Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Study: creating jobs in poor countries doesn’t reduce terrorism

He's better at golf than foreign policy

He’s better at golf than foreign policy

Remember last week when the Obama administration told us that terrorism is caused by poverty and joblessness?

Let’s take a look at the research and see if this is true.

Here’s the working paper, authored by a Harvard University scholar from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

And here’s the abstract:

This article provides an empirical investigation of the determinants of terrorism at the country level. In contrast with the previous literature on this subject, which focuses on transnational terrorism only, I use a new measure of terrorism that encompasses both domestic and transnational terrorism. In line with the results of some recent studies, this article shows that terrorist risk is not significantly higher for poorer countries, once the effects of other country-specific characteristics such as the level of political freedom are taken into account. Political freedom is shown to explain terrorism, but it does so in a non-monotonic way: countries in some intermediate range of political freedom are shown to be more prone to terrorism than countries with high levels of political freedom or countries with highly authoritarian regimes. This result suggests that, as experienced recently in Iraq and previously in Spain and Russia, transitions from an authoritarian regime to a democracy may be accompanied by temporary increases in terrorism. Finally, the results suggest that geographic factors are important to sustain terrorist activities.

More from the body:

However, recent empirical studies have challenged the view that poverty creates terrorism. Using U.S. State Department data on transnational terrorist attacks, Krueger and Laitin (2003) and Piazza (2004) find no evidence suggesting that poverty may generate terrorism. In particular, the results in Krueger and Laitin (2003) suggest that among countries with similar levels of civil liberties, poor countries do not generate more terrorism than rich countries. Conversely, among countries with similar levels of civil liberties, richer countries seem to be preferred targets for transnational terrorist attacks.

I know this is shocking – this the same administration that told us that insuring more people for more stuff would lower health care premiums… and that anyone who though that Russia was a threat was crazy… and that pulling out of Iraq would stabilize the region… could they be wrong about this Jobs for Terrorists program, too? The study seems to say they are wrong again.

But wait, there’s more. We actually know about some terrorists from their terrorist attacks, and we can see if they were as poor and uneducated as the Obama administration tells us they are.

This article is from The Stream.

It says:

According to scholar Scott Atran, a research director in Paris who is part of a NATO group studying suicide terrorism, there is no link between poverty and terrorism. Forensic psychiatrist and former foreign service officer Marc Sageman studied 172 participants in jihad for his book, Understanding Terror Networks, and came to the same conclusion. Princeton economist Claude Berrebi found that members of Palestinian terrorist organizations were frequently better educated and better off economically than the Palestinian Arab population as a whole.

Islamic terrorists tend to come from cosmopolitan backgrounds, are fluent in multiple languages and have advanced computer skills. Their privileged status enables them to accomplish such horrific acts undercover, often without being detected.

Osama bin Laden was the son of a billionaire construction magnate, who had close ties to the Saudi royal family. The younger bin Laden inherited $25–30 million of his family’s wealth. He studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University.

Bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced him as the leader of al Qaeda, came from wealthy Egyptian parents. His father was a surgeon and medical professor, and his mother came from a politically active, financially successful clan. Al-Zawahiri also became a surgeon, even obtaining a master’s degree in surgery.

The leader of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mohammad Atta, studied architecture in Cairo, Egypt, then entered an urban planning graduate program at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg in Germany. His father was a lawyer and his mother came from a wealthy farming and trading family.

The “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman. His father was the chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and has been described by the UK paperThe Times as “one of the richest men in Africa.” Umar studied at several universities, including  University College London, where he studied Engineering and Business Finance and earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

One of the 2005 London bombers left an estate valued at over $150,000. Dawood Ibrahim, who coordinated the 1993 Mumbai bombings, is worth somewhere between $6 and $20 billion. Ibrahim despised his father’s successful banking profession, condemning it as “immoral” and “un-Islamic” for charging interest, and urged him to quit.

Now, my understanding is that when we elect politicians to run the economy, foreign affairs, etc. that we are picking people who understand the issues – not merely people who give speeches that sound nice. If I am hiring someone to fix my car, I don’t want to hear his pet theory about how gremlins are causing the leak. I want people who can see the world clearly, apart from any political correctness or anti-American bias, so that the problems get solved. I want the problems solved effectively and cheaply – that’s what I am used to in the private sector, where competence matters. It seems to me that the next time we have an election, we ought to elect someone who can do the work – not someone who just talks a lot of counter-factual nonsense.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Media declines to report on pro-gun control Democrat arrested for arms smuggling

Dr. Glenn Reynolds writes about it in USA Today, and makes the point about media bias.

Excerpt: (links removed)

It sounds like something out of a Hollywood thriller: Anti-terrorist politician actually running guns to terrorists. But that’s precisely what’s been charged in California, although with a final plot twist that Hollywood would never imagine.

California State senator (and, until last week, candidate for secretary of state) Leland Yee was well-known as an anti-gun activist. Then, last week, he was indicted for, yes, conspiring to smuggle guns and rocket launchers between mobsters and terrorists in exchange for massive bribes. Some highlights, as excerpted by San Francisco Magazine.

Yee told an FBI agent that, in exchange for $2 million in cash, he’d fill a shopping list of weapons, which he took personal responsibility for delivering, according to the indictment. He also allegedly “masterminded” a complex scheme bring illegal weapons into the country, agreeing to “facilitate” a meeting with an illegal arms dealer to arrange for the weapons to be imported via Newark, N.J. In arranging all of this, the indictment said, Yee relied on connections with Filipino terrorist groups who could supply “heavy” weapons, including the Muslim terrorists of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Yee allegedly noted that the Muslim terrorists had no reservations about kidnapping, extortion and murder.

This all sounds like news. You’ve got charges of huge bribes, rampant hypocrisy, illegal weapons and even a connection with foreign terrorists — and from a leading politician in an important state.

But — and here’s the part Hollywood would miss — outside of local media like San Francisco magazine, the coverage was surprisingly muted.The New York Times buried the story as a one-paragraph Associated Press report on page A21, with the bland dog-bites-man headline, “California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.” This even though Yee was suspended, along with two others, from the California state senate in light of the indictment.

CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all.

Is this surprising? Not really. After all, the Democrats are currently being investigated for smuggling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels weapons that were used to murder at least one Border Patrol officer. Handing guns to criminals and terrorists is normal Democrat behavior – they even shipped tanks and F-16 fighters to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. When the Democrats say “gun control” they mean no guns for the good guys. Plenty of guns for the bad guys, and at taxpayer expense. Yes, they really are this crazy. And the media, of course, largely ignores it.

Let’s take a look at the peer-reviewed studies.

Peer-reviewed academic studies of media bias

Let’s take a look at peer-reviewed academic studies of media bias, and see if they confirm or falsify what Pew Research found.

Here’s a UCLA study on media bias.

Excerpt:

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.

“Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill,” Groseclose said. “If these newscasters weren’t centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators.”

The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

“If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox’s ‘Special Report’ as ABC’s ‘World News’ and NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news,” said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.”

Here’s a Harvard University study on media bias.

Excerpt:

The programming studied on Fox News offered a somewhat more positive picture… of Republicans and more negative one of Democrats compared with other media outlets. Fox News stories about a Republican candidate were most likely to be neutral (47%), with the remainder more positive than negative (32% vs. 21% negative). The bulk of that positive coverage went to Giuliani (44% positive), while McCain still suffered from unflattering coverage (20% positive vs. 35% negative).

When it came to Democratic candidates, the picture was more negative. Again, neutral stories had a slight edge (39%), followed by 37% negative and 24% positive. And, in marked contrast from the rest of the media, coverage of Obama was twice as negative as positive: 32% negative vs. 16% positive and 52% neutral.

But any sense here that the news channel was uniformly positive about Republicans or negative about Democrats is not manifest in the data.”

And more from a study reported by NBC News.

Excerpt:

MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

The donors include CNN’s Guy Raz, now covering the Pentagon for NPR, who gave to Kerry the same month he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; New Yorker war correspondent George Packer; a producer for Bill O’Reilly at Fox; MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough; political writers at Vanity Fair; the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition; local TV anchors in Washington, Minneapolis, Memphis and Wichita; the ethics columnist at The New York Times; and even MTV’s former presidential campaign correspondent.

Those are the facts.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , ,

Tsarnaev family received $100,000 in welfare, food stamps and other benefits

The Boston Herald reports. (H/T Ari)

Excerpt:

The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.

“The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today.

The state has handed over more than 500 documents to the 11-member House Post Audit and Oversight Committee, which today met for the first time and plans to call in officials from the Department of Transitional Assistance to testify.

Transitional assistance officials also told the Herald tonight that the agency was conducting its own investigation into whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s family ever notified the DTA about his extended trip to Russia, and has since expanded its probe to include a full history of the benefits received by the entire Tsarnaev family.

Arthur Brooks has done some work on seeing what makes people happy, and he concluded that “earned success” is much better for an individual than dependency on government, even if the person has the same amount of wealth either way.

Take a look:

It turns out that making everyone equal by handing redistributing wealth from those who work to those who don’t doesn’t really make everyone equally happy. Maybe if the Tsarnaevs had to work to an their success by serving their fellow man in the private sector, they would not be so miserable. It cannot be good for people to be dependent on the government. It doesn’t make them grateful. It doesn’t make them good citizens. It doesn’t make them care about their neighbors. Capitalism and the dignity of labor do that.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Two Muslim immigrants arrested in Canada for Al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist plot

Stephen Harper in Afghanistan

Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Afghanistan

The CBC reports on a blockbuster story from Canada. (H/T Blazing Cat Fur)

Excerpt:

Canadian police say they have arrested two men and thwarted a plot to carry out a major terrorist attack on a Via passenger train in the Greater Toronto Area.

In a press conference that followed an exclusive report by CBC’s Greg Weston, police named the two accused as Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto. They have been charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and “conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.”

The two men arrested are not Canadian citizens, police said Monday, but would not provide any details about their nationalities.

The RCMP accused the two men of conspiring to commit an “al-Qaeda-supported” attack.

Police said the two accused were getting “direction and guidance” from al-Qaeda elements in Iran. There was no information to suggest the attacks were state sponsored, police said.

Chief Supt. Jennifer Strachan said the two suspects watched trains and railways in the Greater Toronto Area. There was a specific route targeted, not necessarily a specific train, Strachan said, although she declined to reveal which route was allegedly being targeted.

“We are alleging that these two individuals took steps and conducted activities to initiate a terrorist attack,” she told reporters.

The two men are expected to appear at Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto tomorrow.

With Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the helm, the Conservative Party majority gets the job done again!

Too bad Harper is not in charge down here. Democrats think that only married, Bible-believing small business owning Tea Party conservatives who served in the Armed Forces can be domestic terrorists. They think that William Lane Craig is more likely to be a terrorist than KSM. That’s what they believe.

I have to share Blazing Cat Fur’s headline for this “Canada: Muslims Fear Backlash Over Latest Thwarted Terror Plot – Linked To Amish Division Of Al Qaeda“. He also points out that the Canadian chapter of CAIR is urging the Canadian government not to pass national security legislation.

Blazing Cat Fur is the place to be for the latest news from Canada. Best Canadian blog.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the Canadian media will try to blame this on the Amish, or whatever the Canadian equivalent of the Tea Party is. They can’t bring themselves to believe that they made a mistake by ratcheting up unregulated immigration from Muslim countries in order to move their country to the left. Bringing in skilled immigrants who learn English is one thing, but bringing in radical extremists is something else entirely.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pot-smoker who supported Obama

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Chris Barry, who attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth with Tsarnaev, described him as normal teenager who loved to smoke pot and cigarettes every day.

“He was a pot head, a normal pot head,” said Barry in an interview with Politico. “I couldn’t even imagine him being mad at someone let alone hurting someone.”

Tsarnaev, a Muslim, did not come across as strongly religious, said Barry.

“He never brought it up. It seemed like he could care less,” he said.

Tsarneav’s Twitter account provided clues about the suspected bomber’s political views. On November 6th, he retweeted several statements suggesting a preference for President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

He retweeted a statement from President Obama’s Organizing for Action account that said: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” in reference to Obama’s victory.

He also retweeted a statement and a picture making fun of Romney. The Tweet said: “WTF Romney is winning ??” and linked to this image.

Not all left-wing people are crazy, but all crazy people are left-wing.

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