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

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

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

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


31 December, 2019

New York Times columnist Brett Stephen is slammed for 'racist' op-ed which cites research from a 'white nationalist' to support his claim that 'Ashkenazi Jews have the highest IQs'

Harpending may or may not be a white nationalist.  It's an accusation that Leftists fling round with complete diregard for evidence. Harpending's published papers are simply normal academic writing:  Setting out facts and theorizing about them. 

He took the amply documented fact that the Askenazim have average IQs that are about a half of one standard deviation higher than the national average and explored explanations for that in history. 

But facts are ignored by the Left and any theorizing about racial characteristics is complete anathema to them.  So even scholarly discussions of the topic must be condemned and the conclusions hidden. 

It's just hysteria.  There's no hiding Jewish intellect.  The way Jews in America are found at the top of most areas of intellectual endeavour tells you that much more vividly than IQ tests ever would

New York Times columnist Brett Stephens has been accused of racism after penning an op-ed in which he claimed that 'Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group'.

The column, titled 'The Secrets of Jewish Genius', was published in the paper of record on Friday before it was quickly denounced for citing a study co-authored by 'eugenicist' and 'white nationalist' Henry Harpending.

'Jews are, or tend to be, smart,' Stephens wrote in his column, before referencing Harpending's 2005 paper to back up his claims.

Stephens quoted an excerpt of the study, which read: 'Ashkenazi Jews have the highest average I.Q. of any ethnic group for which there are reliable data. During the 20th century, they made up about 3 percent of the U.S. population but won 27 percent of the U.S. Nobel science prizes.'

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpending  - who died in 2016-  believed that 'accelerated evolution is most visible in differences between racial groups'.

The Law Center further claims that the 2005 study referenced by Stephens in his column 'traffics in centuries-old anti-Semitic tropes'.

Elsewhere, in his column, Stephens - who is himself an Ashkenazi Jew - claimed that the ethnic group 'might have a marginal advantage over their gentile peers when it comes to thinking better.'

The op-ed was immediately condemned following its publication on Friday, with one Twitter user writing: 'I don't know who needs to hear this, but Jews are normal people. Some are smart, some are dumb, and most are somewhere in between.

'You should be suspicious of anyone who thinks Jews are special - that's a big part of antisemitic thinking'. 

NARAL Pro-Choice America president Ilyse Hogue issued a similar sentiment, stating: 'I can assure you as someone who comes from a family full of Ashkenazi Jews that we are absolutely as doltish as the next family over. This is not a good column. It is not a good look. It should stop'.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian senator Brian Schatz- who is also Jewish - claimed that the piece 'crossed an important line'. 

New York Daily News columnist Brandon Friedman stated: 'The NYT needs to delete and retract this racist nonsense from, of course, Bret Stephens'.

He added: '70 years of eugenicist writing like this ultimately led to extermination camps. Only it was targeting Jews, not praising them. This is no better.'

Meanwhile, writer Jody Rosen blasted: 'Speaking as both an Ashkenazi Jew and a NYT contributor, I don't think eugenicists should be op-ed columnists.'



Truth Bomb: Former Democratic Politician Says Anti-Semitism in NY Comes From the Left

Following a spate of antisemitic attacks in Democratic-led New York, Democratic politicians have been busy trying to shift the blame on Donald Trump.

In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, New York City Mayor Mike de Blasio blamed Donald Trump for creating an "atmosphere of hate" that has somehow fueled antisemitic attacks in New York.

It was too much for Dov Hikind, a former New York State Assemblyman and founder of Americans Against Antisemitism. Hikind, a Democrat, told Fox News that antisemitism is coming from the left and said that he is tired of both Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democratic Mayor Mike de Blasio doing absolutely nothing to protect Jews living in New York.

"When you have the Farrakhans of the world," Hikind began, "when you have members of the United States Congress -- Tlaib, Omar, AOC -- when you have them indulging in hate speech themselves and to get away with it. You know, there's a new standard, one is for antisemitism and one is for other types of hate. Unfortunately, people within my party -- I'm a Democrat -- within the Democratic Party there's a double standard. The hate, the antisemitism that emanates from within the left, you don't hear anything. You hear very little. Anything that comes from the other side, it's all -- I mean, even the mayor of the city of New York, has continued to call the hate, 'coming from the right.' All the hate in New York is coming from the left."

Police have not yet identified a motive in the machete attack on Saturday night that left five people injured at a Hanukkah party in the New York home of an Ultra-Orthodox rabbi. Police arrested Grafton Thomas hours later after finding the suspect covered in blood. Grafton is linked to another stabbing of a man that was beaten and knifed while walking to the Mosdos Meharam Brisk Tashnad religious center in November.

According to an Anti-Defamation League survey conducted in Oct. 2013, only eight percent of whites were found to hold antisemitic views, while 36 percent of hispanics born outside the United States and 14 percent of hispanics born inside the United States harbored such beliefs. The ADL survey also found that a much higher percentage of African Americans, 22 percent, held antisemitic views when compared to whites.

The ADL summarized in 2013, that "Hispanics, combined with African Americans (12 percent), now comprise 27 percent of the American population, a number that is sure to grow in the coming years. This population increase of the most anti-Semitic cohorts also means that it will be an ongoing challenge to reduce overall anti-Semitic propensities."



New York's 'Bail Reform' Is Having Detrimental Impacts, Especially on the Jewish Community

New York State's new "bail reform" initiative has been thrown into the spotlight following Saturday night's stabbing attack on a Jewish congregation gathering to celebrate Hanukkah.

Beginning Jan. 1, criminals charged with most misdemeanors and Class E felonies will be released from jail without having to post cash or a bond. The goal is to not criminalize "poverty by keeping someone in jail only because they can't afford to get out," the Albany Democrat reported.

District attorneys and law enforcement officials across the state took Issue with the initiative because some misdemeanors and felonies, like theft, assault and aggravated harassment, aren't eligible for cash bail.

New York City Councilmen Chaim Deutsch and Kalman Yegar have repeatedly spoken out against the initiative, especially as anti-Semitism continues to rise.

"For two years, we have been sounding the alarm and asking for resources to confront rising anti-Semitism. We have begged for extra cops, for security funds, for more cameras, and for more attention towards this growing problem. Day after day, month after month, we had doors slammed in our faces. We were told to relax - that this isn't as big a deal as we think it is. Do you believe us now?" Deutsch and Yegar said in a joint statement.

"We renew these calls for extra resources - we need to be able to tell our communities that New York is doing everything possible to keep them safe. That fact that our constituents have been seeing video after video of their neighbors being beaten on the street and harassed," the duo said. "Then they have watched as the attackers walk out of the courthouse scot-free, with a City-sponsored gift card in their wallet."

Councilman Deutsch launched a petition for New Yorkers to express their concern over the new criminal justice reform initiative:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We write to you as New Yorkers united in concern about your criminal justice reform initiative that takes effect on January 1, 2020. We have watched with growing discontent during the last several years, as city leaders tout the phrase “safest big city” to describe the streets that we often feel unsafe on.

Rising hate crimes, prolific drug usage, and frequent news of violent attacks, such as the murder of young Tessa Majors just this month, leave us wondering why you have chosen to implement vast changes in the way our state approaches suspects in criminal activity.

Bail reform, which will revamp the criminal justice system and release thousands of suspected offenders onto the streets, is of grave concern to us. While there are certainly crimes that should be punishable by just a ticket (such as a traffic violation), that is not the case with many others. Crimes like selling drugs to children, arson, promoting a sexual performance by a child, assault, and stalking are serious offenses that could potentially result in extended prison time. We believe that disallowing judges to use discretion in such cases will result in the release of dangerous criminals onto our streets.

New discovery laws will also have dire implications, including making it more difficult for police and district attorneys to protect witnesses and victims. Requiring discovery documents to be turned over to the defense in all cases within 15 days of arraignment has serious implications.

Only 3% of all cases result in a trial. Until now, that meant that only 3% of all defendants would get access to witness and victim statements and contact information. These new laws will allow all defendants to receive that information, not just in cases where it goes to trial.

With these changes, along with the rise in crime and bias incidents and the closing of Rikers Island, we are deeply worried for the future of this great city. We don’t want to see our streets turn back in time, to the dangerous days of the 1980s.

Deutsch highlighted the case of 30-year-old Tiffany Harris as a prime example of why the initiative is a failure.

Harris was charged with assault for punching and hitting three Orthodox Jewish women in the face and head in an anti-Semitic attack. "F-U, Jews!” Harris allegedly shouted during the attack.

Later Harris admitted to the attack. “Yes, I was there,” she said. “Yes, I slapped them. I cursed them out. I said ‘F-U, Jews.”

Prosecutors didn't ask for a bail because of the new law that is schedule to take go into effect on Jan. 1.

“The de Blasio administration has made it clear that we all need to get into compliance with bail reform now,” a law enforcement official told the New York Post. “If prosecutors had asked for bail, corrections would release them immediately" or they would be released come Jan. 1.

When Harris was released without bail following her arraignment, Brooklyn Criminal Court Judge Laura Johnson mentioned the bail reform initiative as the reason.

“So I’m releasing her on consent and also because it will be required under the statute in just a few days,” the judge said. “Ms. Harris you’re being released on your own recognizance.”

This is the world of no consequences we live in now- where you can be charged with a hate crime & released hours later.

How many more Jews have to be attacked before people like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo realize this initiative fails to provide any kind of punishment for criminals?



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


30 December, 2019

It's rare but sometimes conservatives can be as abusive as Leftists

Below is an example of unknown origin.  The rant was in response to a claim that the "Nation is still deeply divided"

Yeah, I love that trick. The nation's always "divided" when Dems don't get what they want.

I was forced to go to a Christmas party over the weekend and had to listen to some jackhole whine about how "divisive" Trump was and lament that we couldn't "come together."

I unloaded on that nickelfucker - "You want to talk divisive? I hated that dog-eating Kenyan crackhead every moment of the eight years he infested the White House. But you know what I didn't do, asshole? I didn't riot in the streets. I didn't scream "HE'S NOT MY PRESIDENT!" I didn't gin up some phony, childish "Resistance." I didn't go into every damned restaurant and public space where Obama or any of his cabinet were and scream in their faces.

And I sure as hell didn't hijack the FBI to create a phony dossier to impeach him 49 hours after he was inaugurated!

YOUR filthy party did all of that and more, right from the moment the polls closed and you knew that drunk, morally leprous hag of yours wasn't going to win. So you can take that fucking 'divisive' talk and your crocodile tears about unity and shove them up your ass until you shit blood for a week!"

Fortunately, I work at home, so I don't have to run into that clown more than perhaps once a month. But got-DAMN, I am sick of Dems blaming Trump for their own diaper-soiling meltdowns"



If You Can't Beat 'Em, Call 'Em Racist

Words mean things. Unless triggered leftists want to score cheap political points.

Veteran journalist Brit Hume weighed in on the uproar over President Donald Trump’s latest bomb-throwing: “Trump’s ‘go back’ comments were nativist, xenophobic, counterfactual and politically stupid. But they simply do not meet the standard definition of racist, a word so recklessly flung around these days that its actual meaning is being lost.”

Many grassroots Americans would vehemently disagree with Hume’s first sentence, and we’ll come back to that. It was his second sentence that resonated. Hume even cited the Merriam-Webster’s definition of racism to show that Trump’s comments had nothing to do with race. Hilariously — and pathetically, in a sign of the times — Merriam-Webster replied with a lengthy explanation about how “the lexicographer’s role” isn’t to define “how some may feel [words] should be used,” while warning that “it is prudent to recognize that quoting from a dictionary is unlikely to either mollify or persuade the person with whom one is arguing.”

In other words, words have no meaning if facts conflict with your triggered feelings.

Now, to the first of Hume’s assertions. Again, as we noted yesterday, Trump said what he said poorly, leaving himself wide open for the very assault he’s facing. He said what we think he meant far better in defending himself later. “These are people that hate our country,” he said. “If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave.”

Oddly enough, leaving wasn’t his idea. Are we the only ones who remember the scads of leftists pledging to flee America altogether if Trump were elected president? Instead, they’re all still here, still hating our country, still undermining the “democracy” they claim to be defending, and still trying to impeach its president.

That brings us to the press conference Monday involving the four radical leftist congresswomen who are members of what has been dubbed “The Squad” — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

Omar, the anti-American, anti-Semitic refugee from Somalia — and thus the only one of the four women resembling Trump’s original description — was the worst, calling Trump “blatantly racist” and decrying his “agenda of white nationalists.” She rehearsed a slew of false charges against Trump. Among them:

Trump was “credibly accused of … colluding with a foreign government to interfere with our election.” (A team of Democrat lawyers spent two years and $35 million to determine that it was NOT a credible accusation.)

He has “pursued an agenda to allow millions of Americans to die from a lack of health care while he transfers millions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations.” (Both charges are BIG Lies and/or tinfoil-hat conspiracies. Millions have not died for lack of health care. And no money was “transferred” to corporations because it wasn’t taken via taxes in the first place. Democrats are the ones bent on transferring wealth and basing their platform on envy.)

“This is a president who has called black athletes ‘sons of b—es.’ This is a president that called people who come from black and brown countries ‘s—tholes.’ This is a president who has equated neo-Nazis with those who protest them.” (No, he didn’t. No, he didn’t. And no, he didn’t.)

She falsely blamed Trump “for the deaths of children on our border,” and she accused him of “committing human-rights abuses” like “keeping children in cages and having human beings drinking out of toilets.” (Children and the traffickers who bring them might not be trying to illegally cross the border without Democrats’ open invitation. And while no one is drinking from toilets, Border Patrol detention facilities wouldn’t be overwhelmed without, again, Democrats’ open invitation.)

Omar accused Trump of making a “mockery out of our Constitution,” something Democrats do all day every day, while concluding, “It’s time for us to impeach this president.”

There was plenty more, but that should suffice.

The Democrats’ clear agenda with the “racist” charge is a craven political calculation to send Republicans scrambling for cover. It’s working, too, as elected Republicans distance themselves from the president while much of the conservative commentariat piles on Trump. But they’re succumbing to the relentless drumbeat of the Democrats’ Leftmedia super PAC. For example, a Washington Post story today is titled, “White identity politics drives Trump, and the Republican Party under him.”

How to put this politely…? That’s horse pucky. Buried under Trump’s garbled prose is a legitimate point, and it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with loving or hating America and the political party guilty of the latter.

Finally, as we observed yesterday, Trump’s strategy is to unite Democrats behind these four radical socialist faces. “Trump doesn’t play tic-tac-toe. He plays chess,” said Newt Gingrich. “He wants the Democratic Party to identify with” these four women. “Pelosi in a sense was trying to draw a line and say, ‘We are not them.’ After Trump’s tweet, she said, ‘Oh, we really are them.’” Pelosi is indeed standing with the four to push a new resolution to condemn Trump.

Likewise, Rush Limbaugh said, “Trump obviously is attempting to have these people become the face of the Democrat Party. It’s a brilliant political move.” No less than DNC Chief Tom Perez said that of Ocasio-Cortez last year. And a new poll says swing voters do indeed consider AOC to be the “definitional face” of Democrats.

So, we’ll see if Trump’s strategy really is brilliant.



A 'Sanctuary' Nation Is No Nation at All

“This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” —Article VI, U.S. Constitution

“Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.” —former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Obama administration’s decision to sue Arizona in 2010, after that state passed laws barring illegal immigration

“The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.” —former Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-3 majority that struck down key provisions of the Arizona law precipitating the Obama administration’s lawsuit

Despite all of the above, the more than five hundred states and municipalities that embrace sanctuary polices for illegal aliens have determined that some supremacy is “more equal” than others. Moreover, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the number of states and municipalities that refuse some level of cooperation with federal immigration authorities has jumped by more than 200 since Donald Trump took office.

“This is just an astounding and a dramatic surge of sanctuary jurisdictions,” Bob Dane, FAIR’s executive director, stated in 2018. “They’ve doubled in just two years, and if you game that out, if the exponential growth continues, it’s not going to be long before it’s accurate to say the U.S. is a sanctuary country.”

Or, one could simply say that of all the efforts by the American Left to undo the 2016 election, this is by far the most blatant.

It’s not that Trump hasn’t tried to address the issue. When he entered office he signed an executive order discouraging the practice of protecting illegal aliens from deportation. The aforementioned states and municipalities ignored him. Then Trump signed an executive order attempting to cut off federal funding for sanctuary cities. In response, San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Orrick, an Obama appointee, ruled that Trump’s “coercive” order was unconstitutional. Moreover, he asserted his ruling covered the entire country.

The following year, a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of Orrick’s determination, but said he went too far in imposing his decision on the entire nation. Thus the panel narrowed the injunction’s scope to California alone.

Trump’s DOJ then sued California, alleging three new state laws, designed to protect certain illegals from deportation by the federal government, were unconstitutional. Once again in April 2019, another three-judge panel from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously blocked the administration. More egregiously, the panel further determined two state laws restricting local law enforcement from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates, and requiring employers to alert employees (read: possible illegal-alien employees) before federal immigration inspections, were also OK.

Constitutional supremacy? Apparently it only applies when one is trying to oppose illegal immigration. When one supports wholesale law-breaking that engenders as many as 20 million illegals living here, working here — and even committing additional and often felonious crimes here?

Federal control of immigration laws is apparently irrelevant.

Americans are paying the price, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is making sure they know the details. On Nov. 22, the agency released examples of foreign nationals with active ICE detainers who have been detained for serious criminal offenses in Maryland’s Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, but who were shielded from ICE.

They included individuals charged with sexual abuse against minors, assault, rape, and attempted murder.

Regardless, these counties will be releasing these people back onto the streets. “The county leadership has chosen misguided politics over public safety,” Baltimore, Maryland, ICE official Francisco Madrigal said in a statement.

Not misguided. Utterly contemptuous, and insanely dangerous. That’s especially true when one considers the reality that ICE was forced to arrest two teenagers for a second time after they were arrested the first time in Prince George County — and charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, participation in gang activity, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted robbery, and other related charges by Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD).

Despite those charges, and despite a detainer request issued by ICE, both men were released on an unknown date and time without notification to ICE. When they were rearrested they were charged with first-degree murder. Their latest victim? A teenage girl. One who would still be alive were it not for the utter bankruptcy of progressive ideology.

How have we come to a place where elected officials and law-enforcement officers can essentially choose which laws they will and won’t enforce? Columnist Michael Cutler nails it. “The biggest issue is that for the wealthy and powerful, the immigration system is not broken,” he explains. “For them immigration has become a delivery system that delivers an unlimited supply of cheap and easily exploited labor, an unlimited supply of foreign tourists, and nearly unlimited supply of foreign students and finally, and of extreme significance considering that both political parties have members in key positions who are attorneys, an unlimited supply of clients for immigration law firms.”

Underscoring that assessment is the reality that both parties have had complete control of the federal government for two years each, Democrats from 2008-2010, and Republicans from 2016-2018 — and neither of them made the slightest effort to reverse the anarchist status quo.

Moreover, it is impossible to square countless calls for “comprehensive immigration reform,” with the reality that such calls ignore the fact that we already reformed immigration in 1986 when 2.7 million illegals were granted unambiguous amnesty, ostensibly in exchange for securing the border and cracking down on employers who hire illegals. Because the last two provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 have been routinely and conspicuously ignored, the influx of illegals accelerated exponentially, ultimately precipitating the “Dreamers,” a propagandist term of the first order. Moreover, the Dreamer agenda is even worse: because the Rule of Law has been ignored for 33 years, Americans are expected to abide another round of legalization for a specific cohort of illegals because they’ve spent their entire lives here. And just for good measure, progressive-promulgated “compassion” demands we abide their extended families as well.

Anyone who disagrees? Heartless, bigoted — or both.

In 2017, President Trump stated that “a nation without borders is not a nation.” What Americans must understand is that the elimination of the nation state per se is the ultimate ambition of the globalist agenda. In that context, everything that abets illegal aliens — from drivers’ licenses and in-state college tuition to health insurance, voting in municipal elections, and sanctuary cities — makes perfect sense.

Utterly damnable, and wholly lawless, perfect sense.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


29 December, 2019

ICE, Border Patrol had access to NY's DMV database. With a new license law, now they don't

Another Leftist contribution to the destruction of America as we have known it.  The Left intend that.  They hate America as it is.  But they have no ideas that could realistically improve it. See the mindless proposals of the Democrat presidential contenders.  All they have is a primitive talent for destruction

Federal immigration and border officials have been blocked from New York's DMV database, a move that keeps them from accessing data that can be used to help determine whether a vehicle owner has a criminal history or a warrant for their arrest.

New York's Green Light Law took effect Saturday, allowing those without legal immigration status to apply for driver's licenses in New York.

But the law also included a provision prohibiting state DMV officials from providing any of its data to entities that enforce immigration law unless a judge orders them to, leading the state to cut off database access to at least three federal agencies last week.

Among them were U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP — which patrols the U.S.-Canada border in New York — and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

More HERE 


Payback time in India

After centuries of oppression by Muslims against Hindus, the Hindus are finally hitting back

Several hundred mostly Muslim men face having their property confiscated after being given “unpayable” fines for allegedly vandalising police batons, motorbikes and loudspeakers during protests against a new Indian citizenship law.

Residents described the unprecedented fines as being part of a clampdown involving arbitary arrests and intimidation by the Hindu nationalist government in the state of Uttar Pradesh against the Muslim community over the demonstrations.

Paramilitary and police forces were deployed in Uttar Pradesh today and the internet was shut down in an attempt to curb violence. Security drones were spotted flying over western regions of the state, where protests turned violent after last week’s Friday prayers.

The fines come after Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister, pledged to exact “revenge” on those suspected of having been violent in demonstrations against proposals that will mean Muslims must prove their right to reside in the country, while exempting people from most other religions from the same requirement. There are more than 200 million Muslims in the majority Hindu country, all of whom will be required to prove their right to stay.

About 700 men in Uttar Pradesh have a week to prove their innocence or pay a hefty fine. If they refuse to pay, the state will confiscate their property.

Other men in Muslim-dominated areas are on the run, fearing detention. In the town of Nagina in Bijnor district, 80 men have been detained and their families have no idea what crimes they are accused of.

“When lawyers tried to meet them, they themselves were manhandled by the police and threatened with being treated as violent protesters,” the uncle of one detained man, who was too scared to give his name, said.

Families in the cities of Rampur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut, where many Muslims live, have accused the police of storming into homes, smashing belongings and taking men away.

The families of the fined men said that many of those accused had not taken part in the unrest and could not afford to pay the penalties. Some of those fined had not been arrested but appeared to have been penalised on the basis of CCTV footage watched by police.

“I don’t even have milk to make a cup of tea. Let the police keep my son in jail and I will starve. There’s nothing else I can do,” the mother of a 26-year-old man who has been arrested on suspicion of arson said.

The woman, a widow who relies on her son’s income from selling spices and bangles on a street cart that is likely to be confiscated, said that he had no role in the protests. She was wearing a torn acrylic sweater against the cold and their home is a rented shack.

More than 20 people have been killed in nationwide demonstrations that broke out on December 15 against a law allowing anyone who is in India illegally to become a citizen unless they are Muslim.

It has brought Indians of all religions, young and old, rich and illiterate, on to the streets against the government of Narendra Modi, the prime minister. Although most of the protests have been peaceful, the state of Uttar Pradesh, ruled by Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had some of the worst clashes, which left 17 Muslims dead, including at least 14 from bullet injuries.

Others to have received the penalty notices are poor daily wage labourers, electricians, street vendors, tailors and embroiderers. Most cannot afford a lawyer, much less pay fines.

Chotte Mian, 63, a spice seller, said that the notice accused his son of rioting. “He was working that day and had nothing to do with it. I am a poor man and can’t afford to hire a lawyer so there is no question of paying,” he said.

One legal expert, Awadesh Singh, said that despite numerous violent riots over the years, he had never seen such punitive action to recover damages.

Colin Gonsalves, a human rights lawyer, said that the attempt to recover money from protesters was “utterly arbitrary and vicious”.

“It is the police who were the aggressors, not the protesters, who were running away. We have videos of the police damaging cars and scooters,” he said.

In Delhi, the capital, a group of Muslim women have been on a non-stop protest since the first day of mass unrest. “It’s better to die early than live like a slave all your life,” said Mariam Khan, who has been sitting, eating and sleeping on the ground, going home in turns with other women only to wash and change clothes and enduring night-time temperatures of 5C during the coldest spell in the city for 22 years.

The women took over the main road in Shaheen Bagh and have refused to move until “Modi relents” over the law and a planned national register of citizens. It is feared that Muslims who have been in India for generations may be regarded as illegal immigrants if they do not provide the right documents.

Wearing shawls and accompanied by crying infants and little children, the housewives, students, maids and cleaners vented their indignation. For the majority, it is the first time that they have participated in a protest. They are incensed at having to prove their citizenship and at Mr Modi “spitting on us”.

“We are not a cancer,” Shagufta Shahnawaz, a housewife, said. “We are ordinary people who want our rights. I wasn’t born in Pakistan. I was born here in my homeland and I refuse to prove this to Modi.”

The government has created a national population register that many think is the first step towards creating a national register of citizens. It will list everyone who has been a resident of India for more than six months and will not require any documents, only voluntary disclosure.

Amit Shah, the home minister, said on Tuesday that the data would not be used for the citizens’ register. “I assure all people, especially from the minorities, that the population register is not going to be used for the citizens’ register. It is a rumour.”

His critics have pointed out that ministers have told parliament many times that it will be used as a basis for compiling the register of citizens.

Irfan Qureshi of the Jamia Teachers Association, which is at the forefront of the protests in Delhi, said that no one could trust anything they said any more. “On the face of it, right now, the population register is very suspicious but we have to study it in detail before deciding how to act,” he said.



New York Times '1619 Project' Is Revisionist History

The Times says that slaves arriving in 1619 is the date of our "true founding," not 1776.

These days it’s hard to find any mention of Donald Trump and Russia in The New York Times. Of course, after the train wreck of Robert Mueller’s testimony, it’s no wonder they dropped that hot potato. But don’t underestimate the leftist zealots at the Times, nor their creativity in trying to ensure that a “racist” Trump doesn’t win a second term.

Or, as the paper’s executive director, Dean Baquet, said to his staff in a leaked transcript: “Now we have to regroup … and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”

The intrepid journalists’ latest plan seems to be, If you can’t get rid of the president, then rip apart the very foundation of the nation that he leads. Hence “The 1619 Project,” launched on the 400th anniversary of the first African slaves to land on our shores. (For what it’s worth, the Times is wrong about the basic fact of 1619; African slaves were brought here a century earlier by the Spanish, who also enslaved Native Americans. And Native Americans enslaved each other long before “the white man” arrived. But the Times wished to attribute this evil to Anglo Americans.) The Times pushes the idea that 1619 is the date of our “true founding,” not 1776.

“This country was founded on ideals that were’t true at the time," insists Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the journalist hacks heading the project. Of making hay over pointing that out, Hannah Jones asks, "What could be more patriotic than that?”

We could think of a few things…

Assuming that The 1619 Project and its associated school curriculum is merely an innocent — much less “patriotic” — program designed to teach us about the evils of slavery and America’s connection to the institution would be a dangerous assumption.

As Byron York writes at The Washington Examiner, “The goal of The 1619 Project is to reframe American history. The basic thrust of the 1619 Project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race. The message is woven throughout the first publication of the project, an entire edition of the Times magazine.”

According to the project, every single aspect of American society is tainted by slavery and racism: our institutions, capitalism, politics, prisons, food habits, sports, highways, education, and (if you can believe it) traffic patterns. You name it, and it’s illegitimate. The Times plans to spread these ideas through every section of its paper leading up to the 2020 presidential election and to push for schools across the country to (further) change the way American history is taught.

York adds, “The Times has two big plans. One would be big enough: to focus on the universe of racism accusations that increasingly surround the president at a time when he just happens to be running for reelection. But the other is even bigger: to ‘reframe’ American history in accordance with the values of Times editors.”

It’s the paper’s hope that by framing everything about America in racial terms, and portraying President Trump as a racist, they’ll get rid of Trump and the country in one fell swoop by electing a socialist in 2020 and finishing Barack Obama’s dream of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Claiming that our nation was founded on slavery is leftist revisionism of the worst sort. America was founded on the ideals within the Declaration of Independence, a document that freed current and future generations from oppression and slavery. Failing to live up to those ideals at times is simply a product of the human condition.

Inspired by the Declaration, states began abolishing slavery in the early years of the republic, not to mention the fact that the Founders set in a place mechanisms that would lead to the Slave Trade Act of 1794 and the 1818 Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, supported by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson may have been inconsistent on the issue of slavery, but he makes it clear in his writings and speeches that slavery had to go. And every single freedom and equality movement since 1776 has been ignited by the tenets set down in the Declaration.

Clearly, the Founding Fathers (even those who were conflicted over the issue) knew that slavery was inconsistent with a nation founded upon God-given rights such as equality and Liberty. And don’t doubt for a second that the phrase “all men are created equal” opened up the floodgates of human freedom.

Slavery is a human evil, not a uniquely American one. Our nation is certainly not innocent of its connection to slavery, but to teach the next generation that every part of American society is irredeemably stained by it would radically and permanently alter our very civilization. Unfortunately, millions of American schoolchildren are already taught that our nation alone is responsible for slavery. They’d be shocked to learn that Africans didn’t come to our shores from societies that were free and prosperous, but were instead sold into slavery by their own brothers. Indeed, slavery still hasn’t been entirely eradicated from the African continent.

Or, as Erick Erickson writes, “The 1619 Project … seeks to divide, not heal. It seeks to give power and primacy to those who think the nation’s founding was premised on evil and demands that those who disagree be silent.”

Erickson offers a foreboding conclusion, suggesting, “If the nation is founded on slavery and slavery is woven into the very fabric of our society, then our society is illegitimate. The only way to overcome it is to overturn it. That would take revolution. This is the path The New York Times goes down. Once it lights this fire, it will not be able to control it. But it wants to strike the match anyway.”



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

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


28 December, 2019

How 2 Years of Tax Cuts Have Supported Our Strong Economy

The tax bill cut taxes for the vast majority of Americans—nine out of every 10 people saw a tax cut or no change in what they paid.

Most Americans received their tax cut through lower employer withholding and thus bigger paychecks.

Businesses have added jobs for 110 straight months, the longest streak on record, and there are more jobs available than people looking for them.

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the most sweeping update to the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years.

The reforms simplified the process of paying taxes, lowered rates on individuals and businesses, and updated the business tax code so that American corporations and the people they employ can be globally competitive again.

The tax cuts included a long list of reforms that are worth reviewing. 

For individuals, the tax cuts reduced federal income tax rates, increased the standard deduction, doubled the child tax credit, repealed the personal and dependent exemptions, and capped the deductions for state and local taxes, among many other reforms. These expire at the end of 2025.

For businesses, the law permanently lowered the corporate tax rate to 21%, down from a global high of 35%, and temporarily allowed businesses to fully deduct most new U.S. investments.

The tax bill cut taxes for the vast majority of Americans—nine out of every 10 people saw a tax cut or no change in what they paid.

Using IRS data, The Heritage Foundation found that average households in every congressional district were projected to benefit from a tax cut in 2018. Most Americans received their tax cut through lower employer withholding and thus bigger paychecks.

The average American was projected to get a $1,400 tax cut in 2018 and $2,900 for a family of four.

We don’t have to guess anymore about the effects of the tax cuts. After actually filing their taxes with the IRS, Americans saw their average effective tax rates decline by 13% (or about 1.5 percentage points). Despite claims to the contrary, every income group benefited from the tax cut.

There were also significant time-savings and simplification. Not every part of the tax code was streamlined, but for most individual taxpayers, taxpaying is now more straightforward.

In 2017, 30% of households itemized their taxes, a more complicated process of documenting and calculating a list of discrete write-offs, such as the mortgage interest and charitable deductions.

In the first year of the tax cut, itemizers dropped from 30% to 10%, showing that millions of Americans opted for the single, simpler standard deduction. Under the new system the number of people who were able to do their own taxes increased by 4.4%. 

American workers and businesses have been doing better almost every year since the Great Recession. But the past several years have been different. Things aren’t just a bit better—we’ve been setting records.

Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.5%. Businesses have added jobs for 110 straight months, the longest streak on record, and there are more jobs available than people looking for them.

Wages have also been increasing. Average wage growth over the past year was 3.1% in the most recent government data. Non-supervisory and production worker wages grew even faster, at 3.7%. Before 2018, wage growth hadn’t reached 3% since 2009.

The lowest wage earners in the U.S. have been experiencing some of the largest wage gains. The 10th percentile wage earner (people making about $12 an hour) have benefited from a 7% wage increase from the third quarter of 2018 through the same in 2019, in the most recent quarterly data. That’s more than twice the gain in average wages and roughly equivalent to a $1,500 raise for someone earning less than $25,000 a year.

Minorities are also seeing larger than average gains. Lower-wage black workers have seen wage growth of 8.5%, and similar low-wage black women workers saw gains larger than 10%. Similar trends can be seen for low-wage Asian workers, Hispanic women, and people without a high school degree.  

Between the tax cuts and wage gains, The Heritage Foundation calculated that over the decade following the tax cuts, the typical American household will reap an additional $26,000 in take-home pay or $45,000 for a family of four. That’s more than enough to buy a new car or put a down payment on a house.

The American people seem to be internalizing all the good news. Job satisfaction and consumer confidence are high. Thanks to the strong economy, Americans who aren’t happy at their current work are voluntarily leaving their jobs for better opportunities at close to record rates. And Americans are saving more too, using the good economic times to prepare for their future. 

What About Investment?
The main way the tax cuts are expected to contribute to furthering the good economic trends is through increased business investment, which leads to more jobs, better technology, and eventually productivity gains. Each of these things helps boost wages.

Historically, reforms that lower business tax rates and allow more investment write-offs lead to increased business activity. Thus, economists expected economy-wide investment to increase following the reforms, and that’s exactly what happened.

It wasn’t until uncertainty regarding trade and tariffs in the following year dragged investment back down below pre-tax reform projections. The trade war seems to be hiding the tremendous successes of the 2017 tax cuts.

Immediately following the reforms, business fixed investment, new business applications, and other indicators, such as business confidence, all surpassed expectations. For example, immediately after the tax cuts were signed into law, business investment increase by 39% among the 130 in the S&P 500.

In such a turbulent policy environment, assessing the long-term success of tax reform will take time as new investment and increased productivity do not happen instantaneously.

The challenge for lawmakers will be to keep taxes low in the coming years so that the full economic benefits of the 2017 tax cuts can be enjoyed by generations to come.



Crisis looms in antibiotics as drug makers go bankrupt

It takes around a billion dollars for a drug to get through the FDA.  Easing the regulations there would obviously make new drugs  more available.  Giving medical specialists authority to prescribe any drug -- with or without FDA approval -- would be a big step forward

NEW YORK — At a time when germs are growing more resistant to common antibiotics, many companies that are developing new versions of the drugs are hemorrhaging money and going out of business, gravely undermining efforts to contain the spread of deadly, drug-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic startups Achaogen and Aradigm have gone belly up in recent months, pharmaceutical behemoths Novartis and Allergan have abandoned the sector, and many of the remaining American antibiotic companies are teetering toward insolvency. One of the biggest developers of antibiotics, Melinta Therapeutics, recently warned regulators it was running out of cash.

Experts say the grim financial outlook for the few companies still committed to antibiotic research is driving away investors and threatening to strangle the development of new lifesaving drugs at a time when they are urgently needed.

“This is a crisis that should alarm everyone,” said Dr. Helen Boucher, an infectious disease specialist at Tufts Medical Center and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

The problem is straightforward: The companies that have invested billions to develop the drugs have not found a way to make money selling them. Most antibiotics are prescribed for just days or weeks — unlike medicines for chronic conditions like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis that have been blockbusters — and many hospitals have been unwilling to pay high prices for the new therapies. Political gridlock in Congress has thwarted efforts to address the problem.

The challenges facing antibiotic-makers come at time when many of the drugs designed to vanquish infections are becoming ineffective against bacteria and fungi, as overuse of the decades-old drugs has spurred them to develop defenses against the medicines.

Drug-resistant infections now kill 35,000 people in the United States each year and sicken 2.8 million, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last month. Without new therapies, the United Nations says, the global death toll could soar to 10 million by 2050.

The newest antibiotics have proved to be effective at tackling some of the most stubborn and deadly germs, including anthrax, bacterial pneumonia, E. coli, and multidrug-resistant skin infections.

The experience of the biotech company Achaogen is a case in point. It spent 15 years and $1 billion to win Food and Drug Administration approval for Zemdri, a drug for hard-to-treat urinary tract infections. In July, the World Health Organization added Zemdri to its list of essential new medicines.

But by then, there was no one at Achaogen to celebrate.

This past spring, with its stock price hovering near zero and executives unable to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to market the drug and do additional clinical studies, the company sold off lab equipment and fired its remaining scientists. In April, the company declared bankruptcy.

Public health experts say the crisis calls for government intervention. Among the ideas that have wide backing are increased reimbursements for new antibiotics, federal funding to stockpile drugs effective against resistant germs, and financial incentives that would offer much needed aid to startups and lure back the pharmaceutical giants. Despite bipartisan support, legislation aimed at addressing the problem has languished in Congress.

“If this doesn’t get fixed in the next six to 12 months, the last of the Mohicans will go broke and investors won’t return to the market for another decade or two,” said Chen Yu, a health care venture capitalist who has invested in the field.

The industry faces another challenge: After years of being bombarded with warnings against profligate use of antibiotics, doctors have become reluctant to prescribe the newest medications, limiting the ability of companies to recoup the investment spent to discover the compounds and win regulatory approval. And in their drive to save money, many hospital pharmacies will dispense cheaper generics even when a newer drug is far superior.

“You’d never tell a cancer patient, ‘Why don’t you try a 1950s drug first and if doesn’t work, we’ll move on to one from the 1980s,’?” said Kevin Outterson, the executive director of CARB-X, a government-funded nonprofit that provides grants to companies working on antimicrobial resistance. “We do this with antibiotics, and it’s really having an adverse effect on patients and the marketplace.”

Many of the new drugs are not cheap, at least when compared to older generics that can cost a few dollars a pill. A typical course of Xerava, a newly approved antibiotic that targets multidrug-resistant infections, can cost as much as $2,000.

“Unlike expensive new cancer drugs that extend survival by three to six months, antibiotics like ours truly save a patient’s life,” said Larry Edwards, chief executive of the company that makes Xerava, Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals. “It’s frustrating.”

Tetraphase, based in Watertown, Mass., has struggled to get hospitals to embrace Xerava, which took more than a decade to discover and bring to market, even though the drug can vanquish resistant germs MRSA and CRE, a bacteria that kills 13,000 people a year.

Tetraphase’s stock price has been hovering around $2, down from nearly $40 a year ago. To trim costs, Edwards recently shuttered the company’s labs, laid off some 40 scientists, and scuttled plans to move forward on three other antibiotics.

For Melinta Therapeutics based in Morristown, N.J., the future is even grimmer. Last month, the company’s stock price dropped 45 percent after executives issued a warning about the company’s long-term prospects. Melinta makes four antibiotics, including Baxdela, which recently received FDA approval to treat the kind of drug-resistant pneumonia that often kills hospitalized patients. Jennifer Sanfilippo, Melinta’s interim chief executive, said she was hoping a sale or merger would buy the company more time to raise awareness about the antibiotics’ value among hospital pharmacists and increase sales.

Coming up with new compounds is no easy feat. Only two new classes of antibiotics have been introduced in the last 20 years — most new drugs are variations on existing ones — and the diminishing financial returns have driven most companies from the market. In the 1980s, there were 18 major pharmaceutical companies developing antibiotics; today there are three.

“The science is hard, really hard,” said Dr. David Shlaes, a former vice president at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and a board member of the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a nonprofit advocacy organization. “And reducing the number of people who work on it by abandoning antibiotic R&D is not going to get us anywhere.”

Some of the sector’s biggest players have coalesced around a raft of interventions and incentives that would treat antibiotics as a global good. They include extending the exclusivity for new antibiotics to give companies more time to earn back their investments and creating a program to buy and store critical antibiotics much the way the federal government stockpiles emergency medication for possible pandemics.

The DISARM Act, a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year, would direct Medicare to reimburse hospitals for new and critically important antibiotics. The bill has bipartisan support but has yet to advance.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


27 December, 2019

Trump must go after New York’s violation of federal immigration law

At the end of the month, almost all criminals arrested for state crimes in New York, including sex crimes, will be released without posting bail. It is a suicidal policy, but it is nonetheless the state’s prerogative to engage in such suicide.

What is not its prerogative is the New York law that took effect this week granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and blocking ICE access to criminal enforcement information. We have a national union with a federal government controlling immigration for a reason, and it’s time for the Trump administration to show state officials who has the final say over this issue.

Beginning this week, the NY state government is inviting any and all illegal aliens, with or without criminal records, to apply for driver’s licenses. As documentation, they can offer consular ID cards, which are fraught with fraud, expired work permits, or foreign birth certificates. They can even offer Border Crossing Cards, which are only valid for 72 hours and for a stay in the country near the border area! The state law further prohibits state and county officials from disclosing any information to ICE and bars ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from accessing N.Y. Department of Motor Vehicles (NYDMV) records and information.

It’s truly hard to overstate the enormity of the public safety crisis this law, dubbed “the green light law,” will spawn. There are currently 3.3 million aliens in the ICE non-detained docket who remain at large in this country. Just in one year, ICE put detainers on aliens criminally charged with 2,500 homicides. Given that New York has the fourth largest illegal alien population in the country, it is virtually certain that a large number of criminal aliens reside in the state and will now be offered legal resident documents to shield them from removal.

Some might suggest that this is the problem of New York’s residents and that it is their job and their responsibility alone to overturn these laws. But the difference between this law and their general pro-criminal laws is that when it comes to immigration, they simply lack the power to enact such a policy. Rather than the DHS and DOJ bemoaning these laws, it’s time for the Trump administration to actually stop them in their tracks. Otherwise the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution is nothing but ink on parchment.

A violation of federal law and the Constitution

8 U.S.C. § 1324 makes a felon of anyone who “knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place.” That statute also makes a criminal of anyone who “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law” or anyone who “engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts.” Some form of this law has been on the books since 1891.

NY’s new law not only harbors illegal aliens but actually calls on the DMV to notify illegal aliens of any ICE interest in their files. There is only one purpose of this law: to tip off criminal alien fugitives that ICE is looking for them, the most literal violation of the law against shielding them from detection. Would we allow state officials to block information to the FBI, ATF, or DEA?

Moreover, New York’s Green Light law violates the entire purpose of the infamous 1986 amnesty bill, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which was “to combat the employment of illegal aliens.” The law specifically makes it “illegal for employers to knowingly hire, recruit, refer, or continue to employ unauthorized workers.” Yet the rationale for the Green Light Law, according to supporters, was “getting to work” and “ensure that our industries have the labor they need to keep our economy moving.” That directly conflicts with federal law.

Finally, 8 U.S.C. 1373 prohibits state and local government from “in any way restrict[ing]

, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” The entire purpose of this bill is to restrict all New York government entities from sending information on citizenship status to ICE.

Whether one disagrees with immigration laws or not, nobody can argue that the federal government lacks the power to enforce them. Immigration law is one of the core jobs of the federal government. People are free to go to any state once they are in the country, which is why the Founders transferred immigration policy from the states under the Articles of Confederation to the federal government under the Constitution.

This is why James Madison in Federalist #42 bemoaned that, under the Articles of Confederation, there was a “very serious embarrassment” whereby “an alien therefore legally incapacitated for certain rights in the [one state], may by previous residence only in [another state], elude his incapacity; and thus the law of one State, be preposterously rendered paramount to the law of another, within the jurisdiction of the other.” He feared that without the Constitution’s new idea of giving the federal Congress power “to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” “certain descriptions of aliens, who had rendered themselves obnoxious” would choose states with weak immigration laws as entry points into the union and then move to any other state as legal residents or citizens.

As for immigration without naturalization, because of the issue of the slave trade, the first clause of Article I, Section 9 bars Congress from prohibiting “the Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit” until the year 1808. Well, Congress has long exercised that power to exclude over the past 200 years. New York has lacked the ability to maintain its own separate immigration scheme for quite some time.

When did the federal government become weak in the face of state rebellion?

By DHS’ own admission last week during the announcement of ICE’s fiscal year 2019 enforcement results, enforcement is losing ground thanks to sanctuary states. But when did states suddenly become so powerful in an era where they seem to rely on the federal government for everything? Yes, we believe strongly, as conservatives, in state powers over internal affairs related to health care, agriculture, education, housing, marriage, abortion, and election law – all issues the federal government and courts have stolen from states. But immigration and border affairs are 100 percent within the province of the federal government, as the Supreme Court reiterated in Arizona v. U.S.

Accordingly, it’s time for the Trump administration to treat New York as a law-breaking jurisdiction that is in a state of rebellion against the most ironclad national security powers of the federal government. Trump should refuse to sign a budget bill unless it contains a provision cutting off highway funding to New York. Illegal aliens, even those with records of drunk and reckless driving, will now have valid means of driving not only on New York’s roads but those of every other state. New York should not get federal transportation funds until the law is rescinded.

Also, Trump’s Department of Justice should send a letter warning all state and local officials that if they cooperate with this rebel law, they are in direct violation of federal law. One prudent county clerk in Erie County has already filed a lawsuit against the state warning that the law puts him at risk for federal prosecution. If DOJ officially threatens broad prosecutions, it will force internal strife and a likely change in the law.

Finally, other states run by Republicans should refuse to recognize NY driver’s licenses until the policy is overturned. Part of why states agree to reciprocity is because we all are supposed to follow the same standards of identification integrity under federal law. If New York is now going to accept any foreign document as authentication of identity, it compromises the entire integrity of a New York driver’s licenses, even outside the concern of illegal immigration.

According to a Harvard-Harris poll, 72 percent of overall voters and 76 percent of suburban voters oppose issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. There is no bigger issue over which to force a budget fight.

Remember, the Left feared that Trump would not only block amnesty but begin removing some of these illegal aliens. The Left has responded by disobeying immigration law. If the federal government allows this to stand, it will be tantamount to de facto amnesty under a Republican administration.



Welfare is killing the American dream

America’s welfare system is broken.

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to toughen work requirements for food stamp recipients last week, Democrats and mainstream media elites are outraged at the thought of nearly 700,000 people breaking free from the shackles of government dependency.

Make no mistake: Americans should feel relieved to see a glimmer of common sense in the midst of the Democrats’s crusade to plunge the nation into socialism. Rather than celebrate this as an opportunity to end America’s chronic addiction to welfare, however, left-wing talking heads are once again terrifying the American people with more doomsday prophecies of social and economic collapse.

Following the 1996 passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA), many Democrats predicted catastrophe then just as they are now. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) claimed it would “leave many welfare recipients unemployable” and “children ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-housed." Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said streets would "look like the streets of the cities in Brazil" with children "begging for money, begging for food [and] engaging in prostitution." A July 1996 study released by the Urban Institute even estimated that over a million children would soon go into poverty.

Of course, none of these apocalyptic visions came true. The following years saw a decline in overall poverty rates, and the number of families receiving cash welfare fell to its lowest level in three decades. Furthermore, according to a 2006 report from the Brookings Institution, the number of employed single mothers rose from 58 percent in 1993 to 75 percent in 2000, while employment among never-married mothers rose from 44 percent to 66 percent.

Now, with job openings outnumbering unemployed workers by the largest margins ever, no excuse remains as to why able-bodied Americans cannot work. The incentive to take a job regardless of the wage must replace the attitude that the government can take care of us “from the cradle to the grave.”

America is a generous nation, perhaps the most generous in world history. According to The Giving Institute, Americans gave a record-breaking 427.71 billion dollars in charity in 2018 (even more than the record-setting amounts of 2017). The idea that America lacks the charitable spirit to take care of our neighbors who truly need it, is an insult to the kindness and goodwill of the American people.

We have allowed political correctness to stop us from exposing the welfare state for what it really is: politicians stealing money from some in order to buy votes from others.

Americans understand that prosperity originates from the people, not politicians. The ability of everyday people to create and innovate as they wish is a key aspect of the advancement of a society. Rather than encourage industry, imagination, and innovation, out-of-control welfare spending disincentivizes these values, allowing a crippling cycle of idleness, reliance on government, and poverty to take their place.

While we cannot rely on executive orders alone (nor should we), this move should spark a discussion across the country about how to end America’s addiction to corporate and domestic welfare spending. For those who say cutting welfare lacks compassion, ask yourselves this: Is it really compassionate to force hardworking Americans to support others who can work yet choose not to?

Real charity means helping a neighbor in need, not using the power of government against them.



Judges in GA and WI Okay Voter-Registry Cleanup

States can move forward on ensuring their voter rolls are up to date and accurate.

Despite howls of anger from the Left, judges in Georgia and Wisconsin have given the green light to state authorities to move forward on cleaning up their voter rolls. In Georgia, 309,000 names will be removed, including 120,000 names of voters who have not cast a vote since 2012, while the bulk of the other registered voters removed are due primarily to those individuals having left the state. Wisconsin will remove more than 200,000 names from its voter rolls.

Both states are acting to remain compliant with each state’s respective laws requiring the election commissions to maintain accurate registries of active voters. In his ruling on Georgia, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones noted, “The court’s ruling is based largely on defense counsel’s statement … that any voter registration that is canceled today can be restored within 24 to 48 hours.”

Predictably, the leftist activist group “Fair Fight Action,” a group founded by Georgia’s failed Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, filed an emergency motion to stop the registration cleanup, dubiously claiming, “Georgia’s practice of removing voters who have declined to participate in recent elections violates the United States Constitution.” Recall that Abrams, who still refuses to accept the fact that she lost the election, blamed her loss on false allegations of widespread voter suppression.

In Wisconsin, it was a lawsuit raised by voters that can be credited with successfully pushing the state’s elections commission to follow the state’s law requiring the purging from the registry voters who failed to respond to a notice verifying their address after 30 days. As The Wall Street Journal reported, “The commission decided not to deactivate registrations until 12 to 24 months after voters failed to respond rather than 30 days. The commission also jettisoned a formal rule making, which state law requires when an agency changes statutory interpretation or enforcement.” Of the more than 200,000 voters flagged as movers (individuals with multiple mailing addresses), only 16,500 have registered at a new address.

Furthermore, the Journal notes, “Enforcing the state law will merely help ensure that a liberal University of Wisconsin student doesn’t vote in both Madison and Milwaukee — or a Trump supporter in Wisconsin and Iowa. Democrats use cries of disenfranchisement to motivate their voters, but voter integrity shouldn’t be a partisan issue and it isn’t in this case in Wisconsin.”

For a party that has spent the last three years trying to impeach a president over phony charges of election rigging, Democrats sure do whatever they can to prevent actual election integrity.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


26 December, 2019

The Democrats Make Insanity a Vocation

Times ain’t normal. You might think that it has all happened before but it hasn’t. The Democratic Party in the United States has lost its collective mind. Maybe you could go back to the fall of the Roman Empire to find a parallel. Short of that, we are in unknown territory. The world would change, and definitely not for the better, if the current version of the Democratic Party were to get into power.

Tune in to any of the Dem debates and discover that all of the presidential candidates occupy cloud-cuckoo land. They want open borders, convicted murderers to vote from their jail cells, all illegal immigrants to be given amnesty and health care, all student debt forgiven, free college tuition, increases in minimum wages, increased taxes on the wealthy and on corporations, increases in the minimum wage, reparations for the sins of slavery and Jim Crow (to whom, by whom, who the heck knows?) And all of this, and much more, while dismantling the fossil-fuel industries that power America.

You might think that the above doesn’t apply to the so-called moderates among the presidential candidates. There are no moderates. The Left has captured the Party.

Why would you think that all but two of the 31 newly elected supposedly moderate Democratic Congressmen and women, who won in districts in 2018 that voted for Trump, voted for impeachment. Weren’t they brave in standing up for their principles? What a joke. They knew that they would be disowned and deselected by their Party in 2020 if they didn’t toe the line.

Take moderate Joe Biden answering this question at the most recent debate in Los Angeles on December 19. He was asked if he would be willing to put at risk the jobs of hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers in the interest of transitioning to a greener economy”

“The answer is yes. The answer is yes, because the opportunity — the opportunity for those workers to transition to high-paying jobs, as Tom [Steyer] said, is real.”

No, it isn’t real; it is imaginary. One would have liked one of his competitors to have piped up and said so. But, of course, they are all singing from the Green New Deal playbook; otherwise known as “How to Cripple America.” When you think about Russian collusion, I think we can say with confidence that this playbook (the wet dream of US commie academics) most definitely comes with Putin’s imprimatur.

Here is another moderate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of no known distinction save that he is gay. He was asked if he would compensate families entering the US illegally who were separated at the border. “Yes,” he said, “and they should have a fast track to citizenship, because what the United States did under this president to them was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken.”

Of course, he would say that. They all would. No one could risk disagreeing. At an earlier debate, with many more candidates on stage, they were collectively asked whether they would give free health insurance to illegal immigrants. Only Biden’s hand stayed down; momentarily, until he saw the lie of the land and then dutifully raised his hand in obeisance to the mob.

Name any woke cause and the heads nod. All too afraid to buck AOC, the Squad and the rest of the left-wing rabble that now controls Pelosi and the Party. Mind you, Pocahontas takes the cake in the woke stakes.

An outlier among outliers, here are two of her undertakings in the unfortunate event she becomes president: “I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year … I would change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth-sex identification rather than their current identification.” Apparently, she doesn’t give a hoot about straight white murder victims or about actual women trapped in cells with male-equipped six-footers who have put it about that they like to think of themselves as females. Bizarre on stilts.

What is particularly disquieting is the way the extremism which has taken over the Democratic Party has become the new normal. Presidential candidates can espouse the most ridiculous, untenable dangerous and debilitating policies without being laughed off the stage. Sure, you get some conservative commentators, including a few on Fox News, who rightly ridicule the idiocy on show. But, on the whole, the MSM take it in their stride. Gorillas in a beauty pageant. Nothing to see here.

When even lefty Barack Obama worries where the Dems are heading — “The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.” — we’ve all got to worry. Perhaps another Trump win in 2020 (and, surely, he will win) will bring some reason and sense back to the Democratic Party. Maybe.



A psychopathic presidential candidate

Elizabeth Warren Falsely Suggests She Couldn't Go to College Because She Couldn't Afford It

On Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren posted a video of herself visiting her high school. "By the time I graduated high school, my folks couldn't even afford a college application—much less four years of college," she says in the video, before delighting us with video of her looking at a trophy case and meeting the high school debate team.

And that's it. The message of this video was clear: Elizabeth Warren grew up so poor she couldn't afford college! What she fails to mention is that she did go to college... She went to George Washington University... on a debate scholarship. Why was this little factoid left out of her tweet or her video? Was her desperate attempt to appear relatable to "regular people" so desperate that she deliberately created the false impression she couldn't afford to go to college, and thus didn't? If you didn't know her life story, that's definitely the impression this tweet and video give.

But that's not her story at all. She went to George Washington University on a scholarship. That actually makes a great story about how hard work and studying can open up opportunities, but that doesn't exactly fit with left-wing orthodoxy, so instead she just skips over that detail in order to make it appear she missed out on college because she was poor, and so she wouldn't have to bring up the fact that she dropped out after two years to get married. High school debate may have given her the opportunity to go to George Washington University, but that was an opportunity wasted just so she could marry a man. How progressive!

Her deception gets worse.

Back in November, she made the following tweet:

I got my degree thanks to a quality public college where tuition was just $50 a semester. That kind of opportunity doesn't exist for students today. I'm fighting for universal free public two year, four year, and technical college so that every student can live their dream.

Here, in order to make a point about universal college education, she talks about how she eventually got her degree at the University of Houston, which had cheap tuition. Funny how her dropping out of college to get married wasn't mentioned here, too. Or the fact that the University of Houston wasn't the only public college with affordable tuition, which means that even if she hadn't gotten the scholarship to George Washington University, that college was absolutely accessible to her when she graduated high school.

Like her bogus Native American heritage, Elizabeth Warren is desperately trying to hide the fact that she's wealthy by omitting key facts from her biography in order to create politically convenient narratives about her life story.

I could get into the whole fact that her push for "free" college will only make it more expensive, but why bother?




SPENDING BILL SIGNED: President Trump signed into law Friday night a $1.4 trillion spending package that avoids a government shutdown, funds all federal agencies through September, provides up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for most federal employees and spends $1.375 billion on his border wall (The Washington Times)

"OFFENSIVELY QUESTIONED ... SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY": Nearly 200 evangelical leaders condemned Christianity Today editorial on Trump (Fox News)

DEFENDING RULE OF LAW: President Trump has installed 187 federal judges so far (Disrn)

FAKE NEWS: Bloomberg ad makes wildly misleading claim: 263 school shootings "since Trump took office" (The Daily Wire)

NO RACISM: Service academies find cadets were playing "circle game" and not making white-power hand gesture during Army-Navy game (National Review)

KINSHIP: Trump hosts Amish in historic Oval Office visit (The Washington Times)

KHASHOGGI TRIAL: Saudi Arabia sentences five to death for Jamal Khashoggi's brutal murder (Associated Press)

"A MAJOR BLOW TO THE GANG'S LEADERSHIP": Ninety-six MS-13 members arrested in New York in largest takedown of gang (U.S. News & World Report)

BLUE-STATE EXODUS: California population growth slowest since 1900 as residents leave, immigration decelerates (Los Angeles Times)

COMMUNISM RISING: Here's how China became the world's No. 2 economy and how it plans on being No. 1 (CNBC)

POLICY: Raising the smoking age is a drastic response to a nonexistent problem (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Immigration will shift Electoral College in favor of Democrats, study finds (The Daily Signal)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


25 December, 2019

  The blessed day has arrived

I engineered it this year so that all of my stepchildren and their children were home for the Christmas period.  Unfortunately "the girls" could not be present for the actual Christmas day but it was still great to see them and their children very recently.  It is amusing that although the two mothers are not at all alike, their two daughters are growing up as little ladies.  Both mothers are very indulgent, however, so both little girls are free to be themselves.

It may help to realize how good our Christmas reunion has been if you know that the families literally came from opposite ends of the earth, from Scotland and New Zealand respectively.  It is one of the wonders of geography that despite their great distance apart, both families speak their native language in their native accents in their new homes and are perfectly understood and respected. Our seafaring British ancestors did a great thing through their voyages.

Some great journeys of emigration are well known -- the Mayflower etc. -- but one of the greatest is little known outside Australia -- the convoy of 11 ships known to Australians as The First Fleet.  In fragile little wooden ships of mostly under 400 tons, powered only by the wind, the fleet sailed half way around the world and arrived at their destination in good order.  From England, the Fleet sailed southwest to Rio de Janeiro, then east to Cape Town and via the Great Southern Ocean to Botany Bay, arriving in 1788 and taking two thirds of a year to do it (May to January).

It was a military expedition -- run by the Royal Navy, including marines -- so that no doubt helped in maintaining order. But it was still an heroic enterprise.  In a very British move, the personnel even included a judge. I love that. It is because of them and other intrepid British sailors that you can now move from one end of the earth to the other and still freely speak your native English.  We have been very well-served by our ancestors.

So we have had Paul, Susan and their three with us for most of December and have them with us today.  They have three exceptional children: A boy who is exceptionally bright, a girl who is exceptionally feminine and another girl who is exceptionally naughty.  They are all a great delight.

I am writing this early on Christmas morning and the BOM have forecast rain.  I have little respect for the BOM and their forecasts but we had a big storm yesterday so they may be right this time. In the circumstances we are all going to crowd indoors rather than having our activities around the BBQ in the back yard.

In times past Anne and I used to go to the magnificent St. John's cathedral for the Christmas service but we have got out of the way of doing that these days.  That the sermons were always complete mush did not help.  It is an Anglican cathedral. Spurgeon would weep


My Christmas wish

Below see a picture of a small W.E. Bassett Company "Trim Trio" pocket knife which makes an excellent key-ring. I liked them so much that in their heyday back in the '60s I bought a swag of them.  Over the years however I gave away some and lost some so now I have only one left -- which is in my pocket every time I go out.  The company's website seems defunct so I cannot order more of them directly.  If anyone can find a current email address for them I would appreciate it


A Great Christmas story

Penny Nance
News of “Tips for Jesus” filled the airwaves as an anonymous tipper left thousands for unsuspecting waitresses — all in the name of Jesus — scratching “God Bless” and leaving only a blessing.

What would just one hundred extra dollars mean to you? For most of us, $100 is a lot of money. However, for some people it is an immense amount of wealth and can maybe even mean the difference between life and death.

At Christmas time, believers often want to give even more of our resources to care for the poor or to charities, including Concerned Women for America, and we are very grateful. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

In 2010, in addition to our regular support for our church, Concerned Women for America, and Prison Fellowship Ministries, my husband and I decided to respond to a challenge by a friend. The plan was for us to each carry a crisp $100 bill and then to pray diligently for the Lord to show us to whom it was to be given. That sounds simple, right? Seriously, when you look around you, especially in an urban area like Washington, DC, where I live, you soon realize there are people in need everywhere. But it wasn’t that easy.

It was an amazing spiritual journey for me as I walked around Washington, DC, asking, “Who, Lord, may I bless?" I prayed for the waitress, I prayed for my taxi driver, and I prayed for the homeless guy.

My work required me to go to New York City for a Fox interview, and I remember thinking that might be the perfect place to help someone in need. I walked through Penn Station waiting for my train and prayed for the homeless. I looked at other commuters and the women who sold me coffee, but no. In my heart, I truly felt like they were not the intended recipients of my special offering of love. They needed my prayers, and oh how I wish I lived every day praying for God’s blessing on the people around me as I did during that season. However, the answer always seemed to be a heavenly, "No.”

Other believers will understand that there is an internal dialogue that happens that to the outside world may sound crazy, but to those who know the Father’s inaudible urging, once you “hear” it, there is no denying it. I started to get annoyed. Christmas was past and still I had this $100 in my pocket. I had resisted the urge to spend it many times over the past couple of months.

Maybe God wasn’t listening, or maybe I didn’t hear him. I confess that, as the weeks wore on, I didn’t quite think about it every day as I had in the beginning, but I still held out hope that God had someone I could help in a meaningful way that went beyond the money to being a light in darkness.

Then came Feb. 4. I was on my way to work, crossing the 14th Street bridge into DC, like I do almost every weekday morning. I often see people asking for money, but I have never felt compelled to give anything past maybe the Zone Bar I had in my purse for my lunch. This morning was different.

There was a woman on the bridge who I barely noticed at first, but just as I passed her, our eyes locked and I knew! I can’t explain it, and the skeptics reading are going to think I’m crazy again, but I knew.

Now, for you non-believers, in the Evangelical tradition, we believe that the Holy Spirit is responsible for touching our hearts and consciences in this intimate way. The Holy Spirit, in our theology, doesn’t produce the foaming-at-the-mouth, rolling-around-on-the-carpet reactions that some would have you believe. Instead, He’s a still, small, inaudible voice that convicts you when you blow it in a very painful way and urges you to do good.

Now, this urging toward good works isn’t going to earn our way to heaven. Its purpose is to please our Savior, whose sacrifice on the cross paid the penalty for our sin and brokenness. Our good works are an offering of love. My giving to the poor is, in essence, giving to God. As Matthew 25:40 says, “When you did it to one of the least of these … you were doing it to me.” We know that we can never measure up to God’s holiness. That’s why it’s called “grace.” Jesus takes our sin and has already paid the price in full. Our good works come as a gift to Him in gratitude for the price He paid in our place by dying on the cross.

So there it is. I believed the Holy Spirit was urging me to give this woman my $100. But how? I was flying through rush-hour traffic and had to figure out how to “obey God.” In DC, traffic is hard enough on a normal day. My heart was beating out of my chest with the urgency of my quest. I did a U-turn and found a place to park my car.

Then it hit me. “Now what do I do?" My head took over what my heart was urging. I was thinking, "Now, she’s begging on a bridge, and you don’t want to reward her for that, so you better say something about begging not being ideal." It hit me hard: "DON’T SAY THAT!” was the response I felt — almost like I had been slapped in the back of the head. "Don’t you dare say that.“ Okay, then what? What am I to say? Then I knew. "Tell her, ‘God sees her.’" What? What does that mean? I’m thinking, "Okay God, I hope you know what you’re doing.”

I hopped out of my car, ran in the rain across the street, and motioned for her to cross to me. I was afraid to leave my car parked so illegally. She must have thought I was insane, but she came. And I said it. I handed her the money, and I said, “God told me to give this to you." I took her face in both of my hands, looked her in the eyes with tears in mine, and said, "God sees you! He sees you and He loves you!" And in that place, in the rain, a woman in dirty clothes and a sad face broke down, began weeping hysterically, and threw her arms around me. She gave the hardest, sweetest hug I have had in years. We both cried a moment — her loudly, me quietly — and then we parted. I have never seen her again since.

The afternoon of that same day went down in DC history as one of the largest snowstorms ever. It was nicknamed "Snowmagedden." No one, certainly not me, knew it was coming. We received 20 inches of snow in a matter of hours, and traffic was snarled for almost 24 hours. It took me 12 hours to get back home that night, instead of my normal hour, and all I could think about besides "I hope I don’t wreck” was about the woman on the bridge. Maybe she and her family were sleeping someplace warm instead of under a bridge. Maybe she wasted it on booze or drugs. I’ll never know. But I know I saw a miracle happen in me. I saw God answer my prayer and maybe save a life or, at the very least, shed some light in a dark world.

So here comes Christmas again. I challenge you to join me this year in your own $100 challenge. Skimp on the coffee or a big meal or something else you want and save a crisp bill for someone God chooses. This part is a must: pray, pray, pray for the people around you, and expect a miracle. But most of all, be anonymous, and give God the glory. The miracle will be in your own heart as much as in someone else’s life. I want to hear your story. Email me how you took part in the $100 challenge at mail@cwfa.org.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


24 December, 2019

  Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all who come by here

May this Holy time bring you all its blessings

I will be posting over the Christmas New Year period but not as much as usual


What the USMCA does

After nearly a year of delay, this gift for the American people represents an opportunity for freer trade and a chance to grow our economy, reduce prices on many goods, and increase our exports to the world, creating more and higher-paying jobs in the process.

As we all know, just like with other Christmas gifts, you can also get the occasional ugly sweater that you really didn’t want. The same is true here. Some compromises were made to get the USMCA through Congress, like labor and environmental provisions that actually will create some barriers to trade and cause cost increases with certain goods.

However, just like you wouldn’t cancel Christmas gift-giving because you might get one of Aunt Janice’s homemade reindeer sweaters, the effect of these extra provisions doesn’t outweigh the fact that the overall agreement is truly in the best interest of America’s families, workers, businesses and farmers.

The USMCA would update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). When NAFTA was passed in 1994, it created one of the largest free-trade zones in the world, allowing America to export more products and services, create more jobs and grow the economy.

Additionally, NAFTA allowed American businesses to develop better supply chains where they could draw from the best and most competitively priced products and raw materials from throughout North America. Businesses could trade them across borders without tariffs, lowering the overall costs of the end products. That process has helped many American products become even more competitively priced around the world.

The USMCA continues NAFTA’s benefits while also opening up new markets for American farmers to sell their goods. Specifically, U.S. agricultural producers will have better access to the Canadian market to sell products such as milk, cheese, wheat, chicken, eggs and turkey.

Moreover, one of the most significant gains with the new USMCA agreement is the assurance that an ever-growing way of doing business — digital trade — will remain free. When NAFTA was created, e-commerce didn’t really exist and buying and selling freely over the Internet wasn’t an issue. USMCA prohibits our member governments from imposing protectionist regulations that could inhibit companies and individuals from trading online across borders.

The USMCA also includes new protections for patents, copyrights and trademarks. This will benefit consumers by bringing more innovative products and services to market, as inventors and investors are able to create them without fear of them being stolen by others within the free-trade zone.

Finally, moving forward with the USMCA should allow many businesses to get back on track with expansions of their facilities and the hiring of new workers — plans that had been put on hold because of the uncertainty involved in waiting for the details of a new trade agreement. Knowing the rules helps to alleviate the uncertainty that businesses have felt.

As to the ugly-sweater part of this agreement, compromises were made to get it through Congress. The USMCA contains some provisions that actually create barriers to trade rather than free it up — making goods and services more expensive or stifling trade altogether. While certain environmental standards and labor standards, like imposing minimum wages and standards for working conditions in Mexico, may seem well-intentioned, they create an anathema to free trade — more government interference — and also weaken Mexico’s sovereign ability to determine its own laws.

Another provision increases the “rules of origin” requirements for automakers that could actually increase prices on automobiles. USMCA would require that 75 percent of auto content be made in North America. If automakers couldn’t get or didn’t use parts that met that threshold, they would be required to pay a tariff on them.

While this provision is meant to drive more automotive production into North America, it could actually have the unintended consequence of increasing costs and making auto manufacturing less competitive in the global marketplace, leading to lower sales.

Because of these provisions, USMCA should not be considered a model for future agreements. Free-trade agreements should focus narrowly on facilitating free trade. However, these compromises reflect the realities of our divided government and they don’t outweigh the fact that the overall agreement remains a solid win for the American people.

The bottom line: USMCA means freer trade, and freer trade means billions of dollars in new economic activity, new jobs, higher wages, and lower prices for the American people and for our North American neighbors. That’s a win-win-win everyone can get behind.



Warren ducked the toughest questions in the Democratic debate
Jeff Jacoby

[Note: This comment was written immediately following the sixth televised Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles on Thursday night.]

Seven of the Democratic candidates for president took the stage in a debate sponsored by PBS and Politico. They were former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as three lower-tier candidates: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

There was a moment, just before the end of last night's Democratic debate at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, when Elizabeth Warren seemed to be on the point of directly answering an awkward question.

One of the PBS moderators had asked the debaters if, in the spirit of the season, there was another candidate on the stage to whom they would like to give a gift or from whom they wished to ask forgiveness. Andrew Yang cheerfully offered to give each candidate a copy of his book. Pete Buttigieg lamely announced that his "gift" would be for "literally anybody up here to become president." Then Warren, looking earnest, said she was going to ask for forgiveness.

"I know that sometimes I get really worked up," the Massachusetts senator began. "Sometimes I get a little hot." But that, she said, is because when you take 100,000 selfies with fans on the campaign trail, you hear a lot of sad stories, like the one about the people in Nevada who have to split their insulin three ways. "And that's why I'm running."

So whom would she ask for forgiveness? Warren never actually got around to answering that question.

It wasn't the only question she never actually got around to answering.

Early on, Warren was asked about critiques of her much-touted plan to soak the rich with steep new wealth taxes. Many analysts — including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and experts at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School — have been pointing out significant shortcomings in her plan, which would raise far less revenue than she claims and inflict considerable damage to the economy. How, Warren was asked, would she answer "top economists" who say her tax plan would stifle growth and investment?

"Oh, they're just wrong," she asserted. But she didn't respond to any of their arguments. She merely pivoted to her standard talking points about all the pie in the sky her "two-cent" tax will pay for.

At another point, the candidates were asked to answer Barack Obama's recent jab that the world's problems are usually caused by "old people . . . not getting out of the way." How would Warren — who, if elected, would be the oldest president in history — answer legitimate concerns about age? The senator tossed off a quip ("I'd also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated"), but then ducked the question and talked about her 100,000 selfies.

Why is Warren proposing free college tuition even for the wealthy? No answer. If Warren donated to Buttigieg's campaign, would the fact that she's a millionaire "pollute" his campaign? No answer.

For a long time, Warren has been laboring to sell herself as the candidate with all the answers. Instead, she's acquired a reputation as the politician likeliest to duck tough questions. In last night's debate, Warren had plenty of sass and attitude and stage presence. What she didn't have, even after all these months, was the courage to give clear answers to direct questions.



The Right to Destroy Cities

This week, the Supreme Court effectively mandated continued legal tolerance for homelessness across major cities on the West Coast of the United States.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Americans have a right to sleep on the streets, and that it amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Constitution to levy fines based on such behavior.

That court—a repository of stupidity and radicalism, the Mos Eisley of our nation’s federal bench—decided that writing a $25 ticket to people “camping” on the sidewalk is precisely the sort of brutality the Founding Fathers sought to prohibit in stopping torture under the Eighth Amendment.

That ruling was so patently insane that even liberal politicians such as Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined the appeal attempt. “Letting the current law stand handicaps cities and counties from acting nimbly to aid those perishing on the streets, exacerbating unsafe and unhealthy conditions that negatively affect our most vulnerable residents,” he explained.

But the 9th Circuit ruling will stand. That ruling followed a separate 2006 ruling from the same court, which found that cities could not ban people from sleeping in public places. In this case, Judge Marsha Berzon, in language so twisted it would make yoga pioneer Bikram Choudhury jealous, wrote that “the state may not criminalize the state of being ‘homeless in public places'” and thus could not criminalize the “consequence” of being homeless.

It is worth noting that being homeless is not a “state” of being. It is not an immutable characteristic. It is an activity and can certainly be regulated.

That doesn’t mean the best solution is prosecution of those living on the street—a huge swath of homeless people are mentally ill or addicted to drugs and would benefit from better laws concerning involuntary commitment or mandatory drug rehabilitation. But to suggest that cities cannot do anything to effectively police those sleeping on the streets is to damn those cities to the spread of disease, the degradation of public spaces, and an increase in street crime.

Hilariously, Berzon contended that this 9th Circuit ruling would not mandate cities to provide full housing to the homeless; it would just prohibit them from moving or arresting the homeless for living on the streets. Which is somewhat like Tom Hagen telling Jack Woltz that while he doesn’t have to cast Johnny Fontane in his new war film, he can’t stop the Corleones from rearranging the family stable.

But here’s the problem: Cities that have attempted to provide increased housing for the homeless, despite some early successes, have seen their problems return.

Cities like Seattle and Los Angeles have attempted to build new housing. It’s been an expensive failure. It turns out that the carrot of housing must be accompanied by the stick of law enforcement. If you cannot compel drug addicts to enter treatment, or paranoid schizophrenics to take their medication, or those who refuse to live indoors to do so, homelessness will not abate.

As it is, the Supreme Court has damned America’s major cities to the continuation of the festering problem of homelessness. And that problem won’t be solved by judges who attempt to force social policy through deliberately misreading the Constitution, or who believe they are championing “freedom” for tens of thousands of Americans who are seriously mentally ill or addicted to drugs.




POLITICAL THEATER: It's official: House Democrats close up shop without sending articles of impeachment to the Senate (PJ Media)

WANDERING MINDS WANTS TO KNOW: If impeachment articles are not delivered, did impeachment happen? Sure, it's a stupid question ... but we're living in stupid times. (National Review)

"THIS LEGISLATION TOUCHES ALL 50 STATES": Senate sends 2020 budget to Trump's desk (National Review)

FOR THE RECORD: Twenty-one things 18-year-olds can do under spending bill before they can legally buy cigarettes (The Federalist)

IN CASE OF BOREDOM... Here is everything you intentionally missed during Thursday night's Democrat debate (The Daily Caller)

WHAT DID HE KNOW, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT? U.S. Attorney John Durham is scrutinizing ex-CIA Director John Brennan's role in Russian-interference findings (The New York Times)

SENATE SHOULD PASS IT EARLY NEXT YEAR: United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal passes House with broad bipartisan support (National Review)

MORE EVIDENCE OF RACISM: Trump signs "groundbreaking" legislation supporting historically black colleges and universities (The Daily Caller)

POLICY: Big teacher-pay proposals are missing the mark (The Hill)

POLICY: Russia's Eastern Mediterranean strategy — implications for the U.S. and Israel (Hudson Institute)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


23 December, 2019

America's Immigration Dilemma

What makes an immigrant culturally qualified to enter the United States?

Most people who are presenting themselves at our Southern borders from Mexico, and South and Central America, and others who are seeking asylum mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, are from countries outside the historical process. Many of these countries are not just political rogue states, but also economic rogue states as well. They have failed to put into practice a set of sound economic policies that satisfy the basic needs of a majority of their citizens. Failed states are sinkholes in the world. They actively detract value from the region in much the same way that condemned buildings used by criminals spread mayhem and drag down home values throughout a neighborhood. Since regions are interconnected via a vast causal network of interlocking social, political and fiscal systems, they contaminate the entire liberal order.

It has, therefore, been part of America’s liberal, egalitarian and benevolent policy to admit such persons who stand little chance of making anything substantial of their lives in their own countries entrance into the United States.

This is and remains the greatness of America. People came here and they wanted to love America and become Americans. They came with no sense of entitlements, no sense of aggrievement—only with a burning desire to make something of their lives and, in doing so, to make superlative or small contributions to the moral meaning of America. As they stepped into the future America promised them, they, by their efforts and suffusion of the landscape with an original assemblage of who they were, simultaneously co-created a future template for others to inhabit.

But the immigrant demographics of this great country are changing. We are witnessing individuals who are bringing their illiberal values into the United States and wishing to implement them and re-make the country entirely into their own illiberal image. In the case of many Islamic transplants, they claim to be moderates in their religious faith. Yet they are complicit in the radical factions of a political ideology many take to be a religion of peace. By default, they do not condemn the growing fealty to the idea that Sharia law can and should run parallel to American jurisprudential law. They do not condemn the growing anti-Semitism and Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaigns sweeping college campuses which, incidentally, are not generated by even radical Muslims, but by mainstream moderates who view Israel as a genocidal and apartheid state, and America as an evil imperial nation.

The Hispanic populations which include several asylum seekers are from statist countries who have been reared on the idea that their fate is not their responsibility, and that the state must take care of all their needs. These individuals are being courted and entreated by a vast left-wing socialist faction within the liberal party that is no longer considered a fringe element of the party, but rather, a major and crucial identifying marker of it. Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declare that as Democratic Socialists they are not just going to change the economic policies of our free market system, but also that they intend to fundamentally change the values that underlie it.

We should not, therefore, be surprised that hordes of undocumented residents upon entering the United States are demanding and are receiving free health care, free education and are demanding the right to vote. They often treat America as if she were the dumping ground for all their needs and unmet desires. They are more likely to vote this country into socialism and, therefore, economic ruin—to say nothing of violating the moral foundations on which capitalism rests. This includes the idea that each person is an end in himself who deserves the just rewards of his labor, that his brain and its material applications—his property cannot be nationalized or redistributed by government fiat. Major studies reveal that only 45% of young Americans view capitalism positively, while 51% have a fondness for socialism.

If Americans have reason to believe that a loss to their cultural identities and economic ways of life are going to be challenged by a “new immigrant ethos” that differed from the old ethos, then they have a right to ask a fundamental new question: What makes an immigrant culturally qualified to enter the United States? What sort of sensibilities ought he or she to have? If such immigrants are predisposed to simply transplanting their illiberal values with no desire to assimilate into becoming Americans, should they be let in? If their voting proclivities can be predicted and such proclivities translates into voting into existence a real existential threat facing us today: socialism—then ought we to let in such persons?

This sort of moral vigilance over the republic was perhaps never so needed as it is today as we face a multiplicity of cultural wars. The professoriate has grown more radical in cultivating universities that have become indoctrination centers and, therefore, national security threats. It has waged a war against reason, morality, the values of Americanism, produced a climate of Americaphobia, anti-free speech, massive entitlement programs, and a desire to abolish the second amendment. In the name of a postmodern philosophy it advocates nihilism and cultural relativism.

It is under such open hatred for Western values, the shameless promotion of the Islamification of our country, indiscriminate toleration of all values except conservative ones, and the willful intention to destroy the moral and economic base of capitalism that they seek to re-socialize the sensibilities of immigrants into inhabiting a new Anti-American ethos. It is one whose holders are welfare-dependent, whose agency can be expropriated by a managerial class that can promise them the guarantee of absolute outcomes resulting from their exercised efforts.

Not all persons have ever been allowed into the future. Some, for various reasons, have been left behind. But against the backdrop of all that is written here, we may say that a deliberate policy of moral-rational exclusion from entrance into the future can be the goal of a civilized republic if and when it can rationally and objectively identify those whose admittance could annihilate its moral, cultural and  economic development. This may sound like a hard formula to implement. Nevertheless, a social order of the unfit, by the unfit, and for the unfit is no recipe for civilizational continuity—to say nothing of the grandeur, exaltation, majesty and, as always, the unbridled expression of the luminous potential of man.

Today, we are witnessing a systematic attempt by the Left to alter the cultural character of our republic. Many companies, swayed by a logic of cultural relativism, have become sharia compliant in order to attract and manage Muslim wealth. Universities and private institutions of learning and think tanks are the recipients of millions of dollars from state sponsors of terrorism from countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. There is a growing proliferation of Middle Eastern Studies Programs and Palestinian Studies Programs on our university campuses. These political maneuverings, no doubt, are part of a large indoctrination agenda by the left to Islamify our American civilization by re-socializing the sensibilities of our young people into becoming future Jihadists and haters of America. The key players in this campus reform movement, the Students for Justice in Palestine, a Hamas surrogate institution of which 200 chapters exist on USA campuses, are free not only to promote BDS campaigns against Israel. Most importantly, the goals of the Islamicist movements is consistent with the larger goals of their international schemes: to establish an Islamic Caliphate right here in our great republic of the United State of America.

The re-alteration of civic character is also being encouraged by an outright disregard for law when it is broken in the name of creating sanctuary cities. A form of emotionalism that pits undocumented residents against laws that determine legal residency accounts for the demonization of the concept of law itself, and the elevation of illegal actions to the form of cult heroism.

Hence our future will be blocked. The future blockers are unable to deal with the very notion of a future because the future itself is only a promise. It holds no predictable results correlative to efforts. But leftists want a predictable utopia. If we want to keep the future alive, it is freedom and liberty, and the timeless values of America that must be preserved. Those values need inoculation. Not everyone should be allowed into the future because too many are devoted to the destruction of its possibility.

And so, in our conclusion we face the challenge of how to answer the question: how do we keep our future open? We spoke about a policy of moral-rational exclusion to prevent the social ballasts and the destroyers of our Republic from foreclosing the future by suggesting they cannot be allowed into the future of which the United States is both a symbol and a reality. We must now think about a policy of strategic inclusion of those immigrants who are culturally qualified to preserve the civic DNA of our republic. Wherever they come from in the world, those who are admitted into the moral republic of the United States of America, must pass stricter cultural and civic qualifying tests. Their fealty to the republic must be demonstrable in ways determined by our appropriate government agencies. Those exclusive elites admitted must have a pre-disposition to love America. They ought to have a set of meritocratic skills that can enhance the spiritual, economic, moral and political reputation and character of the republic. They ought not be parasitic drainages and suckers with little to offer that can enhance the grandeur and nobility of the republic.

My sense is that Western Europe is culturally over. The Islamicists have won. The crime waves traceable to migrant populations, and the increasing anti-Semitism sweeping European capitals, the Islamic colonization of France, the Netherlands, England, and the Scandinavian countries will have serious consequences. With President Trump’s recent executive order recognizing Judaism not just as a religion, but as a nationality, I submit that there will be a wave of ambitious Europeans eager to flee the cultural hell-holes their countries have become. They are going to be the smartest, and the most talented of individuals. They will speak exemplary English, and they will be multi-lingual. Furthermore, they will contribute most to making the American Republic a superlative world power. We should accept them into our benevolent nation.

A vast number of European populist governments will rise up to control the Islamification of their countries after experiencing such brain drains. Rather than wait for the exodus of such talented immigrants, the United States should actively recruit them. They are the future. Like the Jewish people, they have been the creators of the historical process itself; innovators of the idea that man has a proper end to which he aspires: the fullest development of his capabilities, and the maximization of his highest modes of potentialities. These individuals are not just the promise of a future. They will create the very existential conditions that have, in the past, opened up the future. Moral pioneers and heirs and benefactors of Western civilization, they will play a pivotal role, along with the exceptional people of the United States of America, in opening up an endless new horizon of an indefinite future in which all our lives can be lived out.



To truly understand American politics, you need a translator

Recently we were given a rare inside glance at the true meaning of politics in America, not the sugar-coated day-dreams of the establishment old-guard or the spitting rage and indignation of the professional Left.  Instead we got to see exactly how the whole thing works.  It is not pretty but none of it should be a surprise.

The facts are simple.  After years of propaganda, threats and outright attempts at legal bribery from the federal government, the then Republican controlled General Assembly in Virginia enacted a massive expansion of the government socialist healthcare program known as Medicaid.  More than 400,000 more people were to be included in a program that is literally breaking the backs of taxpayers at the national and state levels.

The Medicaid expansion had been a key element of Obamacare, that reckless exercise in Soviet-style central planning that has been an underlying factor in politics for a decade.  The Republicans caved when offered a “deal” from Democrat Governor Ralph Northam.  If the Republicans would just expand Medicaid by 400,000 people – eventually costing Virginia taxpayers billions of dollars – the Governor would ask the federal government for a waiver to require some portion of the new people to find or seek work.

Known as the work requirement, the Left and their lackeys in the media and the Democrat Party howl with pain anytime the issue of asking someone who the taxpayers support to contribute anything.  And they did again.  But many more seasoned political observers warned it was a ruse, the second they had the opportunity to break the deal and simply ignore the work requirement they would.

And predictably, these observers were labeled every name under the sun.  Don’t you know that “compromise” is the essence of our government?  Why do you refuse to trust the Democrat regime, accept their word that a deal is a deal?  “Obstructionists” screamed the corporate media propagandists.

In the end, a handful of so-called “Republicans” voted with the Democrats to accept the “deal.”  Fast forward to this week.  Governor Northam announced that Virginia would “take a pause” in efforts to require the work rule.  And, on cue, the few Republicans who accept this nonsense expressed their “disappointment.”    The pathetic little play had moved into the final act.  Government expands, taxpayers get reamed, Republicans shake their heads and pledge to “get them next time,” and the Democrats reap the benefits of the growing dependent class.

Were this the only time we had seen this obscene theater we should shrug our shoulders and look to return to the fight to restore liberty in America.  But it isn’t.  This is but the most recent of a continual string of such defeats the stretch back many decades for the Virginia GOP. The quislings there still sit like vultures in a tree waiting for the next chance to swoop down and grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

But recriminations aside, there is one big lesson here, a lesson that anyone concerned about the direction of our country must take to heart and practice every day.

The lesson is simple translation: There is no dealing with the Left.  Their word is no good.  You cannot make a deal with someone who thinks lying and stealing are mere tactics, which the Marxists actually brag about.

Ayn Rand captured the essence of this situation when she wrote, “Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.”  Hopefully Governor Northam’s recent exercise in back-stabbing will drive this message home.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


22 December, 2019

They're called "The Infantile Left" For a Reason!

By Rich Kozlovich

In 2012 my friend Alan Caruba, now passed, wrote an article entitled, Why Liberals are Like Zombies, saying:

"I hope Barack Obama lives to a very old age. I want him to look back at the wreckage of the Democratic Party and the senility of Liberalism that has wreaked such havoc on the world stage. To me, Liberalism is a zombie philosophy, devoid of any connection with reality, but still able to cause great harm."

He goes on to quote R.Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., founder and editor of The American Spectator saying:

"Obama is the ultimate culmination of what Tyrrell calls “the Infantile Leftists”, citing the various candidates for the presidency who reflect the immaturity of the 1960’s generation of whom the Occupy Wall Street children are the latest pathetic gasp of what Tyrell regards as a failed political movement."

It turns out liberals in both parties find themselves in a quandary. Their policies, at all levels of government, are bankrupting the nation. There's just not enough money to throw at everyone, even now when the national government is bringing in more money than ever in the history of the nation, we're still running deficits.

Their traditional allies, like public unions and teacher unions, have eaten up so much of the public’s finances they're going to bankrupt a lot of local and state governments with their insane deals, especially in California, with financial obligations the public can't possibly meet, just to get re-elected.

In 1935 American humorist Will Rogers said:

"I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."

Little did everyone know how prescient that was. Let's explore this.

Unions have traditionally been the backbone of Democrat politics and policy for untold decades. If unions have been the Democrat party's backbone, then black and Jewish supporters have been the ribs of Democrat politics and policy for a large part of the 20th century.

Yet, it was the Republicans who passed all the civil rights laws that benefited blacks. Laws Democrats fought against. Laws they now claim credit for as their own.

But what's happening now? The Democrat party is now finally and openly declaring themselves as the socialists they've always been. And as everyone who reads history books knows, leftists have no stable moral foundation other than to do whatever it takes to get and hold onto power. Even if it means abandoning the values they previously embraced.

The Democrat party is embracing unrestricted illegal immigration, which neither blacks or unions like, as it will impact jobs and wages. Worse yet, they now worship at the Alter of Gaia, embracing the worst environmental concepts and policies ever. All of which hurts unions, the poor, the nation, and the world as a whole.

Two groups that have absolutely been foundational to liberalism, are Big Labor and Big Green, and yet their goals are diametrically opposing. Big Green wants to destroy the economy with their policies, not to mention their desire to reduce the world's population by about five billion people, and bring about worldwide communism. Big Labor wants to grow labor, which can only be done if there's a robust economy, and no communist state.

Will Democrats have to turn on Big Labor to appease Big Green? They have! The XL pipeline is just one example.

Will they have to turn on Big Green to appease Big Labor? But do the public labor unions really belong in the traditional Big Labor category? No! So, their goals fall in line with Big Green and any other left wing scheme that creates Big Government.

Both of these groups are coming under attack from the public, who will the party abandon? They lost coal mining regions to Republicans due to their efforts to shut down coal fired power plants, and Biden says he intends to make that an important part of his administration if elected President. These are the same people Obama said irrationally cling to their Bibles and guns. These are the people Hillary called "The Despicables"! And now they know where they stand.

Illegal immigration is a jobs issue. Unions and blacks are against open borders, as they will have to compete with these illegals for jobs and wages, and they don’t like it. Unions and blacks have been foundational to the Democrat party for decades, and yet the Democrat party embraces policies that are detrimental to those bases, and those two groups are finally getting it. It's even been reported a number of polls show 30% of blacks support Trump.

Will that impact the 2020 election. You bet! No Democrat in the nation can be elected if 30% of black voters choose to vote Republican, or simply refuse to vote because of their dismay of what Democrats are doing.

As for the illegals, especially Hispanics, they want ever more latitude regarding what is legal, and of course, everyone on the left just ignores the decent, patient and honest immigrants trying to get in this nation through legal channels.

Jews have traditionally been liberal Democrat voters for almost a hundred years. Liberal Jews has been a rock hard foundation for liberal policies and candidates. However, that is changing.

The leaders of the Democrat party and leftist movement, have turned anti-Semitic and anti-Israel to the point Jews worldwide, even in Europe, are being openly persecuted and they're scared. And rightly so!

Jewish students in prominent American universities are subject to abuse and harassment from Muslims, and these abusers are being supported by the administrations of these institutions. Yet, New York Jews still vote for the very leftists who support such activity. However, I see that changing in 2020. I've even had a liberal Jewish customer in her 80's who says she will vote for Trump. I believe there are a lot more who will also vote for Trump in 2020, but they're afraid to say so.

The greatest act of infantility by the Democrat party has been their effort to impeach Donald Trump as the President of the United States for high crimes and misdemeanors. An effort Conrad Black called:

"This sordid, contemptible impeachment ruse ......another fraud...........The vitriolic antagonism of about 90% of the press, though, and the fear and loathing of the political class, which he assaulted in its entirety, have sustained an artificial levitation of morbid expectation that he will be overthrown and removed......kept alive by a Star Chamber.............It cannot produce a serious offense that the president could actually be accused of committing.........presided over by a pathological public liar...........Adam Schiff........Trump-haters so rabid they should be in straitjackets and padded cells".

Compare this to the Clinton impeachment.  While the Democrat party, the media and leftists everywhere declared it was about sex, in reality the charge was perjury.  Perjury Clinton actually committed. Perjury that was provable.  Perjury he perpetrated over and over again.  Perjury, that used to be considered a serious crime.  If it was a crime, then it was a crime of high office, making it a high crime.

His defense was a logical fallacy, a fallacy that was immaterial to whether or not Clinton committed a crime.  If he did, then it was a crime of high office.

In the article, High Crimes Against Impeachment the I and I Editorial Board stated:

"No one can deny that Clinton lied to the grand jury, and indeed his legal defense in the Senate trial was not to deny it, but that it all boiled down to the question of “Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the president in office?” – in other words, having a perjurer as commander in chief wasn’t going to imperil national security, or our domestic freedoms as Americans."

As we review this situation one has to ask is this. What reason do these leftist loons have to exist at all? Answer: They exist to have power. That is all the more reason to reject their views, their actions, their philosophy,and reject them personally.

I keep hearing that the left isn't evil,  it's just wrong. Now that’s wrong! The left is wrong because it really is evil, if you correlate evil with evil ends and outcomes.  Evil is as evil does, and their policies are blatantly misanthropic.

The fascist/communist monsters of the 20th century, along with the environmentalists, have killed over 200 million innocent people in the last 75 years, and the greenies are still at it. All representing the left.

Leftist thinking may be infantile, and they may act like spoiled children, having tantrums when they can’t have their way. Tantrums better known as violent demonstrations. But what they represent is evil, and anyone who supports them shares in the blame for the evil they have wrought.



Voters are rejecting Leftist  authoritarianism

Disaffection with politics as usual has once again upended the old order, and the Conservative Party victory in the British election shows that such sentiment is here to stay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a majority in the House of Commons, and it now appears that Brexit will finally happen. This win is sure to have implications for the American election next year.

Voters in liberal democracies across the world have rejected rule by the political elite, who had until a few years ago held sway over the levers of power. It all started with the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom in 2016 and has since swept across Europe in a rejection of the Brussels fiat exercised by the European Union. The recent Canadian election saw the out of touch Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hemorrhage seats. The election of President Donald Trump was not an isolated event of disaffection with the elite, but the most powerful and consequential.

British voters turned out largely for the Conservative Party because of its promise to proceed with Brexit, the ultimate affront to the status quo in Brussels. American voters also turned out for Trump and his campaign against the establishment three years to drain the swamp in Washington. Voters on both sides of the Atlantic want elected officials who focus on popular issues rather than maintaining the power of the political elite.

The British political elite and its establishment officials, for the most part, refused to take up the issues voters care most about. In the case of Brexit, they simply refused to follow through with the mandate of the people. The political elite in fact were so horrified at the very prospect of leaving the European Union that delaying Brexit became more of a punitive exercise than anything. The political elite began to lose control as a result of the Brexit referendum and have done everything in their power to subvert the will of the voters, who are intent on draining their own swamp in London.

The victory for Johnson and the Conservative Party is an affirmation that the United Kingdom will actually leave the European Union, which in itself is a sound rejection of the status quo. Its exit from the European Union, a monolithic deep state bureaucracy, is now almost guaranteed. The British election this month shows the world that the “leave” camp meant what it voted for in the 2016 referendum. We are witnessing the same scenario play out in the United States with regard to the impeachment of Trump.

In the same way the British media and political elite sought to overturn Brexit, the liberal media and Democrats wish to cancel the results of the 2016 American election by removing Trump from office. Democrats told the nation they would impeach Trump from the first day of his presidency. The talking heads and pundits oversold every leak or agency report in the hopes that it might derail the administration. Finally, after three years of muddling through, Democrats have introduced articles of impeachment.

Trump will most certainly be acquitted in the Senate, regardless of what impeachment cheerleaders have to say. Impeachment is now shaping up to parallel the affirmation of British voters to proceed with Brexit. Trump arrived in Washington with a clear mandate from American voters, many of whom were not even Republican or conservative. These were people who may have voted for Barack Obama twice before, but their aversion to and disgust with the status quo sent them over the edge. Impeachment is bound to energize voters sick of the way things are done in Washington.

No one should be surprised when the polls reflect increased support for Trump in 2020, just as they did for Johnson and the Conservative Party ahead of the British election this month. If the results from across the pond are any indication of how American voters might view the status quo, we are looking at another four years of Trump in the White House.




MAGA ACHIEVEMENTS: While the media and his critics focused on the bitterly divided House impeachment hearings, President Trump last week collected the most agenda wins yet (Washington Examiner)

OR MAYBE THE FEARS WERE UNFOUNDED TO BEGIN WITH? U.S. economy shakes free of recession fears in striking turnaround since August (The Washington Post)

LEFT-WING VIOLENCE: Antifa's deadly year shows the extremism on the far Left (Newsweek)

BLUE LIVES MATTER: Arkansas police officer "executed" in car was shot 10 times in the head, investigators say as video emerges (Fox News)

POLICY: The Chinese economic miracle: How much is real, and how much is a mirage? (American Enterprise Institute)

MIKE LEE WAS RIGHT: FISA court issues rare public order condemning FBI for Russia-probe abuses and demanding reforms (National Review)

MOUNTING EVIDENCE: New attestation shows Hunter Biden-Ukraine payments flagged as "suspicious" in early 2016 (The Daily Wire)

THEN: Much of "Trump country" was in recession during 2016 campaign (Reuters)

NOW: Dow Jones officially exceeds 28,333, up 10,000 points since Trump's election despite doomsday predictions (The Federalist)

D'OH! Vox Media fires hundreds of freelancers due to law trumpeted by Vox (The Washington Free Beacon)

CLASS-ACTION SUIT: New York clergy sex abuse victims are suing the pope — claiming in a landmark lawsuit filed Tuesday that he and the Vatican were aware that a significant number of priests were molesting children and kept it secret (New York Post)

STOMPING ON THE "SOLE" OF AMERICA: New Nike Kaepernick shoe honors date he first sat for national anthem (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: USMCA will have a surprising effect on commercial real estate (Washington Examiner)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


20 December, 2019

Is Trump the Only Adult in the Room?

By Victor Davis Hanson

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth.  But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election.

Do we remember the effort to subvert the Electoral College to prevent Trump from assuming office?

The first impeachment try during his initial week in office?

Attempts to remove Trump using the ossified Logan Act or the emoluments clause of the Constitution?

The idea of declaring Trump unhinged, subject to removal by invoking the 25th Amendment?

Special counsel Robert Mueller's 22-month, $35 million investigation, which failed to find Trump guilty of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election and failed to find actionable obstruction of justice pertaining to the non-crime of collusion?

The constant endeavors to subpoena Trump's tax returns and to investigate his family, lawyers and friends?

Now, frustrated Democrats are trying to impeach Trump, even as they are scrambling to find reasons why and how.

Most presidents might seem angry after three years of that. Yet in paradoxical fashion, Trump suddenly appears more composed than at any other time in his volatile presidency.

Ironically, Trump's opponents and enemies are the ones who have become publicly unhinged.

Leading Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden recently had a complete meltdown while campaigning in Iowa. Biden called a questioner who asked about his son Hunter's lucrative job with a Ukrainian energy company "a damn liar." An animated Biden also challenged the 83-year-old ex-Marine and retired farmer to a push-up contest or footrace.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, fared little better. On the first day of his committee's impeachment inquiry, Nadler stacked the witness list by bringing in three left-wing law professors, as opposed to one Republican centrist witness -- as if partisan academics might sway the nation.

None of the three presented any new information or evidence. All three seemed angry, petulant and condescending. At least one came into the proceedings with paper and video trails of anti-Trump animus.

The nadir came when one of the witnesses, Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, was reduced to making fun of the president's 13-year-old son.

At one point, Nadler appeared to fall asleep while chairing the hearing.

Nadler's Judiciary Committee was supposed to be empowered by the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report. But the contents of that report were overshadowed by the revelation that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the Intelligence Committee, had obtained data on the private phone calls of ranking Republican House Intelligence Committee Member Devin Nunes, Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, journalist John Solomon, former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and others. Schiff had obtained the data via congressional subpoena.

If the chairman of a committee overseeing an impeachment inquiry is secretly digging into the phone records of his own colleague, a reporter and the personal attorney of the president of the United States, how can anything he reports be trusted?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference to announce plans to proceed with articles of impeachment. But she would not say which particular charges would be brought against the president.

Then, Pelosi lost her cool and shook her finger at a reporter who simply asked her, "Do you hate the president?"

At that point, a furious Pelosi shouted back, "Don't mess with me!"

She then retreated behind the shield of her religion by lecturing the questioner that as a good Catholic, she was simply too moral to be capable of hatred. Pelosi finished her sermon by boasting that she "prayed" for the unfortunate Trump.

At a NATO summit in London, Trump was playing the unaccustomed role of NATO defender by challenging French President Emmanuel Macron's curt dismissal of the alliance. Macron said NATO is experiencing "brain death."

Meanwhile, in an unguarded moment, a few heads of NATO nations crowded around Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he chattered and ridiculed Trump in the fashion of a gossipy teen -- unknowingly being recorded on video, much to the delight of Trump's critics back home.

The common denominator of all this petulance is exasperation over the inability to derail Trump.

Trump's many enemies fear he will be re-elected in 2020, given a booming economy and peace abroad. They know that they cannot remove him from office. And yet they fear that the more they try to stain him with impeachment, the more frustrated and unpopular they will become.

Yet, like end-stage addicts, they simply cannot stop the behavior that is consuming them.



Actually, class warriors, skyrocketing inequality may be a myth
Jeff Jacoby

DEMONIZING THE RICH and condemning disparities of wealth have been pillars of Democratic Party politics for decades. Franklin Delano Roosevelt lambasted wealthy Americans who "did not want to pay a fair share" in 1936. Barack Obama pronounced income inequality "the defining issue of our time" in 2012. Few left-wing tropes are more familiar than the avarice of the well-to-do.

Bernie Sanders denounces current levels of wealth inequality as "outrageous," "grotesque," and "immoral." Elizabeth Warren accuses the rich of having "rigged the system" to "hollow out" the middle class.

These days, the most fervent bash-the-rich rhetoric comes from Democratic senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom are proposing steep new taxes on the accumulated wealth of America's most affluent families. Sanders denounces current levels of wealth inequality as "outrageous," "grotesque," and "immoral," and declares flatly that "billionaires should not exist." Warren accuses the rich of having "rigged the system" to "hollow out" the middle class, and insists that "runaway wealth concentration" is poisoning American society.

The idea that wealth and income inequality is off the charts — that the "1 percent" has cleaned up at the expense of everyone else — has gotten considerable support from the work of three influential economists, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman. It's their research that Warren and Sanders rely on when they decry the super-rich for amassing ever more wealth while the vast majority of Americans is losing ground.

But what if Piketty, et al., got it wrong?

"Just as ideas about inequality have completed their march from the academy to the frontlines of politics, researchers have begun to look again," The Economist reported last month. "And some are wondering whether inequality has in fact risen as much as claimed — or, by some measures, at all."

Two of those researchers are economists Gerald Auten of the US Treasury and David Splinter of Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation. In a recent paper that has drawn respectful attention in the profession, they make the case that Piketty, Saez, and Zucman fumbled their data, and that their most explosive conclusions about rising inequality aren't supported by the facts. They conclude that, once taxes and government transfer payments are properly accounted for, the share of income going to the top 1 percent in the United States has barely changed since the early 1960s.

One point critics have been making for years is that data on wealth and income ought to reflect the nearly $2 trillion paid out by the government each year via Medicare, Medicaid, and other social welfare programs. Since most taxes are paid by upper-income Americans, while most transfer payments go to lower-income Americans, a good deal of inequality is constantly being neutralized by government antipoverty spending.

To that familiar correction, Auten and Splinter add more subtle ones.

They note, for example, that Piketty and his colleagues focused on tax returns filed by households, which show the income reported by the 1 percent outstripping everyone else. But the focus on household income, as opposed to individual income, skews the bottom line. Marriage rates have fallen disproportionately among poorer Americans, which means that income is divided among more lower-income households, though not among more people. When incomes are ranked by individuals, there is a lot less inequality.

Something else those beating the class-warfare drum tend to ignore is the sharp increase in corporate profits flowing to middle-class taxpayers through pension and retirement funds. Thanks to the advent of IRAs and 401(k)s, corporate ownership has been radically democratized. In 1960, Auten and Splinter point out, retirement funds owned just 4 percent of the US stock market. Today that figure is above 50 percent.

Yet another correction has to do with the way US incomes have been reported to the IRS since 1986. A major change in tax law that year encouraged small businesses to operate as "pass-through" entities, meaning that their income — previously included in corporate returns — could henceforth be included in individual tax returns. As a result, high incomes that used to be sheltered within corporate tax filings began getting reported as individual income: a surge in personal wealth on paper, but not in reality.

Academic analyses of taxpayers' earnings can be "fiendishly complicated," the Economist acknowledges. Politicians and ideologues generally aren't interested in nuance; they prefer to treat issues of income, wealth, and inequality as black-and-white morality tales. But the incessant claim by Sanders and Warren that working-class Americans are being impoverished as plutocrats in the "tippy top" grow ever richer is just not plausible.

There is more to wealth, after all, than hourly wages. "If you argue that income has shrunk you also have to claim that four decades' worth of innovation in goods and services, from mobile phones and video streaming to cholesterol-lowering statins, have not improved middle-earners' lives," the Economist comments. "That is simply not credible." As Don Boudreaux of George Mason University points out, the humblest working-class American today enjoys a standard of living and an array of amenities and comforts — from air travel to contact lenses to overnight package delivery — far superior to most of what even a billionaire like John D. Rockefeller could have commanded a century ago.

Perhaps this is why progressive passion for soaking the rich and closing the wealth gap rarely seem to be shared by most voters. When Gallup earlier this year asked Americans to name the "most important problem facing this country today," just 1 percent cited the gap between rich and poor. When respondents were given a list of a dozen "priorities" for Congress and the president to tackle, "the distribution of income and wealth" tied for last place.

Contrary to progressive belief, America is not divided into rigid economic strata. The incomes of the wealthy often decline, while many taxpayers go from being poor at one point to not-poor at another. Research shows that more than one-tenth of Americans will make it all the way to the top 1 percent for at least one year during their working lives.

The very rich, wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, "are different from you and me." Are they, though? You'd never know it to hear Warren and Sanders fulminate, but the gaping inequality they rail against might just be an illusion.



Trump Now Leads All of His Likely Rivals in National Polls, Even Biden

The fallout from the Democrats' impeachment of Trump keeps getting worse for Democrats. Not only do a plurality now oppose impeachment and removal, but Trump is now leading all of his likely Democrat rivals for the White House in head-to-head match-ups, according to a new USA Today/Suffolk University Poll.

According to the recent national survey, President Trump is "defeating former Vice President Joe Biden by 3 percentage points, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 5 points, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 8 points." He also bests Pete Buttigieg by 10 points, and Michael Bloomberg by 9 points.

While obviously polls this far out from the election are hardly reliable indicators, several factors make it clear that Trump is in a very strong position. At this time in the 2012 election cycle, Obama was consistently beating Romney in national polls. Given Trump's already overwhelmingly negative media coverage, the partisan impeachment hearings of the Democrats were the best chance to knock Trump's numbers down, but instead of all his likely rivals crushing him in national polls, he's now beating them.  What does that tell you?

Trump spent most of the 2016 election underwater in terms of national polling—so much so that pundits were almost universally predicting Hillary's coronation.

With the exception of an economic collapse, the height of an impeachment inquiry should be the worst possible thing for Trump. He's had Democrats being given hours and hours of air time claiming him to be a criminal. Yet, here we are — support for impeachment is underwater, and he's outpolling his likely rivals. Many underestimated him in 2016—including me—who should be looking at the numbers today and realizing that save for an economic downturn, Donald Trump will be extremely difficult to beat in 2020,



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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19 December, 2019

Finland versus the USA

The NYT has a large article up under the heading: "Finland Is Our Capitalist Paradise". Finns pay huge taxes but business activity also thrives there they claim

The argument runs that Finns get most big-ticket items "free" for their taxes. The authors are particularly impressed with the free education and free hospitals.  They claim that both are high quality.

And they write as if there is no free education and no free hospitals in the USA. Yet most Americans go to "free" local schools for their primary and secondary education and can go to government hospitals where they will be treated regardless of ability to pay.  So where's the difference?

We have only the word of the authors that there is a difference in quality but I am prepared to concede that many American public schools are ratshit and that American public hospitals can often afford to provide little more than emergency care. So why is that? Can socialized services be better than private ones?

A big part of the American difficulty is that the population of the USA is so diverse.  Many in that population would not even call themselves Americans.  That contrasts with the small and homogeneous population of Finland.  So the American population is orders of magnitude harder to manage than is Finland. So what works well in Finland might work much less well in the USA.

I cannot with any brevity take on all the claims in the NYT article so I just want to focus on one of the claims -- about the high quality of Finnish public hospitals.  Like most Leftist writing, however, they will only tell you the good bits and ignore the bad bits.

I have no new information about Finnish healthcare but I live amid a similar system in Australia.  We too have universal government health coverage. And the limitations of that are well known. Despite the free government healthcare available, 40% of Australians take out private health insurance.  Now why would they do that?

They do it for two reasons: Access and quality. If you have any serious problems, the difficulty is getting yourself in front of the doctor.  There are waiting lists for almost everything and even waiting lists to get on the waiting list!  You could die while waiting and some do. 

And the quality of treatment is public hospitals is poorer, if only because it is the private hospitals that have the latest machines.  Even when the public sector has the machines they may not have the staff to operate them.  There is for instance in Brisbane a public hospital hyperbaric chamber to treat divers with the bends but that hospital will simply refer distressed divers to a private hospital that has one. 

Similarly, there are apparently PET scan machines for detecting cancer in the public sector but they are very expensive to use so most patients will be referred to one of the private PET clinics, where patients will pay out of their own pockets for the scan. My last PET scan (in a private hospital) was arranged with only a couple of days notice

So I doubt that Finnish hospitals are much better than that. I would be most surprised if Finns get the "no waiting" experience that is common in Australian private hospitals.  And it is for access to such hospitals that Australians buy private health insurance

So that is a relevant comparison. Australians and Americans both are mainly of British and Northern European heritage and both have trouble coping with large "indigestible" minorities.  If you want to know what free universal healthcare would look like in practice in America, look to Australia, not Finland. 

The Australian system is not wholly bad.  The immediate and mostly free access to your family doctor ("bulk billing") is certainly hard to beat.  It is the hospitals that are the problem area.

This whole topic is a huge one so I am not going to go on to talk about American versus Finnish university education.  But it is clear that American university education has gone off the rails in recent years and is getting worse rather than better. Finland might well be better. It might need Mr Trump to take an interest in American university education for it to have any hope of improvement.


Neither Boris Johnson nor Margaret Thatcher got a majority of the votes -- any more than Trump or Bill Clinton did

What the NYT says below is right but far from new.  Australians are particularly aware of it because we have the British electoral system in the lower house and the European system in the upper house.  But I reproduce it as something to sober up any complacency about Boris's recent victory

LONDON — The answer to Brexit, the Conservative Party’s election victory and everything in British politics is (with apologies to Douglas Adams) 336,038.

That number is what you get when you divide the 3,696,423 total votes cast nationally for the Liberal Democrats party in last week’s election by the 11 seats the party actually won. By contrast, Prime Minister Boris Johnson led his Conservative Party to victory via a far more economical average of 38,265 votes for each of its 365 seats — a roughly tenfold difference in the parties’ ability to translate votes cast into seats.

The Conservatives’ triumph and the Liberal Democrats’ disaster were both the result, in large part, of a factor that is rarely discussed but crucial for understanding the country’s political chaos: Britain, like the United States, operates a “first past the post” electoral system, in which parliamentary seats are awarded to the candidate who wins the most votes in each individual race, rather than by proportion of the total national vote.

Brexit, which has polarized Britain around a new political divide since the 2016 referendum in which the country narrowly voted to leave the European Union, has thrown into sharp relief the ways that first-pastthe- post systems can skew political outcomes.

And so 336,038 also serves as an epitaph for the political career of Jo Swinson, the dynamic 39- year-old who was the leader of the Liberal Democrats until she lost her seat on Thursday. Just months ago she seemed triumphant, her party surging in the polls. But Thursday’s election put an end to those hopes.

The first-past-the-post system works well within a two-party system, but not where there are multiple parties. For Britain, that generally wasn’t a problem until Brexit fractured the long-stable coalitions of its two major political parties, creating an opening for challengers like the Liberal Democrats and Brexit Party.

“When you don’t have two parties, the first-past-the-post system is really bad at translating voter beliefs into seats,” said Sara Hobolt, a political scientist at the London School of Economics.

That weakness was on display in the most recent election, in which the roughly half of the electorate who oppose leaving the European Union found that their votes had only a fraction of the power that votes for the pro-Brexit Conservatives did.

2nd Place Is First Loser

Things looked very different in September, when Ms. Swinson took the stage at her party’s conference in Bournemouth, an old-fashioned resort town on the south coast of England. To rapturous applause, she promised a future that much of the country had hoped for since the 2016 referendum: If her party won power, she would stop Brexit.

In a different political system, that might have been her moment.

“There is a pattern to how small parties break through,” said Dr. Hobolt, a co-author of a coming book about challenger parties in Europe. “They find an issue that cuts across a mainstream party coalition and exploit it as a wedge.” Across much of Europe, the same issues at the heart of the Brexit debate, such as immigration and membership in the European Union, have been just such a wedge for small parties.

In countries with proportional representation, the result has been a major party realignment: instead of two major parties, on the center left and center right, many countries now have four parties divided along both social and economic lines.

In Germany, for instance, the Green Party on the far left and the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany on the far right have drawn support away from the center-left and center-right parties that have traditionally dominated politics. Though that means no party wins an outright majority, coalitions and compromise offer a way to reflect voter beliefs with relative accuracy.

If Britain had a proportional system, the pro-Remain parties could have formed a coalition with a majority in Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party, the Greens and Labour, which all promised to stop Brexit directly or hold a new referendum offering that as an option, won over 50 percent of the votes between them.

But under first past the post, things played out very differently.

Instead of giving Remain voters the option of a powerful coalition government, the increased popularity of the Liberal Democrats and other small parties split the pro-Remain electorate, ultimately helping to hand victory to Mr. Johnson’s Brexiteers.

For example, in Kensington and Wimbledon, wealthy districts of London that voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, Conservative candidates scraped to victory with less than 40 percent of the vote after Remain voters divided between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

The European Parliament elections in May, by contrast, used a proportional system.

Although the results are not directly comparable — voters tend to treat European elections as more of an expressive choice than a practical one — they did offer a hint of what a different system might bring. The British electorate was much more atomized, with the Brexit Party in first place with 30 percent of the vote, the Liberal Democrats second with just under 20 percent and then the Greens, Labour and the Conservatives clustered around 10 percent each.

But in first past the post, casting a vote outside of the two largest parties is a risky move.

“Two-party systems are particularly problematic when you have the kind of crosscutting dimensions you have now,” Dr. Hobolt said. Reflecting the will of the people can be political suicide.

‘A Geography Story’

Why weren’t Ms. Swinson and her party able to exert more influence over Labour’s Brexit platform, as the far-right Brexit party did over Mr. Johnson’s Conservatives? To stave off the Brexit Party threat, Mr. Johnson made support for Brexit by any means necessary a litmus test for Conservative politicians, going so far as to expel 21 legislators for voting to block a no-deal Brexit.

But pressure from the Liberal Democrats did not have a similar effect on the Labour party.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, grudgingly agreed to hold a new referendum, but avoided focusing on the Brexit issue, instead emphasizing his party’s economic platform and commitment to expanding the welfare state.

“That’s a geography story,” said Simon Hix, a political scientist at the London School of Economics who studies European politics. Brexit had divided the country along geographic as well as political lines: Large, cosmopolitan cities like London voted heavily to remain, while rural areas and postindustrial towns that have seen little benefit from globalization, including many traditional Labour strongholds, voted to leave.

The result was that Conservative Remainers were concentrated in a smaller number of wealthy areas, mostly in London, leaving the Conservatives with relatively few seats to lose from alienating them. Labour Leave voters, on the other hand, were more spread out — putting many more Labour seats at risk.

Mr. Corbyn tried to “have his cake and eat it,” Dr. Hix said, by prioritizing economic messages instead. But in an election where Brexit was the most salient issue, that strategy proved disastrously ineffective. Mr. Johnson’s promise to “get Brexit done” attracted leave voters in traditional Labour strongholds, winning those districts by oftennarrow margins. But Mr. Corbyn failed to pick up areas like Wimbledon and Kensington where many wealthy Leave voters could not stomach his far-left economic policies and cast ballots for the Liberal Democrats.

That may offer some lessons for the United States, which shares first past the post. “When you have all these liberal cosmopolitan voters piled up in urban areas, the left are winning those seats by massive margins,” Dr. Hix said. “But the right can win many more seats with smaller margins.” That helps to explain why immigration, transgender rights and other social issues, which are effective wedge issues in rural and postindustrial areas, have become so prominent in American politics.

The United States does not have small party challengers akin to the Brexit Party or the Liberal Democrats. But its primary system offers an opportunity for populist challengers within the major parties to exploit wedge issues. That strategy propelled Donald Trump to victory in the 2016 Republican primary.

“People say that the good thing about first-past-the-post systems is you don’t get radicalright parties,” Dr. Hobolt said.

“But there’s a danger that the radical right wing of a party takes over.”




UGLIER THAN A CHRISTMAS SWEATER: Congress finalizes 2020 budget bill ahead of impending shutdown; bill includes federal research into "gun violence" and raising the tobacco buying age to 21 (National Review)

TONE DEAF: Chuck Schumer issues list of Democrat demands for Senate impeachment trial, gets wrecked for hypocrisy related to Bill Clinton's impeachment trial (The Daily Wire)

BOMBSHELL OR BLUSTER? Giuliani says he has new proof of massive corruption in Ukraine involving Bidens (The Washington Times)

SKIPPING THE 2020 DEBATES? Trump slams debate commission, raising questions about his participation (The Hill)

A TINY FRACTION OF THE 47,000 INDIVIDUALS: Just 11 migrants have qualified for asylum under Remain in Mexico program (The Daily Caller)

THERE ALMOST SEEMS TO BE A PATTERN HERE: Starbucks again apologizes after employees allegedly treat law enforcement with disrespect (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: Eleven more examples of how firearms save gun owners' lives and property (The Daily Signal)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


18 December, 2019

Is Boris Johnson a conservative?

Peter Hitchens below puts the "No" case rather succinctly. I think an even more succinct  reponse to Peter is to say that Boris is a BRITISH conservative. The British Tory party has always been a bit wishy washy by strict conservative standards but that is inevitable in a  system where the winning party almost always has to be pretty centrist.  It was precisely that Jeremy Corbin made to effort to win the centre that he lost so soundly to Boris.  His nauseous antisemitism, love of terrorists and promises of an economic upheaval were just not British.

But the global warming craze is a dominant theme in the media with few prominent people opposing it so that is part of the political centre.  Few conservatives believe in it but at election time it would be too big a burden to gainsay it.  What conservatives do is pay lip service to it while doing as little as possible about it.  Politicians generally do the same -- something Ms Thunberg has yet to fully grasp. So Boris will do the same -- quietly scale back climate-related  initiatives and waffling as he does so.  Australia's Prime minister, Scott Morrison, is a past-master at that. It may be noted that the latest "Conference of the Parties" has just wrapped up in Madrid with zero agreement from anyone to do anything more about global warming. The British representatives were part of that.

And Tories as a centre-right party is in fact historically common in Britain. One could mention socialist policies favoured by Winston Churchill and his general acceptance of Attlee's innovations but it is clearly to Disraeli that Boris harks back. 

Disraeli is generally acknowledged as an outstandingly successful Prime minister at the height of the British Empire in the late 19th century.  Yet it was Disraeli, not any Leftist, who introduced a whole raft of social welfare legislation to Britain.  He introduced some of Britain's first worker protection laws and extended the vote to many working class people who had never had it before. As a result of these social reforms Leftist MP Alexander Macdonald told his constituents in 1879, "The Conservative party have done more for the working classes in five years than the Liberals have in fifty."

So Disraeli married conservative caution, respect for tradition and respect for the individual to policies that are more typically advocated by Leftists.  It was a brilliant piece of centrism that kept him in power and enabled him to preside over a  peaceful and immensely influential Britain.  He kept the revolutionaries and other wreckers out of power and saved the best of British traditions. He called his policies "One Nation Conservatism" and Boris to has adopted both the term and a modern version of the policies concerned.  He will keep the wreckers out of power if that is all he does -- but just that is immensely beneficial. He will be very good for Britain.  American conservatives know how poisonous their present Left is. It was, if anything, worse in Britain

Just look at Al ‘Boris’ Johnson’s victory speech on Friday morning. Anthony Blair or Gordon Brown could have made it. There’s a red-green pledge of ‘carbon-neutrality’ by 2050. This means pointlessly strangling the economy by destroying efficient power generation, while making you pay for windmills through higher gas and electricity bills. Meanwhile, China sensibly continues to depend on cheap, reliable coal.

There’s a promise of ‘colossal new investments in infrastructure’. This means huge, inefficient projects such as HS2, which do no good, cost billions and hugely overrun their budgets and timetables – again at your expense.

There’s a promise of a ‘long-term NHS budget enshrined in law, 650 million pounds extra every week’. This is a crude submission to the lobby that imagines that the only thing wrong with the NHS is its budget. In truth, we could spend every penny the country has on it and it still would not work as it is supposed to.

And there’s the usual thoughtless, ignorant rubbish about police numbers. Please. The problem with the police is not how many of them there are. It is the fact that they spend their time doing the wrong things, and refuse to return to the simple, solitary foot patrol, which is the reason for their existence.

What did you think it meant when Mr Johnson appeared standing in front of a backdrop inscribed with the words ‘The People’s Government’, a phrase that could have been concocted by Blair’s mental valet, Alastair Campbell?

What did it mean when he then said: ‘In winning this Election we have won the votes and the trust of people who have never voted Conservative before and people who have always voted for other parties. Those people want change. We cannot, must not, must not, let them down. And in delivering change we must change too. We must recognise the incredible reality that we now speak as a one-nation Conservative Party literally for everyone from Woking to Workington.’



The Left can never admit that they got it wrong

UK: Jeremy Corbyn has doubled down on his support for Labour's wildly left-wing policies despite the party's spectacular election defeat.

The outgoing opposition leader grudgingly shouldered some personal responsibility for the catastrophic collapse in votes, but used two newspaper columns to pin the blame on Brexit and the media.    

Labour suffered its worst performance at the polls since 1935 after Boris Johnson reduced the party's Red Wall of traditionally northern strongholds to rubble.

While accepting the result was 'desperately disappointing', Mr Corbyn said he was 'proud' of the radical anti-rich and spending spree platform he stood on during the campaign.

Insisting his tax-hiking government blueprint was popular, he wrote in the Observer: 'I am proud that on austerity, on corporate power, on inequality and on the climate emergency we have won the arguments and rewritten the terms of political debate.

'But I regret that we did not succeed in converting that into a parliamentary majority for change.



Very Quietly, Democrats Cave on Funding Border Wall in New Spending Bill

Congress reached a "deal in principle" to fund the government through next year, a deal that includes at least some funding for the president's proposed border wall. This after Democrats solemnly swore they would not vote for "one dime" of wall funding.

The Hill:

There were some indications that Democrats gave ground on the wall, moving from the zero-funding position they took in their original version of the bill.

Following a Wednesday meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Lowey acknowledged that they may lose some votes on the left.

“Not everyone can vote for the bills, and we just need enough votes to pass, and I’d like to get the majority of Democrats, at least. And I hope we get some Republicans to support the bills, because it’s always good to have bipartisan support,” she said.

It's not likely that too many Democrats will advertise the fact that their leaders completely caved to Trump and that they betrayed their far-left supporters. Otherwise, the government will shut down and no one wants to see who gets blamed by the voters for it.

Trump still had to do a little horse-trading to get his wall funding.


The White House signaled in negotiations it would accept significantly less money -- the current level of $1.375 billion -- than requested on the border wall in exchange for maintaining the authority to transfer funds from Pentagon accounts to finance new wall construction, according to people involved in the talks. That agreement made it into the final deal, a source familiar with the talks said. The deal does not include any money backfilling the $3.6 billion in military construction funds the administration transferred earlier this year to fund the wall -- a key priority for Democrats.
The spending bill, as usual, makes a mockery of good government and sound government fiscal policy.

The bipartisan foursome of the top appropriators reached the agreement after meeting in the Capitol on Thursday, capping a day of harried negotiations, proposals and counter proposals that will significantly curtail the threat of a government shutdown. Staff will work through the weekend to produce the final legislation



Wisconsin Judge Rules More than 200,000 Voter Registrations Should Be Tossed

A Wisconsin judge has ruled that more than 200,000 voters who failed to respond to an October mailing, flagging them for having potentially moved, must have their names stricken from the registration rolls.

A lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Wisconsin voters by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), alleged that the Wisconsin Election Commission was not following the law when they allowed a two-year grace period to go by for residents who had moved to change their address. The commission sent a mailer asking people to update their addresses. About 234,000 failed to respond in the 30-day window.

The judge, Paul Malloy, denied a request by Election Commission attorneys to put his decision on hold. He ordered the Commission to follow the law requiring voters who didn’t respond to be deactivated.

Instead of obeying the law, the WEC sued.

Epoch Times:

“Instead of reversing course, the Wisconsin Election Commission has stubbornly doubled down. This lawsuit is about accountability, the rule of law, and clean and fair elections.”
The case is important for both sides ahead of the 2020 presidential race in narrowly divided Wisconsin, which President Donald Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. Liberals fear the voters who could be purged are more likely to be Democrats. Republicans argue allowing them to remain on the rolls increases the risk of voter fraud.

The WEC, which has an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, is fighting the lawsuit. It argues that the law gives it the power to decide how to manage the voter registration list.

This seems a pretty straightforward house cleaning task that in normal times wouldn't get a second look from anyone. But, of course, it's seen by the left as "voter suppression" because dead people and people who have moved -- perhaps to another state -- didn't respond to the mailer.

I guess most of the dead people are Democrats.

Malloy gave a sensible reason for his ruling.

“I don’t want to see anybody deactivated, but I don’t write the legislation,” Malloy said. “If you don’t like it, then I guess you have to go back to the Legislature. They didn’t do that.”
If you think the law suppresses votes, then change the law. Malloy isn't a liberal judge who believes you can just make the law up as you go along.

As of Dec. 5, only about 16,500 of those who received the mailing had registered at their new address. More than 170,000 hadn’t responded, and the postal service was unable to deliver notifications to nearly 60,000 voters.
If the post office can't deliver the mail to an address where you're registered to vote, that's a pretty good sign that you've moved or are dead. But we should keep them on the rolls because...Democrats say so.

The Democrats on the commission claim that the last batch of people who were dropped from the rolls under similar circumstances was confused and angry and that there were complaints. No word if they have any proof at all of any of that.

With registering to vote so ridiculously easy -- same-day registration is allowed in Wisconsin -- you have to wonder why there's any controversy here at all. The reason is simple: it allows Democrats to scare voters into thinking that Republicans don't want them to vote. Maintaining accurate and up-to-date voter registration rolls is critical to holding a clean election.

So why are Democrats so hysterically opposed?



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


17 December, 2019

Conservatism and The Problem of Nationalism

Kim R. Holmes --  the Executive Vice President at The Heritage Foundation -- makes a long and impassioned argument below against nationalism among conservatives.  It is of course Trump who is really in his sights.

And he has something to explain:  Is "American exceptionalism" a form of nationalism?  He offers a fairly good reply to that

As ever, however, the Devil is in the details.  What do we mean by nationalism?  Nationalism undoubtedly has a very bad track record in Europe.  Holmes sets that out well. But is American nationalism different?  Because of its historical associations I agree with Holmes by rarely making use of the word.  But when I do, I am always mindful of Orwell's clarifying comment on the matter from the 1940s:

By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

Whatever he calls it from time to time, I think Trump clearly speaks in favour of what Orwell called patriotism rather than nationalism.  Far from wanting power outside America, Trump is a traditional American conservative who wants OUT of the rest of the world and he is doing that withdrawal as well as he can, attracting considerable criticism while doing so.

So Trump is actually validating the distinction Orwell made.  His patriotism is so different from nationalism that it could almost be called anti-nationalism.  So any idea that American conservatives -- who are now almost all Trump supporters - are in the grip of anything like European nationalism is precisely wrong.  Holmes need not worry.  Patriotic Americans are ever-ready to help people of other nations but they don't want to control them

And Orwell's comment about the individual submerging himself in nationalism should be noted. Could people as individualistic as Americans ever do that?  Not many, I fancy.

There WAS an era when America WAS nationalist but that was around a century ago under the leadership of that great "Progressive", Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt did at least ride his own horse into battle against the Spanish in America's conquest of Cuba but that is about all you can say by way of praising him

At first glance, the new nationalism of conservatives will seem benign and even uncontroversial. In his book, “The Case for Nationalism,” Rich Lowry defines nationalism as flowing from a people’s "natural devotion to their home and to their country." Yoram Hazony, in his book “The Virtue of Nationalism,” also has a rather anodyne definition of nationalism. It means "that the world is governed best when nations agree to cultivate their own traditions, free from interference by other nations."

There is nothing particularly controversial at all about these statements. Defined in these terms, it sounds like little more than simply defending nationality or national sovereignty, which is why Lowry, Hazony, and others insist their definition of nationalism has nothing to do with the most virulent forms involving ethnicity, race, militarism, or fascism.

Here's the problem. I suppose any of us can take any tradition that has a definite history and simply redefine it to our liking. We could then give ourselves permission to castigate anyone who doesn't agree with us as "misunderstanding" or even libeling us.

But who actually is responsible for the misunderstanding here? The people who are trying to redefine the term, or the people who remind us of nationalism's real history and what nationalism actually has been in history? Which raises an even bigger question: Why go down this road at all?

If you have to spend half of your time explaining, "Oh, I don't mean that kind of nationalism," why would you want to associate a venerable tradition of American civic patriotism, national pride, and American exceptionalism at all with the various nationalisms that have occurred in the world? After all, American conservatives have argued that one of the great things about America was that it was different from all other countries. Different from all other nationalisms.

Here's my point. Nationalism is not the same thing as national identity. It's not the same thing as respect for national sovereignty. It's not even the same thing as national pride. It's something historically and philosophically different, and those differences are not merely semantic, technical or the preoccupations of academic historians. In fact, they go to the very essence of what it means to be an American.

I think I understand why some people will be attracted to the concept of nationalism. President Trump used the term nationalism. National conservatives think that President Trump has tapped into a new populism for conservatism, and they want to take advantage of it. They think that traditional fusionist conservatism and the American exceptionalism idea are not strong enough. These ideas are not muscular enough. They want something stronger to stand up to the universal claims of globalism and progressivism that they believe are anti-American. They also want something stronger to push back on open borders and limitless immigration.

I understand that. I understand very well the desire to have a muscular reaction to the overreach of international governance and globalism, and I have no trouble at all arguing that an international system based on nation-states and national sovereignty is vastly superior, especially for the United States, to one that is run by a global governing body that is democratically remote from the people.

So what's the problem then? Why can't we just all agree that nationalism defined in this way is what we American conservatives have been and believed all along—that it's just a new, more fashionable bottle for a very old wine? Well, because the new bottle changes the way that the wine will be viewed. Why do we need a new bottle at all? It would be like putting a perfectly good California cabernet in a bottle labeled from Germany or France or Russia or China.

The problem lies in that little suffix, “ism.” It indicates that the word nationalism means a general practice, system, philosophy or ideology that is true for all. There is a tradition of nationalism out there that we Americans are part of. All countries have “nationalisms.” All nations and all peoples are all distinguished by what makes them different. Their common heritage as nationalists is actually their difference. Their different languages, their different ethnicities, their different cultures.

At the same time, all nations supposedly share the same sovereignty and rights of the nation-state, regardless of their form of government. A sovereign democratic nation-state is, in this respect, no different than a sovereign authoritarian nation-state. Regardless of the different kinds of government, it's the commonality of the nation-state that matters. Therefore, the sovereignty of Iran or North Korea is, by this way of thinking, morally and legally no different than the sovereignty of the United States or any other democratic nation.

I firmly believe that not all nation-states are the same. There have been times in history when nations have been associated with racism, ethnic supremacy, militarism, communism, and fascism. Does that mean that all nation-states are that way? Of course not, but there is a huge difference between the historical phenomena of nationalism and respect for the sovereignty of a democratic nation-state. Nationalism celebrates cultural and even ethnic differences of a people, regardless of the form of government. The democratic nation-state, on the other hand, grounds its legitimacy and its sovereignty in democratic governance.

The biggest problem causing this misunderstanding is not recognizing the actual history of nationalism. It is, as I mentioned before, to confuse national identity, national consciousness, and national sovereignty with Nationalism with a capital N.

Nationalism as we historically know it arose not in America but in Europe. Our independence movement was a revolt of the people over the type of government that we had under the British. The founders at first thought of themselves as Englishmen, who were being denied their rights by Parliament and by the crown. Yes, Americans certainly had an identity, but it was not based on ethnicity, language, or even religion alone. It had already developed a very distinct understanding of self-government, and that was the key to the Revolution.

By this time, Americans already had a fairly strong sense of identity, but that identity was not nationalism. Why is that? Because nationalism had not been invented yet. It didn't exist at the time of the American Revolution.

Modern nationalism began in France, in the French Revolution. The revolution was a call to arms of the French people. The French nation was born in the French Revolution. The terror and Napoleonic imperialism were the highest expression of this new-born French nationalism.

Revolutionary French nationalism

Napoleon's nationalist imperialism, in turn, sparked the rise of counter-reactionary nationalism in Germany, and all over Europe. Germans, Russians, Austrians, and other nations discovered their own national consciousness and the importance of their own cultures in their hatred of the French invaders.

After that, nationalism raged across the 19th and 20th centuries as a celebration of nations based on the common national culture and a common language and a common historical experience. Nationalism was, in this sense, particularistic. It was populistic. It was exclusive. It was zero- sum. It celebrated differences, not the common humanity of Christianity as it had been known in the Holy Roman Empire or the Catholic Church or even in the Enlightenment.

The key to nationalism was the nation-state. Technically, it wasn't the people themselves who were free or sovereign as the people, but the people represented by and in the name of the nation-state. In other words, their governments. Sovereignty ultimately resided in the state, not the people. The state was above the people, not of, by, and for the people as in the American experience. To this day, this idea lives in the British monarchy, for example, where the Queen is the ultimate sovereign, not the people or the Parliament.

It is unfortunately a common historical error to equate nationalism with the historical rise of the nation-state in Europe and the international state system that arose after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Westphalian Peace did recognize the sovereignty of princes, over and against the universal claims of the Holy Roman Empire and the Church, and it's true that the Protestant Reformation did solidify the sovereignty of the princes and the principalities as forerunners to the nation-state.

But these were princes. They were monarchies. They were dynasties. It wasn't until much later that the modern nation-state and especially the popular sentiments of nationalism arose in history. Whatever this state system was, it is not nationalism. Nationalism is an historic phenomena that did not emerge for another 150 years after 1648. Claiming otherwise is just bad history, pure and simple.

That brings me to the idea of American exceptionalism, which is, I believe, the answer to the question of America's national identity and what it should be.

It's a beautiful concept that captures both the reality and the ambiguity of the American experience. It's based on a universal creed. It is grounded in America's founding principles: natural law, liberty, limited government, individual rights, the checks and balances of government, popular sovereignty not the sovereignty of the folkish nation-state, the civilizing role of religion in civil society and not an established religion associated with one class or one creed, and the crucial role of civil society and civil institutions in grounding and mediating our democracy and our freedom..

We as Americans believe these principles are right and true for all peoples and not just for us. That was the way that Washington and Jefferson understood them, and it was certainly the way that Lincoln understood them. That's what makes them universal. In other words, the American creed grounds us in universal principles.

But what, you may ask, makes us so exceptional then? If it's universal, what makes us exceptional? It is, in fact, the creed.

We believe that Americans are different because our creed is both universal and exceptional at the same time. We are exceptional in the unique way we apply our universal principles. It doesn't necessarily mean that we are better than other peoples, though I think probably most Americans do believe that they are. It's not really about bragging rights. Rather, it's a statement of historical fact that there is something truly different and unique about the United States, which becomes lost when talking in terms of nationalism.

A nationalist cannot say this, because there is nothing universal about nationalism except that all nationalisms are, well, different and particularistic. Nationalism is devoid of a common idea or principle of government except that a people or a nation-state can be almost anything. It can be fascist, it can be authoritarian, it can be totalitarian, or it can be democratic.

Some of the new nationalists doubt explicitly the importance of the American creed. They argue that the creed is not as important as we thought it was to our national identity.  Let's just think about that for a minute.

What does it mean to say that the creed really isn't all that important? If the creed doesn't matter, what is so special about America?

Is it our language? Well, no. We share that with Britain, and now much of the world.

Is it our ethnicity? Well, that doesn't work either because there's no such thing as a common American ethnicity.

Is it a specific religion? We are indeed a religious country, but no, we have freedom of religion, not one specific religion.

Is it our beautiful rivers and mountains?  No. We've got some beautiful rivers and mountains, but so do other countries.

Is it our culture? Yes, I suppose so, but how do you understand American culture without the American creed and the founding principles?

Lincoln called America the world's “last best hope,” because it was a place where all people can and should be free. Before Lincoln, Jefferson called it an empire of liberty.

Immigrants came here and became true Americans by living the American creed and the American dream. You can become a French citizen, but for most Frenchmen, if you are foreign, that is not the same thing as being French. It's different here. You can be a real American by adopting our creed and our way of life.

After World War II, the American way and our devotion to democracy became a beacon of freedom for the whole world. That was the foundation of our claim to world leadership in the Cold War, and it is no different today. If we become a nation just like any other nation, then frankly I would not expect any other nation to grant us any special trust or support.

Another benefit of American exceptionalism is that it is self-correcting. When we fail to live up to our ideals as we did with slavery before the Civil War, we can appeal as Lincoln did to our “better nature” to correct our flaws. That is where the central importance of the creed comes in. Applying the principles of the Declaration of Independence correctly has allowed us to redeem ourselves and our history when we have gone astray.

There is no American identity without the American creed. However, the nationalists are correct about one thing, in suggesting that the American identity is more than just about a set of ideas. These ideas are lived in our culture—that is true. It is also true, as Lincoln said about his famous “mystic chords of memory,” that our common experience and our common history form a unique story. It is a story that embodies the very real lives and relationships of people and a shared cultural experience in a shared space and time in history that we call the United States.

The sharing of experience in space and time - in and of itself - is not unlike what any other nation experiences. At the most basic level, yes, I would say that all nations are in that respect alike. But what made it different for Lincoln was that he believed and he hoped that the “better angels of our nature,” that was grounded in the American creed, would touch the mystic chords of memory that make up that story—and it was that “touch” that set us apart from other nations.

Let me end by making two points.

One, the degree to which national conservatism sounds plausible rests on a profound historical misunderstanding. Statements in and of themselves that sound true and even attractive have to be suspended in a state of historical amnesia to make sense.

When Hazony says, "National cohesion is the secret ingredient that allows free institutions to exist," it makes an almost obvious banal point, as least for the countries that are already free. The problem begins when he associates this with the general tradition of the virtues of nationalism as a concept. Then it gets really messy.

Is national cohesion the secret ingredient to free institutions to nationalists in Russia? In China? Or in Iran? Hardly. In fact, nationalism in these countries is the bitter enemy of free institutions. If the answer is, "Well, I don't mean that kind of nationalism," then the question gets really begged: Why make broad general statements about nationalism at all if the exceptions loom so large? If in fact the exceptions end up being the rule?

My second point is this. If this were just an academic debate over the idea of nationalism, then I suppose it really wouldn't be all that important. You could let the intellectuals split their hairs and historians make their points about the history of nationalism, and you could go and see whether or not the concept of nationalism really helps us politically—whether it's true or not.

I fear the problem is bigger than that for conservatives. The conservative movement today faces huge threats to our most basic principles. From the left, we face progressives who have always said that our creed and our claims to American exceptionalism were a fraud. They have always argued that we were a nation like any other. In fact, the more radical of them argue that we are actually worse than other nations precisely because our founding principles were supposedly based on lies.

Now, we face a new challenge on the sanctity of the American creed from a different direction. This time, from the right. It comes first from blurring the distinctions between nationalism as actually practiced and the uniqueness of American exceptionalism. Then it goes on to raise the specter of the nation-state as being an idea—if not the central idea—to American conservatism. That’s no different than what a continental European conservative probably would say about their traditions.

Frankly, I don't get this at all. American conservatives are skeptical of the government. They're skeptical of the nation-state. That's what makes us conservatives. So why elevate the concept of the nation-state that is so foreign to the American conservative tradition?

I fear the answer may have to do with the deeper philosophical transformation that is going on inside some conservative political circles. It is now becoming fashionable for some conservatives to criticize capitalism and the free market. Some are even arguing that there are now no limiting principles to what the state and the government can or should do in the name of their political agenda.

This used to be called “big government” conservatism. It was seen then as a liberal proposition, and it still is, in my view. It shares a troubling principle with modern progressivism. Deep down, having the government rather than the people make important decisions about their lives is, in principle, no different than a progressive arguing for the need for government to end poverty and eliminate inequality.

Apparently the idea is that, with conservatives in charge of government, this time it will be different. This time we will make sure that the government that we control will drive investments in the right direction, and we will make the right decisions on what the trade-offs are.

Does this sound familiar? Don't defenders of big government always argue that this time it will be different?

Put aside for a moment whether we conservatives would ever control such a government to sufficiently do the things that we want it to do. Do we want to empower a government even more in industrial and other kinds of economic and social policy that will surely use that very increased power to destroy the things that we love and believe about this country?

The best way, in my opinion, to protect America's greatness, its special claims, its identity if you will, is to believe in what made us great in the first place. It wasn't our language. It wasn't our race. It wasn't our ethnicity. It wasn't our industrial policy. It wasn't the power of government to decide what the trade-offs are. It wasn't in a government that decides what kind of work is dignified or what kind of work is not. And it certainly wasn't a belief in the nation-state or the greatness of nationalism.

It was our creed and the belief system that was personified and lived in a culture, our institutions of civil societies and our democratic way of government that made America the greatest nation in the history of all nations. In a word, it was our belief in ourselves as a good and free people. That's what made American exceptional. That's what made us a free country. And it continues to do so today.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


16 December, 2019

A lesson Socialists need to learn!!

A man named Tom Nicholson posted on his Facebook account the sports car that he had just bought and how another man commented that the money used to buy this car could've fed thousands of less fortunate people. Tom’s response to this man made him famous on the internet.

"A guy looked at my Corvette the other day and said, 'I wonder how many people could have been fed for the money that sports car cost.'”

I replied, "I am not sure;

"it fed a lot of families in Bowling Green, Kentucky who built it,
"it fed the people who make the tires,
"it fed the people who made the components that went into it,
"it fed the people in the copper mine who mined the copper for the wires,
"it fed people in Decatur IL at Caterpillar who make the trucks that haul the copper ore.
"It fed the trucking people who hauled it from the plant to the dealer and fed the people working at the dealership and their families.

“BUT,… I have to admit, I guess I really don’t know how many people it fed.”

That is the difference between capitalism and the welfare mentality.

When you buy something, you put money in people’s pockets and give them dignity for their skills.

When you give someone something for nothing, you rob them of their dignity and self-worth.

Capitalism is freely giving your money in exchange for something of value.

Socialism is taking your money against your will and shoving something down your throat that you never asked for.


Britain’s divide isn’t North v South or red v blue. It’s between the ugly intolerant Left and the rest of us

Just like America

There is a troubling new divide running through our country, but it is not the one that people like to imagine. It is best shown by the Election result in affluent Putney, West London, where, in a rare victory, the Labour party gained a seat from the Conservatives.

Putney, like Kensington and Chelsea, is filled with rows of over-priced £1 million homes where residents would have faced huge tax hikes if Labour got into power. Yet the constituency still decided to vote for the socialist experiment that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were promising – and in so doing, upended a whole set of presumptions.

On the other hand, a seat like Bolsover, in Derbyshire, did something unheard of. Dennis Skinner had been the sitting Labour MP for nearly half a century, and made it a byword for the hardcore Labour heartlands.

In Bolsover you can buy a nice semi-detached house for about £100,000 – one tenth of Putney’s prices. But it was Putney that went Left and Bolsover Right.

Not that Left and Right are the correct way to describe the extraordinary upheaval of this last week.

The real chasm which has arisen is between a Conservative party that committed itself to fulfilling the will of the people, and two Left-wing parties which had devoted the past three-and-a-half years to subverting it.

It is a divide between people who have real-world concerns and those focused on niche and barely significant ones. It is a divide between those who worry about the way they are governed, how the nation will fare and how high immigration should be and those who hector them as backwards or bigoted for even noticing such things.

How, you might ask, have we reached such a state? There is a clue in the Labour Party’s dysfunctional reaction to its catastrophic defeat on Thursday.

Even after the Conservatives won in a near-landslide, the Leftist automatons that run the party are choosing to learn nothing.

They are not using this time for self-reflection or to work out how they approach this new division. Instead, they’re stuck on repeat – at increasing volume.

A perfect example of this was the self-proclaimed economist and full-time Corbyn-cheerleader Grace Blakeley, who treated viewers of ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday to the Corbyn-is-God mantra. Hours after her dear leader had led his party to an historic defeat she was on air, blindly insisting that Labour’s ‘democratically developed’ policies were ‘incredibly popular’.

Fellow studio guests, including former Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, begged to differ. But Grace had an alternative universe to inhabit.

‘People in this country are in favour of fairly radical Left-wing policies,’ she shouted. During the ensuing studio meltdown, Grace was, in fact, Grace-less, continuing to shout ‘Yes they are’ repeatedly over Piers Morgan and everyone else.

It demonstrated just one thing. There is a reason that people like Grace can’t accept that they have lost – they haven’t met people who don’t agree with them.

Or rather, when they do, it’s usually on social media where it is all too easy to ‘unfriend’ or ‘block’ them. When it comes to the British electorate as a whole, ignoring them completely becomes a far more difficult task.

But this is what has happened. In recent years a portion of the British Left, like Grace, very carefully built itself an echo chamber and then moved into it.

That chamber has allowed them to consistently disregard the views of the majority of the British public, most significantly the results of the referendum of 2016.

This small, London-centred clique has, in the process, pulled away from the rest of the country.

It is for that reason that the divides we used to say existed in British politics (North vs South, red vs blue) have been completely overtaken. Now, the divide is between the radical Left and everyone else.

It didn’t have to be this way. After Ed Miliband’s failure at the 2015 General Election, the Labour party did not have to decide that the main lesson was that they hadn’t been ‘radical’ enough. But it in electing Corbyn as leader that’s exactly what they did.

It was the same after the 2016 referendum. Labour and the Liberal Democrats might, in the past, have accepted such a result, but for the first time in our history the cultists driving these parties decided otherwise. They chose not just to ignore it, but to insult the public by deriding them as thick or uninformed, and to try to get around them.

With devices like the ‘People’s Vote’ charade – as the campaign for a second referendum called itself – they thought we were too dim to notice what they were doing.

They tried to reduce our politics to simple binaries, a choice between ‘hope’ or ‘fear’, racism or tolerance, destroying the NHS or saving it.

They also started running with issues so marginal that they lost the general public completely. Take another one of Thursday’s sore losers: Jo Swinson. The now ex-Liberal Democrat leader decided, just days before the Election, to talk to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about something which affects around 0.01 per cent of the British electorate: the Lib Dem’s promise to introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports for transgender people.

In Swinson’s echo chamber, it is important to get these things right. One false step and you’re Twitter toast. So on Swinson wittered, trying to claim that biological sex is a social construct, and that people who believe everyone is born either male or female are in fact ‘demonising’ trans people. It is hard to imagine a more niche issue.

How beautiful it was, then, only a couple of days later to watch Swinson at her constituency count, looking absolutely amazed that the people of East Dunbartonshire had not re-elected her as their MP. In typical fashion she blamed people who were opposed to ‘warmth’, ‘generosity’ and ‘hope’. But she lost by 149 votes. The irony is if she had been able to find a bit more generosity and warmth towards the people of East Dunbartonshire, perhaps she would still be in Parliament.

As it happens, I share the views of the majority of the country. I have seen the Leftist robots up close for years. I have sat in halls and studios with them and been insulted by them just as the rest of the general public have.

They have called me a ‘Little Englander’ because I happen to think that our country isn’t a good fit with the EU. They have called me a ‘racist’ and ‘scum’ because I’m concerned about too-high levels of immigration. They have called me a ‘bigot’ and a ‘transphobe’ because I refuse to pretend that biological sex does not exist.

And amazingly, at the end of all that, I felt no more desire to vote for them than I had beforehand. I suspect the general public have the same view.

Needless to say the message still hasn’t sunk in.

Immediately after Thursday’s exit polls emerged, the former journalist Paul Mason declared that the Conservative victory signalled ‘a victory of the old over the young, racists over people of colour, selfishness over the planet’.

During demonstrations in Westminster on Friday night, other sore losers congregated to attack the police and insult our democracy.

‘I wish [Boris Johnson] a horrible death,’ one young, well-spoken female protester told the cameras. ‘I plan to work in the NHS. I plan to be a doctor. I plan to actually care about people,’ she continued, implausibly. ‘Go f*** yourself Boris Johnson. Honestly. What a c***.’

So yes, there is a divide in Britain right now. But it’s not like any of the old ones. It’s between the ugly, intolerant, metropolitan Left and the rest of us. And as Thursday so beautifully showed, there are more of us than them.



Donald Trump's 'best week ever', where his Space Force was approved and a new budget with $1.3 BILLION for the border wall was set

In a week overshadowed by news from the impeachment hearings, Donald Trump has had 'one of his best weeks yet,' according to an aide, after securing $1.3billion for the border wall and approval for Space Force in the House. 

It was a week of damning public testimony against the president, which ended with the House Judicial Committee advancing two articles of impeachment Friday. 

But while the news was dominated by the impeachment hearings, Trump has quietly had some of the biggest successes of his presidency. 

This week saw congressional negotiators finally reach agreement on a $1.37trillion spending package covering 12 spending bills, based on the bipartisan budget Trump proposed over the summer. It is expected to pass in the House next week before voting on the Trump impeachment.

The funding includes a $1.3billion package for his controversial border wall with Mexico.

But, two federal courts have stepped in, issuing nationwide orders blocking the Trump administration's use of $3.6billion in military construction funds to build the wall. ABC News reported that repurposing the funds would be 'unlawful.'

Trump also had a major milestone in his presidency as his much-heralded U.S. Space Force, a brand-new branch of the military, was passed by the House.

It would, in effect, be a military headquarters for space operations.

'Spacecom will defend America’s vital interests in space, the next warfighting domain, and I think that’s pretty obvious to everybody. It’s all about space,' Trump said in August.

He called the Space Command's establishment a 'landmark moment.'  

'Perhaps, for now, what he accomplished this week will be overshadowed by the impeachment, but by next summer, the impeachment may be seen as mean-spirited and partisan, and the string of victories will add to his incredible list of victories going into reelection season,' Trump biographer Doug Wead told the Washington Examiner.

'It is one of his best weeks yet,' an unnamed White House aide said.

'During impeachment, any other president would retreat into the bunker and be consumed with defense. Endlessly gaming various scenarios. Instead, Trump, the businessman, is looking for a way to use it to his advantage,' Wead told the Washington Examiner.

Trump also signed a Pro-Israel anti-Semitism executive order and a trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. He got approval of his 50th federal appeals judge and there was confirmation of a new Food and Drug Administration head.

Perhaps, though, most important to Americans, Wall Street hit another record Thursday.

The S&P gained 27 points to close at 3,168, while the Nasdaq added 63 points to 8,717.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


15 December, 2019

Boris Johnson's triumph proves democracy-denying radical socialists backed by self-righteous celebrities on Twitter are electoral poison – and if Democrats fall for the same delusion, Trump will decimate them in 2020


Johnson's victory was a genuinely seismic moment, and one whose forceful tremors will be felt most keenly across the Atlantic in America.

Because make no mistake, the lessons from this election carry extraordinary pertinence for next year's US election.

Like Donald Trump and his 'Make America Great Again' mantra in 2016, Boris Johnson won with one very simple message that he rammed home every minute of every day of the six-week campaign.

'GET BREXIT DONE!' he bellowed ad nauseum, and this relentless three-word mission statement worked spectacularly well.

Johnson's Conservative Party was the only one to run on a platform of delivering the result of the 2016 Referendum into whether the UK should remain in or leave the European Union.

17.4 million people voted then to leave, a 52 percent majority of Britons, but scandalously the losing Remainers – who were quickly dubbed Remoaners - launched a concerted campaign to stop it happening.

Rather like Democrats after Hillary Clinton lost to Trump, they wouldn't accept the result and have spent the past three-and-a-half years screaming their heads off about how unfair it all is - and demanding another vote.

Since Johnson, one of the key architects of the Brexit win, became Prime Minister in the summer, Remoaner fury has grown ever more hysterical as they've branded him a lying cheating racist scumbag with a tawdry history involving women.

And they've mocked all his supporters as thick, racist morons who are just too stupid to know what they're doing.

Sound familiar?

Like the Democrats when Hillary ran, Remainers enlisted the very vocal support of Hollywood luvvies to fight their cause.

Hollywood actors Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan led the way, backed up by the likes of grime artist Stormzy and pop singer Lily Allen.

Grant, who seemed to forget that playing a fictitious Prime Minister in Love Actually is not a qualification to be a real politician, spent weeks marching around ordering people not to vote for Johnson or the Conservatives because they had the audacity to want to act on the democratic will of the people.

The absurdly affected arrogant and pompous twerp believed he was the one to save us all from ourselves.

Instead, Britons responded exactly how I assumed they would to a jumped-up hectoring thespian trying to destroy democracy - and voted against everyone he supported.

There was a wonderful photo taken in a West London restaurant of the precise moment multi-millionaire Grant read the devastating (for him) 10pm exit poll on his cell-phone and his head sunk in abject disbelief.

Like the Trump-hating liberal celebrities who so raucously endorsed Hillary, he was hit by a sudden thunderbolt of reality that his views are not shared by most actual real people.

Grant was only matched in his sneering self-righteousness by fellow thespian Coogan who the night before the election went on national television to condemn all 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit as 'ill-informed and ignorant.'

What stupefying arrogance!

Stormzy [a black rapper] just resorted to plain abuse, branding Johnson a 'f***ing pr*ck' in a message to his millions of social media followers.

And Lily Allen – who most Americans will only have heard of because she is dating Stranger Things star David Harbour - blamed the subsequent loss on the fact that 'racism and misogyny runs so deep in this country.'

Of course, the one thing uniting all these stars was their utter refusal to accept democracy. They just couldn't deal with the simple fact that their side lost.

So, they tried to overturn the result of the Referendum, and unsurprisingly, they've now lost all over again.

If there's one thing the British people hate, and Americans for that matter, it is snotty rich celebrities telling them they're idiots and their vote shouldn't count.

There was also another massive reason why Johnson won so big, and it was that his opponent, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, is a hard-core socialist so far left he makes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez look like a capitalist.

Corbyn pledged to spend £60 billion ($80 billion) investing in schools, hospitals, education, green energy and home-building.

But as with Ocasio-Cortez and her outlandish promises like free tuition, healthcare and a green new deal, he planned to pay for it all by punitively taxing the rich and middle class in a way that many economists feared would bankrupt the country.

Britons firmly rejected that hard-left agenda in this election, and this should also send a very firm message to Democrats as they choose their nominee to take on President Trump in 2020.

As I've been warning for months, there's not a cat-in-hell's chance of a socialist candidate beating Trump next November, especially not with the US economy doing so well.

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both share Jeremy Corbyn's socialist agenda and both appear to be as popular as him on Twitter. But Twitter's not the real world.

It's become a cesspit echo chamber where many people only follow others who agree with their political opinions, thus creating a wall of partisan – and increasingly abusive - noise that bears little relation to reality.

Liberal Twitter was thus shocked when Trump won, stunned when Brexit happened, and is frothing at the mouth again now Boris Johnson's pulled off a huge success.

It was so blinded to the infallibility of its own beliefs that it never saw any of this coming.

And if Democrats don't forget about Twitter and base their candidate choice on cold, hard reality, they're going to get a similar drubbing to the Labour Party.

The clear takeaway from this UK election is that a radical socialist candidate, backed by whining supercilious celebrities, against a populist opponent with a fervent base of support, will fail.

And if the only tactic they come up with to win is to try to thwart democracy, they will fail badly.

The sinister establishment-driven attempt to stop Brexit happening is not dissimilar to the current equally ill-advised Democrat impeachment move on Trump.

Those who voted for Brexit and Trump don't take kindly to their democratic vote being abused in this way.

And their retribution comes at the ballot box.

If people think Boris Johnson's earthquake was big, just wait until the Senate acquits President Trump and he uses that victory to storm to re-election.



Leftist bright spark in the British election

Diane Abbott went viral on social media today after she was spotted wearing two left shoes from different pairs while canvassing voters.


The shadow home secretary was pictured with Meg Hillier, the Labour candidate for Hackney South and Shoreditch, encouraging constituents to support Labour in a now-deleted tweet.

The photo quickly went viral online when users spotted Ms Abbott was wearing two black left shoes from different pairs.

One tweeter commented: “Clearly not a morning person. Not only wearing two different shoes, but two left-footed shoes!”



America too


Donald Trump claims victory in China trade deal and cancels massive new tariffs due to kick in Sunday saying Beijing has agreed to 'massive' purchases of U.S. products

Donald Trump said Friday that his administration had agreed to cancel a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods as part of 'phase one' of a broad trade deal, but insisted that earlier import taxes will remain in force.

In a press conference minutes earlier, however, China's State Council said it expected all U.S. tariffs on Chinese products to be phased out in stages.

Trump tweeted that '[t]he 25% Tariffs will remain as is, with 7 1/2% put on much of the remainder.'

'The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged,' however, 'because of the fact that we made the deal. We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election.' Trump called it 'an amazing deal for all.'

Markets spiked briefly after the Chinese press conference began, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 167 points before settling back down near its morning opening level.

The tepid reaction from traders may indicate Wall Street is holding back its enthusiasm until the Trump administration produces a signed deal that analysts can pore over.

But Chinese officials announced they have agreed on the text of 'phase one.' They said the deal will provide more protection for foreign companies in China, and for Chinese companies in the United States.

Bloomberg reported that Chinese Vice Agriculture Minister Han Jun told reporters: 'Without doubt, to implement the agreement, our imports of American agricultural goods will increase significantly.'

The outlet said officials revealed the text of the nine-chapter deal covers details about 'intellectual property, forced technology transfer, food and agricultural products, finance, currency and transparency, boosting trade, bilateral assessment and dispute resolution.'




UPPING THE ANTE OF A SPENDING BILL: Clinton-appointed judge bars Trump from building border wall with military funds (Bloomberg)

NO EVIDENCE OF MISLEADING: New York judge rules in favor of Exxon in climate-change fraud case (National Review)

SPEEDY TRIAL: Republicans prepare to call no witnesses during Senate impeachment trial (National Review)

FOR AFTER THE TRIAL: Senate will not take up new NAFTA deal this year, declares McConnell (The Hill)

*WORST. HOMOPHOBIC. PRESIDENT. EVER. Senate confirms openly gay Trump nominee to 9th Circuit (The Washington Times)

*WORST. NAZI. PRESIDENT. EVER. Trump to sign executive order combating anti-Semitism (The Washington Free Beacon)

SAUDI SECURITY REVIEW: U.S. grounds Saudi pilots, halts military training after base shooting (Reuters)

ENSURING REGULATORY CONFORMITY: Defense Department Inspector General's office to probe use of military personnel on U.S.-Mexico border (National Review)

PRONOUN WARS: "They" declared 2019 "Word of the Year" by Merriam-Webster (The Daily Wire)

CREATING AND ENABLING A VICTIM: Greta Thunberg named Time magazine's 2019 Person of the Year (ABC News)

OUTBREEDING THE INFIDELS: For the first time ever, Muhammad has made the list of top ten baby names in America (PJ Media)

POLICY: Paid family leave: Avoiding a new national entitlement (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: The cost of America's cultural revolution (City Journal)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


13 December, 2019

It's Boris!

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has defeated Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party by a large margin in Britain’s general elections on Thursday, exit polls indicate.

The Conservatives received 368 seats out of 650 according to the polls by BBC, ITV and Sky News, with Labour lagging far behind with 191.

Actual results from voting stations are expected to begin trickling in at about 2 a.m. local time on Friday.



House approves $738 billion defense bill recognizing Donald Trump's Space Force as the sixth branch of the military and approving paid family leave for federal workers

The House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a $738 billion bill setting policy for the U.S. Department of Defense on everything from family leave to fighter jets and the creation of a Space Force that has been a priority for President Donald Trump.

The count in the Democratic-controlled chamber was 377-48, enough to send the conference report on the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, to the Senate, where a vote is expected by the end of next week. Trump has promised to sign the legislation as soon as it passes Congress.

Trump had crowed about the 'U.S. Space Force' provision, which mostly reorganizes existing personnel into a new branch of the Air Force. The House had passed the idea in previous years under GOP control only to see it die in the Senate.

The fiscal 2020 NDAA increases defense spending by about $20 billion, or about 2.8%, and creates a Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. military, both Trump priorities.

It increases pay for the troops by 3.1% and mandates 12 weeks' paid leave so federal workers can care for their families.

And it includes foreign policy provisions including sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system, and a tough response to North Korea's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

A handful of mostly left-leaning House Democrats opposed the bill because it did not include policy planks including a ban on support for Saudi Arabia's air campaign in Yemen and a measure barring Trump from using military funds to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., absorbed a lot of criticism for abandoning Democratic provisions that ran into a wall of opposition from the White House and congressional Republicans.

Democrats dropped a provision to block Trump from transferring money from Pentagon accounts to constructing a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. They also dropped protections for transgender troops, and tougher regulations on toxic chemicals that are found in firefighting foam used at military installations.

'Ït´s basically hard to negotiate when your side wants 100 things and the other side wants nothing,' Smith said in an interview. But he hailed the parental leave benefit, as well as a repeal of the so-called widow's tax on military death benefits. That provision required 65,000 people whose spouses have been killed in action to forfeit part of their Pentagon death benefit when they also received benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

'I was able to get them to enthusiastically support the largest expansion of the social welfare state since the Affordable Care Act - the widow's tax and paid parental leave,' Smith said. 'That was an enormous accomplishment, OK? I got them to do things that they never wanted to do.'

Democrats also agreed to let go of House-passed provisions to restrict Trump from waging war against Iran unless Congress approves; ban deployment of new submarine-launched, low-yield nuclear weapons; and ban U.S. military assistance for strikes by Saudi-led forces in Yemen.

While Democrats retreated from their assault on Trump's ability to transfer Pentagon money to his border wall, Republicans agreed to drop a Trump demand to budget $7.2 billion in defense funds for the wall. The wall battle has instead migrated to talks on a mammoth government-wide spending package.

The annual defense policy bill has now passed for 59 years in a row, reflecting strong support among lawmakers for military personnel - who would receive a 3.1 percent pay raise, the largest in a decade - and the economic boost that military installations and defense contractors provide back home.



One  Minor Judge Shouldn’t Be Able to Block Trump’s Agenda

I have previously argued as the writer below does. A point of divergence, however, is that I don't think Congress needs to act.  Trump can quite legally refuse to recognize such "ulta vires" rulings.  His recognition of them so far is care to pick his issues, nothing more

When a federal district judge issued a nationwide injunction preventing the Trump administration from blocking funds for sanctuary cities, conservatives protested and liberals cheered.

Liberals were similarly thrilled by a district court ruling that halted the president’s order blocking travel to the U.S. from certain Middle Eastern nations.

Yet when several red states sued to block Obamacare, law professors writing in The Atlantic asked, “Can one judge really impose his ruling from one coast to the other?”

District courts—whose reach should be limited to the area within their geographic jurisdictions except in certain narrowly-defined circumstances—have inappropriately claimed authority to block presidential and congressional actions throughout the entire nation.

In particular, these courts issuing nationwide injunctions against several constitutional border security solutions has greatly worsened the ongoing humanitarian disaster.

It’s time for Congress and the higher courts to push back on these illegitimate overreaches. Doing so would move the nation closer to a lasting solution on the border and restore a proper understanding of the role of district courts.

Nationwide injunctions are a fairly new development. Activists who cannot accomplish their goals through legislation have increasingly turned to a court system composed of a small group of unelected judges.

But in the same way that the Texas state legislature cannot make laws for Oklahoma, district courts only have authority over a single district—a limited area. By issuing a nationwide injunction, these courts are inappropriately claiming authority over other courts’ districts.

This leads activists and interest groups to go “forum shopping,” gaming the system to make sure their case is heard by a court (or even a specific judge) whom they expect will rule favorably. If they can find the right court, they can hijack the legal process to, in essence, create laws that bind the entire country.

This is not only a threat to our republican form of government, but a threat to the legitimacy of the judicial branch. When the public perceives that a small group of judges, chosen specifically for their partisan viewpoints, are shaping national policy, they lose confidence in the objectivity of the entire legal system.

For example, this year, anti-border security activists pushed for catch-and-release requirements for illegal immigrants at a notoriously liberal California-based court. A single Obama-appointed judge obliged, reinterpreting a decades-old legal agreement known as the Flores settlement to require the release of detained migrant children—and their parents—within 20 days of their detention.

This ruling set the stage for the current border crisis, as migrants began to realize that our border agencies’ hands were tied when it came to detaining migrants who cross illegally with children.

Migrants discovered that simply arriving with a child would swiftly secure their release, incentivizing them to bring children along for the dangerous journey across Mexico, during which one in three females is sexually assaulted.

Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants have arrived already this year, stretching our Border Patrol’s resources to the breaking point and enriching the criminal cartels that traffic migrants into the United States.

So the president’s announcement in August that he would be terminating the Flores settlement came as welcome news. The president should not be bound by a court that lacks nationwide jurisdiction.

In another recent example, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan struck down a Trump administration rule that would protect the consciences of health care workers. The rule would have ensured doctors and nurses who do not want to actively participate in abortion procedures, assisted suicide, or sterilizations don’t have to. It bolstered laws already in place that protect religious freedom.

There are countless other examples of federal judges overreaching their proper bounds. Congress should exercise its constitutional authority to set limits on “such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” in order to prevent federal courts—besides the Supreme Court—from blocking policies outside that particular court’s geographic area of authority.

As long as activists can find sympathetic district courts to block the other side’s policies across the entire nation, our constitutional form of government is at risk. This is not how our government was meant to function, and Congress should end this illegitimate exercise of judicial power.



America's very own 'Brezhnev Doctrine'
Jeff Jacoby on "food stamps"

DURING THE COLD WAR, the Soviet Union enforced a policy known as the the Brezhnev Doctrine. It declared that no communist country would be permitted to voluntarily leave what Moscow called "the world socialist system." When Czechoslovakia's government adopted a program of democratic reforms in 1968, the Soviets sent in the tanks to quash them. Under the Brezhnev Doctrine, communism could never be rolled back. Anywhere it was imposed, it must remain forever.

The Soviet Union is gone now, but the spirit of the Brezhnev Doctrine lives on among defenders of the American welfare state. When it comes to any entitlement, the attitude of the liberal Democratic establishment is that nothing can ever be reduced. Welfare handouts can only be enlarged, not restricted. Eligibility may be loosened, but never tightened. If government expands the population that qualifies for the dole, that expansion must remain forever.

So when the Trump administration last week issued a new rule that will close some widely abused loopholes in the federal food stamp program, the liberal-industrial complex erupted with predictable outrage.

"Just in time for Christmas," fumed a Washington Post writer, "the Trump administration [is] requiring more people to go hungry." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the White House for its "deep and shameful cruelness." His fellow New Yorker, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, pointed out that her family used food stamps after her father died in 2008, while she was a teenager. Had the new rules been in place then, she tweeted, "we might've just starved. Now many people will."

This is the sort of apocalyptic rhetoric liberals roll out whenever anyone proposes to adjust a welfare entitlement that has grown too extravagant, or is being exploited in ways that lawmakers never intended. The historic welfare reform act signed by Bill Clinton in 1996 was denounced with just the same world-is-ending hysteria. Critics at the time wailed that the new law would wreak social devastation, condemning vast numbers of people, including a million children, to poverty, malnutrition, and death. In reality, welfare reform was a signal success. The welfare caseload shrunk by two-thirds, most former recipients found jobs, and the poverty rate fell dramatically.

The changes announced by the Trump administration are intended simply to plug a loophole in the longstanding requirement that able-bodied adults without dependents must work (or train) at least 20 hours a week in order to receive food stamps. Those who don't work can collect no more than three months of benefits in any 36-month period.

The problem is that states can request that the work requirement be waived for regions with high unemployment, and previous administrations went overboard in granting such waivers. Virtually the whole state of Illinois, for example, was granted a waiver. The Wall Street Journal noted the other day that "the average jobless rate in waived areas . . . was 4.5 percent." In a modern economy, that amounts to near-full employment. There is no reason why adults in those jurisdictions should be excused from the 20-hour work requirement.

The new regulations will disallow waivers in areas with jobless rates below 6 percent, and those that are granted will have a one-year limit. The administration will also ensure that each waiver applies to a legitimate local labor market, not to most of an entire state.

About 36.4 million Americans receive food stamps, and under the new rule about 688,000 of them, less than 2 percent, will be required to work in order to remain eligible. The changes apply only to able-bodied adults without children. They won't affect any recipient who is 50 or older, who has a disability, or who has dependents (like the teen-aged student AOC was in 2008).

Rarely has it been easier for a motivated worker to find a job. The unemployment rate is at an all-time low. According to the Labor Department, there are just 5.8 million unemployed adults in the country, while the number of available jobs is over 7 million. There couldn't be a better time to ensure that work requirements aren't flouted.

Federal law is clear: Healthy, unencumbered adults can collect food stamps only if they're working. Taxpayers shouldn't be expected to support fellow citizens who can work but won't. The administration's new rule will belatedly give some adults the push they need to find a job, restoring to their food stamps the purpose Congress intended: to help the needy up from dependency, not drag them further into it. On this issue, it isn't the White House that deserves scorn, but the Brezhnev-doctrine progressives howling in protest against a modest and overdue repair to the safety net.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


12 December, 2019

USMCA: Agreement reached on NAFTA trade deal replacement

Great news!  Once again Trump delivers

The US, Mexico and Canada have finalised a trade deal that will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). Representatives from the three countries signed the pact in Mexico.

They met hours after Democrats in US Congress said they would support the deal after the White House agreed to strengthen the labour and environmental rules.

The three countries had concluded their talks more than a year ago. But the deal needs approval by legislatures in the three countries before it can move forward.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the revised pact "infinitely better" than the deal the three countries announced last year.

US President Donald Trump, who had accused the Democrats of holding up the deal, also declared victory. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will be "the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody - Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions - tremendous support," he tweeted.

Talks started in 2017 and the three countries agreed to terms last year. Among the most eye-catching changes were new rules that require a higher share of North American-made parts for a vehicle to qualify for tariff-free treatment.

Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, were also pushing for changes to strengthen enforcement of labour and environmental rules, and provide more flexibility governing drug pricing.

On Tuesday, Democrats said they had reached an agreement with the White House on new provisions and were planning to support the deal in a vote. "There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than Nafta but... it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration," Ms Pelosi said.

Democrats' decision to advance the deal, known as USMCA, gives Mr Trump a victory on one of his signature issues, trade. But it also serves to undercut criticism by Republicans that the Democrats are too focused on impeachment to govern.

The US business community said news that the deal would move forward was a relief and urged Congress to bring it to a vote quickly. Canada and Mexico are two of the US's biggest trade partners.

"Farmers have been struggling in the face of bad weather and unpredictable trade policy," said Angela Hofmann, co-executive director of the lobby group, Farmers for Free Trade. "Passing USMCA will guarantee that our farmers' closest and most important markets, will remain free from tariffs and red tape."



Trump DEMOLISHES Impeachment Narrative on Ukraine

Shortly after Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced the Democrats' two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the president responded with a blockbuster tweet demolishing the central claim in the impeachment narrative.

Nadler explained that Democrats were impeaching Trump for "abuse of power." He accused the president of having "solicited and pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election, thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election, and violating his oath to the American people."

Trump responded to this directly.

"Nadler just said that I 'pressured Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 Election.' Ridiculous, and he know that it is not true. Both the President & Foreign Minister of Ukraine said, many times, that there 'WAS NO PRESSURE.' Nadler and the Dems know this, but refuse to acknowledge!"

Indeed, shortly after Democrats launched the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "nobody pushed me" on the July 25 call. Zelensky later insisted that there was "no quid pro quo" regarding an alleged exchange of U.S. cash for politically-motivated investigations into Joe Biden's son Hunter.

In September, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said, "I think there was no pressure" on Zelensky in the call.

While Trump did hold up military funding for Ukraine after Congress had approved it, he appears to have done so because he was suspicious of foreign aid and because he did not yet trust the incoming Ukrainian president. Trump released the funding after many meetings between Trump officials and Zelensky's administration — and without any public announcement into investigations of Hunter Biden or Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election.

Furthermore, it is arguably in the United States' interest to ask Ukraine to investigate these matters — the son of an American vice president secured a position on the board of a notoriously corrupt energy company while his father was the Obama administration point person on Ukraine. Furthermore, Joe Biden later pressured Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who happened to have been investigating the company his son worked at — and he threatened to revoke funding for Ukraine if the prosecutor was not fired!

The Democrats are impeaching Trump for applying pressure when there was no pressure. Nadler even tipped his hat to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative while announcing the articles of impeachment! Make no mistake: this impeachment is an effort to kneecap Trump for 2020.



In a Blow to Political Correctness, Trump Praises Salvation Army

America isn’t the only thing making a comeback under President Donald Trump—so is Christmas! The candidate who vowed, “We’re gonna be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” delivered on that promise again in a big way Thursday night. Thirty feet of big, to be exact. In front of the giant spruce, the president made it very clear that this event wasn’t about illuminating the tree—but shining a light on the real reason for the season.

In a speech that no one would mistake for former President Barack Obama’s, the president talked about the wise men coming to worship Jesus:

"Christians give thanks that the Son of God came into the world to save humanity. Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace … As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom, and the miracle of Christmas"

His words were a breathtaking departure from Christmases past, which were full of nothing but the pageant of political correctness.

To millions of Americans, Trump hasn’t just tapped into the frustration they feel about Christmas, but the mockery of the values they hold dear. And he took another moment to prove it, intentionally recognizing the Salvation Army for its important work—despite the left’s latest attacks over its Christian roots.

"Joining us today are David and Sharron Hudson of the Salvation Army. Each year, through their Angel Tree program, the Salvation Army brings new gifts to more than 600,000 children. David and Sharron are an inspiration to us all. And, David and Sharron, thank you very much for being with us. Thank you"

After Chick-fil-A walked away from the group and the Cowboys almost lost their halftime show over the Red Kettle campaign, it matters that this president made a point of standing alongside the nonprofit. The message was subtle but clear: He isn’t caving to the cultural bullies, and Americans shouldn’t either.

For the Salvation Army, the support couldn’t come at a better time. As Rich Lowry points out, the red kettles that used to be a sign of charity and goodwill are suddenly a symbol of liberal controversy:

“It takes a perverse worldview not to have fond feelings about this tradition, which is spectacularly successful on its own terms, raising almost $150 million a year.” But then, the left has never let “sentimentality interfere with their dictates.”

If you think that volunteering for an organization that is raising funds to provide food and housing, among many other services, for the needy is an inherently praiseworthy act, you haven’t been following the woke left-wing activists cutting a swath through American culture. Any institution, no matter how storied or how generous, is subject to a punitive campaign of social ostracism that is often highly effective. In today’s environment, what seems preposterous one moment is inevitable the next, and after one target is ground into submission, another is quickly found.

Fortunately, Trump doesn’t believe in surrender. And he’ll go to the mat to guarantee that Christian organizations like this one can continue serving Americans—for the same reason he’ll keep fighting the war on Christmas: because no one should ever have to compromise their faith in a country like ours.



AG Bill Barr Just Issued a Translation of the DOJ IG Report & It’s a Red-Hot Rebuke of ‘Intrusive’ Spying on Trump

The Department of Justice Inspector General’s (IG) report into the FBI lying to the FISA Court to get warrants to spy on the Trump campaign is 433 pages. It took AG Bill Barr one paragraph to translate what all of it means in the real world. Oh, and don’t pick it up because you might burn yourself.

"The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. …[T]he malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process"

Because the IG has no right to subpoena and can’t lock anyone up, he can only refer people for prosecution. Currently, most of the people who conducted the abuse have been fired and were out of the purview of the IG.

The IG report, however, found that officials lied and omitted helpful information to Trump campaign officials who were being spied on, but couldn’t determine if the malfeasance was politically motivated.

U.S. Attorney John Durham is looking into why the Trump spying case was hatched by people clearly pulling for Hillary Clinton to win the election.

Durham also issued an extraordinary statement today, saying:

"Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.
The Durham investigation may be the final word on the Obama administration spying scandal into the campaign of a political rival"

The Durham investigation and IG report releases are the chief reasons why the Democrats have rushed the impeachment hearings to get ahead of the damning news of Democrat political chicanery and potential lawbreaking in the 2016 election.




THE GREAT REVEAL: House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress (Associated Press)

"WE'RE GOING TO GO WITH IT": Democrats, White House reach agreement on revised NAFTA trade pact (Los Angeles Times)

"WE DO NOT AGREE": U.S. Attorney John Durham objects to IG findings on Russia probe origins in stunning statement (Fox News)

GEE, WHAT COULD DURHAM BE OBJECTING ABOUT? FBI Director Christopher Wray announces "40 corrective steps" in response to failures detailed in Horowitz report (National Review)

MEASURE TOTALS $738 BILLION: Lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill, eye Russia, Turkey, China (Reuters)

A $12 BILLION DISPUTE: High Court justices to hear ObamaCare case with billions at stake (The Hill)

DECLINED WITHOUT COMMENT: Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky abortion law mandating ultrasounds (NBC News)

TRENDING BLUE: Virginians prepare for a Second Amendment battle (National Review)

"CATCH AND RELEASE IS OVER": Border apprehensions drop for sixth month in a row (The Daily Signal)

"SOCIAL CREDIT SCORE": China set to roll out Orwellian mass-surveillance tool (The Washington Times)

POLICY: How to lower student-loan defaults: Simplify enrollment in income-driven repayment plans (Manhattan Institute)

POLICY: The strategic case for supporting Ukraine (The American Interest)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


11 December, 2019

A tide of contempt is corroding our politics

Jeff Jacoby is correct below but fails to note where the great blasts of contempt are coming from:  The Left.  Conservatives just look on in amazement. Only Trump blasts back

What feels different today is how contemptuous political enmity has grown. Candidates, activists, and pundits are no longer content to ascribe bad motives to their opponents or predict bad outcomes if they prevail. Increasingly they see those on the other side of the political divide not as fellow Americans with whom they differ, but as "deplorables" or "losers" whom they despise.

For most of American history, it was suicidal for candidates to sneer derisively at half the electorate. In 1884, a surrogate of James G. Blaine, the Republican presidential nominee, publicly libeled Democrats as the party of "rum, Romanism, and rebellion" — i.e., alcoholics, Catholics, and disloyal ex-Confederates. Newspapers trumpeted the insult in headlines the following day, enraging Irish Catholic voters and fatally wounding Blaine's campaign. Rough-and-tumble politics was one thing, but to openly scorn a huge swath of the electorate was intolerable.

Those old norms are dead. Gallup reports that now even the most basic institutions of American life — religious organizations, the economic system, higher education, the scientific establishment — are seen by partisans "not as beneficial and necessary, but as part of an effort by the other side to gain advantage and to perpetuate its power."

It is commonplace to decry the polarization of American society. But what makes it so dysfunctional isn't that we have sharp disagreements. It's the caustic contempt with which those disagreements are expressed —the determination not just to win political arguments, but to savor the tears of those who lose them.

More than ever, voters need to say no to candidates who traffic in defamation and disdain. But we have pulled down the guardrails that used to keep American politics within broad bounds of decency and respect, and no one seems inclined to put them back up.



Alan Dershowitz to Mark Levin: Democrats Are Using Soviet Tactics to Take Down Donald Trump

On the latest episode of "Life, Liberty & Levin" on Fox News Channel, law professor Alan Dershowitz completely destroyed the Democrats' impeachment case against President Donald Trump. "They're searching for a crime... There is no case for bribery," Dershowitz told Levin.

Host Mark Levin asked Dershowitz about the meaning of "bribery." It has, he said, specific meaning. "It doesn't mean everything. It just doesn't necessarily mean this. What does it mean?"

Well, Dershowitz explained, "There are four criteria... We know it when we see it." For example, "when you pay a government official corruptly to perform an illegal act or an act that is motivated by money. But it can't operate when you're the president of the United States and you're conditioning or withholding money in order to make sure that a country isn't corrupt, and you're asking them to investigate. That just doesn't fit any definition of bribery — common law definition of bribery, statutory definition of bribery. However you define the constitutional word bribery, it just doesn't fit."

So, what are Democrats doing, then? "What they're trying to do is what the KGB under Lavrentiy Beria said to Stalin the dictator -- I'm not comparing our country to the Soviet Union, I just want to make sure it never becomes anything like that. Beria said to Stalin: 'Show me the man and I'll find you the crime.' And that's what some of the Democrats are doing. They have Trump in their sights. They want to figure out ways of impeaching him, and they're searching for a crime."

"First they came up with abuse of power," Dershowitz went on to say, "[which] is not a crime, it's not in the Constitution. So now they're saying bribery but they're making it up. There's no case for bribery, based on... even if all the allegations against the president were to be proved, which they haven't been, but even if they were to be proved, it would not constitute the impeachable offense of bribery."

Dershowitz also wondered why Democrats were allowed to get three expert-witnesses, and Republicans only one. Prof. Jonathan Turley did a fantastic job, he said, but this discrepancy alone is reason for concern. "You know, Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper number 65, the greatest danger would be if impeachment turned on the number of people each party had.* If impeachment turns on the fact that the Democrats now have a majority in the House but not in the Senate, that would be a complete abuse of what the framers had in mind."

It goes without saying that Democrats couldn't care less what the framers had in mind. They hate the framers. They despise them. They were "slaveholders!" "Racists!" "White men!" The only reason their so-called expert witnesses referred to the framers every now and then during their testimony was to give their coup against President Trump some legal backing.

"Alexander Hamilton is misquoted all the time. He used the word 'political,' but he didn't say the process should be political; he said the crimes -- treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors -- are political in nature. But the process should be non-partisan. Nobody should be impeached and removed unless there is an overwhelming bipartisan consensus," Dershowitz explained. "I'm not making that up. I'm quoting Congressman Nadler when Bill Clinton was being impeached."

Dershowitz is right. Democrats are making it up, and they are copying Soviet tactics to get rid of President Trump. It's truly a shocking sight to behold -- and that's precisely why it's so important for all conservatives to stand by the president against this Democrat coup.

*Federalist Paper No. 65 can be read here. The literal quote is: "... there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt."



Lawmakers Map Out Conservative Solutions to End Poverty

Instilling a sense of expectancy, personal capability, and American exceptionalism are keys to lifting individuals out of poverty, two conservative lawmakers said Thursday at a policy forum at The Heritage Foundation’s headquarters on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., both spoke at Heritage’s 2019 Antipoverty Forum, an annual gathering of researchers, educators, and government staffers and officials organized by the leading think tank.

“The thing that really took me from being a kid, failing out of school, being a son in a single-parent household, being a person mired in poverty, really becoming more, was this notion that it was possible,” Scott said in a keynote address to attendees.

“The one thing my mother never lost was this sense of hope and wonder that this world, this nation, could afford her child opportunity,” he said. “And she was right.”

All the agencies and programs that government tries to offer can’t replace instilling the American ideal in those who have been caught in a cycle of poverty, the South Carolina Republican said.

“If we don’t find a way to embed within all the things that we do this notion of wonder about who we are, why America is exceptional, if we don’t restore as a part of the basic fabric of our organizations, our legislation, of our efforts, that all things are truly possible for all people no matter where they are … we won’t get there,” Scott said.

He said that school choice and apprenticeship programs are part of the answer to help students rise above their circumstances to pursue an education and a productive place in society.

“If we remember the importance of who the child will be and help that child learn in the natural direction that they are predisposed to … you find yourself having success that is unrivaled,” Scott said.

School choice programs are successful not just because of the enriched education they offer, but how they instill virtues in students, he said:

If we’re going to have successful school choice [programs], it’s because those programs understand equipping the child not just academically, but keeping the embers of hope and dreams. I’ve worked on legislation and my team is working on legislation that helps us reform our safety-net programs so as to not have a clip on our program, so that we can encourage work.

We encourage prosperity, but we encourage the development of a work ethic that allows you to get a raise and keep that raise without having all your benefits fall off a cliff.

Johnson, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, the largest organization in the House’s GOP conference, said one practical way his colleagues are working on to bring families and  communities out of poverty is by incentivizing marriage rather than penalizing it.

Federal welfare policy disincentivizes marriage, according to a 2014 paper from Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation.

If a single mother who makes $20,000 a year marries a man who makes the same amount, Rector wrote, the couple will lose about $12,000 a year in welfare benefits.

“We believe our job is just to create the right policy framework, to unleash communities, to take the lead on this, to empower people,” Johnson said in formal remarks. “Fixing policies that discourage marriage ought to be at the top of that list. And I can assure you, it’s one of the top priorities of all the members of the Republican Study Committee.”

He said the group’s American Worker Task Force, which aims to implement policies that encourage and unleash workers, is set to release a report in March that explores reforms for higher education, the job market, tax and regulatory policies, and welfare programs.

“I think we believe that our public policy in this country [is] to always emphasize not only education but the virtue of hard work, because that’s a pathway out of poverty,” Johnson said. “And we believe public assistance ought to be reserved for those that are truly in need. And when we squander those resources, we hurt the people.”



Ted Cruz Is the Democrats' Bogeyman Again

by Stephen Kruiser

If this past weekend is any indication, Cruz seems to have regained his irritation mojo.

He pulled off a double-whammy with an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press when he steamrolled host Chuck Todd and then triggered CNBC’s John Harwood.

I really enjoy how Chuck Todd looks like he is about to burst a vein and Cruz is smiling and calm, waiting for the idiot to wander into his lair. The MSM is so desperate to cling to their Trump/Russia fantasies that they reach hysterical schoolgirl levels of ninny-ess at times.

The notion that Ted Cruz has now morphed into a Putin puppet is laughable, but he is getting under all the right people’s skin again. Here is the title to Jennifer Rubin’s latest crazy cat lady turn at the Washington Post:

It has come to this: Ted Cruz is Putin’s stooge

I’ll only share loony Jen’s conclusion here: "The words of a U.S. president and a U.S. senator matter, and one of the saddest things is that both are willing to enable an enemy of the United States. In comparison to this crowd, Obama was Winston Churchill"

Sure, Rubin’s op-eds are nothing more than cries for help now, and she’s easy to set off, but it’s just more fun when Cruz is the catalyst.

Rubin takes Cruz to task for not standing up to the president, which just means that he won’t fall in line with the MSM outrage talking points. Like Trump, Cruz exhibits no timidity whatsoever about hammering and dismantling the leftist narrative. With the president taking most of the heat for the past few years, Cruz is tanned, rested, and ready to resume his pain in the you-know-what status.




PREMISE: House Judiciary Committee releases report defining impeachable offenses before today's hearing (The Daily Caller)

VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION? Trump heads to court in fight over emoluments clauses (The Hill)

AN OVERLY OPTIMISTIC PICTURE: U.S. officials misled public about progress in Afghanistan: "The American people have constantly been lied to" (National Review)

NARRATIVE BUSTER: Border Patrol agent debunks viral video showing illegal immigrant scaling Trump wall (The Daily Wire)

UNFORTUNATELY, THE CASE IS STILL PROCEEDING TO TRIAL: A biased California judge dropped six of the 15 bogus charges filed against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt related to their undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood (LifeNews,com)

SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION: Bankrupt PG&E reaches $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims (Reuters)

FACING UP TO FIVE YEARS IN JAIL: First person charged under Florida "red flag" law found guilty (Fox News)

POLICY: Study confirms the healthcare dangers of a public option (Washington Examiner)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


10 December, 2019

How can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill?

The market news today must be especially worrisome for the field of Democratic presidential candidates. The latest jobs report turned out much better than expected, with 266,000 additional payrolls created, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its strongest trading session in two months and marking the “best numbers of our lives.”

That, of course, will not stop the rhetoric from the candidates. For all of the talk of the Green New Deal, most of the focus of Democrats is not on the economic health of the middle class. To a certain extent, however, you cannot even blame them. Top tier candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders have no point of reference on what makes the free market work. Moreover, none of the three can claim credit for creating a single private sector job in the last 50 years. Instead, they are ignorant of the processes that create job growth. Our economy is at full employment for the first time in two full decades. Why would the nation jeopardize this for candidates who have close to zero experience in the free market?

Despite platitudes about being “Middle Class Joe,” Biden has never had business leadership. Perhaps the closest thing he holds in private sector experience was his time as a teenage lifeguard, fending off gang leaders named “Corn Pop.” Biden spent a few years working as an attorney before getting elected to the Senate back in 1973. His time as a senator and vice president spanned more than 40 years. While he often touted his poverty relative to many of his political colleagues, Biden owes his current wealth to his time in office, notwithstanding the business schemes of his son.

Warren also has scarce private sector experience, limited to waiting a few tables and some legal work. The senator promises trillion dollar programs like “Medicare for All” and universal free college, which would likely raise taxes on working people and cripple the economy. Indeed, her proposals would translate into a “100 percent recession,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declared. Moreover, the language surrounding her government plan for “economic patriotism” is almost Orwellian in its falseness. But I guess it is more understandable coming from someone worth $12 million writing missives from her comfortable $3 million mansion in Cambridge.

Even her first claim to fame, a coauthored 1989 treatise on middle class debt, was derided by Rutgers University professor Philip Shuchman as having serious errors and “repeated instances of scientific misconduct.” The closest thing to a private sector job that Warren could have created would have been an editor to create a revised version of the book, which she herself declined to pen. It remains eminently difficult for Warren to pitch a government plan for an economy that she misjudged for years.

Sanders certainly comes with the least experience in the real world. Never one to hold down a private sector job, he was kicked out of a commune for laziness in 1971. Even counting his time in public service, Sanders had never worked a full time job until he was almost 40 years old. Since then, he has made a career of telling others how to live their lives, serving four terms as the mayor Burlington then almost four decades in Congress.

As I have written before, federal taxpayers have financed Sanders to the tune of more than $4.5 million. The economic plans of the Democratic socialist include tax hikes on everyone making more than $29,000 a year and company owners compelled by the force of government to create worker cooperatives. Tax increases and government control will only destroy what has been built over the last three years. With 3.5 percent unemployment, why would voters choose to mess up what is working?

To these candidates, private money comes from public sector action, not the other way around. None of the factions of the Democrats has offered any proposals that would strengthen the economy, and their government plans would be to the detriment of workers. From Biden and his bridge to back toward a dire economy, to Warren and her grating corporatism, to Sanders and his refusal to admit the Soviet Union experiment did not work, each sorely lack the private sector experience to run the nation.

As we pull into Reaganesque economic good times, the worst thing that Americans can do now is to take the candidates at their own words and jeopardize the compelling job and wage growth. Main Streets across the nation prove that the free market works. Let us allow Democrats to either moderate their message or relegate their socialist ideas to the dustbin of history where they belong. Next time you are willing to discount their lack of business experience, just ask yourself, is it worth losing your job over?



Lindsey Graham Promises Impeachment Will Die Quickly in Senate

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made himself clear on Sunday during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“The whole process [against President Donald Trump] is illegitimate in the House,” said the senator.

“It’s not just the whistleblower. You don’t want to create a situation where an anonymous person can start impeachment proceedings against the president of the United States. You can’t get a parking ticket based on that anonymous allegation.”

“The hearings were held behind closed doors,” he continued. “The [House] Intel Committee gathered all the facts. The president’s lawyer was never allowed to participate. They asked to call witnesses in the [House] Judiciary Committee. They had one hearing in the committee with four law professors and [after that] [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi said, ‘We’re going to move forward with articles of impeachment.'”

“This is a joke of a process.” “It’s dangerous to the country,” added Graham.

He also said, “This is being driven by [Rep. Adam] Schiff [of California] and [Rep. Jerry] Nadler [of New Jersey], Pelosi — partisan people.”

“I think it’s going to meet a quick end in the Senate,” he also predicted.

Democrats appear to be eyeing a vote on articles of impeachment before Christmas, as The Hill noted — so the House Judiciary Committee “could move as soon as later next week” on sending those articles to the floor for consideration.

Bartiromo asked Graham that if the matter does wind up going a trial in the Senate, “Who are some of the people you are going to want to hear from?” She added, “And will the president get a fair trial? Are you going to demand that people like the whistleblower, Adam Schiff, Alexandra Chalupa [a former DNC contractor and staffer], Fusion GPS — are these some of the people or organizations you’re going to want to question?”

Graham said that there are “two ways to do this. In the trial you can have the president present a defense to prove, in fact, that maybe the [county of] Ukraine was interfering in our election. The Russians stole the emails, not the Ukraine — but there’s articles suggesting Ukrainian officials met with Democratic operatives in 2016.”

“I don’t know if that’s true,” he went on, “but here’s what I’m going to do with the trial. I’m going to try to get this over as quickly as possible, listen to … the House case, let them present their case, and if there’s nothing new and dramatic, I would be ready to vote and we can do all this other stuff through congressional oversight.”

“So, are you saying you’re not going to have people come down and testify?” Bartiromo asked in a follow-up.

Graham replied, “I am saying that I’m going to end this as quickly as I can for the good of the country. When 51 of us say we’ve heard enough, the trial is going to end. The president’s going to be acquitted. He may want to call Schiff. He may want to call Hunter Biden. He may want to call Joe Biden. But here’s my advice to the president. If the Senate is ready to vote and ready to acquit you, you should celebrate that — and we can look at this other stuff outside of impeachment.”

“Impeachment is tearing the country apart. I don’t want to give it any more credibility than it deserves.”

Later on in the interview, Graham also said, “Because I’m not going to participate in things I think will destroy the country. I’m not going to call a bunch of House members to come to the Senate as part of oversight. Now, if you’re a House member and you participated, you’re not subject — you’re not above the law, but we’re not going to turn the Senate into a circus, and I would tell Schiff what you’re doing is very dangerous for separation of powers here.”

He added, “Adam Schiff is doing a lot of damage to the country and he needs to stop. Mueller spent two years and $25 million looking at Trump. This whole Ukrainian stuff is a joke. They got the money [meaning the military aid]. They got the meeting with the president. They didn’t investigate Joe Biden or Hunter Biden.”

“There is no ‘there’ there.”



"Chevron deference" (deference to the bureaucracy) is a joke in the era of the swamp

Cleta Mitchell is an excellent attorney who has been retained by FreedomWorks organizations for nearly a decade. She makes an excellent argument for overturning “the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. National Resources Defense Council, in which the court articulated a principle that federal agency decisions should receive deference in federal litigation because of the ‘expertise’ of the federal agency in matters involving the agency. Known popularly as Chevron deference, it presupposes that the agency and its employees are not only experts, but are philosophically neutral in the discharge of their duties.”

Cleta continues; “What we’ve seen during the Rep. Adam Schiff hearings is that ‘experts’ in federal agencies exhibit bias and political philosophies of their own. They are not neutral.”

Cleta knows from years of being involved with federal agencies that bureaucrats crave and cherish the compulsory powers of government: “It isn’t just that these people form the backbone of the resistance to President Trump. The reality is that no conservative, smaller government, pro-America president will ever be allowed success by these partisans who command and control the direction, actions, and decisions of the federal government.”

“If we learn nothing else from the impeachment inquiry, it should be abundantly clear that the federal workforce is a political party of its own, and does not deserve judicial deference of any kind.”

Most definitely, the Supreme Court should reconsider Chevron deference, and will hopefully reverse that decision.

Unfortunately, what Cleta has stated not only applies to State Department employees, but to all employees of federal agencies. Cleta opined that “the federal workforce is a political party of its own.” A more accurate assessment would be that the federal workforce is a major component of the Democratic party, and both the bureaucrats and the Democrats continuously promote more government. The federal government has more than four hundred agencies and nearly 2 million employees. The vast majority of the employees philosophically and politically support more government. In return the federal employees receive good salaries, job security, and excellent retirement and healthcare benefits.

The bureaucrats have a favorite saying when talking about their relationship with politicians: “We be here, when you be gone.” In other words, bureaucrats are safe, secure, and satisfied in their jobs; politicians are normally seeking higher political positions and power.

Then add all the multitude of state and local government employees with similar philosophies and perks, and you increase the power of the Democrats enormously. This is a major reason for more government regulations, incompetent management, and increasing government debt.

Cleta is absolutely correct. The Supreme Court must reverse the Chevron decision. And “We the People” need to reduce the size and power of the federal, state, and many local governments, which is much more difficult than convincing the Supreme Court.



Good news about the media

While the Trump Economy is working great for most people, one industry hasn't been enjoying the boom: the media. According to Business Insider, the media industry is continuing to cut jobs this year.

The media industry continued to execute cuts in December and November as Gannett, Highsnobiety, and the CBC reduced headcounts. The cuts followed large rounds of layoffs earlier in the year from companies including BuzzFeed, Verizon, and Vice Media.

The massive cuts this year represent a recent trend in media that has seen upstart companies and newspapers alike shrinking and disappearing.

It's not just print media that's not feeling the love. Buzzfeed experienced layoffs this year. An attempt to relaunch Gawker failed. HuffPost laid off 13 in its video department. ThinkProgress shut down in September.

Even television media is experiencing a slow bleed. NBCUniversal laid off 70 employees in two rounds in August and September.

In September, NBCUniversal announced that it would be laying off 45 more employees from E!, Oxygen, Bravo, and other properties, according to MediaPost.

In August, E! announced that as part of its decision to move it's "E! News" show from LA to New York, it would be laying off 20 to 25 LA employees, Variety reports.

CNN also let go about 100 employees in the spring as part of a "corporate restructuring" effort.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


9 December, 2019

House Democrats have not convinced additional voters that President Trump should be impeached, new poll shows

A new poll suggests that Democrats have failed to garner broad support for their case for impeaching President Donald Trump.

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll, conducted from December 4 to 6, found that televised impeachment hearings did not move the needle for voters on the impeachment question.

Today, 47 percent of registered voters are in favor of impeaching Trump in the House, compared to 37 percent who are opposed, according to the poll. The first number is virtually unchanged from last month, while the opposition has dropped from 45 percent.

Since the last poll in late November, voters have grown more polarized. Among Democrats there's been a net swing of seven percentage points in favor of impeachment, and Republicans swung 11 points in the opposite direction — but independents remain virtually unchanged.

The poll shows that a slight majority, 52 percent, agree that Trump was 'primarily acting in his own personal and political self-interest' in regard to Ukraine.

However, that number remains unchanged from the last poll, despite this being the central finding of the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment report.

Trump on Saturday blasted Democrats in remarks to reporters on the White House lawn. 'The impeachment thing is a total hoax. The numbers have totally swung our way. They don't want to see impeachment. Especially in the swing states they've swung our way. I've never seen a swing like this,' he said.

On Saturday, the House Democrats issued a lengthy report drawing on history and the Founding Fathers to lay out the legal argument over the case against President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine.

The findings from the House Judiciary Committee do not spell out the formal charges against the president, which are being drafted ahead of votes, possibly as soon as next week.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. 'Witch Hunt!'the president tweeted Saturday morning. He implored his millions of followers to 'Read the Transcripts!' of his telephone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to judge for themselves.  



Trump Administration to Close Food Stamp Eligibility Loopholes for Able-Bodied Adults

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is expected to announce a finalized rule Wednesday to promote self-sufficiency for able-bodied adults without children who receive food stamps.

The rule aims to close loopholes used by states that frequently grant broad exemptions for recipients to remain on food stamps longer without actively seeking a job or work training.

The Department of Agriculture’s final rule on food stamps—formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—would affect able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 who do not have dependents. The rule wouldn’t apply to parents with minor children, the elderly, or disabled people.

The Agriculture Department notes that with the lowest unemployment rate in more than 50 years, “work-capable” Americans can find employment more easily. The unemployment rate is currently 3.6% with 7 million job openings in the United States, according to the Labor Department.

So, the USDA contends, now is the opportune time to promote entry into the workforce, because the longer someone is out of work, the more difficult it becomes to get hired.

The agency contends the food stamp program is intended to be for assistance in difficult times, rather than a way of life.

The existing statute already limits adults aged 18 to 49 with no children or other dependents to three months of benefits in a three-year period. The exceptions come if the recipients work or participate in work training for at least 20 hours per week.

However, the law allows states to apply for waivers of this time limit due to economic conditions. For some states, that has turned into a loophole. Some counties with an unemployment rate as low as 2.5% were included in waived areas, according to the USDA.

The statute says states may grant waivers for areas with a 10% unemployment rate. However, the USDA and states have been flexible and creative in interpreting the waivers, according to research by the Foundation for Government Accountability. 

Officials in 33 states waived rules for parts or all of their states. Illinois exempts 101 of 102 counties, even though none has the 10% or higher unemployment rate mentioned in the statute.

Some states also group together regions with varying unemployment rates to inflate the numbers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Georgia exempts 66 counties. California exempted 55 of its 58 counties, including wealthy Marin County, which has had an unemployment rate below 3%.

The final rule still allows states to have flexibility to waive the time limit in areas of high unemployment. But states will have a responsibility to assess individuals as work-capable and will have to focus on helping food stamp recipients find a path to self-sufficiency, such as job-training programs.



The Left Hates The Salvation Army. That's All You Need to Know About the Left

We all know some individuals who are so obviously good and kind that we are certain if anyone were to dislike them, that's all we would need to know about the person. We would immediately assume he or she is a bad person. To hate the manifestly good is a sure sign of being bad.

Such is the case regarding the left's hatred of The Salvation Army. You don't have to be a Christian -- I am not -- to appreciate the goodness of the people who run and work for The Salvation Army. They devote their lives to helping the poorest, the saddest, the loneliest and the most troubled among us -- completely irrespective of race, gender, transgender identity, faith or no faith. And they do it for almost no money. They do it because of their Christian faith.

They provide these downtrodden people with not only food and shelter but also human warmth and love. And they offer the people they care for the one thing most likely to get them out of their predicament: meaning. They offer it; they do not coerce it. And while the vehicle for this meaning -- Christian faith -- may not be your faith or mine, so what? It takes a truly narrow-minded bigot to want to deprive people of meaning just because that meaning is rooted in faith or in a faith other than their own.

Yet, leftists -- most especially LGBTQ groups, which spread a remarkable amount of hate in the name of "love" -- seek to crush The Salvation Army. They threaten and pressure whoever supports The Salvation Army. "British pop singer Ellie Goulding," the Wall Street Journal recently reported, "threatened to cancel an appearance at the Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving halftime show, which will celebrate the army's red-kettle campaign, unless it made a 'pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community.' She backed down after the Salvation Army assured her it serves needy members of that community."

SPLC Targets Franklin Graham for 'Hate Group' Speech
Most depressing of all, Chick-fil-A, a business owned by a Christian and heretofore run according to Christian principles, caved in to LGBTQ organizations' pressure and stopped funding The Salvation Army, while it has also donated to a left-wing group that hates the good, the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I never thought I'd see the day when The Salvation Army would be hated by a substantial number of Americans or lose the support of a Christian-run business.

But given the left's loathing of virtually all things good -- such as America, Israel, traditional Christianity and Judaism, the Boy Scouts, the nuclear family ideal, Thanksgiving and America's founders -- it is not surprising.

As I have said for years, the left destroys everything it touches: music, art, Christianity, Judaism, economies, universities, high schools, late-night comedy, pro football, women's likelihood of finding happiness, men's likelihood of maturing, the Boy Scouts and the innocence of children (think "Drag Queen Story Hour" for 5-year-olds at libraries), to cite some of the more obvious examples.

And while it destroys good institutions, the left never builds a viable replacement. Is there a left-wing equivalent to the Boy Scouts, a left-wing institution that helps mold boys into responsible men? Of course not. The left destroys, but it builds nothing -- except state power. Or, to take the present example, is there a left-wing equivalent to The Salvation Army? No, there isn't.

"We believe we are the largest provider of poverty relief to the LGBTQ+ population," The Salvation Army said in a statement after Chick-fil-A announced its decision. As the Wall Street Journal concluded, "Considering it serves nearly 25 million people every year, that's likely true."

But all the good The Salvation Army does means nothing to the left. The left judges people or institutions not by their behavior but by their beliefs. And The Salvation Army believes -- as has every civilization in recorded history, and as former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did until a few years ago -- that marriage should be defined as the union of a man and a woman. To the left, that belief outweighs helping 25 million people including married gays.

One of the great puzzles in contemporary American life is whether there is anything the left could do to make Americans understand how destructive it is. If suppressing free speech at colleges and on the internet, fomenting interracial anger, supporting those who wish to annihilate Israel, allowing (and even encouraging) teenage girls to have their healthy breasts surgically removed if they think they are a boy and trying to crush The Salvation Army don't do it, probably nothing will.



House Democrats Pass Bill to Fight Voter ID Laws Nationwide

They NEED voter fraud

While the country is being distracted by the Democrats' bogus impeachment, House Democrats passed H.R. 4, the so-called Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, on a mostly party-line vote. Democrats claim the legislation is about fighting voter suppression—because when Democrats lose elections it can only be because of voter suppression, obviously. "Action is urgently needed to combat the brazen voter suppression campaign that is spreading across America," Nancy Pelosi claimed at a press event Friday before the bill's passage.

The bill, if signed into law, would require states to obtain "preclearance" from the Justice Department in order to make changes to voter laws—a blatant infringement of states' rights. Why would Democrats want such a law in place? According to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019, "is a good step to right the wrongs that've dismantled the fundamental right to vote through Voter ID laws, purging voter rolls & closing majority-minority polling places."

The number one target of this legislation is clearly Voter ID laws. Many states passed Voter ID laws during the Obama administration and they were subsequently challenged in the courts. If this law had been in place during the Obama years, Eric Holder or Lorretta Lynch would have had the power to stop states from passing those laws.

It's obvious what this legislation is really about. Democrats are fighting efforts to ensure the integrity of our elections. “This bill would essentially federalize state and local election laws when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that those states or localities engaged in any discriminatory behavior when it comes to voting,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.). "The Supreme Court has made clear that this type of federal control over state and local elections is unconstitutional, because Congress can only do that when there’s proof of actual discrimination, which is what this bill is supposed to be about," he added.

Collins also believes the problem Democrats claim to want to fix isn't actually a problem. "Voting rights are protected in this country, including in my own state of Georgia, where Latino and African American voter turnout has soared. Between 2014 and 2018, voter turnout increased by double digits for both men and women in both of these communities."

As scary as this legislation is, it won't go anywhere in the U.S. Senate. But, make no mistake about it, Democrats oppose every attempt to ensure the integrity of our elections, and they won't stop.



Battleground Ohio: Investigation Uncovers Hundreds of Illegally Registered Non-Citizen Voters

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Wednesday that an investigation by his office has uncovered hundreds of illegally registered non-citizen voters, 77 of whom cast ballots in the November 2018 election.

In a letter to Attorney Dave Yost on December 4, LaRose, a Republican, explained, "As a result of our review, my office has identified 277 individuals who registered to vote in Ohio and 77 individuals who cast a ballot in an Ohio election and who appear to be legally present, noncitizens."

The Secretary of State said the review "utilized a cross-matching of the voter rolls in the Statewide Voter Registration Database with the list of individuals who have Ohio driver licenses or state identification cards." He noted that while the state does not maintain a "comprehensive database" of non-citizens in Ohio, Bureau of Motor Vehicles records do indicate the citizenship status of individuals who apply for driver's licenses or state identification cards.

The 277 individuals who registered to vote and the 77 who cast a ballot "each provided the BMV with documentation identifying themselves as non-citizens on at least two occasions, once before their voter activity and once after," LaRose said.

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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


8 December, 2019

Donald Trump hails 'GREAT' jobs report as economy booms with 266,000 new jobs in November and 50-year low unemployment

Lots of good numbers

Donald Trump hailed a 'blowout' job creation record in November as the Labor Department said employment expanded by 266,000 in the month - blasting past economists' expectations.

Trump tweeted 'GREAT JOBS REPORT!' and the verdict of Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo, who has become one of his main media allies, that is was 'a blowout.'

Hiring in the United States jumped last month to its highest level since January as U.S. employers shrugged off global trade conflicts.

The unemployment rate declined to 3.5% from 3.6% in October, matching a half-century low, the Labor Department reported Friday. And wages rose a solid 3.1% in November compared with a year earlier.

Bartiromo called manufacturing a 'blowout,' with 54,000 new jobs, although 44,000 of those were GM workers returning from their strike; other surveys have shown manufacturing activity contracted in November.

The healthy job gain runs against a widespread view that businesses are struggling to find workers with unemployment so low.

Persistent hiring should help keep consumers spending - a key engine of growth as businesses have cut their investment spending and exports have stalled.

Monthly job growth has in fact accelerated since this summer, averaging 205,000 over the past three months, up from just 135,000 in July.

Steady hiring has helped reassure consumers that the economy is expanding and that their jobs and incomes remain secure, which, in turn, has helped fuel spending.

Consumer spending has become an even more important driver of growth because the Trump administration's trade conflicts have reduced exports and led many businesses to cut spending.

Employment growth was also boosted by a gain of 60,200 healthcare workers. That lifted job growth well above its monthly average of 180,000 this year.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 180,000 jobs in November.

The economy was also found to have created 41,000 more jobs in September and October than previously estimated.

The 40-day strike by about 46,000 workers at GM plants in Michigan and Kentucky restricted employment gains to 156,000 jobs in October.

Manufacturing activity contracted for a fourth straight month in November. The factory malaise has been blamed on the Trump administration's 17-month trade war with China, which has bruised business confidence and undercut capital expenditure.

Though Washington and Beijing are working on a 'phase one' trade deal, the United States has ratcheted up tensions with other trade partners including Brazil, Argentina and France. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was having meetings and discussions with China 'that are going well.'

Economic growth estimates for the fourth quarter are converging around a 1.8% annualized rate. The economy grew at a 2.1% pace in the third quarter. Economists estimate the speed at which the economy can grow over a long period without igniting inflation at between 1.7% and 2%.

The surge in November payrolls defied an Institute for Supply Management survey showing a measure of manufacturing employment contracted in November for the fourth straight month. It also confounded the ADP National Employment report showing a sharp deceleration in private payrolls growth last month and consumers' perceptions of the labor market were less upbeat.

But cooler-than-normal temperatures in November curbed hiring at construction sites and mines.

Though the labor market remains resilient despite the business investment downturn, hiring has slowed from last year's average monthly gain of 223,000 because of ebbing demand and a shortage of workers.

Renewed concerns that trade will continue to hamper the U.S. economy drove stock prices lower earlier this week, after President Donald Trump said he was willing to wait until after the 2020 elections to strike a preliminary trade agreement with China.   

With the two sides still haggling, the administration is set to impose 15% tariffs on an additional $160 billion of Chinese imports beginning Dec. 15.

Both sides have since suggested that the negotiations are making progress, but there is still no sign of a resolution.

Hiring in the United States has remained mostly healthy this year despite the trade war. Even so, Trump's combative use of import taxes, combined with retaliatory tariffs by China and Europe, has stalled job growth in manufacturing.

Employers have been hiring at a solid enough pace to absorb new job seekers and to potentially lower the unemployment rate, though the pace of job growth is down from last year.

The holiday shopping season has begun later this year compared with previous years, a fact that some economists think might have delayed hiring by retailers and shipping firms last month.

With tariffs hobbling manufacturing, the job market this year has underscored a bifurcation in the economy: Service industries - finance, engineering, health care and the like - have been hiring at a solid pace, while manufacturers, miners and builders have been posting weak numbers.

Despite the raging trade tensions, most analysts say they remain hopeful about the economy and the job market.

The economy grew at a 2.1% annual rate in the July-September quarter, and the annual pace is thought to be slowing to roughly 1.5% to 2% in the final three months of the year - sluggish but far from recessionary.

Consumer confidence has slipped in recent months but remains at a decent level, helping boost sales of expensive purchases, such as autos and appliances.

With inflation surprisingly low, the Federal Reserve has cut its benchmark short-term interest rate three times this year.

Those rate cuts have helped support the housing market. Sales of existing homes have risen nearly 5% in the past year. Sales of new homes have soared by one-third. 



Impeachment Is Destroying CNN

If Democrats and their media allies thought that the impeachment of President Trump would be his undoing, I've got bad news for them: it's actually undoing them. The Democrats' favorite (fake) news channel CNN is suffering from a three-year low in ratings.

According to Disrn, CNN "reached a three-year low in ratings over the Thanksgiving holidays, averaging 643,000 primetime viewers. The news outlet also saw its worst week for viewers among the 25-43 demographic." In that group, CNN only pulled 138,000 viewers. That's pathetic.

Fox News, on the other hand, "posted higher ratings than CNN and MSNBC combined, averaging nearly 2.2 million viewers during primetime last week. The network also pulled in 303,000 viewers ages 25 to 54," which is the most important target group for advertisers.

In other words, Fox News is utterly and completely destroying the competition. Now, there's nothing new about that in itself, but what is new is CNN's complete and utter irrelevance in the news world. If you're thinking to yourself, "CNN? I never watch it!", you're not only talking for yourself but for just about every single American. There's literally just about nobody watching any of its programs -- let alone those scheduled outside of primetime.

How deep the once mighty have fallen. It's unbelievable. CNN was once an example to be followed. And now? Not one self-respecting real journalist, with ambition, would want to work for them.

There's just one way for CNN to turn this around. They've got to do something that hasn't been tried in decades. We have Fox News which is pro-Republican. We have MSNBC which is pro-Democrats. CNN's attempt to imitate MSNBC is destroying the channel. The way forward is for CNN to actually hire real journalists to -- and this is going to shock a lot of people -- do real journalism. Be proudly neutral. Don't air any shows by "commentators." Don't mix opinion with news. You bring the news, and that's it. When you have talk shows, you can invite guests who are not objective, but the presenter has to be absolutely, 100 percent neutral.

This is the only way for CNN to save themselves. If they don't choose this path going forward, they're doomed.



Impeachment Is Great for Trump: Approval Rating Rises to 52%

Thursday was a fantastic day for President Donald Trump. The reason? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Democrats will proceed with articles of impeachment against him. While that may normally be less than great for a president, in Trump's case it's absolutely delightful. In recent days, his approval rating among American voters has risen to 52%. And it's all because of the impeachment sham.

Rasmussen Reports' daily presidential tracking poll for Thursday shows that 52% of likely U.S. voters approve of the president's job performance. Forty-seven percent, on the other hand, disapprove. That's a three-point improvement compared to Wednesday.

What's more, 52% is the highest daily approval rating measured in two months' time. As usual, his approval ratings are especially driven by men. Fifty-nine percent of men approve, only 40% disapprove.

As for minority support: the daily tracking poll shows 31% approval for President Trump among likely African American voters. With regards to all other minorities, 61% of them approve, while a mere 38% disapprove. Those are stunning numbers for a Republican president -- especially in this extremely partisan age.

It goes to show that this entire impeachment hoax has been an absolute disaster for Democrats. The American people see straight through their attempts to rid themselves of a duly elected president only because they disagree with his policies and dislike him personally.

A lot of voters may not like Trump personally either. But he did win the 2016 election. Americans understand that impeachment can and should only be used as a last resort and only against a president who has actually committed a crime. In the case of Trump, it's clear that although the man himself is not exactly "likable," there is not even a shred of evidence that he's guilty of any "high crimes and misdemeanors."

In other words, it's all a sham. And everybody knows it.

The result is, rather logically, that Trump's approval rating rises. Americans will always stand by those who are treated unfairly. It's in the American DNA.

So, for Trump, it would be great if this impeachment hoax continues for as long as possible. Let Democrats push this, day in, day out. The end result can only be a Trump reelection and a Republican Senate and House.




MEANWHILE... Trump's tax cuts reduce U.S. burden to one of the lowest in the world (Fox Business)

STRATEGY: How House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and his team tamed impeachment (Washington Examiner)

NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Mueller witness bragged about access to Clintons secured with illegal campaign cash, says Justice Department (Yahoo News)

MOVING TO THE LEFT: A sign of just how far left Democrats have moved under Trump: "Moderate" Joe Biden wants tax hikes twice as big as what Hillary Clinton proposed in 2016 (Reason)

FOX LAWSUIT: Playboy model Karen McDougal sues Fox News for defamation over alleged Trump affair (NBC News)

SEEKING COMMITMENTS: Texas Democrats urge Pelosi to press for border security as part of USMCA deal (National Review)

UPRISING: State Department Iran envoy calls protests "the worst political crisis the regime has faced in its 40 years" (National Review)

POLICY: We do not need to expand Social Security (National Review)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


6 December, 2019

George Zimmerman SUES Trayvon Martin's family and Florida prosecutors for $100MILLION, claiming they engineered false evidence in his homicide trial for shooting dead the black teen in 2012

Zimmerman was certainly the target of a political prosecution.  There was nothing above-board about it

George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, is suing Martin's family and Florida prosecutors, claiming that they engineered false evidence in the homicide trial. 

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Polk County Circuit Court seeks $100million in civil damages for defamation, abuse of civil process and conspiracy.

It alleges that the prosecution's key witness in Zimmerman's 2013 murder trial, Rachel Jeantel, was an imposter coached by the family and their lawyers.

The lead defendant in the suit is Sybrina Fulton, Martin's mother. Fulton became a nationally-acclaimed advocate for social justice and reducing gun violence in the wake of her son's death, and is now running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission.

The second defendant is the family's attorney, Ben Crump. He is accused of defamation and attempting to 'deprive Zimmerman of his constitutional and other legal rights'.

The lawsuit also names Harper Collins, accusing the publisher of defaming Zimmerman by publishing Crump's book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, 'with actual malice knowing the untruth or at a minimum a reckless disregard for the truth'.

Crump responded to the lawsuit on behalf of himself and Martin's parents in a statement Wednesday.

'This plaintiff continues to display a callous disregard for everyone but himself, revictimizing individuals whose lives were shattered by his own misguided actions,' he said.

Soon after reports of the lawsuit emerged, the hashtag #IStandWithSybrina began trending on Twitter as users expressed support for Martin's mom.

Zimmerman, 36, is being represented by high-profile conservative legal crusader Larry Klayman.  Klayman released the full legal complaint to the media on Wednesday before it was officially filed. 

The complaint alleges that the Sanford Police Department thoroughly investigated the February 2012 shooting and closed the case as self-defense the following month. 

One week later, the suit claims, Crump produced a recording of 'Diamond Eugene', who he said was Martin's 16-year-old girlfriend who was on the phone with the victims minutes before the confrontation with Zimmerman. 

Two days after that, 18-year-old Jeantel, Eugene's half sister, appeared before the court and 'provided false statements to incriminate Zimmerman based on coaching from others'.

The suit alleges that Martin's cell phone records prove Jeantel was not on the phone with him before the altercation, and that she 'lied repeatedly to cause Zimmerman's arrest and to try to send him to prison for life'.

It charges that Eugene was Martin's real girlfriend and did speak with him prior to the shooting, but that Eugene asked Jeantel to pretend to be her so that she didn't have to testify.  

Klayman said several defendants in the suit 'have been proven to know about the switch to the imposter witness' - including Fulton, Crump and Florida prosecutors Bernie de la Rionda, John Guy, Angela Corey. 

The attorney said the allegations did not emerge at the trial and that 'the fraud was perpetuated on the court'. 'It was a complete travesty of justice which destroyed my client's life,' Klayman said. 'People are destroyed and smeared and they have to start fighting back.'

Klayman said the allegations in the new lawsuit are based on shocking evidence exposed in a book and documentary by film director Joel Gilbert, called The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America.

The attorney, a former US Department of Justice prosecutor, is the founder of watchdog groups Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch.



Don't price workers out of their jobs

“Black Friday” sounds dire but is actually a cause for celebration. For most of the year, retail stores are fortunate just to break even. But the beginning of the holiday shopping season finally brings profit margins wide enough to carry them out of the red and into the black.

The day after Thanksgiving, and the coming days before Christmas, thus remind us of the importance of seasonal spending on our economy. They also provide a constant warning that the success of the retail industry depends on operating as efficiently as possible to keep up employment and production.

Yet just as the holiday season spikes job creation from brick-and-mortar department stores to warehouses for online retailers, Christmas carols also sound the tune of socialist sad-sacks demanding that state and city governments pass ordinances raising the minimum wage to $15 — no, $20! — per hour.

Companies such as Costco and Amazon are probably even wise to pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour voluntarily. That they do so, and that only 2.3% of all jobs in the United States pay the actual minimum wage, is evidence that employers generally wouldn't and couldn't pay people less if there were no minimum wage at all.

But not all businesses are created equal. Department stores such as Macy’s have seen their profit margins slump asymptotically, and others, such as Sears, have gone back into the red seemingly for good. Given the mounting cost of deliveries and online competition for shoppers, there exist many stores, especially small businesses, that could not keep their doors open if they had to pay workers significantly more than our current federal minimum wage of $7.25.

For struggling stores and small businesses, holiday sales are a godsend. Even more welcome are the hundreds of thousands of jobs created. Retailers created more than 700,000 jobs during the holiday season last year. That includes not just hundreds of thousands from profitable juggernauts such as Target, but also 80,000 from Macy’s and 90,000 from Kohl’s. The labor market has continued to tighten, meaning companies that can afford higher wages will be forced by the market to provide them, or else lose competent, honest, and reliable workers.

Holiday-season workers comprise a little less than one-fifth of total retail sales workers, whose median wage was $11.70 per hour last year. With companies such as Piaggio now selling retail robots, automation is threatening the livelihoods of many retail workers. This will get worse if the government artificially increases the cost of hiring them with a $15 or $20 minimum wage, plus the additional employer payroll tax that comes with it. This is especially true given today's low inflation. Put it all together, and a sudden doubling of the minimum wage would make the option of outsourcing such jobs to robots all the more attractive.

Businesses could instead simply close, or stop hiring workers (especially younger workers) who do not produce $15-20 of value each hour. The workers worst hit would be those trying to pay for school or at the start of their careers.

Contrary to fears about robots and immigrants taking jobs, automation will create millions of skilled and semi-skilled jobs in coming years. But lower-income and younger workers in retail and manufacturing have the most to lose in the process of creative economic destruction. Take away low-wage jobs and you throw them out of work.

If your aim is to help low-income workers, there are much better ways to do it than to crank up the minimum wage. Oren Cass has argued for an expansion of earned income tax credits. Andrew Yang argues for a need-blind universal basic income. Whatever the merits of these proposals, at least neither one will mess up opportunities for willing, low-skilled workers.

That’s what matters most. Although a minimum wage increase sounds compassionate, making workers too expensive for their jobs is anything but. It is cruelty masked as sympathy.



Congress bans short-term lending, the poor pay a high price

Washington do-goodism almost always fails to help the people it is supposed to because politicians ignore the Law of Unintended Consequences. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to a congressional plan to put payday lenders and other short-term lending institutions, such as the burgeoning online lenders, out of business.

These are lenders that provide the service of last-minute or emergency loans –- typically of between $100 and $600 — to mostly low-income Americans or those with poor credit scores cash. Liberal “consumer advocacy groups” and liberals in Congress demonize these companies as modern day Shylocks, the nefarious lender in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” who demands a pound of flesh if loans aren’t repaid on time. 

Rep. Jesus Garcia, Illinois Democrat, and Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin Republican, are the cosponsors of a bill called the Veterans and Consumer Fair Credit Act, (the VFCA bill has nothing to do with veterans and several veteran groups have written to complain of this ruse). It would cap interest rates on short-term and emergency loans at 36 percent. Critics of short-term lenders say they “target” low-income and minority Americans. The left says this new law would “save” low-income Americans between $5 billion and $10 billion a year. 

No one forces anyone to go to these stores or use online lenders. They do so because these folks feel it’s the best and most convenient option for them. There’s no shortage of customers on a Thursday or Friday afternoon as workers line up to get an advance on their paychecks so they have spending money for the weekend or can pay their grocery bills.

It’s the same reason that tens of millions of more affluent Americans are willing to pay a $3.50 fee to get a $100 cash withdrawal from an ATM machine –- a convenience that many in Congress also want to prohibit.

The VFCA would make it illegal for a lender to provide someone with a $250 cash advance and then pay back the “loan” a week later with a $10 fee. But why? Can’t consenting adults make up their own mind about whether they want to engage in this transaction? Or is it really true that the left is so contemptuous of the poor that they think their voters are incapable of making sound every day decisions on their own?

Perhaps it is the Washington politicians who are the ones who are financially clueless here. Well more than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck today. Often times these workers have poor credit scores, so they can’t get a traditional loan or consumer credit from a bank. About one-in-five Americans can’t get a credit cards, or if they do have one, the alternative to a short-term payday or online loan when they are scrapped for cash, is to ring up debt on their Visa card, which is far more expensive than the charge on a payday loan.

According to a 2019 Federal Reserve Board study, almost 4-of-10 Americans today “lack the savings to cover an emergency expense of $400.”

For Americans tangled in these kinds of financial tight spots, payday lenders are saviors, not devils. The $5 to $20 fee for an emergency cash loan is a small price to pay. Except that many in Congress don’t think so. They complain that a $10 or $15 fee for a $200 loan paid back in two weeks can have an annual percentage rate interest or up to 400 percent. But an APR is a totally irrelevant statistic on a 10- or 14-day cash advance. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that the APR for a bounced check or a late credit card payment can sometimes exceed 1,300 percent. Are we going to eliminate credit cards too?

One vital on-the-street reality that the consumer advocates and politicians fail to take into account is that payday and online lenders have actually helped low-income areas in an important way: They have largely replaced loan sharks. The interest rate on an unpaid loan to the loan shark isn’t a $10 or $20 fee, but a broken arm.

It also speaks volumes of the motivation of the Fair Credit Act and its supporters that the law would exempt credit unions. These are tax-exempt institutions that are direct competitors to the payday and online short-term lenders –- and they’d like nothing better than to run the competition out of town –- just like McDonald’s would love to shutter Burger King. Credit unions are also major funders of many of the consumer interest groups hammering payday lenders. So it might be too charitable to even say that VFCA supporters are primarily driven here by a misguided concern for the financial well-being of lower-class Americans.

But the motives really don’t matter here — the results do. Run short-term lenders out of business, as some states have already done, and the victims are the people who can no longer use the convenience of these services that were once down the street. There is evidence that many Americans living near a state border, drive out of the state without payday lenders into the states that have them. If Reps. Garcia and Grothman have their way, Americans won’t even have the option of doing that anymore. It’s a law that only the loan shark could love.




NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Husband of Democrat in impeachment hearings took $700K from firms tied to Ukrainian oligarch "accused of ordering contract killings" (The Daily Wire)

GOOD COP, BAD COP: Georgia governor appoints Kelly Loeffler to Senate in defiance of Trump (National Review)

INTOLERANCE: Army says faith-based group can no longer put Bible verses on dog tags after complaint (Fox News)

HISTORIC CONTRACT: "Generational leap": Navy to pay $22 billion for nine nuclear-powered submarines (The Washington Times)

PUSHBACK: Hospital groups sue to block price-transparency rule (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: Hong Kong shows Taiwan what unifying with China really means (Hudson Institute)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


5 December, 2019

Here are Four Pieces of Great News for America and President Trump

Thanks to the noise of the Democrats’ divisive and destructive impeachment drive, hardly anyone is noticing just how good we have it right now. We’re in a Golden Age. Here are four pieces of great news that benefit all Americans.


Unemployment stands at a historic low – just 3.6%. To a degree not seen in previous strong economies, all boats are truly being lifted by the rising tide. Black and Hispanic unemployment are shattering records. You don’t have to listen to me or to President Trump. This is CNN:

The unemployment rate for black women fell to a record 4.4% from 5.2% in July. The unemployment rate for black men crept up to 5.9% from 5.8%. But the previous month's rate was a record, so the rate is still near its historic low.
Unemployment among workers who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino also fell in August to 4.2%, which matched a record low set earlier this year.

Minority unemployment has been tracked by the Labor Department since the early 1970's. Both black and Hispanic or Latino unemployment numbers have traditionally been higher than white unemployment, and it remains so today. White unemployment was 3.4% in August, up from 3.3% previously. But this is the smallest gap on record between the respective unemployment rates for blacks and whites.

This "is the smallest gap on record...” Wow. But you’d never know it from the blaring headlines. They’re all about impeachment and the myth that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t radically overhaul our economy and turn hardcore socialist. Of course, the main reason we’re not hearing about the triumph of the Trump economy is that it’s an existential threat to the Democrats. Minorities benefiting from a Republican president’s policies, and especially this Republican president’s policies, could pull enough minority voters away from the Democrats to render them a coastal, elitist and irrelevant party.

Affordable Energy

What’s driving the low unemployment? Two things come readily to mind: attitude and policy. President Donald Trump is not openly hostile to economic development and job creation. He cut taxes. He encourages growth and doesn’t scold creators by saying “You didn’t build that.” Trump has also encouraged U.S. energy development and that’s paying off. The United States is now the world’s top energy producer and a net petroleum exporter for the first time in about 70 years.

Again, wow.

Drive around any American town or city at night and behold the impact. The lights are on. Stores are open and they’re hiring. Gas prices don’t require you to take out a second mortgage to fill up your tank.

America's First Black Billionaire Gives Trump an 'A+,' Says Dems Are Moving 'Too Far Left'

Violent Crime Is Down

Here’s something else good that we’re not hearing about. Violent crime rates are down. In fact, American streets have rarely been safer than right now. And again, you don’t have to listen to me, here’s Pew Research on the subject:

Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 51% between 1993 and 2018. Using the BJS data, the rate fell 71% during that span. The long-term decline in violent crime hasn’t been uninterrupted, though. The FBI, for instance, reported increases in the violent crime rate between 2004 and 2006 and again between 2014 and 2016. Violent crime includes offenses such as rape, robbery and assault.
To listen to the Democrats, “gun violence” is spiking and will soon claim us all in a bloodbath. Millennials have been misled to believe there are 35,000 or so gun-related deaths in American each year. Total actual murder, most of which isn’t committed using so-called “assault weapons,” is less than half that number. The fact is, mass shootings remain rare and aberrant while overall gun-related and other violent crime is down, along with property crime too. This is good news! Why aren’t we celebrating?

Pew has an answer for that:

Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up nationally, even when the data shows it is down. In 18 of 22 Gallup surveys conducted between 1993 and 2018, at least six-in-ten Americans said there was more crime in the U.S. compared with the year before, despite the generally downward trend in national violent and property crime rates during most of that period.
That’s the power of media to shape opinion at work. Americans hear the bleeding lead stories if they bother to watch local news, we see incessant coverage of every awful criminal tragedy if it serves an anti-gun or other anti-liberty agenda, and Americans believe crime is spiking when it’s actually falling.

We’re Defeating Terrorism

Also falling is transnational terrorism. The Islamist radical who recently attacked London was a recycled terrorist. He had been caught and imprisoned on terrorism charges, released by a foolish criminal justice system without being reformed in any way, and launched an attack on innocent civilians as soon as he could. The fact that he was a recycled terrorist and the fact that civilians were able to take him down with a big, sharp narwhal tusk demonstrates another piece of good news: We have largely won the war on terrorism. The enemy are reduced to the dregs of recruitment. President Trump has led the way in crushing ISIS and killing their leadership. Terrorism isn’t fully defeated and probably never will be, but it’s certainly not showing signs of the sophistication it had prior to or in the years immediately after 9-11.

What do the media do with this good news? The New York Times tries its hand at destroying America from its foundations with its insidious and dishonest 1619 Project. The alleged paper of record didn’t bother consulting actual historians on the matter. The national media trumpet every twist in the impeachment saga. They rail at Trump’s tweets. And they ignore the fact that we’re awash in good news: the economy is strong, energy prices are low, crime is down and we’re defeating terrorism.



New FDA Commissioner, Same FDA Problem

President Trump has nominated (and fired) numerous individuals to governmental positions while in office. Arguably, his most popular nominee was Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. As a Modern Healthcare article notes, “Dr. Scott Gottlieb accomplished a rare feat during his two-year tenure as head of the Food and Drug Administration—he earned praise from Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Although popular, Gottlieb considerably expanded the power and regulatory oversight of the FDA. For example, he took unprecedented steps in regulating tobacco markets and began a “historic crackdown” of the vaping industry. He also established the agency’s first board to regulate homeopathic drugs, an expanding component of the healthcare field.

To the surprise of many, Gottlieb abruptly resigned last March, leaving many of these expansions of power unfinished. In his absence, President Trump named Ned Sharpless as interim Commissioner. Sharpless’ time at the FDA was brief (210 days). Consequently, his impact on health policy was minimal.

Most recently, President Trump nominated Dr. Steven Hahn to be the next FDA Commissioner. Many believe this leaves the agency in capable hands. Hahn’s credentials and background in oncology provide him a wealth of experience to oversee new drug approvals for cancer. Since the United States frequently lags behind other countries in approving cancer treatments, an oncologist as commissioner could be just what the doctor ordered.

But President Trump and other political figures expect more. Recently, Hahn was asked whether he would ban several vaping products to halt teenage vaping. Although Hahn pledged “aggressive action,” he also expressed the need to better understand available information before deciding on definitive policy actions.

His caution earned him considerable backlash. One senator accused Hahn of being “more swayed by the tobacco industry and politics than by children’s health.” Others accused him of side-stepping questions. It seems the new commissioner is off to a rough start in what many consider a “critical time” for the agency.

But Hahn was right to exercise caution. His detractors seem to forget that restrictions on vaping were addressed at the state level well before the FDA became involved in 2016. Once the FDA introduced national vaping regulations, vaping rates among minors increased. Correlation is not causation, however; the agency’s previous attempts to mitigate teen vaping have clearly fallen short.

We should also note that states and cities continue to initiate their vaping regulations. San Francisco and nearby Livermore, California, banned the sale of electronic cigarettes. Oregon recently banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette juices. Although I believe such policies will be unsuccessful, these efforts demonstrate there are alternative ways to battle public health problems.

Political calls for more FDA oversight go well beyond regulating vaping products. A recent STAT article provides twelve “hard-hitting questions” for the new commissioner. These questions concern how the FDA will lower drug prices, make gene therapies more affordable, combat the rise in Alzheimer’s disease, and better regulate stem cell labs. Addressing these healthcare woes will only expand the agency’s evolving regulatory powers further. And that could be more dangerous than any issue the agency attempts to resolve.

Hahn certainly faces considerable challenges in his new position. But the greatest challenge he faces now is to exercise caution amidst the temptation to satisfy politically popular, but harmful, requests. The most beneficial regulations he can implement, by far, will be restrictions on the FDA itself.




MISSION NOT ACCOMPLISHED: DHS still can't identify all separated families from zero-tolerance border fiasco (The Washington Times)

JUSTICE SERVED? Mexican authorities make arrests in killings of American Mormons (The Washington Post)

RETAIL NUMBERS: Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores dropped by 6% as consumers spent record online (CNBC)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Hallmark Channel holiday movies under fire from the diversity police (Hot Air)

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT?: New scandal hits Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador involved in impeachment hearings (The Daily Wire)

BRUTAL CRACKDOWN: Iran kills hundreds of unarmed protesters as Quran expert warns it may kill thousands (The Daily Wire)

KNOWN ASSAILANT: London Bridge attacker had been jailed for terror crimes; two fatally stabbed (The Washington Times)

POLICY: The middle class always pays: Europe shows how the Warren-Sanders agenda really works (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: How UK free-riding on U.S. drug innovation is affecting Brexit (The Federalist)

AG LEERY: William Barr reportedly doubts inspector general's finding on Russia inquiry (The New York Times) But Sen. Lindsey Graham says to "be wary" of Leftmedia rumors.

DIGITAL-TAX FALLOUT: Trump administration proposes tariffs on $2.4 billion in French goods (The Hill)

PASSING THE BATON: Senate confirms Dan Brouillette as Trump's pick to replace Energy Secretary Rick Perry (Fox News)

PAYBACK: Trump campaign bans Bloomberg News from events over "troubling and wrong" decision to investigate Trump but not his political opponents (Fox News)

"ETHICAL LAPSES": Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot a few weeks before his planned retirement (Fox News)

GUILTY: California GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter says he will plead guilty to corruption charges (The Mercury News)

DRAINING THE SWAMP: Betsy DeVos has cut 600 staff positions at the Department of Education (Washington Examiner)

NO DENYING IT: Iran admits to murdering protesters in cities across the country (Townhall)

POLICY: The London terrorist attack shows rehabilitative justice doesn't work (The Federalist)

POLICY: An agenda for the intangible economy (City Journal)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


4 December, 2019

The Supreme Court finally takes up another gun case.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York. This will be the first Second Amendment case the High Court has heard in nearly 10 years following its landmark rulings in Heller (2008) and McDonald (2010). The case involves New York City's passage of a gun-control law banning gun-owning residents from transporting their firearms outside their homes and outside city limits, except to select gun ranges within the city and only then provided their handguns are unloaded, locked up, and separate from ammunition. In other words, paper weights that are useless for self-defense.

The draconian and obviously unconstitutional law was immediately challenged by Second Amendment advocates. In a move clearly demonstrating that New York officials knew their law violates the Second Amendment, they sought to prevent the issue from being taken up by the Supreme Court by changing the law to allow gun-owning residents to transport their firearms outside city limits provided it was "directly to and from" a second home or shooting range.

However, this "voluntary cessation" didn't stop the justices from deciding to hear the case, as they rightly note that the issue at stake is the Second Amendment's protection of individuals' right to bear and not merely possess arms. Furthermore, New York officials are clearly seeking to undermine the Heller decision, which protects the right to bear firearms for the "core lawful purpose of self-defense," as well as "learning to handle and use [arms]" and "hunting." By limiting a gun owner's right to bear firearms only in his place of residence, New York was effectively attempting to gut Heller, which is likely why the justices are keen to take up this case to reassert the Court's judicial authority. Clarence Thomas, for one, has been particularly vocal about the erosion of the Second Amendment by municipalities and lower courts.

Predictably, the anti-gun crowd isn't happy. Democrat Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) warned the Court that if it did not drop the case, he and his fellow Democrats would work to "restructure" the Court. "The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it," Whitehouse ridiculously asserted. He added, "Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be 'restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.' Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal." Oh, the irony. Who exactly is seeking to inject "the influence of politics" into the Court in order to eliminate Americans' Second Amendment rights? It certainly isn't the NRA or Republicans.

If the Court follows the precedent it set with Heller, it's likely that the ruling will come down to a 5-4 decision. No wonder anti-Second Amendment activists are so upset over the Court's decision to hear the case.



Where Have All the Alphas Gone?

For some time now I have watched the immensely popular HGTV as a window on the culture—a large picture window letting in “lots of natural light,” as the rather silly and predictable house hunters are fond of saying—providing a cameo on the conventions of middle-class society. One notices, with few exceptions, that the wives tend to be voluble and bossy; they speak first, far more often, more insistently and more authoritatively. Their needs and desires are clearly predominant. The husbands, for their part, are mostly bland and subservient, almost leguminous in comparison, generally deferring to their wives with only the occasional mewl of protest.

One notes, too, the lack of genuine taste, the utter preoccupation with trivialities, and the cloying banality of conversation among the often obese participants. They are obviously hewing to script, but the ideas, habits, physical attributes, speech patterns, attitudes and expectations on display are close enough to the cultural norm to seem authentic. People recognize themselves and their aspirations in these TV episodes. Although the self-indulgence and broadly decorticate behavior one observes is certainly off-putting, the absence of gender parity, in favor of the wives, is perhaps the most conspicuous quality that affirms itself.

One might dismiss these observations as making too much of a mere reality TV show, but HGTV does let in a lot of natural light on a culture grown flaccid and critically disoriented. The ascendancy of the now-dominant, rule-giving female and the attendant decline of the proud and assertive male is the order of the day. The male essence is not a privilege but a fact of nature—that is, when nature is allowed to take its course. Yet, everywhere we look men are surrendering their right to be men—to be strong, confident, honest, unashamed and productive. I do not blame the vindictive and self-righteous feminists for the debacle. I blame the men who have allowed a social disaster to come to pass. We now see the gradual disappearance, or at least the alarming paucity, of alpha males in the social mix accompanied by the rising tide of beta males—apologists for their “toxic” nature, Michael Kimmel types— who are complicit with the feminist agenda.

In an important talk delivered at the ICMI conference held in Chicago in October 2019, the video of which is soon to be released, former vice-chair of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health Tom Golden pointed out that testosterone levels are markedly declining among Western males. As is well known, testosterone is a male sex hormone that stimulates the production of sperm and the growth of muscle mass. But it is less well known that testosterone is also genetically engineered for status-seeking. University of Zurich neuroscientist Christoph Eisenegger in a major research paper, “The role of testosterone in social interaction,” suggests that testosterone “might be best conceptualized as bringing motives for social status to the fore.” Eisenegger showed that those who maintain that high level of testosterone lead only to corruption, aggression and emotional sterility have not adequately considered the evidence; such studies have been “clearly refuted.” Testosterone is the chemical engine for risk-taking, reciprocity, generosity and competitiveness.

Writing in Forbes, Neil Howe alludes to several analytic reports showing that “men’s testosterone levels have been declining for decades.” Among the many complex factors involved in the downward trend, a crucial element seems to hinge on “dismantling age-old ideas about masculinity and triggering real anxiety over changing gender roles.” There is no doubt that the economy is shifting away “from jobs that favor men [and] toward sectors dominated by women.” Howe is plainly a man of leftist sympathies—Donald Trump is “old-fashioned, overtly macho,” plenty of testosterone there. Nonetheless, while admitting that he might prefer “a less testosterone-laden world [which] might be less aggressive and more emotionally expressive”—as Eisenegger indicates, a thoroughly mistaken notion—Howe remains concerned that America, a once “‘pro-testosterone’ nation: restless, striving, and rowdy…is losing the dynamism, mobility, and enterprise that made it special.”

In other words, testosterone is an alpha hormone. When men strive not to excel and triumph but to conform and acquiesce, to blend in safely with majority sentiment, to not rock the boat (even if it is leaking), to go along in order to get along, and to accept the deformed image of masculinity with which they are daily bombarded, it is a sign that the testosterone pool is drying up, as Tom Golden fears and research has borne out. What is cause and what is effect is an open question. “Has testosterone declined in response to a changed world,” asks Howe, “or has the world changed to accommodate less virile men? Or is it both?” Whatever the answer, the result is the emergence of the beta man.

Of course, I am using the Greek alphabet somewhat loosely. Status is to a large degree context-dependent and social prestige may not arise exclusively from the alpha hierarchy. But the distinction between alpha and beta, despite the many shades of gray between them, is a useful one and one that is commonly understood. As psychologist Scott Kaufman informs us, “The most attractive male is really a blend of characteristics, including assertiveness, kindness, cultivated skills and a genuine sense of value in this world. The true alpha is fuller, deeper, and richer.” It follows that the true beta is emptier, shallower, and poorer.

I’ve had occasion to write in a previous article about the posturing feminist firebrand, Mona Eltahawy, who urges the weekly killing—she calls it “culling”—of men. Eltahawy cites a local instance of her determination to resist the patriarchy and her fierce courage in fighting it, referring to an episode in a Montreal club in which she physically beat up a man who groped her. I am willing to bet the story is apocryphal. Yet her fable limns a social truth, if only metaphorically, for the straw man in Eltahawy’s fevered imagination is the fictive representative of the actual beta male who has permitted, and even abetted and cultivated, the travesty of his unmanning. Though exacerbated and more than ever extensive, this development is by no means a novel phenomenon. It has its history.

As far back as 1913, E. Belfort Bax in The Fraud of Feminism framed the issue with his characteristic insight and precision. He is worth quoting at length. “In any conflict of interest between a man and a woman,” he writes, “male public opinion…sides with the woman, and glories in doing so.” Bax finds himself baffled by “the intense hatred which the large section of men seem to entertain toward their fellow-males…and their eagerness to champion the female in the sex war.” It is undeniable, he continues, that the Woman’s Movement, unassisted by “a solid phalanx of the manhood of any country, could not possibly make any headway.” The members of the phalanx—legislators, judges, parsons, magistrates—“all vie with one another in denouncing the villainy and baseness of the male person…To these are joined a host of literary men and journalists…who contribute their quota to the stream of antimanism…the design of which is to paint man as a base, contemptible creature.” Thus “the anti-man cultus has been made to flourish [with] the whole of the judiciary and magistracy acting as its priests and ministrants.” Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Bax could have been writing at this very moment.

These men may have acted from motives of chivalry or principles of moral virtue. They were not necessarily weaklings or beta males, but the consequences of their actions led to a dilution of the male spirit and temper and to the formation of a class of sexual herbivores who took the path of least resistance. They are our contemporaries, men who may believe they act from high ethical considerations but in reality are feminized creatures who have sold their masculine birthright for a mess of saccharine pottage. In short, they are beta-men. “Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back,” said former feminist Doris Lessing at the 2001 Edinburgh Book Festival. And she was right.

As poet Robert Bly writes in his 1990 bestseller Iron John, begging forgiveness for being a man, in violation of natural male vigor and energy, is a form of psychological suicide. It is a function, says Bly, of male naïveté, increasingly prominent in the modern era. “We see more and more passivity in men,” he writes, “but also more and more naïveté. The naïve man feels a pride in being attacked. If his wife or girlfriend, furious, shouts that he is a ‘chauvinist,” a ‘sexist,’ a ‘man,’ he doesn’t fight back, but just takes it.” In fact, he will offer to carry a woman’s pain before he checks with his own heart to see if this labor is proper in the situation…He rarely fights for what is his; he gives away his eggs, and other people raise the chicks.” (Italics mine.)

In Bly’s analysis of the Western tragedy pitting the sexes against one another, “Powerful sociological and religious forces have acted in the West to favor the trimmed, the sleek, the cerebral, the noninstinctive, and the bald”—Bax’s  “judges and magistrates”—who are the progenitors of the beta men we see all about us today. The beta man is the source of the cultural decrepitude and social dysfunction brought about by the feminist assault on the psychic and biological boundaries that differentiate the sexes. Beta men are committed to resisting what they regard as their raw and turbulent masculinity. They believe that masculinity as historically conceived and as feminists insist is demonic.

For Bly, the antidote to this febrile declension is the Wild Man of myth and folklore—pagan, classic, Celtic—who has been injured in his sexuality and who must return in all his strength, “in touch with God and sexuality, with spirit and earth,” that is to say, with himself. A man must rediscover his “Zeus energy.” And this not only for his own sake but for the sake of woman as well, whose fecund and magnanimous nature “has suffered tremendously,” as a consequence not only of her own resentments and illusions but also of the favonian influence of compliant men. “The goddess Aphrodite,” as he puts it, “alive inside the female body, is insulted day after day.” Regrettably, the Wild Man, or his contemporary avatar the alpha male, whom the mateless woman and the disaffected feminist secretly crave, is very much a minority species. (Interestingly, Neil Howe recognizes that “Millennial women yearn for guys who can ‘man up’ and take care of business,” but there are not enough of them around.)

Bly has been mocked by critics who find his thesis one-sided, expressing a return to the primitive, and risibly “phallocentric,” a reproof that many would apply to cult hero and magister Jordan Peterson. There is much misunderstanding in this position, for Bly accentuates the virtues of male sobriety and duty and Peterson those of competence and responsibility. In his recently published 12 Rules for Life, Peterson, with his considerable authority as a renowned clinical psychologist and an erudite thinker, elaborates the argument for the retrieval of healthy masculinity in a feminist age.

Following psychoanalytical pioneers C.G. Jung and Erich Neumann, Peterson points out that consciousness, “always symbolically masculine, even in women…is constantly tempted to sink back down in dependency…and to shed its existential burden. It is aided in that pathological desire by anything that opposes enlightenment, articulation, rationality, self-determination, strength and competence”—in effect, the beta capitulation to the triumphant female, the renunciation “of order and of the Logos” by men who have become feminized and submissive.

For such convictions Peterson has been denounced as a muddled thinker, a chauvinist, a huckster, a phallocrat, a misogynist, a fascist—you name it. But Peterson’s strength and manliness is evident in his ability to soldier on, to rise above such mean-spirited attacks, to lift his voice against the meretricious orthodoxy of the day, and to turn the tables on his detractors, furnishing an example of the alpha sensibility at work.

In economist Tyler Cowen’s terms, America is suffering from a “low-hanging fruit” mentality. We need high-reachers, innovators, motivators and stubborn achievers to renew a lost momentum; in other words, alpha men. Cowen writes from a leftist perspective, with a hefty dose of social justice theory, and focuses mainly on economic parameters over the last two-to-three centuries. But the concept of making do with low-hanging fruit fits the beta man with a strange perfection. These low-hanging fruit are the ideas, attitudes, compulsions, platitudes and opportunities associated with the feminist movement, which serve the appetite for conformity and approval—until, that is, the tree is bare. For a great reckoning is approaching unless we can learn once again to struggle upward where the best fruit can be found.

“It is surely time,” writes Duncan Smith in The Vast and the Spurious, to redefine “the state of gender relations.” It is time “for some major gaslighting, some alternate ways of viewing social life,” to explode the “feminist racket” and educate its male collaborators. This will be a monumentally difficult task. The beta male (aka the “soyboy”) is now the Western model of masculinity to be emulated by all right-thinking men. Unfortunately, Nancy Sinatra’s boots are walking all over him. After all, “you keep samin’ when you oughta be a’changin’”—though, indeed, he is a’changin,’ and at breakneck speed, under the stiletto heels of the Gorgonocracy. The feminist shrew is not the shrew of Shakespeare’s play; she will not be tamed, for there are precious few Petruchios around to right the balance and equally few Katherines who are “meet and amiable.”* As Kate says in her concluding speech: “I am ashamed that women are so simple/To offer war where they should kneel for peace.”

Of course, The Taming of the Shrew is only a play, just as HGTV is a piece of fiction. But the former articulates a longstanding domestic ideal whereas the latter inadvertently discloses a bitter social truth. The house may feature an open concept, three bathrooms, a kitchen island, marble countertops, a tiled backsplash, stainless steel appliances, a butler’s pantry and plenty of space to “entertain.” A profusion of wows, amazings, awesomes, and omigods lard the premises. The man whose great passion in life is outdoor grilling has to settle for indoor sizzling. “Happy wife, happy life,” goes the adage. But there is no rhyme for husband. In Reality Culture, the wife will keep the house, the kids and the assets if or when she tires of her husband. What to do as the house of Western civilization collapses and the culture self-immolates? “Men have to toughen up,” says Peterson. “And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.” And that is something we are seeing with every passing day.

The Western world of discoveries, technologies, amenities and unprecedented wealth, which feminism abuses and exploits to its advantage, is the achievement of an alpha civilization. It is time for the so-called “patriarchy” to man up and celebrate its creation.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


3 December, 2019

Trump’s evangelical support mystifies his critics, but in Wisconsin, it looks stronger than ever

He may not be one of them but it is clear that he is on their side and the Donks are not.  At a Donk convention a few years ago, the audience booed God!

After it was clear that neither of her preferred candidates, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, was going to be elected president in 2016, Linda Behm prayed. Behm is an evangelical Christian and keeps a calendar filled with volunteer shifts at a thrift store and a food pantry in this small community an hour away from Green Bay. She wasn’t sure about supporting Donald J. Trump, the New York business magnate with a penchant for insults and crude behavior. But after asking God whether she should back him or Democrat Hillary Clinton in the general election, she decided Trump was the lesser of two evils.

These days, Behm, 69, finds the president to be coarse and exasperating, especially his tweets — and she took issue with his summertime missive urging four Democratic congresswoman of color to “go back” to other countries. “We should be treating them like Christ should treat them,” Behm said. “Trump has to figure that out.”

But still, she feels better than ever about her decision to vote for the president, because she thinks he has delivered on the two issues she cares most about: curtailing abortion rights and protecting Israel. Behm expects to vote for Trump again in 2020. “He’s our only choice,” she said.

In 2016, Trump’s alliance with white evangelical voters was obvious — 80 percent of white, self-identified born-again or evangelical Christians supported him, according to exit polls — but, for some of those voters, it was also uneasy. The president’s personal behavior and some of his core political beliefs, including his hostility toward refugees, seem at odds with the major moral tenets of Christianity. What’s more, many of his evangelical supporters weren’t exactly sure what they were getting from a nominee who was neither deeply religious nor a lifelong Republican and who described himself some years ago as “very pro-choice.”

Three years, later, Trump’s bond with evangelicals has proven to be remarkably resilient. After a Democratic presidency that left some evangelical voters feeling besieged, many have come to see Trump as a defender of religious liberty, a champion of conservative judges, and a brake on the advances of abortion and transgender rights.

White evangelicals back Trump more fiercely than other religious or unaffiliated groups, and, in one poll, 99 percent of white evangelical Republicans oppose his impeachment and removal. White evangelicals make up about 17 percent of Wisconsin’s voters; in a state Trump won in 2016 only by 23,000 votes, their steadfast support could be the difference between winning and losing next year.

There are other factors that could buoy Trump in Wisconsin. A contentious state Supreme Court race this year fired up evangelicals in support of a Christian judge. Julaine Appling, the president of the Wisconsin Family Action, which advocates for conservative Christian policy, said her group will support Trump in 2020 after not explicitly endorsing him in the 2016 general election.

Trump’s appeal among evangelicals mystifies his critics, yet Behm’s community and church offer a window into how he has consolidated their support. New London, a city of 7,000 straddling two counties that backed Cruz in the 2016 primary, did not immediately warm to Trump. And Behm’s church here is not particularly political. But voters here said they have come to view the president as an unlikely savior for a country they felt was morally broken and hostile to Christians like them — even though some admit their personal reservations about him have only grown.

“We’re hiring a president, we’re not hiring the pastor of a church,” said Chris Martinson, 68, a hardwood lumber wholesaler who is a strong Trump supporter. “We’re hiring someone to lead our country in a tough battle. It’s not always going to be pretty.”

There are times when Ellen Martinson wishes her husband would leave his bright red “Trump 2020” hat at home, even though she supports the president, too. “Some people will see it, and they already judge you before they know you,” she said with a sigh.

But to Chris Martinson, the hat, along with the cross around his neck, is a way of sparking conversation with fellow Trump supporters. He often keeps more in the car to sell for $10 each as a fund-raiser for the local Tea Party, of which he has been an active member since helping found its local chapter in 2012. If you want a Trump yard sign, Martinson is also your guy; in late September, he had 50 “Trump 2020” signs at home, waiting to be staked in the ground.

He did not always feel so devoted to Trump. Martinson’s initial favorite in the 2016 primary field was Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist who is open about his deep Christian faith. After that campaign sputtered, he drove all over town putting up signs for Cruz, hopeful that the evangelical senator from Texas would protect his values.

Martinson, like many other evangelical Christians, was ready to turn the page on the Obama administration, a period when gay rights and transgender rights expanded. He worried Christians who did not agree with those expansions would be marginalized, citing a famous case of Colorado bakers who were sued when they refused to make a cake for a gay wedding.

“It seems like right now, there’s a movement to try to purge people who have traditional Christian values, that don’t accept more modern definitions of marriage . . . that don’t accept things like that there should be a special set of rights for transgender [people],” Martinson said.

Martinson has considered himself evangelical since about 1991. He supported Democrat Dick Gephardt for president in 1988 “because he was for tough borders” and Martinson held local office as a Democrat in the 1990s, but has since transformed into a committed conservative activist for whom politics and faith are irrevocably entwined. He has a “choose life” license plate on his car (and got one for his wife for her birthday recently).

In 2016, he ran for — and won — a spot on the local school board so that he could “stand up for Judeo-Christian values in the public square.” During his three years on the board, he successfully sued the state’s education department and advocated for bringing back the teaching of cursive writing. He lost his reelection bid by 17 votes.



Hatred gets a reward

I don't greatly blame the woman concerned.  She was just airing the attitudes that prevail in the Newsweak newsroom

A story by political reporter Jessica Kwong was published on Thursday morning with the initial headline: 'How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more.'

But the president made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to greet US troops and meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss reopening talks with the Taliban.

The president's son Don Jr. slammed her coverage as 'fake news'.

But Kwong claimed it has been an 'honest mistake', and said she had submitted the story in advance before the trip was announced.

But Don Jr. replied: 'It wasn't an "honest mistake" you tried to dunk on Trump and ended up dunking on yourself because you couldn't resist.

'Notice how there's never been a story that broke in Trump's favor & had to be corrected the other way? These aren't mistakes, they are a very consistent pattern.'

Trump himself had earlier retweeted his son's post calling the story 'fake news', writing: 'I thought Newsweek was out of business?'

A Newsweek spokesman told The Washington Examiner: 'Newsweek investigated the failures that led to the publication of the inaccurate report that President Trump spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan.

'The story has been corrected, and the journalist responsible has been terminated

Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth'    +11
Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth'

Trump made the unannounced visit Thursday, telling soldiers at Bagram Air Field: 'There is nowhere that I'd rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth.'

'We flew 8,331 miles to be here tonight for one simple reason, to tell you in person that this Thanksgiving is a special Thanksgiving,' Trump said in his remarks. 'We're doing so well. Our country is the strongest economically it has ever been.' 



Trump Gets apt Revenge After Obama Let ISIS Slaughter Unspeakable Number Of Christians In Middle East

During Barack Obama’s time in the Oval Office, he made his disdain for Christians very clear. A perfect example of this is the provision in Obamacare where organizations such as Little Sisters of the Poor were forced to have insurance coverage which provided drugs which cause abortions. Being a Catholic organization, The Little Sisters of the Poor are vehemently against abortion and the drugs which can induce them. The Little Sisters of the Poor had to take the Obama Administration all the way to the Supreme Court, where the court ruled in the Nuns’ favor.

While Obama was President, his immigration policy toward Christians was equally discriminatory. As reported by Jim Hoft, from The Gateway Pundit, “Obama’s immigration policies showed a distinct bias against Christians. Although 10% of Syrians were Christians and were being murdered by ISIS daily, only 2.4% of immigrants into the US were Christians. At one point in his Presidency, he deported persecuted Chaldean Christians fleeing ISIS”. These Iraqi Christians, a group of 27, crossed into the United States from Mexico. For six months they were detained at Otay Mesa Detention Facility, and an immigration judge ruled that 12 of the 27 Iraqi Christians fleeing ISIS were to be deported. You can read about it here in The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Getting into the statistics, a Pew Research Center Analysis examining the U.S. State Department’s refugee data found the following;

“From Donald Trump’s first full day in office on Jan. 21 through June 30, 9,598 Christian refugees arrived in the U.S., compared with 7,250 Muslim refugees. Christians made up 50% of all refugee arrivals in this period, compared with 38% who are Muslim. Some 11% of these arrivals belong to other religions, while about 1% claim no religious affiliation”.

 The Pew Research Analysis goes on to reveal that in the fiscal year 2016, Muslims made up a significant majority of refugees coming into the United States of America. During his time in office in 2014, Obama stated via the White House website, “This also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.” This is an interesting statement given that most Muslim refugees believe in Sharia Law, which is the exact opposite of what American democracy and freedom stand for.

Connecting the dots, the Obamacare provisions violating the rights of Christians, deporting Christian refugees fleeing ISIS, and Obama himself declaring that Muslim Americans are responsible for the very fabric and strength of our nation, the agenda was and still is clear. Conversely, looking at the statistics from the time President Trump has been in office, he has made good on his promise to provide first priority to Christian refugees. President Trump made this declaration back in January when speaking with David Brody from CBN News,

 “They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”

 According to last count there were 0 Christian refugees from the Middle East who have committed an act of terror against the United States of America. The same can not be said for Muslim refugees. Perhaps this was Obama’s plan all along to use something called Taqiyya, where lying is permitted in an effort to advance the cause of Islam. You can read about Taqiyya here. An example of Taqiyya is the mantra coming from the left and terrorist organizations like CAIR, saying Islam is a religion of peace. It is very likey homosexuals and Christians being thrown off rooftops and stoned to death would disagree.

Obama once stated that he was intending to “fundamentally transform America.” His disdain for Christians was part of this transformation which he envisioned. Thankfully, voters and President Trump have reversed course on this, and the Christian refugees who were once discriminated against by the Obama Administration can now breathe a bit easier knowing there is an American President who understands the dangers Christian refugees face.



My recipe blog

Most readers here have probably forgotten (if they ever knew) that I have a recipe blog.  I add to it only a couple of times a year these days so it does not belong on anyone's list of regular reads.  I have however recently put up an unusual but easy curry recipe that turned out very tasty so it may be worth a look.  It is even low-fat!


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


2 December, 2019

Democrats lurching leftward exemplified with new labor bill

In many ways the Democratic Party has become increasingly radical. A majority of the party now supports socialist policies on everything from health care to the environment. This radicalism unfortunately extends to labor issues as well.

The House will soon be voting on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This legislation is a liberal wish list that represents a draconian overhaul of our nation’s labor laws at the expense of employers, workers and economic growth while strengthening the authoritarian power of big labor.

Despite the fact that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the U.S. Supreme Court have recognized that there should be ample time for “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open debate in labor disputes”, the PRO Act deliberately speeds up union election processes so employees don’t have time to learn about the potential downsides of joining a union. Specifically, the bill codifies provisions of an NLRB regulation called the “ambush election rule” which significantly shortens the time span in election processes. Democrats purposely inserted this provision because they know union bosses are more likely to win elections when employees are uninformed about the downsides of union membership.

Second, the PRO Act increases liability for businesses by dramatically expanding the definition of “joint employer” to also include indirect control and unexercised potential control over employees. These terms are incredibly broad and ambiguous, meaning businesses could find themselves held liable for labor violations committed by another business when they might not have even been aware they were considered a joint employer in the first place. Even worse, the risk of increased liability incentivizes large businesses to stop contracting out jobs to small businesses. This would force large businesses to keep more jobs in house, which ultimately raises prices for both businesses and consumers.

The expanded definition of joint employer is also detrimental for franchise businesses. A study conducted by the International Franchise Association showed that the definition change has led to a 93 percent increase in lawsuits against franchise businesses, costing them over $33 billion annually, and leading to a loss of 376,000 jobs. The study also showed that the majority of franchise businesses have been offering less services in order to avoid lawsuits. This chilling effect hurts both consumers and workers alike.

The PRO Act also compels private sector employees to either join a union or risk being fired. Specifically, the bill abolishes state Right to Work laws which allow workers the freedom to choose whether or not they want to pay fees to a union.

If Right to Work laws are repealed, not only will unions gain unprecedented new power, but economic growth and employment will suffer. A 2018 study by the National Economic Research Associates found that between 2001 and 2016, states with Right to Work laws saw private sector employment grow by 27 percent, while states without Right to Work only saw a 15 percent increase.

To top it off, the PRO Act strips workers of their right to cast anonymous ballots in union elections. Under current law, workers are able to anonymously oppose joining a union by casting “secret,” unpublicized ballots. However, the PRO Act abolishes this practice and forces employees to make their choice public about unionizing, which makes it easier for unions to intimidate and threaten workers who do not wish to sign up.

As former George W. Bush staffer Vincent Vernuccio said: “The secret ballot is a bedrock principle of democracy. It allows people to vote the way they feel without fear of reprisal. Without it, those who hold the elections would hold all the power.”

Bills like the PRO Act represent another unfortunate symptom of the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch. This bill should be opposed by anyone who is concerned with worker freedom and continuing our country’s economic boom. The PRO Act needs to be permanently benched.



Warren tells another lie about her personal biography

File another story under the Tall Tales of Elizabeth Warren’s Phony Biography. This time, she says her son went to public school when in fact he attended private school.

“The 2020 Democratic candidate last week appeared to deny that she sent either of her two children to a private school,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams. “The problem is that Warren did indeed send her son, Alex, to a private school in Texas starting at about 5th grade.”

Warren, like most Democrats, opposes school choice because she’s backed by teachers’ unions. But Warren also wants blacks to vote for her, and school choice is popular among the black community because it is their kids who suffer most in failing urban schools. A black school-choice proponent confronted Warren, saying, “We are going to have the same choice that you had for your kids, because I read that your children went to private schools.” Warren replied simply, “My children went to public schools.”

The lie was one of omission. Her son did attend public school … until he didn’t. Yet, like her handmaid’s tale of being let go from a teaching job because she was pregnant, this lie was meant to bolster her “street cred” with the desired constituency group.

Warren’s lies about her supposed Cherokee ancestry advanced her academic career. She’s now fibbing about her biography in other ways for political gain. But we’re supposed to trust her to manage our healthcare and our taxes and our schools and our entitlements and every other thing under the sun for which she has “a plan”? Hard pass.



Warren Relies on Rationing in Medicare for All Plan

Cost-cutting measures would likely lead to long wait-times, limited care
Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) Medicare for All plan has been widely criticized for taking what many consider an unrealistic approach to raising revenue, but one expert told the Washington Free Beacon the bigger problem is that it pushes health care rationing to keep costs low.

Warren, a Democratic presidential frontrunner, relies on aggressive cost-cutting measures, including tightly restricted reimbursements and global budgeting. Health care policy expert Christopher Pope said her approach would effectively amount to a rationing scheme. This, in turn, would likely curtail Americans' access to care, replacing a "fee for service" system with long wait times and mandatory caps on spending.

"The more radical part of [Warren's plan] is the very, very bold rationing scheme for health care," Pope, a scholar at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute, told the Free Beacon. "A big part of how she tries to make the numbers work is really very tightly restricting access to care and funding of health care services."

Warren's campaign, which did not respond to request for comment, has avoided using the word "rationing," likely because it believes the idea would be unpopular. But, as the Massachusetts senator pushes towards the presidency, other Democratic contenders and the public at large may force her to answer hard questions about what single-payer health care requires.

As experts have noted, Warren's plan relies on optimistic assumptions about the cost of implementing Medicare for All. Her campaign predicts the proposal will add about $20.5 trillion in federal spending over 10 years, which is about $14 trillion short of the liberal-leaning Urban Institute's estimate.

To shave that $14 trillion off, the plan must drastically curtail spending. Warren's stated goal is to bring national health care spending growth in line with GDP growth, cutting it down from about 18 percent to about 4 percent over the next decade.

The two economists Warren asked to evaluate her plan—former Obama official Donald Berwick and MIT professor Simon Johnson—concluded that the "new payment models including global budgets for health care systems and full-risk population-based payment models," suggested in the Warren plan "can achieve better care for patients and much lower costs of care." They also said "Urban did not attribute savings to those effects of Medicare for All" to account for the disparity between their estimate and the Urban Institute's.

The first of these "new payment models" is what the Warren campaign calls "comprehensive payment reform": a government-run system that will "reimburse hospitals at an average of 110% of current Medicare rates." Current rates pay hospitals 87 to 89 cents for each dollar of medical spending, meaning that a 10 percent bump in spending would still fall short of full reimbursement. Hospitals are able to sustain those losses with an average reimbursement of $1.45 per dollar of spending from private insurers—the same entities that Warren seeks to eliminate.

The Warren campaign expects to offset low revenue by reducing administrative bloat and compensation of "overpaid specialties." But it is equally likely that some hospitals will close, while others will be forced to curtail the services they provide, forcing patients to pay for care with time rather than money.

"If hospitals are expected to make do with much less money than they would currently, but expected to care for more people, they're going to have to really tightly restrict the access to services that people are able to get," Pope said.

Comprehensive payment reform is just the start, however. Warren has promised that "if growth rates exceed [GDP growth], I will use available policy tools, which include global budgets, population-based budgets, and automatic rate reductions, to bring it back into line." Although it only receives a line or two from the campaign, global budgeting may be the most radical feature of the Warren proposal.

"Global budget" may be an unfamiliar term, but the idea behind it is not complicated. Currently, the U.S. health care system is "fee for service": Doctors provide a service and get paid a fee. A global budget switches from that model to a "budget" approach, giving hospitals a fixed amount of funding to spend over a fixed amount of time, usually a year.

There are benefits to a global budget approach, most obviously that it can radically constrain costs. But global budgets limit hospitals' ability to account for health care costs that exceed their allotment. In practice, this means that patients end up paying for services with time rather than money, as the Urban Institute notes.

"She's basically proposing to cap the amount of health care spending as a total of what she will commit to, but especially the amount of money that hospitals will get," Pope said. "In practice, it's going to mean waiting lists.… it's going to mean that people aren't going to be able to access care, especially high-quality care to the extent that they have been able to."

Global budgets are in use in countries such as Canada, where the median wait time for specialists is nearly five months. This is why France, the Netherlands, and Norway have all moved away from a global budgeting approach, according to a recent op-ed from Pope.

Of course, Americans may decide that they prefer a rationing approach to current, high health care costs. But history suggests rationing may be a hard pill for the general electorate to swallow. During the fight over passage of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives targeted the bill with charges that it would also implement a de facto rationing scheme, an angle of attack which galvanized many—in particular the elderly—against the bill.



Trump Flips Another Federal Court to Majority GOP Appointees

As House Democrats continued their impeachment push, President Donald Trump scored yet another victory toward reshaping the federal judiciary—flipping a third appeals court to a majority of Republican-president nominees.

Moreover, as the House engaged in partisan bickering, the Senate voted to confirm Barbara Lagoa to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta on a bipartisan vote of 80-to-15 on Wednesday. The circuit—which handles cases out of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia—now has a 7-to-5 majority of Republican appointees.

Trump nominated Lagoa, then a Florida Supreme Court justice, in September.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump also has been able to change the makeup of the Manhattan, New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit to a 7-to-6 Republican-appointee majority and the Philadelphia-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit to an 8-to-6 majority of appointees of Republican presidents.

“With the confirmation of Judge Barbara Lagoa to the [11th] Circuit, President Trump has now transformed three of the nation’s federal appellate courts from Democrat-appointed majorities to Republican-appointed majorities. This is a major achievement for his presidency,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, tweeted after the confirmation.

With the confirmation of Judge Barbara Lagoa to the Eleventh Circuit, President Trump has now transformed three of the nation's federal appellate courts from Democrat-appointed majorities to Republican-appointed majorities. This is a major achievement for his presidency.

Trump has won 46 appeals court confirmations by the Senate, according to The Heritage Foundation Judicial Tracker, in just under three years in office. That’s double that of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, who had 23 appeals court judges confirmed during his eight years in office. 

Since appeals courts decide the overwhelming majority of court cases, because the Supreme Court can only handle a limited number of cases each year, these confirmations are highly important.

That’s no guarantee of outcomes in cases, but Democratic presidents’ judicial appointees tend to make more liberal decisions, while Republican presidents’ court picks tend to make more conservative legal rulings.

Though Trump has been prolific in securing judicial nominees, federal appeals courts are still lopsided in favor of Democratic appointees. When Trump took office, only four of the 13 appeals courts had a majority of Republican appointees. Now seven have majority-Republican appointees.



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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


1 December, 2019

Medicare for all?  Britain already has it

Here's what you get

A mother whose baby died after he was born breech and she was allegedly denied a timely C-section is taking legal action against a hospital trust described as being responsible for the "worst" ever NHS maternity scandal.

A damning report found more than 90 babies and mothers either died or suffered severe harm due to disastrous failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

Kamaljit Uppal says she was told her child was lying bottom first when she was five months pregnant and health professionals told her she would need a Caesarean. But when she went into labour, she claims medics told her she wasn't allowed one as instructions to have the operation wasn't in her medical notes.

More than seven hours after her baby's foot had begun to show, the mother-of-three was eventually rushed for a C-section, but the infant, called Manpreet, died just a few hours after he was born. A post mortem confirmed he died as a result of a trapped vaginal breech delivery, according to Kamaljit's solicitors.

She told i: "I begged the midwife for a C-section and told her I was promised one at my antenatal appointments, but she said no. I feel my baby would be alive if I'd have had one quicker."

An internal report leaked to The Independent revealed clinical malpractice was allowed to continue across four decades, with repeated failings by midwives, doctors and hospital chiefs.

There were more than 600 cases being examined, and there were at least 42 babies and three mothers who died between 1979 and 2017. Another 51 infants were left with brain damage or disability after being deprived of oxygen at birth.

The review, led by maternity expert Donna Ockenden, found failures to recognise serious incidents and to learn from mistakes. There has been a lack of respect shown for families suffering bereavement with one mother who had just lost her child told to "keep the noise down" or leave the hospital. In another case, parents were not told their baby’s body had returned from a post-mortem examination and it decomposed so badly that they never got to say a final goodbye.

The report also reveals regulators were aware of problems as far back as 2007. The confidence of the Healthcare Commission, a forerunner to the Care Quality Commission, that improvements would be carried out was “misplaced”, it concluded.

The situation bears all the hallmarks of the Morecambe Bay maternity scandal, which led to the deaths of 16 babies and three mothers between 2004 and 2013.

Kamaljit, from Telford, now 50, went into labour on 16 April 2003 at around 8.30pm at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. She says a midwife said she could see the baby's foot at around 1am, but she wasn't taken for an emergency Caesarean until 8.30am.

"I was 35 and fit and healthy," she said. "Nobody even attempted to manually turn the baby around at all. I kept begging for a C-section and they kept saying no.

"There was only one doctor on duty. My baby had begun to show and he suddenly disappeared, I think for around 15 minutes to go help with another birth. It was only when the baby went into distress that they finally rushed me for a C-section but by then I believe the damage was done."

Breech is very common in early pregnancy, but by near the end, only three to four in every 100 babies are still in the position, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

According to the RCOG, if a woman's baby remains breech towards the end of pregnancy, she should be given the option of a Caesarean. Its guidelines state: "Research has shown that planned Caesarean section is safer for your baby than a vaginal breech birth. Caesarean section carries slightly more risk for you than a vaginal birth."

Traumatic experience

Manpreet was born floppy and medics spent 20 minutes resuscitating him. They got him breathing but he died a few hours later. Kamaljit says she still suffers depression 16 years later and has never received a penny in compensation for what happened to her son.

"The whole experience was so traumatic. After he died I had to spend the night on a ward full of screaming babies. A nurse came up to me asking what milk my baby had. I'm not surprised at all about the recent report. My life was never the same after that day. I lost my precious boy."

She says she experienced extreme anxiety when she fell pregnant four months later, and was helped through it by a kind midwife.

Kashmir Uppal, a partner at Shoosmiths who is representing Kamaljit's claim and is no relation to her, said "this is clearly the worst maternity scandal yet exposed".

"In addition to the appalling treatment, tragic loss of life and injuries needlessly suffered by mothers and babies, one of the concerns relates to the duration of these avoidable deaths – over some 42 years. There have clearly been systemic failings at SaTH.  The push for natural births failed to take into account the risks for mother and child.

"Not only do lessons have to be learned to prevent any future tragedies of this nature, but there needs to be some individual accountability on the part of the doctors and midwives involved, and also the senior management under whose watch this pattern of woefully poor care was allowed to continue.  There has to be better patient protection and a willingness to speak out when things go wrong, as they simply won’t go away."

SaTH said it could not comment on individual cases. But Paula Clark, interim chief executive at the trust, issued a general statement that read: “We have been working, and continue to work, with the independent review into our maternity services.

"On behalf of the trust, I apologise unreservedly to the families who have been affected. I would like to reassure all families using our maternity services that a lot has already been done to address the issues raised by previous cases.

“Our focus is to make our maternity service the safest it can be. We still have further to go but are seeing some positive outcomes from the work we have done to date.”



Administrative state bares its teeth and shows that it is the real threat to the Republic

What do you do when the federal employees hired to implement the policies of the duly elected President of the United States not only refuse to do so, but participate in a partisan witch hunt designed to unseat him?

Under current law, not much.  Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich is resting comfortably somewhere in a State Department office.  Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman is still prowling around the White House complex taking selfies in front of what could be presumed to be his office door, and George Kent is skulking around the bowels of the Foggy Bottom State Department headquarters.

How can this be, you ask?

They are all civil servants, and as a result the process for firing a civil servant is long, arduous and frankly so time consuming as to make it barely worthwhile.

In 2017, Americans for Limited Government began calling for the MERIT Act which allows for an expedited process to fire recalcitrant, incompetent or lazy federal employees.  Unfortunately, it has not yet passed, but after the public display of arrogance and outright contempt for the policies of the elected President of the United States, the passage of the bill has never been more important and the funding bill that is under consideration provides the perfect vehicle for enacting it.

The MERIT Act language mirrors the Veteran’s Administration reform bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in 2017. As readers will likely remember, the VA was literally leaving veterans to die waiting in line to see a doctor, and the national outrage forced the Democrats to allow passage of a reform that allowed rapid personnel changes. And the VA has seen some real change.  In 2017 alone, the firing of VA employees jumped by 27 percent, and overall, the VA has relieved 8,000 people of their duties.

It is time to apply the VA expedited personnel firing law to the rest of the federal government, and the best way to get it done is to add the language to the federal government appropriations bill which is under on-going discussion.

The greatest threat to our Republic is not a foreign invader, but instead is an out of control administrative state which believes that their thoughts supersede those of the elected officials. Given that it is extraordinarily difficult to fire this permanent governing class, they have the ability to delay and out weight Cabinet Secretary’s and even Presidents.

Over the past six years, we have witnessed the permanent FBI sub-leadership engage in illegal activity designed to take down President Trump. We have seen Lois Lerner and others within the IRS run a political targeting operation against those perceived to be opponents of President Obama. And in the Ukraine-inspired impeachment sham, we have heard first-hand the voices of contempt for the vote of the people.

It is time to rebalance the system by allowing these recalcitrant, incompetent or lazy employees to be fired in a timely manner if, and only if, there is cause.  Perhaps this impeachment fail will lead to some good, and the MERIT Act, S1898, sponsored by Senator David Perdue of Georgia, will gain steam, as legislative anger swells over the administrative state attempted coup which America has witnessed.

While the MERIT Act is not the full answer to the challenges posed by an administrative state which demands fealty by those who are elected to govern, the simple truth is that you cannot drain the swamp unless you can fire the swamp.



Democrats are Doomed: Two Polls Show Support for Trump Among African Americans at 34%

In what one can only describe as "disastrous news" for Democrats, two different opinion polls find that, among African Americans, support for President Trump is in the thirties. This number has been rising more or less constantly from a year ago, when it was in the mid-20s.

Rasmussen Reports explains on Twitter that one of the biggest differences between them and most other polling organizations is that they look at likely voters instead of at voters in general.

"All American Adults don't vote. A portion of Registered Voters also don't frequent national elections. That's why we invest the extra $$ to ask political questions to only Likely Voters," Rasmussen explains. "And we do this using techniques to assure privacy - just like in the voting booth."

In other words, their polling mimics actual voting as much as possible. And yes, the result is that Rasmussen concludes that support for President Trump among African Americans is at 34 percent:

As The Epoch Times reports, that's incredibly important because only 8 percent of African Americans voted for Trump in 2016.

Support for Trump among African Americans poses a major threat to the Democratic Party. Democrats have done horrendous among white voters for ages. The only way for them to actually win a presidential election is to destroy Republicans in the view of minorities -- especially among blacks and Hispanics -- and to get close among whites.

If these polls are correct, Democrats are already doomed. As RealClearPolitics explained last year, "[E]ven 20 percent African-American support for Trump would all but dismantle Democratic Party presidential hopes for 2020. Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election with 88 percent of the black vote. That was about a six-point falloff from Barack Obama’s share of the black vote in 2012."

Yes, "even a small drop in African-American turnout or anything less than the usual 85 percent to 90 percent supermajority for a Democratic presidential candidate on Election Day can prove fatal."

In fact, as RedState rightfully puts it, it will be fatal. Especially since support for Trump among Hispanics -- another key Democrat minority group -- is rising too. According to Emerson, 38.2 percent of Hispanics now approve of the president's performance. Note, in 2016, 28% of Hispanics reportedly voted for him.

A ten-point increase among Hispanics in itself would be a game-changer. Add to that the 16 percentage-point increase among African Americans, and President Trump's reelection seems increasingly likely.

And who do we have to thank for that? That's right: Democrats and their impeachment hoax.




MUST COMPLY: Former White House counsel Donald McGahn must testify to Congress, judge rules; administration will appeal (The New York Times)

TRUMP FINANCIALS SHIELDED: Supreme Court blocks House committee from immediately reviewing Trump's financial records (The Washington Post)

SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES: Ex-Pentagon aide Guy Snodgrass evades answering if he's anonymous author of anti-Trump book A Warning (Fox News)

OBSTRUCTIONISTS AT THE HELM: Three years into Trump administration, a quarter of embassy slots are vacant, leaving State Department bureaucrats in charge (The Daily Caller)

ON CROSS-EXAMINATION: Four big questions about the inspector general report on FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign (The Daily Signal)

MOVING ON: Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to retire from active duty, will not take part in a review board (Fox News)

REVENUE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY: California Department of Motor Vehicles makes $50 million a year selling drivers' info to private companies (National Review)

EXPLANATION: Trump: Here's the real reason I held back money from Ukraine and blocked impeachment testimony (The Daily Wire)

I'LL SUE YA: House Democrats sue Attorney General Bill Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over "brazen obstruction" of census subpoenas (National Review)

MIGRANT REQUIREMENT STALLED: Federal judge blocks Trump health insurance rule for immigrants (Fox News)

ANTI-TRUMP HIT JOB: New Fusion GPS info confirms the special-counsel probe was a hit job (The Federalist)

HARDBALL: U.S. to designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists (Reuters)

PERPETUALLY GREAT: Dow scores 100th record close under Trump (Fox Business)

POLICY: Native American health scandal shows why government-run care can be deadly (The Federalist)


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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 



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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"

Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Who is this Leftist? Take his description of his political program: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative! Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Leftist principles are as solid as foam rubber. When they say that there is no such thing as right and wrong they really mean it.

There is no dealing with the Left. Their word is no good. You cannot make a deal with someone who thinks lying and stealing are mere tactics, which the Marxists actually brag about

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The current Leftist mantra

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ― Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." -- Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


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To be continued ....
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Rightism defined
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