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

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

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

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31 December, 2018

Therapists Rebrand 'Trump Derangement Syndrome'

Mark Alexander

It’s official! Psychotherapists have adopted a diagnostic name for what we in the real world refer to as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (TDR). They have rebranded TDR version 2.0 as “Trump Anxiety Disorder” (TAD). While that may be a nicer diagnostic tag for a new counseling revenue stream, the word “derangement” is a much more accurate description of the extreme cognitive dissonance TAD references.

The pop culture Urban Dictionary defines Trump Derangement Syndrome as “a mental condition in which a person has been driven effectively insane due to their dislike of Donald Trump, to the point at which they will abandon all logic and reason. Symptoms for this condition can be very diverse, ranging from hysterical outbursts to a complete mental break.”

Unfortunately, the symptoms also manifest in frequent acts of intimidation and violence against supporters of Donald Trump.

Given the benefit (or detriment) of holding several graduate degrees, including one in psychology, I would suggest that the increasing frequency and intensity of hysterics associated with TDR is greatly exacerbated by the unmitigated, constant consumption of hateful Demo/MSM propaganda, 24/7/365. The result is a mass movement of those so intent on undermining Trump that they are now far off the reality reservation and utterly obsessed with defeating peace and prosperity.

Punctuating all the rhetoric spewed by MSM prognosticators are the endless pharmaceutical advertisements claiming to alleviate every muscle twitch or rash, all of which now have a diagnosis. Add to that growing list the official Trump Anxiety Disorder and there are plenty of anti-anxiety and anti-depressants available for “treatment.”

As for the new “kinder, gentler” TAD diagnosis, therapist Elisabeth LaMotte of the Washington, DC-based Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, says that among her clients there is a “collective anxiety” that has been elevating since Trump’s election. According to LaMotte, “There is a fear of the world ending. It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling.”

This is the direct consequence of dwelling in the Leftmedia echo chambers mentioned above.

Recognition of the newly redefined TAD pathology was first described in a report last year from psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School and Yale School of Medicine, in which Jennifer Panning distinguished between general anxiety disorders and TAD because “symptoms were specific to the election of Trump and the resultant unpredictable sociopolitical climate.”

But the underlying TAD symptoms long predate the election of Trump, as I described in “The Pathology of the Left” more than a decade ago. In that assessment I noted what, in the broadest of terms, constitutes the difference between contemporary liberals and conservatives: “Liberals tend to be dependents while conservatives tend to be self-reliant. This is a reflection of their respective emotional constitutions.”

In other words, leftists tend to be far more insecure than conservatives, and thus, when constantly infused with Leftmedia negatives, act out the resulting anxiety in an array of dissociative behaviors.

By all objective measures, most Americans, and our nation in general, are better off under Trump administration policies than they were before Trump’s election. For example, this week brings the latest good news that wages and benefits are growing at the fastest rate in a decade.

In the last two years, the Socialist Democrats have radicalized the once-noble Democrat Party and weaponized their rhetoric — the result being that many of their “triggered” constituents have become increasingly unhinged.

A few years ago I characterized the difference between liberals and conservatives with two contrasting columns: “You Might Be a Liberal If…” and “You Might Be A Conservative If…” But so far to the left have Democrat protagonists gone that the word “liberal” must now be replaced with “leftist.”

Dennis Prager described the Democrat devolution, noting that in the last year he has watched “my fellow Americans and virtually all of the mainstream media descend further and further into irrational and immoral hysteria — regularly calling the president of the United States and all of his supporters Nazis, white supremacists and the like; harassing Republicans where they eat, shop and live; ending family ties and lifelong friendships with people who support the president; declaring their opposition to Trump and the Republican Party the ‘Resistance,’ as if they were American reincarnations of the French who fought real Nazis in World War II; and so on…”

So radicalized have leftist Democrats become that political observer Dan Greenfield notes the future of the Democrat Party isn’t just socialist; it’s crazy: “Tweak a normal person’s sense of outrage and they’re moved. Keep doing it a bunch of times and you can enlist them in a movement. Do it every 5 seconds and you drive them as crazy as rats in a Skinner Box.”

Evidence of that slide into the crazy abyss is the recent election of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now the darling of Bernie Sanders’s nescient adolescent neophytes.

Among many regrettable results from this systemic radicalization is that many Demo constituents have become disenfranchised from the notion of American exceptionalism. Fewer Democrats report that they are proud to be American.

A Pew Research report defines the current divide between Left and Right. The longevity comparison study asked Americans if they perceived that things are better for the current generation than past generations.

The study found that 41% of respondents indicated that life is worse today, while 37% say better. Those results, predictably, fall very much along partisan lines, with Republicans more optimistic than Democrats.

All of this belies a very real derangement disorder epidemic on the Left, and it will take so much more than happy pills to bring its sufferers back to reality.


FOOTNOTE: Mark Alexander has a graduate degree in psychology, among other distinctions


Roughly 80% of all voters say U.S. needs secure borders, including 68% of Democrats: Harvard poll

A wide-reaching new poll conducted by Harvard University reveals that majorities of U.S. voters — including Democrats — appear to agree with many of President Trump’s most basic beliefs about immigration.

The findings reveal, for example, that eight out of 10 of all U.S. voters — 79 percent — say the U.S. needs secure borders; 93 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats agree with that.

Another 79 percent of voters overall say immigration priorities should be granted on a person’s “ability to contribute to America”; 87 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of independents and 72 percent of Democrats agree.

Meanwhile, 68 percent overall oppose a lottery-based immigration system which is meant to ensure “greater diversity: in the U.S.; 78 percent of Republicans, 65 percent of independents and 62 percent of Democrats agree.

In addition, 61 percent overall say U.S. border security is inadequate; 84 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

Another 54 percent overall support building a combination physical and electronic barrier between the U.S. and Mexico; 85 percent of Republicans, 54 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.



The wall

We're paying millions of taxpayer dollars to build a border wall, which I am assured is a waste of money ...

The money for the wall was approved under our previous President, Comrade Obama ...

"March 29, 2016: The United States has agreed to fund the multi-million-dollar project to install an electronic security surveillance system on the Tunisia-Libyan border. The wall Tunisia is erecting is set to keep off ISIS terrorists that have found haven in neighboring Libya."

So spending money on a wall for Tunisia to keep out Libyans is perfectly OK and will work just fine, but spending money on a wall on our border to keep out illegal aliens is not OK and won't work?

Man, I'm getting really tired of this hypocrisy ...

Willis Eschenbach

Willis has yet to load that the elite of both Left and Right don't want to stop the illegals coming. Business and the farmers want the cheap labor and Donks want the votes


Trump's Trade War Comes With an Unexpected Bonus: More Trade

A few days before Christmas, the container ship “SM Shanghai” was steaming toward California’s Port of Long Beach. Just ahead and coming to the end of an 11-day journey from China, the “Ever Lucent” was headed for the nearby Port of Los Angeles, where the “Thomas Jefferson” was preparing to sail in the opposite direction for Xiamen.

The global economy, in other words, was chugging along nicely on one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. Trade wars be damned.

In fact, President Donald Trump’s assault on globalization has had a paradoxical effect on world trade flows. A rush to get ahead of new and higher tariffs, particularly on U.S. imports from China, has motivated retailers and other American companies to increase orders, which has helped boost volumes at the country’s ports.

“The warehouse and distribution centers are full in southern California,” said Phillip Sanfield, a Port of Los Angeles spokesman. “We’re experiencing some logistical issues at the San Pedro ports just because there’s so much cargo in play here.”

Busy December

After an active 2017 when the Port of Los Angeles moved the equivalent of 9.3 million shipping containers -- an all-time high for the facility -- a busy December has put it on track to report another record year in 2018, according to Sanfield. Traffic at the Port of Long Beach increased more than 7.3 percent through November, on pace to surpass the record 7.5 million containers it handled last year.

There are many other signs that international commerce did just fine in 2018, thanks in no small part to a busy trade year in America, the world’s biggest buyer of goods.

Despite Trump’s efforts to reduce his country’s appetite for foreign-made products, the U.S. imported more goods and services in value terms than ever in October, the latest Commerce Department data show. U.S. exports were near the all-time monthly record set in May.

And while the World Trade Organization in September forecast global trade growth would ease this year by 0.8 percentage point to 3.9 percent, the gain would still be high by recent standards. As recently as 2016, international trade volumes grew by just 1.8 percent.

“Many people want to shout that the sky is falling on trade because of these trade measures” such as tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, WTO chief economist Robert Koopman said. But for now, “we think 2018 is going to end up with a fairly solid year.”

The story of global trade in 2018 does have subplots and offers warnings for the future.

Record volumes at West Coast ports illustrate at least one uncomfortable trend for Trump: His trade war so far has done more to reduce American exports to China than to lower imports from the Asian nation.

Increased traffic at the Port of Long Beach included a surge in empty containers being shipped back to Asia. In November alone the port saw more than 186,000 empty containers sent on that trip, 11 percent more than last year.

While U.S. retailers have stepped up purchases of Chinese products to avoid tariffs later on, “you’re seeing the opposite effect on the other side of the ocean,” said Mario Cordero, the port’s executive director. “Chinese businesses seem to be already looking to other countries for goods and raw materials, meaning there’s less demand for American exports and more empty containers.”

A Concern

Meanwhile, the 2018 trade rush could be followed by a slowdown in 2019. That’s a concern for the Port of Los Angeles, which expects the scramble to beat tariffs to cause a slowdown in purchases later on. “We’re probably going to see a softening of trade,” Sanfield said.

But it’s not clear how soon the surge of imports will end.

Trump and China’s Xi Jinping agreed to a truce on Dec. 1, prompting the White House to delay for 90 days an increase in tariffs on some $200 billion in annual imports from China. The agreement called for talks to get underway in earnest in January and postponed the rise in tariffs until at least March 1.

A U.S. delegation will head to China in the week of Jan. 7 to hold talks with Chinese officials, two people familiar with the matter said.



Trump hails 'big progress' in trade talks with China

President Trump said Saturday that the U.S. and China are making “big progress” in trade talks aimed at defusing a tariff war.

“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi of China,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!”

The two leaders agreed in early December to a 90-day truce in the trade war that had been escalating all year. The U.S. agreed to suspend tariffs that were scheduled to begin in January, after Mr. Trump had already imposed levies on $250 billion in Chinese products.

Despite the agreement, trade tensions have contributed to big losses in the stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 3,500 points since early October.

The Chinese commerce ministry announced this week that China and the U.S. will hold face-to-face trade talks next month. Beijing has resumed purchases of soybeans from the U.S. for the first time in six months.



Trump and Melania in Iraq

First Lady Melania Trump made history on Wednesday, but many in the mainstream media failed to cover it given they spent most of the week attacking President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, the president and first lady made a surprise trip to Iraq to visit with U.S. soldiers.

The anti-Trump media narrative failed to mention that Melania’s visit to the dangerous region was historical. Only three first ladies had ever traveled to a dangerous combat zone prior to this week.

When Trump walked on stage Wednesday to speak to the troops, the crowd roared and broke into a chant of “USA! USA! USA!”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also shared a story on Twitter about a young man who said he reenlisted in the military because of Trump becoming commander-in-chief.

“Powerful moment – Member of United States Army told the President he came back into the military because of him. And President Trump responded, “And I am here because of you.” I met him after and he gave me the patch from his arm. Incredible. #TrumpTroopsVisit,” Sanders wrote.

Trump delivered several powerful lines during his trip to both the media and the troops.

“We’re no longer the suckers, folks,” Trump told the service members. “We’re respected again as a nation.”

Trump also fired back at reports about his decision to pull about 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, saying the military is still strongly positioned throughout the region to handle threats.

“There will be a strong, deliberate and orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria,” Trump said, adding that having troops in Iraq would “prevent an ISIS resurgence.”

“We can hit them so fast and so hard,” he said, adding, “they really won’t know what the hell happened.”



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

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


30 December, 2018

I am fully back in action today.  I have now resumed my customary blogging coverage.  A near-fatal health emergency on Boxing day held me up but I am now back to normal -- JR

Is America's future Brazilian?

A flow of illegal immigrants into a European country can be stopped.  Australia has done it and so have the Eastern European countries.  And in all those cases it was a strong popular will to stop the flow that spurred the politicians into action.

America is not so lucky. The popular will is less easy to discern in America because of the great fractionation of the population.  There are two large minorities and a deranged Left that have much different views from white GOP voters.  So the politicians have little incentive to risk any political capital by doing anything. 

That is very clear from the fact that after two years in charge of both houses the GOP has done precisely nothing to give Trump his wall or the revised laws he needs to control immigration.  America is steadily becoming more Hispanic regardless of anything Trump or anyone else can do.  Even if he gets his wall there will be other ways they can get in and the "catch and release" policy that ICE follows means that once they are in they can stay in.  So unless by sheer force of personality Trump can get useful immigration controls of some sort implemented, nothing will change.

And the Hispanics bring with them Hispanic political attitudes.  And we see only too clearly in Latin America the kind of politics that Hispanic attitudes lead to:  Economic and social chaos and outright Fascism at times.  Only Chile remains prosperous and peaceful as a legacy of the Pinochet reforms.  So as Hispanics become the majority in the USA we can expect more and more of disastrous Hispanic politics and criminality in the USA too.

And that is already underway.  The basic fault of Latin American politics is the appeal of socialism.  Few Hispanics can long resist the siren song of taking from the rich to give to the poor.  They are instictive socialists.  So Latin America repeatedly passes laws aimed at achieving that.  And national impoverishment regularly follows such a system.  So America faces a Hispanic future that is poor, corrupt and vicious.  Poverty creates anger, anger creates lawlessness and it is just a big downwards slide from then on.

So that must be pretty depressing to U.S. whites of British and European origin.  They have created an exceptional country only to see supine politicians let it all gradually go to rack and ruin.  Their own personal future is threatened and bleak.

But how bleak is it? Brazil offers some hope. Whites are already in a minority there so they have already arrived at where the USA is heading.  The CIA says that the Brazilian population is white 47.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 43.1%, black 7.6%, Asian 1.1% and indigenous 0.4%.  Note that what Brazilians refer to as "pardos" (mulattos) would be referred to in the USA simply as "blacks".  By that standard, Brazil is over 50% black.

And the white ancestry there is mainly Portuguese, which is different from the Spanish we see in the rest of Latin America. And as Brazilians often boast, Brazil is something of a melting pot (Remind you of anywhere?) with people from all over the world in addition to the original Portuguese. Perhaps for that reason, they do seem to be less socialist than the Hispanics.  Like the USA, many whites are socialistically inclined but many are not.  And the new Bolsonaro government would seem to be some token of greater conservatism in Brazil.

So how do whites live in Brazil?  Some are poor of course but there is a substantial middle class who live lives not much different from middle class people in the developed world.  There are a lot of gated communities  with condos in them that are pretty similar to American condos.  There is in other words pronounced housing segregation: Modern middle class accomodation combined with large areas of barely livable shacks in the same city. Some blacks live well but most don't while most whites live well but some don't.

What has happened in Brazil is that the whites run just about everything in the country and they have made sure that whites  have access to the education and opportunities generally that enable a broadly Western lifestyle.  If a little loophole in some regulation is needed, that can be provided and most legislation about 'morality" is effectively anti-black and pro-white. And too bad about the non-white half of the population. They have to make their own way if they can

So why don't the poor rebel?  Mainly because the whites control everything -- such as the media and the armed forces -- that would enable a revolution -- and they ensure that no revolution happens.  And one way they keep the peace is by an official doctrine of tolerance -- emphasizing that  people of any origin can rise up, make a success of themselves and join the ranks of the middle class:  A Brazilian version of the American dream, in other words.  And as in America, the numbers who do actually rise into a higher station are few.  But is is a helpful national myth.

Everything I have just said is very broad brush but the salient point is that an outnumbered European population can still mostly live a good life if they are capable people -- so American whites have less to fear than you might think from the prospect of being outnumbered by Hispanics.  They are likely still to rule the roost and have their affairs organized the way they like it, with the  Hispanics going to hell in their own way -- JR


Brazil's new government under Bolsonaro

Brazil's new government under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro includes a star anti-corruption judge as justice minister and a free-market economy minister with broad powers, and sees a third of the slots going to ex-military men.

The foreign ministry is to come under a mid-level public servant who shares Bolsonaro's fervent anti-left views and desire to sidle closer to the United States.

And an anti-abortion evangelist pastor has been named to take charge of the human rights portfolio.

- VP general -

The vice presidency goes to a retired general, Hamilton Mourao, 65, known for right-wing views that mesh with his boss and a similar penchant for shooting from the hip. He has vowed he will not be a "brain-shrunken" second fiddle in the administration.

- Star judge -

Sergio Moro won national fame and plaudits for being the head judge of a vast anti-corruption probe known as "Car Wash" that has thrown some titans of Brazilian business and politics into cells -- including former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Now the 46-year-old will become justice minister, even though he doesn't see eye-to-eye with Bolsonaro on some key issues, such as making guns easier to own or designating poor rural land-grabbers as "terrorists."

- Liberal economist -

Bolsonaro became a darling for investors because of the man he is making his economy minister: Paulo Guedes, a US-trained economist who is intent on sweeping free-market reforms that would upend Brazil's previous protectionism to slash debt.

But while Guedes, 69, will have broad powers, it remains to be seen if he can get privatizations past the conservative president, who has freely admitted he knows little about economics.

- Chief of staff -

The powerful chief-of-staff's post has gone to an experienced lawmaker, Onyx Lorenzoni, 64, seen as the brains behind the campaign that brought Bolsonaro to power.

- Close security -

A military mentor to Bolsonaro in the 1970s, retired general Augusto Heleno, had been considered as defense minister but finally will take on the security portfolio responsible for intelligence.

The 70-year-old notably headed up the UN peacekeeping mission to Haiti in 2004 and 2005.

- Foreign minister fan -

The mid-ranking career diplomat Ernesto Araujo, 51, saw his loyalty to Bolsonaro and his nationalist views -- echoing those of US President Donald Trump -- rewarded with a nomination to head Brazil's foreign ministry.

He has come out strongly against leftist governments in Latin America, namely Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, and criticized "cultural Marxism" he believes has influenced scientific thinking on climate change.

- Rights pastor -

Damares Alves, the new minister for women, the family and human rights might be an evangelical pastor opposed to abortion and feminism, but she has also expressed hopes for a rapprochement with Brazil's gay community.

Her responsibilities will also include indigenous rights, which has left the justice portfolio to come under her ministry.



In 2006, Democrats were saying `build that fence!'

As a senator, Barack Obama once offered measured praise for the border control legislation that would become the basis for one of Donald Trump's first acts as president.

"The bill before us will certainly do some good," Obama said on the Senate floor in October 2006. He praised the legislation, saying it would provide "better fences and better security along our borders" and would "help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country."

Obama was talking about the Secure Fence Act of 2006, legislation authorizing a barrier along the southern border passed into law with the support of 26 Democratic senators including party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer.

Now it's become the legal mechanism for Trump to order construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico, attempting tomake good on a key promise from the campaign trail. Trump specifically cited the law in the first sentence of Wednesday's executive order authorizing the wall.

The episode shows how concerns over border security occupied Washington well before Trump made it the centerpiece of his candidacy, and that Democrats were more than willing to offer big sums of taxpayer money to keep Mexicans and other Latino immigrants out of the United States. The border fence called for in the 2006 law was far less ambitious than the wall Trump envisions, and,as he is apt to do, he has made the issue bigger, more explosive, and far more disruptive to US diplomacy.

Trump has also added his own twist that was never a part of the 2006 legislation, a promise that the Mexican people would pay for the wall. But on Thursday White House spokesman Sean Spicer, in a briefing aboard Air Force One, said that Trump would levy a 20 percent tax on all imports from Mexico to fund construction of the barrier.

He estimated that the 20 percent tariff would bring in $10 billion a year and "easily pay for the wall." Later, the White House appeared to back away from the idea of an import tax.

Even before the highly controversial proposed funding mechanism was made public Thursday afternoon, Mexican President Enrique Pe a Nieto announced that he was canceling his planned trip to the United States next week, citing the new administration's focus on the wall.

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who opposed the measure in 2006 when he was in office, had even harsher words for Trump. "Donald, don't be self-indulgent," he posted on his Twitter feed Thursday. "Mexico has spoken, we will never ever pay for the #[Expletive]Wall."

For Democrats who generally support relaxed rules that offer a path to citizenship for immigrants, the 2006 law was seen as the better of two evils. The House had recently passed legislation immigration advocates viewed as draconian because it would make any undocumented immigrant a felon.

By comparison, the border fence didn't seem so bad. Moreover, immigration reform advocates were beaten down after a wider overhaul had stalled.

"It didn't have anywhere near the gravity of harm," recalled Angela Kelley, who in 2006 was the legislative director for the National Immigration Forum. "It was hard to vote against it because who is going to vote against a secure fence? And it was benign compared with what was out there."

The law flew through the Senate with a vote of 80 to 19. (One senator, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, was not present. John Kerry, the state's other senator, voted against it.) In the House, the measure passed 283 to 138, with 64 Democrats supporting it. (The Massachusetts delegation was split.) From there it went to then-President George W. Bush, who signed it 12 days before the 2006 mid-term elections.

The plan was not nearly as expansive as Trump's promise for a wall along the entire border. It allowed for about 700 miles of fencing along certain stretches. Congress put aside $1.4 billion for the fence, but the whole cost, including maintenance, was pegged at $50 billion over 25 years, according to analyses at the time.

The government had constructed about 650 miles of fence by 2015, most of it after passage of the act, according to a report last year by the US Government Accountability Office.

Clinton also voted for the bill, though in a floor speech during the debate she completely ignored the fence issue and heaped praise on an amendment to it that would help New York farmers by expanding the number of visas allowed for agricultural workers.

During her recent failed presidential campaign, however, she referred to the vote.

"I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in," Clinton said at November 2015 town hall in New Hampshire, "and I do think that you have to control your borders."



Trump Throws Down Ultimatum if Border Wall Doesn’t Receive Funding

In a series of tweets Friday morning, President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the southern border if the border wall doesn’t receive funding.

According to Reuters, Democrats and the White House are still far apart on the funding for the wall.

The White House has requested $5 billion in wall funding and has partially shut down the government since last Friday.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have only offered $1.3 billion in funding for broader border security but not for a wall — a prospect they have long opposed.

Congress is in recess until next week. However, even before they go back into session, the president is firing salvos in order to keep the Democrats on their toes.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!” Trump tweeted.

He also said that due to bad trade deals, a shutdown of the border with Mexico and Central America could be a “profit making operation.”  ....The United States loses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.”

“We build a Wall or close the Southern Border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs,” he continued. “Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border.”

Trump also claimed that another incipient caravan was heading our way from south of Mexico.

“Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money,” Trump wrote.

“Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!”

“Another migrant caravan — this one estimated at 15,000 people — is preparing to leave Honduras on Jan. 15, according to migrant rights advocates and Spanish-language media,” the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

“‘They say they are even bigger and stronger than the last caravan,’ said Irma Garrido, a member of the migrant advocacy group Reactiva Tijuana Foundation.”

“Meanwhile, thousands of Central American migrants from a caravan that left Honduras in October remain stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border and languishing in crowded Tijuana shelters while they wait out a lengthy process to file asylum requests with the United States.”

Neither Pelosi nor Schumer has tweeted in response to Trump as of noon on Friday.



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

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


29 December, 2018

Business management studies

There are legions of earnest young Chinese students all over the Western world enrolled in university business management degrees.  The poor darlings evidently think that we have something useful to teach them on that subject. Or maybe they will be happy that other people will think they have learnt something useful by  doing such courses.

I have been successful in business and I know others who have been.  And none of us ever spent one minute in these vastly over-rated courses.  I doubt in fact that any successful entrepreneur has ever done such courses before they became successful.  It is only in the machinery of already successful big businesses that a holder of a business management degree finds employment, as far as I can tell.

So what is going on?  What is in these courses?  What do students there learn?  They learn a fair bit about economics, a fair bit about accountancy, a fair bit about budgeting, a fair bit about industrial psychology and a fair bit about business law.  But all these things are just bits grabbed from other disciplines.  Is there anything unique to business studies?

There certainly seems to be.  There are thousands of books out that purport to tell you how to succeed in business but they all have different ideas and there is very little in them that could be seen as laws of business success.  People and circumstances differ too much for that. But there is one way that they are definitely useful. They almost all offer a heavy dose of business history.

And business history seems to me to be the one useful thing in a business degree.  By reading umpteen histories of how others have succeeded there is a fair chance that in his subsequent life as a business manager the student may encounter challenges similar to the challenges overcome by a writer of one of the books he has read.  But all businesses are different so for him to have any chance of having learned something useful for his business, the student will have to have read MANY books, perhaps all histories of successful businesses that there are.

But in the end all business management is man management (feminists shoot me) and being good at that is as much inborn as it is learned.  I have a Ph.D. and many published academic papers in psychology and I can assure you that there is still not a huge lot that psychology can teach you about improving your social skills.  What works for one person in one situation may not work for other people in other situations.  And so much psychological research is bunkum (as the replication crisis has shown us) that professional advice from psychologists is probably pretty poorly founded anyway.

So what I want to do now is to reproduce the story of a very successful businessman and highlight something you can learn from it that is worth much more than any business degree.  In case it is not obvious, I will add some further comments at the foot of the article excerpt.  The article is from Australia so some of the allusions will not be understood elsewhere but the central message is, I hope, loud and clear:

Born with silver spoon but always unassuming: Maxwell George Rodd, Businessman

IF YOU were married in the 1960s you would almost certainly have received one or more boxes of Rodd Silverware's Jasmine sweet spoons or a canteen of Rodd silver cutlery as a wedding present.

Max Rodd, who built a family partnership into a metals conglomerate through various acquisitions and amalgamations, has died aged 91.

G&E Rodd Pty Ltd was founded in Melbourne in 1919 and by the late 1930s was the leading firm of manufacturing jewellers in Australia. During the 1930s, it diversified into silver tableware -- knives, forks and spoons, including souvenir spoons -- and during World War II, 200 employees were deployed to wartime production.

After his parents died unexpectedly, he took over G&E Rodd in 1948 and it became a public company. Although only 30, Rodd's business ideas and skills saw Rodd Silverware flourish.

It became a household name, its products offered as prizes on Bob Dyer's popular radio and TV game program Pick a Box. In 1961, a set of Rodd Australian gold Jasmine spoons and forks was commissioned as Australia's wedding present to the Duke and Duchess of York.

The year before the company amalgamated with Myttons Ltd, and in 1967 Rodd became chairman and managing director. A quiet achiever, his management skills would make good textbook copy for students of the field.

He embraced corporate requirements, but didn't become a corporate man. He would walk through the Rodd factory in St Kilda each morning and greet each employee by name. He encouraged young employees to progress and implemented superannuation before it became compulsory.

Even after he retired in the late '70s, he returned to attend reunions for employees.


So did you see the gold nugget in that story?  Here it is again:

He would walk through the Rodd factory in St Kilda each morning and greet each employee by name

Can you imagine what that did for his more than 100 employees?  It would have made them feel respected and appreciated.  Would such employees ever go on strike?  Unlikely.  They would feel able to discuss any problem with the boss as soon as it arose.

It is such a powerful business management practice that you wonder why it is not universally practiced.  That it is not shows that only a psychologically big man can do it.  And Rodd was a big man.

28 December, 2018

Homelessness and the family

Conservatives usually style themselves as pro-family -- Primarily to distinguish themselves from those who don't form lasting partnerships and do not take part in the upbringing of a child. They say that an intact male/female family is the best environment in which to bring up a child.  And such families have been the normal human arrangement for hundreds of thousands of generations, so that has got to be right.  Intact families are how we have arrived at who we are today. We have evolved to live as part of a family and that has become genetically encoded

 We can of course live in other ways but are much less likely to flourish in those other ways -- and any children are highly likely to be damaged by not being brought up in a traditional family.  Any time researchers look at how well children function, the children of traditional families come out best.  There are a number of research reports that purport to show that the children of Lesbian couples do well but those studies are all so hokey that that tells its own story.  Some of them don't even interview the children concerned, rather incredibly. See here and here and here and here and here (scroll down) and here (scroll down)

Leftist don't like all that, of course.  Ever since Karl Marx, they have seen families as an obstacle to their foolish dreams of reforming how people behave.  People are very resistant to being reformed and the family is a sort of fortress in which people can be themselves.

But in various ways, the Left have seriously damaged the family.  They have convinced many people that a traditional family is a silly old system for people who know no better. Sexual liberation is the chief weapon in their armoury of weapons against the family.  Nonetheless, traditional urges do usually defeat ideas of sexual liberation and most people do enter into some form of marriage.  Even Germaine Greer got married at one stage.

Many of the modern marriages do not last, however.  The Leftist siren-song of sexual variety leads both men and women into "straying" from their marriages.  And there is no doubt that marriages do place serious demands on the people involved. Men and women are very different so living together is always going to have its stresses. And not everyone is prepared to make the compromises required

So the end result is that in many jurisdictions something like 50% of marriages do not last.  Satan has had his way.

And that leads to many of modern society's dysfunctions. Children are brought up with less guidance and less balanced guidance in particular.  To take a small example, a girl who is brought up with only a mother in her life might not be bothered to see a little red light flashing on her car's dashboard.  She may even think it is pretty and will continue to drive gaily along until she destroys her motor from lack of oil.  Expensive! She has just never had a father to tell her anything about cars. So children get by in one way or another but will suffer various handicaps and losses that could have been avoided.

But disadvantaged children are far from the only losers in a normless society.  When people are down on their luck and can no longer afford rent what do they do? Most of them go back to their parents' home and re-occupy their childhood bedroom.  And they live a civilized life there which preserves their self-respect and helps them to get on their feet again.

But what if there is no family home to go back to?  At best they sleep in their car and often they sleep in the streets.  They become homeless. If one of their parents is doing well they may get taken in but often the parents will be struggling too so are not in much of a position to help.

So there is both the cause and the solution to homelessness: Families or the lack of them. Sexual liberation is fine and dandy but it can exact a heavy price down the track.

There are of course some older people who are homeless -- and for many of them there is simply no family home to go back to because their parents are deceased.  But they should have other family members to turn to: brothers and sisters and sons and daughters.  And if family connections have been fostered, there will often be  someone who takes in a valued brother or sister.  And children often see to the needs of their elderly. 

But again, that situation is not likely to exist unless all the brothers and sisters have been brought up together and have been taught to value and support one-another.  Where brothers and sisters have been scattered to the four winds, they may be essentially strangers to one another and hence be disinclined to help one another.  And if you have grown children who help you it will be strongly influenced by how you have treated them.  If they have hardly known you, they may see no obligation on themselves.  But if you have been a hands-on parent who provided them with a loving environment that enabled them to blossom, you can probably expect at least some help from them.

The family is the ultimate welfare system and nothing comes near to replacing it.

27 December, 2018

Jon Burge, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Brazil

In my heading above I have lumped together some unlikely characters -- a corrupt police chief, a 17th century German philosopher and the modern-day state of Brazil.  But as unlikely as it seems, they do have something in common. And police chief Burge has just recently passed away so perhaps it is time to take another look at his record

The lasting relevance of Leibnitz resides in his dictum that we live in the best of all possible worlds -- a notion that almost everyone dismisses without hesitation as absurd.  But Leibnitz was a brilliant man.  What did he mean by his strange dictum? 

What he was doing was was in fact warning us about Leftist-type  thinking.  He was pointing to the fact that some good things are necessarily accompanied by bad things -- and that some bad things are a byproduct of some good things. So even a world that a lot of people disliked could in fact be the best possible.  Attempts to improve it might in fact make it worse.

And Leftism is a perfect illustration of that. Leftist policies are often adopted in the belief that they will offer some improvement in the life of the people -- but all too often those same policies also have "unforeseen" bad effects. So Obamacare made health insurance more affordable for some but effectively cut millions of Americans off from health insurance altogether.  If only Leftists adopted Leibnitzian thinking, they might be more hesitant to rush into their customary destructive legislation.

And that helps us to take a revised evaluation of Jon Burge.  Who was Jon Burge? Jon Graham Burge (December 20, 1947 – September 19, 2018) was an American police detective and commander in the Chicago Police Department who was accused of torturing more than 200 criminal suspects between 1972 and 1991 in order to force confessions.

And the perspective you need is to be aware of the rampant lawlessness of many blacks in Chicago to this day.  In just one weekend you could have (say) a dozen black on black shootings that resulted in death or serious injury.  And poor co-operation between blacks and the police meant that it was totally unrealistic to prosecute each shooting. So lots of violent people walked free.

And so began the nearly 20 years of the reign of Jon Burge.  If Burge or his men thought that they had a perpetrator in their grasp, they weren't going to let him go for lack of evidence.  "Evidence will be provided", they said.  They simply railroaded whoever they thought was a bad guy. They fabricated any evidence needed.

And they justified that by saying that the bad guy might not have done what we set him up for but he would have done other stuff that we didn't know about.  So justice was still done. And in the long haul they were proved largely right.  When the wonderful law students got to work and showed that some man was innocent of what he was convicted for, it almost always emerged that he had committed other crimes.

Needless to say, Burge's success at getting convictions became well known in Chicago.  He was greatly feared.  And one result of that fear was a reluctance to tangle with the Chicago cops.  Blacks knew that they could still get away with most shootings but they had better be very slow to shoot whites.  They knew that Burge always pursued such shootings and that he always got his man, evidence regardless.  So whites were fairly safe in lawless Chicago under the supervision of Jon Burge.

So Burge has been the only one to get some sort of a handle of the torrent of violent crime in Chicago.  In a situation where normal law enforcement was impossible he did what many regarded as the next best thing

He was of course eventually caught out and spent a few years in prison but I think we should judge him not as a crooked cop but as a man at war -- an unscrupulous war he waged with some success.  As Leibniz teaches us, his corruption of justice was bad but it also did some good. 

And as far as we can tell, the Chicago cops these days are as rough as ever. The US Department of Justice conducted an investigation of the Chicago Police Department and released their report in January 2017. They strongly criticized the police for a culture of excessive violence, especially against minority suspects and the community, and said there was insufficient and poor training, and lack of true oversight.  Chicago rules are still different, it seems

So am I condoning what Jon Burge did?  I hope it is obvious that I am NOT condoning what he did.  What he did was terrifyingly wrong.  But it often happens in life that all our choices in a particular circumstance are bad and the most rational thing we can therefore do is to choose the lesser of two evils. And it is my disruptive submission that what Burge did was in fact the lesser of two evils.  Burge got a couple of hundred really bad guys put out of the community for long periods.  And just about none of them could have been put away by legitimate methods.  So the alternative to what he did was to leave hundreds of murderous thugs free to roam through the black community.  And I think that was a worse alternative.

It may help a little if I note that it is not unusual for lawbreaking to be publicly condoned.  The Robin Hood story is probably the best known example of that.  Hood was a highway robber but because he gave some of his loot to the poor he is fondly remembered. Will Burge ever be fondly remembered?  It's unlikely.  His crimes were undoubtedly more heinous.  But he offered the same combination of service to the public through wrong deeds.

And Leibnitz next leads us to Brazil.  Brazil is a heavily socialist state that is also corrupt so I will put what I want to say about Brazil into a more general rubric:

Corruption in a heavily regulated state can promote freedom.

If all of Brazil's Leftist regulations were energetically enforced, it would be very difficult for anyone to make a buck.  Businesses would certainly be greatly hampered in what they did.  Fortunately, however, there is very little energy anywhere in Brazil to enforce official regulations and what energy there is can usually be bought off by a small bribe to the relevant official.  So in practice, Brazil is surprisingly like a free-market economy.  And you can see that in some of the economic successes that Brazil has. 

The most surprising is aircraft production.  The Big Two of aircraft design and supply are Boeing and Airbus.  Between them, they supply most of the world's civilian aircraft.  But there are two minnows who also produce a significant volume of aircraft for international sale:  Bombardier in Canada and Embraer in Brazil.  And Embraer aircraft are of a high standard and sell well.  So that is pretty remarkable: A Third World country that is a well established supplier of civilian aircraft to the international market. It's more than China, Japan and Russia can currently do, though they are trying.

And Brazil has shown how to power cars with "alternative" fuel.  Brazil has vast acres of lushly growing sugarcane.  So they can harvest that very efficiently and cheaply.  And alcohol produced from cane is about half the price of American corn alcohol.  So you can see where we are going here.  Just by harvesting and producing alcohol by normal means would make Brazilian alcohol a competitive fuel for cars.  But Brazil goes one better.  They build distilleries right next to crushing mills. So the feed to  the distillery is not sugar crystals but a product from fresh-crushed sugarcane juice, keeping production costs way down.

So Brazil has long run millions of cars on pure ethanol and has done so at little cost penalty.  Brazil has in recent years discovered great oilfields off its coasts so much of the incentive to rely on ethanol has vanished. Petroleum products could undercut ethanol in price. But Brazil has certainly shown how to produce "alternative" fuel at a reasonable price.  So even a free market enabled by corruption can be dynamic and efficient. Leibnitz would nod wisely to hear of freedom and prosperity produced by corruption and lawlessness.

There is no doubt that a system where a few wise laws are carefully enforced is ideal but the ideal can be difficult to reach.  But even in a non-ideal system life goes on and useful compromises can sometimes emerge.

26 December, 2018

East Germany and the Menzies era

The Communist State of East Germany (the DDR or Deutsche Demokratische Republik) is now long gone. In the day, East Germans could receive West German TV programs so were acutely aware that the capitalistic West Germans were much richer than they were.  So they envied that and wanted the opportunity to move to the West. But the famous wall between East and West prevented that. So when the Gorbachev reforms in Russia allowed it, thousands of them breached the wall, leading to the downfall of the East German regime and a peaceful takeover of the Eastern lands by the West Germans in 1990.

Easterners had not generally foreseen any negative consequences of reunion but some soon emerged. In particular, the businesses and industries of the East were not remotely competitive with their Western counterparts and rapidly went broke.  This led to very high levels of unemployment and economic depression generally in the East and there very soon emerged among some people "Ostalgie" -- a longing for the old Communist regime, a longing that continues among some to this day

What Easterners miss from the old regime was stability, particularly stability of employment, but they also missed the orderly and predictable availability of goods and services as well.  You didn't have to compete for anything.  All was provided, albeit at a low level. So there was a brotherly feeling among Easterners and that is missed by some too.

Below is a DDR propaganda video set to the words of the old DDR national anthem.  It gives you some impression of what the DDR was like at its best.

You may, incidentally get some impression of why some Germans from both East and West say that the old DDR anthem was much better than the current Federal anthem.  The ideals expressed are certainly in general commendable.

So is there any chance of reviving at least some of that system? Almost certainly not.  The system was kept calm and stable through coercion. Individualism was discouraged under what was to an extent a benign despotism. One of the State governments in the East might one day attempt some approximation to it but the federal government would not put up with too much of that. The German Basic Law (constitution) would also impose limits.

Nonetheless, it is clear that some of the aspects of extreme socialism were and are appreciated by some people. The entire developed world does have a degree of socialism (welfare measures etc.) so there is clearly something basic in the appeal of socialism. 

And it is perfectly obvious where that appeal resides.  It is encoded into us by our evolutionary past. As we see in primitive societies to this day, caveman life was heavily into sharing.  If one member of the tribe had managed to catch a juicy animal, he would share it with the whole of the tribe.  In the absence of refrigeration, it would not keep anyway and by sharing his kill he would be entitled to a share of all the kills made by all tribe members.  And common defence was also practiced.  If members of another tribe staged a raid to kidnap one of your women, the whole tribe would rise up to defend the desirable dame.

So there is a sense in which we are all born socialists, which accounts for the virtual ubiquity of some socialist practices in human societies.  The great discovery of 18th and 19th century Britain, however, was that individualism was also beneficial -- particularly for generating wealth.  Money talked and it talked loudly.  Britain did have its socialist system (Workhouses, poorhouses, church schools etc) but they left plenty of room for individual enterprise.  And the rest is history, as they say.  In the developing, mostly European, world of the 19th century, Britain became the model and socialism took a back seat to individual enterprise because of its obvious advantages

But socialism is deep rooted and the 20th century saw it roar back -- with extreme socialism in Russia, Germany and China.  And in the rest of the world there were all sorts of restrictions on business and welfare states also emerged.  In Britain only Mrs Thatcher gave socialism a black eye and Mr Trump is working in that direction too.

So an obvious question is whether capitalism can deliver some of the things that socialists like.  The extensive welfare provisions already in existence already go some way towards that but is there more that we can do without wrecking our successful economic model.

East Germany gives us the clue.  The one thing that "Ossis" particularly liked was stability, the absence of change.  In particular they liked economic stability -- confidence that you would have a job tomorrow and that the job is easy to do.

That is in fact a thoroughly conservative wish.  Stability and an absence of change are good conservative values.  So where have we gone wrong?  Why did it take a Communist state to put conservative values into practice?  The answer is that all of life is a tradeoff.  Only feminists think you can have it all. And we have traded too much for economic liberty.  East Germany was poorer but more secure and relaxed and that tradeoff suited many people.

And there is a robust Anglo-Saxon democracy with all the traditional liberties that did offer something like East German tradeoffs.  That was Australia in the 1950s under the long running Prime Ministership of the very conservative R.G. ("Bob") Menzies. I was there. I remember Menzies well.  Menzies resisted almost all proposals for change. People would ask him to "do something" about all sorts of problems but he would always be able to point out ways in which "doing something" could produce as many problems as it solved.  There is a delightful story here about how Menzies defeated one group of "do something" advocates.

And Australia was very autarkic at that time.  It made its own cars and kitchen appliances plus much else.  Some goods were imported, chiefly from Britain, but Australian manufacturers were encouraged and were readily given tariff protection.  If you made toasters in Australia you did not have to worry about overseas competition.  A nice little tariff would protect you.

So businesses and their employees could relax.  Their factory would just keep running year after year.  The workers could plan their savings and their holidays with no fear that their job would suddenly vanish due to a new competitor entering the market and selling the product at a cheaper price.

And under that system there was very little unemployment. Anyone who wanted one could get a job.  Unemployment was always under 2%.  It was a crisis if it seemed likely to rise to 2%.  There is nowhere like that in the world today.

So Australia at that time was a capitalistic economy with East German characteristics.  Those who were there tend to remember it as a golden age.  I do. We were much poorer and had worse dentistry but we ate well, took a train to visit relatives and friends on our holidays and could always enjoy a cold beer.  What else is there?

But that is lost today.  Australia is now a normal nation with few tariffs and unemployment around 5%.  And you can buy things for pocket change that once would have been a serious hit on the budget.

But Mr Trump seems to be coming to the rescue.  He has very similar priorities to Bob Menzies.  He too thinks that a nice little tariff can hold back change and rescue jobs.  He has an economics degree from the Wharton school so he knows the downside of that.  He knows that tariffs are impoverishing but he also knows that stability is a neglected but important value. Money is not everything. It is unlikely that America will ever come near to East Germany in an offering of stability but Mr Trump is rebalancing American priorities in that direction, which should make America a better place overall.

25 December, 2018

Apollo 8's perfect Christmas message

by Jeff Jacoby

"Say something appropriate."

It was Christmas Eve 1968, and three American astronauts were in the midst of a mission to boldly go where no man had gone before. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders — the crew of Apollo 8 — were circling the Moon. At 8:30 p.m. Houston time, they were scheduled to make a live broadcast that would be beamed back to Earth. NASA had cautioned the men that their words would be heard by the largest audience in human history. An estimated 1 billion people — more than one-fourth of the world's population — would tune in. Yet the crew hadn't been told what to say. Their only instruction was: "Say something appropriate."

Going to the Moon hadn't been the original plan for Apollo 8. As published accounts of the mission have noted, it was initially supposed to be a flight only to low Earth orbit, where the crew could start getting used to NASA's new lunar module, and run through simulations of re-entering Earth's atmosphere after a lunar voyage.

Then everything changed. In September, the Soviet Union launched an unmanned lunar probe, Zond 5, which successfully orbited the Moon and returned to Earth. The CIA thought the Soviets might be planning a manned mission by the end of the year. America's shot at winning the space race, and of achieving President Kennedy's goal of landing an American on the Moon before the decade's end, seemed to be slipping away.

Whereupon, in a surge of audacity and élan, NASA switched gears. With just four months to make it happen, the decision was made to send Apollo 8 the Moon.

The risks were enormous. No one had ever traveled more than 850 miles from the Earth's surface; Borman, Lovell, and Anders would have to fly 240,000 miles to reach their destination. It would require the most powerful rocket ever built, the Saturn V, to propel Apollo 8 beyond Earth orbit. But Saturn V was new and had never flown a manned crew. In fact, it had only been tested twice — and the second test, in April, had gone very badly.

Even more unnerving was that Apollo 8's new lunar module, plagued by defects, still wasn't ready. That meant the crew would have no backup engine: no lifeboat. There would be only the single engine of the command module, which would be needed repeatedly — to fly to the Moon, to enter lunar orbit, to escape from the lunar orbit, and to return to earth. If that engine failed, the astronauts would be doomed.

The death of astronauts was no mere theoretical concern. In January 1967, an errant electrical spark had triggered a flash fire that destroyed Apollo 1 during preflight testing, killing three astronauts. Another such tragedy would be shattering to Americans, all the more so since Apollo 8 would be traveling over Christmas. America in 1968 had already experienced so much anguish — the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, race riots in US cities, the bloody Tet offensive in Vietnam. Chris Kraft, NASA's director of flight operations, later said that the decision to go to the Moon on such short notice "took more courage . . . than anything we ever did in the space program."

If fortune ever favored the brave, it favored NASA and the crew of Apollo 8. Borman, Lovell, and Anders became the first men to leave Earth's gravitational field, the first to travel through a quarter of a million extraterrestrial miles, the first to see the dark side of the Moon, and the first to see the heart-stoppingly gorgeous view of an Earthrise from outer space — to see the Earth, in Borman's awestruck formulation, the way God must see it.

And now it was Christmas Eve. Apollo 8 was making the ninth of its 10 scheduled revolutions around the Moon, and it was time for the crew to "say something appropriate" to a waiting world. When the onboard camera came on, the three astronauts described the tasks they had been performing and their reactions to what they were seeing. Then, said Anders, "for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send to you."

As the bleak moonscape swept past below them, they read from the Book of Genesis:

"In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. . . . And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. . . And God saw that it was good."

Borman brought the transmission to a finish after the men had recited 10 verses. "We close," he said, "with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth."

NASA hadn't known what the astronauts were going to say, writes Robert Kurson in "Rocket Men," a gripping account of Apollo 8's odyssey. "Inside Mission Control, no one moved. Then, one after another, those scientists and engineers in Houston began to cry."

They weren't the only ones overcome with emotion. The astronauts' words could not have more perfectly suited the moment. Fifty years ago this week, at another time when Americans and so much of the world were riven by turmoil, anger, and mistrust, Apollo 8 had found a way to remind Earth's residents that what unites them is far more profound and enduring than what divides them.


24 December, 2018

Merry Christmas to all those who come by here

I will be taking a short break from blogging tomorrow but not sure for how long.  I should be able to put up something in the days leading up to the New Year but will leave that open for the moment


Michelle Obama A Fashion Icon? Thigh-High Sequin Streetwalker Boots? No… Just No

From the moment that Obama won the Presidency, the media gushed over the attire of Mrs Obama. I make no claim to be any sort of fashion guru but it seemed to me that her clothing was in fact marginal to then-current fashion.  Silence about it would have been the safest course. But in their usual tribal way, the media treated her as a fashion icon.  That did rather make me sick,  I saw her as just a ..... The gracious Laura Bush would never have worn anything so ostentatious. As it happens, however, Mrs Obama has now excelled herself -- and the writer below has justifiably excoriated it. It would not be safe for me to say what I think of the latest effort.  I am not putting up an image of it as it rather makes me puke

OMG! Former First Lady Michelle Obama wore $3,900 sequin Balenciaga over-the-knee boots Wednesday night on her book tour at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

The Gateway Pundit reports:

“Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker greeted Michelle Obama when she walked out on stage Wednesday evening.

Obama flashed her $4,000 boots and the crowd went wild.

Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Carrie Bradshaw in the highly popular TV series “Sex and the City,” had an obsession with high end shoes and boots, so the TV star gushed over Michelle Obama’s over-the-top thigh-high boots.



YouTube Changed ‘Abortion’ Search Results after a Slate Writer Complained

YouTube has apparently changed the search results on its site for the term “abortion” after Slate writer April Glaser contacted the company last Friday to ask “why anti-abortion videos saturated the search results for ‘abortion,’ and if the platform thought accurate, health-focused information had a place there.”

Glaser reports that, by this past week, “anti-abortion content meant to enrage or provoke viewers was no longer purely dominating the results” on the site. According to Glaser, YouTube did not tell her whether or how it tweaked the results for “abortion,” but “stressed that the company is working to provide more credible news content from its search and discovery algorithms.”

Who knew it would be that easy?

Among the videos “meant to enrage or provoke” that prompted Glaser’s censorious mission were what she describes as “several misleading animations that showed a fetus that looks like a sentient child in the uterus,” women explaining why they regretted their abortions, and videos of former abortionists explaining what takes place medically and surgically during an abortion procedure.

Such videos are, of course, every pro-abortion activist’s worst nightmare. Because they reveal the unmistakable details of what takes place in every abortion — details that Glaser rightly, albeit dismissively, describes as “gore” — they’re written off as “dangerous misinformation.” Lest unsuspecting viewers risk running across this “gore” and oppose abortion as a result, true believers like Glaser insist that this type of content should be drowned out by videos from news outlets and “credible reproductive health-care providers” whose mission is to airbrush away the reality of abortion.



A new threat to free speech, Visa card and Mastercard

"As simple and as faceless as a lethal injection'.

Every day there is a new report about how Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other giants of social media censor content, banish certain commentators for incorrect views, and otherwise work in a steady if unsystematic way to homogenize political opinion within an acceptably progressive bandwidth.  Ideas are scoured for “racism”—as contentiously defined by the intellectual stylebook of the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which the media have set up as an “authority” on hate speech; freedom of speech is seen a nuisance rather than a guarantee of personal liberty and true diversity of opinion.

But there is an even more sinister threat to the first amendment than the social media, a threat that operates in a stealth way in the most crucial arena of our economic system.  It is corporate giants Master Card and Visa, which now use their unparalleled financial power to determine what speech should be allowed and what speech should be silenced.

Most Americans use a credit or debit card everyday and take these two corporations as much for granted as the light switch or the automobile ignition.  We buy things with their cards ranging from the annual vacations to the daily groceries. These two interlocked corporations are the drum majors marching us into a cashless society.  They are powers unto themselves, but their eminence rests on our money and the fees they exact to accommodate our transactions.

The cards they issue are even more critical to the vendors whom they pay. Without the ability to accept charges to these cards as payment many businesses would in effect be out of business.

Unlike the comparatively clumsy and very public efforts of the social media to erase “offensive”—all too often a synonym for conservative—opinion, the cognate machinations of Visa/Mastercard take place more remotely and without response in the dark space of the mundane financial transaction.

It is as simple and as faceless as a lethal injection: An individual who wants to support an organization online makes the digital donation and is then informed that Visa/Mastercard will not process it.  Neither the individual nor the organization he wishes to support are told that it is on a blacklist, let alone informed how or got there or how to get off.  The donor is denied his right to put his money where his mouth is.  The organization he supports is condemned to death by strangulation in the dark in a world designed by Kafka.

The Freedom Center had such an experience a few months ago when online donations were overnight peremptorily refused by Visa/Mastercard with no reason given and no protest accepted.  We were able to create enough noise about this injustice—in the media and with the threat of legislative attention—that the credit card giants turned the power back on just as capriciously as they had turned it off.

We were lucky. Robert Spencer, whose jihadwatch.org is one of the indispensable sites for understanding the intentions and the threat of Islamic terrorism, has been shut down from receiving supporters’ donations for several weeks now, and is forced to try to keep jihadwatch going on a shoestring while Visa/Mastercard imperiously ignores demand letters and threats of court action from his attorneys.  The anti Semitic Nation of Islam’s credit card donations are processed; the anti Islamist jihadwatch’s are not.

This oligopoly acts with the faceless finality of an IRS lien when it sets itself up as lawmaker, judge and jury with the power to decide which speech should be allowed and which should be shut down.  It kills free speech not by arguing against the ideas it disapproves of, but by the silence of the arbitrary act, using the financial system to accomplish the deed.

An analogue to what Visa/Mastercard has done and is doing was once banned by the 1964 Civil Rights Act which, among other things, gave U.S. citizens, specifically African Americans, the right to sit at a lunch counter and have a sandwich the way any other America could. This opening of public accommodations to African Americans in effect told private businesses that they were accommodations open to the public and that all people, regardless of race, comprised that public and that they could not deny the civil rights of anyone seeking to use their facility.

Can there be any doubt that MasterCard and the other major card companies are similarly a public accommodation? Over half the people of the United States who own a debit or credit card use as their sole method for paying bills. (Most of the other half uses them too, just not as frequently.) In 2015 there were 69.5 billion debit card payments with a value of $2.56 trillion and 33.8 billion credit card payments with a value of $3.16 trillion--together adding up to around 6 trillion in an economy of 19 trillion.

This is a very sizable public accommodation. More importantly it is immense power, power that can be and is being used to shut down the civil rights of people who want to support the speech of the Freedom Center, Jihadwatch, other conservative groups and anyone else in our political universe. 

Visa/Mastercard tell the people whose rights they strangle that they can always get funds to the organizations whose speech they want heard by other means.  That is true---people can write a check and mail it or make a cash withdrawal from their bank and drive it to the offices of the organization they support  just as black people in the South in the 1950s could have eaten at some other lunch counter in a more remote part of town.

The money these corporate giants hold belongs to private individuals who have a fundamental civil right to direct that money—which they pay the oligopoly a handsome fee to distribute to organizations they approve of and for the opinions they want heard in the public square.  Their money is their speech.  When they hit the “donate” button on a nonprofit’s website they are saying, “I believe….”as surely as if they were holding a placard in a march or writing to a legislator. 

We have come to a point in our history when government must once against step in to preserve rights and prevent wrongs just as it did in 1964. Civil Rights are as much imperiled now as they were then. The technology revolution has undeniably brought much that is good and fruitful, but as it has evolved, this revolution has developed a dark side that concentrates increasing power in the hands of fewer people.  These people control vast amounts of information. The information can tell the most of intimate of details from what we spend, what we bought with what we spend, what our daily commute is, who we may like or dislike, and, yes, our political leanings.  Hardly a day goes by without some news of an intrusion into private lives which are ransacked and violated for others’ profit.

And in this context, Visa/MasterCard must be seen not merely as the hygienic facilitators of the billions of daily transactions that are the white sound of our financial life, but as an oligopoly that has converted its privileged position into political power exercised opaquely and without control or justification. 

Congress should immediately investigate the imperious intrusions of Visa/MasterCard into consumers’ privacy and draft legislation that would prevent this cartel from violating their civil right to use their money as a form of speech.



Germany: New Law Banning Child Marriage Declared Unconstitutional

In a rather tortured ruling

The Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), Germany's highest court of civil and criminal jurisdiction, has ruled that a new law that bans child marriage may be unconstitutional because all marriages, including Sharia-based child marriages, are protected by Germany's Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

The ruling, which effectively opens the door to legalizing Sharia-based child marriages in Germany, is one of a growing number of instances in which German courts are — wittingly or unwittingly — promoting the establishment of a parallel Islamic legal system in the country.

The case involves a Syrian couple — a 14-year-old Syrian girl married to her 21-year-old cousin — who arrived in Germany at the height of the migrant crisis in August 2015. The Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) refused to recognize their marriage and separated the girl from her husband. When the husband filed a lawsuit, a family court in Aschaffenburg ruled in favor of the Youth Welfare Office, which claimed to be the girl's legal guardian.

In May 2016, an appeals court in Bamberg overturned the decision. The court ruled that the marriage was valid because it was contracted in Syria, where, according to Sharia law, child marriages are allowed. The ruling effectively legalized Sharia child marriages in Germany.

The ruling — described as a "crash course in Syrian Islamic marriage law" — ignited a firestorm of criticism. Some accused the Bamberg court of applying Sharia law over German law to legalize a practice banned in Germany.

"Religious or cultural justifications obscure the simple fact that older, perverse men are abusing young girls," said Rainer Wendt, head of the German police union.

Monika Michell of Terre des Femmes, a women's rights group that campaigns against child marriage, added: "A husband cannot be the legal guardian of a child bride because he is involved in a sexual relationship with her — a very obvious conflict of interest."

The Justice Minister of Hesse, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, asked: "If underage persons — quite rightly — are not allowed to buy a beer, why should the lawmakers allow children to make such profound decisions related to marriage?"

Others said the ruling would open the floodgates of cultural conflict in Germany, as Muslims would view it as a precedent to push for the legalization of other Islamic practices, including polygamy, in the country.

In September 2016, the German Interior Ministry, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that 1,475 married children — including 361 children under the age of 14 — were known to be living in Germany as of July 31, 2016.

In a bid to protect girls who were married abroad but sought asylum in Germany, the German parliament on June 1, 2017 had passed legislation banning child marriages. The so-called Law to Fight Child Marriage (Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Kinderehen) set the minimum age of consent for marriage in Germany at 18 years and nullified all existing marriages, including those contracted abroad, where a participant was under the age of 16 at the time of the ceremony.

Germany's Federal Court of Justice, in its ruling, published on December 14, 2018, stated that the new law may be unconstitutional because it violated Articles 1 (human dignity), 2 (free development of personality), 3 (equal protection) and 6 (protection of marriage and family) of the Basic Law, which serves as the German constitution.

The court also ruled that the new law cannot be applied retroactively, and therefore cannot apply to the Syrian couple, who were married in February 2015.

Finally, the Federal Court of Justice asked the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) to examine the legality of Germany's blanket-ban on child marriage and to determine whether German authorities should heretofore assess the validity of child marriages on a case-by-case basis.

The ruling ignores Article 6 of the Introductory Act to the German Civil Code (Einführungsgesetz zum Bürgerlichen Gesetzbuche, EGBGB), which states:

"A legal standard of another State shall not be applied where its application results in an outcome which is manifestly incompatible with the essential principles of German law. In particular, it is not applicable if the application is incompatible with fundamental rights."

By shielding the Syrian couple from German law, the court has not only legitimized the use of Sharia law to determine the outcome of legal cases in Germany, it has also established a precedent that will almost certainly be used in the future by defenders of child marriage and other foreign laws.

Moreover, by insisting that the legitimacy of child marriages be examined on a case-by-case basis, the court has opened the door to so-called cultural exceptions, namely those enshrined in Sharia law, which does not set any age limit to marriage.

Winfried Bausback, a Bavarian lawmaker who helped draft the law against child marriage, was outraged by the court's decision:

"Because of our Constitution and for the benefit of the child, in the present case, there should be only one answer: This marriage must be null and void right from the beginning.

"Germany cannot on the one hand be against child marriages internationally, and on the other hand be for such marriages in our own country. The best interests of the child cannot be compromised in this case. (...) This is about the constitutionally established protection of children and minors!"

Commentator Andreas von Delhaes-Guenther wrote:

"In the end, it is a question of principle to what extent Germany wants to accept foreign law, which is completely contrary to our law on important issues. It took centuries to remove the Middle Ages from our law; we must not now bring it back for reasons of alleged tolerance or 'individual case consideration.' Rather, we must say that in Germany, German law applies to all, especially in important legal interests such as life, health — or just the welfare of the child, with an immutable age limit for marriages.

"We should consider one more thing: judgments are made 'in the name of the people.' This people has clearly expressed through its representatives in the Bundestag that it no longer wants to recognize child marriage."



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

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


23 December, 2018

Trump Signs $867B Bipartisan Farm Bill with Welfare Reform Work Requirements

President Donald Trump signed into law the $867 billion farm bill Thursday, which includes welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults without children to work or look for work.

“In addition to signing this critical legislation, today I am directing my administration to take immediate action on welfare reform. Thanks to our thriving economy, we have already lifted more than 4.6 million Americans off the food stamp roll since the election, and more work remains to be done,” Trump said.

Trump called the bill “a bipartisan success.” It doubles the number of farmers who can borrow to expand and improve their farms. It also expands rural broadband, provides more resources to fight the opioid crisis, and opens new markets for U.S. agriculture overseas.

“Millions of able-bodied, working-age adults continue to collect food stamps without working or even looking for work. Our goal is to move these Americans from dependence to independence, and into a good-paying job and rewarding career. Therefore, I have directed Secretary Perdue to use his authority under the law to close work requirement loopholes in the food stamp program,” the president said.

“Under this new rule, able-bodied adults without dependents will have to work, or look for work, in order to receive their food stamps. Today’s action will help Americans transition from welfare to gainful employment, strengthening families and uplifting communities, and that was a difficult thing to get done, but the farmers wanted it done,” Trump said.

“We all wanted it done, and I think, in the end, it's going to make a lot of people very happy. It's called ‘work rules,’ and Sonny is able, under this bill, to implement them through regulation,” he added.

A black conservative group, Project 21, applauded the welfare reform regulation, saying it is consistent with a recommendation found in their "Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America."

"People should not be able to become professional entitlement beneficiaries – especially during times of low unemployment. President Trump and the U.S. Department of Agriculture should be commended for wanting to make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely," said Project 21 member Emery McClendon.

"Our government has programs in place to help citizens who fall on hard times. Programs such as SNAP are intended to be temporary. It would greatly enhance those who are enrolled in these programs as well as the communities in which they live if there were work or training requirements linked to continued assistance," McClendon added.

“To ‘reinforce the… intent’ of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and meet the goals of President Donald Trump's April 2018 executive order on welfare reform, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a proposed rule today to limit state waivers on SNAP eligibility,” the group said.

“While SNAP requires able-bodied individuals to work 80 hours a month or participate in a job training program to maintain eligibility for benefits, states have been allowed to obtain waivers for extended periods based on local unemployment rates. The proposed rule seeks to curtail ‘widespread use’ of waivers that the Trump Administration believes were meant for "temporary relief… in an economic downturn."

The proposed regulation applies to adults 18-48, who don’t have dependents, and are able-bodied. Pregnant women and disabled persons are exempt from work requirements.

"If you are able-bodied, government assistance should be a safety net and not a hammock. As someone who was once on food stamps, I know it is necessary. And the exact order addresses the able-bodied without dependents. There is no excuse for those on welfare not trying to help their community or help themselves," said Project 21 member Marie Fischer-Wyrick.

"When I lost a job after 20 years in the workforce, I was on assistance with two dependents. I not only looked for work while on assistance, but I took certification courses to find a better position. I only needed assistance for short time because I knew it was not a way of life for myself or my children," she added.



There are important deregulation efforts afoot that will help lower prescription-drug prices  

Here’s a bit of good news as we head into the Christmas season. Last week, the Food and Drug Administration withdrew a rule that would have put patients’ health at risk and made it more expensive to buy medicine.

As a Wall Street Journal editorial recently stated, “[The] rule proposed by the Obama Administration in 2013 allowed generic drug makers to tailor their own safety labels, which historically must be identical to the branded product. The rule’s biggest supporter was the plaintiffs bar, which figured this would open up more opportunities for lawsuits for failing to warn consumers about all and sundry risks. The practical effect would be to make drug labels even more incomprehensible than they are now, varying among products that are chemically identical.”

Not only would patients face possible health risks due to the confusion over labels, but generic drug prices would also have increased nationwide more than $4 billion. And this cost would likely increase once litigation costs were passed onto consumers.

Again, this is what happens when government meddles with the free market.

President Donald Trump vowed during his 2016 presidential campaign to make patients’ access to medicine more affordable. Since then, he’s been a consistent critic of Big Pharma, but his record is mixed.

On one hand, Trump’s goal is to make prescription drugs more affordable. The Journal reports, “The FDA has over 20 months of the Trump Administration approved an astounding 1,617 generic drugs, which are identical to branded versions but sold at commodity prices after patents expire. That works out to 81 a month on average — an 17% increase over the preceding 20 months. The Council of Economic Advisers in October tried to tally the savings from new entrants: $26 billion.”

On the other hand, Trump’s intervention in the free market is backfiring, as some companies have raised their prices in response to discounted drugs in an effort to retain profits.

According to The Resurgent, Pfizer will “raise the prices of 41 drugs in January, amid escalating Trump administration efforts to lower prescription drug prices and months after Trump’s intervention forced the largest U.S. drugmaker to postpone planned cost increases.”

There’s plenty of blame to go around on this issue. Democrats want to set up an agency that would have broad power to investigate and punish drug companies that don’t fall in line with their goal of government-run health care. Think “Consumer Financial Protection Bureau” for prescription drugs, and you’ll understand why it’s a bad idea. Meanwhile, President Trump wants to impose European-style price controls on Big Pharma.

While the Trump administration may be toying around too much with the free market, Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren is going even further by proposing more government intervention masked as a free-market solution.

The Daily Signal reports, “The Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act seeks to address the increasing prices of prescription drugs by injecting competition into the marketplace, consequently lowering the cost of mass-produced generic drugs. The bill would create the Office of Drug Manufacturing, which would be housed within the Department of Health and Human Services.” Additionally, “The Office of Drug Manufacturing would be tasked with producing drugs in cases where the market has been deemed to have failed.” Warren claims that the program would be “self-sustaining,” but that’s a promise that might be harder to keep than Barack Obama’s notorious “you can keep your doctor” whopper.

In both cases, the free market loses and Americans end up paying more for health care that’s increasingly controlled by government bureaucrats. In the end, the only system that really works is to leave the markets alone rather than embracing Europe’s path to government health care.

As The Wall Street Journal reminds us, “For all the talk of wondrous European health-care systems, the American generics system is the envy of the world. Nine in 10 prescriptions in the U.S. are cheaper generics, which saved $265 billion last year. Compare that with 70% in Canada and less than half in many European countries. The U.S. pays big for breakthroughs but eventually prices fall as competition arrives. Europe enjoys less price discipline.”

As always, it’s amazing what the free market can do when the government gets out of the way.



The Food and Drug Administration’s Invisible Victims

Among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s responsibilities are approval and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs. In short, its responsibility is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs. In the performance of this task, agency officials can make two types of errors—statistically known as the type I error and type II error.

With respect to the Food and Drug Administration, a type I error is the rejection or delayed approval of a drug that is safe and effective—erring on the side of over-caution—and a type II error is the approval of a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, or erring on the side of under-caution.

Let’s examine the incentives of Food and Drug Administration officials.

If agency officials err on the side of under-caution and approve a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, the victims of their mistake will be highly visible. There may be congressional hearings, embarrassment to the agency, and officials fired.

It’s an entirely different story if agency officials err on the side of over-caution and either disapprove or delay the approval of a drug that is both safe and effective.

In that case, the victims will be invisible. They will have no idea that their suffering could have been eliminated, or in the case of death, their loved ones will have no idea why they died. Their suffering and/or death will be chalked up to the state of medicine rather than the status of a Food and Drug Administration drug application. Their doctor will simply tell them there’s nothing more that can be done to help them. The Food and Drug Administration officials go scot-free.

Let’s look at some of the history of the Food and Drug Administration’s erring on the side of over-caution.

Beta blockers reduce the risk of secondary heart attacks and were widely used in Europe during the mid-1970s. The Food and Drug Administration imposed a moratorium on approvals of beta blockers in the U.S. because of their carcinogenicity in animals.

Finally, in 1981, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first such drug, boasting that it might save up to 17,000 lives per year. That means that as many as 100,000 people died from secondary heart attacks waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval.

Those people are in the “invisible graveyard,” a term to describe people who would have lived but died because the cure that could have saved them was bottled up in the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory process.

Today, the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute is leading the battle to bring some sanity and compassion to the drug approval process. It recently published a paper by Mark Flatten, titled “Studied to Death: FDA Overcaution Brings Deadly Consequences.” Flatten examined the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process and made some important recommendations.

Flatten criticized some Food and Drug Administration practices, saying, “Instead of having to prove a new treatment is safe for its intended use, the FDA now reviews drugs based on how they might be used by doctors to treat individual patients, effectively substituting the judgment of agency regulators for that of practicing medical professionals.” He added:

Instead of proving a drug achieves the medically beneficial results that its makers claim, the FDA requires proof the new treatment will improve long-term outcomes. So it is no longer enough, for instance, to prove a new drug will reduce blood glucose levels for diabetics. Drugmakers must show, somehow, that this will make patients live longer.

One Goldwater Institute suggestion is to allow drugs approved in certain other countries, such as Canada and the European Union, to receive nearly automatic U.S. approval. After all, those countries have drug regulatory structures similar to that in the U.S. Why should treatments approved in those countries not be available here?

The Goldwater Institute is also calling for a bill to restore free speech in medicine. It thinks Congress should allow drug manufacturers to provide information about “off-label use.” This is a common practice in which doctors prescribe Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs to treat conditions other than those the agency originally approved them for after new beneficial uses arise.

Strong evidence of the agency’s over-caution bias comes in the 1974 words of then-Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Alexander M. Schmidt: “In all of FDA’s history, I am unable to find a single instance where a congressional committee investigated the failure of FDA to approve a new drug.”



Asylum-Seekers to be Returned to Mexico Pending Decision; Pompeo Foresees ‘Historic Drop in Illegal Immigration’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday predicted that a new plan to send illegal aliens back to Mexico to await the outcome of U.S. asylum applications will result in “a truly historic drop in illegal immigration,” since the prospect of being able to disappear into the U.S. will no longer be an incentive.

“The idea of ‘catch and release’ will be replaced with ‘catch and return,’” Pompeo told Laura Ingraham on the final episode of her long-running radio show, after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the policy, which is to be implemented with immediate effect.   

Aliens crossing the southern border illegally, or arriving at a border port of entry without proper documentation and applying for asylum will be given a court date and “notice to appear” before being returned to Mexico.

The Mexican government has agreed they may stay there on the basis of a humanitarian visa, apply for paid employment, get access to immigration attorneys, and be able to travel to the U.S. for their court hearings.

According to the DHS, federal immigration judges rule against nine out of ten asylum claims, but by the time unsuccessful applicants are ordered to be removed from the country, “many have vanished.”

Pompeo acknowledged the likelihood of lawsuits challenging the decision, but said the administration was confident the plan was legal, as it’s based on long existing law.

Section 235 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 states that when an alien arrives on land from a foreign territory contiguous to the United States with a claim for asylum to be considered, “the Attorney General may return the alien to that territory pending a proceeding.”

“We remain convinced that this is a power that the president was granted by Congress to execute exactly the way we have,” Pompeo told Ingraham. “We’ve had lots of thought and legal review of this. We are confident that we are on firm ground.”

In her statement, Nielsen said, “Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States, where many skip their court dates. Instead, they will wait for an immigration court decision while they are in Mexico.”

She listed expected benefits arising from the policy, including:

--Declining illegal immigration and fewer false asylum claims

--Greater attention to be given to genuine asylum-seekers’
applications, since incentives for “fraudsters” will be gone

--The freeing-up of resources and personnel to focus on protecting U.S. territory and reducing an asylum backlog of more than 786,000 pending cases

--Protection for vulnerable individuals as they await determination of their cases in Mexico.

In his radio interview, Pompeo offered another purported benefit – that migrants will not face the risks entailed in making the journey from their home countries, through Mexico, to the U.S. border.

Mexico’s foreign ministry confirmed that it would respond to the policy by authorizing the temporary entrance of migrants awaiting asylum applications in the U.S.

“They will be entitled to equal treatment with no discrimination whatsoever and due respect will be paid to their human rights,” the ministry said in a statement. “They will also have the opportunity to apply for a work permit for paid employment, which will allow them to meet their basic needs.”

Those who have received a notice to appear before an immigration court in the U.S. will be allowed access to legal and information services.

The ministry stressed that its actions, and those taken by the U.S., do not constitute a “safe third country” arrangement – whereby the migrants concerned would be required to apply for asylum in Mexico.

Although they may apply for asylum in Mexico, the arrangement is intended to facilitate their applications in the U.S.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders praised the Mexican government, saying on Twitter it was “now doing more to solve our illegal immigration problem than the Democrats.”



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

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


21 December, 2018

A South African who styles himself as "Rational Thinker" is critical of many claims about IQ

He is not a scientific thinker however. He starts out by describing something as a lie without any prior presention of evidence to support that characterization.

He then describes a claim as "refuted" without giving any information about how, when, where and why this refutation took place.

He goes on to say that the clain of lower average IQ among blacks whern compared with whites is "discredited".  Again: When and by whom?

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 a big inborn gap in black vs. white average IQ.  See here

By this stage I think it is obvious that the screed below is simply an abusive ramble by an egotist who "just knows" what the truth is without recourse to a proper consideration of the evidence.  So much further consideration of his assertions is unlikely to shed any light on anything.

The thing that seems to be burning him up most is the claim that atheists are smarter than religious people, so I will close with a comment on that.  I have looked at the survey evidence on that on a number of occasions so I will summarize by saying that atheists DO test out as slightly more intelligent on average but that difference is fairly clearly due to sociological factors rather than psychological ones. A university environment in particular tends to undermine religion.  See here and  here and here and here and here.

So it would really help our knowall writer if he were to acquire some Christian humility about the veracity of his beliefs.  His existing beliefs certainly should go back into the hole where they belong

One of the major lies preached by atheists is that "atheists are more smarter" than theists. In support of this nonsense, they cite research from Richard Lynn, John Harvey and Helmuth Nyborg which compares belief in God and average IQs in 137 countries.

The research has been heavily criticized as well as refuted since its publication by most scientists but this unfortunately doesn't stop atheists from still using it.   

Firstly Helmuth Nyborg is not a good researcher. This is a researcher who attempted to say that women were less intelligent than men and that black people were less intelligent than white people. These sexist and racist "theories" having long been discredited in modern science.

His research on atheists being more intelligent was highly flawed in several areas in that it did not take into account the social, economical or financial factors with most of the countries with lower intelligence being less developed African countries.

  Artificial Intelligence researcher Randy Olson concludes in his criticism of the research that both the religious and atheist in the well developed countries were all within the bounds of average intelligence (90-109) and from a practical point, none were well distinguishable from another.

When we examine the research we find that this is the case so all in all the paper failed to prove that atheists were more intelligent and only showed what was a well known fact for ages: that poorer countries have higher numbers of religious as religion serves as a source for comfort for those struggling.

The poor intelligence meanwhile in these countries is down to these countries not having education. So to rephrase this entire paragraph: when the religious in the same countries as the "smarter atheists" were compared, they were of the same intelligence as the atheists.  

When examining the statistics, we find that atheists aren't more intelligent, in fact, according to The Psychology of Atheism, many atheists became atheist for motivational reasons rather than rational reasons during their adolescence suggesting a link between emotional thinking and atheism. (Source The Psychology of Atheism [2013]. Oxford Handbook of Atheism Page 470) This seems to be reinforced by the fact that many atheists use emotional arguments to support atheism (i.e "bad things happen in the world ergo god doesn't exist").

Finally, studies have shown that Christians in East Asia are smarter than non-Christians there. East Asian countries also have an higher IQ on average to western countries (where the majority of atheists in the first study came from). So if we go by the atheist reasoning we can now say that Christians are smarter. Either way the myth of the smarter atheist has been put back into the hole it belongs.



Dinesh D’Souza Mocks Michelle Obama For ‘illiterate and incoherent’ College Thesis Following Her Condescending Remarks About World Leaders

She is just another dumb ...

Conservative filmmaker and noted Obama critic Dinesh D’Souza touched the third rail of American politics this week when he dared to criticize Michelle Obama.

In a display of just how arrogant and condescending the Obamas are, the former first lady spoke about how the world’s power players are “not that smart” during an event with Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in London earlier this month.

“I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of,” Obama said. “I have worked at nonprofits, I have been at foundations, I have worked in corporations, served on corporate boards, I have been at G-summits, I have sat in at the U.N.: They are not that smart.”

The observation prompted D’Souza to respond on social media, pointing to Obama’s “illiterate and incoherent” college thesis.

He tweeted: “Anyone who has read Michelle’s college thesis—a document so illiterate and incoherent that it was written, as Christopher Hitchens put it, in “no known language”—will chuckle heartily at this one.”

In another tweet, D’Souza dinged Obama’s alma mater, Princeton University, as well as her thesis: “By way of context for these remarks on smartness, I offer you Michelle’s Princeton senior thesis, a complete intellectual embarassment not just to her but also to Princeton.”

Think what you will of D’Souza’s criticism of the former first lady, who is revered on the left, but one thing appeared to be certain, based on the reactions to his tweet, the thesis was really bad:

"I've read that thesis and your assessment is correct. It is painfully obvious that affirmative action as well as legacy afforded her entrance into the university but failed to educate her"

"Yes...I read it. It's something one would expect from a high school junior learning to properly document sources. It was full of documented sources but none of her own work. Very substandard work for an undergrad let alone a grad student."

"I read her Princeton University thesis. It's written like an average high school sophomore or junior level thesis from about fifty years ago. Of course it passes for higher education these days."



Secretive Antifa leader is a boiling cauldron of hate

This is the weed who thinks he is better than all of us

Smash Racism DC organizer Jose Martin, also known as “Chepe,” is a radical communist and Antifa leader operating in the U.S. He advocates for the violent overthrow of the government and for the murder of the rich and claims to have international involvement in left-wing movements.

Smash Racism DC is the Antifa group that protested in front of Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s house and berated Sen. Ted Cruz at a restaurant until he and his wife were forced to leave. It’s only one of the Antifa leader’s radical left-wing projects.

But the agitator has made great efforts to separate his fanatical personas from a third identity, his legal name: Joseph “Jose” Alcoff. Under that identity, the 36-year-old has worked as a payday campaign manager for Americans for Financial Reform since 2016, where he advocates for reforms of predatory loans before members of Congress.

Alcoff left nearly no connections between his real identity and Jose Martin and Chepe, but a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation of public records, social media posts, media reports, books, protest videos and podcasts dating back to 2004 found that all three identities are actually one person, posting online from the Twitter handle @Sabokitty.

He has used his Jose Martin identity to make public appearances to promote socialism, once calling for a society without police. But his communist Chepe alias makes his Jose Martin identity seem moderate, using it to advocate for violence to achieve his goal of eliminating capitalism and the U.S. government.

Alcoff, who’s been involved in radical movements for decades, seeks to create “a world that is without capitalism, without private property … that is socialist and communist,” he’s said as Chepe.

He’s been an organizer for left-wing movements such as Occupy Wall Street; has close ties to left-wing legal groups such as the National Lawyers Guild; has conducted legal trainings for protesters as a member of Cop Watch; and has frequently appeared on mainstream and far-left media to discuss his radical vision for society.

The Department of Homeland Security has classified Antifa groups’ tactics as “domestic terrorist violence.”

Meanwhile, in his professional capacity as Alcoff, he’s been quoted in press releases from Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and appeared at an event with Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia outside the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in March and has been pictured alongside Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

Alcoff rose to prominence in Antifa circles as Chepe during the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, where his leadership earned him the title “King Communist,” a co-host of the progressive podcast Radio Dispatch joked in 2012.

Smash Racism DC is the Antifa group that posted Carlson’s address online and sent a mob to his house in November. “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!” the protesters chanted.

The DC police are treating the incident as a “suspected hate crime,” according to a police report. The mob spray painted an anarchy symbol on Carlson’s highway and left signs on his property that made reference to his political affiliation. The investigation is ongoing.

The Antifa group was also responsible for chasing Cruz, a Texas Republican, out of a D.C. restaurant in September and sent the senator the message: “You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.”

Alcoff claimed on Twitter he had no involvement with the mob at Carlson’s house, though he frequently interacts on Twitter with Smash Racism DC co-founder Mike Isaacson, who said on his blog that he had advanced knowledge of the mob action at Carlson’s house.

The mob tactic also appears to align with statements Alcoff has made in the past. “We have got to dispense with nonviolence,” he said as Chepe on Radio Dispatch in December 2016 during a discussion on how to approach those he perceives as fascists.

“You have to expose them and you have to expose where they live, their names, what they do for a living,” he added. “Never let them be anonymous, and never just push their rhetoric without directly countering it.”

Alcoff has been arrested at least twice in connection with his radical brand of activism. He was arrested in New York City in 2004 during demonstrations outside the Republican National Convention. He was let off with a pledge to behave and one day of community service, according to USA Today.

Then, as a member of Anti-Racist Action, Alcoff was arrested and charged with rioting in New Jersey after a clash in the streets with a neo-Nazi group in 2011.

Alcoff typically uses his Jose Martin persona for appearances in mainstream media. Under this alias, he’s been cited as a Chicago Copwatch organizer and as an Occupy Wall Street organizer, as well as an unofficial organizer for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

The significant efforts Alcoff takes to separate his true identity from his radical personas appear to be intentional, and his comments become more extreme when he has more anonymity. Through his Twitter account, which he’s managed to keep anonymous, Alcoff has said that Antifa organizations need to operate “both an above board group and a below one.”

Operating groups within the bounds of the law is necessary to “get press” and “to have a base of support,” while underground groups are necessary so activists can’t be “linked by prosecutors or press,” he wrote. Alcoff said to avoid too much overlap between lawful and unlawful groups “to keep the press from blowing the open secret.”

Much more HERE 


It's now total war on Trump

Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but scorning the Washington establishment produces even greater anger.

The establishment’s full fury has been unleashed against Donald Trump and is not about to subside until its goal is reached: the removal of the president from office, either through impeachment or defeat in the 2020 election.

If there were more than the kitchen sink to throw at Trump, the establishment would be throwing it. The latest is the hyping of private money paid to two women by Trump’s disgraced lawyer, Michael Cohen. The women claim it was money to keep them quiet over alleged affairs with him.

Behavior that was tolerated, or overlooked, by previous presidents is now grounds for indictment and impeachment, says the establishment.

Members of Congress who claim Trump violated campaign finance laws by making personal payments to these women are mostly silent about a $17 million congressional fund out of which have come payments in unknown amounts to settle sexual harassment cases.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., used “office money” (translation, taxpayer dollars) to settle a sexual harassment case against him. He was eventually forced to resign.

Beyond the sideshow that has rapidly become center stage in Washington is the question of where the country is headed. There is a school of thought which claims Trump is the “last man standing” against a wave of socialism that would be sweeping the nation were it not for him.

That view was expressed Monday by Rush Limbaugh on his radio program, which is a go-to source for many conservatives. Limbaugh responded to an email he received from a listener:

His point is, this is all worth it. The alternative to Donald Trump was unacceptable—Hillary Clinton and the continuation of the Obama agenda and the dilution of the United States of America as a sovereign nation and a continuation of its becoming a member of the global conglomerate—where there wouldn’t be any debate about climate change; we would just pay up. Where there wouldn’t be any debate about open borders; we would just keep them open. Where there wouldn’t be any debate about whatever American culture or society is. It would be whatever the socialists said it was going to be.

Limbaugh’s concern is that Trump voters might “go wobbly” and that if the president’s approval numbers dip into the 30 percent range we might see a replay of what happened to Richard Nixon when a delegation of Republican members of Congress visited the White House and told Nixon his support had evaporated, subjecting him to likely impeachment by the House and conviction in the Senate.

Some congressional Democrats have said impeachment may not be their priority come January. Forty-six incoming House Democrats have sent a letter to their leadership asking that the focus be on legislation, not investigations of Trump. That is not likely to play well to the Democrat base, which smells blood and wants Trump’s head.

The key for conservatives, and especially Trump’s loyal base of evangelical Christians, is how much more of this are they willing to take before Trump becomes an embarrassment to them, to their agenda and even their faith? Evangelicals, especially, are paying a price for their dismissal of Trump’s past behavior and present tweets, which are becoming increasingly nasty.

A little humility would be especially helpful to Trump, but that might appear insincere and beyond his capabilities. One thing is certain: The establishment won’t give up in its daily pursuit of his destruction.



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

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


20 December, 2018

Melania Notices Non-Verbal Military Child in a Wheelchair, Establishment Media Ignores What Happened Next

You probably missed it in the deluge of anti-Trump news this week, but first lady Melania Trump is making some waves on social media for the way that she approached a non-verbal military child in a wheelchair at a Toys for Tots toy drive.

According to The Daily Caller, the event happened Tuesday during the first lady’s visit to Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C., as part of a tour of two military installations and an aircraft carrier.

After Melania gave some remarks in a hangar, addressing military children and their parents, she helped roughly 100 kids sort toys for needy children into boxes.

“The scene was chaotic, with little children grabbing the toys and running to the other side of the hangar to put them in boxes. The children were yelling and running around in wild excitement. In the midst of the chaos, Melania could be seen regularly stopping and kneeling down to help a confused child — or to answer any question they had,” The Daily Caller reported.

In the midst of the holiday fray, Melania took a little bit of time out to help a special needs child by the name of Braydon.

 No one in establishment media will show you this story - since they don't care about good news from this admin & orange man bad - but this week @FLOTUS knelt down & engaged a non-verbal military child in a wheelchair.

Braydon is seen making hand motions, presumably to communicate with her. The video shows the first lady talking with him for about a minute and a half before moving on.

In a statement to The Daily Caller, Braydon’s mom said that the 12-year-old was thrilled to meet the first lady. “He is so happy to meet Melania and how he says he is hungry from the excitement,” she said, adding that it was an “honor.”

The first lady will also be donating something other than her time for children in need.

“The First Lady will be gifting 100 books to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. Since starting in 2008, the program has distributed over 39 million books to less fortunate children, helping to reduce the illiteracy rate among children,” the Office of the First Lady said, according to The Daily Caller.

“Mrs. Trump will also be giving ‘Be Best’ totes filled with a coloring book and White House candies to all the children that will be helping out at the drive.”



I’m a restaurant employee in a city with a $15 minimum wage; here’s how it’s hurt me

Simone Barron

Upon winning back a majority in the House of Representatives, Democratic leaders have thrown their support behind a $15 federal minimum wage. But across the country in Seattle where I work, the promised utopia of a $15 minimum wage is far from a reality.

I have worked in the full-service restaurant industry for nearly 33 years in several cities across the country, including Chicago and Indianapolis. For the past 17 years, I’ve worked as a tipped employee in Seattle. Currently, in Seattle, the minimum wage is $15 and will rise to $16 starting next year. One would expect my income to rise with these wage increases. Instead, I’m actually watching my income drop.

Let me start off by explaining why my industry is a little different. Seattle is one of just a few of locales in the country that doesn’t allow for tips to count towards hourly wages. What this means is that the pressure all businesses are feeling from a $15 wage minimum is magnified for full-service restaurants.

Since most restaurants work off slim profit margins — between 3 and 5 percent — each increase in labor costs makes it harder to operate. This forces restaurant owners to make tough decisions such as reducing hours, eliminating staff positions, or even closing altogether.

As a $15 minimum wage went into effect in Seattle, some restaurants made the decision to change their tipping models. My employer took away tip lines and switched to a service charge model in order to keep his restaurants sustainable for as long as possible. This has reduced my income substantially, because the 14 percent I receive from a service charge is far less than the 20 percent I used to receive in tips.

This model has also changed my job from an art of professional service to a standard sales job; now, it’s less about how I use my skills to maximize my income and more about selling you the most expensive item on the menu to maximize the service charge. With tipping, I used to work four shifts a week, and I made enough money to raise a son, pay my rent, and go to school. Now, thanks to the $15 minimum wage, I work six days a week just to make ends meet.

I’m not the only tipped worker who’s been significantly harmed by rising minimum wages. I have many friends who have lost jobs because of Seattle’s minimum wage increase. One of my friend’s restaurants had to leave Seattle because the owner could no longer sustain the city’s high labor costs. Another friend's restaurant closed down entirely because the owner could no longer make the numbers work.

I understand the typical arguments for legislating higher wage rates. I especially understand it in Seattle, where the cost of living is incredibly high. But there’s no free lunch. Under our minimum wage increase, tipped workers are losing income and moving backward to $15 an hour. Right now, I’d happily trade my gig in Seattle for the golden days in Indianapolis, a so-called “low wage” market where I earned more and was both more financially secure and happier.



Explaining the Left, Part V: Left vs. Right Is Brain vs. Mind

Dennis Prager
When I talk to young people, I try to offer them what I was offered when I was their age but is rarely offered today: wisdom. I was given wisdom largely because I went to a religious school — a yeshiva, a traditional Jewish school in which the long day (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) was divided between studying religious subjects (in Hebrew) and secular subjects (in English).

With the increasing secularization of society, less and less wisdom has been conveyed to young people. One particularly obvious example is most secular people, especially on the left, believe human beings are basically good. It is difficult to overstate the foolishness of this belief. And a belief it is: There is no evidence to support it, and there is overwhelming evidence — like virtually all of human history — to refute it. Jewish and Christian kids who study the Bible know how morally flawed human nature is by the age of 10.

Another thing I tell young people — which, if they take seriously, will make them immeasurably wiser, finer, happier and more productive — is life is a daily battle between the brain and the mind. The brain wants an ice cream sundae; the mind knows too many sundaes will make a person overweight and eventually diabetic. Similarly, the brain (especially that of the male) wants sex with anyone it finds attractive; the mind knows the trouble doing so will likely lead to.

The brain is instinctive and feelings-based; the mind is thoughtful and can be reason-based. Tragically, since the 1960s, the brain — i.e. feelings and instincts — has been valued far more than the mind.

That explains why for 40 years, I have asked high school seniors which they would save first if both were drowning, their dog or a stranger, and only one-third have voted to save the stranger. Their reason? They love their dog, not the stranger. The brain over the mind. Feelings over thought (not to mention transcendent values).

On the most important issue in human life, determining what is right and what is wrong, the brain (feelings) has triumphed over the mind (reason and values). At least two generations of Americans have been raised not with moral instruction but with the question “How do you feel about it?”

Almost every left-right disagreement in American life can be explained by the brain-mind conflict. The brain is led by what feels good, the mind by what does good. And leftist positions feel good.

It feels good to allow anyone who wants to enter America to do so. But if America is worth preserving, the mind understands that the right policy cannot be determined by feelings.

It feels good to keep expanding government so it can provide more and more people with benefits. But the mind recognizes this is a recipe for disaster because people become addicted to benefits, and because the government assumes greater and greater debt it will not be able to repay.

It feels good to lower admissions standards to enable more blacks to enter prestigious colleges. But the mind knows it doesn’t help blacks — on the contrary, it hurts the many of them (as it does students of any ethnicity and race) who are not prepared for the academic demands of prestigious colleges.

One of the oldest and most fundamental Jewish teachings is that every human being has two competing impulses — the “yetzer ha-tov,” the impulse to do good, and the “yetzer ha-ra,” the impulse to do bad. When I was a young man, one of the leading rabbis of the last generation, Rabbi Wolfe Kelman, told me something that changed my life. “Dennis,” he said, “I have become pretty good at keeping my yetzer ha-ra in check; it’s my yetzer ha-tov that gets me into trouble.”

Even when propelled to do good, we cannot be guided by feelings.

It’s not only the human being that is driven by the conflict between feelings and reason. So is America.



Gallup: Americans Say No. 1 Problem is 'Government,' No. 2 is 'Immigration'

A new survey shows that the "top problem" cited by Americans is "government," and the second top problem is "immigration." For contrast, among the issues seen as least problematic for Americans are "unemployment-jobs" and "gun control/guns."

In the survey, conducted by Gallup after the midterm elections, the polling firm asked Americans about the country's top problems and then listed those issues that were "mentioned by at least 3% of respondents."

Nineteen percent of respondents cited "government" as the problem, making it the top issue of concern. In second place came "immigration," cited by 16% of the respondents. However, when broken down politically, 29% of Republicans said immigration is a problem but only 7% of Democrats said the same.

Only 8% of respondents said "unifying the country" was a problem, and only 3% said unemployment-jobs and then gun contol/guns were a problem.

Also, only 5% said "healthcare" was a problem.

"These data come from a Gallup Dec. 3-12 survey, conducted as a looming budget impasse between Republicans and Democrats threatened to shut down the government," reported Gallup. "The government has commonly been cited in recent years as the most important problem facing the country, with the problem having received or been tied for the most mentions -- 22 times in the last 24 months."

"As another potential partial shutdown of the Federal government approaches, government is again mostly likely to be cited by Americans as the most important problem facing the country," said Gallup.  "However, the current level noting government dissatisfaction is still below the 25% who cited the issue in January of this year, a few weeks prior to the last time the Federal government faced a shutdown. That shutdown ended after three days."



FDA Policies Kill

Walter E. Williams

Among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's responsibilities are approval and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs. In short, its responsibility is to ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs. In the performance of this task, FDA officials can make two types of errors — statistically known as the type I error and type II error. With respect to the FDA, a type I error is the rejection or delayed approval of a drug that is safe and effective — erring on the side of over-caution — and a type II error is the approval of a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, or erring on the side of under-caution.

Let's examine the incentives of FDA officials. If FDA officials err on the side of under-caution and approve a drug that has unanticipated dangerous side effects, the victims of their mistake will be highly visible. There may be congressional hearings, embarrassment to the agency and officials fired.

It's an entirely different story if FDA officials err on the side of over-caution and either disapprove or delay the approval of a drug that is both safe and effective. In that case, the victims will be invisible. They will have no idea that their suffering could have been eliminated, or in the case of death, their loved ones will have no idea why they died. Their suffering and/or death will be chalked up to the state of medicine rather than the status of an FDA drug application. Their doctor will simply tell them there's nothing more that can be done to help them. The FDA officials go scot-free.

Let's look at some of the history of the FDA's erring on the side of over-caution. Beta blockers reduce the risk of secondary heart attacks and were widely used in Europe during the mid-1970s. The FDA imposed a moratorium on approvals of beta blockers in the U.S. because of their carcinogenicity in animals. Finally, in 1981, the FDA approved the first such drug, boasting that it might save up to 17,000 lives per year. That means that as many as 100,000 people died from secondary heart attacks waiting for FDA approval. Those people are in the "invisible graveyard," a term to describe people who would have lived but died because the cure that could have saved them was bottled up in the FDA's regulatory process.

Today, the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute is leading the battle to bring some sanity and compassion to the drug approval process. It recently published a paper by Mark Flatten, titled "Studied to Death: FDA Overcaution Brings Deadly Consequences." Flatten examined the FDA's approval process and made some important recommendations. Flatten criticized some FDA practices, saying, "Instead of having to prove a new treatment is safe for its intended use, the FDA now reviews drugs based on how they might be used by doctors to treat individual patients, effectively substituting the judgment of agency regulators for that of practicing medical professionals." He added: "Instead of proving a drug achieves the medically beneficial results that its makers claim, the FDA requires proof the new treatment will improve long-term outcomes. So it is no longer enough, for instance, to prove a new drug will reduce blood glucose levels for diabetics. Drugmakers must show, somehow, that this will make patients live longer."

One Goldwater Institute suggestion is to allow drugs approved in certain other countries, such as Canada and the European Union, to receive nearly automatic U.S. approval. After all, those countries have drug regulatory structures similar to that in the U.S. Why should treatments approved in those countries not be available here?

The Goldwater Institute is also calling for a bill to restore free speech in medicine. It thinks Congress should allow drug manufacturers to provide information about "off-label use." This is a common practice in which doctors prescribe FDA-approved drugs to treat conditions other than those the FDA originally approved them for after new beneficial uses arise.

Strong evidence of FDA over-caution bias comes in the 1974 words of then-FDA Commissioner Alexander M. Schmidt: "In all of FDA's history, I am unable to find a single instance where a congressional committee investigated the failure of FDA to approve a new drug."



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

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


19 December, 2018

Some prophecy that is looking good

On 30 April, 2012 I asked "Where has that inflation gone?"  I reproduce below the answer I gave then. The answer did contain some predictions so one might ask how have those predictions worked out?  I give below the original predictions folowed by a 2018 update:


Something of a puzzle to many commentators is that Obama's vast money printing binge has not produced rapid inflation. A greenback buys less than it used to -- particularly overseas -- but not spectacularly less.

Jerry Bowyer wisely remarks that it often takes a long time for an influence to work its way through the system and he is undoubtedly right so that is clearly part of the story.

But I think the major factor is a straightforward example of what economists call the "velocity of circulation" effect. Price inflation is a product of the amount of money on issue multiplied by its velocity of circulation and the velocity of circulation has fallen precipitously just as the money supply has increased -- the one influence largely cancelling out the other.

My apologies for introuducing a bit of economic jargon into a general political blog but I have been puzzled that none of the discussions of the matter that I have seen have mentioned the role of the velocity of circulation. Perhaps it is just that other writers have better manners than I do.

To make amends, let me put up a somewhat oversimplified version of my suggestion: Most of the money Obama has issued is just sitting still in the reserves of banks, other financial institutions and major companies. It is not being spent or lent out. Its velocity of circulation is nil. It might as well not exist as far as the economy as a whole is concerned.

And because of general nervousness that is not going to change soon. But if and when it does change the party will really be on -- a party for everyone except people who have savings.

Let me suggest a scenario. Suppose Romney is elected and fires all the Obama cronies running the EPA and other business-obstructing agencies. That suddenly gives everybody more confidence in doing business. So the banks start lending again and businesses with reserves start using their reserves to expand. The money starts flowing again. The velocity of circulation rises. There is now a greater demand for resources: both labour and capital goods. People might even start building new houses again. For a little while that greater demand for resources will be met from presently idled resources: Unemployed people will get employed and shuttered mines and manufacturing facilities will reopen. So everyone will be having a party.

But parties like that tend to feed on themselves and breed yet more optimism -- and so the demand for resources will soon go beyond what can be met by reactivating idled resources. With the money now flowing again, prices will be bid up as everybody wants a piece of the action. And an expanded volume of money chasing a relatively fixed resource base can only lead in one direction -- to price rises. Inflation will be underway. How far it will go is anybody's guess but with everybody now using the extra money that Obama has created, it could be a whopper of an inflationary process. What a greenback will buy could easily drop to (say) half of what it will buy today.

So Romney will inherit Obama's inflation and will probably be blamed for it. And savers will rightly feel utterly betrayed by the political system that has cut the value of their savings in half. "Spend it while you can" will become the new wisdom. My personal hint: Put most of your savings into blue-chip company shares NOW. I did so long ago.

2018 UPDATE: I am writing this update in December 2018 so it is still early days yet but we do seem to be seeing some of the effects under Trump that I predicted for an incoming conservative administration.

A great boom has unquestionably arrived and is reactivating idled resources. Coal and steel production are headlined as up but the striking transformation is in the labor market. All slack there seems to have been taken up. Previously intransigent sectors -- blacks, Hispanics and the over 50s -- suddenly seem to be back into full employment. Labor markets have become so tight that employers have been forced into their last ditch strategy,

Employers are now competing for the available workers. And how do you do that? Offer higher wages. The Trump economy is at last producing higher wages for many American workers. So the process of bidding up prices has already begun. That must to some extent flow through to consumer prices but how far we have yet to see. How far it goes will be interesting, to say the least.

The banking sector is yet to show any sign of exuberance. They were heavily burned in the recent past (2008 etc) so caution may now be entrenched in them. If so, a big inflationary explosion could be avoided -- JR


Pocohontas comes clean

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitted on Friday that she is not a person of color, despite recently seeking to prove that she has Native American ancestry.

In October, Warren released a DNA test in an attempt to combat President Donald Trump’s many attacks on her alleged Native American ancestry. The test results showed that she has a Native American ancestor “in the range of 6–10 generations ago.”

But during a commencement address at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, Warren made clear that she does not consider herself a person of color.

“I’m not a person of color. And I haven’t lived your life or experienced anything like the subtle prejudice, or more overt harm, that you may have experienced just because of the color of your skin,” Warren admitted.

Warren’s attempt to prove that she had Native American ancestors was condemned by minority leaders, including the Cherokee Nation, who called her use of a DNA test “inappropriate.”

“A DNA test is useless to determine tribal citizenship,” the Cherokee Nation said in a statement. “Sovereign tribal nations set their own legal requirements for citizenship, and while DNA tests can be used to determine lineage, such as paternity to an individual, it is not evidence for tribal affiliation.”

Warren has been identified as a minority and a person of color multiple times in her past, including in her professional career. A 1997 Fordham Law Review article, for example, identified Warren as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color.” (RELATED: Harvard Law School Once Touted Liz Warren As Native American Professor)

Warren later admitted that she had listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory from 1986-1994, but claimed she was not using it to advance her career or employment options.



Is Health Care a Right?

Recently, a federal judge ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care ACT (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional. Of course, there are the usual suspects who are expressing their angst. However, a simple lesson in civics would evidence their blatant incompetence.

First, let’s go back to when sitting Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roberts authored the majority decision on the constitutionality of Obamacare. At first, Chief Justice Roberts stated that Obamacare was not consistent, constitutional, when assessed against the Commerce Clause of our Constitution. The Commerce Clause basically states that the federal government can regulate commerce and trade between the United States and other countries, between the states, or with the tribal nations. At no point does the Constitution grant an enumerated power to the federal government to force commerce activity between an individual citizen and a private sector commodity.

This all centered on the Obamacare individual mandate, which “mandated” citizens purchase health care insurance or face a penalty, a tax. And therein lies the bait and switch of Chief Justice Robert’s decision. He voted that under the enumerated power of taxation, Obamacare was constitutional. But what has happened since is that the individual mandate tax has been repealed. Therefore, if the taxing authority has been repealed, then based upon the commerce clause, Obamacare is indeed unconstitutional. The federal government does not possess the enumerated power to force individual citizens (the individual mandate) to purchase a private sector commodity. Also, Obamacare was passed in an unconstitutional manner. The individual mandate tax was introduced in the U.S. Senate, then under control of the Democrats. Anyone that knows a little about the Constitution and Article I powers, knows that measures that deal with revenue generation, taxation, must originate in the U.S. House of Representatives, not the Senate.

Now of course, the progressive, socialist left is hopping mad and about to go into a next-level apoplectic meltdown. To them, the rule of law is meaningless. They only care about the rule, but if their ideas are so good, then why are they always accompanied with mandates?

The left did a phenomenal job this past election cycle in making health care a preeminent issue. And the GOP, as usual, lacked any coherent response. It all comes down to the premise that the left is very adept at using: arguing that health care is a right. When the GOP is confronted with that suggestion, they run, cower, and respond with the same old tired incoherent blather. The answer is no, health care is not a right. But the left is always chirping about your right to health care being taken away from you. The right response is that it was never a “right” for progressive socialists to bestow upon individual Americans anyways.

What the left is so very good at is convincing the American people that the progressive, socialist ideological agenda is based upon rights. You know, the right to free college education, the right to a home, the right to kill unborn babies, and the right to be married. For whatever reason, the left does not comprehend that we are endowed by our Creator, not them, with certain unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Oddly enough, these things that our founding documents state are rights, are not considered rights by the leftists when it comes to their agenda. The Second Amendment is clear and simple to understand, but not to the left. The freedom of religion seems simple, but your religious rights have no meaning when it is up against the left’s desires, mandates. Your individual right to free speech has no validity, unless your speech is acceptable to the progressive, socialist left. And yes, I could go on.

What the left believes is that they can guarantee happiness. And they will mandate it in order to do so -- and for your own good.

If Obamacare is such a great idea, then why does it have to have mandates, under the penalty of taxation? That, folks, is what we call behavior modification by way of taxation. And could the day ever come when the progressive socialists will mandate, under penalty of taxation, that Americans buy electric vehicles? In California, the test tube for all things leftist, the government there has mandated that all new houses must have solar panels. I mean, doggone, it is supposed to be YOUR house.

Well, ask yourself, do you REALLY want the federal government mandating your health care decisions?

The progressive, socialist left is now pushing “Medicare for all.” Question: what happens to the seniors for which Medicare was intended? And do we really want the gang that cannot shoot straight with the Veterans Administration health care system, mandating health care for all of us? See, when the progressive, socialist left declares that something is a right – in this case health care – what they really want is control. If you do not believe me, then read HR 676, which is the Medicare for all legislation. This measure makes private health insurance illegal. Yes, that is right. You, the individual citizen, lose your right to choose your health care. But weren’t we told we could keep our doctor and our insurance? This, ladies and gents, is the second tenet of socialism, nationalizing economic production.

What the progressive, socialist left wants you to believe is that in declaring health care a right, they can give it to you. But all they are seeking is to control you, your body. Never forget that one of those agencies that still exists as part of Obamacare is the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board). The IPAB is an unelected group of bureaucrats who will be making all pricing decisions on your “right” to health care.

Ok, I hear you, what should have been done? First, seriously start reducing the fraud, waste, and abuse of Medicare and Medicaid. I would recommend the American taxpayer not be paying for these programs to those here illegally. Second, focus on policy solutions for the so-called “working poor” and use free market solutions such as Health Savings Accounts and tax credits to help with health insurance purchases. We need better competition and less state by state mini monopolies by insurance companies because competition lowers cost. And how interesting it is that the health insurance companies were thrilled about Obamacare. After all, if health insurance is mandated, then everyone must purchase your product. Now, the left is demonizing the health insurance companies.

As a reminder, we have been down this road before. Back during the Carter Administration, there was the Community Reinvestment Act. It basically said that every American had a right to own a home. Well, some thirty years later, in 2008, we had a financial meltdown that was tied back to the mortgage industry.

Remember that maxim that came as a result of the Trojan Horse, “beware of Greeks bearing gifts”? Well, beware of progressive socialists when they say you have a right to something. It never does end up well, just like with the Trojans.



Giuliani Snorts: Trump Has ‘Several Unpaid Parking Tickets’ from 1986-7 ‘That Haven’t Been Explained’

In a somewhat combative interview on two Sunday morning newsmaker shows, President Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani used sarcasm to make a point about the special counsel’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation.

Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” asked Giuliani if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is still trying to arrange an in-person interview with President Trump:

“Yes,” Giuliani said. "There are several unpaid parking tickets that night -- back in 1986, '87 that haven't been explained. You know, we've got to –"

“Seriously?” Wallace interrupted.

“Seriously, unpaid parking tickets--” Giuliani started to say, as Wallace said, "No, no, no."

“It was a movie theater,” Giuliani continued. “He didn't pay the proper fee.”

Wallace asked again if Mueller wants to do a sit-down interview with Trump:

“Yes, good luck. Good luck,” Giuliani said. “After what they did to Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury and no sentence for him -- 14 days for Papadopoulos. I did better on traffic violations than they did with Papadopoulos.”

“So, when you say good luck, you're saying no way, no interview?” Wallace asked.

"They're a joke," Giuliani replied. "Over my dead body, but you know, I could be dead.”

A bemused Wallace asked Giuliani once again, “Do they want to speak to the president?”

“I do have -- I do have other lawyer -- I am disgusted with the tactics they have used in this case,” Giuliani said, changing the subject. “What they did to General Flynn should result in discipline. They're the ones who are violating the law. They're looking at a non-crime collusion, the other guys (Southern District of New York) are looking at a non-crime campaign violations, which are not violations. And they are the ones who are violating the law, the rules, the ethics and nobody wants to look at them.”

Giuliani also told Wallace that even if Trump did direct Michael Cohen to pay hush money to two women, "It's not a crime."

But Giuliani said Trump did not know about the payments arranged by Cohen "until some time into it. He did find out about it and eventually reimbursed him."

Giuliani said Trump is telling the truth and Cohen is lying. "The man is a complete pathological liar that cannot be believed."

On ABC's "This Week," Giuliani again slammed Michael Cohen for saying that Trump directed him to pay hush money: "The man is pathetic. That's a lawyer you were interviewing, and he says he -- oh, he directed me to do it and, oh my goodness, he directed me. He's a lawyer. He's the guy you depend on to determine whether or not you should do it this way or that way, whether you're Donald Trump or you are me or you."

Host George Stephanopoulos told Giuliani that Cohen was saying Trump knew the payments were wrong but directed Cohen to make them anyway:

"Well, the president said that's false," Giuliani responded. He noted that Cohen himself has said that he made the payments on his own, and later went to Trump for reimbursement.

"OK, now he says the opposite. You're going to tell me which is the truth? I think I know what the truth is. But unless you're God, this man -- you will never know what the truth is. He lies to fit the situation he's in."

Giuliani said the payments arranged by Cohen to keep two women quiet just before the election were not campaign contributions:

“It's not a contribution if it's intended for a purpose in addition to the campaign purpose," he said. "I can produce an enormous number of witnesses that say the president was very concerned about how this was going to affect his children, his marriage, not just this one but similar -- all those women came forward at that point in time, that -- that tape with Billy Bush and all of that. It's all part of the same thing. And I know what he was concerned about and I can produce 20 witnesses to tell you what he was concerned about."



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

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


17 December, 2018

Are American evangelicals fading away?

The text I reproduce below is only part of a very long-winded article in Newsweak (Yes. They still exist).  I have reproduced what seems to me to be the central element of the article.

I read a lot of Leftist articles -- mainly for entertainment at their usually transparent duplicity.  And many of those articles are very long winded.  And the more longwinded they are the more they are covering up holes in their argument.  So I soon became very suspicious of this one.  And I was right to be so.  Their basic claim is that many young evangelicals are leaving their church and will therefore stop voting GOP.

You see the first problem right there.  It may be true that some young people will BOTH leave their church AND stop voting GOP but  how many do both?  We are not told.  Many may leave their church but still vote GOP.  To a Newsweak writer that is apparently an unthinkable thought.

Also unmentioned is that many evangelical churches have a strong outreach that brings many previously unbelieving or uncommitted people into the fold. Could outreach replace with older people the lost young people?  We are not told.

I do not dispute that young people often abandon the religion of their parents.  It is a familiar phenomenon.  But WHICH young people fall away?  In the year 2000, ten million evangelicals voted for Al Gore.  Could those parents be the ones whose children fell away?  Again, we are not told.  It could be that the children of wishy washy evangelicals went on to a stricter sect as a revolt against their wobbly parents.  I certainly don't claim that they all did that but it would nonetheless be interesting to know where the fallen-away youth went.

Clearly, however, we need some reliable statistics if we are to conclude what is going on.  And the article has quite a few statistics obtained from Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, which he founded. Public opinion polls appear to be the principal output of the PRRI.

As soon as I saw the name "Public Religion Research Institute", I smelt a rat.  I smelled a Leftist outfit aiming to "get" Christianity.  And so it is.  It has extensive Leftist affiliations.  And we know how much care Leftists have about the truth.  "All the news that is fit to slant" could well be their motto. 

And the PRRI do slant it.  Read here some details of their modus operandi in an article by Stanley Renshon, a distinguished and sophisticated social scientist.  I could add to Renshon's criticisms but I don't have time to flog a dead horse.

Leftists really are amazing the way they live in an  eternal present.  As psychopaths do, if they can see some immediate advantage in being dishonest, they will engage in that dishonesty  -- regardless of the fact that the dishonesty will eventually be detected and undermine their credibility forever.

One is reminded of Harry Reid abolishing the filibuster to get a few Obama appointees on to the lower courts -- enabling the appointment of two very conservative Justices to SCOTUS a couple of years later: A disaster for his party.  No foresight whatever displayed.

So the whole article is a castle built on sand. PRRI polls just prop up Leftist beliefs and are of no interest to others.  We have no reason to expect that evangelicals will fade away

Since the 1970s, white evangelicals have formed the backbone of the Republican base. But as younger members reject the vitriolic partisanship of the Trump era and leave the church, that base is getting smaller and older. The numbers are stark: Twenty years ago, just 46 percent of white evangelical Protestants were older than 50; now, 62 percent are above 50. The median age of white evangelicals is 55. Only 10 percent of Americans under 30 identify as white evangelicals. The exodus of youth is so swift that demographers now predict that evangelicals will likely cease being a major political force in presidential elections by 2024. And the cracks are already showing.

In the 2018 midterms, exit polls showed, white evangelicals backed Republicans by 75 to 22 percent, while the rest of the voting population favored Democrats 66 to 32 percent. But evangelicals were slightly less likely to support House Republicans in 2018 than they were to support Trump in 2016—which may have contributed to the Democrats’ pickup of House seats. Trump’s support actually declined more among white evangelical men than women. The 11-point gender gap between evangelical men and women from 2016 shrank to 6 in the midterms.

To be sure, evangelical Christians have been rewarded for their support of Trump after enduring eight years wandering in Barack Obama’s political desert. They have two new conservative Supreme Court justices, and there have been nine self-professed evangelical Cabinet members, plus a flurry of laws and executive orders clamping down on gender roles, abortion and LGBTQ rights. But experts say this may represent the last bounty for a waning political power. Unlike their parents, the younger generation is not animated by the culture wars; many are pushing for social justice for migrants and LGBTQ people and campaigning against mass incarceration—positions more in line with the Democratic Party.

The result is a shrinking conservative bloc, something that could weaken white Christian political power—and, consequently, a Republican Party that has staked its future on its alliance with the religious right. It’s a conundrum that the father of modern GOP conservatism, Barry Goldwater, predicted in 1994: “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem.”

The End of the Alliance?

The association of the religious right and the Republican Party has its roots in the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, after which white Southerners began to flee public schools following forced desegregation. They opened so-called segregation academies: religious schools that were tax-exempt. When the IRS came after evangelical colleges like Bob Jones University, which officially prohibited interracial dating, the schools were faced with losing their tax-exempt status.

That would have meant financial doom. But a Republican activist named Paul Weyrich—with patronage from Western segregationist beer billionaire Joseph Coors—forged alliances with Southern religious leaders like Jerry Falwell and successfully lobbied to soften IRS enforcement. The Moral Majority was born, and, in 1980, it announced itself as a political force by helping put Ronald Reagan in the White House. Republican strategists used the issues of abortion and gay marriage to cement the union and drive right-leaning Christians into the voting booth.

The relationship remained strong for decades, with evangelicals becoming a reliable bloc of GOP support. Since 2000, they have regularly made up about a quarter of voters—outperforming their much smaller percentage of the population. And, despite prognostications from political scientists about the imminent death of the evangelical-Republican partnership, they’ve kept casting ballots. In 2016, they were a key group for Trump; the thrice-married, foul-mouthed mogul with a history of sexual assault allegations won more than 80 percent of the evangelical vote— besting even George W. Bush, a born-again Christian who spoke openly about his faith.

But demographic trends are steadily diluting their outsize clout. Researcher Robert Jones, author of The End of White Christian America, has tracked what he calls a “stair-steps downward trajectory of white Christian presence in the electorate.” In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected, 73 percent of the electorate was white and Christian. By 2012, that number was 53 percent. “If current trends hold steady, 2024 will be a watershed year—the first American election in which white Christian voters do not constitute a majority of voters,” Jones, who heads the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), tells Newsweek.

Until a decade ago, white evangelicals were the exception, their numbers holding steady. But their ranks are now dwindling, driven largely by the youth exodus. According to Jones, white evangelicals constituted 21 percent of the U.S. population when Obama was elected in 2008. Eight years later, in 2016, that number dropped to 17 percent. Today, they make up 15 percent of Americans.

Concerned about the shrinking numbers and the prospect of a lackluster turnout in the midterms, Trump rallied about 100 evangelical supporters in the White House this past summer. If Republicans lose control of Congress, he told them, Democrats “will overturn everything that we’ve done, and they’ll do it quickly and violently.” He pushed pastors to use the power of their pulpits to get more people to the polls. “I hate to say it,” Trump said, “if you were a stock, you’d be, like, you’re very plateaued.”

White evangelical political organizers got the message. Ralph Reed’s Faith & Freedom Coalition pledged to spend $18 million to microtarget 125 million conservative voters before the midterms. Other faith groups engaged in a get-out-the-vote drive across the country. An organization associated with former Arkansas Governor (and Baptist pastor) Mike Huckabee, called My Faith Votes, spent $3.5 million aimed at getting evangelicals to the midterms polls and threw in a Facebook Live session with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson for good measure. The Colorado-based Dr. James Dobson Family Institute ran a national “Pray. Engage. Vote.” initiative in the lead-up to the midterms.

The result: White evangelicals made up 26 percent of voters in the November elections, with three-quarters of them casting ballots for Republican House candidates. But that performance will be increasingly difficult to replicate, Jones says.

For an analogy, he uses Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s landmark “stages of grief” experienced by the dying and their loved ones to describe what’s happening to evangelicals and American politics. First comes denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“We are past denial. People see the writing on the wall in terms of demographic change. And that is also why we see immigration taking over and becoming the flagship issue. That and a wall symbolize the resistance to this demographic change,” Jones says. “I think we are somewhere between anger and bargaining. And in many ways, this shotgun marriage between Trump and white evangelicals happened under some duress and is a desperate bargain that you make at the end of life. That is what we’re really seeing here.”

Disaffected Youth

To understand what’s happening among evangelicals, researchers study the results of PRRI’s annual, wide-ranging, 80,000-interview American Values Atlas poll. In the most recent survey, from 2017, 40 percent of individuals under 30 claim “no religious affiliation” (sometimes called “the nones” ). “White evangelicals are a big part of that decline,” Jones says.

Respondents cited not believing in the doctrines and, surprisingly, politics. “They cite partisanship,” Jones says. “That’s a big turnoff for young Americans. And so is negative treatment of gay and lesbian people.”

Polls find that upward of 80 percent of young people now support same-sex marriage. That number includes young Republicans and evangelicals under 30. “Even people like me, a white male with a lot of societal privilege, can see that evangelical leaders are completely happy to join forces with white nationalist politicians and leaders and to give them the benefit of the doubt while they are attacking marginalized communities,” says Chastain. “And that’s just blatantly hypocritical.”

He and other exvangelicals in his social networks are also turned off by the Trump alliance. “The fact is that leaders like [Dallas megachurch leader and Trump supporter] Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Jr. are blatantly power hungry and willing to make these alliances, providing a theology that supports white nationalism.”

Some major evangelical leaders and thinkers, not surprisingly, reject this assessment. Ed Stetzer, a political scientist and pastor based at Wheaton College, knows all about the predictions of researchers like Jones, and he is aware of the views of young people. But he sees evangelical youth attrition as a kind of demographic sowing of wild oats, in which the young are predictably disaffected—but only temporarily. He is sure they will return to the fold when they are a little older. His name for the phenomenon is “generational cohort replacement.”

Stetzer says the young who move away from the fold essentially replace themselves in the church as an older, and more likely to vote, category. “The 18 to 29-year-olds are really secular now,” he says. “But what we find is that people grow in their religiosity. So the 60-year-olds of today are kind of as religious as the 60-year-olds in the 1970s.”



Is the U.S. Political System Really Biased?

Are attacks on the Senate, electoral college etc justified?

Major electoral reform is in vogue right now. Particularly from the left, calls for massive changes to the Senate, perhaps even its abolition, abound. The Electoral College is roundly loathed. House elections are condemned as hopelessly gerrymandered. We are made to believe that any mismatch between the popular vote and the results of an election is a threat to the very legitimacy of the American system and, implicitly, a kind of embarrassment to the country.

What is lacking, however, is any actual comparison to how things are done in other countries — and any analysis of what has changed since the days when the Left wasn’t complaining. And when we look at the evidence on how the American constitutional system is performing, we find that the U.S. looks pretty good compared with other countries or its own recent past.

House Elections Are Just as Democratic as Similar Races in Other Countries

We are sometimes given at least a few benchmarks, however. Some left-leaning critics compare the American system today to apartheid elections in South Africa. In those elections, massive gerrymandering, voter suppression, and disenfranchisement allowed a narrow clique of voters to control elections and oppress a dissenting majority.

So, is it the case that American elections are as lopsided as apartheid-era elections in South Africa?

The graph below provides a comparison. For U.S. House elections and South African legislative elections, it shows the gap between the winning party’s share of legislative seats won and that party’s share of the national popular vote. I’ll refer to this as the “representation rate” in the figures for simplicity. (This is a metric  often used by critics of the U.S. system, though elections experts note that as a party’s popular-vote share rises above 50 percent, its seat share typically rises faster even in the absence of gerrymandering.) I use House elections because they are frequent and national, but will discuss Senate elections later.

As can be clearly seen, apartheid South Africa had a power mismatch two to five times the size of the one we see in the United States. The American experience simply has no meaningful resemblance to apartheid South Africa’s electoral imbalance.

But of course, the mismatch of votes and seats isn’t the only complaint against American elections today, or of South African elections during apartheid. In South Africa, non-whites were systematically locked out of participation. Many progressives claim the same about the United States, and particularly that GOP states try to implicitly or explicitly disenfranchise many voters.

We can do a crude test of this theory by switching from a party’s share of votes cast as our benchmark, to a party’s votes as a share of national population. I’ll refer to this gap as a country’s “democratic deficit” in the figures. This is skewed of course by age composition and the presence of noncitizens, but it’s a useful enough first pass. If the gap between the share of seats won and the share of the population that voted for a party is larger, that means a narrower slice of the population is ultimately in charge of the country. Here, the difference between the U.S. and apartheid South Africa becomes even clearer.

The difference between share of seats won and the share of the population to have voted for the winning party was enormous in apartheid South Africa. Voters amounting to about 3 percent of the population were able to capture about 60 percent of the legislature. That is what a dysfunctional, non-democratic system looks like: a 57-point gap. Critics of the American system should keep a little bit of perspective in mind.

In the U.S., at the absolute worst in recent history, voters representing 14 percent of the [whole] population captured 60 percent of the House seats. That was in 1974, when Democrats took 291 seats in the House. Indeed, whichever metric you use, the last 20 years have seen a considerably more “accurate” outcome for the House than the 20 or 30 years before that when Democrats held durable control. It is convenient, then, that Democrats have finally woken up to the mismatch between votes cast and seats won.

Of course, “not as bad as apartheid South Africa” is a really low bar. The point progressives are really trying to make is that nobody in respectable countries, such as Canada, or Sweden, or Germany, would ever tolerate our terribly undemocratic system.

But it turns out that comparing ourselves with other developed countries still doesn’t make the United States look very bad. Here’s the same metric as the first graph (share of lower house seats won minus share of popular vote for lower house elections), for a wider range of countries:

Simply in terms of lopsided favoritism for winners, many other developed countries actually are as bad as apartheid South Africa was. The United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Italy have all seen elections give the kind of lopsided results that were observed under apartheid. The U.S. isn’t the best of all democracies, but we are nowhere near the worst. And if current results from the 2018 elections hold up, they will have been one of the closest approximations of the national popular vote we have ever had (2006 and 1994 also saw very close approximations).

In fact, the United States has substantially less lopsided lower-house elections than most countries have. Whatever our gerrymandering problems may be, the political system of, for example, France, is far more dysfunctional. Macron’s party won nearly 60 percent of the legislative seats with just 40 percent of the vote. Trudeau’s Liberals in Canada aren’t much better: They won about 55 percent of seats with about 40 percent of the vote. Of course, a country with proportional representation, such as Sweden, does better, but even then there’s still a gap due to threshold rules and other idiosyncracies of the election system. Indeed, the U.S. election system tends to produce outcomes very close to those observed under proportional representation in Sweden, especially in the 2018 election.

When we turn to look at share of seats minus share of total population won, the story gets even more interesting.

Here, it becomes clear that the U.S. does perform a bit less democratically than peer countries do. A smaller share of the total population ultimately votes for the winners. We can also see what made apartheid elections so unusual: not the gerrymandering, but the extraordinarily low electoral participation. Because turnout is lower in the U.S. than in many foreign countries, our political victors tend to have received votes from a smaller share of the population.

But again, the U.S.’s position here is at worst a mediocrity, not a catastrophe. Our winners tend to have a relatively smaller base for their mandate than do politicians in Germany or Sweden, and recently the U.K. But still, the gap between share of population won and share of seats won is larger in France and Japan than in the United States, and our outcomes are very comparable to those of our near neighbor Canada.



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

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


17 December, 2018

Unsheltered In the Land Of Plenty

Thousands live in the streets in America’s richest cities. The article below offers only a superficial grasp of why -- and offers only the tired old "solution" of more government spending.  Unleashing liberty would however make a big difference -- without a penny of government spending.  As ever, the basic problem is one of government regulation. 

An immediate start could be made by abolishing all land-use regulations so you can buy a farm or other lightly used land and build houses on it, without more ado. In SanFrancisco, local regulations prohibit that.  Opening up new land for housing anywhere near SF is almost impossible.  Result:  Scarcity of housing drives costs sky high. Either to buy or rent is prohibitive in SF.  In Houston, by contrast, there is very little land use regulation and prices are much lower than in SF.

And the second most effective change would be to stop treating tenants like saints and landlords like devils.  When a tenant "skips" without paying rent or leaves property damage behind it should be treated as just another theft -- which it is.  It leaves the landlord as out of pocket as if he had been mugged.  So tenant offenders should be pursued and prosecuted by the police.  And the government should show that it is in general on the side of landlords

The present lopsided system is very deterring to potential landlords because of the risk of big losses involved.  If potential landlords had more protection from ferals, many would enter the market -- many who are at present rightly scared off.  I know.  I was a landlord in my younger days and did get burned on several occasions -- but fortunately in only minor ways.  Even for me, however, it eventually became too much so I sold off my rental houses and now own just the house I live in.

Another bugbear is building regulations.  There is a great list of things you must and must not do in building a house that greatly increase costs and reduce flexibility.  High density accommodation like the old terrace houses is now very hard to get approved in most places -- even though such houses could be built more cheaply than freestanding homes.  And regulations about how many people can be allowed to live in a given house are also strict.  But many people would rather live in a crowded house than live in the streets.

So deregulation would reduce the cost to buy, and  full legal rights for landlords would fill more and more houses with low-income tenants.

The headline of the press release announcing the results of the county’s latest homeless census strikes a note of progress: “2018 Homeless Count Shows First Decrease in Four Years.” In some ways that’s true. The figure for people experiencing homelessness dropped 4 percent, a record number got placed in housing, and chronic and veteran homelessness fell by double ­digits. But troubling figures lurk. The homeless population is still high, at 52,765— up 47 percent from 2012. Those who’d become homeless for the first time jumped 16 percent from last year, to 9,322 people, and the county provided shelter for roughly 5,000 fewer people than in 2011.

All this in a year when the economy in L.A., as in the rest of California and the U.S., is booming. That’s part of the problem. Federal statistics show homelessness overall has been trending down over the past decade as the U.S. climbed back from the Great Recession, the stock market reached all-time highs, and unemployment sank to a generational low. Yet in many cities, homelessness has spiked.

It’s most stark and visible out West, where shortages of ­shelter beds force people to sleep in their vehicles or on the street. In Seattle, the number of “unsheltered” homeless counted on a single night in January jumped 15 percent this year from 2017—a period when the value of Amazon. com Inc., one of the city’s dominant employers, rose 68 percent, to $675 billion. In California, home to Apple, Facebook, and Google, some 134,000 people were homeless during the annual census for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in January last year, a 14 percent jump from 2016. About two-thirds of them were unsheltered, the highest rate in the nation.

At least 10 cities on the West Coast have declared states of emergency in recent years. San Diego and Tacoma, Wash., recently responded by erecting tents fit for disaster relief areas to provide shelter for their homeless. Seattle and Sacramento may be next.

The reason the situation has gotten worse is simple enough to understand, even if it defies easy solution: A toxic combo of slow wage growth and skyrocketing rents has put housing out of reach for a greater number of people. According to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored housing giant, the portion of rental units affordable to low earners plummeted 62 percent from 2010 to 2016.

Rising housing costs don’t predestine people to homelessness. But without the right interventions, the connection can become malignant. Research by Zillow Group Inc. last year found that a 5 percent increase in rents in L.A. translates into about 2,000 more homeless people, among the highest correlations in the U.S. The median rent for a one-bedroom in the city was $2,371 in September, up 43 percent from 2010. Similarly, consultant McKinsey & Co. recently concluded that the runup in housing costs was 96 percent correlated with Seattle’s ­soaring homeless population. Even skeptics have come around to accepting the relationship. “I argued for a long time that the homelessness issue wasn’t due to rents,” says Joel Singer, chief executive officer of the California Association of Realtors. “I can’t argue that anymore.”

Homelessness first gained national attention in the 1980s, when declining incomes, cutbacks to social safety net programs, and a shrinking pool of affordable housing began tipping people into crisis. President Ronald Reagan dubiously argued that homelessness was a lifestyle choice. By the mid2000s, though, the federal government was taking a more productive approach. George W. Bush’s administration pushed for a “housing first” model that prioritized getting people permanent shelter before helping them with drug addiction or mental illness. Barack Obama furthered the effort in his first term and, in 2010, vowed to end chronic and veteran homelessness in five years and child and family homelessness by 2020.

Rising housing costs are part of the reason some of those deadlines were missed. The Trump administration’s proposal to hike rents on people receiving federal housing vouchers, and require they work, would only make the goals more elusive. Demand for rental assistance has long outstripped supply, leading to yearslong waits for people who want help. But even folks who are lucky enough to have vouchers are increasingly struggling to use them in hot housing markets. A survey by the Urban Institute this year found that more than three-quarters of L.A. landlords rejected tenants receiving rental assistance.

It’s not bad everywhere. Houston, the fourth-most-populous city in the nation, has cut its homeless population in half since 2011, in part by creating more housing for them. That’s dampened the effect of rising rents, Zillow found.

Efficiency can go only so far. More resources are needed in the places struggling the most with homelessness. McKinsey calculated that to shelter people adequately, Seattle would have to increase its outlay to as much as $410 million a year, double what it spends now. Still, that’s less than the $1.1 billion the consultants estimate it costs “as a result of extra policing, lost tourism and business, and the frequent hospitalization of those living on the streets.” Study after study, from California to New York, has drawn similar conclusions. “Doing nothing isn’t doing nothing,” says Sara Rankin, a professor at Seattle University’s School of Law and the director of the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project. “Doing nothing costs more money.”



Trump Makes Unscheduled Visit To Honor Fallen Soldiers During ‘Wreaths Across America’ Event

President Donald Trump made an unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday to honor America’s fallen as thousands across the country laid wreaths on veterans’ graves.

Trump paid his respects as volunteers for ‘Wreaths Across America‘ waited in long lines to place a Christmas wreath on the tombs of America’s greatest heroes. The event, which is held every December, aims to “remember, honor, and teach” about those who served, and perished, fighting for America’s freedom. In addition to Arlington National Cemetery, Wreaths Across America Day is observed at more than 1,400 cemeteries in all 50 states, as well as at sea and abroad.

The president made the surprise visit to the military cemetery roughly an hour after the wreath-laying event began. He walked through the grounds and viewed firsthand, in the rain and wind, the tributes that were given to America’s veterans.

Trump faced criticism in November for not attending a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day and later admitted that despite attending a memorial service for World War I soldiers in Paris, France, the day earlier, he should have also gone to Arlington on the federal holiday.

“As you know, I just left the day before the American Cemetery, and I probably think — and that was one where it was raining as hard as you can imagine, and I made a speech at the American Cemetery the day before, and I probably —  you know, in retrospect I should have,” Trump said at the time. “I did last year, and I will virtually every year.”

Trump praised Wreaths Across America organizers and the volunteers for their dedicated and honorable work in the gloomy weather. “They do a great job, a really great job,” Trump said during his visit. “Thank you.”



LOL: Trump Just Cancelled The White House Christmas Party For The Press -- And Reporters Are Pissed

President Donald Trump canceled the White House Christmas party for the press and liberal reporters are not happy about it.

According to Fox News, the annual gathering was often something many in the media looked forward to attending.

But with so many in the media constantly attacking and being hostile toward the president, it appears Trump isn’t going to spend the evening wining and dining them on taxpayer dollars.

Several liberal journalists lashed out and complained on Twitter about Trump’s decision.

Here’s more from the Fox News report:

The annual Christmas-season gathering was a significant perk for those covering the White House, as well as other Washington reporters, anchors and commentators, and New York media executives would regularly fly in for the occasion. At its peak, the invitation-only soirees grew so large that there were two back-to-back events, one for broadcast outlets and one for print organizations. Journalists who attended the events, which featured a catered buffet of lamb chops, crab claws and elaborate desserts, got to roam the decorated mansion with a spouse or other family member, a friend or a colleague, adding to the invitation’s allure.

But the biggest fringe-benefit was the picture-taking sessions, in which the president and first lady would patiently pose with guests and briefly chat with them in front of a Christmas tree, with the White House sending out the photos — copies of which were invariably sent home to mom. This would take a couple of hours, with long lines snaking across the building’s first floor. Bill Clinton even posed for pictures with journalists days after he was impeached.



Democrats and Racial Division

They now play the race card in every hand —because often it works

Democrats are taking racial politics to new heights—and no wonder, since the tactic has again succeeded. This week [black] Republican Senator Tim Scott said he will oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr, tapped for a federal judgeship in North Carolina. Senator Jeff Flake is voting no to showcase his opposition to Donald Trump, and the two GOP defections are enough to torpedo Mr. Farr’s appointment this year.

Mr. Scott cited legal work that Mr. Farr performed decades ago for North Carolina’s then-Senator Jesse Helms. After the 1990 election, the Justice Department accused Helms of trying to intimidate black voters by sending a postcard claiming that people who recently moved were ineligible to cast ballots. Mr. Farr defended Helms in the matter. But he told the Senate last year that he wasn’t consulted on the postcard’s content and didn’t know it had been sent until Justice sent a letter to the campaign.

A 1991 internal Justice memo, published this week, says that Mr. Farr, who also had coordinated “ballot security” for Helms in the 1984 election, discussed the idea of sending some kind of postcard in 1990, but that he counseled against it. Nonetheless, Mr. Scott said Thursday that the memo “shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities” and “created more concerns.”

There’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of Mr. Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican. But Democrats will see Mr. Farr’s defeat as a vindication of their most underhanded and inflammatory racial tactics.

Consider a second complaint against Mr. Farr: that the North Carolina Legislature retained him to defend its 2013 voter-ID law. “This is a man who stands for disenfranchisement of voters, particularly minority voters,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week. In a letter last year, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote that in Mr. Farr the White House could hardly have found a nominee “with a more hostile record on African-American voting rights.”William Barber II, a former leader of the North Carolina NAACP, called Mr. Farr “a product of the modern white supremacist machine.”

This is racial demagoguery. The North Carolina law, in addition to requiring voter ID, shortened early voting to 10 days from 17 and eliminated same-day registration. A liberal federal appeals court struck down these provisions in 2016, saying they “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” But many states have similar rules.

The U.S. Supreme Court might have upheld North Carolina’s, as it did Indiana’s ID requirement in 2008. But things got complicated after North Carolina narrowly elected a Democratic Governor and Attorney General in 2016. They jumped in, asking the High Court not to intervene. In turning down the case, Chief Justice John Roberts specifically cited “the blizzard of filings over who is and who is not authorized to seek review in this Court under North Carolina law.”

So the appeals court’s decision stands, aiding the Democratic narrative that any attempt to increase ballot integrity is a racist plot. A nice counterpoint is Florida’s recount debacle this year: After Broward County couldn’t locate about 2,000 ballots, Election Supervisor Brenda Snipes offered the reassurance that they were “in the building”—somewhere. Democrats reportedly circulated an altered form to fix faulty absentee ballots, on which the due date had been changed to extend it past Election Day. Ballot integrity?

In 2005 a bipartisan commission on election reform, led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, endorsed the idea of a photo-ID requirement. “Voters in nearly 100 democracies use a photo identification card without fear of infringement on their rights,” the report said. The commission also said that ballot integrity is “a hallmark of democracy.” Was Jimmy Carter harboring racist motivations?

Another case of trying to rile up racial division was this week’s Senate runoff in Mississippi. Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was assailed for using a clumsy joke to flatter one of her supporters. “I would fight a circle saw for him,” she said. “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

The national media portrayed this as a coded reference to Jim Crow-era lynchings, which is ludicrous. Many press accounts omitted the “circle saw” line, making the comments appear less jocular. Several companies, including Google and Major League Baseball, asked Mrs. Hyde-Smith to return their campaign donations. Mrs. Hyde-Smith won the election anyway, but the attacks will go on.

In Florida, some supporters of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum, are saying he lost because he is black. But even among black voters, the progressive Mr. Gillum underperformed by four percentage points Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who also lost. In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams blamed her gubernatorial defeat on “systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence,” despite massive turnout for a midterm election.

For two years, Democrats have denounced President Trump’s rhetoric as divisive, and sometimes they’ve been right. Yet they’re also only too happy to polarize the electorate along racial lines, insinuating that Republicans steal elections and pick judges who nurse old bigotries. That tactic now appears to have sunk Mr. Farr’s nomination, which is a shame. The only way to discourage these unmoored racial attacks is to ensure they don’t work.



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

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


16 December, 2018

Trump Gets Win as Xi Makes Good on Pledge to Buy U.S. Soy

China resumed buying U.S. soybeans, bringing some relief to farmers in Donald Trump’s heartland as President Xi Jinping works toward a trade deal with his American counterpart.

The giant Asian commodity importer bought 1.5 million to 2 million metric tons of American supply over the past 24 hours, with shipments expected to occur sometime during the first quarter, the U.S. Soybean Export Council said, citing unidentified industry sources.

State stockpiler Sinograin and its top food company Cofco are planning more purchases, according to people with knowledge of the plan. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture disclosed sales of 1.13 million tons to China.

The purchases represent a major gesture by China toward easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies. Soybeans have become the poster child of the trade dispute, with the Asian nation shunning imports from farms in rural communities that voted for Trump in 2016. Futures in Chicago tumbled as a result, while the 2018 harvest had been piling up, unsold, in silos, bins and bags across the U.S. Midwest.

“The shipments, mainly from the Pacific Northwest, will help reduce stockpile pressures for U.S. soybean farmers,” said Li Qiang, chief analyst with Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Also “these shipments can ease China’s own shortage of supplies in the first quarter of the year.”

This is the first significant purchase since the two countries began imposing tit-for-tat tariffs, with China slapping a 25 percent retaliatory levy on the American oilseed after Trump imposed duties on billions of dollars worth of goods from the Asian country.



Obama Pushes Bogus Claim About ACA: Your Premiums Cost Less Than Your Cell Phone Bill

Beth Baumann

President Barack Obama is doing everything in his power to encourage average Americans to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. On Monday, Obama shared a video, reminding Americans to sign up in case they get "very sick" in 2019.

What's bogus is Obama makes the claim that most people can get health insurance for $50 to $100 a month, which he says is significantly less than a person's cell phone bill.

A couple years ago, when I had my own business, I had health insurance through the exchange. I was paying roughly $350/month for just myself. My deductible was significantly lower than some of the other plans that had lower premiums and higher deductibles. I don't see the doctor very much but when I do, I don't want a $300-$400 bill.

Out of curiosity, I checked how much it would be for me to get a plan on Obamacare. Right now. For a 26-year-old, who sees the doctor 3-4 times a year and takes 2-3 prescriptions, there was nothing under $270 in Idaho. How is that less than my cell phone bill?

And how is that affordable when the deductibles are thousands and thousands of dollars? What incentive do people – especially young adults my age – have to enroll in Obamacare when they'd pay more health insurance than they'd spend out-of-pocket for the few times a year they see the doctor?

This is another fabricated lie, just like "if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor."



Shocker! CNN Runs Good Story On Trump That Involves Dismantling Obamacare

CNN featured a story about President Donald Trump and his administration expanding the employers’ current ability to offer cash to employees who wish to purchase healthcare somewhere else, even the Obamacare exchange.

President Trump seemed to be bent on dismantling Obamacare and this measure gives working Americans more cash from their employer to help cover the cost of health benefits.

The way it works now is that employers are often able to provide their employees with a tax-free fund to cover their health care costs, which can include deductibles and co-pays. The Trump administration wants to extend this, particularly for smaller businesses who found it difficult to meet expensive Obamacare requirements, as reported by CNN.

Prior to Obamacare, employers used Health Reimbursement Arrangements to reimburse workers for a wider array of expenses, including premiums. The Obama administration, however, barred the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements to buy policies on the individual market.

The move is aimed at increasing health insurance coverage among those who work at smaller firms, many of which don’t provide benefits. It would also allow employers who do offer benefits to give each worker up to $1,800 a year in an Health Reimbursement Arrangement to pay for certain health care expenses or buy dental or vision coverage.

Trump’s administration would like to make it easier for Americans to buy an alternative to Obamacare, one of Barack Obama’s most criticized accomplishments.

Obamacare, for many, increased the costs and lowered the quality of care, particularly small business owners who struggled to cover healthcare for employees while still having enough income to keep business alive and profit.

CNN also reported that this announcement comes from an executive order that Trump issued last October. It’s designed to increase the choice and competition in the health insurance market, something that many people would enjoy being part of.

At one point the American health insurance system was similar to cell phone programs who continuously offer the same services and different incentives to join. For example, some health insurance providers would allow lower costs for Americans who were younger, more active, and in great overall health.

Once Obamacare was rolled out, many of the people who purchased their own plans were forced to go through the Obamacare portal and found out that the rates were much higher and the quality simply didn’t seem to be satisfactory.

In regards to Trump’s new plans, “the administration has already carried out the order’s other directives: expanding short-term policies, which last less than a year and aren’t required to adhere to all of Obamacare’s rules, and making it easier for small businesses to band together and offer coverage through association health plans, which also don’t have to offer coverage as comprehensive as the Affordable Care Act requires.”

If Trump can figure out a way that health insurance companies can profit while still providing affordable services to members, and cover members with preexisting conditions, then everyone will benefit.

When it came to the Affordable Care Act, there simply wasn’t anything affordable about it for many Americans.



Obamacare spiked by federal judge in Texas

Obamacare is no longer valid because of the GOP-led Congress’ changes to the law, a federal judge said late Friday in a bombshell ruling that sides with state Republicans who argue the’ decision to gut the “individual mandate” rendered the rest of the program null and void.

“The court finds the individual mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the [the health law],” U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor wrote.

The decision is a huge swipe at the 2010 law and sets the stage for a bigger judicial fight and will reverberate on Capitol Hill.

Its timing is also remarkable, coming roughly 24 hours before the deadline to enroll in Obamacare-related coverage on the federal website serving much of the country.

Twenty Republican-led states had argued the Supreme Court cast Obamacare as a package deal, with the mandate to hold insurance — or else pay a tax — tethered to the law’s goodies.

Congress slashed the mandate’s tax to zero, starting in 2019, as part of its tax-cut bill. The states said the rest of the law should fall with it, including protections for people with preexisting medical conditions like cancer or diabetes.

Blue-state attorneys general argued the Affordable Care Act should stand because the tax will still be on the books, even if it isn’t actively collecting revenue, and that Congress decided to keep the rest of Obamacare in place despite gutting the penalty.

Judge O’Connor disagreed. “In some ways, the question before the Court involves the intent of both the 2010 and 2017

Congresses,” he wrote. “The former enacted the ACA. The latter sawed off the last leg it stood on.  But however one slices it, the following is clear: The 2010 Congress memorialized that it knew the individual mandate was the ACA keystone.

Democrats reacted with outrage. “Today’s ruling is an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA for healthcare, and on America’s faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court. Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”     

The American Medical Association decried the ruling as “an incredible step backward” for the U.S. health care system.



States Have a New Opportunity to Lower Insurance Premiums and Expand Options. Here’s How

The Trump administration is offering welcome relief to Americans struggling with high premiums under Obamacare premiums and a lack of insurance choices. The administration has taken a series of regulatory actions to do the following:

* Make short-term, limited duration policies widely available and give consumers the right to renew those policies.

* Make it easier for small businesses and independent contractors to band together for greater insurance purchasing power.

* Propose to allow employers to contribute to tax-advantaged accounts, which their workers could then use to purchase portable insurance coverage.

The Department of Health and Human Services also has made it easier for states to promote more affordable, flexible insurance coverage options by obtaining waivers from restrictive Obamacare regulations.

These “State Empowerment and Relief Waivers” enable states to tap money that the federal government would have paid directly to insurance companies in the form of premium subsidies. States could repurpose this money to design and implement their own premium assistance programs. Such programs could distribute subsidies through defined contributions to consumer-directed accounts established for low-income individuals.

States also could provide premium subsidies for insurance policies that don’t conform to Obamacare’s rigid requirements.

States that obtain these waivers would be able to reduce premiums and increase health insurance choices for their residents, while still protecting vulnerable people such as those with pre-existing conditions

The Department of Health and Human Services is establishing this waiver program under Section 1332 of the Obamacare statute, which permits states to deviate from the Obamacare framework so long as their plan maintains coverage rates, assures the availability of policies offering coverage that meet Obamacare requirements, and makes insurance more affordable, all without increasing the federal deficit.

The Obama administration had placed excessively restrictive conditions on these waivers, inhibiting state innovation. Health and Human Services earlier this fall relaxed those requirements, and last month issued what it called “waiver concepts,” which describe categories of waivers the administration would be inclined to approve. These include:

* Account-based subsidies. Under this concept, states would repackage Obamacare subsidies to go directly to individuals. This would be a change from today’s approach, which sends money directly to insurance companies. Subsidized individuals would get their money in accounts they own and control, and could use these accounts to pay premiums as well as cover medical expenses. The account also would allow recipients to aggregate funding from nongovernment sources, including individual and employer contributions.

* State-specific premium assistance. Obamacare subsidies are income-related and offer little relief for those with incomes above 200 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $24,000 in annual income). A state could restructure the subsidies in ways that work better for the unique needs of its population. It could offer assistance to a broader swath of its population and use them to make policies more attractive to young adults.

* New plan options. Obamacare limits the choices available to premium recipients, only allowing them to use their subsidies to buy policies that meet all of the law’s requirements. Under this waiver option, a state could give subsidy-eligible individuals the right to use their subsidies to buy the coverage of their choice.

* Protecting people with high medical costs through risk stabilization strategies. States could also obtain waivers to establish programs that direct public resources to those in greatest medical need. A state could, for example, establish a separate pool for consumers with specified medical conditions that make them more likely to incur large medical bills. Public resources would be directed to that pool to better serve those with the greatest health care costs, while providing premium relief to those in better health. Seven states already have obtained waivers to operate programs of this sort. Premiums have come down in all of those states.

* States can advance proposals that combine these ideas. They could, for example, fund a high-risk pool and provide premium subsidies in the form of contributions to consumer-directed, individual accounts.

These waiver concepts could spur a wave of patient-centered innovation. One of Obamacare’s core conceits was that what (allegedly) worked in Massachusetts would also work in Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana. That hasn’t borne out.

Under Obamacare, premiums have skyrocketed, networks have narrowed, insurance choices have contracted, and people have fled the individual market by the millions. As of December 2017, there were 2.3 million fewer unsubsidized people with individual policies than in December 2013, the month before Obamacare took full effect. An estimated 2.3 million unsubsidized people left the market between March 2017 and March 2018.

Individuals and states have been bystanders as a Washington-imposed regime wreaked havoc on their insurance markets. State Empowerment and Relief Waivers offer states the opportunity to implement innovative ideas that bring at least a measure of relief to beleaguered residents.

Congress should go further and enact the Health Care Choices Proposal, which would provide states with resources and more flexibility to breathe life into their ailing insurance markets. The proposal would replace Obamacare entitlements with grants to states, which would design consumer-centered programs to make insurance affordable, regardless of income or health status.

The new waivers, while a helpful first step toward these goals, still force states to obtain Washington’s permission to deviate a bit from federal guidelines. Under the Health Care Choices Proposal, each state would take the lead in assuring that its residents—including those who need assistance to afford coverage—would be free to choose among a range of affordable insurance products.

The Health Care Choices Proposal would reverse Obamacare’s polarity, empowering state governments, rather than Washington bureaucrats, to set insurance policy.

Because State Empowerment and Relief Waivers must function within Obamacare’s architecture, they offer states only a small measure of flexibility. They are nevertheless a step in the right direction.

States should seize the opportunity to provide their consumers lower costs and more health care choices.



Democrat Christmas


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

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


14 December, 2018

DC Is Home of the Fattest Cats

Five of the nation's richest counties are within the Washington metro area. Surprise!

Nothing says Big Government more than Big Money. And if anyone doubted the reality of the ballooning nature of the U.S. government, a look at the latest data on wealth by region would quickly dispel those doubts. The American Community Survey data on the U.S. population was recently released by the Census Bureau, and it found that the top five richest counties in the U.S. are contained within the DC metro area. Moreover, 10 of the nation’s top 20 wealthiest counties also lie within the Washington area.

From the countless thousands of government employees working for an ever-expanding number of federal agencies to the tens of thousands employed by private government contractors to the lobbyists pouring money into the mechanism of government as they seek greater influence of the regulatory state, the DC swamp has fast become the home of the nation’s fattest cats. Money flows to DC because of its increasing power, and power grows in DC because of its increasing money.

CNS News reports that the “five richest counties in the United States when measured by median household income are: Loudoun County ($129,588), Fairfax County, Va. ($117,515), Howard County, Md. ($115,576), Falls Church City, Va. ($114,795), and Arlington County, Va. ($112,138).” The survey covers five years from 2013 to 2017.

The Daily Signal notes, “The study also found that from 2013 to 2017, median household income increased in 16.6 percent of all the counties included in the analysis, while it decreased in 7.1 percent of counties, when compared to estimates from 2008 to 2012.”

Is it any wonder why those living in and around the Beltway are so out of touch with the rest of the country? This also explains the contempt so many of the Washington elites have for middle America. Working for the government should not be the primary means for entering the top 10% of income earners.



Car Company shares Roar Back as China Blinks in Trade War, Proposes Enormous Drop in Auto Tariffs

The shares of global car manufacturers began to rise early Wednesday morning amid reports that China will be reducing its auto tariffs. China’s cabinet received a proposal to eliminate the 25-percent surcharge on U.S. cars imported to China, according to Bloomberg.

If the proposal is finalized, China’s tariffs on cars made in the U.S. would drop to 15 percent from the current 40 percent.

Investors seemed to wager on China’s softening stance on auto imports. Toyota’s stocks rose as much as 2 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday, and Hyundai rose as much as 7 percent in Seoul, Bloomberg reported.

This report falls in line with statements from President Donald Trump earlier this month, who announced negotiations with China regarding tariffs.

“China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%,” Trump said via Twitter last week.

Trump later tweeted that China would begin purchasing agricultural products from the U.S.

“Farmers will be a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately,” Trump tweeted.

So far, it seems like Trump’s tough stance on China was effective in making it back down.

Some critics worried that Trump’s trade war with China would needlessly escalate, causing higher prices for consumers.

It’s good that Chinese consumers will purchase more American goods, but the fear is that high tariffs on Chinese goods could push some of the tax burden on American consumers if suppliers are unable to absorb the brunt of the tariffs.

However, Trump seems confident that negotiations are going well.



Waves of Bogus Asylum Seekers Overwhelm Immigration System

The Trump administration is working to address this very real crisis  

A tense exchange at the White House on Tuesday between President Donald Trump and the two leading congressional Democrats — recycled incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — provided additional evidence that a chasm remains when it comes to achieving immigration reform.

While President Trump’s desire to secure the border and prioritize America’s needs when determining who to allow to enter our borders has the strong support of the American people, Democrats have abandoned long-held, sensible immigration positions in favor of a radical open-borders policy that allows violent criminals, and drug and sex traffickers to pour into our nation.

In recent months, Americans witnessed waves of thousands of migrants pushing their way up from Central America to the U.S., demanding to be let in while claiming a right to enter. When attempts were made to stop them, they rioted, tearing down border fences and attacking U.S. border agents. Or Trump was foiled by the courts in his efforts to limit the invasion. He’s filed an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court after the Ninth Circuit Court blocked his effort to prevent illegals from entering the U.S. and then seeking asylum.

The real immigration crisis is with asylum seekers. As President Trump has kept his promise to strengthen border security, the number of illegal aliens able to sneak into the U.S. has slowed.

However, those seeking entry have not changed their goals, just their tactics. In 2018 alone, the number of migrants demanding asylum at the U.S. border rose a staggering 67% according to Homeland Security, to nearly 93,000 people. Roughly a third arrived at ports of entry without permission, and another 14% were caught jumping the border illegally before filing for asylum.

Migrants know the immigration system is overwhelmed with existing applications for asylum, and they know there is a good chance they will be processed and released into the U.S. while waiting for immigration hearings sometimes years later that most will never come back for, choosing instead to disappear inside the U.S.

Laughably, one group of migrants is now demanding that the Trump administration either let them into the U.S. or pay them $50,000 each to return home. Points for creativity, we suppose, but good luck with that.

It’s difficult to qualify for asylum; only about 20% of applications are approved. To qualify, the migrant must face a “credible fear” of violence or serious discrimination due to race, religion, or political affiliation. Asylum is broken down into two broad categories: “affirmative” (not yet subjected to deportation proceedings) and “defensive” (fighting deportation).

Affirmative asylum seekers are far fewer in number but much likelier to be granted asylum; roughly 70% get approved. Defensive asylum seekers, on the other hand, are rolling the dice, hoping a friendly judge gives them a last-second reprieve; about 75-95% are rejected.

To increase their chances of gaining asylum, the recent migrant wave from Central America took the longest possible route through Mexico to the U.S. Part of this was to avoid the drug cartels that control the region between southern Mexico and the Texas border, but even more relevant, the migrants are fully aware that California is a “sanctuary” state, and immigration judges in San Diego are far more likely to grant asylum than judges in Texas.

While the migrant/open borders proponents argue these waves of migrants truly fear persecution in their home countries, that fallacy is exposed by the fact that, while defensive asylum applications have skyrocketed (the vast majority coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico), affirmative asylum applications have stayed roughly constant. It’s also noteworthy that these so-called asylum seekers have received significant financial and logistical support from leftist organizations as they try to force their way into the U.S.

In order to get the situation under control and discourage waves of questionable asylum seekers, the Trump administration has begun “metering” — claiming that detention and processing facilities are overcrowded (they are), so they can’t accept new claims until the backlog of existing claims are processed. Would-be asylum seekers are directed to wait in Mexico until they can be seen.

This has put pressure on Mexico to secure its own southern border so it’s not forced to accommodate and pay for feeding, housing, and securing tens of thousands of migrants.

Last year, the Trump administration received wide condemnation for its wise refusal to sign onto the United Nations’ Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, which would have given international treaties and laws primacy over U.S. immigration laws. In explaining that refusal UN Ambassador Nikki Haley declared, “No country has done more than the United States, and our generosity will continue. But our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.”

Despite the faux outrage of world leaders, nearly a dozen countries — including Australia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Poland — have followed America’s lead in rejecting the treaty, and pressure is building in formerly pro-migrant countries like Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands to spurn it as they face significant difficulties dealing with crime and cultural conflicts after absorbing massive waves of migrants.

As for the showdown with the Democrats, President Trump declared this week that he will get the U.S. border secured one way or another, even if he has to use the U.S. military to build the border wall.

And despite the propensity of Democrats to use immigrant children as political cannon fodder, the American people support Trump’s agenda of securing our borders.



More Occasio-Cortez insight


Don’t Underestimate Dumb Voters’ Appetite For Idiot Leftist Politicians

You should not for a moment fail to appreciate the risk posed to your freedom by left-wing It-Fascists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Beto O’Rourke. There’s an undeniable appeal of this kind of Potemkin Politician for the kind of morons that the Democrats count on at the ballot box. Sure, the Nitwit Naïf is ridiculously ignorant and dumb – she knows nothing and demonstrates no capacity to learn anything. Sure, Tex Kennedy is a meat puppet dancing on the strings held by his masters. But this is the same country where the voters elected Barack Obama, twice.

They can absolutely win power, which means the leftist elite that controls them could win power, and that means disaster for our country. Like an our-country-splitting-apart kind of disaster. So, we need to accurately assess the threat they pose and figure out how to fight it. We need to not fool ourselves into thinking that these two dorks are too goofy for the voters to ever elect, particularly if some Fredocon doofus whose dad used to be a mailman tries to play spoiler.

Remember that a plurality of the voters voted for Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit; the Electoral College is not going to save our freedom forever. We need to get woke to the threat and act accordingly.

Though mocking them is important, because they are clowns and clowns should be mocked, mocking them is not nearly enough. Mockery really only helps reinforce our own morale, assuring ourselves of what we already know – that they are terrible. Our mockery doesn’t affect the dummies. Most liberal voters are just as civics-illiterate as AOC is, so they just shrug when she botches the three branches of government.

It’s different with O’Rourke. It’s not that Beto does not know what the Constitution says. It’s that he is against what it says.

Remember how Donald Trump was mocked? They said he was a joke. They said his policies were ridiculous. They said he’s dumb. He’s so dumb he beat the Smartest Woman In The World and 16 other Republicans of various levels of establishment acceptability.

The point is not to draw some false equivalence between these two media darlings and the president, because they represent very different situations. The point is that voters will not necessarily respond to their favorites being portrayed as buffoons, whether it is true or not. In Trump’s case, it was the mainstream media doing the defining. The president was an outsider. He succeeded by defying the elite and by speaking for people – the militant Normals – who the ruling class had been oppressing for years.

AOC and Beto are something entirely different. They will be protected by the media, and actively covered for. That’s because they are elite catspaws disguised as radical disrupters. Though they attempt to speak the language of outsiders, every single thing they propose is exactly in line with the desires of the elite establishment. Gun control? Check – yeah, the same people hating on the cops are also the same ones demanding that only the cops under the control of the elite have guns. Climate change? Check – gee, how can a carbon tax go wrong? Bizarre theories about race and gender? Check – sure, let’s turn our country into a crucible of social justice witch hunts that would embarrass the town fathers of Salem, assuming they identify as male. I wouldn’t want to misgender anyone who hanged women for imaginary crimes.

Of course, Ocasio-Cortez blabs about “socialism,” but her rantings are straight out of Marxism for Dummies. Nothing she says threatens the rice bowl of the zillionaire donor base Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have cultivated. Free college, free medicine, free this, free that – it’s all just more graft for the Democrats to distribute, and it will all come from the pockets of people like you. Do you think the people who write the checks to the DNC are going to end up paying the bill for this nonsense? Really?

These two are rebels for the establishment, radicals demanding we keep on our present course toward corporatist socialism and progressive hegemony. They disrupt nothing. They are agents of the leftist status quo.

So, how do we fight Chavez Chick and Che-to?

Sure, we keep up the mockery to reinforce our own side, but we need to reach past our own people to the voters who are not yet woke but who are susceptible to reason. We do that by taking these two seriously. To the extent we can get around a liberal media that is an unapologetic arm of the Democrat Party, we get them to talk. We ask them who pays for their stuff. Free college? Okay, I paid for my college. Why should I pay for someone else’s college too? If their college is important enough for me to work to pay for, why isn’t it important enough for them to work and pay for?

“Why should I pay for your constituent’s goodies?” is a powerful message, and one we’ve not used enough lately. The useless Paul Ryan faction thinks it's unfair to bring up arguments like that, but now the House is going to be the site of debates and that needs to be a key issue.

Who pays? You pay!

We’re the ones the elite expects to write a check for all these benefits. We need to pound that home because that idea still has an appeal to moderates. To this end, enlightened self-interest is our friend.

“Why should we pay for other people’s degree in transsexual Marxist mime?”

“Why should we pay more for gas when China and India are increasing their carbon emissions while we are decreasing ours?”

“Why should we pay welfare to the uninvited foreigners who contribute so much to America’s rich tapestry of entitlement and sloth?”

“Why should we pay more for health care? And don’t tell me we won’t because your last bright idea Obamacare cost us plenty.”

We need to take these hacks head-on, both for ourselves and our kids. Don’t think for a moment that the millennial generation is not stupid enough to embrace the agents of their own servitude. The first generation to fail to surpass the success of the previous one is perfectly capable of eagerly voting to make their own lives worse in the name of…whatever it is that motivates these fools. Probably kale and feelings.

Both deserve laughter, but it’s a mistake to laugh them off. It’s a mistake our country might not recover from.



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

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


13 December, 2018

Why a great Protestant hymn breaks my heart

I don't know if I will be able to convey what is after all a feeling but I cannot listen to the original version of the great Lutheran hymn "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A mighty fortress is our God) without being upset.

The hymn is now best known in the marvellous setting by J.S. Bach -- a supreme work of musical art -- so we usually overlook the original hymn.  Both the original work and the Bach setting are works expressing Christian triumph over evil and adversity  but in the original version you get a feeling for what Christians of hundreds of years ago had to triumph over. 

The world they lived in was full of tragedy, hardship and disaster  and they attributed it all to demons and the Devil himself.  To them the Devil was real and powerful and present in their lives. They saw his cruel deeds all about them on a daily basis -- in sickness and death and disaster.  There are few things, if any, more upsetting than the death of a child but they had to endure such deaths often.

So what the hymn conveys to me is both how awful their lives were and how their Christian faith gave them the heart to power on.  Their faith was their only rock, their only comfort. They had no power to combat the evils around them. It cuts me up that they had so little power over their lives when we have so much.  Their survival truly is a wonder.

But I have said as much as I can.  Just listen to the starkly simple words of a very simple hymn and feel for those poor people.

As students of foreign languages always tell you, you cannot adequately translate a poem and that is certainly so here.  The song is even more powerful in the original German:  Simple punchy words

The words: "Gut, Ehr, Kind und Weib: lass fahren dahin" are not well translated above.  They say that your possessions, your honour, your child and your wife can all be lost but the Devil still has not triumphed. What tragedies they had to expect!

And now listen to the wonderful things Bach did with that ultra-simple hymn:

Bach had joy in the Christian triumph over the Devil

Footnote:  The opening image in the first video above depicts Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church.  In the background is the Wartburg castle where Luther hid from his imperial pursuers --- JR


The Psychological Composition of a Leftist

Delaware psychotherapist Dr Hurd gets it pretty right below

#1: Unearned guilt. Unearned guilt is a feeling of responsibility for something that’s not your fault. Healthy people see the unearned guilt for what it is, and correct it. Others become overly humble and self-effacing. Leftists do neither. They become angry and hostile. They rage against the unearned guilt of others rather than face their own. It absolves them of their own perceived guilt, by condemning others in a way they don’t have to condemn themselves.

# 2  A need for the approval of others. Leftism is socialism. Socialism is all about the group. The self-esteem of a leftist depends heavily not on achievement or knowledge, but of approval from the group. The group consists of other self-righteous, hostile people like themselves. Hence all the virtue-signaling. Being virtuous is not the real goal of a leftist, because “virtue” implies a definition of a concept. For leftists, it’s not about concepts or rational thought. It’s all about emotion and perception. Approval by the peer group is essential to a leftist.

# 3 A lack of meaning and purpose. Socialism and “social justice warriorism” are a faulty attempt to gain a sense of purpose. Leftists can be bright, intelligent and even accomplished people. Many are not, of course, but many are. Look at all the leftists in industry and the creative arts. But psychologically, they feel no meaning. If they did, they would never endorse socialism. If they really felt a connection to the sense of self and purposeful productivity that their work should bring them, they would never espouse a society based on the bland, mindless conformity and thoroughly unproductive, poverty-stricken routine of socialism. They mistakenly think they’re doing something meaningful by supporting nationalization of the means of production and things like turning it into a felony to use the wrong pronoun for a transgendered person. It started with recycling, another meaningless act disguised as purpose, and later it led to environmentalism and all the other pet issues leftists cherish today. Clearly, it’s irrational. But they have to feel like they’re doing something.

#4  A sick glorification of the use of force. Most leftists are not forceful people. Most of them probably don’t own guns or mean to physically harm someone. Some, like Antifa members, do; but many do not. Yet everything about leftism requires the use of force. Social Security and Medicare are mandatory, not voluntary. Ditto for Obamacare. Ditto for high taxes. Regulations are not suggestions. Gun control and the increasing calls among leftists for outright gun confiscation require the very use of force they condemn when it comes to an innocent person defending him- or herself against a violent criminal. Guns and violence are bad, leftists have always insisted. Yet everything they advocate — absolutely everything — depends on the use of coercion. Their ability and willingness to lie to themselves about this fact is stunning — and frankly sick.

# 5 A frightening lack of boundaries. Leftists think they’re sophisticated and civilized. But they’re actually less civilized than others. You saw how one of their favorite politicians, Maxine Waters, came out and openly told Democrats to shun, intimidate or even outright terrorize people who voted for Trump. Those of us who live in leftist communities know this isn’t an isolated or extreme case. You have to understand: The typical leftist sees disagreement with his or her views as a violation of personal space and rights. “If you disagree with me, you are threatening me.” That’s literally how they feel. And that’s actually how the younger generation of leftists — especially in Antifa and on college campuses — openly think. Their leftist and openly Marxist professors validate them daily. It’s the exact same mindset as a terrorist. What do you think any kind of terrorist (right-wing or left-wing) feels? A right to attack in retaliation against the fact that others disagree. Disagreement and dissension — to a leftist — are like acts of war. More and more of them are prepared to follow through on this premise, as we’ve seen in their response to President Donald Trump, who’s nothing more than a Republican who actually challenges them and fights back.

# 6 A malevolent universe premise. What’s a “malevolent universe premise”? It’s a term that originated with Ayn Rand, a philosopher and the author of Atlas Shrugged. Rand wrote,

If men hold values incompatible with life—such as self-sacrifice and altruism—obviously they can’t achieve such values; they will soon come to feel that evil is potent, whereas they are doomed to misery, suffering, failure. It is irrational codes of ethics above all else that feed the malevolent-universe attitude in people and lead to the syndrome eloquently expressed by the philosopher Schopenhauer: “Whatever one may say, the happiest moment of the happy man is the moment of his falling asleep, and the unhappiest moment of the unhappy that of his waking. Human life must be some kind of mistake.”
…The altruist ethics is based on a “malevolent universe” metaphysics, on the theory that man, by his very nature, is helpless and doomed—that success, happiness, achievement are impossible to him—that emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are the norm of his life and that his primary goal is to combat them.

I used to think some leftists were not like this. Some of them seem benevolent, on the surface. They seem to enjoy life and not believe that people should live their lives in misery and despair. But as you get to know leftists better, you discover an ugly truth: Yes, they are living lives of self-fulfillment and liberty, or are at least trying to. But instead of seeing this as a good thing, they see it as a bad thing. While you and I may cherish our lives and liberty, leftists despise themselves for wanting these things. They can’t endure the contradiction. The rage, anxiety and energy over living such a contradiction has to go somewhere. And that somewhere is into leftism: A self-righteous, violent and essentially puritanical way of thinking designed to bring upon us all the misery they subconsciously believe they deserve themselves.

It’s not pretty. And neither is leftism and all its manifestations — fascism, socialism, Communism, and so forth. That’s why we’ve got to fight it with absolutely everything we’ve got.

The intolerance of leftists serves a sad and sick psychological purpose: To shut down the inner contradictions these deeply conflicted people feel. We can’t let their increasing insanity be the reason we give up our individual rights and liberty.



San Francisco judge agrees with Trump!

Is the sky falling?

The Trump administration provided adequate justification for its decision to end a program that reunited hundreds of immigrants from Central America with family members in the U.S., a federal judge ruled Monday.

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler threw out the bulk of a lawsuit that argued the termination of the Obama-era Central American Minors program was arbitrary and violated the U.S. Constitution.

The program allowed parents legally in the U.S. to apply to bring children or other family members living in Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador to the U.S.

One of the goals was to discourage children from making the dangerous journey from those countries to the U.S. to be with family.

More than 1,300 people came to the U.S. under the program between 2014 and the end of 2016, according to figures cited in Beeler's decision.

When it ended the program in August 2017, the Trump administration revoked approval for roughly 2,700 additional immigrants who were set to travel to the U.S.

In her ruling, Beeler said the decision to revoke those approvals was arbitrary and capricious and required more analysis and explanation.

Linda Evarts, an attorney with the International Refugee Assistance Project who is representing plaintiffs, said she welcomed that part of the ruling and called the decision "an important first step."

Beeler in a separate order suggested the plaintiffs might be able to revise their lawsuit to address some of her concerns.

The judge, however, found the administration had sufficient policy and legal arguments for its decision to end the Central American Minors program.

The Obama administration granted refugee or parole status to 99 percent of the people it interviewed for the program, giving them a greenlight to come to the U.S., according to State Department figures in Beeler's decision.

The Trump administration argued that immigration law called for a more sparing, case-by-case approach. It also said granting parole broadly created an incentive for illegal immigration and contributed to security problems along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Beeler said the administration rationally concluded that the program was not consistent with its immigration policy and its view of immigration law. She said she was not authorized to second-guess those conclusions.

She also rejected arguments that the decision to end the program violated due process and equal protection.



US steel industry booming after Trump's tariffs

U.S. steel mills have seen almost a 5 percent jump in shipments so far this year, a sign that it's benefiting from stiff 25 percent tariffs on imports the Trump administration imposed last year.

The American Iron and Steel Institute reported Monday that U.S. mills shipped 8.1 million tons in October, up 4.6 percent from the previous month and up 6 percent from the same period last year. So far this year, the industry has shipped 79.6 million net tons, 4.6 percent more than it had by this point last year.

AISI spokesman Jake Murphy told the Washington Examiner that domestic steel use has increased 1.4 percent so far in 2018, and that "Section 232 has played a crucial role as well," referring to section of trade law used by the Trump administration to justify the tariffs.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, U.S. imports of steel mill products declined 11 percent during the first 10 months of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

But while U.S. steel manufacturers are expanding, some in the business community have said the steel tariff and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum were hurting the broader economy. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue on Monday called on the White House to restore tariff exemptions that Canada and Mexico had earlier this year.

"Every week that the tariffs remain in place, $500 million in U.S. imports and exports are affected, inflicting significant harm on American workers, farmers, and ranchers. They must be eliminated without delay," he said.



DC Council Bills Taxpayers Half A Million To Avoid Enrolling Themselves In Obamacare

On the first of the month, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser held an event at Freedom Plaza to celebrate the start of Obamacare’s annual open enrollment period. She appeared with Mila Kofman, head of the District’s health insurance exchange, D.C. Health Link. In conjunction with the event, the mayor issued a proclamation declaring the open enrollment period “Get Covered, Stay Covered” months, and noting that “residents should visit [D.C. Health Link’s website] to shop for and compare health insurance.”

But in encouraging others to “get covered,” and promoting the D.C. Health Link site, Bowser omitted one key detail: She does not buy the policies that D.C. Health Link sells. My recent Freedom of Information Act request confirmed that Bowser, like most of her D.C. Council colleagues, received taxpayer-funded insurance subsidies to purchase their coverage through the District government, rather than through D.C. Health Link. Thus, DC spent nearly half a million in taxpayer funds because the mayor and council won’t be bothered to enroll in Obamacare.

Armed with this information, I asked Bowser about her insurance choices at a recent event. She noted that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t ask individuals to give up their employer-based insurance — a true enough statement. Individuals such as Bowser and members of the council can purchase insurance through Obamacare exchanges like D.C. Health Link, but they must forego their employer subsidy to do so.

Forfeiting generous employer subsidies might seem like an unreasonable request to make of the mayor and council. But earlier this year, the council passed, and Bowser signed, legislation requiring all District residents to buy health coverage or pay a tax — including tens of thousands of residents who do not qualify for subsidies.

According to public records, Bowser receives an annual salary of $200,000; council members receive $140,600 annually. This year, I will receive less income than any of them, and as a small business owner my income is far from guaranteed, unlike public officials’ salaries. Yet the mayor and council have required me to buy health coverage without a subsidy, even as they refuse to do so themselves.

I asked Bowser about this obvious inequity. Under Obamacare, an individual with income of $50,000 — one-quarter of Bowser’s salary — does not qualify for an income-based subsidy. Bowser required this individual to buy coverage without assistance, while earning much more in salary and retaining her employer subsidy. Did she see a double standard in her conduct?

When it came to the issue of equity and fairness, she didn’t have a substantive answer, nor did her council colleagues. I asked staff for each council member about their health insurance coverage, and any subsidies received. Most staff never responded to my outreach. Staff for Councilman Robert White said they would ask him about his coverage, but never sent a reply. Staff for two councilmembers, Phil Mendelson and Brandon Todd, replied with explanations about the subsidies being provided as an employer benefit.

But neither Bowser nor the council members could justify requiring other District residents, including many with lower incomes than they, from buying coverage without a subsidy even as they will not do so themselves. And how could they? Quite often, it seems liberals who preach frequently about “fairness” regarding others’ actions fall eerily silent when doing so would cost them personally. “Obamacare for thee — but not for me” doesn’t provide a particularly compelling slogan, but the mayor and council have sent that very message by their actions.

Official Washington contains numerous examples of hypocrisy and double standards, but that doesn’t make either a “D.C. value.” If Bowser wishes to abide by the D.C. values she campaigned on, she and the council members should give up their subsidies and buy health insurance just like ordinary residents do. If they find that task too difficult or costly, then perhaps they should repeal the exact same requirement they put on everyone else.



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

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


12 December, 2018

Is Sunday the Sabbath?

One of my more eccentric hobbies is Biblical exegesis -- trying to work out what the scriptures mean without regard to what the churches say they mean: A thoroughly Protestant habit.

And a very obvious question is how come Christian churches hold their Sabbath on the day of the Sun rather than on the seventh day of the week -- which is what the Bible commands?  Seventh Day Adventists and Seventh Day Baptists remind us that there is an issue there.

I imagine that most Christians assume that some great Christian eminence or Christian council came together in order to switch observance from Saturday to Sunday as a way of separating Christians from Jews.  Sunday is seen as part of the New Testament that supersedes the Old.

There is still a lively debate among theologians on the issue and I have read both sides.  One lot say that there is nowhere in the NT or anywhere else that commands a change from Saturday to Sunday so the old law still applies and Saturday therefore is the only true Sabbath.

The other lot say that the Apostle Paul released Christians from strict Sabbath observance so we can choose Saturday or Sunday at our discretion.  They have two scriptures on their side in that:

Col. 2:16-17. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Rom. 14:5. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

And Christ himself preached flexibility regarding Sabbath observance. Mark 2:27 “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:”

What seems to have happened is that Paul wanted a broad church.  In particular, he wanted Jews and Gentiles to be equally welcome in the early Christian congregations.  And he had to be emphatic about that.  Christians who came from Jewry tended to observe all their Jewish customs. Christ was a devout Jew so that seemed entirely proper.

And the Jewish Christians tended to lecture non-Jews on the matter.  They tended to say that the non-Jewish Christians should adopt Jewish practice.  And Paul wanted to put a stop to that.  He wanted Christianity to be a religion for all, not just another Jewish sect.

So Paul preached tolerance, as we see in the scriptures above.  Follow Jewish custom if you like but that is not mandatory.

And that permission was very valuable in the ancient world.  Most of that world revered the Sun.  They worshipped various idols but were also sun worshippers.  And from ancient Sumerian times they had nominated the first day of the week as the sun's day  Some respect to the sun became customary on that day.

But the Jews of course have always been a cantankerous people.  From Moses on, their prophets have always said so.  So the Jews wanted to defy established custom and they did that by making the seventh day, not the first day especially holy

But that was always awkward for diaspora Jews -- i.e. Jews living outside Israel.  Their custom made them seem strange to the others about them and even led to a degree of persecution on occasions

So Paul put and end to that.  He wanted Christians to be well regarded so that people would listen with some respect when they preached the gospel of the living Lord. 

In the circumstances, most non-Jewish Christians probably switched to Sunday observance with alacrity.  Purists no doubt still argued for Saturday but Sunday suited most non-Jewish Christians just fine. And as Christianity spread far and wide the Jewish customs just faded out. Like everybody else, Christians now worshipped on the day of the Sun.

There are various mentions of weekly meetings between the early brothers during which food was eaten but they included no mention of which day the meeting occurred.  They followed the dictum that the meeting was important, not the day on which it occurred.  And in 1 Corinthians 11:17–34 Paul was emphatic that the day should be observed with due solemnity and in honour of the original Last Supper of Christ. But Paul laid down the basic form, not the day of Christian observances.

So there was at no time any proclamation from on high.  Using Sunday for solemn worship just evolved as a convenient custom for Christians. Though the fact that Christ was resurrected on a Sunday tended to legitimate Sunday observance for some

Speaking personally, it seems regrettable to me that Christians have perpetuated sun worship.  For health reasons, I do keep a form of the Sabbath myself. But I do it on the true sabbath -- JR.


Chernobyl wolves infected with radiation feared to be spreading mutant genes across Europe

This is just a work of fiction.  There is no evidence that the wolves have ANY mutated genes.  Mutations are mostly fatal so if any wolves were affected they would probably be dead by now. 

The whole basis of the story seems to be amazement that wolves have flourished  -- but even some of the people who lived there have moved back with no ill effects.  In short, the radiation there has dropped back to safe levels. Rich Kozlovich has more

SCIENTISTS fear wolves living in Chernobyl's radioactive forbidden zone may be spreading mutant genes across Europe.

The European grey wolf population has boomed at the site since the human population moved out and it became a virtual wildlife preserve.

Research now reveals some of the wolves - potentially affected by damaging radiation - have been crossing Ukraine's borders into Russia and Belarus.

The news has sparked concerns among some in the scientific community that the animals may mate and spread mutant genes to other packs.

The site became off limits to humans after the nuclear power plant disaster on 26 April 1986, due to concerns about the high levels of radiation.

Explosions destroyed a reactor at the plant releasing about 400 times more radioactive fallout than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Particles were spread thousands of miles across Europe, dozens of residents were killed and many more exposed to the deadly radiation.

It now seems that the lack of human interference at the disaster site has allowed the wolves to thrive in the 1,000 sq mile exclusion zone.

They began to take over the eerie site in 2016 and the pack's population is now thought to be seven-times larger than usual.

During a study of their movements scientists GPS fitted trackers to 13 adults and one juvenile to see how far they strayed.

The researchers found while the adult wolves stayed within the zone, the juvenile roamed far beyond its boundaries.

The young wolf began to consistently move away from its home range about three months after scientists began tracking its movements.

Over the course of 21 days, it ended up about 186 miles (300 km) outside the exclusion zone first heading to Belarus and then Russia.

This raised questions about the affect of wolves potentially affected by radiation carrying mutant genes to pass onto other wolf communities.

Studies of other animals -mostly smaller ones like birds, rodents, and insects -show that Chernobyl radiation can cause mutations and ill health.

And work done in creatures such as barn swallows and voles suggests these mutations may be transferred to the next generation.

These also had the potential to spread radioactive contaminants, notes Tim Mousseau, of the Uni of South Carolina who was not involved in the wolves study.

The study's lead author and wildlife ecologist Michael Byrne told Live Science he believes the mutant gene theory is something worth looking into. But the University of Missouri animal movement and ecology expert was quick to add:  "We have no evidence to support that this is happening.

"No wolves there were glowing - they all have four legs, two eyes and one tail."

The Chernobyl exclusion zone is also home to other species including moose, horses, bison, boars and red badgers.

Last year, we told how radioactive boars were running wild in the Czech Republic after eating mushrooms contaminated after the Chernobyl disaster.



Tony Perkins: Donald Trump’s Election ‘Saved This Republic’

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins said, “I thank God for Donald Trump,” and further stated that Trump’s election victory in 2016 “saved this republic.”

“Let me go on record: I thank God for Donald Trump,” stated FRC President Tony Perkins. “He’s not the answer to the prayer that I was expecting, but I receive it just the same. And I am grateful for his leadership, and I am grateful for his courage. And you know what? I believe that his election has saved this republic.”

Perkins was one of 10 conservative leaders to receive an award by United in Purpose in the ceremony hosted by Ginni Thomas and held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C.

“Let me say, I am here not just as an individual but as one that represents an organization,” said Tony Perkins. “I could not do a fraction of what I do without my team at the Family Research Council. We’ve got a team of almost 100 dedicated men and women who are devoted to this country and preserving faith, family and freedom, and not just preserving it, but we’re committed to advance it both here and abroad.”

Perkins continued, “You know, every time I see a ceremony like this, it’s usually the left out in Hollywood, and they rant against this country and against our president. Let me go on record to say I love America. America is the greatest nation on the face of the Earth. And as I travel more and meet with international leaders, the more grateful I am for our country and for the rule of law and why we must protect it and preserve it and speak unabashedly and unashamedly for it.

“And the other person— And the other thing they like to rant against is the president of the United States,” Perkins went on. “Let me go on record: I thank God for Donald Trump. He’s not the answer to the prayer that I was expecting, but I receive it just the same.  And I am grateful for his leadership, and I am grateful for his courage. And you know what? I believe that his election has saved this republic.

“And he had that opportunity because of the men and women in this room,” said Perkins.

“And I think most of you know this, but it does not hurt us to repeat it and remind ourselves that with every election, our republic hangs in the balance. It is literally like a, hanging by a thread over a raging fire,” Perkins said.

Perkins concluded, “We cannot rest; we cannot grow weary; we cannot be silent; we cannot slip into the shadows; we must speak the truth without fear, without hesitation. Jesus said, ‘You’ll know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ America’s hope of preserving freedom is in knowing and embracing the truth. And how will they know unless there are leaders like you who will speak it? Thank you for being those leaders. Continue to speak that truth, that America might be free. Thank you.”



Non-President Macron surrenders. Tax revolt succeeds

He is in control of his pretty desk but he is not in control of France.  Good shoeshine, though.

French President hikes minimum wage, axes overtime tax and slashes pension contributions as he declares state of emergency after weeks of riots

French president Emmanuel Macron tonight announced a range of dramatic Socialist-style financial concessions to struggling workers so as to end an 'economic and social state of emergency'.

In a TV address lasting 12 minutes, he said a month of rioting and blockades justified a €100 (£90) increase in the minimum wage, taking it to €1498 (£1360).

This will not 'cost anything to the employer', said Mr Macron, and will be accompanied by all taxes and other charges on overtimes being scrapped.

There were also be an end-of-year bonus that employers can pay without being charged by the government, while taxes on those earning less than €2000 (£1800) will also end on January 1.

Mr Macron also ruled out any return of the Solidarity Wealth Tax, saying that he wanted to stop rich entrepreneurs 'moving abroad', so preventing 'job creation'.

The extraordinarily generous package of measures represents a massive U-turn by Mr Macron who originally said he would not yield to rioting as he tried to liberalise the sluggish France economy.

So-called Yellow Vest fuel protestors first took to the streets on November 17, and this led to the president scrapping green charges on petrol and diesel.

'I heard the anger was first of all against the tax, but it's deeper than that, and this anger could be our chance,' said Mr Macron.

'I heard the despair of the forgotten people. There are couples who struggle to make ends meet, brave single mothers or widows who can't afford child care, and poor pensioners who often have to help children and grandchildren, as well as people with disabilities.'

Cities including Paris and Bordeaux exploded into violence on Saturday, during the fourth weekend of demonstrations by the Yellow Vests, who are named after their high visibility jackets.

Mr Macron remained holed-up in the Elysee Palace as buildings were set on fire, shops were looted, and police were attacked.

Armoured cars, water canon and thousands of rounds of tear gas were in turn used against the trouble makers.

They have been joined by agitators from the Left and Right, as well as criminal groups determined to cause mayhem.

Thousands chanted 'Macron Resign' and 'Police Everywhere – Justice Nowhere' as they rampaged throughout the centre of the French capital.



If it weren't for double standards, Leftists wouldn't have any


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

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


11 December, 2018

Does being fat give you heart disease?

The study below reports only two very weak associations.  The association between diabetes and obesity is no surprise.  It is known that diabetics tend to overeat and put on weight.  But that does NOT prove that being overweight gives you diabetes.

The correlation between coronary artery disease and obesity is potentially meaningful but the association is marginal and tends to be undermined by the finding that obesity is unrelated to stroke incidence. Obesity is in other words associated with a stroke precursor but not with stroke itself.  The only reasonable response to that pattern of effects is that obesity is harmless

The authors below, however, draw the conclusions that they wanted to draw  -- as is very common in research reports

Association Between Obesity and Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Mendelian Randomization Studies

Haris Riaz et al.


Importance:  Although dyslipidemia has been consistently shown to be associated with atherogenesis, an association between obesity and cardiovascular disease outcomes remains controversial. Mendelian randomization can minimize confounding if variables are randomly and equally distributed in the population of interest.

Objective:  To assess evidence from mendelian randomization studies to provide a less biased estimate of any association between obesity and cardiovascular outcomes.

Data Sources:  Systematic searches of MEDLINE and Scopus from database inception until January 2018, supplemented with manual searches of the included reference lists.

Study Selection:  Studies that used mendelian randomization methods to assess the association between any measure of obesity and the incidence of cardiovascular events and those that reported odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs estimated using an instrumental variable method were included. The 5 studies included in the final analysis were based on a consensus among 3 authors.

Data Extraction and Synthesis:  Two investigators independently extracted study characteristics using a standard form and pooled data using a random-effects model. The Meta-analysis of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) reporting guideline was followed.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Obesity associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, or stroke. The hypothesis was formulated prior to data collection.

Results:  Of 4660 potentially relevant articles, 2511 titles were screened. Seven studies were included in the systematic review, and 5 studies with 881?692 participants were eligible to be included in the meta-analysis. Pooled estimates revealed that obesity was significantly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (OR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.30-2.14; P?<?.001; I2?=?93%) and coronary artery disease (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.02-1.41; P?=?.03; I2?=?87%). No association between obesity and stroke was found (OR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.95-1.09; P?=?.65; I2?=?0%).

Conclusions and Relevance:  The present meta-analysis suggests that obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Although this analysis of mendelian randomization studies does not prove causality, it is supportive of a causal association. Hence, health care practitioners should continue to emphasize weight reduction to combat coronary artery disease.



There Is No 'Surge' in Right-Wing Violence
A Washington Post “analysis” of domestic terrorism argues that attacks from white supremacists and other “far-right attackers” have been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency and “surged since President Trump took office.” It’s a familiar storyline meant to assure liberals that yes, Trump-motivated right-wing terrorists are running wild. There are, however, a few problems with this proposition.

For one thing, even if we accept the numbers the Post offers, the use of the word “surge” — meaning a sudden, powerful forward or upward movement — strains credibility. There’s no evidence of a “surge,” either in historical context or as a matter of ideological preference.

That is to say, we have good reason not to accept the numbers. According to The Washington Post, which relies on Global Terrorism Database data, there were zero acts of right-wing terrorism in the entire nation in 2002. Since then, we have seen a “surge,” to 36 in a nation of 325-plus million people in 2017. Among those acts, there were 11 fatalities.

In other words, fewer homicides were committed by political terrorists of any stripe in the United States in 2017 than were committed by undocumented immigrants in the state of Texas alone — which, I am assured, is an incredibly low number that shouldn’t worry us very much. If one of these “surges” is scaremongering, why not the other?

Then again, even if we use the criteria offered by the GTD, we need to be exceptionally generous to even get to 36 incidents of right-wing violence in 2017. (I could find only 32.)

For example, although the Post acknowledges that the Las Vegas shooter’s motivations are still unknown, the GTD had no problem categorizing the murderer of 58 people as an “anti-government extremist.” And it takes these sorts of assumptions to get in the vicinity of a “surge” in right-wing terrorism.

Of the 32 incidents I was able to find, 12 featured perpetrators who were merely “suspected” of being right-wing terrorists. Some of these incidents could have been the work of one person, as in the pellet gun shootings of Muslims in New York. In other incidents, we are asked to treat patently insane people as if they had coherent political agendas.

Still other events are even more opaque. In San Juan, Puerto Rico — apparently a hotbed of white supremacy — an incendiary device was thrown into a gay nightclub. No one was injured, thank goodness. Also, no one was caught, and no one claimed responsibility for the act. Yet the episode doesn’t even earn a “suspected” designation from GTD.

If the definition of domestic terrorism is muddy at best, the definition of right-wing terrorism is often arbitrary and self-serving.

To help bolster right-wing terrorist stats, for instance, we would have to perfunctorily include every anti-Semitic act. The Washington Post even mentions an Anti-Defamation League study showing “a 57 percent surge in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017.”

If anything, the ADL study should be cautionary, as it demonstrates how difficult it is to not only quantify these incidents but also categorize them ideologically. The ADL’s faulty data were self-reported, for instance, and most of the “surge” can be attributed to a single Jewish teen in Israel calling in a number of bomb threats to Jewish centers.

In the real world, a Jewish American is probably likelier to encounter anti-Semitism at a college campus than anywhere else.

Then there is the matter of inconsistently defining terrorism. If throwing a rock through the window of an Islamic center is an act of right-wing terrorism, why isn’t it an act of left-wing terrorism for anti-capitalists to throw rocks through the window of a business in Oregon? Surely, both fall under the description of terror, which the GTD defines as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor seeking to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.” As far as I can tell, only one of these genres actually makes the cut for the GTD.

This is what happens when reporters work backward from a predetermined premise.

You’ll notice, as well, that these analyses typically begin in 2002, seeing as the 2,977 Americans murdered on 9/11 are inconvenient to the white-supremacy-is-more-dangerous-than-radical-Islam narrative. The reason we don’t have a real-life “surge” of attacks by Islamic extremists since 2001, incidentally, is that the United States has spent billions yearly to stop it.

Of course, political violence isn’t the monopoly of any one group. Although there have been flare-ups of leftist violence in the 1900s and the 1960s and ‘70s, for the most part, this kind of violence is still rare. That could change. And none of this is to say horrible events aren’t happening. Nor is it to say that haters don’t exist. But exaggerating the problem for political reasons doesn’t help anyone. Covering your partisan work with a bogus veneer of scientific analysis doesn’t make it any more useful.



Former Baptist President Ed Young: Democrat Party is 'Some Kind of Religion ... Basically Godless'

Ed Young, the senior pastor of Houston's Second Baptist Church and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), said the Democrat Party is some kind of "godless" religion and, because of the sin of abortion, "God will not bless America."

Young, host of The Winning Walk, made his remarks during an impromptu speech following the electoral defeat of Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) on Nov. 6.

In his remarks, picked up by KHOU 11 News,  Pastor Young said the Democrat Party is "no longer a party -- it's some kind of religion that is basically godless."

He also condemned abortion and criticized the courts for leglaizing the killing of children by abortion. "[a]s long as America -- and this is represented by every Democrat I know -- does not believe in the sacredness of the life in the mother's womb, God will not bless America or make us a great nation."

Pastor Young is a strong defender of the natural law and Christian morality. As reported in One News Now, for instance, Young was involved in a 2015 effort to overturn an ordinance in Houston that allowed transgender women -- males pretending to be females -- to use bathrooms used by biological females.

At the time, Young said, "The bottom line is, if we open up our facilities when someone can choose their sexual orientation -- those who believe that men should use men's facilities, and women should use women's facilities – we will be discriminated against."

"It is totally deceptive, and it is deadly," he said, "and I trust that you will vote no, no, no, because it will carry our city further and further and further down the road of being totally, in my opinion, secular and godless."

The transgender bathroom ordinance was overturned by city voters.



In the Middle East, You Win with Fear

The past six months have brought us violent demonstrations along the Gaza Strip border, cross-border infiltration, rocket fire and incendiary kites and balloons. This means that a so-called "agreement" or truce is not a viable option.

We cannot trust Hamas to keep the calm. Only when Hamas is afraid of IDF retaliation, which has yet to come, will calm prevail. Israelis tend to overlook the fact that in the Middle East, it is fear, above everything else, that governs how people act.

Unfortunately, from time to time, we must give our enemies a violent reminder, lest they continue terrorizing us. The very fact that Hamas continues its actions unabated shows a lack of deterrence, without which no truce is worth the paper it is signed on. Expecting Hamas to honor agreements with the Jewish state it wants to annihilate is inexcusably naive. Extortion that leads to an "agreement" is a prelude to more extortion.

The assumption that boosting the quality of life for Gazans will reduce Hamas' violence and hatred is fundamentally flawed. There is no place on this planet where there is a direct correlation between quality of life and terrorism. This holds true in the Palestinian case as well.

Recent polls show that Gazans are actually less hostile toward Israel than are their brethren in Judea and Samaria, where the quality of life is better. Perhaps the suffering in Gaza has taught them that prolonged conflict with Israel comes with great pain. While it is true that it takes time to change the behavior of large groups of people, what ultimately makes a population embark on a new political path is the degree to which it suffers. Germans suffered immensely during the two world wars and have since shed their violent past. Egypt also realized that a peace deal with Israel trumps more violence.

The goal of war is to inflict pain on the other side, to make it change its behavior. There is no point in giving Hamas candy while it fights against us. The exact opposite is true: It should be forced to pay a heavy price for its aggressive behavior. This is the message Israel should be sending Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and other enemies. To survive in the Middle East, Israel has to make it clear that it will inflict unimaginable pain on anyone who attacks it.

Only a crushing and devastating blow to Hamas will pave the way for a truce that would not be a victory for the terrorists. Such a truce would survive much longer than a half-baked truce that survives only several months until another extortion scheme.



House Dems Out to Get Religion
One of the most important religious freedom laws in America turns 25 this Friday. But will it make it to 26? House Democrats are doing everything it can to ensure it doesn’t.

A quarter of a century ago, nothing about religious liberty was controversial. In fact, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was so popular that all but three members of Congress voted yes. When Bill Clinton signed RFRA into law, no one dreamed that two decades later, his same party would be trying to sanctimoniously kill the law.

For most Americans, the Democrats’ shift hasn’t exactly been subtle. A party platform that mentioned God seven times in 2004 kicked him out in 2012. A senator who said, “We worship an awesome God” in 2004 declared war on faith as president a few years later. Now, a party that almost unanimously agreed that the government shouldn’t undermine religion in 1993 has 172 cosponsors to scrap RFRA and take a sledgehammer to our First Freedom. And they’ll have control of the House to advance their attack.

In an important column for the Washington Examiner, Ernest Istook points out that one of the people behind this push is about to become the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Of course, he and the rest of his party want you to believe that Democrats wouldn’t destroy RFRA, they’d just carve out areas where it wouldn’t apply — like marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity, abortion, health care, and any other area where long standing religious beliefs clashed with the vogue values of the Left’s agenda.

“In short,” Istook explains, “an explicit constitutional right would be declared less important than other claims never mentioned in the Constitution and often not even legislated by elected officials.” The repeal of RFRA, he warns, would be a nightmare for men and women of faith – especially Christians, who just want the freedom to live out their beliefs in peace. That’ll be incredibly hard to do, Istook warns, since the Democrats’ bill would wipe out the Supreme Court victories in the Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop cases. The world that Chai Feldblum envisioned will have finally arrived. Asked what should happen when religious liberty clashed with the LGBT agenda, Obama’s EEOC chief said she’d have “a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” The modern Democratic Party agrees.

The good news, for now, is that the GOP-controlled Senate would never go along with something as extreme as gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bad news — at least for the Democratic party — is that neither will their heartland base. Not everyone is on board with the Left’s hard turn on religion. As Yale’s Stephen Carter wrote, “When you mock Christians, you’re not mocking who you think you are.” And if Democrats aren’t careful, they’ll fall right down the God gap they’ve created.

“Spend much time in secular progressive circles,” David French writes, “and you’ll quickly encounter the kind of sneering, anti-Christian elitism evident in pieces such as the recent New Yorker creed against Chick-fil-A. But this culture is fundamentally at odds with the lived experience of the Democratic party’s black and Latino base.” In their beliefs, Pew Research Center warned earlier this year, “nonwhite Democrats more closely resemble Republicans than white Democrats.” That’s significant — not just because it creates tension in the Democratic Party, but, as French points out, “to the extent that faith informs politics, it could crack open the progressive coalition.”

Just last week, exit polling showed how misguided the Democrats’ war on religious expression is. Of all the competing social values — life, marriage, privacy, gender identity — religious liberty was far and away the most popular consensus issue. When McLaughlin & Associates asked 1,000 Americans if the government “should leave people free to follow their beliefs,” a whopping 70 percent of the respondents said yes. Only 18 percent agreed with this radical crusade to end religious liberty as we know it.

In a lot of ways, it’s the Democrats’ liberal agenda that’s boxed them into a godless corner. They’ve had to become hostile to public faith because it acknowledges a moral standard. And when you embrace policies that are antithetical to the stated values of any orthodox religion — like same-sex marriage or abortion — there’s only one way to reconcile it. You get rid of faith — or, at the very least marginalize it.

Make no mistake: The threat to RFRA from Democrats is real. But so is the threat to Democrats if they keep alienating faith and the voters who embrace it.



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

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


10 December, 2018

The Left’s Demented Hatred of President George H.W. Bush

The Left is an ever-fuming volcano of hate

George Herbert Walker Bush, America’s 41st president, passed away on Friday night at the age of 94. The last of the World War II generation to occupy the Oval Office, this great patriot devoted his life to serving his country. President George Herbert Walker Bush represented all the best that defines America – courage under fire in the continuing fight for freedom, generosity of spirit, faith in a higher purpose than oneself, and belief in individual dignity and liberty.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the America-hating Left wasted no time following George H.W. Bush’s death to savage him. Indeed, they have used all the epithets against the late President Bush as they regularly use against America itself – warmonger, racist, sexist, etc.

George H. W. Bush’s understanding of the perils and tragedy of war was forged as a young torpedo bomber pilot during World War II. He nearly lost his life when forced to bail out of his squadron plane over the Pacific Ocean after coming under attack by Japanese anti-aircraft guns. Building on years of post-war government experience as a congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, Chief of the Liaison Office in China, Director of Central Intelligence, and Ronald Reagan’s vice president, he was perhaps the best qualified person to have ever run for president when he campaigned successfully in 1988 to succeed Ronald Reagan.

As president and leader of the free world, he presided over the fall of the Soviet Union, the historic reunification of Germany as the linchpin of a more stable Europe, and the first Gulf War that liberated Kuwait from the rapacious grip of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Domestically, he was responsible for a new civil rights law protecting the disabled. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, making it easier for employees to sue employers on grounds of discrimination, after having vetoed a bill that he believed would have imposed unreasonable quotas. He worked to improve educational standards and environmental protections.

George H. W. Bush served only one term as president, undone by a weak economy and his breaking of a campaign pledge not to raise taxes. Nevertheless, as former Secretary of State James Baker, one of the late president’s closest friends, said in tribute on Sunday, "I think that, no doubt, he will be remembered as our most-successful one-term president and, perhaps, one of the most successful presidents of all time." Not to the America-hating leftists, however. They wasted no time in cursing the deceased former president.

 “F*** him,” tweeted feminist activist Anita Sarkeesian. “And f*** media's historical erasure.” She was particularly disturbed at the late President George H.W. Bush for his launching of the first Gulf War to force Saddam Hussein’s invading forces out of Kuwait. “He was a warmonger whose violence created unliveable (sic) conditions in Iraq hurting civilians, like my family who didn’t have access to life saving drugs or basic food,” she wrote in her tweet. In another tweet, she wrote, “The first gulf war helped solidify the demonization of Muslims and Arabs in the mind's (sic) of (mostly white) Americans creating far reaching consequences. It also set the stage for Bush Jr to launch another racist war WHICH IS STILL HAPPENING IN CASE YOU FORGOT.”

The first Gulf War was in fact a multinational effort, including Muslim countries in the Middle East region, that liberated the Muslim country of Kuwait from a Stalin-admiring dictator. When that objective was achieved, the war stopped. No further effort was made to topple Hussein from power in Iraq itself. Hussein’s monstrous crimes against his own people dwarfed any civilian casualties that may have been caused by the U.S.-led coalition to oust his forces from Kuwait.

The unlivable conditions Sarkeesian complained about were Saddam Hussein’s own doing. He lived in the lap of luxury while his people lived in grinding poverty. Following the end of the first Gulf War, the horrible living conditions and Saddam Hussein’s campaign of genocide within his country continued, along with his defiance of a succession of UN Security Council resolutions.

The second Iraq war was launched more than a decade later by President Bush 41’s son, George W. Bush, to finally remove the dictator. Saddam Hussein was the author of his own destiny after having failed miserably the chance to redeem himself following the first Gulf War. As usual, leftists like Anita Sarkeesian will choose the side of the brutal dictator over Americans fighting for freedom and human dignity.

Leftists have also not forgiven a controversial ad used during the late President George H.W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign against former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. The ad featured William Horton, a convicted murderer released in 1986 under a weekend pass program that Dukakis continued to defend even after Horton subsequently kidnapped and raped a woman. Horton happened to be black, which to leftists means that any ad using his picture in a true account of the crime he committed after his release, and noting Dukakis’ unwillingness to change the weekend pass program that made this crime possible, is unforgivably racist.

Amanda Marcotte of Salon was a particularly fierce critic of the Horton ad, accusing George H.W. Bush within hours of his death of being “willing to embrace racial demagoguery from the beginning.” Irrespective of the truth of the ad, she would sacrifice freedom of speech at the altar of identity politics and political correctness that must stamp out all vestiges of so-called white privilege.

“Free speech,” she tweeted last April in a foreshadowing of her denunciation of George H.W. Bush after his death for the Horton ad, “is now being used primarily, perhaps exclusively, as a right wing code for white nationalism.”

Marcotte would be wise to do some background reading, including of her own Slate publication back in 1999. It was Al Gore who first introduced the issue of “weekend passes for convicted criminals” in his primary debate with Dukakis, Slate admitted, although it tried to portray Gore’s use of the issue as an innocent act because he did not explicitly identify Horton.

Marcotte also claimed it was of no consequence that an independent expenditure group, not the Bush campaign itself, was responsible for airing the ad with Horton’s picture. She said that the late president was “a grown man, responsible for his campaign decisions.”

The late president was indeed responsible for his campaign decisions and never claimed to be a saint when campaigning. He was at times a “hard-knuckled politician,” wrote Jon Meacham, presidential historian and the author of Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. “To serve he had to succeed; to preside he had to prevail,” Mr. Meacham added.

“For Mr. Bush the impulses to do in his opponents and to do good were inextricably bound. He was at once ferocious and gracious — a formidable combination. What mattered was whether one was principled and selfless once in command. And as president of the United States, Mr. Bush was surely that. For every compromise or concession to party orthodoxy or political expedience on the campaign trail, in office Mr. Bush ultimately did the right thing.”

If this sounds like an ends-justify-the means philosophy, welcome to the world of U.S. politics. As Mark Twain said, “If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times.” Leftists, who play dirty in exploiting the race card, have no business feigning moral indignation regarding George H.W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

Their voices were silent, for example, when NAACP ads were running against Bush 41’s son, George W. Bush, in 2000 showing a pickup truck with a chain dragging James Byrd, a black man, to his death. The ad played on race by using Renee Mullins, Byrd’s daughter, to denounce George W. Bush, who had been Texas’s governor before running for president, for opposing new hate crime legislation. "It was like my father was killed all over again," she said, leaving out the fact that two of the three killers had already been sentenced to death by a Texas court, while the third was serving a life sentence.

Gore, who had first raised the racially charged issue of weekend passes for convicts against Dukakis in 1988, not only did not denounce the NAACP racially exploitative ad. He proudly told his audience at the annual convention of the NAACP in October 2000, “I am a member of the NAACP. It’s good to be home.”

Leftists traffic in hate for everything decent about America, including its Constitution, democratic institutions, traditions, and heroes. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, they have shamelessly gone out of their way to slander the good name of George Herbert Walker Bush within hours of the death of this great American patriot.

These narcissistic ideologues on the Left care nothing about the feelings of the late president’s grieving family, friends, colleagues, and the many millions of Americans who admired his heroism and devotion to public service. They care only about imposing their own twisted political pathology on the rest of us.



Grand theft election in California

Back on election night, Republicans were heading for victories in California. Three weeks later, Paul Ryan lamented, “we lost every close race.” For the outgoing House Speaker, it “defies logic,” and quite possibly election law as well. 

This year California legalized “ballot harvesting,” which empowers a third party to collect ballots and deliver them to election officials. The more than 250,000 election day vote-by-mail drop-offs were also the result of ballot harvesting. And the Election Integrity Project California found discrepancies in the totals of poll and mail ballots cited by the state and four counties in southern California.

“It shouldn’t ‘defy logic’ that elections officials are meticulous in counting every eligible ballot,” California secretary of state Alex Padilla told reporters.  “California works to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for. In the most populous state in the nation — and the state with the largest number of registered voters — this takes time.”

According to Padilla, “in California, we believe in an inclusive and accessible democracy,” and

“provide voters as many opportunities as possible to cast their ballots.” These include “no-excuse vote by mail, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and early voting.”

Padilla talked up the “accuracy and integrity of our elections” but wasn’t about to allow any independent group to investigate the possibility of voter fraud. This was not a new development.

California’s 2015 “motor voter” law empowered the Department of Motor Vehicles automatically to register as voters those who get driver’s licenses. Secretary of State Alex Padilla claimed that protocols and “firewalls” would keep ineligibles from voting, but there was room for reasonable doubt. After the 2016 election, Padilla refused to release any information to a federal probe of voter fraud, which he called a “false and debunked” claim.

For the 2018 election, Padilla expected “millions of new voters on the rolls in the state of California.” True to form, by March, 2018, the DMV had issued licenses to more than one million illegals and from April to August registered 182,000 “new voters.” Padilla isn’t saying how many illegals actually voted or how many illegal ballots were among those “harvested” to flip close races for Democrats.

Instead of investigating, the state’s slavishly pro-Democrat establishment media pins the results on anti-Trump backlash. Politicians and pundits also ignore the state’s voting history.  California voted for Ronald Reagan as governor and except for Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Republican presidential candidates won California in every election from 1952-1988. That includes Reagan’s two victories and George H.W. Bush in 1988.

In 1986, California passed Proposition 63, the Official Language of California Amendment. This measure directs the state legislature to “preserve the role of English as the state’s common language” and refrain from “passing laws which diminish or ignore the role of English as the

state’s common language.” A full 73 percent of California voters approved the measure but state officials ignored it. English proficiency is required for citizenship but in 2016, the California voter guide came in English and six other languages: Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

In 1996 voters passed Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, by a margin of 54 to 46 percent. This measure ended racial, ethnic, and gender preferences in college admissions, state employment, and state contracting. The worst offender had been the University of California and current UC president Janet Napolitano still gives preference to false-documented illegals, who get in-state tuition and even legal services.

In 1998, 60 percent of California voters passed Proposition 227, which barred bilingual education, which was really instruction entirely in Spanish for the children of illegals. By 2016, Democrats had enough votes to repeal the measure, and they looked to incoming illegals as their expanding electoral college.

According to an MIT study, the number of illegals in the United States is not 11 million but 22 million. Last year the Public Policy Institute of California pegged the number in the Golden State between 2.35 and 2.6 million, but the true figure, following the MIT model, is surely more than double.

California is a sanctuary state and offers illegals the most lavish benefits, including voter registration. That’s why the latest “caravan” is headed for California, the farthest place from Central America on the U.S.-Mexican border. Democrats are eager for a new shipment of voters. That’s why razaist attorney general Xavier Becerra threatens legal action against the Border Patrol, not the mobs of violent criminals who attack U.S. federal agents.

Meanwhile, secretary of state Alex Padilla claims accuracy and integrity in elections. On the other hand, Padilla refuses to cooperate with probes of voter fraud, declines to open up the voter rolls, and will not allow independent inspection of election results.

Without transparency, Paul Ryan has reason to doubt the results of the close races long after election night. Legitimate citizens and legal immigrants have good cause to suspect massive voter fraud, the best explanation for the electoral changes in California since the 1980s.



Fascist de Blasio shows why socialistic impulses are not made for America

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, as you may have heard, made the biggest mistake any elite leftist can. He admitted what he really believes. Lamenting the inability of his government to plan every aspect of real estate in New York City “to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be,” de Blasio identified property rights as the great obstacle to his ambitions. “What’s been hardest,” he said, “is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property.” His comments have attracted a wide range of criticism.

First of all, the mayor of New York City, the financial capital of the world, complaining about capitalism is much like the mayor of Los Angeles complaining about the entertainment industry holding his town back. If not for the centuries long embrace of private property rights in New York City, de Blasio would be mayor of an impoverished fishing village. Second, his indictment of private property seems to stop just short of trespassing his own. There is nothing stopping de Blasio from handing his multiple rental properties over to the New York City government, yet these rental properties continue to net him thousands of dollars every month.

But as out of touch and hypocritical as his statement may have been, it serves as a valuable reminder of what is really behind the current “socialist moment” within the Democratic Party. The media has made cult heroes of left wing radicals like Bernie Sanders, who are hard at work trying to create new generation of socialist extremists by extolling the virtues of failed Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and New York representative elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. De Blasio attributes this radical energy to a “socialistic impulse” in communities of people seeking “things to be planned in accordance” to their needs.

There is an impulse, but it is not socialistic. It is tyrannical, and it is not new. This tyrannical impulse lives within all of us. The desire to set ourselves apart and write special rules for others is the dark side of human nature. It is that immutable impulse, which ever leads men and nations toward ruin, that our Founding Fathers set out to harness and neutralize with the Constitution. They knew no power on earth could turn people into angels. So they consciously devised a political system of divided government and dispersed powers, and cultivated an economic system of free market capitalism, anchored in equal individual property rights.

De Blasio is absolutely right that the great threat to his ideological goals are private property and the rule of law that protects it. What really frustrates him is that in America, everyone else enjoys the same rights he does. That is the real story about the lament of the New York City mayor, and the reason that boomlet socialism is enjoying a surge on the left.

Despite what “fake news” tells you, there is nothing populist about socialism. It has never empowered the “little guy.” In socialist systems, the little guy always ends up in bread lines or behind bars.



November Jobs Report: 155,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Steady at 3.7%

The U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs in the month of November and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, according to Department of Labor (DOL) data released Friday. Wages hit 3.1 percent growth over a year in November, the first time in nearly a decade that wages have broken the 3 percent benchmark. Wage growth held steady at 3.1 percent through November from a year before.

The 3 percent benchmark has not been hit in year-over-year wage growth since April 2009. The increase in wages is an effect of the historically tight labor market as employers offer better pay to attract workers, The Wall Street Journal reported.



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

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


9 December, 2018

Our Ignorance of Socialism Is Dangerous

Walter E. Williams

A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation survey found that 51 percent of American millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist country than in a capitalist country. Only 42 percent prefer the latter.

Twenty-five percent of millennials who know who Vladimir Lenin was view him favorably. Lenin was the first premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Half of millennials have never heard of communist Mao Zedong, who ruled China from 1949 to 1959 and was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese people.

The number of people who died at the hands of Josef Stalin may be as high as 62 million. However, almost one-third of millennials think former President George W. Bush is responsible for more killings than Stalin.

By the way, Adolf Hitler, head of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people. The Nazis come in as a poor third in terms of history’s most prolific mass murderers. According to professor Rudolph Rummel’s research, the 20th century, mankind’s most brutal century, saw 262 million people’s lives destroyed at the hands of their own governments.

Young people who weren’t alive during World War II and its Cold War aftermath might be forgiven for not knowing the horrors of socialism. Some of their beliefs represent their having been indoctrinated by their K-12 teachers and college professors.

There was such leftist hate for Bush that it’s not out of the question that those 32 percent of millennials were taught by their teachers and professors that Bush murdered more people than Stalin.

America’s communists, socialists, and Marxists have little knowledge of socialist history. Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, explains this in an article for The American Conservative titled “Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins.”

Joseph Goebbels wrote in 1925, “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” This Nazi sentiment might be shared by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his comrade Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. Goebbels added, “I think it is terrible that we and the communists are bashing in each other’s heads.”

When the tragedies of socialist regimes—such as those in Venezuela, the USSR, China, Cuba, and many others—are pointed out to America’s leftists, they hold up Sweden as their socialist role model. But they are absolutely wrong about Sweden.

Johan Norberg points this out in his documentary “Sweden: Lessons for America?” Americans might be surprised to learn that Sweden’s experiment with socialism was a relatively brief flirtation, lasting about 20 years and ending in disillusionment and reform.

Reason magazine reports:

Sweden began rolling back government in the early 1990s, recapturing the entrepreneurial spirit that made it a wealthy country to begin with. High taxation and a generous array of government benefits are still around. But now it’s also a nation of school vouchers, free trade, open immigration, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws.

School vouchers, light business regulation, and no minimum wage laws are practices deeply offensive to America’s leftists.

Our young people are not the first Americans to admire tyrants and cutthroats. W.E.B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian in 1953, said, “Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature.” Walter Duranty called Stalin “the greatest living statesman” and “a quiet, unobtrusive man.”

There was even leftist admiration for Hitler and fellow fascist Benito Mussolini. When Hitler came to power in January 1933, George Bernard Shaw described him as “a very remarkable man, a very able man.” President Franklin Roosevelt called Mussolini “admirable,” and he was “deeply impressed by what he [had] accomplished.”

In 1972, John Kenneth Galbraith visited communist China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system. His Harvard University colleague John K. Fairbank believed that America could learn much from the Cultural Revolution, saying, “Americans may find in China’s collective life today an ingredient of personal moral concern for one’s neighbor that has a lesson for us all.”

Are Americans who admire the world’s most brutal regimes miseducated or stupid? Or do they have some kind of devious agenda?



Allen West: Progressive, Socialist Left Will Use and Forget Anyone to Attain Control, Power

I have previously shared on this platform the three branches of rule for the progressive, socialist left. If you recall, they are, academia, courts, and the media. It is vital to have an organization like the Media Research Center (“MRC”), for whom I am a Senior Fellow, that evidences the bias emanating from the liberal, progressive media. There can be no further debate that the leftist media has become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the progressive, socialist left. They have seemingly lost their sense of objectivity and focus more on being a propaganda wing of the Democratic Party, and their distortions of the truth enable the leftist mob.

Case in point: last weekend the leftist media was up in arms about our U.S. Border Patrol agents using a non-lethal means, tear gas, to disperse violent protests at our southern border. These were protests where rocks and bottles were being thrown, and our border was forcibly breached. What did the left-leaning media focus on? Yes, they used a picture of a woman and two kids running away from a tear gas canister. First, whomever threw that canister that far needs to be a quarterback in the NFL. However, it was a branch of the MRC, Newsbusters, that reminded us all that during the Obama administration they used tear gas and pepper spray along the border against rioters.

Ya know, it’s just another little fact that it appears the left-leaning media did not want to disclose.

And so, it is, we are just about a month away from having a new Congress sworn in, one which will include a Democratic House majority. So, during my Sunday morning five mile run, I thought about it: How much will the liberal, progressive media not disclose as we go into this new House majority?

I remember a 1985 song by one of my favorite rock bands, Simple Minds, called “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” It was a song on the soundtrack to the movie “The Breakfast Club.” But as I pondered this new Democratic House majority, I had some interesting thoughts.

As we know, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) will be the incoming Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Nadler has already made it rather clear that he will be seeking an investigation, and potential impeachment, of newly seated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Hmm, has anyone thought about how abjectly absurd that would be? On what grounds, basis, would Chairman Nadler seek to impeach Justice Kavanaugh? At this time there have been no rulings issued from this current court. Oh, that’s right, the left still believes Justice Kavanaugh is guilty of something. How very perplexing, and odd, that we have not heard the media chirping about Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, and Julie Swetnick? These women, who were front and center in the leftist news, have, it seems, all been forgotten. But there is one thing we can say, these allegations brought forward appear to have been false. So, will Chairman Nadler be looking into that or is this just to be forgotten. Based upon what we have seen in the leftist news media, they have moved on, forgotten it.

Then there is incoming House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Lord knows this guy will be all over the TV cameras even more so now. His focus will certainly be on the illusive, “Bigfoot”-like, Russian collusion story. I mean, two years into this and what has been revealed? Ahh, but ‘We are so close,’ the leftist media will tell you, to the impeachment of President Trump and the infamous smoking gun. Most recently, the liberal, progressive media has been salivating over the guilty plea of former Trump businessman attorney Michael Cohen. However, this is an individual who has just about as much credibility as a hungry rattlesnake telling a mouse it is on a diet.

For some odd reason, I do not think we will hear Chairman Schiff talking at all about these names – Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Paige, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS.

Yes, these are more names that it appears the liberal, progressive media has forgotten. As a matter of fact, if you try and enter into a discussion with someone who patronizes the leftist media and ask them of these names, you will get the most disturbing “deer in the headlights” look. And of course, the response will be, “that’s just a Fox News made up lie.” Let’s be honest, the only folks who had anything to do with Russian collusion were those who coordinated with Russian operatives to produce what appears to have been a false, politicized, dossier that was used to create a FBI investigation by way of presenting to the FISA court under omission of certain disclosures.

I just do not think this will be a priority for Chairman Adam Schiff or incoming House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings. And thanks to a complicit leftist media and the social media platforms that undoubtedly are censoring constitutional conservative speech, thoughts, perspectives, and insights, the message will be controlled as to what the progressive socialists want disclosed.

These are very dangerous times in these United States of America. I will go back and reiterate that we still have no one being held responsible for Americans being abandoned to die in a combat zone attacked by Islamic jihadists – four Americans lost their lives: Amb. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Ty Woods, and Glen Doherty. Their souls still cry out, “Don’t you forget about me.” But when it comes to the progressive, socialist left, it is all about their ideological agenda. They will use and forget anyone they please in their quest for one simple objective: control, power.

I admonish you to remember these names. Don’t forget them, as you will not be hearing of them anymore, but they must resonate.

Those names are Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Paige, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, and Fusion GPS. We hear at the Media Research Center will not forget those names, and we will continue to stand guard against the liberal, progressive media and their insidious propaganda machine.

Yes, our First Amendment advocates for a Free Press, but only we can ensure that we have a responsible press. Don’t you forget about that.

Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is the author of  “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.” He pens a daily column for his personal website at theoldschoolpatriot.com.



Is It Time to Punish False Accusers?

Should deliberately false reports of sexual assault be subject to the same legal penalties as false reports of other felonies? Right now, accusers who lie about sexual abuse are criminally liable for filing a false report and perjury, as well as civil sanctions for defamation, but legal consequences rarely occur.

The question was spotlighted by the accusations surrounding Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It was clear during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing: An accusation of sexual assault can devastate a man’s life, family and future. Those who reject the account of his main accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, don’t suggest bringing legal proceedings against her. A sincere report of sexual abuse should not be penalized for being confused or mistaken.

Jeffrey Catalan and Julie Swetnick are different stories; in the wake of Ford’s accusations, Catalan and Swetnick claimed to have witnessed sexual abuse by Kavanaugh; Catalan quickly recanted. But the chairman of the Senate Committee that presided over Kavanaugh’s hearing has asked for an official review of the claim as a possible crime. In a NBC interview Swetnick contradicted a sworn statement to the Committee, which had implicated Kavanaugh in gang rapes. Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has called for Swetnick to be investigated and then prosecuted for perjury, if appropriate.

The debate on how to handle blatantly false accusations of sexual abuse has re-opened. Feminists argue that punishing any accuser chills the willingness of victims to come forward. Rule-of-law advocates counter that false accusations are not victimless crimes. In most cases a real person is named as an attacker and he or she confronts severe consequences. Genuine victims are also damaged by false allegations. Every lie casts a shadow of doubt over every future report of sexual assault. So legal disincentives should attach to the act of lying not merely to protect those falsely accused but also to encourage real victims to make reports.

False accusations on crime are everyday events

The danger of using the Kavanaugh hearing as a springboard for discussing false accusations is threefold: the session was highly politicized, with unrelated agendas attached; it was played out in the Senate, with the Supreme Court as a backdrop; and the true context of false accusations in everyday life may be lost. False accusations are not partisan, elite, or recent occurrences.

The recent re-evaluation grows out of a backlash that has raged on college campuses for over seven years. At some universities the battle has been much longer. In 2011, President Obama’s Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to every college that received federal funding. To continue the flow of funds colleges needed to dilute the due process that on-campus hearings offered to students accused of sexual misconduct.

The purpose: To combat sexual misconduct and to protect victims who were overwhelmingly female. Accused students were denied legal representation and the presumption of innocence, as well as standard protections of justice such as facing an accuser and questioning witnesses. As a matter of policy, accusers were to be believed.

As a result, false accusations increased—at least, that was a widespread assessment. Legal experts signed petitions in protest; lawsuits proliferated from students who had been found “guilty;” high-profile cases of false accusations rocked the media.

Finally, new Title IX guidelines were recently drawn up by the DOE’s new administration and they will be unrolled shortly. The guidelines direct colleges to restore due process rights to students accused of sexual misconduct.

The human cost of false accusations

Petitions and guidelines do not capture the human suffering that caused a rebellion against the imperative to #BelieveWomen. For that real stories are required. Consider the Flood family of Pennsylvania and their teenage son, whom the media identifies as T.F.

According to a local newspaper five girls at T.F.’s high school “terrorized” him with accusations of sexual molestation. T.F. was fired from his part-time job, “tortured in school by the other students and investigators,” expelled and “forced to endure multiple court appearances, detention in a juvenile facility, detention at home, the loss of his liberty and other damages.”

Finally, the girls confessed to lying. Why did they? One explained, “I just don’t like him...I just don’t like to hear him talk...I don’t like to look at him.” The girls have not been punished. Meanwhile, the boy is under the care of a psychologist and being schooled at home. Devastated by the experience, his parents are suing.

The Kavanaugh hearing brought the question of false accusations into people’s living rooms. That’s where the issue belongs because average and disadvantaged people need due process far more than the elite of society.

Average people have fought through centuries to gain and maintain these protections against imperious government and bad actors. The protections benefit both men and women because they stand in defense of common people. No sincere accuser, mistaken or not, should have anything to fear from impartial justice. But no intentionally false accuser should be able to bypass the protections of justice in their own self-interest.


#BelievetheWomen is the culmination of a push that began decades ago to achieve much-needed reform within the justice system. In the 1960s feminists crusaded against rape laws that brutalized women by treating them as though they were responsible for their own assaults. They weren’t and they aren’t, but the reform has gone too far. It is not an insult to ask for evidence when a crime is alleged. It is a sign of taking the accusation seriously and that’s what feminists crusaded for in the first place.



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

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


5 December, 2018

Apartheid warriors

The American Left have revived apartheid.  Apartheid had at its core a classification of races and the application of disadvantageous policies to some of them.  With their constant obsession with race, the American Left are their heirs.  They are constantly trying to drive ethnic groups in America into antagonism towards one another -- with cries of racism, discrimination, white supremacy, white privilege etc.  In that they are actually worse than the old South Africans.  The original apartheid was designed to keep the peace between the races.  The American Left does its darndest to promote antagonism.

And, as in South Africa, the aim is to tear down one particular ethnic group: In this case whites.  They have very limited success at that but it's not for want of trying.  Any disadvantage that a minority person experiences, is automatically blamed on racism.  Leftists are constantly telling poor blacks: "You bin discriminated against".  "White racism is what is holding you back".  And that of course generates anger.

And the residential discrimination that characterized the original apartheid is strongly in place in America too.  Whites try to minimize their contacts with blacks by "white flight" --living in outer suburbs and exurbs and leaving blacks to the inner cities.  "Apartheid" means "apartness" and blacks and whites do largely live apart in America today.

It's not exactly the same as the old apartheid but the results are similar: White fear and black anger.  It's all part of the Leftist hatred of America and their wish to tear it down.  It parades as compassion for the less fortunate but if it there were any real compassion there, colorblind interpersonal harmony would be the aim.  Who benefits from America's racial tensions?  Nobody.  And that is the way the Left likes it.  They will stoke the flames of division any time they can.


Teaching Americans to Despise America

"Congratulations to the leftists who've taken over the nation's public education system. They're now producing generations of Americans who know little about their own country, other than that they hate it." —editorial, Investor's Business Daily

Investor's Business Daily is referring to the latest YouGov poll conducted by the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness (FLAG). It questioned 1,078 Americans aged 14 and up about their knowledge of America's history, institutions and patriotism, and one suspects most Patriot Post readers know where this is going. Like this writer, regular readers at this site are beginning to realize that younger generations of Americans increasingly see us all as anachronistic pariahs with wholly illegitimate values that must be "fundamentally transformed" — out of existence. The idea expressed by John Adams that our Constitution "was made only for a moral and religious people" and is "wholly inadequate to the government of any other" no longer resonates.

Today, morality is "relative," religion is for "bitter clingers," and it's likely a majority of young Americans have never heard of John Adams. Older generations of Americans have been reduced to being proverbial keepers of the flame, hoping this nation can outlast the tsunami of orchestrated ignorance so all-encompassing that even "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is cannon-fodder for the terminally offended.

Thus, the survey's key findings are completely unsurprising:

Half of those surveyed believe the United States is sexist (50%) and racist (49%)

46% of younger Americans do not agree that "America is the greatest country in the world"

38% of younger Americans do not agree that "America has a history that we should be proud of"

One in eight (14%) of Millennials agree that "America was never a great country and it never will be"

46% of younger Americans agree that "America is more racist than other countries"

84% of Americans do not know the specific rights enumerated in the First Amendment

19% of Millennials believe that the American flag is "a sign of intolerance and hatred"

44% of younger Americans believe Barack Obama had a "bigger impact" on America than George Washington

There is a political agenda underlying every activity — an agenda historian Victor Davis Hanson accurately describes as a "progressive synopticon" where the 40-45% of traditional Americans are "relentlessly lectured, sermonized, demonized, and neutered by a 360- degree ring of prying institutional overseers."

Overseers determined to institutionalize contempt for America in general, and its exceptional nature in particular.

The late Andrew Breitbart once observed that politics is "downstream" from culture. Everything is downstream from education, and four years of "seed planting" has been expanded to 13 years, if one goes from kindergarten through the 12th grade, and 17 years if one goes on to attend one of the Marxist finishing schools purporting to be colleges.

In a column entitled, "Here's What College Freshmen Are Reading," NPR reveals how the bedrock principles of Western civilization and our constitutional republic have been supplanted by a curriculum of identity politics. The classic literature that used to be the backbone of a legitimate education? As the National Association of Scholars reveals, "67 percent of common reading books assigned were published after 2011."

Of course they were. One can only imagine the consternation that might arise if those same students were required to read something like the collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay known as The Federalist Papers. No doubt they would be astonished to discover that men routinely dismissed by many of their "woke" professors as "dead, white slave owners" had incredibly keen insight with regard to human nature. Those same students might even be embarrassed to discover that such complex ideas were published in newspapers and read by ordinary citizens.

Yet barring self-discovery, they will never know any of it. Today it is far more important to be well-versed in the politics of victimization, group grievances, genderism, racism, white supremacy, etc. Better to hate America for the sin of slavery than celebrate the enormous effort undertaken to eradicate it. Better to celebrate the "glory" of socialism while remaining largely contemptuous of the capitalism that lifted more people out of poverty than any other economic system in the history of the planet. Better to be so bereft of economic acumen that the idea of "free" anything actually resonates. Better to be younger Americans obsessed with "rights" even as only 11% of high schoolers could name those enumerated in the First Amendment.

Better to assume that anyone who disagrees with you is not wrong, but evil.

Given the popularity of moral relativism, the irony is stupendous. Nonetheless, reducing one's opponents to evil is, by far, the most useful convention employed by those invested in upending everything that does not align itself with progressive dogma. If one is evil, debate becomes unnecessary, and the ends of eradicating such evil justify the means for doing so — even when those means engender a justice system wholly contaminated by double standards.

"We suspected that we would find decreasing numbers of Americans well-versed in our nation's most important principles and young people less patriotic than the generations that came before, but we were totally unprepared for what our national survey reveals: an epidemic of anti-Americanism," stated FLAG founder Nick Adams.

Adams is naive. The opposite of anti-Americanism is pro-globalism, and it's time Americans (who still want to be Americans) realize the ongoing bastardization of traditions, morals, law, language, culture, and borders — along with the unconscionable student data collection taking place in America's classrooms — is all part of the same agenda. One cannot make a globalist omelet without breaking nationalist eggs, and nothing is more important than making sure America's youth are ready to "transition" from being proudly American to being "citizens of the world."

As the survey demonstrates, it is a transition well under way.

While the Senate is still controlled by Republicans, it would behoove those members of the GOP who still believe in national sovereignty to conduct nationally televised hearings exposing this agenda. Hearings that should be considered the beginning of a wholesale pushback. A pushback that must continue until the restoration of our founding principles takes hold. We have abided the wholesale inculcation of ideological conformity in lieu of independent thinking, as well as the legitimization of emotion over reason, for far too long.



Judge Gets Federalism Backwards on Sanctuary Cities

A NY judge blocks Trump's withholding of federal funding from "sanctuary" cities and states.

Yet again, a judicial despot has blocked one of President Donald Trump’s immigration actions. This time, a federal judge in New York ruled against Trump’s decision to withhold federal funding from cities or states that enact illegal-alien-harboring “sanctuary” policies. Again, Trump isn’t trying to change those laws; he’s just defunding cities and states that have them. In the ruling, however, Judge Edgardo Ramos wrote that “the separation of powers acts as a check on tyranny and the concentration of power.” Unfortunately, Ramos’s understanding and application of the Constitution’s separation of powers principle is, well, unconstitutional.

Separation of powers begins from the understanding that everything is under state and local jurisdiction unless specifically delineated by the Constitution to be a responsibility of the federal government. In this case, the issue of immigration — who is and is not allowed entry into the nation — comes under the purview of the federal government, not that of the individual states — much less cities. Logically, if individual states are free to set their own policies on immigration enforcement, what’s to stop one state’s polices from colliding with that of another state? Confusion and conflict will abound. Like national defense, immigration enforcement rightly falls under the authority of the federal government. Ramos gets federalism backwards.

Democrats and leftists are disingenuously using federalism in a bid to gain power. The irony is that their globalist agenda would end federalism, replacing it with a top-down elitist form of globalist socialism, which they love to preach as being more democratic. Communists have been playing the one-party-rule game for a long time now.

Meanwhile, Texas just filed a lawsuit against the city of San Antonio and its police chief for violating the state’s 2017 law banning sanctuary cities. According to Ramos’s understanding, would a city government have greater authority than the state government to create laws that impact the entire state, not to mention the entire country?



Barmaid Sandra attacks Sarah Sanders For No Reason At All, Implies She’s A Liar

I believe she was popular as a barmaid.  With all due respect to barmaids that is about her level

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attacked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and implied she’s a liar for no reason at all.

On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez compared her election victory to “establishing civil rights” and the United States landing on the moon.

“We went to the moon. We electrified the nation,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We established civil rights. We enfranchised the country. We digged deep and we did it. We did it when no one else thought that we could. That’s what we did when so many of us won an election this year.”

In response, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — the father of Sarah Sanders — mocked Ocasio-Cortez for the absurd claim that her election victory in the deep blue New York district was comparable to some of America’s greatest achievements.

“Ocasio-Cortez compares her election to moon landing. Huh? Big difference. Moon landing was LUNAR, not LOONEY; Moon landing done by ppl who knew what they were doing…those who elected someone who thought there were 3 branches of Congress did NOT,” Huckabee wrote on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez responding by attacking Huckabee’s daughter and calling Trump’s press secretary a liar.

“A Green New Deal will take a level of ambition + innovation on the scale of the moon landing. We’ve been done it before, and can do it again. Leave the false statements to Sarah Huckabee. She’s much better at it. Also, you haven’t been a Governor of any state for 10+ years now,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez didn’t specify what “false statements” Sanders has made, but it’s just one of many bizarre claims the New York socialist has made recently.


To use a popular Australian metaphor: She wouldn't know if you were up her.


Trump’s $5B Border Wall Request Equals 0.11% of Federal Spending

President Donald Trump’s $5 billion request for funds to use building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border equals 0.11 percent of the estimated $4.5 trillion the federal government is expected to spend this fiscal year.

According to the Monthly Treasury Statement for October, the Office of Management and Budget has estimated that the federal government will spend a total of $4,509,641,000,000 in fiscal 2019, which started on Oct. 1.

President Trump is now asking Congress to approve $5 billion in the fiscal 2019 Department of Homeland Security appropriation to fund border wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That $5,000,000,000 would equal 0.11 percent of the anticipated total federal spending of $4,509,641,000,000.

To put the president’s border wall request in perspective, the federal government spent $5.587 billion in the month of October alone for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, AKA food stamps. Thus, funding food stamps for just the first month of fiscal 2019 cost more than Trump’s entire fiscal 2019 request for border wall funding.

Over all of fiscal 2018, the federal government spent $68,493,00,000 on food stamps, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. Thus, the most recent full year of the food stamp program cost about 13.7 times as much as Trump’s border wall request.

The Homeland Security Appropriation bill that the House Appropriations Committee approved in July included $5,000,000,000 for the border wall.

“The bill includes $5,000,000,000 for new border technology and the construction of over $200 miles of new barriers to fill critical gaps along our Southwest border,” says the committee’s report on the bill.

The version of the Homeland Security Appropriation approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, however, says that only “$1,600,000,000 shall be available for approximately 65 miles of pedestrian fencing along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) indicated this week that he will not support $5 billion for the border wall.

“[T]he $1.6 billion for border security negotiated by Democrats and Republicans is our position,” Schumer said at a Tuesday press briefing. “We believe that is the right way to go. … [I]f there’s any shutdown, it’s on the President Trump’s staff.”

“The Republicans are in control of the presidency, the House and the Senate, a shutdown is on their back,” said Schumer. “Stick to the $1.6 billion.”



Mexico's new president signs deal to stop migrants

In one of his first acts in office, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has signed an agreement with his counterparts from three Central American countries to establish a development plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.

The Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the plan includes a fund to generate jobs in the region and aims to attack the structural causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Thousands of migrants, mostly Hondurans, have joined caravans in recent weeks in an effort to speed through Mexico to request refuge at the U.S. border.

Dozens of migrants interviewed by The Associated Press have said they are fleeing poverty and violence in their countries of origin.



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

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


4 December, 2018

The Left’s Election Day Analysis: If We Lost, They Must’ve Cheated

A disturbing trend is emerging from the political left: When their candidates lose elections, rather than accept lawful defeat, they denounce the election itself.

In 2016, they explained away President Donald Trump’s victory as the product of Russian meddling. Now, they are blaming election losses in Florida and Georgia on “voter suppression” and other sinister acts.

In Florida, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum walked back his election night concession, claiming “tens of thousands of votes have yet to be counted,” and told supporters that a “vote denied is justice denied.”

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, described the Georgia gubernatorial race as biased against Democrat Stacey Abrams, claiming that if Abrams “had a fair election, she already would have won.” Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, announced that Abrams’ apparent defeat was a sure sign that Republicans “stole” her election.

Sure enough, when the final tally gave the victory to Republican Brian Kemp, Abrams refused to concede, because “concession means to acknowledge an action is right, true or proper.” Instead, Abrams blamed her defeat on Kemp’s supposed “suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote.”

Such pronouncements are creating a dangerous perception within liberal ranks that electoral defeat automatically equals electoral theft. For years, the left has denounced election integrity measures as tantamount to disenfranchisement. Now they are saying the same thing about electoral defeats.

This sort of rhetoric can have profound — and dangerous — consequences. Democracy works only when the people have confidence that the electoral process is free and fair, and the outcome is valid. Sometimes, to be sure, this is not the case.

The Heritage Foundation election fraud database presently has 1,147 proven instances of fraud. Several of these cases involve elections that were overturned because enough fraudulent ballots had been cast to alter the outcome.

But there is a key distinction between those cases and liberals’ new accusations: proof.

Winning a court case to invalidate an election on the basis of fraud requires gathering significant evidence, and demonstrating, for example, that ballots were tampered with, that voters were bribed or coerced, or that elections officials rigged the results. Convicting someone on criminal election fraud charges requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

It’s a high bar to meet, leagues beyond the reckless and unsubstantiated allegations erupting after the Florida and Georgia elections. Consider the facts.

After a machine recount, in the Florida gubernatorial race, Ron DeSantis’ 33,683 vote lead over Gillum had hardly moved at all.

And in Georgia, the left’s claims that Kemp was overseeing insidious vote suppression efforts seem nonsensical, given that voter turnout actually skyrocketed.

According to FiveThirtyEight.com, 55 percent of all eligible Georgia voters cast a ballot: “21 points higher than the state’s 1982-2014 average. That was the biggest change from the average of any state.” Exit polls indicate that minority turnout in the state may also have set records.

Still, Abrams declared to supporters that “democracy failed Georgia.” Not quite. A more apt summation of the election would be that “liberals are failing democracy.”

Telling voters that elections are only fair when their party wins sets up every election to be discounted by one side or the other. It foments distrust and dissension, and it feeds the vitriol that already pervades so many aspects of modern politics.

Some political strategists might hope that de-legitimizing the electoral process will frighten and enrage the liberal base, increase turnout, and pay dividends in 2020. If true, then the left’s cynical gamble on “voter suppression” rhetoric would be a great irony.

But for all the temptations of that approach, we can and should hope that the rhetoric of the last few weeks — overheated, baseless, and reckless as it has been — will fall by the wayside.

Even today, in an age of division and zero-sum politics, there remains something more important than winning elections: keeping our democracy.



Trump Keeps Promise to Farmers, China Folds in Negotiations

China will increase its purchases of a broad range of American products under an agreement that will stave off a tariff increase President Donald Trump had planned to impose on Jan. 1, officials announced Saturday.

China agreed to buy “a very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, according to Politico.

China will “start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately,” Sanders said.

In her statement, she said that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping “agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”

Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding the President’s Working Dinner with China:

The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and President Xi Jinping of China, have just concluded what both have said was a “highly successful meeting” between themselves and their most...

“Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent,” she said.

Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that Chinese citizens selling the drug are subject to China’s maximum penalty, Sanders said in the statement, according to the White House media press pool.

The move represents a crackdown on the deadly synthetic opioid which kills well over 100 people a day in the U.S.

The decision came after a meeting between American and Chinese officials at the G20 summit in Argentina.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China,” Trump said. “It is my great honor to be working with President Xi.”

At the summit meeting, Trump emphasized the positive nature of his relationship with Xi, New York Times reported. “The relationship is very special — the relationship that I have with President Xi,” he said. “I think that is going to be a very primary reason why we’ll probably end up with getting something that will be good for China and good for the United States,” he said.

Xi also offered an upbeat assessment of his partnership with Trump. “Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”



These Liberal Hypocrites Build Walls Around Their Own Houses

Hillary Clinton has a border wall around her Chappaqua estate.

Although, in fairness, shouldn’t every crooked (former) federal official who houses an illegal email server in their basement spare no expense trying to keep intruders away from the classified information they’re mishandling?

I mean she can’t have anyone get in there and expose what really happened in Benghazi or what her State Department did to Julian Assange, can she?

In fact, it seems that Assange too might benefit from a wall around the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since a would-be intruder apparently tried to break in there the other day.

Maybe someone should ask Mrs. Clinton a question or two about that … under oath.

Further, the Clintons aren’t the only folks talking smack about President Donald Trump’s border wall from safely within their own fortresses of liberal hypocrisy.

Check out the walls surrounding many of the dorms at Harvard University.

I wonder, how many anti-border-wall antifa protesters “raise the drawbridge” before they retire there for the night.

Indeed, one wonders why Harvard built these walls in the first place given that the university already fields its own private deputized police force and has strategically placed emergency call boxes what seems like every 10 feet throughout its campus.

And Cambridge, Massachusetts is hardly as violent as other Democratic city strongholds like Chicago.

So, given that Harvard’s campus already seems better protected than the border, why the walls?

Regardless, for a bunch of people who are pretty outspoken against building walls, this group sure seems to like having their own.

I wonder, how would they feel about their walls, if it was them and their cohorts exposed to the whims of whoever decided to drop by unannounced — kind of like the rest of America?

Might they demand someone build something to protect them?

Methinks that they might.



The House GOP Just Got a Whole Lot Trumpier

The RINOs are out and the Trumpies are ascendant. It’ll be good theater. But will it be good for the GOP?

With Rep. Kevin McCarthy poised to become the next minority leader in the House of Representatives, Donald Trump will get his first handpicked congressional leader.

Unlike Speaker Paul Ryan, whom Trump inherited, McCarthy has seamlessly transitioned from establishment “young gun” to being (as Trump has called him) “my Kevin.” He owes his position to Trump.

To skeptics who are wondering what might change (isn’t it already Trump’s party?), there will no longer even be the pretense that House Republicans will pursue an independent agenda. Trump now controls at least one-and-a-half branches of government.

The big question is whether Trump wants to wage war (as revenge for investigations) or whether he issues an edict to cut some deals on things like infrastructure (doubtful). If Trump chooses the former, he will have a loyal contingent in the House to serve as his surrogates. And remember, being in the minority can be fun. Absent the responsibility to actually prevent crisis (see the debt ceiling) a minority party can engage in high jinks and extract concessions and compromises.

Like a meddling NFL owner watching the game from above in a press box, Trump will be phoning in some of the plays.

Remember the days when Republican leaders and presidents had to deal with those pesky conservative insurgents? Yeah, that doesn’t exist anymore. In the House, Trump now owns both the conservative revolutionaries and the Republican establishment. That’s because most of anti-Trump Republicans either (a) decided against running for reelection or (b) were (ironically) defeated because of the anti-Trump backlash in the suburbs.

Although the percentage of Republicans in House will be smaller starting in 2019, the percentage of “Trumplicans” within the GOP caucus will have increased. The result is a leaner and (literally) meaner GOP caucus. It’s an Army of Trumps.

Jim DeMint once declared that he’d “rather have 30 Marco Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters.” That was when Rubio was considered a Tea Party conservative revolutionary and Specter a liberal Republican. But the premise—that purity and combativeness mean more than having a majority—is something that Donald Trump might endorse. Nobody said remaking the party in his image wouldn’t require sacrifices and setbacks.

McCarthy’s ascension, though, isn’t the only indicator for just how Trump-tastic we can expect the GOP House caucus to get. Given that Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney are both unchallenged for their leadership posts (minority whip and House GOP conference chair, respectively), there is likely no room for a more moderate "anti-Trump" alternative.

Trumpism, it seems, is the only game in town.

Trump also reportedly is helping Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, former chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, become ranking member on the Judiciary Committee. As Politico noted, during a recent interview on Fox News, “Jordan cited conservative priorities like repealing the Affordable Care Act, building Trump's long-promised wall along the southern border…”



The stomach-turning 'ballot-harvesting' that enabled Democrats to walk off with California

The picture emerging from California's election is grotesque. How again did Democrats engineer their strange midterm victory in Orange County and in other traditionally Republican areas? In that election, apparently winning Republican candidates were all unseated as the ballots just kept arriving, and arriving, and arriving, until the results flipped. Each and every time. And no such flips happened for Republicans, just Democrats, after they learned that Republicans were winning. And Democrats say it's just 'counting all the votes.'

Welcome to ballot-harvesting.

Attorney Robert Barnes, on Twitter, noted just how problematic that new practice is: "Cali new law for 2018 election "allow anybody to walk into an elections office and hand over truckloads of vote by mail envelopes with ballots inside, no questions asked, no verified records kept. It amounts to an open invitation to large-scale vote buying, voter coercion"

Which is why it's illegal almost everywhere in the world. California, on the other hand, back in 2016, passed AB1921, a law that actually permits it. Anyone can turn in ballots now, no questions asked, no chain of custody required. Back at the time, Democrats were hollering about low turnout and how getting more turnout was a priority, even though they were running a one-party state at that time, as they are now. They painted themselves as all concerned about 'democracy' given the low rates of turnout in their districts, many of which were known as 'rotton boroughs' full of non-citizen voters. But what they really had in mind was 'ballot harvesting.' Most of the attention at the time from Republicans was focused on the involuntary registration of voters through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which has led to what was feared: the registration of illegal immigrants. But the bigger thing was going on on the outside, with the mail-in ballots nobody asked for and the apparent real purpose for these unasked for and unwanted ballot, which was ... ballot-harvesting.

I sign up for every party mail list in order to read what all political sides are thinking, so I get lots of Democratic Party mail, including polls of members, which I answer, probably horrifying Democrats who open such returned polls, as I tell them to get rid of Obamacare. If they want to know what I think, I tell them. Could the fact that I am on those lists be the reason why I got a mail-in ballot when everyone else in my household gets sample ballots and goes to the polls on election day? Despite my Republican registration, it sure sounds like it.

This signals a grotesquely changed electoral landscape. Turns out the mail-in ballots are all that matters now, because all anyone has to do is harvest, and keep harvesting them, until Democrats get the result they want. I wrote about those lingering questions in the recent midterm here.

'Count all the ballots!' has been the Democrat rallying cry. Yet in reality, it was their defense of this sneaky little project, making anyone who doen't like it someone who wants to disenfranchise people.

It's a lie. It's not about counting all the ballots in the slightest, it's about selectively counting the ballots of only voters who fill in the Democratic slots. The Democratic operative who called herself 'Lulu' in the video clip wanted to collect only the ballot of the voter in the household who had no party affiliation, not the ballots of the Republicans, so it wasn't about counting all the ballots, it was about counting all the Democratic ballots and the ballots of those on the fence who could be muscled into voting Democrat. She after all, offered to 'help' that voter, which we all know means the ballot would be filled out a certain way. Oh and here's another goodie in this: Ballots can be harvested and mailed even on election day, when the counts are happening and Democrats can see which candidates are performing weakly.

The operatives can be dispatched like flying monkeys to those districts to intrude on the private spaces of voters who maybe didn't want to vote or who were planning to go to the polls in the evening, and 'harvest' those votes. And you can bet a certain number of those ballots would be cast by people who were afraid of consequences if they didn't vote the way that ballot harvestor standing at the door wanted them to vote. After all, the harvesters, by coming to the homes, signaled they knew where the voters lived, and theoretically, many of these voters could have been illegal immigrants registered whether they liked it or not by the DMV to vote. Oh, and could the operative have steamed open the ballots to see how those people voted and make sure they were delivering the votes? With zero chain of custody rules, they certainly could.



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

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


3 December, 2018

Leftist Hate has no boundaries and no shame

Alaska was hit with a major earthquake Friday morning measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale. According to Fox News, there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, but there was some pretty serious damage — particularly given that it struck close to Alaska’s biggest city, Anchorage.

“The impact is very real, the impact is very hard, and it will require apparently a great deal of recovery and effort,” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said.

“There are homes without power. There is some concern that you may have gas line breaks that could lead to potential further disasters.”

Among those whose homes were affected by the earthquake was former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. So of course people wished her well and hoped things — oh wait, no, of course they didn’t. This is social media and liberal Twitter is horrible. RedState collected some of the better (and by that I mean worse) responses:

"Good. You and your whole TRASHY family deserve it". Yes, because there’s clearly nothing trashy about wishing ill upon the family of a political figure you don’t like.

But, hey, it made theists of some: "Proof that there is a God?"

Oh, and then there were the jokes about Palin’s troubled son, Track: "You sure those tremors weren’t from Track taking a baseball bat to your house?"

And there were standard-issue awful people: "Good. You deserved that"

Two responses really stuck out for me, however:

"I'm very glad your family is safe, also that you have to deal with what your partys pro oil drilling stance does to poor people. Maybe now you'll take a stand against efforts to increase drilling in Alaska? But prolly not"

So what does this have to do with drilling? Well, who knows? Maybe drilling caused the earth’s plates to shift or something.  You know what else can do that? Climate change, apparently:

"So sorry! Perhaps you’ll begin listening to science and climate change. It’s been knocking at your door"

It would be funny if the situation weren’t so serious.



Another hate-filled Leftist

On the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives on Tuesday,  a Democratic representative literally wished death upon the family of one of her Republican colleagues during a debate over a bill.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the debate was centered on a bill passed earlier in the year that would raise the limit on damage claims — from $100,000 to $2 million — for the families of about a dozen veterans who’d died from outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease at an Illinois veterans home.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner had amended and vetoed the bill — he reduced the raised limit from $2 million to $300,000 — and the House was holding a vote to override that veto … which it ultimately did by a vote of 71-36. (The state Senate voted for the override two weeks ago, the Tribune reported.)

During Tuesday’s debate, outgoing state House Republican leader Rep. Peter Breen had objected to overriding the veto, citing the fact that details of how the bill would work were sparse and the state had no idea how much the increased payouts would actually cost.

That’s when Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit launched her disgusting diatribe and death wish against Breen and his family on the House floor.

Kifowit said of Breen, “I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one, so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately DIE!“



Trump’s Unwavering Tie to Israel Is Astoundingly Genuine

By Rabbi Aryeh Spero

On Tuesday, during an interview with The Washington Post, President Trump declared, “We wish to remain in the Middle East region for our interests and for Israel.”

It is once again apparent that President Trump has a deeply felt and unwavering tie to the Jewish state and the safety and viability of her citizens. His profuse commitment to Israel, and thus the Jewish people, is singular among Presidents. It is astoundingly genuine.

His commitment to Israel and the Jewish people continues despite the constant drumbeat against him from too many of the establishment liberal Jewish organizations here in America. He courageously, and with compassion, visited the Pittsburgh synagogue where in late October 11 Jews were gunned down. He did this despite the hostile, divisive, and obnoxious slogans and press releases made against him by liberal Jewish groups demanding that he not come.

By now it is obvious that liberal Jewish groups will always come up with some reason to criticize Mr. Trump’s actions no matter how sincere and good he may be. They simply don’t want him to succeed. They have an absolute devotion to leftwing ideology and causes, which guide them and are, for them, far more important than the interests of Jewish survival, Israel, and American continuity.



Alan Dershowitz: An Emblem of our National Crisis

The iconic figure in the battle to preserve this great democracy.

David Horowitz

I have admired Alan Dershowitz ever since I picked up a copy of his first book The Best Defense over thirty years ago, and read its opening words. “The difference,” he wrote, between Perry Mason’s clients and mine is that mine are guilty.” And then he explained why it was important to provide the guilty the best defense. It was to keep the prosecution – the government – honest.

Although Alan is a liberal – and he and I would probably disagree over many issues – when you think about it this idea is the bedrock of the conservative outlook. As conservatives, we believe that the root cause of social problems is not “society,” but us - our flawed nature as human beings. The people who are in government have the same impulses to lie, cheat, steel and destroy, as those they are prosecuting. But because they have the power of the state behind them, they are potentially even more dangerous than their targets. And that is why keeping them honest and holding them to the rules, to the process and the law is such a vital task in our democracy. And it is why Alan Dershowitz, a liberal and lifelong Democrat, is such an important figure to our nation in its present political crisis.

It is a tragedy for our nation that the Democratic Party itself is no longer a liberal party, committed to due process and individual rights. It has been taken over by a progressive cohort and ideology, that does not believe the root cause of our social problems is the flawed nature of individuals but instead is the oppressive nature of groups based on race, gender and sexual orientation. The disgraceful witch-hunts of President Donald Trump and Judge Brett Kavanaugh reveal a party that does not believe in due process, or innocent until proven guilty, but is comfortable with guilt by race and gender, and guilt by accusation. If the beliefs that inspire these attitudes prevail our still young republic is over.

That is why I believe Alan Dershowitz is an iconic figure – even the iconic figure - in the battle to preserve this great democracy, and restore its founding principles of equality, fairness, and respect for the rule of law. Alan is both a liberal and a Democrat – the two no longer synonymous. Today he is respected by political conservatives and vilified by progressives as the chief defender of President Trump, who is the target of a seditious attempt by the leaders of Alan’s own party to impeach and overthrow him.

So disrespectful of due process are these Democratic leaders that they have constantly invoked the 25th Amendment as grounds for impeachment. This is an amendment that was specifically designed to remove presidents incapacitated by strokes and similar catastrophic events. No one in his right mind can think that Donald Trump, who has accomplished more in his first two years in office than any president in memory, is a stroke victim.

Because Alan is a lifelong Democrat and his community of lifetime friends reflects the progressive currents that have overtaken his Party, he has been shunned and attacked by the circles he moves in. To be Alan Dershowitz requires remarkable courage, integrity, and commitment to principle – and dedication to the ingenious design of the American founders. In this time of national crisis, Alan Dershowitz is an American hero, and a beacon for a hopeful American future

The way, finally, I see Alan can be summed up in this thought: If the leaders of the Democratic Party were to become liberals like Alan Dershowitz, we would still have a two-party system, but our nation’s crisis would be over, and our democracy restored.



The Hidden Hand Behind the Migrant 'Caravan'

A look at the history and agendas of Pueblo Sin Fronteras.

On Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people at the forefront of the horde of Central American migrants that has been headed toward the United States for the past several weeks, stormed past past Mexican riot police and rushed the U.S. border at the port of entry in San Ysidro, California. Many of them threw rocks at U.S. authorities and were repelled by rounds of tear gas shot by border agents. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency reports that some of the would-be border-crossers “attempted to illegally enter the U.S. through both the northbound and southbound vehicle lanes at the port of entry itself” but “were stopped and turned back to Mexico.”

The entity chiefly responsible for organizing and leading this horde of migrants – euphemistically dubbed a “caravan” by most media outlets – is Pueblo Sin Fronteras (PSF, “People Without Borders”), a Chicago-based nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Roberto Corona, a Mexican-born activist dedicated to promoting the rights of illegal aliens in the United States. PSF is a sister group to two other Chicago-based entities, Centro Sin Fronteras (CSF) and its outgrowth, La Familia Latina Unida (LFLU, “The United Latin Family”).

PSF is a member of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), which seeks to “protect and expand [the] civil, labor, and human rights” of day laborers in America, of whom approximately 75% are illegal aliens. Moreover, NDLON aims to “mobilize” and “organize” these workers as a unified, politically active demographic, and to force employers to establish “safer more humane environments” wherein day laborers can “earn a living” that enables them to “contribute to society and integrate into the community.”

Describing itself as “a collective of friends” who stand “in permanent solidarity with displaced peoples,” PSF began leading caravans of migrants and refugees from Central America to the U.S. in 2008. The organization pledges not only to “provide humanitarian aid and legal advice” to such sojourners, but also to “build solidarity bridges among peoples and turn down border walls imposed by greed.” Its overriding objective is to “abolish borders” and facilitate the free, unregulated movement of Central American migrants into the United States.

PSF’s executive director is Emma Lozano (pictured above), a left-wing activist who serves as co-pastor of the Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago, and as the president and founder of Centro Sin Fronteras. Ms. Lozano’s late brother, the left-wing community organizer Rudy Lozano, was the father of Pepe Lozano, an activist with the Communist Party USA and the Young Communist League.

At the Lincoln United Methodist Church in 2014, PSF held a workshop that helped some 600 people apply or reapply for protection under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action of 2012, which shielded hundreds of thousands of young illegal aliens (under age 31) from deportation.

Last spring, PSF helped organize a “caravan” wherein hundreds of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America resolved to enter the United States illegally. The co-organizer of that “caravan” was the CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project, a coalition composed of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

On March 23, 2018, PSF publicized the aforementioned “caravan” by issuing a press release demanding that Mexico and the United States “respect our rights as refugees and our right to dignified work to be able to support our families”; “open the[ir] borders to us because we are as much citizens as the people of the countries where we are and/or travel”; and end all “deportations which destroy families.” Ultimately, the PSF-led group disbanded in Mexico City and never reached the United States.

The much larger PSF-led horde that attempted to breach the U.S. border on Sunday originally departed from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador about six weeks ago. When its members and organizers openly declared their intent to forcibly break American immigration and asylum laws, President Donald Trump warned the governments of those three countries that if they failed to disband this massive movement on their own soil, American foreign aid to those nations would be greatly diminished.

In an October 21 press release, PSF accused Trump and the United States of using “repressive tactics” to inflict “fear and racism” on the people of Central America. Moreover, the organization demanded that Mexico declare itself a “sanctuary country” with wide-open borders.

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland – one of many congressional Democrats who likewise have sided with the thousands of “caravan” members defying American law – has stated that the migrants  “should be allowed to come in” to the United States and “seek asylum” immediately. Cummings' position is emblematic of the fact that the Democratic Party has demonstrably and irrefutably become a party whose principal objective is to thoroughly transform the nature of the American electorate by means of open borders and the mass, unchecked importation of illiterate Third World peasants who will vote in overwhelming numbers for Democrats from now until the end of time.



Trump Didn’t Create Europe’s Resentment

He just refuses to tolerate its arrogant elites.

The history of just the last 27 years illustrates how little Trump has to do with European attitudes towards America. By the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Europe and its dreams of ever-closer integration into a larger transnational federation was a few years away. Suddenly there was geopolitical space for a new “superpower” freed from the old Cold War strictures. Though belonging to NATO and a committed ally of the U.S., increasingly by the early 90s the European elite often appeared to comprise a “non-aligned” movement committed to peace and global development. It also was open to transcending the old, Manichean communist-capitalist dichotomy that had long fretted European communists and socialists, not to mention more recent leftist parties like the Greens. Even before the collapse of the Soviets, “third way” alternatives were touted such as “Eurocommunism,” or frauds like “communism with a human face” were proposed and implemented. Of course, the Warsaw Pact peoples living under communism knew every human face had a boot eternally stamping it.

With the Soviet Union off the table, Europe could find space for greater independence and autonomy, and get out––though not completely––from under dependence on its powerful, arrogant American protector and its capitalist excesses.

Some saw dangers in this new arrangement, however. The collapse of one of the two poles suddenly left a new world: not one with two equally destructive nuclear powers precariously balanced by Mutually Assured Destruction, but one global “hyperpower,” as French foreign minister Hubert Védrine fretted. It was one thing for European elites to tolerate America’s outsized power and influence when posing as an equal partner in a defense pact to which one contributed little more than what NATO chief Lord Robertson called “military pygmies.” It was another to lose an adversarial counterbalance to that overbearing ally, some ideological leverage to use against the American bully when he got too arrogant or too inclined to go his own way. Europe needed an alternative to “American conditions,” the old anti-American shorthand for everything Americans do that Europeans don’t like, such as working too much and earning too much money, or sacrificing social justice and equality to greater profits and economic inequality.

This predicament created much angst among some European leaders in the 1990’s. But the opportunities seemed greater. The “international rules-based order” was given new authority by the disappearance of MAD, and by the U.S.’s binge of military cuts, the so-called “peace dividend.” Nor was the U.S. a “hyperpower” to worry about, for the Europeans claimed America still had a rival in the E.U. As French President Jacque Chirac instructed the world: “The bipolar we have known is finished, and the world of tomorrow will be multipolar. One of these essential poles will be Europe.” That didn’t mean, of course, spending billions on creating militaries that would give credibility to a boast like “essential.”

Then was when we started hearing more about Kantian “postmodern” foreign policy that had progressed beyond the Cold War balance of apocalyptic power. These non-lethal policies inflated the importance of Europe’s “soft-power” like culture, wealth, diplomacy, international institutions, multilateral covenants, and transnational agreements. With no existential Cold War threat, the soft-power tail began to wag the hard-power dog. The misbegotten multinational agreement on Iran’s nuclear development program remains of the best example of such “postmodern” naivete that ends the in appeasement of aggressors.

More HERE 


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

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


2 December, 2018

Ann Coulter: ‘Trump Will Be The Last Republican President’

Anne has long been critical of illegal immigration, with an emphasis on the cultural differences of the mostly Hispanic illegals.  The people who collectively support a range of corrupt fascistic and impoverishing governments in their homelands seem highly likely to support similar policies in the USA.  And the steady drift Leftward of the Democrats would seem to be enabled by that sort of support.  With their economically destructive Fascist economic policies, the Democrats could in time make the USA as poor as any Hispanic country.  So Anne is right to be concerned about that,

She is no demographer, however.  She overlooks that the USA is always receiving a large and steady flow of well-educated English speaking conservatives.  Who might they be?  They are America's young people who have put aside childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11) and recognized the wrongness of Leftism. It happens at different ages but most people do at some time come to see that Leftism is on the wrong path.  By the time you get to your '50s there are not many Leftists around.  They have nearly all become conservatives of one sort or another. Both Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan started out as liberals.

But being conservative does not guarantee a particular vote.  Self-interest and many other things go in to a voting decision  But it is nonetheless notable that in the over 45 demographic Trump beat Hillary 52% to 44%.  And many of those who voted for the Hildabeest would have been broadly conservative oldsters who thought that Democrat welfare provision would be more generous. Welfare provision is a big factor in the minds of people whose health is declining.

So that inflow of conservative Americans will tend to dilute the effect of the Hispanic inflow. But children will also be steadily turning into adults and providing a net influx to the Left.  Will they not cancel out the conservative trend of their elders?  They might but it's not looking that way. White American women seem to be having ever-fewer children so there will be fewer children to turn into Leftists.  Nearly half of the children being born in America are to non-whites and, with the exception of the Cubans, they will mostly be Left-leaning anyway.

So the situation is not quite as dire as Anne would have it.  But there is nonetheless a lot that needs to be done. Renewed efforts to get out the elderly must be made and the dire educational scene must be reformed. America's colleges and universities have become Leftist Madrassas and legislators have to find ways of neutering that -- initially via the power of the purse but also by curriculum reform and many other measures.  Ending "Studies" degrees would eliminate a large part of the problem.  Stopping all funding of such useless degrees should be a fairly simple matter. African-American studies, for instance, are both explicitly racist and would appear to do nothing to ready a student for the workforce. Lessons in hate, more like it

And abuse of the election system which we saw such a lot of in the midterms must be severely prosecuted.  Taking her retirement money away from Brenda Snipes of Broward county would set a powerful example.

And so we come to:  THE WALL.  We have to stop the inflow of Fascistically inclined Hispanics.  Fortunately, Mr Trump has made the wall his core issue so it seems likely that he will veto every single thing the Democrats propose until they talk turkey on funding.

There is finally a solution that nobody is talking about.  The USA could import a large conservative population legally.  Why should it be only the Donks who benefit from immigration?  There are a few such populations available, the most assimilable being the white South Africans.  They are having a very hard time under black rule and almost all would get out if a way was offered.

And allowing them to immigrate to the USA could well be justified on humanitarian grounds, which means that it could be done administratively, without any need for new legislation

The howls from the Left would be epic, however.  But Trump has never been cowed by that.

Ulster Protestants are in a stressful situation too and most would again welcome an opportunity to come to America. If they all came it would be a permanent solution to Britain's nagging Irish problem so should be widely welcomed.

And most of Eastern Europe is conservative after their experience of Communism.  And Poles have already been a major immigrant group in America so more of them should be both easily arranged and attract no rational opposition from the American Left

Best selling author and conservative pundit Ann Coulter -- who early in 2016 predicted Donald Trump's presidential win -- said that because of changing demographics and the propensity of many young immigrants to vote for liberals, Donald Trump "will be the last Republican president."

In a Nov. 28 interview with Editor in-Chief Alex Marlow on Breitbart News Daily, Coulter said, “Every day, more and more immigrants turn 18 and start voting, canceling out all of your votes. It’s about five more years. Trump will be the last Republican president."

"You think, ‘Oh well, we may get another Supreme Court nomination, that will save us,'" she said.  "No, no, the Democrats – as we saw in this last election – they can’t wait 10 years for demographics to change, they have to invent the Russia conspiracy. They’re so upset about this brief interregnum with Donald Trump. No."

"Why even fight the Florida or Georgia elections?" she continued.  "The whole country will be yours moments from now. No, we can’t wait, we can’t wait."

"So, I assume they’ll pack the court," said Coulter.  "It won’t matter how many Trump appoints – he could appoint, replace four Supreme Court justices. Then President Beto [O’Rourke] or President Kamala [Harris] will come in and say, ‘Hey, I think we need four more justices on the Supreme Court.’”

Later in the interview Coulter discussed how close the 2016 race was and why the Trump team cannot plan on running the same type of race in 2020.

“They barely won the last election," Coulter said of the 2016 Trump campaign. "It was very exciting, it was great, everyone remembers election night. You always have this feeling we’re invincible and ha, ha, ha you guys are losers, you lost."

But "it was really close," she said. "You switch 80,000 votes, mostly in the industrial Midwest, and he [Trump] loses."

“I told him directly during the transition," said Coulter,  "‘If you don’t keep your promises, you run the exact same election four years from now, and just through the process of immigrants turning 18 and block voting for the Democrats, you lose the exact same election.’”

Ann Coulter's latest book, a New York Times best seller, is Resistance Is Futile! How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind.



The latest ill-informed and foolish rage about Russia

It is absolutely evil the way American politicians are building up Russia as a monster. They need an external enemy, it seems. Vladimir Vladimirovich hears all these bits of abuse that are thrown at himself and his country and has made known that he is offended by them but he fortunately keeps his cool.  He must think American politicians are dangerous idiots

On departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military's seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday's naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

First, a bit of history.

In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

With the return of Crimea, Russia now occupied both sides of Kerch Strait. And this year, Russia completed a 12-mile bridge over the strait and Putin drove the first truck across.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

While the world refused to recognize the new reality, Russia began to impose rules for ships transiting the strait, including 48 hours notice to get permission.

Ukrainian vessels, including warships, would have to notify Russian authorities before passing beneath the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov to reach their major port of Mariupol.

Sunday, two Ukrainian artillery ships and a tug, which had sailed out of Odessa in western Ukraine, passed through what Russia now regards as its territorial waters off Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula. Destination: Mariupol.

The Ukrainian vessels refused to obey Russian directives to halt.

Russian warships fired at the Ukrainian vessels and rammed the tug. Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded, and 24 crew taken into custody.

Russia's refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

For his part, Putin has sought to play the matter down, calling it a "border incident, nothing more."

"The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation organized by the authorities and maybe the president himself. ... (Poroshenko's) rating is falling ... so he needed to do something."

Maxim Eristavi, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, seems to concur:

"Poroshenko wants to get a head start in his election campaign. He is playing the card of commander in chief, flying around in military uniform, trying to project that he is in control."

Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of "outlaw actions" against the Ukrainian vessels and "an arrogant act the international community will never accept."

Predictably, our interventionists decried Russian "aggression" and demanded we back up our Ukrainian "ally" and send military aid.

Why was Poroshenko's ordering of gunboats into the Sea of Azov, while ignoring rules Russia set down for passage, provocative?

Because Poroshenko, whose warships had previously transited the strait, had to know the risk that he was taking and that Russia might resist.

Why would he provoke the Russians?

Because, with his poll numbers sinking badly, Poroshenko realizes that unless he does something dramatic, his party stands little chance in next March's elections.

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russia and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the U.S. to stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues.

Some Westerners want even more in the way of confronting Putin.

Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians' Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

But there is a larger issue here.

Why is control of the Kerch Strait any of our business?

Why is this our quarrel, to the point that U.S. strategists want us to confront Russia over a Crimean Peninsula that houses the Livadia Palace that was the last summer residence of Czar Nicholas II?

If Ukraine had a right to break free of Russia in 1991, why do not Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk have the right to break free of Kiev?

Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone's quarrels — from who owns the islets in the South China Sea, to who owns the Senkaku and Southern Kurils; and from whether Transnistria had a right to secede from Moldova, to whether South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the right to break free of Georgia, when Georgia broke free of Russia?

Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?



A perfect Presidential speech

Trump Literally Puts ‘Christ’ Back in Christmas at WH Christmas Tree Lighting

While some try to gloss over the fact that Christmas is a religious celebration for Christians, preferring to call Christmastime simply the “holiday season,” President Donald Trump approaches the holiday differently.

His speech during the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony at the White House on Wednesday was uplifting, appreciative and decidedly Christian.

Trump was forthright in celebrating Christ’s birth as the reason for the festivities.

After thanking everyone who made the Christmas decorations possible, the president began his speech with the story of Jesus’ birth from the Gospel of Luke.

“For Christians all across our nation, around the world, this is a sacred season that begins 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born,” Trump said.

“An angel declared to the shepherds tending their flocks, ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,'” he said. “There in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph held in their hands the Son of God, the light of the world, and through Him the promise of eternal salvation.”

“No matter one’s faith or beliefs,” Trump continued, “the Christmas seasons reflects all that is best in the American spirit.”

The president talked about how Christmas is time for rejoicing with family, spreading charity and giving thanks for blessings.

He especially applauded the foster families in the crowd.

“We are especially thankful for the countless Americans who have given their time and passion to help those in need. Here in the audience today are a number of extraordinary foster families and guardians joined by the beautiful children they have welcomed into their homes. … To every child in foster care: You are the precious loved one and gift of God,” Trump said.

The president spoke of Americans as one family when he called to mind those affected by the tragedies and natural disasters of the past year.

“At this time of the year, we renew the bonds of affection between our fellow citizens, and we awaken the faith in our hearts that calls each of us to action,” he said. “As we gather loved ones, our thoughts turn to those who are rebuilding their lives after devastating wildfires, destructive hurricanes and terrible tragedy. We are one American family. We hurt together, we heal together and we will always pull through together. This is the United States of America.”

He honored first responders and those in military service, extending gratitude to them on behalf of all Americans.

“Their families are all our families, and we thank them so much for their greatness and for the incredible job they do,” Trump said.

The president concluded the speech by asking God to shed His grace on the country and to bless its people.

“We ask God to watch over this nation’s heroes and to shed His almighty grace upon our nation, and we pray that America’s light will shine more brightly and stronger than ever,” Trump said.

The president’s speech was a beautiful celebration of God and His gifts. Let’s remember to acknowledge God and give thanks to Him during the upcoming Christmas season.



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

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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"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.
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)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
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 (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)