Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pat Buchanan's racism

In a column published on the conservative websites Townhall, Human Events, and WorldNetDaily, Pat Buchanan has cited the white supremacist organization VDARE and two of its primary contributors, Steve Sailer and Robert Weissberg, to promote a theory concerning racial disparities in academic achievement. The column, entitled "Who Owns the Future?", purports to break down the test scores of American public school students by race and compare the differences with the difference between test scores of students in the countries associated with their ethnic groups. Buchanan and his VDARE sources argue that, on average, whites and Asians perform better on standardized tests than Hispanics and blacks do because they are, on average, more intelligent. They also argue that the racial intelligence gap they discern in the U.S. is mirrored in identical gaps between student performance in nations of the same races. So, Buchanan asserts,

America's public schools, then, are not abject failures.

They are educating immigrants and their descendants to outperform the kinfolk their parents or ancestors left behind when they came to America. America's schools are improving the academic performance of all Americans above what it would have been had they not come to America.

What American schools are failing at, despite the trillions poured into schools since the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is closing the racial divide.

We do not know how to close the gap in reading, science and math between Anglo and Asian students and black and Hispanic students.

And from the PISA tests, neither does any other country on earth.

The gap between the test scores of East Asian and European nations and those of Latin America and African nations mirrors the gap between Asian and white students in the U.S. and black and Hispanic students in the U.S.

Even Buchanan knows are some flagrant gaps in their data.  Midway through the column appears a throwaway comment by Buchanan to the effect that

African-American kids would have outscored the students of any sub-Saharan African country that took the test (none did)...

Considering that African-American academic performance is really at the heart of the matter (just as black-white relations are at the heart of U.S. race relations), the fact that Buchanan and his friends at VDARE have virtually no data to support their theory of intrinsic white superiority is of key importance.  Buchanan acknowledges that glaring flaw in his evidence even as he invents out of whole cloth facts that would be true under other circumstances.  Moreover, Buchanan, like Sailer and Weissberg, fails to factor that economic and other environmental disparities experienced by Latin American students are experienced by Hispanic students in the U.S., thus making it impossible to reach conclusions concerning genetic causation  The methodology behind their conclusions is fatally flawed.  That Buchanan's column is both designed to malign entire races and is unsupported by facts indicates a malicious and racist mind at work.  With that in mind, the fact that he should rely on even more overt racists as his sources is not at all surprising.  What is surprising is that mainstream news media such as MSNBC would still consider his views within the pale.

Just how bad is VDARE?  The blog Right Wing Watch writes that

The Southern Poverty Law Center labels VDARE as a “White Nationalist” organization and says that VDARE “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.”
The VDARE website has stated that

"America was defined — almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly — as a white nation, for white people, and what that means is that there is virtually no figure, no law, no policy, no event in the history of the old, white America that can survive the transition to the new and non-white version. Whether we will want to call the new updated version ‘America’ at all is another question entirely."

That nation based on racism is not the United States with which most of us are familiar or comfortable, nor should we be.  That Pat Buchanan apparently shares VDARE's beliefs is deeply troubling.

(H/T Right Wing Watch)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Videla, Argentine Dirty War Dictator, Gets Life

read here: Jorge Videla, Argentina Ex-Dictator, Sentenced To Life In Prison

Former dictator Jorge Videla was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the torture and murder of 31 prisoners, most of whom who were "shot while trying to escape" in the months after his military coup.

The conviction was Videla's first in 25 years for crimes against humanity, thrilling relatives who packed the courtroom, holding up grainy black-and-white pictures of the victims and shouting "murderers" at the defendants. Most of the two-dozen former military and police officials who were tried with Videla also received life sentences.

Videla, who led the military coup that installed Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship, is considered the architect of a dirty war that eliminated [i.e. murdered] thousands of people in a crackdown on armed leftist guerrillas and their supporters.

The judges found Videla "criminally responsible" for the deaths of the prisoners, who were transferred from civilian jail cells to a clandestine prison where they were repeatedly tortured under interrogation before being killed.

Videla told the court that Argentine society demanded the crackdown to prevent a Marxist revolution and complained that "terrorists" now run the country.

Videla must serve his sentence in a civilian prison, the judges decided, ruling out the privileges he enjoyed after he was first convicted of crimes against humanity in 1985, as Argentina was struggling to return to democracy. Videla served just five years of a life sentence in a military prison before former President Carlos Menem granted him and other junta leaders amnesty.

According to the New York Times (in extremely brief coverage), Videla, in a statement to the court on the last day of his trial, said
“yesterday’s enemies are in power and from there, they are trying to establish a Marxist regime.”

Former Argentina dictator Jorge Videla attends the last day of his trial in Cordoba.

Videla at his trial's conclusion

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Greek Bishop's Paranoid Rant

from the NYTimes:

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece complained to church authorities about the anti-Semitic remarks made by the Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus during a recent interview on Greek television, according to a statement (in Greek) on the group’s Web site.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that the bishop “said that there is a conspiracy to enslave Greece and Christian Orthodoxy. He also accused international Zionism of trying to destroy the family unit by promoting one-parent families and same-sex marriages.”
According to the news agency, when the bishop was then asked, “Why do you disagree with Hitler’s policies? If they are doing all this, wasn’t he right in burning them?” he replied: “Adolf Hitler was an instrument of world Zionism and was financed from the renowned Rothschild family with the sole purpose of convincing the Jews to leave the shores of Europe and go to Israel to establish the new Empire.” He added that Jewish bankers like “Rockefeller, Rothschild and Soros control the international banking system that controls globalization.”

Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meanwhile in Belarus...

Wikileaks' primary Russian-language correspondent Israel Shamir met with Uladzimri Makei, the chief aide to President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. Lukashenko's regime has been described as Europe's last dictatorship. According to the Belarusian pro-democracy group Charter 97:

In his interview to Interfax-Zapad news agency, Shamir confirmed the website possesses files on Belarus. According to him, WikiLeaks has several thousands of secret documents concerning Belarus to a greater or less degree. He added that the files on Belarus were “what the Americans report from Belarus and on Belarus. There may be interesting things.”

read here: Makei afraid of Assange’s files

Shamir was photographed by an Interfax photographer on the steps of the Belarus Presidential Administation Building in Minsk earlier today.

In related news, Hal Roberts of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society reports that the Lukashenko regime has prepared for today's election by conducting a hijacking campaign against a long list of websites associated with opposition parties. People who try to view these websites are redirected to phony ones set up by the regime.


UPDATE (Monday, Dec. 20, 2010):

And of course...

The Lukashenko regime has reverted to form.  Yesterday, election day, at least 6 of 9 opposition candidates were illegally arrested, as were hundreds of their aides and supporters.  Voters, protesters, reporters and observers were beaten by police.  Now we await the results of the "vote count", by which I mean outright theft of the election.  All this in spite of a promise of almost $4 billion of aid from Germany and Poland if Lukachenko allowed fair elections.  Read the NY Times coverage here: Belarus Police Arrest Opposition Leaders.  Human rights organization VIASNA has coverage here.

A note about the Holocaust denier Israel Shamir's working for Julian Assange as Wikileaks Russian correspondent: 

When I originally posted about this on Facebook, I received outraged comments from a free-lance journalist who supports Assange.  She claimed (without citing any specifics) that all the evidence of Shamir's working for Wikileaks was falsified, and that there was no indication of such a connection.  She went on to absurdly claim that my asking if such a connection worried her was a calculated attempt on my part to label her as a Nazi.  How silly.

And the rape charges:

In the past several days, we've seen liberals such as Bianca Jagger, Keith Olbermann, Michael Moore, Naomi Wolf and Naomi Klein (henceforth "the Naomis"), as well as the blog firedoglake, slander Assange's alleged victims as liars working in cahoots with the CIA to silence Assange.  Now we have Andrew Krieg writing in the Huffington Post claiming without any evidence whatsoever that they're working not for the CIA but for Karl Rove.  His "reasoning"?  Rove works as a consultant to the Swedish PM Reinfelt, and

"This all has Karl's signature," a reliable political source told me a week and a half ago... He must be very happy. He's right back in the middle of it. He's making himself valuable to his new friends, seeing the U.S. government doing just what he'd like ─ and screwing his opponents big-time."

In spite of the fact that a Wikileaks spokesman, in a Swedish radio interview, has confirmed and defended Wikileaks employing Israel Shamir, and in spite of the fact that Shamir himself has confirmed this and has negotiated on Wikileaks behalf with the Belarusian regime, Assange's enablers deny that such a thing could be true and slander as liars those who report it.  Meanwhile, Assange's enablers groundlessly slander the alleged victims of his sexual assaults as liars working for the CIA and/or Karl Rove.  The sheer brazenness of this double-standard concerning evidence is breathtaking.  More importantly, it is wrong to treat alleged rape victims in such a manner. These people feel that their actions support free speech and transparency in government, but support for any cause, no matter how just, would not mitigate their offenses.  Assange's narcissism and recklessness seem to be echoed by some of his supporters.  Good intentions is no defense.

The Guardian has coverage of Shamir and Wikileaks here.  The Guardian also published details of the Swedish prosecutors' evidence for their charges against Assange here, and an interview with the attorney for Assange's accusers, one which addresses the Assange enablers' conspiracy theories, here.    Have the enablers read this stuff?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wikileaks: Vatican shows 'remnants of anti-Semitism'

from the Jerusalem Post:

A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks showed that US diplomats were concerned with anti-Semitism in the Vatican.

"Despite the real progress" under Pope John Paul II, some still "manifested remnants of anti-Semitic sentiments," according to the cable from 2002.

"An older desk officer of French origin" complained that America's "strong interest in modern European anti-Semitism stemmed from the 'excessive influence of Jews in your media and government.'" Another official said that lawsuits against the Holy See "were the result of 'Jewish judges having too much influence.'"

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Welcome to the tea party

In New York's Nassau County, tax cuts without corresponding spending cuts have led to massively irresponsible borrowing and fiscal chaos.

Read here: Mangano Lowers Taxes but Leaves Nassau County in a Fiscal Crisis - NYTimes.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What motivates shark attacks

There have been a number of shark attacks on tourists visiting resorts in southern Sinai recently. Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha, the governor of South Sinai, thinks one unusual explanation is possible. He has stated that he believes it possible that Mossad agents are "throwing the deadly sharks" into the Red Sea to attack Egyptians. He did not say how Israeli intelligence managed to train the sharks to distinguish Egyptians from others. My guess is that it would be much easier to train a shark to bite Egyptians than it would be to train them not to bite others, but I'm not an expert on the subject.

Governor Shousha indicated that Mossad agents would want to carry out such a plot "to hit tourism in Egypt", but went on to say that the subject requires further investigation "to confirm" his theory.

South Sinai governor Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha (6 December)
South Sinai governor Mohamed Abdul Fadil Shousha

BBC News - Shark attacks not linked to Mossad says Israel


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