Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Indoctrination by Grievance-Mongers

Indoctrination by Grievance-Mongers 
Anti-American educational elites need a dose of reality. 



Goddard College’s recent decision to have its students addressed from prison by a convicted cop killer is just one of many unbelievably irresponsible self-indulgences by “educators” in our schools and colleges.
Such “educators” teach minorities born with an incredibly valuable windfall gain — American citizenship — that they are victims who have a grievance against people today who have done nothing to them, because of what other people did in other times. If those individuals who feel aggrieved could sell their American citizenship to eager buyers from around the world and leave, everybody would probably be better off. Those who leave would get not only a substantial sum of money — probably $100,000 or more — they would also get a valuable dose of reality elsewhere.
Nothing is easier than to prove that America, or any other society of human beings, is far from being the perfect gem that any of us can conjure up in our imagination. But, when you look around the world today or look back through history, you can get a very painfully sobering sense of what a challenge it can be in the real world to maintain even common decency among human beings.
Living just one year in the Middle East would be an education in reality that could obliterate years of indoctrination in grievances that passes for education in too many of our schools, colleges, and universities. You could go on to get a postgraduate education in reality in some place like North Korea.
If you prefer to get your education in the comfort of a library, rather than in person amid the horrors, you might study the history of the sadistic massacres of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire or the heart-wrenching story of Stalin’s man-made 1930s famine in the Soviet Union that killed as many millions of people as Hitler’s Holocaust did in the 1940s.
Mao’s man-made famine in China killed more people than the Soviet famine and the Nazi Holocaust combined. And we should not deny their rightful place in history’s chamber of horrors to the 1970s Cambodian dehumanization and slaughters that killed off at least a quarter of the entire population of that country.
What about slavery? Slavery certainly has its place among the horrors of humanity. But our “educators” today, along with the media, present a highly edited segment of the history of slavery. Those who have been through our schools and colleges, or who have seen our movies or television miniseries, may well come away thinking that slavery means white people enslaving black people. But slavery was a worldwide curse for thousands of years, as far back as recorded history goes.
Over all that expanse of time and space, it is very unlikely that most slaves, or most slave owners, were either black or white. Slavery was common among the vast populations in Asia. Slavery was also common among the Polynesians, and the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere enslaved other indigenous peoples before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had ever seen a European.
More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.
What does all this mean?
In addition to the chilling picture that it paints of human nature, it means that Americans today — all Americans — are among the luckiest people who have ever inhabited this planet. Most Americans living in officially defined poverty today have such things as central air-conditioning, cable television, a microwave oven and a motor vehicle.
A scholar who spent years studying Latin America said that what is defined as poverty in the United States today is upper middle class in Mexico.
Do we still need to do better? Yes! Human beings all over the world are not even close to running out of room for improvement.
There is so much knowledge and skills that need to be transmitted to the young that turning schools and colleges into indoctrination centers is a major and reckless disservice to them and to American society, which is vulnerable as all human societies have always been, especially those that are decent.
— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His website is © 2014 Creators Syndicate Inc.

What the Left Can’t Admit about the Politics of Ebola

What the Left Can’t Admit about the Politics of Ebola 
The threat of Ebola maybe be hyped, but the threat of government incompetence is real. 
President Obama and HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell discuss the Ebola crisis (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the closing stages of this year’s insipid, undistinguished midterm elections, Republicans are making hay while the disaster shines. In Washington, D.C., Speaker of the House John Boehner has taken to prodding President Obama for his refusal to institute a “ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the [Ebola] virus,” a message that has been picked up elsewhere by Senate candidates Joni Ernst, Mike Rounds, Thom Tillis, and David Perdue. In New Hampshire, senatorial candidate Scott Brown has been asking aloud whether the “porous” southern border represents a potential medical threat. Fox News, meanwhile, has run the debate on a loop.
The agitation has provoked an exasperated reaction in the more cynically partisan quarters of the left-leaning media. “Republicans Want You to Be Terrified of Ebola—So You’ll Vote for Them,” exclaimed The New Republic’s Brian Beutleryesterday, while, in the New York Times, Jeremy Peters grumbled that “playing off feelings of anxiety is a powerful strategy for motivating the Republican base.” At the Washington Post, the ever-reliable Greg Sargent cast the move as just one part of the GOP’s dastardly “fear-based midterm strategy.” Thus did a trio that has of late panicked publicly about the supposed return of Jim Crow, the impending end of the world, and an approaching government shutdown accuse their ideological opponents of unwarranted fear-mongering.
Whether or not Ebola constitutes a real enough threat to the United States to justify the Republican party’s stance remains to be seen. Politics being politics, it is entirely possible that the GOP has observed a certain anxiety in the public and jumped on it for electoral profit. Nevertheless, rather than rolling their eyes, progressives might take a moment to inquire as to exactly why the charge is landing. Is it that Republicans are uniquely predisposed to hysteria, and that their representatives are uniquely cynical? Or is it that disquieted voters, already skeptical of the potency of the state, have of late been given few reasons to amend their suspicion. The question of what sort of risk Ebola presents aside, fretting about the federal government’s capacity to handle basic tasks seems to me to be a reasonable reaction to its record so far. Is nobody interested in this question?
Evidently, they are not. Old habits dying hard, President Obama’s former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, has complained rather glibly that “Republicans want people to turn on the television and see that nothing is working.” I daresay that, in a narrow sense at least, Gibbs is right. We are, after all, approaching an important election, and the more bad press that the president gets, the better it is for his opponents. But, inherent to Gibbs’s charge, was the implication that the widespread perception of presidential incompetence is axiomatically false. Such presumptions are widespread. Having run rather convincingly through the brief against the White House — listing among its recent mistakes the rollout ofObamacare, the failure to predict the rise of the Islamic State, scandals involving the IRS, the NSA, the Secret Service, and the Veterans Affairs, and the “child migrant crisis” on the southern border — Brian Beutler proposed rather curiously that certain “members of the media are enabling” the Right in its characterization of the Obama administration as the “gang that can’t shoot straight.” Instead,Beutler urged, “they should be anathematizing it.”
Really, one has to ask, “Why”? It is one thing to argue that the Republican party and the fourth estate are hyping non-stories, but quite another to present a list of genuinely abject failures and then to recommend to the press that it keep quiet about them. Might we not take Occam’s Razor to the matter and conclude simply that a good number of people really are nervous that the government can’t do anything right? Further, might we not take a moment to reflect why it is that so many people have no faith in Washington, D.C.? Perhaps the state really isterrible at reacting to crises — not just under Obama, but under other presidents, too. Perhaps, having watched the most domestically ambitious administration in half a century flail and collapse in ignominy, many Americans are a touch more aporetic today than they were back in 2008?
The distaste of the Beutlers, Sargents, and Gibbses of the world is, in some part, the product of rank partisanship. But it is also the result of the specific challenge that Democratic incompetence poses to those who wish the state to be an effective and pervasive force in our national life. When Republicans are in office, progressives are able to attribute the failures of the state to any number of perfidious forces: a lack of care by those in charge; inadequate interest in helping the afflicted; a deep-seated hostility to government that, inevitably, renders it ineffective; the inherent ineptitude of those outside of the chosen class; the presumably malevolent influence of big business; deliberate, ideologically driven underfunding; etc., etc. In the wake of conservative mistakes, moreover, reformers on the left are accorded the opportunity to promise that Democrats — by virtue of being the natural party of the state — will be able do better. When such a Democrat fails to do so, however, their champions are faced with a genuine problem. Presumably, their guy can’t be evil or indifferent or corrupt. What happened?
In these instances, progressives have three choices: 1) They can deem their party’s leader to be uniquely incompetent; 2) They can charge that his opponents are guilty of sabotage (the Obamacare rollout provided a stellar example of this); or 3) They can accuse the media of whipping up critical sentiment. At no point, however, can it be conceded that government itself might perhaps be to blame, nor can it be acknowledged that, when the state intrudes in areas in which it cannot hope to do well, it invariably hurts the public’s faith in its more traditional functions. To admit as much would be to concede that there are real limits on what public officials can effectively achieve — an admission that is unlikely to be forthcoming.
Thus far, the criticisms that the Right has leveled at the president for his response to the Ebola outbreak have varied wildly in nature, ranging from the downright preposterous to the eminently reasonable. Accepting that elections are unalterably dirty and meretricious affairs, I must say I cannot convince myself to become toovexed by the more hyperbolic reactions. Politics, as a famous man once said, “ain’t beanbag,” even when deadly diseases are involved. Either way, however, it remains the case that hype thrives most keenly in a vacuum, panics being inflated, not diminished, by the absence of leadership and the dearth of faith. Once upon a time, President Obama was largely taken at his word, his assiduously cultivated reputation as a calm and detached man of competence having gained a purchase in the national psyche. Now, six years after he stood before the Greek columns and the adoring fans, he has been largely reduced to a Walter Mitty figure, whose quixotic ambition and messianic demeanor have stretched the credulity of the electorate to its breaking point. Today we are told that a good portion of the country doesn’t believe that the federal government will deal proficiently with an unpredictable threat. Well, where on Earth could they have got that idea?
— Charles C. W. Cooke is a staff writer at National Review.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Courage of our Cultural Convictions

The Courage of our Cultural Convictions
America must rededicate itself to the Founders' brave self-determination.
By Ben Carson


No explanation offered by the White House or the CDC about our refusal to impose a travel ban on Liberian or other visitors from affected west African countries to the United States makes sense, or so it seems to me. Indeed, what has been said (again, so it seems to me) ranges from the nonsensical to the absurd, from BS to balderdash. If a travel ban would serve to protect American citizens and institutions, however imperfectly, what is the rationale for refusing to impose one?
The refusal seems obviously to be driven by a brand of politics that verges on the insane. Thus the reticence of the White House to expose its true train of thought to public view.
In his testimony before a House panel today, CDC honcho Tom Frieden tread lightly in response to questions by Rep. Steve Scalise on conversations with the White House. Lest there be any doubt that the refusal to impose a travel ban is a function of politics driven by the White House, check out the video below. As Glenn Reynolds translates Dr. Frieden’s evasions: “So that’s a yes, then.”

UPDATE: George Mason University Law School Assistant Dean Richard Kelsey has issued the following statement (which I have slightly edited and reformatted):
One has to wonder…why Mr. Obama refuses to use the administrative state he controls to protect Americans. Where’s the pen? Mr. Obama used his pen to give amnesty to illegal aliens. He has directed his administrative state to tighten EPA regulations. He has attempted to sidestep the Senate on treaty authority with respect to climate change. He has done things with that pen that are simply unconstitutional.
His principal duty as President is to protect Americans. This President could properly use his powers by making common sense travel bans from Ebola hot spots. For political reasons, he simply, doggedly, and ideologically refuses to do so. The CDC projected that by January, up to 1.5 million cases of Ebola could happen.
Why are we fooling around with this? Our hospitals, nurses, and CDC have shown that they are not ready to handle an outbreak. Indeed, they don’t even know for sure what the right protocols are for handling patients. One rogue Liberian has sent this country into panic and has the CDC tracking hundreds of people in this country, two of whom are infected.
The President rarely uses the law correctly, and even more rarely in aid of the protection of Americans. It is time to ban travel from these hot zones until this President and his CDC can demonstrate that they can competently, and with the confidence of our people, address this virus. That protection does not prevent us from helping in the countries that need it most. That too is in our interest. In order to help, however, we must secure our own interests and safety first. It’s this President’s primary responsibility, and one for which his pen is authorized.
UPDATE by John: Matt Drudge gives the administration’s stubbornness some global context:
Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 9.24.11 PM
Of course, you can’t expect our government to be as competent as Nigeria’s.

Don's Tuesday Column

THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   10/21/2014

Voting integrity and Ebola response

Tonight’s topic and guest speakers are focused on a timely statewide issue that nonetheless has local repercussions. The issue is election (or voter) integrity—cleaning up elections by purging voter rolls of dead and relocated voters. The guests will be Mike and Patty Smith of Corning; meeting starts at 6 PM, Westside Grange.
The Democrat left dismisses the contention that vote fraud even exists, let alone swings election results. The truth is that ballot boxes mysteriously disappear, or even appear; voters move but still vote in previous locations; students vote at home and at their campus precincts; felons and noncitizens get their names added to the rolls. This primarily benefits the Democrat Party and effectively cancels someone else’s legitimate vote.
There are numerous relevant and unflattering (to President Obama and his sycophantic party acolytes) elements to the Ebola story. Going beyond my last 2 columns, I found the events of last week to be astonishing. First, I’ll not over state or hype the situation because we don’t live in a backward, third world nation of poor health and medical practices. America’s path will not replicate a Hollywood disaster picture with infections spread by merely breathing on each other.
Locally, Ebola is an irrelevancy. Similarly, unless you have made poor decisions to use, buy, sell, manufacture or grow drugs, if you have no contact or interaction with the (unfortunately) ever-growing population of gang-bangers, if you haven’t made poor judgments by becoming personally hooked- or shacked-up with an abusive or psychotic partner, and if your world of contacts are people similarly situated to yourself, you have very little risk of being a victim of any violent crime.
By the way, I discovered in my last gun permit class just why it’s true: locally, being a victim of an “active shooter” in a public place or a home invasion by a stranger is highly unlikely. On average, there are about 1.5 gun permits per 1,000 Californians; in Shasta County (it’s likely similar for Tehama County) there are about 30 carry permits per 1,000 people. That means that a gun-carrying criminal is very unlikely to encounter an armed citizen in California—only one or two out a thousand people. Locally, however, the criminal can expect that, out of every 30 or so people, there will be someone with a concealed, legally carried gun. That means at least one in every restaurant, grocery store, business or church. Not the kind of odds favoring a long life for the criminal shooter.
Now, I’ll sum up the remarkable developments on the Ebola front: All of the arguments for not implementing travel bans, or at least restrictions, are bogus and, when uttered by anyone in the Obama administration, endanger the American people. It is irrefutable that, had travel by any non-U.S. citizen from the African nations plagued by Ebola been banned—had that ban been in place from the start, an infected Mr. Duncan would never have entered America and no American health workers would have subsequently become infected. That decision was on Obama alone to make and implement and he blew it to the detriment and ongoing expense of hospitals, doctors, nurses and our general public.
The minute that someone else becomes infected, traceable to Duncan or those nurses, the buck stops with Obama for those infections or deaths. I hope and pray that doesn’t happen; however, Obama can’t appoint his way out of responsibility or culpability. It’s ludicrous to state that authorities can’t track the travel history of anyone legally entering our borders (and once again a border fence could have been built by Obama; Congress voted for and funded it) because passports are stamped for precisely that purpose. I read that Obama is in an angry snit over the poor, pathetic response of his federal government—he should go yell at a mirror.
Then, to pile prevarication on top of outrage, Democrats—with a major assist by the Associated Press—drew first political blood by their Tourette Syndrome response blaming…the sequester. Some hack from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, swung into action whining about budget cuts, “a 10-year slide in research support,” as an excuse for not having a vaccine. Then a funny thing happened on the way to figuratively lynching Republicans for heartlessly pulling the plug on medical research: The Truth Came Out!
Almost simultaneously, Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave the “GOP Cut CDC Funding” story his “whopper” rating—“four Pinocchios,” while the UK Daily Mail and others revealed that the NIH’s budget doubled from 2000 to 2008 and has remained around $40 billion per year for Obama’s entire term. That’s right, the global NIH budget, as well as the sub-budget for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, doubled under President Bush and remained elevated subject only to Obama’s request or a small sequester cut. That massive budget also funded a host of ridiculous projects: “Zombie Novella,” “Origami condoms,” “poop-throwing skills of chimpanzees,” “30-something binge drinking partiers,” “uncircumcised South African tribesmen,” and on and on.

Obama did take time from his endless golfing to appoint as an Ebola “Czar” political hatchet man, Ron Klain, who knows as much about medicine as I know about rocket science. Apparently, we are in the very best of hands, folks, and that’s the sad truth.



On Friday, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, complained that budget cuts had interfered with his agency’s ability to develop an anti-Ebola vaccine:
Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.
This sent Democrats into a twitter frenzy: sequester, here we go again! Ebola is the Republicans’ fault!
The Democrats’ argument is silly in almost too many ways to count, but let’s have fun with this one: has the NIH’s budget been stretched so tight that there was no money for high-priority projects like Ebola research? Or is this simply a case of misplaced priorities?
The Daily Mail answers that question in hilarious style:
The $30 billion U.S. National Institutes of Health blamed tightening federal budgets on Monday for its inability to produce an Ebola vaccine, but a review of its grant-making history in the last 10 years has turned up highly unusual research that redirected precious funds away from more conventional public health projects.
The projects included $2.4 million to develop “origami” condoms designed with Japanese folding paper in mind, and $939,000 to find out that male fruit flies prefer to romance younger females because the girl-flies’ hormone levels drop over time.
Other winners of NIH grants consumed $325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands, and $257,000 to make an online game as a companion to first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden.
The agency also spent $117,000 in taxpayers’ grant dollars to discover that most chimpanzees are right-handed.
The same group of scientists determined, at a cost of $592,000 for NIH, that chimps with the best poop-throwing skills are also the best communicators. …
Part of a $666,000 NIH grant supported a University of Buffalo researcher who determined that watching sitcom reruns like “Seinfeld” or re-watching old movies helps older people feel re-connected with pseudo-friends from their past.
Another outlay of $181,000 went to University of Kentucky researchers who studied how cocaine use “enhanced” the sex drive of the Japanese quail.
That one is my favorite.
It took a different NIH department to see the value in giving a University of Missouri team $548,000 to find out if 30-something partiers feel immature after they binge drink while people in their mid-20s don’t.
“We interpreted our findings to suggest that, at 25, drinking is more culturally acceptable,” declared a doctoral student who coordinated the government-funded field work.
A generous $610,000 paid for a 120-nation survey to determine how satisfied people in different countries are with their lives.
A staggering $1.1 million funded research into how athletes perceive their in-game surroundings, including one Purdue University study that discovered golfers can putt 10 per cent better if they imagine the hole is bigger.
And $832,000 went to learn if it was possible to get uncircumcised South African tribesmen into the habit of washing their genitals after having sex.
This chart shows the funding of the National Institutes of Health in red, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the agency that is actually working on treatments for Ebola, in blue:
Note that NIAID’s funding has grown by more than 200% since 2000.
This episode reflects the fact that the Democrats simply aren’t serious. A worldwide epidemic threatens to kill thousands, potentially millions of people, and all the Democrats can think of: is there some half-baked way we can blame this on Republicans and get a boost in the midterms?
It also illustrates the fundamental problem with one federal agency after another: instead of sticking to its core mission and executing it competently, the agency goes down one trendy (and often politically correct) byway after another. It thereby dissipates its resources, loses its focus, and winds up performing its real mission poorly.

(Plus this followup)


John wrote yesterday about the alleged NIH “budget cuts.” Dr. Michael Rogers of Harvard Medical School/Children’s Hospital (Boston) follows up with a brief message providing a concise summary as well as a link to the authoritative CRS fact sheet setting forth a history of NIH funding (dated December 23, 2013):
Attached [at the link above] is a CRS analysis of the actual NIH budget for the last several years in inflation adjusted (real) dollars. It’s worth noting that after the Republican takeover in ’94, the NIH budget rose until the Dems took over Congress in 2006. The Pelosi/Reid Congress was the first to flatline the NIH budget in nominal dollars. If they’re not careful, someone might notice, take the Dems at their word that the decreasing NIH budget is the reason we don’t have Ebola drugs yet, and blame the Democrats.
He adds: “BTW, the increase in NIAID budget (which is congressionally determined) is a result of the post 9/11 anthrax scare.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Answering Ted Olson

Answering Ted Olson
Changing marriage is not the way to secure dignity and respect for gay couples.
By Mona Charen

Elbert Guillory: Bear-Killer, Gadfly, Statesman

Elbert Guillory: Bear-Killer, Gadfly, Statesman
The now-famous GOP convert challenges Louisiana blacks to leave Landrieu and the Democratic fold.
By Joel Gehrke