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

This document is part of an archive of postings on Dissecting Leftism, a blog hosted by Blogspot who are in turn owned by Google. The index to the archive is available here or here. Indexes to my other blogs can be located here or here. Archives do accompany my original postings but, given the animus towards conservative writing on Google and other internet institutions, their permanence is uncertain. These alternative archives help ensure a more permanent record of what I have written. My Home Page. My Recipes. My alternative Wikipedia. My Blogroll. Email me (John Ray) here. NOTE: The short comments that I have in the side column of the primary site for this blog are now given at the foot of this document.


30 August, 2019

California's homeless crisis engulfs its capital as Sacramento's business owners tell how they confront naked junkies and streets covered in feces, urine and syringes - with no solution in sight

The visible results of Democrat "compassion".  Their loony ideas just create chaos

Carlisle is part of California's growing homeless emergency. The state has around 130,000 people without a roof over their heads. But she is not in downtown Los Angeles where Skid Row is a symbol of the national crisis or San Francisco where nearly one person in every hundred lives on the streets.

Instead, Carlisle and her fiancé Brian Workman are in Sacramento, the state capital, where homelessness has shot up by a shocking 19 per cent in the past two years, putting the problem squarely on the doorstep of Gavin Newsom, the state's Democratic governor.

Last week, salon owner Liz Novak brought the nation's attention to the problem when she announced to great fanfare that she was shutting up shop because she could not deal with the needles, the human waste, and the general aggravation that comes with having a business in the city.

'I just want to tell you what happens when I get to work. I have to clean up the poop and the pee off of my doorstep. I have to clean-up the syringes. I have to politely ask the people who I care for, I care for these people that are homeless, to move their tents out of the way of the door to my business,' she said in a video posted on Twitter, which gained the attention of Fox News and other national media outlets.

'I am angry about it. I wouldn't be relocating if it wasn't for this issue,' Novak added. 

Every few days, workers from the California Department of Transportation backed by Highway Patrol officers clean up under the freeways.

They post notices, giving three days' notice and announcing exactly when they are coming and they trash any unattended items.

Carlisle and Workman — and many others — merely move their possessions out from the limited protection the highway gives them from the elements to the corner of the street, which is city land.

Within a few minutes they move back again. 'It's a game of cat and mouse,' said Workman. 'But moving my stuff keeps me in shape. I'm in pretty good shape really.'

Highway Patrol Officer Caleb Howard, whose work includes backing up the CalTrans clean-up crew, said they rarely junk stuff that the homeless want.

'If they abandon it, they don't want it,' he told DailyMail.com. 'They know when we are coming.'

Over the last two years, the rate of homelessness  in Sacramento has risen by 19 per cent.

More than a tenth of that number, 688, were children, and 70 per cent were living without shelter.  

According to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, California has the largest homeless population in the country, with 129,972 people living on the streets as of 2018.

The issue has long plagued Los Angeles, which has seen its homeless population rise by a staggering 75 per cent in the last six years.

A report released in June this year revealed there are 59,000 people living on the streets across Los Angeles County - a 12 per cent increase from 2018 - while the city has seen a 16 per cent rise with 36,300. 

By comparison, Sacramento, which has an estimated population of 1.5million, seems to have a significantly smaller homeless population, with 5,570, but the problem appears to be growing.

Many of Sacramento's homeless are expected to leave town in the next couple of months. 'They're migratory,' antique shop owner Steve Sylvester told DailyMail.com. 'When the weather gets cooler they'll head down toward San Diego.'

Sylvester's store is just across the street from Novak's salon. He has sympathy for his fellow business-owner but says he would never close up just because of the homeless.

'I understand it is more intimidating for her, she worked alone,' said Sylvester, a Londoner who has run his store in Sacramento for 20 years. But he recognizes the problem. 'We've had two major incidents in the past six weeks,' he said.

'We had a young man come in 95 per cent naked — he had underpants on but below where they mattered. I asked him to leave and he asked why. I said he was upsetting my customers and he wasn't really dressed for shopping.

'As he left, he held out his arm and wiped out a whole china dinner service, worth $300-$400. 'He was a drug addict. He didn't know what he was doing. He was on Planet Zog.'

In the second incident a man threw a rock through Sylvester's window at four in the morning. He clambered through the shattered plate glass, found his way to the outdoor area and fell asleep. That's where cops found him.

'The problem has gotten noticeably worse in the past 18 months because Sacramento is the place where people are told you can get a quick fix with cheap drugs,' said Sylvester.

'Sacramento is a wonderful place, great weather, with nice, accommodating people who give the homeless money, which unfortunately too often goes to drugs. This area has 30 or so restaurants so there is always food to be had.'

But he says there is another problem. 'I know homeless people are being given bus tickets here from both Davis and Reno because they are told Sacramento will look after them,' he said.

That allegation — that other cities give one-way tickets to Sacramento to get them out of town — is a common claim around town.

Officer Howard of the Highway Patrol told DailyMail.com he knew of people getting tickets from Oregon.

City of Sacramento spokesman Tim Swanson said a Sacramento Bee article from 2013 found that Nevada was busing the homeless away from Las Vegas and one high-profile case had ended in Sacramento, but he did not address the specific allegations.

But he said a recent survey showed 93 per cent of Sacramento's homeless either grew up in the city or had lived there long-term before hitting the streets. 'This statistic contradicts the notion that people are coming to Sacramento specifically for services.'

Police officers and transportation authority employees remove homeless encampments under the freeway. Officer Howard says they rarely junk stuff that the homeless want

Swanson said the city has allocated $15.7million to sheltering the homes this year with another $1million for women, families, and children.

Last year, Mayor Darrell Steinberg asked each of the eight council members to identify a possible area for a shelter within their districts.

In four days that DailyMail.com spent in Sacramento, not one homeless person was seen on Novak's property. But the problem is clearly real.

Across the street at Pancake Circus diner, 70-year-old waitress Terri — she would not give her last name or agree to be photographed — starts every working day at 4.15am 'cleaning up needles and poop and washing down urine,' and shooing the homeless from the property.

'They'll strip their clothes off. I often find them out front completely naked,' she said. 'Heroin is a huge problem, it's not just Oxycontin and other opioids, it's heroin.'

Terri says she tries not to call police. 'I'm not going to call if they are just panhandling, but if they are spitting at me or throwing their defecation, then that's different.'

She says she lets the homeless use the diner's bathroom — 'everyone should have that dignity.' 'But I tell them if you pick up what you have in your hand and smear it on the walls and I have to clean it off, then you're not coming in again.'



Why Bernie Sanders Is Wrong About Sweden

What is socialism? Some of its advocates have trouble defining the ideology. “Being a socialist means different things to different people,” a leftist podcast host told actress Cynthia Nixon last year. “For some, it is a Nordic-style welfare state. For others, it is the liquidation of the capitalist class and the democratization of the means of production.” The host asked a flustered Ms. Nixon, then a candidate for New York governor, where she came down.

“Being a socialist, um, I, I, I would say is—I am more in, I am more in line with the Nordic model myself,” she replied. When the alternatives are Cuba, China and Venezuela, everyone becomes “more in line” with Sweden, the classic Nordic example.

The ‘Nordic model’ of socialism, which he and other leftists tout, is more like ‘ruthless capitalism.’

Trouble is, most Swedes aren’t in line with American socialists like Ms. Nixon, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “All of their models that they could point to, given a couple of years, they end up in famine and killing,” Swedish author and historian Johan Norberg tells me. “So they always come back to Scandinavia in the end.” True, Sweden has a significant welfare state, but Mr. Norberg says it’s underpinned by “ruthless capitalism.”

Mr. Norberg studied the history of ideas at Stockholm University. After graduating he joined Timbro, a Stockholm-based free-market think tank, where he researched and wrote books about Swedish history and economics. An important lesson from his academic training: “Many of the great disasters that have befallen on us have come because people have changed their interpretation of the world economy.”

Ideas can produce prosperity too. By the mid-19th century Sweden had legalized emigration, he says, “which resulted in most people just wanting to leave Sweden immediately for the U.S.” Back then, Swedish politicians and intellectuals looked to America as a model. Between roughly 1840 and 1870, classical liberals took power. “They basically did everything: save property rights, open business, free trade, beginning to open up for religious freedom, freedom of the press.”

Sweden was one of the world’s fastest-growing economies for nearly a century. But by the 1960s, the country began to take its wealth-creating prowess for granted. I tell Mr. Norberg about New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s assertion: “There’s plenty of money in this world, it’s just in the wrong hands.” In 1960s Sweden, Mr. Norberg replies, “that’s almost verbatim what they said back then: ‘Now we’re this rich. Shouldn’t we just distribute it, and give it to the people and the places we like?’ ” Such thinking overtook the country’s dominant center-left Social Democratic Party.

“We thought we could do anything, and we had all of those other preconditions: the work ethic, some sort of social pressure, which meant that people were doing the right things, and they wouldn’t want to live on the dole,” Mr. Norberg says. “And then for 20 years, from 1960 to 1980, we doubled the size of the government spending as a percentage of GDP. That’s the aberration in Swedish history.” The Swedish welfare state first was a safety net for the needy. Over time the political class moved to “socialize the lives of the middle classes as well.” The plan: “Increase their taxes, and their benefits, and then they will buy into this system.”

The consequences were predictable. “It resulted in less work, people preferring to stay at home and paint the house rather than hiring someone to do it, general lack of getting the kind of education that matters. It led to entrepreneurs leaving Sweden.” Private sector employment declined from the 1970s to the ’90s, while disposable- income and economic growth was relatively slow. Some of the country’s best companies and brightest minds fled an onerous inheritance tax.

Plenty of economists knew Sweden needed reform, but undoing the damage would take years. A critical figure was Prime Minister Carl Bildt of the center-right Moderate Party. He came to power in 1991, as the rigid Swedish economy struggled to cope with an economic crisis. Mr. Norberg calls the former prime minister “an ideas politician” who understood free-market principles. Mr. Bildt’s coalition government cut capital-gains and corporate taxes, while the top marginal income- tax rate shrank to 50% from around 90%. Sweden deregulated the telecom and energy industries while introducing school vouchers and other market-oriented reforms. The Social Democrats retook the government in 1994, but the trend toward economic liberty continued for another quarter-century.

“One thing the left gets wrong is that they think that Sweden has this sort of warm, friendly, fuzzy capitalist thing—no layoffs, no fierce competition, protecting the old companies and so on. And it’s really the total opposite,” Mr. Norberg says. “It’s more deregulated. The product markets are much fiercer competition, much more free trade. All of the companies know that they have to be world champions or they will be destroyed.”

American leftists, even those who shy away from the “socialist” label, generally call for higher taxes on “the rich” to support an expanded welfare and entitlement state. That, too, misapprehends the Swedish example. “We have much higher taxes on the poor and the middle classes than you do,” Mr. Norberg says. “And this is the dirty little secret that no one in the American left wants to talk about.” Nonprogressive taxes on consumption, social security and payroll are 27% of Swedish gross domestic product, 16 points higher than in the U.S.

Assumptions about Swedish health care often are wrong too: “Lots of Americans think it’s a Medicare for All thing. But it’s not even a national system. It’s a regional system.” Largely funded by a flat tax, the system isn’t all government- run: “We had a problem with productivity and investment in the health-care sector. So now we have more freedom of choice and more competition in the provision of health care.” Whereas American Democrats aspire to abolish private insurance, “one of the biggest hospitals in Stockholm was privatized, and you can go to private providers. And the first line of health-care defense, in a way, is often private clinics.”

Mr. Norberg acknowledges there’s some truth to the socialist stereotype. Heavy labor-market regulations and powerful unions survived the socialist era and strain the economy. The country has no official minimum wage, but its de facto rate is high. “For a while, that looked good in Sweden, because it meant that all of the less productive companies were destroyed.” While this worked with “a homogenous workforce with very high education and experiences in the Swedish language,” large-scale, low-skill migration has upended the model. With a massive influx of Middle Eastern refugees in recent years, “Sweden is becoming a normal European country, in a way, with a big anti-immigrant party.” To keep the far-right Sweden Democrats out of power, the Social Democrats currently lead a broad coalition government. Mr. Norberg says that reducing taxes on the rich, deregulating the labor market and liberalizing housing are at the top of the agenda.

If Sweden fails as a socialist model, what about its Scandinavian neighbors? “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy,” then-Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in response to unwelcome praise from Mr. Sanders in 2015. “Denmark is a market economy.” Not long after lunch with Mr. Norberg, I asked Finnish President Sauli Niinistö if he leads a socialist country. His answer: “No, God bless.” Norway is similar, and a major producer of fossil fuels to boot.

Mr. Norberg does think his country has lessons for America— but they’re free-market ones. Whereas U.S. entitlement spending is on a path of uncontrollable growth, “our politicians basically said, from the left to the right, this is not sustainable. Our social-security system will collapse if we don’t reform it,” he says. Americans who talk up the Swedish model “would have to reform social security, and change it from defined benefits to defined contributions. And reduce social-security pension payments when the economy is doing worse.”

He understands Americans’ disdain for politicians. “Obama was going to stop the oceans from rising, and then Trump is going to get the old jobs back, and ‘I alone can fix everything. The world’s a mess, but I can do it.’ That kind of sets you up for some disappointment in the end.” Yet he sees much to admire across the Atlantic: “No matter how far to the left you are, if things go wrong in Sweden, yeah, if you can find a second career in the U.S. and move there in some way, that’s where you want to go.”

A couple of days after our interview, Mr. Norberg emailed a warning for Americans: The most dangerous place to be is top of the world, think you have it all made and can afford to experiment with socialism or protectionism, because you have plenty of room for mistakes before you hurt yourself,” he wrote. “That’s where Sweden was in 1970. It almost destroyed us, and it took some heroic efforts to get back on track.”



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 August, 2019

How the Government Creates Wealth Inequality

There are economic storm clouds on the horizon, but for now wages are rising, jobs are plentiful, and poverty is falling. Democrats running for president need an economic line of attack, so the solution has been to focus on wealth inequality. Senator Bernie Sanders claims that there has been a “massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top one percent.” Senator Elizabeth Warren lambastes America’s “extreme concentration of wealth.” Even the establishment Joe Biden laments, “This wealth gap that exists in the United States of America is so profound now.”

Wealth inequality has risen in recent years, but by far less than the Democrats and many media articles imply. The scarier claims about inequality usually stem from the flawed data created by French economist Thomas Piketty and his colleagues. More careful studies by other economists and the Federal Reserve Board reveal surprisingly modest changes in wealth inequality given the huge revolutions in globalization and technology that have occurred.

Are increases in wealth inequality the awful thing that Democrats claim? It depends on what causes them. Much of the recent modest rise in wealth inequality stems from innovations in our economy that are pulling everyone up. Brian Acton and Jan Koum, for example, built huge multibillion dollar fortunes by creating WhatsApp, which provides free phone service for 1.5 billion users globally.

Acton and Koum’s success may have increased the wealth owned by the top 1 percent, but their product has created massive consumer value as well. Most of the wealthiest Americans are entrepreneurs who have fueled economic growth, which is clear in examining the Forbes 400 list. Wealth created this way is not the zero-sum struggle that Democrats imagine it is.

That is the good news. The bad news is that the government itself generates wealth inequality in at least two ways that make us worse off. First, governments give subsidies, regulatory preferences, and other crony-capitalist benefits to wealthy insiders. In the recent Fat Leonard scandal, for example, Leonard Francis gained hundreds of millions of dollars of government contracts by cozying up to Navy officers and providing them with gifts, prostitutes, and other favors to get them to do his bidding.

The other way that the government fuels wealth inequality is a deeper scandal. The expansion of social programs over the decades has undermined incentives for lower- and middle-income families to save while reducing their ability to save because of higher taxes. Government programs have displaced or “crowded out” wealth-building by all American families but the richest.

Politicians complain loudly about wealth inequality, but their own policies are generating it. This issue receives too little policy attention, but it is profoundly important and reveals the hypocrisy of the political left.

Many Americans have saved little for retirement because Social Security discourages them doing so, as does the heavy 12.4 percent wage tax that funds the program. Economist Martin Feldstein found that every dollar increase in Social Security benefits reduces private savings by about 50 cents.

Social Security accounts for a larger share of retirement income for the non-rich than for the rich, so this crowd-out effect increases wealth inequality. In a simulation model, Jagadeesh Gokhale and Laurence Kotlikoff estimated that Social Security raises the share of overall wealth held by the top 1 percent of wealth holders by about 80 percent. This occurs because the program leaves the non-rich with “proportionately less to save, less reason to save, and a larger share of their old-age resources in a nonbequeathable form.”

A study by Baris Kaymak and Markus Poschke built a model of the U.S. economy to estimate the causes of rising wealth inequality. They found that most of the rise in the top 1 percent share of wealth in recent decades was caused by technological changes and wage dispersion, but the expansion of Social Security and Medicare caused about one-quarter of the increase. They concluded that the “redistributive nature of transfer payments was instrumental in curbing wealth accumulation for income groups outside the top 10% and, consequently, amplified wealth concentration in the U.S.”

More government benefits result in less private wealth, especially for the non-rich. It is not just Social Security and Medicare that displaces private saving, but also unemployment insurance, welfare, and other social spending. Some social programs have “asset tests” that deliberately discourage saving.

Total federal and state social spending as a share of gross domestic product soared from 6.8 percent in 1970 to 14.3 percent in 2018. That increase in handouts occurred over the same period that wealth inequality appears to have increased. Generations of Americans have grown up assuming that the government will take care of them when they are sick, unemployed, and retired, so they put too little money aside for future expenses.

Cross-country studies support these conclusions. A 2015 study by Pirmin Fessler and Martin Schurz examined European data and found that “inequality of wealth is higher in countries with a relatively more developed welfare state . . . given an increase of welfare state expenditure, wealth inequality measured by standard relative inequality measures, such as the Gini coefficient, will increase.”

A study by Credit Suisse found: “Strong social security programs — good public pensions, free higher education or generous student loans, unemployment and health insurance — can greatly reduce the need for personal financial assets. . . . This is one explanation for the high level of wealth inequality we identify in Denmark, Norway and Sweden: the top groups continue to accumulate for business and investment purposes, while the middle and lower classes have a less pressing need for personal saving.”

That is why it is absurd for politicians such as Sanders and Warren to decry wealth inequality and then turn around and demand European-style expansions in our social programs. The bigger our welfare state, the more wealth inequality we will have.

The solution is to transition to savings-based social programs. Numerous countries have Social Security systems based on private savings accounts. Chile has unemployment-insurance savings accounts. Martin Feldstein proposed a savings-based approach to Medicare. The assets in such savings accounts would be inheritable, unlike the benefits from current U.S. social programs.

Sanders and Warren are right to criticize crony capitalism as a cause of wealth inequality. But their big government approaches to social policy would have the opposite effect on wealth inequality than what they may believe



Repudiating Globalism

It may be the most pressing and difficult problem facing the American people today.

When the stock market cratered in 2008, America’s ruling class bailed out Wall Street — and Europe — at the expense of Main Street. In 2016, Britain voted 52% to 48% to leave the EU. For the last three years, that vote has been ignored. Also in 2016, the American public decided they’d had enough of an increasingly unbearable status quo and put a political novice in the White House. That status quo was globalism, which remains the primary threat to the well-being of our nation.

In a highly insightful column, American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk illuminates what ordinary Americans are really up against, courtesy of transnational elitists who see countries, patriotism, and a significant portion of their fellow Americans as anachronistic, or beneath contempt. Globalists are “citizens of the world,” and if their profits and “principles” are served by hollowing out middle America, or accommodating the Chinese military while snubbing our own, so be it.

Buskirk explains the origins of their mindset. “All of us share a rich heritage that is under attack by a pernicious idea as old as human history,” he writes. “It is the idea with which the serpent tempted Eve, it is the idea that man can be his own god.”

He goes on to identify the chief characteristics of this megalomania. Globalism is an “advanced form of secular liberalism” that is “messianic” and “dehumanizing.” Those who challenge its supremacy? They are “shamed, deplatformed, ostracized, and often made unemployable,” he adds.

Yet the most revealing part of the globalism centers around its “materialist, man-centered nature.” Why? Because that nature makes globalist elites “overtly hostile to Biblical religion and the family, both of which represent competing power centers and must therefore be degraded or destroyed.”

Thus, “bitter clingers” who have the temerity to resist making cakes celebrating same-sex weddings must be sued — and sued again — even after the Supreme Court rules in favor of First Amendment religious protections. Public schools must embrace the transgender agenda, even at the kindergarten level, while teaching American students to hold their own nation in contempt. Alternative lifestyles, are promoted as being equal, if not superior, to the nuclear family, even as the nuclear family itself has been eviscerated by the Nanny State.

Moreover, the rise of another pernicious concept, “identity politics,” is no accident. Keeping the “peasants” distracted by race, gender, and sexual identity is designed to keep “the wage-earning classes, meaning, almost everyone — from focusing on the fact that real wages have stagnated for nearly 50 years while the price of the three largest expenditures in life (housing, education, and healthcare) have soared,” Buskirk explains.

The peasants’ primary supporter? The concerted effort by the globalist-run, Democrat Media Complex to convince the nation that President Donald Trump is a racist has been unrelenting. And because it hasn’t worked out quite as well as expected, he is now a “white supremacist” — a term not only applied to Trump but to everyone who voted for him. That leftists can say this despite the reality that many of those same voters opted for Barack Obama — twice — is indicative of the utter contempt they have for the average American’s ability to notice such monumental hypocrisy.

That contempt is driven by the globalist reduction of humanity itself to economic terms, whereby people become nothing more than interchangeable cogs in the globalist machinery. They also become expendable. Note the globalist antipathy toward Trump’s effort to reform an intellectual property-stealing and militarily belligerent China via tariffs, despite the reality that its government stands on the verge of crushing populist dissent in Hong Kong. Globalists are no doubt concerned — but only with the economic implications.

Make that economic implications directly related to their own interests. By stark contrast, columnist Pat Buchanan reveals what three decades of globalism have wrought economically for ordinary Americans: “$12 trillion in trade deficits and a loss of 70,000 factories and 5 million manufacturing jobs.”

Social costs have been egregious as well: “more divorces, more consumer debt, more children raising themselves because their mother is forced to work outside the home to make ends meet, and a declining fertility rate,” Buskirk explains. “Across Europe and the United States, citizens are not having enough children to replace themselves.”

The globalist “solution” to decreasing domestic populations? Rather than incentivize child-bearing, globalists embrace unfettered immigration, both legal and illegal. Anyone who disagrees is “bigoted” and “xenophobic.” Ironically, the same globalists talk about the ascension of job-killing artificial intelligence, and yet again the “solution” they propose for that problem isn’t limiting immigration. It’s Universal Basic Income, absent any concern for the dignity-sapping implications it engenders.

After all, what “interchangeable cog” wouldn’t be content with “free money?”

Buskirk believes the time is ripe for a wholesale assault on the status quo, and the keys are reviving the institutions that used to form the bedrock of the nation. They include family, religion and real life friends as opposed to the orchestrated diminishment of friendship wrought by social media. He also proposes the abolition of post-war globalist institutions that were founded by the United States but “have become destructive and actually undermine the peace and prosperity of the American nation and degrade human life here and abroad.” It’s hard to argue with the two examples he cites, namely the United Nations and the European Union.

His boldest proposal? Breaking the two-income family “trap” by proposing a “‘Family Deal’ that will reorder the American economy in a way that allows a family of five or six to be solidly middle class on a single income and that emphasizes growth through innovation rather than financialization,” he asserts.

These are excellent ideas, but the bet here is none them are attainable until we recognize one of the most serious problems this nation has ever faced: We now have at least two generations of Americans who are virtually unable to make the distinction between real life and cyberspace — or at the very least, willing to give both an equal measure of importance.

As result of this unprecedented development, a metastatic level of social dysfunction has taken hold, manifesting itself as “look at me” narcissism, pathological “copy-cat-ism,” and sexually debilitating isolationism, even as the tech companies engage in what Buskirk defines as “surveillance capitalism” that for all intents and purposes keeps people in line in a way that makes George Orwell’s 1984 seem benign by comparison.

In short, this nation must address what the tech elitist-driven wholesale destruction of privacy is really doing to the human psyche, no matter how many dopamine-inducing “likes” ultimately end up on the ash heap of history. Restricting the access of social media to those over the age of 18, much like we restrict access to alcohol, is a great way to begin. More important, a law restricting the tech titans from accessing a minor’s data, much like Google currently does with impunity in America’s classrooms, should also be enacted.

In short, globalism is totalitarianism with better PR. If America is to remain a sovereign nation it must be thoroughly repudiated.



Transforming America
The left is not shy when it comes to telling us what it thinks about America. From Hillary’s “basket of deplorables” to progressive declarations that the country was founded on racism and genocide, it’s clear that the left just doesn’t like America all that much.

Make no mistake about it, my friends. The radical left wants to completely remake America.

It has already made it clear that if it doesn’t get the outcomes it wants from the Supreme Court, it will fundamentally transform the court. Another way the left aims to transform the country is by getting rid of the Electoral College.

Earlier this week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced the Electoral College as “a scam.” Just to be clear, the Electoral College is part of the Constitution and the Constitution is not “a scam.” What else in the Constitution does she consider to be “a scam”?

AOC argued that our system should be “one man one vote.” That is a pure democracy and our system is a constitutional republic. She also said that we should get rid of the Electoral College because it gives too much power to “white voters over voters of color.”

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa responded by tweeting: "Actually @AOC, eliminating the Electoral College would silence our voices here in Iowa and in many other states across the country. This is just more evidence of how out of touch the Democrats have become."

Sen. Ernst is right.

As you may know, there is an effort underway to nullify the Electoral College by getting states to award their electors based on the national popular vote, rather than the state’s results. But the Democrat governor of Nevada infuriated the left recently when he vetoed a bill to join this movement. “In cases like this, where Nevada’s interests could diverge from the interests of large states, I will always stand up for Nevada,” Gov. Sisolak said.

The original purpose of the Electoral College was to provide a check against the “tyranny of the majority” and to ensure that the smaller, more rural states were not dominated by the interests of big cities in national elections. It was one of many great compromises that formed our nation.

At the time, most of those concerns were economic. Today there are still economic differences between the states but there is also a growing ideological divide.

The left wants the secular, progressive populations of big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Miami to dominate the rest of the country. It wants big cities to decide national elections in order to use the power of the federal government to force the rest of America to live under the values that prevail in the urban centers.

As you also know, the left does not believe in states’ rights. Many of the divisions in the country today could be tolerated if the left was willing to allow the people of Tennessee to have prayer in school even if the people of New York did not want it.

But the left won’t do that. Progressives preach tolerance, but have none for conservative values. They will not allow conservatives to live their values anywhere in the entire country. The radical left wants to force the people who live in 80% of the country to kneel before those who live in the other 20%. This growing intolerance for tens of millions of citizens is not progress. It is a prescription for disaster.

Remaking History

Have you heard about the 1619 Project from The New York Times? It is claiming that the country began in 1619 with the first slave ships and thus the country was evil from the beginning.

Newt Gingrich, Rich Lowry, and others are taking it on. And, of course, the critics are being smeared as racists.

This left-wing deconstruction of history is very dangerous. There is no perfect country. But as Tucker Carlson recently noted, no nation can be fairly governed by people who hate it.



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)


28 August, 2019

Business Roundtable amputates the Invisible Hand

Martin Hutchinson

The Business Roundtable last week produced a 400-page publication claiming that its members should no longer look first to profitability but should follow the interests of stakeholders as a whole, including employees and the environment. This is pabulum we are used to from the titans of Big Business, who are no longer truly capitalist in our distorted low-interest-rate economy. The problem is, that by downplaying the central tenet of capitalism, they may, like the acolytes of central planning, produce hugely sub-optimal economic results.

Adam Smith put best the central truth of capitalism, several times in both “The Wealth of Nations” and “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” to be an “invisible hand” of the market promoting optimal results. For example: “Every individual… neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it… he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” of the market is immensely powerful, operating wherever it is permitted to operate. Even in situations where the market forms only a small part of the overall supply/demand picture, it operates to reduce costs, match prices and expand its coverage as far as circumstances allow. Thus, for example the short-term health plans whose expansion was authorized by President Trump last year, being cheaper than plans bought over the Obamacare exchanges, have expanded their usage far more than was expected. Similarly, the new permission to buy a limited range of drugs from foreign suppliers has reduced drug prices overall, as even a limited free market exerts a salutary effect on neighboring products.

You can see the effects of the free market outside healthcare also. In education, charter schools typically improve the education of children in poor areas, as the local public schools are forced to eliminate unionized sloth and match the offerings of their new competitors. Conversely, authorized private sector monopolies, such as local cable TV systems, have seen their prices increase far more rapidly than other services while their service quality has deteriorated – to the extent that new offerings such as satellite TV and streaming services have eaten at their market share even though with cable already laid they should be far more competitive than oustsiders.

The market only optimizes economic outcomes, however, if participants are economically motivated. You see this from economic outcomes in places where the primary motivation of producers, consumers and governments is non-economic. For example, much of the Middle East is held back by participants placing religious affiliation above the market mechanism. Similarly, many African countries are divided by tribal loyalties, which prevent markets from optimizing within them. Similar considerations must lead us to believe that elevating non-economic considerations above profit maximization will prevent the market mechanism from performing its proper optimization function, leading to outcomes that may be highly suboptimal.

To compete effectively in a modern economy, a corporation must satisfy many of the non-economic criteria that the Business Roundtable elevates above shareholders. Product quality and safety are essentials if it is to remain in business. Employees must be treated decently, or the corporation will not be able to attract good people who serve the customer well.

Environmental considerations must be taken into account, for three reasons: the law requires it, there is often a huge reputational cost from environmental bad behavior, and long-term return maximization requires the company to avoid short-termist exploitation of all kinds. There is reputational and political risk to alienating communities in which the company operates; it also brings long-term costs in that local disgruntlement may make the company’s adaptation to new circumstances unnecessarily difficult.

Every non-market constraint that companies impose upon themselves, or that is imposed upon them, makes their part of the economy less optimal, not only for shareholders but for everybody doing business with them.

For example, President Trump is currently in a battle with the automobile companies, who have happily accepted California’s draconian fuel economy standards, ignoring the looser standards available under Trump’s administration in the other 49 states. From the American automobile buyer’s view, as well as that of the automobile companies’ shareholders, Trump is absolutely right; the unnecessarily harsh standards imposed by the Sacramento soft-brains add about $3,000 to the price of each car, as well as making the cars less safe and worse-performing. When the costs of government are added up, that $3,000 per automobile, entirely without electoral mandate outside California, must be added to them; deviations from pure market principles are frighteningly expensive.

Another government interference with the market that makes its results suboptimal is the Basel system of risk weightings for bank assets. Under that system, devised under the auspices of the the Bank for International Settlements, owned by the world’s governments, government debt of OECD countries is given a zero risk-weighting for capital allocation purposes, while mortgage debts are given a reduced capital weighting compared with ordinary loans.

The result has been that governments, even over-borrowed ones like Italy and Japan, are able to borrow altogether too easily, since their paper requires no capital allocation. Conversely small businesses, lending to which should be one of the two principal businesses of commercial banks (the other being providing a safe, modestly lucrative home for depositors’ money) get very little of the banks’ lending capacity. The cost to the global economy of this vast misallocation of resources has been astronomical, both in overspending governments and in small businesses starved of capital. New competitors in the venture capital industry have emerged for business finance, but they are very expensive, and themselves have several cognitive weaknesses such as an absurd over-reverence for the tech sector.

As discussed in this column, the greatest loss of economic value from ignoring market realities has come from government interest rate policies of the past 24 years, and most particularly since 2008. These have set the real risk-free return on capital below zero for over a decade in most rich countries. Capitalism cannot be expected to work properly without a positive return on capital, and it accordingly hasn’t worked properly for the last decade. The result has been a bidding up of asset prices to insane levels, a debt market that has come to ignore risk completely (so that in Europe there are “junk” bond issues being done at sub-zero nominal interest rates) and a productivity growth malaise in rich countries that has academics bemoaning the end of the Industrial Revolution.

Today there are vast enterprises like Uber (NYSE:UBER), with a capitalization of $60 billion, that lose $1 billion a quarter and achieve even that level of return only by taking advantage of the inability of “gig” economy workers to account properly for the depreciation on their vehicles. Uber is a product of a capital market that has its central price, the long-term risk-free rate of interest, set by dozy self-serving governments rather than by the supply and demand for a money limited in amount either by a well-run central bank or by a Gold Standard.

It is very unlikely that the Business Roundtable’s 400-page tome will do as much damage as the Fed and its sister central banks; for one thing nobody takes that body particularly seriously. It is an agglomeration of very large companies, and very large companies, even at the best of times, are not especially capitalist institutions, as Adam Smith observed 240 years ago. In the past decade, the Business Roundtable companies have been especially profitable, but as Smith gloomily observed “Profitability is always highest, in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.”

It is a sobering thought. Meanwhile the Business Roundtable has joined the Fed, the Basel bank regulators, and the automobile fuel economy standards setters, in attempting to run a capitalist system without allowing the market free rein. Essentially, they are attempting to amputate the market’s Invisible Hand, and no good will come of it.



What conservatives fight for: Trump gets it
One of the left’s big themes is that the president and his supporters are racists. If you need any more evidence, check out the latest column by Byron York detailing how the New York Times is shifting its coverage of the president from Russia to racism.

Trump addressed this absurd claim during his New Hampshire rally Thursday night. Here’s what he said:

Our movement is built on love… We love our family. We love our faith. We love our flag and we love our freedom, and that’s what it’s about… We love our neighbors and we love our country.

It is a beautiful quote, and, of course, it is true. Without any doubt, I know all of you reading this would agree with those words. And he has said it before.

Whether the president intended it or not, it is also a great description of what the culture war is all about and why it is raging with such intensity. This is a fight over the very meaning of America.

Notice there is not a word in the president’s statement that refers to race or ethnic background. The president’s supporters come from every ethnic group. Native-born American, immigrants, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc.

We love our families. That has been a huge battleground over the last 20 years. The courts forced a radical redefinition of marriage and family. And I believe the reaction to that decision led more Christians than ever before to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

We love our faith. For decades, the left has been chipping away at religious liberty. Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court was forced to rule on a case brought by some who wanted to tear down a war memorial because it was a cross. We won that case, but imagine how it would have gone if Trump had not nominated the last two justices. In an era of rising anti-Semitism and militant secularism, those who cherish Judeo-Christian values must stand firm.

We love our flag. Of course we do. Sadly not everybody does. The left has been associated with flag burning for decades. (Have you ever seen a conservative demonstration try to make its point by burning the flag?) Some liberal politicians want to drop the Pledge of Allegiance. When Colin Kaepernick disrespected the flag and national anthem, the left defended him.

We love our freedom. Virtually every freedom guaranteed to us in the constitution is under attack by the left. Freedom of speech is under attack on university campuses and online by big tech. The freedom to defend yourself with a firearm and religious freedom are under attack. Economic freedom is under assault by socialists.

It is very revealing that any time the president or any conservative defends these things, the left tries to define our defense as some form of “bigotry” or as somehow racially motivated. Progressives know they are very vulnerable on these issues. And so the only way they can win the debate is to shut it down by linking these values to hatred.

So when the president takes on Colin Kaepernick over the flag, virtually no one on the left says, “The flag doesn’t deserve to be honored.” Instead, they say, “Look at Trump attacking a black man.”

And that brings us to the election.

Much of the Republican establishment believes that the president must make his campaign all about the economy and our economic success. That is a powerful argument for his reelection. Historically, presidents who preside over strong economies win elections, while presidents who preside over weak economies lose.

But tell that to Mitt Romney.

Barack Obama presided over a weak economy and all that Romney talked about was the economy. He ran from cultural values issues like a cat with its tail on fire.

James Dobson and I met with him privately and urged him to stand up for and defend Chick-fil-A. He wouldn’t even do that.

Meanwhile, Obama constantly signaled his position on left-wing cultural issues. Law enforcement is racist. America isn’t exceptional. We owe the world an apology. While all that was jarring to us, it rallied young, progressive voters, which polling shows have some of the lowest patriotic impulses in history.

Thankfully, I have no doubt that Donald Trump understands all this.

Yes, he will trumpet great employment figures, a booming energy industry, rising wages, etc. But he also knows that man does not live by bread alone. He knows that faith and family, God and country are more than just buzzwords and slogans.

I am convinced that no future Republican presidential candidate will be able to win the White House unless they are willing to speak boldly for the silent majority of Americans who embrace the president’s words about faith, family, and freedom.



Trump's Promise of deregulation

John Stossel
President Donald Trump promised he’d get rid of bad rules. “Remove the anchor dragging us down!” he said when campaigning for president. “We’re going to cancel every needless job-killing regulation!”

Trump was a developer, so he knew that the thicket of rules government imposes often makes it impossible to get things done.

But would he keep his deregulation promise? I was skeptical. Republicans often talk deregulation but then add rules. People called President George W. Bush an “anti-regulator.” But once he was president, he hired 90,000 new regulators!

Trump has been different.  When he took office, he hired regulation skeptics. He told government agencies: Get rid of two regulations for every new one you add.

I think his anti-regulation attitude is why stock prices rose and unemployment dropped. Trump sent a message to business: Government will no longer try to crush you. Businesses then started hiring.

Of course, the media wasn’t happy. Reporters love regulation. They call Trump’s moves “an attack on the environment” and on “workers’ health.” The New York Times ran the headline “Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You!”

What the media don’t get is that regulations have unintended side effects that often outweigh the good they’re intended to do. Cars built smaller to comply with President Obama’s rules that require doubling of gas mileage cause increased deaths because smaller cars provide less protection.

“Should the government tell you what kind of car to buy?” asks Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform in my new video about Trump.

Norquist says that Trump has largely kept his deregulation promise, and that’s been great for America. For example, Trump repealed the Obama-era plan to classify franchise businesses like McDonald’s as one single business. Why?

“The trial lawyers want to be able to sue all of McDonald’s, not just the local McDonald’s, if they spill coffee on themselves,” says Norquist. “And the labor unions want to unionize all McDonald’s, not just the one store. That would have been a disaster.”

Trump’s FCC repealed Obama’s “net neutrality” rule, which would have limited internet providers’ freedom to charge different prices.

Democrats and other regulation-lovers predicted repeal would mean that rich people would dominate the internet. Bernie Sanders even tweeted that repeal would mean “the end of the internet as we know it.”

Of course, none of those things happened. Or as Norquist puts it: “None of it! None of it!”

But some Obama regulations sounded so important. Norquist laughs at that. “The names for these regulations are written by regulators. They’re advertisements for themselves.”

Of course, unlike advertisers, regulators don’t list side effects of their rules, which Norquist says should read: “May cause unemployment, may reduce wages, may raise the cost of energy, may make your car not drivable.”

Trump’s deregulation record would be better were he not so eager to add regulations, such as tariffs, at the same time. “There is a challenge. Trump is a protectionist in many ways,” says Norquist, sadly. “Tariffs are taxes, and regulations on the border are regulations on consumers.”

So are Trump’s “buy American” rules. “That sounds like a good idea, but it’s a dumb idea, and I wish he hadn’t done it,” says Norquist. “That is not deregulation. The good news is that the vast majority of the acts have been deregulatory and tremendously helpful.”

Recently, Trump announced, “We have cut 22 regulations for every new regulation!” He exaggerated, as he often does. The real number is about five. But that’s still pretty good. Better than Ronald Reagan did.

I wish Trump would do more. I wish he’d remove his tariffs and agricultural subsidies and kill the Export-Import Bank, drug prohibition and the onerous rules that encourage illegal immigration by making it almost impossible for foreigners to work here legally.

Keep your promise, President Trump! Repeal 22 regulations for every new one!

Nevertheless, so far, mostly good. Every excessive rule repealed is a step in the right direction: toward freedom.



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27 August, 2019

China is not budging so Trump is moving close to a trade war

The Chinese do not seem rational actors. They should be doing their best to cooperate with their biggest customer. I fear that "face" may have come into play.  Loss of "face" (humiliation) is very grievous in China

President Donald Trump stepped up the pressure on China last week by leveling sanctions against Beijing for its role in shipping tons of fentanyl to the U.S. that has killed more Americans than the Lusitania and Sept. 11, 2001 combined, plus a new round of tariffs to keep the pressure on Beijing to come to the table on trade.

To top it all off, Trump threatened broader economic sanctions on China and urged U.S. companies to leave, citing authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to block transactions upon declaration of an emergency.

“Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Aug. 23, to the shock of the Washington, D.C. establishment. Trump later clarified he was talking about imposing sanctions on China, “For all of the Fake News Reporters that don’t have a clue as to what the law is relative to Presidential powers, China, etc., try looking at the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977.”

It marks a steep escalation in the dispute with China, and with these powers, the President can prohibit “any transactions in foreign exchange,” “transfers of credit or payments,” “the importing or exporting of currency or securities,” and “any acquisition, holding, withholding, use, transfer, withdrawal, transportation, importation or exportation of, or dealing in, or exercising any right, power, or privilege with respect to, or transactions involving, any property in which any foreign country or a national thereof has any interest by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”

With that, Trump could cut off all commerce with China with the stroke of a pen or bar it from treasuries markets. And yes, he can do that. Congress has the power under Article I to regulate foreign commerce and to enact laws deemed necessary and proper to bring them into execution, which is precisely what Trump is doing here. Similar sanctions are used against countries like Iran and North Korea.

On China’s opium war with the U.S., almost 29,000 Americans were killed by fentanyl overdoses in 2017 alone. That is up from 3,000 deaths in 2013, and a good chunk of that is coming from China. Now, President Trump is taking decisive action with the latest round of sanctions.

According to a White House press release, “the Department of the Treasury announced it is identifying two Chinese nationals and a China-based Drug Trafficking Organization as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) and designated one associate and a China-based entity for being owned or controlled by one of the Chinese nationals.”

On Twitter on Aug. 23, Trump urged UPS, Fedex and the U.S. Postal Service to do its part in enforcing the sanctions: “I am ordering all carriers, including Fed Ex, Amazon, UPS and the Post Office, to SEARCH FOR & REFUSE… all deliveries of Fentanyl from China (or anywhere else!)... President Xi said this would stop - it didn’t.”

China responded to the sanctions tit for tat by leveling another $75 billion of tariffs on U.S. goods that otherwise appeared unprompted after President Trump had postponed the latest 10 percent round of tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of goods until December. The U.S. already has 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion of goods.

With China’s new tariffs, Trump immediately raised the American tariffs to 30 percent on the $250 billion of Chinese goods starting on Oct. 1, and up to 15 percent on the $300 billion of goods, which are no longer delayed and will go into effect on Sept. 1.

Trump wrote on Twitter announcing the move, “For many years China (and many other countries) has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade, Intellectual Property Theft, and much more. Our Country has been losing HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year to China, with no end in sight… Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer. As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning praised the move in a statement, saying, “Chinese and U.S. negotiators are scheduled to meet next week and President Trump will be meeting with other leaders at the G7 about China. Hopefully they will find a basic common ground that accomplishes three things: ending China's opium war against the U.S. using fentanyl, protecting intellectual property and ending competitive currency devaluations by China. In the past, Chinese and U.S. negotiators have agreed on all three of these points. Let's hope Beijing will finally sign off so the world can begin to embrace fair and reciprocal free trade and the scourge of fentanyl can be shelved forever, saving tens of thousands American lives every year.”

It’s about time.

The difference between Trump and his predecessors is that he actually fighting, which is what he promised to do in 2016. Getting tough with China has meant addressing the North Korean nuclear threat, arming Taiwan and Trump has also spoken out in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong who are marching for their freedom. In the meantime, Trump is seeking out alternatives to China, for example, with a new trade deal with Japan just announced at the G7 in France on Aug. 25.

Dialogue, of course, is preferred. Chinese officials keep saying that too but they also don’t appear to keep any of their promises when they are made. This is all coming to a head, and right now, Beijing appears more interested in inflicting damage on the U.S. economy than talking ahead of the 2020 election in the hopes the American people elect a more acquiescent candidate. We’ll see, but history teaches it’s usually not a good idea to bet against America.

The strategy appears to be to back Trump into a corner, who has responded by coming out with guns blazing. Whatever he intended to accomplish vis a vis trade, China and globalization, this is Trump’s moment and he intends to see it through.

And it could have a lasting impact. With these new sanctions, the likelihood is that Trump has already permanently shifted America’s footing to take a harder line on China, a policy his successor whether in 2021 or 2024 will be compelled to continue. For better or for worse, that is Trump’s legacy.



Bernie and the Democrats: How Anger Makes You Stupid

In case you missed it, or are exclusively a reader of the New York Times, late last week Bernie Sanders tweeted this nugget: "Fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused."

No, that wasn't The Onion or The Babylon Bee. It was the real deal. The always-furious Vermont senator wants to incarcerate the very people who are responsible for keeping the lights on and the air conditioners running in the operating rooms of almost every hospital, not only in America but across the globe. And that's just the beginning of the myriad necessities of human life provided for at this point in human history by these supposed criminals in the eyes of the self-described democratic socialist of the multiple houses and private jets.

Crazy, no? Crazy, yes. Crazier than the proverbial hoot owl. And mighty angry.

Was Bernie always this way? More or less. When I saw him speak in Des Moines during his first go-round as a presidential candidate, I thought I had been teleported back to 1912 and was listening to Eugene V. Debs, who ran for U.S. president as a socialist five times, vilifying capitalism at every turn. Only Debs had the excuse of spewing his destructive nonsense before Stalin and Mao murdered or starved to death tens of millions of their own people

Not that any of this disturbed Bernie, who, as is well known, celebrated his marriage in the Soviet Union, a land he clearly preferred to the USA. The problem with all this is that Sanders remains popular with student and millennial audiences that are, given the nature of our educational system, primed to be loyal citizens of a future Animal Farm, in fact already are.

Sanders is the grandfather of the social justice warriors and the violent Antifa freaks in their KKK look-alike masks. In a sense, he is a kind of child molester, more dangerous in his own way than even Jeffrey Epstein. As last year's news, however, he is losing ground these days to Elizabeth Warren, who claims to be sort of a capitalist but not really (just as she claimed to be sort of an Indian but not really). So Bernie's even more angry, hectoring us more than usual. But Liz is little better, try as she might to play-act the beer-drinking one of the boys and girls who dances the hully-gully or whatever it was she was doing. It didn't look like fun.

They're not alone. The entire Democratic field appears to be an angry man/woman's club. No happy warriors there. When Joe Biden makes one of his many gaffes, he's almost always inveighing against Trump when he does it, as in the classic "We choose truth over facts." It can be said that anger makes you senile — or increases senility.

Trump is also guilty of outbursts of anger leading to misstatements, but the president is finally a happy warrior. He has humor, as opposed to the Democrats, a glum lot indeed. Donald looks as if he is enjoying himself, at least most of the time.

He also seems to be constantly trying to do things to improve the situation. The Democrats just make pronouncements. In competition with each other, they back programs that no one could possibly believe would ever happen. Anger at Trump and the world seem to be the motivation for most of these ideas. Practical solutions to actual problems go aborning. In fact, they are completely beside the point. Only posturing prevails. But that's what happens when anger is your best, and seemingly only, friend.



What the grievance brigade misunderstands about America

The ongoing crusade against America’s civic rituals and founding values picked up pace this summer.

The city council of St. Louis Park, Minn., stopped reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meetings, lest immigrants feel “uncomfortable.” Nike junked a commemorative Fourth of July shoe with an embroidered Revolutionary War flag on its heel because the flag could “offend and detract” from the national holiday. The Charlottesville, Va., city council scrapped the city holiday celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. The San Francisco School Board voted to cover up a mural of George Washington. Colorado State University recommended against using “America” or “American” to refer to the United States and its citizens since those words “erase” other cultures in the Western hemisphere.

Previously, monuments to American history have been shrouded, vandalized and removed; patriotic ceremonies have been cancelled or renamed. A former San Francisco school board president, now a city supervisor, encouraged schools honoring Washington, James Monroe, Jefferson, and Francis Scott Key to rechristen themselves, because those historical figures “are not relevant or meaningful or inspire pride.” A statue of Abraham Lincoln at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has been targeted repeatedly for removal because, as one protester from an indigenous student group explained: “Let’s be real. He owned slaves . . .and ordered the execution of Native men.”

These erasures are done in the name of fighting patriarchy, racism, genocide and colonialism. At the next outbreak of iconoclastic zeal, two questions should be posed to the purifiers:

Compared to what?

There is hardly a single world culture that has not aspired to domination of the “Other,” often achieving a level of subjugation surpassing anything accomplished by the United States. Slavery has been almost universal throughout much of human history, practiced by the Ottoman Empire, the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese dynasties, Native Americans, the Aztecs, and the Mayans, among other tribes and nations.

Brutal indentured servitude can still be found in the Middle East and Africa. Recent civil wars in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo used rape as an instrument of war; young girls were abducted for sex slavery. Islamists in Sudan have engaged in torture, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing. Hutus in Rwanda massacred hundreds of thousands of Tutsis in 1994; the blood bath continued within refugee camps. The Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, and Robert Mugabe crushed human rights. Japan colonized Korea. According to historian William Osborn, Native Americans committed wartime atrocities – deliberate murder and mutilation – against over 9,000 civilians and prisoners during three centuries of conflict with European settlers; the European settlers committed two thousand fewer such atrocities. Females continue to be treated as chattel in large swathes of the Middle East and Africa. Blackface remains a popular staple of entertainment throughout the Arab world.

Whose values are you vindicating?

The campaign against American history is based on values derived from the very Western tradition that the academic and political Left currently reviles. The movement to abolish slavery arose in the West; it employed principles of equality and individual rights unique to European political theory. That the United States was willing for so many decades to tolerate slavery’s grotesque violation of the country’s founding ideals is a stain on our history. But those ideals did belatedly win out, and they continue to inspire movements for freedom the world over.

The academic and progressive Left preposterously regard the Enlightenment as the source of the world’s racism. If the Left succeeded in routing Enlightenment ideas, it would have nothing with which to fight the hatred and contempt for the “Other” that has characterized tribal relations from the start of human history.

Martin Luther King, Jr., understood how precious America’s Enlightenment ideals were, even if the country betrayed them for so long. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir,” the Reverend King said from the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. “This note was a promise that all men—yes, black men as well as white men—would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” No member of the intersectional grievance brigades would grant such legitimacy and honor to our founding documents today; the authors of those documents are being unceremoniously thrown on the dust heap.

The anti-American crusaders’ woeful ignorance of the past goes beyond thinking that Abraham Lincoln owned slaves; that ignorance extends to the present world as well. They have a brittle intolerance of human frailty and of the messiness and complexity of social change. America’s founders made compromises with their own ideals that today we may regard as egregious and unacceptable. But humans are never perfect; history is a record of moral failures as well as triumphs. We learn as much from the former as from the latter; erasing history is simply a power play and an act of sullen revenge.

The saddest part of the current rage against the American past is that after the monuments have been removed, the paintings effaced and the nationalistic words banished, nothing will have changed in the status of the self-proclaimed intersectional victims. The academic achievement gap will be intact. The greatest barriers to racial equality today are not statues and patriotic holidays; they are family breakdown and a street culture that regards academic effort and achievement as “acting white.” The time spent spray-painting statuary could be far better spent in the library acquiring knowledge and mastering skills.



Immigrants should not be on welfare

President Trump is getting hit by the left for his latest immigration reform proposal. Under the new plan, immigrants who come to the United States and receive welfare benefits could be denied green cards or visas. His opponents wasted no time labeling this policy racist, of course, contrary to the words of Emma Lazarus on the steps of the Statue of Liberty to “give us your poor, huddled masses,” and a fundamental change from the traditional immigration policies that we have in the United States.

Actually, no. All of those objections are wrong. Indeed, Trump is right. For 200 years, immigrants have been coming to the United States ?without receiving welfare. In fact, they could be denied entry if immigration officials believed they would become a “public charge.” They had to be economically self-sufficient. Wave after wave of those born abroad have done magnificently well by becoming self-sufficient when they came here, even if they had nothing. The story has been told millions of times over, from Intel chairman Andrew Grove to NBA superstar Joel Embiid.

Most every economic analysis finds that legal immigrants are net contributors to the economy. Not all immigrants are beneficial and, sure, there are bad apples in the bunch. But the benefits of immigration are surprisingly large, mostly because most immigrants are risk takers who come to the United States between the ages of 16 and 40, so they tend to be at the start of their working years or at the peak of their earning years.

The net benefits to American citizens in terms of growing the economy and paying taxes is in the trillions of dollars over the next 40 years, when you include Social Security payments. Skilled immigrants provide the highest benefits. Trump is correct in proposing that we should change the selection process to a merit policy along the lines of what has been adopted in Canada and Australia. This would ensure that we get the best, brightest, and hardest working, regardless of race, origin, or ethnicity.

Most importantly, there should be no welfare benefits for immigrants until they become citizens. That is the deal. To the immigrants, we say, “We will give you the greatest asset in the world, a United States passport allowing you to share in our freedoms and our wonderland of opportunity, but you cannot receive taxpayer welfare benefits. You and your sponsors are responsible for your well being. If an immigrant falls on tough times, then family members, employers, or other sponsors should be held responsible to help them get their feet back on the ground, not the government.”

With entitlement spending exploding and trillions of dollars of future deficits in these programs, we cannot afford to allow foreigners to come to America to collect our generous benefits. ?We have strong evidence that welfare has the same debilitating dependency effects on ?immigrants as it does on the native born. It saps them of their economic drive, which is the very attribute that makes immigrants such valuable assets in the first place. For example, Texas has historically offered fewer welfare benefits than California, and it is no surprise that immigrants in California are more likely to be collecting government aid than those in Texas.

Most immigrants do not abuse our welfare system, and government handouts are not the magnet. But too often immigrants come here and the social service agencies sign them up for Medicaid, food stamps, and other assistance. Democrats even argued during the Obama years that putting people on food stamps was a stimulus to local communities.

My suspicion is that if immigrants knew that the deal for the privilege of being admitted to this country and becoming an American is no welfare, there would be no shortage of takers. If freedom and opportunity are not enough of a magnet, then those who would refuse to come under these new conditions probably are not the ones we need anyway.



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 August, 2019

Aristotle’s Defense of Private Property

Throughout history, numerous thinkers have robustly defended and justified the institution of private property: Cicero of ancient Rome, Thomas Aquinas of medieval Europe, and John Locke of the early modern period. The first extensive defense of private property comes from Aristotle in the fourth century B.C., and he believed there were more reasons than efficiency alone to endorse it.

Who was Aristotle?

Aristotle was a polymath who wrote extensively on ethics, logic, metaphysics, biology, astronomy, rhetoric, and more. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas referred to Aristotle as “The Philosopher,” demonstrating the level of respect Aristotle commanded. To this day, he is considered one of the most influential philosophers to ever live.

On the subject of private ownership, Aristotle believed external goods — such as property and wealth — could help people live a virtuous life. Unlike his teacher, Plato, who recommended strict limits on wealth, Aristotle argued that “happiness also requires external goods in addition, as we said; for it is impossible, or at least not easy, to play a noble part unless furnished with the necessary equipment.” This view is the foundation of Aristotle’s positive stance on private ownership.

Aristotle’s arguments in favor of private property have shaped debate on this topic throughout history. In his seminal work Politics, Aristotle argued against communal ownership of property by demonstrating the superiority of private property in four core areas: efficiency, unity, justice, and virtue.


According to Aristotle, private ownership is simply more efficient than communal ownership. The latter increases the likelihood of neglect. When people are sharing something, Aristotle claims, everyone is more likely to assume that someone else will take care of it instead of taking responsibility themselves.

As the economist Milton Friedman argued, we spend our own money most carefully and spend others’ money most liberally. Aristotle shared this stance, writing that “people pay most attention to what is their own; they care less for what is common.”

People have an incentive to be productive with what they are uniquely responsible for since they will benefit directly from their own efforts. On the other hand, communally owned property does not produce the same incentives because the fruits of your efforts are not solely your own.


Critics of private property tend to demean it as atomistic, claiming that its adoption creates a society of “rugged individualists” who refuse to cooperate with one another.

Aristotle sharply disagreed with this view, arguing instead that private property, in fact, fostered unity while communally owned property bred constant discord. On the subject of communal ownership, he wrote that “in general, living together and sharing in common in all human matters is difficult, and most of all these sorts of things.”

For Aristotle, justice constitutes being rewarded what you are worth, therefore unequal abilities result in unequal rewards.
Association is not a bad thing by any means, but having people share essential resources opens the door to potential conflict. As Aristotle put it, “It is a fact of common observation that those who own common property, and share in its management, are far more at variance with one another than those who have property separately.” In owning things for ourselves, we avoid the strife that arises from compromising over critical assets.


In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle asserts that justice is defined by equals getting equal rewards and unequals getting unequal rewards. When we apply this view to the notion of communally owned property, an issue arises. Aristotle explained it this way: “If people are not equal, they will not possess equal things, but from this comes fights and accusations… For everyone agrees that the just in distributions must be according to some worth; the worth however, everyone does not call the same thing.”

For Aristotle, justice constitutes being rewarded what you are worth, therefore unequal abilities result in unequal rewards. Aristotle considered this to be a benefit of the private property system in which people are rewarded whatever price they themselves can command.

He believed that in a system of communal ownership, problems are bound to arise where some people work more than others yet receive the same reward. This issue naturally causes discontent, but it is also unjust because it treats everyone equally to the detriment of those who dedicate more of their efforts.


Aristotle believed that using one’s property to aid friends was a great practice: “Doing favors and helping friends, guests or mates is most pleasant, and this only happens when property is private.”
If everyone communally owns everything, no one can give something of their own to someone else. Aristotle wrote of “generosity concerning possessions, for no one will be known to be generous or do generous actions since the work of generosity is in the use of one’s possessions.” In a system of communal ownership, it’s difficult to exhibit virtues of generosity, moderation, and charity. Each of these virtues depends on the fact of ownership, and what people decide to do with that ownership.

Coercion of communal property nullifies the individual’s possibility for virtue because it removes personal choice.
Private property, therefore, is not only an efficient mode of production as well as a unifying agent — it is also a vital tool for the cultivation of certain virtues.

One could argue that communal property can also be used for virtuous purposes, but this would be misleading. Virtue must be cultivated through free, uncoerced action. Aristotle begins book three of Nicomachean Ethics by saying that “since virtue is concerned with passions and actions, and on voluntary passions and actions praise and blame are bestowed, on those that are involuntary pardon, and sometimes also pity.” In this way, the coercion of communal property nullifies the individual’s possibility for virtue because it removes personal choice.

Aristotle’s arguments on property are still relevant today. Many free-marketeers have forgotten that there are more benefits of private property than mere economic efficiency. Using Aristotle as a guide, we can adopt a more humanistic approach to private property, thus acknowledging that private ownership is not only economically viable but also unifying, virtuous, and just.



To Fight Hate, Celebrate Capitalism

Jeffrey A. Tucker

I absolutely do not recommend that you read the blood-thirsty manifesto by the El Paso mass murderer, but, if you do, you will notice two main themes. First, he hates non-whites and wants them exterminated. Second, he despises commercial capitalism. That second point has not received much attention.

Now I must quote it:

"Consumer culture is creating thousands of tons of unnecessary plastic waste and electronic waste, and recycling to help slow this down is almost non-existent. Urban sprawl creates inefficient cities which unnecessarily destroys millions of acres of land. We even use god knows how many trees worth of paper towels just [to] wipe water off our hands. Everything I have seen and heard in my short life has led me to believe that the average American isn't willing to change their lifestyle, even if the changes only cause a slight inconvenience. The government is unwilling to tackle these issues beyond empty promises since they are owned by corporations. Corporations that also like immigration because more people means a bigger market for their products. I just want to say that I love the people of this country, but god damn most of y'all are just too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable … I am against race mixing because it destroys genetic diversity and creates identity problems."

In American politics, there is this tendency to put people in either a right-wing or left-wing bucket. What can we say about a capitalist-hating white supremacist who thinks the solution to the environmental crisis is to slaughter people? There is a long tradition of eco-fascism (one of many species of radical Hegelianism) that doesn’t fit cleanly into either right or left; it is anti-liberal destructionism or straight-up exterminationism. It’s not the racism alone nor the environmentalism alone; it’s the combination. It is a toxic combination for any society that aspires to be free because it opposes freedom with blood-thirsty violence and the longing for totalitarian control.

David Brooks is also correct to describe this ideological view as anti-pluralism and anti-modern.

"These movements are reactions against the diversity, fluidity and interdependent nature of modern life. Antipluralists yearn for a return to clear borders, settled truths and stable identities. They kill for a fantasy, a world that shines in their imaginations but never existed in real life.

The struggle between pluralism and anti-pluralism is one of the great death struggles of our time, and it is being fought on every front.

We pluralists do not believe that human beings can be reduced to a single racial label. Each person is a symphony of identities. Our lives are rich because each of us contains multitudes.

Pluralists believe in integration, not separation. We treasure precisely the integration that sends the antipluralists into panic fits"

Note too that the killer chose a shopping district with a Walmart to undertake his murder spree. “It is not cowardly to pick low hanging fruit,” the killer wrote in giving advice to his fellow members of the white-supremacist caliphate. “Don't attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy. Attack low security targets. Even though you might out gun a security guard or police man, they likely beat you in armor, training and numbers. Do not throw away your life on an unnecessarily dangerous target.”

Walmart was a target not only because it is low security; it also represented the thing he despised most, a thoroughly integrated environment where people from all walks of life cooperate in peace to their mutual advantage. Such commercial institutions are places where human dignity thrives. Walmart is the face of all the consumerism and corporate values of the market that he railed against in his screed. (They also sell a lot of the paper towels he so hates.)

This Walmart didn’t exist when I was growing up in El Paso, but this much I remember very well: it is through a vibrant commercial culture that this community coheres. As a border town with nonstop demographic evolution, the mix of language, religion, and ethnicity (for lack of a better term) might lend itself to tribalism and conflict. But through commercial institutions – through the very capitalism now denounced by extremists on the right and left – people come to understand each other, serve each other, and value each other.

Victor Rede, my best friend growing up, lived just across the street from me. His family origin traced to Mexico. I believe his father was an engineer at the military base. His mother was the most elegant woman who cared so deeply for her children (and me too!) and could cook like no one I had ever encountered. His world was very different from mine: different language roots, different religion, different ways of dealing with extended family and so on. Even the house decor was different from mine. I would stay over at his house and I recall staring at great length at the Aztec calendar above the fireplace, and wondering what it all meant.

I hadn’t known at the time but that friendship would have a profound effect on my life. It made me curious about other ways to think and live, new places to travel, new foods to eat, new discoveries to be made. What brought us together was geography but that is another way of saying commerce. His parents shopped for a house in a neighborhood with a good school, and it was my good fortune that he and his family landed just across the street from me.

The first time I met Victor, we were in line together at ice cream truck after school. We walked together after buying our treat and then discovered we were neighbors. Had it not been for that truck, the best friendship of my childhood might never had happened.

Victor is now a mighty chef and enormously successful. Growing up, he and I would work in the kitchen making cookies to bring to another neighbor, in hopes that this family would invite us to use their swimming pool because neither of us had one at our homes. It didn’t often work but the point is that together we learned the value of making things and serving others in our own interest. We thrilled in starting little businesses together (they always failed), building things, digging through the trash bins of the local malls to find treasures and reassembling them in silly ways. He taught me some Spanish and about family traditions about which I knew nothing previously. We loved shopping together and fantasized about our futures as creators and doing what each of us did well.

I’m guessing that Victor too knew that there was every reason in the world for us not to be friends, but the geographic proximity that commerce made possible meant that we never ran out of even better reasons to be friends. Commerce does this for people, every day, and every way, breaking down tribal barriers, helping us encounter traditions different from our own, giving us daily encounters with people to discover the dignity and humanity of people not like us.

This process of mutual encounters among different types of people is the ongoing work of the commercial marketplace, which is to say of capitalism. It grants us a daily reminder of the goodness of others, of their value in our lives, from all classes, races, religions, abilities, and languages. These are not forced encounters. They don’t happen because we are put together at the point of a gun, or intimidated to pretend to like people because we are being preached to by some civic-minded pietist. They happen naturally and normally out of our own interest in living a better life.

Look around your town where you live right now, and imagine it without commercial institutions: no coffee shops, no big-box stores, no grocery stores or restaurants, banks or anything else we associate with capitalism. Imagine that otherwise all your material needs are covered without them. What you end up with is a colorless world without human encounter besides kinship and other official events sponsored by public institutions. It would be dreadful. Unlovely. It could descend into hate. It could become dangerous.

The everyday human encounters of capitalism bring us into contact with a huge variety of people living pluralistic lives, and enhances human understanding. It incentivizes and rewards it. Here is the path for climbing out of the low-level existence of tribal identity into an enlightened world of mixture, integration, and prosperity.

And this is precisely why the hateful, the terrorists, and the totalitarians among us want to crush capitalism. They always have. It goes back centuries, really: ideologies of control and hate have targeted commercial life because of its best feature of breaking down tribes and substituting in its place an ever-evolving universal cooperation. The values capitalism promotes are the opposite of their nightmarish dreams. Which is why I say: if you want to fight hate, and protect life, celebrate capitalism and its main aspiration that everyone has the right to strive for a better life, and do so in peace.


The author above finds a capitalist-hating white supremacist hard to categorize. He is not.  He is a Nazi.  All the white supremacists have been Leftists -- e.g. the Ku Klux Klan


Obamas Buying $15 Million Mansion; Socialists AOC and Bernie Oddly Quiet

Someone needs to alert Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and the rest of the socialists in this country that leftist fan-favorites Barack and Michelle Obama will soon have new digs. More importantly, because their new mansion in Martha's Vineyard costs a cool $15 million, those new digs are a vivid demonstration of the income disparity between the haves and the have-nots (the working class that just yesterday Bernie tweeted should win the class war).

TMZ is reporting that the Obamas fell in love with the mega-mansion after renting it for the summer and "the estate is now in escrow." Describing the former president and first lady's luxurious new house, pending the finalizing of the sale, TMZ says:

"The estate - incredible. It's 29 beachfront acres. The main residence is just shy of 6,900 square feet. It has 7 bedrooms, so Sasha and Malia have a place to crash, along with several of their friends. It has the obligatory pool, an outdoor fireplace, a chef's kitchen, vaulted ceilings and 2 guest wings. It has incredible views, especially while soaking in the second-floor balcony Jacuzzi. The beachfront is private .. and comes with a boathouse.

Outside the main house, there's 29 beachfront acres, a pool, chef's kitchen, outdoor fireplace & 2 guest wings

TMZ does point out: "Downside - only a 2-car garage."

However will the Obamas cope with only a two-car garage? With 29 acres, I'm sure that they can find a spot to build a bigger garage if they want. In the meantime, Comrade Bernie Sanders will no doubt be more than happy to store any of their extra cars at one of his three houses. If he does offer to do that, at least the Obamas will have some cars to drive if the race war that Bernie is attempting to foment does happen. I mean, $15 million mega-mansions on Martha's Vineyard will be near the front of the line of things to be redistributed. Dictator Bernie's houses, though, will be safe from plunder.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the Obamas buying the house. But, as my slightly tongue-in-cheek tone reveals (note the emphasis on "slightly"), my problem with it is the explicit hypocrisy it reveals among leftists. One day, a senator who is in the thick of the Democrats' choosing of their 2020 presidential nomination is tweeting favorably about class warfare. The next, a nearly sainted couple in the eyes of the left is reported to be buying a house that even some of the "evil" one percent can't afford. Is income inequality a problem or not, leftists? If it is, AOC, Bernie, and everyone else who has ever bemoaned income inequality or spoken unfavorably of the one percent should be demanding that the Obamas redistribute their wealth and live in a zero-carbon emissions tiny house.

Next time, instead of Occupying Wall Street, leftists who are angry at the wealthy should occupy the Obamas' new beachfront house.


My objection is that a lot of decent working people have had the taxes ripped off them that enabled these parasites to buy  their new house.  The Obamas would be nothing without the political convenience of their skin color.  They didn't build that


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)


21 August, 2019


I go into hospital later today for an operation that will require me  to spend around two days in hospital to have my recovery monitored. So I will be hors de combat until some time on the weekend.  I expect to be back to normal after that.


20 August, 2019

Brexit: Is There a British Strategy?

For the last 3 years British political news has been dominated by the interminable debate of Brexit.  It has made any reading of the British serious papers unutterably boring and I have mostly ignored it.  Now that things are at last coming to a head, however, I thought it time to put something explanatory up.  So I reproduce below a recent talk by Sean Gabb, a British libertarian and long-time keen observer of the British political scene. 

He sees the whole controversy as akin to Trump's war on the "Swamp". The British swamp is just as powerful and undemocratic as the American one.  I think however that it is much less united than Sean says.  Sean would say that it IS united deep down. If Sean is right, Boris Johnson should have no difficulty leading the UK out of the EU, probably without a "deal"

The subject of my speech is whether there is a British Strategy for Brexit – that is, for leaving the European Union. There is a clear strategy, but it is not the strategy you will read about in the British media, and that is now being analysed by the governments of the other member states of the European Union. This strategy – this misunderstood strategy – can be summarised in the words of a hostile British observer. Martin Fletcher writes for The New Statesman magazine in London, and is a former Foreign Editor for The Times. His view is that the Conservative Party, and therefore, the British Government, has been captured by a group of right-wing extremists. Their intention, he says, is to leave the European Union without any Withdrawal Agreement except one written on their own terms. They care nothing for the political and economic harm such an unagreed withdrawal will have on Britain. They are deaf to the voice of reason.

This is a dangerous misunderstanding of the new British strategy. It is dangerous because even political extremists can be made to hear “the voice of reason.” You may think that, if the European Union and its member governments continue to insist on the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with Theresa May, these people will eventually give in, just as Theresa May did. The result will then be a general election or another referendum, after which you will hear no more of Brexit. If that is what anyone in this room, or anyone following this speech, believes, let me assure him that it is very dangerous misunderstanding.

Europe: A Peripheral Issue in British Politics

Considered purely in itself, membership of the European Union has never been an important issue in British politics. The European Union is a free trade area with a customs and regulatory union. Except in terms of trade and some regulations, membership does not constrain any member state from doing what its ruling class really wants to do. The Hungarians and Poles do largely as they please in matters of immigration and what Western leftists call “human rights.” The French have never worried too much about the Maastricht Convergence Criteria in fiscal and monetary policy. The British are outside the Euro and outside the Schengen Area.

Of course, there has been a vocal opposition in Britain to membership ever since we first joined in 1973. But the number of people interested in theoretical matters of sovereignty has always been limited, and these people were generally ignored during the first twenty-five years of our membership. The gathering crisis over our membership that we can date perhaps to the election of the Blair Government in 1997 is best compared to the referred pain you see in a human body. You have a shooting pain in your left arm. You take it to a doctor. If he is any good, he will not tell you to rub cream on your arm. Instead, he will put a stethoscope to your chest. That is, I suggest, a good analogy for our debate over membership of the European Union.

Euroscepticism as Transferred Opposition

Ever since about 1997 – perhaps for some time before – the British ruling class has been engaged in a project of transformation. I will not bother to call these people bad. They believe they are supremely enlightened – so enlightened that they have the right, by whatever means they find convenient, to make us share the enlightenment. Many of my fellow countrymen, however, do not see this Transformation as enlightened in any reasonable meaning of the word. There will be the appearance of a multicultural love feast in which billionaires and Moslems and transsexuals join hands and dance. The reality will be a working and middle class destroyed by managed flows of global trade and services, and atomised and thereby made unable to resist by managed flows of migrants. The new world that many of my countrymen see waiting is one in which we look from the windows of our microscopic and rented high-rise flats, while they are driven about in bullet-proof cars, and armed police push other vehicles out of the way.

Because making our views plain on the Transformation is either illegal or unwise in Britain, we have complained instead about the European Union. That has remained an open issue, and has been used to its fullest extent. The UK Independence Party grew big by talking about the European Union, but whispering about the Transformation. At first, UKIP did well only in elections to the European Parliament, which is a body of no practical importance. Then, in the 2010 general election, UKIP won no seats, but gained enough otherwise Conservative votes to deny the Conservative Party an overall majority. Then UKIP won the 2014 European elections in Britain. By the 2015 general election, the Conservatives were frightened that UKIP would again deny them an overall majority. Therefore, David Cameron promised that a Conservative Government would offer a referendum on membership of the European Union. This promise was just enough for him to win a small overall majority. But 3.9 million people still voted UKIP, and UKIP came second in 120 constituencies.

I will pass over the mistakes that David Cameron made in the 2016 Referendum. What matters is the margin of victory for the leave side. You will have heard that the margin was small – 52-48 per cent to leave. The important truth is that around two thirds of the English voted to leave. The narrow overall margin is because of the Scottish and ethnic minority votes, and these are not important. Officially, the Referendum was about membership of the European Union. Unofficially, it was a vote of confidence in the Ruling Class and its project of Transformation, and the English voted that they had no confidence.

This is the background to the chaos that followed the Referendum. Just as for much of the population, membership of the European Union was a peripheral issue for the Ruling Class. The main agenda for this class is the Transformation that I have mentioned. The details of a customs and regulatory union are less important than control of education, the media and the criminal law. This being said, membership is useful so far as it blurs the lines of accountability. It is also an article of belief among some elements of the Ruling Class. For this reason, the verdict of the 2016 Referendum was unwelcome. It meant a diversion of effort from the main agenda. It upset various important people. The obvious solution was to give us a minimal departure that would satisfy us, but would keep in place those elements of the European Project that really are important to the Ruling Class.

Government by Conspiracy?

Here, I come to a digression on the nature of how Britain is governed. My country is not particularly democratic. At the same time, there is no cabal of evil persons directing all events and appointments from behind the scenes. This is generally not how ruling classes operate. A more realistic model can be taken from Ian Kershaw’s analysis of the National Socialist revolution in Germany. This proceeded with limited central direction. Before 1939, the leaders were concerned mostly with foreign policy, after that with fighting a big war. Instead, the revolution was decentralised. Reliable men were put in key positions and told to “work towards the Fuhrer” – that is, to act in any situation as they might imagine Hitler himself would act. The result was often administrative chaos. The benefit was that the leadership could concentrate on what it saw as the essentials, and more local knowledge could be used in the overall revolution than would otherwise have been possible.

This is largely how things work in Britain. Our own Transformation is not driven by detailed orders from the Shadowy-Ones-on-High, but by creating a bias within every useful institution to those who are broadly in favour of the Transformation. The benefit is a constrained diversity of approaches that can be presented as a genuine diversity of opinion. The disadvantage is that executive power lies in this country where it has since 1701 – that is, in the hands of the Ministers of the Crown, who are accountable to the House of Commons. If the Prime Minister turns out to be a fool, and the other ministers are too cowardly to stab him in the back, there is no easy way to remove him.

The New British Government: There to Rescue the System

I come at last to the Brexit strategy of the new Government. These people are not right-wing extremists who can eventually be forced to give in. Just like Theresa May, they see Brexit as a problem that needs to be solved. If they could wave a magic wand, they would roll back the calendar to 2016 and make sure that Remain won the Referendum. Or they would roll it back a little farther and make sure the Referendum was not called that year, or at all. But they cannot. Instead, they have to deal with the effects of leaving a political fool in charge for three years of the Brexit process.

Theresa May had one job after 2016. This was to produce the minimal departure I have mentioned. Instead, she negotiated a Withdrawal Agreement that caused a storm of outrage among the English. The details of what this Withdrawal Agreement contained are, again, unimportant. What does matter is that the Withdrawal Agreement was published in English on the European Commission website, and millions of us read its 585 pages. We may not have been that interested in the details of our membership. But the details of our “withdrawal” were unacceptable. She tried three times to force it through the House of Commons. Each time, a majority of some very trashy people were terrified to be seen supporting it. Anyone else less stupid would have tried something else. Instead, Theresa May treated us with open contempt. Whether or not we really cared about it, we had been asked if we wanted to remain in the European Union. Having voted “No!” we expected some show of respect for our clear instructions. We did not welcome a Brexit-in-Name-only.

At first, the damage was confined to the possibility of a Labour Government. Then, with the rise of the Brexit Party, the system as a whole moved towards a crisis of legitimacy. The European elections of the month before last were seen as the second Referendum the Remainers had demanded. It was won by the Leavers. The Conservative were crushed. Labour was humiliated. It seemed that a general election would, for the first time, produce a bloc in the House of Commons of Members opposed not only to the peripheral issue of the European Union, but also to the Transformation.

So Theresa May had to go, and she was replaced by Boris Johnson. His own inclination, I have no doubt, is to get a few cosmetic changes to the existing Withdrawal Agreement, and then tell us he is a diplomatic genius. His problem is that this will no longer do. Theresa May has left too much poison in those waters. Brexit must now be more meaningful than was at first projected. Last week, there was an election in Wales to fill a vacancy in the House of Commons – a bye-election. This should have been won by the Conservatives. Instead, the Brexit Party took enough Conservative votes to give the seat to one of the opposition parties – not the Labour Party, which did badly. The political arithmetic is that anything less than a No-Deal Brexit or a diplomatic triumph will mean a collapse of the Conservative vote at the next general election. And this will not mean a Labour Government, but political chaos and a crisis of legitimacy.

What the British Government Now Wants from Europe

Now to the British strategy on Brexit. The new Government must have a diplomatic triumph. That means something like the following:

We want to be outside the customs and regulatory union, and not subject to any of the European institutions. At the same time, we want privileged access to the Single Market and continued participation in those areas of the European project that suit our convenience. We are willing to pay money for this, but nothing more. In other words, we want most of the benefits of membership of the European Union and none of its costs.

You may think this a most unreasonable demand. You are probably right. But that is what the British Government has no choice but to demand. If it does not get this, it will walk away without any withdrawal agreement. Any economic consequences can be dealt with as and when they arise – and there may not be that many of these. This is not a government of right-wing extremists. But it is ready and willing to cut taxes and deregulate to offset any dislocations caused by withdrawing from nearly half a century of economic integration.

And this is not the whim of a group of right-wing extremists. It is now the settled opinion of much of the British Ruling Class. Anything less than I have said will bring on a political crisis in Britain. This is the only thing that now matters to these people. It is now a matter of saving their Transformation. Just as the Stalin Regime in 1941 suddenly revived Russian nationalism to save its Revolution, so our own rulers now will wrap themselves in a Union Flag that they have long despised, and tell us that they are our most devoted servants. Do not expect Brexit to be stopped by any coalition of Remainers. Do not hope for any “voice of reason.” The Ruling Class has made the political calculations, and it has decided that it must either give us Brexit and possibly lose the Transformation, or deny us Brexit and almost certainly lose the Transformation. This is what matters. As for Boris Johnson, all he wants is an easy life as Prime Minister. He is clever enough to know that there is only one path to getting his easy life.

A Closing Threat to Our European Partners

Following from this, do not expect Britain after leaving without any agreement to be a friendly partner. We are the only great military power in Europe. We have one of the main financial centres. We have a close relationship with the Americans, the Indians and the Chinese, among others. It we showed willing, we could have a close relationship with the Russians. For the past five hundred years, we have specialised in making life difficult for anyone who wanted a united Europe. If we choose, we can make like very difficult indeed for what is left of the European Union. This, I will add, is not some threat made by an observer without power to influence events. It is instead a prediction of how the British Ruling Class is likely to act now that its position is under domestic threat.

If you have followed me so far, I am not sure I have need of a conclusion. But I will give you one. You are not dealing with Boris Johnson and a group of right-wing extremists who have inexplicably gained supreme power in Britain, and who can be pushed out or brought to a different view of what they want. You are dealing with a British Ruling Class that no longer cares to frustrate the will of the people in the peripheral matter of the European Union. We want, I will repeat, most of the benefits of remaining in the European Union and none of the costs. The European Union has a choice. It can make the leaving process easy for us or hard for itself. For domestic reasons, the new British Government has no choice but to mean exactly what it says to the European Commission and, by extension, to the other member states of the European Union.



Australian PM takes inspiration from Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”

Scott Morrison today launched his own version of Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”, with a sharp offensive against public servants and lobbyists.

It was the prime minister’s bid to deflate the Canberra “bubble”, which he claims contains priorities alien to the concerns of most voters.

Just as the US president portrayed government insiders as part of a powerful, unaccountable elitist “swamp” that had to be emptied, Mr Morrison today accused public servants of ignoring middle Australia from the comforts of a bubble.

“The best teams are the ones where everyone knows what their job is and they do it well,” Mr Morrison said. And of course, he had a three-word slogan: “Respect and expect.”

Whether or not his attacks improve public service performance, they have four potential political benefits for Mr Morrison.

The speech today to the Institute of Public Administration was an obvious attempt to again appeal to what he calls the ‘Quiet Australians’, who he argues don’t get the attention or acclaim they deserve. It also was a deft ploy of blame-shifting, which exonerates his government. Blame those cocooned bureaucratic tribes instead.

And it cost nothing, a vital factor as the Morrison government puts all its actions through the wringer of delivering a $7 billion Budget surplus.

It’s important for the government to appear to be doing something as long as it adds to the Budget.

Plus, it might look prescient. The government expects the review of the public service by businessman David Thodey to be with the PM soon.

It too might contain an unfriendly assessment of the public service.

A bit of public service bashing isn’t an original idea, even for Donald Trump. But the federal government has been able to force its agenda through the bureaucracy or changing bureaucrats.

When John Howard took the Coalition into government in 1996, he introduced himself to the public service by sacking six department secretaries.

In 1999, the Federal Court upheld the government’s powers of hire and fire, following the dismissal of Defence Secretary Pail Barratt. The court found a prime minister did not require cause to sack a department chief.

Scott Morrison didn’t question the priorities of public servants alone. He took aim at lobbyists by saying those ordinary Australians didn’t stay in Canberra’s Hyatt hotel, or dine at the highly regarded Ottoman restaurant or relax in the Chairman’s Lounge at Canberra airport.

“There are many highly organised and well-resourced interests in our democracy,” he said in a section of his speech that read like a warning of an encroaching menace rather than just the usual circus which forms when parliament sits.

“They come to Canberra often. They are on the airwaves and the news channels. They meet regularly with politicians, advisers and departments to advance policy ideas and causes on behalf of those they represent.

“Some will be corporate interests. Some will be advocating for more welfare spending or bigger social programs. Many will be looking for a bigger slice of government resources.”

He wanted to identify a cohort of public service and private enterprise players who ignored the comfort of middle Australia while looking after their own.

It could be middle Australia doesn’t get into those plush venues Mr Morrison listed because they are packed out with MPs on travel allowances.

But Mr Morrison didn’t want to touch on that issue. In fact, he seemed to free politicians such as himself as innocents in the bubble.

“There is strong evidence that the ‘trust deficit’ that has afflicted many Western democracies over recent years stems in part from a perception that politics is very responsive to those at the top and those at the bottom, but not so much to those in the middle,” Mr Morrison said.



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 August, 2019

90% of the Racism in America Comes from the Democratic Party and the Left

This 2015 article is even more pertinent today

Roger L. Simon

Ninety percent of the racism in America today comes from the Democratic Party and the Left.  They live off it and exploit it.  It is unconscionable to the degree they do this, ruining the lives and futures of the very people they say they are helping in the process.

I am uniquely positioned to say this because I spent most of my life on the Left and was a civil rights worker in the South in my early twenties. I was also, to my everlasting regret, a donor to the Black Panther Party in the seventies.

So I have seen this personally from both sides and my conclusion is inescapable.  The Left is far, far worse. They are obsessed with race in a manner that does not allow them to see straight.  Further, they project racism onto others continually, exacerbating situations, which in most instances weren't even there in the first place.  From Al Sharpton to Hillary Clinton, they all do it.

Barack Obama is one of the worst offenders in this regard.  Recently, in reaction to the horrid actions of the deranged, but solitary racist Dylann Root, the president claimed racism is in our DNA.

How could he possibly utter such nonsense and who was he talking about?  The majority of Americans are from families that came to this country after slavery existed.  Many of those were escaping oppression of their own.  In my case my family was fleeing  the pogroms of Eastern Europe.  Many of the members of my family who stayed behind ended up gassed in Auschwitz or exterminated in Treblinka.

Is Obama telling me that racism is in my DNA?  What a wretched and insulting statement.  If he means that, he should tell it to me face-to-face.

If he does, I will tell him what I think.  The racial situation in this country has gotten decidedly worse since he took office.  And he is a great deal to blame.  Ever since the beer summit it was obvious he was disingenuous and harmful on the subject of race, seeking to stir the pot when it was actually empty or nearly.  His claim that if he had had a son he would look like Travyon Martin was ridiculous and self-serving in the extreme.  Barack Obama is a product of the fanciest private school in Hawaii and his children go to Sidwell Friends, the fanciest school in D. C.  He takes vacations on Oahu and his wife parties in Switzerland. He had as much in common with Trayvon as I do with the queen of Spain.

And speaking of foreign lands, I've spent time abroad and speak Spanish and French and if Mr. Obama thinks the U.S. is a racist country, he ought to do a little bit of traveling not on Air Force One.  Try sitting at a French dinner table for twenty minutes and listening to the casual conversation if you think America is racist.

The truth is the USA is remarkably un-racist for a country its size.  We weren't always that way, obviously, but we walked the walk and we are now.  Or were.  The Democrat Party and its assorted media hacks are trying to take us backwards.  They suffer from nostalgia for racism for the glorious days when they could assert their moral superiority.  Sorry, those days are over.  The only way to stop remaining racism is to stop it, not talk about it, impute racism to people who don't have it and generally do everything possible to divide the American people from themselves.

And, Democrats, above all if you care about black people, stop it.  All you're doing is making their lives worse.



'Red Flag' Laws Are a Scam

Seizing guns from those disputably deemed more likely than not to be a threat is a hazardous slippery slope. Democrat officials could well use the process to disarm conservtives

“We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government — even the Third Branch of Government — the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all.” —The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the Second Amendment

Following the three mass shootings in El Paso Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and Gilroy, California, Democrats are yet again exploiting tragedy to push for gun control. And this time weak-kneed Republicans, and possibly President Donald Trump, will join them in adopting a federal grant program aimed at encouraging states to embrace so-called “red flag” laws that would take guns away from people believed to be dangers to themselves or others.

Believed by whom? “State laws vary, but most stipulate that only specific people — usually family or household members — may petition a court for an extreme risk protection order,” the Associated Press reports.

Not exactly. In Colorado, which became the 15th state to adopt such a law — without a single Republican vote — family, household members, or law-enforcement officials can petition a court to have guns seized or surrendered based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” That is a civil standard whereby the individual whose guns are being seized is deemed more likely than not to be a threat.

Eagle County, Colorado, Sheriff James van Beek, who slammed the law, explains the implications. “In other words, there is just over a 50/50 chance of accuracy,” he writes, further warning that someone’s guns could be seized even without a mental-health professional making a determination of any kind. “Like the flip of a coin. Couldn’t that apply to just about anything a person does?”

It gets worse. A subsequent court hearing could extend a gun seizure for as long as 364 days. To prevent that from happening, gun owners must demonstrate the much higher standard of “clear and convincing evidence” they are not a threat.

Thus, gun owners are “guilty until proven innocent,” van Beek asserts.

Denver-based physician Brian C. Joondeph, M.D. makes it even clearer. “These laws usurp the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms, the Fourth Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Sixth Amendment’s right of the accused to a speedy and public trial,” he states.

Moreover, unlike so many of his fellow Americans who simply want to do something that amounts to little more than virtue signaling, he sees the long-term agenda of an American Left well versed in employing incrementalist tactics to get its way. “How long will it take before states, or the federal government, if a red flag law becomes nationalized, start to view any and all Trump supporters as ‘posing a danger’ based on their skin color, gender, religion, and opposition to open borders?” he asks.

Fordham University professor Mark Naison knows the answer. “We are a country with a few million passionate white supremacists — and tens of millions of white supremacists by default,” he told CNN in 2017 following the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

And despite President Trump condemning that violence, the mainstream media took a single phrase from his speech — “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides” — and used it to propagate one of the most contemptible hoaxes in modern history to paint the president and his followers as white supremacists.

A hoax it’s still pushing two years later.

The racist viewpoints of white supremacists are abhorrent. But are they sufficient, solely in and of themselves, to precipitate the confiscation of guns based on a preponderance of evidence? If so, what other political viewpoints would trigger such a law? In 2016, Bill Nye, the so-called “Science Guy,” expressed an openness to jailing people who didn’t believe in climate change.

Should so-called “science deniers” be targeted for confiscation?

Presidential candidate Corey “Spartacus” Booker doesn’t think red-flag laws go far enough. “We need far more bolder action to make our nation safe,” he asserts. “Red-flag laws, yes, they’re important, but they’re nowhere near enough to stop these rising levels of mass shootings.”

America certainly needs bolder action to make it safer. But that would require addressing the nation’s genuine problems with regard to gun violence — of all kinds, not just mass shootings. It would require addressing the reality that it is virtually a way of life in American cities like Chicago, where seven people were killed and 46 others were wounded in a single weekend, and Baltimore, where the murder rate is higher than the nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — despite the fact that both cities have strict gun-control laws.

Such action might also require addressing the uncomfortable and oh-so-inconvenient correlation between gun violence and fatherlessness, courtesy of a Democrat-led “war on poverty” that eviscerated the nuclear family, or the seemingly orchestrated indifference toward the number of mass murderers on, or just coming off, psychiatric medications.

It might also require solutions based on hard evidence, such as the reality that data obtained between 1970 and 2017 revealed that red-flag laws “had no significant effect on murder, suicide, the number of people killed in mass public shootings, robbery, aggravated assault, or burglary,” or that countries such as France, Finland, Russia, and Switzerland, many of which have much stricter gun-control laws than America, have higher murder rates from mass public shootings.

Yet what America will be subjected to instead is exemplified by a quote courtesy of former Obama administration chief of staff and former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

An opportunity to eviscerate the Constitution, perhaps?

Regardless, red-flag laws have their conservative defenders. “If legislatures compose red-flag laws with sufficient due process rights, it would be unreasonable to oppose them,” asserts Andrew McCarthy.

Why? Because “if reasonable action is not taken, it will become increasingly difficult to stave off unreasonable restrictions — which are favored by many Democrats and much of the judiciary,” he adds.

It’s precisely that kind of organized unreasonableness that precipitated the inalienable right to self-defense codified by the Founding Fathers, Mr. McCarthy — all the “interest balancing” efforts of a fascist-wannabe, exploit-a-crisis American Left and its GOP collaborators notwithstanding.



Leftmedia brands Trump a racist

Notwithstanding the cockamamie idea of impeaching Donald Trump, there are two primary strategies Democrats are using in the lead-up to the 2020 election: seeding a politically induced recession, and personifying Trump as an unmistakable racist.

The Washington Post went full throttle this week with the latter method, unashamedly asserting that Trump "is vexed by a branding crisis of his own: how to shed the label of 'racist.'" The Post pontificates, "As the campaign takes shape about 15 months before voters render a verdict on his presidency, Trump's Democratic challengers are marking him a racist, and a few have gone so far as to designate him a white supremacist." The article then claims:

Throughout his career as a real estate magnate, a celebrity provocateur and a politician, Trump has recoiled from being called the r-word, even though some of his actions and words have been plainly racist. Following a month in which he used racist remarks to attack four congresswomen of color, maligned a majority-black Baltimore district as a "rat and rodent infested mess" and saw his anti-immigrant rhetoric parroted in a statement that authorities believe was written by a mass shooter, the risk for Trump is that the pejorative that has long dogged him becomes defining. ... Trump recently called himself "the least racist person anywhere in the world," but his history is littered with racist and racially charged comments and actions. [Emphasis added.]

Importantly, the Post isn't accusing Trump of having used racist language. It's effectively saying with certitude that he has and is using racist language. Which effectively makes him a racist. We won't debunk every incident provided by the Post, but some reflection on the first assertion — that Trump "used racist remarks to attack four congresswomen of color" — provides all we need to know about its universal lack of impartiality.

Recall that Trump stated, "Why don't [Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib] go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came[?] Then come back and show us how it is done." To which our Nate Jackson responded, "Trump said what he said poorly, leaving himself wide open for the very assault he's facing. He said what we think he meant far better in defending himself later. 'These are people that hate our country,' he said. 'If you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave.'"

Jackson concluded: "Buried under Trump's garbled prose is a legitimate point, and it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with loving or hating America and the political party guilty of the latter." But the Post isn't interesting in making that point, nor are any of the other Leftmedia outlets whose only agenda is portraying Trump as a racist to bolster support for Democrats in 2020 — the same strategy that's behind the Left's seeding a politically induced recession.

Amazingly, the Post in a separate piece claimed, "From race to plastic straws, Trump dials up culture wars in divisive play for 2020 votes." It was the Left that dialed up the culture wars to obtain more votes. And it's now steadfastly using the "racist" label to obtain even more votes.



Republican failure

I want to start with a rebuke to elected Republicans. In 2010, the Tea Party brought the House under your control in response to President Barack Obama’s overreach in shoving policies like ObamaCare down the throat of Americans. Instead of countering the overreach, you marginalized the new representatives. You told us we had to win the Senate to really make a difference. We won the Senate and you said we need to win the White House. We did. You did nothing.

For whatever reason, with the House, Senate, and White House, you did nothing, such as failing to repeal and replace ObamaCare as you promised for seven years. You did nothing to secure the southern border, so you lost the House in 2018. Voters are not stupid. You promised but did not deliver. Maybe you thought President Trump wouldn’t hold up against all the slanted media, or you just didn’t like his style. Whatever reason you used to do nothing, you missed the boat.

Due to the way the nation is going and the very extremes the far Left wants to take us to, you “may” have a chance to win the House in 2020. But I believe there will be no tolerance if you win and do nothing. I also believe your time in political power will be very short.

To my Democrat friends, I have to ask if you are comfortable with the changes that have taken place in recent years. President Obama said marriage was between a man and a woman. Then same-sex marriage was thrust upon us with his full support. President Bill Clinton said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” Now, the New York Legislature stood and cheered when legislation approved abortion right up to the moment of birth. Other states discussed abortion being possible even after a child is born.

I know you hate President Trump. You don’t like his style. He’s arrogant (though I remember a very recent president who couldn’t make a speech without referring to himself dozens of times and in longer speeches, hundreds of times). He tweets too much. On some of these points I can agree with you completely. But then I look at what he actually has done, not like so many of our politicians said they would do! He keeps his campaign promises. Who knew that would be such a popular process?

Our Founding Fathers never envisioned a professional political body. If our nation has any chance of surviving the disaster that is our current political state, we need to elect those who have a track record of integrity and character. We need Republicans and Democrats who want the best for the country and leaders who have a proven track record; not those who make lofty promises that have no chance of becoming reality. That is where the far Left wants to take us. I don’t believe my Democrat friends really want to go that far left.



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 August, 2019

Bald faced lies from two leading Democrats -- for political gain

Leftists normally have an uneasy relationship with the truth but this was egregious.  Leftist commentators argue that the lies from Warren and Harris were simply a matter of unimportant linguistics.  They were not. 

The word "murderer" applied to an innocent man was wrong, not because of linguistics but because the action concerned was not a murder. Words differ because what they describe differs.  By using the word murder for a particular event that was not a murder, the Democrat lovelies accused an an innocent man of a grievous act that he did not do and which they know he did not do

The big stink this week, "largely ignored" by the Mainstream Media, is over false claims by United States senators and Democratic presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris that Michael Brown was "murdered" by a white policeman five years ago.

The legal definition of murder is "the killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority." Or murder in the second degree, which "is such a killing without premeditation."

Brown, a young black man shot to death by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, was not murdered. Wilson, as the facts eventually made plain, fired in self-defense while under attack by Brown. That's a legally justified killing, which is pretty much the exact opposite of murder.

You'd think that for a fact-checking organization, this would be an open-and-shut case. And for at least two lefty publications, it was.

But apparently all that's not good enough for PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson, who chose instead to muddy the waters with his so-called "fact check."

Now if it were me running a fact-check site, I'd look at the claim ("he was murdered") and the facts ("the law says that a legally justified shooting isn't murder"), and tell my readers whether the claim stood up to the facts. Which seems to me not-at-all-unreasonable for a fact-checker.

But here's Jacobson's not-quite just-the-facts-ma'am take:

"In discussing the case with legal experts, however, we found broad consensus that "murder" was the wrong word to use — a legal point likely familiar to Harris, a longtime prosecutor, and Warren, a law professor.

In fact, two other Democratic senators with law degrees now running for president — Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand — more accurately referred to it as a killing.

That said, experts who have studied police-related deaths and race relations said that focusing too much on the linguistics in controversial cases comes with its own set of problems."

Let me parse that for you. Jacobson admits that Brown was not murdered, but then goes on to argue that "murder" might be a good word to use anyway, because doing so fits a particular agenda.

Jacobson then quotes Jean Brown, a communications instructor (not a legal scholar) at Texas Christian University arguing, "I don’t know if the legalistic distinction intensifies the anger, but it does feel like an attempt to shift the debate from a discussion about the killing of black and brown people by police." Which is a fancy way of saying, "Brown wasn't murdered, but it suits my agenda to say that he was." And that's a fancy way of saying, "I'm not going to let the facts get in the way of stoking racial hatred."

"Quite frankly," she says, "it’s a distraction that doesn’t help the discussion."

Precisely, although perhaps Brown admitted more than she meant to.

Muddying the waters further, Jacobson says that "some legal experts argued that there’s a difference between being legally precise and using language more informally."



Federal Court Orders Maryland to Produce Voter Registration List Data to Judicial Watch

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court has ordered the State of Maryland to produce voter list data for Montgomery County, the state’s biggest county. The court ruling comes in the Judicial Watch lawsuit filed July 18, 2017, against Montgomery County and the Maryland State Boards of Elections under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division (Judicial Watch vs. Linda H. Lamone, et al. (No. 1:17-cv-02006)). The decision follows NVRA-related Judicial Watch successes in California and Kentucky that could lead to removal of up to 1.85 million inactive voters from voter registration lists. The NVRA requires states to take reasonable steps to clean up its voting rolls and to make documents about its voter list maintenance practices available to anyone who asks.

Judicial Watch had sought the Maryland voter list data after discovering that there were more registered voters in Montgomery County than citizens over the age of 18 who could register. U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander rejected Maryland’s objections to providing the voter list information under Section 8(i) of the National Voter Registration Act:

If Judicial Watch had submitted requests for voter registration data, corresponding to the thousands of Montgomery County voters, the State would have been required to produce each record, pursuant to Section 8(i). Instead, Judicial Watch merely submitted a single request for a voter list containing and compiling the same information about the thousands of voters in Montgomery County. Although both scenarios seek the same information, defendants believe that the NVRA would require compliance with only one of them. Rejecting Judicial Watch’s request based on semantics would be tantamount to requiring Judicial Watch to make thousands of separate requests. Neither the NVRA, the Court, nor common sense can abide such a purposeless obstruction.


Organizations such as Judicial Watch have the resources and expertise that few individuals can marshal. By excluding these organizations from access to voter registration lists, the State law undermines Section 8(i)’s efficacy. Accordingly, [Maryland election law] is an obstacle to the accomplishment of the NVRA’s purposes. It follows that the State law is preempted in so far as it allows only Maryland registered voters to access voter registration lists.

The dispute over the voter registration list arose from an April 11, 2017, notice letter sent to Maryland election officials, in which Judicial Watch explained Montgomery County had an impossibly high registration rate. The letter threatened a lawsuit if the problems with Montgomery County’s voter rolls were not fixed. The letter also requested access to Montgomery County voter registration lists in order to evaluate the efficacy of any “programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of Maryland’s official eligible voter lists during the past 2 years.”

Democrat Maryland officials, in response, attacked and smeared Judicial Watch by suggesting it was an agent of Russia.

“Now that the court has cleared the way for Judicial Watch to obtain the Montgomery voter data, our efforts to force the State of Maryland to comply with the NVRA and clean up its voter rolls may proceed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “After our successful efforts to bring Kentucky, California, Ohio and Indiana into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act, it’s time for Maryland politicians to stop the politics, see the light, get right with the law and clean up the State’s voter rolls. If they don’t, we’ll see them in court again.”

Judicial Watch is the national leader in enforcing the provisions of the NVRA, having also filed a successful NVRA lawsuit against Indiana, causing it to voluntarily clean up its voting rolls. Judicial Watch also settled successfully with Ohio.



National Review: 'There Will Be No Republican Challenger to Trump Because the Right is Satisfied'


National Review has, from the very start of the Trump phenomenon, been one of the conservative outlets most critical of the man who ended up a) the Republican presidential nominee and b) president. Many writers of the magazine have explained in recent years why they can't support the man and why they believe he is no friend to traditional conservatism.

Even NR has to admit now, however, that former Congressman Joe Walsh is delusional if he thinks that there will be a Republican challenger to Trump. As the magazine's roving correspondent Kevin D. Williamson explains:

Walsh has gone one way since 2016, and the Republican party has gone another. There were a lot of heaving sighs and melancholy little gestures of resignation in 2016 — “It’s Trump or the commies!” they told us. A lot of people seemed to think that the word “binary” offered a smart-sounding way out of that. That was then. But unless I grievously misread the mood of Republicans, that’s not really the case anymore. The Republican party has embraced not only Trump but also Trumpism. It is his party now. There is not likely to be any challenge to Trump from the right because the Right is, by all indicators, satisfied with him.
That's exactly right. Back in 2016, I wasn't exactly a Trump fan. Quite the opposite, even: I was highly critical of the man. The main reason for this attitude of mine toward Trump was that I was afraid he was lying about his views in order to get nominated and, after that, elected. He would, I was almost sure, rapidly transform into a moderate Democrat once in office.

I'm happy to admit that I was wrong. Okay, sure, Trump hasn't been as conservative as president as, say, Ted Cruz would've been, but he has certainly done a very decent job. He was elected as a Republican and he has governed as one. That's all we could've asked for... and he has clearly delivered. At the same time, he's constantly bringing it to Democrats in a way that we could only have dreamed of a few years ago, with the willy-nilly, weak Republican leadership.

Trump has made America respected again on the world stage. The economy is booming. In Gorsuch and Kavanaugh he has added solid constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court. And we get some anti-Democrat red meat thrown at us every single day. What more could we have possibly hoped for (in a president whose name isn't Ted Cruz)?

It should be obvious, then, that Williamson is 100 percent correct. There will not be a serious challenger to Trump from within the Republican Party. Trump is doing quite well. You'd have to be an utter fool as a Republican to risk dividing the party and, by doing so, handing the White House over to the Democrats, who have truly gone insane with all their SJW crap.



Senior citizens for Trump

They’re out there, in their millions—President Trump’s base.

But it is the older members of that constituency—senior citizens—that will put 45 over the top in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Trump’s older voters generally support his policies and proposals, but it's his leadership and performance on the economy that has inspired the most abiding faith. These seasoned Americans, people that the hard left hopes will die off soon, are watching and listening. They’re watching their children and grandchildren do better. They’re seeing a country freed from dependence on foreign oil. They see new international respect for the stars and bars, and a country that is no longer being taken advantage of in the global marketplace.

They’re biding their time until Election Day.

Now, with the clock ticking, Mueller crashed and burned, and the anti-Trump “racist” epithet thrown so often as to have become meaningless, the Democratic Socialist left now turns to its last-best scare-tactic: There’s going to be a recession!

On Wednesday, a panel of nervous-nellies on CNN, having come out in solidarity with comedian Bill Maher, are unable to mask their destructively partisan interest in ginning up a looming recession. Their latest conniption fit is focused on the assertion that Trump’s “trade war” with China will somehow result in a global economic meltdown that will have dire impact on the United States. How convenient, as we approach peak election season.

But something happened—is still happening-- on the way to CNN and MSNBC’s Great Recession II. Something they never report on, but can’t make go away. Trump’s boomer allies know a strong economic vision when they see one.

While the left harangues about the wealthy paying their “fair share,” duplicitously omitting the fact that in 2018 the top one percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent), Trump’s elder demographic sees that the president has actually done something about real imbalances in the fair-share arena.

China One-Ups Trump in Trade War as Beijing Suspends All Imports of U.S. Farm Products
The president is getting NATO to pay up, and has stripped regulations that yoked U.S. corporations and businesses to an unequal playing field. On the campaign trail, he minced no words when calling out American companies that would repay the greatest capitalist infrastructure on earth with a “see ya later,” only to call back from across the border, or the ocean, with a sales pitch. With exceptions, they came into line.

He’s worked tirelessly to ensure that nation-busting trade deals like NAFTA got consigned to that dusty repository where humankind’s bad ideas are archived. As part of that accomplishment, in his resolve to reverse years of $500-billion-dollar trade deficits with China, Trump is taking our most adversarial global competitor to the precipice.

To repay the president for all he has done to strengthen the homeland’s economic outlook, Trump’s aging troopers plan to sit tight. They’ve been to a few political rodeos They won’t fall prey to Anderson Cooper’s hysteria. They know that the globalist schematic that has been foisted on the nation has been evolving for decades, and cannot be undone in a heartbeat. Like with Britain’s Brexit, there are short-term exigencies to be accounted for, status quo disruptions to absorb.

To appropriate an old Merrill-Lynch tag line, Trump’s scrappy oldsters are bullish on America. At the same time, they’re savvy enough to recognize that along with the winning, there will be the need for sacrifice.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) appeared on Fox News Sunday a few weeks ago to field questions from Chris Wallace about the economic jitters farmers are experiencing as a result of Trump’s tariff crackdown on China’s unfair trade policies and practices. Cotton patriotically introduced the concept of sacrifice, a point he’s been making since at least May of this year.

To extrapolate from Cotton’s argument, he believes that to right marketplace wrongs and ensure prosperous sailing for our economic ship of state, Americans may have to ride out some storm-tossed waters. He hopes that farmers hit by the disruption of trade policies that have stripped the nation of jobs and intellectual property will look at the big picture: that the globalist trade environment Trump inherited is not in the long-term interest of the United States.

Here’s a direct Cotton quote from the CBS interview linked above: "There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I will grant you that," said Cotton, who served in the U.S. Army in both Afghanistan and Iraq from 2005 to 2009. "But also, I will say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heroes who are laid to rest in Arlington make."

Trump’s senior citizen brigades are ready to make that sacrifice. And they’ve been around long enough to know that sacrifice must go hand-in-hand with strategy.

They realize that when the president makes a trade policy adjustment, like ordering a delay of new tariffs on certain Chinese products until December 15, it is not a sign of weakness, but an indication of flexibility, a reflection of reprised vigor on trade policy, as differentiated from the lock-step, kowtowing of previous leaders, who seemed never to have met a lousy trade deal they wouldn’t sign.

As an unprecedented investigatory regime has shown, to the confounded disappointment of his leftist, Deep State, and complicit media adversaries, Trump has come out free and clear. Russian collusion has become a punchline. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign is amassing record-setting amounts of money for the coming struggle.

He’s bullish on America too, but his campaign is loaded for bear.

America First isn’t something that can be wished into being. Trump’s Gray Column understands this, and, seeing what they’ve seen, and knowing what they know, will vote to stay the course.



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 August, 2019

I think the image below is meant to be derogatory but there are a lot of fine people in America who think along similar lines

There is nothing irrational about distrusting the government


Google whistleblower reveals tech giant DOES blacklist right-wing news sites and says the company called police when he leaked the evidence, leaving him 'fearing for his life'

A Google engineer has spoken on the record to say the web giant does blacklist certain news sites and has an 'editorial agenda'.

Whistleblower Zachary Vorhies spoke to Project Veritas after claiming the company called police in San Francisco to perform a 'wellness check' on him when he originally leaked files on their activity.

Senior software engineer Vorhies, who worked for the company for eight years, says he added a 'dead man's switch' which would activate the files in case he was 'killed or assassinated'. 

Among the hundreds of documents leaked by Vorhies to Project Veritas is a document called 'news black list site for Google Now' which he claims shows a list of the web pages Google restricts.

It includes a number of conservative leaning websites such as The National Enquirer, Media Matters and Infowars.

Vorhies says the company's actions are 'hypocritical at the least and it's perjury at the worst' after CEO Sundar Pichai testified to Congress to say they do not promote left-leaning, Democratic news over that of more Conservative outlets or merely outlets it does not rate.

The insider said he spoke out amid fears the 'entire election system was going to be compromised forever by this company that told the American public that it was not going to do any evil'.

Vorhies told Project Veritas: 'This particular black list is showing which news sites aren't going to show up underneath the search bar when people are searching on their Android phone.

'And what they are doing is that they are saying "ok, well, you know, Newsbusters, the Gateway Pundit, National Enquirer, Media Matters, Infowars, they're not going to appear on their search results".

'And they are telling people that they don't have any blacklists, they don't have any political ideology, they don't have any political bias but it's really clear that they do.

'If Google wants to have political bias and if they wanna say they have political bias that is their right as a company.

'But for them to go under oath and say that theses blacklists don't exist, well employees like me are able to just search through the internal search engine of the company and see that they do, it is hypocritical at the least and it's perjury at the worst.

'If people don't fall in line with their editorial agenda then their news articles get deboosted and deranked. 'And people do fall in line with their editorial agenda then it gets boosted to the top.'

Another file appears to show ranking classifier to 'define channel quality'.

In his interview Vorhies adds: 'When they see the documents themselves they are going to be shocked and they are going to terrified. They are going to be like how can Google so blatantly lie to the American public and lie to Congress when there is a pile of evidence showing that what they are saying is untrue.'

Images shared with Project Veritas show Vorhies walking towards officers with his hands in the air after he says Google found out he leaked the files.

He told the site: '[The police] started banging on my door. 'They called in the FBI, they called in the SWAT team. And they called in a bomb squad. '[T]his is a large way in which [Google tries to] intimidate their employees that go rogue on the company.' 

Vorhies claims he was targeted on Twitter by an undercover employee who outed him as the leaker as well as being sent a 'threatening' letter 'containing several demands'.

He added: 'Attorneys told me this is the first step in having your life ruined. They are going to come after you. 'Google is not who they say they are.'



Have Republicans Learned These Crucial Lessons from Obamacare?

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period,” President Obama promised during the Obamacare sales pitch to America almost 10 years ago. But as the American people know all too well by now, the gulf between Obamacare's marketing and reality is vast.

There was “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” but that didn’t work out either. The Washington Post's fact-checkers rated that one the Lie of the Year in 2013. The fallacy behind that falsehood was that Obamacare specified exactly what health care plans would have to cover to satisfy the Obamacare individual and employer mandates.

Millions of Americans lost their health plan when the insurance companies had to cancel them because they were not in compliance with the Obamacare mandates. That problem should have been foreseeable.

Then there was the Obamacare promise that Obamacare would reduce health insurance costs by $2,500 per family per year. In reality, because of all the new regulations, the cost of health insurance soared once Obamacare was fully phased in. This is particularly true for the terribly over-regulated individual health insurance plans that the American people had to buy on their own. The American people had no choice but to buy plans with enormous deductibles of thousands of dollars a year. This made health insurance worthless for most Americans, whose average health costs per year became less than their deductibles.

Finally, there was the Obama promise that if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  But the real problem under Obamacare was whether your doctor would want to keep you, under the cost burden Obamacare regulations imposed on doctors. So many Americans lost their doctors when their health insurance was cancelled, or their doctors retired because of the cost of Obamacare regulations.

Now these problems of unintended consequences are threatening Americans' health insurance again. The federal government is considering new legislation involving costly federal regulations to address the issue of “surprise medical billing.” Surprise billing results when insured Americans suffering a medical emergency are taken to a hospital out of their insurers’ network. The trouble is that when they recover, they have a financial crisis on their hands.

Because the hospital was out of their insurance company’s network, the insurer often refuses to pay for the bill. So, the patient then gets the whole bill, which is beyond what most Americans – most of which cannot afford an out-of-pocket $400 expense – can pay without help from their health insurance. President Trump wants to address this issue. But the Senate Committee on Health Insurance, called the HELP Committee, is not offering effective help. "We're from the government, and we're here (not to) help..."

The Committee is considering the Lower Health Costs Act. This would impose price controls on doctors and hospitals, requiring them to accept the average cost that Medicare pays for the health care services received.

As the long history of price controls shows, when the price is held below costs, demand increases. But bureaucrats’ price floors always reduce supply, resulting in shortages of the service. In this case, it will be emergency health care that gets cut. That would not be good for the American people.

The problem of surprise medical billing can be and has been successfully addressed without price controls with the market incentives of arbitration. New York of all places has treated the issue this way.

Under arbitration, both parties submit an offer to an independent arbiter, and then the arbitrator picks the one that seems most reasonable. Each side has an incentive to put their best foot forward, so they both try to compromise to the extent they can.

Even the hard-nosed New York regulators report that since this process was adopted, they have rarely seen complaints. They notated that, by and large, the problem seems to have been resolved with no hardship imposed on anyone.

Competition, not more of the Obamacare status quo, is the solution to America’s healthcare problems. If liberals in New York can recognize that, so too should Republicans in Congress.

Fellow conservatives: rather than help the left dance one step closer to socialized medicine, let’s move the limited government ball down the field on this issue.



The Left Eats Its Own: NYT Editor Demoted After Tweets Attacking 'The Squad' and Justice Democrats

The New York Times has demoted its former deputy editor, Jonathan Weisman, after he pointed out a distinction between city and rural voters and after he called out a liberal group for mustering a primary challenge to a black Democratic congresswoman. He also sent angry emails to author and Times contributor Roxane Gay demanding "an enormous apology" for her attacks against him. Perhaps he thought his Jewish heritage protected him from accusations of racism from the left. If so, he was dead wrong. Gay denounced him for having the "audacity and entitlement of white men."

"Jonathan Weisman met with [Times executive editor Dean Baquet] today and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment," the newspaper announced in a statement. "As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media. We don't typically discuss personnel matters but we're doing so in this instance with Jonathan's knowledge."

Weisman, who wrote a book rightly condemning the alt-right and wrongly condemning the Trump administration for supporting anti-Semitism, drew the ire of the left by accusing various Congressmen of not truly representing their districts.

First, he responded to Democratic strategist Waleed Shahid, who attempted to shoot down former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). In explaining her loss to Josh Hawley, McCaskill said, "Free stuff from the government does not play well in the Midwest."

Attempting to defeat McCaskill's argument, Shahid argued that Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) are from the Midwest, and that "Medicare and Social Security are both technically 'free stuff' and they play very well."

To this, Weisman replied, "Saying [Rashida Tlaib] (D-Detroit) and [Ilhan Omar] (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying [Rep. Lloyd Doggett] (D-Austin) is from Texas or [Rep. John Lewis] (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South. C'mon."

Weisman was clearly trying to make a political point about the differences between representing a liberal urban area and representing a typically conservative rural area. In areas like the Midwest, the Deep South, and Texas, rural areas carry a state's electoral votes — and often other state-wide elections. Tlaib, Omar, Doggett, and Lewis could be said to represent islands of blue in seas of red.

But Weisman's good point does not come across, partly because the left has demonized any attacks on "The Squad" as racist, but also partly because Weisman chose Lewis — beloved as a Civil Rights hero — as an example. He later deleted that tweet "because I realize I did not adequately make my point."

Weisman's other unforgivable sin involved calling out Justice Democrats, a far-left group seeking to primary sitting members of Congress for being insufficiently progressive. "Justice Democrats has backed another primary challenger, this one seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat, Joyce Beatty, who represents Columbus," the Times deputy editor tweeted.

Morgan Harper, the candidate Justice Democrats endorsed in order to challenge Beatty, responded with a brief tweet: "I am also black, [Jonathan Weisman]." Weisman replied that the Justice Democrats endorsement "included a photo."

Justice Democrats compared Weisman's tweets to Trump's "go back" tweets, which it characterized as racist. "We must fundamentally change the idea that people of color can't exemplify the region — or the nation — in which we live," the group added, interpreting Weisman's deleted tweet as racist, rather than a discussion of political representation.

Roxane Gay interpreted Weisman's answer to Harper as a suggestion that Harper is not really black. The author suggested he was utterly unqualified for his job.

"Any time you think you’re unqualified for a job remember that this guy, telling a black woman she isn’t black because he looked at a picture and can’t see, has one of the most prestigious jobs in America. Shoot your shot," Gay tweeted.

In response, Weisman emailed Gay, her assistant, and her publisher, demanding "an enormous apology." Gay shared screenshots of the emails, tweeting that "the audacity and entitlement of white men is f**king incredible."

Weisman claimed Gay "misconstrued my rather innocuous tweet, willfully or mistakenly, accused me of racism, and incompetence, seemed to want me fired."

Racism and incompetence are serious charges, and conservatives feel a somewhat justified schadenfreude when they see a liberal accused of racism in the same way so many liberals baselessly accuse conservatives of the same charge.

"This is amazing. Weisman wrote an entire ridiculous book smearing the GOP as a bunch of Nazis, but is demoted for offending Ilhan Omar's fans," David Harsanyi, senior editor at The Federalist, tweeted.

Indeed, it seems Weisman may be experiencing some comeuppance for claiming that Trump — whose administration has heavily favored Israel and who himself is very proud of his Jewish daughter and son-in-law — harbors anti-Semitism.

Conservatives may enjoy double schadenfreude as The New York Times is struggling with accusations of racism — for reporting verbatim Trump's words condemning racism. Sadly, the Times seems to be immediately caving to the left, with no regard for the real meaning behind things denounced as racist.



The Left Responds to new immigration rules

As we reported yesterday, the Trump administration issued new rules defining what a public charge is under our immigration laws. As we also noted, this is not a new concept.

It has been part of U.S. immigration law since the 1880s and was revived during the Clinton years. The problem is that it was never seriously enforced. (By the way, the new rule also benefits immigrants who are proficient in English.)

Predictably, the left’s reaction to these reasonable rules is over the top.

For example, The Washington Post warns that the Trump administration is ramping up its “war on legal immigration,” while The Nation declares that the “war on immigrants just got a whole lot worse.” Numerous progressive politicians and special-interest groups are vowing to sue to overturn the rule.

What the left is describing as a “war on immigrants” is actually cover for the left’s war on the American taxpayer. We taxpayers are a very diverse group of people. Taxpayers include immigrants, as well as people of all races, religions, and backgrounds.

The progressive reaction is also very telling because it exposes yet again how the left goes out of its way to promote the interests of noncitizens over the interests of American citizens.

We are told over and over that immigrants pay taxes and are a boon to society. Well, to the extent that they are productive members of society and do pay taxes, that’s true. And that is why most conservatives are strong proponents of legal immigration.

But that assumes we have an immigration system that is making commonsense decisions about who gets in. That has not been happening.

We know that because Reuters tells us that “some experts say [the new rule] could cut legal immigration in half,” which means that half of legal immigrants meet the definition of “public charges."

According to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), "63 percent of households headed by non-citizens use at least one welfare program, including an astonishing 80 percent of non-citizen households with children."

CIS research also found, "The average household headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) costs taxpayers $6,234 in federal welfare benefits.”

Thankfully we have an administration that is fighting for the taxpayer. Voters who are uneasy with Trump’s style or his tweets will get a rude awakening if the left takes power and there is nothing standing in between them and their wallets.



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 August, 2019

Conservatives buck Trump over worries of 'socialist' drug pricing

Conservatives are growing increasingly uneasy with the Trump administration's new drug pricing policy.

President Trump is desperately seeking an elusive political win in his efforts to lower prescription drug costs, but he faces a hard sell to conservative groups and GOP lawmakers as he touts ideas traditionally favored by Democrats and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In a rare break with Trump, conservatives are now pushing back against key administration policies and accusing the president of supporting what they call Sanders-style socialism.

The president has embraced importing drugs from Canada, as well as an international pricing policy that would bar Medicare from paying more than other countries for prescription drugs.

The moves are designed to co-opt Democratic talking points and position Trump as a populist champion of the free market.

Trump has made lowering drug prices a top priority of his presidency, but he has suffered some high-profile setbacks in recent weeks.

Drug importation and the international pricing caps proposal are the only remaining policies remaining that the White House can use to make a splash heading into 2020.

Trump has frequently railed against “global freeloading” and said he doesn’t think it’s fair that the U.S. subsidizes research and development in other countries.

Last year he went to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and announced the plan to cap U.S. payments for expensive drugs, over the objections of some White House advisers. Those objections later spread to include conservative groups.

Facebook ads this year from FreedomWorks, a conservative advocacy group, urged people to tell HHS Secretary Alex Azar to oppose “socialist-style price controls.” Another ad warned the administration against “importing socialist European drug prices in America.”

Separately, a website sponsored by the American Conservative Union rails against the administration’s pricing index, calling it an experiment “directly out of the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton government health care takeover playbook.”

In the GOP-controlled Senate, a bill backed by the administration is facing Republican opposition over a provision that would impose a limit on drug price increases in Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program. The legislation would force drug companies to pay money back to the government if their prices rise faster than inflation.

The Senate Finance Committee approved the measure late last month in a 19-9 vote — all Democrats voted for it, and all nine “no” votes came from Republicans. Some GOP senators said they were concerned because they think the Medicare Part D provision violates traditional free-market principles.

The bill faces long odds of making it to the Senate floor without substantial changes. “I'm not comfortable with putting price controls on drugs,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the Finance Committee, told The Hill.

Toomey offered an amendment to strip out the provision, which failed on a tie vote of 14-14. All but two Republicans voted for his amendment.

Aside from capping drug payments, Trump has also softened his stance on importing drugs from Canada. The administration last week announced a proposal that would set the groundwork for states or wholesalers to launch pilot programs to safely import drugs.

Shipping in drugs from abroad has long been a goal of progressives like Sanders, but has also won the support of libertarian-leaning conservatives like GOP Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Mike Lee (Utah).

But with Trump looking for a win on drug pricing, political analysts and health experts argue he doesn’t necessarily care about gaining the support of conservatives.

“This is ... the administration throwing down a wild card,” said health care consultant Alex Shekhdar, founder of Sycamore Creek Healthcare Advisors. “In order to win in 2020, they need to take into consideration independents and anyone else who thinks drug prices are an issue.”

Joe Antos, a health care expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said it doesn’t matter if the policies Trump is embracing are traditionally Democratic ones. “Just because Democrats endorsed it in the past, doesn’t mean Trump can’t take ownership and call it his idea. He might not call them Republican ideas, but he’ll call them Donald Trump ideas,” Antos said.

But some GOP senators cautioned against letting Democrats play too much of a role.

After the Finance Committee advanced the drug-pricing bill, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters that Republicans don’t want Trump negotiating with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

A competing bill from House Democrats is far more sweeping than the Senate’s, and includes direct Medicare negotiation on drug prices. “It seems to me that the Grassley-Wyden approach is a very moderate approach to what could come out,” Grassley said, referring to the bill backed by him and Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee.

But a stalled bill could still work to Trump’s advantage, according to Antos, who said the president doesn’t necessarily need to lower drug prices, he just needs to convince the public he is trying.

In that sense, Antos argued, Republicans haven’t offered anything better, and they will eventually support whatever the administration does. “Republicans don’t have any alternative ideas,” Antos said. “Trump has full control of Republicans in Congress, so there’s just not going to be any response other than going along with what comes along.”



Top 10 Reasons Seniors Are Benefiting From The Trump Economy

The U. S. economy made history at the end of July by sustaining the longest expansion period on record. While the benefits of this prosperity have impacted all different groups and demographics, the benefits to our American senior population in particular are considerable. Here are several ways U.S. economic growth is enabling citizens over 55 to drive even greater economic success.

1. In 2018, Americans aged 55 and older gained almost 49% of the 2.9 million jobs created in the workforce. This is the largest share of any age group, even exceeding the 25-54 age demographic, according to an analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Older managers are valuable because they have a wealth of experience and cost businesses less in terms of health care, as they qualify for Medicare at 65 yrs, according to TLRanalytics. USA Today recently noted that 39.2% of Americans 55 and older were working at the end of 2018, the highest level since 1961.

Sarah Chaney of the Wall Street Journal points to an OECD study indicating there is considerable employment upside left in this equation. For example, Japan, according to the data, continues to defy economic odds: 77% of Japanese aged 55 to 64 were active in the labor force in 2018, up from 68.2% in 2011.

2. Investment returns have flourished in the Trump administration — great news for senior and future senior retirement investments. The S&P 500 Index has returned 38%, including dividend reinvestment, and the Nasdaq has generated over 53% returns during the past two-and-a-half years.

3. The U.S. continues to offer the best environment for entrepreneurs. According to the 2018 FreshBooks report, an estimated 27 million Americans will leave the traditional corporate workforce in favor of full-time self-employment by 2020. Kauffman Index of Start-up Activity has found the highest rate of U.S. entrepreneurial activity is currently among the 55 and 64 age group. Rising life expectancy, insufficient retirement savings, as well as desire to maintain productive activity are all playing a role.

4. A Babson College study, The State of Small Business in America, confirms more than half of U.S. small business owners are now aged 50 and older. This trend could accelerate as the regulatory environment eases administrative burdens that caused great harm to mom-and-pop enterprises.

5. Senior entrepreneurs propel economic expansion and contribute more than $120 billion in federal taxes annually to support fiscal programs, thus reducing dependency on entitlements.

6. A strong economy offers more opportunities to a wider range of our population. Only 26% of small business owners have a bachelor’s degree, according to a CNBC/Survey Monkey survey — yet that hasn’t held them back from success. Five years after a business opens, 60% to 70% of ventures established by senior entrepreneurs remain in operation, compared to 28% of enterprises started by younger entrepreneurs. Skills and determination define success — and it also seems that experience that comes with age helps

7. Healthy environments boost start-up activity, and we now see venture funding geared toward our older demographic accelerating. As longer lifespans unfold, we desperately need new, low-cost technologies in areas such as caregiving, assisted-living support and end-of-life care — technologies seniors are uniquely equipped to develop and implement.

8. Only in growing economies do cities and communities have an opportunity to make infrastructure improvements. Retiring boomers will no longer accept the isolated housing options of the past. Paul Irving, chair of The Center of the Future of Aging and the Milken Institute, contends that productive integration of aging communities into housing, recreation, and transportation, to name a few areas, will not only benefit older Americans, but present new business opportunities for everyone.

9. The “longevity economy” will be a remarkable transformation in the U.S., according to an Oxford Economics report. We have 106 million people over the age of 50 responsible for $7.6 trillion of annual economic activity.

10. Finally, this unprecedented economic expansion increases the range of “purposeful activity” among retired seniors, such as volunteering, educational programs and mentoring. Pursuits like these are shown to maintain health, happiness and potentially deter or delay the onslaught of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other conditions.

It’s easy to forget the contributions of senior citizens. Our culture’s obsession with youth and novelty leads us to overlook the power of experience and continuity. But if these numbers show anything, it’s that the elderly still have the power to push us further along the path to prosperity.



Disagreement over primaries for next presidential election

As California Democrats try to keep President Trump off the state’s Republican primary ballot next year, Republicans in other states are pondering plans to cancel or modify their own 2020 presidential nominating contests and essentially affirm the party’s support for Mr. Trump before voters head to the polls.

A new California law requiring candidates to disclose five years of tax returns has raised fresh legal and constitutional questions on ballot access, while nascent proposals to scale back Republican nominating contests in states such as South Carolina and Nevada have drawn criticism from William F. Weld, the most prominent Republican challenging Mr. Trump in 2020.

Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member from California, called his state’s law a “political farce” and predicted it would be struck down “by Christmas, if not sooner.”

He said there is merit to simply allowing voters to express their will and that “competition’s always good,” denting the notion of state parties moving to quash dissent and save Mr. Trump from having to dispatch any primary challengers.

“I’m not worried about Trump in any way. … A lot of Republicans that were not enthusiastic for him three years ago — and there was a lot in California — they’re all on board because his production has been beyond anybody’s expectation,” Mr. Steel said. “So there is no real primary threat in any way that I can see, and my answer is, ‘Who cares?’ Trump’s going to come out looking good no matter what.”

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee sued soon after Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed the tax return ballot measure into law last month. The lawsuit argues that the requirement infringes on Mr. Trump’s free speech rights.

Mr. Trump, citing an ongoing IRS audit, has broken with long-standing precedent since his 2016 campaign by declining to release his tax returns. He is fighting a separate legal battle with congressional Democrats, who have sued to try to get their hands on the president’s tax information.

Harmeet Dhillon, a Republican National Committee member whose law firm is representing the RNC in its case against California, said the implications of the state law stretch beyond the presidential contest.

“If the president isn’t there, there will be a lot of Republicans who say, ‘I’m not going to bother to vote. I’m boycotting voting this year,’ ” Ms. Dhillon said. “Which means that in potential congressional races they potentially end up in Democrat-on-Democrat races because of our top-two system.”

Mr. Newsom has defended the law by saying the U.S. Constitution leaves it to the states to determine how their presidential electors are chosen.

Rocky De La Fuente, a perennial candidate challenging Mr. Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, also sued over the California law — even as he said he plans to release his past five years of tax returns voluntarily.

“If voters want a candidate to release their tax returns, voters are free to withhold their vote from candidates who do not,” Mr. De La Fuente said. “All Republicans must stand united in demanding that state officials be held to account when they threaten fundamental rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.”

Regardless of the court outcome, the law likely won’t have much practical effect on Mr. Trump’s status as the all-but-assured Republican presidential nominee next year — though it would be notable if an incumbent president fails to get his name on the primary ballot in the country’s most populous state.

Still, Republicans in other early presidential states are weighing plans to modify or even cancel their presidential nominating contests next year and declaring their support for Mr. Trump before voters have a chance to express their choices in a primary or caucus.

In South Carolina, the party’s executive committee will decide next month whether to hold a presidential preference primary, said Cindy Costa, a Republican National Committee member from the state, which is famous for holding the first-in-the-South presidential primary.

“Democrats didn’t hold one when they had the White House in 2012 or 1996, and Republicans didn’t hold one in ‘04 or ‘84, so there is a strong precedent that the party that holds the presidency doesn’t normally have a primary,” Ms. Costa said.

Republican parties in Nevada and Kansas are also weighing plans to modify or cancel their caucuses next year.

The Nevada Republican Party is slated to decide next month whether to simply have the state central committee decide on committing delegates to Mr. Trump. The party said the move could allow them to divert resources elsewhere.

Mr. Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, said the president is trying to turn the Republican Party “into yet another of his private clubs.”

“We don’t elect presidents by acclamation in America,” Mr. Weld said in a statement to The Washington Times. “The idea that any incumbent, especially this one, should be allowed to bypass facing voters in a primary or party caucus is an insult to the Republican Party and to the millions of voters who would be disenfranchised.”

Though Mr. Weld is the most prominent Republican challenging Mr. Trump for the nomination, scores of lesser-known candidates routinely file with the Federal Election Commission to run for president every cycle and could be affected by the changes.

Mr. Trump’s campaign said it is taking no position on whether state parties should opt out of primary contests and direct the money elsewhere.

“Regardless, the President will dominate whomever has the wrong-headed idea to challenge him in whatever contest is put in front of him,” said Sarah Matthews, a spokeswoman for the president’s reelection campaign.

The RNC passed a resolution supporting Mr. Trump this year after members toyed with the idea of taking more far-reaching steps to block potential primary challengers.

“Since when do Republicans oppose competition?” Steve Duprey, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire, wrote this year in the New Hampshire Union Leader. “If the party starts favoring incumbents over primary challengers, then what is the case for having the first-in-the-nation primary? Who would come here to compete in a rigged system when Iowa and South Carolina offer fair contests?”



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)


14 August, 2019

My pictorial home page

Each year, late in the year, I put up a collection of odd and interesting pictures -- mostly political -- from the previous 12 months.  I combine that with some basic homepage links.  I have just put up the 2019 edition.  It is here.  That is a new address for it.  The previous address was here.  All the past pages have been transferred to the new address and can be accessed from there.  Each page has a link to the previous page and you can also access particular years via the links at the bottom right hand corner of each page.  Happy viewing!


Marxism in international organizations

Marxism has always had international pretensions

Martin Hutchinson

Kristalina Georgieva’s nomination as Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund is entirely appropriate. She is a Bulgarian communist by background, for 14 years until 1993 a Professor at the Karl Marx Higher Institute of Economics under that country’s communist government. The IMF itself and its sister institution the World Bank have since their foundation been anti-market forces of central planning. It is high time the Trump Administration and other believers in the free market acted to close down these clogs to the global economy.

The influence of Communist thinking on the IMF and World Bank has always been strong. The Soviet Union were active participants in the 1944 Bretton Woods conference that established them. More important, the two Western leaders at the conference were John Maynard Keynes, not technically a Communist but sympathetic to Communist teachings since the 1930s and Harry Dexter White, undoubtedly a Communist since he was an active Soviet spy. Their influence is celebrated by the World Bank in naming its main conference room the Keynes-White Room – presumably the alternative location for big meetings is the Rosenberg-Philby Suite.

“Russia is the first instance of a socialist country in action – and it works!” enthused White. Accordingly, he sought to bring the benefits of Soviet efficiency and innovation to the whole world, by sponsoring global institutions that would plan for the world economy just as Gosplan planned for the Soviet one. Both he and Keynes supported an all-powerful institution that would regulate global balances of payments and direct the global economy accordingly. It was only Britain’s economic weakness and American strength that led to the creation of the IMF, regulating only payments deficits, rather than Keynes’ vision of a Clearing Union that would regulate both deficit and surplus countries, operating a global currency “bancor.”

Both participants rejected the pre-war Gold Standard, which had through market forces regulated payment disparities automatically (curiously enough, the third participant in Bretton Woods, the Soviet Union, was not entirely averse to the Gold Standard since it was itself a major gold producer, second only to South Africa.)

By a stroke of luck for the world, White did not become the first chairman of the IMF. By the time the appointment was made Harry Truman was President and suspicion was rising about White’s Soviet espionage. Truman had a healthy distaste for Soviet spies but realized that withdrawing White’s name suddenly might cause awkward questions to be asked. Thus, in a master stroke of diplomacy he instituted the system from which Georgieva appears about to benefit, of a European chairman for the-IMF while the United States runs the World Bank.

As a consequence of Truman’s self-denial, the IMF became a much less powerful institution than White and Keynes had intended. In its first three decades, it contented itself with providing loans to industrial countries having difficulties under the Bretton Woods quasi-fixed exchange rate system. With those loans, it provided stern advice to recipient countries about how they must cut public spending and increase taxes to get the balance of payments back in line, but that advice was inevitable under the Bretton Woods system in any case.

Britain suffered three decades of very slow growth and constant balance of payments crises, while most other countries were enjoying economic miracles, because its feeble governments could not keep public spending under control. It would have fared better under a free-floating system (as was proposed in 1952) which would have allowed the pound to sink soggily to its equilibrium level. It would also have fared better under a Gold Standard, which would have imposed the required discipline automatically on the British budget so that follies like Macmillan’s 1958 sacking of Peter Thorneycroft would have immediately been punished by the markets, forcing the inept Macmillan to resign in well-deserved disgrace.

In any case, Britain’s perpetual balance of payments crises in 1945-79 were not the IMF’s fault, but that of the Bretton Woods system itself. The IMF indeed played a useful role for Prime Minister James Callaghan in 1976 (shortly after Bretton Woods had collapsed, but before the IMF had figured out a new role) in forcing his government to abandon its wild over-spending.

After 1979, the IMF took on a new role, that of bullying Third World governments. Whenever a government got into balance of payment difficulties, the IMF would lend it money, and impose conditions that in practice amounted to a massive tax increase, usually accompanied by wasteful spending on social and environmental projects the IMF favored. After a couple of decades of this, demand for the IMF’s services declined to the vanishing point — also money was readily available in the over-liquid international capital markets. Thus in 2000-07 the IMF’s balance sheet shrank markedly and it seemed likely that it would eventually atrophy, although it also became clear that there was no effective way of closing the institution, however useless it was.

After 2008, a wave of left-wing governments in major centers and a rather manufactured panic about the effects of the global recession, caused the IMF to be successful in its search for re-capitalization, with a massive increase in 2010-15. The demand side of the equation was solved by the EU using the IMF to fund partially the bailouts of various of its members and near members, so huge amounts were committed to Greece, Cyprus and Ukraine. In Greece, for example, IMF money was used to perpetuate Greece’s grossly uneconomic membership of the euro, which grossly overprices the lackadaisical Greek labor force, while massive haircuts were imposed on the private sector banks who had been foolish enough to lend to the country.

In Europe, the IMF has cooperated with an equally anti-market institution, the Brussels bureaucracy, to prevent market reforms in EU members and near members. More recently, it has single-handedly engaged in a bailout of the Mauricio Macri government in Argentina, to the tune of close to $50 billion. Contrary to the IMF’s past bailout patterns, this bailout enabled the Macri government to postpone essential budget-cutting from the waste of leftist administrations of Nestor Kirchner and his wife and successor Cristina Fernandez. Consequently, the country is now over-indebted and in poor shape going into the November election that will almost certainly bring Cristina Fernandez back to power, pushing Argentina into the kind of impoverished chaos that we now see in Venezuela.

The World Bank also has a thoroughly anti-market approach. It lends primarily to governments, for projects many of which are sponsored and pushed by the World Bank’s own staff. Private sector participation is very limited, and public-sector solutions preferred. This leads to huge corruption and aggrandization of governments, most of which lack the capability to manage the large percentage of the economy for which they are theoretically responsible.

In addition, the World Bank pushes projects that reflect the fashionable theories among the Western intelligentsia; thus dozens of hopelessly uneconomic steel mills were set up in country after country in the 1960s. Later, the World Bank’s emphasis switched to environmental projects, some of which (though by no means all) were indeed beneficial for the environment but produced no hard-currency income with which the World Bank debt could be serviced. Today, the emphasis is on projects that combat global warming, the fashionable nostrum of the moment. Naturally, many of these projects produce energy at hopelessly uneconomic costs, or in other ways subtract from the economic viability of the poor country in which they are situated, and which must pay back the debt it has incurred.

The World Bank and IMF did not fill an economic gap, except in the highly disturbed years after World War II. Once the private international capital markets got going again, after 1960, there was ample finance available for any economically robust project, wherever it was situated. Advice for Third World governments was also available, from the London merchant banks who had provided such advice very effectively before 1914. Once the euro-market got going, they were perfectly capable of replicating their pre-1914 function in this area. Alas, the World Bank and IMF undercut the private markets, providing advice for free (if generally of extremely poor quality) and thereby preventing the London merchant banks from re-filling their traditional market niche.

Since 1994, money has been only too available, as central banks worldwide have flooded the international financial system with spurious liquidity. As with all liquidity excesses, this has produced a gigantic wave of misguided lending and investment in Third World countries, most of which will have to be written off, damaging both the countries and their lenders.

The World Bank and IMF have contributed to this excess lending, mostly by financing countries and projects that did not deserve funding in any kind of free-market system. The countries to which they have lent have wasted the money even more grossly than their neighbors, while the projects for which they have lent have had even less economic reality than those financed by the private sector (which were at least desired by somebody, other than international bureaucrats).

In an ideal world, the next economic downturn would see the World Bank and IMF rendered insolvent as their loans went sour, while disgraceful provisions by which they cut ahead of the private sector in creditors’ restructurings would be ignored. Demands from both institutions for new capital would be firmly rejected, and they would be forced to shut up shop, forcing a mass of otherwise unemployable overstuffed officials onto the job market. Sadly, in our naughty world, this Nirvana is very unlikely indeed.



Here’s Why Elizabeth Warren’s Wealth Tax Is Completely Unconstitutional

If any trait characterizes the far left in 21st-century America, it is plans. They have plans for the country, plans for you, plans for your kids, plans for your house, and plans for your workplace. And your property? You know they’ve got plans for that.

In the 19th-century quasi-socialist movement once made up of farmers and laborers who wanted to build, harvest, and create, planning was a piece — but only a piece — of the agenda. Democratic socialism (or whatever guise the hard left puts on these days) is the realm of people who build nothing, but they have plans upon plans for things others have built.

The leading presidential candidate of the planners is the senior senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. She has made a slogan about having a plan for this and that, and her plan likely to do the most damage to America and the rule of law is her ill-considered, demagogic plan for a wealth tax.

The plan appeals to a certain envious segment of the mob, but a few minutes’ thought reveals its manifold flaws. As her opponent and former Rep. John Delaney said in the last Democratic presidential debate, the wealth tax is both a violation of the Constitution and a crime against good sense.

A Huge Constitutional Problem

The main problem with Warren’s plan is that it violates the Constitution. Understanding why requires understanding the difference between direct taxes and indirect taxes. Warren, a Harvard law professor, surely gets this, but she’s counting on voters to not to pay attention.

Warren calls her plan the “ultra-millionaire tax,” and that certainly has a pleasant ring to it for many people. (Look! There’s even a graph! She makes a lot of graphs.) Can the super rich afford to pay a little more in taxes? Sure, they won’t starve. Do people think the top income tax rates should be higher? Polls from earlier this year show a majority of voters would be happy to raise that rate quite a bit. But that is not what Warren is calling for here.

When we say “tax the rich,” we typically mean “increase the top marginal rate of the federal income tax.” Maybe we even mean “impose a sales tax on the kind of luxury items rich people buy,” or “eliminate the favorable tax treatment for capital gains and deferred income.” These are all permissible, if not necessarily smart. Yet Warren’s tax is a wealth tax, a direct federal impost on people’s property, and that presents a huge constitutional problem.

Warren’s wealth tax would impose a 2 percent annual tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3 percent annual tax on household net worth above $1 billion. According to her website, “All household assets held anywhere in the world will be included in the net worth measurement, including residences, closely held businesses, assets held in trust, retirement assets, assets held by minor children, and personal property with a value of $50,000 or more.”

Wealth Taxes Aren’t Income Taxes

The question of which taxes the federal government may impose has been debated since the American Revolution. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress could not impose taxes but could only ask the states to give it the funding it needed to pay its expenses, including the salaries of the Continental Army.

The states were often tardy in doing so. Some did not pay at all. It was an untenable system for any government, and the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 looked to fix that.

At the same time, the delegates did not want to surrender all of the states’ powers to the new government, nor to create a taxing power so vigorous that it would make Congress too powerful. In Article I, Section 9, they split the difference, providing that “No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.”

Indirect taxes were allowed, but direct taxes had to be imposed proportionally across the states according to population, a formulation so bizarre that it renders the direct taxes politically unacceptable and logically outlandish.

What Is Direct Taxation?

That’s all fine, but it leads us to ask: What is a direct tax? The framers had an idea but declined to articulate it with much precision, as James Madison recorded in his notes.

Essentially, if a tax on property is a direct tax, as the court in Hylton stated, a tax on the income derived from property must also be a direct tax. This was, as Fuller explained, no more than an obvious reading of the Constitution’s words:

We know of no reason for holding otherwise than that the words ‘direct taxes,’ on the one hand, and ‘duties, imposts and excises,’ on the other, were used in the Constitution in their natural and obvious sense. Nor, in arriving at what those terms embrace, do we perceive any ground for enlarging them beyond, or narrowing them within, their natural and obvious import at the time the Constitution was framed and ratified.

Pollock reflected a court more comfortable in its constitutional role and a Congress increasingly willing to ignore the plain text of that document. In dividing all taxes between indirect taxes such as excises and duties (levied on the sale or importation of a thing) and direct taxes such as property taxes (levied on the possession of a thing), the court set income taxes in the latter category.

That remained the law, with some refinement, until 1916. By then, Progressive demands for an income tax led Congress and the states to approve the Sixteenth Amendment.

In passing the amendment, Congress acknowledged that income taxes were direct taxes and changed the Constitution to create an exception to the rule that they must be apportioned. The amendment did not so much overturn Pollock but changed the law so the logic of that case no longer invalidated the tax. It left the world of federal taxes divided into three parts:

Direct taxes on people or property: unconstitutional unless apportioned by state population

Direct taxes on income: now constitutional even without apportionment

Indirect taxes on sales and imports: constitutional, as they always had been

The most recent case to touch on the question was 2012’s National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, better known as the “Obamacare case.” In the 5-4 decision, Justice John Roberts famously ruled that while the commerce clause does not give Congress the power to make people buy insurance, Congress does have the power to tax anyone who declines to do so.

Obamacare’s individual mandate survived as a tax, but what manner of tax? As a tax on a person, was it not a direct tax? And since it was a flat amount, not a percentage of a person’s income, was it not a direct capitation, requiring apportionment by population? Using a very strained reading of Hylton, Roberts said it was not:

Roberts confused the issue considerably in NFIB v. Sebelius, but the core holding of direct tax jurisprudence from Hylton to Pollock to NFIB to today remains intact: A tax on property is a direct tax, and Congress may not levy it without apportioning it according to state populations. Because she proposes not to do this, Warren’s wealth tax must be considered unconstitutional.

The Constitution explicitly bans this tax, and every interpretation of the direct tax clause the Supreme Court has ever issued puts the wealth tax on the wrong side of the law. No reasonable interpretation of the text or the case law can save it.

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)


13 August, 2019

Guns Saved These Americans From Assault and Robbery in July

In the wake of tragic mass shootings, such as those occurring in recent days in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, it’s understandable that the nation would search for answers.

It’s easy to blame the tools used in the killings and call for measures that would broadly restrict public access to them, instead of focusing on the more complex reality of why these individuals committed such horrible crimes in the first place. 

Communities are grieving, and everyone with a beating heart and an ounce of humanity grieves with them. We cannot, however, allow our grief to blind us to the important role firearms play in defending the rights and liberties of law-abiding Americans.

Yes, firearms can be used to carry out horrific acts of violence, and we should absolutely pursue ways of ensuring that individuals who pose serious risks of danger to themselves or others are disarmed long before they can commit these types of atrocities.

But the vast majority of lawful gun owners will never use their firearms for unlawful purposes. In fact, they are much more likely to use their firearms for self-defense than criminals are to use firearms to harm innocent people.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted in a 2013 report, almost all national studies of defensive gun uses have found that firearms are used in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times every year in the United States.

Even the center’s own internal data indicates that firearms are used defensively about 1 million times a year.

And, of course, this doesn’t include the countless number of times that tens of millions of Americans use their firearms for other lawful purposes, such as hunting or recreational target shooting.

In an effort to keep the national conversation grounded in this important context, every month this year we’ve highlighted just a handful of the many times law-abiding citizens have used their firearms in defense of their rights or the rights of those around them.

Here are the January, February, March, April, May, and June examples. July was no different.

In recent weeks, while firearms were used to commit several high-profile, heinous acts against innocent people, they were also used by many innocent people to fight back against those seeking to do them harm.

July 3, Summerville, South Carolina. Concerned neighbors went to check out loud noises that they thought might be someone breaking into the local church, only to discover a very drunk trespasser roaming through a nearby backyard.

The drunk trespasser began attacking one of the neighbors, who then shot the drunk man in self-defense after his warning shot went unheeded.

Law enforcement officers determined the neighbor acted justifiably, and the drunk man is facing charges related to the incident.

July 5, Danville, Kentucky. A homeowner held a would-be thief at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived, after investigating why his gate intercom rang at 4 a.m.

The homeowner looked outside and saw that his vehicles had been moved, then found the cars parked away from the house, with the thief still inside one of them.

July 10, Summerfield, Florida. A disabled 61-year-old homeowner kept his AR-15 loaded by his bedside after a suspicious interaction earlier in the day with a man who was looking through the sliding glass door on his back porch.

When the homeowner awoke to loud noises that night, he grabbed his rifle just in time to defend himself from four armed men who had broken into his home.

He killed two of the armed intruders and sent the other two fleeing, until they were tracked down by a police K9 unit. Despite being outnumbered and wounded himself, the homeowner survived.  

July 11, Tampa, Florida. A pastor, joined by a deacon, held an intruder at gunpoint for nearly 10 minutes after responding to the church’s alarm system and discovering a man who had used a brick to break in. The intruder was in the process of stealing electronics from the place of worship.

July 15, Phoenix. A retired military law enforcement officer acted quickly to defend himself and his family against a home invasion, drawing his handgun from his bedside table and chasing the intruder out of the house.

After running, the suspect broke into another home and attempted to sexually assault a woman before being arrested by police, who the first homeowner had called.

July 16, San Diego. A man armed with a knife broke into a home and began stabbing the 54-year-old homeowner until the homeowner’s son was able to intervene, shooting and killing the attacker with his father’s gun.

The home invasion caused some residents to question the logic of a proposed local ordinance that would require gun owners to keep their firearms locked in a safe or left inoperable when not on their person.

July 17, Oneida, Tennessee. A man rushed to his mother’s home after receiving a phone call from the mother’s caretaker about hearing suspicious talking from other parts of the house.

He discovered a woman in the process of burglarizing the home who was armed with a pocket knife, and held her at gunpoint until police arrived.

July 24, Rochester, New Hampshire. A father, whose two young children were in the car with him, spotted a would-be burglar while pulling up in the driveway of his home.

The father confronted the man and held him at gunpoint while waiting for law enforcement. He told reporters that while he wished he had not needed to draw his gun in the presence of his children, he hopes it taught them a valuable lesson.

“I don’t carry a gun to kill people. I carry a gun to neutralize threatening situations,” he said.

July 27, High Point, North Carolina. A woman fatally shot an ax-wielding man who broke into her property and charged at her. The man had assaulted the same woman earlier that night but was able to elude police.

July 29, Prospect, Kentucky. A homeowner brandished his handgun to chase away a man attempting to break into his home. The incident was captured by a security camera, and the homeowner believes that the presence of the firearm allowed him to scare off the suspect without putting himself in danger.

July 31, Nashville. An Uber driver defended himself and his passenger by shooting a man who opened fire on the driver’s vehicle. The man—who had a long history of violent crimes, including armed robbery—said he had felt “disrespected” by the Uber driver’s passenger and followed the car to exact revenge.

Neither the passenger nor the Uber driver was harmed, but the perpetrator was later treated at a local hospital for wounds to his chest and arm.

These types of everyday, lawful gun uses are not something we can afford to forget in our desire to just “do something” about mass public shootings, which, while statistically incredibly rare, still strike terror into our souls and break our hearts.

Every day in this country, law-abiding gun owners rely on their Second Amendment rights to stand up against the very types of evil that have so deeply horrified us in recent national headlines.

Neither these Americans, nor their firearms, are the enemy of a free nation. They are, rather, an important and regular deterrent to those who would infringe on the inalienable rights of others.



Trumponomics is no flop

Back in the summer of 1982, about 18 months into the Reagan presidency, the Washington Post wrote an editorial that sneered, “Reaganomics is now a failure for all to see.” Two months later began one of the strongest and longest economic revivals in American history, with growth rates that surged above 7 percent.

Whoops! The timing of the Washington Post editorial could hardly have been worse. I framed that old editorial and kept in my office for many years. Reagan used to say joyfully, “I knew our economic plan was working when they stopped calling it Reaganomics.”

I was thinking of that editorial the other day after someone sent me a recent column in the New York Times by the economist Paul Krugman entitled, “Why was Trumponomics a flop?” It is fair to say that Krugman has never been anything but a savage critic of the economic agenda of President Trump, and he has rooted against the economy ever since Election Day 2016. The day after Trump beat Hillary Clinton, the Nobel prize winning economist predicted a stock market collapse, which was slightly off the mark, given that the stock market is up near 50 percent and $10 trillion in wealth has been created since Trump was elected.

But that did not stop the Krugman screed from going viral, as liberals celebrated the news that Trumponomics has crashed and burned. What struck me about the column, and the joyous response to it, is just how divorced it is from the reality that most normal people see and feel every day. We have today the lowest unemployment rate in nearly 50 years, low and stable inflation, the biggest wage gains in a decade, the highest stock market ever, and a record 7.5 million unfilled jobs. Those blue collar jobs in construction and manufacturing that President Obama declared would never come back are up by almost 1.2 million jobs in less than three years.

Recent Commerce Department revisions in income gains during 2017 show 5 percent gains for the middle class, which is significant given that inflation is almost nonexistent outside of education and health care. So is Trumponomics really a flop? Only in the sense that “Gone with the Wind,” “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, and LeBron James can be called flops.

This is not to say that we have an A+ economy. Krugman is right that the trade war with China and other tariffs have subtracted from growth this year. Business investment, which is greatly incentivized under the Trump tax cuts, has been decent but not as strong as we had hoped so far. Federal deficit spending is way too overboard. Still, if Obama had ever produced economic prosperity as we have today, he would have led an entire marching band down Pennsylvania Avenue playing “Ode to Joy.”

Krugman grudgingly admits the obvious that unemployment is lower and growth is higher under Trump than under Obama. But he ascribes the Trump prosperity to high budget deficits and easy money Federal Reserve policy. This is absurd for two reasons. First, government spending and printing money does not cause growth. If it did, Venezuela would be the richest nation on the planet. Second, the budget deficits under Obama were almost twice as high as a share of gross domestic product during his first term than they have been under Trump. Big federal borrowing and “shovel ready” projects should have sent the economy out of this world under Obama. Instead, we got the flimsiest recovery in half a century.

A recent Gallup poll found 70 percent of Americans rating the economy as good or great, roughly double the number during the Obama presidency. The disparagement of the Trump record by Krugman reminds me of the old joke about an eternally joyful fellow who is always full of cheer, and the miserable people grouse, “He thinks he is happy, but he really is not.”

Why the Republicans are so incompetent in trumpeting this blockbuster economy is one of the great modern mysteries of life. Their unwillingness or incapacity to take credit for good times and defend the tax cuts that have helped families only lends credence to the curmudgeonly Krugmans of the world. If Republicans do not change their message soon, Trump may lose to one of the Democratic socialists, and then Americans will know what a real belly flop economy feels like. Finally, about 24 hours after the Krugman piece about Trumponomics flopping was published, the latest jobs report came out with 160,000 more jobs added. Whoops!



How much would 'Medicare-for-all' REALLY cost the middle class? The answer is shocking

Justin Haskins

During the most recent round of Democratic presidential debates, nearly all the leading candidates reiterated their commitment to transition the U.S. health insurance industry to a "Medicare-for-All," government-run model. Some promised to do it more quickly than others, but in the end, the result would be the same: the federal government would control health care within a decade.

Single-payer health care systems are plagued by countless problems that should make them an unattractive option for lawmakers—including rationing, service shortages, and bureaucratic inefficiencies. But perhaps the question most important to many 2020 voters, especially those with full-time jobs, will be how Democrats plan to pay for a gargantuan government takeover of health care, one that would include paying for nearly all health care services, reproductive care, and even pharmaceuticals.

Many of the leading presidential candidates—from Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker to Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren—have repeatedly and adamantly denied their single-payer plans will raise health care costs for the middle class. In fact, they have promised it will save middle-income earners thousands of dollars.

However, my new analysis of the costs of single-payer health care, which is based on well-established existing studies from think tanks on both sides of the aisle, shows that tens of millions of American families would end up paying significantly more for health care under a model similar to the "Medicare-for-All" plan proposed by Sanders and endorsed or slightly modified by most of the other leading presidential candidates.

My analysis is straightforward. Using IRS data, I calculated how much in additional taxes each IRS income bracket would need to pay to cover the costs of "Medicare-for-all" in 2022, the first year of full implementation under the legislation previously proposed by Sanders. I assumed Democrats would require tax filers to cover roughly the same proportion of the costs for "Medicare-for-All" as they paid for total federal income tax revenues prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I also assumed businesses would pay $400 billion in new taxes in the first year of implementation, a figure that’s in line with Sanders’ own estimates.

If "Medicare-for-All"’s total cost for the first 10 years is in line with projections produced by the American Action Forum, Mercatus Center, and Urban Institute—roughly $32 trillion to $38 trillion—I estimate 40 million to 60 million households would end up paying more in new taxes than they would receive in health care benefits. Millions of these households would lose more than $10,000 annually, even if it is assumed they would otherwise need to pay a full health insurance deductible and some out-of-pocket expenses under a private health insurance model.

Contrary to the claims made by the leading Democratic candidates, millions of middle-class earners would be hit particularly hard under "Medicare-for-All." For example, filers earning $50,000 to $75,000 would likely need to pay on average $7,773 to $9,171 more in new taxes. Those families earning $75,000 to $100,000 would pay $12,612 to $14,880 more. Most households with more than $100,000 income would pay close to or more than $20,000 in additional taxes.

In many cases, these costs far outweigh the projected average employee contribution for employer-provided health insurance—about $1,965 for individuals and $6,752 for families.

Although some proposals would offset these costs by imposing wealth taxes and additional business taxes not included in my analysis, I found that these would have a relatively small effect on the tax burden imposed on individuals and families. The wealthy and businesses simply do not have enough money to cover the massive costs of single-payer health care.

To illustrate this reality, consider the following: Even if the federal government were to confiscate every penny belonging to every single one of the richest 400 Americans—including billionaires like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos—it would only amount to less than $3 trillion, which is less than 10 percent of the cost of single-payer health care in the first 10 years alone, even under the most optimistic scenarios.

"Medicare-for-All" wouldn’t only create significant problems for the health care industry, it would financially decimate millions of middle-class households, many of whom already have access to health insurance plans they like.

So, why would Democrats support such a disastrous policy? The answer should be obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention to the Left’s array of recent radical policy proposals: because they are primarily concerned with increasing the power of the elites in Washington, D.C., not providing people with affordable health care.



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 August, 2019

The "Racist" Democrats "War On White People"

Watching the ultra-left Democratic Party presidential candidates attempting to come up with a strategy that would give them ANY chance, at all, of getting a candidate elected President in 2020 is getting VERY interesting. It has brought them all out of the closet, so-to-speak.

At first, the counter-move to OUR electing Donald Trump as our President in 2016 was to make the claim that "Trump is an agent of the Russian government."

When that STUPID story was shown to be nonsense the liberals had massive egg on their faces - so they IMMEDIATELY came out with a new thing.  Trump, and by association, all of his supporters, are "Racists."

Their latest gambit is to try and set up a HATRED of all white people who want to "Make, and Keep, America Great Again."  Think about that.  Somehow, in the minds of Democrats, a strong America, with people working, buying homes, buying cars, is a BAD thing.  Blacks, whites, browns, yellows, etc. working together as one nation is, to a "Progressive" Democrat, a bad thing. Huh?

There is NO question that MOST 2020 Democrat presidential candidates want America destroyed in favor of total UN-Run (Agenda 21) One-World Soviet Style Communism.

The wild-eyed "Green New Deal" would completely bankrupt America in a matter of months, shutting down MOST of America's industries, putting MOST Americans out of work, giving Mainland Communist China the ability to crush America overnight.  And, for the "Anti-White" Democrats, the result would be sweet - the end of Western Civilization.

"Medicare For all" is another nation buster.  Just envision millions of out-of-work people standing in line

"Free College for all" is another line of BS.  American Universities have become nothing more than a baby-sitting service for liberal Prima-Donnas whining about how hard their privileged lives are as they dope-smoke their way between safe-spaces. 

The idea of graduating from college and getting an actual job is simply NOT in their plans.  with "Free College for all" they could stay right there, as a student, until their hair falls out.

"Mass Shootings" - Liberal Democrats are completely responsible for this situation.  Every person killed or wounded can be traced back to "liberal" values.  Our country is faced with the liberal's long-term plan to destroy family units, removing the guidance of fathers from the child-raising picture.

"We Want America Destroyed" is the war cry of almost every 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Candidate.

Top Democratic Party leadership screams out "America was never great." on the nightly news.  The Democratic Party's "Beto" O'Rourke" claims (laugh here) that "This country was founded on white supremacy."

Yeah, "Beto," you dumb-ass, our Founding Fathers and Mothers created this country to promote "White Supremacy?"  Try reading a history book you jackass.

What "Beto" is against is "Freedom."

There is no doubt that the Democratic Party is trying to foment a race war in the racial/cultural "Melting Pot" of America.  In a way this attempt is hilarious.  Why?  As Victor David Hanson of the Hoover Institution states:

"The United States has always cherished its "melting pot" ethos of *e pluribus unum* - of blending diverse peoples into one through assimilation, integration, and intermarriage.

When immigration was controlled, measured, and coupled with a confident approach to assimilation, America thrived. Various ethnic groups enriched America with diverse art, food, music, and literature while accepting a common culture of American values and institutions. Problems arose only when immigration was often illegal, in mass, and without emphasis on assimilation."

But to the liberal Democrat's complete chagrin, those new DNA tests (23 and Me) are VERY CLEARLY showing that the people of America, themselves, personally, almost en-masse, decided to assimilate with other races and cultures in their sexual congress (smile here).  Which translates to the simple fact that Americans are NOT, as crap-for-brains liberals claim, "racist."  They are, in fact, just the opposite  (smile again.).

Those tests are CLEARLY showing that America is now, and has been, for a very long time, a true "Melting Pot" - and we obviously have, and had, FUN doing it.



Blame California’s Housing Shortage on Dubious Regulations

California is considered by many to be a beautiful and desirable place to live. Much of the state benefits from a very temperate climate featuring mild summer and winter temperatures and a landscape that can accommodate a wide variety of popular recreational activities from snowboarding to surfing. Economically, the state is home to many strong industries whose combined output is so large that if the state were a country, it would rank as the fifth largest economy in the world.

On paper, this combination of pleasant environment and economics should mean that California would rank very highly among all states for its business climate thanks to its established relative advantages. In reality, the state ranks among the worst, thanks to a tax and regulatory regime that puts it in dead last place among all states for its cost of doing business in CNBC’s Top States for Business in 2019.

Responding to California’s dismal ranking in this category, the editorial board of the OC Register point their fingers at the “crippling cost of doing business in California”:

... consider the costs of doing business in a state consistently ranked by the American Tort Reform Association as the nation’s leading “judicial hellhole,” where businesses are routinely forced to fend off lawsuits.

Add in costs imposed by the California Environmental Quality Act, which desperately needs revamping, and you have a splendid mix of laws and regulations that would give even the heartiest business owner pause.

If Sacramento lawmakers have taught us anything, it’s that they cannot, they will not, surrender their central planning urges, which of course much be fueled by more and more taxes and manifest in greater laws and regulations of dubious value.

Coming on the heels of a World Bank study that connected the reduction in regulatory burdens for creating businesses with the escape from extreme poverty for millions of people, it might be useful to consider how California’s increasing regulatory burdens harm the state’s residents.

James Broughel and Emily Hamilton described the state of California’s overall regulatory environment in a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times:

The California Code of Regulations—the compilation of the state’s administrative rules—contains more than 21 million words. If reading it was a 40-hour-a-week job, it would take more than six months to get through it, and understanding all that legalese is another matter entirely.

Included in the code are more than 395,000 restrictive terms such as “shall,” “must” and “required,” a good gauge of how many actual requirements exist. This is by far the most regulation of any state in the country, according to a new database maintained by the Mercatus Center, a research institute at George Mason University. The average state has about 137,000 restrictive terms in its code, or roughly one-third as many as California. Alaska and Montana are among the states with as few as 60,000.

Local zoning codes justifiably receive a lot of blame for the state’s high housing costs. They restrict new home creation—particularly multifamily homes, from duplexes to large apartment buildings. There’s no doubt that zoning rules are a key driver of California’s sky-high housing costs, as economists have found extensive evidence that regions where land-use regulations stand in the way of new housing supply suffer from high house prices and rents.

But California’s state building code is also especially restrictive and deserves scrutiny from policymakers concerned about housing affordability. By itself, this section of the Code of Regulations contains more restrictive terms—more than 75,700—than some states’ entire codes. The residential housing subsection alone has nearly 24,000 restrictions.

These restrictive regulations have resulted in California’s failure to build as much new housing as required to support the population’s need for shelter. City Journal‘s Kerry Jackson’s story of how the planned construction of 21,500 new homes in Santa Clarita has been stalled for nearly 25 years illustrates the challenge to build faced by Orange County’s FivePoint Communities:

Though the developer tirelessly met environmentalist demands and generated “green” credibility, the project has endured more than a quarter-century of roadblocks and red tape, courtesy of California’s mammoth bureaucracy—including “lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit,” says Wendy Devine, who oversees a website focused on Newhall Ranch news. The litigation primarily addressed environmental issues, as is typical for California, where the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has delayed housing development, reduced it in scope and size, and even shut it down. The developer produced more than 109,000 pages of documents, navigated the review of 25 government agencies, appeared at 21 public hearings, and attended over 700 meetings. Finally, the project broke ground last year.

While ground has finally been broken, it will still take years for the builders to construct all these homes, during which they will almost certainly face new regulatory hurdles to overcome before they are done, adding to their costs.

If not for the state’s growing mountain of restrictions that held up their construction for decades, the planned houses at Newhall Ranch could easily be home today to more than 53,000 Californians. If these houses had already been built, as they would have in a more sane world, not only would they be housing thousands of Californians, the homes and apartments where many of these future residents are living today would have been freed up to house others at more affordable prices and rents.

Instead, California’s regulatory regime has helped inflate the state’s cost of housing far above the levels that would be affordable to many of the state’s households, which has had dire consequences for the most marginal parts of the state’s population, with homelessness shooting up to a crisis level.

Homeless in California, 2009-2019 Point-In-Time-Counts

California’s state and local governments were already spending billions to address the problems of the state’s homeless population, even including building new housing, but have gained no ground because of the regulatory barriers they put in their own way. Worse, rather than making positive progress, they have lost ground and ended up even further behind, bearing a heavy human toll.

Returning to the OC Register‘s editorial, which concludes:

Indeed, California has many advantages over other states. But rather than use those strengths to facilitate even greater economic activity, California’s politicians have instead exhibited a tendency to take California’s advantages as a given and use California’s businesses as piggy banks for their grand visions.

Someday, we’d like to see California’s politicians realize that pulling back and letting markets work will yield more benefits over the long-term than perpetually using the force of government at every opportunity.

California’s problems have not arisen by chance. Its housing shortage is a political choice, just as are many of its other problems. There is so much more the state could be for the people who live there, if only its politicians and bureaucrats would choose instead to restrict themselves from imposing such a regulatory burden on others.


Mass Shootings Aren’t Growing More Common – and Evidence Contradicts Common Stereotypes About the Killers

When 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, and nine more were killed in Dayton, Ohio, roughly 12 hours later, responses to the tragedy included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing in the wake of a mass shooting.

As part of my work as a psychology researcher, I study mass homicides, as well as society’s reaction to them. A lot of bad information can follow in the wake of such emotional events; clear, data-based discussions of mass homicides can get lost among political narratives.

I’d like to clear up four common misconceptions about mass homicides and who commits them, based on the current state of research.

Violent Video Games Cause Mass Homicides?

By Monday morning after these latest shootings, President Donald Trump along with other Republican politicians had linked violent video games to mass shootings.

I’ll admit my surprise, since only last year the Trump administration convened a School Safety Commission which studied this issue, among many others. I myself testified, and the commission ultimately did not conclude there was sufficient evidence to link games and media to criminal violence.

Long-term studies of youth consistently find that violent games are not a risk factor for youth violence anywhere from one to eight years later. And no less than the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2011 that scientific studies had failed to link violent games to serious aggression in kids.

A 2017 public policy statement by the American Psychological Association’s media psychology and technology division specifically recommended politicians should stop linking violent games to mass shootings. It’s time to lay this myth to rest.

Mass Shooters Are Male White Supremacists?

Early reports suggest that the El Paso shooter was a white racist concerned about Latino immigration. Other shooters, such as the perpetrator of the Christchurch, New Zealand attack, have also been white supremacists.

Overall, though, the ethnic composition of the group of all mass shooters in the U.S. is roughly equivalent to the American population.

Hateful people tend to be attracted to hateful ideologies. Some shootings, such as the 2016 shooting of police officers in Dallas, were reportedly motivated by anti-white hatred. Other shooters, such as the 2015 San Bernardino husband and wife perpetrator team, have espoused other hateful ideas such as radical Islam.

Most mass homicide perpetrators don’t proclaim any allegiance to a particular ideology at all.

Of course, mass homicides in other nations – such as several deadly knife attacks in Japan – don’t involve U.S. race issues.

As far as gender, it’s true that most mass homicide perpetrators are male. A minority of shooters are female, and they may target their own families.

Mental Illness Definitely Is Or Is Not To Blame?

Whether mental illness is or is not related to mass shootings – or criminal violence more broadly – is a nuanced question. Frankly, proponents on both sides often get this wrong by portraying the issue as clear-cut.

As far back as 2002, a U.S. Secret Service report based on case studies and interviews with surviving shooters identified mental illness – typically either psychosis or suicidal depression – as very common among mass homicide perpetrators.

As for violence more broadly, mental illness, such as psychosis as well as a mixture of depression with antisocial traits, is a risk factor for violent behavior.

Some people suggest mental illness is completely unrelated to crime, but that claim tends to rely on mangled statistics. For instance, I’ve seen the suggestion that individuals with mental illness account for just 5% of violent crimes. However, that assertion is based on research like one Swedish study that limited mental illness to psychosis only, which is experienced by about 1% or less of the population. If 1% of people commit 5% of crimes, that suggests psychosis elevates risk of crime.

It’s also important to point out that the vast majority of people with mental illness do not commit violent crimes. For instance, in one study, about 15% of people with schizophrenia had committed violent crimes, as compared to 4% of a group of people without schizophrenia. Although this clearly identifies the increase in risk, it also highlights that the majority of people with schizophrenia had not committed violent crimes. It’s important not to stigmatize the mentally ill, which may reduce their incentive to seek treatment.

So improving access to mental health services would benefit a whole range of people and, by coincidence, occasionally bring treatment to someone at risk of committing violence. But focusing only on mental health is unlikely to put much of a dent in societal violence.

Mass Homicides Are Becoming More Frequent?

Mass homicides get a lot of news coverage which keeps our focus on the frequency of their occurrence. Just how frequent is sometimes muddled by shifting definitions of mass homicide, and confusion with other terms such as active shooter.

But using standard definitions, most data suggest that the prevalence of mass shootings has stayed fairly consistent over the past few decades.

To be sure, the U.S. has experienced many mass homicides. Even stability might be depressing given that rates of other violent crimes have declined precipitously in the U.S. over the past 25 years. Why mass homicides have stayed stagnant while other homicides have plummeted in frequency is a question worth asking.

Nonetheless, it does not appear that the U.S. is awash in an epidemic of such crimes, at least comparing to previous decades going back to the 1970s.



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 August, 2019

Political values

At first sight, the general population survey below is very old hat.  They find that Leftists want people to be equal and conservatives want people to work for what they get.  Ho Hum!

But there was an interesting quirk.  Leftists tended to like people to work for what they get nearly as much as conservatives did.  So there is some hope for the Left.  The ratbags who are at present vying for the Democrat presidential nomination may be very unrepresentative. Democrat voters are much more reasonable

All Things Being Equal: Distinguishing Proportionality and Equity in Moral Reasoning

Chris Skurka et al.


Moral foundations theory (MFT) has been a useful framework for understanding moral judgment and its relationship to political leaning. However, some have argued that MFT omits key domains of moral reasoning. We explored the utility of two candidate foundations (Proportionality and Equity) with a national sample of U.S. adults recruited through Nielsen’s Harris Panel, randomly split into calibration (n = 1,499) and replication samples (n = 1,499). We find that Proportionality and Equity are conceptually distinct from the original foundations (as measured in the Moral Foundations Questionnaire [MFQ]) but relate to them in predictable ways. Equity consistently predicted political leaning above and beyond covariates and the original foundations, but Proportionality only distinguished conservatives from liberals in the calibration sample, which suggests Proportionality may be highly relevant to moral judgments regardless of political ideology. Our findings also indicate potential bias when using one of the MFQ’s screener items to filter out unengaged participants.



It's an invasion! ... of moronic arguments

Ann Coulter

BREAKING NEWS: MASS SHOOTING IN DAYTON, OHIO, LAST SATURDAY NIGHT. (This may not be news to you, but I watch MSNBC, so I didn’t find out about the Dayton massacre until yesterday.)

There were two horrifying mass shootings recently, but our media are fixated on only one -- the one in El Paso, Texas -- because the shooter, Patrick Crusius, issued a “manifesto” that contained some of the same arguments made by Trump about illegal immigration.

Crusius began: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

Wait a second! Didn’t Trump use the word “invasion” to describe our wide-open border? Why, that makes him a co-conspirator in the white supremacist’s slaughter!

Of course, if we believe the part of Crusius’ manifesto that talks about an “invasion,” I don’t know why we’re required to disbelieve the part where he says his ideas have nothing to do with Trump -- or the part where he denies being a “white supremacist.”

But those are the rules. A white supremacist, who committed mass murder in El Paso, made arguments that “echoed” those made by President Trump -- and pay no attention to the avowed socialist and Elizabeth Warren-supporter who committed a mass shooting in Dayton later that day.

The hunt is on to find anyone who has ever used the I-word about illegal immigration.

(How about the “British Invasion”? Do we owe the Rolling Stones reparations now, too? Evidently a perfectly good word, appropriate in a million other contexts, suddenly becomes “racist” if applied to Hispanics.)

According to the Trump hysterics, if a terrorist cites X as the reason for his attack, then: 1) that constitutes definitive proof that X is false; and 2) anyone who agrees with X is providing “material support” to terrorists.

So, I guess I’d be in trouble if I were to say, “The El Paso shooting was an awakening, a moment of reckoning with politicians’ broken immigration promises and the avenging hatreds it arouses.”

That's a paraphrase of what Michael Ignatieff wrote in 2003 in The New York Times magazine about the American Empire provoking the 9/11 terrorists.

Or how about this:

“It is not only Patrick Crusius who feels this anger and resentment. Throughout the country there is widespread bitterness against our politicians, even among the pragmatic and well-educated, who may sincerely deplore the recent atrocity ... but who still resent the way the government has refused to secure our border.”

That's a paraphrase of what author Karen Armstrong wrote in 2001 in The Guardian about the 9/11 terrorists’ resentment of American power.

They weren’t making unreasonable points, but clearly no one held back for fear of “echoing” the beliefs of terrorists who had just murdered 3,000 Americans.

To the contrary, in the words of leftist professor Todd Gitlin in 2002, his fellow liberals felt the 9/11 attack was a “damnable yet understandable payback ... rooted in America's own crimes of commission and omission ... reaping what empire had sown. After all, was not America essentially the oil-greedy, Islam-disrespecting oppressor of Iraq, Sudan, Palestine? Were not the ghosts of the Shah's Iran, of Vietnam, and of the Cold War Afghan jihad rattling their bones?”

Liberals did not feel it incumbent on them to hate America any less just because the 9/11 terrorists hated it, too. Why should immigration patriots reconsider their views one iota because Crusius agreed with them? So do a lot of voters -- not too many, just enough to put Trump in the White House.

In November 2009, Major Nidal Hasan shot up Fort Hood military base while shouting “Allah Akbar!” killing 13 people and wounding 32 others. He did so primarily because he was angry about America’s war in Iraq.

Had Obama created a “toxic” environment with his campaign pledge to pull all our troops out of Iraq? Was that policy proved wrong because Hasan agreed with it? I don’t recall anyone saying, Well, now we’ve got to stay in Iraq FOREVER because a terrorist didn’t want us to!

(And, by the way, contrary to the nonsense repeated every six minutes on TV about white killers being called “mentally ill” while poor, put-upon Muslim killers get called “terrorists,” for months and months, The New York Times and President Obama assured us that Hasan was mentally ill, not a terrorist.)

Just two years ago, a gung-ho Bernie Sanders supporter, James Hodgkinson, drove to the nation’s capital and gunned down Republicans on a Virginia baseball field, leaving House Majority Whip Stephen Scalise in critical condition, requiring multiple surgeries. Several others were also injured in the hellfire of bullets.

Hodgkinson was inspired to commit attempted mass murder by his passionate desire for universal health care and his hatred of Republicans (especially Trump). These toxic beliefs were regularly reinforced by his favorite TV programs, "The Rachel Maddow Show,” "Real Time With Bill Maher” and "Democracy Now!”

You want “material support”? All those shows are still on the air! And the hosts still hate Trump! Indeed, every single Democratic presidential candidate is promoting an agenda that could have been lifted directly from Hodgkinson's Facebook page, from government-run health care to hiking taxes on “the rich.”

Does this mean universal health care is, ipso facto, a hateful, terroristic idea because of Hodgkinson’s support of it?

A few months before shooting up a GOP baseball game, Hodgkinson wrote on his Facebook page: "Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Based on the new El Paso standard for branding beliefs “hateful,” “toxic" and “material support” for terrorism, every Democratic presidential candidate should be on a terrorist watch list right now.



Leftists putting their hate into action

As ever, they fail to foresee the probable consequences of their own actions. They  fail to see that their own tactics could be used against them. There has been a fair bit of doxxing from the far Left recently so it may not be too long before some Trump supporters start doxxing Leftists

House Republican leaders and President Trump’s campaign lashed out at Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), the brother of Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro, for tweeting out the names and business interests of dozens of donors to the Trump reelection campaign.

Joaquin Castro late Monday used his Twitter account to publish the names of 44 Texans who donated the maximum $2,700 to Trump, specifically calling out the owners of several prominent businesses in San Antonio, where the Castro brothers are from.

“Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders’,” the lawmaker tweeted.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh accused Castro of “endangering the safety of the people he is supposed to be representing.”

“Democrats want to talk about inciting violence?” Murtaugh said. “This naming of private citizens and their employers is reckless and irresponsible. He is endangering the safety of people he is supposed to be representing. No one should be targeted for exercising their First Amendment rights or for their political beliefs. He should delete the tweet, apologize, and his brother’s campaign should disavow it.”

The Trump campaign also reported Castro’s tweet to Twitter, saying it broke the company’s abuse and harassment provision.

Candidates are required to disclose the names and employers of donors who give $200 or more in Federal Election Commission filings, which are available online for anyone to see.

However, it is unusual for a lawmaker to publish the names and business interests of individual donors of another campaign.

Tensions are running hot between Trump and the Democrats, who blame the president's rhetoric for having contributed to a mass shooting over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 people dead.

Administration officials, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, have called those attacks unfair.

Police say the suspected shooter had written a manifesto warning about an “invasion” of Latino immigrants, mirroring some of the language the president has used on immigration. However, the shooter also said some of his views preceded Trump's election.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was nearly killed in a politically motivated shooting two years ago, called Castro’s tweet “dangerous.”

“People should not be personally targeted for their political views. Period. This isn’t a game. It’s dangerous, and lives are at stake. I know this firsthand,” Scalise tweeted.

Meanwhile, McCarthy said in a tweet, "Targeting and harassing Americans because of their political beliefs is shameful and dangerous."


Warning: How the VA ‘Red Flags’ Patriots

Gun-grabbing crisis vultures just can’t let the latest mass shootings go to waste. “Red flag” laws are now all the rage in the Beltway as the magic pill to prevent homicidal maniacs from wreaking havoc on the nation.

Even President Donald Trump has endorsed the idea of preemptively confiscating people’s firearms if they are deemed a “threat.”

But if you want to know how this American version of China’s social credit system would work in practice, let me remind you of how Veterans Affairs recklessly red-flags “disruptive” citizens without due process, transparency, or accountability in the name of “safety.”

Government bureaucrats routinely deprive our nation’s heroes of medical treatment based on arbitrary definitions of who and what constitutes a mental health menace.

I first reported on the VA’s secretive database on “disgruntled” and “disruptive” vets five years ago. Under the VA policy on “patient record flags,” federal bureaucrats can classify vets as “threats” based on assessments of their “difficult,” “annoying,” and “noncompliant” behavior.

The VA manual says the flags “are used to alert Veterans Health Administration medical staff and employees of patients whose behavior and characteristics may pose a threat either to their safety, the safety of other patients, or compromise the delivery of quality health care.”

What a crock. It’s precisely because so many vets receive inferior care from the feds that they have been forced to raise their voices.

Have we all forgotten the 40 veterans who perished at the Phoenix, Arizona, VA, which relegated patients to a bureaucratic black hole through secret waiting lists?

Among examples of patients’ behavior referred to the red-flaggers in the VA’s “Disruptive Behavior Committees” (Orwell couldn’t have cooked up a better name): venting “frustration about VA services and/or wait times, threatening lawsuits or to have people fired, and frequent unwarranted visits to the emergency department or telephone calls to facility staff.”

Disabled Air Force veteran and veterans advocate/attorney Benjamin Krause has exposed the Soviet-style targeting of veterans flagged for exercising their First Amendment rights or threatening to sue the VA over neglectful care or for simply being too “expensive.” He calls it “straight out of a totalitarian regime.”

In 2013, the VA inspector general concluded that the bureaucracy “does not have a comprehensive definition of what constitutes disruptive behavior.”

In January 2018, a VA Office of Inspector General report found that large numbers of flagged veterans were being left in the dark about being placed on dangerous patient lists—with no recourse to remove phony flags or appeal in any meaningful way.

Despite rules requiring the Disruptive Behavior Committee to notify flagged patients of their status and informing them of their right to amend their reports, the Office of Inspector General found no evidence in 49% of electronic health records that the panels had provided such notice and disclosure.

In 25% of medical records reviewed, the Office of Inspector General “found no evidence that patients were informed they had the right to request to amend or appeal” special orders restricting care of flagged patients.

There are undoubtedly patients in the system who may pose real threats. But the “problem with the process is that it is secret,” Krause explains at DisabledVeterans.org.

The review process is done in secret and the veteran will not know who sat on the committee or what the evidence presented was prior to the decision. Only after the decision is made are veterans informed of the outcome and given a chance to appeal the vague allegations. That seems like a due process violation if I have ever seen one.

Army vet David Scott Strain of Virginia told me recently that he was a flagged veteran. “My grave sin?” says Strain. “I tried to report the abuse of a deaf, infirm, World War II veteran. He was approximately 95 years of age. A male nurse stood behind his waiting room chair and shouted down at the top of his head, ‘Hello! Hello! Hello! If you can hear me, you can come in now!'”

Strain describes how the elderly vet “could not hear this, and the nurse went through three iterations, while giggling and looking at the wait room personnel as if we were a comedy club audience. It was one of the sickest displays I’ve ever seen.”

For blowing the whistle on VA elder abuse, Strain says, he was banned from all satellite clinics and only granted access to one main facility.

VA flaggers can “manufacture tone, the content of what you’re saying, and will even ascribe actions to you that you did not perform,” Strain warns.

“The potential red flag laws concern me deeply,” Strain told me. “Why any citizen would think it wise to let the government screw such handles to our backs, to threaten and wag us any which way, is beyond my understanding. However, I fully understand why politicians want it.”

Complain too much. Criticize the powers be. Ask too many questions. Boom! You’re a threat.

If such tyranny is allowed among those who volunteered to protect and serve our country in the name of safety, imagine how it will be implemented among the law-abiding, gun-owning general populace.



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 August, 2019

White Supremacists are LEFTISTS

That's true historically and it's true right now

Leftists and the media (but I repeat myself) always assume that white supremacists belong on the conservative side of the aisle --  because white supremacism seems a lot like patriotism and it is undoubted that conservatives are the patriots.  Leftists tend to despise the society they live in.

But there is in fact a great gulf between thinking well of your own country and despising other people and countries.  The despising is the key. Leftists are the despisers and the haters.  They despise everyone -- including people different from themselves.

History makes the matter crystal clear.  The two great aggressive nationalists of the 20th century were Hitler and Mussolini.  Both regarded themselves as entitled to invade and conquer "lesser" races and nations.  But Mussolini was a prominent Marxist and Hitler named his political party as: The National Socialist German Worker's party, the Nazi party for short.  There is absolutely no doubt that the two were well and truly on the Left of their day. Many Leftists in their era were antisemitic and believers in eugenics -- FDR for one.  Hitler just applied German thoroughness to such ideas.  It's just Soviet disinformation that Hitler and Mussolini were "Right wing"

And nothing much has changed.  Just about all the mass shooters over the last few decades were Leftists.  The moment news of such shooters came out, the media labelled them all as conservative or "right wing" and blamed the GOP for their ravages.  In recent times you would think it was Donald Trump who pulled the trigger. 

But, after people had time to look into it, it almost always emerged that the shooter had Leftist sympathies and ideas.  Not all shooters had supremacist ideas but most seemed to have ideas  not far from that.  They certainly had big egos.

Conservatives are not supremacists.  It is Leftists who want to rule everybody.  Conservatives just want to get on with their own lives in peace.  It is only to resist the authoritarianism of the Left that conservatives get into politics.  It's just necessary self-protection.

I studied this matter for many years during my academic research career and I always found the same thing:  There was no correlation between patriotism and negative views about racial and other outgroups.  Being patriotic didn't make you a racist or any other "ist". See here and here and here and here


Dayton shooter was armed counter-protester at KKK rally earlier this year: report

Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts was reportedly spotted carrying a gun and protesting at a Ku Klux Klan rally earlier this year.

The 24-year-old was among the 500 to 600 counter-protesters who attended the May 25 event in opposition of the KKK, according to the Dayton Daily News.

He spoke briefly with a reporter — wielding a semi-automatic, AR-style gun similar to the one he used in this past weekend’s shooting, the newspaper says.

Betts was wearing sunglasses and a bandanna at the time, which reportedly covered his face. There were only nine KKK members in attendance for the rally.

Betts, a registered Democrat who was said to have been pro-gun control, slaughtered nine people this past weekend and wounded dozens more outside a string of bars in Dayton. He was shot and killed by police.



Donald Trump's no racist, as past acts and presidential record prove

by Andrew Stein

Donald Trump is no racist. I have known him since 1973 and have never seen any indication or any form of racism. In fact, quite the contrary.

When I was Manhattan Borough president and president of the New York City Council, I asked him numerous times to help black or Hispanic groups, and he always came through, many times without publicity. When a hurricane ravished Puerto Rico in the mid 1980s, I asked many big companies to give various forms of assistance — but the problem was how to get all of this aid down to Puerto Rico. I called Donald Trump, and he provided us with a 727 jet to take all of the donated material down to the island, and he didn’t ask for any publicity for that generous act.

My friend, Rev. Floyd Flake, the minister of the largest black church in Queens, asked for some help for his senior center. Again, I called Donald Trump and he wrote a big check.

One day I met an African American woman on the street with her two adorable young kids. She was homeless, and I gave her some money — and then asked Donald to get her into some low-income housing in Queens. He came through, and did so without any fanfare.

When President Trump recently attacked Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), he was not doing so because Rep. Cummings is black but because the president is a counter-puncher. And he is right that Cummings has been a congressman for 22 years and that Baltimore, part of which is in his congressional district, is a mess. The city has gotten worse during his tenure: more poverty, more drugs and more crime.

The president is honest and doesn’t parse his words, like most politicians, and that drives the media crazy. But his honesty is refreshing, and he is usually right, if not always diplomatic.

African American and Hispanic unemployment under his presidency is the lowest it has been in 60 years. The president pushed through criminal justice reform and has created empowerment zones that help economically distressed communities — and their poorer residents — through tax incentives and grants. In short, he has done more for minorities in three years than President Obama did in eight, and he deserves credit instead of rebuke.

I truly do not believe that Barack Obama is a racist — but some of his actions during his presidency could make people wonder.

Obama listened to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s vile sermons every Sunday for years; Rev. Wright frequently and viciously attacked whites, Jews and America itself.

Barack Obama had many meetings in Chicago with Rev. Louis Farrakhan and said many nice things about the Nation of Islam leader. He attended many of Farrakhan’s rallies, where Farrakhan set a new low for anti-Semitic attacks, calling Jews a “gutter religion” and white people “devils.”

In addition, President Obama had Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the country’s highest-profile race-baiters, as a guest in the White House dozens of times.

In order to protect President Obama, the media largely ignored these and many other questionable things — but these things happened, and they are far worse than anything President Trump has done.

The point is that President Obama was not a racist but he did things that could be construed as racially divisive — and yet, he was never widely criticized for it, nor was he publicly condemned as a racist. President Trump is not a racist, either — and yet, he is being condemned as one by his critics on the left, and by much of the mainstream media.

Race should not play a part in our politics. For too long, it has been a scar on our country. We should focus instead on the issues, and on what’s going to help make America strong for everyone.



Leftism is Destructive to Mental Health


I almost didn’t write a commentary at all this week out of respect for the dead and injured in two mass shootings within 13 hours in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

As a formerly practicing mental health professional, (MSW, Columbia University) I would never diagnose someone without a personal interview and at the very least, a thorough exploration of his or her family history.  We have come to expect rampant speculation regarding the mental status of mass murderers as well as the ugly politicization that comes almost immediately after such horrific events.

Plenty of books have been written about what these monsters have in common.  Much as we would like to lump them together, they are still individuals with their own history, motivation, and diagnosis. The tendency to make broad generalizations and collectivist conclusions is part of the problem. This makes it easier to place the blame on everyone else but the killer himself.

Collectivism is endemic to the poisonous ideology of Leftism (read: Socialism.) It robs people of their individual identity and therefore, personal accountability–particularly in those who are already psychologically vulnerable.

The tenets of socialism encourage:

Victimhood (Isn’t that the root of paranoia?)

Poor impulse control coupled with continuous rage and popular culture that is progressively more tolerant of criminality when perpetrated by members of certain protected groups.

Depersonalization as a result of viewing oneself solely in collectivist terms.

Subjugation and eventual eradication of individualism and free will, leading to a sense of fatalism, helplessness, hopelessness and clinical depression.

Emotional fragility and regression into a childlike state.

Eradication of boundaries, structure and accountability

Class envy, a sense of entitlement, resulting in increased government dependency.

An inability to tolerate conflict and even differences of opinion

Black and white thinking (as to race and much more) which lumps people into groups of “all-good,” or “all-bad.” This is typical of the older diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

Which of these is not familiar as a basic tenet of socialism?

One more point before I take off my clinician hat: When an individual has had a grievous loss, he is often discouraged from making big decisions or drastic changes in his life. Yet, that is just when political opportunists want us to make drastic changes in our policies and laws.

Laws which disarm victims in an ever more dangerous environment, seem to be exactly what Democrats are after. Republicans have shown themselves willing to roll over to avoid the political heat of the moment.  Consequently, everyday citizens are once again blamed and punished for the criminal behavior of a few.  That collectivist ideology has been pushed by the Left for decades.

How I wish I could tell President Trump to put on the brakes in supporting policies in the heat of grief and emotion. It remains to be seen whether his recent speech will yield fundamental policy changes but I for one, hope not. Not only do sweeping, federal laws do little to address the complex issues of this problem but the only people who stand to lose are law-abiding citizens.



Baltimore Sun Attacks Trump Supporter Who Organized Massive City Clean Up

Last week, Townhall covered MAGA supporter Scott Presler's call to action in Baltimore by inviting "Americans to help Americans" and go clean up neighborhoods in Charm City. Presler at first kept secret when the event would occur for fear of retaliation from the far-left like Antifa. But, on Saturday, Presler and 100 other citizens from all over the country traveled to West Baltimore for the massive trash clean up. By all measures, it was hugely successful. However, on Monday, the Baltimore Sun's editorial board ran an op-ed, trashing Presler and his group saying they only did the event to embarrass Baltimore and its residents.

The op-ed was snarkily titled, "We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?"

"The effort was organized by pro-Trump activist Scott Presler. He claimed the event was not political. Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a 'rodent infested mess,'" the editors wrote. "But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said."

"Call us skeptical," the paper remarked before going off on a litany of excuses, complaints, and verbal attacks as to why it was so wrong for out of towners to clean up the city.

"Look, we appreciate anyone who is willing to roll up their sleeves to help Baltimore. More than 170 people came from all over the country and cleaned up nearly 12 tons of trash, according to Mr. Presler’s Twitter feed." the paper claimed.

"But if this was all about 'Americans helping Americans,' why all the videos of Baltimore residents thanking Mr. Trump for bringing attention to the issue? We happen to know that not everybody in West Baltimore feels that way. And in the same posts as the videos, why the frequent reminders that this is in act Mr. Cummings’ district?," the editors pondered.

For the writers at the Baltimore Sun, Presler's visit simply "reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well."

"The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?"

One would point out to the editorial board that this isn't just a "tired image" but a reality of the fact that Democratic policies and politicians have failed.

But as for why the trash hasn't been cleaned up before, the editorial board blamed it on death threats from criminals, saying,  "Does Mr. Presler know that drug dealers use trash to hide their product and have been known to threaten people who try to clean it up? The solutions are just not that simple."  The paper also blamed people from out of town who dump trash in the city illegally.

The writers did begrudgingly admit, "The silver lining in all of this is that the residents of West Baltimore did get a much needed cleaning up. That is something that they deserve." But they said that what they really need is leadership, money, and programs from the federal government.

They also hinted that they would do nothing to keep the neighborhood clean, saying, "In the meantime, we’ll see how clean the neighborhood still is when he returns in September."



Trump Goes After O'Rourke: Beto Is 'a Phony Name to Indicate Hispanic Heritage'

After the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Democratic presidential candidate -- and failed senatorial candidate -- Beto O'Rourke opened the attack on President Trump, basically blaming him for this terrible tragedy. The shooter in El Paso was a rightwing extremist. According to O'Rourke, President Trump encourages white supremacists and may even be one of them. And so, he is responsible for this mass murder.

Although the president seemed to be unwilling to return the favor shortly after the shooting, he has clearly changed his mind now that O'Rourke's attacks continue every day (if not every hour). Taking to Twitter, Trump answered O'Rourke's attacks by going after him for his "phony name" and his horrible polling results thus far:

 Beto (phony name to indicate Hispanic heritage) O’Rourke, who is embarrassed by my last visit to the Great State of Texas, where I trounced him, and is now even more embarrassed by polling at 1% in the Democrat Primary, should respect the victims & law enforcement - & be quiet!

The opportunism and sheer evil of Democrats is quite a sight to behold. Nobody in their right minds truly believes that Trump "inspired" this attack, just like nobody believes that Elizabeth Warren inspired the equally horrific mass murder in Dayton, Ohio, which was -- after all -- carried out by a radical leftist. But do we see and hear any conservative pointing a blaming finger at her, arguing that this act of domestic terrorism was caused by her political views?

Of course not. Why? Because we on the right have a sense of decency and honor. There are some things we would never use against our opponents.

Sadly, progressives have no such qualms. To them, politics is war. And, as we all know, in love and war all is fair. This includes trampling the dead bodies of innocent victims of mass shootings.



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 August, 2019

As taxation collection becomes more efficient, the little guy gets hit hardest

Modern “big data” systems are allowing tax authorities to gain full knowledge of sales transactions in their jurisdiction, thus pushing VAT tax collection rates close to 100% on small businessmen and the middle class in general. Meanwhile, Western income tax systems collect steadily less tax from large corporations and the very rich, who use loopholes and tax havens to minimize their tax liability. We have seen this type of tax system before – in the French ancien regime, where the nobility benefited from tax exemptions and the poor paid through the nose. That didn’t end well, and nor will this.

The true nature of the new surveillance and collection techniques is revealed when we realize, according to the Financial Times, that Russia is the global leader in this area. With the new partly-completed Russian system, if you confess you had a coffee at the hotel last night, the system can recognize it from the hotel’s records as one of three cappuccinos, a latte and an American.

The FT’s enthusiasm for this new technology, and its ability to increase tax yields both in Russia and worldwide, is somewhat chilling, it must be said – it’s a little like admiring the professionalism of the new torture techniques being developed by the KGB. It should be noted that the FT freely admits that Russia will never get the full whack of tax out of its oligarchs but hopes to make up the loss by squeezing every last pip out of the modest oranges of small traders and the middle class.

Technologically, I can understand how Big Data techniques enable the world’s tax authorities to improve compliance with VAT, which is already a difficult system to evade except for the very smallest traders. Employees in large companies will rejoice that their neighbor the dodgy plumber can no longer get away with tax evasion; he will be forced to charge VAT [sales tax] on all his sales. Of course, the big-company employee will be less happy when he discovers that the effective cost of plumbing services has risen by 20-25%, as they are no longer available “off the books.”

This increased efficiency of collection through Big Data is less completely shared by income tax systems. Whereas transactions involving large domestic companies are already fully covered, transactions involving foreign parties will only be covered when there is complete seamless cooperation between the tax authorities of the world and that, one hopes is a long way away and, with rising protectionism, becoming more distant. For the poor and the middle class, the income tax system can no doubt be made almost as leak-proof as the VAT system; for the very rich, who can afford to route transactions through dummy companies and tax havens, the coverage is inevitably far lower, and will continue so.

There is a huge injustice in a system where VAT is collected more efficiently than income tax. VAT is an inherently regressive tax; it collects the same percentage from all transactions and hence bears more heavily on the poor, for whom the necessities of life form a substantial part of their expenses. In some systems, such as the United Kingdom, food is exempted from VAT to prevent it falling so heavily on the poor. However, we are informed by the FT that this makes the “Big Data” analysis inefficient; it is hence preferable to include all items in VAT and then make larger welfare payments to the very poor. Naturally this will increase the state’s take, while employing an army of extra bureaucrats and making the economy still more sluggish through public-sector bloat.

Income tax, on the other hand, is generally not collected on the smallest incomes, and is then graduated to higher rates on higher incomes. (The Russian system, with a flat tax at 13%, draconian new methods of collecting VAT and huge unofficial exemptions for Mr. Putin’s most special friends, is truly spectacular in its level of regressiveness.) Hence even if the income tax system were fair and collected the same percentage of tax due from the very rich as from the poor, a tax system which was more effective in collecting VAT than income tax would still be inequitable. To Americans, used to sales taxes of 8% or so at most, this unfairness may not seem extreme, but it must be remembered that EU countries generally levy VAT at rates above 20%, and have discovered that VAT is the simplest tax to increase every time the finance ministry does its sums wrong.

There is an additional problem with a tax system that levies VAT more effectively than income tax, and that is the host of exemptions and dodges in the income tax system available to those with very high incomes. With good accountants, they can structure their earnings to be routed through tax havens. More disgracefully, there are exemptions in the domestic tax code that can be utilized by the very rich but not by those with ordinary incomes.

The most egregious of these is the wide range of exemptions available for charitable contributions. While ordinary people who perhaps tithe to their church incur a real cost to be offset against the tax benefit, the very rich can structure foundations and events in such a way as to benefit personally from the contribution made, as well as deducting it from tax. The Clinton Foundation, for example, appears to have provided a mechanism to route charitable contributions to the Clintons from people who could benefit in some other way from the Clintons’ political connections and offices. It is notable that the Clinton Foundation’s revenues fell to $38 million (against $53 million of expenses) in 2017, compared with $249 million in 2009, Ms. Clinton’s first year as Secretary of State.

We have seen before a system in which all the taxes were paid by the middle classes and the proletariat, while the aristocracy got off scot free – it was the pre-1789 French ancien regime. Under that system, the population was divided into three “estates” – clergy, nobles and commoners. The nobles were exempt from most taxes, the clergy were not only tax-exempt but got to levy tithes themselves, and the commoners bore the vast majority of the state’s tax burden. Add a crazy proto-Keynesian funny-money banking scheme that effectively bankrupted the emerging mercantile class in 1720, and you have an almost perfect recipe for economic and social collapse, which came in 1789.

There were many reasons for the French Revolution (the work of a noisy and destructive intellectual class for half a century – the “trahison des clerques” — was a major contributor) but the ancien regime’s irrational, unfair and hopelessly inefficient tax system was perhaps most to blame.

Needless to say, the combination of “funny money,” which will bankrupt the middle classes through making their savings and pensions worthless, and an irrational and unfair tax system brings us altogether too close for comfort to the pathology of the French ancien regime. The main difference is that while the court of Louis XV was a global all-time high point of art, music, architecture and decoration, the current era is nothing of the kind. “Louis Quinze without the furniture” is how our present era will be remembered by history.

The solution is twofold. First, we must fight against the power of computer systems to know every detail of our lives. Just as we are increasingly resenting Google, Microsoft and Facebook knowing our every movement, so we should resist the ubiquitous prying of the taxman. The fact that the new system is pioneered by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, not a bastion of civil liberties, is sufficient indication that it needs to be fought, not welcomed as the FT would apparently do.

Second, we must remove the current Bourbon-friendly financial system, which by elevating asset prices to the stratosphere while preventing the productivity growth that benefits the wages of ordinary people, is turning the world’s big cities into a noisier version of the Petit Trianon. The advent of Donald Trump and the 2016 Brexit vote ought to be sufficient indication to the global elite that we are onto their self-enriching ways. They may dislike populism, but as France demonstrated, thwarted populists will eventually reach for the guillotine.



Why Welfare Hasn’t Cured Poverty

When President Lyndon Johnson launched his War on Poverty in the 1960s, he pledged to eliminate poverty in America. More than five decades, several welfare programs, and $25 trillion later, the welfare system has utterly failed the poor. The poverty rate remains mostly unchanged, and tens of millions of Americans are dependent on government assistance.

Currently, the United States spends about a trillion dollars a year on 80 different federal, state, and local welfare programs.

About 40 million Americans are considered poor. If we divided that $1 trillion among those 40 million people, we could give each person approximately $25,000 a year, or $100,000 a year for a family of four. We’re clearly spending a lot of money, so why have we not ended poverty?

Our welfare system discourages work. It discourages families from staying together. And it encourages dependence on government. In other words, welfare keeps the poor poor. In many cases, welfare has harmed the very people it was supposed to help, especially children.

Why has this happened?

As welfare benefits grew over the years, they increasingly served as a substitute for a working parent. As the taxpayer became the family breadwinner, that encouraged many men to stop upholding their responsibilities, leaving more and more women as heads of single-parent households.

On the other side of the coin, single mothers were discouraged from marrying the fathers of their children because that reduced their benefits.

Sadly, the cycle continues today as many children who grow up on welfare eventually follow in their parents’ footsteps when they have families of their own. So, what do we do?

First, we have to understand that the problem with the current system is that it discourages work. Work is the fastest and most effective way to get out of poverty and become prosperous.

Welfare programs should be designed to offer temporary help while encouraging able-bodied recipients to find work and become self-reliant.

In states that have implemented time limits and welfare-to-work requirements, recipients have received job training, found jobs, and increased their incomes dramatically. They’ve also dropped off the welfare rolls.

Second, we must continue to create the jobs that help recipients transition to work. As we’ve seen in just the past few years, cutting taxes on individuals and businesses and cutting regulations that hinder business growth are the keys to massive new job creation, high levels of employment, and increased wages for workers.

Most Americans want a social safety net that helps those who can’t help themselves and they want to help the poor find meaningful work.

We’ve learned through decades of experience that throwing more money at poverty doesn’t end it. Temporary assistance, jobs training, growing the economy, and promoting self-sufficiency do.

As we wage the war against poverty for the next generation, let’s fight smarter.



World Bank Study Finds That Deregulation Reduces Extreme Poverty
Regardless of where you might live around the world, if you live on less than $2 a day, you would be considered to be living in extreme poverty.

According to the World Bank, in 2015 about 736 million people around the world, or just under 10 percent of the world’s population, had incomes that put them below this international poverty line. Believe it or not, that is extraordinarily good news because poverty rates around the world have fallen dramatically since 1981 when 42 percent of the world’s population lived on an inflation-adjusted $1.90 or less per day.

World Bank economists studying a portion of this decline in the nine years from 2005 through 2013, when the extreme poverty rate was cut nearly in half from 21 percent to 11 percent, have discovered that much of this reduction in global poverty came about because of deregulation, as governments around the world have been reducing the regulatory burdens they impose on their citizens.

Using panel data for 189 economies from 2005 to 2013, this paper shows that business-friendly regulations are correlated with the poverty headcount at the country level. This association is significant using the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators on getting credit and contract enforcement. The findings suggest that the conduit for poverty reduction is business creation, as a source of new jobs and a manifestation of thriving entrepreneurship.

Regulations can restrict the ability of individuals to find jobs or start businesses because politicians and bureaucrats often write them to benefit the interests of large, established interests, who would rather not have to compete for business in a free market.

This crony socialism benefits these special interests in two ways. First, by using the power of government to impose disproportionately large costs upon their smaller, less politically connected competition, they can keep their smaller competitors from being able to effectively challenge their interests.

Second, in the reduced competition environment that government regulation fosters, they can charge higher prices than they otherwise could, where they only need to provide the politicians and bureaucrats who write the rules a small cut of the action so they can fund their political campaigns to stay in power. Never mind the effect that has on the cost of living in the regimes where the regulations hold sway or the trust that people have in their political and economic institutions.

Historically in much of the world, the yoke of regulatory burden has contributed to the impoverishment of billions. Reducing that burden by lifting the heavy hand of government regulation has successfully diminished extreme poverty around the world in recent decades. It’s a lesson that everyone should learn.



Why Refusing To Fund Medicaid Expansion Is A Huge Win For Taxpayers And The Needy

With the recent announcement that it will not fund partial Medicaid expansions under Obamacare, the Trump administration delivered a big win for the truly needy, able-bodied adults, and taxpayers alike.

Predictably, some Democrats are attacking the move, saying it will destroy lives and the economy. But these are the same lies Democrats have voiced for years every time a lawmaker proposes a reform that will deliver the change the Medicaid program desperately needs. These lies aren’t just untrue — they ignore every piece of relevant research.

The reality is that Medicaid expansion, whether full or partial expansion, is a bad policy move. It threatens resources for the truly needy, pushes hundreds of thousands of able-bodied adults into welfare, and stretches state budgets to their breaking points.

States have consistently underestimated expansion costs and enrollment, enrolling more than twice as many able-bodied adults than predicted and costing taxpayers 76 percent more per enrollee than promised. Medicaid expansion siphons resources away from the people Medicaid was designed to serve — pregnant women, poor children, and those with disabilities, among others — and gives them to adults who are capable of working. It pushes people off private insurance and gives them taxpayer-funded government benefits instead.

And let’s be clear: Packaging it in a shiny new box and calling it “partial expansion” is nothing more than wishful thinking. Medicaid expansion in any form is a massive increase of the welfare state.

That’s why the Trump administration’s announcement that it will not offer Obamacare funding for partial expansions is so important. This will help deter states from wading into the waters of a bad policy that would have immediate negative effects.

States that have tried “creative” ways to expand Medicaid, including Arkansas, Iowa, and New Hampshire, have seen costs skyrocket. In many cases, these “private options” have resulted in cost overruns larger than traditional Medicaid expansion.

Nationally, Medicaid expansion has resulted in cost overruns of more than 157 percent. We’re not talking about a few extra hundred dollars. We’re talking about billions of dollars of debt that means less money for education, public safety, and roads.

Other states have wandered down the road of Medicaid expansion, expecting they could turn around at any moment, only to find out it’s a one-way street. With the real legal likelihood that reversing expansion isn’t possible, Medicaid expansion has become a real-life nightmare version of “Hotel California.”

Still, some continue to ignore these facts and advocate for expansion. Their claims that Medicaid expansion is necessary to help the truly needy couldn’t be a more blatant lie. Medicaid already covers the truly needy. In some states, Medicaid already covers some able-bodied adults, as well. But most able-bodied adults in Medicaid expansion do not work. To be clear, expanding Medicaid does not benefit the truly needy; it threatens the resources they depend on.

The Trump administration’s announcement is a clear signal to states that now is not the time to be expanding welfare. It follows the administration’s continued support for commonsense Medicaid work requirements, which would deliver positive change to the Medicaid program, and efforts to bolster the economy and lower the cost of health care.

Especially with record-low unemployment and the best economy in decades, it’s a good reminder that the best health care doesn’t come from Medicaid. It comes from a job.

The administration deserves praise from taxpayers on both sides of the aisle, who can breathe a sigh of relief that they’ll avoid the boondoggle that is Medicaid expansion. This is a big win for the truly needy, whom Democrats claim they want to help.



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)


7 August, 2019



With their usual kneejerk reactions, the media were quick to blame the largely mythical white supremacists, people who don't even exist as any sort of identifiable group, as being the shooters.  But as usual, both shooters were in fact Leftists.  And a little digging soon revealed that truth.  But you had to get in quickly as Leftists rapidly changed the original sources to conceal the truth. Leftists lie as easily as they breathe

Connor Betts, the Dayton, Ohio mass shooter, was a self-described “leftist,” who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

Betts’ Twitter profile read, “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” One tweet on his page read, “Off to Midnight Mass. At least the songs are good. #athiestsonchristmas.” The page handle? I am the spookster. On one selfie, he included the hashtags, “#selfie4satan #HailSatan @SatanTweeting.” On the date of Republican Sen. John McCain’s death, he wrote, “F*ck John McCain.” He also liked tweets referencing the El Paso mass shooting in the hours before Dayton. The Twitter page contains multiple selfies of Betts.

On Nov. 2, 2018, he wrote: “Vote blue for gods sake.”

Twitter has now suspended the Twitter page, removing it. It was up for several hours after the mass shooting.

SOURCEBreitbart has more


MyLife is an American information brokerage founded in 2002 as Reunion.com. MyLife gathers personal information through public records and other sources to automatically generate a “MyLife Public Page” for each person, described by MyLife as a “complete Wikipedia-like biography on every American.”

At 2:50 PM leftists changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Screenshot of the original:

President Trump allowed himself to be bullied by the media into condemning white supremcists but he shouldn't have bothered. He should have attributed the shootings to the seething anger that underlies Leftism. History has shown us that murder does not trouble Leftists at all -- as we see from the mass murders they carry out when they get untrammeled power -- in Russia, China etc


How Justin Trudeau lost his rock star shine

Justin Trudeau did little wrong in his supporters eyes during his first three years as Canada’s prime minister. In the fourth, his popularity has dropped so far his party may lose its majority in October elections.

A secretly taped call is one reason why. Just before Christmas, Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould turned on her iPhone voice recorder for a call with the country’s top bureaucrat, Michael Wernick. Mr. Trudeau and senior officials had already pressed her and her chief aide 20 times in calls, messages and in person to let a major Canadian firm avoid a criminal trial on bribery and fraud charges. She had resisted.

On the phone, Mr. Wernick said the company, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., was considering selling itself or moving abroad, and Mr. Trudeau believed it should be given the chance to negotiate an out-of-court settlement.

Mr. Wernick, unaware of the recording, said: “I think he is going to find a way to get it done.” Ms. Wilson-Raybould didn’t relent: “This is going to look like nothing but political interference by the prime minister, by you, by everybody else that has been involved in this.”

That’s exactly how it looked to many Canadian voters when the recording surfaced after parliamentary hearings in February and March exposed details of the Trudeau government’s moves to advocate for the engineering-and-construction firm. Testimony in the hearings captivated the public and turned Ms. Wilson-Raybould into one of the most recognizable Canadian politicians outside Mr. Trudeau.

Now, several polls show Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals trailing the rival Conservative Party or in a statistical tie, after beginning 2019 with a comfortable lead. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians disapprove of the job he is doing, according to polls released in mid-July by Ipsos Public Affairs and Angus Reid Institute. They cite the SNC-Lavalin matter as a primary reason.

The Canadian leader, who had a rock-star following among progressives for championing clean governance -- and a promise to let women and ministers have more governing say -- had sided with a scandal-plagued company and overruled his attorney general, eventually moving her to a lower-profile position.

Based on current data, some pollsters say, the best Mr. Trudeau can expect from the election is a minority government needing another party’s support to govern. “If the election becomes a referendum on Justin Trudeau,” says Nik Nanos, head of Ottawa-based Nanos Research, “the Liberals may lose.”

A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister’s Office referred to Mr. Trudeau’s remarks in a March press conference that he regretted the erosion of trust between his office and Ms. Wilson-Raybould and has “learned a lot about how we can do better.” SNC-Lavalin, which has commented on some specifics of the case in past months, declined to answer queries last month.

Mr. Trudeau, his senior advisers and other government representatives have publicly said their discussions with Ms. Wilson-Raybould were to ensure she considered all legal options, with livelihoods of 9,000 SNC-Lavalin employees in Canada at stake.

“It is our job as parliamentarians to defend the interests of the communities we were elected to represent,” Mr. Trudeau said in the March press conference. “I stressed the importance of protecting Canadian jobs and reiterated that this issue was one of significant national importance.”

Ms. Wilson-Raybould says she remains puzzled by the pressure Mr. Trudeau’s office placed on her. “I know that there was a huge lobbying effort by that company,” she says. “But the motivations for the prime minister or all of those people that engaged with me in the way that they did? You’d have to ask them.”

Mr. Wernick declined to comment. In the parliamentary hearings, he said his phone call and other communications with Ms. Wilson-Raybould “were entirely appropriate, lawful, legal.”

SNC-Lavalin is based in Montreal, a portion of which Mr. Trudeau represents in the legislature. Aides in his office met 23 times with its representatives during a roughly three-year period between the Liberal government’s election in late 2015 and late 2018, lobbying records show.

That was nearly five times as many meetings SNC-Lavalin secured over the prior three years with aides to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Compared with the Liberals, the company got little traction from the Harper administration, say people familiar with the firm and former members of the Harper government.

Members of Mr. Trudeau’s administration had personal ties with the company, a reminder of the tight circles that can make up the top levels of business and politics in Canada. SNC-Lavalin Chairman Kevin Lynch was Mr. Wernick’s boss between 2006 and 2009, when Mr. Lynch was Canada’s chief bureaucrat and Mr. Wernick was a top public servant. SNC-Lavalin said Mr. Lynch declined to be interviewed.

Fraud allegations: With about 10 billion Canadian dollars ($7.5 billion) in 2018 sales, SNC-Lavalin employs 50,000 world-wide. It is working on a nuclear-power plant in Britain, Nevada freeways and Riyadh’s subway.

In February 2015, Canadian police charged that SNC-Lavalin bribed Libyan officials and defrauded Libyan organizations between 2001 and 2011. SNC-Lavalin denied wrongdoing and said the acts in question were carried out by two employees without the company’s knowledge. A former SNC-Lavalin vice president pleaded guilty in Swiss court in 2014 to corruption-related charges linked to his activity in Libya.

Mr. Trudeau’s dust-up was over whether the company should face trial on the Libya charges. A criminal conviction could trigger a ban on SNC-Lavalin’s bidding on government contracts at home and abroad.

About a week after Mr. Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister, in November 2015, SNC-Lavalin’s CEO, Mr. Bruce, argued at a Montreal luncheon for a system letting companies reach out-of-court settlements without guilty pleas. Such mechanisms in the U.S. and U.K. let prosecutors suspend criminal charges in exchange for financial penalties, pledges to strengthen compliance and other measures.

Over the following years, the company lobbied Mr. Trudeau’s office, cabinet ministers and their aides, senior bureaucrats and opposition lawmakers, lobbying records show.

‘Politically interfering?’ About two weeks after prosecutors told SNC-Lavalin the trial would proceed, Ms. Wilson-Raybould met with Messrs. Trudeau and Wernick, according to parliamentary hearings. The meeting’s agenda was aboriginal policy, but the conversation swiftly turned to SNC-Lavalin.

Mr. Trudeau asked whether a solution could be found, given the jobs at stake, Ms. Wilson-Raybould testified, saying Mr. Wernick warned SNC-Lavalin would likely move its headquarters to London if an out-of-court settlement wasn’t an option.

An SNC-Lavalin spokesman in March said the company provided documents to prosecutors indicating a headquarters move was a worst-case scenario.

Mr. Trudeau reminded Ms. Wilson-Raybould he was an elected official from SNC-Lavalin’s home base, she testified, saying she responded: “Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision?” Mr. Trudeau backed off, she said. He has publicly confirmed the thrust of her account.

Through the fall, officials in Mr. Trudeau’s office pressed Ms. Wilson-Raybould and her chief aide to change course, according to Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s testimony. On Dec. 19, she and Mr. Wernick spoke in the recorded call. She told him she realized her refusal would have consequences.

“I knew that this situation was coming to a head,” says Ms. Wilson-Raybould, explaining her recording. “This was an extraordinary situation that required me to ensure that I protected myself.”

Three weeks later, while Ms. Wilson-Raybould was vacationing in Bali, Mr. Trudeau told her she would be demoted to heading veteran’s affairs, she said in testimony.

On Feb. 7, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported allegations Ms. Wilson-Raybould had faced pressure to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case before her demotion, sparking a media flurry and criticism from opposition lawmakers. Mr. Trudeau initially said the allegations were false. Ms. Wilson-Raybould quit her post heading veterans affairs five days later.

At the urging of the opposition parties, members of Canada’s parliamentary justice committee agreed Feb. 13 to hear testimony from certain witnesses about the allegations. Those hearings officially ended March 19 after the Liberal majority on the committee voted to cease calling witnesses and hear additional testimony, arguing Canadians possessed the information required. Ms. Wilson-Raybould submitted the recording as additional evidence.

In April, Mr. Trudeau expelled Ms. Wilson-Raybould from his party’s caucus, saying trust had been broken by the recorded phone call. Mr. Wernick in March announced his retirement from the civil service, citing fallout from the uproar.

A judge ruled on May 29 the case against SNC-Lavalin could head to trial. On June 11, the company said Mr. Bruce would retire immediately. In a LinkedIn note, he said his family had moved “and I was keen to join them.”

Ms. Wilson-Raybould is running for re-election, as an independent lawmaker.



Finally, a reasonable Democrat

Tulsi Gabbard is almost a female Donald Trump --which means that the Democrats won't nominate her -- luckily for Donald Trump

The liberal establishment is so scared of Tulsi Gabbard that they’ve convinced themselves she’s an unwitting stooge of Russia, being pushed by Putin’s evil online robots to destroy America from within.

It’s ceaseless. ‘Russia’s propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard’, declares NBC News. What all this nonsense reveals is that Russophobic conspiracy theories play a really important role for dazed Hillary-era centrists. They are now the main means through which these people try to make sense of a political world that no longer conforms to their tastes or their ideology. So just as they used the Russian-bots rubbish to explain why Trump beat Hillary, now they use it to explain why a candidate who, horror of horrors, is opposed to US military intervention overseas is proving popular with viewers and voters. Given that Gabbard’s worldview runs so counter to theirs – on war, on free speech, even on identity politics – the only way they can explain her presence in politics is as a result of foreign, fascistic meddling. That tells us far more about their own political arrogance than it does about Gabbard’s Russian fanbase.

In a sense, they’re right to be scared of Gabbard. She feels like a genuinely fresh force in Democratic politics. A former soldier who served in Iraq, and now the Democratic member of the House of Representatives for the 2nd congressional district of Hawaii, she represents a challenge both to the old militaristic US establishment and to the newer, more woke wing of the establishment.

She is best known for her principled opposition to American militarism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ‘We were all lied to’, she said of the Iraq War in the Detroit debate. She described the spun stories about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and connections with al-Qaeda as a ‘betrayal of the American people’. Even more stingingly, she argues that far from defeating al-Qaeda in the post-9/11 period, the US has ended up backing al-Qaeda-derived forces, especially through its support for so-called ‘rebels’ in Syria who, as Gabbard rightly says, are in fact dangerous Islamist groups.

She gets a huge amount of flak for her anti-war stance. Establishment figures denounce her as an ‘Assad apologist’. She met with Bashar al-Assad during a fact-finding mission to Syria in 2017, and ever since she’s been called a friend of dictators by pro-militarist elements in the US. Kamala Harris, reeling from Gabbard’s attack on her authoritarian record as attorney general of California during this week’s debate, raised the Assad thing when the debate was over. And yet, as Gabbard has explained numerous times, she met Assad only because she wants to gather as much information as possible, from as many sources as possible, on how destructive the West’s ‘regime-change wars’ can be. Establishment stiffs simply fear the prospect of a president who would refuse to wage war overseas. ‘Tulsi Gabbard’s Syria record shows why she can’t be president’, sniffs the Washington Post.

If Gabbard horrifies the old warmongering elites, she worries, at least, the new woke elites. It is notable that unlike other young female political representatives, most notably the so-called ‘squad’, Gabbard is rarely cheered for her background. She was the first-ever Hindu and Samoan America to enter Congress. She’s the first Hindu to run for president. But you’ll be waiting a long time for the kind of people who never stop going on about the fact Ilhan Omar was one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress to congratulate Gabbard on her identity achievements.

Not that Gabbard would want praise on that basis. Indeed, she’s a critic of both identity politics and political correctness, which is precisely why the woke are so iffy about her. She lists political correctness alongside overreaching government and Big Tech as one of the great threats to freedom of speech in 21st-century America. And she says of identity politics that it is ‘being used to kind of tear people apart’ when we should be ‘remembering and recognising what unites us’.

Her commitment to challenging PC and its strangling of open debate extends to criticising then president Barack Obama for his refusal to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’. We should never cower from using the word Islamic in relation to Islamic terrorism because ‘it is important that you identify your enemy, you know who they are, you call them by their name, and you understand the ideology that’s driving them’, she said. Such moral clarity is rare in a time when politicians lamely insist that Islamist terrorism ‘has nothing to do with Islam’, as if such clipped, self-censoring utterances are ever going to solve anything.

Gabbard also dislikes Big Tech’s enforcement of PC speech codes online. Social-media giants have become a ‘threat to our freedom of speech’, she says. Their drowning-out, or outright banning, of both radical right and radical left voices is a threat to open debate, she says, and even ‘controversial’ and ‘distasteful’ views should enjoy freedom of expression.

Her anti-authoritarianism was on full display in her showdown with Kamala Harris this week. She dragged Harris for her record as Californian attorney general from 2011 to 2017. During that time, thousands of people were incarcerated for marijuana possession (and yet Harris effectively admitted that she herself has smoked dope), numerous people were kept in prison for unnecessarily long periods of time, and Harris withheld evidence that would have freed someone from death row. Gabbard’s confrontation with Harris won her many new fans and also helped to puncture the shallow identitarian cheering of Harris that has been happening on Twitter and elsewhere for the past few weeks.

Gabbard is a candidate worth supporting. She wants the US to reject identitarian division and ‘reclaim patriotism’, she wants an end to American wars, she likes freedom of speech, and she’s not afraid to call Islamist terrorism by its name.



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 August, 2019

The problem with Jordan Peterson

Andrea Seaman says he’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is. But her criticisms are amazingly poorly informed.  Libel has never been protected free speech so when Peterson sues for libel, that tells you NOTHING about his attitude to free speech.

And his tracing of morality to evolution is a perfectly respectable idea in moral philosophy, indeed the increasingly dominant one.

And the fact that he has certain religious and spiritual ideas is again common among people with  scientific interests. That religion is incompatible with science is an old canard that religious people routinely reject.

So Andrea is using some very cheap shots indeed

Jordan Peterson, formerly an obscure professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has become famous throughout the West. His popularity began with his opposition to oppressive legislation in Canada, which he argues can force people to use certain gender pronouns, and it peaked with the now famous Channel 4 News interview and the release of his book 12 Rules for Life. Peterson presents himself as a defender of science and reason against so-called social-justice warriors and the postmodern left, people who refuse to accept biological realities and the principle of free speech.

His rhetoric is certainly very powerful. His refusal to bow down before a torrent of criticism, from those attempting unjustly to paint him as a right-wing extremist, is inspiring. Combine this with his passionate entreaties towards men to ‘grow the hell up’, take on responsibility for their own lives, and stand straight with their shoulders back, and you can sense why he receives massive support from many young white men who feel besieged by a left that routinely labels them racist, homophobic and pillars of ‘the patriarchy’. This is Peterson’s positive side. Who can disagree with telling men – steeped in our modern culture of snowflakery, low ambitions and self-pity – to man up?

But there are two major problems with Peterson. First, his commitment to free speech is not nearly as strong as he thinks it is. Although he fiercely opposes hate-speech legislation and campus censorship, he has also launched a $1.5million defamation suit against Wilfrid Laurier University because some of its staff compared him to Hitler. Lindsay Shepherd, then a graduate student and teaching assistant at the university, recorded the comments, which were made in a private meeting, and then released them online. Peterson says his lawsuit is intended to ‘convince careless university professors and administrators… to be much more circumspect in their actions and their words’. So watch what you say, professors and administrators of Canada, or Peterson will set the law upon you!

He has since filed a second defamation suit for $1.75million against Wilfrid Laurier University. He argues that the university’s statement about his first lawsuit was libellous: the university claims that his original suit was unjustified because the publicity achieved by the exposés of the unfounded allegations against Peterson boosted his reputation. It also points out that his motivation in pursuing the suit is authoritarian, as demonstrated by his warning that professors and administrators should be more ‘circumspect’ in their words, and that, if anything, Peterson should be suing Shepherd, given she is the one who released the recording.

Peterson also allegedly threatened to sue Kate Manne, an associate professor at Cornell University in the US, the online news platform Vox and Cornell University, all for an interview Manne gave to Vox. In it, she described Peterson’s ideas as misogynistic, among other unflattering epithets. Given Peterson earns millions through his YouTube channel and his book deals, it seems unlikely he is pursuing these cases for the money. Maybe he, who likes to lament the thin-skinned nature of our society, just can’t handle criticism?

The second problem with Peterson is the weakness of his commitment to science and reason. He may continuously talk of ‘the scientific literature’ and the realities of our biological condition, but his understanding of (if not commitment to) science is fundamentally flawed.

Take his discussion of rats. He can’t stop referring to something apparently discovered by the neuroscientist and psychobiologist Jaak Panksepp – that in rats’ brains there is a ‘play circuit’. So, if one little rat play-wrestles with a bigger rat, relays Peterson, then the little rat will stop playing with the big one if the latter does not allow the former to win a certain number of times. This, he claims, is evidence of how ethics emerges out of nature. Ethics, he proposes, is something natural in our brains, as in those of rats. Morality, he suggests, is a product of our neural activity, which tells us how to act.

Peterson here is blurring the line between science and morality. It may well be that the small rat stops playing if the big rat beats it every time. But that is simply how it is, not how it should be. The former is the domain of science, the latter is the domain of ethics. To see ethics in the mechanical workings of nature and unfree beasts is as unscientific as discovering the hand of God in His supposed creation. Morality is simply not an object of scientific investigation. Its existence and properties cannot be proven or disproven by empirical methods.

In this, Peterson reveals that he is mired in scientism, rather than science – and a particularly strange form of scientism at that. He mixes investigation of the material world with investigation of the non-material world, to the detriment of both. He has suggested that ancient depictions of entwined snakes foreshadowed the discovery of the DNA double helix. Here spiritual experiences apparently offer insight into the real nature of fundamental parts of our biological being, and vice versa. It’s almost Deepak Chopra.

For a man so fixated on being academically rigorous, fact-based and reasoned, Peterson talks a lot about spirits, gods, dreams and mysticism. He has suggested that psychedelics can bring on ‘transcendent’ and ‘metaphysical’ experiences. This type of superstition was the very thing the Age of Reason tried to extinguish. Peterson fatally combines science with mysticism. Often when he talks about science he becomes mystical, and then tries to back it up with deep evolutionary or scientific ‘truths’.

It is invigorating to see Peterson fill up stadiums with many people of my generation, capturing their positive spirit of rebellion against PC orthodoxy. But we should be sceptical next time he presents himself as a warrior for free speech, or cites ‘the scientific literature’, or some primeval spirit or other. He’s not nearly as pro-freedom and pro-reason as he thinks he is.



Nationalism, Rightly Understood, Is a Necessary Ingredient of Political Success
Nationalism has a bad name. For many Americans, mention of the word summons up visions of Hitler and Nazism. Some condemn nationalism as thoughtless bragging that your nation is better than others, which should be discouraged just as second graders are told not to brag, lest they hurt classmates’ feelings.

Historical and international perspective is supplied by one of the conveners of the well-attended National Conservatism conference in Washington last month, Israeli think tank head Yoram Hazony, in his 2018 book, “The Virtue of Nationalism.” Hazony argues that nationalism first emerged in the northwest corner of Europe, in Tudor England and in the Dutch republic rebelling against the overlordship of the king of Spain. These were small maritime nations, growing rich through international trade even while threatened by massive monarchies. In the years of religious wars, they were the most religiously diverse and tolerant polities in Christendom.

Hazony contrasts nationalist states with what he calls imperialist polities, which include international organizations such as the United Nations and political entities such as the Holy Roman Empire, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, which was not just trying to govern Germany but to conquer “untermensch” peoples. As an Israeli, he is very much aware that his successful nationalist state is under constant attack from such imperialist bodies.

Nationalist states, he argues, can provide peaceful havens for those of differing cultural views and economic interests who share a common citizenship. They will, he argues, protect their individual liberties and (here some readers will disagree) abjure external conquests. “The best political order that is known to us,” he writes, “is an order of independent national states.”

This is congruent with the words of two of President Trump’s thoughtful speeches, delivered in Warsaw, Poland, in July 2017 and in Normandy on D-Day this year. In them he pays generous tribute to other nations’ nationalism and how they have advanced human liberty. It is also congruent with the rhetoric of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he tries to give effect to British voters’ decision to leave what, in Hazony’s terminology, is an increasingly imperialistic European Union.

Hazony seems to me on solid ground in arguing that nationalism, rightly understood, can be a force for good. Trump’s words on D-Day, and those of presidents before him on earlier anniversaries, should remind us that the Allies who cooperated in that enterprise were all led by nationalists — America’s Franklin Roosevelt; Britain’s Winston Churchill; France’s Charles de Gaulle; and the leaders of Canada, Poland, Norway and Australia.

One might add that an ally left unmentioned, the Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin, temporarily portrayed himself as a nationalist rather than a communist to rally his people to fight on the Eastern Front even as democratic nationalists worked together to open the front on the West.

The nationalist sensibility is an important part of domestic partisan politics. In an article I wrote for The Public Interest in 1993, I argued that the political parties and political leaders of Western democracies partake, in varying proportions, in four different dispositions — religious, socialist, liberal and nationalist.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Religious parties come to grief when people abandon religion (like the Christian Democrats in largely secular Western Europe), and they struggle to amass majorities in religiously diverse nations like the United States.

Socialist parties’ weakness is that socialism just doesn’t work. When that became apparent in Britain, Margaret Thatcher controversially rolled back postwar Labour Party policies in the 1980s. More quietly, Scandinavian nations rolled back their welfare states in the 1990s. Now venerable social democratic parties have all but disappeared in Germany, France and Italy.

Liberal parties — liberal in the 19th-century sense: secular and free market — have sometimes governed effectively but proved incapable of defending themselves against destruction. Britain’s Liberals, dominant in 1916, were ground to bits between the Conservatives and Labour in 1924. The dominant secular party in Italy was swept from power by Mussolini’s brownshirts in 1922, and the one in France by Hitler’s troops in 1940.

Only parties with a strong nationalist strain have proved to be lasting — including, over most of their histories, America’s Democratic and Republican parties. Today we’re told that Donald Trump’s Republicans are dangerously and self-destructively nationalist. Headline speakers at Hazony’s conference — tech mogul Peter Thiel, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, national security adviser John Bolton, Sen. Josh Hawley — seemed to disagree. And many observers are wondering whether Democratic presidential candidates’ enthusiasm for open borders is a politically hazardous trashing of a sensible nationalism long essential for political success.



Don't worry, the South is still booming

The North loses residents and economic activity to the low-tax South

Anyone who understands real estate knows it’s all about three things: location, location, location. In recent decades, many of the hottest locations in the country have been in Dixie. Much of this growth has come at the expense of the Northern states. In the last several decades, the North has lost more than 5 million residents and hundreds of billions of dollars of economic activity to the low-tax and business-friendly Southern states.

Miami, Dallas, Charlotte and Nashville are the happening cities, replacing struggling places like Chicago, Hartford, New York, Baltimore and Providence.  We would urge people to go to our friend Travis Brown’s wonderful book “How Money Walks,” which shows the places Americans are moving to and from. 

But now we are told by liberal think tanks and the media that the South’s ascent has stalled out. The Wall Street Journal recently announced in a front page headline: “The South Is Falling Behind.” After several decades of speedy development, things have supposedly changed. Over the last decade, the WSJ says, the southeast “recorded the country’s slowest growth in output and wages … and the highest unemployment rate.” The implication is that low tax rates don’t work anymore as a magnet. 

Not so fast. These kinds of stories don’t take into account that the South isn’t monolithic. Some Southern states have low tax rates and others don’t. The four states with the best economic climate — Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — are all high-flyers, thank you. Three of these four, have no personal income tax and the 4th, North Carolina, has cut its income tax sharply. 

These big four in the South have attracted 3.04 million net new residents from other states over just the past decade. That’s a 4.6 percent rise in population due to net migration from other states. Does that sound like a decline?

Contrast that performance with the four states of the apocalypse — Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. This group is in the worst fiscal condition in the nation, they are losing residents every day and they have among the highest taxes and the most anti-business policies. 

These states lost 2.8 million people (6 percent of the population) over the past decade to other states and if you go to Texas or Florida you will meet lots of rich and middle class residents who came from one of these four states. Naples, Florida, for example, is now nicknamed Chicago South, because so many former windy city families now live there more than six months of the year.  

The big four in the South saw a 10.5 percent gains in jobs from 2007-17. The four northern states gained a meager 2.5 percent. For every job in these high tax state, the low tax states attracted four.

Over the last decade home values in the high-flying Southern states were up an average or 10 percent. In the loser states of the North home values fell. The loss of jobs and population and is now being reflected in declining home values in these Northern states. Nowhere is this collapse in home prices more evident than in Connecticut, where a cascade of tax increases have led to an exodus of millionaires. So much for the benefits of progressivism.

All these rumors of a southern slump are highly misleading. Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are following a winning economic formula of low tax rates; right to work laws; business-friendly regulatory climate; and low costs. Anyone who thinks the boom in Dixie has ended needs to travel to places like Raleigh and Tampa and Houston and Chattanooga and see what’s happening with their own two eyes.



TX. Austin's Mad Homeless Camping Policy

On June 20 the Austin City Council repealed ordinances prohibiting homeless camping around town. They had to move on or the police could cite them. Police oppose this policy and went into a low-level revolt. The people oppose this policy and have also gone into a low-level revolt.

The policy went into effect in a political blink on July 1. That very day, tent cities began popping up all over town. Those tent cities grew. A Twitter hashtag — #austinhomeless — grew up to chronicle the issues the city's residents now face.

Since my last article on this subject, a theory to explain the policy change has swept across Austin and a petition to stop the policy has appeared. I'll get to the theory later.

The petition is the work of Travis County Republican Party chairman Matt Mackowiak. Austin and Travis County are both deep blue. But this issue has some questioning their allegiance to a Democratic Party that is running the city over a cliff.

"I created the petition 15 days ago and we now have more than 20,000 signatures," Mackowiak told me. "The goal was to create an easy way for people to express their opposition to the Homeless Camping ordinance. We haven’t spent one cent on advertising. This thing has gone viral."

It has, and it's still accepting signatures.

"The Mayor and the City Council have needlessly threatened public safety, public health, tourism, and our economy," Mackowiak adds.

The hot Austin summer has seen tents and associated Baltimore-style filth sweep across town — and a grand unified theory to explain the indefensible is sweeping across town too.

The Austin City Council could amend or rescind the policy at its August meeting. Or, it could leave it in place. It's a safe bet the mayor will seek more money, paid for by taxpayers, which will make Austin that much more unaffordable. Cutting taxes and reducing spending to lighten the burden on taxpayers will not be on the agenda.

Mo money. Mo money. Mo money. Agenda items one, two and three.

"Our hope is they will end this disastrous policy on August 8. If they don’t, we will ratchet up the pressure considerably," Mackowiak says. We'll see.



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 August, 2019

The Asian Century Is Over

Beset by conflicts, stagnating economies, and political troubles, the region no longer looks set to rule the world -- says Michael Auslin.  It is a most iconoclastic article and  clearly makes some important points.

I am inclined to take a middle road on the matter.  Auslin is clearly right that cultural rigidities could hold China back and the failure of Japan to make much progress in the 21st century is a clear warning sign that Asian economies are far from miracle economies once they pass a certain point.  They approach an economic asymptote

The arrival of President Xi in China could well strangle China.  He represents the end of the Dengist era and a return to traditional Chinese authoritarian government.  He is getting close to becoming Emperor Xi.  My Sinophilic friends despair of him.  He is a definite roadblock to China's progress towards becoming a modern developed nation. And, sadly for China, there seems to be an iron law that an authoritarian nation will never be a rich one.  Even the DDR only ever approached midddle-income status, with its GDP per capita being only half the West German figure

ON THE OTHER HAND:  If Maoism ended, might not the same be true of Xi-ism?  How fragile is Xi's position?  He strives mightily to strengthen it but who knows how well he will last?  Could it be that the experience of prosperity and the taste of freedom might make enough forces in China bold enough to overthrow him in favour of a return to Dengism?

Though even Dengism had its limits.  Large State-owned businesses continued and were never very efficient.  And the party never looked even close to relinquishing control.  It could be that even Dengism cannot break the asymptote; it perhaps cannot support the final stages of modernization.

My take on China has been influenced by a positive "law" that is at least as strong as the negative law that authoritarian nations do not prosper economically.  I am referring to the stark correlation between national wealth and national average IQ.  And China has a VERY high national average IQ.  We always thought that once China threw off the dead weight of socialism it would prosper.  And exactly that happened up until recently. But is a high national IQ sufficient to rein in authoritarian rule?  The auguries are not good -- UNLESS China undergoes a significant FALL in living standards.  That would undoubtedly be energizing  -- JR.

The air forces of four of Asia’s leading powers nearly came to blows in the skies over the Sea of Japan, or East Sea, last week. As Russia and China conducted their first joint aerial patrol, South Korean fighters fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian command and control aircraft that crossed into South Korea’s air defense identification zone. Meanwhile, Japanese fighters scrambled in case Japanese territory came under fire.

The unprecedented encounter was just one more reminder of the risks that threaten peace in the Indo-Pacific—and that the “Asian Century,” once heralded by writers such as Kishore Mahbubani and Martin Jacques, is ending far faster than anyone could have predicted. From a dramatically slowing Chinese economy to showdowns over democracy in Hong Kong and a new cold war between Japan and South Korea, the dynamism that was supposed to propel the region into a glorious future seems to be falling apart.

Asia’s geopolitical turbulence has been long in the making. In fact, the region’s weaknesses were for decades ignored by those certain that China would dominate the world, that the region would begin to manifest a shared sense of “Asian values,” that the United States’ influence was on the wane, and that the global future would be determined more in Beijing and New Delhi than in Washington. But underneath the region’s glittering new cities, the foundations of its rise were already beginning to crack.

Enter an earthquake. U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing, including 25 percent tariffs on nearly half of China’s exports to the United States, accelerated China’s economic decline. The country’s growth rate last quarter was the slowest in nearly three decades, since its economy took off in the early 1990s. Even if the 6.2 percent growth figure can be trusted, it reveals not only the effect of Trump’s trade actions but the general weakness of an economy in which meaningful reform has stalled and inefficiencies are as prevalent as ever.

Chinese exports to America have collapsed. Its exports to the rest of the world have shrunk, too. Meanwhile, dozens of major companies, from Google to Dell, are reducing or eliminating their production in China, exacerbating the slowdown and reshaping global supply chains. Worse for China’s economic future, perhaps, is a recent report that the country’s total debt, from corporations, households, and the government, now tops 300 percent of GDP—and much of it is caught up in opaque and complicated transactions that could become a ticking time bomb.

It isn’t only China that faces economic travails.It isn’t only China that faces economic travails. In developed nations, such as South Korea and Japan, sluggishness continues despite years of reform, while India’s once red-hot growth has halved in recent years, raising questions about how much further it can develop a middle class. Such fears are prevalent throughout Southeast Asia, as well.

Economics are just part of the problem. China’s ongoing attempts to squeeze Hong Kong and Taiwan’s democracies reveal just how tenuous political stability in the region really is. In Hong Kong, seven weeks of anti-China, pro-democracy protests are coming dangerously close to forcing Beijing to decide whether or not to intervene. If it deploys troops to restore order, it could lead to the bloodiest clashes since Tiananmen Square 30 years ago.

Even democracies in Asia are sailing in dangerous waters. Japan and South Korea are perilously close to a complete rupture in relations, thanks to Seoul’s continued pressing of World War II claims through its courts. Tokyo has responded by cutting the supply of chemicals critical for Korea’s electronics industry. In late 2018, Japan claimed that a South Korean naval vessel turned its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol aircraft, nearly precipitating a military crisis. Meanwhile, Vietnam is facing off against China over oil exploration in the South China Sea, with maritime vessels shadowing and intimidating each other.

Conflicts in the region are also threatening security around the world. Despite three rounds of presidential summits, North Korea remains a nuclear-capable state that is also engaged in online offensives around the world. The global battle over civil liberties is also tilting toward greater state control, in part through China’s perfection of high-tech surveillance systems that it is keen to export, even to Western democracies. Many believe that Huawei, among other Chinese companies, is a security risk for any nation adopting its technology. And the FBI has warned that China is the greatest espionage threat to the United States, on campuses, in Washington, and in major corporations.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation. That was wrong.

U.S. policymakers bet that China’s economic modernization and peaceful rise would lead to an era of global prosperity and cooperation, linking advanced economies in Asia with consumers in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. That was wrong. Similarly, years of attempts to bring U.S. allies Japan and South Korea closer together have foundered. It is time for a reconsideration of Asia’s future.



Sorry If You’re Offended, but Socialism Leads to Misery and Destitution

On the same day that Venezuela’s “democratically” elected socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, whose once-wealthy nation now has citizens foraging for food, announced he was lopping five zeros off the country’s currency to create a “stable financial and monetary system,” Meghan McCain of “The View” was the target of internet-wide condemnation for having stated some obvious truths about collectivism.

During the same week we learned that the democratic socialist president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, is accused of massacring hundreds of protesters whose economic futures have been decimated by his economic policies, Soledad O’Brien and writers at outlets ranging from GQ, to BuzzFeed, to the Daily Beast were telling McCain to cool her jets.

In truth, McCain was being far too calm. After all, socialism is the leading man-made cause of death and misery in human existence. Whether implemented by a mob or a single strongman, collectivism is a poverty generator, an attack on human dignity, and a destroyer of individual rights.

It’s true that not all socialism ends in the tyranny of Leninism or Stalinism or Maoism or Castroism or Ba’athism or Chavezism or the Khmer Rouge—only most of it does. And no, New York primary winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t intend to set up gulags in Alaska. Most so-called democratic socialists—the qualifier affixed to denote that they live in a democratic system and have no choice but to ask for votes—aren’t consciously or explicitly endorsing violence or tyranny.

But when they adopt the term “socialism” and the ideas associated with it, they deserve to be treated with the kind of contempt and derision that all those adopting authoritarian philosophies deserve.

But look: Norway!

Socialism is perhaps the only ideology that Americans are asked to judge solely based on its piddling “successes.” Don’t you dare mention Albania or Algeria or Angola or Burma or Congo or Cuba or Ethiopia or Laos or Somalia or Vietnam or Yemen or, well, any other of the dozens of other inconvenient places socialism has been tried. Not when there are a handful of Scandinavian countries operating generous welfare state programs propped up by underlying vibrant capitalism and natural resources.

Of course, socialism exists on a spectrum, and even if we accept that the Nordic social program experiments are the most benign iteration of collectivism, they are certainly not the only version. Pretending otherwise would be like saying, “The police state of Singapore is more successful than Denmark. Let’s give it a spin.”

It turns out, though, that the “Denmark is awesome!” talking point is only the second-most preposterous one used by socialists. It goes something like this: If you’re a fan of “roads, schools, libraries, and such,” although you may not even be aware of it, you are also a supporter of socialism.

This might come as a surprise to some, but every penny of the $21,206 spent in Ocasio-Cortez’s district each year on each student, rich or poor, is provided with the profits derived from capitalism. There is no welfare system, no library that subsists on your good intentions. Having the state take over the entire health care system could rightly be called a socialistic endeavor, but pooling local tax dollars to put books in a building is called local government.

It should also be noted that today’s socialists get their yucks by pretending collectivist policies only lead to innocuous outcomes like local libraries. But for many years they were also praising the dictators of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the nation’s most successful socialist, isn’t merely impressed with the goings-on in Denmark. Not very long ago, he lauded Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela as an embodiment of the “American dream,” even more so than the United States.

Socialists like to blame every inequity, the actions of every greedy criminal, every downturn, and every social ill on the injustice of capitalism. But none of them admit that capitalism has been the most effective way to eliminate poverty in history.

Today, in former socialist states like India, there have been big reductions in poverty thanks to increased capitalism. In China, where communism sadly still deprives more than a billion people of their basic rights, hundreds of millions benefit from a system that is slowly shedding socialism. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the extreme poverty rate in the world has been cut in half. And it didn’t happen because Southeast Asians were raising the minimum wage.

In the United States, only 5 percent of people are even aware that poverty has fallen in the world, according to the Gapminder Foundation, which is almost certainly in part due to the left’s obsession with “inequality” and normalization of “socialism.”

Nearly half of American millennials would rather live in a socialist society than in a capitalist one, according to a YouGov poll. That said, only 71 percent of those asked were able to properly identify either. We can now see the manifestation of this ignorance in our elections and “The View” co-host Joy Behar.

But if all you really champion are some higher taxes and more generous social welfare, stop associating yourself with a philosophy that usually brings destitution and death. Call it something else. If not, McCain has every right to associate you with the ideology you embrace.



Sanders: Medicare for All Will Require Higher Taxes on the Middle Class

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) sided with former Vice President Joe Biden, arguing that Medicare for all would require increased taxes on the middle class during an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday.

Host Jake Tapper showed Sanders a clip of Biden commenting on Sen. Kamala Harris's (D., Calif.) claim that she would not raise taxes on the middle class to fund Medicare for all.

"Well I find the people who say they're for Medicare for all, but they're not going to tax the middle class because you don't need to do that, come on. Is this a fantasy world here?" Biden asked.

"Do you agree with Vice President Biden that Senator Harris is in a fantasy world?" Tapper asked Sanders.

Sanders pointed out that in a Medicare for all system people would not pay premiums or deductibles, but argued "that in a progressive way people will have to pay taxes."

"The wealthy will obviously pay the lion's share of those taxes but at the end of the day, the vast majority of the American people will pay substantially less for the health care than they now receive because we're going to do away with hundreds of billion dollars of administrative waste. We're going to do away with the incredible profiteering of the insurance companies and the drug companies. So people will be paying in some cases more in taxes but overall because they're not gonna pay premiums, deductible or co-payments, they'll be paying less for their health care," Sanders continued.

"So is Vice President Biden correct that anybody who says Medicare for all is going to happen, but we're not gonna raise taxing on anybody or on the middle class is in a fantasy world?" Tapper pressed.

"Well obviously health care is not free. We pay for it through premiums and out-of-pocket expenses and in Canada it is paid through taxes. We'll have to do that," Sanders said.

Earlier this month, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) estimated his Medicare for all proposal would cost up to $40 trillion over 10 years. Sanders has also said he would raise taxes, including for the middle class, to pay for Medicare for all, and that "there will be pain" in a transition to a single-payer system.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's healthcare plan, released on Monday, does not go as far as Medicare for All. His proposal includes a public option to buy into a Medicare-like plan and wouldn't eliminate private health insurance.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans' view of the single-payer plan "can shift significantly after hearing information." 56 percent of those surveyed support "Medicare for All," while 42 percent oppose it.

58 percent oppose the plan, however, if told it would eliminate private health insurance plans, and 60 percent oppose it if it requires higher taxes.



Trump's Economic Policies Raise Wages for 99% of workers

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released annual revisions to its personal-income report on Tuesday, and the data should encourage everyone: Americans’ wages have been increasing at a healthy rate since President Donald Trump took office. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The revisions show that employee compensation rose 4.5% in 2017 and 5% in 2018 — some $4.4 billion and $87.1 billion more than previously reported. The trend has continued into 2019, with compensation increasing $378 billion or 3.4% in the first six months alone. Wages and salaries were revised upward to 5.3% from 3.6% in May year over year. And in June wages and salaries grew at an annual rate of 5.5%, which is a rocking 4.1% after adjusting for inflation.”

Counter to the Leftmedia’s erroneous narrative that credits Barack Obama and not Trump for America’s current economic growth, the Journal notes, “Employee compensation has increased by $150 billion more in the first six months of 2019 than all of 2016. Compensation increased 42% more during the first two years of the Trump Presidency than in 2015 and 2016. This refutes the claim by liberals that the economy has merely continued on the same trajectory since 2017 as it was before.”

The fact of the matter is that today “Americans are earning more and relying less on government.” So, how does this reality comport with the leading Democrat presidential candidates’ socialist message of ever more government-provided “free” stuff — stuff that can only be “given” by taking more of the wages of hard-working Americans? For all the overwhelmingly negative press Trump receives, at the very least his policies are proving effective in putting/leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans, giving them more freedom to spend and invest as they see fit. Once again, it’s capitalism, not socialism, that is lifting everyone’s boats.



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 August, 2019

CA Governor signs law barring Trump's name from the primary ballot without releasing his tax returns

As usual, the Left have no foresight.  There are more states run by Republicans than Democrats so what is to stop red states enacting similar laws to ban Democrat front-runners from ballots in their states?  A banning contest might HELP the GOP
California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday that would bar President Donald Trump’s name from appearing on the state’s 2020 primary ballot unless he discloses his tax returns. Newsom “justified” the bill, arguing, “These are extraordinary times and states have a legal and moral duty to do everything in their power to ensure leaders seeking the highest offices meet minimal standards, and to restore public confidence.” So, the party that loudly opposes any form of voter ID laws out of faux concern for potential voter suppression has now put forth a draconian piece of voter-suppression legislation. Even former Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown wouldn’t dare go this far, as he vetoed a similar measure over concerns that it was unconstitutional.

However, in this era of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Democrat concern for constitutionality is no longer even feigned. But they would have done well to listen to Brown, who argued, “It sets a ‘slippery slope’ precedent. Today we require tax returns, but what would be next? Five years of health records? A certified birth certificate? High school report cards? And will these requirements vary depending on which political party is in power? A qualified candidate’s ability to appear on the ballot is fundamental to our democratic system. For that reason, I hesitate to start down a road that well might lead to an ever escalating set of differing state requirements for presidential candidates.”

Brown’s argument is a cogent one. What stops Texas, Georgia, or Florida from coming up with their own laws clearly aimed at suppressing the ability of a Democrat presidential candidate from getting his or her name on the ballot?

Obviously, this move is meant to once again highlight the long-running Democrat complaint that Trump has not released his long-form tax returns. That’s an action most modern presidential candidates have willingly taken, but one the Constitution does not require.

Clearly, however, this law is ripe for legal action.  The bill also violates the 1st Amendment right of association since California can’t tell political parties which candidates their members can or cannot vote for in a primary election.” It would seem the one-party oligarchs in California disagree.

Another 10 states are considering similar legislation.



Obama’s legacy undermined from within

Sam Clench

Years after he left office, Barack Obama’s legacy is under serious threat from the unlikeliest of sources. This time it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.

For six hours this week, across two separate debates, the candidates fighting for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination slugged it out on stage.

Because I’m a nerd and apparently a bit of a masochist, I watched the whole tedious exercise. One thing stood out.

While the Democrats spent plenty of time bashing Donald Trump and his “dark psychic energy” — that’s a real quote, I promise — he was not their only target.

Many of them also took aim at his predecessor Barack Obama.

It is hard to understate just how stunning that sentence is.

Think back to January of 2017 when Mr Obama left office as one of the most popular presidents in American history. The idea of any mainstream Democrat criticising his record was pretty much unthinkable. Now it is commonplace.

As Democratic voters decide who will confront Mr Trump next year and, they hope, become Mr Obama’s successor, they are wrestling with just how much of his legacy to preserve — and how much to reject.

Two major policy areas are at the heart of the argument. The first is healthcare.

Mr Trump won the presidency promising to repeal Mr Obama’s signature achievement, Obamacare, which expanded health insurance coverage to millions more Americans. The President ultimately failed to follow through. He couldn’t find enough votes in Congress.

But having stubbornly defended the healthcare law from his efforts, some of the top tier Democratic candidates now want to scrap it and start again.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris all support replacing Obamacare with some form of “Medicare for all”.

That could mean something along the lines of Australia's system, where everyone is covered by Medicare but private insurance is still available. Or it could be more radical. Ms Warren and Mr Sanders both want to ban private health insurance entirely.

Obamacare barely passed after an extremely ugly legislative fight a decade ago. It was seen, by his own party at least, as a historic achievement. Now many in that same party believe it did not go nearly far enough.

The only major candidate vociferously defending it is Joe Biden — and he has no real choice in the matter, having served as Mr Obama’s vice president. He can hardly disown the policies he helped craft.

A number of candidates are also being fiercely critical of Mr Obama’s record on immigration, particularly his administration’s mass deportation of three million undocumented migrants.

Many of them support decriminalising the act of crossing the border as a means to remove the legal justification for locking migrants — including children — in detention centres.

On stage this week, Mr Biden came under fire from Mr Obama’s former housing secretary Julian Castro, a leading advocate of that approach. Mr Biden was pressured to explain whether he had argued against the mass deportation policy from his position of influence in the White House. He refused.

“I found that the secretary, we sat together in many meetings, I never heard him talk about any of this when he was the secretary,” Mr Biden said in frustration.

“It looks like one of us has learned from the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t,” Mr Castro shot back, getting large cheers from the crowd. “What we need are some politicians who actually have some guts on this issue.”

The clear implication was that Mr Biden, and by extension Mr Obama as well, did not show the necessary fortitude when they were in power.

Mr Biden continued to defend his former boss, bristling at suggestions Mr Obama had been almost as harsh on undocumented migrants as Mr Trump. “To compare him to Donald Trump, I think, is absolutely bizarre,” he said.

Democrats are still reluctant to slam Mr Obama explicitly and directly by name. But there is no denying much of the current political debate is being framed around a rejection of his policies.

The party has moved conspicuously to the left since 2016, making positions that used to be untenable a core part of several candidates’ platforms. But going too far in that direction could prove disastrous if it costs the eventual nominee swing voters in the general election.

The fact is, Mr Obama was aggressively centrist compared with most members of the current Democratic field, and he is still wildly popular — particularly among Democratic voters, with whom he has an average approval rating of more than 85 per cent.

Rejecting his successful, election-winning political philosophy in favour of something markedly more progressive would be a tremendous gamble.

“It was weird for me to watch about 40 minutes of primarily attacks on the Obama administration’s policies,” said MSNBC’s Joy Reid after the debate on Wednesday night. “It was an odd strategy to me. It’s almost as if the debate forgot who was president.”

Former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, who now hosts a morning news program, echoed her. “These candidates are attacking Barack Obama’s policy positions more than Donald Trump. That is politically stupid and crazy,” he said. “Hit Trump. Not Obama. It’s not that hard, folks.”

Mr Biden remains the odd one out. His entire campaign is premised on the calculation that Americans are nostalgic for the Obama years. If anything, he risks clinging too tightly to the former president.

That problem was summed up pretty well earlier this year on National Best Friends Day when Mr Biden posted this cringe-worthy tweet. "Happy #BestFriendsDay to my friend, @BarackObama."

Even after being roundly mocked for overegging it, Mr Biden has continued to invoke his relationship with Mr Obama, often using his former boss as a shield against criticism.

It’s a strategy that doesn’t work quite so well when his opponents are perfectly willing to criticise Mr Obama’s record. On immigration, for instance, Mr Biden simply can’t escape his share of the blame. “You can’t have it both ways. You invoke President Obama more than anyone else in this campaign. You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then duck it when it’s not,” one rival, Cory Booker, said on Wednesday night.

But Mr Booker and the other Democrats are arguably trying to have it both ways as well.

On the one hand, they will inevitably want voters to associate them with Mr Obama. You can guarantee the former president will appear often on the campaign trail next year, regardless of who claims the nomination.

On the other, they are distancing themselves from huge parts of his record, including his one signature achievement.  Ultimately, Mr Obama’s own party might undermine his legacy more thoroughly than Donald Trump ever could.



The Trump economy remains strong as 2020 fast approaches

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an inflation adjusted 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019, upping the ante for the remaining quarters in order to get to 3 percent growth for the year, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The U.S. economy has not grown above 4 percent since 2000, and not above 3 percent since 2005.

2018 got close, growing at 2.93 percent, the best year since 2005, according to the most recent data. That was better than 2015, which came in at 2.91 percent.

The first quarter the economy grew at 3.1 percent, but with the slowing in the second quarter, now, the economy must catch up in order to get back on track for 3 percent for the year.

Suffice to say, that’s probably not going to happen. Most likely, the economy winds up in mid-2’s somewhere for the year. Which is not great but not terrible, either.

The Trump economy is still markedly improved from the preceding years. Unemployment remains at a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Almost 4.9 million more Americans say they have jobs since Trump took office in Jan. 2017.

Wage growth from 2017 forward is the best seen since the financial crisis, most recently at 2.8 percent growth in the first quarter of 2019. Those are good numbers.

For 16-to-64-year-old working age adults, the economy is definitely improving. While the population of working age adults has increased by about 1 million between 2016 and 2018, the civilian labor force grew by 2.1 million. In 2019, labor participation is still increasing for that group, too, so we’re still on the right track.



Trump increases pressure on China for trade deal with new 10 percent tariff on the other $300 billion of goods while Chinese economy reels

China has proven itself to be an unreliable trade partner in its negotiations, says President Donald Trump, and now he is levying another 10 percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods that were untaxed.

This comes atop the 25 percent tariff on another $250 billion of goods that was hiked in May, which is expected to raise more than $50 billion in revenue this year to the U.S. Treasury.

Trump cited failure by Chinese President Xi Jinping to follow through on commitments he has made, stating on Twitter, “Our representatives have just returned from China where they had constructive talks having to do with a future Trade Deal. We thought we had a deal with China three months ago, but sadly, China decided to re-negotiate the deal prior to signing. More recently, China agreed to… buy agricultural product from the U.S. in large quantities, but did not do so. Additionally, my friend President Xi said that he would stop the sale of Fentanyl to the United States — this never happened, and many Americans continue to die!”

The President still held out hope that a deal could be reached, with the tariffs being a bit of additional incentive, writing, “Trade talks are continuing, and… during the talks the U.S. will start, on September 1st, putting a small additional Tariff of 10% on the remaining 300 Billion Dollars of goods and products coming from China into our Country. This does not include the 250 Billion Dollars already Tariffed at 25%… We look forward to continuing our positive dialogue with China on a comprehensive Trade Deal, and feel that the future between our two countries will be a very bright one!”

The breakdown of trade talks in May led directly to Trump putting the 25 percent tariff on $200 billion of goods — it had been at 10 percent — in addition to the 25 percent that had been levied on another $50 billion of goods.

The trade deal was said to have been in its final stages, but at the eleventh hour, Beijing changed the terms of the deal and promptly walked back prior concessions. According to a May 8 Reuters report, “In each of the seven chapters of the draft trade deal, China had deleted its commitments to change laws to resolve core complaints that caused the United States to launch a trade war: Theft of U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets; forced technology transfers; competition policy; access to financial services; and currency manipulation.”

Adding to the mix, the trade in goods deficit with China hit a record high in 2018 at $419.1 billion according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And that was with some of the tariffs in place.

Ostensibly, the only reason China had come to the table in the first place was President Trump’s threat of further tariffs and an attempt string along negotiators in the hopes of avoiding them. It appears to have been designed to test Trump, betting that perhaps he would not follow through on the tariffs.

Which, it’s hard to blame China for miscalculating. It’s used to just getting its way with the U.S. without consequence or blowback. Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. manufacturing market share has dropped from 13.4 percent to 7.5 percent in 2017, according to World Bank data. China has risen from 5.3 percent to 16.6 percent in 2017, although their percent of global manufacturing market share has peaked in 2015 at 18.8 percent. During that time, the U.S. economy has not grown above 4 percent since 2000, and not above 3 percent since 2005 on an annual basis.

What they didn’t plan on was Trump. Now, there’s tariffs on $550 billion of goods. Either way, the decision to end the deal may have been so it could wait Trump out with 2020 right around the corner.  If Trump loses his bid for reelection, their problem is solved.

For Trump’s part, he seems to be betting China has more to lose in a trade war than the U.S. According to data by the U.S. Trade Representative. China’s $539.5 billion of goods exports to the U.S. comprised almost 4.1 percent of its $13.28 trillion Gross Domestic Product in 2018 and about 22.5 percent of its $2.4 trillion of goods exports. In contrast, American goods exports to China were $120.3 billion, comprising 0.58 percent of the 2018 annual GDP of $20.5 trillion, and comparatively 7.2 percent of its $1.66 trillion of goods exports.

And Trump may be right.

On June 17, “The Coming Collapse of China” author Gordon Chang on Fox Business reported to host Neil Cavuto, “China right now has an economy which is crumbling, could have been contracting last month. We saw that with bellwether car sales down 16.4 percent, the eleventh straight month of decline, the worst monthly decline eves. And imports were down 8.5 percent year on year, a real indication of declining domestic demand.”

Chang added, “This is an economy that is in severe trouble. They need the U.S. market desperately.”

So, maybe the tariffs are working. In this confrontation, Trump does not need a deal as much as China does, for he can inflict damage merely by encouraging manufacturers to move their business elsewhere, whether back to the U.S. or somewhere else. In “The Art of Deal,” Trump wrote, “Use your leverage.” That’s exactly what he’s doing — and it’s about time.



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  August, 2019

Robert Mueller’s Feet of Clay

If your knowledge of the Robert Mueller fiasco in the United States is informed by any news service then you are ignorant of the facts. Therefore, let me give you the unvarnished facts as I see them.

First fact: Donald Trump is the most innocent politician in the world. How do I know this, you might ask? Nineteen, Hillary-loving, radical Democrat activists with law degrees, posing as impartial lawyers, investigated the heck out of him for two years on an unlimited budget and with the power to coerce witnesses, to threaten their families, to financially ruin them and to jail them. And yet they came up with squat. There is no other politician in the world who would have survived this kind of inquisition. None. Hence my conclusion that Trump is cleaner than Mother Teresa.

Second fact: Mueller had nothing to do with his own probe. He was titular. He came in each day to have coffee and engage in sheltered-workshop activities. Andrew Weissmann led the probe. He was the de facto Special Counsel. He hired all of the conflicted activists to assist him. He oversaw the writing of the report and the public statement that Mueller made after the report came out; sensibly instructing the doddery Mueller to take no questions about the report of which he had only passing acquaintance.

Third fact: Mueller escaped Weissmann’s supervision to attend Congress where he proceeded not only to reveal his ignorance of the report but of information about the events which precipitated the probe, which he was supposed to have led. For example, he knew nothing of Fusion GPS, the firm commissioned by Clinton’s lawyers to recruit Christopher Steele (the ex-British spy) to find, or as it turned out make up, Russian dirt on Trump.  I doubt you could find a backwoodsman out of telecommunication range with less knowledge.

Fourth fact: The Weissmann report set a French Revolutionary standard of jurisprudence by explicitly finding no prosecutorial evidence of obstruction of justice by the President but of finding insufficient evidence to exonerate him. To wit: the presumption of innocent defenestrated in the space of a few words in a dodgy and tendentious report. Look, take my word for it, I have never murdered anyone but I doubt you could find a court that would completely exonerate me from having ever murdered someone, somewhere, at some time. I’ll just have to live with it.

Fifth fact: It is curious on its face to suggest that someone trying to impede a process designed to bring false charges against him (in this case conspiracy to collude with a foreign power) is obstructing justice. But, be that as it may, Trump’s only ‘crime’ was to sound off in understandable frustration. A thought crime, as Orwell’s Winston Smith might put it. He did nothing of practicality to impede the Weissmann probe. He allowed White House staff to give testimony. He supplied all of the millions of pages of documents requested. He allowed the probe to run its course.

Sixth fact: The Democrats can’t let it go, however baseless is the case against Trump (and, vindictively, his family) because they have nothing else to run on. Theoretically they could run on policies on health care, climate change, inequality and immigration. But, in all of these areas, their agenda has been hijacked by callow far-left fruitcakes; prominently, though not only, by ‘the squad’: Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Thus, you get the complete takeover of health insurance by government and the provision of this insurance at taxpayers’ expense to illegal immigrants; you get the Green New Deal, confiscatory taxation, reparations for descendants of slaves, and open borders. And you see all of the twenty-plus Democratic candidates for president putting up their hands in unison for most or all this agenda; which, without doubt, has President Kennedy turning in his grave and would have only been a wet dream for even President Obama.

Seventh fact: The relentless attack on Trump the man has been become all the more vehement as his polices have produced enormous economic success. And, to rub it in, particular beneficiaries of this success are blacks and Hispanics, whom the Dems like to think are welded on to them. The Dems are caught in a pincer. Fighting against successful policies with looney-tune policies. Distraction is their only option.

Eighth fact: Western civilisation is disintegrating. As just a few disparate examples: witness police in the US being shirt-fronted and doused with water and doing nothing about it because they know that no one has their back among the great and good; witness the erosion of free speech in the UK; witness the overturning of the sanctity of millennia-old traditional marriage in the blink of an eye; witness the inculcation of gender confusion among school children; witness the erosion of the presumption of innocence when it comes to sexual assault allegations; witness Christian and Jewish clerics playing footsie with disciples of a noxious creed; witness economically-damaging and, more critically, culturally-undermining immigration policies. And, finally, in this abridged list, witness identity politics retribalizing nations. However, be sort of comforted, despite all of this woe, things have not yet gone so far downhill that a majority of Americans will vote for suicidal polices or be swayed by patently inane manoeuvrings to impeach Trump.

Ninth and best fact: Trump will win again.



When murders increase, so does support for capital punishment
Jeff Jacoby

WHEN ATTORNEY GENERAL William Barr announced last week that the federal government would resume executing Death Row inmates after a hiatus of more than 16 years, opponents were swift to object.

Within hours of Barr's announcement, Representative Ayanna Pressley introduced a bill to abolish capital punishment for federal crimes. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the new policy in court. And more than a dozen Democratic presidential candidates condemned the Trump administration and the death penalty. Among them was former Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime supporter of executing murderers who had switched his position just two days earlier.

The Justice Department has scheduled five men to be executed in December and January. Alfred Bourgeois, Dustin Honken, Daniel Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, and Wesley Purkey were all convicted of unspeakably cruel and depraved murders. Their victims ranged in age from 2 to 80, and most were tortured and terrorized before they were killed. There is no question about the guilt of these killers, nor any claim that they have been denied scrupulous due process of law.

Those who deplore Barr's decision make no attempt to argue that these men deserve to live. Instead, they denounced capital punishment itself, and accuse the administration of changing its policy out of "raw political calculus" (Slate) and as "one more stunt to distract Americans" (The Atlantic).

Of course politics were involved in Barr's move. But in carrying out the executions, the federal government will also be doing justice and upholding the rule of law. It wasn't the Trump Administration that convicted and sentenced these killers. It was independent judges and jurors who saw the evidence, observed the witnesses, heard the lawyers, and then concluded — unanimously — not only that the defendants were guilty of capital murder, but that death was the proper punishment.

If anyone is being political, it is Democrats like Biden, who favored the death penalty when it had widespread public support, and didn't turn against it until it became unpopular among Democrats. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 1990s, Biden championed a crime bill that created 60 new death penalty offenses. "We do everything but hang people for jaywalking in this bill," he proudly declared at the time. That measure passed by sweeping majorities in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate, and was signed into law by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

What has changed since the Clinton era? Why has there been such a marked decline in the share of Americans who say that they support the death penalty for murderers? Death-penalty abolitionists credit themselves with making better, stronger, or more effective arguments. Here's a more likely explanation: Public opinion shifted because of murder rates, not policy debates.

In the 1990s, when Americans approved the death penalty by sky-high percentages, Americans were also being killed with sky-high frequency. There were fewer than 10,000 homicides annually in the United States in the early 1960s, but three decades later there were more than 24,000. The nation's murder rate soared over the same period from 5 per 100,000 to 9.5 per 100,000.

It was against that background that support for capital punishment, which had been falling since the 1950s, began to climb. In 1966, Gallup found that only 42 percent of the public favored executing murderers: an all-time low. In 1994, the year Clinton signed that crime bill, pro-death-penalty sentiment had risen to 80 percent: an all-time high.

And just as Americans embraced the death penalty when killings were on the rise, they backed away from it as killings decreased.

After hitting 9.5 in 1994, the murder rate began a downward plunge that criminologists are still trying to understand. It sank all the way to 4.4 in 2014 — and as it did, so did public approval of the death penalty. According to the Pew Research Center, the fraction of Americans supporting capital punishment dropped to 49 percent in 2016, the lowest level in four decades.

And since then? In 2014, the pendulum shifted again. Murders and the murder rate began moving back up. Sure enough, support for the death penalty did too. It rose to 54 percent in 2018.

To be sure, correlation doesn't prove causation. But six decades of correlation are hard to discount: The willingness of the public to put murderers to death rises and falls with the threat murderers pose. If homicides are back on an upward trend, more and more Americans will want killers put to death — and more and more politicians will decide they do, too.



A Sign of Hope for Affordable Health Care

The forthcoming rule will allow employees to pay for their health care needs using funds deposited by their employer.

A final rule on health reimbursement arrangements set to take effect in August could expand opportunities for American workers and their families to attain affordable health care, increase access to health care for employees of small businesses, and create new competitive market forces that will increase coverage charges for all.

The rule, which would loosen many of the restrictions that have limited the scope and utility of health reimbursement arrangements, represents a large step in shifting the rigid defined-benefits insurance structure toward a defined-contributions structure that allows patients to direct their health care spending.

“We want more decision-making and power in the hands of the consumer and worker over how to finance their health care,” said Brian Blase of the National Economic Council in summarizing the goal of the rule change.

A health reimbursement arrangement is an employer-based, tax-advantaged account that allows employees to pay for their health care needs using funds deposited by their employer. Employees can then use the funds to pay for health care expenses as agreed upon with the employer in the terms of the arrangement.

Funds deposited by the employer will not be taxed, and funds used by employees will not be taxed as income. Furthermore, funds in the account may roll over year to year depending on the terms set by the employer.

This rule change will create two new health reimbursement arrangements—the individual coverage HRA and the excepted benefits HRA—and allow funds in a health reimbursement arrangement to be applied to purchasing health insurance plans.

Small employers who cannot afford a traditional group plan, or employees dissatisfied with their employer’s group health plan, instead can be offered a health reimbursement arrangement to purchase a plan from the individual market.

Health reimbursement arrangements, which don’t have the administrative expenses of normal health insurance plans, can be much less costly than traditional employer-based group health insurance, an important consideration for small businesses.

Blase said a quarter of small businesses in 2010 stopped offering health insurance, and he expects changes in this rule will reverse that trend. In fact, he expects that in five years, 800,000 businesses will take advantage of these new plans, and 90% will be small businesses, covering 90 million workers and their dependents.

The administration expects that with hundreds of thousands of new consumers shopping for individual plans, the individual market will expand and grow robust competition in favor of the consumer.

Excepted benefits HRAs, capped at $1,800 annually, can be used for benefits that are exempted from the Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act provisions and, importantly, can be used to purchase limited-duration health insurance plans.

Because they are exempted from minimum essential coverage requirements, these plans can be offered at low prices with high deductibles but broad networks.

Excepted benefits arrangements must be offered along with traditional group plans. An employee who turns down an employer’s traditional group plan would be able to use tax-advantaged funds in an excepted benefits plan to purchase a short-term limited-duration plan.

Blase noted 27% of employees of small businesses choose to turn down their employer’s group health plan because it was a bad fit for their individual needs.

With an excepted benefits plan, employers still will be able to contribute to employee health even if they turn down the employer’s group health plan, giving both employee and employer increased flexibility in their health care choices.

In August 2018, the administration finalized changes to rules governing short-term limited-duration plans to make them less cumbersome to use, lengthening their maximum duration to one year, renewable up to three years. The previous administration had limited these plans to no longer than three months.

Individual Coverage HRAs, in contrast to excepted benefits plans, have no limits on tax-advantaged contributions. They can be used to cover out-of-pocket expenses or services not otherwise covered by an existing health insurance plan. The new rule should make them much more practical and easy to use.

The Affordable Care Act added certain provisions to the Public Health Service Act that were nearly impossible for health reimbursement arrangement to comply with, including a ban on annual and lifetime limits on spending, and the requirement to cover a large selection of preventative health services without cost sharing.

These plans also were not previously integrated with individual market plans, so they would be ineligible even if used to purchase a fully compliant health plan on the individual market.

As long as health reimbursement arrangement funds are used to purchase a compliant plan on the individual market, it will satisfy the requirements of the Public Health Service Act under the new rule.

According to Blase, compliant plans “can be grandfathered coverage … on Obamacare exchange coverage, or off Obamacare exchange coverage.”

He said the administration expected “the vast majority of people” would “use the individual coverage HRA to purchase an Obamacare plan off the exchange.”

Blase said the rules could do for health coverage what 401(k) and 403(b) did for retirement planning. This rule change greatly expands the potential uses of these accounts and makes it much more affordable for small businesses to offer their employees health care coverage.

If Blase’s expectations pan out, Americans will be directing a large part of their own health care spending, shifting the market power away from the insurance companies to patients, where it belongs.



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)


1 August, 2019

Democrats slowly giving money for the wall

Brick by brick, figuratively speaking, with a serious assist from the Supreme Court ruling that reprogramming $2.5 billion of counter-narcotics monies may be used, Donald Trump is fulfilling his promise to get the southern border wall built.

In a 5 to 4 decision to stay an injunction by a federal district court that sought to slow down usage of the funds from the Department of Defense, the nation’s highest court said, “the Government has made a sufficient showing at this stage that the plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review of the Acting Secretary’s compliance with Section 8005” of the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019.

That’s because the law is clear. It states in part “Upon determination by the Secretary of Defense that such action is necessary in the national interest, he may, with the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, transfer not to exceed $4,000,000,000 of working capital funds of the Department of Defense or funds made available in this Act to the Department of Defense for military functions (except military construction) between such appropriations or funds or any subdivision thereof, to be merged with and to be available for the same purposes, and for the same time period, as the appropriation or fund to which transferred…”

The $2.5 billion specific to the court case were to be used for enforcing 10 U.S.C. Section 284(B)(7), entitled, “Support for counterdrug activities and activities to counter transnational organized crime,” which explicitly authorizes “Construction of roads and fences … to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”

In other words, the case was such a slam dunk for the federal government that Supreme Court majority chuckled it out of court stating there was simply “no cause of action” to enjoin the spending of the monies. The plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case in the first place. The outcome is that the money will be spent and Trump will get some new wall built.

It also likely means that the legal cases for the rest of the $5.6 billion Trump reprogrammed from military construction and other funds will similarly be upheld. The White House had also identified “[a]bout $601 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund… [and u]p to $3.6 billion reallocated from Department of Defense military construction projects under the President’s declaration of a national emergency (Title 10 United States Code, section 2808)…” that is reprogrammable under federal law.

That comes atop the $1.6 billion that Congress passed in 2018 for replacing existing fencing with new steel barriers and the $1.375 billion in 2019 for more steel barriers that was approved after the partial government shutdown earlier this year.

It also comes after Congress voted for another $4.5 billion the Trump administration had requested to deal with the humanitarian crisis on the border.

While some critics are moaning about the decision, given the law it was all but inevitable. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi complained on Twitter, “This evening’s Supreme Court ruling allowing @realDonaldTrump to steal military funds to spend on a wasteful, ineffective border wall rejected by Congress is deeply flawed. Our Founders designed a democracy governed by the people — not a monarchy.”

Here’s the best part: Democrats voted for all of it. Specifically, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, the bill which allowed the $2.5 billion for counter-narcotics barriers to be built, passed with 185 Democrats voting in the affirmative in the House. Every Democrat except for Sen. Bernie Sanders voted for it in the Senate. Similarly, overwhelming Democratic majorities voted for all the aforementioned bills as well.

Meaning, in 2020 when Democrats are promising to tear down Trump’s wall, which is getting built — the Army Corps of Engineers reports about 450 miles will be completed by the end of 2020 — they’ll have to first explain why they voted for it in the first place.

They built that.



Is it Trump who has driven the Democrats to the far Left?

From a Leftist writer

IN THE EARLY-morning hours of Nov. 9, 2016 - the shock of the biggest political upset in modern American history still fresh - the president-elect took the stage at a hotel in midtown Manhattan and made a pledge to all the unemployed factory workers and struggling waitresses at the mythic heart of his campaign.

"The forgotten men and women of our country," he said, "will be forgotten no longer."

He was hardly the first politician to speak to the economic anxieties of the 21st-century American voter.

But he harnessed those anxieties like no one else, smashing both the Bush and Clinton dynasties in a matter of months - and dealing a grievous blow to the Washington consensus they represented.

Power, it was now clear, could be found - maybe must be found - in the rubble of the American Dream.

Trump's economic message was, not so subtly, a racial one, too. His "forgotten men and women" were unmistakably white - a patriotic petit bourgeois set apart from the "rapists" he insisted were pouring over the Mexican border and the Black Lives Matter protesters who hated their country.

Trump, of course, did not conjure American racism, any more than he conjured our industrial decay or the bad behavior that led to the #MeToo revolt. And he has done little to solve these problems; on the contrary, he's done everything he can to exploit them.

But he has done more than any single figure of the last half-century to put these challenges - the essential challenges of post-industrial, post-civil-rights-era America - at the center of our politics. He has forced a reckoning. And only now are we glimpsing its startling potential.

Start with race. Much of the focus, these past couple of weeks, has been on the political right - on the contemptible failure of mainstream Republican politicians to call out the president's racist slander of "the Squad."

But if the party had been truly Trumpified on race, leading Republicans like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy would be offering full-throated endorsements of the president's comments, rather than tepid - if still despicable - half-embraces. "The president," the two leaders said, in identical statements, "is not a racist."

It seems likely that, after Trump leaves office, the GOP will more or less return to its previous posture on race - hardly enlightened, but not so openly, and corrosively, cruel.

The real action is on the left.  Trump's rise, as Jess McIntosh, a Democratic strategist and former senior adviser on Hillary Clinton's campaign, told me, "crystallized a problem that many people of color have known about for a very long time - but that a lot of white progressives were simply surprised by."

There is, indeed, ample evidence that rank-and-file Democrats have been repelled - and galvanized - by Trump's race baiting.

One study showed that Clinton voters' views on race actually shifted more sharply than Trump voters' in 2016, with white liberal sympathy toward minority groups "soar[ing] to the highest levels ever recorded" and support for policies like affirmative action surging.

Another survey showed a sharp spike in the share of white Democrats who believe inequality is caused by discrimination, rather than individuals' lack of initiative.

And a 2017 analysis by the Pew Research Center shows that Democrats, always more concerned about prejudice than Republicans, are now twice as likely to call racism "a big problem" - the gap between the two parties more than doubling after Trump's election.

The heightened, party-wide concern appears to be playing out in the Democratic presidential primary.

It's telling that the first major shift in the race, the shrinking of former vice president Joe Biden's once-yawning lead in the polls, came in the face of a highly charged confrontation over race, with Senator Kamala Harris taking a headline-grabbing swipe at the front-runner over his decades-old opposition to busing.

"There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day," Harris said, in the first round of debates. "That little girl was me."

That it was busing that shook up the contest - an idea that even the most liberal Democrats have kept at a safe remove for decades - speaks to the sharpness of the Trump-era turn.

And now that the Democratic contest has opened up - now that a Harris, or Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren, or Pete Buttigieg, or Cory Booker victory seems plausible - the transformative potential of the field's racial justice proposals has come into focus.

Take Warren, the Massachusetts senator who has staked her campaign on a fierce critique of inequity. She's calling for $7 billion in grants for entrepreneurs of color. That's start-up capital for an estimated 100,000 businesses - and a serious attempt at narrowing a racial wealth gap that can only be called grotesque.

The median white family in this country now has 10 times more wealth than the median black family, according to the Federal Reserve; and almost 1 in 5 black families have zero or negative wealth. "Because the government helped create the wealth gap with decades of sanctioned discrimination," Warren said, when she announced the plan, "the government has an obligation to address it head on - with bold policies that go right at the heart of the problem."

Many of her rivals for the Democratic nomination seem to agree. Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has proposed a sprawling "Douglass Plan," named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, that would establish a $10 billion fund for black entrepreneurs, invest sizable sums in historically black colleges, and aim to cut the disproportionately black and Latino prison population in half.

The size of the program is stunning; Buttigieg says it would be on the order of the Marshall Plan, which saw the United States put about $100 billion in today's dollars toward the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

A plan of that size is unlikely to make it through even a Democratic-controlled Congress. But even one-tenth of the spending - on some of the less controversial proposals - could have a significant impact.

What may be the most intriguing idea in the entire contest would be even cheaper on an annual basis: Booker's "baby bonds" proposal, which would provide every child born in the United States with a $1,000 savings account.

The US senator from New Jersey would tier the government's annual contributions by family income; a child growing up in a family of four earning less than $25,100 would get $2,000 per year, with the amount lowered as families move up the income ladder.

Recipients, who could access the money at age 18, would only be allowed to spend it on "wealth-building" activities like paying for education, investing in a business, or buying a home.

The proposal is race-neutral, which is politically advantageous; many of the struggling white families in Appalachia and the Midwest who supported Trump would benefit. But a study by a Columbia University researcher shows that, with its tilt toward low-income families, it would nearly eliminate the wealth gap separating black and white young people.

That would have to count among the most powerful blows for racial equality since the civil rights movement.

Booker would cover the $60 billion annual cost by closing capital gains tax loopholes, imposing a surtax on very wealthy estates, and restoring the estate tax rate to 2009 levels; in short, he would transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class and the poor.

And that's a theme that runs through the Democratic candidates' approaches to the second great concern of the Trump era: an economy that increasingly favors the affluent at the expense of the rest.

From World War II to the 1970s, income gains were broadly shared up and down the economic ladder. But from 1979 to 2017, the top 1 percent saw their real annual wages increase by 157 percent, while the average American's purchasing power stalled.

Here again, Democratic voters are moving left. The share who say government should do more to help the needy has spiked since 2011 - with a particularly sharp uptick since Trump came on the scene. And there's overwhelming support for taxing the rich.

Warren's wealth tax is among the most sweeping proposals. She would put a 2 percent levy on fortunes of more than $50 million and a 3 percent levy on those of $1 billion or more. There are some legitimate questions about whether the super-rich would find ways to evade the tax; that is, in part, why wealth taxes are falling out of favor in many of the world's richest countries. But if Warren can extract anything like the $2.75 trillion over 10 years that her advisers estimate, it could make a real difference in the lives of the lower-income people she aims to help.

Even the "moderate" candidates in the race are proposing measures unlike anything on offer in the 2016 presidential primary - putting billions of dollars directly in the pockets of poor and middle-class people.

One such proposal, Harris's "Rent Relief Act," offers a refundable tax credit for those making $100,000 or less and spending at least 30 percent of their income on rent - going right at the biggest and most painful expense for many urban families. The program, according to a Columbia University study, would lift some 7.8 million people out of poverty.

It's the sort of tangible benefit for working people that is rarely taken up in Washington. And suddenly, it seems possible.

WOULD HARRIS HAVE proposed hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies for the poor, even if Trump weren't president?

Would most of the leading Democratic candidates for president be voicing support for some form of reparations for slavery, an idea that the country's first black president, Barack Obama, and the party's 2016 nominee, Clinton, explicitly rejected?

Maybe. Politics are, in no small part, a product of their time - and this is a time of gross inequality.

But politics are also highly contingent, shaped by the particular personalities in power. Bill Clinton gave us George W. Bush, who gave us Barack Obama, who gave us Donald Trump. And the peculiar personality in the White House right now offers the country a rare opportunity to tackle some of its biggest problems.

Where most Republican politicians elide questions of race and economic inequity - or search for subtle ways to exploit them - this one has tossed them, raw and quivering, into the public square. At the same time, he's built one of the least popular first-term presidencies of our time.

That combination has opened the door to the sort of challenger who would normally struggle to get traction: a genuine change agent. And liberal activists like Adam Green, cofounder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is backing Warren, are determined to take advantage.

"Things have been so bad under Donald Trump - norms are shattered and people are hurting - that we actually have an opportunity to put someone genuinely inspiring and transformational in there," he said. "Why cut ourselves short by settling for someone who is merely going to return us to the status quo?"

But the choice is not quite as simple as Green suggests. His status quo "someone" - Joe Biden, of course - has been tacking to the left on some of the issues that liberals care about most.

When the former vice president teased a "middle ground" approach to climate policy in April, he faced an avalanche of criticism from environmentalists and lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, co-author of the "Green New Deal."

"This is a deal breaker," she tweeted. "There is no `middle ground' w/ climate denial & delay."

But the plan Biden eventually released went much further than anything the Obama administration ever pursued. And it was on par with his opponents' most ambitious approaches: $1.7 trillion in spending, a tax on planet-warming pollutants, and a goal of eliminating the country's net carbon emissions by 2050.

That sort of proposal presents progressives with a genuine quandary: With polls showing Biden performing better in head-to-head matchups with Trump than his Democratic rivals, should they be so quick to dismiss him?

There is also the question of governing. If someone like Warren took the White House - and managed to win a thin Democratic majority in Congress along the way - she would probably have to sweep away the Senate filibuster to have any reasonable shot at pushing through her ambitious agenda. And that would be a challenge.

Several Democratic senators have voiced misgivings about such a move, worried that the next Republican majority would be empowered to gut some of the country's most important social programs.

Ultimately though, the arguments for a more cautious approach aren't as strong as they seem. On the electoral front, Biden is not the safe bet his supporters suggest. He's been a weak campaigner in the past. And recent experience suggests that candidates who stir voters' passions - candidates like Obama and Trump - are more likely to prevail in general elections.

The latest polls show Warren and Sanders leading the president. And it's not clear liberal candidates would cede so much ground to Trump in the center, given that he seems unwilling - or unable - to moderate.

When it comes to governing, the filibuster may not be the critical safeguard some Democrats suggest.

The fact is, in the early part of the Trump administration, Senate Republicans could have used a process known as "budget reconciliation" to gut Obamacare and slash Medicare on a simple majority vote. But they weren't able to summon the political will. Why? The programs they targeted are too popular. They've helped curb the worst excesses of our market economy. They've lifted millions out of poverty. And their example may be the best argument we have for going big this election season.



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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Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I 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. 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

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

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

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

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

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

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.

ABOUT: Postings here 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

Let's now have 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.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

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.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

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.

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 (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) 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 heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

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.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

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

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

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

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

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.

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


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.

"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

Some personal 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

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

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

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.

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

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.

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

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

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

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

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


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