Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Intentional Homicide Rate by Region

The reasons for high crime rates among people from certain regions of the world has puzzled social analysts and observers for over a century. Blacks of African origin, in particular, seem to harbour higher crime rates wherever they may be in the world. It should be noted that the homicide rate for North America would be very close to the same as that in Western Europe, if the crimes of American blacks were omitted from the calculation.

In fact, that is somewhat how things are handled by the American media -- a studious avoidance of black violence and black on white hate crimes.
Intentional homicide rates per 100,000 population by region and subregion, 2004[6] Rate
Southern Africa 37.3
Central America 29.3
South America 25.9
West and Central Africa 21.6
East Africa 20.8
Africa 20
Caribbean 18.1
Americas 16.2
East Europe 15.7
North Africa 7.6
World 7.6
North America 6.5
Central Asia and Transcaucasian countries 6.6
Europe 5.4
Near and Middle East/South-west Asia 4.4
Oceania 4
South Asia 3.4
Asia 3.2
South-east Europe 3.2
East and South-east Asia 2.8
West and Central Europe 1.5
Table via Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, the violence appears to be deep-seated, ie, in the genes, as it were. No matter where a person goes, there they are. And there are their genes, acting themselves out through the person's actions. Immigration policies would take such things into account, if the policies were intelligently designed, with the well-being of citizens in mind.

Clearly racism is alive and well in the American black community -- where it is fanned into flames by an outspoken culture of grievance and ginned-up outrage at historical wrongs committed against black ancestors. Combine this racism and resentment with low general intelligence, low impulse control, and other behavioural traits likely predisposing to violence, and the result is high violent crime rates among blacks worldwide.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Will Demographic Trends Drive Economic Trends?

People in Japan have too few children to replace themselves, and so the population of Japan is shrinking -- at an accelerating rate. Eventually the trend will have passed the point of no return.
The population of Japan peaked in 2004 and now is in relentless decline. Over 23% of the population is over 65 and the median age is 45 years old. For comparison, the median age in the U.S. is 37 years old, with only 13% over 65. The projection portion of the chart below paints a picture of death. The population of Japan is aging rapidly and will decline by 4.4 million, or 3.5% in the next ten years.

... Japan's central bank cannot reverse the demographics. From this point forward the population of Japan will be net sellers of government debt. Japanese insurance companies will be on the hook for $33 billion in claims. They will need to sell government bonds in order to make those payments. The World Bank has estimated the cost of rebuilding to be $235 billion. The government will need to borrow this money. At least 30% of its energy needs are off-line. It already imports 95% of its oil and coal. They will need to increase energy imports to make up for the nuclear energy shortage. Its positive trade balance was already in decline. _Marketoracle
In other words, even before the earthquake and tsunami, Japan was in demographic trouble -- and consequently in economic trouble. Now things could easily get worse.

The same demographic downtrends are occurring across Europe and Russia, with generally predictable dour economic results. Europe's newcomer populations have almost nothing in common with native Europeans, and seem to be adding very little to Europe's prosperity -- what is left of it.

A lot of analysts seem to believe that because third world and emerging nations have higher birthrates, that their economic situation will be better than that of the aging nations of the west:
Emerging markets have young and growing populations as well as labor force participation. Developed countries on the other hand have aging — and declining — populations and labor force participation. These trends suggest that GDP growth in emerging markets will remain robust, while GDP growth in developed countries will decline. For a simple reason: Population growth and labor force participation drive consumption, which in turn drives GDP. _Seekingalpha
All other things being equal, that logic would be relatively sound. But third world countries are third world for a reason. If the human capital for prosperity is not there when a country's population is 60 million, it is unlikely to improve significantly when the population reaches 100 million.

In the US, the Hispanic population is growing rapidly -- reaching 50 million in the 2010 census. If you add illegals to the count, the real census may be over 60 million. The US black population is only around 37 million, which makes Hispanics the larges minority by a significant count.
Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade, exceeding estimates in most states as they crossed a new census milestone: 50 million, or 1 in 6 Americans.

Meanwhile, more than 9 million Americans checked two or more race categories on their 2010 census forms, up 32 percent from 2000, a sign of burgeoning multiracial growth in an increasingly minority nation. _MSNBC
The population of the US is indeed rising, but will the newcomers bring renewed national prosperity? Not unless they assimilate to an earlier pre-tribalist, pre-multicultural ethic that personified earlier, more properous eras of American growth.

If newcomers fall into the grievance trap of identity politics, they are more likely to hurt the US economically, than to help. Eventually the cohesiveness of the union is likely to fail, if neo-tribalism triumphs. That would certainly not be good for national finances.

The same problem of tribalism is a plague on most of the world's populations, and continues to afflict much of Africa and MENA / Central Asian countries in endless conflict and war. But America has just begun to get a big nasty taste of it on its home turf, and census results suggest such trends will only get worse.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

US Military Proves its Worth Amid the Devastation in Japan

Japan's government has come under intense criticism for its slow and paltry response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Northeast. The US Navy, on the other hand, has been "Johnny on the spot" with water, food, clothing, bedding, and other emergency first-response relief efforts.
When United States Navy helicopters swept down on the school in a ruined Japanese village, survivors first looked hesitantly from the windows. Then they rushed out, helping unload food, water and clothes. They clasped hands with the Americans. Some embraced them.

...Soon after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, the United States military began what it calls Operation Tomodachi (Friend), one of its largest relief efforts in recent years. At present, about 20 American ships have massed off Japan’s northeastern coast, including the Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered carrier whose helicopters are busily ferrying supplies to survivors.

That relief is getting through to sometimes difficult-to-reach coastal areas devastated by the March 11 double disaster. They are also the latest showcase in the Pentagon’s efforts to use its forces to win good will for the United States abroad, a strategy that it used successfully in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami there.

...Much of what the Americans have handed out are goods taken from their own ships: extra food and blankets, and even the sailors’ own clothes.

There were stuffed toys for children, too.

To alleviate food shortages in the shelters, the Ronald Reagan sent 77,000 frozen hot dogs to a Japanese warship, which boiled them and gave them out. _NYTimes
Across the US, civilian efforts to help the victims of Japan's natural disasters have also been significant. Donations of medicines, foods, cash, and other needed goods have been flowing out from a typically generous American populace.

China's relief efforts have been rather limited in comparison, and funneled through government channels. Given China's history of poisoned food exports, the Japanese should be cautious about testing all aid from China before consuming it.

The competence and capability of the US military to assist a distressed civilian populace is considerable. The US military spends a great deal of time and money training its personnel, and providing them with quality tools to do their jobs.

Most American servicemen would far prefer to go on humanitarian missions than on wartime missions -- particularly in situations such as Japan's recent disasters.

Of course, Japan received significant aid from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and several European countries. The impulse to assist the suffering and make the world a better place is widespread among European peoples, and has been so for centuries -- since the industrial revolution and the coming of affluence. It is just that almost all of the outside aid sent to Japan had to be funneled through the Japanese government bureaucracy -- which can be unwieldy, like most civilian government bureaucracies.

The US military, on the other hand, was able to provide the necessities on a large scale at the point of need, in a timely manner. That should receive far more comment than it has gotten.

Cross-posted from Al Fin

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Compulsory Unionism: The New Slavery

The map above reveals the US states without compulsory unionism in dark blue, vs. the states requiring compulsory unionism in light blue. Here are some economic comparisons between the two groups:
* Among America's 22 RTW states (including Florida, Georgia and Texas), nonfarm private-sector employment grew 3.7 percent from 1999 to 2009, while it shrank 2.8 percent among America's 28 forced-union states (e.g. California, Illinois and New York).

* During those 10 years, real personal income rose 28.3 percent in RTW states and sank 14.7 percent in forced-union states.

* In 2009, cost-of-living-adjusted, per-capita, disposable, personal income was $35,543 in RTW states versus $33,389 in forced-union states. Americans in RTW states enjoyed more freedom, plus a $2,154 premium.

Notwithstanding that RTW states are comparatively prosperous engines of job growth, the case for RTW is not merely economic - but moral.

"Government has granted union officials the unprecedented power to force individual employees to pay up or be fired and to coerce workers into subsidizing union speech," says the National Right to Work Committee's Patrick Semmens. "This fundamental violation of individual liberty - an infringement on freedom of speech and freedom of association - finally would end with passage of the NRTWA."

"Compulsory unionism ... should not be lawful under a free government or tolerated by a free people," Donald R. Richberg argued in his 1972 book, "Compulsory Unionism: The New Slavery." _WATimes

Compulsory unionism is driving states such as Illinois, California, New Jersey, and New York into bankruptcy. Particularly generous pensions, benefits, and wages to government sector unions is creating an exponential increase in state and municipal government debt -- with inevitable collapse to come, unless drastic measures are taken.

It is necessary to understand that in the minds of modern leftist activists and politicians, labour unions are a revolutionary force for the "progressive" cause. Even if union contracts result in the bankruptcy of corporations, states, and cities, the revolutionary nature of the unions is reason enough to press them forward against all reason and logic.

This desperate compulsion on the part of wealthy and powerful activists, activist networks, and politicians helps to explain their commitment to labour unions -- that and the hundreds of millions of US$ that labour unions feed into the activist and political network every year, and the rather forceful "get out the vote" efforts which incorporate dead and otherwise illegal voters whenever necessary, or votes come up a little short.

If union thugs remind you of mobsters, there must be a good reason. Think about it, perhaps it will come to you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Save the US! Elect Obama King!

The US is in desperate economic straits. Under the Obama administration, deficits are rising at record rates, while unemployment continues to eat away at the public's sense of well-being and confidence. Clearly something drastic must be done before the entire nation is sold into slavery, but what?
Elect Obama King!
Last night Col. Ralph Peters was on Bill O'Reilly's show, talking about Libya. Peters thinks we should act on behalf of the rebels there, but he expressed skepticism that President Obama will ever do anything. "Obama loves the idea of being President," Peters said, "but he can't make a decision."

I think there is a lot of truth to that, even in domestic policy, where Obama has passively deferred to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on all legislative matters. One can debate whether action is appropriate in Libya or not, but Peters is certainly right when it comes to foreign policy--it is a safe bet that Obama will do nothing, because doing something would require a decision.

That got me thinking: Obama enjoys being president, and he especially treasures the symbolic significance of being the first African-American president. That's how his supporters feel, too. I haven't heard anyone defend his actual performance in a long time, but there is still widespread satisfaction with the symbolic value of his presidency. So why don't we make him king? If being the first African-American president has symbolic value, just think what it would mean for the first King of the United States to be African-American! Plus, Michelle would be a queen and Malia and Sasha would be princesses. How cool would that be?

....The king would have no duties beyond golf, so Obama would be perfect for the job. Our king would need a place to live, of course--we need to coax Obama out of the White House--so I'm thinking one of those big houses in Newport, Rhode Island would be ideal. Safely out of the way.

....we could hold a special election and choose a real president.....On no account would our new constitutional arrangement allow Joe Biden to succeed Obama. He would make a terrific viceroy, or possibly court jester.

Sure, it seems like a radical solution. But consider the alternative. The more I think about it, the better I like it: Obama for King! _Powerlineblog
Besides playing golf, King Obama can be official spokesperson for the official movement to save the environment. The promotion of magic solar energy beans, in particular, would suit the King's persuasive persona and trustworthy demeanour. Saving the entire world as King has got to beat destroying the world's sole superpower, as a mere president.

Let's be honest about Mr. Obama's prospects for doing any type of responsible work at all in his life, on his own. Such prospects are essentially non-existent -- a point that should have been clear well before the 2008 US elections. But we will let that point slide for now.

The important thing is to try to salvage as much as we can from the ongoing debacle popularly known as the Obama regime. It seems clear that the only way to do that is to appoint -- or elect -- Barack Obama King! Then elect a real president who can build the type of tough-love, hard-decision-making US government that is needed.

Just imagine . . . Queen Michelle . . . for real.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Obama Organizes Community Riots in Madison Wisconsin?

Democrats and their government union allies in Wisconsin had a problem. They lost the November 2010 elections, and were in line to suffer the consequences. They needed some way to nullify the elections of 2010, so they turned to their friend in the White House: US President Barack Obama. And for weeks, Mr. Obama has risen to the challenge.
The president's political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to get thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals. _WashingtonPost
Although Wisconsin's Governor Walker continues to attempt to save his state from financial armageddon, outside union agitators and political activists continue to be bussed in by community organizers -- some of them based in Washington DC.

The government union crisis in Wisconsin may be the first problem Obama has faced, for which he is truly suited. A small town community, a powerful pro big-government vested interest, and the use of agitators to create quasi-riot conditions -- who but a community organizer of Mr. Obama's stature could pull it off?

The Wisconsin crisis is Obama's true calling, it is why he was elected US President. Everything that is happening elsewhere in the world is irrelevant and merely incidental. What is important, is to seal the power of government unions at all levels of government, for all time -- economic crises notwhithstanding.

It is a time and place for Mr. Obama to shine, to put his best face to the cameras, and unleash the dogs of community rioting in all their junkyard splendor. It is truly a moment for Americans to be proud of their leader.

More on the war against democracy, led by Obama's leftist coalition.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When Feminism Meets the Real World, Again

The original feminists were common sense women, possessing a solid connection with their earthy roots and human nature. Later generations of feminists became caught up in revolutionary "rights and victims" movements of the left, and seemed to have lost all contact with human nature and what a workable and sustainable society would look like. Now, feminism may be returning to its roots. A new breed of ambitious, earthy, feminine feminists who are solidly rooted in common sense has burst upon the scene in the US. The late and badly shriveled form of revolutionary grievance feminism will not be missed.
The old guard, consisting mostly of lawyers, writers, journalists, and other media types, tended to cluster on the coasts. The new crowd came from the South, the Midwest, and the West, and a number of them were businesswomen—not surprisingly, given that women are now majority or equal owners in nearly half of American businesses. Some were techies, such as Tea Party organizers Jenny Beth Martin of Georgia, a computer programmer, and Michelle Moore of Missouri, who ran a technology consulting firm. Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s newly elected governor, was an accountant in her previous life. The new congresswoman from South Dakota, Kristi Noem, runs the cattle ranch that she inherited from her family. Tech geeks, businesswomen, and ranchers: not Lesley Stahl feminism, that’s for sure.

Further unsettling the feminist framework was the vigorous maternalism of the newcomers. Many heartland women had seen in feminism’s enthusiastic careerism, as well as its resentment of men and domesticity, an implicit criticism of their own lives. Hence their rejection of the feminist label even as they joined the workforce and lived lives that looked, in many respects, consistent with the movement’s principles. Now there appeared on the scene a new model of female success, one in which maternalism and even housewifery were not at odds with wielding power on the public stage. Palin’s name for the female midterm candidates was telling: “Mama Grizzlies.” Dana Loesch, a homeschooling mother of two, “mommy blogger,” and columnist, cofounded the St. Louis Tea Party. Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, who won reelection in November, has taken in 23 foster children over the years. Before the election, some had predicted that 2010 would be another Year of the Woman; it would be closer to the truth to call it the Year of the Mom.

Actually, maternal feminism is nothing new. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, temperance fighters—and, to a lesser extent, suffragettes—viewed their role as wives and mothers as the source of their moral authority in public debates. But something important sets today’s maternal feminism apart from the earlier strain: it casts budgeting and governance as maternal issues. “From first-hand experience, [women] know you cannot spend your way out of debt at home and they know that philosophy translates to businesses and to the government,” Martin told Politico. Palin put her fiscal conservatism in the homey rhetoric of a PTA president: “I think a whole lot of moms . . . are concerned about government handing our kids the bill.” _CityJournal
Sarah Palin's name keeps popping up in discussions of this "changing of the feminist guard" for a very good reason -- she is both a prototype and a flashpoint for the new improved feminism.
Before 39-million viewers, Palin was the first public figure to openly and successfully ridicule the hitherto untouchable Barack Obama. She also was the first American woman to campaign for high office by paying homage, but no ideological dues, to the Sisterhood. This Alaskan small-town huntin’, fishin’ God-fearin,’ abortion-hatin’ mom of five showed that a woman can break through any glass ceiling she wants without the imprimatur of the feminist politburo.

Feminists watching Palin’s stunning performance knew a stake was being driven through their movement’s heart. They went ballistic. Feminist blogger Jessica Grose wrote on her Jezebel web site: “When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded … What I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay murderous, rage.” Judith Warner wrote in The New York Times that Palin was an “insult to women.” Comedian Sandra Bernhard riffed on YouTube: “Turncoat bitch! You whore in your cheap f***ing … cheap-ass plastic glasses.” Academic Wendy Doniger opined, “Palin’s greatest hypocrisy is her pretense that she is a woman.”

And who can forget Canada’s very own Heather Mallick — then of the CBC, now of the Toronto Star — who watched Palin with “my mouth open, my eyeballs drying out, my hand making shaky notes.” _NationalPost
Mallick's notes were not the only thing shaky about the old guard's reaction to Palin. The entire edifice of whiny grievance feminism was shaken to its roots. Since then, nothing has been the same. And the newcomers -- the improved feminists who seem to be real women for a change -- are growing more prominent and more numerous on most stages of society. And this despite the best attempts of the old guard to use their privileged positions in government, media, and academia to shut the new feminists out.
Hymowitz calls them Mama Grizzlies because they celebrate, rather than repudiate, their biological natures. Mama Grizzlies see men as different but complementary to women, and therefore as collaborators, not adversaries. Sarah Palin’s Down’s Syndrome-afflicted child and military-serving son — whom she speaks about proudly at public events — aren’t an anomaly in this circle of unapologetically maternal women. Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, founder of the House Tea Party caucus, has nurtured 23 foster children over the years.

No wonder feminists mired in the superannuated shibboleths of revolutionary feminism are shocked. As always happens with utopian revolutions, its pendulum, propelled outward by theories and ideology, can only swing so far from human nature’s permanent verities, and cause so much social damage, before corrective populist movements force it back to the middle. _NationalPost
The left has had things pretty much their own way in academia, most of the media, and huge swathes of government. With the coming of the great budgetary devastation brought on by government profligacy and a general anti-business and anti-entrepreneurial attitude coming from the great neo-leftist infrastructures, the happy little party at the top of the tax-supported world is just about to get crashed. And these party-crashers are not likely to cut the lefty-whiny feminists any slack whatsoever, because the newcomers arrive prepared to clean, disinfect, and re-budget the works.

Monday, March 07, 2011

A Progressive Enslavement of Taxpayers by Government Unions

One can see the economic future of at least half the states and cities of the US, by looking at California. Nowhere in the US is the power of unions so total and uncontested, and nowhere is the Democratic Party so dominant. And nowhere in the US is the economic future so rutted into a predictable  path to total collapse. The complete fusion of government unions with the US Democratic Party presents a picture of corruption and an apparent impossibility for meaningful reform which staggers the logical mind.
The Democratic Party has folded Sacramento into one of the tightest one-party grips in contemporary American politics. In November, bucking the national trend, Democrats in California won not just the governorship but 51 Assembly seats to Republicans’ 29, 24 state Senate seats to Republicans’ 14, and every statewide office. With the passage of a referendum lowering the number of legislative votes required to approve a state budget (from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority), California is that rarest of land masses for the 2011 Democratic Party: conquered territory. State Democrats have freedom to rule virtually unchallenged by the scattered, rusticated Republicans.

As 72-year-old Jerry Brown enters his second governorship, he has an agenda to match that power, with visions even greater than those that haunted his two-term administration of the 1970s and ’80s: building 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, laying a new high-speed rail network that will connect the state’s major cities, forging a statewide infrastructure for alternative energy, hiring thousands of green employees. The new governor’s environmental agenda is ambitious, untenably expensive, and indelibly popular with voters and lawmakers.

Yet when Brown looks out on Democrat-controlled California, he seems less like Caesar at the Rubicon than Wojciech Jaruzelski at the Gdansk Shipyard. Brown is champion of a workers’ party with monopoly control, yet all his plans are being derailed by a labor movement nobody can harness. _Reason
The unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations. This toxic combination—high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes—has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state. _CityJournal
California may be more beholden to government unions than most US states, but it is far from alone. Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and a score of other states are deeply wrapped within the web of government union power, and may find it ultimately impossible to escape doom.
...public-sector workers are spoiled rotten. Government employees earn 21% more than private ones and are 24% more likely to have access to health care. Only 21% of private workers enjoy a defined-benefit (DB) pension, which guarantees retirement income based on years of service and final salary. But 84% of state and local workers still receive DB plans.

All this might be grand if states and cities could afford it, but they cannot; unlike the federal government, they have the pesky obligation to balance their budgets. The recession has already drained pension funds. _Economist
US governments are corrupted by ties to government unions from the top to the bottom. Good government is impossible under these conditions, much less a viable economic plan for commercial prosperity.

The enslavement of taxpayers by government unions is virtually complete in California, and at least a handful of other states. But the Obama government wants to put every US state into the same position as California and Illinois. It is not clear that the nation could recover from such a disastrous plan, if achieved.

More: Even the NYTimes is beginning to see the handwriting on the wall for government unions. Anyone still pro government union by now, simply has no brain. Such people are generally referred to as zombies, in the age of Obama. ;-)

Taken from an article published earlier on Al Fin

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Public Sector Unions are the Very Picture of Corrupt Politics

Public sector unions have a lot of politicians in their pockets. Witness the Wisconsin Senators running away from their obligations, on the orders of their public sector union bosses. It is beginning to happen more and more. Because the people who pay the bills have had just about enough. And even US Democratic Party governors can read the writing on the wall.
...Cuomo, along with Jerry Brown in California, are going to be doing the same thing as seen in .... Republican-led states: They're going to be cutting total compensation for state workers, whether unionized or not. Progressives such as George Lakoff, Rachel Madow, and the folks at Alternet may think that the whole "we are out of money" is a "ruse" but wishing away the godawful bottom-lines of oh, about 50 out of 50 states ain't gonna help unions or taxpayers in the long run. That's exactly what the brainiacs at GM and US Steel did on both sides of the bargaining table did back when the world changed and look where they are now. _Reason

More on this topic:

Is Organised Labour Obsolete?

The Political Economy of Government Employee Unions

Union's Time Is Up?

More from MJ Perry here and here

Government worker unions are a travesty, a pile of excrement heaped upon the body politic.