Yes, Donald Trump & Co. SHOULD fight unfair anti-white racism


The inequality between blacks and whites in the USA drives Leftists mad. Equality is a major part of their religion. But it is plain that whites prosper more than blacks do and that East Asians do best of all. And nothing seems to be able to change that. Leftists cannot accept that there are inherent differences between the three groups that will always make them better fitted to prosper in a modern Western economy. So they resort to all sorts of nonsense in order to deny what lies plainly in front of them. They say they are enemies of racism but go on immediately to practice it against whites: Equality at all costs. They are obsessed: Very unpleasant people

Is there anything more poisonous or ridiculous than insisting that corporations and the government treat people fairly regardless of race?

Apparently not.

An Axios report on the Trump team’s intention to use civil-rights laws to target DEI policies discriminating against whites has occasioned sneering and denunciations.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post snarked, as his headline puts it, “Trump aims to be a fearless warrior for White advantage.”

The New Republic commented, sarcastically, “If Donald Trump is elected to a second term in November, his allies plan to end this country’s long-standing oppression of a major marginalized group in America: white people.”

MSNBC warned, “Trumpism is increasingly organized around the reactionary principle that white Americans are not just overlooked, but are victims because of their race. This is a path to unraveling multicultural democracy.”

Much of the commentary reflects the contradictory argument that anti-white racism isn’t really a thing, yet, simultaneously, is absolutely essential to racial progress.

The same twisted reasoning was often used when the CRT controversy was at its height; critical race theory was either a right-wing myth or foundational to the truthful teaching of America’s past, or somehow both.

There should be a long German word for this rhetorical phenomenon.

Regardless, it is axiomatic that in the context of zero-sum hiring, admissions and contracting decisions, favoring one group will disadvantage another.

This has been well established regarding affirmative-action policies at colleges — it’s much harder for white (or Asian) applicants to get into competitive schools than it is for members of favored minority groups with similar credentials.

Progressives might believe that this is cosmic justice, that whites deserve whatever they get. But individuals aren’t racial symbols and shouldn’t be treated as such. A conscientious white college applicant, who has never harmed anyone, shouldn’t be punished for his or her race.

Why are the iniquities of the old Jim Crow regime being taken out on white applicants — who never voted for Lester Maddox and probably never heard of him — for assistant-vice-president jobs at banks and other corporations?

This is unfair, and, more to the point, against the law.

The US Constitution is race neutral, and so are the civil-rights laws enacted after the Civil War and in the 1960s.

As such, they are potentially a powerful weapon against the system of racial preferences that has become a pervasive feature of American life.

We saw that in the Supreme Court’s affirmative-action decision last year, and in the ruling last month against the Minority Business Development Agency by US District Court Judge Mark Pittman in Texas.

Corporations that are setting hiring targets by race and gender face massive exposure.

They haven’t had to worry about it much to this point. The plaintiffs’ bar, out of political cowardice, won’t touch this issue.

On top of that, it’s hard even to find plaintiffs; becoming known as the white person who was chiseled out of a job and sued over it is not the best career move in corporate America.

This is why an ideologically driven group like former Trump aide Stephen Miller’s America First Legal has had to pick up the baton, with some success.

But if a Trump Justice Department decides to make an example of a couple of high-profile corporations engaged in these discriminatory practices, the regime of preferences may well crumble quickly.

Until recently, the incentives have been all the other way — to adopt the fashionable attitudes, spout the familiar DEI lines, empower the apparatchiks of HR and not risk the ire of elite opinion by taking a different path.

Now, there are signs that DEI in corporate America is cresting, or at least becoming less blatant, under political and legal pressure.

If a Trump Justice Department (and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) pushes these types of policies in business and government into the dustbin, the Left will firmly plant both feet on one side of its current straddle — and say it’s a travesty that anti-white discrimination no longer exists.

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JK Rowling is 'spreading disinformation' about Scotland's new hate crime laws says Scottish First Minister after Harry Potter author slammed his 'bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism'


As ever, the Devil is in the detail.  What consitutes "stirring up hatred"? Does any criticism count?  Leftists are prone to claim that it does.  So critics of the law have good reason to be suspicious of it.

And the Scottish First Minister is therefore in full damage-control mode, pushing a very narrow definition of "stirring up hatred".  It does seem that his very narrow definition is being adopted by Police Scotland so the actual effect of the law may be small


Harry Potter author JK Rowling and other critics of Scotland's new hate crime laws must stop 'peddling misinformation', Scotland's First Minister has said.

Humza Yousaf strongly defended the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act against claims it would hamper freedom of speech after it was introduced earlier this week. 

JK Rowling criticised the Scottish Government's hate laws while posting pictures of 10 high-profile trans people and ridiculed their claims to be women.

Speaking at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport on Saturday, Mr Yousaf said: 'There's deliberate misinformation being peddled by some bad actors across Scotland - it's hardly surprising the Opposition seek to do that.

'What we've got is a piece of legislation that in the actual Act itself, explicitly in black and white, protects freedom of expression, freedom of speech.'

The SNP leader went on: 'At the same time, it makes sure that it protects people from hatred being stirred up against them, and that is really important when we have far too many incidents of hatred that can be because of their age, disability, sexuality or religion.'

'There's no place for that in Scotland, and you have to send a really strong signal that the law will protect you.'

Rowling's comments were reported to Police Scotland as alleged hate crimes. 

The force found she had committed no crime and also said it would not record a 'non-crime hate incident' against her.

She also said that most Scots were 'upset and offended by Yousaf 's bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism', following the introduction of the legislation on Monday.

Rowling wrote on X/Twitter: 'Most of Scotland is upset and offended by Yousaf's bumbling incompetence and illiberal authoritarianism, but we aren't lobbying to have him locked up for it.'

Asked what his message to critics such as JK Rowling would be, the Nationalist MSP said: 'I would tell them to stop spreading disinformation. It isn't going to help anybody. 

 'This is a piece of legislation that was passed by every single political party in Scotland, minus the Conservatives.'

He said: 'It's a ludicrous suggestion. Actually JK Rowling's tweets are a perfect example of how the law actually works.

'JK Rowling produced some tweets that were offensive, that were insulting - but of course the law does not deal with offensive. 

'The law is dealing with new offences, criminal behaviour that has to be threatening or abusive, intent to stir up hatred. Hence why she was not arrested.

'That's not a surprise. Anybody who actually read the Bill will not be surprised that she did not get arrested. The threshold for criminality is extremely high.

'So anybody suggesting that the Bill deals with simply people having their feelings hurt, being offended, being insulted, I'm afraid that is not what the new offences are concerned with.

'There are very explicit in black and white protections for people's freedom of expression and indeed of freedom of speech. 

'The Bill has got the balance right between protecting people from hatred and protecting people's fundamental freedoms.'

Mr Yousaf also shared his views in an opinion article in The Courier newspaper, urging politicians and public figures to create a debate rooted in 'reality'.

He said false claims the law makes it a criminal offence to make 'derogatory comments' based on the characteristics covered in the Act was 'simply untrue'.

The First Minister wrote: 'As a father of two girls, and blessed with a baby on the way, I feel an even greater obligation to work as First Minister to help make Scotland even better for the next generation.

'Critics of this law shouldn't exaggerate its impact with false fears. Equally, its proponents shouldn't pretend that it can of itself eradicate hatred and prejudice from our society.'

Yousaf was also reported to police about an alleged hate crime over a speech he made at the Scottish Parliament four years ago.

Like Rowling, police confirmed it was not a hate crime and said no 'non-crime hate incident' would be recorded against his name.

Adam Tomkins, a law professor and a former Scottish Tory MSP who voted against the Hate Crime Act, previously told STV News that 'misgendering' someone was not a crime under the law.

The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act consolidates existing hate crime legislation and creating a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics.

Those characteristics are disability, religion, sexual orientation, age, transgender identity and variations in sex characteristics.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13278903/jk-rowling-disinformation-scotland-hate-crime-law-humza-yousaf.html

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Do autism and psychopathy overlap?


Answering that question runs into a lot of difficulties over definition. For reference, I give the Mayo definition of both conditions below

* Autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication. The disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.

* Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental health condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to purposely make others angry or upset and manipulate or treat others harshly or with cruel indifference. They lack remorse or do not regret their behavior.


As you will see, psychopathy is no longer called that any more. For a while it was renamed "sociopathy" but now it is usually called "antisocial personality disorder'

There would appear to be one clear area of overlap: concern over other people and their feelings. But the causality would appear to be different. The psychopath is aware of other people's feelings but doesn't care while the austistic person is not aware. Both ignore other peoples feeling but for different reasons. Still, that indifference is a central feature of both syndromes so their apparent identity is an important question.

In my case, I am a person with a pretty full set of autistic characteristics, and I am aware of how little other people's sufferings and feelings impact me. I am not a sympathetic person. I do for instance greatly deplore the vicious October 7 attacks on innocent Israelis by a deranged Palestinian minority but I cannot FEEL anything about that event.

But on the other hand I have always been generous to others in some ways. At present I give roughly half of my disposable income to a charitable cause while living a generally frugal personal life. I have long given away a large slice of my income

So there is clearly a possibility of mistaking the two traits and unwinding any confusion depends on looking at other characteristics of the person

Another potential confusion is the way I drive. I am a "demon" driver and that could be mistaken for psychopathic carelessness. But it is an item of pride to me that in 60 years of driving I have never hurt myself or anyone else. I just work with fine margins, that's all. I have been known to give my passengers the shakes however

So again, things that may look the same may in fact be fundamentally different

This very post is an instance of autistic behaviour. It is common for autistics to be unusually self-revealing. Psychopaths, on the other hand, tend to be devious and to "fake good"

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen is an acknowledged authority on autism and he argues that calling it a "disorder" is wrong.
Like some of the people mentioned in the article linked below I am inclined to think it can be a gift, or even a "superpower"
I commented on that article a few days ago
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Greens are always warning that the Earth's overcrowded... In fact, the West's plunging birthrate will usher in a dystopia


I think the scenario pictured  below is a tad alarmist but  lower birthrates will undoubtedly cause adjustment problems.  Overlooked is that birthrates may recover for various reasons.  Straight-line projections of biological phenomena are usually simplistic.  After  non-maternal women have weeded themseves out of the gene pool, The remaining more maternal women might produce a quite high  birthrate

Picture the cities of the future. Do you imagine glittering skyscrapers, bullet trains whizzing past green parklands, flying taxis and limitless clean energy?

I’m afraid you may be disappointed. A century from now, swathes of the world’s cities are more likely to be abandoned, with small numbers of residents clinging to decaying houses set on empty, weed-strewn streets – like modern-day Detroit.

According to a new report from the Lancet medical journal, by the year 2100, just six countries could be having children at ‘replacement rate’ – that is, with enough births to keep their populations stable, let alone growing.

All six nations will be in sub-Saharan Africa. In Europe and across the West and Asia, the birth rate will have collapsed – and the total global population will be plummeting.

Eco-activists have long decried humans as a curse on the planet, greedily gobbling up resources and despoiling the natural world.

The reliably hysterical BBC presenter Chris Packham has claimed that ‘human population growth’ is ‘our greatest worry… There are just too many of us. Because if you run out of resources, it doesn’t matter how well you’re coping: if you’re starving and thirsty, you’ll die.’

Greens like Packham seem to think that if we could only reduce the overall population, the surviving rump of humanity could somehow live in closer harmony with nature. On the contrary, population collapse will presage a terrifying dystopia.

Fewer babies mean older populations – which in turn means fewer young people paying taxes to fund the pensions of the elderly. And that means that everyone has to work ever longer into old age, and in an atmosphere of declining public services and deteriorating quality of life.

So if you worry that it’s hard now to find carers to look after elderly relatives, this will be nothing compared to what your children or grandchildren will face when they are old.

In modern industrialised societies, it is generally accepted that the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) – the average number of children born to each woman during her lifetime – must be at least 2.1 to ensure a stable population.  By 2021, the TFR had fallen below 2.1 in more than half the world’s countries.

In Britain, it now stands at 1.49. In Spain and Japan it is 1.26, in Italy 1.21 and in South Korea a desperate 0.82.

Even in India – which recently overtook China as the world’s most populous nation – the TFR is down to 1.91.

There are now just 94 countries in which the rate exceeds 2.1 – and 44 of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, which suffers far higher rates of infant mortality.

The dramatic fall in Britain’s birthrate has been disguised until now because we are importing hundreds of thousands of migrants per year to do badly paid jobs that the native population increasingly spurns. 

In 2022, net migration here reached more than 700,000. The Office of National Statistics expects the UK population to reach 70million by 2026, almost 74 million by 2036 and almost 77 million by 2046 – largely fed by mass migration.

Unless migration remains high, the UK population is likely to start shrinking soon after that point – especially as the last ‘baby boomer’ (born between 1946 and 1964) reaches their 80th birthday in 2044. This mass importation of migrants to counteract a falling domestic birthrate spells huge consequences for our social fabric.

In years to come, Britain is set to face a pitiless battle with other advanced economies – many of them already much richer than we are – to import millions of overseas workers to staff our hospitals, care homes, factories and everything else.

And once the global population starts to fall in the final decades of this century, it will become ever harder to source such workers from abroad. At that point, we may find hospitals having to cut their services or even close.

So, though medical advancements will likely mean that people will be living even longer, we face a grim future in which elderly people will increasingly die of neglect, or be looked after by robots – an idea that has been trialled in Japan already.

How has this crisis crept up on us so stealthily? It wasn’t so long ago that the United Nations and others were voicing concern at overpopulation.

For decades, self-proclaimed experts have warned – in the manner of early 19th-century economist Thomas Malthus – that global supplies of food and water, as well as natural resources, would run out. 

Graphs confidently showed the world’s population accelerating exponentially, with many claiming that humankind had no choice but to launch interplanetary civilisations as we inevitably outgrew our world.

They could not have been more wrong.

Amid all the Packham-esque hysteria about a ‘population explosion’, many failed to notice that birth rates had actually already started to collapse: first in a few developed countries, such as Italy and South Korea, and then elsewhere.

As societies grow wealthier and the middle classes boom, women start to put off childbearing. This means that they end up having fewer children overall. In Britain especially, there are the added costs of childcare and the often permanent loss of income that results from leaving the workforce, even temporarily.

The striking result of all this is that the number of babies being born around the world has, in fact, already peaked.

The year 2016 is likely to go down in history as the one in which more babies were born than any other: 142million of them. By 2021, the figure was 129million – a fall of more than 9 per cent in just five years.

To be clear, the global population is for the moment still rising because people are living longer thanks to better medical care. We are not dying as quickly as babies are being born.

According to the UN, the global population reached 8billion on November 15, 2022. It should carry on growing before peaking at 10.4 billion in the 2080s – although the world will be feeling the effects of the declining birth rate long before that.

On current trends, the world’s population will start to fall by the 2090s – the first time this will have happened since the Black Death swept Eurasia in the 14th century.

So what, if anything, can we do to stop ourselves hurtling towards this calamity?

For one thing, governments must work tirelessly to encourage people to have families. Generous tax incentives for marriage, lavish child benefit payments and better and cheaper childcare are all a must, so that mothers don’t have to stop their careers in order to start families.

Britain could, if it chose to, lead the way on this.

But that seems highly unlikely with the imminent prospect of a Labour government: the statist Left habitually loathes any measures that could be seen to benefit the nuclear family or that incentivise people to have more children.

Yet in truth, the scale of this problem is so vast – and the issue so widespread – that effectively counteracting it may be next to impossible.

Absent some extraordinary shift, the gradual impoverishment of an ageing and shrinking population seems the planet’s destiny. It is not an attractive thought.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13224245/Earth-overcrowded-West-plunging-birthrate-dystopia-ROSS-CLARK.html

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No more chardonnay or sauvignon blanc! Warming temperatures mean wine lovers will have to get used to less common plonk such as grenache and monastrell


I doubt that this is a real prospect but the best Sauvignon Blanc comes from New Zealand anyway.  And I think very highly of Verdelho, which is a Portuguese grape well adapted to warmer climates.  Verdelho is widely cultivated in Australia and I always have some of Tyrrells Verdelho on hand.  So I doubt that there will be any shortage of pleasing wines anywhere




Wine lovers have been served disappointing news ahead of summer as they're warned they may have to say goodbye to chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and hello to less common plonk such as grenache and monastrell.

With global temperatures on the rise, wine drinkers will have to settle for rarer grape varieties that can cope with hotter and drier environments, according to experts.

Wine is naturally adapted to warm and dry climates because of its origins in the Mediterranean region, with the most popular grapes heavily reliant on irrigation - the practice of applying controlled amounts of water to land to help grow plants.

But the process faces its own challenges as climate change makes water scarcer. 

Wine has already become more alcoholic and has a sweeter taste, with vineyards harvesting almost three weeks earlier than they did just four decades ago.

Hotter growing-season temperatures are making it harder for growers to achieve balance in the fruit—and, therefore, in the finished wine.  

But global warming is set to generate severe droughts and heatwaves that could leave a staggering 70 per cent of wine-growing regions across the planet unsuitable - if global temperatures rise by more than 2C.

Shocking figures show that the world is currently heading towards an almost 3C rise.

Around nine out of 10 vineyards that produce the grapes that make up favourites such as Spanish merlots and Italian sauvignon blancs could soon be forced to shut up shop.

Vineyards located in and around coastal and low-lying areas of Spain, Italy, Greece and southern California could be rendered unsuitable for growing, according to research published in The Times.

And although this means wine drinkers may have to settle for a lesser-known, drought-resistant grapes, such monastrell and grenache, it means the booze will continue to flow. 

Adaptations to which types of grapes are grown and the process of how they are cultivated are being discussed in vineyards across the planet in an effort to tackle the issue.

At its most extreme, 'which type of grapes are grown' can mean a complete change of grape variety. 

'The market needs to accept drinking other varieties than they're used to,' said Cornelis van Leeuwen, of the viticulture college Bordeaux Sciences Agro.

'Most of the international varieties, like sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, merlot, they're really not adapted to a warmer, drier climate'.

Bordeaux sanctioned the use of six new varieties in its vineyards two years ago.

More than half of vineyards across the world are planted with 12 varieties of grape - but luckily for wine lovers, there are thousands more available. 

Beyond grape varieties, growers can sometimes 'create coolness' by planting seeds on differently oriented slopes that get less or 'cooler' sun/more wind, or at higher altitudes. 

Some growers also believe they can mitigate the effects of climate change by using different clones of their existing grape varieties—versions that ripen later or more reluctantly.

A study, published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, explored just how climate change will impact wine-growing on a global scale.

It revealed that if temperatures are held to 2C, around 25 per cent of today's wine growing regions could benefit.

Another quarter would maintain their suitability.

But anything beyond 2C would lead to the catastrophic result of 70 per cent of the world's vineyards being unable to grow the most well-known and loved wine grapes.

Statistics from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show a world that is already more than 1°C warmer than before the industrial revolution. 

Eight of the ten warmest years on record have occurred in the last decade. 

In the last two years, there have been record temperatures from Canada to Sicily, wildfires in Australia, Portugal, Greece, and California, and floods in Australia and Germany.

New growing regions are also set to open in the UK, as the climate is becomes more suitable for growing.

Sussex and Kent are already leading the way with their vastly popular Rathfinny and Denbies estates that boast chalk soils and sloped landscapes, perfect for grape growing.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13243683/No-chardonnay-sauvignon-blanc-Warming-temperatures-wine-common-grenache-monastrell.html

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Smiling but lying – if real estate agents won’t tell the truth, I will


Jenna Price (below) is a grumpy old thing.  She fails to realize that real estate valuations are very uncertain, which is why auctions are so often resorted to.  And note how often auction results are surprising.  There'a an old saying in real estate that you only know the value of a  property when the cheque clears.  I have bought and sold many houses and have generally guessed well but I have had disappointments too


Have real estate agents changed, or have I? You be the judge.

We bought our first house in 1984. It was previously owned by the kind of real estate mogul who knew which suburbs were on the move. It came with a needy neighbour, an outside dunny and was right under the flight path, but we loved it. We made our first baby there and then our second.

It became clear we needed a laundry, an indoor toilet and, spare me your judgment, a kitchen which had room for both a fridge and a dishwasher. I seriously felt I was more likely to survive without a fridge than without a dishwasher. And that was before No.3.

But real estate agents could tell us, more or less, what we should pay for a bigger house in the neighbouring suburb. News in Victoria that an agency is being charged for massive underquoting must act as a warning that all agents should be fair and, more or less, square.

If only warnings worked.

Here’s what I discovered this week. My kids are on the lookout. In fact, I’m friends with an entire generation of parents whose kids are on the lookout, both for their inheritance and the prospect of leaving behind the government-sanctioned malfeasance of renting. Which brings me to this predicament.

A couple of weeks ago, a long-time friend discovered we were planning to downsize. She told me her kid and the kid’s partner were selling their house and could expect to get, according to their local agent, $1.7 million for it. Yes, it’s in one of those newly groovy suburbs, but it’s small and perfectly formed. She sent me the address. Looked great. I’m too old for groovy but whatever.

Imagine my utter lack of surprise when it turned up on your favourite real estate site, with a buyer’s guide of $1.45 million. That’s a quarter of a million dollars less than what the agent guided the sellers. I even wrote to the real estate agent just to check on that buyer’s guide because, you know, glitches happen online. He confirmed $1.45 million as the buyer’s guide. God, you’d love to be issued the seller’s guide as well, right?

In my highest dudgeon, I called the only non-real-estate-agent-real-estate-expert I know – Macquarie University’s Cathy Sherry – filled with grumpiness directed at the real estate agent.

She reminded me that the duty of the agent is to the vendor. They are engaged by the vendor. That means they have to act in the best interests of the vendor.

It’s nearly impossible to get anyone defending real estate agents in Australia, but Sherry said agents can’t ever – really – tell how many people are going to show up at an auction and how much they are prepared to spend. She says the best way to prepare yourself for what you should pay is to look at all the houses.

“Once you’ve looked at five properties, it’s not rocket science,” she says. Mind you, she did agree that my example revealed a big gap.

Now, imagine my utter frustration when one of my own children thought buying it was a possibility based on the unrealistic (and indeed phony) buyer’s guide. If you pop in the top price you want to pay (as you can on these exhausting websites), it comes up as under $1.5 million.

The problem is not the underquoting exactly. It’s the sheer manipulation of the hopes of young buyers drifting around homes which are nearly identical because they’ve been styled. (Please – I beg you – no more white walls, cream couches and AI artwork. And turn off the lights in the middle of the day. We see you.)

Buying property, unless you are a hardened investor with no emotions in the game, is a nightmare. Conveyancers. Maybe lawyers. Building reports. Banks. All under the pressure of time and fear, of not knowing what comes next. It’s a crushing combination of mundane tasks under extreme pressures of time and money. Then you have to do it all again when you fail.

Now this is not a thing where everyone got overexcited at the auction. It’s before the auction. I’ve watched a few of those and understood what happened. I’ve even been the participating underbidder (relieved when unsuccessful). But this agent knows it’s likely to go for much more, has told his vendors it will go for much more, yet is luring people in with the prospect of a bargain.

And it doesn’t just happen to buyers. Vendors often fall victim to conditioning, the practice of being told the place is worth more than it is. It’s how agents win business. Please do not imagine that because an agent tells you they can sell your palace for a huge sum, that will actually come to be.

Likewise, there are no bargains in the groovy suburbs; there is no honour in the real estate market.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/smiling-but-lying-the-truth-about-unreal-estate-agents-20240325-p5ff5z.html

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What’s happening in Alice Springs?


A very uninformative article below.  At least at the very end of the article they screwed up enough courage to utter the word "indigenous".  The problem is in fact an Aboriginal one, with young Aborigines being particularly defiant, with their skin colour protecting them from most police action

Whites in a  position to do so are already moving out.  The town will eventually become a wasteland unless vigorous police action to arrest and imprison offenders is undertaken. Aborigines are in fact easy to control.  They have a horror of being separated from their community so keeping them in solitary  overnight will be strongly punitive and will give them a strong reluctance to  repeating that experience


Violent brawls took place on Tuesday after a group of young people attacked a local pub, the Todd Tavern. Three people have been arrested so far.

According to police, the violence began when a large group of people from the Utopia district north of Alice Springs arrived in town to commemorate the death of an 18-year-old man who was killed on March 8 when the stolen car he was travelling in rolled over.

A dramatic 12-hour night curfew for everyone under the age of eighteen will be imposed across Alice Springs after violence erupted on the streets.

The group attacked other family members in the pub, which sustained $30,000 of damage after being pelted with rocks and bricks. Another brawl broke out nearby later that evening.

The Northern Territory government has declared an emergency.

Why was a curfew announced?

The two-week curfew is designed to stop people aged under 18 gathering in the town’s CBD between 6pm and 6am.

Apart from Tuesday’s brawls, a series of violent incidents have taken place in Alice Springs in recent weeks, including on Saturday when a group of about 10 young women bashed and stripped a 16-year-old girl.

Northern Territory police will send 58 additional officers to the town. There will be no criminal penalty for breaking the curfew, police said.

Why are there calls for the federal government to be involved?
“Horrendous doesn’t cut it, but I have run out of words,” the town’s mayor, Matt Paterson, said on social media. He has previously called for federal help to tackle crime in the area.

MPs at state and federal level have expressed horror this week at the levels of violent crime in Alice Springs and called for more resources and tougher laws.

The shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, wants the federal government to deploy the defence force to maintain order, while federal Labor MP for the Alice Springs electorate of Lingiari, Marion Scrymgour, also believes extra resources are needed and was seeking to work with the NT government.

The federal government could offer to deploy defence force or Australian Federal Police personnel to assist local authorities, though this would require the co-operation of the NT government.

Most policing and public safety measures, such as alcohol restrictions, are the responsibility of the territory government.

The federal government allocated $250 million in last year’s federal budget to improve social outcomes, safety and schooling in central Australia through a series of community-led programs.

Why are crime rates so high in Alice Springs?

The town has a long-standing crime problem, and has been subjected to a series of “crime waves” involving spikes in street violence and theft, and there have been periodic calls for federal intervention in recent years.

Widespread alcohol abuse is generally seen as a leading cause, coupled with chronic social disadvantage and intergenerational trauma in Indigenous communities.

Crime rates reached a four-year low in 2023, though they were still high by national standards, after limited bans on alcohol sales were re-introduced.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/what-s-happening-in-alice-springs-20240327-p5ffrt.html

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Russia could launch a large-scale attack on the West as soon as 2026, classified German intelligence documents have reportedly revealed


I am tired of reading scare reports like this. They are patent nonsense.  Ukraine  has destroyed almost all of Russia's tanks and half of its airforce so what is Russia going to attack with?  They could rebuild but that would just be repeating a mistake. If it cannot defeat Uktraine who can it defeat?  The war in Ukraine has revealed that Russia is a paper tiger

German spooks are said to have recently observed a “significant intensification of Russian arms”.

The classified report, seen by Business Insider, reportedly suggests Russia is preparing for a large-scale conflict with the West.

The reorganisation of Russia’s army, troop movements, and missile deployments in the west of the country are among the signs said to be identified in the document, The Sun reported.

The outlet said: “Analysis by German intelligence services is currently circulating in the German government.

“According to this, a significant intensification of Russian arms production is being observed, which could lead to Russia doubling its military power in the next five years compared to today, especially in conventional weapons.”

The projections reportedly led intelligence services to conclude that an attack on NATO territory could “no longer be ruled out” from 2026.

NATO officials were said to be concerned about Russia’s growing military capabilities but did not believe, necessarily, that it meant the West will be dragged into war with Russia, Business Insider reports.

An American intelligence assessment found it might take Russia five to eight years to restore its military strength to what it was before Putin’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The report has not yet been made public by German spies, the outlet noted.

Vladimir Putin this week warned he is prepared to launch nuclear weapons if he feels the West is threatening Russia’s sovereignty.

He declared weapons “exist in order to use them” in his most chilling World War Three threat yet.

“We have our own principles.

“We are ready to use weapons, including any weapons, including [nuclear], if we are talking about the existence of the Russian state, harming our sovereignty and independence.”

Leaked government documents were claimed by Ukrainian hackers to prove the tyrant is preparing for a major conflict.

The bombshell papers, seemingly signed by Putin, supposedly revealed his chilling plans to attack Europe if Ukraine is defeated.

Ukraine’s National Resistance Centre said its hackers intercepted the documents via email.  <i>[propaganda]</i>

https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/german-intelligence-report-raises-fresh-alarms-about-vladimir-putins-plans-for-the-west/news-story/8abfb3e847d7c3406b2e009999e48f36

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Top scientists call for an end to daylight saving time: Experts warn clock change fuels a rise in cancer, traffic accidents and sleep issues


I am rather sympathetic to this.  I live in a State that has always resisted daylight saving, mainly because we have here a lot of influential farmers, and farmers loathe daylight saving.  But I am glad of it.  I don't like people messing around with my clocks.  The fact that I have a lot of clocks may be a factor.  I have 5 clocks in my bedroom alone.  Apologies for being eccentric but at least I always know the time


With the clocks set to go forward this Sunday, many of us will be dreading losing an hour of sleep. 

And if you think putting the clocks forward each is a literal waste of time, you are not alone.

Top sleep scientists say that shifting the day by just an hour can have massive consequences and claim it should be ditched entirely. 

From increasing cancer rates to making car accidents more likely, daylight savings can do a lot more harm than just ruining your lie-in. 

Dr Eva Winnebeck, lecturer in Chronobiology at the University of Surrey, told MailOnline: 'Chronobiologists warn against the clock change to Daylight Saving Time – each spring or even permanently.'

Problems linked with daylight savings time
Putting the clocks forward each year has been associated with: 

In the UK, daylight savings time was first introduced in 1916 as a wartime effort to save electricity and provide more daylight hours for making ammunition.

Yet while Britons are no longer churning out tank shells, in the Spring and Autumn each year we still move our clocks one hour forward or backwards. 

The argument is that, as the days get longer, shifting our days forward gives people more sunlight hours during their working days.

Proponents of this measure cite everything from lower crime rates in the evening to fewer deer being hit by cars as potential upsides.

However, many scientists say that the change is not only inconvenient, but is also actively harmful to our health. 

The biggest and most obvious impact of the change is that we lose an hour of sleep the night the clocks go forward, and have to go to bed an hour earlier the next day. 

For the vast majority of people, this will result in nothing more than feeling more tired than usual and the issue should resolve within a few days. 

But having an entire nation of people suddenly all become slightly sleep-deprived is bound to have some consequences. 

One study found an increase in 'cyberloafing' - the act of spending more of the work day making unrelated searchers online - on the Monday after the clocks go forward. 

Another study published in 2016 even found that judges in the US tend to give defendants sentences that are about five per cent harsher on 'sleepy Monday' following the clock change. 

More worryingly, it has also been suggested that the risk of fatal traffic accidents increases by about six per cent following the Spring daylight savings time transition.

Estimates suggest that about 28 fatal accidents could be avoided in the US every year if daylight savings were abolished.  

Dr Winnebeck said: 'The spring clock change, where we fast forward our clocks by 1 hour, is the clock change that is usually most disruptive to our health and wellbeing.

'Sleep loss can have many negative consequences - and with the clock change it affects millions of people at the same time!' 

Having our sleep disrupted in this way can also have knock-on effects on our overall health.

Dr Megan Crawford, a sleep researcher from the University of Strathclyde and member of the British Sleep Society, told MailOnline: 'There's an increased risk of cardiovascular events, increased risk of suicidal behaviours... and increased mortality in the days after switching our clocks: those are all linked to the loss of that one hour of sleep.'

Dr Crawford says the British Sleep Society believes that standard time should be reinstated and used all year round due to the 'short-term impact of the clock change, the potential impact across the summer, and the detrimental impact of potential permanent daylight saving times.'

Our bodies have a kind of internal clock called our circadian rhythm, which determines when we eat, when we sleep, when we are most active, and when our brains are at their best.

While the solar day is 24 hours long, the body's rhythm tends to be just a little bit longer. 

This means that someone who lived in the dark would naturally wake up a little bit later each day as their biological clock comes out of sync with the solar day.

Humans are only able to keep our body clocks in line thanks to an initial dose of bright morning sun every day. 

'We rely on a cue of bright light to bring them into line with the normal 24-hour solar cycle,' said Dr Sophie Bostock, a sleep scientist and founder of The Sleep Scientist.

'If we don't get that cue first thing in the morning, then we're lagging.'

Since daylight savings time gives us fewer hours of light in the morning, lots of people miss that initial bump of daylight that helps realign our body clocks. 

Dr Bostock said: 'From a circadian rhythm perspective, there is definitely a case for ditching daylight savings time.'

There is now a growing, if somewhat contested, body of evidence that this mismatch between the sun and our bodies can have severe long-term health impacts. 

The main issue with testing how daylight savings affects us in the long-term is that we don't have a lot of data from times when we did not observe daylight savings time. 

Dr Crawford sad: 'The best data we can draw on comes from health differences in individuals who live on different sides of a time zone, with poorer health in those who live on the western side.

'This is because the mismatch between the sun time and our clocks is greatest [in the West].

Studies have shown that those living in the West of a time zone have higher risks of leukaemia, stomach cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and more.

Those in the west also experience lower life expectancy, higher rates of obesity, amd diabetes, and even lower income. 

Since this mismatch is very similar to those experienced when the clocks go forward, some scientists say daylight savings might be having a similar impact.

Yet some scientists say the damage to our health might be even more direct. 

Dr Rachel Edgar, a molecular virologist from Imperial College London, told MailOnline that these kinds of disruptions could even make us more susceptible to illness. 

Dr Edgar says: 'Evidence from different animal models suggests that disruption to our circadian rhythms increases the severity of different infectious diseases, such as influenza A or herpes virus.'

While she adds that more research is needed to see if this is the case in humans, she notes that 'body clocks can impact both virus replication and immune responses to these infections'.

She concludes: 'There is a broad consensus from scientists who work on circadian rhythms and sleep that any advantages of daylight saving time are outweighed by potential negative effects on our health and well-being.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13244023/scientists-call-end-daylight-saving-time.html

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Scientists find the human brain has grown by whopping 7% since 1930... but there are signs IQs have gone backwards in recent years


This is an interesting paradox. There is a long-standing correlation of about 0.3 between brain size and IQ.  So the findings are weakly contradictory. I think, however, that I may be able to give an outline of a solution to that  puzzle.

I once hypthesized that better  perinatal practices were reponsible for the average IQ gains that were observed in many countries during the 20th century

http://jonjayray.com/iqgain.html

If my hypothesis is correct, the benefit of improved obstetric practice should level out once best delivery procedures became  normal.  And it was so.  The  growth in IQ scores did level out towards the end of the 20th century.

But we need to ask the old legal question "cui bono?".  Which babies did  it help most?    Babies who were physically normal would be helped to survive with undamaged brains so brain damage due to delivery practices should be rare and hence lead to a rise in average IQ.

And the correlation between higher IQ and larger brains means that less pressure on the head during delivery (due to episiotomy, Caesarians, principally) would be particulary helpful to undamaged survival among individuals with big heads.  So a major source of better and undamaged survival among high IQ individuals would be the safer delivery of big headed babies

But what about babies which had some congenital problem that only modern medicine saved from oblivion?  In many cases the congenital problem would have affected the brain and Left us with an individual of lower IQ, much lower in some cases

So we have two populations with opposite effects from modernity.  "Normals" who avoided damage so became brighter on average and another which survived against the odds and which was on the average of lower IQ.  So what we find reported below is the averaging out of those two populations

A note of caution, however. It is much easier and more accurate to measure head size than it is to measure IQ, and the IQ gain reported is quite low and of no certain reliabiity.  And in general the higher you go up the IQ scale the lower is the reliability of the differences.  So much more segmentaion of the populations concerned would be needed to give any certainty about what is going on


Gen Z and Alpha may have a larger brain than people who were born 100 years ago, yet studies have indicated they also have the lowest IQs of previous generations.

Researchers at the University of California (UC) Davis Health studied different brain sizes of people born from the 1930 through 1970s, finding a 6.6 percent increased in brains among Gen X compared to the Silent Generation.

The team theorized that growth could be caused by external influences like health, social, cultural and educational outside factors and could reduce the risk of age-related dementia.

It comes as more recent studies have indicated that even younger generations' IQ scores have dropped in recent decades, which researchers have linked to an overreliance on phones and the internet.

Brain size doesn't necessarily make people more intelligent, and research has suggested that their is only a slight relationship between the two.

Neuroscientists have found that extra brain mass actually accomplishes very little when it comes to intelligence, and instead it serves to allow people to store more lifetime memories, according to Psychology Today.

However, the latest findings could be a contributing factor to why younger generations have a lower risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer's.

The new study was conducted across 75 years and found the brain consistently grew by 6.6 percent for people in the 1970s compared to those born in the 1930s.

Today's generation's brains measure about 1,400 milliliters in volume, but the average brain volume for people born in the 1930s was 1,234 milliliters. 

The researchers reported that factors like greater educational achievements and better management of medical issues might explain why people's brains have grown over the decades.

'The decade someone is born appears to impact brain size and potentially long-term brain health,' said Charles DeCarli, first author of the study and professor of neurology at the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

Researchers looked at patterns of cardiovascular and other diseases of people born in the 1930s and introduced MRI tests (brain magnetic resonance imaging) of people of the second and third generations of the original 5,200 participants.

The MRIs were conducted between 1999 and 2019 on people born in the 1930s through the 1970s, consisting of more than 3,000 participants with an average age of 57 years old.

The area of the brain that grew the largest was the cortical surface area which controls motor activities and sensory information.

 Scientists have uncovered hundreds of different and unique regions of the brain

They reported that the area increased by 15 percent in volume and the region of the brain involved in learning and memory, called the hippocampus, had also increased in size.

However, the number of people struck by Alzheimer's has decreased by 20 percent since the 1970s, according to a separate study, and researchers are now saying increased brain size may be the culprit.

'Larger brain structures like those observed in our study may reflect improved brain development and improved brain health,' DeCarli said.

'A larger brain structure represents a larger brain reserve and may buffer the late-life effects of age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer's and related dementias.'

The brain growth in younger generations could increase brain connectivity, the study said, which could lead to more accurate and efficient performances on tasks.

Yet, even as researchers report the brain is growing with each generation, Gen Z and Alpha's IQs have dropped by at least two points, according to studies in Finland, France, the UK and other countries.

A 2023 study reported that IQ scores in the US have also dropped, but did not specify the exact drop, adding that the decrease could be due to disruptions to in-person learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The researchers also said the rise in social media use could be at fault, as skills like verbal reasoning, visual problem solving and numerical series tests have all gone down.

Academic and science presenter professor Jim Al-Khalili previously told Dailymail.com in 2022 that despite our ‘vastly increased scientific knowledge… the human brain hasn’t got bigger or more efficient or better than it was thousands of years ago.'

This is in direct contrast to the newest findings that the human brain is getting larger, but also raises the question of how cognitive development is increasing while gen Z and Alpha struggle to meet the same IQ levels as past generations.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13244559/Gen-Z-Alpha-larger-brains-IQs-decreasing.html

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Lawyers may invoke Titanic in decade-long legal fight over bridge collapse



The ship is huge.  No bridge pylon could have withstood it.  So the ship is clearly responsible.  Whether the owners can be held liable for an acident does however seem very dubious to me  -- unless contributory negligence by someone in the company can be shown.  True accidents are sometimes called "An act of God" and I think that is the case here

The first shot in the legal fight over who will pay for the damage and loss from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge will likely occur in the next few days in a Baltimore courtroom, insurance academics said.

The Singaporean owner of the cargo ship that took down the bridge is expected to invoke a law dating back to the 19th century that limits the liability of ships’ owners, according to Lawrence Brennan, a law professor at Fordham University in New York. The law is similar to one used by the Titanic’s owners after that “unsinkable” liner hit an iceberg.

This Limitation of Liability Act law caps the liability of the cargo ship’s owners — and their multiple insurers — at the value of the goods the ship was carrying and the value of the ship itself.

A representative of the ship’s owner, Grace Ocean, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fight, maritime lawyers say, could run as long as a decade. “It will be one of the most contentious marine insurance cases in recent decades, ” said Brennan, the law professor and a retired captain in the U.S. Navy.

While the lawyers fight, most claims will likely get paid by the insurers, including money for the bridge’s reconstruction. Then they will duke it out among themselves. Other claims might take longer, including those by the families of the people killed in the crash.

Other big sources of claims include the loss of revenue for the port, for the vessels now stuck inside it, and for businesses affected by the resulting supply-chain snarl-ups.

The bridge part of this web of claims may be the simplest to resolve. The structure cost some $60 million to build in 1977, which is around $300 million today when adjusted for inflation.

The bridge is covered by the state of Maryland’s insurance. The policy, covering property damage and business interruption for bridges and tunnels, pays up to $350 million, documents show.

The state, with its insurers in support, will likely be among many claimants that sue the Singaporean owners of the giant cargo ship that struck the bridge, seeking to recover their losses.

That ship, the Dali, has coverage through a specialised property and indemnity insurer, the Britannia P & I club. It said that it is “working closely with the ship manager and relevant authorities to establish the facts and to help ensure that this situation is dealt with quickly and professionally.” Britannia is one of a dozen protection and indemnity, or P & I, clubs, which between them insure around 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage. Each club, owned by shipowners, operates independently. But the clubs pool resources to buy reinsurance, allowing them to pass on much of the risk they underwrite. That reinsurance covers up to $3.1 billion per ship, according to ratings firm AM Best.

This generous reinsurance safety net is led by French insurer Axa, according to people familiar with the matter, but involves in total around 80 insurers from across the globe. That means, despite a likely eye-popping overall claim, the payout is “unlikely to be significant for individual reinsurers since it will be spread across so many,” said Brandan Holmes, an official at ratings firm Moody’s.

Not all claims springing from the incident will be covered by the ship’s insurance agreements.

The bridge collapse will likely affect the operations of scores of importers, exporters and other companies that use the port. Many will likely find the event isn’t covered by their business-interruption insurance, according to Robert Merkin, a law professor at the University of Reading.

“Only some policies will cover this — it depends on the wording,” Merkin said. Business-interruption insurance is designed primarily to cover damage to the company’s own premises, although some policies have extensions that might cover external events, such as the bridge collapse, he added.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/the-wall-street-journal/lawyers-gear-up-for-swift-start-in-legal-fight-over-baltimore-bridge/news-story/a4a96bd3a1c35756ddc860c97dc203f4

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'Israel Alone': What The Economist unwittingly gets right about the Jewish state



Jeff Jacoby writes below with feeling and I share that feeling.  Israel is of great emotional signifiance to me too. I am a Gentile Zionist if that is  possible. That has been so since my childhood.  I instinctively admire defeating the odds and I see Israel as precious and heroic.  Its aloneness is heroic


ON THE cover of the current issue of The Economist is an Israeli flag, covered in grime, being whipped by a sandstorm in a deserted land. The flag tilts precariously, and could fall over at any time. Above it, in heavy capital letters, are two ominous words: "Israel Alone."

The Economist has long been sharply critical of Israel, and its lead essay contains familiar fare. If Israel doesn't replace its government, the magazine warns, it could be facing "the bleakest trajectory of its 75-year existence." It acknowledges that Israel was justified in going to war against Hamas in October but scorns the "dire leadership" of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It concedes that there is no Palestinian partner with whom Israel could make peace, yet it urges Israel to do so anyway, by accepting a cease-fire and pursuing that tired old chimera, a two-state solution. The Economist admits Washington shouldn't try "to force Israel out of Gaza while Hamas could still regroup." It is sure that "a struggle for Israel's future awaits," of which "the battle in Gaza is just the start."

But is Israel alone?

If "alone" means Israel has no allies in the world, then it certainly is not alone.

Some officials who expressed strong solidarity with Israel immediately after the ghastly killings and abductions of Oct. 7 — President Biden and Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, for example — have, it is true, cooled their support in recent weeks, mostly under pressure from the political left, where anti-Israel animus runs deep. The United States refused to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution Monday calling for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza. The Canadian government announced that it would halt all arms sales to Israel.

Nevertheless, Israel retains plenty of defenders. Grass-roots support for the Jewish state in the United States remains solid. Among large swaths of the population — Republicans, evangelical Christians, and Americans 65 and older — it runs especially strong. Foreign leaders, such as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have been at pains to emphasize that their endorsement of a Gaza cease-fire does not lessen their solidarity with Israel as it fights a ruthless enemy. "In these dark hours my country stands by the people of Israel," Scholz said in Jerusalem this month. "Israel has the right to defend itself against the terror of Hamas."

Yet at a more profound level, The Economist's cover message is indisputably true. Israel has loyal friends of inestimable value. But ultimately the Jewish state stands alone because ultimately the Jewish people stand alone. For more than 3,000 years, almost everywhere Jews lived, they sooner or later found themselves isolated, demonized, ghettoized, dispossessed, or exterminated. Again and again they were compelled to wear symbols identifying them as Jewish. Again and again they were expelled en masse from countries where they had lived for generations. Again and again they were persecuted as heretics, barred from joining guilds, and forbidden to own land.

The pioneers of modern Zionism were convinced that only in a country of their own could Jews finally achieve the normality denied them for so long — the normality other peoples take for granted.

But they were wrong.

Israel has never been regarded as a "normal" country. Alone among the 193 members of the United Nations, it is the only one whose very right to exist is under constant assault. Jerusalem is the only capital city in the world where the vast majority of governments refuse to locate their embassies. Every other nation belongs to larger blocs of countries with which it shares historic, ethnic, linguistic, or religious bonds — they are Nordic, Francophone, Muslim, Slavic, African, Arabic, Latino, Buddhist. Only Israel stands alone.

In territory and population, the Jewish state is tiny, yet the passions it arouses — bottomless hatred from some, heartfelt admiration from others — are of an intensity worthy of a superpower. The same has always been true of the Jewish people. Their numbers are minuscule, just two-10ths of 1 percent of the human race. "Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of," wrote Mark Twain in a famous essay, "but he is heard of, has always been heard of."

What The Economist proclaims on its cover, the Biblical prophet Balaam, a non-Jew, proclaimed in the Book of Numbers. Attempting to execrate the Israelites, he intoned: "Lo, it is a people that dwells alone / And shall not be reckoned among the nations." In that singular description — a people that dwells alone — is encapsulated an essential reality of the long, long history of the Jews. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, the Jewish people — and the reborn Jewish state — are fundamentally alone, unlike the "normal" peoples and nations with whom they share the planet. Israel can never be just another country, like Belgium or Thailand. The Jewish state is alone; and that is both its blessing and its curse.

https://jeffjacoby.com/27658/israel-alone

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Serbia and the Bhagavad Gita: A reflection


Around 700 years ago, the Serbian empire was a significant European State covering all of what we now know as the Balkans, roughly coterminous with the former Yugoslavia

But Serbia seems to attract wars like magnets attract iron and the modern Serbian State has contracted to a small State of roughly 7 million people. Serbs have fought valiantly and have usually been the victims of attack rather than the attackers.

They have mostly been Orthodox Christians but Matthew chapter 5 in their Bibles has been lost on them, is it has on most Christians

Contrast that with India. The Bhagavad Gita tells Indians that when we are attacked, we should surrender rather than fight. It saves lives. And Indians have done a lot of surrendering. The result? India is a large and important country with a population of around 1.5 billion people. So who have been wisest? Serbs or Indians.

I greatly sympathize with Serbians for their sad history. Their losses of life have been awful and grievous. But they would probably have been wiser to heed their own Holy Book, in Mathew chapter 5. Indians have shown us the results of heeding similar advice. The Serbian empire was a multi-ethnic State, as was India, so the comparison is pretty fair, I think

The British have been wise too, but in a different way. Largely by securing the moral high ground, they have always entered into a lot of treaties and alliances. The result is that a lot of foreigners have always died to secure British independence. In WWII, countless Russians, Frenchmen and some Americans died to Britain's benefit. They have avoided the worst of the wars by getting other people to die for them. That is cleverest of all I think.

As Winston Churchill once put it: "For a thousand years Britain has not seen the campfires of an invader". Contrast that with poor Serbia



For whom do I write and why?


There would seem to be three possible audiences. Leftists are the least likely one. Leftists have deeply entrenched views that are very important to them. Their self-esteem depends on their beliefs so they zealously avoid contradiction. They try to get contrary information censored so they will never hear it. So they would read something by me only if they came across it by accident and would mentally blot it out

A more promising audience is middle-of-the-roaders -- swinging voters. And I think that is realistic to some degree. But my outspoken conservatism probably defeats that objective to some extent A person more polite about Leftist nonsense would probably be more persuasive to that group.

So I mainly write to reinforce the beliefs of people who already tend conservative. Leftist thinking bombards us from all angles so I like to offer an antidote and alternative to that. Leftist claims do often appear to be reasonable at first sight and I like to show just where and why they are not -- so that those who are uncomfortable with Leftist claims will see in detail why such claims fail. I offer food for alternative thought.

My son tells me that I am wasting my time. He says that events will pan out in their own way driven by large forces and that there is nothing we can do to derail the inevitable train of events. It was a similar train of thought when a young journalst some years back asked aristocratic British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan what could upset his government in the next few weeks. MacMillan replied: "Events, dear boy, events".

I am a drop in the bucket theorist. One drop or one person can have a negligible effect but lots of drops can fill the bucket. I think that many conservative voices combined can have a useful effect in causing bad policies to be abandoned. Some Biden policies have at least been watered down and it seems to me that many voices opposing them have done that. So I hope to be one of such voices and to encourage other such voices.

I have at least had the satisfaction of being proved right on occasions. When Covid arrived, I saw that it was almost entirely only the elderly who were dying with it so thought that under-65s should be left alone by governments so that the economy and society could function normally. I saw all the restrictions imposed in the name of controlling the pandemic as pointless and harmful. Many people are now coming around to that view. And the country that did as I thought best -- Sweden -- ended up with the lowest level of excess deaths in Europe during the period concerned. So those who read what I write can sometimes get ahead of the game in their thinking. I feel that is worthwhile.

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Biden’s Bloodbath: The $1 Trillion Trade Deficit With The World Has Never Been Worse


Robert Romano (below) means well but he is exaggerating the trade problem.  The deficit itself is not a big problem. It simply means that foreigners are accepting greenbacks in return for real goods  -- such as cars and avocados.   It costs about nothing to print greenbacks so America is getting a very good deal out of it

But there is a problem if the situation affects American jobs.  But that is not an immediate problem.  Unemployment at the moment is very low and just about anyone who wants a job can get one.

The real problem is strategic.  Does America want to lose the abiity to make a lot of things?  Is it, for instance, wise for  America to stop making cars?  Is the immediate capacity to make cars important to Americans strategicaly?  

It was in WWII.  Thanks to a Mr H. Ford, America had a huge range of automobile factories for their mass market in cars and those factories could easily be switched to making military aircraft.  Automobile motors and aircraft motors were basically the same.  By comparison, Germany made some nice cars but only for their elites and Toyota was making bicycles

But it is different today.  Car factories could be switched from making cars to making armoured personnel carriers and maybe tanks but that is not going to win any wars.  The Ukraine has shown us that.  They have completely wiped out Russia's tanks with just a few relatively cheap drones and missiles.  They have even decimated the Russian navy and airforce,

So the stretegic argument for trade barriers has never been weaker.  What will win wars now is smart technology.  We are back to foot soldiering so what we can do to protect and equip our troops  is the issue. And that requires brains not manufacturing.  If America was exporting its Jews there might be a problem but there is not much sign of that.  They certainly would not want to go to Russia and Chinese is too hard to learn.  And we know about Israel at the moment.

But there can be  real sociological problems from trade at times.  If China wiped out the American automobile indistry with its cheaper cars, that could throw whole communities out of a job, with recovery from that being slow and difficult.  And that is what Trump is talking about.  He protected American steel manufacture for similar reasons when he was  President.  So using trade barriers to slow down social change is entirely legitimate where the change looks like being very disruptive.


“Now, if I don't get elected, it's going be a bloodbath for the whole — that's going to bet the least of it — it's going be a bloodbath for the country. That'll be the least of it.”

That was former President Donald Trump at a campaign stop in Dayton, Ohio on March 16, describing the impact of Chinese dumping cars into U.S. markets via Mexican manufacturing plants.

Trump said he would not allow China to enter the U.S. auto industry and to attempt to take advantage of the U.S., Mexico and Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, “They think that they're going to sell those cars into the United States with no tax at the border. Let me tell you something to China. If you're listening President Xi, and you and I are friends, but he understands the way I deal: Those big monster car manufacturing plants that you're building in Mexico right now, and you think you're going to get that, you're going to not hire Americans and you're going to sell the cars to us — no.”

Instead, Trump promised to put a 100 percent tariff on any Chinese cars: “We're going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you're not going to be able to sell those guys, if I get elected!”

Trump then warned that if he wasn’t elected, it would be a “bloodbath” on trade. He’s not wrong.

In fact, the U.S. trade in goods deficit with the world has never been greater according to U.S. Census data, ballooning to $1.07 trillion in 2021, $1.18 trillion in 2022 and $1.063 trillion in 2023, much of which can be attributed to the higher rates of inflation experienced after close to $7 trillion was printed, borrowed and spent into existence during and after the 2020 Covid pandemic.

As a result, the cost of everything including cars, apparel, oil and other goods and commodities imported has increased, widening the trade gap even as U.S. exports similarly increased in prices. And it came even as the trade deficit with China sank to $279 billion in 2023 after big spikes to $352.8 billion in 2021 and $382.3 billion in 2022 amid slower growth there and an overall drop in exports by China worldwide in 2023.

For comparison, the trade deficit with the world was $792.4 billion in 2017, $870.4 billion in 2018, $845.8. billion in 2019 and $901.5 billion in 2020. And with China it was $375.2 billion in 2017, $418.2 billion 2018, $342.6 billion in 2019 and $307.96 billion in 2020.

While in office, Trump had raised the tariff level on imports from China to 30 percent for goods and 15 percent for the other basket of goods, levels that Biden has not reduced, more or less leaving the Trump trade policy with China in effect. Now, Trump warns China is trying to get around those tariffs by manufacturing in Mexico instead.

In fact, Mexico is one of the main drivers of the trade deficit increasing in recent years according to U.S. Census data, going from $105 billion in 2021, to $130.5 billion in 2022, to $152.3 billion in 2023. For comparison, it was $69 billion in 2017, $77.7 billion in 2018, $99.4 billion in 2019 and $110.9 billion in 2020.

Overall, imports from Mexico have increased from $312 billion in 2017 to $475 billion 2023, a record.

And he warns it could be a “bloodbath” economically if Chinese capital into Mexico is not averted. Naturally, Biden seized on his opponent’s colorful language rather than talk about trade policy, with Biden campaign spokesperson James Singer stating the trade commentary had something to do with “political violence”: “This is who Donald Trump is: a loser who gets beat by over 7 million votes and then instead of appealing to a wider mainstream audience doubles down on his threats of political violence.”

Are we even having the same conversation in this country anymore? When Ross Perot warned of a “giant sucking sound” from Mexico in 1992, he did not mean that there was a physical, giant vacuum cleaner being set up on the border by Mexico. He was talking figuratively about jobs that would go to Mexico in the wake of the then-North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was being proposed.

Something that Trump is warning will get worse if China is allowed to set up manufacturing within the USMCA trade zone, noting that additional tariffs will be needed as China adapts to the stronger trade posture the U.S. set up after Trump was elected in the first place in 2016, promising to get tough on trade.

It might suit Trump just fine for Biden to ignore the trade issue, as Democrats did in 2016 as they pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump rejected, with the only figurative bloodbath that might occur being at the polls when the American people vote in November.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited G

https://dailytorch.com/2024/03/bidens-bloodbath-the-1-trillion-trade-deficit-with-the-world-has-never-been-worse

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The psychological problems among modern youth


We are told below that the recent rise in anxiety and depression among young people can be attributed to the increased  use of social media. There is a case to be made that media generally have become more depressing.  Great horrors are now more often reported in the news and they are more often accompanied by vivid graphics.  But social media is a distinct subset of the media and we are told that social media in particular is a malign influence. Perhaps as a psychologist with a lot of publications in the field of anxiety and other psychological problems, I can be allowed to doubt that and suggest that there is another rather obvious explanation for poor mental  health among young people

http://jonjayray.com/anxiety.html

http://jonjayray.com/alien.html

http://jonjayray.com/dogma.html

The use of social media by the young is certainly notable and a very large part of modern experience.  We have very little history to guide us about it, which makes it a handy whipping boy.  But the idea that improved communication between people is bad is surely  misanthropic and seems contrary to a lot of experience.  POOR communication is normally blamed for a lot of things. 

We are told that online bullying is now a  big problem and I have no doubt that it is frequent and can severe consequences.  But it is typical one-eyed Leftism to look at just one one half of a problem.  At least the kid these days is physically safe when the bullying concerned occurs, whereas in a less wired world the kid would be outdoors somewhere being exposed to the possibility of physical bullying.  Maybe a case can be made that online bullying is more harmful than physical bullying but no-one seems to have even tried to make that case and it seems intrinsically unlikely.  Kids have always bullied one another and always will.  And there have always been and still are severe consequences from some instances of it

So I think we have here in the attack on social media another case of something being suspected because it is popular, a familiar reaction from the Left, a reaction that is distracting our attention from the real problem

I think the problem we see has a rather obvious real cause:  The long march through the institutions by feminism is now complete.  From all sides the kids are now being told that their natural reactions are wrong.  Masculinity is toxic and women should want careers, not families.  How disorienting and confusing that must be!  And disorientation and confusion is surely what we are seeing.  From all sides kids are being told that they are wrong in their feelings.  No wonder they are depressed! 

And now we have transgenderism as an even more sweeping attack on instinctive sex roles.  Kids are told that there is really no such thing as male and female.  You can be anything you want and saying otherwise can get you seriously attacked.  Just feeling clearly male or female is wrong and feeling ambivalent is highly praised.  No wonder the kids are confused and disoriented!  Confusion is thrust upon them

As usual, Leftist thinking is highly destructive and grievously so for kids growing up today

Is there any cure for that?  Only Christianity is obvious.  Transgenderism is firmly rejected in the Bible:   Genesis 5:2 says "Male and female He created them ..."  and alternative sexuality is also firmly rejected: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them". (Levitius 20:13).  St Paul lifted the death penalty on homosexuality (Romans 1 & 2) but it is clear that the Bible favours traditional sex roles. 

So it should be no surprise that Christians seem to be shielded from the pernicious effects of Left-dominated  conventional thinking,  They are routinely found to be in better mental health.  The Nurses' Health Study demonstrated that those who attended any weekly religious services were 84% less likely to complete suicide compared with the never-attenders. Among Roman Catholics, those who attended once or more per week were 95% less likely to complete suicide than those who attended less frequently. So I am rather glad that I spent my teenage years in the grip of Christian fundamentalism


By Sophie McBain

At the start of the 2010s, rates of teenage mental illness took a sharp upward turn, and they have been rising ever since. Among US college students, diagnoses of depression and anxiety more than doubled between 2010 and 2018. More worrying still, in the decade to 2020 the number of emergency room visits for self-harm rose by 188% among teenage girls in the US and 48% among boys. The suicide rate for younger adolescents also increased, by 167% among girls and 91% among boys. A similar trend has been observed in the UK and many other western countries. The American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt believes this mental health crisis has been driven by the mass adoption of smartphones, along with the advent of social media and addictive online gaming. He calls it “the Great Rewiring of Childhood”.

Children are spending ever less time socialising in person and ever more time glued to their screens, with girls most likely to be sucked into the self-esteem crushing vortex of social media, and boys more likely to become hooked on gaming and porn. Childhood is no longer “play-based”, it’s “phone-based”. Haidt believes that parents have become overprotective in the offline world, delaying the age at which children are deemed safe to play unsupervised or run errands alone, but do too little to protect children from online dangers. We have allowed the young too much freedom to roam the internet, where they are at risk of being bullied and harassed or encountering harmful content, from graphic violence to sites that glorify suicide and self-harm.

Haidt is a professor at New York University and frequently collaborates with the American psychologist Jean Twenge, who was one of the first to attribute rising rates of mental illness among gen Z (those born in the mid to late 1990s) to smartphones. Sceptics of this research sometimes argue that young people simply have more things to feel anxious and depressed about, between climate change, rising inequality, global conflict and political perma-crisis. But Haidt makes his case persuasively. Earlier generations have also grown up in the shadow of war and global instability, he points out, and collective crises don’t typically produce individual psychological ones, perhaps because they often engender a sense of greater social solidarity and purpose. Instead, the evidence linking mental illness to smartphones and social media use is mounting.

The Anxious Generation ought to become a foundational text for the growing movement to keep smartphones out of schools

The British millennium cohort study, which followed 19,000 children born in 2000-02, found that, among girls especially, rates of depression rose in tandem with hours spent on social media. Girls who spent more than five hours a day on social media were three times more likely to become depressed than those who didn’t use it at all. This study alone isn’t enough to prove that social media causes depression (it’s possible that depressed people spend more time online) – but there’s more. Facebook was initially offered only to students at a small number of universities, so one study compared the mental health of students at institutions with Facebook with those who didn’t yet have social media – and found that Facebook increased poor mental health on campus. Five other studies have demonstrated a link between the arrival of high-speed internet and rising rates of mental illness.

So why might “phone-based” childhoods have this effect? Smartphones pull us away from our immediate surroundings and the people closest to us, rendering us, as the sociologist Sherry Turkle puts it, “forever elsewhere”. Teens are not only the most compulsive smartphone users – one 2022 Pew Media report found that 46% of them are online “almost constantly” – but they are also the most vulnerable, partly because adolescence is a period of rapid social and emotional development. Smartphones are “experience blockers”, Haidt writes: consider how many enriching activities were displaced when young people began spending hours a day online, chasing likes, following vapid influencers, substituting the richness of real-life friendship with shallow online communication. Social media encourages constant social comparison, and it can be unforgiving and cruel. These observations might sound old-fashioned, but they are also true. What middle-aged adult doesn’t feel relief to have grown up before smartphones? Adolescence was hard enough without the threat of online humiliation, the possibility of quantifying, through engagement and follower numbers, exactly how much of a loser you are.

One avenue Haidt doesn’t explore, which feels like an omission, is that his critics might be partly right about teenagers feeling anxious and depressed in response to global events – or at least to coverage of them. Could the internet’s 24-hour news cycle, its emotional fever-pitch and the sharing of graphic frontline footage, be contributing to a permanent sense of threat? It has certainly distorted our perspective on current affairs, amplifying people’s sense of personal danger. As the Oxford climate scientist Hannah Ritchie observed in her recent book, Not the End of the World, death rates from natural disasters have fallen tenfold in the past century, but almost everyone thinks they have risen. It’s also clear that today’s defining crises, such as the pandemic and climate change, won’t necessarily deepen social solidarity in an era of filter bubbles and “alternative facts”.

Haidt’s theory that overprotective parents are contributing to the mental health crisis is much less substantiated than his research on phones. He argues that children are “antifragile”: like saplings that need to be buffeted by winds in order to grow properly, they need to experience setbacks to develop resilience. Mollycoddled kids become defensive and insecure, Haidt writes, starting to view ideas as dangerous and demanding safety from beliefs they find challenging. This is an argument he advanced in his 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind, co-written with Greg Lukianoff. In the years since, it has become painfully apparent that the groups most likely to treat ideas as dangerous are the ultra-conservatives who organise book bans – and most of these rightwing activists are old enough to have enjoyed free-range childhoods themselves. I actually agree with Haidt that children ought to be given greater freedom to play unsupervised, but he overstates his case.

The Anxious Generation is nonetheless an urgent and essential read, and it ought to become a foundational text for the growing movement to keep smartphones out of schools, and young children off social media. As well as calling for school phone bans, Haidt argues that governments should legally assert that tech companies have a duty of care to young people, the age of internet adulthood should be raised to 16, and companies forced to institute proper age verification – all eminently sensible and long overdue interventions.

I felt a gnawing anxiety as I read the book, thinking not only of my three young children, who I’d like to keep away from the badlands of social media for as long as possible, but also of the uncounted hours I have spent on my phone, mindlessly scrolling. “There’s a God-shaped hole in every human heart,” Haidt writes, paraphrasing the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. “If it doesn’t get filled with something noble and elevated, modern society will quickly pump it full of garbage.” Maybe we ought to start thinking more about all the things we didn’t look at, all the people we didn’t speak to, all the thoughts we didn’t allow ourselves to finish, because we were glued to our stupid smartphones.

At the start of the 2010s, rates of teenage mental illness took a sharp upward turn, and they have been rising ever since. Among US college students, diagnoses of depression and anxiety more than doubled between 2010 and 2018. More worrying still, in the decade to 2020 the number of emergency room visits for self-harm rose by 188% among teenage girls in the US and 48% among boys. The suicide rate for younger adolescents also increased, by 167% among girls and 91% among boys. A similar trend has been observed in the UK and many other western countries. The American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt believes this mental health crisis has been driven by the mass adoption of smartphones, along with the advent of social media and addictive online gaming. He calls it “the Great Rewiring of Childhood”.

Children are spending ever less time socialising in person and ever more time glued to their screens, with girls most likely to be sucked into the self-esteem crushing vortex of social media, and boys more likely to become hooked on gaming and porn. Childhood is no longer “play-based”, it’s “phone-based”. Haidt believes that parents have become overprotective in the offline world, delaying the age at which children are deemed safe to play unsupervised or run errands alone, but do too little to protect children from online dangers. We have allowed the young too much freedom to roam the internet, where they are at risk of being bullied and harassed or encountering harmful content, from graphic violence to sites that glorify suicide and self-harm.

Haidt is a professor at New York University and frequently collaborates with the American psychologist Jean Twenge, who was one of the first to attribute rising rates of mental illness among gen Z (those born in the mid to late 1990s) to smartphones. Sceptics of this research sometimes argue that young people simply have more things to feel anxious and depressed about, between climate change, rising inequality, global conflict and political perma-crisis. But Haidt makes his case persuasively. Earlier generations have also grown up in the shadow of war and global instability, he points out, and collective crises don’t typically produce individual psychological ones, perhaps because they often engender a sense of greater social solidarity and purpose. Instead, the evidence linking mental illness to smartphones and social media use is mounting.

The Anxious Generation ought to become a foundational text for the growing movement to keep smartphones out of schools

The British millennium cohort study, which followed 19,000 children born in 2000-02, found that, among girls especially, rates of depression rose in tandem with hours spent on social media. Girls who spent more than five hours a day on social media were three times more likely to become depressed than those who didn’t use it at all. This study alone isn’t enough to prove that social media causes depression (it’s possible that depressed people spend more time online) – but there’s more. Facebook was initially offered only to students at a small number of universities, so one study compared the mental health of students at institutions with Facebook with those who didn’t yet have social media – and found that Facebook increased poor mental health on campus. Five other studies have demonstrated a link between the arrival of high-speed internet and rising rates of mental illness.

So why might “phone-based” childhoods have this effect? Smartphones pull us away from our immediate surroundings and the people closest to us, rendering us, as the sociologist Sherry Turkle puts it, “forever elsewhere”. Teens are not only the most compulsive smartphone users – one 2022 Pew Media report found that 46% of them are online “almost constantly” – but they are also the most vulnerable, partly because adolescence is a period of rapid social and emotional development. Smartphones are “experience blockers”, Haidt writes: consider how many enriching activities were displaced when young people began spending hours a day online, chasing likes, following vapid influencers, substituting the richness of real-life friendship with shallow online communication. Social media encourages constant social comparison, and it can be unforgiving and cruel. These observations might sound old-fashioned, but they are also true. What middle-aged adult doesn’t feel relief to have grown up before smartphones? Adolescence was hard enough without the threat of online humiliation, the possibility of quantifying, through engagement and follower numbers, exactly how much of a loser you are.

One avenue Haidt doesn’t explore, which feels like an omission, is that his critics might be partly right about teenagers feeling anxious and depressed in response to global events – or at least to coverage of them. Could the internet’s 24-hour news cycle, its emotional fever-pitch and the sharing of graphic frontline footage, be contributing to a permanent sense of threat? It has certainly distorted our perspective on current affairs, amplifying people’s sense of personal danger. As the Oxford climate scientist Hannah Ritchie observed in her recent book, Not the End of the World, death rates from natural disasters have fallen tenfold in the past century, but almost everyone thinks they have risen. It’s also clear that today’s defining crises, such as the pandemic and climate change, won’t necessarily deepen social solidarity in an era of filter bubbles and “alternative facts”.

Haidt’s theory that overprotective parents are contributing to the mental health crisis is much less substantiated than his research on phones. He argues that children are “antifragile”: like saplings that need to be buffeted by winds in order to grow properly, they need to experience setbacks to develop resilience. Mollycoddled kids become defensive and insecure, Haidt writes, starting to view ideas as dangerous and demanding safety from beliefs they find challenging. This is an argument he advanced in his 2018 book, The Coddling of the American Mind, co-written with Greg Lukianoff. In the years since, it has become painfully apparent that the groups most likely to treat ideas as dangerous are the ultra-conservatives who organise book bans – and most of these rightwing activists are old enough to have enjoyed free-range childhoods themselves. I actually agree with Haidt that children ought to be given greater freedom to play unsupervised, but he overstates his case.

The Anxious Generation is nonetheless an urgent and essential read, and it ought to become a foundational text for the growing movement to keep smartphones out of schools, and young children off social media. As well as calling for school phone bans, Haidt argues that governments should legally assert that tech companies have a duty of care to young people, the age of internet adulthood should be raised to 16, and companies forced to institute proper age verification – all eminently sensible and long overdue interventions.

I felt a gnawing anxiety as I read the book, thinking not only of my three young children, who I’d like to keep away from the badlands of social media for as long as possible, but also of the uncounted hours I have spent on my phone, mindlessly scrolling. “There’s a God-shaped hole in every human heart,” Haidt writes, paraphrasing the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. “If it doesn’t get filled with something noble and elevated, modern society will quickly pump it full of garbage.” Maybe we ought to start thinking more about all the things we didn’t look at, all the people we didn’t speak to, all the thoughts we didn’t allow ourselves to finish, because we were glued to our stupid smartphones.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2024/mar/21/the-anxious-generation-by-jonathan-haidt-a-pocket-full-of-poison

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