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

The original of this mirror site is HERE. My Blogroll; Archives here or here; My Home Page. 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 site.

30 December, 2016

A note about Quora and Ernest Adams

I spend a lot more time than I should reading Quora.  I particularly like its human interest stories.  But Quora is also very political, heavily weighted towards Leftism.  And perhaps the most obnoxious Leftist there is Ernest Adams, who has big tickets on himself.  He wrote the following on Nov. 26th:

There's something funny about conservatives' brains. Research is ongoing, but it seems that conservatives are less open to new experiences, have peculiar notions about sanctity and purity, value social uniformity over diversity, and group loyalty over individuality—sometimes even more than they value fairness. There's a deeply-seated unwillingness to empathize with those outside their tribe. Nobody yet knows what causes it. We can only hope that a cure can be found before it's too late

I was going to reply but Adams has closed off comments, funnily enough.  What I had prepared to comment was as follows:

There's something funny about Leftist brains. Research is ongoing, but it seems that Leftists are less open to new experiences, have peculiar notions about sanctity and purity, value social uniformity over diversity, and group loyalty over individuality—sometimes even more than they value truth. There's a deeply-seated unwillingness to empathize with those outside their tribe. Nobody yet knows what causes it. We can only hope that a cure can be found before it's too late

Both the Adams post and my reply are of course nothing more than expressions of opinion and, as such, have only the weight readers choose to give them.  I note however that the Left are very prone to psychological projection -- of seeing their own faults in others -- so my reconstruction has some plausibility.  What could be more projective that the constant Leftist claim that Trump and conservatives generally are "authoritarian" -- when it was Obama who declared the aim of "fundamentally transforming" America?  Very Leninist.
I am aware of the brain studies being alluded to by Adams -- mostly involving John Hibbing -- and have commented on them often.  Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy so the claims made about politics and  brains are little more than pure speculation:  Certainly nothing to hang your hat on.  You can equally well interpret the studies as adverse to Leftists -- e.g. here. But you will wait a long time for Adams to acknowledge that.  Like most Leftist claims, his claims fall into a pit once you know the full story.


Trump needs no new legislation to impose immigration restrictions

After several terrorist incidents were carried out in the United States, Donald Trump was severely, criticized for suggesting that the U.S. should limit ?  or temporarily suspend the immigration of certain ethnic groups, nationalities, and even people of certain religions (Muslims).  The criticisms condemned such a suggestion as, among other things, being Un-American, dumb, stupid, reckless, dangerous and racist.

Known as the McCarran-Walter Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allows for the "Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by the President, whenever the President finds that the entry of aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.  The President may, by proclamation, and for such a period as he shall deem necessary,may suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants or impose any restrictions on the entry of aliens he may deem to be appropriate."

And who do you suppose last utilized this process?  Why it was Democrat President Jimmy Carter, no less than 37 years ago, in 1979, to keep Iranians out of the United States.

Additionally, it is important to note that the ?  McCarran-Walter Act also requires that an "applicant for immigration must be of good moral character and in agreement with the principles of our Constitution."

Therefore, one could say that since the Quran forbids Muslims to swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, technically, ALL Muslims should be refused immigration to the USA.



The Newspapers Bully Sen. Sessions

When Congress returns in January, the Democrats will be gunning for several of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees. The left has already launched negative narratives on several, especially Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Trump's pick for attorney general. Not only are the left-wing news media giving oxygen to these vitriolic attacks but in some cases they are the very authors.

On the front page on Christmas Day, both the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post published "profile" stories on Sessions obsessing over racial matters. The Times headline promised an exploration of his "thorny history on race."

Times reporter Del Quentin Wilber set the stage, saying: "As a boy, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III began each day before dawn, boarding a segregated bus to his all-white school. En route he and his classmates passed the bus ferrying black students in the opposite direction. The day ended when he sat down to dinner each night with his father, an avowed segregationist."

And just like that, Sessions has a racist past.

Wilber admitted, "By all accounts, Sessions has enjoyed lifelong friendships with African Americans, is respected by former black employees and has even earned recent praise from a top black state legislator." But even so — he just couldn't leave it there — "the conservative Republican's policy positions, decisions as a prosecutor and racially tinged comments have led many civil rights advocates to fear how he would enforce the nation's anti-discrimination laws."

Wilber allowed that Sessions wishes he had been a stronger advocate for black civil rights in his youth but "has not been able to shake questions about his views and positions on racial matters." Liberal newspapers will not cease raising the questions and concerns that they don't have for the senator's Democratic colleagues.

Take Rep. Keith Ellison, the far-left Muslim activist running to lead the Democratic Party. How many stories has the Times published since Election Day on Ellison's associations with radical Muslims and his militant positions against Israel? Zero. To beat a dead horse, just how concerned was the Times about the Ku Klux Klan membership of the late Sen. Robert Byrd?

The Washington Post headline was "For Jeff Sessions, history is inescapable." That's unintentionally hilarious. The Post has excelled in making Obama's personal history — drug use, buying a house with crook Tony Rezko, his 9/11 cheerleader pal Rev. Jeremiah Wright and so much more — completely escapable.

Post reporters Ellen Nakashima and Sari Horwitz wrote, "Sessions's long record in public life reveals a man who has hired African Americans for senior positions who speak highly of him, but" — here we go again — "who has been sharply criticized by civil rights groups for his positions on voting rights, same-sex marriage and gender equality."

So, to be pro-traditional marriage is to be anti-civil rights.

Liberal newspapers never admit that their favorite civil rights advocates are solidly on the left and oppose Republicans pretty much across the board. The National Rifle Association is not a civil rights group in their book. Religious-liberties litigators fighting the Obama administration are not civil rights activists. One must subscribe to the tenets of the left to be an advocate for civil rights.

Senators know Sessions and his record, including the bipartisan accomplishments. He worked with then-Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2003 to reduce assault inside prisons. He joined with Sen. Dick Durbin in 2009 to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine. In 2011, he worked with Sen. Richard Blumenthal on a law to track down fugitive sex offenders.

On civil rights, Sessions has been praised by numerous black leaders. As the Times mentioned in passing, they include Alabama House Minority Leader Quinton Ross.

They tried a similar routine with John Ashcroft when he was nominated to lead the Justice Department 16 years ago. They tried to paint him as a racist for writing for a journal called the Southern Partisan. But eight Democrats crossed party lines to make it an easy confirmation vote. History is bound to repeat itself, but that won't stop these character assassins from trying.



A confident prediction

By Kent Kellar

I rarely make predictions, because life has a way of coming up with surprises that can change the landscape in a hurry. As you know, however, one prediction that I felt completely comfortable making several years ago was that Hillary Clinton would never become president of the United States.

Which brings me to my next 100% guaranteed prediction: Members of the Radical Left (as well as a significant percentage of what little is left of the so-called moderate left) will never, ever:

Self-reflect not only on why they were humiliated in the recent election, but why they repeatedly fail at their endless nefarious activities — e.g., people control masquerading as healthcare, the well-orchestrated politics of division, redistribution of wealth, and, of course, endless lying.

Stop hate-mongering, name-calling, lying, cheating, and blaming their opponents and others for their failures.

Let go of their hodge-podge of ugly, pain-causing, insane beliefs in socialism, institutionalized racism, manmade global warming, the urgency to address “LGBT” issues, and the pressing need to prevent as much oil drilling, fracking, and coal mining as possible, among other things.

Given all this, it’s both humorous, sick, and sad at the same time that TV pundits are now debating the big question: Will the Radical Left finally realize it has a problem and change both its strategy and its messaging? The answer is: absolutely not — 100% guaranteed. The troglodytes of the Radical Left not only are mentally ill, a majority of them are fundamentally rotten to the core and motivated by truly bad intentions.

Members of the Radical Left comprise an army of Lucifers who want elections overturned. They want the electoral college thrown out (unless they need it to win an election). They extol the virtues of employing violence to disrupt little things like the presidential inaugurations of their enemies (the latter known as “opponents” by normal people). They concoct wild tales about voter fraud (which they themselves are guilty of), and, above all, they are determined to silence any and all opposition to their crazy, malevolent, anti-freedom agenda.

Thus, it should have come as no surprise to anyone that seventy-six year Nancy Pelosi not only refused to be gracious, step down from her throne, and turn the reins of power over to a younger member of the Democratic Party who might be in a position to bring some badly needed new ideas to the Dirty Dems. In fact, she put an exclamation point on her determination to cling to power by saying, “I don’t think that people want a new direction.” To which I say, “Great! Please don’t change your direction!

The media’s obsession with asking if the Democratic Party is going to do some serious soul searching and change its messaging underscores yet again that they really don’t understand the determination of the Radical Left to force people to adopt its agenda. Most on the Radical Left are true believers who take seriously the illustrious Mr. Alinsky’s message to never back down, no matter how badly you appear to be defeated. If you’re caught red-handed lying, stealing, or cheating, don’t be embarrassed, don’t apologize, and don’t stop. On the contrary, push back harder!

Thus, the more defeats the Dirty Dems sustain, the more times they are caught colluding with their media propaganda arm to take down their enemies, the more times they are caught lying and committing crimes, the harder you can expect them to push toward the edge of the cliff. I tell you, these muttonheads are true warriors! Stupid, evil, suicidal warriors … but warriors nevertheless.

P.S. You may have been impressed with Obama’s stuttering and stammering through his final press conference Friday, sounding for all the world like a reasonable guy who wanted to bring Americans together (the same Americans he has worked so hard to drive apart the past eight years). Even I admit it was a convincing act — but I wasn’t fooled for a second. Throughout it, I kept saying to myself, “This guy is a world-class liar. He doesn’t mean a word he’s saying.”

Once DT is ensconced in the Oval Office, you will see the true Obama emerge, and the true Obama is much worse than the one you’ve watched try to destroy America over the past eight years. So, I urge you not to be fooled about what’s coming. The Dirty Dems are gearing up to do more of the same — only uglier, more frequently, more outrageous, and more destructive. And that, dear reader, is an unequivocal prediction.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


29 December, 2016

Donald Trump disses the U.N. and appoints a man named Greenblatt to a foreign affairs position

LOL.  I don't have to guess what Mr Greenblatt's religious background is -- nor will the anti-Israel Left.  They will fume, though not perhaps loudly

DONALD Trump has branded the United Nations a club for people to “have a good time,” after the UN Security Council voted last week to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The president-elect wrote on Twitter that the world body has “such great potential,” but it has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”

On Friday, Mr Trump warned, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” referring to the day he takes office.

The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from Friday’s UN vote brushed aside Mr Trump’s demands that the US exercise its veto and provided a climax to years of icy relations with Israel’s leadership.

Jason Greenblatt, one of Mr Trump’s main advisers on US-Israel relations, has been named his special representative for international negotiations.

For two decades, Mr Greenblatt has worked for the Trump Organisation and currently serves as its executive vice president and chief legal officer.

In the statement, Mr Trump said that Mr Greenblatt “has a history of negotiating substantial, complex transactions on my behalf,” and has the expertise to “bring parties together and build consensus on difficult and sensitive topics.”



Can Trump Undo Obama's Last-Minute, Job-Killing Regulations?

It's been widely reported, both here and elsewhere, that President Obama is now engaged in a dramatic, last-minute regulatory binge that will require the efforts of both incoming President-elect Donald Trump and Congress to undo. What hasn't been reported is the cost: As Trump might say, it's yuuuge.

It's funny how such things as the actual costs of new rules get lost in the shuffle. But those costs are significant, and have created a major drag on the economy's growth. Today, estimates put the total federal regulatory cost to the economy at $2 trillion a year — or roughly 12% of the economy. At 80,000 pages and growing, the Federal Register, the government's regulatory bible, has become a bewildering maze of rules, requirements and impositions on business that require accountants and lawyers to maneuver through.

In recent days, Obama has unveiled five major "midnight" regulations at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior, a report from the American Action Forum  (AAF) shows. Alone, these new rules will cost about $5.1 billion a year and require at least 350,000 hours of paperwork from companies.

In addition, three other lesser rules will add an estimated $898 million to the regulatory tab, and another 146,000 hours of paperwork. The bottom line: These new rules that Obama is making the law of the land with little fanfare and no input from Congress will cost us $6 billion a year and nearly half a million hours of paperwork. We pay for these, by the way, not companies.

The impact of this kind of rule-making is cumulative. Since 2009, when Obama took office, the EPA and Interior have added $349 billion in regulatory costs. As the late, great Illinois Sen. Everett Dirksen once supposedly joked, "A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money." That's where we are now.

As we reported in October, regulatory burdens now rank No. 2 among small-business concerns, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's main small-business advocacy group. That's up from being ranked No. 5 just four years ago.

In an earlier study, the AAF said that since 2009, the Obama regulatory siege on business had brought 600 major new rules and over $813 billion in added costs. If Obama is concerned about the job losses, closed businesses, depressed communities and lost economic opportunities that his regulatory siege has wrought, he's shown no signs of it. Far from it. He's doubling down in the final days of his last term.

As we've stated many times before, this is a big reason why the economy has just hobbled along at a 2% growth rate, well below the long-term norm of 3%-plus. Businesses have been held back by regulations that cost far more than they benefit anyone.

Yet, several media outlets have suggested that these rules, once put in place, are basically in place for good. That's nonsense.

These rules are not laws, passed by Congress, though they are enforced like them. They can be changed. Under the 1996 Congressional Review Act, any rule put into effect can be rescinded within 60 legislative days by a majority vote of Congress. Key is that it's "legislative" days, not regular or business days. So basically, any new rule imposed since June can be taken off the books.



Tennessee — The Model for America

If America operated like our state, it would be fundamentally transformed for the better.

Tennessee, the 16th state admitted to the Union, is widely known by its nickname “The Volunteer State,” originating with its contribution of Patriots to the War of 1812 — and every contest for Liberty since. Tennessee’s official slogan is, “America at its best.”

Today, in many respects, Tennessee is a leading model for the rest of the nation. If America operated like our state, it would be fundamentally transformed by fiscal discipline, economic growth and competition. Those open market principles have been rejected by Democrat-controlled states, and the consequences are dire.

The Volunteer State has always had a carefully managed government due to its constitutional prohibition of an income tax and a requirement to balance the budget annually. But things began to change dramatically after the people of Tennessee declared it a right-to-work state.

In November 2008, the General Assembly began its departure from Democrat control. For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans held the majority in both chambers of the TN General Assembly. Then, in 2010, Republican Bill Haslam easily won the open seat for governor and gained the benefit of a conservative super majority in the House and conservative majority in the Senate. Notably today, both U.S. Senate seats are held by Republicans and seven of the nine House seats are Republican.

It’s no coincidence that in 2010, The Patriot Post’s home state began its ascent to the top of the pack in everything from fiscal health and integrity to classroom reading scores, as both the legislative and executive branches of state government committed to results, not intentions. The agenda for Tennessee was clearly to create and cultivate an environment to promote new companies to start, existing businesses to expand and jobs to naturally occur by removing barriers such as regulations, taxes and legislation that favored one aspect of industry versus another.

Tennessee was and is open for business.

On its state Economic and Community Development webpage, awards and accolades of Tennessee include: + The Brookings Institution ranks the state No. 1 for advanced industry job growth + Ranked No. 1 for foreign direct investment (FDI) job commitments in 2015 according to the recently released 2016 Global Location Trends report + Southern Business and Development Magazine named Tennessee the 2016 State of the Year for Economic Development based on its project totals and the variety of the industry sectors + Business Facilities ranked Tennessee the No. 2 state in the nation for infrastructure according to the magazine’s 12th Annual Rankings Report. Tennessee was also ranked No. 4 for workforce training

Those four notables were just in the month of August 2016.

In June, Kiplinger.com placed Tennessee at No. 4 in a recent analysis of the 10 Best States for Retirement. In May, Tennessee was named the “Fourth Best State in the Country for Business” by Chief Executive magazine on its 2016 Best & Worst States citing measures that included tax and regulatory regime, quality of the workforce and quality of life. Back in December 2015, Tennessee received the “Best State to be a Taxpayer” recognition by WalletHub.

The stew of excellence in a state founded on agriculture and commerce, features some knock-out intrastate rankings for its business environment: + Overall Ranking: Tennessee #5 + Cooperative State Government: Tennessee #3 (tie) + Most Favorable Regulatory Environment: Tennessee #3

And for the state’s infrastructure and global access: + Overall Ranking: Tennessee #1 + Certified Sites/Shovel-Ready Program: Tennessee #1 + Competitive Utility Rates: Tennessee #1 + Energy Reliability / Smart Grid Deployment: Tennessee #2 (tie) + Highway Accessibility: Tennessee #3

Oh, yeah, and the need for a skilled workforce has become a priority to existing and prospective employers. With a focus on results in the classroom and a Tennessee-driven set of standards that empower local school districts, the state has been the fastest improving in the nation according to the “Nation’s Report Card” for the years 2011 through 2015.

At this point, all sorts numbers, statistics and details could be reviewed, but simply understand that the principles employed in Tennessee have been the fuel in the engine to reach success.

First, collaboration and agreement were necessary in these achievements. While there are 95 counties in the state, there are only four major metropolitan areas. The state government polar star is a commitment for regional development and a decision that all ships will rise on the rising tide of economic growth.

Second, a commitment to those First Principles of conservatism is abundantly evident over the last 6-10 years — to hold fast on a balanced budget of prioritized spending with the understanding and accountability that the government neither possesses its own revenue nor creates jobs. The money in Tennessee’s Treasury truly comes from the spending and transactions of Tennesseans, not from raiding paychecks. The job growth and attractiveness of this state is due to its hard-working people willing to engage in learning and skill refinement.

The elected state folks did their jobs to terminate the “Death” tax that hit a family at least twice with levies on property and to begin the elimination of the Hall Tax, a type of income tax that disproportionately impacts retirees and venture capital investors on earnings from investments. The state departments have met the challenge to tighten their budgets just as Tennessee families have had to tighten theirs in the squeeze of the Obama economy.

While there’s a safety net of services for those in need, Tennessee has adopted its own Medicaid health insurance program through a waiver to hold costs down and rejected the pressure to expand the program from the Obama administration through ObamaCare. Learning and remembering the lessons of 2005-2007 that just under 200,000 recipients had to be removed from the Medicaid program due to its explosive costs and invasion of other needed areas of spending such as education, the resolve has been to hold the line on state health insurance.

Back in April, Tennessee joined several other states to resume its work requirements for Food Stamps to incentivize able-bodied adults to actively seek employment, another contrast between those states governed by principles versus popular spending.

Tennessee and other Republican-controlled states understand that a malignantly obese government crowds out the vibrancy and innovation of the private sector. The conservative philosophy is that the economy performs best when citizens have money to spend, not when agencies and departments of government are employed and empowered. Tennessee understands it’s competing with other states for new and existing companies' commitments for investments and jobs, so taxing productivity and investment is, basically, stupid.

As taxes are being cut in Tennessee, the unemployment rate is at 4.1% and personal income is growing at about 5%. By the end of June, the State Treasury held $800 million more than the budget estimates from tax collections and, no, that one-time money won’t be spent on recurring expenditures — a perennial Demo-controlled state problem.

The reason Tennessee is a leader in America, along with other states that legislate to make the government smaller and more accountable, is pure logic if you believe in free enterprise and the power of human ingenuity and work.

America is at its best in Tennessee and other Republican states that value their people, opportunities to work and personal worth.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


28 December, 2016

Barack Obama delivers last-minute hit to democracy

Barack Obama’s presidency is ending with a fine contempt for democracy as he exhibits every trait of hubris, arrogance and disregard for the messy business of elections and democratic mandates in his efforts to tie the hands of his successor on contentious policy that Obama was never willing to take to the electorate, or put before congress.

On two contentious issues — Israeli settlements and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic — Obama is taking ­actions directly against the spirit and practice of democracy by using bureaucratic and legal manoeuvres to try to put policy decisions beyond democratic ­revision. Obama chose to wait until after the presidential election to take these steps. Obama, with Hillary Clinton, was always the best advertisement for Donald Trump, even more so now, for Obama, at the extreme end of lame duckery, demonstrates a peerless elite disregard for democratic process and the messy and inconvenient business of elect­oral results.

It is Obama, not Trump, who pioneered American weakness and retreat from leadership.

Obama has been kind to America’s enemies, but he is a dangerous friend. America’s ­allies, in this case Israel, have been his chief victims. By abstaining, Obama allowed a resolution to go through the ­Security Council that the US had always previously vetoed. It is a one-sided and expansively worded condemnation of all ­Israeli ­settlements outside the lines of the state of Israel as it ­existed before the 1967 war.

On its face, the resolution makes no sense as the land the resolution chiefly concerns was never officially Palestinian land but, before 1967, belonged to ­Jordan. Israel has always ­accepted that the final status of this land must be worked out in negotiations and has made at least three serious offers to give more than 90 per cent of the land in question to a new Palestinian state.

In exchange, the Palestinian leadership must accept that this is an end of claims, must recognise the legitimacy of Israel, and must commit to its future security. The Palestinians have not been able to meet these conditions.

No one who lives in the real world thinks the Israel-Palestine dispute can be solved in today’s environment of a Middle East in flames.

Let’s be quite clear about this. Obama, with extreme irresponsibility, is licensing a new wave of global anti-Semitism. And he knows exactly what he’s doing.

Because of the blanket terms in which the UN resolution condemns Israel — simplistically equating every Israeli suburb in East Jerusalem with the most provocative and, in Israeli terms, ­illegal settlement outpost in Palestinian population centres in the West Bank — it will give massive encouragement and legitimacy to every international effort from the most toxic actors in the world to demonise Israel and to demonise Jews.

And to be reversed it will require another Security Council resolution, which Trump’s ­administration will no doubt move, but will be surely vetoed by Russia and China.

Obama’s contempt for democracy is equally evident in the Atlantic and Arctic oil drilling bans.

He has every right to prevent such drilling if he wishes, but he has chosen to do so under an ­ambiguously worded law that means that when Trump reverses Obama’s edict this will inevitably be challenged in court.

This is just the behaviour which brings democracy into contempt and fuels a backlash like that which propelled Trump to the presidency.

Obama cannot leave office a day too soon, though God alone knows what other harm he might accomplish before January 20.



Lame Duck Obama Sneaks Two Radicals Into Bureaucracy

President Barack Obama does not intend to go quietly into retirement.

Despite historical precedence, Obama named two Far Left radicals to six year terms on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.

Dego Adegbile received one of the sinecures on the strength of his defense of murderous cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, called the appointment a “kick in the teeth to the cops.” Sam Cabral, president of the International Union of Police Associations, called the appointment a “slap in the face to every law enforcement officer in this great nation” in a statement released Friday.

Pennsylvania’s Senator had more pointed reaction to Obama’s sneakplay:

    “Mr. Adegbile did not simply defend a client. He supervised an effort to lionize unrepentant cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, who cold-bloodedly murdered Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner 35 years ago,” Toomey’s statement read. “Mr. Adegbile supervised the effort to spread misinformation about the trial and evidence, fabricate claims of racism, malign Philly police, and organize rallies across the globe that portrayed this brutal cop-killer as the victim.”

    “A Democrat-led U.S. Senate evaluated the facts and agreed that Debo Adegbile is not fit to represent the American people as an enforcer of civil rights. This judgment included the votes of seven Democrats. I call on President Obama to adhere to the bipartisan judgment of the U.S. Senate and withdraw his appointment of Debo Adegbile to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights,” the statement

The other radical now drawing a fat government paycheck thanks to President Obama is Catherine Lhamon.

    Catherine Lhamon orchestrated the Obama administration’s overhaul of Title IX, co-authored the “Dear Colleague” letter mandating transgender bathroom use in public schools, and also played a key role in the now-infamous Rolling Stone hoax. Her appointment is a similarly aggressive appointment for a president with just over a month left in office.

Generally speaking, President’s leave vacancies this close to the end of their term for the new President.  However, Obama could not pass up a chance to stick two Far Left apparatchiks in positions of power.



Congress Needs to Fix America's Broken Financial System

Whole forests have been cut down to print the books written about the financial crisis of 2007/8 and America’s response to it. Far fewer have been written on what’s wrong with the financial system now. Yet there’s a lot wrong with it. Despite historically low interest rates, banks aren’t lending to businesses or individuals, smaller and community banks have had to close or merge, low-income customers have seen free checking accounts disappear and their fees rise. The financial system is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose.

Most of the blame for this can be laid directly at the feet of the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 supposedly to stop another financial crisis happening by reining in the big banks with regulatory compliance. Yet the effect of the law has been to strengthen the position of the Wall Street banks most at fault for the crisis, while punishing the Main Street banks who behaved responsibly (there are more details on how this came about in my 2015 paper, “How Dodd-Frank Harms Main Street”).

In addition, the Dodd-Frank law also created a powerful regulator with all the conditions necessary for it to go rogue, which it did quickly – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was created with a powerful director who did not serve at the pleasure of the President, independence from Congressional oversight via funding, and with many of its decisions protected from judicial review. The Bureau’s exercise of the enormous power granted to it over the financial system finally led to a court case, PHH Corp. v CFPB, which found the Bureau not only to have acted outrageously towards the plaintiffs, but to have been structured unconstitutionally.

Congress needs to fix this system before another financial crisis hits. CEI’s scholars outline their suggestions for doing this in chapter 2 of our new Agenda for Congress. Our recommendations are:

*     Congress should pass the Financial CHOICE Act, in whole or in part, to fix the system by, for instance:

*     Allowing banks to swap a higher capital buffer for burdensome regulatory compliance

*     Make regulators accountable by reforming the Federal Reserve, CFPB, and other agencies

*     Provide a better resolution to the “Too Big to Fail” (TBTF) problem by replacing the counterproductive “orderly liquidation authority” of Dodd-Frank with a new chapter of the bankruptcy code.

*    Make the CFPB accountable. While the PHH case, if upheld, would make the CFPB Director directly responsible to the President, Congress needs to assert the power of the purse over the Bureau by making its funding part of the appropriations process.

*    Pass a series of reforms preventing regulatory overreach in financial services. These include:

        Protecting federalism by making sure that loans issued in one state cannot be considered usurious by another state.

        Create a system of optional federal charters for nonbank finance companies that would allow them to export interest rates to out-of-state consumers.

        Reforming the laws that enabled the Department of Justice to persecute financial companies whose activities they disapproved of in Operation Choke Point

        Repeal the Durbin Amendment that capped fees related to debit card use, which resulted in banks increasing other fees without the consumer getting any benefit in reduced store prices.

        Pass laws protecting innovation in financial technology – fintech. These laws would allow firms to seek more investment through crowdfunding platforms, allow more people to qualify as “accredited investors” who can invest in a wide range of enterprises, stop the Securities and Exchange Commission from regulating peer-to-peer loans as if they were securities, and protect digital currencies from overregulation.

        Finally fix the TBTF problem by restricting the power of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, phase out federal deposit insurance, and restrict regulators’ power to stop new banks from forming without adequate reason.

With these reforms, Congress will take the financial system off forced life support and allow it to start breathing freely again. The reforms will help unleash financial innovation and provide much-needed access to capital for businesses and individuals.




Something to make a numbskull kid think:  "The New York Police Department has stripped Sgt. Eliezer Pabon of five vacation days after an administrative trial found him guilty of using excessive force. Pabon shoved a handcuffed 14-year-old [black] boy through a store window after the boy mouthed off at him. The boy suffered a punctured lung and had to have glass removed from his heart.

Trumpstein?:  "President-elect Donald Trump was bombarded with antisemitic tweets from his social media followers shortly after he tweeted "Happy Hanukkah" alongside a picture of a menorah on the first night of the Jewish festival of lights. Some social media users were angered, claiming that they had voted for the Trump camp on the basis that he was a good Christian, and they "don't support satanic Jews," while others accused him of being a "sellout." The feed soon turned into a fight between those who support Trump and those who don't.

Babyface says Trump is an authoritarian:  "CNN and one of their main hacks Brain Stelter continue to prove that Donald Trump lives rent free in their egg heads. Stelter is now urging other media hacks to call Trump Authoritarian because he mocks ‘journalists’ and the liberal press.

Black suspects more at risk from black cops:  "Despite an intense national focus on high-profile police shootings involving white officers and black men, a new study shows that white officers are not statistically more likely to shoot and kill a black suspect. Among a sample of 2,699 fatal police killings between 2013 and 2015, the study found that the odds of a black suspect being killed by a black police officer were consistently greater than the odds of a black suspect getting killed by a white officer"


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


27 December, 2016

Obama's latest attempt to sabotage Trump

The Obama administration said Thursday it is officially scrapping a post-9/11 requirement for immigrant men from predominantly Muslim countries to register with the federal government. The U.S. hasn't used the program since 2011, but a top immigration adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has spoken of renewing it.

The decision to end the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, or NSEERs, comes amid growing international terror fears and Trump's suggestions that he could ban Muslim immigrants from the United States.  After a truck attack killed 12 in a Christmas market in Berlin this week, Trump told reporters, "You know my plans."

The program's elimination could make it more complicated for Trump's administration to launch its own registration system for Muslims.

Trump never publicly spoke about introducing such a program. But a close adviser, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said last month he was in favor of launching an updated system for all foreigners from "high-risk" areas.

Meeting Trump in New York, Kobach carried a document labeled "Department of Homeland Security Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days." It listed an NSEERS reboot as the top priority. Kobach helped draft the program while working at the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

The registration system started about a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, requiring men and boys from a variety of mostly Middle Eastern countries to register with the federal government upon their arrival in the United States. Such people already in the country had to register with immigration authorities inside the U.S.

Registration, which also applied to immigrants from North Korea, included fingerprints and photographs. People also were required to notify the government if they changed addresses.

The administration will publish its decision in the Federal Register on Friday. It had been widely derided by civil libertarians as an effort to profile people based on race and religion.

The program is "not only obsolete," said Neema Hakim, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, "its use would divert limited personnel and resources from more effective measures."

After violence abroad, Trump schedules a meeting with his national security adviser

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has opposed the program since its inception, described it as a "failed counterterrorism tool and massive profiling program that didn't yield a single terrorism conviction in nearly a decade."

"With this action, the U.S. is on the right path to protect Muslim and Arab immigrants from discrimination," said Joanne Lin, the organization's senior legislative counsel.

The program never prohibited travel for men and boys from the more than 20 affected countries, including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

When the Obama administration abandoned the system in April 2011, it said a newer data collection program would be sufficient to collect biometric information for all foreigners coming into the country. At the time, more than 80,000 foreigners were registered.



As socialism shattered Venezuela, the useful idiots applauded

Jeff Jacoby

WHEN THE COLD WAR ended 25 years ago, the Soviet Union vanished into the ash heap of history. That left the West's "useful idiots" — Lenin's term for the ideologues and toadies who could always be relied on to justify or praise whatever Moscow did — in search of other socialist thugs to fawn over. Many found a new heartthrob in Hugo Chavez, the anti-Yanqui rabble-rouser who was elected president of Venezuela in 1998, and in short order had transformed the country from a successful social democracy into a grim and corrupt autocracy.

An avowed Marxist and protégé of Fidel Castro, Chavez gradually seized control of every lever of state power in Venezuela. The constitution was rewritten to strip the legislature and judiciary of their independence, authorize censorship of the press, and allow Chavez to legislate by decree. Before long the government acquired a stranglehold over the economy, including the huge and profitable energy sector. (Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world.)

With petrodollars pouring in, Chavez had free rein to put his statist prescriptions into effect. The so-called "Bolivarian revolution" over which he — and later his handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro — presided, was an unfettered, real-world example of anticapitalist socialism in action. Venezuela since at least the 1970s had been Latin America's most affluent nation. Now it was a showpiece for command-and-control economics: price and currency controls, wealth redistribution, ramped-up government spending, expropriation of farmland, and the nationalization of private banks, mines, and oil companies.

And the useful idiots ate it up.

In a Salon piece titled "Hugo Chavez's economic miracle," David Sirota declared that the Venezuelan ruler, with his "full-throated advocacy of socialism," had "racked up an economic record that . . . American president[s] could only dream of achieving." The Guardian offered "Three cheers for Chavez." Moviemaker Oliver Stone filmed a documentary gushing over "the positive changes that have happened economically in all of South America" because of Venezuela's socialist government. And when Chavez died in 2013, Jimmy Carter extolled the strongman for "improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen."

In the real world, however, socialism has transformed Venezuela into a Third World dystopia.

Venezuela this Christmas is sunk in misery, as it was last Christmas, and the Christmas before that. Venezuelans, their economy wrecked by statism, face crippling shortages of everything from food and medicine to toilet paper and electricity. Violent crime is out of control. Shoppers are forced to stand in lines for hours outside drugstores and supermarkets — lines that routinely lead to empty shelves, or break down in fistfights, muggings, and mob looting. Last week the government deployed 3,000 troops to restore order after frantic rioters rampaged through shops and homes in the southeastern state of Bolivar.

In the beautiful country that used to boast the highest standard of living in Latin America, patients now die in hospitals for lack of basic health-care staples: soap, gloves, oxygen, drugs. In some medical wards, there isn't even water to wash the blood from operating tables.

Between 2012 and 2015, "the rate of death among babies under a month old increased more than a hundredfold in public hospitals run by the Health Ministry", the New York Times reported in May. "The rate of death among new mothers in those hospitals increased by almost five times in the same period."

Socialism invariably kills and impoverishes. Gushing oil revenues amid a global energy boom could temporarily disguise the corrosion caused by a government takeover of market functions. But only temporarily. The Chavez/Maduro "Bolivarian revolution" has been economic poison, just like every other Marxist "revolution" from Lenin's Russia to Kim Il Sung's North Korea to the Castros' Cuba. By shredding property rights, dictating prices, and trying to control supply and demand, socialist regimes eventually make everything worse and virtually everyone poorer. Conversely, when governments protect free markets and allow buyers and sellers to interact freely, prosperity expands.

For three years in a row, Venezuela has ranked No. 1 on the Cato Institute's "misery index" which ranks each of the world's countries according to a formula that adds its unemployment, interest, and inflation rates, then subtracts its annual change in GDP per capita. With Venezuelan currency virtually worthless — hyperinflation this year is estimated at higher than 700 percent — residents have to resort to humiliating and pathetic workarounds. Reuters reported this month that Venezuelan women have been flocking across the border into Colombia and selling their hair in their desperation to earn some money with which to buy food, medicine, or diapers.

The government in Caracas, meanwhile, clings tightly to its socialist dogma, blaming the country's woes on Colombia's "mafia" or greedy businessmen. Ten days ago, government agents raided a toy distributor, confiscating nearly 4 million toys on the grounds that the company was planning to sell them at inflated prices. The regime says it will make the toys available at below-market prices to the poor — thereby ensuring that in Venezuela next Christmas, toys won't be available at any price. If nothing else, Venezuelan socialism has accomplished this much: It has transformed the Grinch from fiction into reality.



Congress should repeal ObamaCare using budget reconciliation

The recent election results reflect overwhelming unrest across the country, particularly about the broken state of healthcare. Americans have seen first-hand how ObamaCare fails to deliver on the lofty promises made by its namesake and his allies in Congress. Millions of Americans have faced canceled insurance plans, reduced access to health care providers, and double-digit premium increases over the course of its implementation.

Those lawmakers who vowed to oppose this failed health care law finally have an opportunity to put their campaign promises into action early next year. Working with President-elect Donald Trump, Republicans in the 115th Congress can finally repeal major parts of President Obama’s signature law using the budget reconciliation process, relieving Americans from its most burdensome mandates and costs.

Of course, few things are so simple in Washington. Despite the myriad positive provisions that will end up in any bill repealing elements of ObamaCare, some legislators on Capitol Hill may criticize the package for stopping short of full repeal, or for failing to include a replacement plan. Doing so risks passing up an unprecedented opportunity to protect millions of Americans from ObamaCare’s most onerous provisions.
In fact, the budget reconciliation process means lawmakers have their best chance yet at undoing negative elements of ObamaCare. The advantage to using the budget reconciliation process to repeal major provisions of the president’s health care law is that it will require only a simple majority in the Senate and House to move forward. It also cannot be filibustered, making it easier for Congress to send to the President's desk.

The disadvantage is that it may not be possible to repeal the law in its entirety. There’s difficulty in repealing the provisions in the law that do not have a direct budgetary impact, such as the insurance mandates requiring plans to offer a certain set of benefits dictated by bureaucrats in Washington.

Yet the opportunity to erase years of bad policy is too valuable to pass up. If complicated Senate precedents and procedure make repealing the entire healthcare law difficult, then lawmakers should aim to repeal what’s leftover through other legislative efforts. In tandem with pursuing reconciliation instructions that dismantle major provisions in ObamaCare, members of Congress should pursue standalone efforts to eradicate the health care law’s other failings. Passing legislation to stop the harmful insurance mandates and preventing the use of taxpayer dollars to bail out insurance companies are just some positive steps Congress can take to protect taxpayers and those in need of better health care options.  

The reconciliation package put together by Congress nearly two years ago provides a commendable baseline for the legislative package currently coming together. The 2015 legislation, which passed both chambers of Congress before getting vetoed by President Obama, repealed many of the most burdensome provisions in the president’s healthcare law, including parts that are so terrible that even many Democrats supported repealing them. Major provisions subject to repeal included the mandates on individuals and employers, the medical device tax, the tax on high cost employer-sponsored health plans and the ObamaCare Slush Fund. Congress should repeal these parts at the very least.

The reforms included in the reconciliation package currently taking shape represent significant steps to relieving the American people of many of ObamaCare’s most significant burdens. As members of a new Congress work together and reach out to President Trump to bring about change, they should continue a long-term push for broader, free-market, patient-centered health care reforms. They must not squander this latest opportunity to improve well-being for all Americans.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


26 December, 2016

Why the white working class votes against itself (?)

The little lady writing below is a reasonably good journalist.  She presents both sides of the argument pretty well. As a product of America's Left-dominated educational system, however. She lacks historical or academic context.  Leftists hate history because it falsifies so much of what they believe.  So they teach as little of it as possible.  So the kids hear all about Adolf Hitler and slavery but little else.

It would be very rare for them to hear of a flamboyant Jew who ran the British Empire at the peak of its influence, little more than a century ago.  A German socialist incinerated 6 million Jews.  The British Conservative party made a Jew their Prime Minister. See any significant difference there?  A Leftist probably wouldn't.  They just blot the whole thing out. Conservatives are racist, don't you know?

Why did the British Tories make a Jew their Prime Minister?  Because Benjamin Disraeli was a brilliant man. He was largely responsible for giving working class British people the vote.  Yes: It was a Conservative who did that, not a liberal. Why did Disraeli do that?  Because he saw the workers as "angels in marble": Good people behind a rough exterior.  And he thought that he as a sculptor could show the angels in those blocks of marble. 

And how did he do that?  By stressing that the Conservative party stood for the welfare of the nation as a whole, not any sectional interest.  He made the Tories the party for all proud Britons.  He wanted to keep the "Great" in Great Britain.

And Disraeli succeeded.  For decades after that, about a quarter of the working class in both Britain and Australia voted for the Tories rather than the Labour party.

And that drove Leftist sociologists crazy.  They wrote books about it.  Why did workers not vote for THEIR party?  The Leftists had a theory but it was not a very deep explanation.  Their claim was that some workers were "deferential":  They looked up to their "betters" in the middle and upper classes.  And there was something in that.  But WHY were some workers deferential?  Because they were psychologically inadequate was the best answer the Left had for that but there was no attempt to prove it.

So I looked into it.  I was an active survey researcher and an experienced psychometrician at the time so I resolved to do a thorough job of looking into it. After much trial and error, I constructed a reliable and validated questionnaire to index social deference.  I then looked at who these blighted deferential people actually were, using several samples with good prospects for generalizability. I found:

  "that working-class conservatives are not a-typically deferential. Rather it is the working-class Labourites who are a-typically non-deferential.  In other words, both groups of upper-class people [Left and Right] also respect social position and expertise in the people they vote for. It is this effect which also accounts for the overall positive correlation between deference and self-assigned class. We do then have support for Parkin's account of deference as representing a normative cultural value from which working-class Labour voters are especially (but institutionally) insulated.

A slightly surprising finding is the low relationship between deference and authoritarianism. A similar low relationship was observed in the Meadowbank pre-test of the scale -- where the correlation was 0.109. It is quite clear then that deference cannot now be viewed as simply a particular instance of attitude to authority in the political field. It is a quite separate determinant of voting behaviour in its own right. Deferentials defer not because of their attitude to authority but because of their beliefs about the causes and efficacy of social position. They are not browbeaten people."

So there is your answer from psychometrically sophisticated  research findings, not from journalistic opinion or single-question surveys.  Generalizing that finding to Trump voters, we would have to say that his working class supporters were mainstream Americans in their outlook.  It is the workers who voted for Hillary who are isolated and alienated  -- which is roughly the opposite of the answer given below.  As Disraeli foresaw, the Trump-voting workers voted for the welfare of their nation as a whole, not for the many special interests that the Democrats were sponsoring.  They really did want to "Make America Great Again"

Why did all those Economically Anxious Trump voters reject policies that would have helped relieve their economic anxiety?

Maybe they believed any Big Government expansions would disproportionately go to the “wrong” kinds of people — that is, people unlike themselves.

Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, particularly in traditionally blue strongholds, has led to lots of rumination about what the Democrats must do to reclaim their political territory. Smarter marketing, smoother organization, greater outreach and fresher faces are among the most commonly cited remedies.

But there seems to be universal agreement, at least among the Democratic politicians and strategists I’ve interviewed, that the party’s actual ideas are the right ones.

Democrats, they note, pushed for expansion of health-insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans; investments in education and retraining; middle-class tax cuts; and a higher minimum wage. These are core, standard-of-living improving policies. They would do far more to help the economically precarious — including and especially white working-class voters — than Donald Trump’s top-heavy tax cuts and trade wars ever could.

Here’s the problem. These Democratic policies probably would help the white working class. But the white working class doesn’t seem to buy that they’re the ones who’d really benefit.

Across rural America, the Rust Belt, Coal Country and other hotbeds of Trumpism, voters have repeatedly expressed frustration that the lazy and less deserving are getting a bigger chunk of government cheese.

In Kentucky, consumers receiving federal subsidies through the Obamacare exchanges complain that neighbors who are less responsible are receiving nearly free insurance through Medicaid.

“They can go to the emergency room for a headache,” one woman told Vox’s Sarah Kliff.

In Ohio, white working-class focus group participants decried that women who “pop out babies like Pez dispensers with different baby daddies” get “welfare every month” and “their housing paid for, their food.” These women seem to live large, one participant said, while people like herself are “struggling to put food on the table.”

Participants in this focus group, held by the Institute for Family Studies, were also skeptical of efforts to raise the minimum wage.

Opponents argued either that higher pay wasn’t justified for lower-skilled, less intense work or that raising the minimum wage would unfairly narrow the pay gap between diligent folks such as themselves and people who’d made worse life choices.

“That son of a b---- is making $10 an hour! I’m making $13.13. I feel like s--- because he’s making almost as much as I am, and I have never been in trouble with the law and I have a clean record, I can pass a drug test,” said one participant.

In Wisconsin, rural whites are similarly eager to “stop the flow of resources to people who are undeserving,” says Katherine J. Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and author of “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker.”

The people Cramer interviewed for her book often named a (white) welfare-receiving neighbor or relative as someone who belonged in that basket of undeservings — but also immigrants, minorities and inner-city elites who were allegedly siphoning off more government funds than they contributed.

More broadly, a recent YouGov/Huffington Post survey found that Trump voters are five times more likely to believe that “average Americans” have gotten less than they deserve in recent years than to believe that “blacks” have gotten less than they deserve. (African Americans don’t count as “average Americans,” apparently.)

None of this should be particularly surprising.

We’ve known for a long time, through the work of Martin Gilens, Suzanne Mettler and other social scientists, that Americans (A) generally associate government spending with undeserving, nonworking, nonwhite people; and (B) are really bad at recognizing when they personally benefit from government programs.

Hence those oblivious demands to “keep your government hands off my Medicare,” and the tea partyers who get farm subsidies, and the widespread opposition to expanded transfer payments in word if not in deed.

Rhetoric this election cycle caricaturing our government as “rigged,” and anyone who pays into it as a chump, has only reinforced these misperceptions about who benefits from government programs and how much.

It’s no wonder then that Democrats’ emphasis on downwardly redistributive economic policies has been met with suspicion, even from those who would be on the receiving end of such redistribution. And likewise, it’s no wonder that Trump’s promises — to re-create millions of (technologically displaced) jobs and to punish all those non-self-sufficient moochers — seem much more enticing.

No American likes the idea of getting a “handout” — especially if they believe that handout is secretly being rerouted to their layabout neighbor anyway.



Democrats scorch Obama over UN vote condemning Israeli settlements

Congressional Democrats issued scathing statements aimed at the Obama administration over the US's abstention from a Friday UN Security Council vote demanding Israel stop building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.

Leading Democrats from both houses called out the UN as an inappropriate venue for rejuvenating the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. They objected to the Obama administration's departure from what they view as decades of established US policy of vetoing UN resolutions regarding Israeli settlements.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was "extremely frustrating, disappointing and confounding" that the Obama administration failed to veto the UN's vote.

Schumer called out the UN as a "fervently" anti-Israel body, since the days of "Zionism is racism."  "Whatever one’s views are on settlements, the UN is the wrong forum to settle these issues," Schumer said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, called the US's abstention from the vote "unconscionable." "A two-state solution must be negotiated directly between the Israelis and Palestinians, and this resolution flies in the face of this necessity," Blumenthal said.

He also said support for Israel must remain "bipartisan," and that he'll work with colleagues on "both sides of the aisle" to advance "productive measures" that strengthen the US's relationship with Israel.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said that he would work to form a bipartisan coalition to "suspend or significantly reduce United States assistance to the United Nations."

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said that he was "deeply disappointed" that the Obama administration allowed such a "one-sided" resolution to pass.  "Actions like this will only take us further from the peace we all want to see," Wyden said.

And Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia said "one-sided resolutions" at the UN are counterproductive to the peace process and "achieving a two-state solution."  "I am dismayed that the administration departed from decades of U.S. policy by not vetoing the UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements," Warner said.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat from New York and the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was "very disappointed" by the US's "acquiescence to a one-sided, biased resolution at the United Nations Security Council."  "I have always believed that Israel can’t get a fair shake at the UN, and that is why Israel has relied on the United States to protect it from the anti-Israel tendencies of some UN Security Council members," Engel said.

Engel further said that the text of the resolution places the "blame" for the stalled peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians "entirely on Israel."



From my Twitter feed

Donald J. Trump: The so-called "A" list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!

PM of Israel: To all of our Christian friends around the world, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Martin Durkin: Wise old Walter Williams: "I don't trust experts. There is not a single major historical disaster that was caused by dumb people."


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


25 December, 2016


And may the wisdom of our Christian heritage guide you


Eat as much steak and sausage as you like

The study below is a little confusing. It was a large one, which allows for small effects, and it found that the amount of red meat you ate has no effect on your lifespan.  There did however seem to be a tiny advantage in replacing some red meat with vegetable protein

Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality

Mingyang Song et al.


Importance:  Defining what represents a macronutritionally balanced diet remains an open question and a high priority in nutrition research. Although the amount of protein may have specific effects, from a broader dietary perspective, the choice of protein sources will inevitably influence other components of diet and may be a critical determinant for the health outcome.

Objective:  To examine the associations of animal and plant protein intake with the risk for mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This prospective cohort study of US health care professionals included 131?342 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study (1980 to end of follow-up on June 1, 2012) and Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 to end of follow-up on January 31, 2012). Animal and plant protein intake was assessed by regularly updated validated food frequency questionnaires. Data were analyzed from June 20, 2014, to January 18, 2016.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause and cause-specific mortality.

Results:  Of the 131?342 participants, 85?013 were women (64.7%) and 46?329 were men (35.3%) (mean [SD] age, 49 [9] years). The median protein intake, as assessed by percentage of energy, was 14% for animal protein (5th-95th percentile, 9%-22%) and 4% for plant protein (5th-95th percentile, 2%-6%). After adjusting for major lifestyle and dietary risk factors, animal protein intake was not associated with all-cause mortality (HR, 1.02 per 10% energy increment; 95% CI, 0.98-1.05; P for trend?=?.33) but was associated with higher cardiovascular mortality (HR, 1.08 per 10% energy increment; 95% CI, 1.01-1.16; P for trend?=?.04). Plant protein was associated with lower all-cause mortality (HR, 0.90 per 3% energy increment; 95% CI, 0.86-0.95; P for trend?<?.001) and cardiovascular mortality (HR, 0.88 per 3% energy increment; 95% CI, 0.80-0.97; P for trend?=?.007). These associations were confined to participants with at least 1 unhealthy lifestyle factor based on smoking, heavy alcohol intake, overweight or obesity, and physical inactivity, but not evident among those without any of these risk factors. Replacing animal protein of various origins with plant protein was associated with lower mortality. In particular, the HRs for all-cause mortality were 0.66 (95% CI, 0.59-0.75) when 3% of energy from plant protein was substituted for an equivalent amount of protein from processed red meat, 0.88 (95% CI, 0.84-0.92) from unprocessed red meat, and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.75-0.88) from egg.

Conclusions and Relevance:  High animal protein intake was positively associated with cardiovascular mortality and high plant protein intake was inversely associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, especially among individuals with at least 1 lifestyle risk factor. Substitution of plant protein for animal protein, especially that from processed red meat, was associated with lower mortality, suggesting the importance of protein source.

JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(10):1453-1463. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182


Live by executive action, die by executive action

Whatever can be done with executive action can be undone by executive action. That was one of the messages outgoing President Barack Obama had for his successor, President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with NPR, where Obama said, correctly, that "If he wants to reverse some of those rules, that's part of the democratic process. That's, you know, why I tell people to vote — because it turns out elections mean something."

So, suddenly, upon assuming office, Trump could start immediately rescinding controversial executive actions, whether Obama's executive amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants with U.S.-born children, or his decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

In total, Obama has issued 260 executive orders. Those could all be rescinded on day one, as there is no legal requirement they be retained.

There's also a bevy of regulations, including the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding by the Environmental Protection Agency and its corollaries, the new and existing power plant rules, that constituted the agency's expansive war on coal electricity.

There are labor regulations, including the overtime pay rule or the persuader rule.

There was the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule that conditioned the receipt of community development block grants on municipalities making changes to local zoning along racial and income guidelines.

Those could be rescinded by the agencies that issued them, through the process under the Administrative Procedures Act, which could take a couple of years. Best to get started right away.

There is also the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives Congress the power to roll back with simple majorities regulations within 60 legislative days of being implemented. That goes back to June, and according to the Heritage Foundation, includes "many dozens of major rules [that] could be vulnerable to a CRA challenge. These include, among others: Rules under the Dodd–Frank financial regulation law, Sick leave for federal contractors, Offshore drilling rules, and Energy mandates for home appliances."

It would also include a bevy of midnight regulations now being implemented at lightning speed, said to cost $6 billion.

Then there is Obama's executive action to indefinitely seal off much of the outer continental shelf in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from oil and gas drilling. Obama officials are bragging that this is one action that cannot be undone by executive action, although there is a clear process under the law for issuing new offshore drilling leases.

But even if an attempt to undo Obama's action to block drilling via executive action got caught up in federal court, Congress could always just defund it or pass new legislation repealing the provision he invoked.

Speaking of which, Congress could always defund, or prohibit the use of funds to implement regulations and any other executive action. So, where all else fails — if for example litigants manage to preserve certain regulations and other actions via federal court mandates — there is always the budget and the power of the purse where Congress can intervene.

With that in mind, Congress could act preemptively, and defund what it can in the April continuing resolution, particularly controversial items the left is likely to sue over, to strengthen the President's hand.

A lot can be done to undo Obama's legacy, and Trump will be in the driver's seat. Ironically, not so much action is required by Congress. Which, really, is Obama's fault, since he relied on executive action so much during his tenure.

If Trump washes away Obama's legacy, ending implementation of a scores of Obama executive orders, actions and regulations, they will be wiped away like a dry erase board—and Obama will have nobody to blame but himself for acting unilaterally to begin with.



Israel asked Trump to intervene on UN vote

Israel asked US President-elect Donald Trump to apply pressure to avert UN approval of a resolution demanding an end to settlement building after it learned the Obama administration intended to allow the measure to pass, a senior Israeli official told Reuters.

Israeli officials contacted Trump's transition team at a "high level" after failing to persuade US officials to veto the Security Council draft resolution and asked him to intervene, the official said on Thursday. Two Western officials said that President Barack Obama had intended to abstain from the vote.

Trump then sent a tweet urging a US veto and spoke by phone to Egypt's president, who abruptly ordered his country's delegation to postpone the vote scheduled for Thursday on the resolution they had sponsored.

The government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Obama, believes the United States had long planned the council vote in coordination with the Palestinians and intended to use it to "ambush" Israel on the thorny settlements issue, the official said.

"It was a violation of a core commitment to protect Israel at the UN," the official said.

Israel had warned the Obama administration they would reach out to Trump if Washington decided to go ahead with the abstention, and Netanyahu's aides did so when they realised the United States set on this course, the official said.

The Israeli government appreciated Trump's efforts, the official said. Members of Netanyahu's right-wing government have increasingly warmed to Trump, who has made a controversial promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Relations between Obama and Netanyahu were severely strained over the US.-backed Iran nuclear deal.

With the clock ticking down on Obama's tenure, Israel remains concerned that the resolution condemning Jewish settlements could still go ahead with another sponsoring country - with continued US support - before the president leaves office on January 20, the official said.


UPDATE:  The resolution was put forward again on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal a day after Egypt withdrew it.  Obama ordered the USA to abstain, allowing the resolution to pass.  His hostile attitude to Israel was never in doubt but this was a blatant demonstration of it:  A parting shot of hate. 

New Zealand seems simply to have been out of the loop.  They live a long way away, I guess.  They said they wanted to promote the peace process -- which is by now thoroughly dead, through no fault of Israel


Ken Burns: Student of History—or Left-Wing Gasbag?

Executive Summary

Ken Burns is known as a PBS documentary creator, but he is actually a significant cog in the left-wing propaganda machine.

His taxpayer supported PBS documentaries are shown in public schools across the U.S., presented to students as unvarnished fact. But are they?

Burns claims he displays neutrality in his work, but in 2008 he produced the introductory video for Senator Ted Kennedy's Democratic National Convention speech, described by Politico as presenting Kennedy "as the modern Ulysses bringing his party home to port." When Burns endorsed Barack Obama for the U.S. presidency he compared Obama to Abraham Lincoln.

Burns sneers at the U.S., mentioning "our spurious sovereignty." He omits the long racist history of Democrat politicians in his documentary "Congress," not once identifying a pro-slavery congressman or senator as a Democrat. He omits the anti-abortion views of Susan B. Anthony in his feminism documentary since that did not fit the left-wing ideology he was pushing.

Burns' productions are riddled with errors. His documentary about boxer Jack Johnson, "Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson" would be more fittingly titled "Unforgivable Lack of Familiarity with his Subject." His "Baseball" series includes errors such as film of a player supposedly pitching in a World Series who did not play for either team.

In his June, 2016, Stanford University commencement speech attacking candidate Donald Trump, Burns hit all the obligatory left-wing mantras: "As a student of history, I recognize this type...the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber rattling."



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


23 December, 2016

Christmas blogging

No promises but I think I will be blogging pretty much as usual right through the Christmas period.  Saturday is my Sabbath so, as usual, I won't be blogging then. I do however put something up every day on A WESTERN HEART so that will continue


The aluminium scare

I hold no brief for aluminium. Claims that molecules from aluminium pots and pans leak into food go back a long way so I have never liked aluminium cooking utensils. I have mostly used cast-iron, enamel and steel utensils instead. But the study below has been hyped and I wish to inject a note of caution. 

The main cautions concern the sample, its selection, its size  and the variability of the results.

Regarding the latter, I quote from the Results section of the paper:  "Aluminium was found in all 144 tissues and its concentration ranged from 0.01 to 35.65 ?g/g dry wt."  That is a pretty big variation. It does not sound like a uniform process.

And the form of Alzheimers was a rare one.  Does it generalize to other forms?  Is the rarity due to something that also encourages aluminium concentrations? Might not more common forms of Alzheimers be less infested by aluminium?

And the sample is an available one, not a random one so its generalizability is inherently unknown.

And the sample size is risible.  You can get all sorts of odd and unreplicable results with such a small sample.

Finally, an important question is how many users of aluminium pots and pans have lived to a ripe old age?  Hundreds of millions, I would think.  Do we balance 12 cases supporting a conclusion agains millions not supporting it? 

I accept that I may be wrong but my conclusion is that aluminium is unlikely to harm you

Aluminium in brain tissue in familial Alzheimer’s disease

Ambreen Mirzaa et al.

The genetic predispositions which describe a diagnosis of familial Alzheimer’s disease can be considered as cornerstones of the amyloid cascade hypothesis. Essentially they place the expression and metabolism of the amyloid precursor protein as the main tenet of disease aetiology. However, we do not know the cause of Alzheimer’s disease and environmental factors may yet be shown to contribute towards its onset and progression. One such environmental factor is human exposure to aluminium and aluminium has been shown to be present in brain tissue in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. We have made the first ever measurements of aluminium in brain tissue from 12 donors diagnosed with familial Alzheimer’s disease. The concentrations of aluminium were extremely high, for example, there were values in excess of 10 ?g/g tissue dry wt. in 5 of the 12 individuals. Overall, the concentrations were higher than all previous measurements of brain aluminium except cases of known aluminium-induced encephalopathy. We have supported our quantitative analyses using a novel method of aluminium-selective fluorescence microscopy to visualise aluminium in all lobes of every brain investigated. The unique quantitative data and the stunning images of aluminium in familial Alzheimer’s disease brain tissue raise the spectre of aluminium’s role in this devastating disease.

Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology Volume 40, March 2017, Pages 30–36.


Who are really the stupid ones?

Some comments from a fellow blogger:

As hard as it might believe, I can be a pompous ass on occasions.  I had a friend who used to remind me of this, by very gently (and sometimes not so gently), reminding me: "I love it when you talk down to me", or "I love it when you talk to me as if I don't have a brain in my head."

Bill Clinton needs such a friend in constant attendance, it would seem, as of late.

Bill is at it again, reminding the deplorables that they are in fact deplorable and ignorant.  And, saying that Donald Trump got votes by exploiting our anger,  by taking advantage of our stupidity. 

To my mind, this is simply saying the reverse, that Hillary Clinton had the God-given ability to make us so angry that we stayed away from her in droves.  After all, how smart do you have to be to antagonize the people you want to vote for you?

Ah, Bill.  Best to keep your mouth shut;  and, to stop calling people stupid because they did not vote for your dumpy wife.


Close Them Down!

John Stossel

Donald Trump is appointing good people -- Andy Puzder, for example, Trump's nominee for labor secretary.

When Puzder took over Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants, they were deep in debt. Four years later, they were profitable. I bet his 70,000 workers are happy about that.

"What did you do that your predecessor didn't?" I asked Puzder. His answer sounded a little like Trump.

"They were entrenched. ... My second memo as CEO was: Next person that answers a question with 'because we've always done it that way' will be fired."

Sounds ruthless. No wonder he opposes the minimum wage! But wait: He got his start scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.

"Minimum wage, dollar an hour... I learned about customer service, about inventory. That was a good start, a good step on that ladder."

Puzder painted houses and mowed lawns as a teenager, jobs that today's minimum wage and employment regulations sometimes make illegal. People think those rules are compassionate, but not Puzder.

"I have a 16-year-old son, and I really love him," he told me, but "there's no way in the world I'd pay that kid $12 an hour to do something. We're losing a generation of people because we've eliminated jobs that those people normally filled. How do you pay somebody $15 an hour to scoop ice cream? How good could you be at scooping ice cream? It's just not a job where you could compensate somebody like that."

The media hate businessmen who say things like that. A Washington Post headline: "Ayn Rand acolyte Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists." This is absurd. Trump likes capitalism, but he's no objectivist. Objectivists have firm principles.

The Post article smears Puzder as a cruel Ayn Rand fan who "wants to automate fast-food jobs." But Puzder doesn't want to automate. He just states an obvious truth: A higher minimum wage leads employers to replace some workers with machines. Fast-food companies were already installing touch screens. A $15 minimum wage speeds that process.

If reporters were actually compassionate, they would oppose the endless regulations they routinely champion. People can't gain the experience needed to earn higher wages if they aren't allowed to be hired in the first place.

"We have restaurants in 33 countries and 45 states," says Puzder, describing how hard it is to get permits to open restaurants. "In Texas, it's 60 days. In LA, it takes 280. I can open a restaurant faster in Siberia than I can in California."

Remember when it was Russia that opposed capitalism?

"The permitting is ridiculous," says Puzder. "They make us put in stoplights and curb cuts and plant trees two blocks away. Everybody on the planet wants input. You've got to get approvals from the city, the county, the state, satisfy federal regulatory requirements."

As a result, "You can't grow, can't build restaurants, can't build a new Wal-Mart, that new office building if you can't use the land, if you can't get through the regulatory process."

Trump nominating someone who sees that problem is encouraging. I hope he surrounds himself with other people who love free markets, not just power.

Another possibly good Trump appointee is Linda McMahon, his nominee to head the Small Business Administration. McMahon almost defeated Connecticut's clueless socialist Sen. Richard Blumenthal in the 2010 Senate race. She calls herself a fiscal conservative, so I wish she'd won.

But I hesitate to support her, since I once sued her and her husband for allegedly telling one of their giant actors to beat me up because I pointed out that WWF wresting is fake. Really. Google "Stossel wrestler" and you'll see what I mean.

But my main objection to both nominations is that we don't need either agency! The SBA is wasteful cronyism. Federal bureaucrats have no clue which small businesses deserve funding.

Likewise, workers don't need a Department of Labor to set one-size-fits-all labor policies. Let competition set the rules. Employers and workers will make the choices and contracts that work best for each of them.

I hope Andy Puzder and Linda McMahon take over the SBA and Labor Department, then immediately shut them down.



Bored CBS Knocks Trump’s Cabinet Picks for Their Wealth

No mention that installing people who are already rich greatly reduces any temptation to corruption

With seemingly nothing else better to report with regards to U.S. politics Tuesday, CBS Evening News chose to whine about how President-Elect Donald Trump’s cabinet is comprised of millionaires and billionaires. “He's nearly finished with his cabinet, and outside national security, the billionaire president has surrounded himself with billionaires,” remarked Anchor Scott Pelley leading into Julianna Goldman’s report.

“As he traveled the cross the country on his thank you tour, President-Elect Donald Trump touted his choices for his cabinet and inner circle, a team historians say is the richest in U.S. history,” Goldman reported, as if it was somehow tainting Trump’s presidency.

“How rich? CBS news estimates seven of Mr. Trump's picks are worth a combined $11.5 billion,” she exclaimed, before rattling off the net worth of Trump’s selections:

Betsy DeVos, nominated for secretary of education, comes from a family worth more than $5 billion. Linda McMahon, picked small-business administrator, has family wealth worth $ 1.2 billion. And Vincent Viola, Mr. Trump's choice for army secretary, is worth $1.77 billion… Steve Mnuchin, Mr. Trump’s Treasury pick, has been estimated to be worth as much as $655 million.

Goldman leaned on Senator, and failed presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders to slam Trump. She played clips of Sanders on CBS’s Face the Nation where he chided Trump for their wealth and claimed he could not properly fight the political establishment with them on board. “Critics, like Senator Bernie Sanders, say Mr. Trump's choices fly in the face of his populist campaign message,” she argued.

The CBS reporter seemed to try to dismiss the idea that these wealthy people could care about the poor, “[Steve Mnuchin] and Commerce Secretary Nominee Wilbur Ross, worth $2.5 billion, recently said they were attuned to the plight of working Americans.” She then played a clip of Ross discussing how all jobs are not created equal, the set up painted the comments as somehow out of touch.

Wrapping up her report she noted that cabinet members do tend to be rich, but touted former presidents, saying, “Neither President Obama nor President George W. Bush had a single billionaire in their first cabinet.”

The left’s demonization of success and wealth originates from a false belief that the rich became so through underhanded and unethical means, especially those who associate with the right. It’s an extension of the belief expressed by President Barack Obama that “you 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


22 December, 2016

The crazy war on salt again

The FDA is a very risk averse agency, which can cause more deaths than it prevents.  And the received wisdom about salt is that the amount people currently consume is bad for you.  That has come under very powerful scientific challenge recently but the FDA are sticking by the old theory: Whether current average levels of salt consumption are dangerous is assumed rather than proven.  So they are at present proposinging guidelines on salt consumption that are unrealistically low. So the article below challenges them. The article has been followed by a rejoinder but the rejoinder is mainly bureacratic -- talking about what people say -- and not convincing.  The article below is "Reducing Sodium Intake in the Population" by David A. McCarron and  Michael H. Alderman.



Trump Admin Has Opportunity to Rebuild Military, Shrink Bloated Government

Washington D.C. is all about politics, policy and procedure. The Department of Defense receives plenty of political and policy attention, but few care to look at the procedures. It’s not sexy. It doesn’t raise campaign funds. But that is precisely what needs fixing. The incoming Trump administration needs to begin shifting the defense budget away from baseline budgeting to a zero-based budgeting model.

Defense advisors recently voiced plans to rebuild the military with reallocated funds earned by cutting bureaucracy and wasteful spending within the DoD. But American Enterprise Institute defense analyst Mackenzie Eaglen rightly calls this plan a fantasy. There is simply not enough fraud, waste and abuse to yield the $55 to $60 billion per year in new money needed for Trump’s ambitious reinvestment plans, she argues. This historically inadequate snark-hunt approach to the budget process too often defines how elected officials try to balance a budget.

Zero-based budgeting is an alternative system proven to decrease expenditures and improve efficiency within private sector companies and public institutions. This budget method identifies wasteful spending and helps purge unnecessary expenses by obligating each department to justify its proposed spending each and every year. This method automatically eliminates the practice of carrying over the budget from the previous year. And that’s important since the current baseline budgeting system requires the government to set the previous year’s spending as the starting point for the next year’s budget.

Under the current system, preparers assume all of the same programs and operating procedures, and only adjust the following year’s expenditures to account for actual spending in the current year, inflation and population growth. Since inflation and population growth are almost always positive, the budget almost always rises.

This automatic carryover of expenses under baseline budgeting actually encourages spending. Defense officials regularly exhaust their funds in a period known as “use it or lose it” so as to ensure they do not lose money in future budgets. Researchers found that federal procurement spending was five times higher in the last week of the fiscal year than the weekly average for the rest of the year, and the quality of the projects was scored well below average.

Zero-based budgeting, while initially time-consuming, has saved large corporations 10 percent to 25 percent, according to independent studies. And those savings are more sustainable over a longer period than traditional cost reduction methods, such as lower level workforce reduction and outsourcing. If the DoD achieved just a 10 percent savings over the entire organization, those savings would amount to $53 billion.

The zero-based budgeting model could be tested within the DoD by applying it first to the bloated bureaucracy. The growth in civilian and staff numbers continues to exceed what is necessary, while the number of general and flag officers positions has increased disproportionately to the personnel they oversee:

Roughly 2,000 GFOs oversaw 12 million military personnel in 1945.

Now, nearly 900 GFOs oversee 1.3 million active duty personnel.

In fact, over the past 30 years, the military’s end-strength deployable/fieldable forces has decreased 38 percent, but the ratio of four-star officers to the overall force has increased by 65 percent.

A 10 percent cut among general and flag officers and their staffs alone could save nearly $11.5 billion over 5 years.

Now critics will say that other sectors of government should be forced to adopt such a procedure. And we agree. But a successful annual or even biannual implementation in the DoD first would provide the bipartisan incentive necessary for officials to adopt the process elsewhere. After all, imagine the impact of a stringent budget process that required all government agencies to justify everything they spend. The annual requirement to defend each and every expenditure as necessary and worthwhile would cause an agency like the EPA to collapse under the weight of its own uselessness.

The traditional government budgeting system is simply not working. Zero-based budgeting could specifically help refocus defense priorities by ensuring money is spent in areas that promote readiness. A biannual application may also improve the outcome. Successful implementation in the DoD would encourage Congress to target other departments of government that would have a difficult time justifying their existence.



The Road to Better Infrastructure

Donald Trump’s promise to increase federal spending on infrastructure—an extra $1 trillion over ten years—may quickly set the tone for the incoming president’s relationship with Congress. Will it come to blows? Who will prevail: big spending “National Greatness” advocates or fiscal conservatives? Independent Institute Research Fellow Gabriel Roth argues there needn’t be a showdown, because infrastructure improvements don’t require tapping the federal till. Road improvements, for instance, could be funded via electronically collected tolls. In addition, the federal and state governments could rely on private financing, as Canada has done successfully for air traffic control.

Regarding surface roads, the case for greater reliance on the private sector is stronger than skeptics are willing to admit. If full privatization isn’t viable, then public roads could be operated by private firms that maintain government-set standards, “with compensation proportional to the volume of traffic, at rates to be determined by open bidding,” Roth writes. At rates of 2 or 3 cents per vehicle mile, this policy be an easier sell than policymakers had imagined. Roth also makes a case for adopting the “user pays” principle for funding transportation infrastructure.

“Those who feel that transportation users merit special treatment could campaign for ‘transportation stamps’—analogous to food stamps—so that service providers are not forced to pay,” he writes. In conclusion: “Trump could help deliver more effective, efficient infrastructure by enabling private and public providers to supply facilities for which beneficiaries choose to pay. It’s time for federal subsidies to reach the end of the road.”



Trump Orders Up a Fast-Food CEO for Labor Secretary

One of Donald Trump’s controversial picks for a cabinet post (but which one isn’t controversial?) is restaurant executive Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor. One virtue he can bring to the table—one sorely absent from most Labor secretaries—is a first-hand understanding of how federal regulations affect employment in fast food and other highly competitive industries.

“Puzder has the unconventional idea that government intervention in the labor market usually prevents labor and management from doing things that would be good for both,” writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman.

Head of the company that owns Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s (whose combined workforce is about 75,000 employees), Puzder is a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act. In three op-eds written for the Wall Street Journal, he has taken aim at Obamacare, including related statutes enforced by the Labor Department. “As a CEO, Mr. Puzder knows how harmful these rules are,” writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow John R. Graham. “As Labor Secretary, he can relieve many of them, even without full repeal of Obamacare.”



Trump Picks Fiscal Hawk to Lead Budget Office

America's debt is an issue Trump has not forgotten about and intends to tackle head on.

Now that the Electoral College has cast its votes securing the election victory of Donald Trump to become the next president of the United States, perhaps the media will turn its attention to the issues that propelled Trump to victory. Well, one can dream anyway.

One of several issues that has been off the radar for quite some time is our nation’s nearly $20 trillion debt, half of which is thanks to the spending policies of the federal government under Barack Obama. To be fair, the federal government has had a spending problem for several decades now, and the mountain of debt is so enormous that some people have quit paying attention. Life does continue, after all, and the sky hasn’t fallen.

Fortunately, Trump’s selection of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) indicates that America’s debt is an issue that he has not forgotten about and one that he intends to tackle head on.

Speaking highly of Mulvaney, Trump stated, “We are going to do great things for the American people with Mick Mulvaney leading the Office of Management and Budget. Right now we are nearly $20 trillion in debt, but Mick is a very high-energy leader with deep convictions for how to responsibly manage our nation’s finances and save our country from drowning in red ink.”

Trump added, “With Mick at the head of OMB, my administration is going to make smart choices about America’s budget, bring new accountability to our federal government, and renew the American taxpayers' trust in how their money is spent.”

Trump has made a smart choice, and Mulvaney is yet another individual that conservatives, especially fiscal conservatives, can be happy to support.

Mulvaney’s responsibility as director of the OMB will be to guide Trump’s budget proposal negotiations. His performance in Congress is that of a solid fiscal conservative. Having been elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the first wave of Tea Party conservatives, he has a reputation for pushing for budget cuts and is an advocate for smaller limited government.

Mulvaney advocates shrinking the federal workforce and privatizing certain functions of the federal government. He’s also a proponent of shutting down the government instead of approving more spending for programs that the government has no business funding, such as Planned Parenthood’s gruesome abortion machine.

Josh Siegel of The Heritage Foundation notes that as the founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, the most conservative group in Congress, Mulvaney was a leading voice to push for cuts in both domestic and defense spending. The Freedom Caucus has a list of 232 regulations dealing with climate change, nutrition, immigration, labor and energy that it wants Trump to repeal, and with Mulvaney as the budget director, that should happen in short order.

Fighting the establishment is another thing Mulvaney is known for, which ought to please Trump supporters. He voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2011 despite the U.S. being on the brink of default and insisted that its passage be paired with “Cut, Cap and Balance,” a measure to slash federal spending and impose a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. In 2013, Mulvaney also led an effort to defund ObamaCare and later that same year declined to support the re-election of John Boehner.

On some issues, Mulvaney has been known to work with Republicans and Democrats, particularly on defense spending. Siegel notes, “He has opposed the use of a separate war funding account known as overseas contingency operations, which is a budgetary maneuver used to avoid spending caps to fund military and anti-terror operations abroad, such as the military campaign against ISIS.” The military is in serious need of any upgrade, but the Pentagon is also rife with waste, and Mulvaney knows it.

It will ultimately be Mulvaney’s task to figure out how that defense spending can occur without raising the debt even more. His reputation as a conservative “fiscal hawk” will be put to the test as he figures out what federal spending on wasteful programs will need to be cut in order to increase defense spending while simultaneously reducing the debt.

Fortunately, his track record shows that he is a solid pick to help the incoming Trump administration make America great again.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


21 December, 2016

The latest attempt to "psychologize" conservatives

There could be few more Authoritarian, rigid and closed minded people than believers in Global Warming.  Their usual response to being shown evidence about the non-correlation between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels is, not to discuss the matter, but to appeal to authority. "97% of scientists say ..." is their typical response, with no awareness that they are misquoting.  They base their beliefs entirely on authority, not on the scientific facts.  They talk airily about "The Science" while showing an abject ignorance of any climate science whatsoever.

And Leftists generally are like that.  If a conservative mentions any fact that conflicts with Leftist gospel, the response of the Leftist is either to run away or shower the conservative with abuse  -- sometimes both. We conservative bloggers encounter it all the time.

So it is amusing that Leftist psychologists have been beavering away for over 60 years in an attempt to prove that it is CONSERVATIVES who are rigid, closed-minded and authoritarian.

But to get any result in line with their desires, they have to use very sloppy research methods, most particularly opinion inventories that lack predictive validity.  If they think that some opinion expression indicates conservatism, rigidity etc they conclude that it does without further ado.  I spent 20 years pointing out the flaws in their research methods but that seems to have had no influence whatsoever.  They liked their conclusions too much to examine the evidence closely.  I have given many examples of such pseudo "research" over the years but let me mention just a couple here. 

A widely used measure of mental rigidity was the Budner scale of Intolerance of Ambiguity.  It contains both tolerant and intolerant opinion expressions.  And the two sorts of expressions are combined to produce a measure of overall rigidity.  So the two sorts of item should show a strong negative correlation between them. People who agree with the "tolerant" statements should disagree with the "intolerant" statements.  But they do not.  The two types of item are uncorrelated.  They clearly measure two unrelated things.  So which type of item measures "intolerance of ambiguity"?  Who knows?  Probably neither. But I have yet to read of any user of the Budner scale being bothered by its self contradictory nature.  They accept garbage as information. 

And the means they use to assess conservatism are equally hilarious.  A very popular measuring instrument is the Altemeyer Right Wing Authoritarianism attitude inventory.  Yet its  author admitted that it gave very little prediction of vote at election time.  Roughly half of the alleged right wingers as detected by the inventory actually voted for Leftist parties.  A very strange measure of anything Right-wing!  To cap it off there was one group found who regularly did score highly on it:  Russian Communists.  But if they are Right-wing who is Left-wing?

But the "research" concerned goes on, scatterbrained definitions and all.  One of the most ardent workers in the vineyard is the  Belgian Psychologist Alain Van Hiel.  He still seems to think there is something in the research concerned.  I tried to disabuse him of that idea a few years back, but, as usual, I was pissing into the wind.  His latest paper is: "The Relationship Between Right-wing Attitudes and Cognitive Style: A Comparison of Self-report and Behavioural Measures of Rigidity and Intolerance of Ambiguity" -- appearing in the 2016 European Journal of Personality

And Van Hiel has gone from bad to worse as far as conceptual confusion is concerned.  In his latest paper, he accepts just about anything as an index of conservatism, from the afore-mentioned "Right Wing Authoritarianism" inventory to the Rokeach Dogmatism scale, which was specifically constructed NOT to correlate with Left/Right orientation. So the numbers he gets out of his research are meaningless.  One wonders why he bothers.  He must have a great need to project Leftist failings onto conservatives


Wotta laugh!  Electoral college DEMOCRATS desert their candidate

"PRESIDENT TRUMP".  That sure sounds good! An end to Leftist tyranny.  Will the Left ever accept that they have no right to tell other people what to do?

At least five Democrats who had been committed to back Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Electoral College cast ballots for other people on Monday, the largest number of "faithless electors" seen in well over a century.

The 538 electors were voting across the country to confirm Republican Donald Trump as the next president. The event is normally a formality but took on extra prominence this year after some Democrats urged electors to revolt and switch to Clinton, who won the national popular vote on Nov. 8.

In the end, it was not Republicans breaking ranks. The Democratic dissidents - four from Washington state and one from Maine - underscored deep divisions within their party and effectively dashed long-shot hopes by some activists that Republicans pledged to Trump might back Clinton.

By late afternoon, no Republican elector was reported to have cast a ballot for anyone other than Trump, although one elector from Texas had written that he planned to do so.

The move by the five was a rare break from the tradition - and in many states a legal requirement - of casting an Electoral College ballot as directed by the outcome of that state's popular election.

Trump applauded his victory in front of the media. 'Today marks a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation's democracy,' he said in a statement to reporters. 'I thank the American people for their overwhelming vote to elect me as their next President of the United States.'

'The official votes cast by the Electoral College exceeded the 270 required to secure the presidency by a very large margin, far greater than ever anticipated by the media,' he added.

Congress will certify the Electoral College vote on January 6 and Trump will be sworn in on January 20. 

With so few electors rebelling, that left a Harvard professor's claims that as many as 20 Republican electors could go faithless look like nonsense – and put Trump in cruise control to the White House.

It also left protests by die-hard anti-Trump activists taking place outside some state houses and capitols looking futile.

By 5:30 p.m., Trump's journey to the White House was complete.



Trump: it wasn’t Russia wot won it

It’s the Democrats who threaten to undermine American democracy.

Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. More than a month later, Democrats can’t accept that fact. Rather than face the reality that millions of voters rejected Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, they have embraced conspiracy theories to try to explain their loss. And in a serious threat to democracy, they are now relying on these half-baked notions to try to overturn the result.

Since the election, Democrats and liberal pundits have blamed Hillary’s defeat on a series of nefarious interventions and unjust set-ups: from FBI director James Comey’s letter to congress about new evidence regarding Clinton’s emails, to an avalanche of ‘fake news’ duping the voters, to an unfair electoral college and rigged vote counts. (In Wisconsin, a recount paid for by the Green Party’s Jill Stein, and backed by Clinton, saw Trump increase his vote tally.) The latest and maddest scheme was sparked by a Washington Post report claiming that the CIA has ‘high confidence’ that Russia hacked the Democratic Party’s emails with the aim of helping Trump to victory.

This story is far from a ‘bombshell’. But you’d never know it from the hysterical reaction. First, we don’t have the full story, and the Washington Post is basing its report on anonymous ‘senior administration officials’. There’s no new evidence. It was reported in October that Russia was suspected of hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails. What’s supposedly new is the CIA’s assessment of Russia’s motives, namely that it tried to tip the scales towards Trump. But it has also been reported that America’s other intelligence agency, the FBI, rejects this conclusion, and apparently not everyone within the CIA agrees either.

With such partial and inconclusive information, a wise response would be to remain calm and investigate further. But for Democrats and their supporters, it’s plenty evidence to shriek that the election was fixed by a foreign power. For New York Times op-ed writer Paul Krugman, the election is ‘tainted’ and Trump is ‘illegitimate’. To other liberal pundits, Comey and Republicans in Congress have committed ‘treasonous acts’ by allowing Russia to get away with its hacks.

These responses might be laughed off as just the screeches of sore losers, the grown-up versions of the campus crybabies who need counselling and Safe Spaces to cope with Trump’s win. But matters have taken a more serious turn. Yesterday, former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta announced his support for a ‘special intelligence briefing’ for the electoral college ‘electors’ before they vote on 19 December. Podesta’s and the Democrats’ hope is that these 538 electors, after viewing evidence of Russian hacking, will overturn the votes of millions of Americans and install Clinton. If it ever came to pass, such a move would represent a grave threat to democracy.

Let’s get some perspective. It would not be a shock if it was eventually proved that Russia was involved in hacking. As it happens, all major countries, including the US, engage in cyber-spying. Furthermore, it is rich for the US to get all self-righteous about interfering in elections, when it has a long history of meddling in the internal affairs, including the elections, of other countries. Moreover, it would also not be a surprise to learn that Vladimir Putin would prefer to have Trump in the White House, especially after Clinton, while secretary of state, called Russia’s 2011 elections fraudulent, and Putin accused her State Department of backing protests in Moscow. Clinton’s hardline, neo-Cold War stances during the election didn’t endear her to Putin either.

But while Russia may be behind the hacks of Democratic Party computers, and may have had a preference for Trump, it is far-fetched to claim that Russia swung the election result. Amid all of the issues raised during the election, the Wikileaks revelations were not a big deal. If anything, they only confirmed suspicions voters already had about Clinton’s lack of honesty. Putin didn’t force Clinton to use a private email server and take dodgy donations for the Clinton Foundation. He didn’t convince her to ignore the working-class voters of the Midwest, to play divisive identity politics, to rely on celebs like Lena Dunham, to flip-flop on issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. He didn’t magically turn her from a dynamic, inspiring candidate into the wooden ‘unlikeable’ we know.

Underneath all of the apologies that Democrats make for Clinton’s loss is a deeply patronising outlook: that voters are too dumb to sort through what they hear in the media. In this worldview, a typical voter who read about a Wikileaks revelation, Comey’s comments or came across a ‘fake news’ report must have then automatically voted for Trump. The elites can’t imagine that a voter weighed up the arguments, and, recognising the weaknesses of both candidates, decided to go with the anti-establishment one. The condescension embodied in the post-election explosion of excuses – which all, at root, evince a low opinion of the American voter – is in itself a big part of why Trump won.

The rationalisations put forward by Democrats have a single aim: to delegitimise Trump. They know that denying him the White House is a long shot, but at a minimum they want to cast a cloud over the presidency, without having to challenge his policies. This represents a continuation of the approach adopted by Clinton, who sought to depict Trump as abnormal and unfit for the role while avoiding engaging in substantive arguments. This wasn’t convincing during the campaign, and it still isn’t.

‘We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump’, wrote Podesta in his statement. ‘This should distress every American.’ What is truly distressing is the Democrats’ attempt to overturn the election result on the hyped-up charges of Russian shenanigans. Liberals like Paul Krugman like to say that Trump violates ‘democratic norms’. But there is nothing more anti-democratic than what the Democrats are doing now – denigrating voters’ choices and threatening to reverse the outcome of the election. Their deeply held belief that they know what’s best means they are willing to ditch democracy to get their way. We can’t let them get away with 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


20 December, 2016

'I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as a hero of several prominent alt-right figures, raising new questions about the Kremlin's influence on the far-right, white nationalist movement that has asserted itself as a new force in American politics.

Whether Russia has played a direct role in awakening the American alt-right, whose resurgence as a crusade against establishment politics coincided with the rise of President-elect Donald Trump, is debatable.

But the extent to which the alt-right has found a natural ally in Russia's current zeitgeist -- which perceives the US as a globalist, imperialist power working on behalf of liberal elites -- is hard to overstate.

Self-described white nationalist Matthew Heimbach, who said he identifies as a member of the alt-right, has praised Putin's Russia as "the axis for nationalists."

"I really believe that Russia is the leader of the free world right now," Heimbach told Business Insider in a recent interview. "Putin is supporting nationalists around the world and building an anti-globalist alliance, while promoting traditional values and self-determination."

Heimbach described the US' current foreign policy as aggressive and imperialistic, and he criticised NATO's military buildup in eastern Europe as an example of how the US is trying to promote a "global conflict" with Russia.

And while he views Russia as a "model for civilisation" and "a beacon for nationalists," Heimbach emphasised that the movement goes beyond Russia and traditional left-right politics.

"This isn't just a European or a right-wing movement," he said. "We're trying to position ourselves to be a part of this worldwide movement of globalism versus nationalism. It's a new age."

Like Heimbach, alt-right leader Richard Spencer -- the head of the white nationalist think tank the National Policy Institute -- has argued that the US should dispense with its globalist policies by pulling out of NATO, resetting its relationship with Russia, and courting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom he has described as "a civilised person" and "source of stability in this chaotic world."

Spencer's ties to Russia, which he has called the "sole white power in the world," go deeper. He was married until October to Russian writer and self-proclaimed "Kremlin troll leader" Nina Kouprianova, whose writing under the pen name Nina Byzantina regularly aligns with Kremlin talking points.

For example: Byzantina recently described reports that thousands of civilians in rebel-held east Aleppo, Syria, are under siege by the Russia-backed Syrian government as "fake news."

The webzine Spencer founded in 2010 -- called Alternative Right -- accepted contributor pieces from Aleksandr Dugin, the far-right, ultra-nationalist politician who encouraged Putin's incursion into Ukraine and whose work has been translated into English by Byzantina on her blog. (It does have a caveat: "The views of the original author do not necessarily reflect those of the translator.")

Dugin also recorded a speech titled "To My American Friends in Our Common Struggle" for a nationalist conference organised by Heimbach last year in California.

A right-wing conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, organised last year by Russia's nationalist Rodina, or Motherland, party offered a safe space for fringe thinkers -- including white supremacists and anti-Semites -- to gather and rail against the US-led status quo.

There, American "race realist" Jared Taylor called the US "the greatest enemy of tradition everywhere."

Klu Klux Klan attorney Sam Dickson also attended, and he joined Taylor in calling for the preservation of "[the white] race and civilisation."

Heimbach agreed that the US has "poisoned" traditional values, but he insisted that his brand of white nationalism is distinct from white supremacy.

"We work actively with other ethnic groups to support their right to self-determination," Heimbach said, listing black nationalism and the full autonomy of Native Americans as two causes that his party actively supports.

Still, white supremacy -- manifested frequently as anti-Semitism -- is inextricably linked to the worldview of many alt-right admirers of Putin's Russia.

David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, has travelled to Russia several times to promote his book "The Ultimate Supremacism: My Awakening on the Jewish Question." The book has been sold openly in the main lobby of the State Duma (Congress) for the equivalent of about $2, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Preston Wiginton, a white supremacist from Texas who sublets Duke's Moscow apartment when he travels to Russia, has written that his "best friends" in Russia -- "the only nation that understands RAHOWA [Racial Holy War]" --  are "leading skinheads."

Last year, he invited the ultranationalist Dugin to speak at his alma mater, Texas A&M University. This year he invited Spencer, who spoke there on Tuesday.

Kevin MacDonald -- who gave a speech at Spencer's NPI in late November about how "Jews remade America in their interests ... to make white America comfortable with massive non-white immigration and its own dispossession" -- has written that the "demonisation of Russia in Western media and political circles" is a Jewish campaign to undermine Putin.

"Russia under Vladimir Putin," he wrote, "has proved to be far more nationalistic than is good for the Jews or for Israel."

Heimbach, whose Traditionalist Workers Party was deemed an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, pushed back against claims that he is anti-Semitic. But he said he believes "the organised Jewish community" is heavily involved in "supporting movements that want to destroy nationalism."

"We call out those who are doing things that are hurting our people and are hurting the planet," he said, including "Jewish conglomerates" who are "ruthless cosmopolitans" and "don't have a home anywhere."

The perception of Putin as a "lion of Christianity" is another prominent feature of the alt-right's affection for the Russian leader.

Christopher Stroop, a scholar whose work centres around modern Russian history, has characterised many of today's alt-right figures as 'Traditionalist International"  -- a movement centered around the supremacy and "shared blood" of white Christians inspired largely by Russia's religious, nationalist turn spearheaded by Putin at the start of his third term.

Putin has stirred up Russian nationalism by cultivating a closer relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church, which in turn has helped "project Russia as the natural ally of all those who pine for a more secure, illiberal world free from the tradition-crushing rush of globalisation, multiculturalism and women's and gay rights," The New York Times' Andrew Higgins wrote in September.

In July, Putin outlawed religious proselytising in a crackdown on non-government-aligned churches. The Russian Orthodox Church was exempted from the ban.

"As the Russian Federation has drifted back to its Soviet roots more and more over the past 25 years, it has increasingly sought to harass, persecute, and destroy any religious organisation that it might consider competition to its own 'state church,'" said

Heimbach, who was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church with his wife two years ago, views Putin as fighting for the same values -- "faith, family, and folk" -- that guide his own party.

"To rebuild a nation, you have to be able to build up the people," Heimbach said. "And that requires having a strong moral foundation. Putin is fighting for faith, family, and folk. The fact that he's rebuilt tens of thousands of churches, allowed religious services to be broadcast on national television -- all of that has been crucial to rebuilding Russia."

It has also been crucial to exporting Russia's "Slavophile version of moral superiority to the world," Stroop said
, through figures like Alexsandr Dugin and institutions like the World Congress of Families (WCF).

The WCF, a US coalition that promotes right-wing Christian values, played a leading role in advocating for Russia's 2013 anti-LGBT law that makes it illegal to expose minors to LGBT "propaganda."

Larry Jacobs, WCF's managing director who first travelled to Russia in 2010 to attend a conference hosted by the Russian Sancity of Motherhood organisation, has said that "the Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world."

Former Fox News producer Jack Hanick, who serves on the WCF planning committee and spoke at the third Sanctity of Motherhood conference in Moscow in November 2013, was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church earlier this year along with his wife and son.

"Modern Russia has returned to its Christian roots," Hanick wrote in an article for the New York Observer last year.

"There is a revival in Russian Orthodoxy with over 25,000 new churches built in Russia after the fall of Communism," he said. "On any Sunday, the churches are packed. Over 70% of the population identifies themselves as Orthodox Christians. Combine this religious revival with renewed Nationalism and Russia is growing in self-confidence."

Stroop noted that Americans involved with the World Congress of Families "have been looking to Russia as having the potential to 'save' Western civilisation for a long time."

"Based on quotations from white nationalists and racists like Matthew Heimbach and [televangelist] Pat Buchanan," Stroop added, "I'd say they have certainly looked to Putin as the saviour of Christian civilisation."

For Heimbach, Putin's brand of orthodoxy, which opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and globalism, "is the last institution standing for traditional values."

And he's happy to see Putin working hard to export those values, even if that may be perceived as meddlesome and globalist in its own right.

"Putin is supporting traditionalism and self-determination, so meddle away," Heimbach said, laughing. "He is giving nationalists an opportunity to fight for the best interests of their nations, which in my view is a positive thing for everyone."

Stroop said that while Putin's embrace of traditional values in his third term "may have been initially about turning to Russian populism, it's really hard to separate foreign from domestic policy in this context" -- something the Kremlin hasn't tried to do.

"Putinism is heavily influenced by the ideas of Dugin and that old Slavophlie/Pan-Slav Russian nationalist tradition at this point," Stroop said, pointing to the soft-power Russkiy Mir Foundation established by Putin in 2007. It was started, in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, to promote the idea of a "Russian World" of compatriots.

As of today, the foundation has a presence in 29 countries.



Anti-Trumpers show the effect of modern education


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


19 December, 2016

Do-gooders agree with Putin

Middle-Eastern realities are different

The head of a Scottish aid charity has condemned the UK’s “naive” intervention in Syria and suggested Bashar al-Assad, the country’s president, should be allowed to regain control so that stability — and ultimately peace — can be restored to the war-torn region.

Alistair Dutton, director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf), said British efforts to end fighting had backfired and served only to strengthen opposition forces and prolong the six-year conflict.

“British foreign policy in Syria is appalling,” said Dutton. “It is naive to the point of being totally unrealistic and everybody I speak to in the region says we have got it wrong, and we are only making the situation worse and prolonging the war.”



North Carolina GOP strips powers from incoming Democratic governor

North Carolina Republicans stripped the incoming Democratic governor of some of his authority on Friday and were on the cusp of an even greater power grab, an extraordinary move that critics said flies in the face of voters.

Just last week, it appeared Republicans were ready to finally accept Democrats’ narrow win in a contentious governor’s race. As it turns out, they weren’t done fighting. In a surprise special session in the dying days of the old administration, some say the Republican-dominated legislature has thrown the government into total disarray, approving two bills aimed at hamstringing incoming governor Roy Cooper’s administration. One of them was signed into law by the current governor.

Cooper, the current attorney general, has threatened to sue. And many in the state are accusing Republicans of letting sour grapes over losing the governor’s race turn into a legislative coup.

"This was a pure power grab," said retired school librarian Carolyn White, 62, a long-time demonstrator who was arrested as part of the "Moral Monday" protests against GOP-led legislative policies. "I got arrested two years ago. Did it make any difference? No. But just like the civil rights movement, it’s forward together. You just have to keep going forward."

The protesters were so loud that the Senate and House cleared the galleries — a highly unusual move. More than 50 people were arrested this week, and as demonstrators were led away from the Legislative Building, some chanted "all political power comes from the people." Those that remained could only watch the debate through windows or listen online.

Hundreds stomped their feet and yelled outside the gallery, causing several Republican lawmakers to note they were having trouble hearing during the debate. Democrats repeatedly stated their objections.

"The kindergartners are getting rowdy," GOP Representative Dana Bumgardner said. He said Democrats were "creating out of thin air a talking point for the next election."

Republican Governor Pat McCrory, who lost to Cooper by about 10,000 votes, quickly signed into law a bill that merges the State Board of Elections and State Ethics Commission into one board composed equally of Democrats and Republicans. The previous state elections board law would have allowed Cooper to put a majority of Democrats on the elections panel.

The law also makes elections for appellate court judgeships officially partisan again.

Another bill that received final legislative approval would force Cooper’s Cabinet choices to be subject to Senate confirmation. McCrory must decide whether to sign that law, passed by a General Assembly that has repeatedly tugged him to the right even though he campaigned as a moderate in 2012 as Charlotte’s former mayor.

Republicans insist the legislation is simply adjusting the constitutional powers already granted to the General Assembly. Many provisions had been debated for years but had either gotten blocked or the Democratic viewpoint previously won out.

Democrats said it was an attempt by the GOP to cling to power a week after the Republican incumbent conceded.

"I really fear that we have harmed our reputation and integrity this week," said Representative Billy Richardson, a Democrat.

Republicans gained power of both legislative chambers in 2010 for the first time in more than a century, and they have veto-proof majorities, holding 108 of 170 seats even though the state has been more closely divided in recent statewide and federal elections.

North Carolina is a presidential battleground state that Barack Obama won in 2008 by just over 14,000 votes. Four years later, Mitt Romney edged Obama by about 92,000 votes. Donald Trump won in November.

GOP legislators have been able to expand their majorities thanks to approving redistricting maps in 2011. But nearly 30 of those legislative districts were struck down last summer. A federal court has directed updated maps be approved by March 15.

Cooper ran on a platform of defeating Republicans’ agenda, saying he would work to repeal a law known as House Bill 2 that limits LGBT rights.

"Once more, the courts will have to clean up the mess the legislature made, but it won’t stop us from moving North Carolina forward," Cooper said in a statement late Friday.

Republicans pointed to past sessions of the General Assembly, when it was dominated by Democrats. Democrats stripped the powers of the first and only GOP lieutenant governor of the 20th century in the late 1980s. But Democrats said there’s been no such widespread effort to limit the power of an incoming executive before he took office in such a session.

Still, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore said, "just because you disagree with something doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional."



Gingrich: 'Drop The Term News Media,' They Are The 'Propaganda Media'

In a speech about President-elect Donald Trump and his incoming administration,  former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) explained that Trump is a highly successful marketer, which the mainstream media -- what he called the "propaganda media" -- do not understand and will not understand until they accept that they are dealing with a very talented and intelligent person.

“This is not easy," said Gingrich on Tuesday at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. "I’m just telling you, one of the great disgraces of the propaganda media we have -- all of us on the right should describe it the 'propaganda media,' drop the term ‘news media’ until they earn it --  and begin to realize that the propaganda media cannot come to grips with the level of talent that they’re dealing with.”

"People forget who Donald J. Trump is," said Gingrich. "[P]eople in the elites couldn’t figure out that this is a guy who’d made his entire living marketing to consumers. That he had thought every day, ‘How do I get you to come to my golf course? How do I get you to come to my hotel? How do I get you to come to my casino? How do I get you to buy my tie? How do I get you to watch my TV show?’"

"So, he has this intuition," said Gingrich.  "We were talking about debating one day and he said, ‘What is your advice?’ I said, ‘I don’t have any advice.’ I said, ‘You’re a better debater than I am.’ Because – and he’s a totally different debater than I am, I’m not denigrating myself, I’m okay – but he intuits the audience in a way I can’t do. I cannot get the rhythm the way he does."

"And so, you had low-energy Jeb, which, by the way, is totally untrue," siad the former House Speaker. "Jeb Bush is a perfectly fine guy, was a great governor of Florida, is a good friend of ours. But he [Trump] said it in such a way that it stuck. It stuck to such a degree that it got inside Jeb’s head. And Jeb ends up running around New Hampshire, literally running, to prove he’s not low energy."

Commenting further on Trump's debate style, Gingrich related, “I was asked one time, as part of this process, I was on Bill O’Reilly one night in the very heat of the primary season, and O’Reilly said to me, ‘Why don’t the Republican candidates attack Trump?  He’s clearly the frontrunner, they need to attack him.’  I said, ‘Bill, Donald Trump is the grizzly bear in The Revenant [movie].’  If you get his attention, he will get awake. When he gets awake, he will walk over, bite your face off and sit on you. The other candidates watch him do that and go, ‘not me, oh no, no, no. Let the bear eat. It’s okay. I don’t want to bother him.’ And that started with ‘low-energy Jeb’ [Bush]."

"All these people, the news media, and this is a major part of the watershed that we’re in the early stages of, and why I so much wanted to come here and share with you today," said Gingrich.  "This is a genuine watershed."

"There is an old world that’s much deeper than just liberalism," he said.  "And there is the post-Nov. 8 world, if we can make it real. I tell everybody the Trump rally has to be turned into the Trump reality. There’s a big gap in those two. It’s going to take a lot of work."



Britain to require loyalty oath for all public office holders

All holders of public office will have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values in an attempt to combat extremism. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, said it was not possible for people to play a “positive role” in public life unless they accepted such basic values as democracy, equality and freedom of speech.

He intervened after a damning report by Dame Louise Casey, the government’s community cohesion tsar, which warned that some Muslim communities were living in extreme isolation from the rest of society and some did not share British values such as tolerance.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Javid says he will enact Casey’s proposal that those in public office make a pledge of allegiance.



Israel's Ambassador Repudiates the Discredited SPLC

Last night, Israel's formidable Ambassdor to the United States Ron Dermer issued a clarion call to freedom loving people in this country and around the world to reject efforts aimed at suppressing our most fundamental liberty, our constitutional right to free speech.

Ambassador Dermer took specific and pointed aim at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization once known for championing that and other freedoms, but now discredited as a political warfare arm of the Red-Green axis, radical leftists, and their Islamic supremacist allies.

The SPLC tried very hard to silence Ambassador Dermer as well, demanding that he not participate in the Center for Security Policy's Awards dinner last night. His address condemning such censorship, and the prime move behind it, was a profile in courage to be applauded and shared by all who cherish freedom.





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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


18 December, 2016

Obama Plays the Russian Card

One thing is clear, Democrats still can’t come to grips with the fact that Hillary Clinton lost because she was a lousy candidate with a bad message. Hence the latest attempt to stamp the “illegitimate” tag on President-elect Donald Trump came from none other than Barack Obama himself. In the guise of concern over both national security and the “integrity of our elections,” Obama, in an interview on National Public Radio, blamed Vladimir Putin for hacking the DNC. He warned, “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will at a time and place of our own choosing.”

And yet he offered no actual evidence to support his claims. As we noted yesterday, Congress has yet to be briefed by the National Intelligence community on its findings. Without verification of the leaked intelligence, the Leftmedia and now Obama are asserting it as unquestionable truth.

Meanwhile, Obama Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed Trump had prior knowledge of Russia’s hacking activity. As “evidence,” Earnest pointed to Trump’s mocking call for the Russians to release Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails. Earnest huffed, “I don’t think anybody at the White House thinks it’s funny that an adversary of the United States engaged in malicious cyber activity to destabilize our democracy. That’s not a joke.”

Evidently, the concept of contextualization is lost on Earnest. It wasn’t Trump who operated a private, unsecured email server that was open to hacking. But by all means, blame the Russians.

Fears of “destabilizing our democracy” are real, but it’s Democrats who are doing everything in their power to accomplish it. The American people have spoken, and Democrats are refusing to listen. Worse, it’s Democrats, along with the Leftmedia, who are actively seeking to instill distrust in the American electoral system and process, first by calling for the abolition  of the Electoral College, and second by seeking to convince electors to switch their votes on account of Russian election interference. Failing these things, they hope to at least convince Americans that Trump’s election victory is questionable or illegitimate. Allegations without cooperative evidence are merely hearsay bordering on conspiracy theory.



WHY would Putin favour Trump?

When a court of law is called on to assess the truth of a claim, motivation is one of the first things they look at

We are supposed to believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump have a budding bromance, as it is called, because Trump made a few off-hand comments during the campaign. And so the trope now is that Putin so preferred Trump that he may have even helped hack a salutary election outcome? If you want to ask our intelligence agencies what’s going on, let’s try an intelligent question. What single thing matters the most to Russia? It is money, not rhetoric. To imagine that any Russian leader, never mind Putin, would be swayed more by the appearance of conversational bonhomie than by hard cash is, to put it kindly, silly.

Four facts illuminate the realities of where Russia’s preferences reside. All of the salient information emerges from petroleum domains.

First, the price of oil matters to Russia. Half of Russia’s gross domestic product and more than 70 percent of its export revenues come from selling oil and natural gas. That money not only powers the Russian economy, it is key to that nation’s ability to finance expensive foreign adventurism from the Middle East to Ukraine. Today’s low prices are depriving Russia of more than $150 billion every year; even in Washington, that’s real money. But in equivalent terms, that would be like wiping $1.5 trillion from the U.S. economy.

Second, America’s private-sector shale industry was the direct and indisputable trigger for the global petroleum price collapse. Thousands of small and mid-sized companies — it was not “big oil” that created the shale revolution — added more oil (and natural gas) to global markets in a shorter period than at any time in the past half century, anywhere. American frackers came out of nowhere — i.e., they emerged out of private-sector innovation on private land, not from government subsidies and preferences — to go from near-zero revenues to $150 billion per year in sales in just a half dozen years or so. To put that in perspective, the global smartphone industry, which emerged around the same time, went from zero to $70 billion per year of sales over the same period.

Third, candidate Hillary Clinton made clear, repeatedly, her plans to throttle the shale industry when she said: “So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place.” Clinton promoted the focus-group-created phrase of becoming a “clean energy super power.” Got it: message received. But Putin is not afraid of American windmills and (Chinese) solar panels robbing him of cold hard cash. Trump, on the other hand, not only boisterously supported shale, but a recent leaked transition-team memo makes clear that policy changes are likely to follow the bluster.

Fourth, consider a relevant off-hand comment earlier this year from Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who, most people know, was a vigorous Trump campaign supporter and advisor. Noting that frackers had single-handedly doubled America’s total oil production, Hamm said: “We can double it again.” This may be the single most frightening set of words Putin saw in 2016. There are no technical or resource constraints to doubling it again. Indeed, while little-noticed in the general media (you can bet Putin’s advisors know), progress in shale tech has doubled cost-efficiency and practically promises a shale 2.0 resurgence — provided regulators don’t stifle the industry. Imagine, quelle horreur, that our government might actually streamline procedures to accelerate a second boom. In this context, consider that Scott Pruitt is Trump’s nominee for chief of the Environmental Protection Agency. This prospect has alarmed extreme environmentalists since Pruitt, the shale-friendly attorney general of the great state of Oklahoma, is a fierce opponent of EPA overreach and exactly the kind of person that Russia’s oil oligarchs would prefer not to see in control of the regulatory brakes.

The geopolitical implications (never mind the domestic economic benefits) of expanding U.S. shale capabilities should be obvious. Not only would increasing shale output keep downward pressure on prices, but as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, earlier observed: “Many U.S. allies and trading partners are interested in purchasing American oil to diversify away from Russia, Iran, and other problematic sources.”

As my lawyer friends say, I rest my case.



Clinton’s People Not Russia Provided Hacked Email

And the intelligence agencies are not willing to explain or justify their Russia claims.  How suspicious is that?

It seems the bumbling Central Intelligence Agency, which recently leaked its “assessment” that Hillary Clinton’s campaign had been hacked by evil Russian boss Vlad Putin, neglected to do even a minimum of leg work around their explosive claim.

Because if they had, they might have found out that the leaks from Hillary’s doomed campaign were internal not Russian.

    "Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said in the report by the Daily Mail that he flew to Washington for a clandestine handoff with one of the email sources in September.

    He said he received a package in a wooded area near American University.   “Neither of [the leaks] came from the Russians,” Mr. Murray told the British newspaper. “The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks.”

Despite the fact that Murray’s assertions exactly match the claims put forward by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, the CIA and other intelligence offices run by President Obama have tried to blame the hacks on Russia.

Now, these agencies are being called on to the carpet by Congress but while they were willing to run their mouths at length to the Washington Post and the New York Times, they have clammed up when it comes to testifying before Congress:

    "Meanwhile on Wednesday, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence had to cancel a closed-door classified briefing on the issue of suspected Russian interference after U.S. intelligence agencies refused to cooperate.

    Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and committee chairman, requested that the FBI, CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency provide witnesses, in part in response to reports last week in The Washington Post and The New York Times that intelligence agencies think the Kremlin deliberately tried to push the election to Mr. Trump, something not supported by postelection testimony to the panel"

    But according to Fox News, “agencies refused to provide representatives for the session.”

    “It is unacceptable that the Intelligence Community directors would not fulfill the House Intelligence Committee’s request to be briefed tomorrow on the cyber-attacks that occurred during the presidential campaign,” Mr. Nunes said in a statement. “The Committee is deeply concerned that intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes.”

It looks increasingly likely that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have manufactured the entire Russia-influenced-the-election story out of whole cloth.  They were assisted in their endeavor by a compliant news media and by a politicized intelligence network.



Jill Stein’s Michigan recount exposes voter fraud in Democrat-controlled Detroit

Jill Stein and her puppet master Hillary Clinton’s effort to stop the certification of enough Trump delegates to disrupt the Electoral College has run aground in the most delightful way.

In Michigan, where Trump has been certified the winner in spite of Stein’s efforts, Wayne County (Detroit), where Clinton overwhelmingly won, has come under fire explicitly due to the recount.  Turns out in 37 percent of the Detroit precincts more votes were cast than the number of people who showed up to the polls to vote. No one would have noticed if not for the personal enrichment recall scheme of the former Green Party presidential candidate.

The Detroit News quotes Krista Haroutunian, the chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers as saying, “There’s always going to be small problems to some degree, but we didn’t expect the degree of problem we saw in Detroit. This isn’t normal.”

Now Wayne County officials will be subjected to an audit by the Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s office, the exact kind of electoral proctology exam that every local official fears.

To make matters worse for Democrats in the state, Stein’s broad claims of voter fraud convinced the GOP majority in the state legislature to respond by passing voter identification legislation.  The exact type of legislation that the left has vehemently opposed.  Talk about open mouth, insert foot.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


16 December, 2016

Leftists fume as Republicans in Congress prepare to gut Obama regulations

Fumes from the Boston Globe below:

Twenty years ago, Newt Gingrich and allies pushing the self-styled Contract with America created an obscure but potent legislative weapon to help Republicans combat what they deemed to be out-of-control regulatory overreach in Washington.

But like some kind of mystical, regulation-slaying sword, this tool comes to life only when the political stars align in just the right way, with single-party control on Capitol Hill and the White House, at just the right time.

Donald Trump, when he rolls down Pennsylvania Avenue at his inauguration, will usher in that time.

Republicans are readying an onslaught under what’s known asthe Congressional Review Act to cast aside a raft of Obama administration edicts, including rules designed to make it harder for US corporations to avoid taxes; environmental rules aimed at curbing earth-warming emissions; and sweeping changes to overtime regulations that were set to guarantee extra pay for an estimated 4 million Americans.

Congress put Gingrich’s creation to work just once before, in 2001, to dispatch a workplace safety rule governing ergonomics, issued in the waning months of the Clinton administration.

This time Republicans are thinking much, much bigger.

“We plan to robustly use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the midnight regulations of Barack Obama,” said Wyoming Republican John Barrasso, who is a leader of the Senate effort. “His legacy lost. The American people said ‘No, we don’t want that. We want to change direction.’ ”

While Barrasso and other Republicans say the tool allows them to rescind “last minute” regulations pushed by the Obama administration, the Byzantine way that time is defined in the act means they will most likely be able to take aim at regulations put in place as far back as late May.

Gingrich, now a close Trump adviser, is thrilled his creation will get some use.

“We’ve gone through a period where unelected bureaucrats have arrogated a level of dictatorial power that can ruin lives, close companies, and totally disrupt local governments with no recourse,” Gingrich said in a brief interview. “And to reassert the elected officials is, I think, a good thing.”

The Congressional Review Act in some ways encapsulates the absurdities of Washington. The law provides a fast-track process for lawmakers to overturn agency rules they dislike, rules that often took years for the executive branch agencies to write, review, and approve. Under terms of the act, each chamber passes a “resolution of disapproval,” the president signs it, and — poof! — the regulations exist no more.

But, as a practical matter, for this to actually happen requires a particular set of circumstances: Both chambers of a new Congress need to be controlled by the same party; a newly elected president must be of the same party; and everyone agrees that rules issued by the previous White House occupant, from the opposite party, need to be tossed.

And, under time limits in the act, they have a period of just a few months in the new Congress to get it all done.

The morning after Trump’s victory, Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy team at the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, said he got “a million phone calls from Hill people about possible regs” that Congress could use Congressional Review Act to repeal.

Senate Democrats can’t rely on their typical go-to counteroffensive,the filibuster. A key reason this regulatory repeal tool is so potent is that it requires just a simple majority — 51 votes — in the Senate, not the 60-vote super majority most legislation requires.

If Congress uses it to successfully overturn a regulation, the agency is barred from ever again issuing rules that closely match what lawmakers rejected — unless Congress passes new legislation permitting the agency to do so.



The Iran/Boeing deal and flexible Leftist principles

As reported by Reuters, "IranAir said it signed a deal on Sunday to buy 80 passenger planes from U.S. aircraft maker Boeing (BA.N), state news agency IRNA reported, in the biggest U.S.-Iran deal since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The agency quoted Farhad Parvaresh, the chairman of Iran's flag carrier, as saying that the 10-year deal included 50 Boeing 737 aircraft and 30 777 planes.

Boeing said in June it had signed a tentative agreement to sell 100 jets to IranAir after Iranian statements about the deal. IRNA said that Fletcher Barkdull, a Boeing regional director, was in Tehran for the signing ceremony. The agency quoted Barkdull as saying that the deal was worth $16.6 billion and had been approved by the U.S. government.

In November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill intending to block the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran, that would bar the U.S. Treasury from issuing licenses that U.S. banks would need to finance sales of commercial aircraft.

Congressional Republicans are making efforts to counter last year's nuclear accord between Iran, the United States and other world powers, that eased sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The Boeing deal would help modernize and expand the Iran's aging fleet, kept going by smuggled or improvised parts after decades of sanctions."

I have no issue with the free market and any means by which we advance the sale of American products, made by American workers...but Iran?

Well, needless to say, this is yet another example of Obama crony capitalism where he and John Kerry have been acting as the chamber of commerce for Iran. Boeing just signed a deal in blood with the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism in the world - something to be proud of?

So, the sanctions were working against Iran, but thanks to Barack Obama not only are they having an economic restoration, they're getting a commercial aviation upgrade. Could it be that Obama's Iranian agreement is so important that he would clear the path for business deals and development...maybe Obama and Kerry will be receiving some financial gain?

But this is not the real hypocrisy. This is the Iran that executes gays and lesbians. This is the Iran that stones women to death, and hangs them by a construction crane. This is the Iran that just recently held U.S. citizens hostage, and got a big bank roll for their release. This is the Iran that took U.S. Sailors captive placing them on their knees at gun point. This is the Iran that has been harassing our U.S. Navy warships in the international waters of the Persian Gulf. This is the Iran that supports Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis who recently fired missiles from Yemen at a U.S. Navy destroyer. This is the Iran that produced the lethal explosive force penetrator improvised explosive device (IED) that was responsible for nearly 20 percent of casualties and deaths of our U.S. troops.

This is the Iran with whom Boeing, supported by the Obama administration, signed a deal...how disrespectful to our men and women in uniform, who've lost life and limbs thanks to the Iranians. But, have you heard a peep from the liberal progressive media? Nope, crickets. They're more concerned about the false news story of Russian influence in our election.

Consider how the left, all of these entertainers, and even the NCAA moved their championships from the state of North Carolina because they passed a law saying a person must use the bathroom facilities corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate.

Yet Iran kills gays and lesbians - hear anything from the liberal progressive media? Or sadly, you better not be a Christian who'd ask to not participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony by providing services due on the grounds of your religious beliefs.

Yet in Iran they stone women - hear anything from the liberal progressive media? Heck, in Iran, Christians have to worship underground - we shared that story with you - and Muslims who convert to Christianity face death because of the crime of apostasy. This is the Iran with whom Boeing signed a deal.

The point I take issue with are these revolving situational ethics of the left that only apply when it's something they want...or a group they accept. Could it be that the progressive socialist left embraces the Islamist ayatollahs and terrorists of Iran, rather than simple Christian business men and women?

Why? First of all, ask yourself, why would Vladimir Putin, who has had greater advances of his agenda under Obama's flexibility and Hillary Clinton's "reset button," want Trump to win? And ask yourself, why does Obama push for greater economic involvement with Iran? I say, the latter is what our intelligence agencies should be investigating...then again, that makes sense and is reasonable. And it's actually shining light on the hypocrisy of the left.

Sadly, the progressive socialist left in America fails to realize that they have little or no credibility. The liberal progressive "intellectual elites" of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco fail to realize why they lost the election, and it's nothing to do with Russia. It has everything to do with the failure of their centralized government planning and their hypocrisy which is clearly evident.

The left, with their champions such as Obama and Clinton, are the epitome of corruption, cronyism, and elitism, all repudiated along with high unemployment, greater debt, and increased healthcare insurance premiums.

But what's most disturbing when you consider the hypocrisy of the left is this issue with Iran and Boeing. How can any Boeing executive look into the eyes of our men and women and their families, who've had their lives changed forever because of Iran, since 1979?

Think about the 234 loved ones who will forever be missed since they were killed by Hezbollah, supported by Iran, in the Beirut barracks bombing in 1983. Think about the Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops and weapons that will fly on those planes Boeing will provide...some would say if not Boeing, then it would be Airbus. I say, let their conscience suffer, considering the horrific islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice France.



Tomato Growers Lose Millions Thanks to Bungling Regulators

Last week the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government could not be held financially responsible for issuing erroneous warnings about the source of an outbreak of foodborne illness that caused the loss of millions of dollars of tomatoes.

The warnings, issued by the FDA in 2008, turned out to be wildly inaccurate and deeply damaging.

The first, issued on June 3, warned consumers in New Mexico and Texas not to consume several types of raw tomatoes because they may be tainted with salmonella, a bacteria that can sicken and kill those who consume it. A few days later, on June 8, the FDA expanded the warning to include similar types of tomatoes across the country.

Soon after, on June 13, the FDA held a press conference that strongly inferred Florida tomatoes might be to blame. ("I'm not wanting to put the focus on Florida specifically, but...") But on July 17, the agency reversed course.

"After a lengthy investigation, the FDA has determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak," reads an agency press release, which concluded instead that consumers "should avoid eating raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers."

At the time of the first warning, on June 3, the FDA documented several dozen cases of foodborne illness it wrongly claimed were caused from eating tomatoes. By the time the agency admitted its error on July 17, the FDA acknowledged more than 1,200 such cases had occurred. By that time, the salmonella cases had mushroomed into "the largest foodborne outbreak in the United States in more than a decade."

Clearly, the FDA warning hadn't helped consumers, who continued to buy and be sickened by contaminated hot peppers. And it didn't help consumers who stopped buying perfectly good tomatoes at the agency's urging, or who threw away tomatoes they'd already purchased.

But if the FDA's misplaced warning was unhelpful at best and harmful at worst to consumers, it was downright devastating to tomato growers and handlers. The agency's warnings had spread like wildfire. For example, the New Mexico Restaurant warned its members against using tomatoes. Newspapers around the country warned consumers to avoid eating tomatoes. Demand for tomatoes plummeted by up to 40 percent in the wake of the warning, and prices fell by half. The industry lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Congress held hearings in the wake of the FDA's retraction of its tomato warning. "Shipments ground to a halt," Anthony DiMare, whose family's company suffered enormous losses, told Congress. "Tomatoes were left in the fields, in the packinghouses and on trucks that were turned away by our customers."



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


15 December, 2016

Trump Moves Right, Pleasing Conservatives, Alarming Democrats

The biggest surprise Donald Trump has provided as president-elect is just how conservative a cabinet he is putting together. "This is a more conservative cabinet than Reagan assembled in 1980," says Ed Feulner, a key Trump transition adviser. As president of the Heritage Foundation at the time, Feulner provided guidance for Reagan's choices.

The conservative cast of the nominees thus far is somewhat unexpected, given Trump's well-known reputation as a non-ideological thinker who has often backed big-government solutions. Plus, Trump was a registered Democrat until 2009. Indeed, Trump's entire family is largely non-ideological. It was only last August, in a meeting with New Jersey governor Chis Christie, that Donald Trump Jr. ticked off a list of his father's new positions and said, "Well, I guess that means we're conservatives!"

Clear traces of the old, more liberal Trump remain as he employs the bully pulpit against companies who move jobs overseas. Trump labels such firms the "dumb market." He has also selected non-ideological Goldman Sachs bankers to run the Treasury Department and direct the National Economic Council.

But, more broadly, Trump has pleased conservatives with his picks. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Chris Christie are moderates, but they have been excluded from the cabinet (though, at this writing, it's not certain whether Romney will have a place or not in the administration). Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, has frequently sued the agency. Betsy DeVos, his nominee to run the Department of Education, has consistently supported school choice. Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Puzder opposes increases in the minimum wage. Ben Carson, Trump's choice for secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has railed against some public-housing advocates as "Saul Alinsky poverty pimps." Tom Price, the Georgia representative slated to head Health and Human Services, has been a fierce critic of Obamacare has supported Medicare reform.

"I'm trying not to be too giddy tonight," Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint told a group last week at a Heritage event addressed by Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

"The fact is many of these folks are at odds with the stated mission of the agencies they have been tapped to run," Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, told the Washington Post.

Liberals have reacted with horror to Trump's nominees. Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut told the Wall Street Journal that Puzder's appointment was proof that "the fox is in the henhouse." Using a different animal metaphor, liberal columnist Tom Moran, writing for the New Jersey Advance, said, "Almost across the board, Trump is picking reptiles whose views clash with the majority of Americans."

So why has Trump moved in such a conservative direction since his election? Interviews with several people around him turn up several answers.

1. During the campaign, Trump learned a lot about the country and how its economic vitality had been sapped and its foreign-policy standing eroded during the Obama years. "He now recognizes that the problems confronting the nation require bold reforms, and delaying the treatment will only sap his political capital," former education secretary Bill Bennett says.

2. The refusal of previous GOP presidential nominees George H. W. Bush, John McCain, and George W. Bush to back Trump in the general election has liberated Trump from obligations; he owes very little to them or their followers. "An entire existing infrastructure of establishment Republicans are not favored to run cabinet agencies as would normally be the case," a key Trump adviser told me. "Fresh faces, new ideas, and r‚sum‚s unburdened by special-interest ties move towards the top of the pile."

3. The viciousness with which left-wing allies of Hillary Clinton and their media enablers attacked Trump persuaded the New York billionaire that there was no making peace with his adversaries. "He is not a traditional conservative, but he sure as hell knows who his enemies are," a Trump aide told me. "He won't be forgetting that; either he defangs them, or they will defang him."

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, was no Trump fan during the campaign, but he concurs that we are now seeing a more focused and determined figure - and one who plans to move in a conservative direction.

"What I'm seeing is a blunt confidence in what he wants to do," Fleischer told the Washington Post. Trump also realizes, Fleischer adds, that his base of angry voters won't settle for less than dramatic change.

For all his known vulnerabilities, Trump has often proven to be a highly effective operator when he focuses on getting what he wants. That's exactly what worries left-wing groups and Democrats. Having underestimated him for so long, they now fear he won't easily be forced to slow down or change course as he moves to overturn their agenda.



Taming the Federal Bureaucracy

President-elect Donald Trump certainly has his work cut out for him: Undoing all of the damage done by President Barack Obama over the past eight years.

Mr. Obama instigated an unprecedented — and unconstitutional — expansion of power by the federal government that poses a danger to our liberty, our freedom, and our economic well-being. Last Tuesday’s election gave us a chance to pull our constitutional republic back from the brink and preserve the greatest nation the world has ever seen.

Again: Too many political appointees were simply afraid of criticism if they implemented conservative policies and principles.

But Donald Trump will be up against a massive federal bureaucracy that will resist all of the steps necessary to accomplish that goal. Consider the Department of Justice, which has been politicized to an extent never seen before. Cleaning it up will be as difficult as cleaning out the Augean stables. Hercules had to divert two rivers to wash out the filth, and it will take a similarly massive effort at Justice to wash out the politics and progressive liberal activism that infests the agency from top to bottom.

The members of the Trump transition team need to understand that the career ranks at federal executive departments (perhaps with the exception of the Defense Department and isolated other pockets like the Border Patrol), are not filled with nonpartisan civil servants who impartially carry out the policies of the president. From the State Department to the Department of Justice, partisan liberals predominate the ranks of career employees.

For the last eight years, the Obama administration’s political appointees, with the help of their friends and allies in the career ranks, have ignored, bent, and broken the rules governing merit selection to aggressively hire only liberal career staff. The Justice Department’s civil rights and environmental divisions have made it a high art form. The bureaucracies of these agencies, virtually immune to being fired, will do everything they can to stop President Trump’s policies and directives.

In fact, the transition team should expect that the Obama administration will follow the lead of the Clinton administration, which went on a hiring spree during its last two months to jam as many leftists (including political appointees) into open career spots as they possibly could. When the new administration takes over at noon on Jan. 20, 2017, it should immediately review (with an eye toward potential termination) all federal employees who are still in their probationary period. The federal government is already far larger than it should be, so there should also be an immediate hiring freeze put in place across the entire executive branch to shrink the size of the government.

During the George W. Bush administration, I was one of the few conservative career lawyers inside the Civil Rights Division. While there were some very good, principled conservative political appointees inside Justice, some were actually afraid to implement conservative policies lest they incur the wrath of the liberal bureaucratic establishment inside Justice.

Others were very naïve; they didn’t understand that the critical mass of liberal career employees would do everything they could — directly and indirectly — to thwart the president’s priorities. In their recalcitrance, they went so far as to misrepresent the law and conceal critical facts to block implementation of anything they disagreed with.

Their other tactic was to violate, without hesitation, confidentiality regulations and ethics rules. They would leak with abandon — to their liberal allies in the press, their friends at progressive advocacy organizations, and their confidantes on the staffs of liberal members of Congress — the details of any program or policy with which they disagreed. Again: Too many political appointees were simply afraid of criticism if they implemented conservative policies and principles.

This was a particular problem with the political appointees who inhabited the middle levels of management. Many of them were early in their careers and hoped to advance to higher posts within this or the next Republican administration. Some of them looked at past nominees who had been filibustered and were scared that pursuing policies upsetting to the Left would result in their future advancement being torpedoed. So they changed their behavior and avoided implementing conservative principles on important public policy issues.

The Trump administration needs to pick political appointees at all levels who follow their leader’s example — people who don’t give a damn what the editorial pages of The Washington Post or The New York Times say about them. When organizations like Media Matters and the Center for American Progress or MSNBC don’t like them, they should wear it as a badge of honor. Anyone scared of that should not be in the administration. In fact, if the left-stream media approves of what you are doing as an administration official, you are probably doing the wrong thing.

Finding individuals who will stand their ground means looking for people who have been inside the cauldron and not retreated under the Left’s relentless viciousness and vindictiveness. All too often, conservative officials have withered when faced with the unfair and dishonest criticism of the institutional Left.

One final fact that the Trump administration should keep in mind: Year after year, all of these predominantly liberal federal agencies have gotten bigger, gotten more money, and acquired more power — for decades. The most expedient solution to reducing the power and liberal influence of the federal government requires a significant downsizing of the entire executive branch.

Proposals for even modest cuts lead to howling protests from the liberal press, the Washington political establishment, and the public employee unions. But downsizing would force the agencies to rein in their activities and concentrate on their core missions, reducing their ever-growing interference in the everyday lives of Americans and our economy because it would decrease the resources that the feds could spend on such interference.

The executive branch of the federal government is an ever-growing behemoth that is slowly invading every facet of American life. The only way this will ever change is if conservatives finally realize that when they control Congress and the White House, that is only the beginning of the fight. They can effect change and implement conservative public policy only if they tame — and dramatically reduce — the vast federal civil service bureaucracy in the executive branch.

Only then will the nation’s accelerating path toward socialization and the loss of our liberties be halted and drawn back.



The Devilish Mr. Putin


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


14 December, 2016

All kids are not equal: Some kids are born with dysfunctional brains and they become the problem people

Rather predictably, the lesson drawn from the findings below is that these damaged people should be "helped". It is however hard to imagine brain damage being "helped".  Isolating them as soon as they start to offend would be more realistic

A simple test at the age of three can predict if children will grow up to be a burden on society, scientists claim.

A study has found roughly a fifth of the population are responsible for 81 per cent of criminal convictions, 77 per cent of children brought up without fathers, two-thirds of benefits claimed and more than half of nights spent in hospital.

This small group of people drain the public purse, but researchers at King's College London say their troubled lives could be forecast from early childhood.

It takes just 45 minutes to give three-year-olds a battery of tests, on their language abilities, motor skills, frustration and impulsivity. 

Decades after taking the test, children who scored low were far more likely to fall within the most burdensome group.

They were also more likely to smoke, be obese and take prescription drugs.

The findings, while controversial for indicating that someone's life path is set in their early years, suggests reaching these at-risk children young could turn things around.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, of King's College and Duke University in California, said: `About 20 per cent of the population is using the lion's share of a wide array of public services.

`The same people use most of the NHS, the criminal courts, the claims for disabling injury, pharmaceutical prescriptions and social welfare benefits.

The study was carried out within the New Zealand population, as there are `barriers' to accessing birth studies to compare with state records in the UK.

Researchers looked at more than 1,000 people born between 1972 and 1973, following them up to the age of 38.

The results show children with lower brain function aged three were 38 per cent more likely to claim benefits and 22 per cent more likely to be feckless fathers.

Their chances of being a smoker were 25 per cent higher and they were 15 per cent more likely to end up overweight.

This is based on four key tests, including the Peabody picture vocabulary test asking children to name images, and the Reynell test of speech, asking them to describe pictures in more depth.

Children's motor skills were checked by asking them to walk in a straight line or stand on one leg.

But crucially, during these tests, children were monitored for how well they managed their emotions while carrying out stressful tasks, including their frustration, restlessness, impulsivity and persistence.

Explaining the results, co-author Professor Avshalom Caspi, of King's College and Duke's University, said: `Essentially these children were functioning like a two-and-a-half year-old, they were six months behind.

`For these individuals, life is really an uphill battle, opportunities are limited and mastering new skills is not easy. These early difficulties have a snowballing effect.'

The finding that many of these children become the '20 per cent' most costly for society is based on the `Pareto principle,' which is also called the 80-20 rule.

Italian engineer and social scientist Vilfredo Pareto observed a century ago that 80 percent of wealth is controlled by 20 percent of the population and that this proportion applies to many other areas of life.

Josh Hillman, director of education at the Nuffield Foundation, which was not involved in the research, said the 20 per cent should be helped early in life.

He called for disadvantaged children to be signed up to nursery school with qualified teachers from an early age, adding: `These are the children who stand to benefit the most from the support of the education system.

`These are the children you can make the most difference with, in terms of the children themselves and the payback for the public purse.'



Has Trump discovered new trade truths?

Economic historian Martin Hutchinson below sees unrealism in pure free trade and finds virtue in Trump's tariff proposals

President-elect Donald Trump's deal with Carrier rescued some 800 jobs at a cost of some $7 million in additional subsidies. It was immediately attacked, often by commentators whose devotion to the free market had never previously been detected. In reality, the Ricardian free trade doctrine is an abstraction that does not work well in the real world, just as was Thomas Mun's mercantilism. If Trump structures some new rules, and doesn't just proceed case-by-case, he may develop new economic truths that will serve us better.

For the newly-free-marketer critics of Trump's Carrier deal, I have one question. If the $8,750 per Carrier job (actually $875 per year for 10 years) Carrier subsidy is so obviously bad, why was the net $11.2 billion loss ($162,000 for each one of the company's 69,000 U.S. jobs) or the gross $49 billion cost ($710,000 per job) of the 2008-09 General Motors bailout acceptable, It would seem to me that a high-skill manufacturing job at Carrier is just about as valuable as a high-skill manufacturing job at GM, so if those jobs can be saved for the United States at a small fraction of the cost per job of the GM bailout, that is surely desirable.

Of course, in principle one would not subsidize companies to put jobs in particular places. Similarly, David Ricardo's Doctrine of Comparative Advantage is correct in claiming that if widgets can be made cheaper in country A and grommits in country B, then country A should specialize in widgets and country B in grommits, whatever the effect of that decision on the inhabitants of each country. But both statements are of a mathematical ideal, in a world economy with no friction, no nationalism, no subsidies by other countries and no externalities. In the real world, friction, nationalism, foreign subsidies and externalities all exist, so a hard no-subsidies rule and pure Ricardian optimization do not work very well.

That's not to defend the opposite positions, of government subsidization based on political criteria and rampant Smoot-Hawley protectionism. The failure of General Motors was a huge political embarrassment, but a subsidy of hundreds of thousands of dollars per U.S. job was unnecessary and unjustifiable. Even worse was the $185 billion bailout of AIG, where relatively few jobs were involved, and the collateral activity of bailing out the CDS market and providing a spurious $13 billion to Goldman Sachs has weakened Wall Street's incentives for decent behavior even further. If subsidies and tariffs are decided on a political basis, they will be badly decided and economically very costly.

There is thus a logical Trumpian position on bailouts and subsidies: if through a bailout or subsidy of less than say 10% of the salaries of the workers involved, a company can be bailed out of prevented from leaving the United States, that bailout is probably justified. At that level, the tax and social security contributions payable by the workers, and the unemployment, retraining and disability benefits avoided, almost certainly add up to more than the cost of the subsidies. In addition, there would seem little problem in the President or local Governors jawboning companies that are seeking to outsource production from the United States. Adding a Public Relations hit to the other costs of outsourcing seems a reasonable thumb to place on the corporate decision makers' scales.

For trade as a whole, the trade-offs are more complex but equally comprehensible. Ricardian optimization, allowing the forces of global commerce to place manufacturing in the countries in which it can be carried out most cheaply, ignores a number of problems. For one thing, the Ricardian optimum is not stable. It may be attractive to source in Brazil one year but the following year, when Brazil has elected a leftist who bashes business, the equation may be different. Even simple movements of exchange rates, which can often be of 20% or more in less than a year, can flip the optimum from one country to another.

There are thus "menu changing" costs that should not be ignored. It may be cost-effective at present to move production of a particular item to China, but with Chinese wage costs increasing much more rapidly than those in the U.S., who is to say that the move to China will go on being cost-effective over the life of a new factory. Foxconn, the giant Taiwanese electronics fabricator, has found itself moving production out of China over the last few years, as Chinese costs escalate and other production locations become more attractive.

It may be objected that companies are able to take these decisions on their own, using the criteria of long-term profit maximization as their guide. Unfortunately, in the last two decades of "funny money" and stock options fueled by an ever-rising stock market, long-term profit maximization is not the goal for many corporate managements. Instead those managements, especially in the U.S., want the stock price boost that comes from a short-term fillip to earnings, whatever the long-term cost, because in the long term they will be retired.

Location and trade decisions in any case involve high levels of externalities, costs that are imposed upon the economy as a whole, but not on the company making the relocation decision. Employees who lose their jobs, even if they find another one, suffer disruption from loss of earnings during the inevitable gap, may find their skills eroded or of no interest to their new employer, and may suffer psychological or health problems due to the stress of losing their job. France has shown us that preventing companies from reallocating their workforces is horrendously expensive and itself increases unemployment (because companies are reluctant to hire.) However, it seems appropriate to discourage companies from reallocating productions due to temporary factors, or to impose moderate taxes on them for the cost of their doing so.

Moderate tariffs may thus beneficial, in encouraging domestic production when the cost disadvantage compared to importing is only minor or temporary. If trading partners remain committed to full free trade, it can also provide a country with unearned benefits - the classic case being the United States between 1862 and 1914, when it gained sector after sector of the world's manufacturing business against Britain, which was subjected to policies of foolish unilateral free trade. That's why the World Trade Organization is needed - the only international agency that has any useful purpose. Through it, countries can together achieve the benefits of lowering tariffs and trade barriers, without being subjected to destructive and unfair competition from their more protectionist trading partners.

There is an additional benefit from tariffs: they provide revenue. The Ricardian ideal of universal trade assumes that government is small, and that means can be found to finance it that are less damaging than tariffs. In reality, government these days is gigantic, and there appears to be little or no popular will to reduce its size. In such circumstances, moderate tariffs can be beneficial, if they prevent excessive fiscal concentration on income taxes and social security contributions. Equally, export bounties and production subsidies are doubly pernicious, because they both distort trade from the optimum and reduce the government's revenue.

We may now have reached a position where a tariff is fiscally necessary for the United States. The budget is permanently at least $500 billion in deficit, and likely to be pushed further out of balance by Trump's programs of infrastructure spending and defense rebuilding. In addition, the U.S. social security and Medicare systems are becoming increasingly in deficit, with trust funds (fictional though they are) likely to run out in a few years. Trump can solve this problem, by imposing a modest tariff on imports, with the proceeds being used to rebuild the social security and Medicare trust funds.

Trump's proposed 35% tariff is far too high, but a 10% tariff would impose only modest additional costs on U.S. consumers, would go far to closing the chronic U.S. balance of payments deficit, and provided other countries reacted only with modest tariffs of their own, would be only very mildly distorting to world trade. The best precedent is the British Imperial Preference 10% tariff of 1932, which gave Britain a much pleasanter 1930s than the United States, distorted trade far less than the much higher Smoot-Hawley Tariff imposed by the U.S., and would have allowed Britain to rebuild its economy more quickly after the war had it not been disgracefully given away by Maynard Keynes in the 1944 Bretton Woods negotiations.

With the new modest tariff, Trump would have rebalanced the U.S. economy and deterred U.S. companies from unnecessary outsourcing. It would also solve the social security/Medicare deficits problem without either increasing already excessive U.S. income and payroll taxes or cutting benefits - thereby fulfilling a core Trump election promise. It would also render unnecessary many subsidies of the Carrier variety, which themselves reduce government revenues. If foreign production for the U.S. market was cheaper even after the barrier of a 10% U.S. tariff, then the outsourcing should probably go ahead - at least the fisc will gain some extra revenue to offset the job losses. However, if the production being outsourced was destined for third countries, a modest job-retention subsidy would probably remain appropriate.

By these means, a modest tariff, modest but capped job retention subsidies, and extensive Presidential jawboning, Trump would violate the principles of Whig free trade theory, and make academic economists across the entire country from Harvard to Stanford denounce his policies. He would nevertheless benefit U.S. workers, the U.S. fiscal balance and the U.S. economy in general. This column is not Cobdenite, it is Liverpudlian.




From my Twitter feed:

Ann Coulter: Putin said he got the idea to use fake news to influence the election one day while watching CNN.

Amy Moreno: British Diplomat, "I have met the @wikileaks informant and they're NOT RUSSIAN"

Steve Goddard: "McCarthyism of the left? Clinton supporters use anti-Russia rhetoric to bash opponents"


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


13 December, 2016

Why the howls over Clinton's defeat?

We all know the vast contrast between the Republican reaction to Obamas's election and the Leftist reaction to Trump's election.  Republicans reacted with quiet trepidation to the era of Obama while the Left reacted to Trump with nationwide howls of rage and florid symptoms of psychological distress. Why the difference?

Could it be that they regretted losing the hold over the rest of us that the labyrinthine array of rules and regulations fastened on us in the Obama era gave them? Do they regret a loss of power? No doubt they did regret that but the individual Leftist exercises little or none of that power so the election result does not personally threaten anything of that kind. And the election result did clearly generate a feeling of personal loss

At one level the answer to the question is clear.  Leftist politics are emotion with just a slight overlay of rationality while in conservative politics rationality is dominant.  Conservatives are interested in what works for the general betterment while Leftists think they can create a new Eden by passing laws.  You have to be pretty simple-minded or deranged to think that.

And that brings us to what I think is the answer to the recent Leftist meltdown.  Leftists believe so many improbable things that it takes constant psychological work to keep those beliefs alive.  Beliefs such as:  All men are equal; all men are brothers;  there are no important differences between men and women; blacks are just like us only browner; The United Nations is the big hope for the future; you can force people to be good; Money grows on trees; it is justice to take money off someone who has earned it and give it to someone who has not earned it; the planet needs saving etc., etc.  That summary puts their beliefs in an unvarnished way but their beliefs do boil down to that.

So having a burden of beliefs so at variance with reality cannot be easy.  Reality is constantly undermining your beliefs.  So you need all the help you can get to prop up your beliefs. And the BIG help you can get is social support:  Having other people share those beliefs.  And you can usually achieve that by being fussy about your company. Hang out with other Leftists only.  And if you accidentally run into a conservative who wants to remind you of reality, you either shut him up or run away.

But Presidential elections can undermine those defences.  It is such a high profile event and so engrossing for both sides that you have to notice the outcome.  You may have to face the fact that not everyone agrees with you.  When huge emotional energy is put in to getting a result that will confirm the dominance of your beliefs, an adverse result shatters a major support for those beliefs.  The real world glares in at you. Try as you might, you cannot escape it. You have at last to face the possibility that you may be wrong in your passionately held beliefs.

Conservatives by contrast have a strong grip on reality and feel no need to hide from it so are not shaken to the core by obviously foolish beliefs in others. Conservatives KNEW that Mr Obama could not stop the seas rising and heal the earth -- and his election did nothing to undermine that knowledge. What caused ecstasy among the Left was simply seen as risibly silly by conservatives.

So the loss by Hillary cracked a lot of walls.  It shouted at Leftists that their view of reality might be wrong and that those "Fascists" of the Republican party could be right.

But it was worse that that. Striking at their view of reality was bad enough but it also threatened their self-worth.  Leftist beliefs are not random.  They are carefully designed to convince the Leftist that he is good and kind and wise. So if you take his beliefs away from him you undermine his whole opinion of himself.  He has to confront the possibility that he might be no better than those "Fascist" Republicans.  And that is simply intolerable.  It could mean that his entire life has taken a wrong direction.  No wonder the Left were upset  and enraged.

So the defeat of Clinton undermined desperately needed social support for their crazy beliefs. They still believe that only fools and evil people disagree with them but that belief has just  taken a battering.  They badly needed the government to tell them that they are right but now that has been snatched away from them -- JR.


A classic example of entrenched Leftist ignorance and avoidance of reality

They think they know it all when they in fact know very little. "Think Progress " is a major Leftist site but even its editor could not be bothered to check his facts.  He just relied on simpilistic Leftist stereotypes in slamming Trump's pick for ambassador to China.  He had clearly not bothered to check  Branstad's qualifications for the job at all.  If he had he would have found that Branstad is a personal friend of President Xi:  A most appropriate appointment

Here we are a full month after the 2016 election, an election that provided what is roundly described as a "shock" to most people. Many people would pick through unexpected results in an effort to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Progressives are far too emotional for that.

Refusing to believe that anyone other than ignorant white bigots voted for Trump, the lefties have been doubling down on the thought-free condescension that practically dug their own electoral grave.

When it was announced that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad would be the new ambassador to China in the Trump administration, Think Progress editor Ian Millhiser had this response (he has since deleted the tweet, hence the tweet from someone with the screenshot):

Ah, there's that sneering leftist faux superiority, replete with a lily white guy complaining about whiteness.

Even his retraction was snotty:

"I deleted my tweet expressing concerns about the Branstad nomination as I've been convinced that my concern was not justified"

Millhiser's original response was based on nothing more than knee-jerk bigotry and laziness. The attitude that he feels he needed to be convinced clings to the smugness instead of admitting he was wrong.

Had be bothered to spend 13 seconds Googling, Millhiser could have found out precisely why Branstad was chosen.

The elitism that coastal media bubble types lord over everyone is unearned. They feel that they're intellectually superior to people who are forever outwitting them. After decades of pretending to "fight" for the common people, their masks have been peeled back to reveal an utter revulsion for those they claim to champion.

As so much of this election was about social media, I'll leave you with one more Twitter snapshot that indicates the Democrats and progressives haven't learned a thing:



Democrats Have Become the Old Fogeys of Politics -- Ideologically & Physically

When Nancy Pelosi (age 76) was reelected minority leader of the House of Representatives, I was scarcely surprised. As her colleagues well know, the net worth of this great spokeswoman for ending income inequality places her in the top one-tenth of one percent of the country. When  your team's in trouble and you're completely out of ideas, the access to serious money, always important, suddenly becomes tantamount to a lifeline.

I bet they'd nominate George Soros (age 86) for president next time around, if he hadn't been born in Hungary. He's richer than Trump and you might as well go directly to the source for your cash flow, especially in tough times.

Regardless, there's no question their Democratic Party and its ideology -- liberal, progressive, whatever misnomer you want to choose -- are out of ideas, flat out.  That is the secret behind the failure of the Hillary Clinton campaign that no one on the side nostalgically known as the Left -- once FDR's party of the working class, now the party of the coastal rich -- wants to admit. People, even her own staff, kept complaining that she didn't have a reason for running (see WikiLeaks) and that's because she didn't.

Bernie Sanders (age 75) had something of an idea -- "democratic" socialism -- but where has that ever worked?  Considering what's going on in Europe these days, no one wants to advocate that bureaucratic nightmare with a straight face.

And speaking of Democratic Party fogeys and the coastal rich, how about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (69, can you believe it?) whose answer to his party's ideological doldrums appears to be "laser-aimed boycotts" at the The Venetian (not other Vegas properties -- gambling's okay with "Cap") because its owner, Sheldon Adelson, donated to Trump's campaign. And then there's Madonna (still only a spring 58), whose contribution to progressive political thought is to dress up like a clown and lambaste Trump by singing a Brittany Spears cover.

No wonder their party is in trouble. It's not just the paucity of a "bench."  It's the paucity of a brain.

Besides the catastrophic, to Democrats, state of affairs that 32 legislatures and 33 governorships out of 50 are now Republican, not to mention the presidency, the Senate, and the House, the real problem for the Dems, the real difficulty in coming back, is they have nothing substantive to offer anymore.

They are, indeed, the old fogeys of politics, honed in the crucible of 1968 and seemingly stuck there for the last 48 years, never revising a single thought, not even now that Tom Hayden is dead, except for the short period when Newt Gingrich put an economic gun to Bill Clinton's head and things got better for a while.

All the Democrats have had to hold things together over that time is identity politics, the black vote, the brown vote, any other atomized vote you can think of. And now, gracias a Sr. Trump (yes, I deliberately/ironically chose Spanish), that may be headed for at least partial extinction.  If Donald does even a decent job of what he's promised, bringing employment back to minority areas, he could end up with 35-40% of their 2020 vote, in which case "Adios al partido democratico." Democrats are the new Whigs. Good-bye, "Black Lives Matter." Hello, "Diamond and Silk."

Overstating?  Maybe, but it's more than possible.  Democrats, liberal, progressives, etc. don't have much in their quiver besides calling people racist and sexist -- which, as even they know, they did more than ever in the recent election and it failed. How many times can you go back to the well on that one?  (Well, in their case, about fifty times a day, but the law of diminishing returns, I think we can all agree, has been setting in for some time.  The "deplorables" accusation will likely go down as one of the most boneheaded remarks ever made by an American politician, certainly one with a degree from Yale - assuming that means anything.)

And wait until the gays discover that Donald pals around with Elton John and was more or less in favor of gay marriage a dozen or so years before Hillary and Obama "evolved" on the issue.

So what's left? Expanding the federal government? How's that working out?  Ever try to drive into downtown D.C. from outside the Beltway on a weekday morning and drive home the opposite direction at night? Good luck!  And you thought where the 405 meets the 110 was a parking lot?  The nation's capital has become the new Los Angeles -- with lousy weather and no surfing. Enough already. Who's going to pay for this?  (And what do these myriad government workers do all day when they arrive from their humungous commutes and finally plop down in front of their computers?)

My prediction -- starting about a year from now, maybe sooner, maybe already, the Democrats are going to try to do a flipflop with the Republicans, accusing Trump of over-spending, blowing up the deficit, everything they've been doing themselves for the last thirty to forty years. This is one Donald himself must watch out for, because he has Mr. Fixit tendencies and wants to get everything done. At some point, this could backfire, but for now, I'm with him. In fact, I can't wait. How many more days is it? Just think what short work "Mad Dog" Mattis (I know -- I'm not a Marine and I'm not supposed to call him that) will make of this.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


12 December, 2016

If group differences are superficial, they will fade away

I appear to be part of that coven of demons known as the Alt-Right.  The Alt-Right are those men of Stygian evil who mention the word "race". Just mentioning that word brings accusations that you just need a small moustache to become a new Hitler.

Such accusations are just a method used by the Left in an attempt to shut up conservatives but, empty-headed though the accusations are, many conservatives are cowed by them.  Only we "Alt" folk brave the storm of abuse and continue to talk about one of the most interesting of human differences.

But "Alt" is a broad church and what the various people say about race when they decide to do so is not any one single thing.  There always have been many and various views about what significance race has and that continues.

My view is that racial differences do exist and that they can make a difference. How anyone can behold the black/white situation in the USA today and think otherwise rather stuns me.  People obviously have strong abilities at ignoring reality.

But something I believe does get me into dangerous territory.  It is perhaps an optimistic belief but it is undoubtedly "incorrect".  I believe that racial antagonisms will fade away when there is no strong basis for them.

An immediate example of that is the Chinese presence in Australia.  For the first two thirds of the 20th century the Australian government had what was known as the "White Australia policy". It was a policy forged around conflicts between British and Chinese men on the Australian goldfields of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The aim was to expel "Chinamen" from Australia and keep them out thereafter.

One way or another, however, a Chinese presence not only continued in Australia but grew slightly.  And once goldfield rivalries were out of the way, Australians found that the Chinese were no trouble at all.  They were peaceful hard-working family people who were rather good at business -- particularly restaurants.  Even in the 1890s Quong Tart's grand tea rooms in Sydney were much celebrated and in fact became a social centre. Quong Tart had however taken the precaution of becoming an Anglican.  Religion has always been a rather flexible matter among the Chinese.

So in 1966 a conservative government led by Harold Holt abolished the "White Australia policy".  And shortly thereafter there came to Australia a flood of refugees from the Vietnam war, most of whom were Han Chinese racially.  And migration from other parts of the Chinese diaspora also got underway.  So Australia now is about 5% Chinese ethnically.  You see Chinese wherever you go in Australia's big cities and even to a degree in the country towns.  I grew up in a small Australian town where the local department store was "See Poys" -- owned and run by polite Chinese.

So there have been race wars or even race riots against Australia's new Chinese population?  Not at all.  Chinese schoolkids might be called names by other kids in their schools but there is no adult equivalent.  Australians of Chinese ancestry do tend to be found in occupations that require brains but they go about their lives as peacefully as any other Australian.  There is no discrimination.   A few imbeciles may at times say abusive things but that is the limit of it.  The life of Chinese Australians is as peaceful as anywhere in the world, including China.

So the Chinese are genetically and obviously different from Caucasians but the differences are not anything that disturbs social peace.  They have very low rates of criminality and very low rates of dependency on the welfare system.  And if they show any indication of religiosity, it is generally as converts to one of the more fundamentalist Christian denominations. Chinese religious flexibility is about as far away from Jihad as can possibly be imagined.  They are our allies in the battle against spiritual darkness.

And they do their best generally to adapt to the host culture.  If it were not for their eyes, Australian-born Chinese would be indistinguishable from other Australians.  So we see a huge genetic difference between Chinese and others but that difference does not have anything negative associated with it so no racial antagonisms arise.

Mind you, one has to distinguish between attitudes and behavior -- a difference first highlighted in the 1930's by LaPiere in the USA.  He found that people who had anti-Asian attitudes did not behave towards Asians in an adverse way.  And I have certainly heard on a couple of occasions Anglo-Australians say critical things about the Chinese.  But again they did not discriminate against the Chinese in their behaviour

I have for instance on a couple of occasions known Anglo-Australians to make derisive remarks about "Slopes" (East Asians) who were in fact happily married to Filipinas.  It is reminiscent of Wilhelm Marr, the man who invented the term "Antisemitism" (He thought it was a good thing).  He married three times and on all three occasions he married ethnically Jewish ladies.  Psychologists generally think that it is behaviour that is important and I do too.

And there is one bit of behaviour in Australia that demonstrates vividly how well Asians and Caucasians get along. It comes from the fact that Asian ladies hate being so small amid a population of largish Caucasians.  So they are determined that their sons will be tall.  But the only way to achieve that is to get a tall partner. But nearly all the tall men around are Caucasians.  No problem!  The Asian ladies set theirs caps at tall Caucasian men and get them.  They know how to charm.

It is quite common to see in the big cities tall Caucasian men walking around with a little Asian lady on their arms.  The only time you see an Asian lady with an Asian man is where it is a TALL Asian man.  So both the Asian lady and the Caucasian man  demonstrate clearly that they are not racist in any behavioural sense.  They accept one another without regard to racial differences.  It may be worth noting that in the traditional Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the closest distance. So Australia is remarkably non-racist where East Asians are concerned.

A similar phenomenon has been noted in American Ivy League universities. The big sporting guys very often have an Asian girlfriend, which is frustrating to the Caucasian women.  When they go for some big guy they often find that an Asian lady has beaten them to it.  So among themselves they refer to their female Asian fellow-students as "The Yellow Peril".

I now want to go on to another big group difference that was initially quite fierce in its antagonisms but which faded away when the difference turned out to be attractive rather than negative!  Strange but true.  And that difference lives on in me personally -- as it does for most Australians who trace all or most of their ancestry to the British Isles.  I refer to the Irish/English difference, which was and still is also a religious difference:  The Protestant/Catholic difference.  And those were once very important differences indeed.  Large numbers of both English and Irish migrated to Australia over the years and they brought all,their old prejudices with them.  So that surely was a good support for racial separatism.

And I do myself remember the tail-end of that separatism.  When I was young, I remember learning that in Brisbane, Protestants patronized a Department store by the name of "McWhirters"  and Catholics patronized antoher depatment store just down the road in Brunswick St. known as "T.C. Beirnes". And if a Protestant wandered into "T.C. Beirnes" it gave you a funny feeling.  You thought that a nun might suddenly leap out and grab you.  The two stores were as near to identical as could be, of course.

So how come I and a majority of Australians who are ethnically like me have both English and Irish ancestry?  There are few "old" Australians who cannot cheerfully nominate both their English and Irish ancestors.

What happened?  How did this dreadful miscegenation occur? How did our ancestors manage to get into bed together despite their profound racial and religious differences?  The answer is that the differences were not in fact profound.  But for horny young people they were sufficiently great to be interesting.  Young Protestants and Catholics could not keep their hands off one another despite the stern disapproval of both their families.

And I am old enough to remember how it was. We young Protestants felt that Catholic girls were more exciting because they thought sex was a sin.  Protestant teaching was of course also against pre-marital sex but the Protestant churches had a much weaker grip on their people than the Catholic church did. So because there were no real differences between the two groups, the religious difference was a spice, not a barrier, to adventurous young people. Young people like breaching barriers and much barrier breaching did go on. Most of my ilk are the product of it.

So the Protestant/Catholic difference has faded away in Australia.  Australians mostly don't even know one-another's religion -- Muslims excepted, of course.

The important part of the story is of course that the Protestant/Catholic difference was superficial. The two groups spoke the same language, looked the same and both grew up hearing only slightly  different versions of the story of Christ. 

Both Great Britain and Ireland started out with a Celtic population that was later subjected to large invasions of Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians and Normans.  And all four groups differed in little more than culture to start with anyway. So the differences between Britain and Ireland are to this day almost wholly cultural rather than racial.

It's not always so, but in the  British case the language differences appear to be a pretty good index of racial differences.  The language of almost all of both islands is English, with the language of the Celts relegated to Western fringes -- places like Connacht and Donegal in Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  In fact the only substantial Gaelic-speaking population remaining in the British Isles is North Wales, which is an appendage of England.

So there were no significant inborn differences between the English and Irish populations of Australia -- which made the cultural differences vulnerable to challenge and change.

So thus endeth my sermon:  Group or racial antagonisms and separatisms do not persist where the differences are superficial.  The corollary of that is that group or racial antagonisms and separatisms only persist when there are major and important differences between the two groups.  Such antagonisms and separatisms are not silly, ignorant or evil but have real and important foundations -- JR


Obama’s Terrorism Claim Hides an Inconvenient Truth

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama stated that “Over [the] last eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland.”

Talk about something actually deserving of being labelled as “fake news.”

Obama’s statement obscures the reality that the U.S. has faced 66 Islamist terrorist plots against the U.S. homeland during Obama’s time in office, 13 of which were successful.

When President George W. Bush left office, the U.S. had faced 28 Islamist plots after 9/11, only one of which was successful. Now there have been 93 Islamist plots since 9/11, and 14 successful attacks.

Obama’s statement is technically accurate since none of these attacks were planned and directed from abroad. Instead, the vast majority of the terror plots and all of the successful attacks since 9/11 have involved homegrown terrorists—that is, terrorists who radicalized and plotted here in the U.S.

While preventing such foreign orchestrated plots is vital, it is no longer enough. The threat has morphed and the U.S. must now do more to counter homegrown and lone wolf Islamist terrorists.

Obama’s comment obscures the truth that in his eight years in office, as shown by the sharp increase in the number of Islamist plots and successful attacks, the homeland has been less safe.

Claiming victory while the U.S. is in the most active period of terrorist activity since 9/11 is not only pushing a false narrative, but it risks diverting our attention from what needs to be done to defend the U.S. homeland.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


10 December, 2016

US life expectancy shortens under Obama

Why? Increased deaths from a bad new rash of illegal drugs is likely to be one factor, plus the upsurge of gun deaths after Obama's demonizing of the the police. The police are now to a significant degree sitting on their hands rather than confront crime.  Why risk your neck when you get so much abuse for doing so?  Best to keep away from trouble.  Let the many black on black deaths in Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit (etc.) go on without interference.

But something else not being mentioned is a major feature of the Obama presidency: The decline in the percentage of the population in employment.  Work is definitely good for your health -- particularly when the alternative is to turn into a couch potato in front of the TV.  Even spending a few years in the army extends your lifespan.  You get lots of activity and exercise in the army. 

For the first time in decades, nationwide life expectancy in the US fell in 2015, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Infants born in 2015 are expected to live on average to age 78.8 — a decline of 0.1 year from 2014. A decline in nationwide life expectancy at birth hasn’t happened in the US since 1993.

Earlier this year, the CDC reported that life expectancy among white Americans fell from 2013 to 2014, but at that time the average across all races was still on the rise.

The latest life expectancy data — which the CDC hasn’t yet broken down by race — add a new sense of urgency to those previous reports.

Men’s life expectancy fell from 76.5 to 76.3 years, while women’s fell from 81.3 to 81.2 years.

Death rates for both black and white men rose in 2015 by about 1 percent, and they rose 1.6 percent among white women.

CDC researcher Dr. Jiaquan Xu, the 2015 report’s lead author, cited the opioid epidemic as a significant factor in the national decline.

Today, Xu added, “We’re seeing so many more preventable causes of death, and they’re significantly affecting mortality negatively.”

He specifically pointed to unintentional deaths: “Motor vehicle accidents have gone up 6 percent. And accidental poisoning increased 13 percent. And 97 percent of accidental poisoning was from drug overdoses and alcohol.



What it’s like to apply for a job in Trump’s White House

When former governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia stepped off the elevator on the 26th floor of Trump Tower last week for his interview with Donald Trump, he expected a grilling by the president-elect and a phalanx of associates, something along the lines of the confrontational boardroom scenes at the sleek conference table in the television show “The Apprentice.”

What he found instead was Trump, calm and solicitous behind a desk cluttered with papers and periodicals, in a large corner office with a hodgepodge of memorabilia and décor that appeared little changed from the 1980s. Nick Ayers, an aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, and Stephen K. Bannon, who will serve as Trump’s chief strategist, listened from the sidelines. Trump, who offered Perdue a seat across from his desk, was in charge.

“He was approaching this from a deal standpoint, and he wanted to know if he was on the right track,” said Perdue, who is being considered for secretary of agriculture and wore a tie adorned with tractors to the meeting. “He believes that we in the United States have been sort of patsies over the years in the way we’ve dealt with our foreign competitors and international trade — and I agree with him — and he wanted to know what I would do about it.”

For more than a decade, millions of Americans tuned in to watch Trump interrogate prospective employees on “The Apprentice” with a mix of arrogance and disdain. But in private over the past few weeks, a less theatrical spinoff of the spectacle has unfolded in Trump’s office in Manhattan, and occasionally at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., or at Mar-a-Lago, his getaway in Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump’s interview style in the real world is direct but conversational, according to people who have sat opposite him. He did not take notes or appear to refer to a set list of questions, but he did have dossiers on his visitors and often displayed intricate knowledge of their backgrounds and experience. He rarely drank or ate. He kept his suit jacket on. In New York, he liked to show off the sweeping views of Central Park visible over his shoulder.

Job seekers, who must parade before the media in the marble and bronze lobby of Trump Tower — “It was almost like walking the red carpet in Hollywood,” said Representative Lou Barletta, Republican of Pennsylvania, who has offered himself up as a secretary of transportation or labor — said that the president-elect often asked open-ended questions and had little patience for meandering answers.

“If you filibuster, he’ll cut you off,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who was initially in the running to be Trump’s secretary of state but has since said he is not interested in a Cabinet post. “He wants to know what you can do for him."

Gingrich said Trump’s approach to putting together his administration was the same one he has used with his multibillion-dollar business.

“He’s used to defining jobs, measuring capability, and making a judgment: ‘Do I think you can run my golf course? Do I think you can run my hotel? Do I want your restaurant in my building?’” Gingrich said.

Trump has been more hands-on in the interviews than his predecessors were. George W. Bush rarely spoke in person to more than one finalist for each Cabinet post, said Clay Johnson III, who directed his transition effort in 2000. President Obama also interviewed a single finalist for each post in most cases, usually in a one-on-one discussion meant to confirm an already well-established conclusion that the candidate would be right for the job, said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior transition official in 2008.

Members of Congress, generals, business executives, and others mingle outside his office, waiting for an audience. Barletta waited more than 45 minutes for his meeting, passing the time chatting with his House colleague Michael McCaul of Texas, who was waiting for his turn to audition for secretary of homeland security.

“It was like a green room, a waiting room of people you know or you know of, all waiting their turn,” said Robert L. Johnson, the founder of the television network BET, who visited Trump at Bedminster to discuss ways the incoming president could reach out to African-Americans.

As Johnson was coming in, Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York whom Trump is considering for secretary of state, was going out.

Trump wants a gut sense for a potential hire, people close to him said, prizing personal chemistry and an entrepreneurial spirit. But he also leans on the judgment of trusted advisers — particularly Pence and his elder daughter, Ivanka Trump — when assessing a candidate.

Trump, who prizes loyalty, also wanted to know precisely what the job seekers did to propel him into the White House.

“He asked about what I had done to help in Georgia,” said Perdue, who told the president-elect that he and his cousin, Senator David Perdue, had repeatedly reassured campaign officials about Trump’s prospects there and encouraged them to focus their energies elsewhere.

Scott Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who met with Trump last month about becoming his secretary of veterans affairs, said Trump asked how he could help him deliver on his campaign pledges and how to ensure a “good value” for veterans receiving services from the agency or private contractors.

“He made it clear that he’s a businessman and he’s going to delegate to people like me, potentially, and others,” Brown said. “He’s going to say, ‘Do your job, and do it well, and otherwise — you’re fired.’”



Democrats: From Temper Tantrum to Self-Delusion

Hard to believe, but Hillary Clinton’s campaign team thinks it lost because Donald Trump ignited America’s inner bigot, which caused the KKK and Aryan Brotherhood members and sympathizers to show up in droves and vote Trump.

Following Mitt Romney’s 2012 defeat, Democrats and pundits predicted GOP defeats as far as the eye could see, because there aren’t enough white voters for Republicans to win. But now the narrative is, “Trump won by appealing to white voters.” Could they please pick one and stick to it?

That’s the takeaway from the Harvard quadrennial postmortem in which the two campaign camps participated. About Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign CEO, Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said, “If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have lost. … I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

To this Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, angrily responded, “No, you wouldn’t. That’s very clear … respectfully. No, you wouldn’t. … Jenn … do you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? Are you going to look me in the face and tell me that?”

“It did, Kellyanne. It did,” countered Palmieri.


Fact: Based on exit polls, Trump got a lower percentage of the white vote than Mitt Romney did in 2012, and a higher percentage of the black vote and the Hispanic vote than Romney. Initial post-election tabulations find that nationwide, Trump won 209 of the 676 counties that voted for Barack Obama twice — in both 2008 and 2012. And he won another 194 of the 207 counties that Obama took only once — in either 2008 or 2012. Did a raft of white supremacists move in and change the vote? Or did the voters' latent racism suddenly erupt in 2016?

Fact: When Barack Obama took office in 2009, he had, with the exception of John F. Kennedy, the highest approval ratings, 68 percent, of any elected president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. It certainly appears that Obama was black or biracial back in 2009, just as he was black or biracial when his poll numbers declined.

Fact: In a nation that the Clinton camp believes teems with white supremacists, Obama, in 2008, got a higher percentage of the white vote than Democratic candidate John Kerry in 2004. But in 2016, whites came down with an acute case of what CNN’s Van Jones called “whitelash,” a reaction against, as he put it, “a changing country” and “a black president.” Now it is true that Obama did not get a majority of the white vote. But the last presidential election in which Democrats won the white vote was in 1964. The majority of voting white Americans don’t want a white Democrat or a black Democrat sitting in the Oval Office.

This assumption of vast American white supremacy mirrors the exceptions of many black politicians when, back in the ‘90s, the Supreme Court struck down and demanded redistricting of Southern congressional districts that had been specifically designed to increase black representation in the House of Representatives. Elaine Jones of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund said, “Once this decision goes through, you’ll be able to hold the Black Congressional Caucus in the back of a taxicab.” But contrary to the dreary predictions, every black Southern congressperson who decided to run for re-election — despite having to try and retain a seat in a much more white congressional district — won his or her race.

Early in the 2008 Democratic primary race, a black South Carolina state lawmaker, Robert Ford, refused to support Obama. He argued that a black presidential candidate would not only lose badly but would trigger such white racism that down-ballot Democrats would suffer: “It’s a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. … Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose, because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. … I’m a gambling man. I love Obama. … But I’m not going to kill myself.”

Memo to the “racism, racism everywhere” crowd: Whites are as proud of slavery and Jim Crow as Germans and Austrians are of Adolf Hitler.

If Democrats truly believe that racism carried the day for Trump, they’re even more out of touch than initially thought. Given that line of reasoning, they will be hard-pressed to get back the middle-class and working-class Americans they lost this cycle.

If Democrats think Trump won by “catering to racists,” just wait until the economy improves under Trump, and more Latinos and blacks stop voting like victicrats. Just wait until blacks and Hispanics start voting to continue the policies that caused an improvement in their economic conditions and for education policies like Trump’s pro-voucher stance.

Then Democrats will really start losing.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


9 December, 2016

Mike Pence: ‘Buckle Up’ for Trump’s First 100 Days

Vice President-elect Mike Pence asserted Tuesday night that the Trump administration will have an aggressive first 100 days in office that includes rebuilding the military, repealing Obamacare, and naming a justice to the Supreme Court.

The Indiana governor and former U.S. House member said he has visited Capitol Hill about the agenda and issued a warning to GOP lawmakers. “I told my former colleagues to buckle up, vacation is over,” Pence said to laughter from the audience.

Pence spoke Tuesday night at The Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club Meeting, held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in front of about 700 people in the large ballroom. His speech came just 44 days before Donald Trump is inaugurated the 45th president. The Heritage Foundation is the parent organization of The Daily Signal.

Pence explained that nominating the next Supreme Court justice would be a key event in the first 100 days.

“During the campaign, I said that while you are electing a president to serve a four-year term, right before electing him to serve another four-year term, the next president will influence the next 40 years,” Pence said.

He noted the list of potential Supreme Court nominees that The Heritage Foundation helped compile was a “gold mine of conservative jurists.” He said Trump will “appoint a justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of the late, great Antonin Scalia.”

Pence went on to talk about plans to tackle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. “Our president-elect is going to be in the promise-keeping business and we are going to repeal Obamacare lock, stock, and barrel,” Pence said to loud applause.

“We have asked Congress to put on his desk with all deliberate speed a repeal of Obamacare and replace it with free-market reforms,” Pence added.

Pence talked about the state of the American military. He said the average military planes are older than his son, who is in the Marines. He noted that the Army is the smallest it has been since World War II, while the number of Navy ships has been cut by nearly half and the the Air Force is one-third smaller.

“Ronald Reagan taught us that peace comes through strength. … This administration has walked away from its commitment to be that arsenal of democracy to the world,” Pence said. “The Obama era of weakening our national defenses is over.”

Pence expressed his gratitude to The Heritage Foundation for its help in the presidential transition, and said that the think tank’s former president, Ed Feulner, “has shown up each and every day at the transition office of the president of the United States.”

“We will continue to draw on the extraordinary intellectual creativity of The Heritage Foundation. We truly believe the president-elect received a mandate to lead and you know something about that,” he said.

Some movement conservatives who had doubts about Trump during the presidential campaign are very hopeful that Pence will play a powerful role in the administration, having built a strong conservative record in the House and later as governor of Indiana.

Jim DeMint, president of The Heritage Foundation and a former South Carolina senator and House member, introduced the vice president-elect.

DeMint recalled that when they served in the House together, they were “called to the carpet” at the White House during a meeting with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Bush adviser Karl Rove, who were trying to pressure them to vote with the president or “our careers would be over.” “Somehow, we managed to survive,” DeMint joked.

During the introduction, DeMint noted to the crowd, “It is something really sweet to be in the Trump Hotel a few blocks from the White House.”

During his remarks, Pence noted the commonalities between himself and the president-elect, noting a significant exception.

“Other than a whole lot of zeroes, Donald Trump and I have a whole lot in common. That’s a belief in the American dream,” Pence said. “For our president-elect and vice president-elect, the American dream is not a bumper sticker. It’s real. We lived it.”



Obama's Pentagon Waste and Outsourcing

$125 billion in waste, F-16 production moved to India. What else?

Now that we have a real businessman headed to the White House, “business as usual” in Washington may start getting a little un-usual. At least for Beltway insiders, anyway. For the rest of us, we’re hoping to see some common sense kick in.

This week it seems to be the defense industry that’s getting the attention. But the Pentagon may have brought that on itself by attempting to bury a report that revealed $125 billion in wasteful and fraudulent spending.

An in-depth exposé in the Washington Post explains how the Pentagon commissioned a study in 2014 to look for ways to make its “enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power.”

The study was conducted by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel made up of corporate executives and consultants from McKinsey and Company. The final report identified $125 billion in wasteful spending to be cut over five years by streamlining bureaucracy through attrition, early retirements, and curtailing high-priced contractors.

Top brass, however, were terrifically embarrassed by such a large amount of waste in the Defense Department. To give some life to their concern, consider the fact that $125 billion represents about 20% of the Pentagon’s annual budget. On top of that, the number of back-office civilian and military personnel is roughly equal to the total number of troops on active duty, a one-to-one ratio. And if that isn’t enough to shock you, 298,000 of those back-office personnel are military, not civilians or contractors.

It’s little wonder that the Pentagon wanted to bury this report, and Barack Obama was no doubt a big supporter — if not instigator — of that decision. Remember the days of the sequester when Obama was blaming Republicans for leaving our national defense vulnerable because of “reckless cuts”? Cuts that were his idea for political gain. Well, if the Pentagon had followed the Defense Business Board’s recommendations, it would have found the savings it needed to balance out the sequester cuts, which was what was intended at the time anyway. But Obama opted instead to close DC memorials and national parks so as to score more political points.

To Obama’s White House, it was never about cost savings or reduced spending, or about keeping jobs and dollars in the U.S. And in its twilight days, the administration has not learned the right lesson.

With Obama’s blessing, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter are working out a deal to build Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jets in India.

The F-16 is being phased out by the U.S. military, but the aircraft is still popular in other countries. There are still a lot of jobs to be had for building and servicing the aircraft, though both the administration and the two companies insist American jobs will be repurposed, not lost. It may make some business and logistical sense to move this manufacturing overseas, but it seems to us there are some things that just shouldn’t be outsourced. America’s iconic military jets are one of them.

In the wake of President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent work to stop jobs from being shipped overseas, the Indian government is wondering if the deal will still hold. It may; it may not. But Trump is definitely making his presence known now in other areas.

In fact, Boeing is now feeling the heat from The Donald for its deal to build two new planes to fly as Air Force One. The new 747s are sorely needed as the current pair of retrofitted planes flying as the airborne White House are around 30 years old. The price tag, however, seems to have climbed past the point of fiscal responsibility — at least according to Trump’s latest Twitter declaration.

The replacement program for the planes was originally budgeted at $2.87 billion for fiscal years 2015-2021, but this was apparently only for research and development, testing and evaluation, not the cost of the planes themselves. However, a Government Accountability Office report from earlier this year claimed the program would cost $3.21 billion, planes included.

That was too much for Trump, and now Boeing is finding itself on the defensive. The Donald couldn’t resist pointing out that his own 757 is posher than Air Force One, which may very well be true, but it doesn’t have defense countermeasures nor can it operate as an airborne command post during a nuclear attack. That we know of…

The point here is that Trump is acting on campaign promises he made to keep jobs in the United States and to make America more economically competitive. He’s also already signaled with his pick of James “Mad Dog” Mattis for defense secretary that the Pentagon could use some cleaning up. After eight years of Obama, that’s going to be a herculean undertaking.



Trump’s Disputed Twitter Claim About Air Force One Turns Out to Be Completely True


Leftist Reasoning


News of Chris Brand

Chris seems to have weathered the storm and looks like he will make a good recovery.  He is however still in hospital. 

Some background:

A great co-incidence is that my dynamic stepson Paul moved to Edinburgh over a year ago and in fact lives only 5 minutes walk down the street from where Chris lives.  And Paul shares my views on most things so he and Chris got on famously from the get go.  So Paul has been a great proxy for me during Chris' grievous illness.  He has fought for Chris all the way. 

Paul and my son Joe also get on exceptionally well so Joe is travelling to Britain soon and will be staying with Paul for Christmas and should therefore meet Chris.  There will be some VERY conservative conversations between THAT trio!  Joe and I also see eye to eye on most things.

With that background I think I can share the latest marvellous email from Paul.  (Shiou is Chris' wife and Matthew is Paul's 5 year old son):

"Last night I spent 4 hours up at the Hospital with Chris, Shiou and his son, Tom who made a surprise visit up from London.

It was a really joyous occasion, celebrating the strong recovery of Chris. He hopes to be home for Christmas.

We had so many great chats and laughs but it was great to see Chris so talkative and strong in his will and being the main contributor to the many stories being told.

He is keen to assist Matthew in the future with his speech and cultural stories and of course we are all excited to have Joe Ray here over the Christmas period.

What a very lucky outcome!!"

The mention of Matthew refers to the fact that Matthew has acquired a slight Scottish accent which Paul rather deplores.  He knows how much your accent typecasts you in Britain.  So he is hoping to familiarize Matthew with RP, which Chris speaks. Matthew is a bright little boy so being able to switch accents should come easily to him.


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


8 December, 2016

The war on salt

More ill-informed regulation.  It completely ignores academic research results which show that only LOW salt levels are harmful.  See e.g. here and here.  There is even a natural experiment that shows big doses of salt to be harmless:  Japan.  They have huge salt intakes but are also known for longevity

Almost everyone believes that lowering salt in the diet can lower a person’s blood pressure, but despite that belief and decades of warnings from government agencies, health organizations, and our doctors, Americans still eat about 1,000 mg of sodium a day more than the recommended limit of 2,300 mg. So this summer the U.S. Food and Drug Administration responded by unveiling “guidance” for how the food industry could lower sodium in their products over the next decade. As well-intentioned as the plan might be, it has many problems.

First, the mission of the FDA is supposed to be protecting consumers from dangers in the food supply - not protecting us from our own choices.

Second, while the FDA call them “voluntary guidelines,” the reality is that manufacturers will be under immense pressure to comply. After all, the agency that is the gatekeeper, and possibly the single biggest impediment, between their products and the market.

Most importantly, the FDA plan—even if it successfully reduced sodium in the food supply—is unlikely to result in a healthier population. In the meantime, the focus on salt overshadows better approaches to lowering blood pressure and improving health.

Evidence shows that most human beings consume salt within a relatively narrow range and that our sodium intake has remained more or less stable for at least the last fifty years. That’s pretty amazing considering how much more processed (and heavily salted) foods we consume today compared with previous generations. When you consider our proven inability to reduce our own sodium intake, despite constant warnings, and the worldwide consistency in sodium intake, despite cultural differences, that’s a strong indicator that we don’t merely decide to eat more or less salt. Rather, we are unconsciously and physiologically driven to eat a certain amount of sodium. This means that even if the FDA succeeds in lowering salt in the food supply, people will probably just add it back into their food or add in other salty foods to their diet.

But, let’s say the FDA plan works and we all end up eating less salt. It’s unclear that this would result in better health for the majority of people. While most of us accept the idea that lowering salt in the diet will lower blood pressure, the actual scientific research shows that only a small percentage of the population—an estimated 17 percent—are “salt sensitive” or will see blood pressure rise with increased dietary sodium. For everyone else, even significant sodium reduction will have no measurable effect on blood pressure.

You might be thinking: well, it can’t hurt to cut out some salt…right? The troubling answer is: that’s not clear, either. Emerging evidence suggests that populations with diets that have lower-than-average sodium are at a higher risk for worse health outcomes (as are those with higher-than-average sodium levels). Why might groups with lower sodium in their diet be more likely to die? Unknown. But we must demand that regulators proceed with serious caution before making blanket recommendations regarding salt or trying to push the entire population toward behavioral changes that have unknown risks.

Perhaps worst of all, the FDA’s sodium reduction plan, with all its accompanying hype, reinforces the idea that salt is the be-all, end-all of hypertension prevention. While salt restriction can certainly be an effective way for some people to lower their blood pressure, for most people it will have no effect. On the other hand, there is strong evidence that losing weight or increasing potassium in the diet are just as effective at lowering blood pressure as moderate salt restriction. In addition to being effective, these approaches to hypertension risk reduction might be easier for people to adhere to, especially for those who find salt restriction difficult.

Unfortunately, while most people know that eating more fruits and vegetables would be good, few realize that doing so might lower their risk of hypertension, heart attack, and strokes. This ignorance is, in part, due to the government’s continued myopic focus on salt. Rather than perpetuating public health policy that has failed for nearly forty years, we urged the FDA to focus instead on protecting the food supply from real threats and to allow the appropriate health agencies and physicians to advise the people on nutrition that makes our lives longer and healthier.



The Left's Gambles with all our lives

Thomas Sowell

Sometimes life forces us to make decisions, even when we don’t have enough information to know how the decision will turn out. The risks may be even greater when people make decisions for other people. Yet there are some who are not only willing, but eager, to take decisions away from those who are directly affected.

Something as personal as what doctor we want to go to has been taken out of our hands by ObamaCare. What job offer, at what pay rate, someone wants to accept has been taken out of their hands by minimum wage laws.

Sick people who are dying are prevented from trying a medication that has not yet completed all the long years of tests required by federal regulations — even if the medication has been used for years in other countries without ill effects.

One by one, innumerable decisions have been taken out of the hands of those directly affected. This is not just something that has happened. It is a central part of the agenda of the political left, even though they describe what they are doing in terms of the bad things they claim to be preventing and the good things they claim to be creating.

Minimum wage laws are described as preventing workers from being “exploited” by employers who pay less than what third parties want them to pay. But would people accept wages that third parties don’t like if there were better alternatives available?

This is an issue that is very personal to me. When I left home at the age of 17, going out into the world as a black high school dropout with very little experience and no skills, the minimum wage law had been rendered meaningless by ten years of inflation since the law was passed. In other words, there was no minimum wage law in effect, for all practical purposes.

It was far easier for me to find jobs then than it is for teenage black high school dropouts today. After the minimum wage was raised to keep up with inflation, for decades the unemployment rate for black male 17-year-olds never fell below TRIPLE what it was for me — and in some years their unemployment rate was as much as five times what it was when I was a teenager.

Yet many people on the left were able to feel good about themselves for having prevented “exploitation” — that is, wage rates less than what third parties would like to see. No employer in his right mind was going to pay me what third parties wanted paid, when I had nothing to contribute, except in the simplest jobs.

As for me, my options would have been welfare or crime, and welfare was a lot harder to get in those days. As it was, the ineffectiveness of the minimum wage law at that time allowed me time to acquire job skills that would enable me to move on to successively better jobs — and eventually to complete my education. Most people who have minimum wage jobs do not stay at those jobs for life. The turnover rate among people who are flipping hamburgers was found by one study to be so high that those who have such jobs on New Year’s Day are very unlikely to still be there at Christmas.

In short, the left has been gambling with other people’s livelihoods — and the left pays no price when that gamble fails.

It is the same story when the left prevents dying people from getting medications that have been used for years in other countries, without dire effects, but have not yet gotten through the long maze of federal “safety” regulations in the U.S.

People have died from such “safety.” Police are dying from restrictions on them that keep criminals safe.

San Francisco is currently trying to impose more restrictions on the police, restrictions that will prevent them from shooting at a moving car, except under special conditions that they will have to think about when they have a split second to make a decision that can cost them their own lives. But the left will pay no price.

One of the most zealous crusades of the left has been to prevent law-abiding citizens from having guns, even though gun control laws have little or no effect on criminals who violate laws in general. You can read through reams of rhetoric from gun control advocates without encountering a single hard fact showing gun control laws reducing crime in general or murder in particular.

Such hard evidence as exists points in the opposite direction.

But the gun control gamble with other people’s lives is undeterred. And the left still pays no price when they are wrong.



People are still voting with their feet

The blue states of America are in a depression. I don’t mean the collective funk of liberal voters because they lost the election to Donald Trump.

I’m talking about an economic malaise in the blue states that went for Hillary Clinton. Here is an amazing statistic courtesy of the just-released 2016 edition of “Rich States, Poor States,” which I co-authored with Reagan economist Arthur Laffer and economist Jonathan Williams: Of the 10 blue states that Democrats won by the largest percentage margins — California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Connecticut — every single one of them lost domestic migration (excluding immigration) between 2004 and 2014. Nearly 2.75 million more Americans left California and New York than entered these states.

They are the loser states. They are all progressive: high taxes rates; high welfare benefits; heavy regulation; environmental extremism; high minimum wages. Most outlaw energy drilling. The whole left-wing playbook is on display in the Clinton states. And people are leaving in droves. Day after day, they are being bled to death. So much for liberalism creating a worker’s paradise.

Now let’s look at the 10 states that had the largest percentage vote for Trump. Every one of them — Wyoming, West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Dakota and Idaho — was a net population gainer.

This is part and parcel of one of the greatest internal migration waves in American history, as blue states, especially in the Northeast, are getting clobbered by their low-tax, smaller-government rivals in the South and the mountain regions.

By the way, pretty much the same pattern holds true for jobs. The job gains in the red states that Trump carried by the widest margins had about twice the job-creation rate as the bluest states carried by Clinton.

The latest “Rich States, Poor States” report, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council, shows a persistent trend of Americans moving from blue to red states. The best example is that from 2004-2014, the two most populous conservative states — Florida and Texas — gained almost 1 million new residents each. The two most populous liberal states — California and New York — saw an equal-sized exodus.

It’s easy to understand why people might want to leave gray and rusting New York. But California? California has, arguably, the most beautiful weather, mountains and beaches in the country, and yet people keep fleeing the state that is supposed to be a progressive utopia.

What doesn’t make California and New York paradise is the high cost of living — thanks to expensive environmental regulations, forced union policies and income tax rates that are the highest in the nation, at 13 percent or more. Florida and Texas are right-to-work states with no income tax. Is it really a shocker that people would choose zero income tax over 13 percent? New York politicians know that their record-high tax rates are killing growth, which is why the state is spending millions of dollars on TV ads across the country trying to convince people that New York has low taxes. Sure. And Chicago is crime-free.

Even when it comes to income inequality, blue states fare worse than red states. According to a 2016 report by the Economic Policy Institute, three of the states with the largest gaps between rich and poor are those progressive icons New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Sure, Boston, Manhattan and Silicon Valley are booming as the rich prosper. But outside these areas are deep pockets of poverty and wage stagnation.

The lesson to be learned from the experimentation of the states is that the “progressive” tax and spend agenda leads to much slower growth and benefits the rich and politically well-connected at the expense of everyone else.

Trump is now promising that on a national scale, he will cut taxes, deregulate and cut wasteful government spending. In the presidential debates, Clinton disparaged this agenda as “trumped up, trickle-down economics,” and she said it had never worked.

Yet prospering red states such as Florida, Tennessee, Texas and so many others keep stealing jobs and growth from blue-state America.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


7 December, 2016

Trump’s Taiwan call wasn’t a blunder. It was brilliant

Marc A. Thiessen

Relax. Breathe. Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Taiwan wasn’t a blunder by an inexperienced president-elect unschooled in the niceties of cross-straits diplomacy. It was a deliberate move — and a brilliant one at that.

The phone call with President Tsai Ing-wen was reportedly carefully planned, and Trump was fully briefed before the call, according to The Post. It’s not that Trump was unfamiliar with the “Three Communiques” or unaware of the fiction that there is “One China.” Trump knew precisely what he was doing in taking the call. He was serving notice on Beijing that it is dealing with a different kind of president — an outsider who will not be encumbered by the same Lilliputian diplomatic threads that tied down previous administrations. The message, as John Bolton correctly put it, was that “the president of the United States [will] talk to whomever he wants if he thinks it’s in the interest of the United States, and nobody in Beijing gets to dictate who we talk to.”

Amen to that.

And if that message was lost on Beijing, Trump underscored it on Sunday, tweeting: “Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the U.S. doesn’t tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don’t think so!” He does not need Beijing’s permission to speak to anyone. No more kowtowing in a Trump administration.

Trump promised during the campaign that he would take a tougher stand with China, and supporting Taiwan has always been part of his get-tough approach to Beijing. As far back as 2011, Trump tweeted: “Why is @BarackObama delaying the sale of F-16 aircraft to Taiwan? Wrong message to send to China. #TimeToGetTough.” Indeed, the very idea that Trump could not speak to Taiwan’s president because it would anger Beijing is precisely the kind of weak-kneed subservience that Trump promised to eliminate as president.

Trump’s call with the Taiwanese president sent a message not only to Beijing, but also to the striped-pants foreign-policy establishment in Washington. It is telling how so many in that establishment immediately assumed Trump had committed an unintended gaffe. “Bottomless pig-ignorance” is how one liberal foreign-policy commentator described Trump’s decision to speak with Tsai. Trump just shocked the world by winning the presidential election, yet they still underestimate him. The irony is that the hyperventilation in Washington has far outpaced the measured response from Beijing. When American foreign-policy elites are more upset than China, perhaps it’s time for some introspection.

The hypocrisy is rank. When President Obama broke with decades of U.S. policy and extended diplomatic recognition to a murderous dictatorship in Cuba, the foreign-policy establishment swooned. Democrats on Capitol Hill praised Obama for taking action that was “long overdue.” Former President Jimmy Carter raved about how Obama had “shown such wisdom,” while the New York Times gushed that Obama was acting “courageously” and “ushering in a transformational era for millions of Cubans who have suffered as a result of more than 50 years of hostility between the two nations.”

But when Trump broke with decades of U.S. diplomatic practice and had a phone call with the democratically elected leader of Taiwan, he was declared a buffoon. Well, if they didn’t like that phone call, his critics may hate what could come next even more. Trump now has an opportunity to do with Taiwan what Obama did with Cuba — normalize relations.

There are a number of steps the Trump administration can take to strengthen our military, economic and diplomatic ties with Taiwan. My American Enterprise Institute colleague Derek Scissors has suggested that Trump could negotiate a new free-trade agreement with Taiwan. “Taiwan’s tiny population means there is no jobs threat,” Scissors says, but Taiwan is also the United States’ ninth-largest trading partner. A free-trade agreement would be economically beneficial to both sides and would send a message to friend and foe alike in Asia that, despite Trump’s planned withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the United States is not withdrawing from the region.

On the military front, Trump could begin sending general officers to Taipei once again to coordinate with their Taiwanese counterparts and hold joint military exercises. On the diplomatic front, Bolton says the new administration could start “receiving Taiwanese diplomats officially at the State Department; upgrading the status of U.S. representation in Taipei from a private ‘institute’ to an official diplomatic mission; inviting Taiwan’s president to travel officially to America; allowing the most senior U.S. officials to visit Taiwan to transact government business; and ultimately restoring full diplomatic recognition.”

Beijing would be wise not to overreact to any overtures Trump makes to Taiwan. When China tested President George W. Bush in his first months in office by scrambling fighters and forcing a U.S. EP-3 aircraft to land on the Chinese island of Hainan, its actions backfired. After the incident, Bush approved a $30 billion arms package for Taiwan, announced that Taiwan would be treated as a major non-NATO ally and declared that the United States would do “whatever it took” to defend Taiwan. His actions not only strengthened U.S. ties with Taiwan but also set the stage for good relations with Beijing throughout his presidency.

China does not want to make the same mistake and overplay its hand with Trump. Trump’s call with Taiwan’s president was a smart, calculated move designed to send a clear message: The days of pushing the United States around are over.

That may horrify official Washington, but it’s the right message to send.



Pence: Obama Can Reach Out to Cuban Dictator, But Trump Can't Take Call From Taiwan's Leader?

The American people are "encouraged" to see President-elect Trump "taking calls from the world, speaking to the world," including the democratically elected leader of Taiwan, Vice President-elect Mike Pence told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

"But I think it all begins with relationships, and...that was nothing more than taking a courtesy call of congratulations from the democratically elected leader of Taiwan."

China, which claims Taiwan as its own, has complained about Trump's contact on Friday with the leader of Taiwan, a breach of longstanding diplomatic protocol. The United States, under President Jimmy Carter, broke off formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, in deference to communist China, but the U.S. maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan to this day.

Pence told "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, "It's a little mystifying to me that President Obama can -- can reach out to a murdering dictator in -- in Cuba in the last year and be hailed as a hero for doing it and President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from a democratically elected leader in Taiwan and it's become -- it's become something of a controversy, because I think the American people appreciate the fact that -- that our president-elect is taking calls from and reaching out to the world and preparing on day one to lead America on the world stage."

Appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation," Reince Priebus, Trump's incoming chief of staff, said Trump did not believe he was talking to the leader of a sovereign state when he accepted the congratulatory phone call from the leader of Taiwan.

"No, of course not," Priebus said. "He knew exactly what was happening. But, look, we have got a lot of problems to solve in this country, and we're not going to solve them by just making believe that people don't exist. This was a two-minute congratulatory call. He talked to (Chinese) President Xi over two weeks ago. I'm sure he'd be willing to talk with him again.

"This is not a massive deviation of our policy," Priebus continued. "But President Trump has made it clear that he's going to work with China, PRC, to make sure that we have a better deal, that we have better trade agreements, and that we do a better job in protecting the American worker. And he's going to continue to do it.

"So, courtesy call, not a change in policy?" host John Dickerson asked.

"Exactly," Priebus said.

On Friday, Trump tweeted: "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call."



The best cure for corruption

If you ask what worries me about the incoming Trump Administration, I’ll immediately point to a bunch of policy issues.

    Will Trump be too timid to deal with the huge entitlement problem?

    Will Trump do a business-as-usual pork-filled infrastructure deal?

    Will Trump’s tax cut be feasible without concomitant spending discipline?

Others, though, are more focused on whether Trump’s business empire will distort decisions in the White House. Here’s what Paul Krugman recently wrote about Trump and potential corruption.

    "…he’s already giving us an object lesson in what real conflicts of interest look like, as authoritarian governments around the world shower favors on his business empire. Of course, Donald Trump could be rejecting these favors and separating himself and his family from his hotels and so on. But he isn’t. In fact, he’s openly using his position to drum up business. …The question you need to ask is why this matters. …America is a very rich country, whose government spends more than $4 trillion a year, so even large-scale looting amounts to rounding error.

What’s important is not the money that sticks to the fingers of the inner circle, but what they do to get that money, and the bad policy that results. …what’s truly scary is the potential impact of corruption on foreign policy. …someplace like Vladimir Putin’s Russia can easily funnel vast sums to the man at the top… So how bad will the effects of Trump-era corruption be? The best guess is, worse than you can possibly imagine"

I’m tempted to ask why Krugman wasn’t similarly worried about corruption over the past eight years? Was he fretting about Solyndra-type scams? About the pay-to-play antics at the Clinton Foundation? About Operation Choke Point and arbitrary denial of financial services to law-abiding citizens?

He seems to think that the problem of malfeasance only exists when his team isn’t in power. But that’s totally backwards. As I wrote back in 2010, people should be especially concerned and vigilant when their party holds power. It’s not just common sense. It should be a moral obligation.

But even if Krugman is a hypocrite, that doesn’t mean he’s wrong. At least not in this case. He is absolutely on the mark when he frets about the “incentives” for massive looting by Trump and his allies.

But what frustrates me is that he doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion, which is that the incentive to loot mostly exists because there’s an ability to loot. And the ability to loot mostly exists because the federal government is so big and has so much power.

And as Lord Acton famously warned, power is very tempting and very corrupting. Which is why I’m hoping that Krugman will read John Stossel’s new column for Reason. In the piece, John correctly points out that the only way to “drain the swamp” is to shrink the size and scope of government.

    "…today’s complex government allows the politically connected to corrupt… most everything. …In the swamp, no one but taxpayers pays for their mistakes. …it’s well worth it for companies to invest in lobbyists and fixers who dive into the swamp to extract subsidies.For taxpayers? Not so much. While the benefits to lobbyists are concentrated, taxpayer costs are diffuse. …Draining the swamp would mean not just taking freebies away from corporations—or needy citizens—but eliminating complex handouts like Obamacare. Candidate Trump said he would repeal Obamacare. Will he? He’s already backed off of that promise, saying he likes two parts of the law—the most expensive parts"

As you can see, Stossel understands “public choice” and recognizes that making government smaller is the only sure-fire way of reducing public corruption.

Which is music to my ears, for obvious reasons.

By the way, the same problem exists in many other countries and this connects to the controversies about Trump and his business dealings. Many of the stories about potential misbehavior during a Trump Administration focus on whether the President will adjust American policy in exchange for permits and other favors from foreign governments.

But that temptation wouldn’t exist if entrepreneurs didn’t need to get permission from bureaucrats before building things such as hotels and golf courses. In other words, if more nations copied Singapore and New Zealand, there wouldn’t be much reason to worry whether the new president was willing to swap policy for permits.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


6 December, 2016

Welcome to the Party of Trump

I agree with Stephen Moore below but think he missed an important contrast.  The party of Trump is the first working class party with CONSERVATIVE ideas.  Other working class parties have been socialist.  That is a huge step-change that will have far reaching results.  Most importantly, the Trump party will be the first working class party that actually will BENEFIT the worker -- by increasing prosperity instead of sabotaging it

I stirred up some controversy last week when I told a conference of several dozen House Republicans that the GOP is now officially a Trump working-class party. For better or worse, I said at the gathering inside the Capitol dome, the baton has now officially been passed from the Reagan era to the new Trump era. The members didn't quite faint over my apostasy, but the shock was palpable.

I emphasized that Republicans must prioritize delivering jobs and economic development to the regions of the country in the industrial Midwest - states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri. These are places that, for the most part, never felt the meager Obama recovery and where blue-collar Reagan Democrats took a leap of faith this election and came back to the Republican party for the first time since 1984. The GOP will be judged in 2018 and in 2020 on whether they deliver results for this part of the country and for the forgotten middle-class men and women ("the deplorables") whom Democrats abandoned economically and culturally. This is all simply a political truism.

What roused the ire of some of my conservative friends was my statement that "just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, with his victory this year, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist, America First party."?

One friend lamented that I must have been drunk when I said this.

No. I meant exactly what I said, but I will clarify.

First, let me lay to rest the idea that this was a backhanded slam against Reagan's legacy. Hardly. I worked for the Gipper. He rebuilt the American economy and caused a quarter-century-long boom in wealth creation and prosperity nearly unrivaled in American history. He won the Cold War and vanquished the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union. He belongs on Mount Rushmore.

But this is 2016 not 1986. The world is a different place. The concerns and priorities of the American people are different today from what they were 30 years ago. The voters spoke with a thunderclap. Trump squashed his 16 GOP rivals - a group that was touted as the most talented field of contenders in modern history - as if they were bugs crashing into his windshield. Republican voters opted for his new breed of economic populism. Republicans who were Never Trumpers and who insisted with absolute certainly that Trump could never win the primary, let alone the general election, can pretend that a political sonic boom didn't happen.

Guess what? It did. ?A realignment occurred while all the high-falutin' intellectuals and political consultants were napping.

So yes, this means we have awoken to a new party that will be a lot tougher on illegal immigration. A lot more skeptical of lopsided trade deals. A lot warier of foreign entanglements. More prone to spend money on infrastructure. ?I don't approve of all of these shifts, but they are what the voters voted for. Trump was hardly ambiguous about what he intended to do. Trade and immigration are in my view unambiguously good for the country - but new policies on these issues will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down their throats by the elites. In this regard, I am a populist. The elites in both parties have not understood Trumpism and have often been contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyle of the Trump loyalists.

Conservatives should go back and read Jude Wanniski's classic, The Way the World Works. Wanniski reminds us over and over again of the lesson of history that there is great collective wisdom in the decisions made by the American voters. ?It's not often wise to second-guess them; it's better to listen to what they are saying.

A lot of good things come with the Trump package: probably three conservative justices on the Supreme Court, the biggest tax cut and assault against regulatory overreach since the Reagan era, spending cuts, Obamacare repeal, enterprise zones for inner cities, vouchers for kids in failing schools, and so on. But it's a package deal, folks. If you want purity, vote for Ron Paul for president again and see where that gets you.

I have always tried not to oversell Donald Trump to voters because I've been so bitterly disappointed by politicians time and again. ?You never know how it will turn out, and it's folly to render a verdict on a President-elect Trump who hasn't yet notched a single policy victory on his belt. Maybe I'm guilty of jumping the gun.

But it is a new Republican party and a new political and policy era has begun. What Donald Trump achieved on Election Night was to topple the legacies of one sitting president and two  dynasties all at once: the Clintons, the Bushes, and President Obama. They were the troika of big losers in 2016. Trump didn't topple the Reagan legacy of growth, optimism, and peace through strength. If the Age of Trump is to be a success, he will build on and modernize that legacy.



Finally, a Real Opportunity to Repeal ObamaCare

Trump's pick of Tom Price to head HHS is a good sign

The GOP has promised (and tried) for years to scrap the disastrous and utterly unaffordable "Affordable" Care Act. That promise may finally come to fruition now that Donald Trump has picked House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia to be Health and Human Services Secretary.

Price, who spent 20 years as an orthopedic surgeon before going into Georgia politics, is perhaps the most qualified person in government to take on the beast that is ObamaCare. He has been a staunch opponent of the law since it was being debated in 2009, but Price stood out because he had a viable and reasonable alternative to the top-down federal behemoth that became ObamaCare.

Republicans have always been against the ACA, but it was never enough to simply repeal ObamaCare without having something with which to replace it. Now that the law is entering its sixth year, it is unfortunately dug so deep into the nation's health care system, ripping it out now without putting something in its place would create even more chaos.

Price knew this back in 2009, and he has been fine-tuning a suitable replacement since. His plan, "Empowering Patients First," seeks to continue offering broad coverage, but without the invasive, and ultimately unworkable, federal involvement that is the hallmark of ObamaCare. Price's plan offers tax credits based on age to people in need of securing insurance. It also takes into account House Speaker Paul Ryan's suggestion of offering federally subsidized high-risk pools for each state so that people with pre-existing conditions would not be frozen out of the market. Insurers would also be able to sell policies across state lines so as to increase competition.

Ramesh Ponnuru points out that despite the attractive aspects of Price's plan and the resounding animosity toward ObamaCare, replacing the law is not a foregone conclusion. Sure, all Republicans can get behind repealing ObamaCare, and through some well-placed executive orders and various defunding tactics, they will be able to undo a lot of the law. But it will be much harder to come by a consensus on what the replacement law looks like.

The tax subsidy may be the biggest issue of contention. It would be more expensive to provide tax credits than offering a straight-up tax cut, but tax cuts would not have any impact on low income families that already pay no taxes. And these are the people that are in the greatest need of decent insurance coverage and protections that offer coverage in the case of pre-existing conditions.

There is also the Democrat response to contend with. Though Republicans have a Senate majority and the option of using reconciliation to pass some changes with a simple majority vote, they will need a filibuster-proof majority sooner or later to wipe the slate clean of ObamaCare and put in place meaningful, lasting changes to the health care system. That being the case, Republicans are going to have to play ball, and there will need to be some compromises that some factions may not be willing to make.

Trump, Price, Ryan and the rest of the GOP will be doing the country a favor by repealing and replacing ObamaCare with a system that puts choice back in the hands of patients and their doctors, and makes insurance accessible and affordable to all Americans. The vast majority of the public will be behind them so long as they can produce results, and live up to two promises that Barack Obama never intended to keep: You can keep your doctor, and your insurance premiums won't rise.



Liberal mob strikes again, torches Trump supporter's home

The Fascism of the modern Left again

In yet another example of liberal political violence, Navy veteran Matt Smith's home in Plant City, Fla., was vandalized with anti-Trump graffiti and set on fire on Monday night:

    Smith flies three flags in front of his house: the American flag, the POW flag, and the Navy flag.

    "We supported Trump from when he started running for office," says Matthew's wife Brittany. "We never made it public. We never had a sign in our backyard, so no one really knew we were pro Trump."

    But Matthew says he's been very active on Facebook, with posts supporting Trump, the Second Amendment, and other conservative causes.

Thankfully, the Smiths were spending the night with relatives the night their home was set ablaze. Investigators are looking into possible connections with anti-Trump graffiti that was sprayed onto mobile homes near Mango, Florida in mid-November.

Meanwhile, the MSM continues to push its false narrative that hundreds of hate crimes are being committed across the country by bigoted Trump supporters.



More evidence of why the Left scorn history

It's just too awkward for them. Trump got an award for his contributions to inner-city black kids with Rosa Parks but 'Fake News' has pinned him as a horrible racist.

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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


5 December, 2016

More Than 800,000 Noncitizens May Have Voted in 2016 Election, Expert Says

Any numbers are rubbery but it is clear that there is a big problem

An election expert projects more than 800,000 noncitizens voted in the 2016 election and overwhelmingly for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

While substantial, that number doesn’t overcome Clinton’s 2.2 million popular vote lead over Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who won a decisive Electoral College triumph of 306 to 232.

On Sunday, the president-elect tweeted he would have won the popular vote had it not been for illegal votes cast. The Trump transition team on Monday cited nonpartisan studies on noncitizens voting and of faulty voter registration across the country. Only citizens 18 or older can legally vote.

“Extrapolating on data from several years ago certainly doesn’t substantiate the claim that Trump is making now,” Jesse Richman, an associate professor of political science at Old Dominion University, told The Daily Signal. “That could change. If there is a recount in Michigan and Trump loses by a few votes, then it’s very plausible that noncitizen voting made a big difference. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.”

Richman was the co-author of a 2014 study that looked at noncitizen voting in the 2008 and 2010 elections. In the comparable presidential election year, the Old Dominion study determined 6.4 percent on noncitizens in the United States voted in the 2008 presidential election, and about 81 percent of those voters backed Democrat Barack Obama.

Richman applied those numbers to 2016:

The basic assumptions on which the extrapolation is based are that 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted, and that of the noncitizens who voted, 81.8 percent voted for Clinton and 17.5 percent voted for Trump. … 6.4 percent turnout among the roughly 20.3 million noncitizen adults in the U.S. would add only 834,318 votes to Clinton’s popular vote margin. This is little more than a third of the total margin. … Is it plausible that noncitizen votes added to Clinton’s margin? Yes. Is it plausible that noncitizen votes account for the entire nationwide popular vote margin held by Clinton? Not at all.

A December 2015 study led by Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard University argued the 2014 Old Dominion study was flawed and that “the likely percent of noncitizen voters in recent U.S. elections is zero.” Richman responded to the criticism and said suggesting zero percent does not hold up.

Trump transition team spokesman Jason Miller cited the Old Dominion study reported on in The Washington Post in 2014, as well as a Pew Research Center study from 2012 about problems with voter registration across the country.

“An issue of concern is that so many have voted that are not legally supposed to,” Miller told reporters in a conference call Monday.

He said this warrants more attention than the “shiny object” Jill Stein and the Green Party are using to push recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that have no chance of overturning the election.

Beyond the noncitizens voting study from Old Dominion, Miller pointed to the Pew study from 2012 that found 24 million voter registration records in the United States, or about 1 in 8, were “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.”

The Pew study further found “1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters,” that “12 million records contain an incorrect address,” and that “2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.”

It would take a very high percentage of noncitizens voting to overcome the Clinton popular vote lead, said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors strong enforcement of immigration laws.

“If 10 percent of noncitizens voted, it would likely make a popular vote difference,” Camarota told The Daily Signal. “It’s not the Electoral College [Trump] is upset about. It’s the popular vote. I wish he wouldn’t focus on it. Bill Clinton got just 43 percent of the vote in 1992. How many states did he win more than 50 percent of the vote in?”

Trump could be correct about the number of illegal votes, but there is no way to know, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation who focuses on voter integrity issues.

“It’s possible he’s right, but we don’t know because there is no way to quantify, no system in place to identify noncitizens voting,” Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security should obtain state voter registration lists and check against noncitizen database. And the DOJ should start prosecuting noncitizens who are voting.”

Prosecuting voter fraud will have to be a higher priority under the Trump administration than under the Obama administration, said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog.

“It has got to be a priority I would think based on Mr. Trump’s rhetoric,” Fitton told The Daily Signal. “At least, make sure that only citizens are registered to vote. We need basic reforms to reassure people that elections are free and fair.”



The National Tantrum

It’s hard to tell which group has lost its grip on reality more – liberal activists or their brothers and sisters in arms in the media. The activists are protesting, marching, rioting and vandalizing their way across lefty America, because conservative America wouldn’t tolerate it. Meanwhile, journalists are almost acting worse.

The activists are trying a multi-pronged approach. They are protesting/rioting. (It’s often hard to tell them apart with the alt-left.) Then they have organized a largely astroturf #NotMyPresident hashtag on Twitter. Next, they have begun to threaten and intimidate electors to overturn the election. And then, they’re claiming the electoral college win is illegitimate because they lost it. The alt-left even pushed a meme that pretended Mike Pence was gay.

Former Bernie Sanders spokeswoman Symone Sanders (no relation) told CNN that the future of the Democratic party is without white leaders. Sanders told the world in her special bigoted way, "we don't need white people leading the Democratic party right now." I’m sure Trump’s communications team is sending her a Christmas card.

The tantrum among the major media is almost worse. News outlets did their goose-stepping best to pretend the neo-Nazis were somehow influential when they could barely muster a Producers remake. (Original, please.) Politico’s national editor Michael Hirsh resigned after publishing home addresses of an alt-right moron. Hirsh wasn’t done. He also said, “Our grandfather’s brought baseball bats to Bund meetings,” and then asked if people wanted to “join” him. That was a bit more mob-inciting than Politico wanted.

The global left has freaked out so badly that George Monbiot just wrote a piece listing, “The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces.” Trump is No. 1 and his cabinet choices and impact are scattered throughout.



Widespread Coverage of Liberal Hate Crimes ‘Study’ Shows Media’s Fake News Problem

So much for taking America’s “fake news” problem seriously.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, there’s been an abundance of hand-wringing over the “fake news” that supposedly is rampant on social media.

Yet missing has been any kind of serious searching among the mainstream media about whether it could learn any lessons from this election—and whether reporters and editors are holding themselves accountable to their supposed values of objectivity and rigorous reporting.

And a new “study” presents Exhibit A as to why the mainstream media should reconsider its own practices.

The Southern Poverty Law Center—an organization that calls the Family Research Council an “extremist group” because of its socially conservative views on LGBT matters—reported Nov. 29 that “in the 10 days following the election, there were almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation.”

“Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults,” the report continued, “making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”

Cue the widespread coverage:

    “Nationwide, there have been more than 867 incidents of ‘hateful harassment’ in the first days following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center says,” reported CNN.

    “In the 10 days following the November election, SPLC said it collected 867 hate-related incidents on its website and through the media from almost every state,” wrote the Associated Press.

    NBC News headlined its piece on the study “Southern Poverty Law Center Reports ‘Outbreak of Hate’ After Election.”

    The Washington Post’s headline blared, “Civil rights group documents nearly 900 hate incidents after presidential election.”

There’s just one issue: The Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t confirm these “nearly 900” incidents actually happened.

“The 867 hate incidents described here come from two sources—submissions to the #ReportHate page on the SPLC website and media accounts,” the SPLC report states. “We have excluded incidents that authorities have determined to be hoaxes; however, it was not possible to confirm the veracity of all reports.”

In other words, who has any idea if these incidents actually happened or not?

Yet, the fact that there was no verification of these incidents didn’t stop the media from covering this “study.”

And let’s not pretend there’s no to very little chance that a Trump opponent would make up a hate crime story.

Just consider this reported hate incident in November: “The men used a racial slur, made a reference to lynching, and warned him this is Donald ‘Trump country now,’ according to the report he gave police,” reported the Boston Herald.

Yet the man wasn’t telling the truth. The Herald reported that Kevin Molis, police chief of Malden, Massachusetts, said “it has been determined that the story was completely fabricated.”

“’The alleged victim admitted that he had made up the entire story,’ saying he wanted to ‘raise awareness about things that are going on around the country,’” the newspaper added, continuing to quote Molis.

So maybe 867 hate crimes happened in the first 10 days after the election. Or maybe 5,000 did. Or maybe five did.

Maybe 10,000 did—and most of them were directed at Trump supporters, not opponents. (Let’s not forget the man beaten in Chicago while someone said, “You voted Trump.”) Who knows?

The SPLC should realize that playing around with facts is no laughing matter.

In 2012, a gunman entered the headquarters of the Family Research Council “with the intent to kill as many employees as possible, he told officers after the incident,” reported Politico. The 29-year-old man, identified as Floyd Lee Corkins II, did shoot and wound a security guard. His motivation?

“Family Research Council (FRC) officials released video of federal investigators questioning convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II, who explained that he attacked the group’s headquarters because the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) identified them as a ‘hate group’ due to their traditional marriage views,” the Washington Examiner reported.

Ultimately, regardless of what the Southern Poverty Law Center does, the media shouldn’t be giving a platform to faux studies like this.

But maybe it’s not surprising, given attitudes like President Barack Obama’s. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine published Tuesday, the president griped about the reach of Fox News Channel—and then complimented Rolling Stone: “Good journalism continues to this day. There’s great work done in Rolling Stone.”

Yes, that Rolling Stone—the news outlet that published the completely discredited University of Virginia gang rape story. In early November, “jurors awarded a University of Virginia administrator $3 million … for her portrayal in a now-discredited Rolling Stone magazine article about the school’s handling of a brutal gang rape [at] a fraternity house,” the Associated Press reported.

It’s tough to hold the media accountable when even the president seems willing to brush aside true instances of fake news.



From my Twitter feed

Ann Coulter: With his reckless Taiwan phone call, Trump has wantonly placed America's interests ahead of China's.

Paul Joseph Watson: The media is freaking out because Trump spoke to a democratically elected leader, and this might offend a dictatorship. Let that sink in.


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

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


4 December, 2016

British Politics reshaped by issues of national identity

As in the Trump revolt, issues of national identity and loyalty are shaping British politics too. In Britain, the old guard want to remain connected to the EU, while those who want to make Britain great again want out of the EU as soon as possible

Labour faces being crushed between Ukip [out] and a resurgent Liberal Democrat Party [in] in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, senior allies of Jeremy Corbyn [British Leftist leader] admitted last night.

The party suffered humiliation in the Richmond Park by-election yesterday, losing its deposit in a London by-election for the first time since 1909.

The victorious Lib Dems, who overturned Zac Goldsmith’s 23,015 majority after running a strongly pro-European campaign, vowed to supplant Labour as the main opposition to a hard Brexit.

Labour figures fear that the party faces electoral crisis as it loses votes to the Lib Dems in pro-Remain urban and southern seats, while Ukip builds support in its working-class heartlands of the north and Midlands.

Chuka Umunna, the former leadership hopeful, warned that there were now “no safe Labour seats”.

Even those close to Mr Corbyn said that Brexit “has unleashed a dynamic that none of us quite understood” — with voters increasingly ditching old party loyalties and instead defining themselves as pro-EU or anti-EU.

A senior Corbyn ally said: “We do have two different strong pulls. There are metropolitan seats, in London, Manchester and Leeds; they are strongly pro-EU. Then equally, there are dozens and dozens of seats which are working class, where many did not vote to remain. There’s no doubt it’s difficult to balance the two.”

Labour’s dismal showing in Richmond, where it polled just 1,515 votes — fewer than the local party has members — led Clive Lewis, the shadow business secretary, to call for it to consider electoral pacts with other parties.

“It’s quite clear that the usual political playbook parties use isn’t necessarily going to work in the situation we find ourselves in now,” he told the Politico website.

Other senior party figures dismissed that, insisting instead that Mr Corbyn had to move urgently to formulate a more coherent response to the referendum. Labour has vowed not to thwart Brexit but wants Theresa May to set out her plans to allow “proper scrutiny”.

Mr Goldsmith’s humiliation has also killed speculation that Mrs May could hold a general election next year. Senior Conservatives said it proved that voters punished unnecessary polls and the result underlined the fluidity and volatility of the present political climate.

An analysis by the British Election Study in October revealed that people identified more strongly with how they voted in the EU referendum than a political party. The researcher warned that “this new cleavage could yet disrupt British politics”. “The EU referendum revealed a more fundamental divide,” Chris Prosser, of Manchester University, said.

Labour is braced for another by-election humiliation next week in the Tory-held seat of Sleaford and North Hykeham in Lincolnshire. With Ukip the main challenger, Mr Corbyn’s party faces being driven into fourth place.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, called on Sleaford voters, 40 per cent of whom voted Remain, to underline the message to Mrs May that they opposed an “extreme Brexit” as he sought to capitalise on his party’s by-election win.



British national assertiveness is being expressed in a very traditional way

With mockery of France.  The following rather savage cartoon about the President of France appeared in "The Times", of all places. The frog hopping off probably refers to the fact that M. Hollande has decided not to run for a second term as President.  The nude on the scooter refers to this


National sentiment strong in Austria too


If Europe’s first far-right president since the Second World War is chosen by voters in Austria tomorrow he will prove that he is “a far cry from a Nazi”, one of his closest political friends said yesterday.

Norbert Hofer, 45, the Freedom Party (FPO) candidate, has been narrowly ahead in most opinion polls against his Green Party rival Alexander Van der Bellen, 72, after an annulled vote in May and a postponed rerun in October.

A victory for Mr Hofer would be seen as continuing the Continent’s lurch to the nationalist right and a further blow to the European Union, with the FPO threatening its own membership referendum in certain circumstances.

Nearly 125 miles west of the capital, Vienna, in the “blue city” of Wels — so called because it is the largest metropolitan area under FPO control — anger over immigration fuelled support for the party founded in the 1950s by former Nazis.

The office of president does not carry much direct power but opponents are worried that Mr Hofer would use it to precipitate a general election and propel his party to government, perhaps in coalition with the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP), just as they are in Wels.


Limited immigration and asylum

Social housing “primarily” for Austrians

Oppose gay marriage

All foreign criminals deported

Compulsory national service

EU referendum in certain circumstances, for example if EU takes more powers

Andreas Rabl, 44, the mayor of Wels, who came to power last year on a surge of support during the migration crisis, said that the country needed to refocus on “Austrian values”, like his city.

He has begun intensive German language training for schoolchildren, half of whom he said could not understand the teacher when they started school, and has required all state-funded nurseries and schools to celebrate Christian festivals and eat traditional food. He has blocked a planned new refugee centre, arguing that the town has enough foreigners, with 24 per cent of citizens from outside Austria.

“There is this constant message that the FPO is a Nazi party, the new fascism and dictatorial,” Mr Wels, a long-standing friend of Mr Hofer, said. “The foreign media report about right-wing radicalism and the far right in Austria, I hear that all the time. I ask myself, what are they talking about? We have not killed anyone, we were in the government [from 2000 to 2005] and relinquished power voluntarily, there was no civil war and no other violent military clashes.”

He added: “New fascism — I do not see it. Mr Hofer as president would have the opportunity to correct this view. We are a normal right-wing party, correct, but we are a far cry from a Nazi party.”

In the first round of the election, the mainstream parties were eliminated by an electorate fed up with the government coalition of centre left and centre right. In the run-off in May Mr Van der Bellen beat Mr Hofer by just 30,863 out of 4.47 million votes. The FPO then won a case in court to have the result overturned due to procedural irregularities.

Supporters of Mr Van der Bellen in Wels claim that, like their mayor, Mr Hofer is the smiling face of a divisive and xenophobic party and tones down his message when he is not among core supporters.

Meanwhile Mr Van der Bellen, a chain-smoking former leader of the Greens, is distrusted by conservative voters. Walter Teubl, a Green member of the Wels city authority, said: “The OVP always portrayed the Greens as an ultra-left party. There were many lies about us — that we would legalise cannabis or ban car driving.”



The clash of the campaign managers

Kellyanne Conway (left), Trump-Pence campaign manager, sat next to Robby Mook, Clinton-Kaine campaign manager, prior to a forum at Harvard University on Thursday.  So the "Sexist" Trump team was led by a woman while the Clinton team was led by a man.  So much for Leftist accusations about Trump's biases. It would be more plausible to say that Clinton was the biased one.  How come she could not find a female campaign manager?  And the Donks are still relying on conspiracy theories to explain their loss.  Dumb.

The presidential campaign manager conference, held at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government every four years since 1972, is usually a place for insider war stories, shared and documented for history.

However, three weeks after this year’s divisive election, in a conference room with a half-dozen aides from both sides facing each other, the conversation quickly took a remarkably combative turn, highlighting just how deep the enmity between the Trump and Clinton camps remains.

“Do you think you could have just had a decent message for white working-class voters?” Conway asked the Clinton team, then sarcastically offering a message: “How about, it’s Hillary Clinton, she doesn’t connect with people? How about, they have nothing in common with her? How about, she doesn’t have an economic message?”

Joel Benenson, Clinton’s chief strategist, responded: “There were dog whistles sent out to people. . . . Look at your rallies. He delivered it.”

Conway accused the Democrats of refusing to accept their loss.

“Guys, I can tell you are angry, but wow,” she said. “Hashtag he’s your president. How’s that? Will you ever accept the election results? Will you tell your protesters that he’s their president, too?”

At a forum that was less heated than the earlier encounter, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and Conway offered starkly different explanations for the election’s outcome.

Mook said that outside interference — including meddling by Russian entities — tilted the results Trump’s way, while Conway portrayed broader strategic decisions as behind the GOP win.

Conway, who took increasing control of the Trump campaign over the summer, said that she prevailed upon Trump to play “the happy warrior” and encouraged him to draw energy from his public rallies. That, she said, contrasted with the public image of Clinton.

“I said to Mr. Trump, ‘You know, you’re running against one of the most joyless presidential candidates in history,’ ” Conway 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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


2 December, 2016

Justin Trudeau: Baby-Faced Commie Apologist Unmasked

Wasn’t one vapid pretty boy named Justin from Canada enough?

At least Justin Bieber is eye candy without the heartburn. Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, is the twinkly-eyed boy toy who makes informed adults wanna hurl.

For more than a year, the liberal Canadian prime minister enjoyed drool-stained global press coverage as the “hot hipster” and “dreamy sex symbol” with great hair and a tribal Haida tattoo. He basked in Ryan Gosling-esque memes about his commitment to feminism and touched off “Trudeau-mania” with a series of shirtless selfies and photobombs.

But this weekend, the sane world saw the baby-faced Commie apologist for the naked twit he truly is.

Mourning the death of repressive dictator Fidel Castro, Trudeau hailed his longtime family friend as a “larger than life leader” who “served his people for almost half a century.” Actually, El Comandante ruled with an iron fist and firing squads — serving himself to all of the island’s land, private businesses and media, along with his own private yacht, private island, 20 homes, fleet of Mercedes limos and bevy of mistresses.

Trudeau’s ridiculous mash note to the “legendary revolutionary and orator” caused the social media backlash of the year. The hashtag #TrudeauEulogies erupted to mock Trudeau’s soft-soaping of tyranny.

“As we mourn Emperor Caligula, let us always remember his steadfast devotion to Senate reform,” one Twitter user jibed in Trudeau-speak. “Although flawed Hitler was a vegetarian who loved animals, was a contributor to the arts & proud advocate for Germany,” another joked. “Kim Jong Il will always be remembered fondly for his leadership and contributions on climate change,” another chimed in.

Stung, the Canadian tundra hunk’s office announced Monday that he will not attend services for his beloved Uncle Fidel, who had served as a pallbearer at his former Canadian PM father’s funeral. But if Trudeau thinks the damage to his celebrity brand is temporary, he has another think coming.

Our neighbors to the north are now discovering what disillusioned Barack Obama worshipers realized too late: Beneath the shiny packaging of supermodel progressivism lies the same old decrepit culture of corruption.

Political watchdogs have been buzzing about Trudeau’s shady fundraising ties to Chinese communist moguls. Like Obama, Trudeau promised unprecedented transparency in government — “sunny ways” that would shed open light on how the Liberal Party was conducting the people’s business. Dudley Do-Right’s party declared there would be “no preferential access, or appearance of preferential access” in exchange for campaign cash and purported to ban favor-seekers with direct business before the government from attending political fundraisers.

Behind closed doors, however, Trudeau was selling out to wealthy Chinese-Canadians and Chinese nationals seeking government green lights for their business deals. According to his conservative critics, Trudeau and the Liberal Party have held 80 such cash-for-access fundraisers crawling with lobbyists and access traders over the past year.

The Globe and Mail newspaper revealed last week that Trudeau and his Liberal Party fundraisers had secretly organized one tony $1,500-per-head private residential gala in May attended by Chinese billionaires and bankers gunning for federal approval of projects. Echoing the operations of the Clinton Foundation pay-for-play money machine, the nonprofit Trudeau Foundation and the University of Montreal raked in $1 million from a wealthy Chinese businessman a few weeks after the fundraiser. The donation includes funding for a statue of Pierre Trudeau, who once wrote a book hailing Chairman Mao.

The self-aggrandizing Commie fanboy apple doesn’t fall far from his cultural Marxist tree.



Let's Fight Tyranny

For more than a half-century, it has become abundantly clear that our nation faces increasing irreconcilable differences. At the root is the fact that there is one group of Americans who mostly want to be left alone and live according to the rule of law and the dictates of the U.S. Constitution while another group of Americans wants to control the lives of others and ignore both the rule of law and constitutional restraints on the federal government. Should those Americans who favor the rule of law and constitutional government fight against or yield to those Americans who have contempt for the rule of law and constitutional government? Let’s look at a few of those irreconcilable differences.

Some Americans prefer to manage their own health care needs. Others wish to have the federal government dictate their health care. Some Americans want their earnings to be taxed only for the constitutionally mandated functions of the federal government, which are outlined in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Others think American earnings should be taxed for anything on which Congress can muster a majority vote. Though there is no constitutional authority for federal involvement in public education, some Americans want the federal government involved. The list of irreconcilable differences among the American people is nearly without end. These differences survive because of the timidity of those offended and the brute power of the federal government.

I think reconciliation is impossible; therefore, separation is the only long-term peaceful solution. Separation and independence do not require that liberty-loving Americans overthrow the federal government any more than they required Gen. George Washington to overthrow the British government in order to secede or required his successor secessionist, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, to overthrow the U.S. federal government.

You say, “All those government acts that you say violate the rule of law and the Constitution have been ruled constitutional by the courts!” That’s true. The courts have twisted the Constitution, but Thomas Jefferson warned, “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage our Founding Fathers had in their response to the fifth Congress' Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Written by Jefferson and James Madison, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 stated that those states' legislatures considered the Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … and … whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution holds, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The federal government should not be permitted to determine the scope of its own powers. Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 28, said, “The State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.” One response to federal encroachment is for state governments to declare federal laws that have no constitutional authority null and void and refuse to obey them. In other words, they should nullify federal laws that violate the Constitution. In good conscience, liberals could not object to nullification. There are hundreds of so-called sanctuary cities in the U.S. — liberal places that have chosen to nullify federal immigration laws and harbor immigrants who are here illegally.

Former slave Frederick Douglass advised: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” We Americans appear to have very limited endurance in the face of tyrannical oppression.



GOP Has Golden Opportunity to Expand Liberty

For those who work to restore constitutionally limited government — as we in our humble shop do daily — a recent Quinnipiac poll is daunting. It shows large majorities or pluralities of Americans oppose reducing regulations, oppose across-the-board tax cuts, and favor increased federal spending on infrastructure and other goodies.

Leaving aside the accuracy of the poll (Quinnipiac had Hillary Clinton +7 nationally less than two weeks before the election), the polling reveals a paradox in the mindset of the American electorate. Every American — Republican and Democrat, men and women, young and old, black, white, Hispanic or Asian, rich or poor — wants government to mind its own business ... except for their preferred program or regulation.

John Stossel writes, "Few people bother to go to Washington to ask for spending cuts. Even though America is heading toward bankruptcy, 90 percent of congressional testimony comes from people who want more stuff."

What far too few Americans understand is that to empower government is to restrict individual liberty, and once you agree to grant government power over A, you have opened the door to granting government power to do B, C and D.

That is why the Founding Fathers strictly limited the power of the federal government, forbidding it from any and all actions not specifically authorized under the U.S. Constitution and, for emphasis, declaring in Amendments IX and X the primacy of the individual and the states over every sphere not listed in those enumerated powers.

The Founders understood the truth and wisdom in George Washington's declaration: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!"

Few Americans, for example, would disagree with the idea that everyone should have access to health care, but the devil is in the details. Without the vote of a single Republican, arrogant Democrats, invigorated by their electoral victories, passed ObamaCare, ostensibly to guarantee health care to every American. As a result, the IRS was granted access to our medical information, we were forced to buy an outrageously expensive product whether we wanted it or not, we faced a bevy of new taxes and burdensome regulations, and tens of millions of Christians were forced to fund abortion through their insurance.

Government is necessary to protect the rights of individuals, but it is the nature of government to expand and acquire power, and that power is acquired at the expense of individual liberties. As another Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, so eloquently put it, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Ironically, the very government that we empower to do our bidding against our neighbor ends up being the government that becomes our master.

Disagree? Keep in mind that when the 16th Amendment (the income tax) was proposed, its proponents promised that it would only affect the very rich. The bottom bracket was a 1% tax on income over $20,000 ($488,341 in 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars) and a top bracket of 7% for income over $500,000 ($12,208,535 in 2016 inflation-adjusted dollars). It was a way, its proponents argued, to make the rich pay their "fair share" (sound familiar?). Yet in a very short time the rates went up and the entry point for the bottom bracket went down, eventually capturing many more Americans in its web, and creating the IRS, possibly the most feared institution in American government, with the power to ruin your life and take everything you own.

Government is a necessary evil. As a third Founder, James Madison, argued in Federalist No. 51, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself."

Thus, individual liberties are safest when government is smallest, and when the power of government is closest to the people. As constructed by the Founders, the vast majority of government is enacted at the local and state level, with only a small portion belonging to the federal government.

When they held the White House, Senate, and House under George W. Bush, the Republicans blew a golden opportunity. Instead of reducing the size and scope of government, they doubled government spending and gave us Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and an expansion of nearly every federal department and agency.

In 2016, Republicans get a do-over. While Democrats claim the GOP has no mandate because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Republicans can counter with the fact that the GOP won a 3.2 million national popular vote majority in House races, and under Barack Obama, Republicans have won a net 11 Senate seats, 63 House seats, 14 governorships, and roughly 1,000 state legislative seats.

Republicans have a rare opportunity to reduce the size and scope of government at every level, and return to the form envisioned by the Founders, where government is limited and individual liberty is vast. It's in the best interests of every American to encourage them to do just that. Our job is to educate our fellow Americans accordingly.


CHRIS BRAND is now out of intensive care so we have good hopes for him


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 A WESTERN HEART.

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


1 December, 2016

Thank You, Jill Stein

Over the long holiday weekend, the radical left and their poodles in the Democrat Party announced a move to force recounts in the Presidential election in three states; Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  The move, endorsed and supported by Madame Clinton, received breathless coverage from a corrupt mainstream media that is still in deep shock over the defeat of their globalist apparatchik.

What the instigator of this futile move, Mrs. Clinton and the media do not understand is that they are doing Donald Trump and the American people a huge favor.  Yes, Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who is formally calling for the recounts, has collected millions of dollars from grieving leftists across the country.  She is building a donor file that will enable her to pay for the recounts but also form a funding base with which she and her ilk can attack the few remaining rational people inside the Democrat Party structure.  So, thank you, Jill Stein, for seizing the opportunity to build infrastructure that will push the Democrat Party further to the Left and over the cliff.

But the benefits don’t stop there.  Given the cumbersome process of recounting millions of votes in three large, industrial states, it is possible that the mandated meeting of the Electoral College on December 19 will fail to elect a President.  With the 46 votes of the three states not being counted, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton will receive the required 270 votes.  So, what happens then?

In early January when the 115th Congress is sworn into office, one of the first orders of business will be the election of President and Vice-President.  The Senate is sure to elect Mike Pence and the House is a lock to elect Donald Trump.  But, look at how Trump will be elected.  Each state gets one vote and a winner must get 26 votes.  So, how many votes will Trump get?  There are 30 states that voted for Trump that have Republican majorities in their delegation.  There are two more states, Colorado and Virginia, where a majority of the delegation is Republican but the state voted for Clinton.  So, assuming Colorado and Virginia are let off the hook, Donald Trump will be elected President with 30 votes to Clinton’s maximum possible of 18 votes.

Some will say this is a useless exercise, but I disagree.  This is how the Founders intended it to be.  The Executive is not elected by majority vote, it is elected by the states.  The Congressional vote will show in stark detail that there are sovereign states that make up the United States; that despite eight years of Obama working to “transform” the situation, we are not and never were a nation ruled over by an executive tyrant.  This demonstration to the people is a tremendous opportunity to drive home the point that we are a federal republic and what that means.  So, thank you Jill Stein, for giving us the ultimate “teachable moment” to destroy the concept of the totalitarian unitary state.

And finally, the venal attempt to stall the formal election process and rake in millions of dollars from deluded partisans has one additional benefit to the country.  There have been literally thousands of articles and opinion pieces published claiming that Donald Trump must not “go too far,” that he must let Clinton off the hook for her multiple felonies, that he can in fact work with the structure of the Democrat Party.  All he needs to do, this simpering line of “advice” goes, is play nice, give the globalists something, don’t rock the boat.  The grassroots — the tens of millions of Americans who elected Trump and hate the professional GOP — will just have to sit down and shut up.  We, the “professionals” know what is best.

Jill Stein, and by her aggressive posture forcing Hillary Clinton to join her, have shown Donald Trump and the American people that the left and their internationalist-masters have no intent to give one inch.  They have one goal, the destruction of Donald Trump and the people who stand with him.  America is their target and enemy. Even a child can see that exporting tens of millions of jobs, importing millions of illegal aliens to lower wages and corrupt our systems, and slavish adherence to a globalist agenda of surrender of nationhood is nothing more than suicide.

By making this contest stark and clear, Jill Stein has undercut the whispering snakes that would pollute the Trump administration’s thinking.  So, for exposing the truth of the real battle, thank you, Jill Stein.

So, let Stein and her radical leftist cronies collect millions of dollars because most of it will be deployed against the Democrat Party structure.  Let her force the election into the House of Representatives.  The people will get a lesson in federalism that otherwise would never have been available.  And let the globalists make clear to Donald Trump and his incoming Administration the true nature of the fight.  It will only put more steel — U.S. made by the way — into their resolve.  So, for all of these reasons, Thank you, Jill Stein, keep it up.



In the Proud Tradition of Leftist Domestic Terrorism…

Water is wet. The Sun rises in the east. And large swaths of the Left engage in heinous acts of violence in the name of politics.

For our purposes here today, we’ll ignore the 94 million or so people Communism has murdered around the world. This is about the domestic Left.

We’ll begin just after the Civil War – with the Democrat Party’s creation of the Ku Klux Klan. A racist outfit that murdered and terrorized blacks and sought to overthrow southern Republican governments.

Let us move forward to the radical 1960s. With the creation of groups like the Black Panther Party and the Weather Underground (ne the Weathermen). Who engaged in murder and mayhem of all sorts.

The Weather Underground liked planting bombs in places like police stations and the Pentagon. Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers ran in the same Chicago political circles as current outgoing Democrat President Barack Obama.

In the modern era, we have an evolving amalgam of violent Leftist entities. Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter have each engaged in…un-peaceful activities. The protests of candidate Donald Trump and now President-elect Trump haven’t been pleasant.

Which brings us to today – and the lovely expanses of North Dakota. Well, they were lovely – until the Left arrived.

Currently underway in the Flickertail State is a fracking petroleum revolution. Thanks to capitalism and its industry creations, we are extracting massive amounts of oil from the shale fields.

But we need to get that oil somewhere – hence the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The four state governments through which it will travel and the federal government have all already approved it.

So it’s good to go, right? Of course not – because we have the Left. Who have engaged in all manner of actions to block DAPLs construction. They have of course filed a lawsuit (because if there’s one thing the Left has more of than violent actors – it’s lawyers).

But that wasn’t near enough – so they are physically blocking the construction site. And are oft doing so in very, very violent fashion: “(I)nvestigators say they have found materials behind the protest line used to make Molotov cocktails, including 1-pound propane cylinders, glass bottles and rocks.”

Peaceful. How about this?: “(P)olice released a statement saying that the protesters ‘attempted to flank and attack the law enforcement line from the west,’ describing their actions as ‘very aggressive.’…Law officers were there to keep protesters from crossing the bridge, which the sheriff’s department said was closed for safety reasons ‘due to damage caused after protesters set numerous fires’ on it in a separate incident.…”

Tranquil. How about this?: “’Any suggestion that this was a peaceful protest is false. This was more like a riot than a protest,’ said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. ‘Individuals crossed onto private property and accosted private security officers with wooden posts and flag poles.’”

Sounds an awful lot like domestic terrorism. But let’s check the Patriot Act definition:

“(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

“(B)appear to be intended—(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;”

Yep. The Leftist DAPL protestors are in fact engaged in domestic terrorism.

The latest installment in a long, proud tradition of Leftist domestic terrorism.

Peace, Man.



Populist-Nationalist Tide Rolls On

Now that the British have voted to secede from the European Union and America has chosen a president who has never before held public office, the French appear to be following suit.

In Sunday's runoff to choose a candidate to face Marine Le Pen of the National Front in next spring's presidential election, the center-right Republicans chose Francois Fillon in a landslide.

While Fillon sees Margaret Thatcher as a role model in fiscal policy, he is a socially conservative Catholic who supports family values, wants to confront Islamist extremism, control immigration, restore France's historic identity and end sanctions on Russia.

"Russia poses no threat to the West," says Fillon. But if not, the question arises, why NATO? Why are U.S. troops in Europe?

As Le Pen is favored to win the first round of the presidential election and Fillon the second in May, closer Paris-Putin ties seem certain. Europeans themselves are pulling Russia back into Europe, and separating from the Americans.

Next Sunday, Italy holds a referendum on constitutional reforms backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. If the referendum, trailing in the polls, fails, says Renzi, he will resign.

Opposing Renzi is the secessionist Northern League, the Five Star Movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo, and the Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a pal of Putin's.

"Up to eight of Italy's troubled banks risk failure," if Renzi's government falls, says the Financial Times. One week from today, the front pages of the Western press could be splashing the newest crisis of the EU.

In Holland, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, on trial for hate speech for urging fewer Moroccan immigrants, is running first or close to it in polls for the national election next March.

Meanwhile, the door to the EU appears to be closing for Muslim Turkey, as the European Parliament voted to end accession talks with Ankara and its autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In welcoming Muslim immigrants, Germany's Angela Merkel no longer speaks for Europe, even as she is about to lose her greatest ally, Barack Obama.

Not only Europe but the whole world President-elect Trump is about to inherit seems in turmoil, with old regimes and parties losing their hold, and nationalist, populist and rightist forces rising.



A Great Candidate for Secretary of State — John Bolton

Donald Trump has begun fleshing out his Cabinet and has made a series of tough choices that will not only help determine his success, but the future of the country. So far, so good.
One candidate for Secretary of State stands out as singularly capable of helping President Trump make America great again: former UN Ambassador John Bolton.

He is an experienced and principled public servant and diplomat - a brilliant advocate for freedom, with a proven record of putting America first as it leads the world.

John Bolton also knows how to compel the State Department bureaucracy to carry out presidential direction. Absent that, its denizens will sabotage Mr. Trump at every turn.

Consequently, they and their allies will make a Bolton confirmation process difficult. But it is far better to fight them now, than under some less-capable Secretary throughout a Trump presidency.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

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



Home (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So the essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

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

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it.

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

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.

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

"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.

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.


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

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.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Alt archives
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
Dagmar Schellenberger
General Backup
My alternative Wikipedia
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)