The Party of Psychological Projection

The Democrats.

It’s not me saying it, it’s this Ph.D psychologist[*1] :

This is the nature of projection and paranoia. The unacceptablethoughts or feelings are denied (“not owned”) by the personexperiencing them, and instead are projected onto another individualor–as in this case–a group. Thus, the person who originally had theoffensive thought or feeling becomes the helpless victim of the evil”other” and they do not have to cope with the fact that the evil lieswithin themselves. This is the origin of almost all acts of racism,sexism, anti-semitism, etc. It is the source of most prejudice in theworld; and certain prejudices that become socially acceptable–like thecasual anti-semitism of the Middle East; or the causalanti-Republicanism adopted by the intellectual “elite” of this country.

Projectionis never a good long-term psychological strategy–nor is it healthy–inan adult; and using such a defense mechanism represents a primitiveattempt to shirk the responsibility for one’s own feelings, thoughts,and actions. It causes and has caused much human misery, death,destruction and some of the most horrific acts that humans are capableof. When entire countries subscribe to a projected delusion (e.g., the”Jews” are to blame; the “Blacks” are the cause of all of our problems;”Republicans” are evil; Bush=Hitler) it can lead to genocide and otherbehaviors that are paranoid and psychotically delusional. Full-blownparanoia occurs when one’s mind severs the connection with realityentirely.

My big beef with the opponents of Bush and the Republicans is that they’re intellectually lazy.  Instead of staking a position in opposition and arguing convincingly for that position, they retreat into the same tired old cliched rhetoric and repeat it until their opponents get weary and wander away.

Only the most dense of partisans would say that things aren’t going particularly well.  But to be taken seriously, the Democrats have to convincingly argue for a better way, instead of continuing this tiresome negativity.  We really can’t afford even two more years of this nonsense, but I’ve heard nothing from the Democrats which would lead me to think that they’d do any better if we turned one or both houses of Congress over to them this November.  What I have heard is that if they do win even one house of Congress, they’ll bring this entire country to a screeching halt and begin a witch-hunt which will make their beloved McCarthyism of the 1950’s look like a high school debate tournament.

That’s the Democrat’s message this year.  Elect us, and let the political trials begin.

Think about it.

House of (Republican) Morons

So you’ve heard about Florida Representative Mark Foley’s disturbing e-mail quest[*1] for a (male, underage) Congressional page.

The troubling part is this paragraph:

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner[*2] (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned thisspring of inappropriate “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page.Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert[*3] (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.

This spring?  THIS SPRING?  You, John A. Boehner, and you, J. Dennis Hastert, are MORONS.  You should have thrown Foley to the wolves as soon as you found out about it.

Have fun being in the House Minority, idiots.

Young execs head to India

The Christian Science Monitor reports[*1] :

According to the head of Evaluserve, India’s need is great. He and others agree that India already has an abundance of domestic talent. But if it wishes to compete globally, it must have global resources – in other words, it must be fluent in the language and culture of its clients.

That’s where the expats come in. “We are not only an India-centric company,” says Ashish Gupta, head of Evaluserve India.”So to have this mingling of cultures is very, very important to us.”

In all, he estimates, India will need more than 100,000 expatriates by 2010. In 2002, the government reported that 13,000 expats were working in the country. Yet the need goes beyond language skills to the highest levels of management. “In India, most business is at the start-up stage, so we need managerial talent,” says Sudhakar Balakrishnan, director of Adecco Consulting in Bangalore.

Indians themselves have filled some of this shortfall, as more are staying here rather than venturing abroad – reversing decades of brain-drain. The need for foreigners remains, however,whether it is for foreign companies establishing their presence in India or for Indian companies wanting experienced Western executives.

The new Sioux Falls Argus-Leader

South Dakota’s largest newspaper just re-designed it’s web presence[*1] to be more colorful and less content-oriented. (That is, flashier and less informative). Everything you want a newspaper to be, I guess.

And, they appear to have more basic problems:

Thank you for visiting Technical problems arecurrently affecting the operation of nearly 100 newspaper Web sites,including ours. We apologize and ask for your patience while theseproblems are addressed as quickly as possible.


UPDATE:  Nearly a day later (7:50 CDT, Friday) and they still have that message up.  Nice job, guys–way to really launch that new web computer site thing.

Higher education must change

That’s the conclusion of a commission report[*1] commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education to justify the department’s existence and justify a budget increase. . . um . . . er . . . (cough, cough)

The purpose of the Commission is to consider how best to improve our system of higher education to ensure that our graduates are well prepared to meet our future workforce needs and are able to participate fully in the changing economy. To accomplish this purpose, the Commission shall consider Federal, state, local, and institutional roles in higher education and analyze whether the current goals of higher education are appropriate and achievable.

Oh, that’s OK then. Let’s look at the recommendations:

1. Every student in the nation should have the opportunity to pursue postsecondary education. We recommend, therefore, that the U.S. commit to an unprecedented effort to expand higher education access and success by improving student preparation and persistence, addressing non academic barriers and providing significant increases in aid to low-income students.

In other words, fix the high schools. Most high schools are places where learning sometimes occurs despite the efforts of the teachers and the school administrations. Public K-12 education is drowning in money, political indoctrination, empire-building, turf battles, and occasionally muddleheaded good intentions. Those teachers who truly want to teach are smothered by their administrations and the entire misguided primary and secondary education system. We need to return to teaching reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to teach a kid to read and write. It does take caring and competent teachers, and lots of them.

Once given the basic tools, our needs to teach kids how to think (NOT, emphatically not—what to think). Students need to learn how to critically process information, how to look into issues, how to engage in intellectual dialogue with their peers. This also doesn’t require a lot of money. Once again, all it takes is competent, caring teachers and a classroom free from unnecessary distractions.

Of course, should we actually decide to educate our children, the introduction of masses of intelligent, reasoning, eloquent, and intellectually demanding college freshman will be a nasty shock to some college professors. But that’s a good problem to have.

2. To address the escalating cost of a college education and the fiscal realities affecting the government’s ability to finance higher education in the long run, we recommend that the entire student financial aid system be restructured and new incentives put in place to improve the measurement and management of costs and institutional productivity.

This is, of course, a money grab. Basically, government is supposed to pour more money into the student aid system (and, therefore, into the colleges and universities) in hopes that something good will happen. Let’s think about that for a minute . . . more money into the system will reduce cost increases.

Someone needs to go back to economics class.

There’s some handwaving about reducing the regulatory burden on colleges and universities, while simultaneously monitoring “productivity and efficiency”. Yeah, that’ll reduce costs.

3. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, higher education must change from a system primarily based on reputation to one based on performance. We urge the creation of a robust culture of accountability and transparency throughout higher education. Every one of our goals, from improving access and affordability to enhancing quality an innovation, will be more easily achieved if higher education institutions embraces and implements serious accountability measures.

Yeah, right. The Ivy League schools are different from the rest of higher education in only two ways: 1) their reputation as “elite” schools, and 2) their enormous endowments. Can you see any scenario where Harvard and Yale will de-emphasize “reputation” as a recruiting tool?

4. With too few exceptions, higher education has yet to address the fundamental issues of how academic programs and institutions must be transformed to serve the changing needs of a knowledge economy. We recommend that America’s colleges and universities embrace a culture of continuous innovation and quality improvement by developing new pedagogies, curricula, and technologies to improve learning, particularly in the area of science and mathematical literacy.

Well this must be good, it has the phrase “knowledge economy” in it. Also, the Demingesque “continuous innovation and quality improvement.” It’s all good. (I think my cynicism is starting to overflow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for “continuous innovation.” I just find the concept very amusing when applied to the current higher education bureaucracy. Let’s move on . . . )

5. America must ensure that our citizens have access to high quality and affordable educational, learning, and training opportunities throughout their lives. We recommend the development of a national strategy for lifelong learning that helps all citizens understand the importance of preparing for and participating in higher education throughout their lives.

See my comment for #1. People who know how to learn will keep learning, in spite of the best efforts of the education establishment.

6. The United States must ensure the capacity of its universities to achieve global leadership in key strategic areas such as science, engineering, medicine, and other knowledge-intensive professions. We recommend increased federal investment in areas critical to our nation’s global competitiveness and a renewed commitment to attract the best and brightest minds from across the nation and around the world to lead the next wave of American innovation.

Another money grab. What they won’t do is redirect Federal money from, say the National Endowment for the Arts or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to the National Science Foundation. They’d do this if they were really serious about increasing competitiveness in “science, engineering, medicine, and other knowledge-intensive professions.” Any bets on when this will happen?

A cold eye

Richard Miniter writes in the Wall Street Journal[*1] :

It is vital that this debate be honest, but so far this has not been the case. Both Mr. Clinton’s outrage at Chris Wallace’s questioning and the ABC docudrama “The Path to 9/11” are attempts to polarize the nation’s memory. While this divisiveness may be good for Mr. Clinton’s reputation, it is ultimately unhealthy for the country. What we need, instead, is a cold-eyed look at what works against terrorists and what does not. The policies of the Clinton and Bush administrations ought to be put to the same iron test.

With that in mind, let us examine Mr. Clinton’s war on terror. Some 38 days after he was sworn in, al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center. He did not visit the twin towers that year, even though four days after the attack he was just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, talking about job training. He made no attempt to rally the public against terrorism. His only public speech on the bombing was a few paragraphs inserted into a radio address mostly devoted an economic stimulus package. Those stray paragraphs were limited to reassuring the public and thanking the rescuers, the kinds of things governors say after hurricanes. He did not even vow to bring the bombers to justice. Instead, he turned the first terrorist attack on American soil over to the FBI.

A while back, James Lileks wrote[*2] :

Just so you know: 9/11 reset the clock for me. All hands went to midnight. I’m interested in what people did afterthat date, and if the (ABC) movie shows that before the attack one sidelacked feck and the other was feck-deficient, I don’t worry about it.It’s like revisiting Congressional debates about Hawaiian harborsecurity in November 1941. Y’all get a pass. The Etch-A-Sketch’s turnedover. Now: what have you said lately?

I’m not sure I’m to this point yet, but I do know that if this country doesn’t somehow come together, it’s possible to lose to the Islamists, but it’s not possible to win against them.  I’d be much more inclined to listen to the arguments of the Democrats if I thought that they actually took the Islamists seriously.  But they’re so locked into somehow defeating Bush and the Republicans, that even secret intelligence estimates are fair game for political manipulation.

And, a final thought:  if, as it appears, our intelligence community let us down so badly in the run-up to 9/11, why on earth are people spending so much time and effort arguing about the latest product from that same intelligence apparatus?

Iraq warns its neigbors

Iraqi President Talabani puts Iran, Syria, and Turkey on notice[*1] :

“The Iraqi people will respond in the same way, we’llsupport the opposition of other countries, will try to maketrouble for them as they are doing for us,” he said.

“We can do it in Iran, in Syria, in Turkey, but we are notdoing it,” Talabani said. “Our policy is not to interfere inthe internal affairs of these countries and ask them and begthem not to interfere in our internal affairs because itcreates chaos in the Middle East.”

Heard the one about the National Intelligence Estimate

Here’s how it works: the Times gets fed a “leak” by a “knowledgable source” of some especially juicy parts of the NIE that are damaging to Bush and to the war on Islamism, and the Times just can’t get the details into print fast enough.

How about listening to someone who says they’ve actually read the document[*1] , not to the New York Times, who says that they talked to someone who’s read it:

Thankfully, the actual NIE is not the harbinger of disaster that theTimes and WaPo would have us believe. According to members of the intelcommunity who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair andbalanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in theWar on Terror–and identifying potential points of failure for thejihadists. The quotes printed below–taken directly from the documentand provided to this blogger–provide “the other side” of the estimate,and its more balanced assessment of where we stand in the War on Terror(comments in italics are mine).

In one of its early paragraphs,the estimate notes progress in the struggle against terrorism, statingthe U.S.-led efforts have “seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations.” Didn’t see that in the NYT article.

Or how about this statement, which–in part–reflects the impact of increased pressure on the terrorists: “Alarge body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves asjihadists is increasing…however, they are largely decentralized, lacka coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse.”Hmm…doesn’t sound much like Al Qaida’s pre-9-11 game plan.

The report also notes the importance of the War in Iraq as a make or break point for the terrorists: “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves to have failed, we judge that fewer will carry on the fight.” It’s called a ripple effect.

More support for the defeating the enemy on his home turf: “Threats to the U.S. are intrinsically linked to U.S. success or failure in Iraq.” PresidentBush and senior administration officials have made this argument manytimes–and it’s been consistently dismissed by the “experts” at theWaPo and Times.

And, some indication that the “growing” jihad may be pursuing the wrong course: “Thereis evidence that violent tactics are backfiring…their greatestvulnerability is that their ultimate political solution (shar’a law) isunpopular with the vast majority of Muslims.” Seems to contradict MSM accounts of a jihadist tsunami with ever-increasing support in the global Islamic community..

The estimate also affirms the wisdom of sowing democracy in the Middle East: “Progresstoward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslimworld will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit.” As I recall, this the core of our strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Italics and emphasis in original.

Hat tip: PowerLine[*2]