Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence..

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

As President, Trump will be as transformative as Reagan; He has blown the political consensus out of the water

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30 April, 2018

Federal Court Rules Against Liberals, Decimates Voter Fraud with Historic Ruling

A New Orleans-based federal court ruled Friday that a Texas law that requires proper identification to vote was constitutional, Reuters reports.

The 2-1 ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that found that the voter ID law was discriminatory against minorities.

Reuters described the current law as being “designed as a fix for previous voter ID legislation struck down for being discriminatory,” with the three-judge panel noting that the new law has “improvements for disadvantaged minority voters.”

In a statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised the court’s decision.

“The court rightly recognized that when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5 last session, it complied with every change the 5th Circuit ordered to the original voter ID law,” the statement read.

“Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy. The revised voter ID law removes any burden on voters who cannot obtain a photo ID.”

“Senate Bill 5 allows registered voters without one of the seven state-approved forms of photo identification to cast an in-person ballot by signing a sworn declaration of reasonable impediment stating why they couldn’t obtain photo ID,” the statement noted.

Liberal groups have predictably decried the ruling as discriminatory.

“No law should be allowed to stand that is merely built on the back of a plainly discriminatory law,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

I’ve never quite understood the idea that liberals think minorities who are legally entitled to vote are somehow biologically or socially unable to get identification but it’s those proposing voter ID laws who are the racists. The logic here eludes me.

Of course, perhaps it’s the specter of voter fraud. Democrats insist that it’s so rare as to be negligible, although few studies have been done on the matter. One — widely attacked by liberals after the election — found that the percentage of non-citizens who could have voted in the 2008 presidential election could be as high as 6.4 percent.

This probably doesn’t even include the biggest instance of voter fraud, however, which are people who are ineligible to vote because they’re registered in more than one state or locality.

A Judicial Watch study in Virginia found that at least 57,000 voters were illegally registered in two states just in the swing state of Virginia, compared with a little over 1,000 illegal aliens on voter rolls.

When you consider how few votes can decide elections these days, that’s not negligible.

Remember — back in 2000, the presidential election was decided by 537 votes in the state of Florida. Even if you disregard non-citizen voting, protecting the system from voters who are ineligible to vote in a certain district or state is vital to our national interest. It’s not discriminatory, and it’s not fighting a phantom problem. Voter ID ought to be a national issue, but Texas is certainly a start.



Ben Carson Attacks Welfare Leeches, Moves Against Millions Living on Taxpayer Dime

Ben Carson just gave liberals one more reason to hate him.  The man who achieved world fame as a gifted neurosurgeon before entering politics already had a target on his back for being a black man with the courage to espouse conservative beliefs.

And now, the secretary for Housing and Urban Development is putting those beliefs into practice.

In an announcement this week, Carson proposed sweeping changes in the country’s subsidized housing program that would raise the percentage of their income housing assistance recipients pay toward rent from 30 percent to 35 percent. The proposal would also raise the minimum rent payment from $50 to $150.

In an interview with the Townhall website Friday, Carson said it was a way of “moving people along to a position of self-sufficiency.”

And naturally, liberals are screaming.

With the mainstream media giving the idea scathing headlines like “HUD Secretary Ben Carson Wants to raise rents on the poorest of the poor” (Los Angeles Times) and predicting — of course — that it would “hurt single mothers the most” (Washington Post), Carson had to reach out to a conservative-leaning site like Townhall to get his point out to Americans.

The proposal is called the “Making Affordable Housing Work Act,” and it would require congressional action because HUD can’t change rent rules on its own authority, according to CNN Money.

That means it’s already getting hammered by Democrats in Congress — who love nothing more than keeping poor people poor and voting Democrat — but Carson told Townhall he was expecting the resistance.

That doesn’t mean the ideas are bad, he said. With the economic improvements under President Donald Trump, with the nation’s unemployment rate is at an historic low, now is the time to overhaul the system, he said.

“I would only be shocked if someone said yes, please increase my rent,” he told Townhall. “No one’s ever going to say that, but you know we have exemptions for anybody for whom this is going to be a great hardship.” “For the vast, vast majority of cases it is not going to be.”

But for those who do find themselves kicking in more of their own money to pay for a roof over their own heads, only a liberal Democrat (or a mainstream media reporter) could treat Carson like he just stole Tiny Tim’s crutch.

First of all, the proposals don’t apply to the elderly or physically handicapped, only to able-bodied adults, according to CNN. Americans as a rule have a pretty low tolerance for able-bodied adults who would rather sponge off the taxpayers than provide for their own needs.

Second, as Carson said, the idea of subsidized housing isn’t supposed to be using taxpayer dollars to support families for generations of poverty, but that’s what it’s become.

“If you look at HUD over the last couple decades it’s been mostly about just putting people under a roof and sort of keeping them there,” Carson told Townhall.

“Instead of it being a stepladder it’s become a mode of life and, in many cases, for generation after generation of individuals and I don’t think it’s their fault. I think it’s the fault of the system that has basically sapped the incentive for people to work.”

Finally, the move is part of a broader effort by the Trump administration and Republican governors to tie the receipt of public assistance — like food stamps — to recipients being willing to work.

There’s going to be plenty of shrieking from the left as the proposal makes its way through Congress (and if Democrats win either the House or Senate in November it’s probably as good as dead), but Carson clearly thinks the time to act is now.

“Obviously we’re sensitive to people who have exceptional situations,” he told Townhall. “Obviously, we’re going to take care of those people in an appropriate way but the key thing for people to understand is that doing nothing simply is not an option.”

Liberal Democrats have had a lot of reasons to hate Ben Carson before this: His intelligence, his work ethic, his phenomenal success against the odds make him living evidence that the eternal victimhood preached by progressives is simply a lie.

With this proposal, he just gave them one more.



More scientific deceit from the Left

Leftist ideologues couldn't lie straight in bed. 

Gary Kleck, a criminologist now retired from Florida State University, was likely astonished to learn that his controversial study, The National Self-Defense Survey, was accurate after all. He and FSU fellow professor Marc Gertz concluded, based on their carefully-crafted surveys conducted in 1993, that there were more than 2.2 million defensive gun uses (DGU) each year in the United States. The results were presented in 1994, published in 1995, and have been incessantly attacked by the anti-gun movement ever since. His conclusions didn’t fit the anti-gun narrative that guns are used in crimes far more than in self-defense and therefore private ownership must be abolished.

Kleck just learned that almost immediately after the publication of his study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a federal agency that receives more than $11 billion of taxpayer money every year, conducted its own study of the matter. It conducted three separate studies, in fact, and each of them came to the same conclusion as Kleck and Gertz: Indeed, about 2.5 million Americans use guns to defend themselves or their families every year.

But the CDC studies were never published. It would have infuriated the powers-that-be in the Clinton administration, and so the results were buried.

After reviewing the newly-discovered/recovered studies, Kleck — in his best professorial manner — wrote:

The final adjusted prevalence of 1.24% [of the population experiencing a DGU in the past twelve months] therefore implies that in an average year during 1996-1998, 2.46 million U.S. adults used a gun for self-defense. This estimate, based on an enormous sample of 12,870 cases (unweighted) in a nationally representative sample, strongly confirms the 2.5 million past-12-months estimate obtained [by me and Marc] Gertz in 1995 … CDC’s results, then, imply that guns were used defensively by victims about 3.6 times as often as they were used offensively by criminals.

Kleck added, “CDC never reported the results of those surveys, does not report on their website any estimates of DGU frequency, and does not even acknowledge that they ever asked about the topic in any of their surveys.”

In other words, the CDC got caught hiding information damaging to the anti-gun narrative then prevalent during the Clinton administration. But they didn’t bury it deeply enough.

Dean Weingarten, recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army research, development, testing, and evaluation, knew exactly what the CDC was up to, calling “the timing and size of the surveys done by the CDC … fascinating. They were done immediately after Kleck and Gertz published their paper.”

Weingarten noted that

"Gary Kleck, as a scientist, a Democrat, and a proponent of a number of gun control measures, is careful not to cast aspersions on the CDC. He does not accuse anyone of malfeasance. He notes the surveys were done during the Clinton administration, and these findings would have worked against the gun control agenda of the administration."

Someone at the CDC made the decision not to publish these results.

Does any of this matter? It’s common knowledge that operatives supportive of the gun-control narrative have infiltrated various government agencies. These studies took place more than 20 years ago. There’s been a lot of water under that bridge since then. Private ownership of guns has skyrocketed, while overall gun violence has fallen by half. National reciprocity has already passed one branch of Congress. Americans own more weaponry than any other country on Earth.

It matters because first, it removes one more “talking point” used by anti-gunners to defend their intention to remove firearms from every law-abiding gun owner in the country. Second, it confirms that government agencies cannot be trusted without verification. Third, it is one more argument in the arsenal of those promoting private gun ownership to those who haven’t yet made up their minds.

That means that the real battlefield isn’t between Kleck’s study and the the CDC’s failure to admit the truth. Anti-gunners aren’t likely to change sides merely because of deceit committed by one of their own 25 years ago. The real battle is in the hearts and minds of Americans who will one day have to take a stand on the issue, one way or the other.

This obvious example of deceit on the part of the CDC is just one more reason why education is of paramount importance. Educating the American populace is key on the issues involving gun control and gun ownership. And it’s precisely there where the educational programs of organizations such as the John Birch Society come into play — programs such as Support Your Local Police, Stop a Con Con, Get US Out! Of the United Nations, Get US Out! of NAFTA to stop the North American Union, and others.





For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


29 April, 2018  

No attack, no victims, no chem weapons: Douma witnesses speak at OPCW briefing at The Hague

Witnesses of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, including 11-year-old Hassan Diab and hospital staff, told reporters at The Hague that the White Helmets video used as a pretext for a US-led strike on Syria was, in fact, staged.

“We were at the basement and we heard people shouting that we needed to go to a hospital. We went through a tunnel. At the hospital they started pouring cold water on me,” the boy told the press conference, gathered by Russia’s mission at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague.

Hassan was among the “victims” seen being washed by water hoses in a video released by the controversial White Helmets group on April 7. The boy and his family later spoke to the media and revealed that Hassan was hurried to the scene by men who claimed that a chemical attack had taken place. They started pouring cold water on the boy and others, filming the frightened children.

“There were people unknown to us who were filming the emergency care, they were filming the chaos taking place inside, and were filming people being doused with water. The instruments they used to douse them with water were originally used to clean the floors actually,” Ahmad Kashoi, an administrator of the emergency ward, recalled. “That happened for about an hour, we provided help to them and sent them home. No one has died. No one suffered from chemical exposure.”

Halil al-Jaish, a resuscitator who tended to people at the Douma hospital that day, told the press conference that some of the patients had indeed experienced respiratory problems. The symptoms, however, were caused by heavy dust, which engulfed the area due to recent airstrikes, and no one showed any signs of chemical warfare poisoning, al-Jaish said.

The hospital received people who suffered from smoke and dust asphyxiation on the day of the alleged attack, Muwaffak Nasrim, a paramedic who was working in emergency care, said. The panic seen in footage provided by the White Helmets was caused mainly by people shouting about the alleged use of chemical weapons, Nasrim, who witnessed the chaotic scenes, added. No patients, however, displayed symptoms of chemical weapons exposure, he said.

Ahmad Saur, an emergency paramedic with the Syrian Red Crescent, said that the ward he was working at did not receive any patients exposed to chemical weapons on the day of the alleged incident or after it. All the patients needed either general medical care or help with injuries, he said. Saur told journalists he came to speak at The Hague independently of the Red Crescent, and that he was testifying freely and without any pressure.

One reporter asked what would happen to the eyewitnesses and whether they would “stay in Europe to testify.”

“We’re going back home, and see no problem with that. The situation is a lot better now. We’re Douma residents, like many others,” Hassan Ayoun, a doctor with the emergency department, said.

Six of the Douma witnesses brought to The Hague have already been interviewed by the OPCW technical experts, Russia’s permanent representative to the OPCW, Aleksandr Shulgin, said.

“The others were ready too, but the experts are sticking to their own guidelines. They’ve picked six people, talked to them, and said they were 'completely satisfied' with their account and did not have any further questions,” Shulgin revealed. He added that the allegations by “certain Western countries” ahead of the briefing that Moscow and Damascus were seeking to “hide” the witnesses from the OPCW experts did not hold water.

The alleged chemical incident was only supported by the White Helmets’ video and social media reports from militant-linked groups, but the US, the UK and France judged they had enough evidence that it actually took place and launched a series of punitive strikes against Syria on April 14. The US and its allies accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of carrying out the “attack,” without providing any proof of their claim. Notably, the strike came hours before the OPCW fact-finding team was set to arrive in Douma to determine whether chemical weapons had been used there.



Market dominance might be good for consumers

The phrases monopoly, duopoly and oligopoly typically rouse fear in the hearts of the public. They imply big, self-interested companies, with a purportedly unhealthy dominance of the market. Consumers will get ripped off, critics say. The barriers to entry are too high for new competitors to have a chance.

Such imagery is typical of the suspicion of big business, and the superlatives have been flowing in recent weeks as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission continues its investigation into the dominance of Google and Facebook in Australia’s digital advertising market.

However, outside of price fixing and state supported market dominance, aren’t these major players just providing consumers with a superior product?

One of the greatest strengths of the private market is that companies are judged solely on how consumers value their goods and services. Offer something good and customers will come flocking. Offer something bad and bankruptcy beckons.

If a company has established market dominance, that suggests it is offering a product so good that the vast majority of shoppers prefer it to the competitors’ alternatives.

Google has certainly accomplished this. Who remembers Ask Jeeves? Who still searches the internet with Yahoo? Not many, is the answer. Back in the early 2000s Yahoo and Google were neck and neck. However, with its comprehensive search engine and wide range of complimentary products, Google won the battle for consumers’ hearts and minds.

Facebook has achieved similar feats. MySpace, Bebo and Google Hangouts were usurped for a reason — because people like Facebook’s offerings more.

As a result, the two companies have come to dominate the digital advertising market. They offer an advertiser’s dream: detailed information on billions of users, which can see promotions customised down to the individual level.

Even in the more congested US market, inferior competitors have lost their share (see graph). As an advertiser, why would you want to work with a secondary player when these two companies offer so much?

Market dominance is a good thing if it means that consumers get a superior, reasonably-priced product.



Progressives are using lawfare to target their political opponents

The Democrat Party has unveiled a not so new technique to attack their opponents. Everyone knows about the typical intimidation techniques such as boycotts, protesting, and rioting. Lawfare is an asymmetric technique using the legal system against an enemy. Keeping their enemies tied up in court and legal costs demoralize and sometimes forces the opponents to quit. Republicans need to wake up to tactics of the left and realize they are sometimes playing into their hands.

This has been a successful strategy for the Democrat Party so far, as we have seen with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. After the fraudulent Mueller investigation was started, it quickly became apparent Flynn was one of the primary targets. After months of interviews and interrogations, Flynn finally gave in and pled guilty to lying to the FBI. The charge had nothing to do with what Mueller was supposedly investigating, it was just another scalp.

Shortly after the guilty plea, the mainstream media concluded Flynn must have lied to the FBI if he pled guilty. It quickly became apparent the plea had nothing to do with guilt or innocence, it had more to do with finances. Flynn was going broke defending himself against the multimillion-dollar team Mueller sent after him. Almost immediately after pleading guilty, Flynn was forced to sell his home in Alexandria, Va. to pay his legal bills.

Since the guilty plea, it has revealed that former FBI Director James Comey briefed several Members of Congress in March of 2017 on the Flynn matter. Writing for the Washington Examiner, Byron York stated, “According to two sources familiar with the meetings, Comey told lawmakers that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn did not believe that Flynn had lied to them, or that any inaccuracies in his answers were intentional.” Why did Flynn plead guilty then? Because he couldn’t afford to prove his innocence.

Former Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo has been under constant siege since the end of the 2016 election. Once the various congressional committees started to investigate the non-existent connections between President Trump and Russia, Mr. Caputo would end up retaining lawyers in March of 2017. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would state Mr. Caputo was Vladimir Putin’s “image consultant” in congressional testimony with no evidence to back up the claim.

So far Mr. Caputo has only been interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee as a witness, but that comes at a steep price. Caputo estimates his legal bill will be in the neighborhood of $125,000, and that is if he is not part of the special counsel probe. If he has to go to the grand jury, the cost could further skyrocket.

Why would anyone want to serve in the Trump administration if they are going to have to spend more than half if not all their salary on lawyers for non-existent crimes? It has become increasingly obvious the Trump-Russia narrative was faked by the DNC and Hillary Campaign, but do the people caught up in the investigation get their time or money back? No.

It appears we had an attempted coup after the last election. Why does it seem the only people that are paying for the coup are Republicans that had nothing to do with Russia? Republicans must realize the longer they keep this sham investigation going instead of focusing on the coup attempt they are only hurting innocent people.



Trump saves millions of working-class families from Obamacare penalty

The Trump administration just quietly made it possible to escape having to pay the Obamacare fine imposed for not having health insurance in 2018, potentially saving millions of families hundreds or even thousands of dollars in penalties.

When congressional Republicans passed tax reform in December, they gutted the provision of the Affordable Care Act mandating uninsured Americans pay a fee for not having “qualifying” health insurance. Although this important decision will provide tax relief to millions of people forced to pay a fine for not being enrolled in a health insurance plan the government approves of, a completely ridiculous mandate that greatly limits freedom, the new policy does not go into effect until 2019, which means families are still required to have health insurance this year to avoid paying the penalty.

The Affordable Care Act allows for people who do not have qualifying health insurance to escape paying the penalty if they apply for at least one of a few available “hardship exemptions.” Perhaps the most common exemption allows people to escape the penalty if they “experienced financial or domestic circumstances, including an unexpected natural or human-caused event, such that … [they had] a significant, unexpected increase in essential expenses that prevented [them] from obtaining coverage under a qualified health plan.”

Earlier in April, the Trump administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new guidance expanding the allowed exemptions to include four new qualifying circumstances: (1) living in a region where there is just one health insurer selling plans in an Obamacare marketplace, (2) living in a region where there are no plans sold on an Obamacare exchange, (3) the lack of availability of a plan that doesn’t include coverage for abortion, and (4) when a person is unable to find a plan on the Obamacare exchange that covers the “specialty care” needed.

These four added exemptions will make it possible for millions of people now forced to pay the Obamacare mandate penalty to escape liability, especially the provision that permits people living in a region with only one insurer to avoid the fine. According to CMS’ most recent analysis of Obamacare exchanges, people living in half of all counties in the United States have only one health insurer to choose from when purchasing a qualifying plan through Obamacare. All these people (about 2.1 million) would not be forced to pay a fine for not having qualifying health insurance under the Trump administration’s new guidance.

Most Americans who are forced to pay the Obamacare penalty are not upper-middle class or wealthy families, but rather lower-income filers. IRS data for 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, show more than 6.6 million people were forced to pay the Obamacare fine. Nearly 79 percent of those required to pay reported adjusted gross incomes between $10,000 and $50,000, which means the penalty disproportionately punishes lower-income and working-class people.

This is particularly troubling because of how expensive Obamacare plans have become in recent years. Many annual family deductibles for the cheapest qualifying Obamacare plans, Bronze Plans, now top $12,000. Forcing people to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year for health insurance they can’t afford to use is morally wrong, but thanks to congressional Democrats and the Obama administration, that’s the current situation facing countless families across the country.

Obamacare has been a complete disaster, but the Trump administration is working tirelessly to find ways to improve the health insurance market and expand access to affordable healthcare plans. Thanks to Trump and his team, millions of people will be able to keep more of their own money when they file their taxes next year.

However, there is only so much President Trump can do. Congress must act by passing legislation that makes permanent many of the Trump administration’s policies, embraces free-market principles, and empowers states with the ability to pass reforms locally that best fit the unique needs of their citizens.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


27 April, 2018  

The Protected class

Ask anyone on the left if we have a class system in this country.  He'll go on for hours explaining how some are lifted up at the expense of all others.  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gives whole speeches on income inequality and the need for a "moral economy" to make things fair for everyone.  Feminists will tell you about the patriarchy and their never-ending fight for income equality for women.  Consult the various racial and LBGT groups, and they'll talk of their ongoing struggles for civil rights equality.  What all share is a common belief in a ruling class (made up of the affluent, male, white, and straight) that disadvantages non-members.

They may be on to something.  There might just be a segment of society that has set privileges aside for itself, but this class isn't based on wealth, gender, race, or sexual orientation.  It is politics and control of our federal enforcement agencies that have exempted these people from the law.  From the Andrew McCabes of the world to those associated with the Clinton Foundation, one would be hard pressed in recent years to explain that we don't have a protected class.

If a protected class existed, it would be the creation of and populated by those on the left.  In their obsession with inequality of wealth, gender, race, and sexual orientation, the left has become narrow in its thinking.  Like a world-class athlete too lazy to get out of bed and work out regularly in his sport, those who reside on the left have allowed their mental abilities to atrophy to Marxist thinking about all things.  They've trapped themselves in a world that can be understood only in terms of class struggle between the haves and have-nots.  To them, the solution isn't equality, but how to use the system to their own advantage.

Admittance to the protected class is reserved for those who are particularly skilled at ginning up animosity about unfairness.  It also includes those public servants willing to overlook the misdeeds of or break the law on behalf of those who are particularly good at playing the grievance game.  The true masters know how to stoke the engine of the victimhood industrial complex to maximize the output of resentment against economic, sex, racial, or sexual orientation differences.  Like some glider pilot, they ride the thermals of discontent they sow to the heights of political power.  The occasional burning of a lowly cake-decorator or the loss of some local law-enforcer's life is the sacrifice made by others so those seeking inclusion among the protected can gain their foothold.

Once granted membership, the protected set about taking care of their own.  They're personally rewarded by favor-seekers and the extorted who wish to avoid legislative or regulatory disaster.  Like any dynastic rule, the protected class enroll family members in the best schools, network them into lucrative careers, and otherwise shield themselves from the rest of us deplorables.  If the masses grow disillusioned and appear ready to cast them from their lofty positions, the protected simply open the border and invite a more pliable demographic to take their place at the polls.

Having never been exposed to or having wished to ever learn of an alternative system (say, one that rewards merit, drive, and ability) the protected know only class, envy, and inequality.  They cannot surrender the mechanism that lifted them to their high station, nor are they really interested in taking meaningful action that would alleviate the misery they claim as their own particular crusade.

I could be wrong about all this.  There might not be a protected class.  Perhaps we really are a nation of laws, where justice is blind to a person's wealth, sex, race, orientation, or station.  Maybe we do all play on the same level field by the same rules, giving each the same chance.  Such a system has to be based on equality of justice.  Without it, the fight to right all the other wrongs would be meaningless.  Justice inequality would subject us all to an arbitrary legal system that could be used at any time against the noncompliant.  Isn't it time we set aside our concerns about all the other inequalities until we've been shown that there is equality of justice that applies fairly to everyone, including the McCabes of this world?



Wisdom and the Smartest People Ever

We value intelligence and knowledge.  With good reason. Intelligent, thoughtful illumination has an uplifting effect on individuals and a civilization. We've seen that many times throughout history.  The founding of our American Republic is one such stellar example.

Back in the 1980s, I recall someone lamenting how the most qualified and best candidate to never become president was Adlai Stephenson.  Certainly, the Democratic Party has been trying since Stephenson to claim the mantle of "intelligent."  Democrats are always the smart ones – smarter, better policies, and as a result morally superior.

Now, it's hard not to notice that the pinnacle of the left being smarter than everyone came to us with one Barack Obama, with his incredibly über-intelligent, superior group of advisers and administration.

Nobody was ever smarter.  Ever. Except they really weren't.  For smart people, they actually did some of the dumbest things ever in public life.  The tragedy of so many believing they were the smartest people ever may haunt us for years.

There is a huge disconnect between the true concept of wisdom and the smartest people ever.

Culturally, valuing knowledge and intellect has three main sources: the Greek philosophers, the Bible, and the Church.  There were others, but these three more than any other sources provided the basis for the respect for knowledge and wisdom in our culture.  The concept of highly valuing the realm of the mind became imbedded in the West because of them.  Jordan Peterson loves to praise how clean our lives are, how things work so well, and how wonderful we have it.  He lets us know in so many ways that all this bounty came from our belief system, one where we cherish achievement of thought.

Wisdom is the subject of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs.  Some central quotes:

"Seek wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.  Find wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding."

"Does not wisdom call out?"

"Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her."

These, and so many other lines from Proverbs, form the genesis of why we prize intellect, or wisdom.  If the search for and the study of wisdom can bring us so much, then indeed it was right for our culture to value it.

What we call the Protestant work ethic came straight from Solomon.  Perhaps it should rightfully be called the Jewish work ethic.  The important thing to note is that having that value imbedded in our civilization makes things better, makes things nicer, and does great things for us and our culture.

Our culture.  It's why we are prosperous, live longer, live better, and have so much in depth in so many areas of life.  C.S. Lewis called the Bible our "instruction manual."  If you follow the manual, the human machine works at its best, tuned finely for maximal effect and output.  The wisdom of Solomon was a huge part of the manual.

Enter the deconstructive left. Leftists authored this divorce from wisdom.  They divorced themselves from the "instruction manual" and its source.  They began the effort to take away the moral underpinnings from our culture.  The great Greek philosophers were no longer to be held in high esteem.  Likewise, the great Church figures, and the Founding Fathers, they were simply dead white males who should be made fun of.

The deconstruction has been slow but effective.

The eight years of Barack Obama were the West at its low point.  My take: I never thought our culture could turn so wrong so fast.  Things happened in our government and culture during those eight years we never deemed possible even ten years ago.  Destructive trends, destructive ideas, destructive social movements.  All at their peak through the Obama years:

*The destruction of our health care system through the oh, so smart Obamacare.

*The worst economy since WWII, in any measure – jobs, GDP, unemployment, spending, etc.

*The worst race relations since the 1960s.  Race-baiting, straight from the top.

*The worst foreign policy ever.  Iran.  Cuba.  ISIS.  Help our enemies.  Betray our friends.  Bolster Islamists; destroy American confidence and its military.

*The most corrupt administration ever.  By far.  We're just now seeing how bad.

*A turn in leftist immigration policy – its clear intent to replace the current electorate with a malleable, ignorant new electorate willing to believe the leftist siren songs so the left can have unchallenged power.

*The worst of pay to play.  Leftists at the trough of government sucked deep.  The Clinton Foundation sucking the deepest.  Follow the money if you dare.

*The moral preening of Hollywood and the media.  All the while, they lived and played in the cesspool of Weinstein and Matt Lauer.  #MeToo was caused by them and still is.

The list is longer and should be a book by itself.  The list of failures could get to over a hundred easily.  And yes, it was that bad.  Like frogs in the simmering pot, we were being cooked.  "Transformed."  Also known as destroyed.

So how does all this horrible stuff happen under a group of people who were considered by our elites, our media, and themselves the smartest people ever?  How did our media get away with calling so many major failings wonderful?  Cow patties strewn around the pasture on stale bread were described as culinary treasures.  It was, and is, sickening.

How is it possible to morph from JFK to Barack Obama in one generation?  From revering wisdom to wearing a dunce cap in fifty years?  That is surely what so many did.

The Book of Proverbs gives an answer.  It gave us the overwhelmingly beautiful description of wisdom, but it also gave us this clear warning: "be not wise in your own eyes."

On the surface, that doesn't seem like much.  But it's really the key to understanding what has happened to the left.

They became arrogant.  Filled with hubris.  A group of narcissists who believe their own P.R.  They really were the smartest people ever.  Obama himself, and those surrounding him, really believed it.  It's a Greek tragedy written for today – a group of narcissists in charge of the levers of power, doing terrible things in the name of good.

Most of them thought there was no reason to heed the "instruction manual." They replaced centuries of wisdom with their own image and called it good.

They replaced generations of wonderful ideas with degenerate, unworkable, truly horrific notions that had never worked anywhere else they were tried.  These ideas had failed miserably so many times.  Except they were now so smart and morally superior that they would surely make them work.  The pinnacle of smart.

And it showed for eight years.  And it was covered up for eight years.  And it was reported as wonderful for eight years.  Stupidity linked with hubris was mistaken for wisdom by so many of our elites.  And that's all it was.  True wisdom and its rewards are described beautifully by Solomon.  It needs be sought, to avoid these horrors.

Wisdom should be exalted – just not the fake kind as espoused by the left.



Emmanuel Macron and French Anti-Semitism

Macron has promised to lead in the fight against the "scourge" of anti-Semitism in France wherever it surfaces in the street or online. According to official figures, anti-Semitic violence in France increased by 26% in 2017 and criminal damage to Jewish places of worship and burial increased by 22%. France has been the scene of too many anti-Jewish atrocities. In January-February 2006, the 23-year-old Ilan Halini, a French-born Jew of Moroccan ancestry was abducted and tortured and killed by a Muslim group, the Gang of Barbarians. In March 2012, the Ozar HaTorah school in Toulouse was attacked and three children and a rabbi were killed by a jihadist who has already murdered three French soldiers.

On April 4, 2017 Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old retired physician and Orthodox Jew, living in the Belleville district of Paris, was beaten and thrown out of the window to her death by a native of Mali who shouted “Allahu Akbar.” Most recently, on March 23, 2018 the 85-year-old Mireille Knell, who narrowly escaped the Vel d'Hiv roundup in Paris on July 16-17 1942 by fleeing to Portugal, was stabbed repeatedly in the throat before being set on fire by Muslim individuals. Islamist atrocities led between 2014-16 to more than 20,000 French Jews leaving France.

These events have led to Macron's pledge to provide protection for Jewish schools, synagogues, and other Jewish sites. In view of the atrocities committed by Muslims, they have also led to a "deradicalization" program. There is no magic formula for deradicalization, but Macron and his government have made various proposals to prevent the spread of Islamist extremism in prisons, schools, mosques, and Islamic centers. High among them is the effort to stop Islamist extremism from flourishing in prisons which have influenced jihadists. Currently, 512 people are in prison for terrorist offences. The effort will mean separating prisoners from radicalized inmates.

There are also plans for centers that will attempt to reintegrate Islamist radicals referred by French courts, and for a wide effort to get internet platforms to remove content that feeds extremism, tighter regulation of private Islamic schools, and reassigning of public servants who show signs of radicalization.

It is encouraging that France is implementing its policy of increased surveillance of Muslim clerics accused of hate speech and inciting violence. Before Macron became president, more than 90 Muslim clerics and radicals had been expelled from France.

It is noteworthy that on April 20, 2018 France expelled Imam el Hedi Doudi based in the as-Sounna mosque in Marseille, to Algeria. France is fortunate to have got rid of a bigot who provoked discrimination, hatred, and violence, and who preached that Jews are "unclean, the brothers of monkeys and pigs."

In view of these determined efforts to eliminate discrimination and violence it's gratifying to recognize and appreciate the best part, that Emmanuel Macron is among the very young at heart.[He is aged 40].



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


26 April, 2018  

Leftist Propaganda Thwarts Unity

By Tom Trinko

In Nazi Germany, the people believed, right up to the bitter end, that they were going to win the war.  They did so because all the news they got was from state-controlled media.

During the Cold War, citizens of the Soviet Union believed that Americans lived in poverty.  After all, didn't all the papers say so?

Today in America, we have a similar situation.  While the government doesn't control the media, the leftists do.  The Americans who listen to the Washington Post, the New York Times, and all the networks are being systematically lied to.  As a result, those Americans have a false view of what is really going on – just like their predecessors in North Korea, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.

Those Americans who trust the mainstream media (MSM) incorrectly "know" that Trump colluded with Russia.  They don't know that Hillary paid the Russians for dirt on Trump or that all the investigations into the supposed collusion by Trump have found not a jot of evidence.

The MSM are why so many Americans believe that 25% of Americans are gay rather than the real value of around 2%.  In entertainment, gays are grossly overrepresented, and MSM coverage rarely discusses either the true nature of the gay lifestyle or the actual number of people who suffer from same-sex attraction.  Clearly, if one in four Americans is gay and the gay lifestyle is just like the heterosexual lifestyle, supporting a version of "marriage" that includes same-sex couples is not that strange.

MSM propaganda ensures that most Americans don't know that abortion is legal in America for any reason up to the point of birth.  People also don't know that Jesse Jackson called abortion "genocide against blacks" and that black women are three times as likely to abort their unborn children as white women are.

The only reason why people don't recognize Democratic policies as racist is MSM propaganda.

Think about it.  Around 3,500 blacks were shot in Chicago, called Chiraq by black Chicagoans, last year, but that's rarely mentioned in the news.  On the other hand, the MSM had wall-to-wall coverage when a white police officer shot a black thug in self-defense.  Note that both Obama and his black attorney general agreed that the shooting was justified and that that wasn't given wall-to-wall media coverage.

Because of this sort of "reporting," many Americans think the real problem in America isn't out-of-control crime in black neighborhoods in Democrat-run cities, but that the police are out hunting innocent blacks on a regular basis.  The real story is that the Democrats who run Chicago don't care about blacks.  Can you imagine what the Democratic mayor of Chicago would be doing if 3,500 white people had been shot there last year?  What could be more racist than not caring that blacks in Chicago are less safe than American soldiers in Iraq?

Perhaps the fact that those blacks can't get a decent education.  For decades, the public school system has failed inner-city blacks.  That's why conservatives are calling for school choice – so blacks can have a chance to get a decent education.  We know that school choice works because those blacks who can make the huge sacrifices to afford to send their kids to Catholic or other private schools see their kids getting a good education.

Yet the media don't cover that.  Rather, they cover Democrats who say school choice is somehow racist.  The media also don't mention the huge contributions the Democrats get from the teacher unions.  As a result, those Americans who get their news from the MSM don't know that Democrats have been working against getting poor blacks a decent education for decades.

One key aspect of the propaganda machine is that Republicans are always shown in a bad light, and Democratic scandals are minimized.  We all remember the MSM trying to make us think Bill Clinton was impeached because of his sex scandals and not because he lied under oath in order to minimize his risk of having to pay a settlement for sexually harassing an Arkansas government employee.  Similarly, a Democratic senator was on trial for seven weeks recently for corruption, and the MSM ignored it.  When a Republican senator was on trial years ago, there was extensive coverage.

Perhaps the poster boy for MSM #FakeNews propaganda is so-called global warming.  There is an incessant drumbeat of stories about how man is causing the Earth to warm so much that catastrophe will result.  The fact that all the computer models are wrong and disagree with the data and that even those scientists – who are not 99.7% of all scientists – generally don't believe that the warming we see will result in disasters is never reported.

The media don't really cover the fact that the infamous Paris Accords allowed China and India to massively increase their CO2 emissions.  If global warming is an existential crisis, why can we allow those countries to massively increase their contribution to our impending doom?

From this tiny subset of the media's propaganda effort, it's clear that we're being manipulated in two ways: by presenting lies as truth – global warming is a fact – and by not reporting the truths that are inconvenient for leftist's positions – such as the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.

The left knows that without its propaganda, it will lose in the court of public opinion.  The American people opposed the Republican tax cuts because the MSM propaganda machine constantly lied that only the rich would get tax breaks.  But as more and more people saw that they directly benefited from the tax cuts, both because they would pay less in taxes and because companies passed on their lower costs to their employees in terms of higher wages, polls showed that people changed their position and supported the Republican plan.

Hence, leftists know that they must keep the truth from the people just as the dictators who ran Nazi Germany, North Korea, and the Soviet Union knew they had to keep the truth from their people at all costs.

Because the American people will reject leftists when they see the truth, leftists are working hard to shut off all forms of communication that aren't part of their propaganda efforts.  That's why Facebook and Twitter censor honest news and hype the propaganda of the MSM.

Interestingly, the disunity in America that the media complain about is due to the propaganda they spew.  If all Americans had the truth, there would be a lot less conflict in this country.  For example, the vast majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortion, but many of them aren't supporting change because they've been lied to about the fact that abortion is currently legal for any reason at any time.  If they think the restrictions they support are the law, why call to change the law?

The reality is that America is not as disunited as it appears.  If we can remove the vast leftist propaganda machine and give the American people the truth, we'll find that they tend to agree on most key issues.

Take this opportunity to help wake your friends who have are trapped in the web of media lies.  They'll eventually thank you.



Welfare reform is happening fast

Despite near-historical low unemployment rates and employers desperate to fill open jobs across the country, welfare enrollment is soaring. And overwhelmingly, the newest enrollees aren’t those the system was intended to serve — the elderly and those with disabilities, among others. Instead, they’re mainly able-bodied adults.

But now, things are changing. And they’re changing quickly.

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order on welfare reform, laying the groundwork for federal and state agencies to promote economic mobility and opportunity through work. Just two days later, the House Committee on Agriculture released a draft proposal of the 2018 Farm Bill, calling for an expansion of work requirements for able-bodied adults receiving food stamps and committing to initiatives that will reduce fraud and abuse across the food stamp program.

And in the states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed key welfare-reform legislation into law last week, reaffirming the state’s commitment to move able-bodied adults from welfare to work and making policy changes that will restore the state’s welfare program to a safety net for the truly needy. One day later, Kentucky followed suit, with Gov. Matt Bevin signing a bill that will strengthen commonsense work requirements and reduce fraud among the state’s welfare programs.

The timing of these legislative and executive actions at both the state and federal levels isn’t coincidence. It’s a clear indication that policymakers are addressing the big problems facing their constituents and their states. And it’s an even bigger indication that finally, they’re giving their constituents what they want: welfare reform.

A recent poll found 90 percent of voters support work requirements for able-bodied adults. And a poll conducted by Politico and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health found 64 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of independents overwhelmingly support work requirements.

It’s not difficult to believe, given that work requirements were initially laid out in the bipartisan welfare reform of 1996. Able-bodied adults were intended to work, train, or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week in order to be eligible for food stamps. But a series of loopholes and gimmicks created opportunities for states to waive these requirements, and welfare enrollment exploded.

There are now nearly 21 million able-bodied adults dependent on food stamps, more than three times as many as 2000. Nearly 28 million able-bodied adults are now dependent on Medicaid, up from 7 million in 2000.

This enrollment explosion has wreaked havoc on state budgets and on taxpayer spending. It’s threatened spending for education, public safety, and infrastructure, and has threatened limited resources for those who welfare was originally designed to help: the disabled, the elderly, and poor children.

It’s why Kentucky fought to become the first state to win federal approval of the same commonsense work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid, and why nearly a dozen other states are pushing for the same reform. It’s why state legislators are advocating for reforms that eliminate welfare fraud and check the assets of beneficiaries to ensure that food stamps aren’t going to millionaires.

It’s why Govs. Bevin and Walker signed welfare reform bills into law.

The recent executive order and the 2018 Farm Bill are the next steps. They have the power to move millions of Americans out of dependency and back to a life of self-sufficiency and dignity. There’s never been a better time to move able-bodied Americans back to work than now, with 6 million open jobs nationwide.

It’s about time our welfare system gets with the times.



Want income equality? Here is the nation for you!

Cuba is so lucky.  With the installation of their new president, Miguel Díaz Canel, Cubans will be able to continue with their terrific lifestyle.  What lifestyle?  Income equality.

Cuba has income equality.  Verifying this requires a careful look at the data.  Most sources – for example, Brookings – cite a per capita income of about $240 per year.  Wikipedia cites about $22,000 per year, so be careful with your information sources.  The government employs 78% of the workers, so there is little opportunity to get an income very different from the average.  How can people survive on a salary of practically nothing?  Thanks to the government, Cubans get free food and medicine.  They get subsidies for virtually everything they might buy.  As a result, someone getting no salary is only slightly worse off than someone with a relatively high income.  In all practicality, Cuba has as close to income equality as a society can provide.

Cuba also has abject poverty and child prostitution.  Before the 1959 revolution, Cuba exported $780 million (1959 dollars) of goods, mostly food.  Now it imports 70% to 80% of the food that it consumes.  The result is that Cubans risk their lives in shark-infested waters to escape.

Before the Castros took over Cuba, it was quite prosperous.  PBS describes Cuba's 1950s living standards this way:

Cuba ranked fifth in the hemisphere in per capita income, third in life expectancy, second in per capita ownership of automobiles and telephones, and first in the number of television sets per inhabitant.  The literacy rate, 76%, was the fourth highest in Latin America.  Cuba ranked 11th in the world in the number of doctors per capita.

If you like Cuba's income equality, how do you get it?  The same way the Castros did.  Take away the people's freedom.

Is income inequality so bad?  Giving people the freedom to prosper as much as their hardworking nature will allow is the most efficient way to give the most people the most good.  Some people will still be poor, but with so many people setting a good example, the number of people with an optimistic attitude leading to prosperity will be maximized.  The income will be unequal, but it will be quite high.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


25 April, 2018  

Kim's Latest Olive Branch: No More Nuclear Tests; Peace treaty with the South

Commentators generally are puzzled by Mr Kim's sudden about-face and are cynical about it.  They are not taking account of the fact that he is a third generation dictator and that his grandfather's economic doctrine of "Juche" is not delivering the goods.  It cannot have escaped his attention that his country is very poor.  And he only has to look next door to see something very attractive to him: A country that remains under Communist control but is economically thriving via it's own version of capitalism:  China. 

I think it is highly likely that Kim is thinking of converting his country into something similar to China.  About a year ago he did open some small supermarkets in his country.  If a supermarket is not the badge of a modern economy what would be?

To make progress on the economic front, however, he needs to reduce military threats as he sees them.  And a peace treaty with the South plus some sort of rapprochement with the Donald would achieve that.  It would give him international legitimacy and free up his country's trade. The sanctions have surely brought to his attention how important trade is to supplying his country's needs

So I seem to be one of the few who think Kim has a substantial element of genuineness in his offers

Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea, announced over the weekend that the Hermit Kingdom will immediately suspend testing of missiles and nuclear weapons, as well as scrap its nuclear test site altogether. Of course, Kim couched the announcement as having achieved his goal of developing those weapons, making further testing unnecessary. And, notably, he stopped short of saying North Korea would dismantle its nuclear arsenal. Yet we’ve come a long way from regular missile tests and Kim’s threat last year of “thousands-fold” vengeance against the U.S.

“North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site,” Trump said publicly. “This is very good news for North Korea and the World — big progress! Look forward to our Summit.” Privately, however, Trump says he’ll believe it when he sees it. After all, the Kim family dictatorship has a long history of making promises only to break them, and Kim’s express purpose up until now was developing weapons capable of striking the U.S.

Kim is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and with President Donald Trump sometime in May or June. The latter meeting was announced on the same day Trump laid out his plan for steel tariffs that would hit China. Coincidence? Nope.

There is no doubt that apparent concessions by North Korea are in response to punitive sanctions issued last fall and, more recently, to Trump’s tariffs. Trade negotiations between the U.S. and China are indeed about unfair economic practices on the part of Beijing, but they’re also about convincing China to rein in North Korea. Progress may indeed be happening, even if Kim’s announcement is simply meant to keep talks on track for the time being.

Kim surely hopes that some olive branches will do the trick without having to abandon his nuclear program entirely. But one thing we’re fairly confident of: Trump won’t be making any Obama-Iran deals. He won’t win a Nobel Peace Prize either.



Human Nature

One of the classic descriptions of the difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals generally believe that societal pressures primarily drive human behavior, and since folks are not fully responsible for their actions, it is government’s role to control society and solve individual problems. Conservatives generally believe in individual choice, personal responsibility, and limited government. Neither denies that there is the potential for goodness in all, but conservatives are more likely to be realists and view folks as primarily acting in their own best interests.

This is important for negotiations because a key element of any successful negotiation is being brutally honest with yourself about what you want, understanding as best you can the motivation of the other guy, and designing a process that gets more of the former. Removing bias from that assessment is critical, but as a conservative, my default position is typically determined by a belief that the motivation of my counterpart is best described as “what’s in it for me?” That may seem like a glorified statement of the obvious, but often liberals ascribe more of an altruistic motive to the other guy, and that compromises the results. We accord sainthood to the pure altruists, but those folks are very rare and not representative of the real world. Consider a couple of examples before we get to Facebook.

The negotiations with North Korea are moving ahead. It’s pretty clear what the U.S. would consider a win, but the negotiating posture the U.S. takes is critically dependent on what motivates Kim Jong-un. It’s significantly different if we believe he has delusions of grandeur about uniting the Peninsula under his rule with all intruders gone versus if he simply wants to be secure in his own little realm and enjoy the goodies of being king. I am strongly in the “it’s good to be king” camp, and it appears that Trump is as well. That leads to a simple carrot/stick negotiating framework that depends in large part on convincing Kim (and by extension China) that unless he completely denuclearizes North Korea, with inspections sufficient for verification, he will lose the throne, by military means if necessary.

Trump is also playing to Kim’s ego by suggesting that a deal would give him worldwide recognition, while a fraudulent negotiation would cause Trump to leave the table, with the military/sanction options intact. That’s one reason the reaction to Syrian chemical weapons was so important — it was far more of a signal to North and Iran than a strategic move in Syria, per se.

The quid pro quo (which also derives from the base assumption) is that the U.S. would find a way to guarantee the survival, and even material prosperity, of the Kim regime. That has set the stage for the pre-summit between North and South Korea, which has a treaty to formally end the Korean War on the agenda. Kim has also dropped his demand that the U.S. remove its troops from the South, which signals that if a security/prosperity arrangement is strong enough, it doesn’t matter if we keep troops there. Obviously the devil will be in the details, and Kim could play games by stretching out the time tables, redefining what he means by “troops can stay” or fudging on the conditions for dismantling/verifying his nuke program. But if Trump has read his motives correctly, which I believe he has, this has a chance to be a win/win.



GQ Condemns the Holy Bible: 'Repetitive, Self-Contradictory, Sententious, Foolish…Ill-Intentioned’

The Bible is certainly not a modern book.  You have to study it to get the most out of it.  But once you have studied it, it can be immensely rewarding. 

In an article by “The Editors of GQ,” the men’s magazine blasts the Holy Bible, declares it a book you don’t have to read, and suggests an alternative.

In its April 19 article, “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read” (originally, "21 Books You Don't Have to Read Before You Die"), Gentlemen’s Quarterly (GQ) trashes 20 books (“Huckleberry Finn” is counted twice, for some reason) it deems undeserving of their literary stature:

“[N]ot all the Great Books have aged well. Some are racist and some are sexist, but most are just really, really boring. So we—and a group of un-boring writers—give you permission to strike these books from the canon. Here's what you should read instead.”

GQ’s review of the Holy Bible begins with a snarky slight of Christians:

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”

As for the content of the holy book, GQ’s contempt is summed up by this one sentence:

“It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.”

Instead, the editors at GQ would have you read a tale of two brothers “who have to get along”:

“If the thing you heard was good about the Bible was the nasty bits, then I propose Agota Kristof's The Notebook, a marvelous tale of two brothers who have to get along when things get rough. The subtlety and cruelty of this story is like that famous sword stroke (from below the boat) that plunged upward through the bowels, the lungs, and the throat and into the brain of the rower.”



Wells Fargo Resists the Resistance on Guns

The Left introduces "Chokepoint II" — banks work to cut relations with gun sellers  

You may have heard about how Citibank and Bank of America have decided to enact their own form of gun control. To wit: Even though certain semiautomatic rifles and magazines are legal, Bank of America will close the account of any merchant who tries to sell them. Furthermore, any Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder who sells long guns to young adults aged 18-20 (who may legally purchase them) is also out of luck with those banks.

Wells Fargo took a brave stand against such efforts. So, naturally, the American Federation of Teachers has decided to boycott Wells Fargo. Of course, we all know how the FBI failed to pass on actionable tips that the Parkland school killer. Or how the bumbling Broward County Sheriff’s Office didn’t act despite numerous calls involving the shooter. Never mind the school resource officer who showed an unconscionable yellow streak. The teachers union is covering for all that incompetence and instead scapegoating the law-abiding Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights.

This is part of a pattern that is going to force the Right to do some serious re-thinking. We may very well win court victories affirming the right to own semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15 in the next decade. But if the Left convinces banks to close the accounts of anyone who makes or sells the AR-15 to law-abiding citizens, then we have a problem. In essence, we will have the legal right to buy an AR-15, but banks will shut down sales. It won’t stop there — the Left will push credit card companies to act as well. In essence, buying any gun the Left wants banned could become a cash-only business.

The Left is trying to gain in the corporate boardrooms what it cannot get through legislation or the courts. This was done before, albeit back then, they used the power of the federal government with Operation Chokepoint — one of Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” attacks on our rights. Operation Chokepoint failed between a combination of the sunlight of a free press and action by lawmakers.

Chokepoint II, the sequel, though, is going to be much harder to fight. Part of it will have to be with a carrot and stick approach to companies. Despite Wells Fargo’s other misdeeds, it is taking the right stand on the Second Amendment, and it should be supported in that — with our dollars if possible. The second extraordinary measure may be to pass legislation that prohibits banks and financial institutions from engaging in discrimination against entities for either the sale of a legal product or for exercising their constitutional rights.

The threat to our rights is extraordinary. If the Left can get banks to cut off FFLs who don’t meet certain conditions, other rights will fall. Imagine if the Supreme Court sides with free speech in the Masterpiece Cakeshop and NIFLA cases — and the Left then pressures banks to close accounts of businesses or crisis pregnancy centers. Do you think they will stop there, or will they reinforce those successes? The time to act is now.



DNC Delusions
In spite of all the evidence that the “Russia collusion” narrative is collapsing around them (see below), Democrats are doubling down on their delusions. The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday against the president, his campaign, members of his family and Russia.

The lawsuit claims that Russia hacked the DNC’s server in order to harm Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump, “whose policies would benefit the Kremlin.”

The idea that Trump’s policies would benefit Russia is laughable. He is rebuilding our military and pushing our allies to rebuild their militaries. He has been far tougher on Putin than Obama and Clinton ever were.

The Left has never been tough on Russia. If anything, Putin would have preferred another liberal Democrat in the White House.

Remember, my friends, Robert Mueller has already issued indictments against several Russians and Russian entities for their election-related meddling. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made it clear that no American “was a knowing participant in this illegal activity” and nothing the Russians did affected the result of the election.

What could the DNC possibly know that Mueller and Rosenstein don’t know?

Speaking of things we don’t know, the Trump campaign should countersue and demand access to the DNC’s server. Perhaps then we could find out what the DNC was hiding from the FBI!

This lawsuit is an act of utter desperation. It seems to me that Democrats have concluded that Mueller and his team of liberal lawyers are likely to exonerate the president, so they are launching some kind of preemptive publicity stunt to keep their radical base fired up for the elections.

We cannot allow the extreme Left to control Congress.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


24 April, 2018  

The Left’s Campaign to Distort History and Condemn White People

Left-wingers have spent the last few days attacking David Horowitz for challenging the Equal Justice Initiative and its efforts to foment anti-white racial hatred by presenting the odious practice of lynching as an exclusively white instrument of racial oppression and terror used against blacks. But history is rarely as clear-cut as radical leftist ideologues pretend.

Lynchings were carried out in an atmosphere of mass hysteria where enraged individuals acted to eliminate the perceived risk that a guilty person might go unpunished. If the black lynching victim was alleged to have wronged a white person, race-hatred and resentment could be – and in many cases, was – whipped up to a frenzy to ensure the atrocity was completed.

It cannot be denied that plenty of lynchings were carried out by black-hating racists to terrorize freed slaves from the Reconstruction through Jim Crow eras and reinforce racial segregation, but the notion that most lynchings were carried out by racist whites who randomly snatched black people off the streets and murdered them belongs in the trash with the current accusation that police have declared open season on unarmed black men. Many of those who were targeted in the past had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Horowitz has been beaten up online for objecting to the Left’s cynical exploitation of a sad period in the nation’s past. Specifically, Horowitz contends that although race certainly played a role in many lynchings, this does not mean that race was necessarily always the primary motivating factor in extrajudicial executions of blacks. Saying this is not making excuses for lynch mobs. No one disputes that lynching was a disgusting and barbaric practice.

Research, as Horowitz has pointed out, reveals that not all victims of lynching were black and that those lynched typically were accused of serious crimes. In today’s racially charged environment where the slightest deviation from politically correct orthodoxy can lead to instant ostracism, it needs to be pointed out that Horowitz is not saying that all lynching victims were guilty of crimes or that they deserved what angry mobs did to them. The Sixth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee basic procedural fairness in criminal trials. Those protections were unjustly denied to the lynched.

It is heresy today to point out that almost a third of lynching victims were white, and that the practice originated as a form of rough frontier justice, conducted by mobs impatient with due process and with the slow progress of the legal system. Tuskegee University found in its study, “Lynching, Whites and Negroes, 1882 to 1968,” that among the 4,745 lynchings examined, 1,299 of the victims were white, while 3,466 were black. (In its earliest days in antebellum America, lynching didn’t even necessarily involve killing the victim. Vigilantes would beat, whip, or tar-and-feather their targets for perceived social transgressions.)

But the Left doesn’t let mere facts get in the way of its narrative. Keeping the bad guys uniformly white and racist and the victims black and innocent in the history books is all-important to these people. Doing so helps to sustain the ugly myth that America is a rotten country founded on racism and injustice.

The usual suspects in the racial-grievance industry wasted no time frantically attacking Horowitz.

Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, a leftist pressure group that George Soros has given $6.8 million to in recent years, ignored the historical facts Horowitz tweeted and accused him of revisionism.

Horowitz “spent the last few days creating a social media firestorm with a series of revisionist-history tweets about his view that the United States’ violent history of slavery and lynching doesn’t have anything to do with racism or ongoing problems of racial oppression,” PfAW research director Miranda Blue wrote hyperbolically.

The leftist hate group, Southern Poverty Law Center, smeared Horowitz, claiming that in his “revisionist take,” he was guilty of “downplaying the horrors that African Americans have suffered in this country.”

Racial ambulance chaser Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times Magazine, slimed Horowitz as a white-supremacist.

“But also, this is the amazing thing about white supremacists and white supremacy[,]” she tweeted. “Everything can be bent to their will. White supremacists hold up white exceptionalism — particularly adherance [sic] to order and rule of law — as proof of their superiority.”

In an incoherent stream-of-consciousness rant, a pseudonymous writer at Wonkette screeched that Horowitz was a "Racist Whisperer" spewing “his pseudo intellectualized trash sonata.”

Horowitz got the attention of these left-wingers by weighing in April 8 on a discussion about slavery and abolitionist Frederick Douglass initiated on Twitter by Princeton scholar Robert P. George.

"Slavery was bad yes, but all the slaves in America were enslaved by blacks and white Americans freed them[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “That's the first reality people need to wrap their heads around." More than 350,000 Union soldiers, mostly whites, died in the Civil War, he added. They “paid with their lives to end slavery[,]” yet whites have been made to bear all the blame for an institution that existed for thousands of years in all societies.

To put things in historical perspective, John Perazzo has written “that in any given year nowadays, the number of black-on-black homicides that occur nationwide far exceeds the number of white-on-black lynchings that have taken place in all the years since the Civil War, combined"

Americans should be proud of their forefathers for killing off slavery, Horowitz tweeted.

“America inherited a slave system from the British and abolished [it] in little over a generation at a cost of more lives than all America's other wars combined.”

But there is resistance to this truth coming from many across the nation who remain under the sway of an influential work of fiction that helped the Left by distorting history.

The largely ahistoric TV mini-series “Roots” from 1977 convinced Americans that whites traveled to the African continent and captured would-be slaves in large numbers, according to a University of Houston website. It is in fact true that Europeans did participate in “some slave raiding,” but “the majority of people who were transported to the Americas were enslaved by other Africans.”

What really got hateful left-wingers’ juices flowing was Horowitz’s tweet last Monday about a famous lynching. He posted an iconic photo from Aug. 7, 1930, of onlookers with the lifeless bodies of black lynching victims Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging from a tree in Marion, Ind.

“These men were dragged from their jail cells unjustly[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “But they were guilty of a brutal rape and murder. The mob spared a third black with him when a white woman in the crowd said he was innocent[.]”

So at least in the Marion case, as horrible as it was, racism does not appear to be the sole motivating factor for the lynch mob. If it had been, there would have been no reason to spare the third black man. And if the two hanged men had been innocent there would have been no reason for the third man who served his time for being part of their crime and spent the rest of his life as a free man and civil rights activist to declare them guilty.

In the Twitter thread, Horowitz made the case that the abuse of history by the Google-sponsored Equal Justice Initiative and its leader Bryan Stevenson who believes that slavery never ended – “it just evolved” – is obviously designed to reinforce the racial assault on law enforcement and on white people generally.

“What I am actually concerned about is that the left - as usual - and with the backing of GOOGLE is distorting history to pour oil on our racial fires, which is bad for everyone, especially blacks[,]” Horowitz tweeted.

“Lynchings were bad and had racist dimensions but they weren't mainly about whites yanking blacks off the streets and stringing them up,” he tweeted Monday last week in the first of several tweets spread out over several days.

The assertion may be eye-opening to many, but that’s only because the Left has been perverting history for decades. Many Americans don’t know any better because they haven’t been taught the truth.

Horowitz continued:

It's a dark chapter in our history but the last lynching was over 60 years ago. We should be celebrating that now, not nursing grievances of the past. How many of the tweeters who accuse me - falsely - of rejecting "due process" have protested the MeToo lynch mob that leaps from accusations to convictions & punishments?

To be clear at the risk of redundancy, even if it is true that many of these lynchings took the lives of individuals guilty of capital offenses, killing the lynching victims outside the formal legal system was still an injustice and ending the practice was one of the great victories of the civil rights movement.

Horowitz got involved in the Twitter brawl to expose what he called “the anti-white racism” of the leftist Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice that is opening to the public on April 26. The purpose of the memorial, which commemorates only black victims, is less about remembrance and more about propaganda and radical activism. It dredges up these terrible events from America’s distant past that are universally condemned today and uses them to inflame racial tensions for nakedly political purposes.

EJI freely admits this divisive political objective, billing the all-black memorial in Montgomery, Ala., as the first in the nation “dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

With the memorial, EJI is trying to reinforce the Obama-era narrative that a straight line can be drawn from slavery to Jim Crow to the “mass incarceration” of blacks EJI claims is happening because of something it calls the prison-industrial complex, a favorite anti-American conspiracy theory among radicals.

EJI states on its website:

"Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America. The administration of criminal justice in particular is tangled with the history of lynching in profound and important ways that continue to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system."

All the dead Union soldiers from the Civil War who gave their lives to cleanse the nation of slavery would likely disagree that the “the legacy of racial inequality … has never been adequately addressed in America.” The success of black Americans in all fields of endeavor is proof that racial oppression is non-existent nowadays. The dishonest, anti-American claim by EJI, which has taken $5.6 million from George Soros’ philanthropies in recent years, that the “history of lynching” continues “to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system” even today is a central complaint of the violent, racist Black Lives Matter movement.

No doubt many lynchings were intended as “racial terror lynchings,” to use a term of art employed by EJI, but not all lynchings were intended to instill terror beyond perhaps the usual deterrent effect that executions are supposed to have on society in general.

But Twitter is not a place for reasoned discussion, as Horowitz was reminded.

The conservative thinker was denounced as racist and pro-slavery in social media, the facts be damned.

He tweeted:

My tweets on lynching attracted the attention of brain dead leftists who think that criticizing the racial exploitation of lynching is actually defending lynching & complained. So I got a warning from Twitter that posting facts is frowned upon - it's "sensitive" material.

Horowitz explained to me that he continued tweeting “on the forbidden subject of lynching and white Americans’ contributions to black freedom.” He said he received “1,182,000 impressions and 300,000 people were on my feed at one point.”



The Southern Poverty Law Center is Finally Being Held Accountable

Daniel Greenfield

The default SPLC position used to be sneering  at anyone who challenged the designations. Even entire town governments. But that changed as the lawsuit threats began coming in. And this is a big win.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed an online list of “anti-Muslim extremists” after British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz threatened to sue the SPLC over his inclusion on the list.

The list is the fourth article in two months the SPLC has deleted over accuracy concerns.

In addition to Nawaz, the list included Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who advocates against female genital mutilation, among other issues. Ali blasted the SPLC’s “deeply offensive smears” in an August 2017 op-ed for The New York Times.

But now the SPLC is trying to get into the alt-right business, because that's hot. It outsourced the job though to people who seem to be settling online scores. And that's how Sam Harris ended up there.

The SPLC has a lot of money. As Matthew Vadum's CPC's expose notes.

"The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) ended the last tax year with close to a half billion dollars – $477 million in assets – after taking in an astounding $136 million that year, the group acknowledges in a new IRS filing".

The SPLC has made a ton of money. But its old business, the KKK, gets less relevant every year. And it keeps trying to cash in on the latest trend without having a clue.

Now it's finally being held accountable.

More HERE 


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


23 April, 2018  

Is there a conservative sense of humor?

And a related question:  Do Leftists ever laugh?  I suppose they do but with their miserable attitudes to almost everything that goes on around them, it must be rare.  There are a lot of Leftist comedians about but what they offer is abuse and occasionally clever attacks on non-Leftists.  I suppose that counts as humor but it is a pretty low-grade humor.  It is satisfying to its audience because it reinforces their existing attitudes

Many jokes are about some kind of mishap or misadventure and it seems to me that those jokes would not be funny to a Leftist.  Because of his constant complaints and anger about the sad state of just about everything around him, he would tend to see the mishap as a tragedy.

I have long seen empathy for other people as one of the many things that can go to excess.  To much empathy would cause you to make your own too much of the suffering around you.  And a total lack of empathy would leave you with a grossly deficient understanding of your fellow man.

And it seems to me that conservatives are in the middle on that. They have a balanced attitude.  Big evils they take on board but small everyday evils arouse no compassionate response in them at all.  So to a Leftist a conservative seems callous and to conservatives Leftists seem lachrymose (always crying about even minor things).

It was on that basis that I made at the time he was 2 a guess that my little son would be a conservative when he grew up. Between the ages of about two and six he had a favourite joke that he would always laugh at if someone told it to him.  It was simply: "The boy fell in the mud". He was not bothered by a minor mishap so could see the funny side of it.  And I was right.  Now that he is an independent adult he is at least as conservative as I am.

So what is the funny side of that joke?  I think I can tell that by reference to another small anecdote.  I was recently talking to a conservative lady friend I had not seen for a few weeks.  She told me that during that time she had had a rather nasty fall which had left her with large and unsightly black eye.  And this being the era of camera phones she had taken a picture of it at the time.  To show what she meant she brought up on her phone a picture of the black eye and showed it to me.  Whereupon we both roared with laughter at the sight of it.

So why did we roar with laughter? A Leftist would undoubtedly have wanted to sue someone over it.  The reason we laughed was that it was incongruous.  It was not how things should be. Incongruity means not matching something expected. It was a surprise.   And I think that a surprise element is probably present in all jokes.  So a conservative can react with laughter to something surprising and incongruous where many Leftists might not.  So callousness has its place.  A little (conservatives) is good; not enough of it (Leftists) is distracting and disabling and total callousness would make for very bad human relationships -- JR.


The Labor Board Is Now GOP-Run. Here’s 1 Big Change It Could Make to Rein In Unions

An Obama administration rule that fast-tracked elections to establish unions at private companies could be on the chopping block of a federal labor agency three years after going into effect.

The new Republican majority on the National Labor Relations Board, led by recently confirmed chairman John Ring, could do what Republicans in Congress failed to do three times—eliminate what opponents call “ambush elections.”

“The unions wanted to make it as quick as possible to have an election,” Patrick Semmens, spokesman for the National Right to Work Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “One way to do that is to push aside basic issues until after the elections, such as who is eligible to vote.”

The “ambush” nickname arose because under the National Labor Relations Board rule, which took effect April 14, 2015, union elections may be held in as few as 10 days after a union petition is approved.

This change in the final two years of President Barack Obama’s eight years in office leaves little time for discussion from both sides, critics say. Before the NLRB rule, the average gap was 38 days.

Critics contend that a short time span limits how long a company has to respond and employees have to get more information to make an informed decision.

“Unions usually have all their ducks in a row before an election, so this was set up so that firms could not counter,” David Kreutzer, senior research fellow for labor, markets, and trade at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“This was to stem the outflow of union membership and attempt to reverse it,” Kreutzer said. “The NLRB in the last years of the Obama administration did a lot of favors for unions.”

Personal Information

Another expected action by the new NLRB majority is the unraveling of the Obama franchising rule, which allows an employee of one store or restaurant to take action against an entire national chain.

The public comment period for changing the rule closed Wednesday. In December, under the 2-2 split on the board, the NLRB announced it would review comments regarding union election rules.

Since the rule went into effect, more than 4,000 union certification elections have occurred, according to NLRB statistics.

The existing rule also requires employers to disclose their employees’ personal contact information to union organizers, and prohibits the company or union organizers from reviewing voter eligibility issues until after the election.

“Under the Obama rule, the employer has to relinquish cellphone numbers, personal emails, and times that workers are at home,” the National Right to Work Foundation’s Semmens said. “We requested an opt-out.”

The foundation, in its public comment, also asks the NLRB to put an “expiration date” on union representation, Semmens said.

The group seeks a requirement for a periodic assessment of whether at least a bare majority of workers support keeping the union. If not, workers could vote in a re-certification election.

Semmens cited a 2016 study by The Heritage Foundation that found 94 percent of union workers never cast a secret ballot to accept the union.

“The choice to be made for these workers, in many cases, was made half a century ago,” Semmens said. “A politician doesn’t get to stay in office for life after one election.”

Obama Veto Saved Rule

Neither the AFL-CIO, a 62-year-old umbrella group that advocates for unions, nor the large Service Employees International Union responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal for comment for this report.

An NLRB spokesperson declined to comment.

During the Obama administration, the NLRB adopted the rule while Mark Gaston Pearce, a Democrat, was chairman.

In early 2015, the Republican-controlled Congress passed a bill eliminating the “ambush election” rule, but  Obama vetoed it that March.

Obama said the rule represented “commonsense, modest changes to streamline the voting process for folks who wanted to join a union.”

“Unfortunately, the Republican Senate and House decided to put forward a proposal to reverse those changes,” Obama said. “I think that’s a bad idea. … And one of the freedoms of folks here in the United States is, is that if they choose to join a union, they should be able to do so, and we shouldn’t be making it impossible for that to happen.”

‘Right to Educate’

Employees have the right to unionize, but they also should hear each side of the argument, said Russ Brown, CEO of RWP Labor, a labor relations consulting firm, and president of the Center for Independent Employees, which provides legal help for union decertification elections.

“Many times unions are not truthful with employees in campaigns. They are always one-sided,” Brown told The Daily Signal. “The [business] owner should have the right to educate the workforce on what it means to be in a union and what it means to the business.”

Congress tried and failed to override Obama’s veto saving the rule in 2015, which requires a two-thirds supermajority.

Last year, the House voted to eliminate the rule. Senate Republicans sponsored a similar measure, but it did not pass.



Dershowitz: ACLU Doesn't Care About Civil Liberty, It's 'Agenda-Driven and Anti-Trump'

Famed attorney, author, and constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, condemned the FBI's raid on the office of President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and also denounced the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for praising the raid.

“If this were Hillary Clinton, they [ACLU] would be raising money left and right defending Hillary Clinton’s rights,” said Dershowitz on the April 16 edition of Fox & Friends.

“But now they’re raising money left and left by attacking Trump and putting the attack on Trump over defending our civil liberties," he said.

"Why do you think I’m here all the time?" said Dershowitz, who is known fo rhis liberal political views.  "Why do you think I’m speaking up in favor of a man I voted against?"

"Because the ACLU is dead in the water," said the emeritus professor of law at Harvard University. "Who has ever heard of the ACLU coming in, not only justifying, defending, but applauding a raid on a lawyer’s office, which may very well have taken material that was [protected by attorney-client privilege]."

When asked if he thought the ACLU was being political, Dershowitz said, "It is absolutely political. It is a partisan, hard-left, political organization, which no longer cares about the civil liberties of all Americans.”

Alan Dershowitz, a regular commentator on CNN and Fox News, is the former Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

As an appellate lawyer, he won 13 of the 15 murder cases he handled. Some of his more famous clients include Mike Tyson, Patty Hearst, Claus von Bulow and O.J. Simpson. Dershowitz is the author or co-author of 33 books.



Eye Care Appointment Access in Patients With Medicaid vs Private Insurance


Importance:  Although low-income populations have more eye problems, whether they face greater difficulty obtaining eye care appointments is unknown.

Objective: To compare rates of obtaining eye care appointments and appointment wait times for those with Medicaid vs those with private insurance.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  In this prospective, cohort study conducted from January 1, 2017, to July 1, 2017, researchers made telephone calls to a randomly selected sample of vision care professionals in Michigan and Maryland stratified by neighborhood (urban vs rural) and professional type (ophthalmologist vs optometrist) to request the first available appointment. Appointments were sought for an adult needing a diabetic eye examination and a child requesting a routine eye examination for a failed vision screening. Researchers called each practice twice, once requesting an appointment for a patient with Medicaid and the other time for a patient with Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) insurance, and asked whether the insurance was accepted and, if so, when the earliest available appointment could be scheduled.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Rate of successfully made appointments and mean wait time for the first available appointment.

Results:  A total of 603 telephone calls were made to 330 eye care professionals (414 calls [68.7%] to male and 189 calls [31.3%] to female eye care professionals). The sample consisted of ophthalmologists (303 [50.2%]) and optometrists (300 [49.8%]) located in Maryland (322 [53.4%]) and Michigan (281 [46.6%]). The rates of successfully obtaining appointments among callers were 61.5% (95% CI, 56.0%-67.0%) for adults with Medicaid and 79.3% (95% CI, 74.7%-83.9%) for adults with BCBS (P?<?.001) and 45.4% (95% CI, 39.8%-51.0%) for children with Medicaid and 62.5% (95% CI, 57.1%-68.0%) for children with BCBS (P?<?.001). Mean wait time did not vary significantly between the BCBS and Medicaid groups for both adults and children. Adults with Medicaid had significantly decreased odds of receiving an appointment compared with those with BCBS (odds ratio [OR], 0.41; 95% CI, 0.28-0.59; P?<?.001) but had increased odds of obtaining an appointment if they were located in Michigan vs Maryland (OR, 2.40; 95% CI, 1.49-3.87; P?<?.001) or with an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist (OR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.31-2.79; P?<?.001). Children with Medicaid had significantly decreased odds of receiving an appointment compared with those with BCBS (OR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.28-0.60; P?<?.001) but had increased odds of obtaining an appointment if they were located in Michigan vs Marlyand (OR, 1.68; 95% CI, 1.04-2.73; P?=?.03) or with an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist (OR, 8.00; 95% CI, 5.37-11.90; P?<?.001).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Callers were less successful in trying to obtain eye care appointments with Medicaid than with BCBS, suggesting a disparity in access to eye care based on insurance status, although confounding factors may have contributed to this finding. Improving access to eye care professionals for those with Medicaid may improve health outcomes and decrease health care spending in the long term.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


22 April, 2018  

Why the Authoritarian Right Is Rising

Patrick Buchanan below is totally wrong to refer to the ethnic champions of Europe and America as "authoritarian" and "autocrats".  Both terms refer to dictatorial rule, not democratically elected leaders.  There are of course some differences between Donald Trump and Viktor Orban but both won resounding electoral victories and focus on putting the interests of their own traditional society first.

The difficulty in that is that Leftists regard respect for one's own roots as "racist".  But everything they dislike is racist to the left so we don't need to be abashed by that.  Nonetheless, others may take the claim as a serious one.  The idea that racism and ethnic pride are opposite sides of the same coin has some appeal.  In the social sciences that identification is almost universal, embodied in the term "ethnocentrism".  The claim is that if you are proud of your "ingroup", you are hostile to any "outgroup".

I was always skeptical that reality was as simple as that so over many years I carried out social surveys in several countries to check the claim.  And what I found every time was that your view of your own group gave NO prediction of what you thought about any "outgroup". There were on all occasions roughly equal numbers of patriots who thought well and ill of various other groups. Patriotism does not cause racism.  See here, here, here, here and also here

We can therefore be at ease in referring to people like Viktor Orban and Donald Trump simply as "patriots".  The disconnection between patriotism and racism is not however well-known so my "ethnic champion" term above may be found useful.

Viktor Orban, a champion of Hungarian sovereignty, is serving a third consecutive term as a prime minister of Hungary. A fortnight ago, Viktor Orban and his Fidesz Party won enough seats in the Hungarian parliament to rewrite his country's constitution.

To progressives across the West, this was disturbing news.

For the bete noire of Orban's campaign was uber-globalist George Soros. And Orban's commitments were to halt any further surrenders of Hungarian sovereignty and independence to the European Union, and to fight any immigrant invasion of Hungary from Africa or the Islamic world.

Why are autocrats like Orban rising and liberal democrats failing in Europe? The autocrats are addressing the primary and existential fear of peoples across the West — the death of the separate and unique tribes into which they were born and to which they belong.

Modern liberals and progressives see nations as transitory — here today, gone tomorrow. The autocrats, however, have plugged into the most powerful currents running in this new century: tribalism and nationalism.

The democracy worshippers of the West cannot compete with the authoritarians in meeting the crisis of our time because they do not see what is happening to the West as a crisis.

They see us as on a steady march into a brave new world, where democracy, diversity and equality will be everywhere celebrated.

To understand the rise of Orban, we need to start seeing Europe and ourselves as so many of these people see us.

Hungary is a thousand years old. Its people have a DNA all their own. They belong to a unique and storied nation of 10 million with its own language, religion, history, heroes, culture and identity.

Though a small nation, two-thirds of whose lands were torn away after World War I, Hungarians wish to remain and endure as who they are.

They don't want open borders. They don't want mass migrations to change Hungary into something new. They don't want to become a minority in their own country. And they have used democratic means to elect autocratic men who will put the Hungarian nation first.

U.S. elites may babble on about "diversity," about how much better a country we will be in 2042 when white European Christians are just another minority and we have become a "gorgeous mosaic" of every race, tribe, creed and culture on earth.

To Hungarians, such a future entails the death of the nation. To Hungarians, millions of African, Arab and Islamic peoples settling in their lands means the annihilation of the historic nation they love, the nation that came into being to preserve the Hungarian people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France says the Hungarian and other European elections where autocrats are advancing are manifestations of "national selfishness."

Well, yes, national survival can be considered national selfishness.

But let Monsieur Macron bring in another 5 million former subject peoples of the French Empire and he will discover that the magnanimity and altruism of the French has its limits, and a Le Pen will soon replace him in the Elysee Palace.

Consider what else the "world's oldest democracy" has lately had on offer to the indigenous peoples of Europe resisting an invasion of Third World settlers coming to occupy and repopulate their lands.

Our democracy boasts of a First Amendment freedom of speech and press that protects blasphemy, pornography, filthy language and the burning of the American flag. We stand for a guaranteed right of women to abort their children and of homosexuals to marry.

We offer the world a freedom of religion that prohibits the teaching of our cradle faith and its moral code in our public schools.

Our elites view this as social progress upward from a dark past.

To much of the world, however, America has become the most secularized and decadent society on earth, and the title the ayatollah bestowed upon us, "The Great Satan," is not altogether undeserved.

And if what "our democracy" has delivered here has caused tens of millions of Americans to be repulsed and to secede into social isolation, why would other nations embrace a system that produced so poisoned a politics and so polluted a culture?

"Nationalism and authoritarianism are on the march," writes The Washington Post: "Democracy as an ideal and in practice seems under siege." Yes, and there are reasons for this.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people," said John Adams. And as we have ceased to be a moral and religious people, the poet T. S. Eliot warned us what would happen:

"The term 'democracy' ... does not contain enough positive content to stand alone against the forces you dislike — it can be easily be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and he is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin." Recall: Hitler rose to power through a democratic election.

Democracy lacks content. As a political system, it does not engage the heart. And if Europe's peoples see their leaders as accommodating a transnational EU, while failing to secure national borders, they will use democracy to replace them with men of action.



Staged suffering? Interview with boy in Douma video raises more doubts over ‘chem attack’

The boy portrayed as a ‘victim’ in a video of the alleged chemical attack in Douma has told a Russian TV crew that he was asked to go to hospital, where people “grabbed” him and started “pouring water” over his head.

Panic, fear, screaming adults and frightened children featured in the purported footage of the aftermath following the alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta city. The video has been circulated by mainstream media since April 7 after being posted by the so-called Douma Revolution group.

The group is one of the organizations, along with the notorious rebel-linked White Helmets, that has claimed government troops were the culprits behind the reported chemical attack.

One of the main ‘characters’ in the footage is a soaked boy, who is seen being sprayed with water by people who claim to be ‘rescue workers.’ It’s not clear whether they are doctors from the hospital, human rights activists, or White Helmets members. The latter usually make such videos and send them to news agencies, including Reuters.

Russian broadcaster VGTRK said it found the boy in the video, who appeared to be 11-year-old Hassan Diab. His story differed from the one presented by the activists and later propagated by the mainstream media. He was in the basement with his mother, who said they ran out of food, when they heard some noise outside.

“Somebody was shouting that we had to go to the hospital, so we went there. When I came in, some people grabbed me and started pouring water over my head,” he told Evgeny Poddubny, a war correspondent from Russian broadcaster VGTRK. Hassan confirmed that he was the boy in the video, and was very scared when the whole situation unfolded. He is now fine and shows no symptoms of having experienced a chemical attack two weeks ago.

He was eventually found by his father, who said he didn’t hear about any chemical attack that day. “I went to the hospital, walked upstairs, and found my wife and children. I asked them what had happened, and they said people outside were shouting about some smell, and told them to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they gave dates and cookies to the kids,” he said.

One of the medical workers, who was reportedly on shift at the time, said he was surprised by the sudden influx. “Some people came here and washed people. They said: ‘Chemical attack. Chemical attack.’ We didn’t see any chemical attack symptoms,” he added. He did, however, say that there were many people with respiratory problems as a result of dust from recent bombings in the city.



Russian FM: Putin, Trump, won't allow a war

Welcome words from Sergey Viktorovich

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday morning said Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump will not allow the tension between their countries to turn into a military confrontation or war.

"If we're talking about the risk of warfare, I'm 100% certain that the militaries [of both countries] will not allow that, and obviously Putin and President Trump will not allow it," Lavrov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"At the end of the day, they are leaders, who were chosen by their people, and they are responsible for their nations' welfare."



Trump decided to abandon plans for more Russia sanctions

Great news. Mr Trump is the bulwark preventing a foolish cold war with Russia

President Donald Trump personally made the decision to abandon plans to impose more sanctions on Russia for supporting Syria's chemical weapons attack on civilians, according to three senior administration officials and a source familiar with the discussions.

The first senior administration source said the Trump administration informed the Russian government there won't be an additional round of sanctions. The official said the call was made to the Russian Embassy on Sunday. They said the confusion caused by comments made by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley in a Sunday show interview when she said new sanctions were coming made the call necessary.




Last year, the court jester of the Never Trumpers declared that, "The onus is on the president-elect to prove he's not Putin's puppet."

Last week, the President of the United States ordered the strikes that took out Syria’s chemical weapons research facility, its primary Sarin nerve gas facility and another chemical weapons facility.

Putin was not pleased.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


20 April, 2018

Another Nail in the Coffin for Fish Oil Supplements

More people than ever take fish oil dietary supplements—around 8% of US adults in 2012 compared with around 5% five years earlier, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But a recent meta-analysis of 10 large clinical trials came to a disappointing conclusion: The popular capsules do little to protect patients with heart disease. The findings are at odds with advice from the American Heart Association (AHA), including a 2017 science advisory recommendation to consider fish oil supplementation for patients with a recent myocardial infarction, or heart attack.

The new meta-analysis, published in JAMA Cardiology in January, looked at randomized trials of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplements involving almost 78?000 participants with a history of coronary heart disease (66%), stroke (28%), or diabetes (37%). The trials lasted an average of 4.4 years and compared fish oil with placebo or no treatment in at least 500 participants.

All told, fish oil supplements did not reduce the risk of coronary heart disease deaths, nonfatal heart attacks, fatal or nonfatal strokes, revascularization procedures, or all-cause mortality among the full study population. The supplements also didn’t protect against major vascular events in any subgroups, including people with a history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, or statin use.

Parsing the effects of fish oil supplementation in prespecified disease subtypes and participant subgroups is something that wasn’t previously possible with the published data sets, said Robert Clarke, MD, a professor of epidemiology and public health medicine at the University of Oxford who led the review. Clarke’s coauthors included principal investigators from 9 out of 10 of the included trials, who provided unpublished data necessary for the meta-analysis.

“They looked every way they could to find out if there was a signal and nothing panned out,” said Lawrence J. Appel, MD, a coauthor of last year’s AHA advisory, who was not involved with the analysis.

The findings are just the latest to cast doubt on the usefulness of fish oil supplementation for major cardiovascular disease end points. Although early trials showed a substantial mortality benefit, the supplements haven’t lived up to their promise in later studies.



Another Crack in the ObamaCare Wall

Iowa is offering some alternatives for citizens priced out of ObamaCare. Leftists hate it.  

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has driven the ObamaCare-loving left crazy.

When incumbent Iowa Governor Terry Branstad resigned last May to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to China, Reynolds, who served as lieutenant governor since 2011, was appointed as Iowa’s 43rd chief executive and the first woman to serve as governor. This year she’s running for a full term in a state where average ObamaCare premiums have skyrocketed 57%, a reality Reynolds blames on the law’s regulations. “Many Iowans faced a choice of going broke or going without insurance,” she declared. “And that’s really not a real choice.”

Many Iowans apparently agreed. Approximately 26,000 of them who had previously purchased premiums on the individual market dropped out between 2017 and 2018 due to high prices, and another 20,000 were expected to follow suit this year.

Those dropouts were engendered by a familiar tale of woe. As Politico columnist Paul Denko explains, the state’s insurance market “imploded, with insurers fleeing the market because of big losses” over the past four years. That exodus left exactly one company, Medica, selling plans on the ObamaCare exchange in the state.

Last June, that reality initially caused Medica to seek a 43.5% premium increase, affecting about 14,000 Iowans. Two months later, Medica upped its request to 57%.

Last Monday Reynolds responded. She signed Senate File 2349, allowing the Iowa Farm Bureau to partner with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and offer self-funded “health benefit plans.” In addition, the law allows small businesses or self-employed people to band together and purchase “association health plans” (AHPs). Since these new types of coverage are not defined as health insurance, they are not subject to regulation by the Iowa Insurance Division, or ObamaCare mandates.

Timothy S. Jost, an emeritus professor at Washington and Lee University, illuminated what Iowa is doing. “It’s not a state saying we’re going to violate the ACA,” he explained. “It’s a state saying we’ve found a loophole in the ACA, and we’re going to use it.”

Loophole? Choice is more like it. And of the many things that make hysterical leftists hysterical, providing Americans with an alternative to ObamaCare — an odious concoction sold with an avalanche of lies to “stupid” Americans and passed in the dead of night without a single Republican vote — goes right to the top of the list.

Thus, pushback was inevitable. “This legislation will allow insurance companies to sell junk plans without proper oversight — precisely the kind of abuses the Affordable Care Act was designed to stop,” insisted Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, a pro-ObamaCare advocacy group.

Dach typifies the progressive mindset that misses the forest in search of the trees. For far too many Iowans, what Dach refers to as “junk plans” are better than no plans at all. An unidentified woman who witnessed the signing of the Iowa law addressed that inconvenient reality, noting that “there’s no reason a healthy 32-year-old should be paying more for health insurance than for her mortgage.”

Unfortunately there is, when one is forced to buy ObamaCare coverage that mandates 10 “essential benefits” including maternity care, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and pediatric services — even if one is a male, substance abuse-free, or a non-adolescent.

It is precisely this one-size-fits-all approach to health care that has alienated many Americans. According to the IRS, more than six million households chose to pay the ObamaCare penalty in 2015, the majority of whom were low- and middle-income Americans the law was ostensibly supposed to help. Moreover, when the repeal of the individual mandate goes into effect in 2019, the Congressional Budget Office predicts four million Americans will decide to forgo insurance in 2019, and 13 million will drop coverage by 2027 — precipitating a 10% increase in ObamaCare premiums in every one of those years.

It doesn’t get much more abusive and unaffordable than that.

A spokesman for the Iowa Farm Bureau addressed that reality, explaining that plans “are currently being worked out between Wellmark and Farm Bureau,” specifically to provide “an option for folks who are currently priced out of the ACA.” And while Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen reveals the impact of the new plans on the states’ markets remains largely unknown, he concedes Iowa doesn’t currently “have a large number of young and healthy people in that ACA market.”

Make that young and healthy people who are absolutely necessary to keep ObamaCare costs down. And while such efforts might be well-intended, especially with regard to people with pre-existing conditions who cannot afford to pay higher prices that would otherwise be necessary to keep insurance markets stable — absent those younger and healthier Americans offsetting those costs — there are other perils rarely talked about, most of which center on personal responsibility.

While most Americans have no qualms whatsoever about helping those who have pre-existing conditions, or become ill through no fault of their own, that sympathetic mindset likely doesn’t extend to those who lead conspicuously unhealthy lifestyles, knowing their fellow Americans will help underwrite their insurance costs. That ObamaCare makes no distinction between the two is highly problematic.

Yet even more problematic would be the emergence of a “health police” mindset, whereby government mandates lifestyle choices, for the “greater good” of keeping premium prices down, in order to incentivize those who would otherwise quit such a system to remain in it.

The common denominator? The apparently fatal assumption that collectivist health care is superior to Americans making individual choices about what they want covered and what they don’t. Moreover, there are ways of protecting those with pre-existing conditions that don’t require subjecting every American to rapidly escalating health care costs.

Thus, when any plan that embraces choice is reflexively labeled “junk” by progressives, that characterization reveals a mindset far more concerned with controlling Americans than helping them.

In short, progressives seem determined to preserve ObamaCare, even if it fails the people it was supposed to help.

Iowa’s plan is hardly cutting edge. Tennessee’s Farm Bureau has offered non-ObamaCare insurance for years, and Iowa’s plan is partly modeled after it. Moreover, Governor Reynolds insists the law is a temporary response to Congress’ inability to address the nation’s health care problem.

Iowa Farm Bureau spokeswoman Laurie Johns echoed Reynold’s concerns. “What we know for sure is that Iowans have seen individual health insurance premiums shoot through the roof — some have seen as much as 300 percent increases over the last four years” she wrote, “and out of pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays are also up significantly.”

Is Congress the best place to address the nation’s health care? Americans might ask themselves if allowing states to formulate their own plans might be a better way to go for the simplest of reasons: 50 chances to get it right beats one chance by a mile. And shouldn’t getting it right for individual Americans — as opposed to insurance companies or government bureaucracies — be the only thing that matters?

For Americans who need affordable health care, the answer is obvious. For those with a greater interest in protecting the Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Bureaucracy status quo?

Not so much



FCC Chair Rips Dems’ Call for Investigation of Sinclair ‘Based on the Content of Its News Coverage’

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai chided Democrats requesting an investigation of Sinclair Broadcasting by reminding them of the true meaning of the First Amendment.

In their April 11 letter, the Democrat senators, joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who caucuses with them, asked Pai to investigate pulling Sinclair’s broadcast license due to conservative views expressed on its stations, The Daily Signal reports:

“[A] group of senators wrote a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, demanding that he investigate Sinclair and possibly pull its broadcasting license because it constitutes a threat to the freedom of the press protected by the First Amendment.”

Pai responded, calling out the Democrats for “requesting that the commission investigate a broadcaster based on the content of its news coverage” – and saying he wouldn’t be part of such an anti-First Amendment effort:

“Thank you for your letter requesting that the Commission investigate a broadcaster based on the content of its news coverage and promotion of that coverage. In light of my commitment to protecting the First Amendment and freedom of the press, I must respectfully decline.”

“I have repeatedly made clear that the FCC does not have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast.”

Pai warned them that attacking a broadcaster based on their dislike of its content is a “chilling” threat to free speech in America:

“I understand that you disliked or disagreed with the content of particular broadcasts, but I can hardly think of an action more chilling of free speech than the federal government investigating a broadcast station because of disagreement with its news coverage or promotion of that coverage.”



Socialism explained


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


19 April, 2018  

Were Hebrews Ever Slaves in Ancient Egypt? Yes

A summary of the Archaeological evidence from Israel

Every Passover, Jews retell the story about the Hebrews' flight from slavery in Egypt and their miraculous escape across the Red Sea, giving birth to the nation of Israel. The colorful story has also been retold by Hollywood time and again, shaping the modern generation's understanding of the Israelite bondage in Egypt.

But if ancient Egypt had slaves from the region known today as Israel, were they really Israelites?

There is no direct evidence that people worshipping Yahweh sojourned in ancient Egypt, let alone during the time the Exodus is believed to have happened. There is indirect evidence that at least some did. What's for sure is that thousands of years ago, Egypt was crawling with Semitic-speaking peoples.

Throughout antiquity, Egypt was known as the breadbasket of the world. The annual flooding of the Nile produced rich harvests, and when famine hit neighboring lands, starving peoples often made their way to the fruitful soils of Egypt. The archaeological record clearly shows that at least some of these peoples were of Semitic origin, coming from Canaan specifically and the Levant in general.

In fact, the histories of both the Egyptian upper kingdom (ruled from Thebes in southern Egypt) and the lower kingdom (ruled from Avaris in the north), and Canaan were intimately tied together.

Starting over 4,000 years ago, Semites began crossing the deserts from Palestine into Egypt. The tomb of the high priest Khnumhotep II of the 20th century BCE even shows a scene of Semitic traders bringing offerings to the dead

Some of these Semites came to Egypt as traders and immigrants. Others were prisoners of war, and yet others were sold into slavery by their own people. A papyrus mentions a wealthy Egyptian lord whose 77 slaves included 48 of Semitic origin.

In fact, by the late Middle Kingdom era, around 3700 years ago, Canaanites had actually achieved absolute power, in the form of a line of Canaanite pharaohs ruling the Lower Kingdom, coexisting with the Egyptian-ruled Upper Kingdom. (These Canaanite pharaohs included the mysterious "Yaqub," whose existence is attested by 27 scarabs found in Egypt, Canaan and Nubia and a famous one found at Shikmona, by Haifa.) The biblical tradition of the patriarch Jacob settling in Egypt could well derive from this time.

The coming of the Hyksos

In time, the Canaanite leaders were themselves ousted by the Hyksos, a mysterious group who settled in Egypt some time before 1650 BCE, and who came to rule the Lower Kingdom from the city of Avaris. Controversy remains, but it is increasingly agreed that the Hyksos originated from northern Levant - Lebanon or Syria.

Some scholars believe the Semitic traders shown in the mural on Khnumhotep II's tomb are actually Hyksos.

Under the Hyksos' wing, the Canaanite population in the delta grew and waxed stronger, as shown by findings in ancient Avaris (Tell el-Dab'a). The Canaanite presence is attested by pottery that was Canaanite in form and chemically derived from Palestine. The dominant religious burial practices in Avaris at the time were also Canaanite.

Eventually, the Hyksos in their turn would be vanquished. After a 30-year blood feud, the kings of Thebe, led by Ahmose I (1539 BCE–1514 BCE) prevailed, capturing Avaris and uniting the Lower and Upper kingdoms into a single polity, the "New Kingdom". The Hyksos were driven out of Egypt through the Sinai into southern Canaan.

The Roman-era Jewish historian Josephus for one identifies the Hyksos with the Israelites. He cites the 3rd-century Egyptian scribe and priest Manetho, who wrote that after their expulsion, the Hyksos wandered in the desert before establishing Jerusalem.

Some scholars suspect that Exodus is based on distant Semitic memories of the expulsion of the Hyksos. Others are dubious about Manethos' history, which was penned centuries after the actual event.

Also, the Hyksos were expelled monarchs of Egypt, not slaves. Ultimately, they are not a very likely source for the Haggadah story. Yet another school thinks the Exodus happened hundreds of years later, during the time of the New Kingdom – and some suspect there were multiple expulsions and events that merged, over the millennia, into the Passover story.

Ahmose not only expelled the Hyksos. He united ancient Egypt and began the process of expanding its empire to stretch over Canaan and Syria too.

Egyptian scribes of Ahmose I and Thutmoses III wrote boastfully of campaigns in the Levant, resulting in captured prisoners being enslaved in Egypt. Various descriptions perfectly match scenes in the Passover Haggadah.

The setting described in Exodus could be Egypt's East Delta, where the Nile floods every year. The area has no source of stone, and mud-brick structures repeatedly "melted" back into the mud and silt. Even stone temples have hardly survived here. Physical evidence of slaves working there isn't likely to have survived.

But a leather scroll dating to the time of Ramesses II (1303 BCE-1213 BCE) describes a close account of brick-making apparently by enslaved prisoners of the wars in Canaan and Syria, which sounds very much like the biblical account. The scroll describes 40 taskmasters, each with a daily target of 2,000 bricks (see Exodus 5:6).

Other Egyptian papyruses (Anastasi III & IV) discuss using straws in mud bricks, as mentioned in Exodus 5:7: "You must not gather straw to give to the people to make bricks as formerly. Let themsleves go and gather straw for themselves".

The tomb of vizier Rekhmire, ca. 1450 BCE, famously shows foreign slaves making bricks for the workshop-storeplace of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes and for a building ramp. They are labeled "captures brought-off by His Majesty for work at the Temple of Amun". Semites and Nubians are shown fetching and mixing mud and water, striking out bricks from molds, leaving them to dry and measuring their amount, under the watchful eyes of Egyptian overseers, each with a rod. The images bear out descriptions in Ex. 1:11-14; 5:1-21. (They made their life bitter with hard labor, as they worked with clay mortar and bricks and in very form of slavery in the field - Exodus 1:14a)

Also, the biblical description of how Hebrew slaves suffered under the lash is borne out by the Egyptian papyrus Bologna 1094, telling how two workers fled their taskmaster because he beat them. So it seems the biblical descriptions of Egyptian slavery are accurate.

Conclusively, Semitic slaves there were. However, critics argue there's no archaeological evidence of a Semitic tribe worshiping Yahweh in Egypt.

Because of the muddy conditions of the East Delta, almost no papyri have survived – but those that did, may provide further clues in the search for the lost Israelites.

The papyrus Anastasi VI from around 3200 years ago describes how the Egyptian authorities allowed a group of Semitic nomads from Edom who worshiped Yahweh to pass the border-fortress in the region of Tjeku (Wadi Tumilat) and proceed with their livestock to the lakes of Pithom.

Shortly afterwards, the Israelites enter world history with the Merenptah stele, which bears the first mention of an entity called Israel in Canaan. It is robustly dated at 1210 BCE, i.e., as of writing, 3226 years ago.

These Yahweh worshippers were in ancient Egypt well after the Exodus is supposed to have happened. Members of the Yahweh cult may have existed there earlier, but there is no solid evidence for that. There are, however, indications.

According to the scribe Manetho, the founder of monotheism was Osarisph, who later adopted name Moses, and led his followers out of Egypt in Akhenaten's reign. Akhenaten was the heretic Pharaoh who abolished polytheism and replaced it with monotheism, worshiping only the sun disc, Aten.

In 1987, a team of French archaeologists discovered the tomb of a man named Aper-el or Aperia (his name is spelled both ways in Egyptian inscriptions), commander of the charioteers and vizier to Ahmenotep II and to his son Akhenaten.

The vizier's name ending in -el could well be related to the Hebraic god Elohim; and the ending Aper-Ia could be indicative of Ya, short for Yahweh. This interpretation supports the argument that Hebrews were present in Egypt during the 18th dynasty starting 3600 years ago (1543-1292 BCE).

The famed British Egyptologist Sir Matthew Flinders Petrie holds the reverse view: that Akhenaten was the catalysis for the monotheistic views of the Hebrews, and that the Exodus happened in the 19th dynasty (1292-1189, around 3300 years ago).

So did the Exodus happen? Ask Hatshepsut

Ex. 12:37 says 600,000 men on foot, beside children went out from Egypt. That extrapolates to around two million people making the exodus (extrapolated from Numbers 1:46) .

If around 2 million people left Egypt, when the entire population has been estimated at around 3 to 4.5 million, it would have been noticed, and would have resounded in Egyptian records.

Note that Herodotus claims that a million Persians invaded Greece in 480 BCE. The numbers were undoubtedly exaggerated, as in most ancient records. But nobody claims the invasion of Greece never happened.

That said, as the Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen points out, the Hebrew word for thousand, eleph, can mean different things depending upon context. It can even denote a group/clan or a leader/chief. Elsewhere in the bible, "eleph" could not possibly mean "a thousand. For example: 1 Kings 20:30 mentions a wall falling in Aphek that killed 27,000 men. If we translate eleph as leader, the text more sensibly says that 27 officers were killed by the falling wall. Bv that logic, some scholars propose that the Exodus actually consisted of about 20,000 people.

The absence of evidence of a sojourn in the wilderness proves nothing. A Semitic group in flight wouldn't have left direct evidence: They would not have built cities, built monuments or done anything but leave footprints in the desert sand.

Yet more support for the Haggadah may lie in an interesting poem copied onto a papyrus dating to the 13th century BCE (although original is believed to be much older), called the "Admonitions of Impuwer or the Lord of All").

It portrays a devastated Egypt haunted by plagues, droughts, violent uprisings – culminating in the escape of slaves with Egypt's wealth. In short, the Impuwer papyrus seems to be telling the story of Exodus from the Egyptian point of view, from a river of blood to the devastation of the livestock to darkness.

Also, the Egyptians were not above altering historical records when the truth proved to be embarrassing or went against their political interests. It was not the praxis of the pharaohs to advertise their failures on temple walls for all to see. When Thutmose III came to power, he tried to obliterate the memory of his predecessor, Hatshepsut. Her inscriptions were erased, her obelisks surrounded by a wall, and her monuments were forgotten. Her name does not appear in later annals.

Moreover, records of administration in the east Delta seem entirely gone.

Generally, the biblical writers interpreted actual history, rather than invent it. The ancients knew that propaganda based on real events was more effective than fairy tales. A chronicler might record that King A conquered a city and King B was defeated. A royal scribe might claim that King B offended a God and therefore was punished by the God, who allowed King A to seize his city. To the ancients, both versions would be equally true.

However many Egyptologists or archaeologists dance on the head of a pin, each will have his own perspective on the Exodus story. None will have any evidence beyond contextual evidence to support their theories.

The Exodus could be a distant Semitic memory of the expulsion of Hyksos, or small-scale exoduses by different tribes and groups of Semitic origin during various periods. Or it could be a fable.

Psychologically, though, why would scribes invent a tale about such a humble and humiliating beginning such as slavery? Nobody but the Jews describe their community's beginning in such lowly terms. Most people prefer to connect their leaders to heroic deeds or even to claim a direct lineage to Gods.

At the end of the day it the story of the Exodus is all matter of faith. This article does not aspire to prove the historicity of the Passover Haggadah, or that the Land of Israel was promised to slaves coming out of Egypt. It just proves that there were historical figures and events that could have inspired the Exodus account.

So as we lift our cups and recite the The coming out of Egypt, let us think about the story that has captured the imagination for millennia and remember that sometimes, truth is stranger then fiction; and think back on Aper-el, a Hebrew slave who did not disappear in the mud along with the Yahweh-worshiping nomads who settled in Egypt.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


18 April, 2018  

Moscow has ‘irrefutable’ evidence chem attack in Syria’s Douma was staged – Russia’s envoy to OPCW

The Western allies have no investigative journalists on the ground in Syria while Russia does have people on the ground there, so this could be authoritative.

Canadian climate skeptic Stephen McIntyre reports:  I've collated, inspected, taken earliest observed time of #Douma hospital photos and videos. All come from two jihadists; nearly all from a single room during probably less than half hour with no casualties and no more than 30 individuals (mostly children/babies). Jihadi flash mob?

Moscow has “irrefutable proof” that the alleged chemical incident in Syria’s Douma was a “false-flag attack,” orchestrated by UK security services with support from the United States, the Russian envoy to the OPCW [Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] said.

“We have not just a ‘high level of confidence,’ as our Western partners uniformly put it; we have irrefutable proof that there was no chemical attack in Douma on April 7,” Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons Aleksandr Shulgin said at a special meeting of the UN chemical watchdog’s executive council. The diplomat added that the incident had been a “pre-planned false-flag attack by the British security services, which could have also been aided by their allies in Washington.”

“Things unfolded according to the pre-written scenario prepared by Washington. There’s no doubt, the Americans play ‘first fiddle’ in all of this,” Shulgin said, adding that “attack” was staged by “pseudo-humanitarian NGOs,” [White Helmets] which are under the patronage of the Syrian government’s foreign adversaries.

Russian radiological, chemical and biological-warfare units carefully examined the scene of the alleged attack mentioned in the NGOs’ reports immediately after the liberation of Douma from the militant groups, Shulgin said. He then drew attention to the fact that the Russian military specialists found “not a single piece of evidence” substantiating the claims about the alleged chemical attack. Instead, they found local witnesses who said that the video allegedly showing the aftermath of the perceived attack was in fact staged.

The timing of the attack was also bewildering, the Russian diplomat said, adding that the Syrian government had absolutely no reason to gas its own citizens when the city was already almost liberated from the militants. Under such circumstances, the accusations against Damascus look “absurd,” he said. “The senselessness of these claims is striking,” Shulgin added, referring to the statements of Western leaders.

The US and its allies are not interested in a real investigation into the alleged Douma attack, the Russian envoy to the OPCW said. Washington, London and Paris immediately pinned the blame for the incident on Damascus, and launched strikes against Syrian military and civilian facilities without waiting for the OPCW team even to start its investigation on the ground.


Note:  The strike was of no military significance anyway.  It was just expensive theatre


Rethinking tariffs

The conventional free trade story misses a lot

Opponents of President Trump’s proposed tariffs obscure one important feature of them: they provide revenue for the Federal budget. President William McKinley financed the naval squadron that Admiral George Dewey sailed into Manila Bay to capture the Philippines entirely without an income tax. Looking at our budget today, he would be horrified by the trillion-dollar deficits but would point out that we had deliberately ignored several very substantial revenue sources, which could be used to alleviate the deficit problem. It is time we returned to McKinley-era budget policies, balancing both our tax system and the budget.

In McKinley’s era, both that of the McKinley tariff (1890) and his Presidency, Federal revenue was if anything excessive for the modest demands on the budget. The Congress of 1889-90, which raised tariffs through McKinley’s legislation, was known as the Billion-dollar Congress, because it was the first to spend that amount. However, its problem was not a budget deficit, but a surplus, which would grow larger as McKinley and the Republican Congress imposed a tariff more protectionist than the previous Democrat Grover Cleveland administration. Needless to say, that did not stay a problem for long. “God help the surplus” said James Tanner, head of the main Veterans association in 1889, and sure enough through larger veterans’ pensions the surplus was dissipated, producing a severe budget problem in the next downturn of the early 1890s.

The politicians of McKinley’s era found budget problems easy for two reasons. First, they did not have the huge overblown Federal government we have, with its ever-expanding programs and budget process that perpetually prevents us from eliminating any spending, however useless. This is our biggest problem; ever since left-wing Democrats “reformed” the budget process in 1974 spending has been out of control, with only the toughest, most committed Presidents such as Reagan and, surprisingly, Ford, able to rein it in a little, while weak sisters like the two Bushes are as profligate as any Democrat.

Our other problem, however, which McKinley would instantly spot, is that without tariffs the Federal tax base is too narrow. To get the revenue needed to run the Federal Leviathan, income taxes must be pushed to levels that are both politically unacceptable and economically disastrous. The British had the same problem, at a much lower level of government spending, during their free trade period after 1846. Lord Liverpool in Britain and McKinley in the U.S. knew that the necessary spending (in Liverpool’s case, including huge debt service after a major war) could be financed without doing too much damage, but that a substantial tariff was an essential component in doing this.

According to the latest Congressional Budget Office figures, the Federal budget deficit in the year to September 2020, without any recession having swollen it, will be $1,008 billion, or 4.6% of GDP of $22 trillion, with spending at 21.3% of GDP the main problem. That is unsustainable, especially as a recession must come sometime, and the baby boomers’ social security and Medicare costs are expected to continue increasing through at least 2030. Spending should be drastically reduced to balance the budget, but this is not going to happen anytime soon.

Tariffs, however, can make a big difference, because they flow into the federal government as revenue. This is the essential fallacy in the free trade thesis: free trade, especially unilateral free trade, increases trade, but at the cost of placing intolerable tax burdens on the domestic economy, especially domestic individual taxpayers, thereby weakening its competitiveness. Britain in the late nineteenth century, dissipating its industrial lead through unilateral free trade, is the classic example of what goes wrong.

U.S. imports will be around $250 billion per month in 2020, or $3 trillion in total. A low tariff of 10% on those imports, that figure being an average between zero on some imports and higher rates on others, will yield $300 billion annually (if imports decline because of the tariff, domestic production will correspondingly increase, raising tax revenues in other areas.) That’s 30% of the budget deficit covered, right there, at a tariff level that is very unlikely to damage world trade significantly. As I will shortly demonstrate, this is only one of the areas that have been unfairly exempted from tax; there will be more revenue to come. Still, solving even 30% of the problem is a good start.

Free traders claim that tariffs are universally bad for the economy. However, that does not appear to be true for the tariffs announced by Trump and his Chinese counterparts, which appear in combination to be highly beneficial to the United States. Trump’s tariffs target the tech sector, in particular areas where China has been stealing intellectual property. Reducing Chinese exports of these goods and increasing American companies’ global market share is clearly beneficial to the U.S.

China’s tariffs, on the other hand, target primarily U.S. agricultural commodities, presumably because China thinks the producers of these goods will exert the maximum political pressure on Trump and the Republicans. However, importing H2B visa or illegal immigrants at ultra-low wage rates and unpleasant working conditions in order to produce agricultural commodities that collect a subsidy from U.S. taxpayers before being exported at rock-bottom prices to China is utterly economically counterproductive in about six different ways – the welfare and social costs for the immigrants and their families, the subsidization of agriculture production and exports, you name it. So, the first round of proposed U.S. and Chinese tariffs are a win-win for the U.S., quite apart from the revenue for the Treasury.

More HERE 


Poll: Young Americans Trust Trump More Than Media, Fed Gov’t to ‘Do The Right Thing’

A study of young Americans shows that, even though they skew Democrat, they trust President Donald Trump more than they trust the media to ‘Do the Right Thing” all, or most, of the time.

Neither fared particularly well with the 2,361 18-29 year-olds polled March 8-25, 2018 in the Harvard Kennedy Institute of Politics survey, comprised of 40% Democrats, 21% Republicans, 37% Independents/Unaffiliated (2% No Response).

While 22% trust Pres. Trump to “do the right thing” all or most of the time, only 16% trust the media to do so.

In fact, Trump is more trusted than either the federal government (21%) or Congress (17%) to do the right thing all or most of the time.

Of the 20 government and private sector entities young Americans were asked about, only Wall Street (12%) was considered less likely than the media to do the right thing.



Feds To Audit Gov. Brown’s High-Speed Rail Fiasco

Tens of billions of dollars are being wasted on what should go down in history as “Brown’s Folly,” the utterly impractical plan to connect the Bay Area with the Los Angeles Basin via “high-speed rail” of the variety first developed in Japan in the 1960s – half a century ago.

Finally, a disinterested outside party – the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general – will audit federal funding of the project.  Inspectors general are the heroes of federal spending and probity, as DOJ I.G. Horowitz is demonstrating in real time now. ABC reports:

"California’s high-speed rail project is facing an audit from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s as costs continue to climb.

The inspector general’s audit, announced Thursday, will examine the Federal Railroad Administration’s oversight of nearly $3.5 billion in federal grant money awarded to the project.

It comes as the plan to bring travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in less than three hours faces growing scrutiny.

A business plan released in March shows the state does not have the roughly $30 billion needed to complete the first phase of the project between the Central Valley and San Francisco.  The entire project, meanwhile, is expected to cost $77 billion.  State auditors are also conducting a review."

As faithful AT readers know, the project has repeatedly failed to deliver on promises, and there is no realistic prospect of ever completing it in the form that was promised to California taxpayers when they approved a huge bond issue ($9.95 billion) to “fund” it.

That funding is hopelessly inadequate, especially since the new estimate of $77 billion will certainly continue to escalate.

The game, as every disinterested observer of major California construction projects knows, is to bid low to capture contract and then discover contingencies that require amending the contract and escalating costs.

This process saw the total cost of constructing the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge rise from the early estimate of $1 billion to over $6 billion and, counting the cost of the bonds floated to pay for it, a genuine total of roughly $12 billion that must be repaid from tolls.

There are state audits as well for the high-speed rail project, which still has no plan to complete the new trackage into the L.A. Basin through dozens of miles of mountain tunnels, and into the Bay Area, where land acquisition prices make new tracks too expensive to contemplate.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


17 April, 2018

Why do you hate Israel? The question that hangs over the left, and which no one can answer

Brendan O'Neill below is principally talking about the British Left but to a lesser degree the same applies to the USA.  There's certainly plenty of Leftist hate of Israel on U.S. campuses

Why do you hate Israel more than any other nation? Why does Israel anger you more than any other nation does? Why do Israel’s military activities aggravate you and disturb your conscience and provoke you to outbursts of street protesting or Twitter-fury in a way that no other state’s military activities do? These are the questions that hang darkly over today’s so-called progressives. Which eat away at their self-professed moral authority, at their claims to be practitioners of fairness and equality. They are the questions to which no satisfactory answer has ever been given. So they niggle and fester, expertly avoided, or unconvincingly batted away, a black question mark over much of the modern left: why Israel?

The question has returned in recent days, following violent clashes on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. Like clockwork, with a predictability that now feels just mostly depressing, these clashes that resulted in the deaths of many protesting Palestinians magically awoke an anti-imperialist, anti-war instinct among Western observers that was notably, stubbornly, mysteriously dormant when Turkey recently laid waste to the Kurdish town of Afrin or during any of the recent Western-backed Saudi barbarism visited upon the benighted people of Yemen.

A member of the IDF raises his gun and suddenly the right-minded of the West switch off Spotify, take to Twitter, engage their emotional fury, and say: ‘NO.’ Their political lethargy lifts, their placards are dusted down, and they remember that war and violence are bad. They even go on to the streets, as people did in London and across Europe in recent days. This is evil, they declaim, and that question rises up again, silently, awkwardly, usually ignored: why is this evil but Turkey’s sponsored slaughter of hundreds of Kurdish civilians and fighters in Afrin was not? Why Israel?

Israeli activity doesn’t only elicit a response from these campaigners where Turkish or Saudi or Syrian activity does not – it always elicits a visceral response. The condemnation of Israel is furious and intense, the language used about it is dark, strikingly different to the language used about any other state that engages in military activity. Israel is never just wrong or heavy-handed or a country that ‘foolishly rushes to war’, as protesters would say about Tony Blair and Iraq, and very occasionally about Obama and Libya, and, if they were pressed for an opinion, would probably say about the Turks and the Saudis, too.

No, Israel is genocidal. It is a terrorist state, a rogue state, an apartheid state. It is mad, racist, ideological. It doesn’t do simple militarism – it does ‘bloodletting’; it derives some kind of pleasure from killing civilians, including children. As one observer said during the clashes at the Gaza border, Israel kills those whose only crime is to have been ‘born to non-Jewish mothers’. Israel hates. This Jewish State is the worst state, the most bloodthirsty state.

Following the deaths of 18 Palestinians on the Gaza border, Glenn Greenwald denounced Israel as an ‘apartheid, rogue, terrorist state’, like a man reaching for as many ways as possible to say ‘evil’. One left-wing group says Israel’s behaviour at the Gaza border confirms it is enforcing a ‘slow genocide’ on the Palestinians. The ‘scale of the bloodletting’ is horrifying, says one radical writer. Israel loves to draw blood. A writer for Al-Jazeera says the clashes are a reminder that Israel has turned Gaza into ‘the biggest concentration camp on the surface of the Earth’.

And that question, that unanswerable, or certainly unanswered, question, rises up once more: why is Gaza a concentration camp but Yemen, which has been subject to a barbaric sea, land and air blockade since 2015 that has resulted in devastating shortages of food and medicine, causing famine and the rampant spread of diseases like cholera, is not? By any measurement, the blockade on Yemen is worse than any restrictions that have been placed on Gaza. People in Gaza are not starving to death or contracting cholera in their tens of thousands, as Yemenis are. Yet Gaza is a concentration camp while Yemen, when they can be bothered to comment on it, is a war zone. Israel is agitated against, Saudi Arabia is not. Saudi Arabia makes war; Israel commits ‘genocide’, it builds ‘concentration camps’, it carries out ‘terrorism’. And they should know better, these Jews. That is the subtext, always: the victims of genocide turned genocidal maniacs.

Across the mainstream, Israeli activity is always treated differently. The Gaza clashes were frontpage news in a way that the worse horrors of Afrin just days and weeks earlier rarely were. Left-leaning politicians, including leaders of the UK Labour Party, tweet stern condemnations of Israel’s shootings on the Gaza border where they were silent, or at least more restrained, in relation to Turkey and the Kurds.

Academic and cultural institutions boycott Israel where they do not boycott Turkey, or China, or Russia, or America and Britain for that matter, which have done their fair share of bad things – ‘bloodletting’? – in the Middle East in recent years. That only Israel is boycotted by the self-styled guardians of the West’s moral conscience, by our cultural and academic elites, constantly communicates the idea that Israel is different. It is worse. It stands above every other state in terms of wickedness and hatred and war. BDS institutionalises the idea that Israel is alien among the nations, a pock among countries, the lowest, foulest state. It is a bleak irony that BDS activists holler ‘apartheid!’ or ‘racist!’ at Israel while subjecting Israel to a kind of cultural apartheid and contributing to the ugly view of this state, this Jewish state, as the maddest state, the state most deserving of your anger and even your hatred.

There have been attempts to answer that question, that looming question of ‘Why Israel?’, especially following recent controversies over the expression of anti-Semitic ideas in left-wing circles, including in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. But the answers have been spectacularly unconvincing. Israel deserves Western campaigners’ special fury because it is backed by Western leaders, our leaders, they say. So is Turkey. And the Saudis. Israel’s repression of the Palestinians has been going on for a very long time and so it feels like a grave injustice we must address, they argue. And Turkey’s war against the Kurds hasn’t been going on for a long time? Israel punishes Palestinians culturally and politically and that makes it a special case, they claim, as they throw around terms like ‘apartheid’ to describe life in and between Israel and the Palestinian Territories and in the process distort the reality of what happens there.

But again there is Turkey, disrupting their thin, self-serving narrative. Turkey genuinely seeks to strip away the cultural heritage and language and aspiration to independence of the Kurds, and on that they say nothing, or certainly little. They don’t gather outside theatres in London when Turkish actors perform there. They don’t shout down Turkish violinists at the Proms. They don’t demand that Turkish academics and their books be expelled from American and British universities. No, only Israelis. Only them. Only those people.

There is no getting away from it: the thing that is really unique about Israel is how much they hate it. Israel stands out not because of what it does, but because of how they talk about what it does: as strange, bloody, vindictive, disruptive, genocidal, this ‘gang of thugs indoctrinated by an ideology that dehumanises children’, as the Al-Jazeera writer described Israel this week. Say it, why don’t you. They are fascists. The victims of fascism now practise fascism. This is the sentiment behind much of the myopic focus on Israel: that the Jews now do to others what people once did to them.

Even though actually they don’t. Even though they do nothing that bears even the remotest resemblance to the Nazis’ effort to exterminate the Jews. And yet on anti-Israel demos, placards compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto, people implore the Jews to remember their own suffering, Israeli flags with swastikas on them are held up. This is not anti-imperialist, it is anti-Jewish; it is the gravest insult to say that Jews or the Jewish State are the new Nazis, and they know it is a grave insult.

The treatment of Israel as uniquely colonialist, as an exemplar of racism, as the commissioner of the kind of crimes against humanity we thought we had left in the darkest moments of the 20th century, really captures what motors today’s intense fury with Israel above all other nations: it has been turned into a whipping boy for the sins of Western history, a punch-bag for those who feel shame or discomfort with the political and military excesses of their own nations’ pasts and who now register that shame and discomfort by raging against what they view, hyperbolically, as a lingering expression of that past: Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians.

They heap every horror of the past on to Israel, hence their denunciation of it as ideological, racist, imperialistic, even genocidal – in their eyes, and courtesy of their campaigning, Israel comes to symbolise the crimes of yesteryear. So when 18 Palestinians are killed, it is not simply a tragedy, it is not simply excessive, it is certainly not something that requires serious, nuanced discussion, including about the role of Hamas in organising such protests in order to shore up international sympathy for Palestinian victimhood. No, it is an act that reminds us of the entire history of colonialism and racial chauvinism and of concentration camps and genocide, because this is what Israel now reminds people of; they project their post-colonial guilt and scepticism about the Western project on to this tiny state in the Middle East.

The rage against Israel is actually more therapeutic than political. It is not about seriously addressing the reality of life and conflict in the Middle East, but rather is driven by the narrow needs of Western observers and activists for an entity they can fume against in order to give release to their own sense of historical and political disorientation. But the impact of this therapeutic rage, this almost primal-scream therapy against Israel, is dire. It contributes to the growing conspiratorial view that certain people, you know who they are, have a uniquely disruptive influence on international affairs, political life, and everyday safety and security.

‘It isn’t anti-Semitic to criticise Israel’, observers say, and they are absolutely right. Every nation state must be open to criticism and protest. But if you only criticise Israel, or you criticise Israel disproportionately to every other state, and if your criticism of Israel is loaded with Holocaust imagery and talk of bloodletting, and if you boycott Israel and no other nation, and if you flatter the dark imaginings of the far right and Islamists and conspiracy theorists by fretting over a super powerful Israel Lobby, and if the sight of an Israeli violinist is too much for you to stomach, then, I’m sorry, that has the hallmarks of anti-Semitism.



Trump Overhauls Medicaid, Food Stamps and Public Housing in Landmark Executive Order

This is change conservatives can really believe in. While much of the mainstream media was occupied with analyzing Monday’s FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, the president himself was making a different kind of history earlier this week by overhauling the country’s welfare programs to make able-bodied recipients work or risk losing their benefits.

In an executive order signed Tuesday, Trump imposed a 90-day deadline for all federal agencies that administer aid programs to review their work requirements and come up with ways to make them stronger.

As Investor’s Business Daily noted, the federal government has plenty of examples of states that have cut their welfare rolls and put recipients back to work by imposing work requirements.

Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky are among the states that have decided that making work a requirement for public aid is good for the public coffers as well as the recipient.

Trump’s executive order is titled “Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility” and that pretty sell sums up the rationale. It states in part (emphasis added):

“The federal government should do everything within its authority to empower individuals by providing opportunities for work, including by investing in federal programs that are effective at moving people into the workforce and out of poverty.  It must examine federal policies and programs to ensure that they are consistent with principles that are central to the American spirit — work, free enterprise, and safeguarding human and economic resources.  For those policies or programs that are not succeeding in those respects, it is our duty to either improve or eliminate them.”

Basically, welfare that simply prolongs dependency by families across generations is bad for the families involved, it’s bad for the American spirit, and it’s bad for a system of government that depends on the informed choices of the governed.

In a nutshell, individuals who work for their own living are individuals who can be functioning parts of a democracy. Of course, poor people on welfare have the right to vote. But they might be a little more careful how public dollars are spent if they were actually contributing to them.

While the executive order went largely unreported by the mainstream media — FBI raids on the president’s lawyer are so much sexier than substantive policy changes — the measure is a sign of just how adept the still-young Trump administration is becoming at handling the twin responsibilities of foreign policy challenges and domestic policy reforms.

While facing a crisis in Syria that ultimately culminated (for the moment) in Friday’s missile strikes in conjunction with Britain and France, Trump still had time to issue an executive order overhauling key elements of the welfare state.

On social media, many liberals — as they always do — cried about the unfairness of making public assistance recipients work for their benefits. But for many conservatives, the action was yet another step in the direction of dumping the Barack Obama legacy of swelling the country’s food-stamp rolls.

Of course, liberals are screaming, because the power of liberal government in a democracy grows with every citizen who is dependent on the government.

That’s why liberals love public employees — they’re dependent on the government, too — and welfare recipients.

Since Trump took office, he has made it clear he doesn’t feel obligated to grow the federal bureaucracy, and with this latest executive order, he’s taking a concrete step to reduce the number of Americans who depend on the government for their daily bread.

Cutting federal payrolls. Cutting the welfare rolls.

After eight years of Obama swelling both, that’s definitely change a conservative can believe in.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


16 April, 2018

Trump and the White Helmets

Churchill once described the Soviet Union as "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". The same could be said of Syria at the moment.  Ascertaining what is actually going on there is very difficult and dogged with disinformation from several sources.  A major reason for that is the sheer danger of being there at all. So the Western media seem to have no-one on the ground there at all.  They are not going to risk the precious Leftist skins of their journalists just for the sake of the truth. They rely on feeds from Syria which are all likely to be compromised.

And that is where the White Helmets come in.  They masquerade as peace and humanitarian workers and have been adopted by the West.  It appears however that they are all old El Qaeda supporters.  Since nobody else was claiming to be peace workers, the Western authorities have done a Nelson and turned a blind eye to the dubious origins of the White Helmets. With Osama bin Laden dead and ISIS stealing their thunder, El Qaeda is a shadow of its former self but it has not gone away. And it is the White Helmets who are the sources principally relied on by the Western media for their news feeds out of Syria.

So it is entirely likely that Russia is right in claiming that the chemical weapon attacks in Syria were in fact a put-up job by the White Helmets. Who was in a position to question what the White Helmets said?  There seems little doubt that two chemical attacks did happen.  Nobody is questioning that.  The big issue is "Who dun it?".  Who was responsible for it? 

You can work out the answer to that by looking at what nearly happened if Mr Trump had fallen for it.  The White Helmets very nearly started a war between the USA and Russia!   What rejoicing throughout Syria that would have generated!  So I think all logic is on the side of the Russian account.

And Trump was initially taken in.  But wise counsel obviously got to him and pointed out the difficulty of pinning responsibility for the deaths on anyone.  Trump then did a big backtrack and said that an American strike would happen "maybe never".  That was his response to the difficulty of assigning blame.  He was prepared to do nothing in the circumstances.

Then President Macron of France waded into the issue and strongly suggested that France would strike at Syria.  Macron claimed to have complete proof that Assad was responsible.  On what grounds?  Much flimsier grounds than he claimed.  I have read Macron's dossier and it is all "highly probable" claims -- guesswork in other words.

But Trump liked the idea of a joint French/British/American strike on Syria.  American relations with Britain and France have been under strain ever since Trump got into office and this was a great opportunity to restore co-operation and friendship. It was too good to miss

But what about the target?  Targeting any of the Russian/Syrian facilities in Syria would be just what El Qaeda wanted -- so the targets had to be non-military. So alleged centers of chemical weapon production and design were the perfect target. They would be good targets even if no gas attacks had occurred. Chemical weapons are just always BAD! No excuses needed for attacking them.

That Russia was not directly involved with those targets was shown by the fact that all of the cruise missiles appear to have gotten  through and no planes were lost.  Cruise missiles are SLOW -- about the same speed as a Boeing airliner -- and the feared Russian S-400 anti-aircraft battery could have slaughtered them. Obvious conclusion:  The S-400 was not deployed to protect those targets.  The S-400 appears to have been deployed to protect only the joint Russian/Syrian airbase near Latakia.

So the Syrian and Russian armed forces are intact and able to operate as before despite all the huffing and puffing about how evil they are.  Neither Mr Assad nor Mr Putin are likely to be too put out.

Conclusion:  The raid got big kudos for Trump from almost everybody -- at minimal cost and at only symbolic damage to Russia.  Mr Trump is a statesman for the ages. He navigated a brilliant path though a very dangerous challenge.


Lavrov: Swiss lab says ‘BZ toxin’ used in Salisbury, not produced in Russia, was in US & UK service

The Skripal affair has always smelled.  The British government rushed to blame Russia (sorry for the pun) long before it had any evidence of Russian involvement in the poisoning.  And initially the British chemical weapons establishment at Porton Down said it could not tell where the chemical agent came from.  The alleged Novichok agent is an old one and there are quite a few derivatives of it that are used in a number of countries -- so certainty about blame was always going to be difficult.  Eventually, presumably under political pressure, Porton Down changed its mind and said the stuff definitely came from Russia.

I was relating all this to a friend who had been out of contact with the news for a couple of months.  I noted that the alleged Novichok had not in fact killed anyone and all those affected were making a good recovery.  He guffawed at that, saying:  "If Russia had done it they would be dead".  That is my conclusion too.

And how is it that Britain refuses to hand over to Russia any samples of the not-so-deadly agent?  What are they afraid  Russia might find?  Only the Americans and the Swiss have been given samples.  But the Swiss are people of considerable integrity and it seems that they have denied that any Novichok was present in the samples. So the whole coverup of Mrs May's rush to a mistaken judgment seems to be coming apart.  The poisoning seems to be some sort of amateur effort by parties unknown

The substance used on Sergei Skripal was an agent called BZ, according to Swiss state Spiez lab, the Russian foreign minister said. The toxin was never produced in Russia, but was in service in the US, UK, and other NATO states.

Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab that worked with the samples that London handed over to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Swiss center sent the results to the OPCW. However, the UN chemical watchdog limited itself only to confirming the formula of the substance used to poison the Skripals in its final report without mentioning anything about the other facts presented in the Swiss document, the Russian foreign minister added. He went on to say that Moscow would ask the OPCW about its decision to not include any other information provided by the Swiss in its report.

Lavrov said that the Swiss center that assessed the samples is actually the Spiez Laboratory. This facility is a Swiss state research center controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.

The Russian foreign minister said that London refused to answer dozens of “very specific” questions asked by Moscow about the Salisbury case, as well as to provide any substantial evidence that could shed light on the incident. Instead, the UK accused Russia of failing to answer its own questions, he said, adding that, in fact, London did not ask any questions but wanted Moscow to admit that it was responsible for the delivery of the chemical agent to the UK.

The scandal erupted in early March, when former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in critical condition in the town of Salisbury. Top UK officials almost immediately pinned the blame on Russia.

Moscow believes that the entire Skripal case lacks transparency and that the UK is in fact not interested in an independent inquiry. "We get the impression that the British government is deliberately pursuing the policy of destroying all possible evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making a transparent investigation impossible," the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said during a press conference on Friday.



How Ignorant We Are

By Walter E. Williams

Here's a question for you: In 1950, would it have been possible for anyone to know all of the goods and services that we would have at our disposal 50 years later? For example, who would have thought that we'd have cellphones, Bluetooth technology, small powerful computers, LASIK and airplanes with 525-passenger seating capacity?

This list could be extended to include thousands of goods and services that could not have been thought of in 1950. In the face of this gross human ignorance, who should be in control of precursor goods and services? Seeing as it's impossible for anyone to predict the future, any kind of governmental regulation should be extremely light-handed, so as not to sabotage technological advancement.

Compounding our ignorance is the fact that much of what we think we know is not true. Scientometrics is the study of measuring and analyzing science, technology and innovation. It holds that many of the "facts" you know have a half-life of about 50 years. Let's look at a few examples.

You probably learned that Pluto is a planet. But since August 2006, Pluto has been considered a dwarf planet. It's just another object in the Kuiper belt.

Because dinosaurs were seen as members of the class Reptilia, they were thought to be coldblooded. But recent research suggests that dinosaurs were fast-metabolizing endotherms whose activities were unconstrained by temperature.

Years ago, experts argued that increased K-12 spending and lower pupil-teacher ratios would boost students' academic performance. It turned out that some of the worst academic performance has been at schools spending the most money and having the smallest class sizes. Washington, D.C., spends more than $29,000 per student every year, and the teacher-student ratio is 1-to-13; however, its students are among the nation's poorest-performing pupils.

At one time, astronomers considered the size limit for a star to be 150 times the mass of our sun. But recently, a star (R136a1) was discovered that is 265 times the mass of our sun and had a birth weight that was 320 times that of our sun.

If you graduated from medical school in 1950, about half of what you learned is either wrong or outdated. For an interesting story on all this, check out Reason magazine. Ignorance can be devastating. Say that you recently purchased a house. Was it the best deal you could have gotten? Was there some other house within your budget that would have needed fewer extensive repairs 10 years later and had more likable neighbors and a better and safer environment for your children? What about the person you married? Was there another person available to you who would have made for a more pleasing and compatible spouse?

Though these are important questions, the most intelligent answer you can give to all of them is: "I don't know." If you don't know, who should be in charge of making those decisions? Would you delegate the responsibility to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Donald Trump, Ben Carson or some other national or state official?

You might say, "Stop it, Williams! Congressmen and other public officials are not making such monumental decisions affecting my life." Try this. Suppose you are a 22-year-old healthy person. Rather than be forced to spend $3,000 a year for health insurance and have $7,000 deducted from your salary for Social Security, you'd prefer investing that money to buy equipment to start a landscaping business. Which would be the best use of the $10,000 you earned — purchasing health insurance and paying into Social Security or starting up a landscaping business? More importantly, who would be better able to make that decision — you or members of the United States Congress?

The bottom line is that ignorance is omnipresent. The worst kind of ignorance is not knowing just how ignorant we are. That leads to the devastating pretense of knowledge that's part and parcel of the vision of intellectual elites and politicians.



Federal Government Has Cut 21,000 Jobs Under Trump

The federal government cut an additional 1,000 jobs in March, bringing the total number of federal government jobs eliminated since President Donald Trump took office to 21,000, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In December 2016, the month before Trump was inaugurated, the federal government employed 2,810,000. In March 2018, that was down to 2,789,000.

While the federal workforce has been downsizing since December 2016, the overall government workforce in the United States has been increasing—thanks to an increase in employment by local governments.

Total government employment in the country (including federal, state and local government employment) has climb by 20,000 since December 2016—rising from 22,306,000 that month to 22,326,000 this March.

Like the federal government, state governments have cut employment. In December 2016, state governments employed 5,145,000. In March 2018, they employed 5,113,000—a decline of 32,000. In March alone, state governments cut 1,000 jobs—dropping from 5,114,000 in February to 5,113,000 in March.

But state local governments increased their employees from 14,351,000 in December 2016 to 14,424,000 in March 2018—a climb of 73,000. From February to March, local government employment increased by 3,000, rising from 14,421,000 to 14,424,000.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


15 April, 2018  

'The View’ Pushes Panic That ‘Trump Could Turn America Into a Fascist Country’
These brainless old hens show vividly that they are just scratching around in the dust and have no clue about their subject.  Both Mussolini and Hitler were energetic socialists.  Where are Trump's socialist tendencies? 

It was Obama who tried to do an end-run around Congress with "a pen and a phone".  That pen and phone created a whole host of regulations -- which Trump is now busily abolishing.  So who is the Fascist again?

Once again we have that good ol' Leftist projection: Blaming on  others what is true of themselves. Freud would understand.

Note: To protect myself from the speech police, I should note that I don't claim the ladies ARE old hens.  Their behaviour just reminds me of old hens scratching for minutiae in the dirt

The women of The View, Tuesday, eagerly promoted the idea that a fascist Donald Trump might bring a dictatorial reign to America. Promoting ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s new book, the ABC show’s announcer panicked: “Why is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright warning that President Trump could turn America into a fascist country?”

Previewing Albright’s appearance on the show, the announcer hyped: “Still ahead, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on why she says Donald Trump is the most anti-democratic president in American history.”

Co-host Sara Haines uncritically promoted the threat of fascism under Trump:

We want to talk about your book. So Fascism: A Warning. You write, “Some may view this book and its title as alarmist, good.” That's your quote. Coming from you, that should scare a lot of people. Are you actually afraid that America could become a fascist nation?

Trump has been president for over a year and the 2018 midterms are still scheduled for November 6, 2018. If you believe the media, the Republicans are headed for an electoral wipe out. So, it’s a little hard to see where the fascism comes in.

Albright vaguely explained how her book, which mentions Hitler and Mussolini, compares to current politics: “I'm worried about some of the steps that take place and the reason I wrote the book is really historical in terms of what happens in other countries.” 

Joy Behar helpfully announced “attack on the press” and “lying” as examples of Trump’s connection to fascism. However, on January 5, 2016, Behar admitted that Ted Kennedy abandoning a woman to drown and Bill Clinton lying about sexual abuse don’t matter to her:

People have to understand, it's policy. Teddy Kennedy. Remember Chappaquiddick?.... A girl drowns and he abandons her and she drowned and women still voted for Teddy Kennedy. Why? Because he voted for women's rights. That's why. That's the bottom line of it in my opinion. I mean, I don't like either one of them, to tell you the truth, Teddy or Bill. They're both dogs as far as I'm concerned. But I still will vote for Bill Clinton because he votes in my favor.

So maybe her concerns about “fascism” ring a little hollow

More HERE 


Trump Derangement Syndrome is getting bad

Bill Kristol, in an attempt to stay relevant, has shown just how crazy he has become. Kristol is the founding director of Republicans for the Rule of Law, a group dedicated to protecting Special Council Robert Mueller. Kristol intends to run the ads during Fox and Friends in the hope of reaching the President. Kristol, like most establishment Republicans, want an endless investigation into President Trump in the hopes he will be impeached, and they can regain control of the party they believe belongs to them. Kristol and his ilk have proven they will stop at nothing to end the presidency of Trump, even if they have to spit on everything they’ve ever done in the past.

Mr. Kristol himself was once considered a standard bearer of conservativism but has caught a full-blown case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS). Symptoms include ignoring potential crimes and constitutional violations committed by those going after President Trump.

One of the more obvious examples of Kristol’s TDS was his mocking of the memo produced by the House Intelligence Committee, known as the Nunes memo. In a Twitter post, Kristol bashed the Nunes memo calling the information in the memo “embarrassing.” What most people found embarrassing was the idea the FBI and DOJ misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and used a political opposition research document to spy on political opponents. Apparently, Kristol is okay with police state tactics as long as he is the beneficiary.

If Kristol and cohorts knew how to use google, they could easily find several instances in Mueller’s career where he acted less than honorable.

During the 1980s Robert Mueller was an assistant U.S. attorney then acting U.S. attorney in Boston. During this time, under his supervision, the FBI was running an informant one James “Whitey” Bulger. While under the protection of the FBI and DOJ, Bulger would expand his criminal empire. Also, during this time, Bulger divulged that four men convicted of murder in 1965 were innocent.

Did the FBI and DOJ look into the case to clear the innocent men? No, in fact, Muller wrote letters to parole and pardon boards to keep the men in prison after the FBI and DOJ knew of their innocence. The actions of the DOJ and FBI were so egregious, in 2007 a jury awarded more than $101 million in damages to the surviving men and their families, two of the men died in prison innocent of the crimes they were in prison for. Does this sound honorable?

What about the anthrax case? Hardly what one would call honorable service. According to Carl Cannon from Real Clear Politics, Robert Mueller zeroed in on one suspect, Steven Hatfill, while ignoring tips and evidence leading to the actual anthrax killer, Bruce Edwards Ivins. Carl Cannon stated, “the bureau was bullied into focusing on the government scientist by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy (whose office, along with that of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, was targeted by an anthrax-laced letter) and was duped into focusing on Hatfill by two sources – a conspiracy-minded college professor with a political agenda who’d never met Hatfill and by Nicholas Kristof, who put his conspiracy theories in the paper while mocking the FBI for not arresting Hatfill.”

Hatfill had his life turned upside down for years with the full weight of the federal government bearing down on him. After years of legal torture, the DOJ would drop the case, exonerate Hatfill, and pay him a seven-figure legal settlement. But perhaps the most insulting aspect of the case is the Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller couldn’t be troubled to apologize to Hatfill for years of harassment.

Is this what Bill Kristol considers honorable? Leaving innocent men in jail and harassing innocent suspects for years and not even apologizing when you are proven wrong does not seem to fit on the honorable scale I know.

Mr. Kristol may have more credibility if he could answer one question, what crime is Mueller investigating? Mr. Kristol cannot answer that question, because he does not care. In his hatred of President Trump, the former Republican has adopted tactics that would make Joseph Stalin proud. Mr. Kristol is apparently adopting the motto of the Soviet Secret Police, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Kristol and his latest group seem to take more after Stalin than Washington.

This is a challenge issued to all Bill Kristol and all former federal prosecutors serving in Congress that keep covering up for Mueller, explain why Robert Mueller leaving innocent men in jail is honorable. Explain why Mueller ruining an innocent man’s life in a politically motivated investigation is honorable. They can’t, and they won’t. All their latest stunt is doing is proving what many grassroots limited government conservatives knew all along, there is no difference between them and the Democrats.



All is well in Trumpland

A Leftist reports

While progressives focus on the Robert Mueller Russia investigation, the constant churn in White House staff, tariffs that seem to be backfiring, and the president’s unwillingness to read his notes prior to a phone call with Vladmir Putin, all is well — mostly — in Trumpland.

In my ongoing research with 450 voters from across the political spectrum, 225 voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Despite the drama and chaos surrounding our president, over 90 percent of those who voted for him tell me that they have no regrets about their choice. To them, hope and change is finally here: a president whose outrage matches theirs, who is committed daily to focusing on their key issues, and who is moving at record speed. Says Theresa from Virginia, “The establishment is turning out to be the Titanic — and the rogue captain is off on a speedboat.”

The predominant theme for Trump voters is the economy. Jeff, a Wall Street executive, sends me statistics weekly about improvements in the Dow Jones, unemployment rates, and consumer confidence. For most, however, it’s more about how those metrics are affecting both their psyches and their pocketbooks. Just as Hillary Clinton’s remark about “deplorables” was the nail in the coffin for her candidacy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remark about tax cuts producing “crumbs” for workers made over 80 percent of my voters recoil. “I would like Pelosi to take a look at my paycheck,” says Hope from Ohio. “Maybe an extra $252 every month isn’t much to her or to the liberal elites, but to me, it has been life-changing.” Hope says her neighbors feel the same way, and that one neighbor was moved to tears when she saw the difference in her take-home pay. Ron, a conservative from Mississippi, agrees. “Down here, there is a feeling of momentum. In our churches and even in our bars, people are talking about more business, more pay and less taxes. I know that there are other issues in the country, but when you are in debt and trying to feed your family, not much else matters.”

People often ask me how Trump supporters can ignore the chaos in the White House, the character flaws, and the lying. It’s mostly because over half of Americans can’t make ends meet; people report how they pay more than half of their income in rent, avoid going to the doctor because they can’t afford the copayment, and lie awake at night worrying about whether they can pay utility bills. Says Stan, of West Virginia, who took on an extra evening job temporarily so that his family could travel to his niece’s wedding: “I am so tired that I barely know what those kids in Parkland are marching for.”

Trump supporters are troubled by the president’s behavior, but it doesn’t surprise them. Says Kenny from Louisiana, “I think Trump lies daily, and by that I mean, he’s a classic salesman. Everything is millions and billions, smooth and the best. He won’t be negative about anything. Do I think he has stuff in the closet that he doesn’t want out and may lie about? Yes. I couldn’t care less. He never preached he was a saint and then all of the sudden we found out he had horns. We all knew this and accepted it.”

“Trump was not my first, second, or third choice in the GOP pool,” says Lucinda from Kentucky. “I think he needs to quit tweeting and quit responding to personal attacks from the media and celebrities. He just needs to tweet about what he is doing for the country. To me, he is very immature, but performance-wise, he’s doing a great job.” Lucinda and others have a list of what they see as the president’s accomplishments: more than 2 million jobs created, the elimination of unnecessary regulations, reduced illegal immigration, the decline in the threat of ISIS, and the renegotiation of unfair trade agreements.

Adds Britta from Michigan, “Whenever we are appalled about Trump’s sexual misconduct, let’s remember that he is not the first sexual predator to occupy the Oval Office.”

Interestingly, two-thirds of Trump supporters tell me they believe that Mueller should be allowed to continue his investigation. Most believe that the special counsel’s effort is a very expensive “witch hunt,” but they believe that the optics of firing Mueller would mean that Trump has something to hide.

Translation: We like the economy, we like the progress, we don’t like the man very much.

When I ask Trump supporters about the Democrats, most no longer know what the party stands for. Some see a party that doesn’t represent them: They believe that the Democrats cater to the very rich (“celebrities, football players, and Ivy Leaguers”) or the very poor — but not to them. Or, they observe a party obsessed with racial and gender issues above all else. Phil, from Florida, responded by sending me a comic strip, showing a TV announcer: “Tonight we skip the tremendous growing economy and go straight to a bad word Trump said.”

Here’s the irony. Trump supporters tell me they are open to voting for people from either party whose priorities are close to theirs. They are especially interested in candidates “with good values” who care about helping them prosper. Says Jonas from New Mexico, “I just cannot see myself voting for a liberal Democrat who hates guns and loves abortion, like some of the leaders in Congress — but I can certainly get excited about some new, more reasonable leader who wants to help my children realize the American Dream.” This is partially why moderate Democratic candidates, like Doug Jones of Alabama and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, are succeeding. They are getting support both from progressives and from moderate Republicans, including those who voted for the President.

As the Democrats search for the soul of their party, these nuances make all the difference. Although the president lies, Trump supporters believe almost all politicians lie; although they don’t like the president’s style, they overlook it in support of priorities that matter to them; although they cringe at the president’s words, they support him because of what they feel he has accomplished. And, although they would never vote for someone on the far left, they are open to someone – Republican or Democrat – whom they believe has their back.

Until then, that brash, nasty guy remains their champion.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


13 April, 2018

The swamp is a huge drag on us all

Matt Ridley

While the world economy continues to grow at more than 3 per cent a year, mature economies, from Europe to Japan, are coagulating, unable to push economic growth above sluggish. The reason is that we have more and more vested interests against innovation in the private as well as the public sector.

Continuing prosperity depends on enough people putting money and effort into what the economist Joseph Schumpeter called creative destruction. The normal state of human affairs is what The jurist Sir Henry Maine called a “status” society, in which income is assigned to individuals by authority. The shift to a “contract” society, in which people negotiate their own rewards, was an aberration and it’s fading. I am writing this from Amsterdam and am reminded we caught the idea off the Dutch, whose impudent prosperity so annoyed the ultimate status king, Louis XIV.

In most western economies, it is once again more rewarding to invest your time and effort in extracting nuggets of status wealth, rather than creating new contract wealth, and it has got worse since the great recession, as zombie firms kept alive by low interest rates prevent the recycling of capital into new ideas. A new book by two economists, Brink Lindsey and Steven Teles, called The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality, argues that “rent-seeking” behaviour — the technical term for extracting nuggets — explains the slow growth and rising inequality in the US.

They make the case that, in four areas, there is ever more opportunity to live off “rents” from artificial scarcity created by government regulation: financial services, intellectual property, occupational licensing and land use planning: “The rents enjoyed through government favouritism not only misallocate resources in the short term but they also discourage dynamism and growth over the long term.”

Here, too, hidden subsidies ensure that financial services are a lucrative closed shop; patents and copyrights reward the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries with monopolies known as blockbusters; occupational licensing gives those with requisite letters after their name ever more monopoly earning power; and planning laws drive up the prices of properties. Such rent seeking redistributes wealth regressively — that is to say, upwards — by creating barriers to entry and rewarding the haves at the expense of the have-nots. True, the tax and benefit system then redistributes income back downwards just enough to prevent post-tax income inequality from rising. But government is taking back from the rich in tax that which it has given to them in monopoly.

As an author, my future grandchildren will earn (modest) royalties from my books thanks to lobbying by American corporations to extend copyright to an absurd 70 years after I am dead. Yet there is no evidence that patents and copyrights incentivise innovation, except in a very few cases. Indeed, say Lindsey and Teles, the evidence suggests that “rents that now accrue to movie studios, record companies, software producers, pharmaceutical firms, and other [intellectual property] holders amount to a significant drag on innovation and growth, the very opposite of IP law’s stated purpose.”

[Thomas Babington Macaulay MP summarised an early attempt to extend copyright in a debate thus: "The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers. The tax is an exceedingly bad one; it is a tax on one of the most innocent and most salutary of human pleasures; and never let us forget, that a tax on innocent pleasures is a premium on vicious pleasures." A correspondent sends me the following details of this appalling saga: "Someone noted that there is a divergence in copyright term in the European Union.

All the then member states protect works for the life of the author plus fifty years while West Germany alone protects works for the life of the author plus seventy years. Immediately the copyright publishers suggested this as something in need of harmonisation. But instead of harmonising down to the norm, all the member states were lobbied to harmonise up to the unique German standard. As a result, Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" which was going out of copyright in 1995 was suddenly revived and protected as a copyrighted work throughout the European Union.

Gilbert and Sullivan operettas whose copyright had been controlled by the stultifying hand of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company found themselves in a position to once again stop anyone else performing Gilbert and Sullivan works or creating anything based upon them. It is not surprising that, following a brief flowering of new creativity when the Gilbert and Sullivan copyrights initially expired (e.g. Joseph Papp's production of Pirates on Broadway and the West End stage), since their revival by the European Union harmonisation legislation their use have become effectively moribund. A generation of young people are growing up without knowing anything about Gilbert and Sullivan - an art form which, it can be argued, gave birth to the modern American and British musical theatre."]

As for occupational licensing, Professor Len Shackleton of the University of Buckingham argues that it is mostly a racket to exploit consumers. After centuries of farriers shoeing horses, uniquely in Europe in 1975 a private members bill gave the Farriers Registration Council the right to prosecute those who shod horses without its qualification.

Then there are energy prices. Lobbying by renewable energy interests has resulted in a system in which hefty additions are made to people’s energy bills to reward investors in wind, solar and even carbon dioxide-belching biomass plants. The rewards go mostly to the rich; the costs fall disproportionately on the poor, for whom energy bills are a big part of their budgets.

An example of how crony capitalism stifles innovation: Dyson found that the EU energy levels standards for vacuum cleaners were rigged in favour of German manufacturers. The European courts rebuffed Dyson’s attempts to challenge the rules, but Dyson won on appeal and then used freedom of information requests to uncover examples of correspondence between a group of German manufacturers and the EU, while representations by European consumer groups were ignored.

So deeply have most businesses become embedded in government cronyism that it is hard to draw the line between private, public and charitable entities these days. Is BAE Systems or Carillion really a private enterprise any more than Oxford University, Oxfam, Oxfordshire county council or the NHS? All are heavily dependent on government contracts, favours or subsidies; all are closely regulated; all have well-paid senior managers extracting rent with little risk, and thickets of middle-ranking bureaucrats incentivised to resist change. Disruptive start-ups are rare as pandas; the vast majority work for corporate brontosaurs.

Capitalism and the free market are opposites, not synonyms. Some in the Tory party grasp this. Launching Freer, a new initiative to remind the party of the importance of freedom, two new MPs, Luke Graham and Lee Rowley, not only lambast fossilised socialism and anachronistic unions, but also boardrooms “peppered with oligarchical and monopolist cartels”.

One of the most insightful books of recent years was The Innovation Illusion by Fredrik Erixon and Bj?rn Weigel, which argues that big companies increasingly spend their profits not on innovation but on share buybacks and other “rents”. Far from swashbuckling enterprise, much big business is “increasingly hesitant to invest and innovate”. Like Kodak and Nokia they resist having to reinvent themselves even unto death. Microsoft “was too afraid of destroying the value of Windows” to go where software was heading.

As a result, globalisation, far from being a spur to change, is an increasingly conservative force. “In several sectors, the growing influence of large and global firms has increasingly had the effect of slowing down market dynamism and reducing the spirit of corporate experimentation”.

The real cause of Trump-Brexit disaffection is not too much change, but too little. We need to “radically reduce the restrictive effect of precautionary regulation” and promote a new regulatory culture based on permissionless innovation, Erixon and Weigel say. “Western economies have developed a near obsession with precautions that simply cannot be married to a culture of experimentation”. Amen.



Trump Signs Executive Order Pushing Work for Welfare

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that aims to add and strengthen work requirements for public assistance and other welfare programs.

The order, signed in private, promotes "common-sense reforms" that policy adviser Andrew Bremberg said would reduce dependence on government programs.

"Part of President Trump's effort to create a booming American economy includes moving Americans from welfare to work and supporting and encouraging others to support common-sense reforms that restore American prosperity and help them reclaim their independence," he said.

The order focuses on looking for ways to strengthen existing work requirements and exploring new requirements for benefits such as food stamps, cash and housing assistance programs.

Trump has long accused beneficiaries of abusing government assistance programs and has claimed many who have no intention of working make more in benefits than those with jobs.

"I know people that work three jobs and they live next to somebody who doesn't work at all. And the person who is not working at all and has no intention of working at all is making more money and doing better than the person that's working his and her ass off," Trump said in November. During the campaign, he pledged that, under a Trump administration, families "trapped in welfare" would be "provided with jobs and opportunity."

Most people who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, who are able to hold jobs do work, but they don't earn enough to pay for food and cover other expenses. According to 2015 data from the Department of Agriculture, 44 percent of the total households using the SNAP program had someone in the family earning money.

The administration has made several moves pushing work for Medicaid recipients and those who use the SNAP program.

In January, officials announced that states would be able to impose work requirements for Medicaid. And they've proposed tightening the existing requirement that able-bodied adults who want to receive SNAP benefits for more than three months at a time must work in some capacity.

The proposal would raise the age limit for recipients who are exempt from the requirement and restrict the ability of states to offer waivers. The Department of Agriculture has been soliciting public comment on the issue.

The administration has also been exploring more stringent work requirements for those who receive assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, as well as minimum weekly work hours for those who receive housing assistance.

The order gives various Cabinet secretaries 90 days to review the programs their agencies offer, and recommend possible changes.

Advocates argue that, while encouraging people to work is fundamentally a good thing, imposing strict requirements on already vulnerable populations, particularly when coupled with an aggressive effort to slash funding and shrink public assistance programs, could be disastrous for those in need.

Such requirements could have dire consequences for those already experiencing barriers to finding, and keeping, a job, including single mothers who can't afford child care, people who lack access to transportation and those who suffer from mental illness.

Rebecca Vallas, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress, said Trump's executive order served to reinforce myths about poverty in the U.S.

"By using dog-whistle terms like 'welfare,' Trump's trying to paint people who turn to Medicaid, SNAP, and other public programs as Reagan's mythical 'welfare queen' -- so we don't notice that he's coming after the entire working and middle class," Vallas tweeted.

The White House had once identified overhauling the welfare system as one of its top two legislative priorities for 2018, along with a major investment in infrastructure. But GOP leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, told the president there was little chance of passing anything that needs Democrats' votes.

Trump appeared to agree as he huddled with GOP leaders at the Camp David presidential retreat in January.

"It's a subject that's very dear to our heart," Trump said then. "We'll try and do something in a bipartisan way. Otherwise, we'll be holding it for a little bit later."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


12 April, 2018

More vindication for Trump

Chinese president Xi Jinping promised to open up economy and lower tariffs.  Xi vowed to slash car import tariffs and strengthen intellectual property rights, two key Trump gripes

The FTSE 100 hit a six-week high after relieved markets rallied on Chinese President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the "Asian Davos" cooling trade tensions with Washington.

Markets rattled by the prospect of a severe disruption in trade between the world’s two largest economies were soothed by Xi’s olive branch to the White House.

Xi reinforced the Asian powerhouse’s commitment to open up its economy, setting out China’s stall to attract foreign investment in the shipbuilding, aviation and financial sectors.

Xi’s conciliatory tone pandered to Donald Trump’s criticisms on car tariffs and intellectual property rights but also warned against regressing to a “Cold War mentality” that could drive a growth-derailing wedge in international trade.

The Dow Jones — the US blue-chip index — surged as much as 2.2pc on opening in New York while London’s mining heavyweights, which are so reliant on the free flow of trade and consumption in China, climbed higher along with metal prices.



Whatever the Left Touches It Ruins (and it means to)

Dennis Prager
The only way to save Western civilization is to convince more people that leftism — not liberalism — is a nihilistic force. Quite literally, whatever the Left touches it ruins.

So, here is a partial listing of the damage done by the Left and the Democratic Party:

The most obvious — and, therefore, the one more and Americans can resonate with — is the near destruction of most American universities as places of learning. In the words of Harvard professor Steven Pinker — an atheist and a liberal — outside of the natural sciences and a few other disciplines (such as mathematics and business), “universities are becoming laughing stocks of intolerance.”

If you send your children to a university, you are endangering both their mind and their character. There is a real chance they will be more intolerant and more foolish after college than they were when they entered college.

When you attend an American university, you are taught to have contempt for America and its founders, to prefer socialism to capitalism, to divide human beings by race and ethnicity. You are taught to shut down those who differ with you, to not debate them. And you are taught to place feelings over reason — which is a guaranteed route to eventual evil.

The Left has ruined most of the arts. The following three examples are chosen because they are scatological, a favorite form of left-wing artistic expression. Before the Left poisoned the arts, art was intended to elevate the viewer (or listener). But to the Left, “elevate” is a meaningless term; it is far more at home depicting urine, fecal matter and menstrual blood.

In 2011, a lifelike German sculpture depicting a policewoman squatting and urinating — even the puddle is sculpted — received an award from a prestigious German foundation, the Leinemann Foundation for Fine Art.

In 2013, the Orange County Museum of Art in California placed a huge 28-foot sculpture of a dog outside the museum, where it periodically urinates a yellow fluid onto a museum wall.

In 2016, one of the most prestigious art museums in the world, the Guggenheim in New York, featured a pure-gold working toilet bowl, which visitors were invited to use. The name of the exhibit was “America” — so one could literally relieve oneself on America.

Thanks to the Left, The Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the greatest orchestras in the world, allowed itself to become of a voice of leftist hate last week. It featured the premiere of Philadelphia Voices, “a political rant put to musical garbage,” as some musically knowledgeable Philadelphians described it to me. In the fifth movement, titled “My House Is Full of Black People,” the black teen narrator chants the following lines: “The county is full of black people/ All wanting to be heard/ While old white men draw lines on maps/ To shut all of them up.” Later in the movement, he yells, “If you would all just f—ing listen!”

Uplifting, no?

On the Left, that’s considered art.

And, of course, such politicization of the arts is accepted as the norm. Indeed, that’s part of the Left’s poisoning of everything — its politicization of everything.

The Left is increasingly poisoning sports. In most football stadiums this past season, one could not attend an NFL game without being subjected to left-wing contempt for America and its flag.

So, too, one cannot watch late-night television if one desires to simply be entertained before drifting off to sleep. Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and other hosts have changed late-night TV into left-night TV. Why merely be funny when you can use your monologues to advance your left-wing views?

The Left has poisoned mainstream religion. Mainstream Protestantism, non-Orthodox Judaism and much of the Catholic Church — including and especially Pope Francis — are essentially left-wing advocacy groups with religious symbols.

The Left is destroying the unique American commitment to free speech. Almost half of incoming college freshmen do not believe in free speech for what they deem “hate speech” (merely taking issue with a left-wing position is, in the Left’s view, “hate speech”). They do not understand that the whole point of free speech is allowing the expression of opposing ideas, including what we consider “hate speech.”

The Left has poisoned race relations. America is the least racist multiracial society in the world. On a daily basis, Americans of every race and ethnicity get along superbly. But the black Left and the white Left constantly poison young minds with hate-filled diatribes against whites, “white privilege,” “systemic racism,” black dorms, black graduations, lies about the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the like.

The Left has made innumerable women unhappy, even depressed, with its decades of lying about how female sexual nature and male sexual nature are identical — leading to a “hookup” culture that leaves vast numbers of young women depressed — and its indoctrinating of generations of young women into believing they will be happier through career success than marital success.

And, in some ways scariest of all, the Left is poisoning our children with its commitment to ending male and female as distinct categories. One of the great joys of life, celebrating one’s sex, is now deemed nothing more than a hateful idea in many of your children’s schools.

For these and other reasons, if you treasure American and Western civilization, fighting the Left — something all liberals and conservatives need to do — is the greatest good you can engage in at this time.



Commerce Secretary Ross Wants to See US Catch Up to Other Countries on Economic Freedom

The United States will be turning the tide on economic freedom, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, referencing the United States being ranked 18th on The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.

“It’s imperative that we acknowledge and address the reasons for which our country lags behind the 17 nations that are ranked above us,” Ross said Monday, speaking at The Heritage Foundation. “The good news is that thanks to President [President] Trump, we believe our downward slide in the index over the past decade not only has come to a halt, but should be reversing itself.”

Though free trade was among the factors determining which governments offered the most free economic environment, Ross gave a staunch defense of the Trump administration’s tariffs.

“We believe that trade should be fair, free, reciprocal, and free, free, free. But free trade is almost like the unicorn in the garden. People talk about it, but it’s very, very hard to find it now days,” Ross said. “Our tariffs are among the lowest of any major country in the world and we have the least in the way of nontariff trade barriers. Yet American exporters are plagued by every type of tariff and nontariff barrier thrown against them even by our most trusted allies.”

During the question and answer portion, Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James asked if the United States is in a trade war with China.

“You’ve probably heard the president recently say, a trade war has been going on for the last 50 years,” Ross said. “The only difference is that now American troops are coming to the ramparts.”

In the Index of Economic Freedom, Hong Kong maintains the No. 1 spot for the fourth consecutive year. Five other countries ranked as free: Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, and Ireland. Rounding out the top 10 countries are Estonia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. is ranked in the second tier category of “mostly free.”

For its part, amid fears of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies, China ranks 110th on the index.

“In Davos recently, I was on a panel with the director of the World Trade Organization,” Ross said, referring to the World Economic Forum in January. “To start things off, I asked him the question: If the United States is not the least protectionist big country, please tell me who is. He had no answer. So, we are using all of our available tools to ensure a level playing field.”

Coming in as least economically free in the index is North Korea at 180th. Neighboring South Korea ranks 27th.

Categories for ranking are “rule of law,” “government size,” “regulation efficiency,” and “open markets.” Each has three subcategories. High rankings in these categories correspond with individual prosperity, health, higher education levels, and have better environment, according to the index.

For thousands of years, people were denied economic freedom and lived dehumanizing lives of poverty and sickness, James said during her remarks.

“A few people controlled most of the power and most of the wealth and everyone else suffered for it,” James said. “Thankfully, those days are over for more people today than at any previous time in human history. But we still see instances, such as in North Korea, that serve as a stark reminder of where we’ve come from and where we could return if we don’t remain dedicated to building a better future.”

Rolling back regulations has been “one of the most positive achievements of the Trump administration,” said Terry Miller, the director for the Center for International Trade and Economics at The Heritage Foundation, who presented the report’s findings. But it hasn’t had time to factor into the ranking.

“It is in fact too early for us to be able to take account of those changes in this year’s edition of the index,” Miller said. “We will be picking that up strongly next year in the index as well as changes from the tax reform. So there is some hope that the U.S. score will improve. I would caveat that only with the issue of trade policy, which seems to be going in the opposite direction at this time. It would be very hard to predict what would happen to the U.S. score in the year ahead.”



Real fake news

Leftists have no ethical standards

Christopher Blair was sitting quietly in the corner of Dunkin’ Donuts, not far from his home on an unpaved road in rural Maine, looking at his phone.

People around him, absorbed in their own phones, paid no attention to the large man sitting alone among them.

Fact-checking organizations like Snopes and Politifact have labeled Blair one of the Web’s most notorious creators of fake news. Hidden behind his Internet persona, “Busta Troll,” he has for several years pumped out geysers of newsy-looking posts for an audience eager to believe it.

He doesn’t deny that he intentionally fools people. But Blair says he does so for an unusual reason — because he’s a hard-core Democrat, a “liberal troll” with a mission of undercutting the far right.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


11 April, 2018

Why Liberals Are More Likely to Be Unhappy People

Did you know that for all the projection you get from liberals about conservatives being angry, unhappy, bitter people, conservatives are actually happier than liberals? Don’t take it from me; take it from Arthur Brooks in the very liberal New York Times:

"Scholars on both the left and right have studied this question extensively, and have reached a consensus that it is conservatives who possess the happiness edge. Many data sets show this. For example, the Pew Research Center in 2006 reported that conservative Republicans were 68 percent more likely than liberal Democrats to say they were “very happy” about their lives. This pattern has persisted for decades. The question isn’t whether this is true, but why"

Now, there are a variety of theories that help explain why conservatives are happier. Could it be because percentage wise, more conservatives are married or religious? Arthur Brooks had something to say about that:

"Whether religion and marriage should make people happy is a question you have to answer for yourself. But consider this: Fifty-two percent of married, religious, politically conservative people (with kids) are very happy — versus only 14 percent of single, secular, liberal people without kids.
He also added this, which many liberals may agree with:

An explanation for the happiness gap more congenial to liberals is that conservatives are simply inattentive to the misery of others. If they recognized the injustice in the world, they wouldn’t be so cheerful."

Is it that conservatives simply don’t see all the injustice in the world or could it be that conservatives do see it, but the attitude they have about that misery is different? Conservatives generally believe in making a better world, but they have very little faith that the government can make things better; they don’t believe you can make utopia here on earth and they have a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps philosophy. Charity? It’s a good thing and something that we should all strive to do, but it’s not owed to you.

In other words, everybody has problems, but it’s your job to take care of YOUR problems. Are we all in this together? Sure, in a broad “We wish all fellow Americans well and will do what we can to create an atmosphere where they can succeed” sort of way, but if you fail or succeed at life, that’s on you as an individual, not society.

Liberals do not tend to look at things this way. In fact, they tend to politically approach life the way liberal comic book aficionado Seanbaby imagines that Superman must look at the world:

"Superman has got to be jaded as hell. Besides the crap he has to put up with from Aquaman every day, he can hear the death screams of orphans for thousands of miles in every direction. That kind of thing would get to get to you. When I hear about dynamite ninjas blowing up the president, I don't feel guilty. There's nothing I could have done; I don't know how to defuse a ninja or even where the president lives. Not Superman. He can take every single obituary personally. He can go through the paper and say, "Let's see, this was the bus that fell off the bridge when I was in the bathroom... and here, I was playing ping pong when this family suffocated under tons of rubble... Oh! And I could barely get to sleep while this former skydiver was screaming for help! Ha ha ha!"

I'm surprised he even cares when the Trouble Alert goes off. I'd expect him to say, "Sorry your government building got shrink-rayed, Congressman, but I can hear a baby being circled by vampire hippos right now. Do you want me to let it get torn apart becau-- oh, there. It's dead. Good job, Congressman Selfish @sshole. How about you don't call again until there's a real emergency like poison ivy or a leg cramp?"

 Liberals always seem to imagine that we’re a few steps away from Utopia and that only selfish conservatives are stopping us from getting there. Why, there’s always some poor doofus who desperately needs the help of a liberal to get ahead. If only we could make people realize they were keeping him down with their sexism, racism or ageism, that person could finally make it. If only we were all a little bit more obsessed with politics. If only we could get a few trillion dollars’ worth of new government programs in place and everybody were a little more sensitive, we’d be in Nirvana.

Conservatives would argue that given the typical state of human civilization, THIS IS NIRVANA and that we’ll be lucky to even preserve our current level of success long term; that’s not an argument liberals seem to accept.

…….Which finally, nearly 800 words in, brings us to an article in Self magazine entitled “Yoga Should Address Social Justice, So I Want to Open My Own Studio.” Now, you may be thinking, “What does Yoga have to do with social justice?” Good question. That was what prompted me to read the article and find, what I think, is a great read-between-the-lines example of why so many liberals are not happy people. There are so many unintentionally revealing parts to it. For example:

"I recognize that yoga in the Western world can be culturally appropriative, and I’ve had many an existential crisis about whether I, as a black southern American woman, should even be doing yoga, let alone thinking about teaching it."

She likes yoga, but she’s having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS about whether she should be doing it all. An EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. Over YOGA. I thought it would be fun to throw axes, so I bought some tomahawks and had a target built in my backyard. It never occurred to me as a conservative to wonder whether I should be having an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS because I might be filching German – or is it Viking — culture? Who knows? I ate Chinese food on Friday. I don’t feel bad about that either, but I guess if I were liberal, that might have been the start of an EXISTENTIAL CRISIS.

The entire modern world is based on appropriating other cultures and given how interconnected we all are these days, other than perhaps some very isolated tribal cultures, appropriation is so common as to be almost universal. In fact, if you’re living in the Western world, it goes without saying that you are wholesale appropriating large amounts of Greek and Roman culture. So, why worry about it? Of course, there’s more…

"But at first, finding a studio where I felt comfortable was no easy task. If you walk into a yoga class in the United States, you likely won’t see someone who looks like me. Over the years, I’ve dropped into many a yoga session to see a near unbroken sea of slender bodies, white skin, and expensive athletic wear.

I often wondered why there were not more black femmes participating in or leading the yoga classes that I attended. Then I began to see the barriers that prevented people who look and live like me from engaging in yoga. Yoga classes can be expensive, y’all! And childcare usually isn’t provided, which can make it doubly hard for parents to attend

I’ve also found that many teachers often use white, Western references that are inaccessible and isolating to those who aren’t privy to those cultural cues."

 Those sure do seem like First World problems. The white people weren’t mean to her; it’s just that there were too many of them and she would have felt comfortable if there were more black people in the class. Uh….okay. Apparently, ONLY black Americans struggle to pay for things or find child care because… who knows.

Then there are all those awful “white, Western references” which I assume are worse than Indian spiritual references that often go along with Yoga because… uhm, something. This all plays into the relatively new liberal idea that only black Americans can teach, understand and relate to black Americans. The very fact that there are too many white people in a YOGA CLASS of all places is a problem. This would be similar to going to an inner city Chicago basketball court and being upset that there aren’t a lot of white people shooting hoops, but let’s just go on.

"Finally, in my experience, yoga instructors rarely acknowledge social and political happenings in the outside world....In the past few years, I have found it almost impossible to concentrate on happiness, love, and joy when yet another black person is being shot by police, immigrants are being rounded up in their own neighborhoods and deported, and the president of the United States is tweeting bigotry against transgender service members.
Not talking often enough about these realities in a safer space like yoga is a disservice to the consciousness of the nation.

Wow, there’s so much to unpack here. First of all:

 (In 2016), according to the Washington Post’s tally, just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million, were killed by the police. The year before, the number was 36. These figures are likely close to the number of black men struck by lightning in a given year… And they include cases where the shooting was justified, even if the person killed was unarmed.

There are actually more unarmed white men being shot by the police every year than black men being shot by the police. In any case, whether you’re talking about white or black men, it’s a very rare occurrence and most of the time the people being shot deserve it. In the rare cases where they don’t, the cops involved face a trial.

As to illegal aliens being deported, that has been the law as long as anybody reading this has been alive. When it comes to transsexuals in the military, Obama put that in place on the way out the door and a lot of people didn't agree with it.

Personally, as a conservative I think the police have gotten a bum rap, I don’t think we’ve done enough to get rid of illegal aliens, and I don’t believe transsexuals should be in the military, but it hasn’t stolen my happiness, love and joy. Life’s not perfect and it’s never going to be perfect, but it does go on.

Also, to a non-liberal, discussing these issues at yoga seems… STRANGE? People... well... I should say most people don’t come to yoga to talk about political issues. Trying to shoehorn political discussions into a yoga class seems like trying to shove politics into a cooking class, into the NFL or into the Oscars….oh wait.

Liberals LOVE to try to turn every public activity into a political war zone where no one can just have a good time. Instead, everything has to be a vehicle for their ideology. Do you think that could lead to a lot of unnecessary conflict and arguing? Does that sort of political obsessiveness seem mentally healthy to anyone who’s not liberal? Then, to conclude:

"That’s why my dream is to create a yoga studio of my own… This kind of opportunity can be especially important for black women like me. In her book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, Melissa Harris-Perry recognizes that black women “need sheltered, private space not available to public view. Because of their history as chattel slaves, their labor market participation as domestic workers, and their role as dependents in a punitive modern welfare state, black women in America… lack opportunities for accurate, affirming recognition of the self.” When I first read these words, I felt like they were plucked from my own heart. I, too, have struggled to find a private space to inquire about my personal identity without fear of the white heteronormative gaze.

As the owner of one of those white heteronormative gazes, I think the good news is that people are inherently concerned with their own business and they’re not thinking of you at all (or for that matter me or anyone else). The extent to which heterosexual white people are thinking of you is, “Wow, that’s a weird, depressing article she wrote” or alternately, “I wish that lady would stop vacantly staring at the lettuce while she mumbles about yoga. I need to get by her and get some avocados.” Being upset that you can’t find public “private spaces” where you can do yoga without the imaginary “judgey” gaze of straight white people looking at you seems like a lot of unnecessary self-inflicted pressure. If you enjoy yoga, just stop inserting all these oddball political issues into it and enjoy the yoga class.

 If you want to teach yoga, just teach the yoga class. If you want to run your own liberal, no-white-heteronormative-gazes-allowed yoga classes, give it a shot. In a place like New York City, that might even work and then you can shout “Viva la capitalism,” put some cash in your pocket and enjoy your success. When you make something this simple into something so complicated and fraught with unnecessary existential crises, it seems unlikely that it would lead to anything but misery.



Stop comparing Trump to Stalin

Alex Beam (below) has an unsually strong grip on relaity despite being a Boston liberal

People say crazy things about Donald Trump, some of them factual, some not. To start with the obvious, Josef Stalin murdered his political adversaries, murdered the Soviet officer corps during the lead-up to a world war, and is “credited” with the annihilation of millions of Soviet citizens — “bourgeois” farmers; fictional “oppositionists” of every stripe — more or less because he felt like it.

Donald Trump is many things: a liar, a bloviator, a golf cheater. But he is not a mass murderer.

It is true, as Iannucci, a British citizen, has said, that Trump “questions judges, defies democratic norms and attacks the press and any person or institution that challenges him.” But here’s where that piece of paper called the Constitution comes into play. It is possible to impeach a federal judge, but that is the job of the Senate, which confirms judges, not of the president, who is left to whine about their rulings.

Trump famously fulminated against Judge Gonzalo Curiel, he “of Mexican heritage,” but it turns out that “ticking off a man/child politician” is not an impeachable offense. Curiel remains active on the bench.

On another front, Trump loves to make wild claims about ballot irregularities, stating that “millions of people . . . voted illegally” in the 2016 presidential election. He briefly convened an Advisory Commission on Electoral Integrity, which disbanded after nine months.

Trump thinks he can sway elections, campaigning in vain for Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, and more recently against Democrat Conor Lamb, who was running in a pro-Trump congressional district in Pennsylvania. Trump failed to relegate Lamb to the dustbin of history, and Pennsylvania certified Lamb’s victory last week, without a peep about voter fraud.

Stalin would have had Lamb shot.

You want to know what tyranny looks like? Starting this fall, Chinese high school students will be required to study “Xi Jinping thought,” the nominal philosophizing of China’s Communist Party leader-for-life. In a similar manner, institutes of Marxism-Leninism have masticated the profound thoughts of such intellectual giants as Mao Zedong, the Albanian strongman Enver Hoxha, and Josef Stalin.

Luckily we don’t have a nationalized school curriculum, so it will be a moment or two before “The Art of the Deal,” Trump’s ghostwritten 1987 song of himself, becomes required reading in schools.

Let’s despise Trump for his despicable qualities, not for grandly imagined “parallels” with the brutes of the past and present.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


10 April, 2018

The Changing Landscape of Political Parties

There is overlap between the parties in ways that you might not expect. And there's still hope.

The surprising outcome of the 2016 election and talk about Democrat hopes of flipping the House and/or Senate in 2018 have a lot of people speculating about political party alignment. Will Donald Trump drive Republican voters away from the Grand Old Party? Are we looking at 2018 or 2020 to be a “wave” election for Democrats?

A recent study by Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University’s Department of Political Science asked these questions and more about the current state of affairs. What he found suggests some points that confound the prevailing wisdom.

Bartels maintains that there have been no mass defections from either Republicans or Democrats. His research found that the splits within each party break out in contrasting ways. Democrats are, of course, more united in their belief in an active government, but somewhat surprisingly they find themselves less united when it comes to cultural issues. Republicans tend to have the opposite leanings, being more united in their view on cultural issues but more at odds with one another when it comes to the role government should play in peoples’ lives.

Hence the failure to repeal ObamaCare and budgets that keep the Democrat pace on deficits.

Surveys Bartels conducted in his research found that nearly 25% of Republicans were closer to the average Democrat on the role of government when compared to the average Republican, while only 11% of Democrats were closer to Republicans on that role when compared to the average Democrat. On the flip side, over 26% of Democrats were closer to the average Republican on cultural issues. This is likely due in part to the Democrat Party’s small tent, in which elected officials and voters are practically coerced to toe the party line on abortion, same-sex marriage and other topics.

The one area that Bartels doesn’t go into but should cause concern among Republicans is the loss of Millennial women. A Pew Research report found that in 2014, Democrats held a 21-point advantage over Republicans with women in this group. By 2018, the number of women who self-identified or leaned Democrat rose to 70%. Nearly three-fourths of women in the Millennial age group now identify as Democrats. Certainly, the election of Donald Trump played a big role in this, but we cannot discount the fact that Hillary Clinton was not nearly as popular among young women as Bernie Sanders. But with Clinton no longer a factor, Republicans will need to work much harder to reach this voting bloc with the message of Liberty.

In fact, Democrats aim to exploit women voters to take down Trump.

This issue aside, if we accept Bartels’ numbers and the idea that a larger percentage of Democrats are growing closer to Republicans on cultural issues, then why does the Left appear to be winning the culture war? This is where the power of the media comes into play. With much of the media and academia leaning heavily to the left, it becomes easier for progressives to steer the message. Consider the point that Republicans have been labeled increasingly more radical in recent years even while their fundamental policy stances have not changed all that much.

That’s because if any party has moved its fundamental policy stance, it’s been the Democrats. Former Clinton adviser and political prognosticator Dick Morris observes that Democrats tend to move further left based on negative outcomes during election cycles. This happened throughout the 1980s, and continued during the midterm drubbings Barack Obama received while in office. It seems counterintuitive to move further in a direction that voters reject, but leftists’ strategy is to drive everything their direction so the very terms of debate change over time.

So, if more Republicans are finding common cause with Democrats about the role of government, and young women are leaving the GOP in droves, is there any good news? Yes, and that is that progressives have not necessarily moved the electorate to the left, they have only succeeded in moving themselves further to the left. And in doing so, according to National Review’s David French, they are deceiving themselves about the impact they are having on voters. They are not changing many minds; they’re only browbeating people. And they are in fact illustrating to the rest of the country just how out of touch they truly are. The downside is that we can expect deeper polarization. The upside is wave elections are not born out of polarized electorates.



No, Hillary, it’s the red states that are ‘dynamic’

Hillary Clinton is being universally panned by Republicans and Democrats for her rant last week in India against Trump voters. She boasted, “I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”

As evidence, she pointed to places like Illinois and Connecticut — where she won by sizable margins. Then she added that those who voted against her “didn’t like black people getting rights, and don’t like women getting jobs.”

Our guess is that Hillary Clinton’s words didn’t go over very well in Arkansas, the state that she once served as first lady. She lost Arkansas: Trump 60.6 percent, Clinton 33.7 percent. Her speech was offensive and filled with arrogance for sure (and a reprise of her 2016 description of Trump voters as “deplorables” and “irredeemables”), but what hasn’t been corrected for the record is that Mrs. Clinton had her facts wrong.

Hillary Clinton’s assessment of how the red Trump states are performing economically versus the blue Clinton states was backward. For at least the last two decades, most of the dynamism and growth — as measured by population movements, income growth and job creation — has been fleeing from the once-economically dominant blue states that Mrs. Clinton won, and relocating to the red states that Donald Trump won.

Here’s the evidence. Of the 12 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest percentage margins — Hawaii, California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware — all but three of them lost residents through domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years.

In fact combined, all 12 Hillary Clinton states lost an average of 6 percent of their populations to net out-migration over the past decade. California and New York alone lost 3 million people in the past 10 years.

Now let’s contrast the Hillary Clinton states with the 12 states that had the largest percentage margin vote for Donald Trump. Every one of them, save Wyoming, was a net population gainer — West Virginia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho, South Dakota, Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nebraska and Kansas.

The move from blue to red states — almost 1,000 people every day — has been one of the greatest demographic stories in American history. If you go to states like Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Texas these days, all you see is out of blue state license plates.

Pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states carried by the widest margins by Mr. Trump had about twice the job creation rate as the bluest states carried by Mrs. Clinton.

Hillary Clinton mentioned GDP numbers. While it is true that the blue states of the two coasts and several of the Midwestern states are richer than the redder states of the South and mountain regions over recent decades, she failed to mention the giant transfer of wealth from Clinton to Trump states.

IRS tax return data confirm that from 2006-2016 Hillary Clinton’s states lost $113.6 billion in combined wealth, whereas Donald Trump’s states gained $116.0 billion.

The Hillary Clinton states are in a slow bleed. That is in no small part because the deep blue states that she carried have adopted the entire “progressive” playbook: High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy hand of regulation. Excessive minimum wages. War on fossil fuels. These states dutifully check all the progressive boxes.

And the U-Haul company can barely keep up with the demand for trucks and moving vans to get out of these worker paradises. A recent Gallup Poll asked Americans if they would want to move out of their current state of residency. Five states had more than 40 percent of its respondents answer yes: They were: Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Rhode Island and Maryland. Hillary Clinton country.

Even more unbelievable to us was Mrs. Clinton citing Connecticut and Illinois as dynamic places. There probably isn’t another state in America that can match these two for financial despair and incompetence. Things are so bad in Illinois after decades of left-wing rule in Springfield that Illinois residents are now fleeing on net to West Virginia and Kentucky to find a better future.

Connecticut has raised income and other taxes three times in the last four years and still has one of the most debilitating budget deficits in the nation. The pension systems are so many billions of dollars in the red, they are technically bankrupt.

Even when it comes to income inequality, the left’s favorite measure of progressive success, blue states carried by Mrs. Clinton fare worse than red states. According to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy institute, three of the states with the largest gaps between rich and poor are those progressive icons New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Sure, Boston, Manhattan and Silicon Valley are booming as the rich prosper. But outside these areas are deep pockets of poverty and wage stagnation.

The “progressive” tax and spend agenda has been put on trial. Not only do the policies lead to much slower growth, they also benefit the rich and politically well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

Getting these statistics right — about where the growth and dynamism is really happening in America — is important because if we want to be a prosperous nation, we need to learn what works and what doesn’t.

We need national economic policies that have been shown to work at the state level. Donald Trump wants to make America look like Florida and Tennessee. Hillary Clinton wanted to make America look more like Illinois and Connecticut. Maybe that’s the real reason why she lost.



Save lives with the 'right to try'

Giving terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments won’t transform the healthcare sector radically, but it will stop the government obstructing those who want to take a chance to live a little longer.

The House passed its version of a "right-to-try" bill on Wednesday, but it gained little notice because it was overshadowed by the omnibus spending bill that had just become public and which President Trump signed on Friday.

The right-to-try legislation, if signed into law, will allow terminally ill patients to seek drug treatments that have passed phase one of the FDA’s approval process, but have not yet received full approval.

Terminally ill patients are not a big or vocal political constituency, but their vulnerability makes them worth listening to. Giving them the right to try experimental treatments won’t transform the healthcare sector radically, but it will stop the government obstructing those who want to take a chance to live a little longer.

The reform is common sense, and is therefore popular nationwide: Thirty-eight states, from deep-blue California to deep-red Alabama, have already established a right to try. But the question of whether FDA regulations pre-empt state laws is unclear, which makes congressional action necessary.

Thankfully, a similar right-to-try bill already passed the Senate unanimously.

There are legitimate concerns about the right to try, but the bills in Congress improve on the status quo. The FDA already has expanded access programs for some terminal patients, and between 2010 and 2015 it authorized more than 99 percent of requests. But that amounts to only 1,200 patients a year, a tiny portion of the millions who are diagnosed with or die of terminal illnesses. Too many patients who would be helped by the right to try don’t qualify for the FDA process.

Critics worry that phase one FDA approval means a drug isn’t yet safe enough for terminal patients. But phase one approval means a treatment has already passed basic safety testing and is probably ready for clinical research trials. As the libertarian Goldwater Institute says: “Fewer than 3 percent of terminally ill patients gain access to investigational treatments through clinical trials. Right to try was designed to help the other 97 percent.”

There are also safeguards in the legislation. No patient will ever be forced to take an unapproved drug. And no doctors will be forced to provide a drug they wouldn't advise. No pharmaceutical company will be forced to give a drug if they don't think it will help the patient. What’s more, a drug manufacturer or prescriber couldn’t be sued for providing treatment through right to try.

Right to try won’t save everyone who takes advantage of it, but if a treatment has passed basic safety testing and terminally ill patients understand the risks, the government shouldn’t stop them trying to save their own lives.

President Trump endorsed the right to try in his first State of the Union address, saying, “We also believe that patients with terminal conditions should have access to experimental treatments that could potentially save their lives. People who are terminally ill should not have to go from country to country to seek a cure — I want to give them a chance right here at home. It is time for the Congress to give these wonderful Americans the ‘right to try.’”

The Senate and House should swiftly resolve the minor differences between their bills and send a right-to-try to Trump.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


9 April, 2018

Democrat corruption of the electoral process
Democrats thought 2016 was the election they could not lose. But lose it they did — the presidency along with Congress and a record number of state governments. Which has made them desperate.

Obviously, Democrats are out of sync with the American people. Most Americans want to restrain government and keep more of their money. They believe in a strong military and defense, in killing, not appeasing terrorists. They don’t want stupid regulations and high taxes to get in the way of economic growth and job creation.

Instead of listening to the people, Democrats are trying to get different people to vote. It doesn’t matter if the people are actually eligible to vote. All they need do is cast ballots for Democrats.

This process is going on in Pennsylvania. First, Democrats gained a stranglehold over the state supreme court. Democratic justices believe their job is to overrule the people’s representatives whenever the Democrats lose.

Second, after routinely gerrymandering elections in their favor when in power, Democrats now express shock to learn that politics influences legislatures. The Democratic answer is for the courts to seize control of the redistricting process. Pennsylvania’s Democratic court majority imposed a plan that was even more favorable to Democrats than that pushed by the Democratic Party.

Third, the Democratic governor is pushing “reforms” that would reverse Republican victories by putting Democrats in charge of redistricting and inviting illegal and fraudulent votes in future elections. If you can’t win based on the districts and people you have, change the districts and people!

Gov. Tom Wolf’s first idea is for a nonpartisan commission to draw election maps. The idea may sound appealing, to take politics out of redistricting. But drawing legislative lines is inherently political. There is no such thing as an independent, objective panel.

Most so-called experts have opinions. And someone political must choose the supposedly “independent” members of whatever commission or other body is created. It is impossible take politics out of, well, politics.

While politics is sometimes unseemly, it does ultimately allow accountability. Moreover, it is transparent: We know who is making the decision. That is better than allowing partisans to pose as modern Vestal Virgins.

Even more insidious is Gov. Wolf’s proposal to abandon standards for registering to vote. He would allow election day registration and automatically sign up anyone who applies for a drivers’ license or other government service. Finally, he would allow anyone to use an absentee ballot without an excuse.

All of these changes would be convenient, but convenience is not the appropriate standard for elections. Even a cursory review of registration rolls nationwide shows widespread error and fraud — noncitizens and the dead voting, for instance. Lawsuits filed by the American Civil Rights Union have exposed how little many local officials do to protect the votes of their citizens.

Yet the Democratic Party attempts to thwart even modest measures designed to ensure election integrity. Simply showing a photo ID is considered too onerous for would-be voters.

All of Wolf’s proposals, intentionally or not, would enable and actually encourage more fraudulent voting.

Same-day registration creates chaos for registrars at the very moment their focus should be on balloting. More important, there would be no verification of eligibility.

Noncitizens routinely get driver’s licenses. Partisan activists manipulate unregulated use of absentee ballots.

If fraud is later discovered, it will be too late. Then the newly elected Democrats can even help cover up the process.

Gov. Wolf talked of bringing the state’s electoral process into the 21st century. Actually, he’s proposing a big leap backward, into the 19th century when vote fraud was rife.

Instead, officials at all levels should work to improve the safeguarding of our election process. The foundation for American democracy is free and honest elections. Without that, the American people understandably will lose faith in their government.

No doubt, in the future Democrats will again win the presidency and control of Congress. The latter could come as soon as seven months. But if so, Democrats should win honestly, through legal votes cast in the ballot box.



Another overbearing Obama regulation, the fiduciary rule, bites the dust

As many have noticed the Obama administration was very much in favor of regulations for the sake of regulations. The administration tried to regulate everything from the air in our lungs and food in our stomach, to the climate controlled by the Sun. But earlier this month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck another blow against the abusive administrative state imposed on the American People by the previous administration and returned some sanity to the U.S.

Spurred on by the financial crisis the Department of Labor (DOL) attempted to regulate the part of the financial industry by proposing a rule in 2010. The department already had authority over employer-sponsored retirement plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The authority did not include Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), which are already regulated by the IRS and SEC. The backlash caused the administration to withdraw the rule and try again five years later.

In 2015, President Obama warned the financial industry change was coming, and in April of 2016, the new rule came down under DOL. The new rule was designed to get away from the commission-based system financial services industry. The then Assistant Secretary for Employee Benefits Security Phyllis Borzi was the main driver for the rule. A quick glance of a Borzi speech and it becomes clear, the former Assistant Secretary does not like the financial services industry.

The rule would be known as the DOL Fiduciary Rule or the Best Interests Rule. The main thrust of the rule raised the fiduciary standard of brokers to Registered Investment Advisors. Brokers typically were paid on commission of sales, and the DOL believed this meant they could not be objective when giving advice. DOL believed taking commissions out of the equation would result in better financial advice. It became apparent quickly this was not going to be the case.

The DOL rule would have ended up hurting small dollar retirement savers. If someone saves a couple hundred a month for their retirement, where is the incentive for an investment firm to advise them? At the end of the year, that person or couple was able to save $1,500-$3,000, but the investment firm has a much greater liability according to the rule. The investor could come after the investment firm years later claiming the firm made the wrong investments and sue. What incentive is there to take on small dollar clients that can sue for more than they invest? None. This is not hypothetical; this is reality.

The Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey of investment firms and found some startling statistics:

92 percent of firms surveyed say that the rule could limit or restrict investment products for their customers, which could ultimately affect some 11 million households;

Up to 7 million individual retirement account owners could lose access to investment advice altogether;

A survey of insurance service providers shows 70 percent already have or are considering exiting the market for small balance IRAs and small plans, and half are preparing to raise minimum account requirements for IRAs;

A survey of advisors finds 71 percent will stop providing advice to at least some of their current small accounts due to the risk and increased costs of the rule;

Other surveys found that 35 percent of advisors will stop serving accounts under $25,000, and 25 percent will raise their client minimum account thresholds; and

One large mutual fund provider reports that its number of orphaned accounts nearly doubled in the first three months of 2017, and that the average account balance in these orphan accounts is just $21,000. Further, it projects that ultimately 16 percent of the accounts it services will be orphaned this year because of the fiduciary rule.

Fortunately, thanks to the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, the rule is null and void, and investment firms need not worry. In a 2-1 decision, the court vacated the rule “in toto,” noting the DOL’s new definition of fiduciary was did not fit with the text of ERISA and the IRS code. The court also found the rule’s new definitions were unreasonable.

The Obama administration tried to literally regulate everything under the sun. This is a small victory for free market capitalism, but the fight is not over. The DOL has not shown it is going to fight the ruling, and it should not. All agencies across the federal government should continue to roll back abusive regulations, and Congress should act to ensure future abusive administrations cannot overregulate people’s lives. This is a two-front battle, the executive branch, and the legislative branch; Congress needs to step up.



Trump Is Cutting Old Gordian Knots
The proverbial knot of Gordium was impossible to untie. Anyone clever enough to untie it would supposedly become the king of Asia. Many princes tried; all failed.

When Alexander the Great arrived, he was challenged to unravel the impossible knot. Instead, he pulled out his sword and cut through it. Problem solved.

Donald Trump inherited an array of perennial crises when he was sworn in as president in 2017. He certainly did not possess the traditional diplomatic skills and temperament to deal with any of them.

In the last year of the Barack Obama administration, a lunatic North Korean regime purportedly had gained the ability to send nuclear-tipped missiles to the U.S. West Coast.

China had not only been violating trade agreements but forcing U.S. companies to hand over their technological expertise as the price of doing business in China.

NATO may have been born to protect the European mainland, but a distant U.S. was paying an increasingly greater percentage of its budget to maintain NATO than were its direct beneficiaries.

Mexico keeps sending its impoverished citizens to the U.S., and they usually enter illegally. That way, Mexico relieves its own social tensions, develops a pro-Mexico expatriate community in the U.S. and gains an estimated $30 billion a year from remittances that undocumented immigrants send back home, often on the premise that American social services can free up cash for them to do so.

In the past, traditional and accepted methods failed to deal with all of these challenges. Bill Clinton’s “Agreed Framework,” George W. Bush’s “six-party talks” and the “strategic patience” of the Obama administration essentially offered North Korea cash to denuclearize.

American diplomats whined to China about its unfair trade practices. When rebuffed, they more or less shut up, convinced either that they could not do anything or that China’s growing economy would sooner or later westernize.

Europeans were used to American nagging about delinquent NATO contributions. Diplomatic niceties usually meant that European leaders only talked nonstop about the idea that they should shoulder more of their own defense.

Mexico ignored U.S. whining that our neighbor to the south was cynically undermining U.S. immigration law. If America protested too much, Mexico usually fell back on boilerplate charges of racism, xenophobia and nativism, despite its own tough treatment of immigrants arriving into Mexico illegally from Central America.

In other words, before Trump arrived, the niceties of American diplomacy and statecraft had untied none of these knots. But like Alexander, the outsider Trump was not invested in any of the accustomed protocols about untying them. Instead, he pulled out his proverbial sword and began slashing.

If Kim Jong Un kept threatening the U.S., then Trump would threaten him back and ridicule him in the process as “Rocket Man.” Meanwhile, the U.S. would beef up its own nuclear arsenal, press ahead with missile defense, warn China that its neighbors might have to nuclearize, and generally seem as threatening to Kim as he traditionally has been to others.

Trump was no more patient with China. If it continues to cheat and demand technology transfers as the price of doing business in China, then it will face tariffs on its exports and a trade war. Trump’s position is that Chinese trade duplicity is so complex and layered that it can never be untied, only cut apart.

Trump seemingly had no patience with endless rounds of negotiations about NATO defense contributions. If frontline European nations wished to spend little to defend their own borders, why should America have to spend so much to protect such distant nations?

In Trump’s mind, if Mexico was often critical of the U.S., despite effectively open borders and billions of dollars in remittances, then he might as well give Mexico something real to be angry about, such as a border wall, enforcement of existing U.S. immigration laws, and deportations of many of those residing illegally on U.S. soil.

There are common themes to all these slashed knots. Diplomatic niceties had solved little. American laxity was seen as naivete to be taken advantage of, not as generous concessions to be returned in kind.

Second, American presidents and their diplomatic teams had spent their careers deeply invested in the so-called postwar rules and protocols of diplomacy. In a nutshell, the central theme has been that the U.S. is so rich and powerful, its duty is to take repeated hits for the global order.

In light of American power, reciprocity supposedly did not matter — as if getting away with something would not lead to getting away with something even bigger.

Knot cutters may not know how to untie knots. But by the same token, those who struggle to untie knots also do not know how to cut them.

And sometimes knots can only be cut — even as we recoil at the brash Alexanders who won’t play by traditional rules and instead dare to pull out their swords.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


8 April, 2018

Fascism 'goes unnoticed until it's too late': Albright sounds dire warning on Trump

Just for starters in considering Albright's fulminations below, I should point out that Fascism does NOT sneak up on anybody ('goes unnoticed until it's too late'). It is very vocal and the rises to power of both Mussolini and Hitler were very well telegraphed in advance.  Hitler won power in a democratic election after having fought many previous unsuccessful election campaigns, and Mussolini was a well-known and widely respected thinker long before the March on Rome (which he did not attend).

The Albright article is in fact an amusing example of how one-eyed Leftism can be.  What president has become so tired with the democratically elected legislators that he has tried to over-ride them with a slew of regulations and orders, some with with no apparent legal warrant?  That's incipient Fascism if ever there was one.  Ignoring the legislature is a huge step in the direction of Fascism.  But that was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump.

The essence of Fascism is control, a high level of government control over everything.  So has Trump sought to expand government control of the country and its citizens?  To the contrary he has rejoiced and continues to rejoice in how many governmental regulations he and Congress have wiped out,

But surely the Leftist claims below have SOMETHING anti-democratic to point to in Trump's actions? There is not in fact a single deed listed.  All they have is a jaundiced account of what Trump has SAID.  But blind Freddy by now knows that Trump thinks out loud, meaning that he gets details wrong and often contradicts himself. But that is actually his process of looking at all the options and choosing the best one out of all the possibilities.  It is an unusual way for a President to proceed but it ensures that he gets a lot of feedback before he acts and in the end  what he DOES is very moderate.  He is an unusually open person but his actions are well considered.

And even his most controversial actions are beginning to show their rightness.  We must not forget that Trump has a degree in economics so he knows all the traditional arguments for free trade perfectly well.  So why his repeated announcements of tariffs on imports?  Because he is not operating at the Economics 101 level.  He is operating more at the economics faculty level.  And almost everything is disputed there.  And the huge fact about free trade in American economic history is that America prospered mightily behind HIGH tariff walls in the 19th century.  There are of course arguments to explain that -- "infant industries" etc. But the basic point is that real-life is a poor fit to classical Ricardian free trade ideas.  And Trump has clearly taken that on board

And the fruits of that are already clear to see.  South Korea  has come to the party and has agreed to ease its restrictions on imports from America in return for Trump exempting them from his tariffs.  So clearly, despite their novelty, his trade ideas are realistic and effective.  And his actions have in fact led to FREER trade with S. Korea.  That must be a shit-sandwich to the many who thought he was anti-trade.

The huffing and puffing over tariffs on China will be resolved in a similar way.

And, unlike Obama, Trump has co-operated with the legislators.  Obama vetoed most of what came before him but Trump even signed an Omnibus spending bill that clearly stank to him.  So Trump has stuck with and respected the role of Congress while Obama did his best to defy it and escape its restrictions.  So who is the Fascist again?

Next week comes the release of Fascism: A Warning, a new book by former US ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of state, Madeleine Albright. It is in part a survey of the rise of authoritarian leaders and parties in Russia and the Philippines, in Hungary, Germany, Poland and Italy, and finally in the United States.

In a recent interview with American public radio NPR, Albright concedes that yes, the title is alarmist. It is intended to be, she explains. She was inspired by that phrase deployed across Western democracies in this age of terrorism, “If you see something, say something”. Albright has seen quite a lot in the Trump administration, and she has a lot to say.

“We have never had a president, at least in the modern era, whose statements and actions are so at odds with democratic ideals,” she writes in her chapter on the US.  “[Donald] Trump has spoken harshly about the institutions and principles that make up the foundation of open government, in the process he has systematically degraded political discourse in the US, shown an astonishing disregard for facts, libelled his predecessor, threatened to lock up political rivals, bullied members of his own administration, referred to mainstream journalists as enemies of the American people, spread falsehoods about the integrity of the US electoral process, touted mindlessly nationalistic economic and trade policies and nurtured a paranoid bigotry toward the followers of one of the world's foremost religions.”
Madeleine Albright joins Hillary Clinton on the presidential campaign in 2016.

There are those of course - not least in the Republican Party - who would dismiss this as hyperbole. But when you break it down, it is hard to challenge any assertion in that passage.
Fascism, she says in the interview, approaches us one step at a time, even in countries with strong democratic institutions and traditions, “and in many ways goes unnoticed until it's too late”.

Albright is not the only prominent commentator to sound such dire warnings about the Trump administration. Last year the polemicist Andrew Sullivan wrote an apocalyptic essay for New York Magazine in which he cast back to the first book on politics, Plato’s Republic, to illustrate what he saw as the potential for a contemporary American descent into tyranny.

But applying ideas like Sullivan’s - or Plato’s or Albright’s - to contemporary America is difficult because the Trump administration resists definition. It is a twitching, impulsive tachycardic mess; a movement without substance or identifiable intent, let alone ideology. The journalists that have covered it - and this has been a golden era of American political journalism - have tripped over one another as they navigated the miasma of incompetence and trough-snuffling that Trump presents them with, allowing the administration to obscure each catastrophe with the next.

Amy Siskind’s new book, The List: A Week-by-Week Reckoning of Trump’s First Year, helps clear some of that thick air and reminds us of just how weird the last year has been. Siskind’s book is based upon her viral blog, The Weekly List, which she began when Trump was elected. Siskind, a Wall Street executive turned feminist activist, had been inspired by the suggestion by another shell-shocked liberal Sarah Kendzior, who had appealed to concerned citizens to keep lists of facts, beliefs and principles, of the minor changes they perceived in the nation under Trump, so they could better watch for what Albright would later describe as the steps towards fascism.

None of these writers suggest that America today is an authoritarian state, just that the only consistency of the Trump administration is its anti-democratic urges and impulses, that Trump himself has no regard for democratic institutions or traditions, that his greatest appeal to his core base is his willingness to demonise minorities.



Ex-Treasury secretary compares Trump to Mussolini

Musso also believed in minimum wages, equal rights for women and a strong progressive tax. So I expect Summers will also mention that the Democrats are the true heirs of Mussolini.  Or maybe not

Once again, all Summers has on Trump is his words.  He convicts Trump of Fascism solely because Trump has critizied one particular business - Amazon.  For some unknown reason, a President is not allowed to criticise a business, apparently.  No First Amendment protections for Trump's speech?

Summers is an economist so he should know that a perfectly democratic country -- Britain -- not only criticized various businesses but nationalized them and brought them under government control in the '40s and '50s. Such actions clearly go a long way beyond criticizing the businesses concerned.  Mrs Thatcher reversed that folly but both the nationalization and the de-nationalization were accomplished in a perfectly democratic way.

Mr Summers appears to have a quite strange idea of what democracy can and cannot do.  From Alcibiades in the Peloponnesian wars to this day, democratic leaders can do very foolish things but that does not make them less democratic

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers believes President Trump's recent attacks on Amazon are un-American. "Going on jihads with the power of the federal government against companies whose CEOs' private activity he doesn't find congenial — that's not the stuff of democracy," Summers said in an interview Thursday on CNN's "New Day. "That's the stuff of much more totalitarian countries."

Amazon (AMZN)founder and CEO Jeff Bezos privately owns the Washington Post, which Trump often derides as "fake news" for reporting on the administration. Trump has claimed without evidence that the Post is a "lobbying group for Amazon."

In the past week, Trump has fired off five false or misleading tweets about Amazon, including that the company doesn't pay state and local taxes and is causing the Postal Service to lose money. (Amazon collects sales tax in every state that charges one and remits it to the states, and it also pays the post office to deliver packages to customers' doors.)

Trump's tweets, as well as reports raising the possibility the Trump administration may look into tighter regulation or antitrust lawsuits against Amazon, have driven down the company's stock.

"Make no mistake, that's a Mussolini tactic, not an American tactic," Summers said of Trump targeting a private company. He called Trump's tweets "potentially quite dangerous for our business confidence."

Summers, a Democrat, led the Treasury Department under President Clinton and served as President Obama's top economic adviser from 2009-2010. He has been an outspoken critic of Trump and the administration's economic policies in the past.

The former Treasury secretary said Trump's attacks on Amazon should make "pro-business Republicans" nervous.



Trump orders end of 'catch & release' immigration policy

President Donald Trump has signed an order ending the so-called 'catch and release' policy, under which US immigration officers allowed the release of 'caught' illegal immigrants back on US soil, pending their immigration hearing.

“President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum to take important steps to end catch and release, the dangerous practice whereby aliens who have violated our Nation’s immigration laws are released into the United States shortly after their apprehension,” the White House said in a statement.

The White House justified ending the controversial policy, much criticized by Trump, by citing concerns about the American public’s “safety and security.” The US president also used the opportunity to once again call on the Democrats to end their “staunch opposition” to toughening border security measures.

While no set definition exists to the US “catch and release” policy, the practice has been applied mostly to asylum seekers and children of migrants, so they can stay out of custody while their cases pass through the US courts. The lengthy process, which can take years to complete, allows most to stay in the US illegally. Many of them do not show up for court dates and continue to stay in the US without authorization.

Almost immediately after assuming office in January 2017, Trump signed an Executive Order to expand the border wall with Mexico and increase the number of detention centers, to tackle the management of an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. The order also mandated US authorities to assign asylum officers and immigration judges to the facilities, to conduct asylum interviews and hearings.

Currently, federal prisons, local jails as well as private companies are responsible for housing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees. According to October estimates, between 31,000 and 41,000 illegals are kept there on a daily basis.

The omnibus spending bill, which Trump reluctantly signed on March 23 to avoid the government shutdown, allocated $1.6 billion for Trump to construct his wall with Mexico. The bill, however, also allocated some $3.1 billion to fund 40,520 immigration beds across detention facilities for FY 2018. That marked a 1,196-bed increase on FY 2017.



Report: Dem. Sen. Joe Manchin Has Been Talking About Switching Parties

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice claims he’s talked to Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin about him switching parties.

President Donald Trump needs Manchin’s vote in the Senate, Justice said Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”

“Joe and I had discussions along those lines,” Justice, a Republican, said.

“I wish Joe was a Republican to tell you the truth,” he said of the West Virginia senator.

“But to just tell it like it is, Joe’s got to do his thing and I’ve surely got to do mine and the president has got to do his. We need Joe’s vote.

“And to be perfectly honest, you know, this nation needs to get behind our president in a great way every day.”

Manchin has regularly displayed conservative talking points and his conservative flare continues to increase as he gets closer to a reelection bid in November.

Manchin went on CNN’s “New Day” in January and said the country needed Trump’s border wall.

He returned on CNN to rebuke House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s immigration rhetoric a few days later.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


6 April, 2018

WH Considers Using Obscure Law To Gut Omnibus Bill, Democrats Helpless To Stop it

As always, the problem will be the RINOs in the Senate

Conservatives who were angry with President Donald Trump and Republicans with some of the expenditures approved as part of the recently signed omnibus spending bill may soon be in a slightly better mood.

Joseph Lawler of the Washington Examiner reports congressional conservatives want Trump to use the 1974 Impoundment Act to rescind some spending authorized by the $1.3 trillion government appropriations bill, and White House officials are reportedly considering doing so.

The measure referred to by the Examiner is officially known as the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. For the most part, the act established the Congressional Budget Office and gave Congress more control over the budget process.

The Impoundment Control Act allows the president to ask Congress to rescind funds that have been allocated in the budget. Congress is not required to vote on the request, but if they do agree to vote, a simple majority in both chambers is all that is needed to approve cuts the president requests.

Congress has 45 days to approve any or all rescission requests from the president.

A congressional Republican aide told the Examiner that conservatives have been lobbying for Trump to use the Impoundment Act. “It’s a good opportunity to take advantage of a law passed decades ago and that hasn’t been used recently,” the aide said.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confirmed to The Washington Post that McCarthy’s office is working with the Trump administration on the idea.

White House legislative director Marc Short also confirmed the president is looking into requesting cuts to the budget. “The administration is certainly looking at a rescission package, and the president takes seriously his promise to be fiscally responsible.”



Mulvaney Brings Law and Order to the CFPB

Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is bringing responsibility and transparency to his agency – so of course he is under attack by Democrats.

The brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the CFPB purportedly exists to shield consumers from fraud. In reality, Democrats created a powerful rogue agency that they could use to control and reward their political friends. The agency was given largely unchecked enforcement authority and spent taxpayer money recklessly.

Now that Democrats have lost the keys to that castle, they are making baseless accusations that Mulvaney is acting lawlessly, projecting onto him what they did to the agency. However, Mulvaney is trying to reform the CFPB into what its mission actually is: to protect consumers.

From the beginning, Democrats tried to block Mulvaney’s appointment. Richard Cordray, the first director of the CFPB, resigned last year and attempted to appoint his own successor, Leandra English, who filed a lawsuit to keep the job. Though federal judges have thus far supported President Trump’s authority to name an interim director of the agency, English’s lawsuit continues. But Mulvaney’s appointment is constitutional. Over 100 congressional Republicans filed an amicus brief last month arguing that Trump has the legal authority to appoint Mulvaney.

Just as his appointment was constitutional, Mulvaney is trying to make his agency operate in a constitutional fashion by making sure its actions stay within the realm of its authority and its operating costs stay within an appropriate budget.

Among many examples of reckless spending under its previous director, the CFPB spent over $215 million to renovate its headquarters. On his very first day as acting director of the agency, Mulvaney told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he would seek to rein in the soaring renovation costs.

“My objective in managing this agency is to make it more accountable, efficient, and effective in fulfilling its statutory obligations,” Mulvaney said. “Because Congress does not control the bureau’s budget through appropriations, we are left to budget ourselves without oversight, and every dollar we draw from the Federal Reserve is one less dollar available to pay down the deficit.”

While examining his agency’s budget in January, Mulvaney determined the bureau would need $145 million for its second quarter operating costs, but it already had $177 million in a “reserve fund” created by his predecessor. So Mulvaney told then-Fed Chair Janet Yellen that the CFPB would not require any additional operating funds for its second quarter.

In a letter to Yellen, Mulvaney suggested that the Fed instead direct those funds to the Treasury to reduce the deficit.

“While this approximately $145 million may not make much of a dent in the deficit, the men and women at the Bureau are proud to do their part to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” he wrote.

Mulvaney’s actions to trim the CFPB’s budget and control its regulatory actions have led to accusations from Democrats that he is attempting to shut down the bureau, but he is doing no such thing. Mulvaney has stated that he has “no intention of shutting down the bureau” and that the law requires the CFPB to “enforce consumer-protection laws, and we will continue to do so under my watch.”

Democrats, including Warren, have also baselessly accused the acting director of acting unethically by dropping investigations into some payday lenders and delaying a new rule regulating them due to campaign contributions he received from the industry when he was in Congress.

Mulvaney responded to these charges in a remarkable letter. "I reject your insinuation — repeated three times in as many pages — that my actions as Acting Director are based on considerations other than the careful examination of the law and the facts particular” to any matter, he wrote, adding:

"Prior to your letter, I would have never thought to consider, for instance, whether your vote against repealing the Bureau's arbitration rule was influenced by campaign donations you may have received from trial lawyers or other parties who stood to financially gain from the rule. Perhaps I should reconsider. Instead, shall we agree that such accusations are baseless and discuss policy matters as responsible officers holding a public trust?"

Contrary to these claims from Democrats, Mulvaney is the reformer CFPB needs, bringing both law and order to the bureau. Mulvaney is scaling the agency back to enforce the law as appropriate, rather than to “push the envelope,” as his predecessor described the agency’s actions. He is focused on fiscal responsibility and an equitable enforcement process that balances regulatory costs with need for consumer protections. He will ensure the agency advocates for consumers rather than the Democrats’ agenda.



Authoritarian dentistry in America

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a despotic pediatric dentist.

Parents who decide, for whatever reason, that they don’t like their children’s oral care provider should be forewarned. Empowered by government “mandatory reporter” laws, dental offices are now using their authority to threaten families with child abuse charges if they don’t comply with the cavity police.

Mom Trey Hoyumpa shared a letter last week on Facebook from a dental office called Smiles 4 Keeps in Bartonsville, Pennsylvania. It informed her that if she did not make a dental appointment for “regular professional cleanings” for her child, she could be charged with “dental neglect.”

Citing a law called Pennsylvania Act 31 on child abuse recognition and reporting, the dental office threatened to report the mom to state authorities if she did not schedule an appointment.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. But this can't be done alone. Find out more >>

Hoyumpa wrote: “Smiles 4 Keeps bullies the parents, controls the care behind closed doors, and turns parents into villains … and I will not stand for it anymore!!!”

On social media, parents who’ve encountered the toxic alliance of snoopy medical providers and child welfare agencies shared their own experiences with government bullies who operate on a presumption of guilt.

Brett Darken wrote: “Anyone familiar with ‘family court,’ DCF, state probate, and guardianship courts know well this story. In any other context, it would be considered a threat, coercion, and intimidation under RICO laws. But because it’s the government, it’s legal.”

This is a menacing threat to have hanging over customers of dental practices, or any medical providers for that matter: If you leave, you better tell us where you are going or we could report you to government child welfare agencies for suspected abuse.

One Twitter commenter wondered: “Is this fake?”

Unfortunately, it’s all too real, and the dental office is championing an intrusive practice that is likely to spread.

Smiles 4 Keeps replied to parental criticism on Facebook by quoting the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry definition of “dental neglect” as the “willful failure of parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection.”

The dental office also defended its intimidation letter to the mom by explaining that physicians and dentists are “mandated reporters” who are “required to report suspected cases of abuse and neglect to social service or law enforcement agencies in order to prevent such tragedy.”

But as investigative reporter Terri LaPoint at MedicalKidnap.com points out, nowhere has Smiles 4 Keeps provided any evidence that Hoyumpa was neglectful or abusive in any way.

Moreover, Smiles 4 Keeps insists that parents provide the name of a new dentist if the family chooses to find a new provider. Hoyumpa was just one of 17 recipients of the threatening Smiles 4 Keeps salvos.

Dr. Ross Wezmar of Smiles 4 Keeps actually boasted to local news station WNEP about the snitch letters’ ability “to jar the parent to realize that with a child comes responsibility.” Benevolent Dr. Marcus Welby he is not.

Wezmar claimed his bully notes are the first in the nation to be dispatched. With the encroachment of socialized medicine in America, they certainly won’t be the last.

Think it can’t happen to you? Last year, in Ontario, Canada, mom Melissa Lopez wanted a second opinion on getting fillings for her daughter and decided to change providers. The jilted dentist, as Lenore Skenazy reported on Reason.com, called Child Protective Services to report possible “oral neglect.”

The case was dismissed, but Child Protective Services refuses to remove Lopez’s file from its books—it is part of a permanent record that keeps a permanent cloud of suspicion over her.

Skenazy drills down to the core: “The issue here is how easy it is to drag a family into an abuse investigation, and how hard it is for the family, like an impacted molar, to get itself extracted.”

Indeed, the partnership between medical providers and government child welfare services has threatened innocent families across the country under the guise of “protecting the children.” It is a short hop from cavity-shaming and misdiagnoses to ripping families apart.

Don’t forget the case of Justina Pelletier, savagely torn from her family by Boston Children’s Hospital after the prestigious medical institution wrongly accused her parents of causing her chronic illness. Boston Children’s Hospital locked Justina in a mental ward until her sister published an undercover video of Justina pleading to be reunited with her family.

Public outrage forced her release and now the Pelletiers are suing the hospital.

Big Nanny monitors hostile to family privacy and autonomy are everywhere—in your kids’ classrooms, cafeterias, and doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Eternal vigilance against government intrusion is the price of parenthood.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


5 April, 2018

The Passover and Jewish endurance

Jewish continuity is completely amazing.  There were many great and notable civilizations in the ancient world -- Mitanni, Hittites Sumerians etc -- that have completely vanished -- mostly with very little record of their presence other than what archaeologists have been able to dig up. Their descendants are presumably around somewhere but anything that made them a distinctive group has vanished. 

There is just one of those ancient people that survives today, following the same religion and customs, speaking the same language and living in the same homeland.  And they have even brought their history books with them:  The Bible.  How remarkable is all that!  Many Jews see it as clear proof that they really are God's special people and that only his protection can possibly explain their unique survival. That sounds like a pretty good argument

IN MARCH 1946, David Ben Gurion appeared before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, a panel convened to study conditions in Palestine, which was then still under British rule. The committee is little-remembered today; its recommendations became moot with the UN partition resolution the following year. But Ben Gurion's heartfelt testimony making the case for Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland remains worth reading.

In one memorable passage, the man who would two years later become Israel's first prime minister addressed the astonishing longevity of the Jews' love affair with Zion.

"More than 300 years ago a ship by the name of the Mayflower left Plymouth for the New World," Ben Gurion told the committee. "It was a great event in American and English history. I wonder how many Englishmen or how many Americans know exactly the date when that ship left Plymouth, how many people were on the ship, and what was the kind of bread that people ate when they left Plymouth."

Few Americans, of course, know any of those minutiae. But countless Jews, Ben Gurion went on, know the details of a far older journey.

"More than 3,300 years ago the Jews left Egypt. It was more than 3,000 years ago, yet every Jew in the world knows exactly the date when we left. It was on the 15th of Nisan. The bread they ate was matzos. [To this day] Jews throughout the world on the 15th of Nisan eat the same matzos — in America, in Russia — and tell the story of the exile from Egypt. [They] tell what happened, all the sufferings that happened to the Jews since they went into exile. They finish [their retelling with] these two sentences: 'This year we are slaves; next year we will be free. This year we are here; next year we will be in Zion, the land of Israel.'"

The 15th of Nisan returned this weekend, and once again Jews the world over sat down to the Passover Seder. Again they ate matzos, the bread of affliction eaten by the Hebrews in Egypt. Again they tasted bitter herbs, a reminder of how Egypt embittered the lives of the Jewish slaves. Again they read the text of the Haggadah (literally, the "telling") — the age-old text that recounts the story of the Exodus and explains the customs of the Seder.

The Hebrews were a clan of herdsmen when they first arrived in Egypt. By the time they left, they had been forged into a body politic. The Exodus marked the emergence in history of the Jews as a nation, so Passover is the national independence day of the Jewish people.

Nations have special ways of commemorating their independence. The French mark Bastille Day with a great military parade. Mexicans recreate "El Grito," the famous "Shout for Independence" of 1810. Indians celebrate their country's birth with kite-flying festivals and a flag-raising over the Red Fort in Delhi. And the United States marks the Fourth of July with "Pomp and Parade . . . Bonfires and Illuminations" — much as John Adams recommended in 1776.

The Jews? They relive their ancestors' liberation from enslavement. No fireworks. No flags. For more than three millennia, Jews have paused each spring to steep in the history of their distant forefathers and to relate the tale to their children. In so doing, they have renewed and preserved Jewish identity — and have managed, unlike every other people of antiquity, to outlast the sands of time.

The Seder is the most widely observed ceremony in Jewish life. Though the Haggadah is long and the rituals archaic, though pre-Seder preparations can be exhausting, an estimated 70 percent of American Jews attend a Seder every year. On Passover, decrees the Talmud, Jews must regard themselves as if they personally were liberated from Egypt. How? Through the elaborate reenactment and recitations of the Seder — above all, through answering children's questions.

That priority comes from the Bible itself — from the epic hour just before the Israelites went free.

"And when, in times to come, your child asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall say to him. . ."

The story is told in the book of Exodus: Moses gathers the people and tells them that liberation is imminent. The years of brutality and bondage are over. At that moment of elation and excitement, with the Jews hanging on his every word, what does Moses say?

"He might have spoken about freedom, or the promised destination," writes Jonathan Sacks, Great Britain's former chief rabbi. "He might have chosen to speak about the arduous journey that lay ahead, what Nelson Mandela called 'the long road to freedom.' Any of these would have been the great speech of a great leader."

But Moses doesn't focus on the moment. He speaks instead of the future and of sons and daughters yet to be born. He stresses the importance of memory, and of keeping it alive through education: "And when your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this rite?' you shall say. . . . And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt.' . . . And when, in time to come, your child asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall say to him. . ."

Passover is replete with messages, but in the long sweep of Jewish history, this is the most essential: Liberation is not enough. Liberty must be sustained, and only education can sustain it. The Jews' passion for memory — for handing on their story to their children and grandchildren — is the secret of Jewish longevity. That passion is renewed at the Seder each year, amid matzos and bitter herbs, with children's questions and parents' answers.



Isn't gun control wonderful?

In London guns are completely banned -- so guess who's got them?

A 17-year-old girl who was shot dead in London on Monday evening is understood to be Tanesha Melbourne.

Friends and family spoke of their grief after news broke that the school student had been killed.

She was with friends in Chalgrove Road, Tottenham, north London, when she was murdered shortly before 9.30pm on Monday. On the same evening a 16-year-old boy was shot in Walthamstow, north-east London, and is now in a critical condition.

A woman who knew the murdered girl said the victim was "just chilling with her friends" when she was shot from a car for "no reason at all". "The car just pulled up and just started shooting," said the 21-year-old, who did not want to be named. She said she heard the gunshots "like fireworks" from her house.

The teenager was described by those who knew her as a "lovely girl who minds her own business", a "kind beautiful young soul" and an "innocent kid". Her cousin tweeted: "Rest in perfect peace my cousin Tanesha."  A friend wrote: "Omggggggggg , not Tanesha Lord ! I literally watched this girl grow"

Members of the local community spoke of their shock at the death, tweeting that they were "lost for words" at the "senseless death".

Tottenham-raised rapper Wretch32, whose real name is Jermaine Scott Sinclair, tweeted: "Wish I knew what to say about what's happening in my ends. North London we're better then this man smh R.I.P to the young angel who lost her life last night. love & prayers to the family. I'm honestly lost for words."

Scotland Yard said officers were called to reports of a shooting in Chalgrove Road, Tottenham, at 9.35pm on Monday. "Officers attended along with the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and a 17-year-old girl was found at the scene with a gunshot wound.

"Despite the best efforts of the LAS, she was pronounced dead at the scene at 10.43pm.  "Her next of kin are aware and a crime scene is in place. No arrests have been made at this stage."

The witness in Tottenham said: "Her friend came banging on my door so I came out quickly. I even tried to save her - had to, had to." She said the gunshot wound, below the victim's breast, was not immediately visible and it looked like she was "having a fit".

"I put her on her side and I was just rubbing her back, saying 'everything's going to be OK'. I just can't believe it - so young. It's ridiculous now." The woman said the victim was not responding, but added: "I could see she was looking at me."

She told how the girl's mother arrived before paramedics, adding: "She was screaming. She didn't know what to do."

In the second incident on Monday, a 16-year-old boy was found with gunshot injuries in Walthamstow. Police and London Ambulance Service said they were called to reports of gun fire in Markhouse Road at about 10pm. The boy remains in a critical condition at a hospital in east London, according to police.

A second teenage boy was also being treated for stab wounds. Police said he had suffered life-changing injuries but they were not life threatening.

Stella Creasy, the local Labour MP,  tweeted: "Walthamstow - can confirm tonight we have had another serious incident involving shooting and stabbing.  "Appreciate this is very distressing- I will share more information as and when have it from official sources as only want to share what is confirmed."

The incidents come amid concerns over rising violent crime in the capital. On Sunday a 20-year-old man became the 31st victim of knife crime in London so far this year.



Brent Bozell: No 'Facts First' with Stormy Daniels

The left's brazen double standard on the Stormy Daniels story is apparent to everyone. Suddenly, claims of sexual activity with the president before he became president are relevant. In the years of President Bill Clinton, his critics were told to "grow up about sex" because "libido and leadership are linked." The public was lectured about Clinton's accusers being liars who were seeking fame and money, "trash for cash."

Meet porn star Stormy Daniels. First, she was paid $15,000 by a sister publication of In Touch magazine in 2011 to claim that she had sex with Donald Trump (the story wasn't published). Then, she was paid $130,000 in October 2016 to shut up and not claim to have had sex with Donald Trump. History turned to farce when Daniels appeared on "60 Minutes" to break her nondisclosure agreement and shamelessly claimed: "I have no reason to lie. You know, I'm not getting paid to be here."

The 2016 payment to Daniels is an obvious news story. (Any conservative claiming he wouldn't have demanded coverage of a Clinton crony paying off a porn star right before an election would be a liar.) But all this money also creates problems for her credibility. She is currently cashing in with strip-club gigs, and CBS cashed in with boffo ratings. CBS may not have paid for this interview, but both sides walked away with a payoff.

Before Trump was president, Daniels could demand six figures in return for her silence. After his election, she realized she could make fortunes more breaking that silence.

Liberals think the double standard here is that socially conservative people voted for Trump and now don't care about his sleazy treatment of his wives and children. They somehow missed that many socially conservative people voted for other candidates in the primaries because of his questionable behavior but ultimately supported him rather than accept the alternative — hers.

But put aside the conservative morality for a second. The media's current lamentation that we live in a "post-truth" world while they operate by the "Facts First" motto did not match the Daniels interview. These same networks refused to publish or air interviews for months when it was Clinton accusers Paula Jones or Juanita Broaddrick; they demanded claims be investigated and confirmed.

The "news" in this interview was the porn star's claim of being threatened in a parking lot in 2011. Did CBS investigate this until it was confirmed? No. Does she offer any proof? No. Can she even prove that this alleged bully allegedly worked for Trump? No. So why is it on television?

Our media also now claim to be solid members of the #MeToo movement, but everyone alive in the Clinton era knows they didn't care about allegations of sexual harassment, or even rape , lodged against Bill Clinton.

Then we learned they didn't care about allegations of sexual harassment and assault when lodged against their own people in TV news.

It's shameless for "60 Minutes" to devote 26 minutes of airtime to a claim of consensual sex with (and alleged threats by) Donald Trump when it hasn't spared a minute since former CBS star Charlie Rose was exposed in November to discuss what he allegedly did to his female employees. And Rose did interviews on "60 Minutes" for years.

Staunch Trump-backing women appeared on CNN after the big Daniels interview to say this story is "all part of a media plot to bring down Donald Trump." That is an incontestable fact. For most journalists, political victory for liberals comes first. Facts do not.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


4 April, 2018

Betrayed by politicians

What Ben Shapiro says about politicians below is pretty right.  But he has a very strange gap in his understanding of it.  He does not seem to know WHY politicians break their promises,  They don't break them because they are crooks (though some may be).  They break them because they have to.  The recent omnibus spending bill is a good case in point.  Really conservative Senators such as Rand Paul threatened to vote against it unless it contained certain measures that were close to their hearts -- but measures which were generally a low priority for others.  So nothing would have got through on GOP votes alone

So the GOP leadership, abetted by Mr Trump, had to put in provisions that would attract some Democrat votes.  And they did.  So the conservative purists by their obstinacy handed the Democrats a significant win.  Instead of getting more of what they wanted they got less. 

And it was all old hat to Trump.  He has been doing "deals" like that for most of his life:  I give you something and you give me something. It's called compromise and it is one of the distinctive talents of British-origin people.  Most of the world doesn't understand compromise at all.  They only understand winning and they will keep fighting until they do win.  But both sides can't win so one side will be destroyed, which is usually disastrous.  In countries with a tradition of compromise, on the other hand, domestic peace and calm is normal.

So in the Ommnibus bill various Democrat objectives were financed but Trump got a big dollop of money for defence and other objectives.  He may even find ways of using that money to build the wall.  So what you got was typical of compromise.  The weaker side got a few small wins and the stronger side got bigger wins.  But nobody got all their wishes.

So that is why politicians betray us.  They live in a world where different people have all sorts of different wishes.  And finding a way through that to deliver ANYTHING to their voters is a major achievement.  They can only do their best.  You do have to consider the other guy.

When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution of the United States, they feared the possibility of partisanship overtaking rights-based government. To that end, they crafted a system of checks and balances designed to pit interest against interest, promoting gridlock over radical change. The founders saw legislators, presidents and judges as ambitious in their pursuit of power.

They could not have foreseen our politicians.

Our politicians aren't so much ambitious for power as they are afraid of accountability. And so, we have a new sort of gridlock on Capitol Hill: Politicians campaign in cuttingly partisan fashion and then proceed to avoid solving just the sorts of issues on which they campaigned.

Last week, for example, Republicans passed a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus funding package to avert a government shutdown. It included full funding for Planned Parenthood and the regional Gateway rail project, but not full funding for the border wall. Republicans had spent years decrying deficits, criticizing funding for Planned Parenthood and ripping useless stimulus spending; they'd spent years clamoring for a border wall. When push came to shove, they did nothing.

Meanwhile, Democrats tore into the Republican budget for failing to ensure the permanent residence of so-called DREAMers, immigrants living in the United States illegally who were brought to the country as children. Then they rallied in Washington, D.C., along with gun control-minded students from Parkland, Florida, calling for more regulations on the Second Amendment. When Democrats held control of Congress and the presidency from 2009 to 2011, however, they promulgated no new gun legislation and passed no protection for DREAMers. Instead, then-President Barack Obama issued an executive action during his re-election cycle after saying repeatedly that he could not legally do so, and he complained incessantly about guns.

So, what should this tell us?

It should tell us that we, the voters, are suckers.

Our politicians use hot-button political issues in order to gin up the base and get us out to vote. They talk about how they'll end funding for Planned Parenthood and cut back spending on the right; they talk about how they'll end gun violence and protect DREAMers on the left. Then, once in power, they instead focus on broadly popular legislation instead of passing the legislation they've promised. They campaign for their base, but they govern for the center.

So, what are the real differences between the parties? The Republican Party is in favor of tax cuts and defense spending; the Democratic Party is in favor of increased regulation and social spending. All the other discussion points are designed merely to drive passion.

Practically speaking, this means gridlock on the issues about which Americans care most. Don't expect Republicans to stop funding Planned Parenthood anytime soon. And don't expect Democrats to start pushing serious gun control. They keep those issues alive deliberately to inflame excitement during election campaigns. Then, once in power, those issues go back into the freezer, to emerge and be defrosted when the time is right.

It's a convenient ploy. It means that partisan voters will never buck their party — after all, if the other side gets into power, they'll really go nuts. And, hey, maybe this time , our party bosses won't lie to us.
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But they will. And we'll swallow it. And the government will grow. But at least we'll have the comfort slamming one another over issues that will never get solved.



British PM's "Russia" narrative falls apart

The accusations hurled at Russia are very poorly founded.  Are the sanctions based on a rush to judgment that is entirely wrong?  There are varieties of Novichok gases and it is not only Russia that uses them.  Israel is another.  And this version may be a very amateur version of the stuff.  It hasn't killed anyone yet.  Was it an attempt to set Russia up? Russia would have used the real stuff

Update: "UK scientists have been unable to prove Russia made the nerve agent A-234 (also known as "Novichok") which was used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury."

Yulia Skripal has risen from her death bed and looks like she will make a full recovery from the “deadly nerve gas attack.”

Sarcasm aside, I am delighted that she is on the mend just as I was with DS Nick Bailey's speedy recovery. However, I do now wonder how Boris and "Saint Theresa" are going to spin this and fit it in to their, "it was the Russians wot done it" narrative?

We were told by the Sun newspaper amongst others that, "Novichok is one of the deadliest nerve agents ever created and reported to be five times more potent than the notorious VX gas.

The victim's heart and diaphragm are unable to function properly after coming into contact with the substance — leading to respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Those affected usually die from total heart failure or suffocation as copious fluid secretions fill their lungs."

Meanwhile, Mrs May has gone on a walking holiday in Wales with her husband. She will need the time to think! Last year she did the same and came back to London and called a snap election after repeatedly saying she would not do so. Will she come back this time and offer either an explanation or even an apology to Russia?

This whole saga has played out like a very poor version of the Board game Cluedo. Was it the Reverend Green in the conservatory with a piece of lead piping?

No, it was Putin with gas on a pizza. No it was gas in the car's air conditioning. Or was it in Yulia's suitcase? Finally, we are told it was on the door handle!

It has taken them three weeks to make this discovery? It's hardly Inspector Morse is it? More like The Keystone Cops.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has already acted as the prosecutor, judge and jury and stated it was, "the Kremlin wot done it."

Theresa May has then waded in with her size 9 kitten heels and given the Russians a virtual kick in without producing any real evidence either to the British public or the Kremlin.

Please remind me, why is she refusing to allow the Russians to examine the nerve gas?

Are we really meant to believe that, just like in a poor children's cartoon, where the crooks wear stripy jumpers and carry a bag with "SWAG" written on it.  Two Russians have come to the UK, effectively with a bag of gas with instead of the word "SWAG" on it there are the words, "NOVICHOK MADE IN MOSCOW".  Far-fetched I know but so is Theresa Mays and the MSM's narrative.

However, all joking aside, the real danger in this whole episode is the way that Theresa May is now using this "mystery" to both paint Russia as our enemy and to clamp down on free speech.

On Wednesday, to little fanfare in the MSM press and broadcast outlets, she published the Security Capability Review. This document examines the threats to the UK's security.

Theresa wrote the foreword to the document in which she talks about the Manchester and Westminster terrorist attacks and then in almost the same breath and sentence she includes the attack in Salisbury.

I'm sorry, but putting the Salisbury incident on the same level as the Manchester Arena attack that killed 22 people, mainly children, and Westminster is not only ludicrous but also deeply insulting, not only to the victims and their families but to the whole country.

Unfortunately, she doesn't stop there as she then lists who the threats to the UK are.

She starts with Islamic State and no one would argue with that. Next, she names North Korea which is understandable but I would say after Trump's intervention their threat is on the wane. Then she states that the other threat is Russia!

This assertion seems to be based on the Salisbury attack, in which at the moment no one has died and in fact two are on the road to recovery?

She seems to also rely on an article in the Telegraph which reported that Russia put out more than 20 stories "trying to confuse the picture and the charge sheet" over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia in Salisbury.

Another view of the Telegraph's report, could of course be that Russia was merely trying to offer a counter narrative to the one the UK Government was peddling.

Are alternative views no longer tolerated in the UK? Now with the wheel falling off the Government's propaganda wagon, with the recovery of Yulia and the Policemen, those counter narratives don't seem so stupid, do they?

However, the Telegraph's assertion plays directly into the other narrative the Government are playing that Russia is the epicentre of all fake news.

Theresa now wants to counter this "propaganda and fake news" by telling every department of State to put security at the top of their agendas.

She is also going to use the BBC to "spread our values" around the world.

The BBC?! The Biased Broadcasting Corporation?!  Do they really mirror the views of most British citizens?

I am afraid on this point I have to agree with the veteran left wing journalist and documentary maker, John Pilger who says in an interview on RT that, "the BBC is the most refined propaganda service in the world."

In this new strategy which has been titled The Fusion Doctrine, UK Intelligence services are instructed to swamp, divert, counter and even close down any sites, trolls or posts that are peddling "misinformation."

This is a very scary prospect as who are these people that will decide what is and what is not acceptable? Will it stop just with sites based in Russia? Of course not!

How free will you and I be to express our cynicism over events like Salisbury in the future?

Just remind me are we living in 2018 or 1984?



Gun Ban Finally Makes a Difference in Crime — London Murder Rate Overtakes NYC

Progressive gun control advocates here in America will often point to the gun ban imposed in the United Kingdom as an excellent example of how significantly restricting the right of citizens to lawfully possess most firearms will lead to a safe and violence-free Utopia of sorts.

Common sense dictates that such an assertion is patently false, but now there are factual numbers coming out of the city of London cited by Fox News disprove the ludicrous assumption that banning guns makes citizens safer.

In the month of February, the city of London officially surpassed the city of New York in terms of its murder rate for the first time in modern history.

Furthermore, while the murder rate in NYC has declined by nearly 90 percent in the past 30 years, murder and other violent crimes are on the rise in London.

The shocking story of historical significance was first reported by The U.K. Sunday Times, which noted that London suffered 15 murders in the month of February while New York City had 14.

Though not yet “official,” it appears the trend continued through March, as London experienced 22 murders in comparison to only 21 murders in NYC during the same period.

Given that these two cities have similarly-sized diverse populations, that means people are being murdered at a higher rate in London as opposed to NYC, despite the English city’s strict gun control laws.

In fact, it is those strict gun control laws which have led to a sharp rise in knife crime across the U.K., and especially in London, where murders have increased by a stunning 38 percent in the past four years.

All told, London still has fewer murders (46) than NYC (55) so far this year and had fewer murders last year, as well. However, what used to be a massive gap between the murder rate of the two cities going back to the year 1800 — it fluctuated from about half to 1/20 — has closed significantly, and if the surge in knife crime continues unabated, could vanish altogether.

The U.K. Daily Mail, which ran through a litany of recent murder victims, pointed out that no less than 12 people have been fatally stabbed or shot to death in just the past 19 days in London, proving once again that violent criminals don’t obey gun bans and will still obtain firearms, or simply resort to other weapons such as knives



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


3 April, 2018

Group of interns "racist"?

The latest intake of interns to the White house looks like it includes 90 whites and one black.  Is that racist? Unlikely. Trump makes a point of having blacks around.  So how come the "imbalance"?  Pretty obvious.  Whether formally stated or not, an essential qualification for acceptance would be registered GOP identity for either the intern or his/her parents.  And how many registered GOP voters would be young blacks? And of that tiny number how many have an outstanding record of educational success?  I think the answer lies before us.


The Pope is right

I follow the report below with some comments

Scalfari says to the Pope, "Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?"

Pope Francis says,  "They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls."


Francis is a Jesuit, which means he is a man of some scholarship.  And it appears that he knows his Bible.  What he says is exactly what I say as a result of my Bible studies. And what the Bible says is not all obscure or hard to find.  It's actually all in the best known of Bible passages, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life".  We see there that the alternative to salvation is to perish, to cease to exist, not flitting off to a place of torture.

And what about another well-known scripture: 'Enter ye in at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat'. How narrow is the gate and strait is the way that leadeth to life; and few there are that find it (Matthew 7:13,14 Douay).  Again we see that sin leads to destruction, not hell.

But what about texts that do seem to support hellfire?  One is a metaphorical prophecy in Matthew 25. It is metaphorical because a spirit being would not actually be sitting on a throne. An excerpt:

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal"

At the end of the passage, Jesus clarifies the metaphor.  He summarizes himself as saying that "these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal".  The "life eternal" is clear enough but what is the "everlasting punishment"?

Is it literally the "everlasting fire" into which the "goats" are cast?  If so, it certainly does sound like a clear formulation of a hellfire doctrine. But we have to look at the summary Jesus gave to check that. The word translated as "punishment" is in Greek "kolasin" and it simply means "cutting off". It is the word a Greek gardener might use to describe the pruning of a tree. So it would be a superior translation to say that the goats would be cut off and thrown away like the unwanted branch of a tree

So, when properly translated, we see that Christ was, as usual, offering the alternatives of life and death, not heaven and hell -- exactly as he does in John 3:16. The sheep get eternal life and the goats get eternal death.

A Vatican announcement has appeared which denies that the Pope said what he did but I guess they had to.  It was not an ex cathedra pronouncement by Francis but it did go against traditional Catholic teaching. It seems that Francis was expressing his own personal views -- which are much more in tune with both modern thinking and scripture


Is the "terrorist Right" just a creation of Obama's FBI?

We now know how "bent" the FBI was under Comey

In 2015, Barack Obama’s Department of Homeland Security released an intelligence assessment on alleged right-wing terrorism.

Said CNN about the report, “Some federal and local law-enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to – and in some cases greater than – the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.”

When President Trump shifted the DHS focus away from domestic terror, the media were quick to turn to the professional race-baiters at the Southern Poverty Law Center for an instant denunciation.

“It’s a disgrace that Trump is cutting out Countering Violent Extremism funds for white supremacists and neo-Nazis,” said a SPLC spokesperson. “We know that the domestic terror threat from them is as great as it from Islamic radicals. It’s a very serious situation.”

For the SPLC, the trial that began this past week in Wichita for three Kansans accused of planning to blow up a Garden City apartment complex would seem to be vindication.

Time magazine led its story on the alleged plot with the standard media boilerplate.

“The plot to bomb an apartment complex housing Somali immigrants in western Kansas was just the beginning of a plan by three militia members to ‘exterminate cockroaches,’ a prosecutor told jurors Thursday.”

In the Time version of the story, the hero is a reluctant would-be terrorist named Dan Day. “Dan Day knew the plan would go forward and innocent people would die,” reports Time.

According to prosecutor Risa Berkower, Day “struggled with what to do, prayed about what to do. And then he contacted the FBI, and later agreed to wear a wire.”

An in-depth article by Jessica Pressler in New York Magazine points to a more troubling inspiration for the plot.

To please her New York audience, Pressler begins with a few de rigueur snipes at President Donald Trump. She then veers into the unexpected.

In her conversations with one of the accused, a troubled soul named Patrick Stein, Pressler sheds some useful light on the way too many of these plots unfold.

As Pressler tells it, Stein only became aware of Day’s role during his arraignment at a Wichita courthouse.

“He’s the one who fed us all the information, showed us how bad they were, doing this and that and the other,” he told Pressler. “He was working for the feds the entire time. It was all a setup.”

Pressler backs up Stein’s account. “This time, Stein’s paranoid fantasy had turned out to be at least partially true,” she writes.

Day was, in fact, a paid informant for the FBI. He apparently had been reporting on Stein since Stein introduced him to the two other conspirators, Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, at a gun show in February 2016.

Among the things that roused Stein’s ire were ISIS recruitment fliers reportedly found in a local public library. According to Stein, it was Day who told him he saw the fliers there.

Stein lived in Liberal, Kansas. Day lived in Garden City. Again according to Stein, it was Day who turned his attention to the heavily Somali apartment complex in Garden City that also housed an impromptu mosque.

“If we don’t do it, who’s gonna do it?” Day reportedly told Stein of blowing up the building.

Unquestionably, it was Day who introduced the crew to the “Bad Motherf—–,” or BMF as he came to be known. The BMF could provide the weapons and the expertise the men lacked.

Stein admitted to limited experience in building bombs. On their own, writes Pressler, the three conspirators “mostly succeeded in burning the hair off [Curtis Allen’s] finger.”

The BMF said he could solve that problem. All Stein, who owned a farm, had to do was deliver six 50-pound bags of ammonium nitrate, and the BMF could build a small-scale version of the bomb Tim McVeigh used in Oklahoma City.

The plot might have matured had Allen not beaten up his girlfriend, and had she not reported the beating and Allen’s growing weapons stash to the Liberal Police.

Upon learning of Allen’s exposure in Liberal, the feds arranged the delivery of ammonium nitrate to the conspirators and arrested the conspirators promptly after the handoff.

The BMF, it turned out, was an undercover FBI agent. The weapons he provided to the men had been shipped from Quantico, Virginia.

Stein, writes Pressler, had “become the thing he feared most: a casualty of the Obama administration, specifically, its attempt to aggressively infiltrate right-wing militias the same way that Islamic groups had been targeted after 9/11.”

Ed Robinson, the court-appointed public defender, agreed that Stein had a point “about the feds overdoing it.”

Said Robinson, “I think it’s unfortunate that, if the FBI thought these gentlemen were so dangerous, why would they let this investigation go on for 10 months, with people they think are possibly murderers, with all these guns, all this ammunition?”

A week before this story broke, I had lunch with an old friend, Laird Wilcox, America’s leading authority on extremist groups.

The Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas is home to the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements.

Wilcox believes that many of the would-be terrorist groups on the right, if not most, are propped up by FBI informants and undercover agents. The Garden City plot would seem to be a case in point.

As the plot reveals, it is hard to tell whether the FBI’s agent provocateurs are more dangerous than the losers they encourage.



John Bolton's Enemies
Among the several ways to judge a person’s fitness for office are the enemies he has made.

In the case of John Bolton, President Trump’s choice to become national security adviser, those who oppose his appointment — liberals, neocons and some Republicans all with differing worldviews and questionable foreign policy experience — appear to say more about his qualifications than those who support him.

A New York Times editorial said that at least Bolton speaks his mind, though it also said it didn’t like what was on it. The Times and its ideological sister publication, The Washington Post, have spilled considerable amounts of ink in negative stories, editorials and columns in their attempts to undermine and discredit Bolton. Why?

I think one of the reasons these newspapers, the foreign policy establishment and certain enemies (and allies) of America oppose Bolton is because he is a clear thinker. He is not an appeaser. He believes nations and terrorists who publicly proclaim their desire to destroy America should be taken seriously and that credible planning should be done to make sure it that destruction doesn’t happen. Peace through strength has worked before and Bolton believes it can work again. Strength is what deters bullies, not trying to “understand” their hostility toward America, as Hillary Clinton once recommended.

The weak always fear the strong because, among other things, it exposes their weakness. John Bolton exposes the weakness of America’s foreign policy under several presidents. Enemies cannot and must not be appeased or coddled. Enemies must be defeated or, at a minimum, deterred from making war against America and our interests. History shows the results of appeasement, and they are never good for free people or those struggling to gain freedom under totalitarian regimes.

Writing about Bolton’s appointment, Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick rightly stated: “For the better part of three decades, Bolton has bravely held positions that fly in the face of the establishment’s innate preference for appeasement. He was a vocal critic, for example, of then-President Bill Clinton’s disastrous nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.” Bolton was also a critic of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Some of his predictions and policy recommendations turned out to be right.

Here are some pithy Bolton-isms that are clear-eyed and have the advantage of being right. About diplomatic dealings with Iran, Bolton has said: “When you have a regime that would be happier in the afterlife than in this life, this is not a regime that is subject to classic theories of deterrence.”

On the strategy known as negotiation, Bolton is quoted as saying, “Negotiation is not a policy. It’s a technique. It’s something you use when it’s to your advantage, and something that you don’t use when it’s not to your advantage.”

There is also this about the United Nations to which he was once the U.S. ambassador: “There’s no such thing as the United Nations. If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.” But then Bolton is equal opportunity when it comes to dysfunctional bureaucracies: “You could take several stories off the buildings of most U.S. government agencies and we’d all probably be better for it, too.”

The media love to attach labels to Bolton, among them “hawkish,” “dangerous” and “hard-line.” Given the kind of threats we face from enemies who better fit those adjectives, John Bolton seems an ideal pick to advise the president on national security issues he knows a great deal about.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


2 April, 2018

UK's search of Russian plane violates international law – Aeroflot, lawmakers

Mrs May must have lost her marbles.  This is a blatant violation of international law. And Russia can easily retaliate against British planes  -- by detaining them, for instance

The inspection of a Russian plane, which was carried out by UK authorities in the absence of the crew and without any justification, violates international legal norms, Aeroflot airline and top Russian lawmakers said.

Aeroflot confirmed to RT that UK police and customs services performed a search aboard its Airbus A321 aircraft after it landed in the British capital on Thursday. The carrier expressed “bewilderment” that there was no reason or justification provided for the search. Moreover, UK authorities forced the crew out of the plane and isolated the captain in the cabin.

“Such actions by the UK representatives contradict the international practice of performing such inspections,” Aeroflot pointed out, adding that it is ready to cooperate with Britain if it justifies and explains its actions.

The chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Transport Committee, Vitaly Yefimov, also called the actions of British authorities “illegal” and said they violated international regulations.

“The board of the airplane is the territory of Russia, just like its embassy,” Yefimov told Tass. “It is a precedent… It’s the first time on my memory when the authorities go in and inspected an aircraft with no justification. They have no right to do it.”

An inspection of a plane can only be carried out in agreement with the crew, the MP stressed, adding that he’s waiting for official explanations from the British.

Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov, who is the First Deputy Chairman of the Federal Council’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, told RIA-Novosti that the actions taken by British authorities were “another provocation." Due to the current tensions between London and Moscow over the Skripal case, “it’s worth recommending our citizens to refrain from visiting the UK," Dzhabarov said.

Deputy Chairman of the State Duma's Committee for Security, Anatoly Vyborny, blasted the search of the Russian plane as “legal nihilism” and a “flagrant violation of the norms of international law” on the part of Britain.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, earlier said that the search of the Aeroflot Airbus A321 was yet another anti-Russian provocation by the UK. The reckless act might have been an attempt by London to somehow save its reputation, which was heavily damaged by the Skripal case, Zakharova said.

In early March, former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in Salisbury with what the UK called a Soviet-designed nerve agent. London accused Moscow of being behind the attack, despite carrying out no proper investigation and refusing to provide samples of the chemical to Russia.

SOURCE.  More details here


Trump Lauds Creation of 3 Million Jobs

During a speech in Richfield, Ohio, President Donald Trump said his administration has delivered on its promises, created 3 million jobs and eliminated job-killing regulations.

“We’re keeping our promises, and the results are in: 3 million new jobs since Election Day - 3 million. And if I would have said that to you during the campaign, where we had tremendous support in this great state, state of Ohio, if I would have said, 3 million jobs, they would have said-- the fake news -- he’s exaggerating,” he said.

“Unemployment claims are their lowest level in 45 years - 45 years. African-American unemployment has reached the lowest level ever recorded. Remember? Remember I said, ‘what do you have to lose?’ What do you have to lose? And I’m so happy about that,” Trump said.

“Hispanic-American unemployment rate has also reached the lowest levels ever recorded, and wages are rising at the fastest level ever in a decade. Finally - 19 years, 21 years. People were making, last year were making less money than they made 20 years ago. Now wages are rising, because more jobs are happening,” the president said.

He said because of his administration’s efforts to protect and grow American jobs, plants and factories are “pouring back into the country.” He mentioned Apple’s $350 billion investment in the economy through capital expenditures in the U.S. over the next five years.

Apple made the announcement in January, saying it would also be creating 20,000 new jobs in addition to its existing 84,000 jobs in the U.S.

“Apple, already the largest US taxpayer, anticipates repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion as required by recent changes to the tax law. A payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made,” the company said on its website.

“They can’t come back fast enough, even if you look, Apple gonna invest $350 billion. When I heard $350 billion, I said you must mean $350 million. That’s still a big plant, but they’re going to be investing $350 billion. So many others coming back with massive amounts of money. They all want to be back in the USA,” Trump said.

“A lot of them left. They’re coming back. We’ve eliminated a record number of job killing regulations. That’s one of the reasons they’re coming back. And we’re not finished yet.” he said.

“In some cases, you have statutory limitations where you have to go 30 days and wait, and then you have to go 90 days and wait, and then you have to go 15 days and wait and then you go 90 days again, and then you know what happens? We killed the regulation, and it’s a thing of beauty,” Trump said.

“And we have filled out every form, every legal application, and still actually have a long way to go on regulation, and we’re gonna have regulations. You need regulations for safety and the environment, but not where you couldn’t do anything, you couldn’t move. So I think that’s been a big, big success, and a reason for our success,” he added.



The strange world the Left have created

Whites in general and white males in particular are under attack in our society.  We are told by the left that they have too much influence, too much money and that they distort our culture.  Ironically these same charges were made against the Jews in Socialist Germany during the nineteen thirties.

Mueller marches on.  Next he will be indicting Snuffy Smith who parked cars for Trump campaign staffers.  The charges will be overdue library books from 2012 and leaving a toilet seat up in 2010 and then lying about it to an FBI agent in 2018.

The lesson from the Mueller investigation is never talk to the FBI.  Do not give them the time of day.  If you do and you are one minute off they will charge you with lying to them and you will have to mortgage your house to pay legal fees for your defense.

Back during the days of the Red Menace when the left was defending Julius and Ethel Rosenberg plus Alger Hiss, those of us who believed the Soviet Union was a threat were labeled right wing extremists who saw Russians under every bed.  Liberals now sound more extreme than any member of the John Birch Society ever did.  They see Russians under every napkin.

When Susan Rice sent herself a memo memorializing a meeting she had with Obama where he told to do things, “by the book,” she forgot to mention that the book he was referring to was Marxist Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

The nation is justifiably upset of the senseless deaths of seventeen high school students in Florida.  In the meantime 2500 children are murdered every day in the country’s abortion slaughter houses and the nation goes ho-hum.

There was a time when broadcasters would not run advertisements for Preparation H because they felt it was too personal a product.  Now you have five years olds asking their mothers, “Mommy what is erectile dysfunction?”

When the film, Gone With The Wind, was first exhibited the audience would gasp when Clark Gable said, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”  This was because they had never hear anyone swear in a movie before.  An indication of the coarsening of our culture.

Stormy Daniels, an aging floozy who had sex with strangers on video if the price was right is challenging the moral integrity of our President.  The reaction of the MSM and the Never Trumpers is, “This paragon must be listened to.”

The left has always been good at astro-turfing so it is no surprise that they were able to turn out thousands of snot nosed kids to tell us they were too emotionally immature and unstable to buy a gun but were just the people to set gun policy.

The same group of teens attacking Second Amendment rights are the ones who often wear tee shirts sympathetic to and bearing the image of psychopathic serial killer Che Guevara.

The MSM lives by a simple rule, Democrats good, Republican and Trump bad.  The Democrats live in a world in which they can do no wrong which is causing them to live in a false world.  They have been led to believe that, “We are going to take your guns and raise your taxes,” is a winning platform.  The Republicans and Trump on the other hand can do whatever they wish knowing that they will be denounced regardless.



Despite Court Ruling, There's No Certain Science Linking Coffee to Cancer

More California craziness -- the acrilamide obsession again.  If coffee is bad for you, all Americans should be dead

Attention, coffee drinkers: A judge in California has ruled that coffee companies in the Golden State must label each cup of joe with a cancer warning label.

But what sparked this decision, and more importantly, does drinking coffee increase the risk of developing cancer?

In short, roasted coffee beans contain a known carcinogen, a chemical called acrylamide. But it's unclear whether acrylamide levels in coffee are high enough to pose a health risk to humans

Acrylamide occurs in overly cooked or roasted starchy foods, including coffee beans, french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals and toast. It's also found in cigarette smoke. The carcinogenic chemical is concerning enough that last year, the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency asked people to "Go for Gold" rather than a charred color when eating starchy foods that could be burned, Live Science reported.

This U.K. campaign was based on evidence showing that consuming acrylamide can cause mutations and damage in DNA, which can increase cancer risk, according to studies in rodents. However, these studies exposed the rodents to levels of acrylamide that were between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the levels people might be exposed to in foods, the American Cancer Society reported.

The results from these animal studies prompted the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization, to label acrylamide as a "probable carcinogen" in 1994, Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, told Live Science previously.

However, the IARC does not list coffee as a possible carcinogen.

Even so, the jury is still out on whether the levels of acrylamide in coffee can increase cancer risk in humans. While an increased cancer risk is shown in some studies, others don't find any at all, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). These disparate results may occur because it's challenging to quantify how much acrylamide people consume. Moreover, rodents and humans absorb and metabolize acrylamide at different rates, the NCI reported.

According to the new ruling, made by Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle, coffee companies with 10 or more employees must now put warning labels on coffee, cautioning customers that drinking coffee could pose a cancer risk, according to The Washington Post.

The case was based, in part, on the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which the plaintiffs said also applies to coffee. During the trial, the defendants were unable to show that coffee doesn't cause one or more cases of cancer for every 100,000 people, prompting the judge to say the risk hadn't been properly evaluated, according to The Washington Post.

Meanwhile, countless other studies show that drinking coffee may actually be beneficial. For example, drinking coffee is linked to a decreased risk of liver cancer, endometrial cancer, colon cancer and one type of skin cancer, Live Science previously reported. Downing the beverage is also linked to living a longer life.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolfs in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ― Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

Why are Leftists always talking about hate? Because it fills their own hearts

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." -- Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
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"Marx & Engels in their own words"
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To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
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"Food & Health Skeptic"
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QANTAS -- A dying octopus
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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