On the RAMU last night, I was amazed to discover that there are people who haven’t seen the 2006 movie Idiocracy. Here are the first couple of minutes which, in opinion, is the best part.
Two years before the movie was released, I published my own, much less funny, study, “Global IQ: 1950–2050”, which, based upon U.S. Census Bureau population forecasts for 185 countries around the globe and the IQ measurements and estimates from Lynn and Vanhanen’s IQ and the Wealth of Nations, estimated the mean global IQ at yearly intervals between 1950 and 2050. In short, in 1950 the world had a population of around 2.55 billion with a mean IQ of 91.64. By 2000, population had increased to 6.07 billion with a mean IQ of 89.20. By 2050, the forecast is 9.06 billion and an IQ of 86.32.
There is a great deal of uncertainty and possible quibbles with any analysis of this kind. I discuss many of these issues in the document, which provides links to primary data sources.
One thing to think about when contemplating this trend and the élites’ notion of “global governance” is that I can find no evidence for sustained consensual self-government in populations with mean IQ less than 90.
Our analysis shows that peace does not depend on integrated coexistence, but rather on well defined topographical and political boundaries separating groups. Mountains and lakes are an important part of the boundaries between sharply defined linguistic areas.
Amidst rioting which continues to spread across France, and has become much more a sign of general dissatisfaction than a specific protest over fuel taxes, French President Emmanuel Macron made a nationwide televised address today. Here is a version with English translation from France 24 English.
He spoke for thirteen minutes, which I can summarise as “blah, blah, blah”.
He’s going to raise the minimum wage (that’s sure to help!), encourage employers to pay year-end bonuses which will not be taxed, make overtime tax free, and—wait for it—ask large enterprises and and the wealthy to “contribute”. And he wants to “discuss” immigration and identity.
I’m sure the gliets jaunes will be immediately mollified and go home to watch football.
I will give the French credit. When they do revolutions, they go about them properly: in the streets, at the barricades. Bodies, and particularly heads are put at risk. Not so in America; nothing so old-fashioned or crass as blood in the streets here. Above all, no risk that the failed perps’ heads will appear on spikes. No, here revolutions take place in secret grand jury rooms, where the mills (Muehlen, in German. A miller is a mueller – how about that!) of justice coups grind exceeding slow…
Much has been speculated since Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. The end result – that Trump would, with certainty, be accused of some wrongdoing – was baked into the cake at the outset. Comey, as agent of the deep state, somehow, saw to it that his friend Mueller was appointed. Were we still a nation of laws, their relationship would have been disqualifying, as should have been many of Mueller’s appointees been disqualified; they are known and vocal Democrat partisans. The fact that Mueller was never even slightly concerned with either of these blatant conflicts of interest tells just how sure of himself he is in his mission. And all of this is only possible because the “media” are now Democrat operatives; as such, they only scream about “apparent” conflicts of interest when they apply to Republicans. Blatant ones on the part of Democrats merit no mention, whatsoever. NOT news = fake news.
Trump’s ill-chosen former lawyer, Cohen, has become fresh chum strewn in the elasmobranch journalist pool, extra blood added by various Democrats of the same chondrichthyes family. All predictions aside, one thing, known to all inside the beltway is clear: no one can survive a federal investigation for anything without evidence of some felonious wrongdoing being “discovered” (or fabricated in the form of a perjury trap). The mere existence of this investigation assured the outcome: Trump will be accused of some felony or other, in the finest Stalin/Berea tradition – “You bring me the man and I will find you the crime.” Welcome to 21st century Amerika.
Let’s make a few comparisons. Hillary’s deleted emails were clear felonies, for which, still today, literally hundreds are sitting in jail – for deleting work-related materials of no national import. They will continue to go to jail in the future for this same act. Ordinary folks go straight to jail for doing this. To Comey and the media – no crime. Whatever Trump is eventually accused of will pale in comparison. Today, it is said Trump violated campaign laws by paying off women. What, by comparison, happened to women involved with Bill Clinton? Trump paid them money, Clinton and his wife destroyed Bills “bimbos.” Yet, they “love” women, while Trump hates them. And the kiss off – Obama broke the same campaign law Trump is accused of breaking, to the tune of about 10 times as much money. The result? No media coverage, no criminal accusation. Quiet payment of a small fine. End of non-story = more fake non-news, which, again is only no news when it applies to Democrats.
I have no idea how this will play out. What I do know is that in today’s America (it is no longer your grandparents’ America), all things are possible. I suspect Trump will not go down like Nixon did. That was a coup writ small. It was merely a warm-up for this, however. I hope Trump will not refrain from whatever he can do to fight and I hope he is joined – on the barricades if need be – by the righteously-irate citizens who elected him, lawfully. This is an attempted coup, under color of law, but, in fact extra-legal. It is a fake criminalization of political differences and has been conducted in secret and in slow motion. The perpetrators ought to be exposed for the treasonous revolutionaries that they are. They ought to fail and they ought to pay the heavy price of failure.
If this coup succeeds, count the moment as the definitive end of the American experiment (in my pessimism, I suspect it has already ended, but I could be wrong).
…and a subject worth reviling and fearing – i.e. the power of Google and Facebook to shape society in the image they, completely unaccountably, deem best. The title, an understatement – “creepy ‘ is much too mild a descriptor – comes from a statement by Eric Schmidt, who in 2010, told an interviewer that Google’s policy is to “get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”While that makes for a catchy title, it in no way captures the nefarious things being done by a company whose motto is (or was) supposedly, “Don’t be evil.” Facebook does similar things as well.
The film explains how Google began as a search engine, but became something very different. As a non-technical individual, I cannot do the topic justice. Suffice it to say, the stories told by psychologist Robert Epstein and Jordan Peterson (both of whose email and youtube accounts were suddenly shut down without explanation and without recourse) are very frightening.
Epstein recounts scientific studies which show that the the mere order in which search results are listed (and whether or not even a single one of them contains any negatives regarding a candidate) easily sway the opinions of a randomly-selected, undecided group of people. This alone should give great pause as to how we view these companies.
In addition, the tension between acting as neutral forums vs. publishers is explained and fleshed out. Today, we have the intolerable situation where Google and Facebook are regularly, if sometimes surreptitiously, acting as unregulated publishers by editing much of what they offer online. Even while doing so, they claim to be mere neutral entities, not responsible for what they show (or do not, by intentionally suppressing them!) in their links. The situation as it now exists, this documentary makes clear, must not continue.
After hearing the tales of how their email accounts were suddenly gone because they said thing Google didn’t like, I have decided it is time to migrate off of Gmail (I stopped using Facebook years ago after giving it a try and finding it “creepy”). The risk of losing all my mail as a result of political speech disliked by Google, in its arrogance (they scan every word, including discarded drafts!!), I find to be intolerable. I also find it intolerable to support a company (as the product that I am, not a customer) which has incorporated evil into the very heart of its business model. If you think I exaggerate, please watch the film, available for free on Amazon Prime.
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.
How maritime culture affected historical events
By MARK LARDAS
Dec 4, 2018
“Seapower States: Maritime Culture, Continental Empires, and the Conflict that Made the Modern World,” by Andrew Lambert, Yale University Press, 2018, 424 pages, $30
Free markets and representative government combined to create unprecedented wealth since 1800. During the 20th century, three major conflicts were won by the coalition better representing those two traits.
“Seapower States: Maritime Culture, Continental Empires, and the Conflict that Made the Modern World,” by Andrew Lambert examines the roles maritime cultures play fostering progress. Lambert holds that nations depending on seapower must necessarily favor free trade and possess representative governments.
He examines five nations that became world powers through embracing maritime culture and seapower: Athens, Carthage, Venice, the Netherlands, and Britain. All five gained power through trade — and more importantly, exchange of ideas. He argues they achieved this because all five had decentralized, representative governments made up of people whose livelihood depended on trade. This allowed the best ideas and the best leaders to rise to the top.
He also examines the major rivals of each state — continental powers favoring a strong central government with a command economy set by that government: Persia and Sparta against Athens, Rome against Carthage, Imperial (and later Revolutionary) France against Venice, the Netherlands, and Britain. He explores the wars fought between the rival piers and what led to victory or defeat in each case.
Lambert differentiates between seapower (controlling the sea and trade on it) and naval power (possessing a strong navy). Continental powers can build and sustain strong navies (as did Rome and Russia in examples given in his book) and even defeat seapowers with their navies. But while seapowers use their navies to protect trade, continental powers use their navies to project land power. Rome invaded Africa, and Russia used its fleets to flank Sweden and the Ottomans.
He also examines sea states, nations which developed seapower, but didn’t become dominating nations. These include the ancient Phoenician cities of the Levant coast, Rhodes, and Genoa.
Lambert argues what makes seapower states dangerous to continental states is they foster innovation. This is destabilizing, as new technologies often undermine the authority of central governments. “Seapower States” offers insight into the direction the modern world may take due to tensions between liberty and centralization.
Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.
This has become a familiar problem in politics. At the moment that any news item comes along, media hacks want to be able to report on what reactions and consequences will result from the item. Politicians become immediately anxious to influence any outcomes in a direction favorable to them. Pundits have to have something clever or ponderous to say about everything. And, if it is international, all eyes are on the President to see how he will respond.
No; I am not about to talk about President Trump. I am thinking about President George Herbert Walker Bush. The memorial chatter in observance of his death has got me irked. He is rightfully being remembered as the great statesman who presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union. But he was called “gracious” and “statesman” and “reserved” in ways to deliberately contrast with President Trump, in hopes of making President Trump look bad by comparison. That was a very different time with very different circumstances. Current motives for lauding President G.H.W. Bush are transparent.
Now there is a spate of “he was actually horrible” reaction pieces. Here is an example of the c**p I mean:
Especially compared with current occupant of the Oval Office, George H. W. Bush was a dignified figure who served his country steadfastly in war and peace. He represented a center-right, internationalist strain of Republicanism that barely exists today. But it doesn’t make sense to canonize him.
I remember the G.H.W. Bush Administration days. I recall all the histrionics over the open discontent coming from behind the Iron Curtain, which was building because Mikhail Gorbachev was holding steady on his course of “Glasnost,” which was translated as “Openness.” I also recall mass media giving voice to lots of chatterers who were urging President Bush to “do something!” These were counterposed with chatterers expressing high anxiety about things going badly wrong if he did the wrong something. There was a huge debate raging over just what America should do to take advantage of the situation.
President G.H.W.B. was the right man for this circumstance. He was a cold warrior, well-acquainted with all the players, including China. He was well known by most world leaders. Nobody thought he would act rashly, and he was circumspect. In this case, by “circumspect” I do not mean to say that he was risk-averse, but, rather that he exhibited a pattern of careful and well-informed decisionmaking: “a careful consideration of all circumstances and a desire to avoid mistakes and bad consequences.”
There was a great storm of confusion and loud voices urging all sorts of action, and all sorts of fearmongering about what America might do to exploit the situation. President G.H.W.B. started calling heads of state, beginning with Gorbachev and proceeding all the way down the roster. This was something he had been doing all through 1989, since the unrest in the Eastern Bloc presaged the unrest in Russia. I recall some Important People predicting that, just as Luis XIV’s reforms let the pressure off just enough for the French cauldron to boil over in 1789, so Russia would explode in a massive bloodletting, and that the unrest would be a great opportunity for America to exploit.
Bush was calling to reassure everyone that America would not act rashly nor aggressively, and, if assistance was wanted, would help the Russian people to back away from generations of Communist rule, and that he looked forward to embracing his Russian friends as free partners on the world stage. The central message was that President G.H.W. Bush intended to donothing, and allow the Russians and their client Soviet partners readjust their internal affairs without American meddling. This had been his consistent message to Gorbachev all through 1989.
You are probably familiar with several aphorisms to the effect of, ‘when things are going in a good direction, don’t get in the way.’ But that is really hard do; to refrain from acting when there is a daily clamor for you to act.
President Bush was faulted for inaction, called a “dumb lucky bystander,” trashed daily in the press. He was even called “a wimp;” which is a stunning description of a man who earned the Distinguished Flying Cross while piloting 58 torpedo bomber missions from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
You have to remember that this was back in the days of Leftist mass media hegemony. There were only the three alphabet networks, Public Broadcasting, and a brand-new little-known phenomenon, a cable channel dedicated to full time news broadcasting. CNN was new and was just one of 100 cable channels competing for attention in the relatively new world of cable. The only conservative publications were Commentary and National Review, both with miniscule circulation then as now. The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal was the only widespread source of conservative thought in America. The New York Times and the Washington Post dominated the national conversation, much more back then than now.
There was little in the way of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh had started in 1988 with 56 stations, the year after the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and was barely on over 100 stations at the time. (Otherwise, talk radio was mostly local, interviewing local commissioners and municipal department heads, or discussing health issues with a local doctor, or national shows that talked about music and Hollywood celebrities.) The repeal of the Fairness Doctrine allowed the major media organizations to quit maintaining a balance of “liberal” (Leftist) commentary and conservative commentary.
So media was a Leftist project, but most Americans did not recognize just how far left it had become. This allowed President Bush to be slandered daily with little in the way of countervailing defense. There were still a hundred or so conservative daily papers in those days, but they were overwhelmed by the flood of Leftist ink and Leftist broadcasting.
President G.H.W. Bush had his defenders, including the most stalwart Bob Dole. But on the national scene, he was holding steady, reassuring the world most evenings by telephone to encourage everyone to simply let the Soviet system collapse without meddling, and not to worry about all the fearmongering from the press. When the Berlin Wall fell, there was a new round of fearmongering about American meddling, which kept G.H.W.B busy soothing political anxieties around the globe in early-early morning or very late-night phone calls.
By the time of the 1992 campaign, the Soviet Union had collapsed, with total casualties less than a hundred, not millions. Boris Yeltsin had been leading the new Russian Federation for a year, and the whole subject was considered “old news” as far as American mass media was concerned.
Saddam Hussein miscalculated badly. He mistook American inaction during a clear moment of opportunity to be an indication of American weakness and of President Bush’s personal weakness. He invaded Kuwait, which he had wanted for a very very long time. His minions treated Kuwaitis badly. News of atrocities, and refugees, slipped out of Kuwait.
The ruling family of Kuwait had an important personal friend in George H.W. Bush; they had had warm acquaintances for many years. He told Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait or else. Then, to back up his threat, he requested that the Pentagon get to work in earnest on war plans.
But the situation was complicated by the fact that there was no Soviet counterbalance to American power, and the Europeans were going nuts about American cowboys swaggering around the world and breaking things. There was all sorts of Congressional carping about how G.H.W. Bush would lead us into a disaster. So, President Bush decided to act as the leader of a group, and then patiently pulled together a coalition. Several (seemingly) important international members decided to play coy, and so President Bush agreed not to invade Iraq, but instead to go only so far as was needed to liberate Kuwait.
He kept his promise. Even though it was clear to everyone that what would be best would be to move on in to Baghdad, President Bush kept his promise.
There were some really interesting economic changes in the 1980s. The one we best remember is the Reagan tax cut. But there was a stock market crash in 1987, and a slo-mo disaster among savings&loans that began with a high profile bankruptcy in 1985, then progressed through a number of bankruptcies until Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings went bankrupt in 1989. The deregulation of savings&loans under Carter ended with new regulations in 1990. That was accompanied in a budget deal in which the Democrats had forced President Bush to accept a deal that modestly raised taxes, famously breaking his “no new taxes” pledge from the 1988 campaign. The American economy stalled into a mild recession in 1990.
President G.H.W. Bush huddled with his economic team, and decided that the fundamentals of the American economy were sound and that things were sorting out smoothly. He decided that the best approach was to donothing and let the power of American enterprise work things out.
Of course, mass media was full of chattering about how awful the Bush economy was and how out of touch Bush was because he was spending all his time palling around with his international friends.
The campaign began in earnest in the fall of 1991, with America still technically in recession, but with signs of recovery all around. Democratic candidates all agreed that America needed a huge jobs bill to “put America back to work.” The most robust counterpoint to that was from Ross Perot, who was spending his own millions to put the budget deficit and the national debt into the national conversation.
The campaign of 1992 was really ugly if you were paying attention. Pat Buchanan ran a strong primary challenge in which he decried the national debt, trying to leverage some of Ross Perot’s work.
Bill Clinton emerged soon as the favorite Democrat. He had southern charm, a boyish grin, and spoke about being a “New Democrat.” His wife was a career lawyer lady popular among the Planned Parenthood wing. He could carry all those Southern conservative Democrats along with all the Leftist coastal Democrats and the rust belt union states. The pundit class agreed that he had what it would take to unseat an incumbent.
What nobody except Rush Limbaugh was talking about was that mass media was working as an extension of the Democrat campaign.
Media talking heads started saying that Bush was so focused on international events that he did not care about domestic affairs. Their spin was that his energetic and careful restraint on the international front caused him to neglect domestic issues. The recession was blamed on Bush, and the actual causes were ignored. Democrats raised the hue and cry, and mass media amplified it.
They also reinforced it through dishonest reporting on the economy. They reported every bit of economic news, maintaining a careful accounting. But that is not how Americans learn news. Bad economic news was reported, and good economic news was reported. Then the bad news was repeated, while the good news was shelved. Bad news got talked about, and good news did not get talked about. Reporters asked questions at news conferences about bad news, but not about good news. Chattering shows dwelt on bad news and ignored good news. Editorials focused on bad news and not good news. If much of the American economy is dependent on “consumer confidence,” then the whole economy resisted recovery because consumer confidence was killed by constant media focus on bad economic news.
James Carville famously observed that Clinton’s main message was “it’s the economy, stupid.” This sound bite leveraged the mass media narrative in a way that was condescending and arrogant, which was what made Carville such a good hatchet man.
At every opportunity, at the Convention and all through the fall campaigning, G.H.W. Bush kept saying that all the indicators were that the economy had bottomed out in the early spring of 1992, and that the American economy was robust, things were building up, and that the best thing to do about the economy was to donothing.
He was ridiculed. He was mocked and and scoffed. He was called “out of touch.” He was called an out-of-touch elitist who never did his own grocery shopping. In an effort to address that, he went grocery shopping, which turned out disastrous when it became clear that he had never seen a checkout scanner in use. He was widely mocked for that, although grocery scanners had only come into widespread use in the past five years. The optics were bad.
And he was too genteel to call out the reporters who rode Air Force One for their poor and unfair journalism. They continued to carry bad economic news to boost Bill Clinton.
And in the third ring of this circus H. Ross Perot stole enough votes away to throw the election.
Clinton Economy ?
George H. W. Bush lost in 1992 and Bill Clinton became president. He had his massive jobs program introduced and passed in the House. It was spiked by Bob Dole in the Senate. Dole killed it so dead that it never was mentioned after that.
Mostly it was forgotten because it was not needed. Other economy-boosting measures introduced by Democrats also died. What happened was that the Fed kept interest rates low, and that was all that was needed for the American economy to recover. It was more than a recovery. It was a booming economy.
So, what Bill Clinton actually did for the economy was to donothing, because Bob Dole prevented him from doing the stupid stuff he had promised while campaigning. He even won reelection in 1996 on the basis of his wonderful economic performance.
Bill Clinton and the Democrat-Media Complex are still taking bows for the wonderful economy of the 1990s. Nobody ever observes that it was G.H.W. Bush’s (and Bob Dole’s and Ronald Reagan’s) economy and economic policy that initiated it and provided room for American ingenuity to flourish.
In the July reports on the first half of 1993 a report came out that said that the economy was great, all indicators were up, and things looked really rosy.
What went unreported was a little paragraph in which it was noted that the bottom of the recession had been reached in March of the previous year.
What G.H.W.B. had been saying about the economy was exactly true. But Americans were never told that.
Poles are among those following the protests, riots, and police in action in France, and retweeting film clips made on the scene. One such is “Based Poland.”
I thought to copy and paste the URL to a particular tweet containing video of ranks of kneeling high-school students in a police enclosure. This is my first attempt at this move; apologies if it fails. The Preview includes the URL.
(Had I chosen “Embed this Tweet,” instead of “Copy the URL,” would I then have had to switch to Text Mode?)
#Macron's police with some harsh treatment against High School students demonstrating against his rule in the #GiletsJaunes protests
I listened to the audio version of this interview while running errands this afternoon. As usual, Thomas Sowell demonstrates his clear as light thinking about topics as diverse as his journey from Marxism to libertarian conservatism, the disastrous impact of minimum wage laws and welfare on youth, both in the U.S. and worldwide, and the damage being done by affirmative action to bright minority students mis-matched with the élite educational institutions to which they are admitted.
Fred Reed (click link for his biography) recently spent two weeks in China, visiting Chengdu and its environs. He has posted three essays about his experiences and impressions on his blog, Fred on Everything. They’re well worth the time to read.
Looks like the Weekly Standard (or is it Weakly Standard) has hit a bump in its business plan. It appears to be heading for shutdown. Guess that
“all anti-Trump, all the time” model got old fast. It has made Don Surber’s Trumpenfreude list.
Apple CEO Tim Cook suggests it's "a sin" to not ban certain people from social media and technology platforms: "We only have one message for those who seek to push hate, division, and violence: You have no place on our platforms. You have no home here." pic.twitter.com/gO5qB6bBuO
As Sarah walked from the diner’s serving room to the kitchen, she knew two things: her blood pressure had already begun to rise, and that it was only a matter of time before her latest customer began screaming like a psychopath. Sadly, it was a routine that they had all become used to.
She really used to love her job. The extra cash she earned from picking up an odd late night shift at the Heartland Diner in D.C. helped her keep her family’s heads above water. The diner’s customers, for the most part, were regular folks who occasionally passed through town: friendly, honest, polite, good tippers. The D.C. locals, however, felt that the Heartland’s ambiance was a bit too low-rent for their refined tastes, and that was fine by Sarah. She really did used to love her job. But then he started coming in.
And whenever he did come in, Sarah and the rest of the Heartland crew knew that all they could do was play along – that and get the hell out of the way. No matter how crazy he got, they knew that no cop in D.C. was going to come down and tell the most powerful man in America, and he was the most powerful man in America, to knock it the hell off.
So, tonight, as on previous nights, Sarah and the crew watched nervously from the kitchen doors and waited for the most powerful man in America to finally leave.
Robert Mueller sat alone in a corner booth. Across from him, placed as if it was intended for an absent guest, was the dinner he had ordered – his usual. The left corner of his upper lip began twitching into a barely subdued, reflexive snarl as he stared down his quarry – a lonely sandwich on a plate on the other side of the table.
This went on for many minutes.
Finally, Mueller reached down beside him and produced a manila folder. He opened it and placed it down on the table in front of him. The document inside was oriented print side up and upside-down, so the sandwich could read it. He then reached into his jacket pocket.
Carlos the line cook, not looking away, whispered to Sarah in disbelief, “Jesus! He brought the packets again!” But before Sarah could answer, Mueller, instead of a packet, pulled a pen out of his pocket.
He laid that pen on the document. And then, using two fingers, slowly pushed the folder, document, and pen over to the sandwich.
There was a long pause. At last, with his patience nearing its end, Mueller whispered menacingly, “don’t make me send Weissmann to your house…”
The ham sandwich, however, remained steadfastly uncooperative.
Mueller’s back began to stiffen and Carlos again whispered in horrified yet amused anticipation, “He’s going for the packets! He’s going for the packets!”
Mueller leaped from the booth, ripped the top slice of bread off of the sandwich, jammed a hand into his jacket, pulled out two condiment packets, tore them open, shot the Russian Dressing contents onto the sandwich, threw the empty packets onto the floor, slammed the discarded slice of bread back on top of the sandwich, and began screaming, “You’re dirty and you know it! You’re all dirty, goddamnit! Now, sign ze papers! Sign ze goddamned papers!”
This also went on for many minutes.
And so, another night passed at the Heartland with Robert Mueller raving at a dinner plate. And as Sarah stood there, watching from the kitchen, she thought about her bills, her high blood pressure, her husband’s diabetes, the ridiculous excuse for health insurance that they were mandated to buy, the second jobs that they both must now work despite welcome relief from the latest tax cut – and she sincerely wished that there was some way that she could make the rest of D.C. understand just how the Heartland really sees them.
IMHO; it ain’t only the Clintons… Desperate Obama wants credit for Trump economy. (No surprise there, I never trusted that man. I took an oath to respect the office of the president, I did and I will respect the office, But I could never respect that man that held that office for those turbulent eight years.)