Friday, December 04, 2015
STILL BLAMING ISRAEL FIRST
Old habits die hard, even after the attacks in Paris
By Daniel Mandel
One hundred and thirty-two people have been slaughtered in Paris and hundreds more wounded, to say nothing of smaller incidents that followed, victims of a well-coordinated, multi-pronged massacre devised by jihadists owing allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). The French government of François Hollande has responded with air strikes and statements about a new war that has actually been in progress in Europe for quite some time.
But old habits die hard: Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström declares that it’s really about the war that entwines the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East in which not at the least the Palestinians sees that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence,” Wallström said in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
Her remarks were echoed by Dutch Socialist Party leader Jan Marijnissen, who opined that the terrorists’ behavior “eventually is connected also to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” which he described as “the growth medium for such an attack.”
All of which looks bizarre, were it not so commonplace. The IS’s own communiqué reveling in the slaughter said nothing about Israel. An IS recruiter in Turkey, interviewed at length on in Der Spiegel in October 2014, contributed 2,400 words of advocacy condemning colonialism, secularism, democracy and homosexuality without mentioning Israel or the Palestinians even once.
Until Paris, the on-going EU-backed strikes against the IS depredations in Syria and Iraq had caused the decades-long fixation with the Israelis and Palestinians to assume smaller proportions. No longer was it held to lie at the strategic heart of a troubled Middle East.
“That was probably the case before the Arab uprisings, but a number of other struggles have now joined it, such as the Sunni-Shi’ite struggle and an intra-Sunni conflict,” observed Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center think tank, last August.
European figures like Wallström and Marijnissen won’t take such commonsense lying down. But then the notion that the Arab war with Israel lies at the core of Middle Eastern problems, including apparently the Middle Eastern problems now washing over Europe, has been popular among the political class in all continents for years.
The idea is both nonsensical and tenaciously disproved by history: the Arab war on Israel had no bearing on the Algerian war in the 1950s; Egypt’s invasion of Yemen, the bloody emergence of the Ba’athist dictatorship in Iraq, or the Aden Emergency, in the 1960s; the Libyan-Chad war or the Polisario war against Moroccan forces in Western Sahara, in the 1970s; or the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, which claimed a million lives; or Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait in 1990.
Nor did it have any bearing on events that followed – like Saddam’s subsequent massacres of hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Shia, the Taliban seizure of most of Afghanistan, or the disintegration of Somalia into a Hobbesian arena of rival militias. Events in post-Saddam Iraq and Syria have followed their own trajectory, unrelated to what Israelis and Palestinians say or do.
But supposing for a moment that none of this were true and the conflict presently resolvable, it would still be difficult to see what possible influence an Israeli-Palestinian peace could produce elsewhere across the region.
When gunmen who murdered 19 people, mainly foreign tourists, in Tunisia’s National Museum in March, to take one random example of jihadist terror in the past year, they left no clue as to being motivated by the Palestinian cause. Would an Israeli/Palestinian peace caused them to stay home?
Would the Taliban and al-Qaeda lay down their arms in Afghanistan or Pakistan because of Israelis and Palestinians made peace?
Would the Sudanese regime end its atrocities in Darfur, let alone dispatch an ambassador to Israel?
Would the Al Shabaab jihadists would call off launching incursions into Kenya and Ethiopia upon news of an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty?
Would the Iranian regime revise its determination that Israel must be wiped from the map, just because Israel would now be sharing it with a neighboring country called Palestine?
Would not jihadists would still shed the blood of Hindus in India, Buddhists in Thailand and Catholics in the Philippines? And would they not still shed the blood of fellow Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen?
Is it so outré to observe that the conflicts in Syria and Iraq would be completely unattenuated by any sudden outbreak of Israeli/Palestinian peace?
Those who insist on the centrality of this conflict to the world misfortunes are not making a credible assertion about the importance of producing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.
Rather, they are availing themselves of an alibi for their own hostility to Israel’s existence.
Hostility and convenience go hand in glove: European politicians gratify and appease the Arab/Muslim street –– coming, not coincidentally, in droves to their shores –– when laying the blame in whole or part on the absence of peace between Israel and Palestinians and issuing professions as to the complete irrelevance of Islam to the terrorism taking place in their streets.
Short of resolution, let alone a program, for resisting Islamist encroachments at home, this is what passes for the strategy of the free world today, or at least its governments: in Europe, as burgeoning insecurity and violence expand, we can expect populations to grow more restive even as their governments grow more obtuse (at least publicly) about what is happening.
Breaking out of this dangerous, self-defeating cycle of delusion and distraction will be painful. But for an exponential surge of attacks and casualties, we can expect much continued avoidance and denial in Western chanceries.
Why parenting may not matter and why most social science research is probably wrong
The twin studies have been showing this for years
I want you to consider the possibility that your parents did not shape you as a person. Despite how it feels, your mother and father (or whoever raised you) likely imprinted almost nothing on your personality that has persisted into adulthood. Pause for a minute and let that heresy wash across your synapses. It flies in the face of common sense, does it not? In fact, it’s the type of claim that is unwise to make unless you have some compelling evidence to back it up. Even then it will elicit the ire of many.
Psychologists especially get touchy about this subject. I do have evidence, though, and by the time we’ve strolled through the menagerie of reasons to doubt parenting effects, I think another point will also become evident: the problems with parenting research are just a symptom of a larger malady plaguing the social and health sciences. A malady that needs to be dealt with.
In terms of compelling evidence, let’s start with a study published recently in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.1 Tinca Polderman and colleagues just completed the Herculean task of reviewing nearly all twin studies published by behavior geneticists over the past 50 years. For some background, behavior genetics is the field devoted to studying human differences, and let’s be honest, whether you are a scientist or not you are interested in why people are different from one another. Besides being inherently fascinating, the reality of those differences impacts your life daily. The knowledge that some people are more trustworthy, honest, violent, impulsive, and aggressive than others is essential to navigating life. It’s simply not a good personal policy to assume that everyone you stumble upon in life has your best interest at heart.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a behavioral scientist or a plumber; we’re all theorists about these differences. People speculate about human variability in their free time constantly (think about how often you’ve wondered why your boss is such a huge…source of inspiration). Parenting effects usually play some role in our conception of why some people behave differently than others. Behavior genetics, luckily, provides us with meaningful insight regarding the sources of human differences in the population (unfortunately I can’t say anything about your boss specifically). So what about the results of that massive review of twin research? Genetic factors were consistently relevant, differentiating humans on a range of health and psychological outcomes (in technical parlance, human differences are heritable). The environment, not surprisingly, was also clearly and convincingly implicated, but interestingly it wasn’t the “environment” you might have anticipated.
Before progressing, I should note that behavioral geneticists make a finer grain distinction than most about the environment, subdividing it into shared and non-shared components.1,2,3,4 Not much is really complicated about this. The shared environment makes children raised together similar to each other.3 The term encompasses the typical parenting effects that we normally envision when we think about environmental variables. Non-shared influences capture the unique experiences of siblings raised in the same home; they make siblings different from one another. Another way of thinking about non-shared environments is that they represent the parts of your life story that are unique from the rest of your family. Importantly, this also includes all of the randomness and pure happenstance that life tends to hurl in our direction from time to time. Returning to the review of twin research, the shared environment just didn’t matter all that much (that’s on average, of course, for some traits it mattered more than others). The non-shared environment mattered consistently.
The pattern of findings mentioned above is nothing new.1,2,3,4,5 The importance of genetics and the non-shared environment (and the relatively minor importance of the shared environment) was already so entrenched in behavior genetics that years before the Polderman study was published it had been enshrined as a set of “laws.”2 The BG laws, though, are based largely (but certainly not completely) on twin studies, the meta-analysis by Polderman et al. was comprised of twin studies, and if you pay attention to this sort of thing you’ve probably heard some nasty things about twin studies lately.3 You’ve read that twin studies contain an insidious flaw that causes them to underestimate shared environmental effects (making it seem like parents matter less than they do). The assumptions of twin research, however, have been meticulously studied. The methods of twin researchers have been around for decades and have been challenged, critiqued, refined, adjusted, and (perhaps most importantly) cross validated with other techniques that rely on different assumptions entirely.3,4 They work, and they work with impressive precision.
Based on the results of classical twin studies, it just doesn’t appear that parenting—whether mom and dad are permissive or not, read to their kid or not, or whatever else—impacts development as much as we might like to think. Regarding the cross-validation that I mentioned, studies examining identical twins separated at birth and reared apart have repeatedly revealed (in shocking ways) the same thing: these individuals are remarkably similar when in fact they should be utterly different (they have completely different environments, but the same genes).3 Alternatively, non-biologically related adopted children (who have no genetic commonalities) raised together are utterly dissimilar to each other—despite in many cases having decades of exposure to the same parents and home environments.3
One logical explanation for this is a lack of parenting influence for psychological development. Judith Rich Harris made this point forcefully in her book The Nurture Assumption (an absolute must read). 6 As Harris notes, parents are not to blame for their children’s neuroses (beyond the genes they contribute to the manufacturing of that child), nor can they take much credit for their successful psychological adjustment. To put a finer point on what Harris argued, children do not transport the effects of parenting (whatever they might be) outside the home. The socialization of children certainly matters (remember, neither personality nor temperament is 100 percent heritable), but it is not the parents who are the primary “socializers”, that honor goes to the child’s peer group (a fascinating topic, but one that merits its own separate discussion).
Now, the astute critic will respond with their own research in hand, papers centering on the deleterious impact of child abuse and severe neglect. There is a wealth of evidence linking child abuse with all sorts of developmental delays, and Harris fully acknowledges this. Mercifully, child abuse is not pervasive in the population, meaning that most kids don’t experience it and it is unlikely that it explains large swaths of why some kids are more extroverted or intelligent than others.6 That said, consider an analogy shared with me by the psychologist Steven Pinker: dropping your iPhone from six floors up is guaranteed to ruin it—iPhones don’t bounce. The impending destruction awaiting your phone as it plummets toward the Earth is assured, and the fact that you played no part in designing or building your phone will not atone for your slippery fingers. The same analogy applies to parenting, in some respects. It is possible for parents to wreck something that they did not construct (i.e., their child’s healthy development, language growth, cognitive ability, etc.) if their parenting style is harsh enough. Hopefully it is evident that this type of “parenting” is not the topic at hand.6
So why mount a frontal assault on parenting? I love my parents deeply, so it has nothing to do with some latent Freudian bitterness traceable back to the first few years of my life. The lack of parenting effects happens to represent an effective avenue for making a larger point about most social science research. It cannot be fully trusted. Brian Nosek’s incredible work on reproducibility in psychology (along with a cadre of collaborators) makes this point in one very powerful respect.7 However, I want to look at the issue from a slightly different vantage point.
The vast majority of research in the social sciences involves non-experimental observational research. What this means is that researchers collect data on individuals. The data collection might start early, perhaps shortly after birth.3 The researchers will usually want to know something about the parenting strategies used with the child (it’s usually the entire point of the study), and they will probably collect data on a host of other topics. All of the information is compiled into a large database that researchers can then analyze. With age, researchers can ask children directly about their behavior, while also collecting personality inventories and any other bit of information that they deem important. In some cases, researchers have collected data for so many years that they can use the personality traits of children to predict their behaviors decades later. This is fantastic but the problem is that you just can’t fully interpret what it means. It doesn’t matter if you collect data from a kid every year from the day they are born to the day they die, if you only gather data from one child per family you cannot pull out the genetic effects that we know are there (I would be remiss not to mention that newer techniques permit estimating genetic influences in the absence of twin subjects, using genetic data from very large samples of unrelated individuals).3 It really doesn’t matter if you show that maternal withdrawal experienced at age 3 predicts poor psychological adjustment when the child is 50, it would be impossible to make a concrete interpretation about the finding.
You must remember that parents share genes with their children and that overlap must be accounted for in research design. As psychologists pointed out years ago5, because parents pass along two things to their kids: genes and an environment, it shocks virtually no one that the two would be correlated. It is not surprising, based on shared genetics, that children resemble their parents, not only in appearance, but also in temperament, behavior, intellect, athletic prowess, etc. The environments that parents construct for their children when they are young, moreover, tend to mirror their natural inclinations (bright parents provide enriched environments). So if you’re wondering whether parents might selectively foster certain preexisting skill sets (i.e., buying an instrument for a child interested in music) the answer is, sure.6 In that case, parents might also shape things further by deciding on the type of instrument (guitar over drums, etc.).6 However, when you introduce controls for that genetic overlap in studies probing the impact of parenting on some outcome more generally, the effects that we often see can vanish.
I’ll give you a concrete example to mull over. Children who are spanked (not abused, but spanked) often experience a host of other problems in life, including psychological maladjustment and behavioral problems.8 In a study led by my colleague J.C. Barnes, we probed this issue in more detail and found some evidence suggesting that spanking increased the occurrence of overt bad behavior in children.8 We could have stopped there. Yet, we went one step further and attempted to inspect the genetic influences that were rampant across the measures included in our study. What we found was that much of the association between the two variables (spanking and behavior) was attributable to genetic effects that they had in common. The correlation between spanking and behavior appeared to reflect the presence of shared genetic influences cutting across both traits.
What about studies not directly devoted to examining parenting effects? Let’s say you’re interested in whether one trait in an individual predicts some other trait in that individual. For instance, let’s assume you think that novelty seeking predicts a higher likelihood of experimenting with drugs, or that eating fatty foods increases your body mass index (BMI). Simple enough: measure novelty seeking and measure drug experimentation; or eating habits and BMI. Then see if the two correlate. Let’s say that they do. Fantastic, write it up, publish it, get famous. But there’s a problem, what if there are genetic effects on novelty seeking and drug experimentation (or eating habits and BMI)? Even more troublesome, what if some of the same genes that predict novelty seeking also predict drug use, and the same genes that predict eating habits, also predict BMI? This means that the traits are correlated at the genetic level, just like in our study that I described above.
My colleagues and I have tried to quantify just how irksome genetic correlations might be for studies that cannot account for them.9 What we found is that in some cases a genetic correlation can render a phenotypic correlation (the correlation between two outwardly observable traits) nonexistent. For some studies it might “look like” personality trait A correlates with behavior B, but it could simply be that the same genes influence both traits, thus explaining why the two outcomes are correlated to begin with. So, why should you care? Could this just be overly technical, nerdish handwringing? Not even close. This matters because most of the social science research that rockets into the headlines, grabbing your attention when you fire up the web, is likely wrong.
Whether it’s a study purporting to link some aspect of parenting to child development, or a study intended to link some new diet fad to weight loss, the results are unclear if they did not control for genetics. Lest someone put words into my mouth later, this does not mean that every correlation reported by social scientists is the result of correlated genetic influences. The point, however, is that we have spent decades churning out correlations and we have no idea whether the findings were polluted by unmeasured genetic factors. That’s frightening, especially since public policies have been built on some of these potentially illusory correlations. The standard way of doing business in the social sciences ignores genetic influences, and has for years. Be careful which findings you cling to. Most social science research can only reveal associations; which is important, no doubt, but I presume you want to know something about causality also (i.e., if you eat bacon everyday what’s the chance that it’ll cause you to get cancer; that sort of thing). To even begin approximating causality (assuming you cannot do an experiment, which you can’t with most social science research), you must account for all confounding factors—genes included.
Let’s return then to the overarching theme of our discussion, parenting. Is it possible that parents really do shape children in deep and meaningful ways? Sure it is. In line with the phrase often trotted out by my ilk: “it’s an empirical question.” The trouble is that most research on parenting will not help you in the slightest because it doesn’t control for genetic factors. What we do know (largely from twin studies) is that beyond the genes they contribute, parents are not responsible for autism (or schizophrenia, or ADHD, etc.), and they likely bear zero responsibility for injecting general intelligence or a personality into the heads of their children. So, why the dogmatic adherence to the idea that parents are the “puppet masters” in our lives? The are many reasons, some of which are explicitly religious (the whole “spare the rod spoil the child” bit) and some are more secular, rooted in dubious research, but we should nevertheless let them all go.
Natural selection has wired into us a sense of attachment for our offspring. There is no need to graft on beliefs about “the power of parenting” in order to justify our instinct that being a good parent is important. Consider this: what if parenting really doesn’t matter? Then what? The evidence for pervasive parenting effects, after all, looks like a foundation of sand likely to slide out from under us at any second. If your moral constitution requires that you exert god-like control over your kid’s psychological development in order to treat them with the dignity afforded any other human being, then perhaps it is time to recalibrate your moral compass; does it actually point north or just spin like a washing machine (see Pinker’s work for this same point made more elquently10)? If you want happy children, and you desire a relationship with them that lasts beyond when they’re old enough to fly the nest, then be good to your kids.10 Just know that it probably will have little effect on the person they will grow into.
AIDS still a danger for homosexuals
Despite major medical advances and more than 30 years of effort, the United States is still in danger of losing the war on AIDS, according to the country’s top disease-control official.
In an essay in The New England Journal of Medicine published on Tuesday, World AIDS Day, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the agency’s chief of AIDS prevention, paint a bleak picture of the fight.
“Hundreds of thousands of people with diagnosed HIV infection are not receiving care or antiretroviral treatment,” they wrote. “These people account for most new HIV transmission.”
There are 45,000 new HIV infections each year, the article noted.
In an interview, Frieden said he “still views the glass as half-full.” While medicines are improving, legal barriers have been lifted, and Americans are getting tested, more people with HIV need to be put on treatment and kept on it.
While the article’s language was dry and academic, some AIDS experts said it amounted to a call for radical changes in how the disease is fought. But those changes can be made only by state and local health departments, over which the CDC has little control.
“Tom is giving the view from 30,000 feet,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. “He’s trying to be the conductor of a disparate orchestra in which the drums and trombones have different bosses and are paid by different people.”
Other experts complained that Frieden should have gone further, calling for much more funding, a heavier reliance on preventive drugs, and the decriminalization of HIV transmission. “It’s a pretty weak piece,” said Mark Harrington, the executive director of the Treatment Action Group, an AIDS activist organization.
Frieden was effectively calling for HIV to be fought the way that syphilis and gonorrhea are, “and we’re doing terribly on those,” Harrington said.
He and other advocates urged wider adoption of a multipronged approach to treatment and prevention like that used in San Francisco, which offers services to the most difficult patients, including addiction and mental health treatment, help with housing, and even escorts to the hospital.
Among the notable failures cited by Frieden and Mermin:
* Nearly 65 percent of the estimated 1.2 million Americans with HIV are not on treatment; many disappear right after being tested. Those patients, undiagnosed or newly diagnosed but untreated, account for 90 percent of all new infections.
* Infected people are rarely asked to name their sexual partners so that health providers can reach out to them. When they do have names, little is done with the information.
* Risky behaviors, including unprotected anal sex and needle-sharing, appear to be increasing.
* Infection rates are rising among young gay men, especially blacks and Hispanics.
New tests can detect the virus within 10 days of infection, but they are not being used enough, Frieden said. An estimated 155,000 Americans with HIV do not know it. And of those who get tested, 20 percent already have AIDS or are close to it — meaning they may have been spreading the virus for years. The CDC recommends that sexually active gay men get tested four times a year, but that rarely happens.
Treatment is also inadequate. Multiple studies have shown that patients who are immediately put on drugs remain healthy longer and stop infecting others. Yet only about 36 percent of those infected have prescriptions, Frieden said. (Others have put the figure higher. In San Francisco, 82 percent of HIV patients get prescriptions.)
The national averages are dragged down by states, mostly in the South, that have high HIV rates but rejected the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, which would have covered testing and treatment.
There have been important scientific advances, like new milder drugs and the rollout of Truvada, a pill that prevents infections.
But “the fact that the dial hasn’t moved on 45,000 new infections a year is a tragedy,” said Mitchell J. Warren, the executive director of AVAC, an organization lobbying for AIDS prevention.
NFL Star: Black Lives Don’t Matter When ‘Politicians Enable Generational Dependency’
New Orleans Saints’ tight end Benjamin Watson used his Facebook account Tuesday to call attention to his views on the Black Lives Matter movement. A view that is critical of abortion, fathers who abandon their children and politicians who “enable generational dependency.”
Watson, the author of “Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race – And Getting Free From The Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us," is using social media to link people to a blog post where he discusses his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Benjamin Watson posts his thoughts on 'Black Lives Matter' on Facebook:
“Some contention is with the very phrase itself. This is problematic, though, because ‘black lives matter’ in context is clearly comparative to them not mattering. It obviously does not exist in a vacuum thus a response of 'all lives matter' is disingenuous at best and outright insulting at worst," Watson's blog post from late August reads. "It SHOULD go without saying that 'all lives matter,' including black lives, unborn lives, elderly lives, affluent and poor lives, Christian and atheist lives. But, today, in light of our present societal struggles and racial tension the question is worth addressing. As Americans, do black lives matter to us?”
Later in the post, the outspoken Christian athlete focuses on some of the ways he feels Black lives don’t and do matter in this country. Here are some selected excerpts:
“Black lives don’t matter when neighbors, black neighbors, kill each other. It’s no surprise that people generally commit crimes against the people they live nearest to. Even so, the truth is that we treat people no better than the value we place on them and the dignity we have in ourselves.”
“Black lives don’t matter when some politicians enable generational dependency, stifling individual responsibility while others completely deny the importance of programs that are needed to help the marginalized. A crutch is the vital friend of the injured, it’s ultimate purpose to one day be laid aside as it’s former dependent walks on their own. If it oversteps its purpose the user will no longer feel the need to walk. Erroneously, they may not even think they can ever do so. Consequently, a stagnant, hopeless life seems to matter less.”
“Black lives don’t matter when we support and engage in the termination of our most important resource and our hope for a brighter future, our unborn children.”
“Black lives don’t matter when their very real and documented negative experiences with law enforcement, employment opportunities, and educational funding is belittled and dismissed. Compassion for another’s experience, even if foreign to us is paramount when encountering situations we can’t understand.”
“Black lives don’t matter when fathers selfishly abandon their children and their children’s mothers, teaching them that family is not a priority, and almost ensuring the cycle will repeat itself. A strong foundation gives children the fortitude to weather the storms they are sure to face throughout their lives.”
“But BLACK LIVES MATTER, when we look at our black children and imperfectly strive to show them the compassion, love, leadership, hard work and sacrifice a man should exhibit in hopes that our sons will carry the banner further and our daughters will set the bar high for their future spouses.”
“BLACK LIVES MATTER when we understand that the black community can not be characterized by headlines of a single story, because it is filled with multiple stories from millions of contrasting individuals.”
“BLACK LIVES MATTER when we look at our white children, and realize that they are internalizing and will imitate every attitude, action, comment, and expression we make when the next racially charged incident occurs or when we engage with others on a daily basis, who don’t look like us. They are future change agents as well. Some of the largest victories in through abolition and civil rights came because of the compassion and activism of our white brothers and sisters.”
“BLACK LIVES MATTER when we are willing to stand up to our friends and family when they make racist comments and jokes that are dead wrong. AND they matter when we refuse to flippantly use words created to demean and degrade even if we feel we have a right to.”
"The attitudes inherited by our different heritages can breed in us unhealthy attitudes if left unchecked, including the foolishness of supremacy and the myth of inferiority. The cross bridges the gap, the power of the blood penetrating deep into our wickedness, convicting us, forgiving us, and reconciling us to God and subsequently reconciling us to each other. Only in Christ do the temporal distinctions between us fade, as our oneness in him takes precedence over our color creed and culture and our allegiance to Him compels us to make those who matter to Him matter most to us."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.