Category Archives: America

About American politics, our spirit, and our soul

Americans trust the military most. 29% are ready for a coup. Ready for fascism?

Summary: Americans’ support for key institutions of the public collapses, as we trust only the military and police. We don’t need to ask Nostradamus; we can easily see the possible consequences — if we thought about it. Internet discussions might not be the only thing that ends with fascism (Godwin’s Law), or some other form of tyranny.

Broken trust

First, the bad news

Gallup’s annual Confidence in Institutions poll shows that Americans’ support for the institutions of the Republic and our elected officials have been falling for generations  (their first poll was 1973) — except for police (the second most trusted) and the military (#1). For details see Gallup warns us to prepare for fascism!

A YouGov poll on September 2-3 confirms these findings, with more detail. Ugly details.

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Why do so many new-born babies die unnecessarily in America, the City on a Hill?

Summary: America has wealth and power never before seen in history. Yet the 1% reap the gains of our astonishing productivity while an underclass grows in our cities and rural areas. This post looks at one aspect of this, the price paid by American babies for our national mismanagement. There is no point in getting angry about this — unless you decide to act.

For we must consider that we shall be a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword though the world.

— John Winthrop in A Model of Christian Charity (1630).

America: City on a Hill


Why is Infant Mortality Higher
in the U.S. Than in Europe?

NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health, 2015 (1)

Graphics and red emphasis added.


The U.S. infant mortality rate (IMR) compares unfavorably to that of other developed countries, ranking 51st in the world in 2013. In the U.S., there are nearly 7 infant deaths during the first year of life per 1000 live births, roughly twice the rate in Scandinavian countries. The U.S. IMR is similar to that of Croatia, despite a three-fold difference in GDP per capita.

What explains the U.S.’s relatively high IMR? This is the subject of a new NBER working paper by researchers Alice Chen, Emily Oster, and Heidi Williams, “Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the U.S. Than in Europe?” (NBER, September 2014).

There are numerous theories as to why the IMR is higher in the U.S. than in other countries.

  • There may be reporting differences for infants born near the threshold of viability, with the U.S. more likely to count them as live births while other countries are more likely to count them as miscarriages or stillbirths.
  • Babies in the U.S. also may have lower birth weight or a lower gestational age at birth, predisposing them to worse outcomes.
  • U.S. babies may experience a higher neonatal mortality rate (deaths within the first month of life) or higher post-neonatal mortality rate (deaths in months 1 – 12) than do babies of similar birth weight and gestational age in other countries.

To quantify the importance of these potential sources of the U.S. IMR disadvantage, the authors combine natality micro-data from the U.S. with similar data from Finland and Austria. These countries provide a useful comparison because Finland has one of the lowest IMRs in the world and Austria has an IMR similar to much of continental Europe.

To address the reporting difference issue, the authors limit their sample to infants born after 22 weeks of gestation with birth weight over 500 grams, since births are required to be reported above these thresholds. They also limit the analysis to singleton births, as access to reproductive technologies has increased the frequency of multiple births, which have higher mortality rates.

Making these restrictions reduces the U.S. IMR disadvantage by about 40%, but a substantial disadvantage remains. In this sample, the U.S. IMR is 4.65 per 1000, versus 2.94 in Austria and 2.64 in Finland.  See the graph…

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Remember the Ebola hysteria. What did we learn from it?

Summary: Sierra Leone has discharged it last known Ebola patient, bringing this Ebola epidemic almost to its end. We should learn from this episode. Not just about the need for vigilance and well-funded defenses against plagues, but also what it reveals about America. About us.

Ebola & the New World Order

Don your tin foil hat and click here to watch!

In April 2009 I wrote Are Americans easily panicked cowards? I think not, but many experts disagree. How we’ve responded to Ebola during the last year suggests my optimism was wrong.

I recommend reading this first post after Ebola arrived in America: An epidemic afflicting America: fear about Ebola. Avoid the carriers. Facts are the antidote. It describes the first wave of hysteria that swept America, which grew worse as more cases were discovered. Our top medical experts were ignored as tens of millions listened instead to alarmists exploiting people’s fear for their own purposes (mostly political).

Remembering is the fist step to learning. We can do better. But only if we try.

Other posts about Ebola

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Julian Assange trapped & smeared. Wikileaks weakened. Mission accomplished for CIA?

Summary: Never say the US government can’t accomplish anything! Julian Assange of Wikileaks has been smeared with dubious (at best) charges and trapped in Equador’s embassy for the past 5 years by the Swedish and British governments. Coincidence or mission accomplished? Review the story and decide.

“A just city should favor justice and the just, hate tyranny and injustice, and give them both their just desserts.”
Al-Farabi (aka Alpharabius), Islamic philosopher and scientist (872-950).

The Swedish government closed the flimsy investigation of sexual assault as the the statute of limitations runs out. The limit on the obviously bogus rape investigation has 5 more years to run.

Both Sweden and Britain refused to guarantee that they would not extradite Assange to the United State — to receive the kangaroo court justice typical of our national security cases.

Assange sought refuge in Equador’s London embassy. They granted him a well-deserved political asylum on 19 July 2012. Since then Britain has spent over $17 million to keep Julian Assange from escaping from the Ecuadorian Embassy. No price is too great for UK taxpayers to pay when serving the needs of the USA! Britain intends to whine about this to Ecuador.

The Swedish government says that their investigation requires an interview with Assange, but they refuses to interview Assange in London. The Guardian describes their sorry excuses and stalling…

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William Lind describes 2 visions of America’s future

Summary:  What will America look like in in 2025, after another decade of our long war? In the second of this series William Lind describes two scenarios, failed and successful responses to risks regarded as likely among paleoconservatives. Seeing visions of the future like this can help you decide how to vote in November 2016. Perhaps the fears of each group are what most clearly distinguishes Left and Right in America.

Coin Toss


Our future as two sides of the coin
By William S. Lind


The first toss of the coin: a dark vision

America’s “long war” continues to prove Sun Tzu correct: no nation ever benefits from a long war. From Afghanistan through Iraq to war with Iran (following Congress’s rejection of President Obama’s deal with Iran, which led to Iran building an atomic bomb, which led to an American attack), in Syria, and now in Saudi Arabia, America has failed to attain closure while spending itself into ruin. As I write in this year of 2025, the Federal debt is six times the GNP, revenues cover only 23% of federal expenditures, and it takes 25,000 dollars to buy one yuan {currency of China, now worth $0.16}. Almost half of the federal budget goes to paying interest on the debt. It is rumored the Estates General will soon be called, in the form of a Constitutional Convention.

In Washington, since the explosion of a suitcase nuke in Seattle on 25 December 2024, both political parties agree we must continue to fight. Although al Qaeda claimed credit for the Seattle bombing, American intelligence traced the origin of the plot to Saudi Arabia. This was no surprise; everyone had known for decades that most Sunni extremism had its roots in Saudi money. Previously, the United States had to pretend otherwise because of its dependence on Saudi oil. Now, with imported oil unaffordable, that was irrelevant.

Coin Toss: heads

The Saudi war is following the usual course. The initial American invasion, with three divisions, quickly captured Riyadh and destroyed the Saudi state. Fourth Generation war goes on in all the populated parts of Saudi Arabia — even the Shiites are fighting us, at the same time they fight the Sunnis — and jihadi volunteers pour in to defend Mecca and Medina, both of which U.S. troops occupied at the demand of our military commanders, who said they were being used as safe havens.

American air, drone and missile strikes hit daily throughout the Islamic Middle East and Southwest Asia. None of what we do appears to make any difference. Washington’s policy remains one of serial failure: when what we do fails in one venue, we go on to do the same thing somewhere else. Only complete financial ruin, which is rapidly approaching, appears likely to change anything.

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Are protests about police killings causing crime to rise?

Summary: First came the revelations of brutal police killings of unarmed people for little or no reason. Then the blowbacks of police excuses and rising crime. How we deal with this will have large effects on our cities and show how well we can deal with problems in American society.

Indications that the 3 decades of declining crime has reversed

Lots of stories about rising rates of crime. “Quiet Santa Clarita adjusts to recent jump in violence.” “After a 12-year decline, crime in L.A. surges in first half of 2015.” “Several big U.S. cities see homicide rates surge.” “Baltimore killings soar to a level unseen in 43 years.”

Conservatives explain what’s causing crime to increase

“The criminal element is feeling empowered’ by anti-police sentiment.”
—- Police Chief Sam Doston of St Louis.

Conservatives have the explanation. It’s a mixture of evil and lies, as in this Wall Street Journal op-ed by Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute — Excerpt…


The most plausible explanation of the current surge in lawlessness is the intense agitation against American police departments over the past 9 months. … The news media pump out a seemingly constant stream of stories about alleged police mistreatment of blacks, with the reports often buttressed by cellphone videos that rarely capture the behavior that caused an officer to use force. … Acquittals of police officers for the use of deadly force against black suspects are now automatically presented as a miscarriage of justice. Proposals aimed at producing more cop convictions abound, but New York state seems especially enthusiastic about the idea. …

Similar “Ferguson effects” are happening across the country as officers scale back on proactive policing under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric. Arrests in Baltimore were down 56% in May compared with 2014. “Any cop who uses his gun now has to worry about being indicted and losing his job and family,” a New York City officer tells me. “Everything has the potential to be recorded. A lot of cops feel that the climate for the next couple of years is going to be nonstop protests.”

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We need a criminal justice 2.0 (the 1.0 is broken)

Summary: Here’s another post about our broken criminal justice system by someone who .understands its weaknesses –Hon. Alex Kozinski, a judge on the Ninth Circuit. His description has little resemblance to what we see on TV in CSI and NCIS, or to what our peers experience in Europe or Japan.  {1st of 2 posts today.}



Excerpt from “Criminal Law 2.0

by Hon. Alex Kozinski (Ninth Circuit judge)
Georgetown Law Journal, 2015

Preface to the 44th Annual Review of Criminal Procedure
Section I (footnotes omited)

… In fact, much of the so-called wisdom that has been handed down to us about the workings of the legal system, and the criminal process in particular, has been undermined by experience, legal scholarship and common sense. Here are just a few examples:

(1)  Eyewitnesses are highly reliable.

This belief is so much part of our culture that one often hears talk of a “mere” circumstantial case as contrasted to a solid case based on eyewitness testimony. In fact, research shows that eyewitness identifications are highly unreliable, especially where the witness and the perpetrator are of different races. Eyewitness reliability is further compromised when the identification occurs under the stress of a violent crime, an accident or catastrophic event — which pretty much covers all situations where identity is in dispute at trial.

In fact, mistaken eyewitness testimony was a factor in more than a third of wrongful conviction cases. Yet, courts have been slow in allowing defendants to present expert evidence on the fallibility of eyewitnesses; many courts still don’t allow it. Few, if any, courts instruct juries on the pitfalls of eyewitness identification or caution them to be skeptical of eyewitness testimony.

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