Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Australian study on race and IQ in South Africa seems to have unwelcome conclusions

I’ll share a video post from “Australian Realist” that compares IQ’s by race in a college class in South Africa.  I won’t embed because it’s pretty scary.

The stuff about brain size and even women’s birth channel size sounds like the stuff from Nazi pseudo-science.  But the problem here, what if this data is correct?

You hope that it’s explainable by colonialism, and accumulated effects of poverty, disease, and bad environments.  Perhaps.
It’s also true that race is a very arbitrary category.  People in India who look “dark” are technically Caucasian, and within almost all “races” populations that evolved closer to the Equator have more skin pigment. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Japan stands out in not having polarization among its people; BigThink explains why ("Trump is a symptom")

BigThink offers a video explaining that “Trump is a symptom” not a cause.  It’s happening in all modern countries, except Japan. I believe this video was sponsored by the Koch Foundation.

The four big causes (this sounds like a test question) are (1) people falling behind indirectly as a result of free trade (2) resentment of immigration even though generally immigrants cause less crime of natives – we don’t take care of our own first (3) the military – foreign wars, especially in the middle east, fought by enlisted men with a “backdoor draft” (like the Paramount film “Stop-Loss”, Movies blog, March 29, 2008) and (4) social media, where companies sell more ads to people if they keep them in echo chambers seeing content they “like”.
Japan has a shrinking population and almost no immigration, and oddly it discourages the presence of political information on social media.  Actor Reid Ewing, when he had his twitter account, presented some material on multiple visits to Japan and Danganronpa manga comics a few years ago.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

China's Internet censorship by door-to-door

Gerry Shih describes how personal Internet censorship gets in China, with a Washington Post article today here. 

Twitter is officially banned, but people use it under the table.

But the government manually censors use and will pay home or office visits to users to demand removal of political material.

The state will even hack Twitter accounts.

Why is the state so unwilling to let citizens to talk about politics? Is it to hide corruption? 

You see the same attitude among the far Left in the US now.  If individuals can take it upon themselves to talk politics without the group, there is no solidarity, no loyalty, and inequality and “exploitation” persists.   Look at the recent scandals with Patreon and payment processors.  It will only get worse.
Of course, this all goes into the “social credit score” in China which the radicals want to bring here.

Update: Jan. 11

Paul Mozur has another article on draconian censorship in China, where a man is interrogated for using Twitter, even when out of the country.

In Maxist ideology, collective social order is a high priority and can be undermined by individual political speech. 

Saturday, January 5, 2019

NBA player won't travel to London because of fears of reprisals from Turkey; are controversial Americans safe overseas?

New York Knicks player Enes Kanter will not travel with the New York Knicks to London to play Washington January 17 out of fear of possible assassination attempt in the UK by spies from Turkey, after his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Fox43 News reports 

Outspoken bloggers (even myself) could face danger if traveling to non-democratic countries like Russia, I suspect.  I’ve been critical publicly of Russia’s 2013 anti-gay propaganda law.
CNN discusses the arrest of Paul Whelan in Russia here

Friday, January 4, 2019

Do we need that Wall? Probably so, in many areas

OK, Tucker Carlson interviews Mike Pence, who insists there must be a wall.

There is a transcript with the YouTube video of the interview. 

Let’s now present the other side. The Washington Post analyzed Trump’s tweets on Jan. 1, here   Most salient points: more illegal aliens are here with overstayed visas than illegal entry. True.

 People can tunnel under walls to transport drugs. True.  You need other enforcement.

I’ve even tweeted “Economic Invincibility” to ask if he’ll do a video analyzing all of this – because quite a few people in the negotiations know him (especially on the Trump side).

My own take.  I’m familiar with arguments (Vox) that say that walls aren’t needed in all the rural areas (may be very difficult to build like in the Big Bend, for example). 

I lived in Texas in the 1980s.  I’ve driven in the border areas.  I’ve hiked and backpacked at least once.  In 1979 I crossed with a rental car when it was easy. 

Ranchers in the area say they leave out water for stragglers on their properties.  So negotiators should talk to the ranchers.

But it’s “manifestly observable” that it’s pretty easy to cross the river and come into the country in many areas.  You do need a physical wall, or high transparent fence with mesh on top, in many areas.
Democrats are silly when they say “walls are not who we are.”  We do need them in many areas.  It is now more likely that large caravans would try to cross in areas they know have no protection.
But the idea that Mexico would pay for it was, well, dumb.  

One person to ask about this is Taylor Wilson at the University of Nevada.  I know he has worked on high-tech border security and inspections of cargo. 

Update: Jan. 14 

There are small border towns where people have houses and yards right on the Rio Grande with no wall or barrier.  Homeowners say there is no crime, but they do see migrants swim across the river sometimes and traverse property.  Despite what they say, this could be a real security problem.  Eminent domain might mean purchasing the land and having to pay for new homes to be built on land some distance, like a mile or more, from the border, off the river.  Katie Zazema et al have a Washington Post article Jan. 10. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

China maintains factory-like working conditions for its proletarian censors

Li Yuan has a booklet-length article in the New York Times on Thursday, January 3, 2019, about how draconian China’s Internet censorship really is, link,Censoring China’s Internet for Stability and Profit”. 

The article describes the factory-like conditions under which the censors work, and even their academy-like training.

The censors must memorize a lot of facts about Chinese history to recognize the pseudonyms common in Internet memes.

China views censorship as essential to political and social political stability because it sees excessive speech as contradictory to the personal “rightsizing” in Marxist moral philosophy.

Censorship will be tied to China’s social credit score system.  
It seems odd that the US stock market should now be so tied to China, and Trump’s trade war has become reckless.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Proponents of Wall expose underground sex trafficking, and FOSTA won't stop it

Today I saw a post on a FB friend’s site that included a long discussion from someone (female) who had worked in border security in Texas.  She also said she had connections with the Honduran government and intimate knowledge of MS-13.

She argued for the Wall.  She also talked about trafficking and claimed that governments are facilitating it.  I shared it on my timeline  . It doesn’t seem that I can give it a more specific URL (pages you can). FOSTA won't stop this kind of pipeline. 

I suggested that ranchers, who actually put out food and water for undocumented stragglers on their property, give input to Congress on what will actually work. 
Matthew Yglesias of Vox argues why a wall in many areas is ineffective as security policy. Trump is simply unable to keep fooling his base with what he probably knows (by now) is an ineffective policy idea. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Trump threatens to close southern border over Democratic resistance to Wall, while Putin threatens US with hypersonic missile

We’ve seen one of the most belligerent statements from Russia and Putin, whom Trump is in bed with, about a new hypersonic missile that is supposed to evade all of NORAD’s systems (NPR). As Jordan Peterson has said, these ex-communists are armed to the teeth.  One high-altitude thermonuclear explosion over your country, and you’re “done”.  

Trump, instead, threats to close the southern border if he can’t get his way with his base on the Wall. 

He would sacrifice the incomes of federal workers and contractors (as pawns) to make things “right” for his own “people”.  That sounds Stalinist.

That is not to say that you don’t have serious problems in the border areas, as the Epoch Times reports on the effectiveness of the fence near Yuma, AZ. There had been burglaries in the area attributed to undocumented immigrants.

Can the Republicans “fire” Trump?  You need about 20 GOP Senators.

Tim Pool says Trump will never back down on the Wall.  Trump will probably quote Pool on Twitter.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Some conservative papers say Trump is wrong, Mattis is right on Syria

There was some anger on a Facebook friend’s page over my dismissive comment that Trump, after a phone call from Erdogan, think that Turkey will take care of policing Assad and ISIS by itself. The Kurds would be in danger.

Both Rand Paul and father Ron echoed that idea on CNN with Smerconish.

I had thought that the conservative Washington Times would actually accept Trump’s move on this one, and even view Mattis as elitist in his resignation.

No, instead TWT is quite reasonable in pointing out the dangers for the United States with Trump’s impetuous decision, in an op-ed Monday by Gary Anderson. And TWT has several followup articles, including the Byzantine situation with the Kurds.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Do states that legalize marijuana help relieve the illegal immigration incentives indirectly?

Dave Bier of the Cato Institute argues that legal marijuana in several western states is reducing drug smuggling along the border and may help counter the disintegration of law and order in some Central American countries, driving gang activity and illegal caravans and attempted border crossings.

This fits into a narrative where President Trump is trying to force an issue over Wall funding and backtracking on signing temporary funding, because Democrats take over the House on Jan. 3.  That has rattled markets.

And there has also been a somewhat silly attempt to fund a wall from GoFundMe – although maybe if you’re a rancher in south Texas it would make business sense. 

My take:  in most places, a transparent wired structure makes sense, but not everywhere.  I lived in Texas in the 80s and sometimes visited the border areas, as I did in May of this year. There is no one simple solution to stopping illegal border crossings.

And, as noted yesterday, Trump has rattled confidence in US national security with his pullout from Syria and Afghanistan and Mattis’s resignation.  Obama’s pullout of Iraq in 2011 may have helped ISIS get started, leading to the European migrant crisis.

I also wanted to pass along a link to a new Asylumist article, that it's getting harder to win asylum in court, here

SCOTUS upheld a lower court ruling not allowing Trump to ban people who entered illegally from seeking asylum.  Apparently Judge Ginsberg was able to vote, and Roberts is starting to act a little more moderate (closer to Kennedy) and upheld the ruling, CNN

Thursday, December 20, 2018

CNN suggests America is in great danger with Mattis resignation with no "adults" in the White House or on top of DOD

CNN’s account of Jim Mattis’s resignation today (effective Feb. 28, 2019) is dire indeed, as in this article by Chris Cillizza. 

Don Lemon tonight on CNN at 10 PM that every American should be worried about his own safety as a result of a lack of an adult in the charge of the military.

Here is the text of the letter . Ot does not defer to President Trump.

Mattis obviously believes that the withdrawals from Syria and now Afghanistan are very unwise and were motivated to please Trump’s base.

Will Trump be able to appoint an adult military professional to replace Mattis.
How will Lemon’s kind of talk (which many analysts may be thinking on their own) affect the stock markets, already displeased by the Fed remarks and Trump’s fumbling of the shutdown?
I wonder if Fox will put a less dire spin on this.
People on Twitter have been suggesting replacing “Baby Trump” with (precocious young adult) David Hogg, who could be president in 2036.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

North Korea likely to resume nuke tests over sanctions; Washington Times has a library of articles on DPRK, but it needs work

The Washington Times has an article today by Gus Taylor indicating that North Korea is threatening to step up its nuclear and missile testing again unless the U.S. relieves economic sanctions. 
The administration has also increased mutual defense talks with South Korea.
But the article also indicates that the administration wants to get more momentum back in denuclearization.

The Washington Times has a little booklet of many articles on North Korea, but hasn’t kept it up with the latest articles.  And the page doesn’t date the articles.  The collection is a good idea but needs to be kept up.

Update: Dec. 20

Penn reports that North Korea says that the US much remove its nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula before denuclearization resumes.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Climate change agreement at COP24 barely signed, despite US, and populist resistance now in Europe

Nearly 200 countries “barely” put the 2015 Paris climate change rules into place at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland, at COP24, NPR story

The meeting was held in a country whose economy depends on coal.

There was considerable sentiment that the developed countries had already used up more of their karma by releasing so much carbon during full industrialization.
Trump had pulled out in 2017, and countries (like France) are finding it harder to expect sacrifices for future generations from rural people.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Vox interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson warns of our courting nuclear war with North Korea

Alex Ward, on Vox, explains “How Trump made the North Korea crisis worse”, link

The article turns out to be an interview with Wilson Center scholar Van Jackson, author of a new book from Cambridge University Press, “On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War”, link here

Jackson notes that Trump may have mislead Kim a few times, at least before the Winter Olympics, besides making his bombastic threats in 2017.  Trump as even publicly admitted that he butters up Kim now to reduce the threat of war.   But even under Obama the threat was growing, and there is no clear indication Hillary Clinton would have made this any safer. 

Jackson does buy the idea that Kim wants a stable nuclear power that finally turns the corner on growing its own economy.

He says the threat of nuclear war is low now but still is there.

I would normally have made this a “book preview” on the Books blog, but it fits in here with the label for many other posts on the threats from North Korea.

The interview does not mention the EMP threat.  
Picture: from Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street in Washington DC.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some videos from France sound very radical indeed; climate change activists cannot afford to ignore rural populations any longer

I don’t know how “radical” the group “WeAreChange” is in France or Europe.  But the mood of “the people” in this video is very angry and calling for revolution, and warning it will shut down the banking system around the world.   There are scattered reports of Internet blackouts, and of demonitization of content. 

Is this group from the far right or far left?  (Sounds like the Left;  the speaker mentioned Antifa.) 
Again, it seems like a lot of old-fashioned liberals (the Hillary Clinton crowd with its “basket of deplorables”) have missed the immediate point of climate change denial – it’s the rural populations affected the most right now.  I noticed that during my coming of age in the 1970s with the oil shocks.