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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African male nurse banned from ICU, critical care, emergency and night shifts


Strange that he is allowed to work as a nurse at all after such sweeping restrictions.  He has clearly behaved very badly in a number of ways so it seems his race is protecting him.  

His surname is Rwandan  and that place has had a truly savage recent history so it may be that he just does not have the instinctive restraints we normally expect in a nurse


A Queensland nurse has been banned from working in the fields of mental health and acute care or late at night, the health watchdog has announced.

Amon Emmanuel Nteziryayo, from the Cairns suburb of Bentley Park, was slapped with the restrictions by the state’s Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) on March 12, according to an announcement posted on their website this week.

The notice, published on an online register of medical workers subject to immediate registration action, does not reveal why the regulator has restricted his ability to work.

He must only practise at locations approved by the ombudsman and must not practise outside the hours of 6am to 10pm.

He must not provide care to any patient where the care being provided is specifically related to their mental health and must not work in intensive care, critical care unit, emergency departments, or psychiatric intensive care units or in a facility where patients require frequent observations.

He must be supervised by another registered health practitioner and he does not currently have the ombudsman’s approval to practise in any employment or practice location.

It states that the decision will continue to have effect until the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal sets the decision aside or the health ombudsman revokes the suspension.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) website states that he was first registered in the profession in this country in October 2016.

He completed a nursing degree at the University of Southern Queensland in 2015.

https://www.couriermail.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-qld/qld-nurse-amon-emmanuel-nteziryayo-banned-from-icu-critical-care-emergency-and-night-shifts/news-story/608b0e3d1980073ea81a60bf5b8a3417

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‘Starving, extreme pain’: Young mum’s ‘inhumane’ treatment at Queensland hospital laid bare


The joys of government healthcare.  I once had a similar painful problem: kidney stones.  I took a taxi to my usual private hospital and was on the operating table within hours.  The woman below could have got similar treatment if Queensland Health fired some of its many bureaucrats and redirected the funds into employing more doctors and nurses

A young mother awaiting a “simple” one-hour operation was left starving and in pain for four days, forcing her GP to take the extraordinary step of writing to health bosses to intervene.

Frustrated Townsville GP Alan Wallace claimed the mother-of-four, who he referred to as Jessica, was suffering badly but had not undergone the surgery she needed because she kept getting bumped down the list by emergency cases.

In the open letter sent to the Townsville Hospital on Friday addressed to the Premier and Health Minister, Dr Wallace wrote Jessica had a gallstone stuck in her common bile duct – an “extremely painful” condition known as choledocholithiasis.

Dr Wallace said Jessica had been at the hospital since Sunday and was on high doses of morphine-like drugs for her pain and antibiotics to ward off potentially deadly infection.

She had not been allowed to eat since Monday when the operation was first scheduled, only to be repeatedly cancelled, Dr Wallace said.

“She is starving now,” he wrote in the letter on Friday morning.

“She has been on highly-addictive pain killing drugs for nearly a week. Premier, Minister, you must agree that what is happening to Jessica is inhuman.

“It is not what this young woman deserves. “It is not what Queenslanders expect.

“She is but a single example of a phenomenon which happens many times in hospitals all over Queensland every week of every year.”

Dr Wallace said the woman had made it to the operating theatre on Thursday but her proposed theatre was taken by an emergency case.

“The theatre staff apologised and promised that her operation would be done straight after,” he wrote.

Dr Wallace said Jessica had four young children at home, and her partner was struggling to cope.  Her family lived in Tasmania.

“She texted me in her anguish. She wanted to discharge herself,” he said.

“This is not the fault of the staff of Townsville Hospital, or indeed of anyone who lives within a thousand kilometres of Townsville.

“The reason for Jessica’s plight is not clinical incompetence, it is lack of political will.

“Premier, Minister, I beg of you. Adjust your priorities. Adequately resource our health system.”

Dr Wallace said Jessica finally had the surgery on Friday morning, only hours after he sent a copy of the letter to Townsville Hospital and the media.

He told The Courier-Mail he believed she would still be waiting for the operation had he not written the letter, and her plight was “symptomatic of a sick health system”

“Something has to be done for the other poor buggers who don’t have anyone to stand up for them,” he said.

“Townsville Hospital doesn’t have enough operating theatres and they’re run on skeleton staff.”

https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/qld-politics/starving-extreme-pain-young-mums-inhumane-treatment-at-queensland-hospital-laid-bare/news-story/241d298f019b31d89c8afa625e7e0d8b

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I was wrong


I was having a chat with my son about Christianity recently. We were both religious in our early years but are now atheists. We have however had enough contact with Christianity for us both to regard it as "a good thing". More precisely, we agree that in our present time of all values and rules being seriously challenged, Christianity provides guidelines for behaviour that can guide us safely through the large and small decisions of modern life

I certainly experienced that personally. I was 17 in 1960 and the 60s was another era of all values being challenged and all customs questioned. It was a great era of drug and alcohol abuse and sexual promiscuity -- "free love". Many young people went off the rails in that era and were permanently damaged in various ways. I particularly member the vagueness of mind and speech of pot-heads.

But I was by that time already firmly ensconced in a very evangelical form of Christianity that demanded adherence to Biblical standards of behaviour. And I enjoyed it! I knew who and where I was and what to do and not do. I had certaintly and fellowship. It is still a warm memory. And to this day I do try to live a Christian life, even if I no longer share the religion behind it.

So I came out of the 60s in the army, with a degree, in good health, with substantial savings and with no addictions. I was of course teetotal. And there were various female persons whose company I enjoyed. I became an atheist at around 19 years of age but by then Christianity had been good to me when I needed it.

My fundamentalist background still influenced my thinking in some ways, however. In particular, the Church of England has always had a weird fascination for me. It is about as opposite to Christianity as I had known and practiced it as could be. It had the form of a Christian church but seemed an empty shell by my standards. What kept such a strange institution going?

In particular, their permissiveness towards homosexuality seemed simply anti-Christian to me. There are such strong and repeated condemnations of it in the Bible that I had to regard the C of E as a pretend church, a pretend form of Christianity, with a higher value for "bells and smells" than for the Bible. Central Christian doctrines of redemptoion and salvation were mentioned by them only in passing and then with some embarrasment. Someone once said that all you need to be an Anglican is to have good taste and that seemed to sum it up to me

But I now think I was too hasty. My son pointed out to me that attitude to homosexuality is only the tiniest part of the Christian message and that in other ways the C of E and other mainstream churches did still preach a lot of the Christian message. They have helped keep some awareness of Christianity alive. In particular they actually took the Christian message to homosexuals. So even in a diluted form, receiving the Christian message did create an awareness of a set of guidelines that could offer a way through the totally challenged values in modern life. I now see the C of E as missionaries -- missionaries to non-Christians and wobbly Christians. I now think they do a good work and can even forgive their "bells and smells"

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Anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian feminism


A strange combination, considering the subordiate position of women in Muslim society. How is cutting the clitoris out of your daughters feminist? It's a widespread and respected practice in Islam. Islam is a religion of h*te and it appears that, for many, feminism is too.  Only h*te explains the marriage between the two.  It goes against all that feminism claims to be against

An anti-Israel academic who says “Zionists have no right to cultural safety” and disseminated a leak of private details of hundreds of Jewish artists will be one of the stars of a Sydney Opera House event on Sunday, sparking outrage from Jewish groups.

The venue is now facing calls to reconsider hosting Macquarie University academic Randa Abdel-Fattah, who is to give a talk as part of a festival co-curated by anti-Israel social media influencer Clementine Ford.

Ms Ford and Dr Abdel-Fattah were among the figures who sent to their social media followers a link to leaked personal details of Jewish creatives from a WhatsApp group.

The talk is advertised as a “timely discussion about the need for white feminists to decentre themselves to embrace supporting roles rather than equating empowerment with the ability always to lead”.

Dr Abdel-Fattah has come under fire for a comment she made on her Instagram account on Thursday afternoon that “if you are a Zionist you have no claim or right to cultural safety”.

“And it is my duty as somebody who fights all forms of oppression and violence to deny you a safe space to espouse your Zionist racist ideology,” she ­continued.

“It is the duty of those who oppose racism, misogyny, homophobia and all forms of oppressive harm to ensure that every space Zionists enter is culturally unsafe for them.

“And institutions and festivals that continue to defer to the fragile feelings and tears of Zionists are as abhorrent as those who would defer to the feelings of misogynists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis.

“You want to cancel pro-Palestinian voices and Palestinians because of cultural safety?? Whose cultural safety are you privileging?”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin labelled Dr Abdel-Fattah an “odious extremist” and called on the Sydney Opera House to decide “whether our most iconic venue is the people’s house or a platform for those who denigrate and vilify others”.

“She has likened the Jewish national liberation movement that restored the Jews to Israel after the land had been colonised by others for 2000 years to Nazism and white supremacism,” he said.

“This is an extraordinary piece of deceit that places a target on the back of virtually every Jew. She will deny she hates Jewish people, she will tell us about all the Jewish people she’s friends with but anyone with any awareness of what anti-Semitism is and how it works knows what this person is.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president David Ossip also condemned Dr Abdel-Fattah’s comments.

“Randa Abdel-Fattah, who has infamously refused to condemn Hamas or accept that it is a terrorist organisation, is now seeking to deny safety to Jews here in Australia,” he said.

A Sydney Opera House spokesman said: “The All About Women festival supports freedom of expression, thought, discussion and debate.

“We recognise this is a challenging time of conflict and division about which artists, audiences and the community feel very strongly, and that not all views presented will be shared.”

Dr Abdel-Fattah was contacted for comment.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/outrage-at-zionism-slur-by-macquarie-university-academic-set-to-star-at-sydney-opera-house-event/news-story/b91e69dd367cc53a36ed06d446a01fce

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Explaining narcissism


I have already written on narcissism a few times and have noted some versions of what it is and how people get like that.  Is there something that turns a person into a narcissist?

There are few attempts to answer that out there but all are highly theoretical with very little objective research supporting the explanations.  The explanations sometimes reflect clinical experience but inferences from clinical experience are inevitably subjective and incapable of proving anything.  It should be noted that even Freud was not satisfied with the explanation he offered for its origin.

The big problem with all the theories is that narcissism does not really exist as a single coherent syndrome.  The two recurrent themes in theories about narcissism are an inflated sense of self-esteem and a feeling of insecurity about one's own worth and competence.  For short, the two traits are grandiosity and vulnerability.  And the basic claim of narcissism theories is that the two traits belong together in some way.

But they do not. The survey research tells us that the two traits are  NOT correlated.  People with grandiose feelings about themselves MAY also have feeling of vulnerability but that is not automatically so. There are many grandiose people who do NOT feel vulnerable.  Many grandiose people are perfectly confident that their ideas about themselves are perfectly correct and not open to serious challenge.  They are not bothered by people  who doubt them.  Such people are sometimes said to have "a thick hide".

And of course many people with feelings of vulnerability do not also think that they are wonderful

So in asking what causes narcissism, we are essentially asking the wrong question.  There are really three questions there:  What causes feelings of grandiosity, what causes feelings of vulnerability and  how does it happen that some people have both feelings at once?

The programmatic explanation for all three questions is that  all human personality traits occur along a continuum.  There are always strong and weak tendencies towards a particular behaviour type.  And thinking well of oneself, for instance, is normal and as such in no particular need of explanation. 

It does beg for explanation when it is extreme but the explanation needed is about degrees of self-esteem,  not degrees of "narcissism".  And there is a very large literature on self-esteem in the annals of psychological research.  I am not up to date with it so will not endeavour to summarize it

Similarly there is a HUGE literaure on anxiety and neuroticism so that literature tells us about feelings of vulnerability.  I have had rather a lot of research published in that field so I will suggest the elements of an explanation for it. 

http://jonjayray.com/anxiety.html

Neuroticism/anxiety just seems to be one of the basic ways people differ.  It affects all sorts of behaviours.  We all have it to some degree and it matters a lot how strong it is in us.  It seems in fact to be hard-wired in our neurology.  We are born with it but to different degrees.  As such, there is no way to "cure" it but we can of course do some things to ameliorate its effects.  Valium being an obvious example.

So how come both vulnerablity and grandiosity sometimes  co-occur?  It may need no particular explanation.  The processes that cause both tendencies just sometimes overlap.  Some people may simply be both neurotic and full of themselves.  The one tendency does not cancel out the other, perhaps surprisingly.  They are the people we often identify as narcissists but they appear to be not the outcome of any single influence.  


My previous posts on the matter give more detail

https://pcwatch.blogspot.com/2022/10/narcissism-and-sam-vaknin-vaknin-is_0.html

https://pcwatch.blogspot.com/2023/05/revolutionary-leftists-are-narcissists.html

https://pcwatch.blogspot.com/2024/02/are-leftists-narcissists-mayo.html

Self-confidence

So where does self-confidence fit into the two factor picture I have outlined?  

Self confidence is clearly the opposite end of feelings of vunerabiity.  It is a lack of self confidence that plagues the vulnerable person.  Confidence is clearly one part of a broader factor -- a  continuum of confidence/vulnerability

So is the grandiose person self-confident? It might seem automatically so. But the answer once again has to be that there are two factors involved.  As we see from the statistical correlations,  it is perfectly possible   -- but not automatic -- for grandiose people to feel vulnerable. Some people with grandiose views of themselves are  not at all confident that they are so admirable and tend therefore to do things to prop up that belief.  

As I have argued previously, the subset of people who are both grandiose and vulnerable often find relief as active political leftists.  They actively promote themselves as good and  kind and wise and righteous, with sometimes unfortunate results when they get something wrong.  It is precisely their vulnerabiity which makes them so keen to censor the views of anybody who disagrees with them

Coincidentally, a well-sampled study has recently appeared which found that "woke" attitudes correlated with "depression, anxiety, and (lack of) happiness".  The correlation with depression was particularly high -- clearly  vulnerable feelings.  

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sjop.13018

I have always had self-confidence in spades.  I inherited it from my mother.  A non grandiose example may be of interest:

After completing Junior school, I saw that Senior school took a further two years to do and disliked that prospect.  So I looked at the Senior syllabus and its listing of the knowledge required to pass the Senior exam. I thought that I could easily acquire the knowledge required in one year.  So I quietly did just that.  I taught myself the requirements for the Senior exam in one year and got respectable passes in it,  including a couple of "A"s.  I was confident of my abilities and it paid off. 

So self confidence is pretty good stuff.  And I am not remotely grandiose.  I have never sought the limelight despite several opportunities in that direction.  It always seemed too much bother.

JR

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New Research, Psych Experts Call Left-Wing Leaders ‘Psychopathic’


I have previously put up an extensive survey of the evidence for Leftism being psychopathic:
The psychopathy is sub-clinical, meaning that its sufferers do not normally get locked up or medicated. Depending on how you define it, sub-clinical psychopathy is probably widepread, meaning that not all sub-clinical psychopaths are focused on politics. But people who are heavily focused on Leftist politics do appear to be psychopathic to a significant degree


The Biden administration – which insists Donald Trump’s reelection would be very bad for America – enthusiastically supports amputating the breasts and sexual organsof thousands of troubled children, is obsessed with ushering as many millions of illegal aliens (including terrorists, fentanyl smugglers, MS-13 gang members, child sex traffickers and legions of surly, military-age Chinese men) as possible into America, and – just to pick one of many examples of bureaucratic insanity – recently demanded, via its FAA, that U.S. airlines employ more people, including pilots, with “severe intellectual” and “psychiatric” problems.

It’s increasingly clear that many of America’s current leaders are, to put it plainly, stark raving mad.

But stating this is not an exercise in hurling nasty epithets at one’s political opponents, as the left does continually.

Rather, what follows is a brief but serious look at the proposition that America’s current leaders are genuinely insane – in a clinically diagnosable way. This is about rampant Borderline Personality Disorder, Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder and other scary-sounding conditions whose clinical symptom-pictures perfectly match many of today’s leaders.

Of course, many cases of what the secular psychiatric world labels “mental disorders” ultimately boil down to individuals who, one way or another, have fallen into the grip of dark spiritual forces.

Yet it’s illuminating to briefly explore how current research in psychiatry, a field ironically dominated largely by the left, nevertheless has concluded that leftist radicals and leaders are, more often than not, certifiably crazy.

For example, in a groundbreaking study published in March 2023, titled “Understanding left-wing authoritarianism: Relations to the dark personality traits, altruism, and social justice commitment,” authors Dr. Ann Krispenz and Dr. Alexander Bertrams found that left-wing extremism is closely associated with “psychopathic tendencies.”

“Narcissistic individuals and those with psychopathic tendencies are more likely to strongly endorse left-wing antihierarchical aggression,” summarized the widely cited PsyPost website, which reports the latest research on human behavior.

“Individuals with dark personalities – such as high narcissistic and psychopathic traits – are attracted to certain forms of political and social activism which they can use as a vehicle to satisfy their own ego-focused needs instead of actually aiming at social justice and equality,” the authors explain.

Stated simply, left-wing psychopaths pretend to care about “social justice and equality,” but in reality are just feeding their massive “ego-focused” lust for power, glory and revenge, the authors say.

“In particular,” they add, “certain forms of activism might provide them with opportunities for positive self-presentation and displays of moral superiority, to gain social status, to dominate others, and to engage in social conflicts and aggression to satisfy their need for thrill seeking.”

Likewise, retired psychiatrist Brad Lyles, M.D., explains that “one way of understanding the increasingly outlandish beliefs and behaviors of the left is through the lens of Borderline Personality Disorder. The Borderline diagnosis,” he notes, “is among the most infamous diagnoses in psychiatry. It is the diagnosis that keeps therapists up at night, covered in sweat, fearful of every encounter with this sort of patient.” Lyles writes:

Understanding the long-researched processes driving Borderline Personality Disorder provides unique insights into the processes driving the more extreme politics of the left. The Borderline model explains not only the often inexplicable behaviors of the left – but also why the left is so legitimately dangerous.

The most dangerous feature of the Borderline model – and the process most dangerous in our politics – is “psychological” projection, as distinct from the “political” variety.

Psychological projection hardens a patient’s mere belief or suspicion that the OTHER (person, organization) is bad into a CONVICTION the other person is bad. In particular the patient KNOWS the other person is bad.

On the contrary, political projection – “accusing the other guy of what you are doing” – is merely a STRATEGY. A prominent – and execrable – example would include the three years Democrats accused President Trump of “colluding with the Russians” while they themselves were in fact colluding with the Russians.

Psychological projection is not a strategy. It is a threat.

With psychological projection there are no gray areas in the belief structure: The other person is ALL BAD. There is no circumstance in which a person (or political party) is understood to possess a combination of both good and bad features.

This “ALL BAD” belief structure is what the late Pulitzer-winning columnist and trained psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer was getting at when he famously wrote,“To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”

Of course, it’s this same “conservatives are evil” belief that underlies the left’s continual and epically deranged comparison of President Donald Trump with Adolf Hitler, hands-down the most reviled, genocidal mass murderer in world history. Yet top Democrat politicians including Joe Biden – as well as the “mainstream” media – have continually likened Trump to Hitler since before he was elected president in 2016 and continuing to today, eight years later.

Yet if Trump really is another Hitler, where exactly are all of his Hitler-like policies and actions? After all, the man was president of the United States and leader of the free world for four extremely important years. So, what are all these evil practices that justify such a comparison?

In reality, of course, Trump’s policies were right in line with the values and sensibilities of the vast, center-right American middle class that has long constituted this nation’s moral, economic and spiritual backbone. America’s economy was stable and strong under Trump, unemployment was at historic lows, perverse trade agreements were replaced with fair, pro-American ones, border enforcement was a priority, America’s military was being rebuilt, and the world was free of major wars due to Trump’s personal strength and leadership.

Meanwhile, the current president, Joe Biden, having degraded and just about destroyed America in every conceivable way, has sunk to the level of a third-world dictator by casting hundreds of American patriots into prison, destroying their lives and their families, all for protesting his theft of the 2020 election.

Therefore, seeing as Biden’s has been hands-down the worst administration in American history, the playbook governing leftwing power politics demands that Trump simply must be Hitler – period – or else the Democrats will lose power. And that’s not an option for them.

Expert diagnoses Obama

But hold on. Can all this really be true? Is it actually possible that many of America’s top Democrat leaders are ruthless psychopaths?

Let’s rewind a few years and briefly focus on Barack Obama, since much of today’s societal madness began or accelerated because of him, and a great many people believe Obama is calling the shots in Washington, D.C. today. And of course, Obama’s wife Michelle is increasingly considered a top contender for becoming the Democrats’ presidential candidate later this year.

Many Americans believe, and some widely respected voices have said so publicly, that Barack Obama is a “sociopath” or “psychopath.” (For the record, though numerous psychology articles attempt to differentiate between “sociopathy” and “psychopathy,” in the end the analysis always boils down to the two being essentially the same, with “psychopaths” just being a little worse than “sociopaths.”) In 2016, Dr. Ben Carson referred to Obama on camera as a “psychopath.” The aforementioned columnist-author Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training, dubbed Obama a “narcissist” who “talks like the emperor, Napoleon.” Pulitzer prize-winning columnist George Will wrote about “Barack Obama’s intellectual sociopathy.” And so on.

Closely consider this typical description of sociopathy: “Sociopaths are often well-liked because of their charm and high charisma, but they do not usually care about other people. They think mainly of themselves and often blame others for the things that they do. They have a complete disregard for rules and lie constantly. They seldom feel guilt or learn from punishments.” Remind you of anyone?

During the Obama administration, this writer communicated frequently with veteran forensic psychiatrist Lyle Rossiter, M.D., who suggested a slightly different diagnosis for Obama, but similar to “sociopathy” – namely, “Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” The modifier “malignant” signified the version of “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” that may cross over into criminality, he explained.

Rossiter, who has since passed away, had been retained as an expert in more than 2,700 civil and criminal cases and was a genuine world-class authority in forensic psychiatry, which is the intersection between criminal behavior and mental disorders. He carefully reviewed with me a list of some of the major symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, comparing them with Obama’s behavior as president. Here are a few of the key markers:

1) a grandiose view of one’s achievements (everything with Obama was “historic”),

2) an utter inability to handle criticism (everyone criticizing Obama or his policies was attacked as an “extremist” or “racist”), and

3) lack of genuine empathy. (For just one example, Obama gave a televised speech on the day of the Fort Hood terror attack in which a Muslim U.S. Army major shot 45 Americans, 13 fatally.

With the entire nation reeling in total shock and horror, and yearning for strong, reassuring words from their commander in chief, Obama instead engaged in small talk and an inane “shout-out” for two full minutes before even mentioning that the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 had occurred just hours earlier.)

Now fast-forward to today. From President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to the presidential Cabinet – including in particular Attorney General Merrick Garland, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra – all of these people lie literally all the time. It’s what they do for a living. And to all appearances, they do so easily, reflexively and without conflict or conscience.

Even Karine Jean Pierre, whose daily job is to tell absurd and embarrassingly obvious lies to the nation in order to put a good face on the most destructive, corrupt and mentally incompetent president in U.S. history (not to mention the head of a crime family) has publicly described herself as a “historic figure,” as the first black lesbian ever to serve as White House press secretary.

Democrats twice as likely as Republicans to be mentally ill

Interestingly, it’s not just the left’s leaders who are “mentally ill.” Gallup pollsters conducted an extensive study involving more than 4,000 interviews conducted over the course of four years, which concluded that Republicans had “significantly” better mental health than Democrats.

Likewise, a SurveyMonkey survey commissioned a few years ago by the left-wing news site BuzzFeed (which has since shut down) found that Democrats suffered significantly more mental illness than Republicans. In fact, Democrats were found to be twice as likely to have been diagnosed with a mental disorder as Republicans in almost every category, from anxiety, depression and PTSD to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and narcissistic personality disorder.

Yet, it is the left that is continually accusing Donald Trump and his supporters of being deranged, delusional and engaging in projection – accusing others of the very evil of which they are guilty.

Recently a “gender-affirming” psychologist, Dr. Harriette Wimms, gave an extraordinary demonstration of projection, a favorite tactic of the left: At the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s 27th annual training symposium in Montreal, Canada, Wimms, who is the clinical director for the Village Family Support Center in Baltimore, Maryland, announced that parents who oppose cutting the breasts and/or sex organs off of their precious children – wait for it – have a “mental illness.”

Yes, there is a lot of “mental illness” in America today. And as mentioned earlier, most serious psychiatric diagnoses in the “sociopath,” “psychopath,” “malignant narcissist” arena really amount to very dark and demonic spiritual conditions being described through a secular, non-theistic lens.

Meanwhile, the general population also sadly includes large and growing numbers of genuine casualties of today’s deranged, sociopathic leadership, whether in government, education, medicine or culture – especially among the youth, where depression, delusion, anxiety and suicide are rampant.

They are true victims.

But as for the increasingly totalitarian ruling elites themselves – from the “let’s cut off kids’ body parts and engineer a massive foreign invasion of America” Biden administration to the “let’s terrify everyone about global warming and insist they eat insects while we dine on steak” globalist crowd?

They’re just evil.

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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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Diversity Row Erupts at National AI Institute After 180 Staff Sign Letter Questioning “Inclusivity” of Hiring Four Male Scientists


Why is it so difficult to accept that men and women are good at different things? They always have been and always will be

It's part of the restless nature of Leftists. They are never happy with how things are. So they press for change to anything that seems restricted. But that can easily be destructive. Wanting women to do things that they are less good at just diverts them from things they are good at, resulting in a general decline of capability


A diversity row has erupted at the U.K.’s national AI institute after staff signed a letter questioning the “inclusivity” of the appointment of four male senior scientists. The Telegraph has more.

Employees and researchers at the Alan Turing Institute, Britain’s flagship data science and AI research organisation set up in 2015, questioned whether its “commitment to inclusivity” was being followed in its hiring process.

More than 180 people signed the letter, which was first reported by the Guardian, after four top male academics were appointed in February. The signatories said the hiring suggested a “continuing trend of limited diversity within the institute’s senior scientific leadership”.

In the letter, addressed to Chief Executive Dr. Jean Innes and its Operations Lead and Chief Scientist, the staff said: “This is an excellent time to reflect on whether all voices are being heard and if the institute’s commitment to inclusivity is being fully realised in our recruitment and decision-making practices.”

The protest comes after the Government agreed to hand the institute a further £100m over the next five years for research focusing on “grand challenges” in the use of data and AI in healthcare, defence and sustainability.

Four new scientists, including experts from UCL and Imperial College London, were hired to help lead those efforts. All were men.

The staff who signed the letter to the Turing Institute’s leadership said their intention was “not to undermine” the scientists’ credentials, but they added: “Our aim is to highlight a broader issue within our institute’s approach to diversity and inclusivity, particularly in scientific leadership roles, with a specific eye towards gender diversity.”

Four of the 12 research programme directors at the institute are women.

Dr. Innes, the chief executive of the Alan Turing Institute, said: “Our appointments are made through free and fair competition and on the basis of merit. We recognise the critical importance of diverse leadership and welcome dialogue with our community about what more we can do.

“As the national institute for data science and AI we are committed to increasing the proportion of under-represented groups in these fields.”

Let’s face it. The activists were never going to be happy with equal opportunity. Only the full-on socialist ‘equity’ of equal outcomes between identity groups was going to be acceptable to those bent on bringing down the ‘evil oppressors’.

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Michael Blythe and the argument in support of negative gearing


I used negative gearing in my younger days, when I was a well-paid academic.  I doubt that I would have bothered with landlording without the facility it offered. 

And if you want lower rents you need more landlords, not fewer.  I specialized in offering high quality rental accomodation, using properties that were mostly in poor condition when I bought them but which I had improved.  So eliminating negative gearing would chase people like me out of the rental market and hit it hard just when it is dowm.  

It's moronic policy if you have the best interests of tenants at heart.  But the Greens are led by the unreconstructed Trotsykite, Adam Bandt, so that cannot be assumed

“Negative gearing must be scrapped” is the clarion call from just about everyone hit by a tight property market.

The tax break is cast as the source of all problems, from spiralling prices to rental supply issues. But is this true?

As the pressure builds against this decades-old tax break, the Greens are pushing hard against the policy. There is a clear and present danger the government may up-end current arrangements — despite denials from the Albanese administration.

If you invest in property, or ever wish to do so, then negative gearing is likely to be crucial to your plan. The ability to set losses against your taxable income is the most important tax break (outside of super) for the everyday investor.

Millions of investors have used negative gearing and millions more no doubt have it in their plans, and as Michael Blythe of PinPoint Macro Analytics puts it: “in our market tax arrangements are as important as interest rates.”

As a former chief economist at Commonwealth Bank, the nation’s biggest home lender, few people know more than Blythe about negative gearing and what it means for the wider economy.

The latest wave of speculation surrounding negative gearing has prompted him to issue a case for the defence. Blythe has produced a report which in his own words will “provide ammunition in support of the status quo”.

His paper, ‘In praise of negative gearing,’ will no doubt be greeted with catcalls of derision, but it is worth reading and offers a compelling argument for keeping negative gearing in place.

In his paper, Blythe goes after some of the most common tropes set out against negative gearing — and he knocks most of them flat.

One very important takeaway is despite the understandable assumption negative gearing is only for the wealthy (and parliamentarians), the data does not suggest this is the case.

More than one in ten taxpayers claim rent interest deductions. Among this group are surgeons and dentists.

But, it also includes emergency service workers, nurses, teachers and bus drivers — it’s a tax policy for everyone.

The other key argument it loses revenue for the government is also undermined by simple economics showing investors are only negatively geared at the start of their investment — as years pass they begin paying tax as property owners.

In fact, there have been recent periods where negative gearing was contributing to budget revenue.

As Blythe patiently explains, the Australian residential property market is based on capital gain, not rental income — rental yields are low and owners accept those low yields on the basis that some day in the future they will get a capital gain.

Importantly, investors work on the assumption capital gains will be somewhere near 25 per cent — based on it being at the top income tax rate and discounted by 50 per cent (a process which has now been in place for more than two decades).

The report shows if the negative gearing system was not in place, then rents would be pushed higher. Keep in mind we already have a rental vacancy ratio of nearly 1 per cent in the major cities.

If you remain unconvinced, then Blythe goes back to the one and only example we have in history of what Australia might be like if negative gearing was removed.

The test case was in 1985 — when negative gearing was initially scrapped and then restored two years later,

If we look at what happened during the two-year interregnum: “the national experience suggested that removing negative gearing would reduce rental supply, lift rents and slow house price growth.”

As for the most recent removal attempt — the ALP move in 2019 to limit negative gearing — it “would have been a replay of 1985” says the report.

Of course, the argument for the defence of negative gearing is far from perfect, and it fails one group — first-home buyers.

The truth is if negative gearing was removed, then house prices would fall — and when this occurred more first home buyers could get a start in the market.

For now, we have the current situation where first home buyers are acting as ‘rentvestors’ — they are getting into the market by owning an investment property first and then buying a home later.

The latest ABS data clearly shows the 2 -34 year old age group has raised their share of the investment property market. The argument goes: at least they have got a foothold in the market.

This is true, but it’s a secondary experience to owning your own home.

As an economist, Blythe warns you can’t do tax reform in parts: “the playing field needs to be level,” so if the government removes negative gearing for houses, then it will also need to be removed for shares.

Certainly, investors are getting worried. Blythe’s report shows a telltale surge in google searches around negative gearing ever since the government changed course on the planned stage 3 tax cuts earlier in the year.

As Blythe suggests: “We have a Budget coming up in May, and we have this one-sided debate about negative gearing, because the people that push for changing housing taxation arrangements make the most noise and get the most attention.”

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/michael-blythe-and-the-argument-in-support-of-negative-gearing/news-story/59aaa92cfb3f6188351490d2bec62f6d

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How not to retire from the mating game


One frequently hears of both men and women who have given up on finding a partner, usually because their attempts at finding a suitable partner have been very frustrating.

Some people have genuinely lost interest in pairing up, often because they have other satisfying activities in their lives.  But I am talking here of people who have given up because of failure, not because of lack of interest.

I am reminded of them by the writings of Yael Wolfe, a frequent contributor to medium.com.  Her latest post is a long screed about how satisfied she is to be single. 

https://medium.com/wilder-with-yael-wolfe/an-ode-to-the-quiet-dignity-of-the-single-woman-25ef949c57b3  

It reeks of desperation.  She writes at great length in an effort to convince herself, it seems to me.  In her previous entries she has often mourned her attempts to find a lasting partnership with a man.  She has had relationships but none have lasted. And she really still badly wants a relationship.

I don't know her so have no real idea of where she has gone wrong.  I suspect, though, that she has set her sights too high.  She goes for men who are of a higher quality than is really available to her.  Her own qualities are not attractive enough to hold the men she aspires to.

So what should she do to enhance her lasting attractiveness?  I have no knowledge of her particular situation but I think there is a clue for us all in a story that a smart and attractive woman told me not long ago.  It is a story that could apply to both men and women, it seems to me.

It is really a simple story.  For background, the woman concerned was rather pretty and had a university degree.  She was in a fairly well-paid semi-professional job.  

The odd thing was that she had for a time been in a relationship with a working class man who had very little money.  How did he attract and hold her?  He did it by being very attentive.  He would listen carefully to what she said about what she liked and wanted.  So if she said she liked mangoes, there would be a mango or two on the table the next day.  

They were mainly little things that he did but he was simply very good at listening and finding ways to give her things she wanted.  She became quite entranced and for a time thought she had found a life partner.  So, as a certain cat has argued, being poorer than your partner or prospective partner is not necessarily  an obstacle to  a good relationship. 

https://youtu.be/i83EZLn76YM?si=RHZhgVfSmCR6dgxk\

A powerful affection can be created just by doing little things

Sadly, other obstacles arose in the relationship concerned which ended it, to the considerable disappointment of the woman concerned.  Last time I heard, she was one of those people who are "off" relatonships, but I hope that is not permanent.

So her personal story is in the  end a sad one but I think it does contain within it a a powerful account of how to create affection in challenging circumstances.

There are of course many other things that generate good relationships: Good looks, self-confidence and a good sense of humour being prime. But the power of attentiveness should be added to those.

I have myself retired from the mating game but that is because I already have a bright and good-looking girlfriend. And if a geriatric 80-year old like me can have a girlfriend, there is hope for everybody. There are some details of that relationship on my personal blog, in the unlikely event that anybody is interested:

https://memoirsjr.blogspot.com/

JR 

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