Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Israeli Lobby

A book that probably won't get reviewed (unless its a pan) by any of our two daily papers but you can find information here and here and here and here and here. Video here and here.

So why should this be brought up? I think it should be brought up because, well, here's a crazy theory. Bear with me. One of the shocking things I've seen is the aftermath of the November 2006 elections. It was clear that the American public voted against the war. Its also clear to me that if the Democrats actually end the war (by withholding funding which they can definitely do) they would probably hold the presidency and the congress for the next 25 years, maybe longer. It would cause a generational shift toward the less ruthless business party, which might be incrementally better. Afterall, the Clinton years gave us the Internets. True, if they had known how important it was I probably couldn't afford to be writing these words and I would be as likely to have a platform on the internet as I would be to hosting my own show on cable television but anyway...

Yet that's not what the democrats have done. I suppose it could be just a dark tactic whereby they think that as the war stalls and burns people will vote democratic party as a reaction. Of course, if people see no difference in the parties on the war it would make the republicans competitive again. And of course, as we've seen the republicans don't actually have to win to be competitive, just close enough so that the courts can call it in their favor. They can destroy the evidence later and throw roadblocks into reform. Its not like the traditional media would write about it.

Well, there is an uncomfortable theory out there, first written about by Alexander Cockburn to his credit. He thought that the Dem recruiters, Schumer in the Senate and Rahm Emmanual (who once volunteered to serve in the Israeli army. Here's a thought experiment: say that Obama once tried to join the Cuban army where would he be politically...? Really. Think about it.) were deliberately recruiting pro war dems. Both Schumer and Rahm, who some have said is Mossad's man in DC, are Jewish. What if they're Jewish and think that the war benefits Israel.

Here's another thought experiment: Let's just assume for a moment that they're more loyal to Israeli foreign policy interests than American interests, specifically the American interest of ending this war. What would they do. How would they behave. They would, and this is just wild speculation, recruit democrats to win back the house and senate but not democrats who have the common sense and decency to withhold funding for the war. Corporatist DLC power elite dems. That would be the deal. We would know that's the deal because democrats won't have ended the war even though its in their power to do so.

Here's a more frightening thought experiment: what if they wanted to thank the republicans. Why would you want to harm the party that enthusiastically spills blood for Israel (and oil reserves but that would be secondary to the Israelis, unless they wanted a cut but who knows...). You wouldn't want a handy party like that eviscerated. In fact, you would do everything in your power to keep them viable. Going slow on ending the war might just do the trick. A Hillary nomination gives the Republicans a pulse for the presidency. Blur the distinctions. That means that everything just keeps getting worse.

A wrench in the works would be the creation of a viable well funded progressive third party. Let's hope Cindy Sheehan, the only candidate I know that wants AIPAC out of congress, widens her efforts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Very Late Analysis of Steelers Playoff Loss

Jan 5

I don't think the Steelers will win tonight not because of talent level but way too many injuries (Parker, Aaron Smith and Starks) but they're a great team and can beat anybody for one game. Except probably the Pats this year. Anyway, Go Stillers. Update halftime: Arrrrrrrgh! Big Ben sucks, this game anyway or maybe we just don't match up well. We might come back although this is forcing me to watch the debate, ever so judiciously timed against an NFL playoff game. Obama is talking about the Iraqi Oil Law without mentioning that the Iraqi Oil Law that we drew up completely gives away Iraq's oil. As for Hillary, probably not my first or second choice for the presidency and I can't see myself doing much work for her other than voting but she is a very intelligent, very sexy woman who I would like to "do" even though she's in her sixties who I personally find appealing. Final Update: ARRRRRH Again. Welp the Steelers lost. They played their hearts out though. Even if they had won I can't see them giving the Pats a problem without their full roster. We'll get them next year. I also think Jackonsonville will give the Pats a better game than a depleted Steelers.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

More on That Gene Expression Post

I wrote about Gene Expression here and it looks like they changed my original link. I restored the link here and I actually answered Godless Capitalist back in this post from Inane Ramblings from my old Three River Tech Review Post. You can now read it here.

Lysenko was opposed to the use of statistics, but had he been clever enough to see how useful statistics can be in the service of ideology, he might have changed his mind. Had he seen what J. Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen, Richard Lynn, Richard Herrnstein or Charles Murray have done with statistical data to support their ideology of racial superiority, Lysenko might have created a department of Supreme Soviet Statistics and proven with the magic of numbers the superiority of Lamarckism to natural selection and genetics. For these social pseudoscientists have never seen a statistical correlation they couldn't turn into a causal claim fitting their racist ideology. Lysenko might have done the same for his Michurian/Lamarckian ideology.

--Interesting quote I found where GC's heroes were also listed...


If you don’t have time to trawl through the many points below, let me offer a few distilled points above. First, I suppose I just have deep philosophical differences with Godless over what matters more: environment vs. nature. I also think you're hostile when you quote that whole Bell Curve crew of “academics” that pursue a line of science that carries with it a noxious social agenda that only ruthless capitalists would love. Down below, you attempt to conjoin me with one of the scientists of the Stalin regime when in fact I have never declared a love of Stalinism. In fact, I admire the European democracies that manage to create wonderfully ruthless and competitive multinationals and also manage to feed the hungry and provide decent health care for their citizens. I actually think that not only is that a smarter kind of capitalism—meeting at least minimal human needs while also trying to make a buck—but I also think it’s more sustainable. On another point, and this goes to the nature of intelligence, is that just because you’re smart about one particular field doesn’t mean that you’re smart about other fields or disciplines. In other words, the fact that you score high on IQ tests sometimes means and only means that you just score high on IQ tests. I’ve been debating you now for, what, seven or eight months now, and I’m amazed by the remarkably stupid things that emanate from your keyboard, how tone deaf they sound, how emotionally insensitive and arid they happen to be. What should I think of the superior IQ man—let’s estimate and say that it’s around 150 or so—who tells me that he’s certain that there are nuclear arms in Iraq that the country won’t use if they’re invaded. What should I think of the superior high IQ man who tells the world I can’t fight because I’m better, even if he, in all probability would be doing the exact same research as an army scientist? I don’t think people on the fence would find this line of argument convincing. Or, as of late, what should I make of the superior high IQ man who will lecture us on the wonders of biotech innovation but whose field happens to be nanotechnology? And to put a blunt point on it, what should I think of the superior high IQ man who lies so badly? (It’s clear that GC points to pathologies within the black community as proof of their inferiority if you look at the percentage of his last eight posts over at Gene Expression and three of the five scientists he points to who have been allegedly blacklisted have nice think tank and/or academic jobs, one at Berkeley no less…Didn’t the Berkeley deans get the memo…?) How can the allegedly superior high IQ man not know the value of the cosmetic diversity that the Republicans use to cover the fact that they’re destroying diversity efforts nationwide or why they have to court the Hispanic vote? (Just to answer this one: It’s because you’re out of your field and don’t know enough about politics, not unlike someone whose speciality is nanotechnology talking about biology…

Or to put it another way: if we’re so smart how come we have a president who’s such a blithering idiot? We voted the right way. Is it because we’re genetically deficient? Or is it because of the two party system that routinely offers up mediocre, business party candidates? Or is it the failure of an unmalleable constitution that doesn’t allow for modest improvements in the mechanics of democracy such as smarter balloting, runoff voting or proportional representation? And knowing these factors: what should we work on changing and improving? But onward with the debate…

We've criticized many other groups in the past, including our own: see here and here for Republicans (gasp!), here and here for Chinese, here and here for Hispanics, here, here and here for European whites, here for Nazis, here and here for white nationalists, and here and here for Indians. That's not an exhaustive list - trawl through our archives and you'll find more. A lot of our posts cover black/white differences in the US simply because there's a lot more data on it than on any other racial topic. It's the "particle in a 1D box", the E. coli , and the linear system of race relations all rolled into one. If we try to talk about any other genetic differences, the discussion will always eventually wind its way back to a check of the first corollary of the fundamental axiom of equality: are the differences between blacks and whites partly genetic? Try it sometime with your friends, and tell me what happens. Now, that said, I can understand that my posts seem harsh. For the most part, I try to keep the discussion clinical, and that's offputting to some. Furthermore, as an ENTJ, I'm not really the most sensitive of people. (Yes, yes, understatement of the year, thanks.) I know that the things I talk about are unpleasant, but if I don't talk about them pretty much no one will (save for the few on the HBG blogroll). For the record, I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. However, I won't allow truth to be a casualty to feelings. If I say something inaccurate, I make a point of publicly retracting it and publishing a correction. Please catch me in the comments section if I forget to do this. I can be argued with, and if you feel that I'm wrong, please tell me why.

Okay several problems here. If you take a look at GC’s posts through August so far it trends heavily against African Americans. One post talks about the evils of affirmative action (Even though affirmative action mostly benefits white women), then we have another post about testosterone and starts promisingly enough about how men are more violent than women—a new seemingly impartial meme for GC—then it devolves into, of course, black men are more violent than anybody thus their incarceration rates, then there the four points I quoted earlier and all of them could be interpreted to mean that blacks are bad. Now, say, just theoretically, that I was anti Semitic. I respond by saying “No, I’m no anti semite.” The accuser then points to my last 10 links, which an objective person might define as being anti-semitic. I should also point out that during many a time both on your old blog and in comment board exchanges you’ve said things that I thought were racist. I think the most prominent point is that it wasn’t worthwhile to pour resources into inner city schools because of those dumb black kids. As if black students would benefit from inspired well-paid teachers and/or state of the art computer networks. What a silly proposition I suppose. I should point out that this is only a trend with GC and not the other bloggers. Razib seems to be more dispassionate and the others, when they choose to blog, seem to have other interests going. And again, I have to wonder: there are so many impoverished groups in the world, why pick on the blacks? Actually, it’s kind of funny. Razib and GC are always saying, well, we’re not white people so we’re not racists, which is demonstrably and overwhelmingly false. In fact, in California, where we think GC is from but we’re not sure, there are just as many hostilities between Asians and Blacks as there are between Blacks and Whites. It’s not a defense to say I’m not white. The proof of that statement "I'm Asian and/or Indian" isn’t that “I’m not a bigot”.

Philip makes a good point - we should consider India and China more frequently, though (as I said above) we have criticized them pretty harshly in the past. Presenting Africa's woes in isolation does skew the picture, so we (or at least I) will make a conscious effort to throw my net a bit wider. In my defense, I think that the post that garnered the most attention was my first post on the economic situation of Africa in two months, though there have been several posts on AIDS in the interim. The most recent analysis indicates that poverty rates are highest in Africa. They are also very high in India and in China. It's my opinion that India will never catch China, because India lacks the human capital to do so. India's highly multimodal genetic structure means that it has a cognitive elite who can program, do mathematics, and design nuclear bombs, but the vast majority of the country is composed of low IQ groups who cannot compete without massive quotas and set-asides. No intervention short of genetic engineering can ameliorate this situation. India may well become a developed nation, but its development will be highly uneven. Look for it to be the most radical expression of Murray and Herrnstein's cognitive elite scenario. Forget about gated communities - think about gated cities .

I have to be honest: You have horrifically misconstrued my point. Let me clarify: if you were to use that same kind of thinking about the poor in China or India then you would be committing equally horrible reductionist crimes. I guess we’re going to have to disagree about this. First, I believe that there is a tie between intelligence and nutrition. In other words, poverty and hunger lower not only intelligence but intelligence potentials. For some reason, you never mention this in your often hostile attacks against affirmative action and, oddly enough, the EEOC. To my mind’s eye, if you’re really concerned about intelligence—which is mutable by the way—then you would have to concern yourself first with nutrition and ameliorating the harmful effects of poverty first. This is, by the way, the same decision reached by the world’s wealthiest man in regards to Africa. Bill Gates came to the quite sane conclusion that computers were little help to hungry kids. You have to solve the problem of poverty first. Even the world’s richest man knows this…What’s wrong? Isn’t the $60 billion dollar man a worthy enough capitalist for you? So my solution for the Untouchables is not hatred, but at the very least a nationwide investment in prenatal care. I suppose your position is that they are simply lost. I might note this is the racist position. Blame the victim, ignore discrimination based on class or caste…Why, the Untouchables must have created themselves…The position I advocate isn’t equality of results but equality of opportunity. We don’t have more equality of results because right now there is no equality of opportunity or at least not in places where groups of varied racial and ethnic identities have to fight for limited resources. And this is where your reductionist approach to IQ—about as useful as hair color in certain instances—falls apart. You would think our blithering idiot President or the notoriously dopey Brit royals would tell you all you need to know about the innate “superiority” of the ruling classes. But no. We just can’t figure it out can we. But that’s a discussion for another day and that involves changing the very social structure of life and figuring out what it means to live in a world, accurately portrayed I think by nan guru Eric Drexler: The Post Scarcity World.

Ah, and therein lies the rub. How to discuss a group's positive traits without implying that those outside that group aren't deserving of accolades? How to discuss a group's negative traits without implying that no member of the group is worthy? Surely there are those who would derive succour from an incessant litany of other's failings. Schadenfreude is an all too human trait. Though my disavowal may seem unbelievable, I am not among this group. I take no pleasure in pointing these things out, but my passion for the truth matters more than the opprobrium of society. My own interest in human biodiversity, and the subsequent crystallization of my thoughts was sparked by my joint interests in human evolution and engineering, not because of hatred.

Actually, and this is something that’s troubled me below the surface, but what do any of your so called necessary harsh truths of racial reality actually have to do with the science of genetic improvement? I thought that the experimentation was done with mice? In other words, you tweak a gene or a set of genes in the hopes that you get certain reactions. In other words, tweak one set of genes and you’ll get better memory or longer hair or a quicker tan. What does any of that have to do with race? For example, say that you come up with the set of genes that improves intelligence in mice and say, subsequently, for argument’s sake, that when you tweak the genes in people—preferably after birth and not in vitro—that you get the same response, or higher intelligence. How would that be racial? I suppose there would be people who wouldn’t want to be more intelligent—we can guess that the usual lot of fundie zealots that we both despise will oppose it—but what color will be the mouse? Is the mouse black, white, blue…what? Now you might counter that the genetic tweaks might vary among the races and, ah, there’s your bell curve at work…But how do you know that blacks or Indian untouchables will be on the low end of the genetic therapies? Remember: blacks used to be not good at sports and it was a scientific fact. We know now that wasn’t the fact and it was horrible science, at least as the Williams sisters routinely show. In fact, you could argue the reverse: that blacks or the rural Chinese have more genetic potential after “treatment”. Right now, how is race even relevant to the experimentation going on. We really don’t know. And your position, right now at least, is as good as mine.

To me, the question you ask—how to talk about group traits and I’m sorry but this is the Nazi tradition—isn’t relevant. For example, you mention the New York doctor who was profiled who notices differences in how people of different ethnic backgrounds respond to different therapies and treatments. But I believe that she’s truly trying to help her patients. She’s not declaring that the black female is inferior because she doesn’t respond as well to stimulants. Where, GC, and forgive me for saying this, you often mix the hideous ideology of the Bell Curve—an ideology of hatred that uses science toward the worst ends of capitalist ruthlessness (“They don’t need good schools they’re genetically inferior anyway…It’s all just objective science afterall…”). The truth is that you can divorce racial considerations from Genetic engineering because genetic engineering will change the whole notion of what race and “humanity” mean. In twenty years, for example, let’s assume that the great change is exponential and that Leon Kass has lost big time. You will walk into a room either here or on Mars and there will be people with antler horns and exaggerated phallic areas and three breasts and jacks hardwired into their heads and striped skins and you yell out: “This isn’t the future I dreamed of…who are the inferior races and who stands apart…?” And some guy with functional spider silk wings will slap you around some and tell you: “That doesn’t matter anymore…doesn’t matter anymore…”

One final note: I think you do take pleasure in pointing out these imagined differences.

I give short shrift to those who baselessly insult reductionism. Usually in such situations several different things are conflated: 1) Simplifying the problem by neglecting unimportant factors 2) Simplifying the problem by consciously neglecting important factors 3) Simplifying the problem by unconsciously neglecting important factors The first is acceptable and desirable…… In other words: If my reductionism is flawed, genetic engineering will fail. But those who fear Gattaca - like Philip - fear reductionism because they know it will succeed.

I’m going to go with Three. And I run a site called Three River Tech Review. I once wrote an article for Tech Central Station, notoriously pro tech right wing site. I’m probably a closet extroprian if I was actually forced to identify with a religion. Actually, I don’t understand your model. Are you going to do mass testing on racial groups? How will that work? And how does that fit into nanotechnology? Even though any real good Nan Tech should probably know a lot about chemistry and biology, isn’t nan purely mechanical right now? Where you use quantum physics to perform a kind of engineering of the very small…? What exactly is your experiment and what are your proofs? And what does that have to do with black people not having protection in the workplace? I mean, the experiments on non racial mice will be extended to people and race will be sort of a moot point. Perhaps the hair gene works better on blacks…who cares? It’s a silly meaningless point…

Phil - you may be right that such terms might be more interesting to look at. They would certainly be politically safer. But I'm interested in why we have crime and poverty. Human capital is part of the story; so is the political system. Both capitalism and a sufficiently smart fraction are required for modernization. If either is lacking, then penury and deprivation will be the order of the day. Is it "reductionism" to postulate these two factors as most important, and all else as secondary? If so, I'm gladly guilty as charged.
Now, if you feel that this reduction is invalid, show me a counterexample in which prosperity and modernization are accomplished without these two prerequisites, or else the converse: in which a high-IQ capitalist society degenerates into anarchy. I'm not denying that problems exist all over the globe. But my interest isn't in sympathizing with the natives. I look for causes and answers, and then I look for solutions. Indians - like Africans - should be allowed to participate in the genetic engineering revolution. The Chinese won't need to be "allowed" - they're just going to go for it.

Well, we’re going to just have to disagree here on some points and I suppose it also touches on the question of what you value in societies. First, American multinationals have a tendency to keep nations poor, and with poverty, suffering and malnutrition you will find lower intelligence rates. You might want to ask where you would like to live: Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador or Cuba? I would take Cuba because in Cuba you have an educational system and a health care system. Any country that produces an Irakere can’t be all bad. But why are our client states so poor? Why is there more poverty in Guatemala than in Cuba? Is it because they’re bad dumb people or is it because American multinationals prefer dictators? I think it’s the latter. We’re not interested in the average person in Bolivia reaching their potential. We want puppet governments that allow us free access to their natural resources. Advanced capitalist economies require tender loving care, lots of luck, natural resources and the lack of a dominant bullying hegemon. Thanks to the United States there’s no such luck for a lot of countries in the world.

Second, I have to confess I even find your answers to be unconvincing. Say that you create the genetically enhanced pill that increases intelligence. So, 100 million rural Indians have an IQ of 150 and they can all do proteomic equations in their heads, what difference would it make without access to food or arable land or water supplies (the cause for the next great wars) or schools…I don’t see your utopia unless you address other issues first, such as religious intolerance, dumb state policy, rampant sexism in the Third World…What good is being able to do rocket science if you don’t have access to a computer? Of if you have to work in a theocracy…I find your thinking bizarre here…And yes, genetic engineering will work just fine without race even being a factor. Mice and flies and worms don’t represent ethnic races.

Look, Phil, your side has its share of notorious liars: Lysenko (a villain comparable to Mengele), Gould, and Lewontin prime among them. Lysenko's name is already mud, and Gould's name is following fast behind him. Lewontin has some actual science to his credit, but his memory too will be consigned to the dustbin of ideologically motivated scientists. Furthermore, these "scientists" are far more representative of your views than Mengele is of mine. He did experiments on innocent humans and considered Jews and blacks little more than animals. I've said it a million times, but it's worth saying again: I'm against coercion. Identifying a problem doesn't mean posing a violent solution or dehumanizing the people in trouble. If you say someone is poor, does that make them a bad person ? No, of course not. If I say someone is a bit slow, does that make them a bad person ? No! There is no moral judgment here, no assignment of fault for something that's not their fault. Do you understand my position now?

Well you’re not exactly posing those last several questions separately. You’re arguing that people are poor because they’re stupid, which is a stupid argument and one which I’m having a hard time relating to any kind of viable, real science, at least not in nanotechnology. I also don’t see where you think Lysenko is out of “my tradition”. I’m not a Stalinist. I’ve never advocated locking away scientists and I’ve always supported the right of scientists to pursue meaningful research, with the thought that scientists probably know better about promising lines of research than, say, ministers or even philosophers. I mean, to be honest, if I was really interested in helping people, I would aim at nutrition. As a I understand it , there’s a much more direct link between nutrition—and the overall political problems of intransigent poverty—and intelligence than say race and intelligence. I mean, you can give me a white kid and a black kid. I’ll starve the white kid and feed the black kid, give the black kid every educational advantage and then claim the black kid is superior because of genetics? That’s your “fair” competition? That’s your scientific “position”? How is it to sympathize with the natives by wanting to feed them? That’s the Bill Gates position afterall. Forgive me if I look askance.

I could face real consequences if anyone were to find out who I am. It is an academic death sentence to question the fundamental axiom of egalitarianism - that there are no significant biological differences between races and sexes. If you don't believe me, check out the fates of Jensen, Brand, Rushton, Wilson, Murray, Bannister, Entine and many others who had the temerity to state the obvious - that there are real and significant differences between the races and sexes. I would welcome the day when I could speak my mind without fearing retaliation. However, I want to get tenure, and there is no way that I could survive the process if I was on the record as having said "the mean IQ of blacks is less than the mean IQ of whites, which is in turn less than the mean IQ of Asians". Regardless of the quality of my science, I would be hung out to dry and possibly subject to physical violence. My academic career would be over. Murtaugh feels that signing one's name to a blog forces accountability for one's statements, and to some extent I agree.
But there is a difference between people who claim anonymity to make trouble and people who claim anonymity to avoid trouble. In the former category I would place spammers, trolls, and internet vandals. In the latter I would put holders of unpopular opinions. I don't think I'm deluding myself about the backlash that I would face if those in charge of my academic destiny could trace my name to my opinions. In this case anonymity is protection against character assassination. To paraphrase Djerassi, the inventor of the pill: "The outrage of the "anti-racists" was understandable because the internet promises to decentralize the provision of opinion to a person's laptop, which can neither be bombed nor picketed."

ON ANONYMITY: “If you don’t believe me, check out the fates of Jenson…Rushton…Murray”. Needless to say, I don’t believe you and here’s what I found, all of those guys have nice academic and/or think tank jobs. Arthur Jensen is a Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology, graduate school of education, Berkeley. Are you talking about another Jensen? Charles Murray has a nice job at the American Enterprise Institute. There are always think tanks or private labs for amoral corporations if you don’t get the opportunity to mold young minds. And, Philippe Rushton works at the Department of Psychology at the University of Western Ontario. So, two out of three work as educators in their field. Should I check the rest? Why bother….By the way, nobody is arguing that you shouldn’t do research or even be censored—again, as I’ve stated elsewhere, scientists should be allowed to pursue the research that they want. But there is a right to question the effectiveness of your research and, yes, to impugn your motives and even your rationalizations.

Epilogue: I’ve learned this one from debating Pejman. I always look for what he doesn’t respond to for that means that I’ve either scored a point or that he doesn’t have an answer for it. One point that he really didn’t address very well is Eric Tang, who sort of works for the Asian American version of the NAACP. One thing that he points out is that it’s a myth that all Asian Americans are the model minority and that they’re all doing really really well. In fact, the poorest minorities in the United States, using those unassailable scientific facts that GC likes to trot out so often, are Cambodians and the Vietnamese, refugees from the Vietnam War. Are they genetically inferior? I’m going to go out on a limb and say no. I think it has to do with the problems of assimilation and language. It also might have to do with coming to the United States without a plan. That’s why slavery matters so much. Someone who comes to the country with a plan and a purpose will always do better than someone who is brought here under coercion or fear. Here are some quotes about not only that problem, but the glass ceiling that many Asian American executives face. Sure, they work in Silicon Valley in greater percentages than say blacks or latinos, but they don’t get promoted either. Is this the fault of their genetic superiority or the persistence of bigotry?

Here are those quotes:

Many of our members are undocumented immigrants and/or survivors of the racist criminal justice system, and are therefore at risk if they attempt to leave the U.S. and travel to South Africa. Our communities also lack the resources to travel. That’s why we are mobilizing around the World Conference locally.

We are working with Third World Within, a network of NYC-based organizations of color, to hold Racial Justice Day 2001 on August 31st, to run parallel to the World Conference. This day will include a tribunal on U.S. white supremacy and racial violence. Third World Within has already convened two forums: Racism in the Movement, Race, Color, Caste, and Class Within, and one on U.S. military war crimes in the Third World.

What outcomes do you expect from the conference?

We want to strengthen a global movement that recognizes the international nature of the issues we work on. For example, the legacies of U.S. and western colonialism in Southeast Asia are inscribed in the struggles of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees living in urban poverty in the U.S. Or the way in which today’s low-wage Asian immigrant labor in “global cities” of the west function as an extension of the low-wage labor found in the free trade zones of Asia. We are drawn to Durban to make these connections apparent on an international scale.
Lost in the clamor are some nasty secrets no one likes to acknowledge. These issues are not addressed, not discussed, not even by the Asian Americans themselves, when they congregate at their weekly soirees or at the Asian American business associations, business leagues, and chambers of commerce.

The elephant no one likes to talk about is the glass ceiling. It is a well-known fact that there are a very large number of Asian American engineers working in Silicon Valley. It is not a widely acknowledged fact that very few of the major corporations in the valley have Asian American directors, vice presidents or CEOs. The few Asian American CEOs that do exist are ones who head the companies they helped launch themselves.

Human resources managers at IBM, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard, when confronted with the glass ceiling issue, often volunteer the pipeline theory. That is the very argument that is employed when these very HR managers try to explain why there are so few African American and Latino engineers in their companies.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Tom The Dancing Bug and Our Old Friend Gene Expression

For some reason our fine alt weekly paper the City Paper dropped the cartoon strip Tom the Dancing Bug, which can usually be found buried in their classifieds section. While it hasn't been absolutely hilariously funny as of late Ruben's worst is still funnier than Derf. And his best, especially his rare social and political commentary, is as good as it gets. Here he is talking about this wonderful new group known as the "science racists" ("Look, I hate you, but it's all scientific don't you see old boy..."), represented most ably by Gene Expression although it seems more moderate of late now that my old nemesis Godless Capitalist (Who rooted against the Ethan Hawke character in Gattaca...) no longer writes for them. I think white folks should participate in the experiment....Update: The geniuses at Gene Expression have altered the original GC post to show html text. They forgot to sweep away Google cache though, so here is Godless again. Aren't they proud of one of their past contributors? Can't imagine why not he was so right about the Iraq War especially with his high IQ and all....I wrote a response to that by the way which I'll think I'll repost. Some of my best writing...

Not Sure What This Is...

...but it looks interesting.

Must Read and See Called The Story of Stuff

Must Read (with footnotes) and Must See "The Story of Stuff". Billed by one viewer as kind of a shorter more immediate version of "An Inconvenient Truth", this ties together a lot of interesting and suppressed observations of the world and the United States. See it here:

Fave Atheist Motivational Posters

Cory Doctorow At Google

Very good Google talk about the problem with copyright and its future with Cory Doctorow.

Must Read By Digby Called the Bipartisan Zombies

Must Read piece called the "Bipartisan Zombies" by Digby. This is the also the problem with Obama's "Let's just get along" approach. The other side is radical and extreme. They hate civil governance and all notions of fairness. They have to be fought as Edwards has said. An excerpt:

The idea among these Village elders is that only through bipartisan cooperation can we "get anything done." Well, if bipartisanship is defined like this, I suppose they are right:

As Congress stumbles toward Christmas, President Bush is scoring victory after victory over his Democratic adversaries. He:

• Beat back domestic spending increases.
• Thwarted an expansion of children's health coverage.
• Defeated tax increases.
• Won Iraq war funding.
• Pushed Democrats toward shattering their pledge not to add to the federal deficit with new tax cuts or rises in mandatory spending.

"The Democrats are learning this isn't the early 1970s, when the Republican Party was Gerald Ford and 140 of his friends," said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. "There are 201 of us, and we will be heard.

Recall that the president's approval rating hovers at 30% and the rating of the is GOP minority in congress far lower. It appears to me that they know very well how to "get things done" not only on a purely partisan basis but with more than 70% of the country disapproving of their actions. They don't

Must Read by Glenn Greenwald

Must Read by Glenn Greenwald. This goes back to the masses as "little people" argument. An excerpt:

And thus we have a perfect oligarchical system in which, literally, our most powerful and well-connected elite are free to break the law with impunity, exempt from any consequences. While exempting themselves, these same figures impose increasingly Draconian "law and order" solutions on the masses to ensure that even small infractions of the law prompt vigorous prosecution and inflexible, lengthy prison terms.

As Matt Stoller recently noted in an excellent post on the bipartisan orthodoxies that are untouchable in political debates, "there are 1 million people put in jail for doing what Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George Bush have done" (buying and consuming illegal drugs) and "2 million people are in prison in America, by far the highest total of any other country in the world." It's almost impossible for the non-rich to defend themselves effectively against government accusations of criminality, and judges have increasingly less sentencing discretion to avoid imposing harsh jail terms. Punishment for crimes is for the masses only, not for members in good standing of our political and corporate establishment.

Where our political elite break the law, our leading media stars and pundits fulfill their central purpose by dutifully arguing that establishment figures who have broken the law have done nothing wrong and deserve protection, even our gratitude, when they do so. In the view of our establishment, even mere civil liability -- never mind criminal punishment -- is deeply unfair when imposed on lawbreaking corporations, as we see in the "debate" over telecom immunity.

New Holt Election Protection Bill

New Holt Bill. From Bradblog:

Simplified Legislation Offers Money to Jurisdictions Who Wish to Move to Paper Ballots, Optional Audits...

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) is trying again. After learning a lesson or two, from his failed attempt to push an unpopular Election Reform bill (HR811) through Congress, he's scaling back in hopes of getting something passed that may help bring accountability to the 2008 election cycle.

The latest version of the bill, coming in at a relatively slim 20 pages, is available here [PDF].

We certainly applaud the effort in general, and note that it mirrors some of the simple, doable-by-'08 initiatives we've been speaking with a few folks in Congress about behind the scenes.In brief, the bill we've been discussing, with several Congressional offices, after common ground discussions with a number of EI advocates, a representative from the National Association of Counties (NaCO) and even a Republican who had initially worked on the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), but disliked the resulting bill, would call for the following:

Money to states and/or counties who wish to move to paper ballot systems.A requirement that all voters be asked before voting if they wish to vote on paper (and that those paper ballots actually be counted before unofficial tallies are released to the media).Grant money to further study disability voting technology and hand-counting systems.Restrictions to no more than one DRE per polling place to marginally meet HAVA's mandate for voters with disabilities.

Holt's new bill would do a few, if not all of those things.

In his run at it this time, his bill would simply offer federal funding for jurisdictions who wish to move to paper ballots (that's good), and also offer money to help pay for post-election audits of those ballots...if they choose to do so. It also sets aside money for study of disability voting technology, as we'd also recommended.

Perhaps he has become a bit too timid after his previous unfortunate experience. Though the bill has not yet been introduced officially --- so language is not yet finalized, thus we'll hold full fire until we see the final product --- the audits recommended in his bill would be optional. As well, there are currently no requirements in his bill to mandate that Election Officials actually count those paper ballots, paid for with federal dollars, before releasing unofficial vote tallies to the media. That last is no small point (just ask Al Gore or Christine Jennings).

Related: More Proof that the 2004 election was stolen.

Quick note: when you destroy the ballots so that you can't make a full recount what should you conclude about the truthiness of the election results?

Cool Profile of Black American Environmentalist

Cool profile of former basketball player and now urban organic farmer Will Allen. I guess there are Black American environmentalists. I first saw this guy on a very good show on the science channel called "Invention".