Saturday, November 07, 2015

Ben Carson to the MSM: "The American People Are Waking Up to Your Games"

Ben Carson strikes back at the press:
"You see, what you're not going to find with me is somebody who just is going to sit back and let you be completely unfair, without letting the American people know what's going on."

Challenging Queries from the Mainstream Media

Amazingly enough, this Wizard of Id cartoon appeared in July, over three months before the first Democratic debate.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Hundreds of federal employees, including officials at the State and Justice departments, have been found to hold qualifications from a bogus diploma mill operation

Seen from the Internet, it is a vast education empire
writes Declan Walsh in a major New York Times report:
hundreds of universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.

Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.

In fact, very little in this virtual academic realm, appearing to span at least 370 websites, is real — except for the tens of millions of dollars in estimated revenue it gleans each year from many thousands of people around the world, all paid to a secretive Pakistani software company.

That company, Axact, operates from the port city of Karachi, where it employs over 2,000 people and calls itself Pakistan’s largest software exporter, with Silicon Valley-style employee perks like a swimming pool and yacht.

Axact does sell some software applications. But according to former insiders, company records and a detailed analysis of its websites, Axact’s main business has been to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale.

 … In academia, diploma mills have long been seen as a nuisance. But the proliferation of Internet-based degree schemes has raised concerns about their possible use in immigration fraud, and about dangers they may pose to public safety and legal systems. In 2007, for example, a British court jailed Gene Morrison, a fake police criminologist who claimed to have degree certificates from the Axact-owned Rochville University, among other places.

Little of this is known in Pakistan, where Axact has dodged questions about its diploma business and has portrayed itself as a roaring success and model corporate citizen. …/…

Real-Life Troubles

Many customers of degree operations, hoping to secure a promotion or pad their résumé, are clearly aware that they are buying the educational equivalent of a knockoff Rolex. Some have been caught.
In the United States, one federal prosecution in 2008 revealed that 350 federal employees, including officials at the departments of State and Justice, held qualifications from a non-Axact-related diploma mill operation based in Washington State.

The effects have sometimes been deeply disruptive. In Britain, the police had to re-examine 700 cases that Mr. Morrison, the falsely credentialed police criminologist and Rochville graduate, had worked on. “It looked easier than going to a real university,” Mr. Morrison said during his 2007 trial.

In the Middle East, Axact has sold aeronautical degrees to airline employees, and medical degrees to hospital workers. One nurse at a large hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, admitted to spending $60,000 on an Axact-issued medical degree to secure a promotion.

But there is also evidence that many Axact customers are dupes, lured by the promise of a real online education.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Left's Journalism Hero Becomes France's Foremost Anti-Immigration Mayor

In a past life he was France’s leading advocate for journalists, fighting to spring them from dictators worldwide, a fearless defender of freedom of the press on four continents and a hero to free-speech advocates
writes Adam Nossiter in the New York Times.
That was then. Now, Robert Ménard, the man who founded Reporters Sans Frontières — Reporters Without Borders — has become a symbol of right-wing extremism in France.

No longer a journalists’ advocate but the mayor of the largest city under far-right control in France, he says there are too many immigrants in his town, too many veils, too many Muslim children and too much culture that is not French.

Mr. Ménard has ordered the laundry off the window ledges, the satellite dishes off the roofs and Syrian refugees out of public housing. He has counted the Muslim children in schools here — a strict no-no in secular France — and increased police patrols on horseback in this whitewashed old Mediterranean city of 70,000 people, high unemployment, high poverty, narrow stone streets and medieval churches.

“People feel like they are being replaced,” Mr. Ménard said an interview inside the 18th-century City Hall. “Immigration has become massive.”

For the far right in France, his tenure as mayor of Béziers has become a laboratory of sorts, watched with fascination by the country’s media, chagrin by liberal-minded opponents and glee by the National Front party of Marine Le Pen.

 … “We are the avant-garde of change in France,” Mr. Ménard, 62, declared in the interview.

  … to Mr. Ménard, it is all straightforward. He wants most if not all of the immigrants to go somewhere else.

“I don’t want this city to be majority-Muslim, at all,” he said. “There is a majority of the Muslim population that is incapable of living within the norms of this country.”

“I love this country,” he said, ticking off France’s prowess in literature, art and architecture, even its “way of looking at women. I am as attached to them as to my own eyes,” he said.

“The identity of this city is not a Muslim identity,” Mr. Ménard continued. “This is a problem of numbers. When you’ve got two-thirds of the kids in a school with Muslim names — that’s a disaster. Impossible. There’s no way you could want this.”

In September, he strode into public housing here, wearing his tricolor official sash — the French national colors — and accompanied by a retinue of aides, to accost a Syrian refugee wearing a Berkeley T-shirt.

In his carefully enunciated diction, Mr. Ménard told the bemused-looking refugee, “Sir, you are not welcome in this city.”

The episode was filmed and posted on YouTube by the City of Béziers.

 … Mr. Ménard founded Reporters Sans Frontières in 1985 with friends, and until he left it in 2008, was an uncompromising defender of free speech, becoming ever more so as the years went on, and even speaking up against the law silencing French Holocaust deniers like Robert Faurisson.

Mr. Ménard was born in French Algeria and was forced to leave with his family, along with millions of other Frenchmen, when the country gained independence in 1962 — a background critics say explains his hostility toward Muslim immigrants.
More on Robert Menard

Monday, November 02, 2015

Diversity compels society give up its traditions, its sacred rights, and even its basic decency

We can now add Halloween parties to the list of things we can’t do because we live in a diverse society
notes one Benny Huang, who knows a thing or two about racial diversity.
Advocates of diversity ought to familiarize themselves with a little thing called “truth in advertising.” Like all ideas, diversity is “sold,” in a manner of speaking. Great efforts are made to get the public to buy into the concept that the optimal model for society is a heterogeneous jumble of people who share nothing in common. The fewer commonalities we have, the better! That’s what diversity means—differentness. It’s enough to make you wonder what the benefits of diversity are; besides the race riots and lack of social cohesion, I mean. As many condescending liberals have explained to me, the benefits of living in a diverse society include a panoply of ethnic restaurants right in our own neighborhoods…and not much else. I guess that’s a good enough selling point for some people.

But is it too much to ask of diversity’s booster club that they at least disclose the price of diversity before we decide it’s something we want? They never do. Diversity is promoted as an unqualified good, something that only a crazy person wouldn’t like. It’s all roses, no thorns.

Until the bill comes due, that is, and then we find out that diversity isn’t free. With a myriad of cultures comes a limitless set of traditions, social norms, prickly sensibilities and hot button issues. Someone is always bound to take offense or to feel excluded, which requires us to reinvent our culture from the bottom up. Now that we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual, and even multi-gendered (!) society, our old ways are no longer appropriate.

I could easily write a book filled with examples of stuff that the diversity enforcers won’t allow us to say, do, and think. I would call it “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”
Read the whole thing™ for "a short list of 'nice things' that people living in diverse environments can’t have." Benny Huang adds that he
could go on and on with dozens of more examples. Far from being a bonus, diversity looms as a pagan god that demands the constant sacrifice of everything we hold dear. In exchange for a few benefits—exotic restaurants, I guess?—it compels society give up its traditions, its sacred rights, and even its basic decency. The terms of the Faustian bargain are never spoken aloud of course because no one would ever accept it if they were. Diversity’s salesmen will tell us that there is much to gain and nothing to lose though experience should tell us that they’re lying. It first demands that we give up the small stuff, things that seem insignificant when considered in isolation, such as silly high school musicals. What’s the big deal if we ditch West Side Story for the sake of racial harmony? But it doesn’t stop there because diversity’s hunger is never sated. A precedent has been set and will inevitably be followed from there on out.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

When will regulators be held to the same standard as VW executives?

Martin Winterkorn lost his job as Volkswagen’s boss because the carmaker cheated emissions tests
writes Andrew Morriss, Dean of the Texas A&M School of Law, to The Economist (“Dirty secrets”, September 26th).
Yet the heads of the environment agencies in America and Europe are still at their desks. This is despite the fact that the only way they wouldn’t have known that engine software might be detecting test conditions and adjusting the engine was if they had spent the past two decades on another planet.

 … It is impossible for any competent regulator to have been unaware of what was going on with other diesel engines after 1998.

You called for criminal prosecutions of executives that engage in this sort of behaviour. When will you start to hold regulators to the same standard?
Glenn Kennedy adds that the
VW scandal raises questions about a 1970s-era regulatory regime that is based on a one-size-fits-all emissions standard set at a national level, when the reality is that air quality is largely an urban, regional and sometimes seasonal problem.

Indeed, preferring a reduction in NOx emissions at the expense of lower efficiency and therefore higher carbon emissions has a possibly negative environmental benefit for a car driving along a deserted interstate in Montana, compared with a stop-start commute through smog-choked and densely populated Los Angeles.
But if VW’s technically brilliant “defeat” software is able to discern the purpose of the car’s operation and adjust its pollution output accordingly, then surely with GPS technology it should be able to detect its location and make the same adjustments. Feed real-time atmospheric condition data to the vehicle and it might dynamically adjust this trade-off in urban environments, preferring efficiency on clear, windy days, and lower NOx emissions on still, smoggy ones.

Put to a nefarious purpose, VW’s algorithms could well lead to its demise. But combined with updated, technology-driven regulation, this same code could contain the seeds of a smarter, more efficient approach to reducing transportation emissions.
Finally, Hovione's Guy Villax points out that
in Europe our regulators are asleep at the wheel. Football and diesel cars are small in America and big in Europe, but it is the American authorities who have taken action in those two scandals. How much longer will Europe allow non-compliance to be a competitive advantage?