Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

It is always news when media notice the obvious

An interesting article in the Baltimore Sun today draws attention to the total dominance of Fox News over all other cable and broadcast sources.

Below are the stats for viewership on mid-term election night.

Ratings at 10 p.m. Election Night for Cable and Networks:

Fox News: 6.6 million overall (1.8 million 25 to 54)

CBS: 5.4 million (1.5 million)

NBC: 4.2 million (1.5 million)

ABC: 3.1 million (1.1 million)

CNN: 1.9 million (912,000)

MSNBC: 1.6 million (566,000)

The Bell Curve, 20 Years later

Twenty years ago Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray published The Bell Curve. It had the effect of a large stone thrown into the still pond of “settled science”.
a) there is such a thing as g, general intelligence
b) it is largely heritable
b) IQ tests measure g quite well
c) IQ test outcomes predict a great many social results, including propensities to success or pathologies with better accuracy than any other measure, including years of education, family income, and social status;
d) social factors interact with genetic endowments, and
e) IQ results differ by race.

The Left has been in paroxysms of rage and denial ever since.

Charles Murray was interviewed about the Bell Curve recently in the policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute. Here is a snippet. Go the article for more.

American political and social life today is pretty much one great big “Q.E.D.” for the two main theses of “The Bell Curve.” Those theses were, first, that changes in the economy over the course of the 20th century had made brains much more valuable in the job market; second, that from the 1950s onward, colleges had become much more efficient in finding cognitive talent wherever it was and shipping that talent off to the best colleges. We then documented all the ways in which cognitive ability is associated with important outcomes in life — everything from employment to crime to family structure to parenting styles. Put those all together, we said, and we’re looking at some serious problems down the road. Let me give you a passage to quote directly from the close of the book:

Predicting the course of society is chancy, but certain tendencies seem strong enough to worry about:

An increasingly isolated cognitive elite.
A merging of the cognitive elite with the affluent.
A deteriorating quality of life for people at the bottom end of the cognitive distribution.

Unchecked, these trends will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top, restructuring the rules of society so that it becomes harder and harder for them to lose. (p. 509)

Remind you of anything you’ve noticed about the US recently?

 

Ebola: The case for panic

ebola

Mathew Continetti of National Review has a great article on the subject.

 

Over the last few years the divergence between what the government promises and what it delivers, between what it says is happening or will happen and what actually is happening and does happen, between what it determines to be important and what the public wishes to be important — this gap has become abysmal, unavoidable, inescapable. We hear of “lone-wolf” terrorism, of “workplace violence,” that if you like your plan you can keep your plan. We are told that Benghazi was a spontaneous demonstration, that al-Qaeda is on the run, that the border is as secure as it has ever been, that Assad must go, that I didn’t draw a red line, the world drew a red line, that the IRS targeting of tea-party groups involved not a smidgen of corruption, that the Islamic State is not Islamic. We see the government spend billions on websites that do not function, and the VA consign patients to death by waiting list and then cover it up. We are assured that Putin won’t invade; that the Islamic State is the jayvee team of terrorism; that Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction; that there is a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.

The gap between what we perceive to happen in the world, and the soothing nonsense issued by the Obama administration, is alarming. I cannot summon a feeling of confidence in the Obama administration because I fear that, behind closed doors, officials are unable to discuss the real world in which it needs to be discussed: as a collection of warring tribes, divided by religions and cultures, with many at vastly different stages of cultural development.

Any real discussion of the world involves talking about it -according to the mind of a leftist-  in racist, sexist, stereotypical, and other politically incorrect ways. Since they cannot do this, they cannot discuss, even among themselves, how it is working. Hence they are bound always to see matters within the perspective of American liberals (leftist-progressives). Hence nothing makes sense to them.

There may be more parsimonious explanations of the Obama regime’s ineptitude. Treason comes as one, but I have not reached that conclusion yet. I would prefer to think they cannot makes sense of it, and still hold their views. So they would rather hold their views.

After all, to hold up visas from West Africa would be frightfully judgmental, would it not?

As Continetti explains, the imperatives of the liberal caste must prevail over reality

Simple: because doing so (holding up visas from West Africa) 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 World Health Organization has a fact sheet on ebola.

How far does the protection go?

Please look at the New Yorker magazine cover of last week. The title is called “Illegal Procedure”. It shows a football player chased down the field by a bunch of policemen.

 

2014_09_291-400New Yorker

Observe the face. Would you agree that the football player is white? To what does the cover refer? It refers to the case of Ray Rice, who knocked out his girlfriend in an elevator. The Rice case is commented upon by The New Yorker’s sports columnist in the same edition in a lead editorial.

So who was Ray Rice?

Ray Rice

You will observe he is African American.

So why, one asks, does the New Yorker refer to the issue of domestic violence by players in the National Football League by depicting a white football player?

Here is the racial composition of the NFL – it is two thirds black.

 

Race-Distribution NFL

 Source: http://www.besttickets.com/blog/unofficial-2013-nfl-census/

What reasons are there for depicting the football player as white when two-third of the NFL is black?

  • the problem of domestic violence is generic to NFL athletes in general, so depicting him as white draws attention to the right issue;
  • the New Yorker is too chicken shit to call attention to the race of the perpetrator because
    • his race is relevant, or
    • his race has nothing to do with it.

I was talking to a friend today about this and he said the face was not made African because it was better not to draw attention to the race issue. Everybody knows the issue is racial anyway, he said.

It is starting to be like erasing pictures of Trotsky from the pictures of Stalin. I used to snicker at such lengths to erase history. Now I see us doing the same. Nothing to look at here folks, move on.

What do you think? Am I being too critical here?

 

None Dare Call It Treason

“Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason?
Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”
[Sir John Harrington, 1561-1612]

One should always apply the maxim that says “never ascribe to malice what stupidity can adequately explain.”

Observing the current meltdown in American foreign policy and the confused ramblings of Baraq Hussein, he who does president impressions, one is forced to conclude that stupidity can no longer be a satisfactory explanation.

Take three examples among many. One, the denial of Islamic terrorism; two, the stupid policy toward Russia; and, three, the militarization of American police forces.

Terrorism

Islamic terrorism is the major threat facing Western Civilization today. Islam is totally opposed to everything that we hold dear: democracy, civil liberties, equality of rights and constitutional government. Day after day, Islamic terrorists around the world proclaim their objectives, including the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews. In Gaza, the criminal terrorist tyrants who rule there fire rockets at Israeli civilians from schools and hospitals—all war crimes. Apparently, in the view of the White House, these are no longer war crimes, but acts that are “extraordinarily irresponsible” (!) I suppose it was “extraordinarily irresponsible” for the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbour in 1941.

Israel has the temerity to react and defend its citizens. Does the Israeli government get support from the White House? No, this “cycle of violence” has to stop. How on Earth can Israel negotiate with Hamas, which is openly calling for the destruction of Israel, and expect them to honour any agreement?
How come the only free and democratic state in the Middle East has become a pariah? Why is Israel not fully supported by Western leaders? The answer, unfortunately, is that many Western governments are led by weaklings who now kowtow to Islamic threats from minorities within their own countries. And in the case of America, its weakness stems from an Islamic sympathizer in the White House.

Other Affairs Abroad

Since the collapse of communism, the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War, the threat of Soviet tanks rolling across the border through the Fulda Gap has evaporated. The Soviet republics have become independent states. In the 1990s, NATO and the West made a commitment to Russia that they would not expand towards the Russian border after the threat of communism disappeared. NATO has reneged on its commitment. Naturally, the Russians, no fools they, became concerned. So when the Ukrainian putsch was engineered in Kiev, with overt NATO and American interference, the Russians acted to protect their warm water port for their navy in Crimea. Incidentally, Crimea was always part of Russia.

Any great power is going to protect its geostrategic interests when threatened and that is what Russia did, legalities notwithstanding. Instead of befriending Russia and helping its transition to a modern nation as it climbs out of the pit of communism, Washington embarked on a new Cold War-style propaganda assault. Washington’s pals in Kiev are now shelling civilians in the eastern Ukraine. Video is available on RT and Youtube and, no surprise here, is not shown on the MSM media outlets in America, populated as they are by Hussein’s army of sycophants. Russia is a natural ally of the West in the war against Islam. Our relations with Russia have been poisoned by an ignorant and foolish administration in Washington.

Affairs at Home

Why does your local police force need armored personnel carriers, battle gear, tanks and more equipment than most soldiers carry into combat? Why does the government need all that firepower to threaten civilians?

The Second Amendment in the American Constitution provides that the people have the right to keep and bear arms. This is a right, not a privilege granted by a government. Governments are responsible to citizens—it’s not the other way around. The Founding Fathers wisely foresaw that threats to liberty and freedom come from governments and the citizenry must have the right to keep and bear arms in order to protect themselves from governments, when it becomes necessary.

Even a cursory glance at history shows us that the first act of aspiring tyrants is to disarm the free citizen. Every socialist and communist regime has done this. Turning the police from an agent of our protection into a semi-military threat is another act of government out of control. It is the act of people who see the citizen as a threat. It is an act of tyrants.

No matter how wonderful and inspired the American Constitution is, it is the quality of people in government that is most important. We would do well to remember that great British political mind, Edmund Burke, who said, when discussing the behavior of the National Assembly in Revolutionary France,

“…This unforced choice, this fond election of evil, would appear perfectly unaccountable, if we did not consider the composition of the National Assembly: I do not mean its formal composition, which, as it now stands, is exceptionable enough, but the materials of which, in great measure, it is composed, which is of ten thousand times greater consequence than all the formalities in the world.”

That, unfortunately, is the truth. And until the American people wake up to the fact that they have elected a crew of pirates, who would like nothing better than to tear up the Constitution and scatter the remnants to the four winds of heaven, they will continue to see their rights assaulted, their country disparaged, and their friends around the world betrayed.

These three disparate cases are the acts of an administration that savages the Constitution at home, betrays America’s allies abroad, and refuses to name evil when confronted with it. Is this all due to stupidity? Or does it hide a darker reality in American politics?

Rebel Yell

Best commentary on Obama’s foreign policies

Bret Stevens, foreign correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, has written what I think is the definitive portrait of Obama’s foreign policy, which seems to amount to annoying your allies and appeasing your enemies. It is premised on the notion, says, Stevens, that the United States is the biggest failed state of all.

After reviewing the facts, Stevens writes:

Should any of this [disarray and failure] have come as a surprise? Probably not: With Obama, there was always more than a whiff of the overconfident dilettante, so sure of his powers that he could remain supremely comfortable with his own ignorance. His express-elevator ascent from Illinois state senator to U.S. president in the space of just four years didn’t allow much time for maturation or reflection, either. Obama really is, as Bill Clinton is supposed to have said of him, “an amateur.” When it comes to the execution of policy, it shows.

 

The failure is not personal, however. The failure proceeds from an ideology, which Obama is implementing.

The point is especially important to note because the failure of Obama’s foreign policy is not, ultimately, a reflection of his character or IQ. It is the consequence of an ideology.

That ideology is what now goes by the name of progressivism, which has effectively been the dominant (if often disavowed) view of the Democratic Party since George McGovern ran on a “Come Home, America” platform in 1972—and got 37.5 percent of the popular vote. Progressivism believes that the United States must lead internationally by example (especially when it comes to nuclear-arms control); that the U.S. is as much the sinner as it is the sinned against when it comes to our adversaries (remember Mosaddegh?); and that the American interest is best served when it is merged with, or subsumed by, the global interest (ideally in the form of a UN resolution)…..

Above all, progressivism believes that the United States is a country that, in nearly every respect, treads too heavily on the Earth: environmentally, ideologically, militarily, and geopolitically. The goal, therefore, is to reduce America’s footprint; to “retrench,” as the administration would like to think of it, or to retreat, as it might more accurately be called…..

The phrase “nation-building at home” captures the totality of the progressive ambition. Not only does it mean an end to nation-building exercises abroad, but it suggests that an exercise typically attempted on failed states must be put to use on what progressives sometimes see as the biggest failed state of all: the United States.

 

Sending more gasoline to put out the fire

The White House announced that Attorney General Eric (“My People”) Holder was being sent to Ferguson Missouri to oversee the federal response to the shooting.

Local police continue to exercise little restraint. The photo below shows police advancing with weapons drawn, which is contrary to what they do in the military, where a gun is not pointed unless a shot will be taken.

Police Shooting Missouri

An insightful article on the situation in Ferguson by Daniel Greenfield is here.
It is bracingly cyncial, and captures the truth.

Obama’s election marginalized Jesse and Al. Jesse Jackson was shoved aside, muttering something about cutting off a part of Obama’s anatomy on FOX News. Sharpton became Obama’s messenger boy to the black community while scoring a teleprompter reading gig on a liberal cable news network.

Jackson and Sharpton were displaced and made irrelevant by Obama. Their old way of monetizing racism through protests and private organizations is as out of date as pay phones and cassette tapes.

Obama’s way of monetizing racism for fun and profit is infinitely more sophisticated. Where Sharpton and Jackson pretended to be community advocates collecting tribute from white politicians and companies in exchange for “controlling the anger” of the black community (a community that usually consisted of a few dozen outside thugs that they had imported), Obama plays both sides.

The old community agitators “negotiated” racial tensions with white liberals. The agitators and liberals profited while the working class populations of both races that they exploited lost out. Obama however negotiates these tensions on his own, playing both the agitator and the liberal at the same time.

The new community organizers work for the Justice Department. The agitators shouting through bullhorns are dinosaurs. The government now has a monopoly on racial agitation and racial violence. Obama can use the DOJ, its teams, its investigations and the media to turn the tension on or off.

Sharpton looks unimaginably crude compared to Holder. Wright sounds like a clown compared to Obama. Their empty posturing and hysterical displays of racism have been replaced by actual power. Obama can do what Sharpton and Wright couldn’t; he can merge political power and symbolic power, law and outrage, together into an arsenal of votes, violence and guilt.

I had not really understood the term “race baiter” before but seeing Eric Holder in action over the past few years, I think I am beginning to understand it.

If you want to understand the origin of the phrase Eric “My People” Holder read this exchange from a report on US Senate proceedings concerned with Black Panther voter intimidation, from 2011:

Attorney General Eric Holder finally got fed up Tuesday with claims that the Justice Department went easy in a voting rights case against members of the New Black Panther Party because they are African American.

Holder’s frustration over the criticism became evident during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing as Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) accused the Justice Department of failing to cooperate with a Civil Rights Commission investigation into the handling of the 2008 incident in which Black Panthers in intimidating outfits and wielding a club stood outside a polling place in Philadelphia.

The Attorney General seemed to take personal offense at a comment Culberson read in which former Democratic activist Bartle Bull called the incident the most serious act of voter intimidation he had witnessed in his career.

“Think about that,” Holder said. “When you compare what people endured in the South in the 60s to try to get the right to vote for African Americans, and to compare what people were subjected to there to what happened in Philadelphia—which was inappropriate, certainly that…to describe it in those terms I think does a great disservice to people who put their lives on the line, who risked all, for my people,” said Holder, who is black.

Can you imagine a white US Attorney General speaking specifically of his race as “my people”? Can you envisage the reaction? So yes, I call Eric Holder a race baiter, because he thinks he is the chosen agent of retribution for every slight administered to black people. He is unfit to be Attorney General. He is heading to Ferguson to oversee more riots, or rather, oversee federal response to the riots.

Ferguson, Missouri and the mIlitarization of local police

The apparent turnaround in the situation in Ferguson, Missouri appears to have been a change of police tactics. When the  chief of state police was put in charge of the situation, and the local police had to relinquish authority, there appears to have been an outbreak of peace.

A black young man had been shot by police and killed; the locals rioted, or expressed their extreme displeasure. Police were called in, and several nights of tear gas and rubber bullets ensued, complete with armoured cars and smoke grenades.

article-2724528-2084555B00000578-787_634x385

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Without diminishing the role of the rioters themselves, it seems that the local police have aggravated rather than calmed the situation. They, along with hundreds of local police forces,  have been equipped with surplus US military equipment free of charge under a government program.

article-2724528-2084462100000578-225_634x540

The caption says local rioters unsuccessfully tried to light a Molotov cocktail.

Senator Rand Paul has expressed his concern with the militarization of local police. Militarization is not just a matter of equipment; it is an attitude.

The Ferguson riots will elicit the usual comments about income and class disparities, and Stuff Black People Don’t Like will be blaming blacks for being blacks. All true, as far as it goes. yet the question remains: why are US local cops being equipped to suppress riots with so much military equipment? Is the situation that dire? Or is the enormous arsenal of surplus military equipment being turned over to local wannabees worsening the situation, rather than containing it?