Author Archive

Dr. Steven J. Allen

Harvard students: How stupid are they? (and the case of the Louisiana literacy test)

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

One of the great deceptions in American politics is that students at Ivy League schools such as Harvard know more about the great issues of the day than, say, students at a typical state university. In fact, a study conducted by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute suggests that students at “elite” schools such as Harvard and Yale are less knowledgeable about economics, politics, and American history than students at other schools—and, incredibly, that seniors at Harvard and Yale and some other prestigious colleges and universities know less than freshmen at the same schools.

[Information on the ISI study is available at http://www.americancivicliteracy.org/2007/summary_summary.html. When I was editor of the magazine Tea Party Review magazine, I published an article about the study. It’s no longer available online, but I’m posting it below.]

Schools like Harvard and Yale are designed to perpetuate not to promote knowledge but to perpetuate an aristocracy. That is a task they perform well. Members of prominent political families, children of the rich, and other highly privileged kids attend such schools alongside a certain number of students who are genuinely gifted in physical sciences, the arts, and other fields (but not especially in fields directly related to public policy). The truly gifted children give cover to the privileged blockheads. Read all »

They. Hate. You.

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]

Jonathan Gruber is not a bug. He’s a feature.

The people who run Washington are so-called Progressives—that is, they think that you are a bunch of rubes, ignorant hicks who need smart people like them to tell you how to live your life.

Needless to say, they’re a bunch of idiots. They’re “economists” who believe in Keynes and Obamacare, and “scientists” who believe in Global Warming theory.  They’re “Constitutional scholars” who oppose the very idea of Constitutional law, because Constitutional law protects people like you from bullies like them. They’re “public health experts” who believe in banning trans fats and jumbo sodas and e-cigs and non-bureaucrat-approved restaurant menus instead of protecting public health (that is, protecting the public from infectious diseases, like EV-D68 or, for that matter, the Ebola virus about which the President lied: Read all »

The right to vote any way you want, while we watch

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

“Today the practice of casting secret ballots is so commonplace that most voters would not consider that any other method might be used.” – Wikipedia

Well, not anymore, if the Progressives have their way.

In three states (Washington, Oregon, and Colorado), the secret ballot has been abolished, and it’s barely surviving in a number of other states.

Washington, Oregon, and Colorado have a system of universal mail-out voting. Every voter gets a ballot in the mail—at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen—and every voter returns his or her ballot by mail. There is absolutely no protection if your employer, an official of your union, your preacher, someone from the department of welfare, or a member of your family demands that you vote in front of him or her or that you sign and mail the ballot after it’s been marked “for” you. Or, for that matter, if vote harvesters show up at your door to “help” you vote. Read all »

Tragedy, as politics: Exploiting Ferguson

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]

African-Americans have long been the victims of oppression by politicians and bureaucrats. That’s been true from the 17th Century when slavery, a practice older than civilization, began to be associated with the concept we now call “race,” through the era of Jim Crow and one-party Democratic Party rule in much of the country (a time that included FDR’s racist National Recovery Administration), to the present time (when, for example, in Washington, DC, African-Americans are eight times more likely than others to be arrested for marijuana offenses, and are disproportionately the victims of horrific public schools and of laws that restrict small-business opportunities).

Often, law enforcement officials have been part of that oppression. During Jim Crow, African-Americans were often framed for crimes, then rented out as laborers, a practice that was, in effect, a partial restoration of slavery. During the Civil Rights Movement, police often looked the other way when violence was visited upon civil rights workers and on everyday African-Americans, and sometimes police were active participants in these crimes.

I grew up around police officers, studied law enforcement beside them in college, and worked as a police reporter. I have the greatest respect for these men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day. But I understand why many African-Americans are deeply distrustful of the police.

If, in fact, an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, had shot and killed an unarmed young man, Michael Brown, in the back, or while Brown was trying to surrender with his hands up, and if that officer did not have full justification for his actions, I would support punishing the officer to the fullest extent of the law.

The problem is that that version of the story, it appears, is not Read all »

What they’ve done to public health: a laughing matter (if it weren’t so deadly)

“You cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus,” the President said.

…which would be true, unless, say, someone with Ebola were to cough on you. Then it wouldn’t be true.

How infectious is Ebola? So infectious that a nurse in Spain was, officials say, infected by touching her face while removing her gear. So infectious that the average patient infects 1.5 to 2 other people. If unchecked, that would mean that it would spread to every person on earth in 20-34 iterations, in less than a year. No, that won’t happen, but the World Health Organization is projecting 10,000 cases per week in Africa by December. (By the way, WHO’s projection in September for the number in late October was overly optimistic; it fell short by a factor of three.) Each patient requires 20 health workers to care for him or her, at a cost, if the most up-to-date technology were used, of $500,000 per patient. In Africa, the average income is about $2,500 a year, and the continent, with 24 percent of the population, has three percent of the healthcare workers. By the math, we are skewered.

How infectious is Ebola? Scientists studying the virus in the laboratory are supposed to do so in what are basically spacesuits, completely sealed with their own oxygen supplies, with airlocks and ultraviolet lighting and showers and other aspects of “BSL-4″ (Biosafety Level 4) laboratories, the most secure labs known to man. Only smallpox, which is believed extinct in the wild, and the viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Hantavirus, Machupo, and Ebola and its cousin Marburg are treated this carefully. Rabies and yellow fever are only BSL-3.

How infectious is Ebola? Jonathan V. Last notes in The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/six-reasons-panic_816387.html):

In August, Science magazine published a survey conducted by 58 medical professionals working in African epidemiology. They traced the origin and spread of the virus with remarkable precision—for instance, they discovered that it crossed the border from Guinea into Sierra Leone at the funeral of a “traditional healer” who had treated Ebola victims. In just the first six months of tracking the virus, the team identified more than 100 mutated forms of it. . . .

By the by, that Science article written by 58 medical professionals tracing the emergence of Ebola—5 of them died from Ebola before it was published.

 

One of the legitimate responsibilities of government is to protect the public health—that is, to protect us from infectious disease and from disease caused by a common environmental source. But President Obama has appointed, to public health positions, Prohibitonists rather than public health experts: the likes of

Read all »

That Lyndon Johnson quote (Part 2)

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Last week, at http://capitalresearch.org/2014/10/we-have-lost-the-south-for-a-generation-what-lyndon-johnson-said-or-would-have-said-if-only-he-had-said-it, I took a look at that story that has circulated in recent years as, in essence, a smear of Southern Republicans: that President Lyndon Johnson, after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, said that “We have lost the South for a generation.”

More from my investigation of this quote:

► Almost all uses of that version of the quote are from the past 10 years. However, I found a close variation in a 1988 Washington Post article by Patricia Brennan in which she quotes Johnson aide Ben Wattenberg. (Wattenberg was one of the first “neoconservatives” in the original sense of the term, a New Deal liberal who came to recognize the failures of Big Government policies.) As quoted by Brennan, Wattenberg said that, even during Johnson’s 1964 landslide, “there were six states that Barry Goldwater kept: Arizona and five states in the South. You trace it forward and you see that they never came back. They were out because of civil rights and they stayed out. . . . The day they passed the civil rights bill, LBJ said to Bill Moyers, ‘You know, I think we gave the South to the Republicans.’”

I suspect that Wattenberg, apparently speaking off the cuff, paraphrased another Moyers quote of Johnson (about which, more below). Further garbled over time, as in the Telephone Game, that quote in the Washington Post article may have been the source for the lost-the-South-for-a-generation version. Or it’s possible that the quote originated as an indirect quote, one without quotation marks, that appeared in the magazine The Economist in 2002. By 2004, the quote was appearing in articles with quotation marks. I can find no direct reference to Johnson saying it or to whom it was said. It is always used as a quote that, well, everyone knows.

 

► In the early 1990s, another version of the story held that the Johnson statement was “There goes the South.” The Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald used that version November 4, 1992.

Timothy Noah of the left-wing online magazine Slate (then affiliated with the Washington Post) wrote (January 27, 2004, posted at http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/chatterbox/2004/01/forget_the_south_democrats.html):

“There goes the South for a generation,” Lyndon Johnson is said to have predicted as he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law. Actually, it’s been two generations, but otherwise Johnson was dead-on. For 40 years, the Democratic Party begged Southern Democrats to return to the fold.

Considering that all Southern states except Virginia voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, while Carter was losing the rest of the country as a whole, and that, with the exception of in 1964, the South was significantly more Republican than the country as a whole beginning in 1988 at the presidential level and in 2010 at the local and state level, the fake Johnson quote was hardly “dead on.” Still, I suppose that Noah deserves credit for only half-lying because he qualified his use of the fake quote (“Johnson is said to have predicted”).

 

► The Wilson Quarterly, Winter 2000, published an interview with Johnson aide Harry McPherson and Jack Valenti in which McPherson was quoted as saying that another Johnson aide, Bill Moyers “came in on the evening of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.” (Note that he referred to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 rather than the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

. . . Johnson, having had a wonderful day signing the bill, everybody around him praising him, was sitting, Bill says, with his head in his hands at his desk. Bill said, “Mr. President, it’s the greatest day of your presidency.” Johnson said, “Yes, and it’s the day we gave the South to the Republican Party for the rest of our lifetimes.”

Interestingly, Valenti wrote an account of the passage and signing of the Voting Read all »

“We have lost the South for a generation”: What Lyndon Johnson said, or would have said if only he had said it

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

“We have lost the South for a generation,” President Lyndon B. Johnson told an aide after he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Not really, of course. Johnson didn’t say that.

I’ve examined more than a hundred uses of that quote, going back to what seems to be its first appearance in 2002 (as an indirect quote, one without quotation marks) and what seems to be its first appearance as a direct quote in 2004. That would be some 40 years after Johnson supposedly uttered it. Some falsely attribute the story to Johnson aide Bill Moyers, but not one writer or commentator using the quote includes a citation that tracks back to anyone who heard (or claims to have heard) LBJ say it. The quote directly contradicts earlier versions that appeared closer to the event. So it can be said with a high level of confidence that the quote is fake. There is simply no reason to believe it.

Yet it’s part of left-wing gospel.

Every person who follows politics has heard some version of the story: LBJ made the comment at some point on the day they passed the Civil Rights Act, or later on the morning of the day Johnson signed the legislation (that legislation being the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or maybe the Voting Rights Act of 1965), or he said it that evening as he lay in bed, or he said it at the conclusion of the signing ceremony when he turned to a friend, or maybe an aide, and said, “I think we just delivered the South to the Republican Party for a long time to come.” Or “for your lifetime.” Or “for a generation.” Or “We have lost the South for a generation.” Or maybe he said, “There goes the South.” And he was absolutely right: As a reaction to Johnson’s act of courage, the South turned Republican immediately, overnight, instantly, only 46 years later. Yessiree. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it. Read all »

This is what “Al Qaeda on the run” looks like

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Now it’s the Intelligence Community’s fault. You know — that Clapper guy!

We know the President’s telling the truth because of how quickly he moved to fire that Clapper guy (James Clapper, the director of national intelligence). Which is to say, he didn’t fire him. When someone who serves at the pleasure of the President seems to be unfit for his or her office and doesn’t get fired, there’s a good reason. That person is the President’s fixer (Eric Holder, John Mitchell), or has information that could do the President in (Janet Reno, J. Edgar Hoover), or is the President’s fall guy. Given the state of the world (best summarized as “in flames”), the DNI makes a convenient fall guy. Read all »

Green Watch highlights corruption of Eric Holder & Company

Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general whose tenure has been marked by extremism, racism, and corruption, is preparing to announce his resignation today, according to a report by the government’s National Public Radio.

Here is a sneak peek at the upcoming Green Watch, which examines the record of Holder’s Justice Department on environmental issues. At the Obama/Holder DoJ, the first rule is: Punish your critics and reward your friends.

Click HERE for the October issue of Green Watch.

Shut up! Just shut the heck up! argued Kennedy and the Warmers

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

This may be the week the Global Warming movement jumped the shark.

In New York, where, in 1933, 250,000 marched down Fifth Avenue in support of the racist and fascist National Recovery Administration and where, in 1938, Nazis rallied at Madison Square Garden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPGT7EaCiIY), the Global Warming community held its People’s Climate March on Sunday.

Organizers did little to hide the role of extremists and hate-mongers in the festivities: Featured participants included former Clinton/Gore consultant Naomi Klein, author of a new book on how Global Warming means the end of capitalism (This Changes EverythingCapitalism vs. the Climate); New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who supported the Soviet Sandinistas in Nicaragua and honeymooned in the socialist paradise Cuba; and Al Gore. Sponsors included not just the extreme Left (Greenpeace, the SEIU, MoveOn.org, the Union of Concerned Scientists) but self-described socialists (the Socialist Party USA, Socialist Alternative, Democratic Socialists of America, Ecosocialist Horizons, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, the international Socialist Organization, the Freedom Social Party), anarchists (The Ruckus Society, the Anti-Oppression Forum Anarchist Collective, the Black Rose Anarchist Federation) , and outright communists (the Ben Davis Club [an openly Communist group named after a supporter of the mass murderer Stalin and of the Soviet invasion of Hungary], the Communist Party publication People’s World, and the Communist Party USA itself).

One wonders how the organizers explained the Communists’ sponsorship to Chinese-Americans, Cuban-Americans, Polish-Americans, Vietnamese-Americans, the Hmong, and others whose relatives have suffered under Communist oppression. One wonders how the organizers can align themselves with the Communist Party, which has murdered 100-150 million people. Then again, the Warmers support an anti-science ideology that, as it becomes the basis for economic policy, will trap billions of people around the world in abject poverty. Compassion and a decent respect for humanity are not exactly things that you associate with Warmers.

Among the prominent speakers at the March: the conspiracy theorist Robert Kennedy Jr. Read all »