donald Trumps for the price of one.

One of the big winners in last Sunday’s Italian election was the Five-Star Movement, whose 31-year-old leader Luigi di Maio has promised to stop sending out rescue boats to save migrants from drowning when their flimsy craft sink halfway across the Mediterranean. A “sea taxi service”, he calls it, and promises to send all the surviving illegal immigrants home.

So does Matteo Salvini, the leader of the League, the other big winner in the election. “I’m sick of seeing immigrants in hotels and Italians who sleep in cars,” Salvini told supporters at a recent rally in Milan. He pledges to send 150,000 illegal migrants home in his first year in government.

What we are seeing now, however, is a foretaste of the time when the migrant flows grow very large and the politics gets really brutal. In the not too distant future, the Mediterranean Sea and the Mexican border will separate the temperate world, where the climate is still tolerable and there is still enough food, from the sub-tropical and tropical worlds of killer heat and dwindling food.

This is a regular subject of confidential discussions in various strategic planning cells in European governments, and also in the grown-up parts of the U.S. government. Ten years ago a senior officer in the intelligence section of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told me that the U.S. army expected to be ordered by Congress to close the Mexican border down completely within the next 20 years. And he was quite explicit: that meant shooting to kill.

Global warming will hit the countries closer to the equator far harder than the fortunate countries of the temperate zone, and the main casualty will be food production in the tropics and the sub-tropics.

So the hungry millions will start to move, and the borders of the richer countries in the temperate parts of the world will slam shut to keep them out: the United States, the European Union, Russia, South Africa, Australia. If you think the politics is ugly now, just wait.

Of course, a miracle could happen. There could be early and very deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, so most of the catastrophe never arrives. But I’m having trouble even believing in the Easter Bunny any more. This is harder.



Warmists admit their data is crap

But they have to do so carefully, of course.  They go to great lengths to show that available meteorological data is too rough to make precise and fine-grained quantitative generalizations.

 But bad as the data is, it does truly show global warming happening, they say. But that it ridiculous.  The generalizations put out by Warmists are very fine -- in hundredths of a degree Celsius.  They would normally be able to show no net climate change at all without reference to such very fine measurements.

Yet it is precisely such fine measurements that the authors below  show as unjustifiable with the existing data

By "Towards a global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network" they mean that we badly need a truly scientific network of temperature monitoring stations

Towards a global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network

P. W. Thorne et al.


There is overwhelming evidence that the climate system has warmed since the instigation of instrumental meteorological observations. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that the evidence for warming was unequivocal. However, owing to imperfect measurements and ubiquitous changes in measurement networks and techniques, there remain uncertainties in many of the details of these historical changes. These uncertainties do not call into question the trend or overall magnitude of the changes in the global climate system. Rather, they act to make the picture less clear than it could be, particularly at the local scale where many decisions regarding adaptation choices will be required, both now and in the future. A set of high-quality long-term fiducial reference measurements of essential climate variables will enable future generations to make rigorous assessments of future climate change and variability, providing society with the best possible information to support future decisions. Here we propose that by implementing and maintaining a suitably stable and metrologically well-characterized global land surface climate fiducial reference measurements network, the present-day scientific community can bequeath to future generations a better set of observations. This will aid future adaptation decisions and help us to monitor and quantify the effectiveness of internationally agreed mitigation steps. This article provides the background, rationale, metrological principles, and practical considerations regarding what would be involved in such a network, and outlines the benefits which may accrue. The challenge, of course, is how to convert such a vision to a long-term sustainable capability providing the necessary well-characterized measurement series to the benefit of global science and future generations.



Has philosophy failed?

Analytical philosophy cannot give a satisfactory account of moral discourse

That there is no such thing as right and wrong is a normal conclusion in analytical philosophy -- sometimes supported by glib references to the acceptability of infanticide and pedophilia in ancient Greece.  Where do we find any agreed SOURCE of rightness or wrongness is the problem.

We can argue, for instance that morality is inborn or natural.  But how do we tell what those moral values are?  There are many "rights" that have been said by different peole to be inalienable parts of us but where is the authority for judging between those competing claims?  America's founding fathers had their answers but they were political answers, not answers that could be found by anyone who looks.

So what is right and wrong becomes merely a matter of opinion. We may believe that some things are "just wrong" but how do we check the truth of that belief? Opinions are often wrong. There are various streams of philosophical thought which endeavour to give some alternatives to a belief about rightness being merely a matter of opinion but they all have problems of their own. Over the years (starting here) I have myself put up a number of approaches to understanding the nature of moral values but I think there is still more to be said

So what to we do about the fact that those who deny rightness and wrongness will almost in the same breath say that Donald Trump is wrong, racism is wrong etc.  In philosophy we endeavour to analyse discourse but is there not something almost insane about that sort of discourse?  How can we analyse a self-contradiction?

I think the solution to that contradiction is for us to abandon our endeavour to analyse discourse without looking at the people from whom the discourse originates.  I think we have, in short, to combine philosophy with psychology to understand discourse about values. Philosophy and psychology were once treated as parts of a single whole and I think this is a case where we can profitably revert to that.

And as soon as we do that, we come across a well-developed study within psychlogy of what is accepted as right or wrong. Enjoy the work of Stephen Pinker, for instance. We discover in fact that the elusive source of rightness and wrongness can be found after all -- within us.  We have instinctive adverse reflexes to certain events which we describe in "is right" or "is wrong" terms.  Our entire notions of rightness derive in the end  from certain feelings which are ultimately traceable to our evolutionary past.  They are harm-avoidant reflexes that have evolved to keep us safe and still to a degree do that to this day. Our moral reflexes can be suppressed and are rather wobbly but they are there.  In response to moral dilemmas, our responses vary but they have a lot in common between people nonetheless. So our very notion of "is wrong" is the conscious part of a self-protective reflex. And upon those basic reflexes great edifices of morality are built.

"But this is absurd" is a very common comment on the implications of a philosophical theory.  But it is in itself problematical -- because what is absurd to one person may not be absurd to another.  Nonetheless, I think we can have no doubt about the absurdity  of denying wrongness and in almost in the same breath asserting that racism (for instance) is wrong,  Philosophical conclusions don't carry over into any everyday areas of discourse to which they seem to be related.  And despite decades and centuries of endeavour, nobody seems to have a way of getting out of that dilemma.

So I think it is clear that there are some things that philosophy cannot do.  It just flails about in analysing moral statements, for instance

But we should not be troubled by that  Philosophical analysis is in the end just a tool to enable us to understand statements and there is surely no difficulty in saying that it cannot do everything by itself.

There is however a big lesson from the considerations so far examined here. The statement "there is no such thing as right and wrong" is bad philosophy and is plainly wrong itself. It is an indefensible statement that should not be used. Those who use it are simply showing the limits, inadequacy and absurdity of trying to explain everything by philosophy alone. It is to mistake a dead-end in philosophy for an important truth.

It is amusing that Leftists are energetic users of the statement "there is no such thing as right and wrong".  Yet they are also energetic users of moral statements.  Most of their discourse consists simply of judging various things to be right or wrong.  So it is an effective rejoinder to a claim from them that something is wrong to say: "But there is no such thing as right and wrong".  That invariably knocks the stuffing out of them.  They just don't know how to further their argument at that point. You have ripped their platform from under them.

Do Leftists really believe that "there is no such thing as right and wrong"?  Probably not.  They would not get so heated up about the myriad of "problems" they see in society otherwise.  They can however use moral language insincerely. If the average Joe is likely to see something as wrong, Leftists will leap onto that whether or not it relates to anything else in their value systen.  They can preach the wrongness of something even if they really don't give a hoot about it. There are not in fact many things they care about -- mainly their own honour and glory -- but they will use things that conservatives care about to manipulate conservatives. I showed that experimentally years ago.

Some of the arguments I put up above I have presented at greater length previously


Leftists are basically all the same

Tasmania has just had an election in which the conservatives won. So how did the Tasmanian Left handle the defeat?  There is no doubt that the issues for tiny Tasmania, tucked away at the bottom of the world, are much less portentous than the issues for the great world power that is the USA.  So surely we could expect that the response of the Tasmanian Left would be much less embittered and rage-filled than the response of the American Left when Donald beat Hillary?

It was not to be.  The big issue in the Tasmanian campaign was the hardly earth-shattering question of whether gambling machines should be permitted.  Despite that, the defeated Tasmanian Left erupted in anger and bad grace, accusing the conservatives of not having won fair and square.

So this similarity of results between Tasmania and the USA despite very different circumstances confirms that we have to go down to the psychological level to understand the Left.  We have to face the fact that Leftists are born full of anger and hostility to the people around them.  Reality doesn't interest them.  They just hate it all.

Excerpt from a news report follows:

[Federal] Trade Minister Steven Ciobo has attacked the “extraordinarily ungracious” concession speech by Tasmanian Labor leader Rebecca White, calling Labor’s claims the Hodgman campaign was bankrolled by gaming companies as “sour grapes” and “absurd”.

Tasmania’s Hodgman Liberal government has been re-elected with a majority, after voters turned away from the Greens and shunned the Jacqui Lambie Network.

Ms White congratulated Premier Will Hodgman this morning after neglecting to do so in her concession speech last night.

“I’m incredibly proud of the Tasmanian Labor campaign, our candidates and the values and issues we fought for. We didn’t get there this time but we can hold our heads high.”

The Tasmanian Left too put up a woman for the top job, the blonde bombshell Rebecca White.  Once again the Feminist theory that women will vote for another woman falls flat

[Federal Leftist leader] Bill Shorten also added his congratulations, but not without throwing in a pointed barb.

“Rebecca White and her team ran a positive, issues-focused campaign that reflected the best Labor values, against the Liberals who were backed by well-resourced special interests,” the federal Labor lader said in a statement.

“Bec has shown herself to be an energetic campaigner, and a strong and effective leader with a bright future ahead of her.”

Earlier Mr Ciobo said he was disappointed by the Labor response to losing the Tasmanian election last night, calling the party hypocritical given the amount of campaign money it receives from unions.

“I also find it frankly quite extraordinary that the Australian Labor Party, who are effectively a bought subsidiary of the union movement, would for a second start accusing anybody else of throwing too much money at a problem or advertising in excess of the amount that they can advertise,” Mr Ciobo told Sky News.

“I mean seriously? That is probably the most absurd thing I have heard in quite a while from the Australian Labor Party.”

Mr Hodgman claimed victory at 10.30pm on Saturday, thanking voters for sticking with his government, providing it a second term in majority.

While his opponents claimed the government had been purchased by advertising paid for by poker machine interests, Mr Hodgman said voters had rewarded the Liberals for “kickstarting” the economy.

Opposition leader Rebecca White conceded defeat but failed to congratulate Mr Hodgman, instead praising voters for putting his government “on notice”.

“The Tasmanian people have put this Liberal government on notice: today marks a new era in Tasmanian politics,” Ms White said.

“People want transparent, good government that is going to benefit them and not somebody’s rich mate.”

She said the Hodgman government was “nearly defeated” and blamed the cashed-up campaign against Labor by poker machine interests for the party’s failure to secure a better result.

“The Tasmanian people should be represented by the best representatives; not the richest,” she said, accusing the Liberal Party of “buying” seats in the parliament.



Ideology and Political Divisiveness

What Robert Higgs says below undoubtedly explains part of the problem but I think there is a lot more to it. I think we are looking at a change primarily on the Left. They have drifted Left almost to the point of insanity in recent years.  Reality no longer matters to them.  Why?  Because they have always been aimed in that direction.  They never ceased to defend the Soviets while that gory bunch were around.

For a long time, however, the need to get votes kept them cautious.  They risked a wipeout if they got too far from the centre.  Recently, however, they have realized that their 3 big rusted-on consituencies -- blacks, Jews and Hispanics -- will support them no matter what, so they need add only the fanatical end of the white Left to get into power. So they have moved to more extreme positions.  And such extremism is of course divisive.  You almost have to let go of your sanity to embrace it

In recent years, many politicians and political pundits have lamented what they perceive to be growing political divisiveness in the United States. Public-opinion polls have confirmed the reality of this growing divisiveness (Badger and Chokshi 2017; Hook 2017; Pew Research Center 2017). Nearly everyone who remarks on this phenomenon views it as regrettable, and many offer recommendations for alleviating it, especially by embracing a greater willingness to compromise in Congress and among the public. Not many commentators, however, have evinced an understanding of how the heightened divisiveness came about or of the necessary condition(s) for reducing it.

To understand recent trends in political divisiveness, it might help to recall the situation at an earlier time when such divisiveness was not so great—say, during the 1950s or perhaps even as recently as the 1990s. In those days, the two major political parties as a rule kept their squabbling between the forty-yard lines. They and their supporters among the public agreed on the fundamental political issues (e.g., anticommunism in foreign affairs, a sizable welfare state at home). Of course, even within the accepted bounds of political dispute, disagreements and conflicts might become heated from time to time in certain areas, yet, given the broad agreement on the nature of the regime, politicians and their supporters could fashion compromises that kept nearly all changes within the established bounds. Indeed, politicians could brag about and take credit for their capacity to forge compromises, and few held this flexibility against them or accused them of being sellouts.

In more recent times, however, as the government has grown and extended its involvement into more—and more important—areas of life (e.g., comprehensive health-care insurance coverage and broad-gauge financial-rescue operations such as those undertaken in 2008 and 2009), the perceived stakes have become greater in the minds of political actors. With more at stake, people’s willingness to compromise has declined: compromise may be too costly for them to tolerate. So as government grows, extending its scope and power into more corners of economic and social affairs, it pushes more and more people beyond their thresholds of acceptance.

Now, whenever the government grows, it does not simply take an action and push it onto an unwilling public or a large unwilling part of the public, telling those who oppose it to “like it or lump it.” Such an overbearing imposition is well-nigh guaranteed to increase and sharpen the existing resistance to the action and thus to make the implementation of the government’s new policy more difficult. To ease the imposition of an action on unwilling parties, the government and its supporters always clothe it in attractive ideological garb, claiming that it affords great benefits for the general public, necessary protections from foreign or domestic threats, and so forth. Some potential resisters are likely to be persuaded by such ideological cover stories—if they weren’t, the government’s propaganda would be pointless. So ideology, it turns out, plays an essential role in the conduct of any government’s operations, especially when it is expanding the scope of such operations.

More than thirty years ago I formulated a conception of ideology (a highly contested concept among scholars) that I have found helpful in analyzing the nature of government and its growth. In my conception, ideology is “a somewhat coherent, rather comprehensive belief system about social relations.” Such a system must have “four distinct aspects: cognitive, affective, programmatic, and solidary” (Higgs 1987, 37; for an extended discussion of ideology viewed in this way, see chapter 3 of the same source, “On Ideology as an Analytical Concept in the Study of Political Economy,” 35–56). The key connection between ideology and political action arises from the fourth aspect, solidarity among an ideology’s adherents. This solidarity establishes an identity because affiliation with an ideology defines the kind of person one is and wishes to be, and maintenance of this identity requires that a person act as a faithful comrade of others who identify likewise. An ideology thus defines and solidifies personal identity, but it simultaneously defines the enemy—as someone has said, it tells the ideological adherent whom to fear and whom to hate.

As government grows, pushing into more and more areas of social and economic life and evoking an ideological rationale to justify its action and attract supporters, it simultaneously causes its supporters to identify those who oppose the action as “the other” and even as “the enemy.” When people come to view each other in this stark fashion, social and political divisiveness is almost certain to increase. During the past several decades, as a harsh and unforgiving view of political opponents has grown, the fear and loathing of those who “are not with us” may well have been the main avenue along which the willingness to compromise has declined.

If such has been the case, it follows that a necessary condition for the alleviation of such divisiveness is the retardation or cessation—perhaps even the reversal—of the government’s growth. Even if meeting such a condition should be proposed or carried out, however, the problem is that a sort of Tullockian transitional-gains trap (Tullock 1975) may impede such a turnaround. Many individuals and groups have become deeply and variously embroiled in the government’s current scope and power, and they are likely to resist fiercely any attempt to reverse the process they helped to push forward in recent decades. They will fight any changes that would require them to surrender benefits, policies, and programs in which they are deeply invested not only materially but also ideologically. Such resistance constitutes one of the important aspects of the ratchet effect in the growth of government, whereby each major lurch toward greater government becomes at least in part irreversible (Higgs 1987, 57–74; 2012, 75–97)



Book Review of "Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do about It" by Richard V. Reeves

What reviewer Robert Whaples reports below is a fairly conventional sociological analysis of social stratification in America.  And there is undoubtedly something in it.  The big problem is said to be that the people who have already got to the top of American society tend to keep it for themselves and their children.  There is little social mobility upwards from lower down in the social hierarchy.  And you will read below about a variety of ways in which that "closed shop" is maintained.

I think that sociological account does however miss a large elephant in the room.  And to see that elephant you need to go to psychology.  A couple of decades ago Charles Murray showed that IQ was a strong predictor of economic success.  So the existing elite will already be high IQ people and it is actually their high IQ that gives them their dominant position, not what schools they went to etc.

Toby Young offers a very extensive exploration of that possibility.  He thinks we already have a ruling INTELLECTUAL elite.  That being so, nothing will help you to get into that elite unless you have the requisite high IQ.  With that everything is possible; without it very little is possible

The American labor market “does a good job of rewarding the kind of ‘merit’ that adds economic value—skills, knowledge, intelligence” (p. 75). “The idea of moving away from a market economy is foolish as well as far-fetched. Markets increase prosperity, reduce poverty, enhance well-being, and bolster individual choice” (p. 77). These aren’t the words of someone from Cato, the AEI or the Heritage Foundation, but from Richard Reeves, a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. But, warns Reeves, this “meritocratic market” is embedded in an unfair society. Meritocracy is great for adults, but not for children. The problem is that upper middle class parents have built a system that gives their own children massive advantages—they hoard the prerequisites for the American dream and block the children of others from flourishing.

Market merit is a great thing, but we need to reform our social institutions so that they “aggressively equalize opportunities to develop market merit” (p. 84). “The problem is not that society is too competitive. It is that it is not competitive enough, partly because of ... anticompetitive opportunity hoarding ... but mostly because the chances to prepare for the competition are so unequal” (p. 124). Reeves seems to realize that it would be exceptionally difficult (and probably quite destructive) to eliminate all the advantages that children of successful parents have over other children. These advantages include having caring parents (two of them, not just one), who are good role models and spend time simply talking to their children—one study he cites examines the “conversation gap” and estimates that children in families on welfare hear about six hundred words per hours, working-class children about twelve hundred words per hour, and children of professionals about twenty-one hundred words per hour. Reeves doesn’t aim to undo these immense advantages. Rather, he takes aim at a higher level—at legal rules and institutional arrangements, constructed by the upper middle class to make life better for themselves and their children without considering the potential harm imposed on others—and suggests that we could use “more downward mobility from the top” (p. 58).

So, how do upper middle class professionals—“journalists, scholars, technocrats, managers, bureaucrats, the people with letters after their names” (p. 4) hoard the dream? Reeves focuses on three tactics—exclusionary zoning, college admissions policies, and the allocation of good internships. The most important of these is the first. The upper middle class have segregated themselves into towns and neighborhoods where the cost of living is high, mainly by using zoning rules that make it impossible for poorer people to be their neighbors and enjoy these communities’ amenities—especially good schools. The rich practice an “inverse ghettoization” (p. 102)—building enclaves where they live healthy, safe lives together and don’t have to deal with the annoyances of non-elites and their children, to the detriment of everyone else, argues Reeves. These zoning practices—such as banning multi-family dwellings and setting high minimum lot sizes—mean that those outside the top groups cannot afford to live in the most economically prosperous places. And the dirty secret is that these zoning requirements are stricter in cities with more left-of-center voters. Enrico Moretti and Chang-Tai Hsieh have estimated that if only San Francisco, San Jose and New York adopted zoning regulations of the median American city, the entire U.S. economy would be 10 percent larger because more people would be able to afford to move to opportunity.

The problem with higher education, as Reeves sees it, is that the game is rigged so that children of the upper middle class have huge advantages in getting into the best colleges and universities—because they live near the best high schools and because, for example, their parents have the wherewithal to spend money on college admissions consultants (who can charge over $10,000 for their top tier of services). “Post-secondary education ... has become an ‘inequality machine” (p. 11), as it “takes the inequality given to it and magnifies it” (p. 55). Elite schools pay lip services to serving all of society, but they are “locked into an equilibrium that militates against serious reform efforts” as it “is simply not in the interests of the most powerful institutions to change things very much” (p. 88-89). Reeves offers a tantalizing sentence or two about supply-side reforms to improve opportunity and access to higher education but doesn’t press the issue. Instead, he focuses on an interesting, but probably not very important, symptom of dream hoarding in higher education—policies that make it easier for “legacy” students, the children of alumni, to be accepted to the top colleges. He makes a strong case that this practice is immoral and downright un-American, citing evidence from a couple cases where abolishing the practice has not reduced alumni giving. He’s a fan of extending affirmative action to encompass social class. He also advocates the abolition of granting special advantages for well-connected students who apply for internships at top firms, non-profits and government positions. The playing field needs to be leveled—so that having parents who know the right people doesn’t give applicants a leg up.

As you can see from my overview of Reeve’s arguments, this is a book that will appeal to people across the political spectrum—in fact, it will probably appeal more to conservatives and libertarians than the “progressives” who run our colleges and have enacted these zoning laws. Reeves’ policy proposals strike me as mostly mild afterthoughts—his primary goal seems to be to open “dream hoarding” up to the disinfectant of sunlight, to encourage us to realize the inconsistencies between our stated creeds and our practices, so that we begin to voluntarily give up our hoarding. In this task he may have failed. I conclude this after having discussed Dream Hoarders with a group of students at an elite college (Wake Forest University). They accepted many of his arguments but ultimately few saw a burning need to give up on legacy admissions (which might benefit their own children) and using special connections to snag good job internships.

I won’t enumerate his proposals, but will object to his take on contraception for teenagers, when he declares that “Causal sex is fine. Casual child bearing is not” (p. 127). One doesn’t have to dig too deep to realize that treating other people so casually, so disposably, as if they are just there for one’s own pleasure, is the root of many of the problems he discusses. Would he advise his own children that “casual sex is fine”? Do parents now say this to their children? The thought of this saddens me deeply.

Finally, Reeves has a fresh take on John Rawls. Rather than considering how we would want things to be arranged if we didn’t know our own original position (shrouded behind the veil of ignorance), Reeves asks us to think about the best arrangement if no one knows his “children’s place in society, their class position or social status; nor does he know their fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, intelligence and strength and the like” (p. 72, emphasis in the original). He senses that if this were the position facing us, we’d be more supportive of redistributive policies and institution, if we were less certain where our own children were going to end up. I’m not so certain.



Trump the Terrible

One must not make too much of this but there are some interesting parallels between Ivan the Terrible of Russia and Donald Trump -- including one very thought-provoking possible parallel.

For a start, Trump wants to make America great again. Ivan DID make Russia greater.  He conquered several adjoining states and thus greatly expanded the territory of Russia.  We live in very different times now so that is not to be expected of Mr Trump but both men aimed at national greatness.  Mr Obama stood for national shrinkage as far as I can tell.

And Ivan was eccentric.  He was not "presidential".  He actually appears to have gone mad on a couple of occasions.  So Mr Trump's tweets are a minor eccentricity by comparison.

And Ivan was popular with the people but unpopular with the Russian establishment.  Ivan too had a big "swamp" that he had to drain.  And he did drain it.  Quite a few heads came off the "boyars" (elite).

But, as Mr. Trump has found, draining the swamp is not easy. So Ivan still found the swamp frustrating

So here's the thought provoking bit.  At one stage Ivan got so frustrated at the lack of co-operation from the elite that he took himself off to the countryside and told people he had abdicated.

The Boyars were of course delighted -- for five minutes.  Then they realized that they couldn't do anything without Ivan to sign the paperwork.  They were also afraid that the people might revolt against them.  They knew that Ivan was popular and that they were not.  So they had to beg him to come back.  He did.  But his price was high.  He got a whole lot of things that he wanted out of them.

So could Trump do something like that?  Could he get so frustrated with the GOP not doing what they were elected to do --abolish Obamacare and build the wall -- that he retired to Trump Tower and refused to come out again until the GOP had sorted itself out?  Maybe even Trump is not radical enough to do that but it could work.  Go Ivan!


Netanyahu as an Israeli Donald Trump

Israel has a truly virulent Left, every bit as virulent as the American Left.  Because Israel cannot afford much irrationality, however, they are less influential than the American Left.  And a key to keeping them from influence is the moderate conservative Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu has been elected Prime Minister of Israel four times. He is the only prime minister in Israel's history to have been elected three times in a row. He is therefore greatly hated by the Left and they never tire of finding some way of bringing him down.  As with Trump they have no respect for the outcome of democratic processes.

Recently, however, they have been much heartened by the emergence of a claim that Netanyahu has been involved in some sort of illegal financial activity.  And an active investigation of that claim by the Israeli police is now underway.  The Israeli Left have great hopes of that claim.  They look to the eventual dismissal of Netanyahu out of it but realize that will be a long game.  What they hope right now is that the claim will at least dent Netanyahu's political support.  They hope that the public opinion polls will show that Netanyahu is now a lame duck whom his own party might eventually disown. As with all the accusations flung at Trump, they think something has got to stick.

With Trump, however, the opposite has happened. His poll numbers were for a while way down but they have recently crept up -- with Rasmussen now having him on a 50% approval rating. The "dirt" flung at him has just bounced off.  It was the same with Ronald Reagan.  No "dirt" would ever stick to him, either.  He became known as the "Teflon President" for that reason.

And Netanyahu also seems to have Teflon qualities. The accusations against him have not dented his popularity at all.  His popularity has, if anything, increased.

Which is a BIG puzzle for the Israeli Left.  How can that happen? Can the people of Israel tolerate an accused criminal as their Prime Minister?  It makes no sense.  It is as puzzling to them as was the defeat of Hillary Clinton to the American Left.

And the explanation they have come up with is similar.  They think the people are irrational and emotion-driven -- not rational and balanced people like themselves.   Netanyahu is their father figure and so on.  That people who are as full of hate as the Left are regard themselves as rational and  unemotional is as amusing in Israel as it is in America.   Sigmund Freud's observations about the power of projection (Seeing one's own faults in others) spring immediately to mind. And, as in the USA, the Leftist narrative dominates the Israeli media.

So we come to the article below, which puts forward the shocking idea that the supporters of Netanyahu might be perfectly rational.  As Trumpians do, they may like his poicies enough not to be bothered by minor issues.  The inherent arrogance of the Left will however never allow them to see that. They will continue to rant away inside their own little hermetically sealed intellectual bubble

Why the Right Is Actually Rational

Those who shout 'Only Bibi!' aren’t necessarily acting on gut instinct. On the contrary, they’re voicing rational recognition of the fact that the war against corruption won’t necessarily alter their situation.

תEver since the police issued their summary report of two investigations concerning Benjamin Netanyahu, many people have been trying to solve one of the great riddles of Israeli politics: How is it that the poll numbers of the prime minister and his Likud party not only did not decline but even rose?

It can’t be claimed that only one side of the political map cares about corruption. In 1977, claims of massive corruption at the highest levels contributed to voters’ disgust with the Labor Alignment that led to its ouster. And in 1992, anti-corruption demonstrations helped Yitzhak Rabin to beat Yitzhak Shamir. So what has changed?

A number of Haaretz writers have weighed in. Yossi Klein cited Likud voters’ need for “revenge” against the elites (Feb. 22). Daniel Blatman proposed “fear” as an explanation for the lack of desire to separate from Netanyahu (Feb. 22, in Hebrew). Ravit Hecht cited the “familial” nature of Likud voters (Feb. 23). Alon Idan compared support for Likud to fans’ loyalty to a soccer team (Feb. 23, in Hebrew). Iris Leal claimed that Netanyahu “hypnotizes” his audience (Feb. 25, in Hebrew).

The weakness of all these explanations lies in their common denominator. The key terms in these op-eds show that to his critics, support for Netanyahu is emotional. None of them sought to understand its rationale.

This problem is most apparent in attempts to explain why the left has failed to convince the right: Persuasion is impossible from a position of fundamental arrogance, which assumes that “they” are not rational but “we” are. Yet a deeper look reveals, even if unintentionally, a real difficulty in understanding the other.

This isn’t new. The late sociologist Yonathan Shapiro, who conducted one of the first studies on Likud’s rise to power, named several reasons for its upset victory in his book “The Road to Power: Herut Party in Israel.” One of the main ones, he said, was Likud leader Menachem Begin’s emotional manipulation of Mizrahi Jews.

This claim was widely accepted as axiomatic for several decades, and still echoes through academic and public debates. The problem is that manipulation doesn’t work only on people of certain ethnic origins, and in any case, all politicians tend to manipulate.

In fact, new studies about the economic policies of the ruling Mapai party, a Labor Party forerunner, during the country’s formative years show that until the 1960s, and contrary to its image as a party that exploited the Mizrahim, Mapai pursued a clear policy of reducing wage gaps between the elites and the lower classes. This data help us understand why Mizrahim abandoned Mapai at about that time and started voting for Begin, because it explains the economic and class context and recognizes that this was a rational decision.

Haaretz Editor-in-Chief Aluf Benn wrote that Netanyahu’s accomplishments — Israel’s prosperity, its political stability and the decline in Palestinian terror within Israel proper — are what win him public support (Feb. 26). But Benn didn’t draw the necessary conclusion, which is that if Netanyahu’s achievements are what keep him in power, then the right is rational, and the left is emotional in its utter opposition to his policies.

Clearly, the left-right story is more complicated than questions of emotionalism, and even those who recognize Netanyahu’s practical achievements can’t ignore his moral failings. Nevertheless, the people who shout “Only Bibi!” even when he is caught out in disgrace aren’t necessarily acting on gut instinct. On the contrary, they’re voicing rational recognition of the fact that for all the importance of the war against corruption in high places, it doesn’t affect their lives and won’t necessarily alter their situation.



Trump's "trade war"

I have hesitated to comment on Trump's plans to put import duties onto steel and aluminium  -- but his plans have so few defenders that I think I should point out a few things that are being overlooked.  For a start, this is NOT a great departure from normal GOP thinking.  George Bush II did the same for a time. The steel business is a chronic political problem worldwide. I will say why below. And there is certainly nothing new about this from Trump.  He campaigned on a policy of using tariffs to protect American industry. So he has a very clear mandate for what he is doing.  And his rationale that small price increases on consumer goods are worth it to save communities applies here.

And Trump's own comment that trade wars are easy to win is instructive.  It suggests that his tariffs are just a bargaining tool and a temporary one at that.  So any long term damage is avoided.

And what about political damage?  He is such a big winner there that he could well be prepared for substantial damage in other directions.  The working class liking for Trump could now well become ecstatic in many quarters.

But to get back to economics, this is a well-known problem.  It is known as a "dumping" problem and Trump is being perfectly orthodox about it.  A dumping problem arises when a country produces more of a good than can readily be sold. And steel is almost continually in that situation.  Because it is such an icon of industrial maturity, almost every country everywhere wants to have a steel mill and governments everywhere support the building of them.  So steel is chronically in glut, oversupply.  China has a big surplus but so does Canada, Europe etc.

So what to do when nobody wants to buy your product?  Easy!  Discount it.  But you have to be careful about doing that or you may be selling your product for less than it costs to make. But with government support your home market is captive so you apply discounts only to stuff you sell overseas, leaving your home market as a survival revenue source.

So if China were selling Americans Chinese steel for less than it costs to make, you might think Americans would celebrate:  China is giving us a gift!  And some economists think we should look at it that way.  But nobody does. The Chinese steel will now be replacing steel made in America and the American steel millers will be up in arms.  They will demand that their government put a tax on all the imported steel so that any discounts are cancelled out.  And that is basically what Mr Trump is doing.  He is keeping out all that foreign steel so that American steel millers can sell their stuff.

But there are problems.  China has in fact been quite restrained and has not raided the American market.  It is those nice Canadians who sell most of the "foreign" steel marketed in America.  Do we really want to shaft them? If we do they could retaliate. They could, for instance, buy their military aircraft from Europe rather than America.  They have already cancelled their F35 order and the Super Hornets could be next. And the latest Saab Gripen E would make a very nice alternative.

But Trump is undoubtedly cooking up a deal of some sort so we will have to wait and see.  My best guess:  He will be "persuaded" to replace his new tariffs with a system of national quotas -- with the largest existing international suppliers getting the biggest quotas and the smaller suppliers getting no quota at all.  Good for Canada, bad for China, only a little bit bad for American consumers, great for the mid-terms.


Former police officer found not guilty of misconduct after leaking footage

The vindictive prosecution of a whistleblower who should in fact have been praised casts a dark shadow over the reputation of the QPS.  It shows the police as having no morality at all.  They were furious that Fiori revealed the ugly truth about them and desperately wanted to get back at him.

Now that their prosecution has failed, it is surely time to ask some very challenging questions of ‎Ian Stewart, the Queensland police chief.

The prosecution was undoubtedly stressful for Fiori -- as would have been intended -- but there was a silver lining to his dark cloud.  After her own victory over a crooked cop and his QPS defenders, Renee Eaves has done a lot to help other innocent victims of the police.  So she flew to Fiori's side when his prosecution was announced and has given him support ever since.  And as well as a her strength of character and iron will, Renee is absolutely gorgeous.  A former bikini beauty, she is a dream walking.  Having her nearby would soothe most troubled male souls.

You see her walking beside Fiori below.  I had the great privilege to help her once when she badly needed it

A FORMER Queensland police sergeant who leaked footage of officers bashing a handcuffed man in a Gold Coast station basement has been found not guilty of misconduct.

Rick Flori, 47, was acquitted of the charge by a majority 11-1 verdict by a jury on Wednesday following a six-day trial at the Southport District Court.

Flori, who has since resigned from the Queensland Police Service, says he released the footage of the January 2012 arrest to cast a spotlight on illegal practices within the force.

Flori released footage of police at the Surfers Paradise station bashing a handcuffed man, Noa Begic, in a basement car park in January 2012.

Once the footage was run by The Courier-Mail, an internal investigation lead to a search of Flori’s home where the footage was located on an SD card.

Flori told investigators he’d acquired the footage for “training purposes” and denied knowing anything about the email address used to arrange the leak with a journalist.

Crown prosecutor Todd Fuller said Flori was upset at being overlooked for a promotion to senior sergeant in 2011.

Once he realised the footage included the man who had been given the promotion at his expense, Senior Sergeant David Joachim, he’d set about leaking it to discredit his rival, Mr Fuller argued.

Mr Fuller said in the email sent to the journalist, Flori failed to mention any of the other officers involved except for Sen Sgt Joachim, despite Senior Constable Ben Lamb being the man who kneed and punched Mr Begic.

“The email doesn’t even mention Constable Lamb,” Mr Fuller said. “His attack is on David Joachim. Rank. Name. Position.”

Mr Lamb was later disciplined for his actions, receiving a suspended dismissal from the police service.

Flori’s barrister, Saul Holt QC, labelled the accusation of a vendetta by his client against Sen Sgt Joachim as nonsense.

Mr Holt said Flori had made complaints about several other officers during his career and his behaviour towards Sen Sgt Joachim wasn’t exceptional.

“Rick Flori is happy to complain about anybody if the complaint is valid,” Mr Holt said.

“David Joachim is no more than a mild irritant in Rick Flori’s history of making complaints.” Mr Holt said Flori’s motivation to leak the footage was “pure” and intended to ensure those responsible for the violent arrest were exposed.

“This incident is astonishing ... the fact we know about it through the leak is a good thing.”



"Sharksteeth" has been told to keep her mouth shut, it would appear

Up until her election win, most photos of NZ PM Jacinda Ardern had shown her as smiling -- and a very big smile it was, with all teeth fully exposed.

Lately, however, most pictures of her seem to show her with either a much more restrained smile or even with her mouth rather painfully closed. 

One understands that but it makes her look a lot less pleasant.  She obviously has a "bite" problem that it would take maxillo-facial surgery to correct but maybe that would be better than restrained smiling when she so obviously is inclined to let it all beam out.

The former Mormon certainly is an unusual lady.  A lot of Kiwis are still wondering how she became Prime Minister of their country with only a third of the vote.  She has announceed a big raft of new spending but when the bills come in to pay for it all will be interesting. I guess New Zealand has to have its version of Julia Gillard.


The one-sided Left

There is a rant here by an atheist who objects to the alliance between Christians and Mr Trump. He seems to think that he as an atheist knows the business of Christians better than they do. The article is basically just one long fulmination but he does get around at one point to telling us what is wrong with Mr Trump.  It is this paragrah:

"He's told transgender soldiers they can't serve in the military, he's ripped apart immigrant families through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he's put hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients in danger of being kicked out of the country, he's made it harder for poor people to receive adequate health care, etc."

At no point, however, does he offer any reasoning behind transgenders in the military being unwelcome nor does he mention that the immigrants concerned are illegally in the country and  commit a lot of crime. And he does not consider that the current unaffordability of health care is mostly a result of Obamacare and its large deductibles.

Typically one-sided.  Leftists couldn't make an honest argument if they tried.  If he had been interested in mounting an honest argument he would have mentioned that military men generally dislike having sexual deviants among them on the grounds that it degrades unit cohesion and morale.  So if they are to do well the jobs they are employed for, deviants should be excluded from their ranks.

He might also have considered that Obamacare is unsurvivable as it stands, which is why insurers are steadily pulling out of its exchanges.  He might also mention that the Democrats have steadily resisted Mr. Trump's attempts to replace it with something more affordable.

One of the reasons why I read Leftist tracts is that I hope I might learn something from them.  I rarely do. Mostly all I find is unreasoning hate.  I strongly suspect that most Leftists are quite incapable of mounting a rational argument.


Some profound thinking from a distinguished Canadian  university

Below are some excerpts from a Leftist academic article which displays vividly how filled with rage and hate Leftists  are -- rage that can only express itself, not argue coherently for anything.  It's good evidence of how degraded academic discourse has become since the Leftist takeover of academe.  Apologies for the language but it is as it occurs in the original:

The lad himself. I am betting that he has never done a day's worth of real work in his neo-Marxist life

Fuck Neoliberalism

Simon Springer (simonspringer@gmail.com)

Department of Geography, University of Victoria

By saying ‘fuck neoliberalism’ we can express our rage against the neoliberal machine. It is an indication of our anger, our desire to shout our resentment, to spew venom back in the face of the noxious malice that has been shown to all of us. This can come in the form of mobilizing more protests against neoliberalism or in writing more papers and books critiquing its influence. The latter preaches to the converted, and the former hopes that the already perverted will be willing to change their ways. I don’t discount that these methods are important tactics in our resistance, but I’m also quite sure that they’ll never actually be enough to turn the tide against neoliberalism and in our favour.

There is nothing about neoliberalism that is deserving of our respect, and so in concert with a prefigurative politics of creation, my message is quite simply ‘fuck it’. Fuck the hold that it has on our political imaginations. Fuck the violence it engenders. Fuck the inequality it extols as a virtue. Fuck the way it has ravaged the environment. Fuck the endless cycle of accumulation and the cult of growth. Fuck the Mont Pelerin society and all the think tanks that continue to prop it up and promote it. Fuck Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman for saddling us with their ideas. Fuck the Thatchers, the Reagans, and all the cowardly, self-interested politicians who seek only to scratch the back of avarice.

International Journal for Critical Geographies


A possible gun regulation compromise?

Leftists regularly argue while having no apparent knowledge of the relevant facts.  And the current outcry for gun control after the Florida shooting is a prime example of that.  They act as if nobody had ever tried gun control before.

Yet gun regulation varies greatly across the fruited plain -- so the data to assess the proposal is readily available.  And the fact is that in places like Chicago guns are very heavily regulated.  Yet Chicago, Detroit etc are also the places where gun deaths are at their highest.

So the existing facts on the ground tell us that gun control does more harm than good.  Criminals are greatly encouraged when the rest of the population has little or no protection so shoot with every expectation of impunity.

But a conservative writer has come up with a suggestion that may have some merit.  It may not however pass constitutional muster:

Instead of debating gun regulations that would apply to every gun owner, we could consider limits that are imposed on youth and removed with age. After all, the fullness of adult citizenship is not bestowed at once: Driving precedes voting precedes drinking, and the right to stand for certain offices is granted only in your thirties.

Perhaps the self-arming of citizens could be similarly staggered. Let 18-year-olds own hunting rifles. Make revolvers available at 21. Semiautomatic pistols, at 25. And semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 could be sold to 30-year-olds but no one younger.

This proposal would be vulnerable to some of the same practical critiques as other gun control proposals. But it is more specifically targeted to the plague of school shootings, whose perpetrators are almost always young men.

And it offers a kind of moral bridge between the civic vision of Second Amendment advocates and the insights of their critics — by treating bearing arms as a right but also a responsibility, the full exercise of which might only come with maturity and age.



Kids incarcerated in Australia have 'alarming' levels of neurodevelopmental impairment

This is worse than political correctness. It is straight out political deception.  The word "Aboriginal" is not mentioned below but most of the kids concerned will be Aboriginal.  Fetal alcohol syndrome is, for instance, common among Aborigines.

So what can you do about it?  Take the Aboriginal children out of their dangerous home environments and give them to whites to bring up?  Then you would have another "stolen generation" and we have been through that ad nauseam before.  Any other ideas?  I know of no realistic ones.

The do gooders below say that "care plans can be put in place."  That could conceivably help a little whilst the kids are in detention but they will never be detained for long -- and do you have any idea of how much notice an Aboriginal family would take of a "care plan"?

While Aboriginals commit every dietary sin imaginable  -- including the drinking of metho (methlyated alcohol) -- both they and their children will always have bad health

An alarming world-first study into the cognitive abilities of young people in detention in Australia has found evidence of severe neurodevelopmental impairment in almost every child assessed.

Researchers from the Telethon Kids Institute assessed 99 children aged 10 to 17 incarcerated at the Banksia Hill Detention Centre in Western Australia. The findings uncovered an unprecedented prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and severe neurodevelopmental impairment.

Most of the impairment had been left undiagnosed despite multiple contacts with government agencies and sentencing in court, leading the experts to call for improvements in the way health, education, justice, child protection and other systems took care of young people who presented with school difficulties, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

The study, led by Professor Carol Bower and Clinical Associate Professor Raewyn Mutch, will be published in the British Medical Journal Open on Wednesday. It found WA had the highest known prevalence of FASD in a custodial setting in the world.

"Of the 99 young people who completed full assessments we found 36 of them – more than one in three – had FASD," Professor Bower said.  "Of this 36, only two had been previously diagnosed."

They also found 89 per cent of sentenced youth had at least one severe neurodevelopmental impairment, whether they had FASD or not. Two thirds had at least three domains of severe impairment, while 23 per cent had five or more domains impaired. These domains included executive function, not being able to relate cause and effect, memory, attention and cognition problems.

A quarter were found to have an intellectual disability, with an IQ of 70 or less.

"These findings, which document an unprecedented prevalence of FASD and severe neurodevelopmental impairment, highlight the vulnerability of young people within the justice system and their significant need for improved diagnosis to identify their strengths and difficulties, and to guide and improve their rehabilitation," Professor Bower said.

"We recommend that young people be fully assessed on entry into the juvenile justice system and preferably much, much sooner, at their first encounter with the law or before, so their vulnerabilities are recognised, and specific and appropriate interventions and care plans can be put in place."