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Thu, 29 Jul 2021
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Charles Murray's 'Facing Reality' — A Review

charles murray bell curve facing reality
© American Enterprise Institute
Charles Murray also authored "The Bell Curve"
A review of Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America by Charles Murray. Encounter Books, 168 pages. (June, 2021)

I've known about Charles Murray since 1994, when I was a voracious and unsupervised teen reader in rural Oregon grabbing the library's latest issue of the New Republic the instant it was shelved. It was here that I stumbled upon the shocking views Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein expressed in The Bell Curve about race, class, and inequality in America. I didn't give those views much deep thought at the time, and so my perception of Murray and his ideas hewed more or less to the dismissive conventional wisdom. It wasn't until I read a 1998 essay in Commentary magazine by Christopher Chabris that I began to reconsider. Chabris argued that the media furor around The Bell Curve obscured more than it illuminated, and that the consensus among psychologists on the importance of intelligence to life outcomes was indeed close to what Murray and Herrnstein had asserted. To my surprise, in the 21st century, my relationship with Murray and his ideas took a different turn, as I had the pleasure and honor of becoming his friend. And rather like Murray, I am now the sort of public figure that certain types of people feel they have to publicly denounce in order to establish their own group bona fides.

Star of David

Ben & Jerry's co-founders say nothing 'anti-Semitic' about ice cream embargo of illegal Israeli settlements: 'We're proud Jews

Ben & Jerry's Ben Cohen Jerry Greenfield
© REUTERS/Lou Dematteis
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream co-founders Ben Cohen (C) and Jerry Greenfield serve the first scoop of the resurrected Ben & Jerry's flavor "Wavy Gravy" at an event in downtown San Francisco August 24, 2005.
Ben & Jerry's co-founders have pushed back against claims of anti-Semitism following the company's decision to stop offering its ice cream products in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, noting that they themselves are Jews.

Writing in the New York Times, Bennett Cohen and Jerry Greenfield said they were "proud Jews" who view Israel's occupation of the West Bank as a barrier to peace.

"It's possible to support Israel and oppose some of its policies, just as we've opposed policies of the US government. As such, we unequivocally support the decision of the company to end business in the occupied territories, which a majority of the international community, including the United Nations, has deemed an illegal occupation," they argued, in an op-ed published on Wednesday. The move to pull Ben & Jerry's from shelves in Israeli-occupied territories was in keeping with the firm's "progressive values."

Comment:


Attention

Warning: The moment Wall Street has been waiting for: The retail investor is all in

bull of wall street
The ideal bagholder is one who adds more on every downturn (buy the dip) and who refuses to sell (diamond hands), holding on for the inevitable Fed-fueled rally to new highs.

Old hands on Wall Street have been wary of being bearish for one reason, and no, it's not the Federal Reserve: the old hands have been waiting for retail--the individual investor-- to go all-in stocks. After 13 long years, this moment has finally arrived: retail is all in.

If you doubt this, just look at record highs in investor sentiment, margin debt and the Buffett Indicator (see chart below). Current valuations are so extreme that the previous extreme in the 2000 dot-com bubble now looks modest in comparison.

I have my own sure-fire indicators for when retail is all-in. One is my Mom's financial advisor recommends shifting her modest nest-egg out of safe bonds into the go-go stocks that are topping out. Back in late 1999, it was Cisco Systems and the other dot-com leaders, today it's the FANGMAN stocks. Sure enough, my Mom just informed me her advisor recommended moving money from bonds into a FANG-dominated stock fund. Bingo, we have a winner.

Second indicator: average people who have never traded stocks are all-in and supremely confident they can't lose. When 20-year college students are trading based on a "genius" 22-year old friend's advice, retail is all-in. When a worker cleaning a wooden deck pauses to put $100,000 in a company he knows nothing about (yes, true story), retail is all-in.

Bullseye

Politically motivated 'experts' predicting catastrophe have done far more harm than good during the pandemic

Neil Ferguson
© @SkyNews/twitter
Boffin Neil Ferguson said 100,000 cases a day was inevitable but now believes the pandemic is in retreat and will be over by October.
Nothing has worsened the panic, misery and loss of public confidence more over the past 18 months than freelancing scientists and other politically motivated "experts" baselessly predicting catastrophe.

Or suddenly changing their minds.

They have loved their 15 lucrative minutes of fame and snapped up every invitation to pontificate before a TV camera.

Comment: The old adage, 'never trust the experts' seems more applicable with each new day (or, at the very least, the experts who are paraded on mainstream media outlets spouting fear porn and propaganda). Maybe the new adage should be 'choose your experts carefully!'

See also:


Eye 1

The French intelligence service's warning that pro-freedom, anti-health pass protesters pose a new terror threat is risible

protests france covid
© AFP / CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU
A protestor (L) holds a placard reading "We are not QR codes" during a demonstration against the new coronavirus safety measures including a compulsory health pass called for by the French government, in Marseille on July 17, 2021.
The security agency fears citizens opposed to the government's liberticidal Covid rules might turn to extremism. But it is the Macron government's own draconian actions that are fomenting radical dissent.

A new law christening the Covid-19 health pass and QR code tracking system in the daily lives of French citizens has cleared hurdles in the Senate, with only the Constitutional Council standing between freedom and a new world in which French citizens are required to present proof of an anti-Covid double-jab, or a nose swab test within the previous 48 hours, to access restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, swimming pools, bars, hospitals, and some shopping centers.

The pass would also become a condition of continued paid employment for those working in these venues, along with non-negotiable mandatory jabs for health care workers.

The law effectively creates a two-tier society that defines citizens by a specific medical act. The precedent is jarring. Until now, a person's medical history was considered taboo and part of their private life. So it's hardly surprising that a pro-freedom movement has emerged, spilling into the streets of Paris and other French cities every Saturday for the past two weeks, with no end in sight, to protest the government's segregation efforts.

Comment: See also:


Microscope 1

2 of 3 Indians have Covid-19 antibodies: ICMR serosurvey findings explained

indian market
© Express Photo/File
At a market in New Delhi.
Two-third of Indians above the age of 6 had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, show findings of the fourth nationwide serological survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in June-July. The survey results also suggest that about 400 million people or one-third of the country's population is still vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.

The survey was conducted across the country in June and July. Its findings are significant because this is for the first time children aged 6-17 years were included in the national serosurvey. The results of the survey were released by DG, ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava.

Comment: This effectively means India has reached SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity... naturally! And they said it couldn't be done.

See also:


Wine n Glass

'Respect': French back restauranteur's rebellion against Macron's mandatory passes after he declares his eatery a 'free zone'

french restauranteur
© Twitter / @besse_pascale
People in France have shown their support for a restaurateur who declared his eatery a 'free zone' in response to the government's vaccine passports mandate for restaurant and bar entry amid widespread protests.

With the government set to require all people to show their Covid-19 health passport when entering bars and restaurants from the beginning of August, some in France have started their own campaign to rebel against what they described as the state's "health dictatorship."

The Twitter account 'Zone Libre' or 'Free Zone' is encouraging restaurateurs to display a sign rejecting the health pass mandate by President Emmanuel Macron's government.

Comment: Nice to see a revival of the French Resistance!

See also:


X

America, a nation which once championed free speech, has evolved into one of the world's most authoritarian mass-censors

censored speech
© Getty Images / Sorapop
The elites of Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Capitol Hill act as the true overlords of Western thought, guarding the borders of allowable speech. How on earth did we allow this to happen - and what can be done now?

America has changed beyond recognition over the past few years, and performed a rather rapid about-face on the issue of free speech, a notion it once championed. The source of this is no longer merely the apparatus of Silicon Valley and its desire to control information flows (which it is meant to merely shepherd without bias). The same pressure has come from the superstate structure of America itself, particularly (and ironically) the politically 'liberal' faction, as well as from an overarching pressure from the consumer interests of Western-backed global finance.

There appears to be a mass consensus among American money-powers (and thereby state powers) to tightly control information, and to abandon utterly their so recently lauded values of free speech. The FBI in particular has seemingly transitioned into an institution of speech-referees and political oppressors, on guard primarily against America's own citizens.

Comment: Free speech is under attack and few in the mainstream even seem to notice (or care). The slow erosion of freedom of speech should be a major red flag, but the media mouthpieces and social media platforms have convinced a good number of people that it's a good thing.

See also:


Propaganda

Nonsense: Researchers warn against relaxing Covid-19 restrictions prematurely

covid meme 16
Relaxing Covid-19 restrictions could pave the way for new vaccine-resistant virus mutations - according to researchers at the University of East Anglia and the Earlham Institute.

A new article published today warns against relaxing Covid-19 restrictions prematurely.

It describes how we are in an 'arms race' with the virus and how rising cases could provide opportunities for it to evolve into even more transmissible variants.

Comment: What a load of scaremongering nonsense. Nevertheless the fallacious arguments and scare tactics used here are the same ones being used by governments to justify their policies. It's almost as if the researchers wrote their paper to give governments the veneer of scientific credibility they need to move forward with vaccinating children, punishing the unvaccinated, engendering a sense of anger and outrage at people who've refused to get the jabs thus necessitating a return of restrictive policies, and further clamping down on civil liberties in the name of public health. Coincidence?


Radar

Daniel Hale pens letter for judge describing how he 'came to violate the Espionage Act' - exposing Obama's drone warfare program

Daniel Hale
© StandWithDanielHale.org
Daniel Hale
As the President Joe Biden winds down United States military involvement in Afghanistan, a conflict spanning nearly 20 years, the U.S. Justice Department seeks the harshest sentence ever for the unauthorized disclosure of information in a case against an Afghanistan War veteran.

Daniel Hale, who "accepted responsibility" for violating the Espionage Act, responded to the spitefulness of prosecutors by submitting a letter [PDF] to Judge Liam O'Grady, a judge for the district court in the Eastern District of Virginia. It could be construed as a plea for mercy from the court ahead of sentencing, but more than anything, it outlines a defense of his actions that the U.S. government and a U.S. court would never have allowed him to present before a jury.

In the letter filed in court on July 22, Hale addresses his constant struggle with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He recalls U.S. drone strikes from his deployment to Afghanistan. He grapples with his return home from the war in Afghanistan and the decisions he had to make to move on with his life. He needed money for college, and ultimately took a job with a defense contractor, which led him to work for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).

"Left to decide whether to act," Hale declares, "I only could do that which I ought to do before God and my own conscience. The answer came to me, that to stop the cycle of violence, I ought to sacrifice my own life and not that of another person." So, he contacted a reporter who he had communicated with before.