DISSECTING LEFTISM MIRROR
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 permant 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.

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28 February, 2019

Warren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading

Those in government who want to spend more of other people’s money seek to make taxes appear as low as possible, often through misrepresentation, because minimization increases public support for their policies.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) recently proposed “ultra-millionaire” wealth tax, estimated to bring in $2.75 trillion over a decade (but given the difficulties of implementation and evasion, that estimate is questionable, illustrated by the fact that when Sweden eliminated its wealth tax roughly a decade ago, The Financial Times reported it had “virtually no effect on government finances”), might be the most expensive tax misrepresentation ever.  

Warren would impose an annual wealth  tax of 2 percent on the 75,000 households with a net worth of over $50 million — 3 percent on those with a net worth of over $1 billion. A 2 or 3 percent tax on a small number of people doesn’t sound so burdensome and an advocate of the tax can always deflect criticism by ignoring that both wealth (representing previous income) and income, if earned via voluntary transactions, produced benefits for others rather than taking from them and saying “the rich” can afford such a seemingly small burden.

However, we must remember that what is proposed is not a one time wealth tax, as much public discussion implicitly assumes, but an annual wealth tax, which would impose a phenomenally larger burden. For a given level of wealth, a 2 or 3 percent annual wealth tax would take 20 or 30 percent of the affected households’ wealth over a decade. (e.g., Someone with $100 million in wealth beyond the exempt level would pay $2 million in taxes each year on it with a 2 percent rate, totaling $20 million — 20 percent of that $100 million —over a decade.)

The American Enterprise Institute’s Alan Viard asks us to consider a wealthy household that invests in bonds paying (that is, increasing net worth) 3 percent annually. A 2 percent wealth tax would thus take away two-thirds of the bond income. (e.g., $100 million of assets invested in bonds at 3 percent would yield $3 million per year, but a 2 percent tax on the $100 million of wealth would take away $2 million per year, which is 67 percent of the earnings on the bonds.)

A 3 percent wealth tax would be the equivalent of 100 percent tax on that income. And that ignores the 37 percent top federal income tax rate (as well as state and local taxes) that would first be applied to that bond income.

Government efforts to hide or disguise taxes have a long history.

For example, employer — paid unemployment insurance contributions, as well as the employer’s half of Social Security and Medicare taxes, minimize taxpayer awareness of the cost of government. Employers, who remit those taxes on behalf of employees, must regard those payments like wages: as part of the cost of employing workers.

Therefore, at least some of that money comes from employees themselves. But they are likely to blame employers rather than government for their not being paid more. Similarly, higher corporate taxes result in lower wages and higher prices, again giving government the money but diverting blame to corporate management. Income — tax withholding further reduces awareness of the tax burdens.

Then we have policies that act like taxes, but aren’t counted as such. Deficit spending, which really represents a shift of taxation from present to future, disguises a substantial part of government’s cost. The massive unfunded liabilities in Social Security, Medicare and other programs disguise even more of it. Mandated benefits, for example, health insurance and paid family leave, ultimately come out of employees’ pockets. Regulatory burdens are also disguised taxes are further similar evasions.

A further technique of tax subterfuge is to apply multiple taxes to the same income, allowing the burden to appear smaller because the focus on only one tax at a time avoids recognition of the cumulative burden.

For instance, a corporation’s income must cover property taxes as well as federal and state (and sometimes local) corporation taxes. When a corporation passes (already reduced) earnings to shareholders as dividends or in higher share prices, the money faces federal and state (and sometimes local) personal income taxes on dividends or capital gains. Each tax bite in isolation looks smaller and less distortion than the far larger cumulative burden.

When you recognize that "small" wealth taxes actually impose huge burdens and that seemingly minimal distortions would actually wipe out substantial wealth creation you can see that this proposal is just the latest in a long line of tax misrepresentations. Unless you believe that dishonesty is the best policy, this is an overwhelming reason to oppose her presidential candidacy.

SOURCE  

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Leftist stupidity in San Francisco

Marc Benioff, co-CEO of Salesforce, assailed his own industry in an interview in Davos, calling San Francisco a “train wreck” of inequality “because of the tech sector.”

There’s just one problem with his charge: Both measures he uses for inequality—homelessness and soaring housing prices—well predate the tech boom.

San Francisco has been grappling with homelessness since Dianne Feinstein’s tenure as mayor in the 1980s. In the name of “urban renewal” and “redevelopment,” a wave of demolition of single-room-occupancy hotels hit the city between the mid-1970s and the 1990s. Many low-income apartment buildings were also removed from the market: between 1970 and 2000, almost 9,000 low-rent apartments were demolished or converted. Between 1980 and 2000, another 6,470 were converted to condominiums. As a result, a dearth of cheap housing fed homelessness, which rose to a high of 8,640 in 2002 and approximately 7,500 today.

High housing prices in San Francisco similarly predate its tech boom.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the gap between California’s home prices and those in the rest country started to widen in the 1970s, going from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent by 1980. Contrary to Benioff, the LAO blames public policies that suppressed construction when the rest of the country underwent a housing boom. San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office calculates that the city would have needed to add 15,000 housing units per year for its prices to have remained in line with the rest of the country, instead of the actual 2,000. That would have resulted in 459,000 units built between 1980 and 2010 instead of 60,334. Thus San Francisco’s housing supply is estimated to be less than half of what it should have been for prices to have kept pace with the rest of the country.

Not only did government policies destroy cheap housing, but expanded building regulations have also made it impossible to build cheaply. Those regulations have increased the cost of building “affordable housing” even more than they have for housing in general; this is due to the more stringent design requirements and NIMBY activism.

Today, California’s development and impact fees are three times the national average, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley estimates that the cost of building an “affordable” 100-unit project in California increased from $265,000 per unit in 2000 to almost $425,000 in 2016.

Benioff is correct that San Francisco has a huge and growing inequality problem, and this city that prides itself as one of the most “progressive” is home today mostly to the very rich and the poor, with the middle class largely driven out. But this is not the result of “the [tech] rich getting richer.” As a recent article in The Economist concludes, California’s inequality problem is not “the stagnation of low incomes per se. It is stagnation relative to costs—in particular, the cost of housing.” Today, a minimum-wage earner in San Francisco would have to work 177 hours per week to afford an average one-bedroom rental. (There are only 168 hours in a week.)

Freeing housing markets is thus the master key to solving San Francisco’s inequality, homelessness and housing crises.

If Benioff really wants to get San Francisco back on track, then he should call for a vast rollback of regulations, which would make it possible to construct housing that is actually affordable—as opposed to permanently subsidized. (Instead, he is pushing multimillion-dollar tax increases for unaccountable city “homeless” funds, such as the recently passed Proposition C he bankrolled.)

A recent McKinsey study found that shortening the land-use-approval process could reduce the cost of housing by more than $12 billion through 2025 and accelerate project approval times by four months on average. Reducing construction permitting times could cut another $1.6 billion, and raising construction productivity and deploying modular-construction techniques could cut up to $100 billion.

Rather than chastising his fellow tech titans, Benioff should lead the way in establishing venture funding for housing that is truly affordable. This same McKinsey study projects that such private funding could finance more than 30,000 affordable units a year. That’s a solution everyone should be able to get behind.

SOURCE  

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When is enough federal land enough?

According to The Washington Post earlier this month, “The Senate … passed the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting millions of acres of land and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country and establishing four new national monuments honoring heroes including Civil War soldiers and a civil rights icon. The 662-page measure, which passed 92 to 8, represented an old-fashioned approach to deal making that has largely disappeared on Capitol Hill.” The House is preparing to vote on the legislation.

I’m always skeptical when I read the Post celebrate the announcement of some bipartisan scheme that ultimately increases federal power and costs taxpayers more. This land grab is a terrible idea. The federal government already controls most of the western United States. This bill will further increase federal control over large areas.

In addition, the Wilderness designation locks land away from most of the public except those who by permit walk in on foot with extreme limitation and countless regulations. Rivers become locked away from any future hydro-electric development in a nation that needs power. More federal employees with more salaries and pensions will be required to “manage” these areas of expanded federal protection. This is more federal forceful protection of stuff rather than people.

I argued many times with National Park Service managers during my career with NPS, and they firmly believed their priority was to protect stuff over protecting the safety and lives of people. What I suggest is a return of most of the many millions of acres of land and hundreds of National Parks back to state control, with the federal government retaining only those exquisite jewels like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.

Having spent decades as a land manager working from the West Coast to the East Coast, I can cite countless examples of breathtakingly horrible management by federal land managers spurred on by a host of aberrant agendas that are not in the best interests of Americans. We should oppose anything that expands the power of the all-consumptive federal beast.

How much is enough? When politicians seek a lasting legacy, they look in the mirror and imagine Teddy Roosevelt staring back at them, all at our expense. How about this: Secure our borders from a host of threats before any more land within our nation’s interior is essentially confiscated for federal use.

SOURCE  

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Four States in Apocalyptic meltdown

"This is the flip side (of) tax the rich, tax the rich, tax the rich. The rich leave, and now what do you do?" said New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Feb. 4.

After the Trump tax cut went into effect one year ago, we predicted that the Trump tax reform would supercharge the national economy but could cause big financial problems for the five highest-tax states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

The capping of the state and local tax deduction at $10,000 raised the highest effective state tax rates by about 66 percent (for example, in New York City and California, the rate on millionaires rose from about 8 percent to 13.3 percent). In New Jersey, the highest rate has risen from 7.5 percent to 12.75 percent. Now, we have Andrew Cuomo conceding that the trend of rich people moving out of New York has caused the loss of $2.3 billion of tax revenue in Albany's coffers. Cuomo called this tax change "diabolical." We think it was a matter of tax fairness. No longer do residents of low-tax states have to pay higher federal taxes to support the blob of excessive state/local spending and pensions in the blue states.

As we predicted, the wealthy are fleeing these five states. The new United Van Lines data were just released that are a good proxy for where Americans are moving to and from. Guess what four states had the highest percentage of leavers in 2018: 1) New Jersey, 2) Illinois, 3) Connecticut and 4) New York. Even California had more Americans pack up and leave than enter.

Ironically, liberals like Cuomo who argued for years that businesses don't make location decisions based on taxes in their states are now forced to admit that the cap on the state and local tax deduction (which primarily affects the richest 1 percent) is depleting their state coffers. The rich change their residence by moving for at least 183 days of the year to low taxers such as Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

We advised Cuomo and other blue state governors to immediately cut their tax rates if they wanted to remain even semi-competitive with low-tax states. They are doing the opposite. Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey have led the nation in tax increases on the rich over the last three years, while "progressives" have cheered them on.

Last year, legislators in Trenton went on a taxing spree, raising the income tax on those making more than $5 million a year to 10.75 percent — now the third-highest in the country — and then enacting a health care individual mandate tax on workers, a corporate rate increase and an option for localities to impose a payroll tax on businesses. And they are still short of cash. Idiotically, these tax hikes were passed after the cap on state and local tax deductions was enacted, thus pouring gasoline on their fiscal fires.

How has this worked out for them?

In addition to New York's fiscal woes, the deficit in Illinois is pegged at $2.8 billion (with a $7.8 billion backlog of unpaid bills), and Connecticut faces a two-year $4 billion shortfall despite three tax increases in five years. New Jersey has a $500 million deficit this year (even after the biggest tax hike in the state's history) and Moody's predicts that gap will widen to $3 billion over the next five years. This is all happening at a time when most states have healthy and unexpected surplus revenues due to the Trump economic boom and the historic decline in unemployment.

A Pew study published late last year on which states are bleeding the most red ink ranked New Jersey worst, Illinois second worst and Connecticut seventh worst. New York was also in the bottom 10.

Let us state this loud and clear in the hopes that lawmakers in state capitals across the country are paying attention: The three states that have raised their taxes the most now have the worst fiscal outlook.

Worst of all, things don't look like they are going to get better in any of these states. Last fall, Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey voters elected mega-rich Democratic Govs. Ned Lamont, J.B. Pritzker and Phil Murphy, who have promised to sock it to the rich — the ones who haven't yet left. In Illinois, Pritzker would eliminate the state's constitutionally protected flat tax so that he can raise the income tax on the rich by as much as 50 percent. After raising income taxes three times in the last five years, Connecticut's legislature now wants to raise the sales tax rate. No one in any of these progressive states even dares utter the words tax cut. In just one decade, New York lost 1.3 million net residents; Illinois 717,000, New Jersey 516,000 and Connecticut 176,000. California has lost 929,000.

There is also a useful warning for the soak-the-rich crowd of progressives in Washington. If a rise in the state tax rate from 8 percent to 13 percent can have this big and immediate negative impact, think of the economic carnage from doubling of the federal tax rate from 37 percent to 70 percent as some want to do. The wealthy would relocate their wealth and income in low-tax havens like Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands and Ireland. That would do wonders for the middle class living in those countries.

We are sticking with our warnings from last year. If the four states of the Apocalypse — Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York — do not reverse their taxing ways and choose to keep making things worse, these once very rich and prosperous states will see thousands more rich taxpayers leave. The politicians in these four states just don't seem to understand math. A soak-the-rich tax rate of 8 percent, 10 percent or even 13 percent on income of zero yields zero income when the wealthy leave the state. Cuomo was right: The bleak outlook for the four states of apocalypse is "as serious as a heart attack."

SOURCE  

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

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

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27 February, 2019

CBO is part of the swamp: Defended Obamacare using wildly inaccurate figures

Democrats defeated Republicans in the Obamacare repeal fight by warning that 22 million Americans would be thrown off their health insurance. They pointed to data leaked from the Congressional Budget Office.

Well, it turns out that data was completely wrong.

According to a report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office wildly overestimated the number of people who would lose their health insurance with the repeal of the individual mandate penalty.

Initial estimates from the Congressional Budget Office said 14 million would drop off their health insurance coverage due to the elimination of the individual mandate. Then, during the height of the 2017 debate over repeal, progressives touted a leaked number from the Congressional Budget Office claiming that 22 million people would “lose” their insurance if Congress repealed the law.

However, as health care analyst Avik Roy pointed out, what made this number so high was the inflated number of people expected to lose their insurance due to repeal of the mandate—about 73 percent to be exact. So, it wouldn’t be 22 million Americans losing their insurance. Most of those in the projection would simply be choosing to opt out of insurance.

And it turns out even that wasn’t true. A far smaller number of Americans appear to be opting out of insurance since the individual mandate’s repeal. Only 2.5 million more people are expected to go without insurance in 2019 due to its repeal, according to the latest report, and that number is expected to decline in the years ahead.

The Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein called the Congressional Budget Office “scandalously off in its estimates.” That’s about right, considering all that was riding on its numbers.

As Klein noted, the Congressional Budget Office estimates were a large part of why the individual mandate was adopted in the first place, and a big reason why its repeal didn’t pass. So it’s a wonder why the media isn’t picking this up.

“Given the outsized influence that the CBO has on policymaking in Washington, the CBO’s misfire on the individual mandate should be a major story,” Klein wrote.

The Congressional Budget Office is opaque, to say the least. It does not publish or share the way it comes up with numbers, and some have criticized the organization for its lack of transparency and outsized influence on policymaking.

Doug Badger, a visiting fellow in domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that Congressional Budget Office analysis has been a chronic problem.

“When it comes to the individual mandate, CBO has never let the facts affect their wildly inaccurate estimates. CBO continued to forecast that millions of insured Americans would suddenly become uninsured if the mandate were repealed,” Badger wrote in an email to The Daily Signal. “CBO’s faulty estimates misled the public into believing that repealing Obamacare would lead to a vast increase in the number of uninsured. Bad estimates produced bad policy.”

Many conservatives are fed up with the deference shown to the agency, given it’s poor track record and track of transparency. Reps. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested in 2017 that it’s time to stop “blindly” following the agency’s predictions.

“The value of having outside experts review legislation cannot be understated,” they wrote for the Washington Examiner. “But continuing to hinge congressional actions on the projections of an agency that has proven to be so consistently wrong does a disservice to not only members trying to represent their constituents, it primarily does a disservice to the public.”

I wrote in 2017 that perhaps we should be more skeptical toward the findings of independent agencies like the Congressional Budget Office. It seems those doubts were valid.

Unfortunately, the damage is already done. These faulty numbers have had their decisive effect on policy debates, and we are living with the consequences.

We can expect nothing more until we all begin to take such “expert” predictions with a little less certainty.

SOURCE  

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Another Liberal Hate Crime Uncovered, And It May Be EVEN WORSE Than Smollett’s

Whenever one hears the words “hate crime hoax,” the person of interest is not a conservative almost 11 times out of 10.

Democrats have a big problem on their hands with lefties making things up in an attempt to savage pro-Trump Americans, but fortunately for them, the media is on their side.

Another potential hate hoax has been uncovered, and this one is comparable – if not worse – than former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s.

Michigan prosecutors charged 54-year-old Nikki Joly — a transgender person — for allegedly burning down their own home in 2017 in what investigators appear to believe was intended to be a fake hate crime.

The LGBT activist — whose five pets were killed in the fire — had allegedly received threats in the past and was instrumental in leading a battle for LGBT rights in Jackson, MI.

“Authorities later determined the fire was intentionally set, but the person they arrested came as a shock to both supporters and opponents of the gay rights movement,” The Detroit News reported on Monday. “It was the citizen of the year — Nikki Joly.”

While an official motive has not yet been established, The Detroit News noted that an investigative police report shed light on a possible motive:

Two people who worked with Joly at St. Johns United Church of Christ, where the Jackson Pride Center was located, said he had been frustrated the controversy over gay rights had died down with the passage of the nondiscrimination law, according to the report.

The church officials, Barbara Shelton and Bobby James, when asked by police about a possible motive for the fire, said Joly was disappointed the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival, held five days before the blaze, hadn’t received more attention or protests.

SOURCE  

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Former Staffer Claims Trump Kissed Her Without Consent, Two Witnesses Go Public With TRUTH

So what #metoo madness are we talking about this time? An alleged kiss. Not just any kiss, mind you. This tall-tale-kiss-account comes from an African-American woman who is a Trump supporter.

An Alabama woman who worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign claimed in a Monday lawsuit that Trump kissed her “without her consent” in front of multiple people during a political event in Florida in 2016 – an accusation the White House is denying.

The woman, Alva Johnson, filed suit Monday against Trump and his presidential campaign in federal court in Tampa. The lawsuit said Johnson served as the campaign’s director of outreach and coalitions for the state of Alabama, before working to help Trump in Florida during the general election.

So who is this woman? According to the Washington Post, she was a campaign staffer who was hired to organize rallies, do some much needed outreach to black communities, manage some recreational vehicles, etc.

She alleges that on a rainy Florida day in 2016, Trump was in one of the recreational vehicles and as he was leaving, he needed to pass by her. Noticing her, he took her hand in his and told her that he knew that she had been working hard for him and that he wouldn’t forget her.

This is when Alva Johnson claims that he came in close and started to kiss her, but she turned away and it ended in him kissing her on the side of her mouth.

She ALSO CLAIMS that there were two witnesses there that can attest to what happened. But here’s the interesting part- both of the “witnesses” have come out to call her out.

Here are their statements: “Do I recall seeing anything inappropriate? One hundred percent no,” said Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General. “It absolutely did not happen,” said Karen Giorno, Trump’s Florida Campaign Director.

In response to these quotes, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also had a quote of her own:

“This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible witness accounts.”

If that weren’t enough, even the Washington Post reporter who gave the story admitted that when she interviewed both of the “witnesses” that they both “strenuously denied” Alva Johnson’s story.

So then, why would any credible media outlet believe Johnson, if both witnesses “strenuously” deny the allegations?

Oh, it’s because Alva’s BOYFRIEND and PARENTS remember her saying something about it to them. But there’s ANOTHER big problem with the story. Rather than reporting it, Alva Johnson decided to “put it behind her” and just move on with the campaign.

She did, of course, pull a Blasey-Ford where she claims that years later, now it’s important to speak out. And just like Blasey-Ford fashion, she also has notes from later therapy session that prove ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. But who care about facts when you have feelings?

SOURCE  

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America Smashes Another economic record, And It’s All Because Of Trump

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a bombshell report indicating that America’s crude oil production hit 12 million barrels per day in mid-February.

The EIA’s weekly petroleum report stated that crude output increased more than 1.7 million barrels per day compared to the same time in 2018, when it jumped from 10.3 million to 12 million barrels per day.

“U.S. oil and natural gas production is breaking every record in the book, which helps families and businesses and our national security across the board,” said Dan Kish, a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.

Here’s more from The Daily Caller on the incredible report:

Indeed, drillers continue to beat analysts’ expectations. For example, EIA’s November 2018 energy forecast didn’t see oil output hitting 12 million barrels per day until mid-2019. The month before, EIA didn’t see the U.S. hitting that milestone until the fourth quarter of 2019.

EIA didn’t forecast the U.S. hitting 12 million barrels per day until 2020 or later in its January 2018 estimate. The massive increase in oil output is primarily driven by the Permian basin, which lays deep under Texas and New Mexico.

In the past decade, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling allowed oil and natural gas production reach never-before-seen height. The boom propelled the U.S. to become the world’s top oil producer, edging out Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier in 2019.

While the oil and gas boom started on private and state-managed lands during the Obama administration, it’s gained steam under President Donald Trump. The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era policies it saw as damaging to the energy sector.

“President Trump has awakened a sleeping American energy giant,” Kish said.

EIA’s latest energy outlook estimates the U.S. averaged 12 million barrels per day of production in January, but the weekly oil production reports for that time don’t show output hitting that milestone until mid-February.

Here’s a chart from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showing the incredible increase under Trump from last year, and it will only likely continue to skyrocket.

Many experts argue that Trump’s pro-business mentality is the driving force behind the booming economy and markets.

The president has also made a huge push for America to become a global leader in energy and oil output, and it’s working.

That argument is particularly accurate in terms of oil production, as the Trump administration has taken swift action for years to ensure the U.S. is far less dependent on other nations.

There’s finally a no-nonsense businessman in the White House, and the United States has been exceeding expectations on several different fronts.

Trump just keeps winning for the American people, and this latest report is just one of many major accomplishments the president has had since taking office two years ago.

SOURCE  

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Federal Court Delivers Humiliating Ruling Against Obama

Former President Barack Obama has suffered a humiliating defeat in court regarding his presidential library in his hometown. A federal judge has ruled in favor a group of concerned citizens suing the Obama library for carrying out what they have called a “power grab.”

The Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, the former president’s hometown, is being challenged as nothing more than a giant land grab attempt.

The multi-million dollar project is scheduled to be completed in 2021 and aims to take a major chunk of downtown Chicago to give the Obama family a massive center.

As reported by The Chicago Tribune, the judge’s ruling is a major setback on plans to build the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side lakefront.

In a written decision, U.S. Judge John Robert Blakey said the environmental group Protect Our Parks has enough legal ground to bring some of their objections before him. Blakey did toss out parts of the lawsuit filed against the city of Chicago and the park district.

The ruling to allow the suit to proceed is significant because it could delay construction for months, if not years, and potentially raise the question of whether the $500 million sprawling presidential campus can be built at all on lakefront property in Jackson Park.

The key issue of the lawsuit is over whether Chicago has legal standing to issue construction permits so that Obama’s team can build the presidential center on public park property.

If the presidential center is created, it would tear down a major chunk of a historic park in downtown Chicago that has been there for decades.

The matter has been closely watched because it is reminiscent of the court case that killed the $400 million museum proposed by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. In that case, Lucas and his team didn’t wait for a judgment, and decided to move his Museum of Narrative Art to Los Angeles.

The lawsuit challenging the presidential center was filed in May by the leaders of Protect Our Parks and three other plaintiffs. In their suit, the environmentalists called the presidential center an “institutional bait-and-switch.” The Obama Foundation isn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Instead, the lawsuit targets the city of Chicago and the Chicago Park District, arguing that the presidential center is not the same as a presidential library and should not be granted access to public land.

The foundation has said it wants to break ground this year, but with the lingering issues, there is no concrete date set. The foundation has not revealed if it has a design prepared for another location.

The ruling is a big win for those who are sick and tired of the courts giving Obama a huge pass and allowing him to get away with everything he wants to do.

SOURCE  

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

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

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26 February, 2019

Good policy, bad policymaking, and the 2020 census fight

by Jeff Jacoby

IN APRIL, the Supreme Court will review a decision by a federal judge in New York that bars the Commerce Department from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. It is rare for the justices to take up a case before it's been heard by an appeals court; they made an exception in this case because the government is facing a June deadline for printing the questionnaires that will be sent to every household next year.

You wouldn't know it from the furor that greeted the Trump administration's announcement that it planned to add the citizenship question, but the Census Bureau has been asking such a question for the better part of two centuries.

It was Thomas Jefferson who first recommended that the decennial census tally "the respective numbers of native citizens, citizens of foreign birth, and of aliens" living in the United States — a recommendation that was implemented in the 1820 census, which asked whether any persons in a household were "foreigners not naturalized." Thereafter, a question about citizenship was on almost every census survey until 1950. From 1970 to 2000, the government used two different census questionnaires, one long and one short — and the citizenship question was always included on the long form. Since the turn of the century, the long form has been replaced by the American Community Survey, which is sent each year to about 3.5 million households. It too solicits the citizenship status of each resident.

In all those years, no one ever claimed that asking about citizenship is illegitimate. This time, liberals freaked out. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, described the proposed question as "an assault on the foundations of this country." Former Attorney General Eric Holder said it "threatens American democracy." Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, applauding the district court decision blocking the question, called it "a defeat for the forces that seek to suppress the voices of American voters."

Even in our age of hyperpolarized politics, when any step taken by the administration immediately comes in for scathing denunciation by the opposition, it is bizarre to erupt over asking about citizenship on the census. Numerous countries, such as Australia, Canada, Italy, and South Africa, do so routinely. As Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation observes, the United Nations actually recommends that member states gather citizenship data on census surveys. So why the outrage over re-inserting such an unremarkable query into the decennial US census?

The substantive concern is that a citizenship question may deter some immigrants from returning their census questionnaires, presumably out of fear that the Trump administration might use the information to track down people in the country illegally. Since congressional apportionment is based on total number of residents — not the total number of citizens — an undercount could theoretically reduce the number of seats in the House of Representatives to which states with large immigrant populations are entitled. And since census data are often used to allocate federal funds, an undercount would slow the flow of government dollars to those states, too.

But the citizenship question doesn't ask about legal status. Most noncitizens — students, diplomatic personnel, and more than 13 million green card holders — are in the United States lawfully, and would have no reason to flinch from the question. Conversely, any residents prone to shun the census because they entered the country without permission aren't likely to fill out a federal questionnaire anyway, whether it contains the word "citizen" or not.

Yet little of this may prove relevant when the Supreme Court weighs in this spring.

When it comes to any issue involving immigration, time and again the administration's bullheadedness seems to override its good judgment. In this case, the Commerce Department's proposed addition to the census is wholly defensible as a matter of history and common practice. But how the administration came to make that change is not nearly so easy to defend.

A federal judge ruled that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross resorted to deception in his bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The case before the high court is likely to turn on a relatively narrow question: Did the Trump administration — and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross specifically — comply with the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs how federal agencies must act in crafting government policy?

SOURCE  

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Here’s a list of hoax ‘hate crimes’ in the Trump era

Liberal actor Jussie Smollett is accused of staging a racist and anti-gay attack on himself, which Smollett blamed on supporters of President Donald Trump.

Smollett’s alleged fake “hate crime” appears to be the latest instance of liberals manufacturing hate crimes for attention in the Trump era.

The Daily Caller News Foundation compiled below some of the most outrageous fake hate crimes since Trump was elected, in rough chronological order:

ANTI-MUSLIM HATE CRIME IN MICHIGAN TURNS OUT TO BE A HOAX (NOV. 2016)

A Muslim woman at the University of Michigan received national attention from national outlets like The Washington Post in November 2016 after she claimed a drunk 20-something man threatened to light her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. The university condemned the “hateful attack,” which turned out to be a hoax.

BISEXUAL STUDENT FAKES TRUMP-INSPIRED HATE CRIME (NOV. 2016)

Taylor Volk, an openly bisexual senior at North Park University claimed to be the target of hateful notes and emails following Trump’s election in November 2016. Volk told NBC News that “I just want them to stop.” But the “them” referenced by Volk turned out to be herself, as the whole thing was fabricated.

GAS STATION RACISM GOES VIRAL — THEN POLICE DEBUNK IT (NOV. 2016)

Philadelphia woman Ashley Boyer claimed in November 2016 that she was harassed at a gas station by white, Trump-supporting males, one of whom pulled a weapon on her. Boyer claimed that the men “proceeded to talk about the election and how they’re glad they won’t have to deal with n—–s much longer.” Boyer deleted her post after it went viral and claimed the men had been caught and were facing criminal charges. Local police debunked her account.

WHITE MEN ROB MUSLIM WOMAN OF HER HIJAB AND WALLET — EXCEPT IT NEVER HAPPENED (NOV. 2016)

An 18-year-old Muslim woman in Louisiana claimed in November 2016 that two white men, one of whom was wearing a Trump hat, attacked and robbed her, taking her wallet and hijab while yelling racial slurs. She later admitted to the Lafayette Police Department that she made the whole thing up.

CHURCH ORGANIST VANDALIZES OWN CHURCH (NOV. 2016)

A church organist was arrested in May 2017 after he was found responsible for spray-painting a swastika, an anti-gay slur and the words “Heil Trump” on his own church in November 2016. When the story first broke, media outlets tied the hoax to Trump’s election. “The offensive graffiti at St. David’s is among numerous incidents that have occurred in the wake of Trump’s Election Day win,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

“DRUNK WHITE MEN” ATTACK MUSLIM WOMAN IN STORY THAT ALSO NEVER HAPPENED (DEC. 2016)

Another 18-year-old Muslim woman, this time in New York, was the subject of breathless headlines in December 2016 after she claimed to have been attacked by a group of Donald Trump supporters on a New York subway while onlookers did nothing. The woman, Yasmin Seweid, would go on to confess that she made the whole thing up.

WHITE GUY SETS HIS OWN CAR ON FIRE, PAINTS RACIAL SLUR ON HIS OWN GARAGE (DEC. 2016)

Denton, Texas, resident David Williams set his own car on fire and painted “n***** lovers” on his home’s garage, in an apparent attempt to stage a hate crime. Local police investigated the arson as a hate crime. Williams and his wife, Jenny, collected more than $5,000 from Good Samaritans via a GoFundMe page before the hoax was exposed.

PRANKSTER TRICKS LIBERAL JOURNALIST INTO SPREADING ANTI-TRUMP HOAX (DEC. 2016)

As tales of Trump-inspired “hate crimes” were spread far and wide by liberal journalists after Trump’s election, one online prankster decided to test just easy it was to fool journalists. The prankster sent Mic.com writer Sarah Harvard a fictitious story in which a Native American claimed to have been harassed by an alleged Trump supporter who thought she was Mexican. Despite no evidence backing up the claim, Harvard spread the fake story, emails the prankster shared with The Daily Caller showed.

STUDENT WRITES ANTI-MUSLIM GRAFFITI ON HIS OWN DOOR (FEB. 2017)

A Muslim student at Beloit College wrote anti-Muslim graffiti on his own dorm room door. The student was reportedly motivated by a desire to seek attention after a Jewish student was targeted with an anti-Semitic note.

ISRAELI MAN BEHIND ANTI-SEMITIC BOMB THREATS IN THE U.S. (APRIL 2017)

Media outlets didn’t wait to find out who was behind a string of bomb threats targeting synagogues and Jewish schools before linking the threats to Trump. A U.S.-Israeli man was charged in April 2017 and indicted in February 2018 for the threats. A former reporter for The Intercept was also charged in March 2017 with making several copycat threats.

HOAX AT ST. OLAF (MAY 2017)

Students at St. Olaf college in Minnesota staged protests and boycotted classes in May 2017 after racist notes targeting black students were found around campus, earning coverage in national media outlets like The Washington Post. It later came out that a black student was responsible for the racist notes. The student carried out the hoax in order to “draw attention to concerns about the campus climate,” the university announced.

FAKE HATE AT AIR FORCE ACADEMY GOES VIRAL (SEPT. 2017)

The Air Force Academy was thrown into turmoil in September 2017 when horrific racist notes were found at the academy’s preparatory school. “Go home n***er,” read one of the notes. The superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, went viral with an impassioned speech addressing the racist notes.

Two months later, authorities determined that one of the students targeted by the notes was also the person responsible for writing them.

K-STATE FAKE HATE CRIME (NOV. 2017)

A student at Kansas State University filed a police report in November 2017 over racist graffiti left on his car. “Go Home N***** Boy” and “Whites Only,” read the racist graffiti, which the the student later admitted to writing himself.

RACIST GRAFFITI CARRIED OUT BY NON-WHITE STUDENT (NOV. 2017)

Another instance of racist graffiti that same month also turned out to be a hoax. A Missouri high school investigated after racial slurs were left on a bathroom mirror in November 2017, only to find that the student responsible was “non-white.”

WAITER FAKES NOTE CALLING HIMSELF A TERRORIST (JULY 2018)

Texas waiter Khalil Cavil went viral after posting a Facebook picture of a racist note that he claimed a customer had left on the receipt, in lieu of a tip. The note described Cavil as a “terrorist.” Saltgrass Steak House, where Cavil worked, initially banned the customers for life, before their investigation revealed that the waiter had faked the racist note. “I did write it,” Cavil later admitted. “I don’t have an explanation. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for what I did.”

WAITRESS FAKES RACIST NOTE, BLAMES LAW ENFORCEMENT (JULY 2018)

A Texas waitress apologized in July 2018 after blaming local law enforcement for an offensive note targeting Mexicans. She later admitted to writing the note herself.

NEW YORK WOMAN’S HATE CRIME THAT WASN’T (SEPT. 2018)

A New York woman was charged in September 2018 after police determined she fabricated a story about white teens yelling racial slurs at her and leaving a racist note on her car.

STUDENT FAKED RACIST NOTES (DEC. 2018)

Several racist notes at Drake University were actually the work of one of the students who had been targeted by them. “The fact that the actions of the student who has admitted guilt were propelled by motives other than hate does not minimize the worry and emotional harm they caused, but should temper fears,” university president Marty Martin said afterwards.

THE COVINGTON CATASTROPHE (JAN. 2019)

National media outlets pounced on a selectively edited video from the March for Life that showed Native American activist Nathan Phillips beating a drum in front of a boisterous group of boys from Covington Catholic High School.

Phillips originally told The Washington Post the students swarmed him while he was preparing to leave the Indigenous People’s March scheduled for the same day. Phillips originally said one student, who later identified himself as high school junior Nick Sandmann, blocked his path from leaving as he tried to do so. The extended video shows that wasn’t the case: Phillips approached the high school boys during their cheers, not the other way around. Some of the people with Phillips were directing racially charged language at the students, not the other way around.

BONUS: ANTI-SEMITIC VANDAL EXPOSED AS DEMOCRATIC ACTIVIST (NOV. 2018)

Anti-Semitic vandalism in New York City turned out to be the work of a Democratic activist, according to police. It wasn’t a hoax — the anti-Semitic vandalism was real — but the suspect wasn’t the right-winger some had assumed him to be. The man police arrested, based on surveillance footage, was 26-year-old James Polite, who had actually interned for City Hall on anti-hate issues.

BONUS II: TRUMP-INSPIRED RACIST BLAZE AT BLACK CHURCH WAS CARRIED OUT BY BLACK CHURCH-GOER (NOV. 2016)

This hoax occurred one week before Trump was elected, but TheDCNF is including it as a bonus because it was so egregious. Leftist media outlets ran headlines like “A Black Church Burned in the Name of Trump” after a black church in Greenville, Mississippi, was set on fire and spray painted with the words “Vote Trump.” The Washington Post’s original coverage of the incident read in part,” Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons called the fire a ‘hateful and cowardly act,’ sparked by the incendiary rhetoric of GOP nominee Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.” But the church was set on fire by one of the church’s own congregants, who is black.

SOURCE  

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Supply-side JFK would have a hard time in the modern Democratic party

The modern Democratic Party has fallen completely out-of-touch with American values. To appeal to its radical base leading up to 2020, the Party has become a twisted caricature of its former self.

Get rid of private health care? Abolish ICE? Kill babies after birth? Enact 90 percent marginal income tax rates? Retrofit every single building in America in 10 years? Threaten members of the president’s family with subpoena power? Federalize huge parts of our election system?

Listening to a Democrat, it doesn’t take long to realize it’s no longer the party of John F. Kennedy. In fact, President Kennedy’s ideas would get booed off the debate stage in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

Kennedy believed in equal treatment under the law and personal responsibility. On the campaign trail, he once told supporters, “I do not believe that Washington should do for the people what they can do for themselves through local and private effort.”

He believed every American had a civic duty to make meaningful contributions to society. “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country,” he famously said in his 1961 inaugural address.

In the short time he served in the Oval Office, President Kennedy oversaw an economic turnaround that propelled the U.S. economy to a 6.6 percent growth rate and 3.8 percent unemployment by 1966 (which would have been his fifth year in office).

He accomplished this feat with supply-side economics. Kennedy believed tax cuts would generate enough economic growth to keep the budget deficit under control. In the fiscal year following the tax cuts, the U.S. federal budget deficit shrunk, and the Dow Jones industrial average almost doubled.

President Kennedy was no small-government libertarian, but his positions were nuanced and thoughtful, two qualities that spark the ire of today’s rising stars in the Democratic Party, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Kamala Harris.

In the modern Democratic Party, there is no room for policy debate. There is only room for character attacks and fear-mongering.

When Republicans passed tax cuts in 2017, the so-called progressive Left had a complete meltdown. Rep. Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts “armageddon,” the “end of the world,” and “one of the worst bills in the history of the United States of America.”

Larry Summers, former National Economic Council director to President Obama, claimed tens of thousands of Americans would die from tax reform. That is one hell of an accusation to make.

Looking back, we now know the GOP tax cuts will save the average family at least $1,000/year and have sparked tremendous economic growth, just like JFK would have intended. And miraculously enough, we all survived to tell the tale.

If President Kennedy were alive today, the rising stars in the Democratic Party would shut him down.

SOURCE  

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

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

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25 February, 2019

Voter ID laws do NOT affect minority turnout

Jeff Jacoby is not comparing like with like below.  Determining minority turnout is easy.  You just have to observe who turns up at the polling places and count them.  And if the turnout is comparable to total population numbers you can say that turnout has not been suppressed.  For instance, if you observe that 30% of the voters are black and 30% of the population is also black, you have a clear proof black voting has not been suppressed overall.  So Jeff gets that right.

But voter fraud is a quite different kettle of fish.  How do you know how much fraud goes on?  People don't declare to all and sundry that "This is the third time I have voted today".  They keep it quiet.  So saying what the effect of ID laws is on fraudulent voting is very difficult and any figures offered about that are just a guess.  So until people start waving a flag declaring that they are voting illegally, we cannot say what Jeff wants to say -- that voter ID has no effect on illegal voting.  We assume that it does reduce illegal voting but nobody can say by how much



DEMOCRATIC AND LIBERAL activists have been railing for the last few years against voter ID laws, under which citizens must produce some form of official identification before they can cast a ballot.

Such laws, claim the activists, amount to voter suppression because they disenfranchise blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities, who are less likely to possess the necessary photo ID. The New York Times last summer listed Alabama's photo identification requirement as its first example of how lawmakers "limit the right to vote." Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat who narrowly lost a high-profile race for governor, insists that voter suppression is "the crisis of our day" and described her state's voter ID law as "designed to . . . scare people out of voting." The NAACP recently filed a federal lawsuit in North Carolina, alleging that the state's new law requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot is "a brazen effort" to "legislate voter suppression" and "suppress the votes of people of color."

Yet for all the sound and fury, the campaign to demonize voter ID laws has proved singularly ineffective. There is good reason for that, as a sweeping new study by scholars at Harvard Business School and the University of Bologna confirms.

Opinion polls consistently find strong support across the board for making voters show identification before voting. In a 2016 Pew poll, 77 percent of registered voters — including majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents — backed a voter ID prerequisite. A Gallup poll found even broader support: 80 percent of respondents favored ID laws, with nonwhites virtually as strong in their support as whites.

The scaremongers' charge that photo ID laws are racist ploys to suppress Democratic and minority votes have fallen on deaf ears even among most Democratic and minority voters. Why? Perhaps because they know perfectly well that Election Day ID rules haven't suppressed their votes. Far from it.

In last November's midterm elections, exit polls showed that nonwhite voters were 29 percent of the electorate, the highest share ever recorded. "Black Voters Propelled Blue Wave," a Roll Call headline pithily observed — not only did Democrats sweep to a majority in the US House, but the 116th Congress is the most racially diverse in American history. Black turnout has been climbing almost everywhere, including in heavily Republican states. In Georgia, for example, minorities last fall accounted for a record 40 percent of the turnout, belying Abrams's accusation that black voters were suppressed.

In short, minority voting has not been infringed, even as voter ID laws have grown increasingly common. Which is just what researchers Vincent Pons and Enrico Cantoni found when they analyzed the impact, across multiple states and election cycles, of enacting rules requiring citizens to show ID before voting.


The denial of voting rights was once widespread in this country. A major focus of the Civil Rights Movement was the restoration to black Americans of the voting rights they had been systematically denied in Southern states.

The effects of voter ID laws are "mostly null," they conclude in a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. "Strict ID laws have no significant negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any subgroup defined by age, gender, race, or party affiliation. Most importantly, they do not decrease the participation of ethnic minorities relative to whites. The laws' overall effects remain close to zero."

At the same time, Pons and Cantoni found no evidence that voter ID requirements have a significant impact on voter fraud or on public confidence in the integrity of elections. In states where ID laws have been adopted, there has been no increase in either the number of fraud cases or their likelihood of being reported. Nor has there been any perceptible increase in other kinds of political participation.

If these findings are accurate, they suggest that Americans are wise not to give much credence to the accusations of voter suppression flogged by activists on the left. They suggest as well that suspicions of rampant voter fraud pushed by activists on the right are mostly a bugaboo. This isn't to say our democracy is pristine — legitimate problems include "vote harvesting" scams, unbearable lines at polling places, and cyberattacks on state voting systems. But on the whole, American voting is fairer and more open than it has ever been before.

The denial of voting rights was once widespread in this country; rampant voter fraud was, too. But citizens today who wish to participate in elections have little trouble doing so. The cynics and alarmists on both sides ought to chill out. There are serious issues worth fighting over. Voter ID laws aren't among them.

SOURCE  

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Californians Want to Flee Their Socialist 'Paradise'

A majority of residents want to leave the state over problems their own leftist voting record created

The problem with California is Californians — at least that’s what the latest survey data indicates. According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 53% of California residents are considering moving out of state due in part to high housing costs, homelessness, and an overwhelming belief that the state’s best days are behind it. But to whom are Californians looking to solve these problems their own voting for leftists has caused? Well, 53% believe it is the federal government’s job to solve California’s problems. Sorry, wrong answer.

Like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shifting blame to President Donald Trump and the Republicans for ending the federal government subsidizing high SALT deductions in tax heavy states, too many California residents are blaming the feds for the very problems their local politicians have created. As Stacey Lennox, writing for The Resurgent, observes, “Judging by the responses, it is as if citizens of this state by and large see themselves as victims. Like they have completely forgotten they put the yahoos in office who have made the policies that have caused housing prices, homelessness and other problems to skyrocket.”

The other entity Californians believe owes it to the state to contribute more is business — you know, the biggest drivers of the state’s economy. According to 63% of Californians, businesses need to do more to improve the state, not their leftist elected officials. Some 59% believe corporations need to spend more on community issues. An astounding 67% want tech-industry business leaders to do more for the state, and 68% see the tech industry as not regulated enough, with 59% wanting regulations increased.

For all those conservative Californians who suffer under the increasingly socialist nightmare, you have our sincerest sympathy and we lay out the welcome mat to relocate to conservative states where individual freedom and limited government is still prized. But to all you Californians voting Democrat — you made your bed; now lie in it.

SOURCE  

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Mark Levin: SCOTUS ‘Changed the 1st Amendment,' ‘We Don’t Have a Free Press Today’

During his nationally syndicated radio talk program, “The Mark Levin Show,” on Wednesday night, host, attorney, and constitutional scholar Mark Levin said the Supreme Court of the United States “changed the First Amendment” in 1964 with its decision in New York Times v. Sullivan, and that “we don’t have a free press today.”

“What the Supreme Court did in 1964 is it changed the First Amendment,” said Levin. “It changed the history behind the First Amendment, and it’s – it put its finger on the scale of justice, and it leaned very, very heavily toward media corporations.”

“We don’t have a free press today,” Levin added. “We are pretenders.”

Levin’s comments came after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the 1964 Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan should be revisited. New York Times v. Sullivan established the standards that must be met for a media statement to be considered libel, expanding legal protection for the media.

Below is a transcript of Levin’s remarks from his show on Wednesday.

“What the Supreme Court did in 1964 is it changed the First Amendment. It changed the history behind the First Amendment, and it’s – it put its finger on the scale of justice, and it leaned very, very heavily toward media corporations.

“Now, one might say, ‘Well, then, people would use all these lawsuits to try and put them out of business.’

“You know, that’s the effect that every business has to deal with. CNN is a massive corporation. It’s part of a massive conglomerate. MSNBC is part of a massive conglomerate. We’re talking about tens of billions of dollars, both. The New York Times is owned by the richest man on the face of the earth. The Washington Post is supported by one of the richest men on the face of the earth. [Editor’s note: the Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, and The New York Times is owned by The New York Times Company, which is chaired by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.].

“What I’m saying to you is, I don’t encourage fabricated or fallacious lawsuits of any sort, whether you’re suing ExxonMobil, Walmart, Microsoft, Apple, or a media conglomerate. But are we better off because of this decision in... [New York Times v. Sullivan]? You know, our great justice, Clarence Thomas, who understands American history – one of the few who does – John Roberts doesn’t. Kavanaugh doesn’t. He said maybe we ought to re-visit this... [New York Times] v. Sullivan, rather, this... [New York Times] v. Sullivan decision in 1964, and immediately, he’s attacked as doing Donald Trump’s dirty work. How’s he doing Donald Trump’s dirty work? Donald Trump will be out of office – one term, two terms – long after this has significance.

“But that’s what you can expect from the critics in the media. That’s what they do. They attack. We don’t have a free press today. We are pretenders. And you’ll notice, more and more talk show hosts are talking about this since I’ve been talking about this for years now, in great detail, going through the history, going through the specifics. More and more of them finally have the guts to speak out. It’s fun to watch. Many of our colleagues in talk radio supported comprehensive immigration reform until we took the point of the spear, here, and fought it like hell. Then they joined ranks. The silent coup – they were all hiding, until I spoke out about the silent coup, took the hits, but fought back. That’s free speech. That’s free speech.

“I don’t pretend to be part of the press. But the press does pretend to be part of the press. And the consequences of this, I think, have been very troubling. I don’t think we’re getting news. I don’t think we’re getting objectivity. We’re getting left-wing ideology.”

SOURCE

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Jordan Peterson wisdom: Lying hurts the liar; Work hard and accept responsibility

As said during his recent Australian tour

Peterson started his Opera House talk by saying that he had over time tweaked one of his “12 Rules For Life” (that is also the name of his book). It used to be “Tell The Truth” but he’s since added “At Least Don’t Lie”.

He changed it, he said, because human beings, being puny and ­ignorant, don’t always know what is true. We might think we do, but we can’t possibly. The world is so big and everything is corrupted, and so at least don’t lie, which ­Peterson defines as “knowing something is not true, and saying it anyway”.

Why not? Not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it’s unethical to deceive people, but that’s not Peterson’s bag so much as this: “The more you lie to yourself and to others, the more corrupt you become.”

He doesn’t mean in business. He means when you lie, you damage yourself psychologically. You create pathways in your brain that are based on falsehoods, and they in turn become the architecture on which you ­depend in times of trouble. “Is that what you want?” he said. “To have lies in your ­corner?”

Of course you don’t, because if you’re depending on lies to save you, inevitably you’ll end up in a “way worse” position than when you started

From there, Peterson segued into a human being’s need not only for truth, but for forward ­motion. He seemed here to be speaking mainly to young men.

Peterson has on previous occasions acknowledged that women in their late 20s and early 30s have big decisions to make and not much time to make them.

His advice is usually for women to put their careers aside for a bit and have a family, because it’s important as you get older to have a close circle of intimates, by which he means a partner, children and grandchildren. You’re going to live until you’re 90, probably. Careers are fun and friends are good, but the people who knew you when you were young and those who will perhaps help take care of you when you are old? Way better.

Young men are also questioning the way forward: should they still be trying to get married and play the provider role? Because it seems to be going out of fashion.

Peterson says yes.

They should get up and get a job. Marry their girlfriends, take on more responsibility, aim for promotions at work, take them when they come, and generally head in the direction of their potential, because forward motion has a positive psychological effect on people. It directs young men, in particular, away from depression, and suicide.

“And you don’t have to change the world,” Peterson said, “just ­decide on three things that could improve your own life by 6pm today.”

That may be something as simple as picking up your dirty socks and putting them in the wash basket. Now your mum is happy and the household is happier, and you’re responsible, so good for you.

Peterson acknowledged that a lot of people struggle to move forward in life because they are caught up in terrible childhood experiences. “But you are no longer five,” he said. “You can’t fight back at five, but you don’t want to still be fighting those demons at age 58.”

Meaning: yes, your childhood was awful. It’s also over. So, no more excuses. Up you get.

The more people do this — speak truth, confront demons, strive forward — the better the world is for everyone, because what happens when vast numbers of people feel a sense of nihilism, and dismay?

When people get angry and start blaming others for their plight?

You get bullying. You get school shootings. You get acts of terror. You get Nazism, concentration camps, gulags, all of it hell.

“We should be moving away from hell,” said Peterson. “That’s a good thing for all of us to be moving away from hell.”

It wasn’t all super-serious. Towards the end of the show, Peterson took questions from the audience. He was asked about his snappy wardrobe of three-piece suits, and he acknowledged spending “way more that any reasonable person should” on clothes in recent years.

He also talked about cage fighting, and about how many problems have simple solutions, using as an example a client he once had, a young woman, who had complained about being tired and angry all the time. Turns out she was hungry.

SOURCE

**************************************

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

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

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24 February, 2019

Leftist millionaires show a total inability to think beyond nursery level

Below is a media release from a group calling itself the Patriotic Millionaires.  It's typical leftist abuse of language.  They are just rich leftists who want to sound good

They write under the heading "Patriotic Millionaires on the $15 Minimum Wage in IL: “Our State Will Thrive” but make the simplest assumptions about what will happen.  They just seem to expect that all low income earners will suddenly get more money.

That many of the poor will lose their jobs and get zero dollars as employers transfer their activities to other jurisdictions does not seem to have entered their baby minds.  That others will lose their jobs as employers automate more also does not cross their stunted minds. 

And many businesses are economically marginal -- particularly in the hospitality sector -- so a sudden increase in their labor costs will simply send them over the edge into liquidation -- throwing employees who were glad to have a job into unemployment.

And most new entry-level jobs will simply not be created.  Many entry level jobs exist BECAUSE the low federal minimum wage makes the business activity concerned worthwhile.  The potential employer who might have created a job will do his sums using the $15 wage and do something else instead.

Far from helping the poor, this is an attack on jobs for the poor.  The poor often need their jobs badly and find it hard to find new ones so this is a really heartless attack by ignorant rich people on poor and needy people who are powerless to answer back

The Trump boom is creating jobs for everyone at every level but the State of Illinois is doing its best to disqualify many of its citizens from participating in that boom. It has made jobs at the lower end of the boom illegal

Note that the job destruction starts right now, even though the $15 hours don't cut in fully until 2025.  Businessmen have to plan ahead and it is the $15 level that Illinois businessmen will plug into their planning spreadsheets



Springfield, IL – Today, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law a bill that would raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, making Illinois the first midwestern state, and fifth state overall, to bring its minimum wage to $15 an hour. In response, Michael and Joan Pine, Patriotic Millionaires and Illinois residents, issued the following statement:

"Just two years after former Gov. Rauner vetoed similar legislation, Illinois' working families will finally get the boost they deserve.

So long as the federal minimum wage does not keep up with increases in the costs of goods and rising inflation, it will be necessary for states to step in. By Gov. Pritzker making a living wage one of his first priorities, he has shown a commitment to the working class and the businesses that service them. An increase in wages means more money for Illinois families to spend at their local businesses. As a result, our state economy, which relies on consumer spending, will thrive."

Email Sam Quigley at sam@patrioticmillionaires.org

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Do We Really Need So Many Foreign Tech Workers?

Americans don't usually think of technical professionals as "guest workers," yet at any one time, there are more than a half-million foreigners holding tech jobs in the U.S. They are here thanks to the H-1B visa program. H-1B, so the official spiel goes, addresses an alleged shortage of "highly skilled" Americans to fill jobs "requiring specialized knowledge."

Growing evidence, however, points to companies' using the program to replace perfectly qualified American workers with cheaper ones from elsewhere. A new report published by the Atlantic Council documents the abuses. The authors are Ron Hira, a political scientist at Howard University, and Bharath Gopalaswamy, director of the Atlantic Council's South Asia Center.

Among their criticisms:

—Virtually any white-collar job can be taken by an H-1B visa holder. About 70 percent of them are held not by what we consider tech workers but by teachers, accountants and salespeople, among others.

(Denver Public Schools employs teachers on H-1B visas. During a strike, the district actually threatened to report participating foreigners to immigration authorities. It later apologized.)

"By every objective measure," Hira and Gopalaswamy write, "most H-1B workers have no more than ordinary skills, skills that are abundantly available in the U.S. labor market."

U.S. colleges graduate 50 percent more students in engineering and in computer and information science than are hired in those fields every year, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

—Employers don't have to show they have a labor shortage to apply. They don't even have to try recruiting an American to fill the job.

Cutting labor costs is clearly the paramount "need." In Silicon Valley, computer systems analysts make on average just over $116,000 a year. But companies can hire H-1B workers at a lower skill level, paying them only about $77,000 a year to do the same work, the report says.

And it's not unheard-of for companies to ask American workers to train the H-1B workers taking their jobs. "60 Minutes" featured Robert Harrison, a senior telecom engineer at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. Asked whether training his replacement felt like digging his own grave, Harrison responded:

"It feels worse than that. It feels like not only am I digging the grave but I'm getting ready to stab myself in the gut and fall into the grave."

Why does this program continue without serious reform? Mainly because its big boosters include such marquee tech names as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Michael Bloomberg and Eric Schmidt. Big Tech has showered think tanks with funding to brainwash Americans into believing that their country is starving for tech expertise.

Are there rare tech skills that justify companies' looking abroad? There are, but that's the purpose of the O-1 visa. About 10,000 are granted each year to individuals with "extraordinary ability or achievement."

I asked Hira whether we need H-1B at all.

"I think there's a place for the H-1B program," he responded. "The O-1 is a cumbersome process that requires a lot of paperwork, both in preparation and review. But we need to raise the standards of the H-1B program so that the quality and skills of the workers are much higher."

Also, we should substantially raise the wages paid to H-1B workers and make employers show that they tried to recruit Americans and offered them positions. Other guest-worker and green-card programs have that requirement.

Finally, put in force an effective means of enforcement. Right now, compliance is driven by whistleblowing. A random auditing system would far more efficiently find abuses.

Apparently, the argument that "tech jobs need filling" has, in many cases, oozed to "we want cheaper foreigners." The H-1B program demands a major overhaul.

SOURCE  

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White Nationalism Is a reflection of the Left's Identity Politics

Constitutional conservatism has always rejected this ploy in favor of Liberty for all

On Wednesday, it was learned that federal investigators had arrested a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant on weapons and drug charges last Friday. Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, a self-identified white nationalist, had been stockpiling weapons in his Silver Spring, Maryland, apartment in preparations for his plan to instigate a race war. The charges referenced Hasson as “a domestic terrorist” who intended to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.” In his own words, Hasson was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth.”

Hasson had created a specific hit list of “traitors” that included congressional Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, as well as Leftmedia personalities such as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and CNN host Don Lemon.

In a 2017 letter to “a known American neo-Nazi leader” following the deadly violence at the infamous racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Hasson wrote that he was “a long time White Nationalist, having been a skinhead 30 plus years ago before my time in the military. I fully support the idea of a white homeland… We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost. How long we can hold out there and prevent niggerization of the Northwest until whites wake up on their own or are forcibly made to make a decision whether to roll over and die and stand up remains to be seen.”

Thankfully, the authorities arrested Hasson before he attempted to follow through on his murderous plot.

What examples like Hasson serve to expose is the underlying evil behind identity politics, whether it comes in the form of white nationalism or in more widely accepted forms like Black Lives Matter or the Women’s March. The evil of identity politics is fomenting rabid tribalism. It is the antithesis of constitutional conservatism, which espouses the God-given dignity, rights, and Liberty of each individual over that of any one identity group. An individual should be judged by actions and ideas, not identify-group classification.

The hatred of others based upon their immutable characteristics is not a conservative or politically right-wing perspective, even though the mainstream media often erroneously conflates the two — often with the help of the hate-baiting Southern Poverty Law Center. Instead, it is an expression of identity politics. (One party in America specializes in this, and it’s not Republicans.)

By its very nature, identity politics highlights tribal grievances (real or imagined) and then uses these grievances to vilify and blame another targeted group as the “problem.” It seeks to pit groups against each other by preaching the flawed Marxist ethic of oppressor vs. oppressed, creating overly simplistic paradigms like bourgeois vs. proletariat or rich vs. poor. In Hasson’s case, that manifested as sociopathic white nationalism, and there’s nothing remotely “right wing” about it.

SOURCE  

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Just How Far Left Are Democrats Going?

Gallup finds a stark and staggering leftward shift in the opinions of rank-and-file Democrats

We’ve spent much of the last two years chronicling how far and fast Democrats are moving to the extreme left. But don’t take our word for it — take the word of average Democrats.

In a new Gallup survey, “Understanding Shifts in Democratic Party Ideology,” the organization attempts to discern an answer to what average Democrat voters think on a range of current issues. What researchers found is staggering, though it confirms what we’ve written for years:

As Gallup has previously reported, the percentage of Democrats nationally who identify as politically liberal has been increasing. This has occurred in three distinct phases: 1) 2001-2006, when the percentage was trending steadily upward; 2) 2007-2012, when liberalism held steady near 40% for several years in a row and 3) 2013-2018, when liberalism resumed its upward trajectory.

The percentage of Democrats identifying as politically liberal averaged 32% in the first period, 39% in the second and 46% in the third. At the same time, the percentages identifying as conservative and moderate fell equally.

Though all identity groups within the party have moved left, the starkest shift has been among college-educated whites — a testament to the stranglehold “progressives” have on the higher-education system because, Gallup notes, “the percentage of all college graduates (including postgrads) increas[ed] by 13 points.” Just 34% of that cohort identified as “liberal” in the early 2000s. Now it’s 54%. The shift is on issues running the gamut, too. Whether it’s gun control, climate change, or abortion, rank-and-file Democrats are moving left.

Democrat politicians have exploited and driven this shift. Remember a dozen years ago when the likes of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Chuck Schumer supported border security and opposed same-sex marriage and single-payer health care? Heck, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (sponsored by then-Rep. Schumer), and implemented “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now, not only have those same politicians — and the entire party — shifted, but they utterly vilify anyone who hasn’t adopted the radical new positions of open borders, forcing bakers to serve same-sex weddings, and Medicare for All. In fact, the latter is practically a litmus test for the 2020 presidential field.

Pondering the fallout of this shift, National Review’s David French writes, “Any study of the political polarization in the 21st century has to account for the fact that it is extraordinarily difficult to achieve any kind of national consensus when one side is rapidly and constantly changing its demands. … The terms of the debate changed. The goalposts shifted.”

Indeed they have, and yet, somehow, leftists are even more angry than they were before all their victories. In any case, even with Donald Trump in the White House and the Senate under GOP control, Gallup’s findings portend trouble ahead for the cause of Liberty.

SOURCE  

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Supreme Court Delivers Unanimous Victory for Asset Forfeiture Challenge

States are bound by the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against excessive fines and fees when they seek to seize property or other assets from individuals charged or convicted of a crime, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday.

It's a decision that hands a major victory to critics of civil asset forfeiture, and it opens another avenue to legal challenges against that widely used (and often abused) practice by which states and local governments can seize cars, cash, homes, and pretty much anything else that is suspected of being used to commit a crime.

The case before the Supreme Court, Timbs v. Indiana, involved the seizure of a $42,000 Land Rover SUV from Tyson Timbs, who was arrested in 2015 for selling heroin to undercover police officers. He pleaded guilty to his crimes and was sentenced to one year of house arrest and five years of probation. On top of that, the state of Indiana seized his 2012 Land Rover—which he had purchased with money received from his late father's life insurance payout, not with the proceeds of drug sales—on the ground that it had been used to commit a crime.

Timbs challenged that seizure, arguing that taking his vehicle amounted to an additional fine on top of the sentence he had already received. The Indiana Supreme Court rejected that argument, solely because the U.S. Supreme Court had never explicitly stated that the Eighth Amendment applied to the states.

On Wednesday, the high court did exactly that.

"For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the opinion. "Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies," she wrote, or can become sources of revenue disconnected from the criminal justice system.

Indeed, some local governments do use fines and fees as a means to raise revenue, and that has created a perverse incentive to target residents. After the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a federal investigation into the city government found that 20 percent of its general fund came from criminal fines. And Ferguson is not alone in relying heavily on revenue from fines. Making clear that the Eighth Amendment applies to the states will make it far easier to challenge unreasonable fines and fees—including not just asset forfeiture cases, but also situations where local governments hit homeowners with massive civil penalties for offenses such as unapproved paint jobs or Halloween decorations.

Some of those cases are already getting teed up. As C.J. Ciaramella wrote in this month's issue of Reason, a federal class action civil rights lawsuit challenging the aggressive asset forfeiture program in Wayne County, Michigan, that was filed in December argues that the county's seizure of a 2015 Kia Soul after the owner was caught with $10 of marijuana should be deemed an excessive fine.

More broadly, Timbs is a good reminder of how ridiculous the argument in favor of civil asset forfeiture really is. During oral arguments in November, Indiana's solicitor general got boxed into a corner by Justice Stephen Breyer, who managed to twist the government's lawyer into arguing that Indiana should be allowed to seize vehicles for as small an offense as driving 5 mph over the speed limit, which literally elicited laughter in the courtroom.

After Wednesday's ruling, there's a better chance that more civil asset forfeiture cases will be laughed right out of court for being what they obviously are: unconstitutional, excessive punishments that don't fit the crime.

SOURCE  

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

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

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22 February, 2019

Do Leftists Believe What They Say?
    
Truth is not a left-wing value. I first discovered this as a graduate student studying the Soviet Union and left-wing ideologies at the Russian Institute of Columbia University School of International Affairs. Everything I have learned since has confirmed this view.

Individuals on both the left and right lie. Individuals on both the left and right tell the truth. And liberalism, unlike leftism, does value truth. But the further left one goes, the more one enters the world of the lie.

Why does the left lie? There are two main reasons.

One is that leftists deem their goals more important than telling the truth. For example, every honest economist knows women do not earn 20 percent less money than men for the same work done for the same amount of hours under the same conditions. Yet leftists repeat the lie that women earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Why any employers would hire men when they could hire women and get the same amount of work done at the same level of excellence for the same number of hours while saving 20 cents on the dollar is a question only God or the sphinx could answer.

So, when New York Times columnists write this nonsense, do they believe it? The answer is they don’t ask themselves, “Is it true?” They ask themselves, “Does the claim help promote the left-wing doctrine that women are oppressed?” Whatever serves that end is morally justified.

The second reason is leftism is rooted in feelings, not reason or truth. From Karl Marx to Bernie Sanders, left-wing preference for socialism over capitalism is entirely rooted in emotion. Only capitalism creates wealth. Socialism merely spends what capitalism creates. Do leftists not know this? Even if they know it, the emotional pull of socialism prevails.

Do leftists believe there are more than two sexes? Of course not. That’s why they renamed “sex” “gender” — and then redefined “gender” to mean whatever one wants it to mean.

So then, on the left, truth is subservient to two higher values: doctrine and emotion. This leads to the question of this column: Do those on the left believe their lies?

Do leftists believe global warming will destroy the world as we know it in 12 years, as recently suggested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I don’t know. They seem to talk themselves into believing their hysterias. But they don’t act on them. Here’s a simple proof that the left is lying about the imminent threat of global warming to civilization: Leftists don’t support nuclear power. It is simply not possible to believe fossil fuel emissions will destroy the world and, at the same time, oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is clean and safe. Sweden, a model country for leftists, meets 40 percent of its energy needs with nuclear power. If you were certain you were terminally ill yet decline a medicine that is guaranteed to cure you, the rest of us would have every reason to assume you didn’t really believe you were terminally ill.

Here’s more evidence the left doesn’t believe its global warming hysteria: How many leftists with beachfront property anywhere in the world have sold it? If leftists really believe global warming will cause the oceans to rise and soon inundate the world’s coastal areas, why would any leftist not sell his beachfront home while he could not only make all his money back but make a profit as well?

Another example of left-wing rhetoric leftists don’t act on: The left tells us that colleges are permeated by a “rape culture,” yet virtually all left-wing parents send their daughters to college. If you were to believe any place has a culture of rape, where 1 in 4 or 5 women is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, would you send your 18-year-old daughter there? Of course not. So how do any left-wing mothers or fathers send their daughters to college? The answer would seem to be they know it’s a lie — but that doesn’t matter, since the left views telling the truth as incomparably less significant than combating sexism, sexual assault, misogyny, toxic masculinity and patriarchy.

One more example: “Walls don’t work.”

It is inconceivable that people who say this — especially those with walls around their home — believe it. Yet leftists say it with the same degree of ease Stalin labeled Trotsky a fascist, even though Trotsky and Lenin were the fathers of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The question is not whether truth is a left-wing value. The only question is whether leftists believe their lies. And, believe it or not, I still don’t know. So, conduct the following tests and decide for yourself:

Ask anyone you know who says global warming will destroy most life on Earth in 12 years why they don’t advocate nuclear power. If they tell you it’s too dangerous, you know they are hysterics, not followers of science.

Ask anyone you know who believes the global warming threat is an existential one and owns beachfront property why they aren’t selling their beachfront property.

Ask anyone who believes colleges have rape culture why they sent (or are sending) their daughter to college.

It is possible to love truth and be liberal, conservative, libertarian, an atheist, a believer, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu. But you cannot be a leftist.

SOURCE  

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More (better) Immigration Plus a Border Wall Make Economic Sense

It was no surprise that President Trump reiterated his demand that Congress pass funding for a wall on the Mexican border during his State of the Union address. The surprise was his off-script comment that he’d like to see increased legal migration to the United States. Increased legal migration in exchange for a border wall makes both political and economic sense.

Congressional leaders are proposing a deal that would secure $1.4 billion for a border wall—far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump requested. But President Trump’s State of the Union remarks hint that both he and Congressional Democrats can do better than this.

He went off the official script when he said, “Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” His script didn’t include “in the largest numbers ever.” It’s precisely through increased legal migration that he can make a political bargain, better secure the southern border, and improve our economy.

Republican bills that bundled border-wall funding and decreased legal immigration in exchange for a path to legality for people brought to the United States illegally as children, so-called Dreamers, failed to pass even when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress last year. To get bipartisan support, border-wall funding should be coupled with both a path to legality for Dreamers and increased legal migration.

Increased legal immigration could also enhance the effectiveness of any wall in securing the border. Net migration from Mexico has been negative since the Great Recession, according to the Pew Research Center, but economic immigrants looking for better opportunities still flow north in caravans from other Latin American countries. If more immigration visas were issued for people from these countries, they would all come through legal checkpoints. That would put much less pressure on law enforcement and the border.

Law-enforcement resources would be freed up for real criminals, drug-cartel members, and other people ineligible for visas. In short, more visas would dry up legitimate immigrants’ demand to cross the border illegally and any money for a wall or enforcement would become all the more effective at preventing entry by those who intend harm.

An immigration deal along these lines would also improve our economy.

A path to legality for the Dreamers is an obvious no-brainer. They are already in the United States, not going anywhere, and would become more productive if they were granted legal status. This need not be viewed as amnesty by law-and-order Republicans. Normal criminal law holds children to different standards than adults who break the same laws. Why should a child who violated an immigration law, often without any choice in the matter, not also be held to a different standard?

Trump is right that immigrants “enrich our nation.” Immigration, just like international trade in goods, allows Americans to earn more by specializing in those jobs that we’re most productive at. Like trade, it changes the mix of jobs, not the number of jobs, performed by Americans.

Neither does immigration decrease wages for the vast majority of Americans. To the extent that low-skilled immigration harms anyone, it tends to be natives without a high school degree, but even then the impact is small and only temporary.

Studies on the fiscal impact of immigration are more mixed, but most responsible ones find only mild effects in one direction or the other. To the extent that budgetary impacts are a concern, they could easily be addressed with a modest tariff on immigration visas. President Trump seems to be a fan of tariffs.

The United States has been due for immigration reform for over a decade, but partisan politics has stood in the way. If the president means what he said about increasing legal immigration, a path forward exists. Funding a border wall in exchange for increased legal immigration and a path to legality for Dreamers makes both political and economic sense. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should embrace a deal like this.

SOURCE  

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Ocasio-cortez’s policies are already costing lost jobs and low wages

It is called political risk in investment analysis. It is the risk of what the government is going to do to your investment in a country once you make it.

Political risk in America has generally been low to non-existent. That is because we have a long, highly successful, heritage of free enterprise and capitalism, and officially recorded, constitutionally protected property rights. When we have had wise leaders who have reduced taxes and unnecessary regulations, maximizing economic liberty, the American economy has boomed, creating the broadest, most prosperous middle class and working people in world history.

That is why the American people have always been wise to reject even the hint of socialism in America. They know from first-hand experience that capitalism has made America the richest nation in the history of the planet.

That is not something to be ashamed of, as the socialist Democrats are, because they don’t understand it. America’s wealth and prosperity is not stolen, but produced, by the hard work, skill, and entrepreneurship of the American people. That is what makes us such an insistently independent and free people.

But every time Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her unmasked socialist cohorts openly spout their ignorant, uninformed, poorly thought through socialist lunacies, like raising income taxes back to 70 percent or even 90 percent, raising Social Security payroll taxes on jobs and wages to their highest levels in American history, imposing “wealth” taxes for the first time ever in America, with double taxing death taxes hiked as high as 77 percent, and raising government spending, deficits and debt to the highest in world history (these nuts and dopes say that is fine because we can always print more money), they are creating political risk scaring off those who would bear the burden. They scare off the very investors from around the globe who would invest in America, and create millions of new jobs, and rising wages.

Ms. Cortez, meet President John F. Kennedy, who led Congress to cut income taxes across the board for all, rich and poor, by an equal 23 percent, producing the booming 1960s. Meet President Ronald Wilson Reagan, who led Congress to cut income taxes by 25 percent across the board for all, and then more with bipartisan tax reform to reduce income tax rates all the way to 15 percent for the middle class, and 28 percent for those doing better, creating the booming 1980s. Reagan also introduced zero federal income taxes for the poor. (That policy has resulted in zero federal income taxes for close to 50 percent of all Americans).

Along the way, Reagan found the time to win the Cold War without firing a shot, in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase, with the Soviet Union’s Evil Empire breaking down and disintegrating by 1989.

Economics is not an all or nothing matter. Economics works at the margin. Somewhere in the world, millionaires and billionaires were considering investing in America, creating jobs and demand for labor, increasing wages. But with nonsense growing from socialists calling for socialism in America, some have already been scared off.

Think about the silliness of these Democrats calling for socialism in rich and wealthy America, while workers in Venezuela, formerly the richest country in Latin America, have been reduced to rioting in the streets for food right before our eyes, three hundred miles to the south. Those who are represented by these nutcase socialists: Your fellow Americans say shame on you for betraying us, even if you didn’t vote for them.

SOURCE  

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Emergency Declaration: Demo States File Obstructionist Lawsuit

Claiming his declaration of a national emergency creates a constitutional crisis, Democrats sue

As President Donald Trump predicted when he announced his decision to declare a national emergency over securing the border, 16 states filed a lawsuit on Monday with the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump has “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making,” the states allege. California fronts the list, which includes Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. Notably and not surprisingly, all of these states have Democrat attorneys general and all but one have Democrat governors.

But conservatives have been divided over Trump’s decision as well, with many raising objections over questions surrounding the constitutionality of his action. Others have questioned whether the long-running illegal-immigration and border-enforcement problem is in fact a national emergency.

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 does not define by what parameters a “national emergency” may be determined; rather it grants that authority to the president. What the law does limit is what the president can do once an emergency has been declared. So, to reiterate, the declaration of a national emergency is entirely up to the president’s discretion, but once an emergency has been declared, the actions the president is authorized to take have been limited by Congress. The Federalist’s Sean Davis does a nice job highlighting the two most important statutes related to questions of the president’s authority regarding national emergencies: “one authorizing the president to declare national emergencies (50 U.S.C 1601 et. seq.) and the other authorizing the president to reprogram existing federal appropriations in response to an emergency declaration (10 U.S.C. 2808).”

In our view, Trump has thus far operated fully within the narrow bounds of established federal law. Debating if he should or should not have declared a national emergency is a legitimate argument to have, though conflating “should” with “can” serves only to confuse the matter. Whether his decision will have positive or negative political consequences is another matter entirely from questions of constitutionality or statutory authority.

The better argument to have is over the constitutionality of the law Congress passed in 1976. National emergencies have been invoked 59 times by presidents since, and a total of 18 times by George W. Bush and Barack Obama over their terms. As the legal challenge works its way through the courts, we hope the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the law itself. Until then, blaming Trump for taking advantage of the authority the law grants him is misplaced outrage.

SOURCE  

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How Many Times Trump’s Predecessors Declared a National Emergency

The push for a border barrier marks President Donald Trump’s fourth declaration of a national emergency—about a third as many as his three immediate predecessors in their two terms.

The number of declared emergencies puts Trump on a par with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

President Gerald Ford, who signed the 1976 National Emergencies Act, did not declare an emergency under it. His successor, Jimmy Carter, made two such declarations during his single term—one of which is still in effect.

In all, 32 presidential declarations of a national emergency remain in effect, counting Trump’s action Friday, while 21 expired or were canceled.

The overwhelming majority of national emergencies involved either blocking access to U.S.-held assets for bad actors on the world stage or preventing financial transactions with those countries or with international entities and individuals.

Trump’s three immediate predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton—each served two four-year terms.

Obama declared a national emergency 13 times and nine of those emergencies are still in effect, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The younger Bush declared a national emergency 14 times, and 10 are still in effect. Clinton made 14 declarations, six of which remain in effect.

Reagan, during two terms, and the elder Bush, during his single term, each declared four national emergencies. None is still in effect.

Although declaring a national emergency is nothing new, Trump’s action faces litigation in part because, unusually, it comes after Congress didn’t provide the amount of border wall funding he requested.

The president said Tuesday in the Oval Office that he isn’t too concerned. He noted that he rightly predicted a lawsuit would be filed in a district court under the jurisdiction of the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I have the absolute right to call a national emergency,” Trump said, adding: “I actually think we’ll do very well in the 9th Circuit … because it is an open-and-closed case.”

More HERE 

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

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

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21 February, 2019

Leftist authoritarianism again

Bernie's Running Again: 'Our Campaign Is About Transforming Our Country'

What if some people don't want their country transformed? Bernie is not talking about the rivers and mountains.  He is talking about the people.  He wants to make them do various things that they ordinarily would not. His arrogance is astounding.  What gives him the wisdom and authority to disrupt the lives of 300 million Americans? 

Even if a majority do vote for him what about the miniority that did not?  Can the majority give him the rightful authority to mess with the lives of the minority?  He has no doubt of it. He is a true Communist.



"I am running for president because now more than ever, we need leadership that brings us together [by force?], not divides us up," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Tuesday in a video announcement.

Sanders said it's not just about winning: "Our campaign is about transforming our country and creating a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice."

Sanders said he is trying to raise a "million-person grassroots movement" that will "help transform this country so that finally we have a government that works for all of us, and not just a few."

In an interview with CBS News Tuesday morning, Sanders was asked for his opinion of capitalism:

"Look, I think what we see in this country and around the world is a lot of great entrepreneurs, but I think what is happening is some of these folks -- we have a system which allows these people to accumulate huge amounts of income and wealth.

"So when I talk about democratic socialism, somebody wants to call me a radical, okay, here it is. I believe that people are inherently entitled to health care. I believe people are entitled to get the best education they can. I believe that people are entitled to live in a clean environment. People are entitled to have decent-paying jobs. That's what I believe."

Sanders predicted that President Trump will say that Sanders wants the United States to become Venezuela:

"Bernie Sanders does not want to have the United States become the horrific economic situation that unfortunately exists in Venezuela right now," Sanders said. "What Bernie Sanders wants is to learn from countries around the world why other countries are doing a better job in dealing with income and wealth inequality than we are."

Sanders said his 2020 presidential campaign will be a "continuation of what we did in 2016."

"You may recall that in 2016, many of the ideas that I talked about -- Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition-free -- all of those ideas, people said, ‘Oh, Bernie, they're so radical, they are extreme. The American people just won't accept those ideas.’

“Well, you know what's happened over three years? All of those ideas and many more are part of the political mainstream.”

"So you're saying the party came your way?" host John Dickerson asked Sanders.

"I don't want to say that," Sanders replied. "I think most people would say that," he added.

In his interview with CBS, Sanders had sharp words for Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks chairman and CEO, who has warned that a radical leftist cannot defeat Donald Trump.

"Oh, isn't that nice!" Sanders told Dickerson. "Why is Howard Schultz on every television station in this country? Why are you quoting Howard Schultz? Because he's a billionaire.

"There are a lot of people I know personally who work hard for a living, make $40-, $50-thousand dollars a year who know a lot more about politics than, with all due respect, does Mr. Schultz. But because we have a corrupt political system, anybody who is a billionaire, who can throw a lot of TV ads on television, suddenly becomes very, very credible.

"So with Mr. Schultz -- what is he, blackmailing the Democratic Party? If you don't nominate Bernie Sanders, he's not going to run? Well, I don't think we should succumb to that kind of blackmail."

Schultz has argued that if you're worried about Donald Trump, Democrats need to pick a candidate who isn't so "radical." "That's also what his theory is," Dickerson told Sanders.

Sanders replied, "I think his deeper theory is, hey, I'm a billionaire, leave me alone and let me make as much money as I can without paying my fair share of taxes. He's a billionaire. He's thinking of running for president, suddenly he's a very famous guy. That is a problem with our political system."

SOURCE  

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Crowd Goes WILD When Melania demolishes Socialism at Miami Rally

First Lady Melania Trump made a rare appearance at a rally on Monday night in Miami. The audience loved it.

She introduced POTUS Trump and let all the Venezuelan-Americans in the crowd know that she, too, understands how it feels to live without freedom.     “The President and I are honored to stand with all of you as we together support the people, great people, of Venezuela,” Melania said.

    “Many of you in the room know what it feels like to be blessed with freedom after living under the oppression of socialism and communism,” the first lady told the Miami audience in a rare public appearance.

    Melania Trump was born in Slovenia in 1970. 20 years later, Slovenia dropped the “socialist” part of its name but did not became an independent republic until 1991.  She became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and obtained citizenship 5 years later.

    President Donald Trump on Monday pleaded with Venezuela’s military to support opposition leader Juan Guaido and issued a dire warning if they continue to stand with President Nicolas Maduro’s government.

    “You will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything,” Trump said in a speech at Florida International University in Miami before large American and Venezuelan flags.  Trump added: “We seek a peaceful transition of power, but all options are open.”

    The Venezuelan military could play a decisive role in the stalemate but has largely remained loyal to Maduro.

    In remarks broadcast on state television, Maduro accused the U.S. president of speaking in an “almost Nazi style” and lashed out at Trump for thinking he can deliver orders to Venezuela’s military.     “Who is the commander of the armed forces, Donald Trump from Miami?” Maduro said. “They think they’re the owners of the country.”

    Trump said “a new day is coming in Latin America,” as he sought to rally support among the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. for Guaido. The U.S. recognizes him as the country’s rightful president and condemns Maduro’s government and its socialist policies.

    As the monthslong political crisis stretched on, the military has blocked the U.S. from moving tons of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombian border with Venezuela. The aid shipments have been meant in part to dramatize the hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine that are gripping Venezuela. Trump said of Maduro, “He would rather see his people starve than give them aid.”

    For the visit, which was unscheduled, Melania broke first lady precedent by traveling to an active combat zone. To take selfies with soldiers and speak military members, FLOTUS wore a suede mustard belted blouse with dark green pants.

SOURCE  

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The dangers of democracy have become real with America's empty-headed Democratic party

Democratically elected people’s assemblies historically have been known for their mediocrity, and the U.S. has been no different. The great champion of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, in 1835 observed, “I was surprised to find so much distinguished talent among the citizens and so little among the heads of the government. It is a constant fact that at the present day the ablest men in the United States are rarely placed at the head of affairs,” a condition that worsens the more democratic the government becomes.

But over the last decade, the ineptitude of our Congressmen has increased dramatically, to the point that today Congress looks like the green room for the Gong Show. The last midterm especially brought to Washington some representatives whose abject ignorance of even basic math is astonishing, and whose embrace of ideas hostile to the American Constitutional order are frightening. More troubling, some of them have become the de facto leaders of the Democrat progressives, the mangy tail that today is wagging the already scrofulous dog. The possibilities for entertainment are many, but so are the dangers to our Republic.

The rising star of this dubious cohort is the toothy, goofy Representative from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Her Mr. Ed grin and exophthalmic stare are ubiquitous on the internet and cable news. AOC–– she has already earned an honorific acronym­––has become the face of the millennial fad of socialism that was given legs by Bernie Sander’s insurgent presidential candidacy in 2016. For Dems obsessed with regaining power and smiting the hated Donald Trump, however, AOC, though too young to run for president, has better optics and publicity than yet another old white guy who has spent his years in the Senate comfortable with the establishment status quo.

AOC, on the other hand, represents the “future” of the Democrats, still advertised as “the emerging Democratic majority,” as a 2002 book of that name called it, comprising women, minorities, and the college-educated. This new coalition was supposed to do what Thomas Jefferson did to the Federalists in 1800–– “sink federalism into an abyss from which there will be no resurrection for it,” as he accurately predicted. The election of Barack Obama seemingly confirmed the Dems’ optimism, and his carefully groomed successor, Hillary Clinton, promised to continue Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America.”

Donald Trump, of course, stood athwart this “arc of history” yelling “Hell, no!” As the progressives tell the tale, Trump was carried aloft by the racist resentment of white working-class “bitter clingers” and “deplorables.” Colluding with the Rooskies to steal votes, and enabled by the undemocratic remnants of “white supremacism” like the Electoral College, Trump pulled off a coup and deprived the Democrats of their end-of-history consummation.

In reality, the Dems’ wounds were self-inflicted. Instead of heeding the counsel of Bill and moving to the center and reaching out to the forgotten men and women of the working class, Hillary endorsed the new New Left. She didn’t even campaign in the states that pushed Trump over the Electoral College finish line. And then the Democrats drew all the wrong lessons from their shellacking.

The high profile of AOC is the premier example of this lapse in political judgment and blind hubris. Sure, she’s young and “hip,” as the bougie techno-dorks define that term. She’s got a lot of idealistic pep, an emotion prized by those who think enthusiasm and idealism are more important than coherent ideas, philosophical integrity, moral probity, and practical wisdom. And most important for the diversicrat left, she’s a “Latina,” one of those “people of color” who usually on closer inspection turn out to be indistinguishable from a white person of similar education and socio-economic privilege. Not many farmworkers or maids grow up, as AOC did, with a nickname like “Sandy.” She’s what Thomas Sowell calls a “mascot” for white progressives for whom “diversity” is only skin-deep.

Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez is, to put it politely, woefully misinformed. Her manifest ignorance is so egregious that it’s easy to believe her policy positions like the Green New Deal are parodies of progressivism, and AOL herself is a Republican Manchurian Candidate whose aim is to discredit the Democrats with contemptuous laughter. Her “Green New Deal” has already been exposed, its violation of the laws not just of economics but of physics, laid bare. It’s a preposterous wish-list redolent of commie Woody Guthrie’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” where “handouts grow on bushes,” just like the Green New Deal’s promise to “pay people unwilling to work.” And it’s equally ignorant of the real-world limits that keep the utopian “pie” forever in the “sky.”

What’s more astonishing is that many in her party are climbing on board this preposterous program, mostly the prospective or proclaimed 2020 primary candidates who want to draft off of AOC’s celebrity. But that crew is mediocre and politically inept in its own right. Elizabeth Warren is probably mortally wounded by her appropriation of Cherokee identity for careerist advantage, not to mention her trite, parlor pink anti-capitalism and schoolmarmish demeanor. Corey Booker, another POC “mascot” like AOC, beclowned himself at the Kavanagh inquisition with his bizarre “I am Spartacus” mangled metaphor, and his desperate pivoting from his earlier more moderate record.  Kamala Harris, yet another POC “mascot,” got her break by being San Francisco mayor Willie Brown’s squeeze, and the beneficiary of $400,000 in city money he threw her way. She followed that up with a spotty, often incoherent tenure as California’s Attorney General. And don’t forget her support for “Medicare for All” and her desire to “eliminate all that,” meaning private health insurance.

In short, the sort of candidates that portend a wipeout of 1972 or 1980 proportions. But what’s the alternative for Democrats? Their frenzied hatred of Trump and hysterical tantrums have isolated and marginalized any possible blue centrist who could revive a Clintonian “Third Way” and challenge Trump on terms that appeal to voters outside the base. So too have the Salemite #MeToo hysterics, whose imperative “to believe” ancient charges of sexual assault, and willingness to suspend Constitutional safeguards for the accused, have alienated millions of voters. And now they are eating their own, like Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax, a POC accused of two sexual assaults from long ago. So too with the identity-politics Montagnards currently conducting a Thermidor against fellow Democrats like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for 30-year-old racial offenses.

As for the old white guard, People of Pallor like Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden will have a tough time going up against female POCs. Imagine the primary debates and the eggshells both will have to tread in order to avoid any “microaggressions” or “mansplaining” or “white privilege” airs or inadvertent verbal gaffes detectable only by the commissars of racialist code-talking. It’s also likely we’ll hear more accusations of sexual impropriety like the ones about Sanders’ randy staffers on his 2016 campaign. And “groping” Joe Biden has a video track record of unseemly massaging of women.

You can forget Starbucks plutocrat Howard Schultz, who compounds the crime of being white and male with the worse crime of being richer than his affluent rivals. It takes a millionaire to really hate a billionaire. And he’s already created a lot of bad blood by saying he’ll run as an independent, which the left sees as a typical flabby liberal cop-out. As Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate over couch-change for a border barrier shows, the progressives are going to want hair and blood on the walls, not engage in give-and-take.

What promises to be a political Gong Show, then, will be even more entertaining than the current collection of talentless exhibitionists. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t serious stakes at risk in 2020. I remember the Nineties, when I had fun mocking in print the goofy postmodern “higher nonsense” coming out of the academy. My concern was to defend higher education’s traditional mission of training minds in the skills of critical thought and the great traditions of Western civilization. I saw a long-term decline if such trends continued, but I didn’t realize the consequences could be so immediate and bloody.

It took the carnage of 9/11 to show the dire effects of hilarious intellectual hijinks. The fashionable self-loathing of postmodern multiculturalism had eroded our capacity to understand clearly the motives of the terrorists and their illiberal, anti-humanist, intolerant religious motives. Postcolonial darling Edward Said may have been a prep-schooled phony and an intellectual fop little known beyond the conventions and seminars of mediocre academics, but his works had poisoned the disciplines like history and Middle Eastern Studies that should have been explaining clearly the nature and motives of the West’s oldest enemy. Instead they were apologists for murderers who despised our freedoms and respect for human rights.

In politics as in academe, absurdity, while amusing, can still be dangerous. A progressive victory in 2020 will mark a revival of the destructive forces unleashed during Obama’s two terms. Trump has slowed the assault for now, but we can’t let the buffoonery of the Democrats lull us into complacency. The stakes of failure are too high.

SOURCE

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

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

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20 February, 2019

Why are the Left returning to Communism?

For most of the 20th century, the Left were angry about disparities in income and power and they thought that government control of just about everything would fix that. Stories about poverty and oppression in the Soviet Union were dismissed as "Lies of the capitalist press". I remember being told that personally by an Australian Communist in the '60s.

Self deception is powerful but it was not powerful enough to withstand the "perestroika" and "glasnost" of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. When the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union said that Sovetskaya Rossiya had big problems, even the most diehard Leftist had to sit up and take notice.  And the complete implosion and breakup of the Soviet Union under Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin threw the whole of Leftist ideology into a cocked hat.  Their great examplar of an alternative system to capitalism was gone as if in a puff of wind.

So we all know what happened after that.  Talk about money and power took a back seat among the Left.  Instead political correctness reigned supreme -- and still does mostly.  It was no longer the poor to whom the Left offered their dubious sympathies but rather every downtrodden or disadvantaged group under the sun.  They no longer had a grand narrative but they could nag. There have already emerged from the Left some intimations of support for pedophilia so that will undoubtedly blossom in due course. Anything to upset the status quo

Memories are short, however, and the Soviet disappointment no longer is in the mind of many Leftists -- not only young Leftists but also in the aged minds of people like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, who should know better.  They probably do know better  but count of the ignorance of the masses who never knew much about communism and who have now forgotten what little they knew.

Communism is an extreme expression of envy and envy has always been a strong force politically so it is a very promising road to power among unscrupulous and ambitious frauds.  It gave the Left half the world for a time.

So in America we now have a resurgence of the old fraudulent  ideas of the 20th century Left.  What Bernie Sanders and Occasio Cortez preach is as if communism never happened.  The old reality-defying ideas about using vast government legislation to correct imbalances of power and wealth have roared back.  America managed to withstand such ideas in the 20th century so we can have good hopes that this new outburst of authoritarianism will not succeed --  but we cannot be complacent.

There is a big article in The Economist that gives a comprehensive but rather skeptical outline of current Leftist thinking.

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Leftist hatred of their own society is at an all-time high

The recent news that the University of Notre Dame, responding to complaints by some students, would “shroud” its twelve 134-year-old murals depicting Christopher Columbus was disappointing. It was not surprising, however, to anyone who has been paying attention to the widespread attack on America’s past wherever social justice warriors congregate.

Notre Dame may not be particularly friendly to its Catholic heritage, but its president, the Rev. John Jenkins, demonstrated that it remains true to its jesuitical (if not, quite, its Jesuit) inheritance. Queried about the censorship, he said, apparently without irony, that his decision to cover the murals was not intended to conceal anything, but rather to tell “the full story” of Columbus’s activities.

Welcome to the new Orwellian world where censorship is free speech and we respect the past by attempting to elide it.

Over the past several years, we have seen a rising tide of assaults on statues and other works of art representing our nation’s history by those who are eager to squeeze that complex story into a box defined by the evolving rules of political correctness. We might call this the “monument controversy,” and what happened at Notre Dame is a case in point: a vocal minority, claiming victim status, demands the destruction, removal, or concealment of some object of which they disapprove. Usually, the official response is instant capitulation.

As the French writer Charles Péguy once observed, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.” Consider the frequent demands to remove statues of Confederate war heroes from public spaces because their presence is said to be racist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, for example, has recently had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson removed from a public gallery. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has set up a committee to review “all symbols of hate on city property.”

But it is worth noting that the monument controversy signifies something much larger than the attacks on the Old South or Italian explorers.

In the first place, the monument controversy involves not just art works or commemorative objects. Rather, it encompasses the resources of the past writ large. It is an attack on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue.

In the background is the conviction that we, blessed members of the most enlightened cohort ever to grace the earth with its presence, occupy a moral plane superior to all who came before us. Consequently, the defacement of murals of Christopher Columbus—and statues of later historical figures like Teddy Roosevelt—is perfectly virtuous and above criticism since human beings in the past were by definition so much less enlightened than we.

The English department at the University of Pennsylvania contributed to the monument controversy when it cheered on students who were upset that a portrait of a dead white male named William Shakespeare was hanging in the department’s hallway. The department removed the picture and replaced it with a photograph of Audre Lorde, a black feminist writer. “Students removed the Shakespeare portrait,” crowed department chairman Jed Esty, “and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department.” Right.

High schools across the country contribute to the monument controversy when they remove masterpieces like Huckleberry Finn from their libraries because they contain ideas or even just words of which they disapprove.

The psychopathology behind these occurrences is a subject unto itself. What has happened in our culture and educational institutions that so many students jump from their feelings of being offended—and how delicate they are, how quick to take offense!—to self-righteous demands to repudiate the thing that offends them? The more expensive education becomes the more it seems to lead, not to broader understanding, but to narrower horizons.

SOURCE

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US Constitution Rejects Premise of Judicial Supremacy – And So Should All Americans

Americans today are inclined to accept, without thinking much about it, the idea of judicial supremacy.

We think that the federal courts—and especially the Supreme Court—have an extensive discretion to decide for us the big questions of public policy that come before the nation.

After all, the Supreme Court has taken upon itself the authority to decide whether and to what extent abortion may be regulated, and, more recently, to decide the definition of marriage.

Moreover, we think that the court’s decisions on such questions are final, that there is no way the people or their representatives can effectively assert their own understanding of the Constitution against what was laid down by the judges.

As I explain in a new “First Principles” paper for The Heritage Foundation, Americans should reconsider this uncritical embrace of judicial supremacy.

Judicial supremacy is inconsistent with the much more modest conception of the judicial power put forward by the American Founders. Moreover, it is inconsistent with the fundamental American aspiration to be a self-governing people.

The classic founding exposition of the judicial power is provided by Alexander Hamilton in The Federalist Papers. There, Hamilton emphasizes the limited character of the judicial power envisioned by the Constitution.

A properly functioning judiciary, he contended, will be the “least dangerous branch” of the federal government and the “weakest of the three departments of power.”

The power of judicial review, Hamilton explained, is essential to maintaining a limited Constitution. But judicial review does not bestow on courts a wide-ranging discretion to decide what is good and just for the country.

Rather, it empowers courts to strike down laws only in those cases in which there is an “evident opposition” between the law and the Constitution.

The judicial power, in other words, exists to defend the clear provisions of the Constitution, not to empower judges to find new, previously unheard of rights, based on novel theories.

Moreover, Hamilton reminds us that the Founders never intended the courts to have an unfettered power to determine the meaning of the Constitution without having to answer to the people or their political representatives.

After all, Hamilton presents the judiciary as the weakest branch in part because it has to “ultimately depend on the aid of the executive arm for the efficacy of its judgments.”

That is as much as to say that the executive may decline to lend its aid to the courts when they have overstepped the proper bounds of their power.

Finally, The Federalist Papers remind us that judges who abuse their judicial authority are subject to impeachment. Judicial usurpation of the powers of the other branches of government, Hamilton argued, would be deterred by “the power of instituting impeachments in one part of the legislative body, and of determining upon them in the other.”

The power over impeachment “alone” would provide “a complete security” against an overreaching judiciary, because there “can never be a danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations on the authority of the legislature, would hazard the resentment of” Congress, which possesses “the means of punishing their presumption, by degrading them from their stations.”

Recovering the Founders’ limited conception of the judicial power is necessary to preserving the integrity of the American people as a self-governing people.

By rejecting judicial supremacy, we ensure that when the people’s will is thwarted by the courts, the people, through their political representatives, still retain the authority to reassert their will when they have not been persuaded by the reasoning of the judges.

That surely is essential to the self-respect of a self-governing people, that they must be persuaded—not commanded—by the courts.

That, too, is the promise of the American experiment: self-government under the laws and the Constitution, not under the discretionary supervision of judges.

SOURCE  

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Attention Working Americans: Democrats Want To Hike Payroll Taxes By $1.5 Trillion

Amid all the hoopla about Democrats wanting to raise taxes on the rich, they are quietly working on a bill that would increase taxes on every working family in America. Why? To fund expanded benefits for baby boomers hitting retirement.

The Social Security 2100 Act would hike the combined payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers from 12.4% today to 14.8% by 2043. The bill would also apply the payroll tax on incomes over $400,000.

According to the Social Security Administration, in the first 12 years alone, this would amount to a $1.5 trillion tax hike.

A Staggering Social Security Tax Hike
Once the tax hike's fully phased in, workers and employers will be paying $340 billion more a year in payroll taxes.

As a share of GDP, Social Security taxes would rise to 6.5%, up from the current 4.5%.

For families making the median income, it means paying an extra $720 a year to Social Security. But that's only half the tax bite. The employer's share effectively comes out of workers' pockets as well, in the form of lower wages. So, the real increase is more like $1,400 a year.

It is, in other words, a staggering tax hike.

The economic effects of this hike will not be pleasant. Andrew Biggs, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, explained to the House Ways and Means Committee earlier this month, the impacts will likely be: a reduction in the labor supply, as well as less private savings and more household debt, particularly among lower-income families.

Biggs also notes that such a tax hike will raise far less money than predicted, not only because there will be fewer jobs, but because the payroll tax hikes will suppress wage growth, which will mean less income tax revenue.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Larson, says that, even so, this plan will not only keep Social Security solvent, it will allow for a big increase in benefits.

More Social Security Benefits

Among other things, Larson wants an across-the-board increase in benefits for current and future retirees. A higher annual cost of living adjustment. And a stronger minimum benefit.

"The Social Security 2100 Act shows that Social Security is affordable," Larson says. "It increases benefits and strengthens the Trust Fund, and it is fully paid for." The bill has some 200 co-sponsors — all Democrats.

On paper, at least, Larson is correct.

Number crunchers at the Social Security Administration said that, even with the added benefits, the plan would keep the program solvent for at least the next 75 years.

But that's just an educated guess. And not a very good one.

First, it doesn't account for the negative effects the tax hike would have on jobs, wages and economic growth.

Second, the Social Security Administration doesn't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to making such long-term projections.

For example, in 1983, the federal government boosted Social Security taxes, and cut benefits. This was supposed to keep Social Security on a sound footing for 75 years or more. In fact, the Social Security Administration predicted that the program would be running annual surpluses until about 2025.

In reality, Social Security started running annual deficits in 2010. By 2025, these annual shortfalls are on track to likely top $202 billion. The Trust Fund is now on track to become insolvent by 2034.

By expanding benefits now, and hoping the tax hikes will fill in the gap later, Larson risks only further destabilizing the program's already shaky finances.

A Better Way

There's a bigger problem with this plan, however.

Social Security is already too gargantuan. (It eats up 24% of the federal budget.) It takes too large a share of workers' incomes, discouraging private savings. And for most people working today, it provides a lousy — often negative — rate of return.

Rather than expanding Social Security, the U.S. should be moving in the opposite direction through partial privatization. Let workers put more of their own hard-earned money in personal savings accounts that can't help but perform better than Social Security.

After all, that's what Sweden did in the 1990s, when it realized its public retirement program was going bankrupt. And we all know how much Democrats love to compare the U.S. to countries like Sweden.

SOURCE

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

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

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19 February, 2019

Gross hypocrisy and Leftist bias in Wikipedia: Altemeyer

Revised and updated

I put up some information on the Wikipedia page for Bob Altemeyer.  Altemeyer is a particularly witless Leftist psychologist who made large and derogatory claims  about conservatives that he later had to retract.  But there was nothing on his Wikipedia page about that retraction.  So I put up a brief account of that.  What I put up was wholly scholarly and fully referenced -- just what Wikipedia says it wants.  But criticism of Leftists is not allowed of course, so my contribution was deleted after only a few days.

I imagine that they will find some quibble to justify their deletion of my entry but I am pretty sure that the outcome would have been different had I praised brainless Bob. Anyway, after a couple of run-ins with them, I have no confidence in being able to navigate my way onto Wikipedia again -- so I am putting up below what I originally submitted to Wikipedia. Altemeyer is an unusual name so a Google search on that name should still find my comments, whether the Wikipedians like it or not:

The centerpiece of Altemeyer's research is a questionnaire he designed called the Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) scale. If you get a high score on it you are allegedly revealed as a Right-Wing Authoritarian. A major problem with the RWA scale is revealed, however, when we find that it identifies the Communists of the old Soviet Union as right-wing.  But if they are right-wing who is left wing?

His confusion arises from his apparent  definition of conservatism as "opposed to change".  That definition is however politically naive.  Conservatives from Burke onward have never been opposed to change as such but rather opposed to changes desired and enacted by Leftists.  Is Donald Trump opposed to change? The current Left/Right polarity is between conservatives who want less government control and Leftists who want more of that.  Altemeyer seems to be unaware of that so his work has no current political relevance.

In detail: The decline and fall of Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe enabled use of his RWA ("Right Wing Authoritarianism") scale there. Studies in the East such as those by Altemeyer & Kamenshikov (1991), McFarland, Ageyev and Abalakina-Paap (1992) and Hamilton, Sanders & McKearney (1995) showed that high RWA scores were associated with support for Communism!! So an alleged "Rightist" scale went from being Rightist to being a predictor of Leftism! If you took it at face-value, it showed Communists were Rightists!

After that, Altemeyer more or less gave up his original claim and engaged in a bit of historical revisionism. He said (Altemeyer, 1996, p. 218) that when he "began talking about right-wing authoritarianism, I was (brazenly) inventing a new sense, a social psychological sense that denotes submission to the perceived established authorities in one's life". It is true that he did originally define what he was measuring in something like that way (in detail, he defined it as a combination of three elements: submissiveness to established authority, adherence to social conventions and general aggressiveness) but what was new, unusual or "brazen" about such a conceptualization defies imagination. The concept of submission to established authority was, for instance, part of the old Adorno et al (1950) work. What WAS brazen was Altemeyer's claim that what he was measuring was characteristic of the political Right. But it is precisely the "Right-wing" claim that he now seems to have dropped and the RWA scale is now said to measure simply submission to authority. See:

    Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950). The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

    Altemeyer, R. (1996). The Authoritarian Specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Altemeyer, R. & Kamenshikov, A. (1991) Impressions of American and Soviet behaviour: RWA changes in a mirror. South African J. Psychology 21, 255-260.

    Hamilton, V. L., Sanders, J., & McKearney, S. J. (1995). Orientations toward authority in an authoritarian state: Moscow in 1990. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 21, 356-365

    McFarland, S. G., Ageyev, V. S., & Abalakina-Paap, M. A. (1992). Authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 1004-1010


MORE

What I said above was designed to be acceptable encyclopedic writing but I can go further than that.  I can offer a more extended critique of Altemeyer's work.  And continued critique would seem to be needed.  The RWA scale is still widely used in psychological research and generally seems to be used without any awareness of the invalidity of the instrument.  It is still commonly paraded as a measure of something right-wing, which it clearly is not.  So I think a more extended consideration of what it measures is called-for.

In the beginning

In one sense, what it measures is perfectly clear;  It measures the old 1950 Adorno  conception of authoritarianism -- in which Marxist theoretician Theodor  Adorno and his friends claimed to have discovered a "new anthropological type": The authoritarian.  Authoritarians were conservative, racist, both dominant and submissive, rigid in their thinking, "intolerant of ambiguity",  and a product of bad relationships with their father. The authoritarian was just a maladjusted psychological mess generally. Adorno did not claim that all conservatives were authoritarian but it became generally assumed that they were. Leftists just loved the idea.

It was clear early on -- even to Altemeyer -- that the F scale which the Adorno team devised to measure their conception of authoritarianism was fatally flawed.  But that did not dent the great appeal that the Adorno theory had for Leftists.  And Altemeyer was one who drank the Kool-Aid.  He swallowed the Adorno theory hook, line and sinker.  His project was to devise a better measure of the concept rather than to question the concept.  The RWA scale was his replacement for the old F scale

But it was very much like the F scale.  Its items consisted of aggressively worded versions of popular sayings from the past.  Pflaum (1964) had shown that you could create a parallel form of the F scale by gathering together sayings that had been popular during the pre-war "Progressive" era.  Progressive ideas dominated American life throughout the first half of the 20th century so ideas that were popular at that time were also progressive or at least compatible with progressivism.

The Progressive era

But what were progressive ideas?  The ideas do not sound progressive now.  The great hero of the progressive era was Teddy Roosevelt.  He even founded his own "progressive" party (often referred to as the "Bull Moose" party).

So what did TR believe in? He believed in battleships (he built lots of them) and that war is a purifying force for a nation.  He had many ideas that sound "Right wing" these days, largely because modern-day progressives tend to reject them. See here and here for a fuller account of the American "Progressive" era.


And Adorno, Pflaum and Altemeyer all created collections of the old Progressive ideas and proudly presented them as being both authoritarian and "Right-wing".  That conservatives had been in opposition throughout almost the whole of the Progressive era was ignored.  The wars of conquest (Cuba, the Philippines etc) waged under the aegis of TR were met with conservative isolationism.  And the big government ideas of FDR were solidly opposed by conservatives of the day.

After WWII

So in the immediate post-war era we had the strange spectacle of pre-war Leftist ideas being presented as conservative. And most Leftists bit the bullet.  Pre-war Progressive ideas had been shared by another prominent socialist of the pre-war period, Adolf Hitler, so it was urgent to distance post-war Leftists from his ideas.  And what better way to do that than to try to pin such ideas onto conservatives?  In 1950 all Leftists would have been be aware that Hitlers ideas had also largely been their own until recently  but Leftists can pivot on a dime when it suits them so Leftist psychologists did just that.

So it is true that the RWA scale statements do reflect authoritarianism -- but it is the authoritarianism of the pre-war Left.  Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  In Mr Obama's famous words, Leftists aim to "fundamentally transform" their society.  And it was not the geography or topography of America that  Obama was talking about.  It was the American people.  He wanted to make them do things that they would not normally do (like pay more in taxes) and to stop them from doing things that they would normally do (like mock homosexuals).  Whether or not you agree with the desirability of his program, the point is that it was inescapably authoritarian.  It aimed to dictate behavior.  Conservatives do have some authoritarian impulses at times (restricting abortion etc) but Leftism is authoritarian root and branch.  Telling other people what to do and making them do it is the whole of their program.

Looking inside the black box

So what do conservatives do when confronted with RWA statements?  Because of the old fashioned content of the items they may agree with some of them.  Conservatives tend to have some respect for things of the past.  But that agreement will not be politically relevant. That they can see something in the old ideas will not tell you anything about their likely choices on the current political scene. The old ideas are not at issue so will not influence current choices.

Leftists, on the other hand, will tend to reject most of the statements as something they now disagree with -- but  will rightly see them as not of current political relevance now so will not relate them to current political choices. Their attitude to the old items will not influence their currtent choices.  So neither their agreement nor disagreement with the statements will predict their current political choices. And it doesn't.  The scale is an exercise in political irrelevance.

So from both sides of politics you will have agreement with the statements that is not of current relevance -- and that shows in the fact that conservatives and Leftists are not demarcated by agreement with the scale items.  It  explains why big scorers on the RWA scale are just as likely to be on the Left as on the Right.  It is just not a scale of current political relevance.   Some of the items may touch on what are still current issues but the aggressive way they are expressed will not be supported by either conservatives or Leftists -- e.g. items supporting oppression of homosexuals would be generally rejected by both sides.

So the RWA scale measures an old-fashioned form of LEFTISM but not anything of current political relevance. Which is why the scale does not correlate with current political preferences in (for example) American Presidential elections.  A lot of high scorers would have voted for Mr. Obama.

And it also explains why high RWA scorers in Russia today tend to be members or former members of the Communist party.  In Russia today, Communism IS old-fashioned Leftism

Reference:

Pflaum, J. (1964) Development and evaluation of equivalent forms of the F scale. "Psychol. Reports" 15, 663-669.   

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The left should focus on lifting poor people up, not tearing rich people down

But they get their buzz out of hating the rich

Today’s progressives love touting themselves as champions of the working class. And to them, there’s no better way of doing so than through their anti-rich rhetoric.

Take the response to former Starbucks CEO and billionaire Howard Schultz announcing he was considering running for US president in 2020.

There are many criticisms to be made of Schultz’s pitch. He has tried to present himself as a relatable ‘self-made’ man. But it’s likely most Americans would relate more to the barista behind a Starbucks counter than the self-described ‘rags to riches’ former CEO of the company.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and others have also suggested that Schultz running as a centrist independent would actually help Trump.

But progressive lawmakers, some of whom are millionaires themselves, have chosen to hit out at Schultz’s personal wealth.

Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren attacked the billionaire for thinking he could ‘buy the presidency’. She is worth $4.7million, making her the 69th wealthiest person in Congress according to Roll Call.

However you feel about Schultz’s potential candidacy, his wealth is beside the point. But this line of attack reveals that many progressives have become myopically obsessed with the super wealthy recently.

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently agreed to the notion that a system allowing billionaires to exist is ‘immoral’. This comes shortly after her proposal to raise the marginal tax rate on incomes over $10million to between 60 and 70 per cent.

Warren has been pushing similar ideas. She wants to create an annual tax on the ultra-wealthy, with a two per cent tax on those making $50million or more and up to three per cent on billionaires.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders is also back in the game, introducing a bill that would tax estates of those who inherit more than $3.5million and reinstate the 77 per cent estate-tax rate on wealth over $1 billion.

These progressive superstars constantly talk up the corruption of the one per cent. But this only helps to hide the fact that most of the policies they are pushing for would actually hurt working Americans.

The popular idea of a Green New Deal, which aims to fight the growing threat of climate change by investing in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, would no doubt kill thousands of jobs in the fossil-fuel industry. Those blue-collar jobs, which are already scarce, often define the community they serve and would be gone forever if the plan was ever implemented.

The ones pushing for these radical climate-change policies often deflect the concerns over lost jobs with claims that cleaner, more environmentally friendly jobs would be right there waiting for workers. Little do they see how dispensable that makes many of the affected blue-collar workers feel.

The idea of tuition-free college is another favourite proposal of progressives.

They claim it would give everyone an equal opportunity to get a university education. But they fail to recognise other pathways to success, particularly in the skilled trades, which are often more economically beneficial in the long run.

Progressive politicians’ focus on free college only really makes sense when you consider that their supporters are more likely to be found on a university campus than in a manufacturing plant.

The estimated cost of Sanders’ original free-college plan was about $47 billion a year, to be paid for by a speculation tax, also known as a ‘Robin Hood tax’, which would place a levy on every stock, bond or derivative sold in the US.

But, amid the push to tax the rich to fund preposterous entitlement programmes, you barely hear any ideas from progressives like childcare tax credits or paid sick leave. Nor do you see many progressives fighting for workers to be able to collectively bargain.

They are pushing policies that would bring down the rich instead of policies that would improve life for working-class Americans.

In the end, it is only elite progressives who have this obsessive wealth complex. Struggling Americans aren’t sitting around every day thinking about how much they despise the one per cent. They’re too busy trying to pay bills, pay back loans, and put food on the table.

SOURCE  

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

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

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18 February, 2019

The authoritarian Left is rampant

They are on the attack all over America

The Secular Coalition for Arizona has been triggered.

The offense is so great that the group has launched a national media campaign to parrot the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “hate group” smear of Alliance Defending Freedom. They want to censor and blacklist ADF and people like you who share the belief that free speech and religious freedom must be protected.

What set them off? An Arizona state license plate that simply says, “In God We Trust.”

No, this is not a joke. The State of Arizona offers the opportunity for organizations to create license plates that express their viewpoints and then offer those specialty license plates for purchase through the DMV. A portion of those private funds are donated to the organization that designed the plate, and the rest goes to the state.

Through this program, Alliance Defending Freedom created a license plate that affirms the First Amendment and reads “In God We Trust.” This license plate is listed among more than 60 other plate designs offered for purchase.
 
No one is required to purchase a specialty license plate, and no tax dollars go to the organizations that have created the specialty plates.

Arizona has every right to offer this opportunity, just as the Secular Coalition for Arizona has every right to create its own license plate featuring its own viewpoint if it wants to.

But that is not what the Secular Coalition for Arizona chose to do.

Activists have ramped up attacks on freedom of speech. They’re willing to use the power of the government to silence views they disagree with—to silence you. This must stop.

Should special interest groups like the SPLC get to decide if your views are acceptable?

The Secular Coalition for Arizona thinks so. They’ve worked with some state legislators to propose a bill that demands the immediate repeal of the “In God We Trust” license plate to stop ADF from receiving money from the purchases of that plate.

But a bill like that could have disastrous consequences for freedom of speech.

After all, have you ever seen a license plate that supports veterans or wounded warriors? What if a pacifist took offense? Should we be forced to silence every viewpoint that anyone in the world might be offended by?

Where would it end?

This is what happens when activists try to use the government to shut down and silence speech it disagrees with. And it’s happening across America.

New York City is censoring private conversations that therapists have with adult patients who come to them for help to address unwanted same-sex attractions or confusion over gender identity.

The American Humanist Association is trying to destroy a WWI veterans memorial in Maryland known as the Bladensburg Peace Cross simply because it is in the shape of a cross.

Non-profit adoption providers are being threatened and forced to stop helping place kids with a loving family for operating consistently with their faith-based missions.

Conservative commentators are being barred from speaking on public university campuses—and attacked and threatened when they do.

These are just a few examples of attempts to handcuff freedom of speech and silence people of faith. But we don’t have to stand idly by while our freedoms are stripped away.

We can defend our right to speak freely and consistently with our faith without fear of government punishment.

If the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Secular Coalition for Arizona disagree with us, that’s fine. They have the freedom to do so.

But trying to shut down our speech—or ban someone from being able to purchase a license plate—isn’t the answer. That’s not how free speech works in this country.

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech for everyone. It’s not up to the government or activist groups to determine whose speech is acceptable.

But this is what the SPLC is known for. Time and again it targets and seeks to destroy any groups or individuals it disagrees with by labeling them “haters.”

And yet, the SPLC has been widely and resoundingly discredited by investigative journalists, charity networking organizations, and commentators because they are activist, partisan, and unreliable. It’s been sued many times for spreading falsehoods about various groups – most often religious and conservative groups. The SPLC even recently paid $3.375 million and issued a public apology to settle a threatened defamation lawsuit by Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, whom the SPLC falsely labeled an anti-Muslim extremist!

On the other hand, ADF is one of the nation’s most successful and respected advocates at the U.S. Supreme Court. With God’s blessing and your prayers and support, we’ve won nine cases at the high court since 2011.

Via email from ADF info@adflegal.org

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Kamala Harris Caught In Another Lie: Claims She Got High / Listened to Snoop and Tupac in College… 10 Yrs. Before They Launched Their Careers

She has a good chance of becoming the next Democrat Presidential candidate.  That brown skin is a real aphrodisiac to the Left.  So this matters

Democrat Kamala Harris told “The Breakfast Club” she used to get high and smoke joints.

But as Jerry Dunleavy noted, Kamala Harris was in college 10 years before Tupac and Snoop hit the scene. So… She’s lying.

Kamala graduated from college in the 80’s. Snoop & Tupac didn’t release their first albums til the 90’s. This is basic rap history.

SOURCE  

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Democrat foot-shooting

According to the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll, President Donald Trump’s approval rating reached 52% this week. No doubt part of this high-water mark was engendered by his inspirational State of the Union Address. Yet just as likely, it’s because he represents a stark contrast to a Democrat Party engaged in an unprecedented race to the bottom of the socialist/Marxist barrel.

We begin with anti-Semitism. As far back as their 2012 national convention, Democrats heartily booed making Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Since then, their contemptible connections with rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan remain ongoing, including the latest revelation that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) wrote a column for the Final Call, an official publication of Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam. Tlaib’s colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), was forced by party leaders to issue an apology for the age-old anti-Semitic smear about Jewish influence and money affecting foreign policy. And in a first for Democrats, both women are supporters of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Congratulations!

Abortion on demand is another topic where Democrats have finally clarified their position — in contemptible terms. In New York, legislators cheered a bill that eliminated most restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks, allows midwives and nurse practitioners to perform the procedure, and ends criminal charges for harming children in the womb. “I am directing that New York’s landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow,” gushed Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo’s “bright light” shone brighter in Virginia, where State Delegate Kathy Tran (D) testified in favor of her own legislation permitting abortions “through the third trimester,” which “goes up to 40 weeks,” she declared. Unbelievably, Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam upped the ante. “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered,” he stated. “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

A discussion about post-birth abortion? In the real world, that’s called murder. Among Democrats? A “woman’s right to choose.”

Even some Democrats knew Northam went too far. Thus, with a lot of help from other party loyalists, more familiarly known as the mainstream media, Northam became the face — make that the blackface — of a coordinated campaign designed to change the conversation from infanticide to racism.

Unfortunately for Democrats, their entire identity-politics agenda became the center of attention. It turned out Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted he also donned blackface at a party in 1980, despite issuing a statement calling for Northam to step down, while Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused by two women of sexual assault and rape, respectively. Fairfax’s reaction to the assault allegation? “F—k that b—ch.”

These stalwarts are joined by Elizabeth Warren who, despite repeated denials that she used faux Native American bona fides to advance her career, wrote “American Indian” on her 1986 registration card for the Texas legal bar. Warren also implied there may be other equally “clarifying” documents in existence.

Racism? #MeToo demands to unquestionably believe the victim of sexual-assault allegations, irrespective of proof? Going as far back in the past as necessary to impugn someone’s reputation? Cultural appropriation? As of now, every one of these Democrats have made it clear they intend to reject their party’s “ethos of enlightenment” and persevere. The very same ethos their party and the media inflicted on Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“Democrats need an identity-politics intervention,” the Wall Street Journal editorial board insists. “Having unleashed race, gender, sexual orientation and class as the defining issues of American politics, these furies are now consuming their authors. Where’s Barack Obama when Democrats need him?”

Barack Obama? The Cambridge police “acted stupidly” Obama? The “if I had a son he would look like Trayvon” Obama? The “slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ” Obama? The same Obama who attended Rev. Jeremiah “God damn America” Wright’s church for 20 years? How about the Obama who championed Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell, credited with pioneering “critical race theory,” which maintains America’s legal system is inherently biased against blacks and other minorities?

Barack Obama did as much as any president in the history of the nation to advance the odious idea that America is inherently flawed and requires “fundamental transformation.” And Democrats have not only embraced that agenda, they have doubled down on it.

And they’re still doing it. As part of the deal to avert a government shutdown, Democrats demanded and apparently received a total of 40,520 ICE detention beds, representing a 17% reduction from current levels, and far short of Trump’s request for 52,000. That ICE has released tens of thousands of convicted criminal aliens awaiting the outcome of their deportation proceedings — including murderers, those convicted of sexual and aggravated assault, kidnapping and drunk driving? According to former ICE Director Tom Homan, the agency is currently detaining 47,000 criminal aliens.

Are Americans ready for 6,480 more of them to hit the streets so Democrats and their spineless GOP collaborators can cut a deal to keep the government open? Will they tire of a Democrat Party that prioritizes the needs of illegal aliens over those of American citizens?

On Monday, 37-year-old Joseph Alcoff was bought to court to face charges that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. He was allegedly part of an antifa mob that attacked two Hispanic Marines last November. He was also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, a group that took to heart the “push back” and “get up in the face” intimidation tactics championed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Sen. Cory “Spartacus” Booker (D-NJ), respectively, when they massed outside Tucker Carlson’s home in an effort to intimidate the Fox News host.

Why bring up the trials and tribulations of an alleged thug? Because according to Fox News, Alcoff was “a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals” advanced by Democrats. All while he remained “an Antifa leader in Washington.”

Finally, we must address the terminally addled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Green New Deal. Aside from the economy-wrecking efforts and the jackboot level of government control it represents, two things stand out: Only a nation with a thoroughly compromised education system could produce legions of people ignorant enough to believe this could actually work; and nearly every Democrat 2020 presidential contender supports it — all its pernicious nonsense notwithstanding.

“Trump in 2020 might have controversially slurred his future Democratic rival as a socialist, radical late-term abortion advocate, open borders chauvinist, a Medicare destroyer who wished to make it free for everyone, or wacko environmentalist intent on banning gas and diesel engines,” writes Victor Davis Hanson. “Now he won’t have to smear anyone: the Democrats have largely done that to themselves.”

It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch.

SOURCE 

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Amazon Pulls NYC HQ2 — Cuomo Blames Ocasio-Cortez

A state already reeling from tax revenue loss misses out on at least 25,000 new jobs.

The speculation turned out to be authentic. On Thursday, Amazon officially reneged on its New York City headquarters. The rumor that it would do so first appeared last Friday in The Washington Post, which disclosed that “Amazon.com is reconsidering its plan to bring 25,000 jobs to a new campus in New York City.” The Post elaborated, “The project … faces withering criticism from some elected officials and advocacy groups appalled at the prospect of giving giant subsidies to the world’s most valuable company, led by its richest man.” A man who, by the way, owns The Washington Post.

“After much thought and deliberation, we’ve decided not to move forward with our plans to build a headquarters for Amazon in Long Island City, Queens,” Amazon announced yesterday. Why? “A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project we and many others envisioned in Long Island City.”

One of those politicians is actually Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who crowed about having “defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.”

Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, already battling a revenue shortfall in the state, isn’t happy. He complained, “A small group politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community — which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City — the state’s economic future and the best interests of the people of this state.” He didn’t name Ocasio-Cortez, but the Millennial heartthrob was clearly one of his prime targets.

The second headquarters was to be split between Queens, New York, and the DC suburb of Crystal City, Virginia — a determination that our Thomas Gallatin previously reported was cronyistic from the get-go. “In the end, the reasoning behind this decision is obvious: direct access to the levers of financial and political power in two high-profile leftist enclaves,” wrote Gallatin. “Instead of locating the new headquarters in the most business-friendly states and environments, Amazon chose leftist power centers knowing that the company will be able to seamlessly pass on any higher costs to consumers. And the tax benefits to Amazon work out to almost $50,000 per job created. Cronyism at its finest.”

In this regard, Amazon’s backtracking is good. It’s one thing if a neighborhood decides it doesn’t want a huge corporate HQ in its backyard, but Amazon had no other choice given the prevailing political headwinds.

According to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, “We gave Amazon the opportunity to be a good neighbor and do business in the greatest city in the world. Instead of working with the community, Amazon threw away that opportunity.” The truth is New York City should not have been a finalist, especially when superior suitors were fiercely vying to be selected. Amazon says, “We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time.” Regardless, it has an opportunity to make a better business decision than it did back in November.

As the Washington Examiner saliently puts it, “In the end, the termination of this deal is a win for everyone. The socialists get to crow about keeping their neighborhoods poor. New York’s taxpayers don’t have to pay Jeff Bezos exorbitant sums to do business in their state. And Amazon, having learned its lesson about dealing with socialists, might benefit as well if, instead of seeking special handouts, it seeks in the future to create jobs in low-tax states with right-to-work protections and a friendly-but-fair business climate for everyone.”

SOURCE  

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

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

**************************







17 February, 2019

A simple solution to solve legislative gridlock

Remove some of the powers that nationally unelected political party leaders now have

John Droz, Jr.

Which citizens voted to give Nancy Pelosi the power to shut down our government? None. And yet there she is, able to close down numerous government services, with just the power of her intransigence.

We need to look at a simplified legislative example to understand the problem and the solution. To properly grasp this situation, it’s important to understand that essentially all legislation originates from specialized legislative committees.

Let’s say that Republicans introduce a bill (H.R. 54321) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Let’s also say that Democrat Representative Jones decides that supporting 54321would be in the best interest of his constituents and the country as a whole.

The fly in the ointment here is that in this case the House Democrat Leader has decided that Democrats should oppose 54321. Now Representative Jones is in a bind.

If he chooses to vote for 54321, the House Democrat Leader could ensure that he suffers severe political penalties. (If Speaker Pelosi has enough votes anyway and Mr. Jones will be in a tough reelection fight next year, she may cut him some slack and let him “vote his conscience” – and her long-term political best interests.)

What potential penalties could Rep Jones suffer if he goes against the wishes of the Speaker? He could be stripped of any committee leadership positions he has, or lose his seniority on a committee. He could be bumped from a committee membership that he values. Any bills he introduces could go nowhere.

So his choice is: a) do what is in the best interest of his constituents and the country regarding 54321; or b) do what is in his own best political interests (and that of Ms. Pelosi). Unfortunately, the current system we have assures that “b” will almost always be the choice made.

In a nutshell, this is why there is gridlock – because legislators often vote in lockstep as a political party block, rather than what is in the best interest of their constituents and country!

The concern here is that not a single citizen voted for anyone to be the House Democrat Leader (or Republican Leader, as all of this applies to both parties, and in the Senate). As such, why does this nationally un-elected person have the power to control the destiny of our entire country?

The easy solution to fix this undemocratic and unreasonable situation is to remove some of the power these nationally unelected political party leaders have. Here are two simple examples that would have a profoundly beneficial impact:

1) remove their power to appoint legislators to committees, and

2) remove their power to appoint chairpersons to committees.

Once those unwarranted powers were removed, these party leaders would have a much smaller cudgel to browbeat their party members into lockstep submission. Instead, legislators would be much more inclined to vote for what was best for their constituents and the country. Democrat Representative Jones could support Republican bill 54321without fear of major political reprisals from his party leadership.

Isn’t that more like the way the legislature should work in a truly democratic republic?

The details of how committees would be assigned could be worked out to be fair and non-political. For example, the majority party would still have the majority of members on committees. Let’s say that there are nine Democrat committee positions on a certain House committee. Any Democrat representatives who are interested would submit their names – and the nine members would be determined by a lottery (NOT the whims of the House Democrat Leader).

To keep everyone from submitting his or her name to every committee, each representative would be limited to volunteering for a set number of committees (perhaps six). To award longer term members for their extended service, any representatives with more than two terms could have their names entered twice in the lottery for each committees they were interested in.

Once House or Senate committee members are chosen, it will be up to the majority committee members (NOT the party Leader) to elect a chairperson from their party group.

By the way, there would still be a House (and Senate) party Leader. Their jobs would be to be: a) a spokesperson regarding their party’s official position on various matters; b) an educator of their caucus members as to the pros and cons of any legislative matter; and c) a negotiator with the Executive Branch.

In addition to extracting their committee power, item “b” is a key difference, for it changes party leaders from being dictators to being educators. That would be a major improvement over the current system – and would unquestionably lead to less political gridlock.

That, in turn, would be an extraordinary improvement, helping to ensure that legislators act more responsibly — as well as in the interest of their constituents and the country.

After this major problem is resolved, some of the other powers of theses party leaders should also be examined and possibly changed: such as the power to keep bills from being voted on.

One final point is worth noting.

None of this was as important in the not-so-distant past – 75, 50 perhaps even 25 years ago. Back then, legislators and legislative sessions were not full-time, 365-days-a-year affairs. Legislators actually had real jobs during much of the year. They did not believe they weren’t doing their job if they weren’t enacting more laws – which didn’t as often mean writing broad, often ambiguous legislation, and then turning that legislation over to regulatory agency bureaucrats to interpret, implement and enforce.

They did not seek to control more and more aspects of our lives – culminating in legislation that would put federal bureaucrats in charge of our energy, economy, buildings, jobs and living standards.

And not very many years ago, our political parties were not controlled – or at least constantly pressured into submission and obedience – by noisy members of Congress and tax-exempt activist groups that are determined to radically, fundamentally and completely transform the United States into a country governed not by We the People but by a small cadre of legislators, regulators and judges.

But that is what we face today. That is why reforms like these are essential.

Via email from Paul Driessen pdriessen@cox.net

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Trump Signs Funding Bill, Declares Emergency to Secure Border

The bill falls far short of the border spending Trump demanded, so he will now carry out his threat

In a Rose Garden ceremony this morning, President Donald Trump signed an omnibus spending deal that includes $1.35 billion for the construction of a border barrier. He also said he’s signed the order declaring a national emergency to tap into as much as another $8 billion in funding for the border barrier. This announcement set off Democrats and some Republicans in voicing their objections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) warned, “A Democratic president can declare emergencies, as well. So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.” Pelosi then pointed to one of the Democrats long-running hobby horses and said, “Let’s talk about … the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President? … But a Democratic president can do that.” Except we have a little thing called the Second Amendment…

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voiced constitutional concerns over Trump’s decision, stating, “We have a crisis at our southern border, but no crisis justifies violating the Constitution. Today’s national emergency is border security. But a future president may use this exact tactic to impose the Green New Deal.” But Rubio did note that he would await further details of Trump’s emergency declaration before determining whether he’d support it.

Regarding the subject of national emergencies, it’s important to note that the National Emergencies Act of 1976 was passed primarily as a means of keeping better track of the emergency powers granted to the president and determining which declarations were still in effect. Essentially, the authority to declare a national emergency grants the president special temporary power to deal with a crisis directly related to foreign threats that arise against American interests both domestic and abroad. There are currently 31 active national emergencies, the oldest being Jimmy Carter’s sanctions against the Iranian government.

In declaring a national emergency, Trump can point back to his repeated calls to Congress to act on the growing illegal-immigration crisis that has contributed to the drug-related deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and the murders of many others, costs American taxpayers billions annually in welfare services provided to illegal aliens, and hurts American workers by flooding the labor force with low-skilled illegal workers. Trump has worked to paint Democrats into a corner on this issue, demonstrating that they have no desire to protect American citizens first and foremost, which is their constitutional duty.

Recall that Democrats didn’t voice any objections when Barack Obama overreached his executive authority some 76 times, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) notes, and yet when Trump seeks to use his rightful executive authority to enforce the nation’s laws, Democrats (and a few Republicans) squeal about constitutional overreach.

While we would certainly have preferred to see Congress act to provide the full funding for the construction of a more secure border barrier and increased border security, Trump’s emergency declaration is well within his constitutional authority. However, there is no question that this battle will soon move to the courts.

SOURCE  

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MAGA: Quality of Life and Optimism Soaring to New Heights

Trump called the U.S. economy "the envy of the world." A lot more Americans are agreeing.

In his State of the Union Address last week, President Donald trump heralded the “thriving” U.S. economy, which he called “the envy of the world.” Some have called the president’s characterization of the economy hyperbole, but there’s a plethora of evidence proving he’s right: The economy is changing Americans’ quality of life and stimulating confidence.

The IBD/TIPP Quality of Life Index is one metric that backs the president. The index has been tabulated for 17 years now, and it “asks the public whether they think their quality of life will be better, worse or the same over the next six months,” as explained by Investor’s Business Daily. The full-span average is 56.2. By that measure, Barack Obama’s 53.7 rating was subpar. But the index balloons to 59.3 halfway through Trump’s first term. The most interesting variable is independents. According to IBD, “Their quality of life averaged 52 under Obama. It’s averaging 58.8 under Trump.”

This segues nicely into Gallup polling regarding Americans’ confidence. Gallup reports that “Americans’ optimism about their personal finances has climbed to levels not seen in more than 16 years, with 69% now saying they expect to be financially better off ‘at this time next year.’” This percentage is bested only by the 71% registered in March 1998. Moreover, “Fifty percent say they are better off today than they were a year ago.”

Clearly, the Trump economy isn’t limp like it was under Obama. And that’s due to a combination of heavy deregulation, impressive job creation, and tax reform. Amazingly, Democrats are trying to spin all of these — but especially tax reform — as detrimental. Presidential candidate Kamala Harris even asserted, “The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”

Fortunately, most Americans are rejecting this snake oil because they understand more take-home pay as a result of less tax withholding means a lesser refund come tax filing. And their quality of life and optimism are the better for it.

SOURCE  

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Hey, Democrats, I've lived in a socialist country with income 'equality' and it was miserable

Maria Elvira Salazar, daughter of Cuban political refugees, warns Democrats 'drank the Kool Aid' on socialism. Former Republican House candidate Maria Elvira Salazar says Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have no idea what they are advocating for.

The Democratic Party’s lurch to socialism led to a presidential rebuke at the State of the Union on Tuesday night. From Sen. Bernie Sanders’s call for “Medicare-for-all,” to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a “Green New Deal,” to Democratic presidential hopefuls’ hankering for stiff tax hikes, prominent members of the Democratic Party seem unwilling to miss any opportunity to advocate for greater government control of the economy.

Yet as Democrats justify grandiose proposals by decrying income inequality, many of us who immigrated to the United States from socialist countries see great irony. After all, unending income equality is what drove us to leave our native lands in the first place.

My family left post-Mao Communist China in the mid-1980s precisely because there was so much equality to go around. As a child, I lived in Guangzhou, the third largest city in China. Everyone in my city was equal in having no running hot water, no modern toilet facilities, no refrigerator, no washer, no dryer, and no color television.

Imagine a world without Whole Foods, Safeway and Walmart, or the plethora of products stocked on their shelves. Imagine no Vitamin Water, no Gatorade, no Starbucks, no Panera Bread, no candy bars and no sea salt potato chips. Now imagine instead being allotted food stamps from the government, indicating how much your family can eat.

There was abundant equality in the dearth of economic opportunities as well. The state told us where to live, where to work, what to buy, and for how much. Worse yet, my fellow citizens who lived in the countryside were even more impoverished.

When the state runs the economy and its citizens’ lives, there will be plenty of equality in scarcity, poverty and hopelessness.

After decades of totalitarian rule and grand socialist experiments, China had a meager per capita GDP of less than $200 in 1980. By comparison, America’s was $12,500 that year.

Around that time, China decided enough misery was enough. It embarked on historic economic reforms and opened up the country to the world. Liberalization introduced market prices, allowed for the return to household farming from collectivization, created Special Economic Zones in coastal areas that attracted foreign investment and promoted exports, exposed state-owned factory production to profit incentives, and opened up the market to private firms and entities.

As China began to dismantle bits and pieces of its command economy, Chinese citizens came face to face with the liberating effects of what the market made possible. There were many firsts.

For the first time, we could buy goods on the open market rather than using food stamps. For the first time, we could open up businesses instead of being confined to lifetime, government-assigned employment.

For the first time, we could have possessions that we had not seen before – clothing that was not gray and drab, electronics that exposed us to brand new images and music, goods that we coveted without even knowing it.

In the end, even Communist China did not want the kind of economic equality that existed during my childhood. Hence, the country opened up its economy, implemented bold reforms, and adopted capitalism, even though it retained many communist characteristics.

Over the past 40 years, China became the second largest economy in the world.

However, don’t for a minute forget the lesson that still applies: When the state runs the economy and its citizens’ lives, there will be plenty of equality in scarcity, poverty and hopelessness.

Today, this is a lesson that prominent Democrats seem eager to forget. Less than 30 years after the former Soviet Union collapsed and the United States emerged victorious from the Cold War, Americans increasingly find it necessary to debate the shortcomings and evils of socialism all over again.

It was left up to President Trump to declare on Tuesday night: “Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence – and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

It is crazy that the leader of the free world had to state this. It is crazier still that he will have to deliver an even more robust defense of democratic capitalism in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election. Hopefully, the Democrats’ vision of economic equality will not prevail.

SOURCE  

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

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

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15 February, 2019

Imagine no freedom, it's easy if you try

Everyone is talking about the Green New Deal, and how it would end domestic airline travel, the internal combustion engine, fossil fuel usage, most electricity generation and even ban cow flatulence.

You have groups guessing what the cost of the Green New Deal would be in terms of dollars on an annual basis coming up with figures in the trillions of dollars.

To everyone seeking to normalize this Green New Deal, please just shut up.

The Green New Deal is the baring of teeth by the new American communist.  A new breed unleashed that we have seen to the streets attacking people attending Trump rallies, screaming at teenagers wearing Make America Great Again hats, shouting down and rioting against conservative speakers on college campuses.

Here is the truth.  Socialism and communism are evil.

Putting a shroud of legitimacy and normalcy to the destruction of the American ideal is being a Menshevik in a Bolshevik Revolution, you cannot moderate the blood lust of those who seek to enslave you by trying to come up with common ground or discuss alternatives to meet their needs.  The revolution demands immediate payment.

So, let's stop talking about the symptoms which the New Green Deal represents and actually begin to dissect the disease that is collectivism.

First definitionally the only difference between socialism and communism is if you voluntarily surrender your freedom and wealth or have it confiscated.  Either alternative ultimately comes from the coercive power of the gun and are based upon the premise that those who have attained wealth used ill-gotten means to get it.  As a result, they have no moral authority to keep it from those from whom it presumably was stolen.

In socialism and communism, individual rights are not derived from God and guaranteed by the Constitution, instead everything you have and can expect comes from the good will of the government. It is no mistake that John Lennon's socialist anthem, "Imagine" starts with the following words:

"Imagine there's no heaven,
"It's easy if you try.
"No hell below us,
"Above us, only sky.
"Imagine all the people living for today."

In order to achieve a kingdom ruled by man unfettered by morality or rules, you have to nix a sovereign God from the equation.  If there is no God, then all rights are nothing more than those that the government chooses to allow you to have, and the only protections that exist are those which they grant.  The only question is who gets to be the one holding the keys over everyone else's life.

For the other "Imagine" songwriter, Yoko Ono, the dream continues as a lyrical assault on nations, religion, and possessions ending with the following two verses:

"Imagine no possessions,
"I wonder if you can.
"No need for greed or hunger,
"A brotherhood of man.

"Imagine all the people,
"Sharing all the world."

"You may say that I'm a dreamer,
"But I'm not the only one.
"I hope someday you'll join us,
"And the world will live as one."

It makes one wonder if Ono has given up 100 percent of her songwriter royalties to the song to the government as a show of solidarity for the dream.

And here is what they don't say, in order for the world to "live as one" with no possessions, someone is going to have to take all the stuff and hold it collectively for the common good.

In order for there to be stuff to take and most importantly eat in the future, someone is going to have to do the hard work to produce it.  Someone is going to have to figure out how to produce it, and someone is going to have to get it from where it is produced to where the brotherhood is living.  And then someone is going to have to distribute it being certain that everyone gets the same amount of gruel.

Socialism and communism are a recipe for scarcity as those who choose to not work are entitled to the same rewards as those who choose to work.  Soon, the numbers of those inspired to bust their backs plowing a field are few and far between and the state has to compel people to do necessary tasks all for the good of the common man. The result is effectively slavery, where the worker receives nothing more than the roof over their head, the clothing on their back and enough food to fuel his or her next day's work.

Medical, architecture and engineering schools are empty as those who would have been STEM professionals choose less rigorous pursuits or no pursuit at all.  Medicines become scarce because there is no one to invent or manufacture them because there is no reward for finding the disease curing needle in the haystack.

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but to me socialism and communism are a nightmare of hopeless poverty as the masses serve their overseers under threat of the whip or worse.

When contrasted with the overwhelming wealth that capitalism has spread throughout the world. The rebellion here in America is particularly ironic as anyone who wishes to have a job can find one.  A place where politics is accessible and a seat in Congress can even be won by a bartender with social media savvy. A place where energy is abundant, inflation is low, wages are up and renewed hope is stirring.

The collectivists will never understand that capitalism works because it isn't driven by macro-decisions from Washington, D.C. as much as it is by a series of millions of individual decisions in the market place. When politicians take their thumbs off the scales, those individual decisions are likely to be rational ones based upon the needs of each person, and this leads to an overall market place that picks winners and losers based upon merit as opposed to political favor.

Ultimately, capitalism is the individuals freedom of choice to not only buy pizza or a hamburger, but a choice of dozen or more different competing pizzas.  Each pizza maker vying for customers based upon a balance of price, convenience, quality, taste and sales panache.

And in the end, not everyone has to eat pepperoni, but instead there are choices upon choices.  These choices are not because someone in government demanded pizza choice, but instead because the market demanded it.

Over the months ahead, Americans for Limited Government will be exploring the subject of why capitalism works, and why individual rights matter in order to help meet the challenges of the 21st century.  I hope that you will join us on this exploration as we seek to educate those who are na‹ve to the evils of socialism and communism. Imagine the counter-cultural revolution that the truth can unleash.

SOURCE  

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Walls Work: 9th Circuit Court Sides With Trump On San Diego Border Wall

President Trump on Monday notched a rare victory in the California-based federal appeals court by winning a dispute over the construction of certain barriers along small stretches of the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Hill reports,

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that sided with the Trump administration in a lawsuit challenging its authority to waive environmental and public participation laws to expedite the border construction projects.

A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has broad authority under the Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to construct wall “prototypes,” replace 14 miles of primary fencing near San Diego and replace similar fencing along a three-mile strip close to Calexico, Calif.

A coalition of environmental groups, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged the authority of DHS to waive dozens of laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, to make it easier to build the border infrastructure. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) also filed suit.

Steven Stafford, a Justice Department spokesman, said Monday that Congress has given the executive branch significant authority to build physical barriers on the U.S. border.

“Today the court has affirmed that authority, and that is a victory for the Trump administration, for the rule of law, and above all, for our border security,” he said in a statement to The Hill.

The appeals court decision narrows the path for environmental groups to launch legal challenges to Trump’s high-profile push for expanding border barriers, including his campaign promise to build a wall along much of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Congress has ceded its authority to Trump, who has swept aside fundamental public safety and environmental laws to build walls that won’t work,” Brian Segee, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney, said after Monday’s ruling. “This lawlessness is destroying irreplaceable ecosystems and militarizing communities.”

The Supreme Court in December declined to hear the groups’ attempt to bring the case directly to the high court after losing initially in the district court. The groups warned the justices that the environmental impact of the projects authorized by the waivers would be substantial.

“The border walls are within, or in close proximity to, the habitats of rare animal and plant species including the burrowing owl, Quino checkerspot butterfly, Tecate cypress, snowy plover, two species of fairy shrimp, and the Otay Mesa mint,” they said in their petition to the Supreme Court.

A similar coalition is challenging a related legal waiver for border barriers in Texas. The proposed structures would cut through various protected areas, including the National Butterfly Center.

Environmentalists have argued that border barriers are disastrous for ecosystems and wildlife since they disrupt habitats, breeding grounds and migration paths.

SOURCE  

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Walls along four Customs and Border Protection sectors—El Paso; San Diego, California; and Tucson and Yuma, Arizona—have reduced illegal immigration “by at least 90 percent.”

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.” That pithy observation is attributed to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served in the Senate from 1977 to 2001. The final two years of Moynihan’s stint in the Senate overlapped the first two years of that of his fellow New York Democrat, Sen. Charles Schumer.

President Donald Trump, at a rally set for Monday night on the border in El Paso, Texas, should remind Schumer of Moynihan’s maxim in their fight over the need for more walls and fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border to help stem the flood tide of illegal immigration.

Schumer and his House counterpart, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are entitled to their opinions about Trump’s proposed border wall, but they aren’t entitled to their own facts.

In their rebuttal to the president’s Jan. 9 nationally televised address outlining the need for a border barrier and his request for $5.7 billion in funding for them, both described the proposed wall as “ineffective”—Pelosi once and Schumer twice.

In her rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams didn’t echo Schumer and Pelosi’s “ineffective” claim, but she advanced an argument that was equally fallacious.

“America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls,” Abrams said, disingenuously omitting the key adjective in this debate, “illegal.”

Insisting that walls are “ineffective” over and over again doesn’t make it true. The facts on the ground—both in the U.S. and around the world—not only don’t support that opinion, they decisively refute it.

Walls along four Customs and Border Protection sectors—El Paso; San Diego, California; and Tucson and Yuma, Arizona—have reduced illegal immigration “by at least 90 percent,” according to the Republican National Committee’s Borderfacts.com page.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner recently cited figures from the Center for Immigration Studies showing that before construction of border barriers in Yuma, the Border Patrol apprehended 138,438 illegal immigrants in 2005, compared with 26,244 last year. While not 90 percent, that’s still a dramatic drop.

The comparable before-and-after figures for the San Diego sector, according to the Border Patrol, were more than 565,581 in 1992 and 26,086 in 2017—a 95 percent reduction.

Meanwhile, USA Today reported last May that “[s]ince the start of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, at least 800 miles of fences have been erected by Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Slovenia, and others.”

Do Schumer and Pelosi know something all these other countries don’t? Not according to Hungary, which said that fencing on its border with Serbia helped reduce illegal immigration by nearly 100 percent since 2015, according to the USA Today report.

Israel’s fencing along its borders with the Gaza Strip and West Bank, as well as with Egypt and Jordan, has likewise all but eliminated illegal immigration and terrorist attacks. (The Jewish state announced Feb. 3 that it was beginning construction of an additional 40 miles of 20-foot-high, state-of-the-art fencing.)

“Walls should not be controversial,” Trump said Jan. 25, when he called Pelosi’s bluff and agreed to reopen the government for three weeks so bipartisan negotiations on border security could proceed. “Every Border Patrol agent I’ve talked to has told me that walls work. It’s just common sense.”

But for Schumer and Pelosi, a crass political calculus trumps (pun intended) common sense.

Their only real reason now for opposing a wall that both previously supported—and with far more funding for it then than what’s on the table today—is to deny the president a win on border security.

“We’ve seen that walls can and will be tunneled under, cut through, or scaled,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar, another California Democrat, echoing the Pelosi-Schumer line, referring to walls as “archaic solutions” to a “modern problem.”

But as one of Trump’s presidential predecessors, John Adams, observed, “Facts are stubborn things,” and Aguilar isn’t entitled to his own facts, either, because in the absence of a wall, it isn’t necessary for illegal immigrants to tunnel under or scale it.

More walls and fences of the sort Trump envisions would discourage many would-be illegal immigrants—especially women and children, who would be unable to scale them—from even attempting to migrate here from Central America in the first place.

At a bare minimum, walls significantly slow down would-be illegal immigrants who attempt to climb over or tunnel under them, making it much easier for the Border Patrol to catch them than if there were no such obstacles.

The concept of the path of least resistance suggests that additional walls would funnel would-be border crossers to areas where there are none. The need for fewer Border Patrol agents in walled areas would then enable the agents to be redeployed to where they are more urgently needed.

“Our Border Patrol tells us they need physical barriers to help them do their job … strategically placed where traffic is highest,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

That’s a keen grasp of what should by now be obvious, but even if Schumer and Pelosi don’t want to believe Trump that walls are effective, they should heed the Border Patrol agents who are the boots on the ground.

Those agents know better than either Schumer or Pelosi what works and what’s needed for them to do their jobs, and they have said repeatedly that walls are a must.

Even the head of the Border Patrol during the Obama administration has said that walls “absolutely work.”

“I cannot think of a legitimate argument why anyone would not support the wall as part of a multilayered border security issue,” Mark Morgan said on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel program on Jan. 7.

“Why aren’t we listening to the experts and the people who do it every day?” he asked. “I don’t understand that.”

The president should have had a group of uniformed Border Patrol agents as his guests in the House gallery during Tuesday night’s address.

He could have turned around to Pelosi, sitting behind him, and pointed them out when he said of the wall: “It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down.”

It really is no more complicated than that.

SOURCE  

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

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

**************************






14 February, 2019

Your gummed-up arteries won't kill you

Which is pretty surprising.  The study was a limited one but the fact that hardened arteries are not necessarily fatal is certainly interesting.  The study was  an exporation of the fact that exercise fanatics do themselves harm in some ways. One of the ways is that they get hardening of the arteries.  So did those damaged arteries kill them?  Not in this study they didn't.  So if you do have hardening of the arteries you may now be able to sleep a bit better at night

Association of All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality With High Levels of Physical Activity and Concurrent Coronary Artery Calcification

Laura F. DeFina et al.

Question  Is the presence of high levels of coronary artery calcification in the setting of very high levels of physical activity, for example, as typically practiced by masters marathon runners, associated with increased mortality?

Abstract

Importance:  Few data are available to guide clinical recommendations for individuals with high levels of physical activity in the presence of clinically significant coronary artery calcification (CAC).

Objective:  To assess the association among high levels of physical activity, prevalent CAC, and subsequent mortality risk.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  The Cooper Center Longitudinal Study is a prospective observational study of patients from the Cooper Clinic, a preventive medicine facility. The present study included participants seen from January 13, 1998, through December 30, 2013, with mortality follow-up through December 31, 2014. A total of 21?758 generally healthy men without prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) were included if they reported their physical activity level and underwent CAC scanning. Data were analyzed from September 26, 2017, through May 2, 2018.

Exposures:  Self-reported physical activity was categorized into at least 3000 (n?=?1561), 1500 to 2999 (n?=?3750), and less than 1500 (n?=?16 447) metabolic equivalent of task (MET)-minutes/week (min/wk). The CAC scores were categorized into at least 100 (n?=?5314) and less than 100 (n?=?16 444) Agatston units (AU).

Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause and CVD mortality collected from the National Death Index Plus.

Results:  Among the 21 758 male participants, baseline mean (SD) age was 51.7?(8.4) years. Men with at least 3000 MET-min/wk were more likely to have prevalent CAC of at least 100 AU (relative risk, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.03-1.20) compared with those accumulating less physical activity. In the group with physical activity of at least 3000 MET-min/wk and CAC of at least 100 AU, mean (SD) CAC level was 807 (1120) AU. After a mean (SD) follow-up of 10.4 (4.3) years, 759 all-cause and 180 CVD deaths occurred, including 40 all-cause and 10 CVD deaths among those with physical activity of at least 3000 MET-min/wk. Men with CAC of less than 100 AU and physical activity of at least 3000 MET-min/wk were about half as likely to die compared with men with less than 1500 MET-min/wk (hazard ratio [HR], 0.52; 95% CI, 0.29-0.91). In the group with CAC of at least 100 AU, men with at least 3000 MET-min/wk did not have a significant increase in all-cause mortality (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.52-1.15) when compared with men with physical activity of less than 1500 MET-min/wk. In the least active men, those with CAC of at least 100 AU were twice as likely to die of CVD compared with those with CAC of less than 100 AU (HR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.34-2.78).

Conclusions and Relevance:  This study suggests there is evidence that high levels of physical activity (?3000 MET-min/wk) are associated with prevalent CAC but are not associated with increased all-cause or CVD mortality after a decade of follow-up, even in the presence of clinically significant CAC levels.

SOURCE  

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Dems reacted to Trump's economic achievements with stone faces and eye rolls - Will they ever grow up?

I've never seen a group of Washington lawmakers visibly upset to hear that America is back at work. But Tuesday night, I watched in genuine confusion and disappointment as Democrats scowled, eye-rolled, head-shook, and grumbled at President Trump's economic remarks during the State of the Union address.

Particularly striking were the dozens of Democratic women newly-elected to the House and Senate, donning white outfits to "unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century." So-called progressives love a good symbolic gesture.

President Trump took a big victory lap on the economy, and it was well-deserved. Since Trump took office, more than 5 million jobs have been created, including 600,000 manufacturing jobs. There were 304,000 new jobs created in January 2019 alone. Unemployment is at the lowest rate in almost half a century.

These numbers were met by Democrats with stone faces and eye rolls.

President Trump's pro-growth policies have raised the standard of living for real people and families. Nearly 5 million Americans have left the food stamp program since President Trump took office, with African-American and Hispanic-American poverty rates reaching record lows in 2017 at 21.2 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively.

This year's State of the Union address presented House Democrats with a choice. They can come to the table and govern like grown-ups, or they can continue to divide and destroy. They can root for Donald Trump to lose, or they can root for the American economy to win.

This progress was met by Democrats with side comments and head shakes.

There are plenty of other economic victories worth bragging about in President Trump's first term. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 3 percent over the last four quarters and began the year at 3.4 percent. For the first time in 65 years, the U.S. has become a net exporter of energy.

The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" will save American households an average of $1,200 per year on their taxes. Businesses across the country will benefit from Trump eliminating 22 regulations for every new one created in 2017, and 12 regulations for every new one created in 2018.

If the economic victories of the last two years were accomplished by President Obama, without a doubt, these Democratic eye rolls would have been applause lines, and likely standing ovations.

This year's State of the Union address presented House Democrats with a choice. They can come to the table and govern like grown-ups, or they can continue to divide and destroy. They can root for Donald Trump to lose, or they can root for the American economy to win.

President Trump finally broke the ice with the "Women in White" when he mentioned there are more women in the workforce and serving in Congress than ever before.

Apparently, the only jobs the rising generation of Democrats believe are worth applauding for are their own.

SOURCE  

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Democrats continue pushing huge voting `reform' bill. Chip Roy says it reeks of swamp

Fortunately it is just another reality-deprived Leftist fantasy.  How do they think they will get it pass the Republican Senate, let alone Presidemt Trump?

House Democrats continued pushing their far-reaching voting reform bill during an Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Wednesday while Republican committee members said the legislation would only perpetuate the Washington, D.C., swamp.

The nearly 600-page "For The People Act," also known as House Resolution 1, contains numerous proposals including restoring voting rights to convicted felons who have completed their prison sentences, same-day voter registration and a public matching system for small-donor campaign contributions.

"One question that I would be asking as we look into all this is why are we so divided as a nation? I would suggest to you in significant part it is because we try to govern from Washington 320 to 330 million people with solutions here from the swamp, in direct contradiction to the very republic our founders gave us," Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy said during the hearing Wednesday.

"Now we want to extend into every aspect of every issue of voting, issues that are supposed to be left to the states, so that the people in the states can decide who they want to send to Washington," Roy continued. "We would undermine the very structure and the core of this government further if we pursue this path down HR1."

HR1 was introduced on Jan. 3, and two committees have held hearings on it already, with another hearing by a House Ways and Means subcommittee set for Thursday. It's not expected to pass the House until February is over.

HR1 likely won't get much further than that. The Senate is not expected to look at the bill at all because Republicans consider it a "power grab," in the words of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reported Roll Call.

HR1 was introduced by Democratic Maryland Rep. John Sarbanes, who has said it will "strengthen our democracy and return political power to the people by making it easier, not harder, to vote, ending the dominance of big money in our politics and ensuring that public officials actually serve the public."

Republican Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the committee's ranking member, questioned Democrats' motive in drafting the bill during Wednesday's hearing.

"There's much that can be done to improve the functioning of transparency and effectiveness in the federal government," he said. "However, this 571-page bill reads more like a wish list for the Democratic Party than an honest attempt at reform. I fear this legislation is a sign our friends in the majority want to play games, engage in political theater to start this Congress, rather than use this time to work constructively to find solutions for hardworking Americans that sent us here."

HR1 could take reforms that some states have implemented and make them nationwide, and that's what concerned the Republicans at the hearing. For example, Florida voters restored voting rights to nearly 1.5 million convicted felons in a referendum in November.

SOURCE  

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Fact-Checking the Leftmedia

Media outlets already don't separate news from opinion, and "fact-checkers" are the worst offenders.

One of the primary responsibilities of the news media in our republic is to keep elected officials honest - to investigate and expose malfeasance and corruption and shine the light of truth on those who would abuse their power and betray the public trust. To carry out this charge, though, journalists need to be nonpartisan and dispassionate of everything except the welfare of the citizenry. They also need to be informed, curious, and willing to go the extra mile for the truth.

Our modern news media has failed spectacularly in this regard.

There is debate about why the media today is one of the most distrusted establishments in America. Some blame the corporatization of the news media. Others fault academia for churning out brainwashed leftist mouthpieces disguised as journalists. Everyone seems to blame social media to some degree.

Whatever the cause, and all the above reasons surely play some role, today's news media has proven itself to be out of synch with the needs of the American public and totally incapable of doing the job the public expects. To be sure, there are some individual reporters and some news outlets that are doing good, or at least better, journalistic work. Unfortunately, these are too few and far between to save the downward spiral of American journalism as an institution.

The liberal bent of the news media was an open secret for decades, becoming more pronounced in the 1990s when acolytes of Bill and Hillary Clinton repeatedly turned a blind eye to his sexual indiscretions and their downright illegal dealings. The sheer leftward tilt of the media grew worse, to the point that Barack Obama was treated like a leftist messiah in the news while his "scandal free" administration committed untold numerous unconstitutional actions.

Now that Donald Trump is president, the news media has completely, and in some cases admittedly, jettisoned any pretense of impartiality. Over the last 15 years, we've seen the rise of "fact-checkers," stand-alone websites or bureaus within existing news outlets that "check" statements made by public figures for falsehoods. They've gone into hyperdrive with Trump.

But these fact-checking sites are a complete fraud. Many of those that claim to be independent are backed by Leftmedia organizations, and for some reason, rarely seem to get around to fact-checking statements made by Democrats. When they do, Democrats mysteriously rank higher with the truth in their view. Gee, who'd have thunk it?

Rest assured that Trump's State of the Union Address was given the full "fact-check" treatment. The problem that the Leftmedia had to get around was that Trump gave a good speech that was well received by the overwhelming majority of the public. It was also relatively free of Trump's typical hyperbole and misleading details. Media propagandists had to find new ways to bend the outcome to their will.

Trump was attacked by Politico for claiming that one in three women, or 33%, are sexually assaulted while trying to come to the U.S. illegally. The actual figure was 31%. The New York Times claimed that Trump's statement that illegal border crossings presented an urgent national crisis was false because illegal border crossings have decreased. This basically means that because the Times does not agree with Trump's assessment of the situation, then he is "wrong." NPR also went out of its way to state that Trump's praise of the high number of women in Congress was thanks to Democrats, not Trump or the Republicans. Trump never took credit for the fact; NPR just wanted to make sure that the public was aware of it.

The media's long and twisted lists of fact-checks of Trump's speech did not sway public opinion. That's supposed to be the job of opinion columnists, not reporters. But with major newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post, it's virtually impossible these days to tell what's an op-ed and what's supposed to be news.

Today's news media doesn't much care about that, though. Outlets are so eager to print stories that demean Trump and anyone who supports him that they will publish anything. Corroborating facts, confirming statements, and using reliable sources are techniques for squares in today's world. The media repeatedly pushes stories with great fanfare that soon die quiet deaths because they were nothingburgers that didn't hold up to greater scrutiny.

Michael Cohen's lie to Congress about a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow? Nope. That man who was stalking Stormy Daniels? Zilch. All those women that Brett Kavanaugh supposedly assaulted in college? Nada.

But the headlines took hold in the public consciousness, even if they had to later be retracted. Well, retraction and correction is another journalistic tool that went the way of the typewriter. Nowadays, the media just stops talking about screw ups and hopes that they go away.

Fortunately, things might be changing. Parents of the unjustly maligned Covington students are preparing a major lawsuit against media outlets and celebrities who made horrible accusations against Nicholas Sandmann and his fellow classmates. The parents are also accusing Google and Facebook of playing a role in the defamation of their children.

Social-media outlets have tried to steer clear of being considered news organizations, claiming that they merely share information from point to point. While they sure don't mind censoring that information to make sure only leftist points of view get good play, they don't want to be legally responsible for the content they spread. So far, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other platforms have been able to have it both ways.

The media claims repeatedly that it's under attack by Trump, but the trouble started long before he entered the Oval Office. Things started going downhill when news outlets stopped caring about the truth and started focusing on results - the chief result being supporting the leftist agenda. Any dangers that the media faces today are of its own making.

SOURCE  

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FUN QUOTE

Wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way. The only difference is that there is no cat.

_ Albert Einstein (explaining radio)

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

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

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13 February, 2019

Does the "Far Right" exist?

The so-called "Far Right" have Leftist beliefs

A video has just gone up in which I talk about the nature of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism was my major topic of study during my academic career.  I was at one stage in the video asked about the extreme Right and The answer that I gave is that it doesn't exist.  I thought I should explain that surprising statement more.

The Left are certain sure that the extreme Right exists.  If you listen to them, you would conclude that the Left is surrounded by Far Rightists. Just about everyone who disgrees with them is either of the "Far Right" or is a "White supremacist". 

When I was first called a white supremacist many years ago, I was simply puzzled by that.  I had said nothing that expressed any belief in white supremacy so why was I being called that? I eventually realized, however, that it was simply a form of abuse with no real meaning -- a bit like SoB. 

I in fact am and have long been a Northeast Asian supremacist.  I am a psychometrician so know the evidence that the people of N.E. Asia (China, Korea, Japan) are on average about half a standard deviation (which is a lot) smarter than people of European ancestry.  And given the very wide range of effects that IQ has, the N.E. Asians will by the end of this century be supreme in lots of ways.  China is within sight of that already.

But Leftism comes in various flavours with some being clearly more extreme than others so why is that not also true of conservatives?  But can you be extreme about not doing things?  How can not doing things be extreme? That seems almost self-contradictory. But there is one way conservatives can be and are extreme. You can be extreme about governments not doing things.  And that is libertarianism -- rejection of just about everything that governments do. They think that all governments should do only a tiny fraction of what they currently do. So insofar as conservatives are ever extreme they are libertarians, which is the diametric opposite of authoritarianism.

The most loved and most influential conservative leader of the 20th century knew what conservatism was about, of course. He said: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism..... The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom". And if Ronald Reagan did not know what conservatism was all about, who would?

When the Left use the term "Far Right", they are implicitly accepting the great lie that Nazism was in some sense Rightist, despite the fact that the Nazis called themselves socialists.  That big lie has in fact been the most durable bit of disinformation to come out of Sovetskaya Rossiya.  And is has been durable because postwar Leftists worldwide seized on it with gladsome hearts. So, to Leftists, "Far Right" means Nazi-like or at least racist.  And almost any mention of race or a natural community will get you called "Far Right".

So the 2017 events in Charlottesville, Virginia, gave a lot of Leftists erections:  There at last were some self-declared Rightists displaying KKK and Nazi symbols. But the KKK and the Nazis of history were Leftists so the extremists among the Charlotteville demonstrators were Leftists!  They were not Leftists in the modern sense but their views had their origin on the Left. 

Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian.  As Mr Obama said to great cheers from his supporters, Leftists aim to "fundamentally transform" the society they live in.  But the rationales Leftists  use to justify their authoritarianism change over time. So the authoritarian nature of the KKK and the Nazis was part and parcel of their Leftism.  And the authoritarianism of all forms of Leftism is what conservatives oppose.

So why was the Charlottesville rally arranged under the banner of "Unite the Right"?  Before I address that, howeever, I think we initially need to make clear who was at that rally. 

The great majority were Southerners who objected to the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, the great Southern hero who did NOT own slaves.  The Southerners were there in memory of their struggle for independence against Yankee Fascism. And they could have remembered with some bitterness the treatment the South got even after the war during "Reconstruction" -- which was very authoritarian and corrupt. There were however a quite small number of KKK and neo-Nazi supporters also among the Southerners  and the media did their best to keep their cameras focused on them. So why did those few old fashioned Leftists regard themselves as Rightists?

I will now make a small detour to explain that.  I am an instinctive libertarian so in the 60s I was already interested in what later became the main focus of my psychological research:  Authoritarianism.  So I made a point of getting to know actual Communists and Nazis.  My findings about Nazism were sufficiently interesting to gain publication in Jewish journals.  See here  and here.  So I actually know both sides of the Charlottesville confrontation rather well.  The guys I got to know were from a different time and place but the events of Charlottesville seemed very familiar to me.  And the neo-Nazi guys I knew called themselves "The Right" too.

So why did they do that?  Modern-day Leftists oppose all forms of racial and group discussion but "The Right" did NOT see any discussions about groups or races as impermissible. They in fact thought it was obvious that there are important racial differences. They were antisemitic but that also put them at odds with today's official Leftism. So they concluded that they, as opponents of Leftism, must be Rightists.

But they were not.  I pointed out to them on a few occasions that Hitler described himself as a socialist so what did they make of that?  They said that he was saying we should all pull together to get things done -- which is indeed what Leftists from Hitler and Mussolini to Hillary Clinton have also said.  Clinton ran for President in the last election under the slogan "Stronger Together".  She even wrote a book under that title. Leftists want everyone to jump when they say jump.  And the whole point of the Roman Fasces was again strength in unity.  So the neo-Nazis really were Leftists but didn't know it. 

That may seem absurd but the entire American Left seems absurd at the moment so there is ample room for confusion about what Leftists stand for.  What they stand for can change very rapidly.  Senator Obama opposed homosexual marriage rather eloquently but President Obama endorsed it.  Was he any less Leftist for that? Leftism can be very changeable.  What it is today can be very different tomorrow.  They all want to change the society they live in but that is the only uniformity.

And Hitler's form of Leftism -- eugenics etc -- was widely shared by Leftists throughout the world in the 1930s -- and by the American Left in particular.  Hitler in fact got some of his ideas from American eugenicists.  See here and here and here

And the Nazi belief that there are were some significant racial differences has once again emerged among modern Leftists.  The Nazis and their ilk were heavily focused on whites and so are modern Leftists.  There is much talk of white evil and white privilege -- and dead white males have to be erased from memory of course. It's as racist as can be but the modern Left has become totally suffused with hate so as long as you are doing a good job of hating you are pretty much OK.  Conservatives are generally not interested in race.  They just wish the Left would shut up talking about it.  Leftists are obsessed with group identity.  Conservatives are not.

And antisemitism is once again rife on the Left -- usually under the shallow pretence of Anti-Zionism but sometimes rather openly among the British Left. Leftists have been antisemitic ever since Karl Marx, who despised Jews even though he was one. Being antisemitic is no bar to "The Right" being in fact Leftist.

So the neo-Nazis are just behind the times.  They are old-fashioned Leftists, not modern Leftists.  "The Right" or "Far Right" as Leftists conceive it does not exist. All conservatives and all extreme conservatives are diametrically opposed to authoritarianism/Leftism both old and new.

I say more about neo-Nazis here and here -- JR

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Trump's approval rating among likely voters soars to his best in 23 MONTHS at 52 per cent after State of the Union address

Donald Trump's job approval rating among likely U.S. voters hit 52 per cent on Monday in a daily tracking poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, the polling organization he uses most frequently to promote himself.

That number is his highest since March 6, 2017, less than seven weeks after he took office. It has been even longer since Trump's 'strongly approve' and 'strongly disapprove' numbers weren't under water. They were even at 39 per cent on Monday.

Overall, 47 per cent of likely voters disapprove of Trump's Oval Office performance. That's a low water mark since November 2, 2018.

Monday's numbers came from surveys conducted during the three weekdays following the president's State of the Union address.  It's not unusual for presidents to get a polling 'bump' after the high-profile annual address.

Trump could use the groundswell now more than ever: A Friday deadline looms for the White House and congressional Democrats to hash out a budget deal to avoid a second government shutdown.

Asked what Monday's numbers mean, a senior Democratic House aide confided on background: 'I don't know yet if it's horrible, but it sure isn't good.'

The White House, however, seemed pleased. Trump himself tweeted an image of this story at the top of The Drudge Report, an influential news aggregation website.

SOURCE  

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Government (-driven) shutdowns have human consequences

Too many government regulators burden and shut down private sector businesses and jobs

Paul Driessen

Many observers praised President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union speech. Some said it was his best ever and even as one of the best SOTU speeches in history. It celebrated the nation’s progress, extolled its opportunities and sought bipartisan unity. A CBS poll found that 30% of Democrats, 82% of Independents and 97% of Republicans gave the speech positive reviews.

As has become customary, the President invited several guests to join him in the House gallery, including two elderly Jews: Herman Zeitchik, who landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944, and Joshua Kaufman, whom Corporal Zeitchik helped liberate from the Dachau concentration camp in April 1945.

Members of Congress also invited guests. Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), invited an Environmental Protection Agency scientist who had been featured in a local newspaper article about Virginia leaders and organizations that tried to help federal workers during the recent shutdown.

Families like this “are committed to public service and just want to serve their country. They shouldn’t be held hostage by the President during a government shutdown,” Mr. Connolly said. “We all recognize the importance of border security, but I’m disappointed to see the suffering of federal employees and their families being used for political gain,” the EPA employee added.

These are understandable sentiments. Government shutdowns certainly have human consequences.

However, even though Mr. Trump “took ownership” of the recent 35-day federal shutdown, to suggest that intransigent Democrats had no responsibility for it or the consequences is disingenuous to the core. So is any suggestion that Dems and fed workers weren’t using the suffering for their own political gain.

In the same vein, community efforts to help federal workers and families were certainly commendable. But federal employees quickly receive back pay for their missed paychecks. Yet I saw no stories about similar efforts to assist families of outside contractors who were also laid off – or private sector businesses and employees affected during the shutdown – none of whom will ever get any back pay.

Moreover, Team Trump took many steps to minimize fallout from the shutdown. By contrast, many Obama agencies did all they could to maximize the fallout, pain and economic dislocations during the 16-day 2013 government shutdown. To cite just one of many examples, the Obama National Park Service closed its access road to Virginia’s privately owned Claude Moore Colonial Farm Park amid the farm’s normally busiest month, costing it tens of thousands in revenues and leaving employees to suffer.

Many citizens also take issue with assertions that federal employees are committed to public service. Our military men and women and their families certainly are. They leave their families behind for months on end, repeatedly put their lives on the line, and too often die or return with life-altering injuries.

By contrast, most other federal employees have comfortable, low-stress, high-pay jobs. Nearly 92,000 of them make more than the governor in states where they work, the watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com points out. Too many of them use their positions to devise, impose, enforce and justify heavy-handed policies and regulations that burden or even shut down private sector businesses, kill jobs, and hammer families and communities – to drive Deep State agendas, often for limited or no benefits.

Those government shutdowns and human consequences receive little “mainstream media” attention. They were especially egregious and far-reaching during the Obama years, and yet generated few or no efforts by VA-MD-DC area leaders and communities to help workers and families whose jobs were impacted or eliminated and lives upended by ill-conceived, incompetent or even deliberate Deep State actions.

Winnipeg, Canada’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy regularly quotes Lao Tzu, who said: “Govern a great nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it.” Sadly, urged onward by liberal activists and politicians, today’s U.S. government is cooking the American fish into inedible leather.

Candidate Obama promised to “bankrupt” coal mining and coal-fired electricity generating companies, and thus the families, businesses and communities that depended on them. His EPA made good on that promise, by issuing a pseudo-scientific finding that the plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide we exhale somehow “endangers” human health and the future of our planet – then using that finding and equally dubious particulate (soot) rules to justify regulations that eliminated numerous jobs. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton also promised to “put a lot of coal workers and coal companies out of business.”

Tens of thousands of jobs were eliminated in Kentucky, West Virginia and other coal-reliant states, because of the Obama EPA’s war on coal and a switch to natural gas that was driven by that war, abundant and inexpensive gas produced by fracking, and attacks on utility companies financed by Michael Bloomberg and others. Retraining programs helped a few Appalachian miners find new work raising bees and making candles, lip balm and other wax products, for much lower wages.

New “renewable” energy jobs were also created, though generally not in areas where coal jobs were lost. And the number of jobs required to generate expensive, intermittent electricity from wind and solar facilities – versus cheap, reliable power from coal and gas – is simply unsustainable. In fact, producing the same amount of electricity requires one coal worker, two natural gas workers … 12 wind industry employees or 79 solar workers. Major environmental impacts from wind and solar are also ignored.

These same Obama era policies and external factors combined to threaten the demise of the Kayenta Coal Mine and Navajo Generating Station in that impoverished, high-unemployment area. Some 750 people, mostly Native Americans, work there when the facilities are operating at full tilt. The tribe also receives lease rental payments, royalties and revenues from selling the electricity. The Navajo and Hopi tribes are now trying to keep the operations going on their own, because closure is “unacceptable.”

EPA officials were also in charge of the bungled operation that unleashed a toxic flashflood from Colorado’s Gold King Mine in 2015. EPA and its media allies quickly whitewashed the disaster.

In a dress rehearsal for Bob Mueller’s jackbooted arrest of Roger Stone, 30 heavily armed SWAT team agents from Homeland Security and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stormed into the Gibson Guitars factory in 2011, held employees at gunpoint, intimidated and interrogated them, hauled off $500,000 worth of wood and guitars – and warned the company not to touch any guitars that were left behind.

All that for the “crime” of allegedly not having proper paperwork for an exotic endangered wood. Both incidents involved more armed federal agents than were sent to take out Osama Bin Laden!

And who can forget the Russia/Ukraine-instigated FISA warrants? Or the IRS targeting, harassing, stonewalling and effectively silencing conservative political groups that might have made reelection slightly more difficult for President Obama and congressional Democrats?

Not surprisingly, not an iota of accountability was ever exacted on any perpetrators of any of these or multiple other “public service” misdeeds or abuses of power.

Far too often, it seems that federal government employees and their congressional, media and activist allies don’t really care very much about people who live beyond the boundaries of that 39,000-acre plat of land along the Potomac River. That’s what sets Donald Trump apart from Washington politicians, and why he was elected. Unfortunately, many state and local officials are guilty of similar offenses.

Too many government workers across the board seek to control virtually every aspect of our lives: from our energy, lives and living standards … to the cars we can drive and straws we can use with our beverages.

It’s nice that Gerry Connolly cares deeply about Deep State workers whose votes keep him in office. But it would be better if all elected officials and unelected government employees cared more about the American workers, families, businesses and communities that their policies, laws, regulations and enforcement actions too often affect so negatively, too often for so little benefit. Lao Tzu would agree.

Via email

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

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

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12 February, 2019

The Difference in How Socialism and Free Markets Work in the Real World

Sebastian Gorka

If the future of the nation were a function of logic, then conservatives would have a very easy job.

No debate would be needed, really. In the choice between the two competing models Judeo-Christian civilization has given us, with socialist arguments for “big government” on the one side and a market-oriented system that favors the freedoms of the individual over the powers of the state on the other, there would be no contest.

In fact, it would indeed be a formal “no contest,” as only one of the models has ever been realized in the real world in which we live.

Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman may have had impeccable credentials in terms of theory, but the whole point of their work is that it occurred within the reality of functioning free markets.

The Laffer Curve was never condemned to remain locked within an ivory tower, solely to be read on the pages of a peer-reviewed journal. The ideas of these philosophical and economic greats were deployed in real time, in the real world, by democratically elected statesmen and leaders such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

These ideas actually worked in practice. The same cannot be said of the theories of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, or Mao Zedong.

Since “The Communist Manifesto” and the later “Das Kapital” were published, nowhere on the planet has the system therein envisaged ever actually been implemented as designed.

Oh, yes, more than 40 countries as culturally diverse as the Soviet Union, Venezuela, and Vietnam have called themselves “socialist” states or said they were implementing the theories of Marx, Mao, and Lenin.

But not one of them ever achieved the vaunted goal of the “Workers’ Paradise.” Not one of these experiments ever resulted in the objective Marx declared for his theory in 1875: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

Not one.

Instead, wherever socialism was tried, from Moscow to Beijing, from Havana to Pyongyang, the world witnessed the same result: oppression of the masses, power and wealth for the party nomenklatura, and most often an eventual economic collapse. This was so even in the country of communism’s birth, the Soviet Union, which imploded on Christmas Day 1991 under the weight of Marxism’s inherent contradictions.

The Conservative Response

As a result, Marxism and socialism have just remained theories, while democracy and capitalism became unbelievably vibrant realities from Great Britain to Poland, from America to Japan, from Estonia to India.

These realities have taken poor countries such as Singapore and turned them, in the space of less than two generations, into international success stories that Marx, horrified as he was by the smokestacks and exploitation of the textile mills of the Industrial Age, could never have imagined.

So how should conservatives respond to the cries of the millennials who so desperately wanted Sen. Bernie Sanders to become the 45th president, and who tell us: “What about Scandinavia and the Nordic states? What about Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, what about the socialist states of Europe that provide equality and welfare?”

Well, yes, these states value the individual over the collective, and they do provide incredibly generous welfare nets. But this has nothing to do with “command economies” or one-party states.

In fact, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has had enough of this repeated calumny of the nations of Northern Europe. During a recent speech here in the United States, he said “some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism.”

But, Rasmussen said, “I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” He added that his country is “a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.”

 Sound familiar?

The truth is, the Nordic and Scandinavian nations have built incredibly equitable societies with provisions for the needy because of their decidedly unsocialist history, and thanks to the free market. All of them have histories as successful capitalist economies, often based on shared centuries of mercantilist competition, with Norway additionally being one of the world’s largest exporters of oil, allowing it to fund its generous benefits.

And truth be told, the largesse that the peoples of these states have shown themselves by erecting welfare states built upon the profits of the past is straining their national coffers today, as their populations age and the costs of their welfare programs eat away at the limited taxes the state can collect. As a result, expect to hear more statements such as the one made by the Danish prime minister.

‘One More Try’

But what of the other riposte: that all of the past’s socialist “experiments” failed simply because the wrong people implemented them? The logic here being that all you need is the right “elite” to make Marx’s dream become reality, not equality to be realized.

Maybe. Or maybe not.

As Einstein taught us, systematic repetition of failure accompanied by the expectation of getting a different result is the definition of insanity. After a century of trying, with hundreds of millions of people used as guinea pigs, where is the realistic and moral justification for “just one more try?”

Most importantly, look at the facts that left-wing historians gave us in “The Black Book of Communism,” wherein they provided an accounting of all the attempts to create functioning Marxist states. The authors concluded that attempts to realize the “socialist state” led to the programmatic deaths of over 100 million human beings, from the gulags of Siberia to the killing fields of Cambodia.

As a result, one more try at Marx’s idyll would seem not only immoral, but to dishonor the memories of those killed in the name of a man-made utopia.

So how it is that the conservative argument for the American dream is still not triumphant? How is it that of all the Democrats who ran for office in the November midterm elections, more than 40 proudly declared themselves “socialists,” including the new face of the party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

And how is it that according to the latest annual poll by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, a stunning 52 percent of millennials would like to live in a socialist or communist America? How is this possible?

Simple. More than ever, politics today is a function less of verities than emotional connection. A sense of authenticity over the rectitude of any suggested policy.

It is no accident that President Donald Trump was the star of his own reality TV show for 14 seasons before he ran in a presidential campaign during which he defeated 16 rivals for the GOP nomination, 14 of whom were established political names.

More importantly, as members of a philosophical community that shares the same commitment to the economic and political principles that define our view of America, we have failed utterly to understand the role of the dreaded word “narrative.”

Square One

Most Americans are apolitical and couldn’t tell you the difference between Matt Drudge and Paul Krugman. They want to be able to pay the bills at the end of the month, and to feel secure about their future and the future of their families. But even the most apolitical American citizen associates certain key characteristics with each side of the political divide.

The left is seen as having an almost monopolistic hold on compassion, on caring for those who need help the most. The right today is identified by only negatives: lack of compassion, greed, exploitative big business. Even capitalism is understood as a dirty word, redolent of cronyism and unaccountable profiteering.

For those who not only believe but know that free markets and democracy have empowered hundreds of millions of people to live freely and climb out of poverty, in fact more than any other political philosophy has ever done, we must go back to square one.

Our challenge is not one of facts and figures, but emotions, of talking in ways that connect to souls held hostage to the utopian panaceas of false prophets and idols.

The ancient Greeks who carved the foundation stones of our future civilization, who invented political philosophy, wrote almost exclusively about one thing: What is the “good?” What is a “good society,” and what makes for a “good” man or woman?

In the years since the end of the Cold War and the presidency of Ronald Reagan, conservatives have allowed the pernicious and deadly ideas of the left to become exclusively associated with the “good.”

Our job is simple but hard. We must show—not tell—our fellow Americans that the good is inextricably tied to freedom, to small government, to free markets, and to earned success, and that circumscribed lives, big government, constrained economies, and federal handouts destroy the soul and sap the life blood of healthy societies.

With his capacity to connect to the forgotten men and women of America, to the unemployed steel workers of the Rust Belt, with his ability to win over black communities in numbers we have not seen in decades, Donald Trump has opened a window for the conservative movement of the 21st century.

Now it is our job to convince fellow Americans that the principles of our Founding can provide for them better than any version of socialism ever could, that American exceptionalism is real and “good,” and that all of us can be a part of the American dream no matter who we are.

SOURCE  

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To soak the rich, keep tax rates low

by Jeff Jacoby

SOAK-THE-RICH tax schemes are in vogue on the left these days.

Democratic Party heartthrob Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a splash last month when she went on "60 Minutes" and proposed a 70 percent marginal tax rate on incomes over $10 million. "People are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes," she said.

From Senator Elizabeth Warren comes a proposal to levy an annual wealth tax on the net worth of American households with more than $50 million in assets. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has drafted a proposal to sharply increase the federal estate tax, imposing a top rate of 77 percent on estates worth more than $1 billion.

The details of these plans differ. But all of them are premised on the belief that wealthy Americans don't pay an equitable share of the tax burden, and that a more progressive tax code will not only be fairer but also raise more revenue.

For some politicians, taxing the wealthy more harshly seems as much a matter of retribution as of fiscal policy. "The rich & powerful run Washington," tweeted Warren as she released her tax plan. "It's a system that's rigged for the top if I ever saw one." Sanders routinely inveighs against "the greed of Wall Street, the power of gigantic multinational corporations, and the influence of the global billionaire class."

Americans have traditionally been cool to such overt class-war rhetoric, but maybe that's changing. Recent polls show broad support for raising tax rates on the very wealthy. A Hill-HarrisX survey in January found that nearly 6 in 10 registered voters favored raising the top income-tax rate to 70 percent. Strong majorities of Democrats (71 percent) and Independents (60 percent) backed the idea, and even 45 percent of Republicans expressed support. Other surveys have yielded comparable results, as Politico reported in a story headlined "Soak the rich? Americans say go for it."

Yet however popular it may be to claim that millionaires and billionaires don't shoulder their share of the tax burden, it isn't true. The federal income tax is highly progressive. The ultra-wealthy not only pay far more than their fair share in taxes, but the portion of the tax burden they shoulder has grown significantly in recent decades.

Each year the Internal Revenue Service releases voluminous data on American taxpayers, sorting scores of millions of tax filers by adjusted gross income and share of income taxes paid. Each year the data confirm that while those at the top of the hill reap an outsize portion of the nation's income, they pay an even more outsize portion of the nation's taxes.

Thus, in 2016, the top 1 percent of taxpayers earned 19.7 percent of all the income — more than $10 trillion — reported to the IRS. To put that in raw numbers, 1.4 million taxpayers (out of 141 million) reported $2 trillion in income (out of a $10.2 trillion total). But the top 1 percent didn't pay 19.7 percent of federal income taxes. They paid 37.3 percent. In other words, while they earned somewhat less than one-fifth of all reported income, those in the 1 percent contributed somewhat more than one-third of all income taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, the top 1 percent paid roughly $538 billion in income taxes, considerably more than the $440 billion in income taxes paid by the bottom 90 percent.

For the "tippy top" — the wealthiest one-10th of 1 percent — the disproportion is comparable. In 2016, the uppermost 0.1 percent of taxpayers earned 9.5 percent of all income, yet they paid more than 18 percent of all income taxes.

By any definition, America has a progressive tax system.

Could it be made more progressive? On paper, sure. Hiking the top marginal tax rate from the current 37 percent to the 70 percent urged by Ocasio-Cortez would represent a dramatic increase in progressivity. Even more dramatic would be to push the highest rate above 90 percent, where it used to be when Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

Liberals are fond of pointing out how much higher tax rates used to be. Unfortunately for AOC, Warren, et al., dramatically higher tax rates at the top didn't result in dramatically higher tax revenues flowing to the Treasury. Throughout the 1950s, the effective tax rate paid by the "tippy top" was about 21 percent, barely more than the 19.7 percent paid in 2016. Wealthy taxpayers have many wholly lawful ways to avoid exorbitant tax rates, and routinely control the timing and content of their income to avoid them.

More to the point, there is an inverse relationship between marginal tax rates and the tax burden on the rich. As a rule, the lower the rates, the more the wealthy pay. It may seem counterintuitive, but experience has shown again and again that the best way to "soak the rich" is to keep marginal rates low. When Ike was president, tax rates were indeed sky-high. Tax revenues weren't. It was only after Reagan came along and chopped the top tax rate to 28 percent, however, that dollars came gushing in to the IRS. Class-war strategists may chafe at that, but it's the way the world works.

SOURCE  

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Cuomo announces income tax revenues have dropped by $2.3B

Reality strikes even a Leftist sometimes: “God forbid if the rich leave”, he says. Boca Raton calls

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that state income tax revenues plummeted by $2.3 billion since he introduced his new budget plan last month — a bombshell that will force him to curb spending.

Cuomo attributed the revenue drop in December and January largely to the new federal tax code, as well as volatility in the stock market and other uncertainties.

“That’s a $2.3 billion drop in revenues. That’s as serious as a heart attack. This is worse than we had anticipated,” the governor said in Albany. “This reduction must be addressed in this year’s budget.”

In a rare joint appearance with Cuomo, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli confirmed the deteriorating finances. “This is the most serious revenue shock the state has faced in many years,” he said. He urged Cuomo and the Legislature to sock more money away in the state’s rainy day fund to prepare for the worst.

Cuomo had planned to spend $176 billion — including about $100 billion in federal funds — in the new fiscal year that starts on April 1.

Cuomo’s preliminary analysis claims much of the impact is coming from a drop in revenues from the state’s highest income earners most impacted by the loss of write-offs of state and local tax deductions, known as SALT. The federal law approved by President Trump and the then-GOP controlled Congress limited SALT deductions to $10,000.

The loss of revenue from New York’s wealthiest puts New York in a bind because the state relies on a progressive income tax system that taxes the rich at a higher rate. One percent of the state’s top income earners provide 46 percent of the state’s personal income tax revenues, officials said.

Cuomo said Albany can’t go to the well and tax the wealthy again because that would only worsen the situation, citing “anecdotal” evidence that high-income New Yorkers are already fleeing the state to lower-tax jurisdictions. He offered no figures to back up the claim.

“I don’t believe raising taxes on the rich. That would be the worst thing to do. You would just expand the shortfall,” he said. “God forbid if the rich leave.”

SOURCE  

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

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

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11 February, 2019

Cuts to Regulation Are Bringing Back Jobs

The points below are from an analysis of the SOTU speech

Compared to previous speeches, President Donald Trump did not outline new regulatory reform goals. However, he did briefly note that the “administration has cut more regulations in a short time than any other administration during its entire tenure.”

As a result, he added, “Companies are coming back to our country in large numbers.”

The administration has indeed taken important steps to rein in agencies’ rulemaking. It issued 65 percent fewer “economically significant” rules—those with costs to the private sector that exceed $100 million a year—than the Obama administration, and 51 percent fewer than the Bush administration, after 22 months in office.

The White House is also pursuing rollbacks of the Obama administration’s costliest and unwarranted rules. But regulatory repeal is a laborious process that may take years—especially given the never-ending legal challenges pursued by regulatory proponents.

The No. 1 thing the administration must do is stop internet regulation. Further innovation is key to economic growth and national security, and both will be stymied if the statists get a regulatory foothold. If Trump pursues no other regulatory reform, preventing internet regulations would be enough.

The second priority would be to demand that any new regulatory statute has a hard expiration deadline. That’s needed to halt the cumulative regulatory burden and force agencies (and Congress) to review the necessity for regulations.

The White House cannot accomplish all the necessary reforms unilaterally. Congress must do much more to eliminate unnecessary regulation and curtail agency overreach.

Congress could do a great deal more to advance reform by exercising a bit of political will, including eliminating funding for regulatory programs that lack actual statutory authority or those that have failed to achieve the intended results. Lawmakers must also institute expiration dates for funding of regulatory initiatives to reduce the cumulative burden of regulation.

The 50-member staff of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs who review agency rulemaking is badly outnumbered by the hundreds of thousands of regulators who labor daily crafting rules. Congress should expand the resources of the office to improve regulatory oversight, as well as assert more of its own authority over runaway regulation.

SOURCE  

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FTC is helping China and shafting Americans

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement urging the Federal Trade Commission to immediately settle a lawsuit against Qualcomm over the collection of agreed upon fees for use of its intellectual property:

“It is ironic that the Trump Administration has staked out the protection of intellectual property as a primary concern in our trade relations with China, yet, the Federal Trade Commission is suing San Diego based Qualcomm to break its licensing agreements for intellectual property that Apple has tired of paying for, even though they continue to benefit from that technology.  It is shocking however, that the FTC has used the Chinese megafirm Huawei as one of its key witnesses opposing Qualcomm’s licenses.  Apparently, the FTC does not realize or care that the licensing agreements for past technological innovations are what pays for Qualcomm’s research in creating the chips for the 5G future, and that Huawei is their number one competitor.  The FTC suit would effectively cripple the only U.S. company who is competing in developing the Internet of Things to the lasting detriment of the interests of the United States.

“While the FTC is an independent government body, their case is a disaster for American interests and they need to settle it now before more harm is done.  Policy makers from across the political spectrum need to understand that the race for the future of the connected world is at stake and Chinese control of every aspect of the Internet of Things is extremely dangerous.  All Qualcomm seems to be asking is that they be allowed to collect fees which were agreed upon by business partners which wanted to use innovations which they developed.  This is the essence of intellectual property. It is also how U.S. businesses should run, relying upon their own ingenuity and productivity to profit rather than relying upon government handouts and lawfare.

“The FTC is reportedly in long overdue settlement talks with Qualcomm.  The FTC should settle this lawsuit immediately and end its attack on the only company positioned to prevent the Chinese from running roughshod over the Internet of the future.”

SOURCE  

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How Trump can curb government over-reach

Families and small businesses would benefit from transparency by federal regulators

Our nation alone was founded on the proposition that We the People should govern ourselves. That is why conservatives object to unelected bureaucrats enacting rules without the consent of the people. Fortunately, with the simple stroke of a pen, President Trump has the ability to restore power to citizens and make the regulatory morass less economically burdensome.

By signing an executive order to force federal agencies to be transparent with their studies and data, he could add to his excellent deregulatory legacy and unshackle manufacturers and industries so they can contribute more to our nation’s economic growth.

The cost of federal regulations is obnoxiously high and directly impacts the pocketbooks of all Americans to the tune of almost $2 trillion a year — nearly a tenth of America’s gross domestic product. The highly respected Mercatus Center has shown that these costs also result in a massive drag on economic growth, further harming jobs and families.

Huge drivers of these costs are bad rules based on questionable — and concealed — evidence. Unsound or unreproducible scientific research hidden from policymakers, the public and scientific peers has been used by regulators with personal agendas to promulgate unsupported environmental and other rules that harm the economy and impede progress.

Members of both parties agree: Better government is built on sound and open data. This is one way to empower citizens and ensure that new rules meet their needs without unnecessary costs.

A bipartisan Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP) was formed to implement a bipartisan bill increasing policymakers’ access to data. And Mr. Trump — who has implemented far-reaching regulatory reform efforts — has also weighed in on data transparency with an executive order requiring agencies to identify existing regulations that “rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard of reproducibility.”

But to ensure truly responsible and transparent standards for all regulation, we need access to scientific data for newly proposed regulations as well as for those regulations not yet finalized. That’s why the American Conservative Union is leading an effort — supported by many other conservative organizations and business groups — seeking a further executive order to provide for CLEAR Data — which stands for “Clarifying the Law on Evidentiary Access for Regulation.”

If Congress is too slow to restore citizen government to promote innovation and individual freedom, the president should use his authority through executive order. It is abundantly clear that Democrats in the House are not willing to work with this president. So with the stroke of a pen, the president could make transparency uniform across government.

A piecemeal approach with each agency pursuing its own agenda would produce terrible results. An even worse outcome is certain if career bureaucrats are allowed to work in secret to keep their pet regulations hidden from an agency process intended to address CLEAR Data initiatives.

The executive order should apply to scientific data key accountability principles included in CEP’s recommendations:

Transparency. CEP concluded: “Those engaged in generating and using data and evidence should (provide) meaningful channels for public input and comment and ensure that evidence produced is made publicly available.” Our proposed effort would call for data used to justify regulation to be identified and made sufficiently available to test, authenticate and reproduce the findings. And, importantly, it should apply to all regulations currently in the pipeline and under review.

Rigor. “Evidence should be developed using well-designed and well-implemented methods tailored to the questions being asked.” We would call for science-based regulation to be based on peer-reviewed studies — the standard in probity and reliability.

Privacy. “Individual privacy and confidentiality must be respected in the generation and use of data and evidence.” We want to ensure that agencies avoid unauthorized disclosure of personal data and trade secrets while allowing other researchers to judge the validity of the conclusions evidence is cited to support.

Humility. CEP suggested that “Care should be taken not to over-generalize from findings that may be specific to a particular study or context.” The ultimate form of humility is accountability — best advanced through an executive order whose provisions on disclosure of research and underlying data.

We couldn’t agree more with the commission’s exhortation: “Whether deciding on funding allocations (or) assessing proposed regulations evidence should play an important role in key decisions made by government officials . to make sure our government’s decision-making process is among the best in the world.”

In other words: To ensure better decision-making and more accountable regulation — at a time when the economic stakes couldn’t be higher for small businesses and working families — we need CLEAR Data that is fully disclosed, high-quality and reproducible, with means in place to protect privacy.

SOURCE  

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92,000 Federal Bureaucrats Earn More Than...

Democrats want raises for all government workers. But do they already make too much?  

The House voted recently to provide a 2.6% across-the-board pay raise for federal workers. Speaking in favor of the legislation, Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) argued, “Our federal civil servants are like any other workforce. More than 900,000 of those federal employees earn less than $60,000 a year. They are not rich. They are not living high on the hog. They deserve and need this adjustment, especially after the longest, most reckless shutdown of the government in American history.”

What Connolly said of federal workers is often true. But it’s also often not. Pushing back against Connolly’s assertion, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) noted the obvious irony: “Think about what this bill says. All of those hard-working taxpayers in the private sector, hey, you are already making less, but now you are going to have more of your tax dollars go to pay people — who are already making more money than you — to get a raise. How is that fair?”

Backing Jordan’s argument are last year’s federal workers’ salary numbers, provided by the Congressional Research Service. One statistic that is quite illuminating shows that 92,000 federal bureaucrats earn as much of more than the governor of the state where they work. For example, 1,000 clerical workers in Alabama made $120,000 in salary; in Ohio, 333 made nearly $149,000; in Maryland 3,561 made at least $170,000. And the list goes on.

Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and founder of the government accountability website OpenTheBooks.com, pointedly asks, “When public affairs staffers in Alabama are out-earning their governor, it’s time for Congress to hold hearings regarding the proper pay levels for federal employees. How can [thousands of] general administrators, clerks and office service staffers make as much as a governor?”

The House voted 259-161 in approving the salary raises, with 29 Republicans siding with every Democrat.

SOURCE  

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San Francisco’s Liberal Policies Have Made It a Slum

San Francisco is one of the richest cities it the world. It’s given us music, technology, and elegant architecture. Now it gives us filthy homeless encampments.

One urban planner told me, “I just returned from the Tenderloin [a section of San Francisco]. It’s worse than slums of India, Haiti, Africa!”

So I went to San Francisco to make a video about that. I’ve never seen slums in Africa, but I’ve seen them in Haiti and India.

What I saw in San Francisco looked similar. As one local resident put it, “There’s s— everywhere. It’s just a mess out here.”

There’s also lots of mental illness. One man told us, “Vampires are real. I’m paranoid as hell.” San Francisco authorities mostly leave the mentally ill to fend for themselves on the street.

Other vagrants complain about them. “They make it bad for people like us that hang out with a sign,” one beggar told us.

San Francisco is a pretty good place to “hang out with a sign.” People are rarely arrested for vagrancy, aggressive panhandling, or going to the bathroom in front of people’s homes. In 2015, there were 60,491 complaints to police, but only 125 people were arrested.

Public drug use is generally ignored. One woman told us, “It’s nasty seeing people shoot up—right in front of you. Police don’t do anything about it! They’ll get somebody for drinking a beer but walk right past people using needles.”

Each day in San Francisco, an average of 85 cars are broken into.  “Inside Edition” ran a test to see how long stereo equipment would last in a parked car. Its test car was quickly broken into. Then the camera crew discovered that its own car had been busted into as well.

Some store owners hire private police to protect their stores. But San Francisco’s police union has complained about the competition. Now there are only a dozen private cops left, and street people dominate neighborhoods.

We followed one private cop, who asked street people, “Do you need any type of homeless outreach services?” Most say no. “They love the freedom of not having to follow the rules,” said the cop.

And San Francisco is generous. It offers street people food stamps, free shelter, train tickets, and $70 a month in cash.  “They’re always offering resources,” one man dressed as Santa told us. “San Francisco’s just a good place to hang out.” So every week, new people arrive.

Some residents want the city to get tougher with people living on the streets. “Get them to the point where they have to make a decision between jail and rehab,” one told us. “Other cities do it, but for some reason, San Francisco doesn’t have the political will.”

For decades, San Francisco’s politicians promised to fix the homeless problem. When Sen. Dianne Feinstein was mayor, she proudly announced that she was putting the homeless in hotels: “A thousand units, right here in the Tenderloin!”

When California Gov. Gavin Newsom was mayor of San Francisco, he bragged, “We have already moved 6,860 human beings.” Last year, former Mayor Mark Farrell said, “We need to fund programs like Homeward Bound.”

But the extra funding hasn’t worked. One reason is that even if someone did want to get off the street and rent an apartment, there aren’t many available.

San Francisco is filled with two- and three-story buildings, and in most neighborhoods, putting up a taller building is illegal. Even where zoning laws allow it, California regulations make construction so difficult that many builders won’t even try.

For years, developer John Dennis has been trying to convert an old meatpacking plant into an apartment building—but it has taken him four years just to get permission to build.

“And all that time, we’re paying property taxes and paying for maintenance,” says Dennis. “I will do no more projects in San Francisco.”

People in San Francisco often claim to be concerned about helping the poor. But their many laws make life much tougher for the poor.

SOURCE  

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

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

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10 February, 2019

Michael Moore: 'Americans Have Always Supported ‘Socialist’ Ideas'

There is an element of truth in what Moore says. Libertarians too think modern-day America is thoroughly Fascist.  And the founding fathers were such devout Communists that a third of them had to die before they went back to private property.  I will not revisit it here but I did put up a few years ago a discussion of the Leftist influence in American history.  See here, here and here.  

And Trump is almost single-handedly waging a war on the Leftism that has become deeply embedded in American life.  Even SCOTUS and the Republican Senate obstruct him at times.  And the two years of Republican dominance of both houses gave him precisely nothing towards his chief goal of immigration reform.  He seems to be the last barrier against a wave of Leftism that has been sweeping across America for a long time now.  When he goes will the Leftist creep resume?  One hopes not but it is only a hope. The Donks have swung so far Left that the prospect of them replacing Trump is very disquieting indeed.

But Moore does the typical Leftist trick of speaking in all or none terms.  Like lots else, Leftism can come in various strengths. And America is not as heavily regulated as the EU, though Obama was working on that.  And America's health care system has much more scope for private medicine than Britain does. 

So, taking Trump in context, what he was saying is that America will resist any further encroachment of socialism.  One hopes he is right



“Ha!,” activist filmmaker Michael Moore reacted after President Donald Trump promised in Tuesday’s State of the Union address that the U.S. will never become a socialist nation.

On Wednesday, Moore tweeted that it was a “great victory” that a “scared Trump” made the claim, given that Americans always favored socialist principles:

“A great victory for the majority of Americans when a scared Trump declared: "America will never be a socialist country!” Ha! The last gasp of The Greed Class! The truth: from social security to Medicare to libraries & pub schools, Americans have always supported "socialist" ideas”

In his tweet, Moore posted a video arguing that America is already a socialist country that supports things like abortion, homosexuality, drug use, universal health care and “free” goods and services:

In his State of the Union address, Trump said, "Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country" - which drew cheers of "U.S.A!" from the audience.

A transcript of Moore's video appears below:

“Let me share with you a fact that has never been stated in the press, or reported on the nightly news, or even spoken amongst ourselves: the United States of America is a leftist country.

“That’s right: we are one rocking, sh*t-kicking, gay-loving, gun-rejecting, race-mixing, pot-smoking, tree-hugging, hip-hopping, anywhere breast-feeding, quinoa-cooking, left-leaning liberal nation.

“Here are the facts: the vast majority of Americans are pro-choice. They want equal pay for women, stronger environmental laws, legalized marijuana, a raise in the minimum wage, Medicare for all, tuition-free college, free child care, support for labor unions, a cut in the military budget, breakup of big banks. Most Americans don’t even own a gun. And, seventy-five percent believe immigration is good for the U.S. And, on and on and on.

“Heck, Texas isn’t even white, anymore. Houston had a lesbian mayor. When you think Texas, you need to think lesbian.

“The values they stood for in the 60’s and 70’s are now the beliefs of this great land.

“Those crazy mother-f**kers have won. And, I love the smell of essential oils in the morning.”

SOURCE  

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Fauxcohontas document: Elizabeth Warren sunk

 

A lust for power founders on a rock of dishonesty

This new document should finish off her political career. Senator Elizabeth Warren, now vying for the Democrat nomination for president, was a white, middle-class lawyer when she described herself as an "American Indian" in her own hand-writing when registering for the Texas Bar.

James Robbins:

The latest evidence against her should spell the end of her presidential ambitions.

Sen. Warren’s discredited story of Indian ancestry has made her an object of ridicule coming from President Donald Trump, who dubbed her “Pocahontas,” and conservatives generally who prefer the more pointed “Fauxcahontas.” Liberals seem to have been willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, seemingly accepting each new explanation for her shifting story of how and why she was mistaken for a member of the Cherokee Nation.

Warren’s 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas could put an end to all that. The Washington Post obtained a copy of the signed document in which she wrote that her race was “American Indian.” This supports the two critical charges against her: that she knowingly and personally claimed Native American heritage, and that she did so for the purpose of career advancement.

Warren's link to American Indian identity, according to a DNA test, could amount to no more than one Indian ancestor 10 generations ago, when 1023 other of her ancestors in that generation were white.

SOURCE  

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Senate Republicans reveal new rules to speed approval of Trump nominees

Republican senators unveiled a new set of chamber rules Wednesday that would allow them to speed President Trump’s nominees through on an expedited basis, limiting Democrats’ ability to slow-walk the process and throttle the number of candidates who can be confirmed.

The proposal, written by Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt and Sen. James Lankford, would reduce the maximum debate time after a filibuster has been defeated from 30 hours to two hours for most nominees.

Republicans have chafed as Democrats have used the filibuster to slow-walk hundreds of Trump nominees, forcing the Senate to spend months of floor time to get the candidates into their jobs.

The issue is about to become acute. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve 40 judicial picks this week, creating a glut of new nominations headed to the floor.

Under current rules, at 30 hours of debate per nominee, the Senate can confirm perhaps five per week — meaning it would take eight weeks of floor time to go through the judgeships with no other major action intervening. That doesn’t include hundreds of other nominees who will soon be stacked up.

The new rules first will be debated in Mr. Blunt’s committee. “We are likely to have a mark up on that within the next week,” Mr. Blunt, Missouri Republican, told The Washington Times.

The GOP could push the rules through committee on a majority vote, but it would take a supermajority to win approval on the floor.

Democrats, who six years ago supported shorter time frames for nominees under President Obama, are now more reluctant under Mr. Trump.

“We are going to go through the committee to see if there is bipartisan support for it. I hope we do it that way, but if we can’t just because people want to slow us down and drag their feet and prevent the president form filling these nominations, then I’d be willing to consider alternatives,” said Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican.

The chief alternative would be to trigger the “nuclear option,” a shortcut that involves reinterpreting the rules. That can be done on a majority vote — though it’s a deeply controversial move that can undermine cooperation in a chamber that relies on comity.

Democrats used the supermajority in 2013 to cut the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster on most nominees from 60 to a simple majority, and Republicans in 2017 used the nuclear option to extend the majority-filibuster threshold to Supreme Court nominees.

Mr. Lankford, who has been reaching out to Democrats on his proposal, said some of them may think they’ll win back the White House in 2020 and figure it’s better to change the rules now so they can avoid the sort of obstruction they have mounted against Mr. Trump. “There is more of a sense of ‘we probably should stop this game,’” Mr. Lankford said.

His proposal would still leave a 30-hour time frame in place for Supreme Court and circuit court nominees and Cabinet-level posts in the executive branch. But district court nominees and lower-level administrative posts would only face two hours of debate.

Republicans say the rules changes are needed because of Democrats’ unprecedented level of resistance to Mr. Trump’s nominees.

GOP leaders over the last two years had to move to head off a potential filibuster on 148 of Mr. Trump’s nominees. In the last two years of Mr. Obama’s tenure, just two nominees needed to overcome filibuster tests.

SOURCE  

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Utopian Dreams, Dystopian Realities

Democrats want to punish the wealthy just for daring to have more money than others.    

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” —Donald Trump from his State of the Union address

It’s going to take a lot of resolve. The politics of class warfare, long cultivated by our school system and the media, have apparently taken root. According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll, a whopping 76% of registered voters believe the rich should pay more in taxes. A Fox News survey reveals a similar sentiment, with 70% of Americans in favor of raising taxes on those earning over $10 million.

“There is a deep wellspring in terms of perception of unfairness in the economy that’s been tapped into here that either didn’t exist five years ago or existed and had not had a chance to be expressed,” asserts Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy at JPMorgan Asset Management “This is quite a moment in American economic history where all of a sudden in a matter of months this thing has kind of exploded like this.”

Columnist Karol Markowicz states it far more succinctly. “Watch out, America: Democrats’ class warfare is back with a vengeance,” she writes. “Your money belongs to them to redistribute as they see fit.”

Freshman House representative and media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s desire to impose a 70% marginal rate on income over the $10 million mark was well received by 59% of respondents to a recent Hill/HarrisX poll. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax,” which would levy a 2% tax on those with a net worth over $50 million, and 3% on those worth over $1 billion, was supported by 61% of the 1,993 registered voters queried by the Politico/Morning Consult poll.

There’s a reason wealth tax is in quotations in the preceding paragraph. That’s because what Warren is proposing isn’t a tax, but outright wealth confiscation that tramples the 16th Amendment’s authorization of Congress to “lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived.” (Emphasis added).

Warren wants to confiscate pre-existing wealth — on an annual basis, no less. Thus, those with assets of $50,000 would automatically pay $1 million per year to the government and those with assets of $1 billion would automatically fork over $30 million per year, even if their annual earnings were zero.

Freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar is also aboard the bash-the-rich bandwagon. She’s proposing a 90% tax. “We don’t have a problem of scarcity, really,” she insists. “What we have is a problem of moral courage.”

Socialist Bernie Sanders is after inheritances. He’s proposing a bill that would levy a 45% tax on the value of an estate between $3.5 million and $10 million, and a 50% tax on the value of an estate between $10 million and $50 million. “From a moral, economic, and political perspective,” he pontificates, “our nation will not thrive when so few have so much and so many have so little.”

Morality and fairness have nothing to do with it. As of 2016, Americans who earned $250,000 and above per year paid 52.6% of the nation’s income taxes. Those who earned between $249,000 and $200,000 paid 5.9%, and those who earned between $100,000 and $199,000 paid 21.9%.

Those three groups comprised 16% of the returns filed — yet they paid 79.4% of the nation’s income tax bill.

As for the top 1%, a Washington, DC-based think tank called the Tax Foundation reveals that in 2015, that tiny group of Americans paid 39% of individual income taxes, while the bottom 90% of Americans paid just 29.4%.

And for 2018, approximately 76.4 million American workers, or 44.4%, will pay no income tax at all.

That is not to say those Americans pay nothing. There are a host of other levies such as sales tax, property taxes, and payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Yet when nearly half of Americans are relieved of the burden levied on their fellow Americans, it is no surprise that “soak the rich” is an attractive mantra for those with no skin in the game.

Unsurprisingly, hypocrisy abounds. The 2017 Republican tax cut included a $10,000 per household cap on state and loan tax deductions — meaning the so-called rich would no longer be able to deduct any income above that threshold from federal taxation.

So who complained the loudest? High-tax states controlled by those same Democrats. In fact, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey filed federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the deduction cap, while other states engaged in dubious machinations to lower the federal-tax liability of their richer residents.

In short, those who advocate for higher taxes on the rich attempted to protect “their” rich from paying them.

Yet such hypocrisy apparently remains irrelevant. “We need additional revenue if we’re going to provide health care for all, rebuild our infrastructure, [and] make public colleges and universities tuition-free,” asserts Sanders.

Few ideas are more intellectually bankrupt than the assertion that some government-provided benefits are “free.” Nothing is free, and the idea that Democrats can actually sell wealth transference as free epitomizes the astounding level of economic ignorance that afflicts this nation.

That ignorance is amplified when it ignores reality, as in the 2017 tax cuts engendering an economic boom. “US real GDP growth in the second quarter of 2018 was 83 percent greater than it was in the second quarter of 2016, the last year of the previous administration,” the Boston Globe reported last October. “The growth of real private fixed investment was 129 percent greater. The unemployment rate fell from 5.0 percent in September 2016 to 3.7 percent in September 2018.”

Nonetheless, the true believers remain unconvinced even when reality bites. On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state had a dramatic drop in state income-tax revenue, amounting to $2.8 billion. He blamed it on the aforementioned cap on state and local tax deductions that are causing high-earning New Yorkers to … leave the state.

How many jobs will they be taking away, along with their personal wealth? How many millions of jobs will Democrats sacrifice in service to their power-hungry, bash-the-rich agenda?

More important, when will Americans realize that job creation requires incentive, not coercion?

Moreover, middle class Americans need to take heed. If they think Democrats can implement the massive expansion of their welfare-state ambitions solely on the backs of the rich, they’re quite mistaken: A 2008 analysis revealed that taxing every American millionaire at a rate of 100% would only run the federal government for 111 days. If the same outright confiscation scheme were applied to everyone earning more than $200,000 the government would run for only 253 days.

That is not to say wealthy American can’t pay more in taxes, and raising the tax rate on carried-interest that disproportionately benefits the select few goes to the top of the list.

But that doesn’t negate the reality that Democrats will eventually need to go where the real money is. And when they do, Americans should expect the definition of who’s “rich” to be considerably expanded.

The fundamental transformation of the nation into the socialist/Marxist “utopia” Democrats yearn for demands nothing less.

SOURCE  

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

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

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8 February, 2019

The difference in Republican optimism and Democrat pessimism: A 2019 SOTU Review

Today is Ronald Reagan's birthday. In the years since his presidency, through the Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama years, analyzing State of the Union addresses has been more about endurance than inspiration.

But, surprisingly, that changed last year with Donald Trump's first address, "Our New American Moment." His second address last night was even better than the first. These SOTUs did not follow the worn template of providing a wish list, but instead were a running recap of administration and congressional successes over the last two years.

In both instances, President Trump's remarks strongly contrasted the difference in Republican optimism and Democrat pessimism — Republican advocacy for Liberty and self-reliance versus Democrats' advocacy for dependence, statism, and now unapologetic socialism based on their failed policies of the past.

We concluded years ago that the Democrat Party was not one of the oppressed but of the depressed. And that deranged institutional depression has become epidemic.

Again in his latest SOTU, Trump instilled pride in who we are as a nation. It was framed by unity rather than partisanship. "Victory is not winning for our party," he declared. "Victory is winning for our country." He began and ended his address with calls for unity and he highlighted numerous areas that should enlist universal agreement, largely about America's promise and historical achievements. There were several issues in the middle of his speech that should unify Americans, especially the Trump administration's strong economic record. But the Democrats would have no part in a call for unity.

Trump opened, saying, "Members of Congress, the state of our union is strong." Yet over his shoulder, Nancy "Sourpuss" Pelosi shook her head. Clearly, good news is bad news for Democrats, whose best political hope is to drive the nation into recession before 2020.

Americans may disagree on how to achieve border security and an orderly legal immigration process, but we should all be able to agree that caravans of migrants should not be free to cross our border.

Trump noted, "In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall — but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built." He completely shifted the immigration debate to protecting American jobs and people.

Trump declared, "Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country." That shouldn't be controversial, although socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and other socialist Democrats looked like they were suffering heart failure.

Record-low unemployment — especially for black and Hispanic Americans — rising wages across the board, and an overall strong economy are not partisan issues; they are facts. Yet in each instance when we should all agree, many if not most Democrats sat on their hands rather than applauding. However, Trump did get almost the entire room chanting "USA, USA" after mentioning the stats on the number of women now in the workforce.

People may not see eye to eye on when abortion is appropriate — there's not much common ground between "never" and "most of the time." But it should be beyond dispute to say that children should not be killed at the moment of or even after birth.

"Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life," Trump said. "And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God."

Notably, Trump did receive almost unanimous approval for what we believe was the best gathering of gallery guests in any State of the Union.

Trump concluded, "We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them. We must choose whether we squander our inheritance — or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans: we do the incredible, we defy the impossible, we conquer the unknown. We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness."

We rate this high among the best modern-day SOTUs, and many who viewed it agree. The Leftmedia network CBS reluctantly reported its findings regarding public approval of Trump's State of the Union: 76% of those watching the speech approved, including a 30% approval rating among Democrats and 82% among Independents. Notably, 72% approved of his immigration plan. (We hope Trump will not derail the success of this SOTU, as is his penchant, with some petulant, dis-unifying social-media post.)

Of course, chief among those not approving were Pelosi and DNC Chairman Tom Perez.

For her part, Pelosi concluded: "It will take days to fact-check all the misrepresentations that the president made tonight. Instead of fearmongering and manufacturing a crisis at the border, President Trump should commit to signing the bipartisan conference committee's bill to keep government open and provide strong, smart border security solutions. ... President Trump must now take concrete steps to work with Democrats to strengthen the health and economic security of families across America. After two years of the president's empty words, the American people deserve real results."

Actually, this is a fine example of Pelosi's "alternate universe" perspective. The Trump administration and Republican Congress have clearly strengthened "the health and economic security of families across America" and, demonstrably, the American people are experiencing "real results."

And for those watching the SOTU, there is now a consistent Pelosi poker tell — when she knows Trump has succeeded where Democrats have failed, she starts doing that smirk thing, as if trying to get the spinach out of her teeth. The Demo/MSM machine was certainly consumed with what it claimed was a teenager's smirk two weeks ago — but not a word on Pelosi's smirk, and all the others on the left side of the room last night.

Predictably, according to Perez: "After attending Trump's State of the Union tonight, I know this for certain: The only way that we will be able to stop his outrageous, divisive agenda is by taking back the Senate and putting a Democrat in the White House in 2020. I am going to fight like hell to make sure we're building the infrastructure necessary to continue to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in the months and years ahead."

The bottom line: There will be no unity in the next two years, because Democrats and their Leftmedia publicists thrive on division and partisanship, the antithesis of unity. They have reconstructed their political platform on a "Hate Trump" foundation, rejecting Rule of Law, the most basic tenets of morality, and America's First Principles.

SOURCE  

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PURE HATE: Hollywood Lefties EXPLODE Over ‘Criminal’ Trump’s SOTU

Hollywood celebrities lost their minds on Tuesday night over President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. The far-left activists took to Twitter to call Trump a “liar,” “criminal,” and voiced many other nasty opinions about the president.

Activist Alyssa Milano kicked off the night by insulting America, writing, “If realdonaldtrump is serious about uniting us, he should remember one crucial thing: walls divide. #StateOfTheHuman #WeWontGoBack #SOTU.”

Bette Midler wrote, “How’d he get from childhood cancer to school choice? What a leap! Now Ivanka gets her shoutout…now we’re on to abortion…who wrote this stuff??”

Actor John Cusack complained, “Gosh I guess massive numbers of white girls are being butchered darker skin animals – Trump is dark orange red – how many sexual assault allegations against him ? F*ck urself -criminal.”

“Glad to find out that America will never be a socialist country. Wish he could say the same about authoritarianism and fascism,” director Rob Reiner wrote.

Of course, polling indicated that the American people had a much different opinion of Trump’s speech than rich Hollywood liberals.

According to an “instant poll” conducted by CBS News following the address, a whopping 76 percent of Americans who watched the speech said they approved of the president’s message.

In the poll breakdown, 97 percent of Republicans, 82 percent of Independents, and 30 percent of Democratic viewers approved of the speech and what Trump said.

In fact, Trump’s speech was so powerful at times that even Democrats stood up and applauded when the president noted the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration.

“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today who follow the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways,” he said. “I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.”

SOURCE  

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Dems SOTU Rebuttal Offers Only Socialism

Stacey Abrams's speech played more like a campaign ad than a rebuttal to Trump's record.

To give their rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Democrats chose Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and salacious romance novelist. Abrams lost the governor’s race and then launched a drawn-out attempt to trigger a second election by leveling spurious claims of voter suppression. She was equally lost last night in cognitive dissonance regarding the reality of the nation’s booming economy and its demonstrably positive impact upon millions of Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum, but especially in the middle class.

Abrams falsely asserted, “The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.” News flash: This is 2019, not 2009. It’s not a social-media 10-year challenge.

Abrams also blasted Trump’s commitment to border security and stemming the tide of illegal immigration. She insisted that “compassionate treatment at the border is not the same as open borders,” while claiming that “Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders” — just “not walls.” Never mind the fact that Abrams is an activist and advocate for noncitizen voting rights.

To put it bluntly, Abrams’s speech was little more than a Democrat campaign ad. All it revealed was just how extreme the Democrat agenda has become. Issues that all Americans were once united on — such as border security, the benefits of a capitalistic free-market economy, and the danger posed by socialism to Americans’ Liberty and individual rights — are now the issues Democrats are using to divide the country.

Increasingly, the only answers Democrats offer voters is Big Government socialism and division based on “identity.” That was all Abrams had to offer. And isn’t it ironic that Democrats tapped a losing candidate to offer a socialist vision that has failed everywhere it has been implemented? But at least Abrams looked better than those two wax figures who responded to Trump’s immigration remarks a few weeks back…

SOURCE  

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Trump Critics Admit Success of Association Health Plans

Despite early warnings that deregulation would lead to disaster, the truth is the opposite

It seems at every turn, President Donald Trump’s shrillest critics are being forced to eat crow. He was widely mocked during his campaign in 2016, with virtually every pundit declaring he had almost no chance of beating Hillary Clinton … until he did. Critics claimed GOP tax reform would damage the economy; instead, it unleashed massive economic growth and job creation. They said taking a bombastic, hardline stance with North Korean tyrant and Chinese puppet Kim Jong-un would lead to nuclear war; instead, it brought the diminutive dictator to the negotiating table.

And this past summer, when President Trump rolled out new rules allowing individuals, the self-employed, and small businesses to band together and purchase health insurance across state lines, in what he called “association health plans” (AHPs), his critics again scoffed and attacked.

In reality, The Wall Street Journal described the concept for AHPs as proposed by the Health Policy Consensus Group, a conservative coalition of policy experts that included The Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Galen Institute and the Manhattan Institute. The idea was to “drive control of health care almost entirely to the states, reversing [ObamaCare’s] federal mandates that seek to provide basic minimum benefits and consumer protections, which Republicans argue limit people’s choice. … Under the conservative plan, states would receive ACA money in the form of block grants to help low-income consumers buy coverage. Health savings accounts, which let people set aside tax-free money for medical expenses, would be expanded. Insurers could give discounts to people who are young or maintain continuous coverage.”

Democrats mocked the plans as “junk insurance,” and one Leftmedia outlet called it a “flop.”

Andy Slavitt, the man responsible for implementing ObamaCare, was blunt in his denunciation, declaring, “Association health plans are not the solution to any problem Americans have. They won’t make drugs more affordable, they won’t help Americans get health care they need. … When [association health plan members] finally do get sick, they find out what isn’t covered at exactly the wrong time and [then] coverage is more expensive and unavailable. … That’s why 95% of doctors, patient groups, and insurers say it’s a bad idea.”

So … what kind of wine goes best with crow?

As it turns out, the association health plans have been so successful that even the Trump-hating Washington Post conceded this Trump victory.

The Post’s assistant editor, Robert Gebelhoff, wrote, “It’s time to acknowledge that critics may have misjudged one of the Trump administration’s signature health-care policies — ‘bigly.’ … New reports suggest that much of that fear might be overblown — at least for the time being. As The Washington Post’s health policy guru Paige Winfield Cunningham laid out this week, more than two dozen association health plans have been developed since the administration issued its new rule, and so far they don’t look nearly as skimpy as experts predicted.”

You don’t say!

Cunningham elaborates on the “shocking” success, noting, “Chambers of commerce and trade associations have launched more than two dozen of these ‘association health plans’ in 13 states in the seven months since the Labor Department finalized new rules. … And there are initial signs the plans are offering generous benefits and premiums lower than can be found in the Obamacare marketplaces.”

Cunningham continues, “When it comes to these new association health plans, they appear — at least so far — to offer benefits comparable to most workplace plans and haven’t tried to discriminate against patients with preexisting conditions.” She also notes that Land O'Lakes, a farm cooperative that participated in the AHPs, serving farmers in Nebraska and Minnesota, reports savings of 25-35% over plans in the ObamaCare ACA marketplace.

Gebelhoff also reported the findings of the Congressional Budget Office, which predicts significant health coverage gains due to the AHPs, so much so that “an estimated 5 million people will enroll in either a short-term plan or an association health plan every year over the next decade, including more than 1 million people annually who were previously uninsured.”

Gebelhoff concluded by admitting, “So far, it seems these plans could work exactly as his administration promised: By helping offer coverage options for middle-income families who are making too much to qualify for federal ACA subsidies but are still struggling to afford premiums.”

The bane of conservative policies is that they sound harsh or uncompassionate, but the benefit is that they promote freedom and expand prosperity.

“Progressive” policies have the opposite problem. While sounding idealistic and compassionate in theory, in practice they crush the individual under the power of an unmerciful state while spreading poverty and misery to all but those holding the reins of power. To any who doubt that, read up on stories of people eating rats and dogs to keep from starving in the socialist utopia of Venezuela.

With the wonderful success of association health plans, hopefully Americans will reject the leftist propaganda they’ve been fed and allow the free market to bring these same types of successes to education and Social Security.

SOURCE  

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

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

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7 February, 2019

It's here

A full transcript of Trump's SOTU speech is here Read it all.  I cannot add to it.

Poll results showed that 76% of speech viewers approved of what they heard and 72% approved of Trump’s ideas on immigration.

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President Trump’s big win: 304,000 new jobs, 100 months of growth

President Trump has just scored a win not even boomtime presidents such as Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan could beat.

While President Trump was still putting the final touches on his State of the Union speech, he received the one gift he really wanted: spectacular jobs growth figures. Some 304,000 jobs were created in January, marking 100 straight months of job growth.

The jobs growth came despite the controversial partial government shutdown. It represents the longest such period of jobs growth on record in the US.

And it is something Mr Trump can crow about.

The year started off strong, with the blockbuster January jobs gain pointing to expansion of more than three per cent in the first quarter, top White House economist Kevin Hassett says.

While Mr Hassett acknowledged that his office had underestimated the impact on the economy of idling 800,000 federal workers, he was upbeat about the outlook.

He said he got a “fist bump” from President Donald Trump after the January employment report was released, providing the “good news the White House needed.” “My thought is the negative effects we talked about from the shutdown will be very, very hard to see in the data,” he told CNBC. “I think Q1 has got to be well north of two and maybe even north of three per cent” growth, given the momentum from employment.

The White House believes the stimulus provided by 2017’s massive corporate tax cuts is producing “a tax-induced supply shock” that will boost growth without increasing prices.

“So I think we could go forward with a great deal of confidence that the high growth isn’t pushing an enormous amount on inflation,” Mr Hassett said.

Financial markets have become increasingly concerned that despite strong jobs growth the economy will slow this year. And those fears prompted the Federal Reserve to signal clearly that it intends to pause its interest rate increases.

The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported overnight that its service index fell to 56.7 per cent last month, down from 58 per cent in December.

The January reading was the lowest since July 2018. But any reading above 50 signals growth. So even with the January decline, the index shows that service industries, where most Americans work, has been expanding for 108 consecutive months.

The US trade war with China also has created uncertainty and threatened to slow both economies.

Mr Hassett said he remained “hopeful” Washington and Beijing could reach an agreement but cautioned that “there’s still a lot of work to do.”

The US will more than double the punitive tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods if no deal is agreed by March 1. The sides held a second round of talks in Washington last week and are expected to meet again in Beijing later this month

“It’s a wait-and-see confidence situation,” said Anthony Nieves, the chair of ISM’s non-manufacturing business survey committee.

SOURCE   

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The Israeli example

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Tweet on Sunday that the Israeli government this weekend began building a barrier along the Israeli-Gaza border.

“Over the weekend, we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border,” Netanyahu said.

“The barrier will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground,” he said. “If the quiet is not maintained in Gaza, we will not hesitate to act.”

Brigadier Gen. Eran Ophir is head of the Israeli Army’s “fence-building administration,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

“On Thursday, we began working on the final component of the barrier project along the Gaza border,” Gen. Ophir said, according to the Jerusalem Post. “The barrier is unique and especially suited to threats from the Gaza strip and will provide a maximum response to prevent entry into Israeli territory.”

The Jerusalem Post additionally reported:

“The smart-fence is the above-ground part of Israel's underground barrier, which has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels. The defense ministry stated that the work on the underground barrier ‘will continue in parallel to the work on the fence.’ …

"‘The barrier is similar to the one on the Egyptian border, but it has significant improvements and includes innovative security elements,’ the Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that the smart-fence has been specially adapted to security threats and will be an additional component for the defense of communities in the Gaza border vicinity.”

SOURCE  

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Commanding General of U.S. Central Command: U.S. Has Funded Excellent Border Security--in Jordan

Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that Americans would be "very proud" to see the kind of border security their tax dollars have produced -- in Jordan.

Last week I was in Jordan. I had an opportunity to visit the border -- up along the border between Jordan and Syria. And I had an opportunity to witness the investments that our country has made in their border security initiatives -- equipment, training, command and control for this. And what I witnessed there I think would make any member of Congress or indeed, any American, very proud to see.

It was extraordinarily professional, it was very effective; they had very good situational awareness and understanding of what was happening along their border. And everything that they were doing was sustainable. And they'd been doing it for several years, and with the prospect of continuing to do it in the future. This is the kind of investments that we need to be making in these very good partners right here, like Jordan.

According to a 2018 Rand Corporation study, the United States began helping Jordan secure its border in 2008, with a $20 million project to build surveillance towers along a 30-mile stretch of the border with Syria. Rand reported:

This program was expanded to include a fully networked fence running along 275 miles of Jordan’s borders with Syria and Iraq at a cost of more than $300 million. By 2016, the system consisted of an advanced border monitoring network, equipped with an array of remote detection, surveillance, and command and control capabilities, which allowed the Jordanian Armed Forces to detect activity five miles away on either side of the fence. The system funnels into a joint U.S.-Jordanian command center.

The Rand study also examined "lessons learned" from the Jordan experience.

The final lesson in the long list says, "Deploying regular army units to the border to supplement border forces is also helpful."

SOURCE  

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Right-to-Try Laws Help Patient with Terminal Brain Cancer

Earlier this month, a patient with terminal brain cancer gained access to a potentially life-saving experimental treatment. Suffering from glioblastoma, considered to be “the most aggressive and malignant type of brain cancer,” the patient faces little hope of survival with conventional treatment methods.

Fortunately, the patient was able to access a new and promising treatment option named Gliovac. Gliovac helps patients fight cancer by providing a vaccine-like treatment which helps their immune system attack, and even eliminate, tumors or cancerous cells.

However, Gilovac is currently unapproved by the Food and Drug Administration. The patient’s family persevered, contacting Gilovac’s drug provider Enhanced Recovery Company who, with the assistance of the University of California, Irvine, was able to administer treatment through national right-to-try legislation.

Signed into law in May, national right-to-try legislation allows patients with terminal illnesses to access experimental treatments with only the permission of their physicians and the drug provider. The law cuts the Food and Drug Administration out of the process. In doing so, right-to-try provides patients access to potentially life-saving treatment with less regulatory obstacles. A statement released to Cancer Updates, Research, and Education, by the University of California, Irvine notes, “It was believed that (Right to Try) offered a more expedited path to treatment, which UCI (University of California, Irvine) began after meeting regulatory and compliance requirements of state and federal Right to Try laws.”

Remarkably, this is the first time national right-to-try laws have been used to access experimental treatments. Yet it is difficult to imagine a better representation of what right-to-try represents.

The patient is being given a chance to prolong their life when other options to try experimental medication failed. Before utilizing right-to-try laws, the patient was unable to enlist in an ongoing clinical study due to their health.

Clinical trials often will not include terminally ill patients to avoid skewing statistical results. As Daniela Bota, medical director of the UCI Health Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program, explains, “The Right to Try laws may be the only alternative for many patients who may not qualify for clinical trials based on a variety of factors, including progression of disease, comorbidities, existing medications, physical limitations, and others.”

Perhaps more importantly, the patient was not the victim of the sluggish FDA approval process. Gilovac is currently in the second phase of the FDA’s approval, yet to enter the more time-consuming later phases. With more than 23,000 adults developing cancerous tumors in the brain or spinal cord each year, right-to-try provides hope for many in dire situations.

When treatments are unavailable, and prognoses are fatal, the best chance to prolong life is to consider all remaining options. National right-to-try laws recognize this and provide more options for terminally ill patients.

Now that one patient has used the process, more are likely to follow. Let’s hope for the best.

SOURCE  

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USDA Imposes the Worst Regulation Ever

In 2018, the overall cost for Americans to comply with regulations issued by U.S. government agencies decreased for the first time since that burden began to be measured in 2005. But that achievement wasn’t an across-the-board success story, because one federal government department bucked the trend by greatly increasing the regulatory burden on American food producers, where the cost of complying with new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will ultimately be paid by all Americans whenever and wherever they might shop for food.

The new regulation is the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), which was imposed by the USDA on December 20, 2018, just ahead of the partial federal government shutdown, which Henry Miller, the founding director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Biotechnology, and Drew Kershen, a law professor at the University of Oklahoma, have described as the USDA’s “most bewildering, least cost-effective regulation ever” in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

In July 2016, Congress passed a law mandating that all food containing genetic material that has been modified with recombinant DNA or “gene-splicing” techniques bear labels clearly identifying it as “bioengineered.” The statute acknowledged that bioengineered food is neither more nor less safe than other food, but the new rule—the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, or NBFDS—won’t help consumers understand that. It will only leave them confused.

Under the NBFDS, two identical bottles of corn oil on a supermarket shelf could be labeled differently—one as bioengineered, one not—even though both were derived from the same field and are identical in processing and quality. Both labels would comply with the regulation because the new rule doesn’t require a label “if the food does not contain detectable genetically modified material.” The NBFDS allows manufacturers to make voluntary disclosures on such products, but not that they “may contain” bioengineered ingredients.

While issuing confusing regulations is nothing new for federal government agencies, what puts the NBFDS into a class of badness all its own is the absence of any positive benefit to go along with the increased costs it will impose on all American food producers, distributors, and consumers.

What elevates the rule from an irritant to an outrage is the USDA’s own admissions about its costs, which will “range from $569 million to $3.9 billion for the first year.” Thereafter, there will be additional costs annually—”in perpetuity,” as the rule says—of “$68 million to $234 million at a three percent discount rate and $91 million to $391 million at a seven percent discount rate.” And those estimates don’t take into consideration the many thousands of hours federal employees will spend fine-tuning and implementing the rule.

The benefit? There is none: “The NBFDS is not expected to have any benefits to human health or the environment.” Nor does the regulation assert any benefit to consumers.

That is not an error. The USDA’s regulators really believe its new bioengineered (BE) food labeling requirements will provide no measurable value to improving anybody’s health, or their pocketbook, or to the environment, where the only benefit they identify to justify the massive new regulatory burden lies in “eliminating costly inefficiencies of a state-level approach in BE disclosure”, where they single out the state of Vermont’s bioengineered food labeling regulations as even more costly.

While the NBFDS might save money in Vermont, the USDA’s new regulation for bioengineered food labeling comes at the cost of imposing new burdens on all other Americans. Since that cost comes with absolutely no benefit, making it perhaps the worst regulation ever, it is completely unjustifiable in any sane world.

If anyone in the U.S. Congress is serious about making the federal government work for the American people instead of against them, they’ll take action to stop the USDA from doing this very stupid thing as soon as possible.

SOURCE  

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Conservative groups support Yoho ‘zero for zero’ bill to end sugar subsidies reciprocally

Americans for Limited Government joined today in a letter with eight free market and limited government groups to support H. Con. Res. 7 by U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) that would end sugar subsidies globally via reciprocal trade agreements with other nations

H. Con. Res. 7 calls for an elimination of “all direct and indirect subsidies that benefit the production or export of sugar by all major sugar producing and consuming countries,” including Brazil, India and Thailand, which are labeled in the letter as “sugar dumpers.”

The letter states, “America’s sugar farmers compete, unfairly, against heavily subsidized foreign producers, justifying the current no-cost, U.S. sugar policy program to stabilize the domestic sugar market… If foreign governments would eliminate their market-distorting subsidies, allowing the U.S. to end domestic support programs, a free market would exist, and America’s sugar farmers could compete effectively in that market.”

“Congress has a made-to-order opportunity to embrace that promise and send a clear message that trade ‘cheating’ will not be tolerated and America will be put first,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Americans for Limited Government, 60 Plus, Less Government, Citizen Outreach, Institute for Liberty, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Institute for Policy Innovation and Tea Party Nation.

The “zero for zero” bill currently has six co-sponsors.

SOURCE  

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

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

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6 February, 2019

If not for double standards, Democrat party leaders wouldn't have any

It was OK in the first decade of this millennium that Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) was considered the "conscience of the Senate" by his Demo colleagues, even though he had been an "exalted cyclops" in the Ku Klux Klan.

Last year it was OK that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) was vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee at the same time he was an advocate for fellow Muslim racist Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam black-supremacist haters calling for an "ethnostate."

Now enter Gov. Ralph Northam. Just days after earning infamy for his comments in support of infanticide, a photo was "discovered" of Northam from his medical yearbook page. There are two people in the photo, one in black face and the other in a KKK robe. Northam admitted he was in the photo but refused to acknowledge which of the racist characters was him — apparently trying to decide which one would be "less racist."

On Friday, Northam launched an apology tour: "I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. ... I understand how this decision shakes Virginians' faith in that commitment."

Really? This is not a teenager's high-school yearbook from 35 years ago, with a notation about "passing gas," for which then-SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh was relentlessly skewered by Democrats. This is an adult's medical-school yearbook. It is astounding that the mainstream media did not uncover this photo during his 2017 campaign for governor — when he was labeling his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, "racist," complete with an ad depicting minority kids being threatened by a guy with a Confederate flag on his truck. It would be interesting to know which media "journalists" suppressed knowledge of the photo. I have inquired with the editorial board of The Washington Post, but I don't expect an answer.

Given the fact that a disproportionate number of aborted American babies are black, and Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger was an advocate of racially selective eugenics to contain less desirable ethnic groups like black people, the irony of Northam's infanticide comments and now this photo is thick.

In what alternate universe does a major political party pressure its sitting governor to resign because he appeared in a 35-year-old racist photo but not because of his position (as a pediatrics specialist) advocating infanticide legislation? Fortunately, that bill failed to pass. Of course, the Virginia Democrat Party is controlled — as is the state — by suburban government bureaucrats who reside in northern Virginia and have no roots in the state.

Unbelievably, a day after declaring he was in the photo, Northam claimed he was not in the photo: "In the hours since I made my statement yesterday, I reflected with my ... classmates from the time and affirmed my conclusion that I am not the person in that photo."

He now recalls once darkening his face with shoe polish to portray Michael Jackson in a dance contest. "You remember these things," he insisted, after admitting he didn't. This pivot would be laughable if not so pathetic. The photo still appeared in his yearbook and he is likely under that hood or he NEVER would have admitted he was in the photo. The Jackson blackface story was concocted so Northam could "get out from under the hood." (Ironically, for the last two decades of his life, Michael Jackson strived to appear in whiteface.) Now that Northam has "reflected" with his political tribe and his classmates, two of them may come forward and claim they were in the photo.

So will Northam resign? I hope not!

The reason Democrats may insist he resign, regardless, is that if he stays in office, the photo undermines their "racist Republicans" mantra, especially on issues like Donald Trump's plan for what they consider an "immoral" and "racist" southern-border barrier.

And standing in the wings waiting to take Northam's office is Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a black gubernatorial hopeful who has been stewarded by Al Gore and John Kerry. He is a DC native who moved to Virginia to support Demo Sen. Mark Warner. Fairfax will be a far more formidable leftist Democrat governor than Northam.

SOURCE  

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How far left will they go?

The Democratic presidential primary contest is already the most left-wing in decades

Moderate democrats have had a good few months. They dominated the Democratic primaries ahead of the mid-term elections, duly delivered a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, and have been quietly getting their way there, too. For all the hoopla over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the House agenda looks pragmatic, with a focus on fiscal prudence, infrastructure development and not impeaching President Donald Trump. House Democrats think this approach will keep on board the centrist voters they won last year. That looks like a more promising way to get rid of Mr Trump. So why are the early Democratic runners for next year’s presidential election flocking to the left?

In 2016 Hillary Clinton said Senator Bernie Sanders’s promise of universal state-provided health care could “never, ever come to pass”. Most Democratic candidates in competitive mid-terms races also rejected it. Yet all three heavyweights who have so far declared for 2020—the senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren—are for it. So are several big names expected to announce shortly, including Senator Cory Booker and Mr Sanders himself. Only Ms Warren and Mr Sanders among them have a record of taking populist positions. The rest have leapt to them. Indeed the uniformity of their proposals is striking.

Most offer some version of Mr Sanders’s free college pledge. All are for giving a federal job to whomever wants one, as first suggested by Mr Booker. These proposals are not necessarily crazy; the health-care system is a mess. But the idea that they could form a realistic agenda for a governing system choked by partisanship is absurd. The light-headed fashion in which the early runners are airing their proposals adds to that impression. Slammed on social media for having promised only two years of free college, Julián Castro—once Barack Obama’s centrist housing secretary—shot back that he’d push for four, then. Pressed for her view of private medical insurance, Ms Harris said she’d scrap it. She later tried to walk that back. Yet what was she—what are they all—thinking of?

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, for one. Inspired by the demise of the centralised party structure and the rise of social media, the left-wing activist world she represents has rarely been more vibrant or intimidating to the Democratic establishment. Some compare it to the supercharged activism that pushed the Democrats leftward in the 1930s and 1960s. The alacrity with which Ms Harris and Ms Warren praised Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s signature policy, the Green New Deal, supports that. (So does the fact that a 29-year-old freshman congresswoman is considered to have a signature policy.)

That is one of two structural changes behind the new populism.

The other is the growing importance of online fundraising, which most Democratic consultants think requires bold left-wing pledges, especially in a crowded primary field, in which cash-hungry populists will compete to be the boldest. That contest promises, in turn, to make online fundraising even more important to those involved, because it will make Wall Street donors less generous. Ms Warren’s proposed wealth tax on households worth over $50m has already given them something to hate. Still, the effect of these structural factors can be overstated.

As the mid-terms indicate, the activists are not in step with most Democratic voters, who appear more focused on opposing Mr Trump than on remaking the health-care system. Historical comparisons underline this. The leftward lurches of the 1930s and 1960s were also spurred by events, in the form of the Great Depression and the civil-rights struggle, which convinced millions of the need for radical change. There is little evidence that most Democratic voters think today’s more complicated socioeconomic inequities warrant the big expansion of the state that the populist candidates are promising. Even in fairly liberal states such as Colorado, voters have rejected proposals for a single-payer healthcare scheme. Mr Sanders’s better-than-expected run in 2016 said more about dissatisfaction with Mrs Clinton than the power of his ideas. This also suggests the consultants may be wrong to demand hard-left pledges for the purpose of fundraising. Of the three past masters of online fundraising, Mr Obama, Beto O’Rourke and Mr Sanders, only the last is an outright left-winger.

The disruptive effect of Mr Trump offers more fundamental explanations for the Democrats’ lurch to the left. Activists think his ideological nonconformity and unpopularity afford them an opportunity to shift the Overton window to the left. Establishment figures such as Mr Booker and Ms Harris still seem mesmerised by his ability to make headline-grabbing pronouncements with which Mrs Clinton could not compete for attention. This seems to underappreciate his subsequent weakness. Over half of voters— roughly the portion the Democratic candidate would need—say they will definitely not vote for him. It is not obvious why such voters, sick of Mr Trump’s antics, would warm to a Democrat offering a different set of implausible promises. “If we try to out-crazy the policy announcements of a troubled president, we will do nothing to restore confidence,” warns Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.

Trumpish or anti-Trump

Trying to improve on Mrs Clinton may be a better strategy—and her proposals were the least of her problems. Voters rejected her because they didn’t like or identify with her, not because her jobs plan was small-bore. The new populists’ reluctance to grapple with that hints at a lack of confidence in their own ability to win voters’ trust. It is surely no coincidence that they represent the main cohort of hated Washington insiders in the contest. More outsiderish candidates—perhaps including Mr O’Rourke, who, like Mr Obama before him, is not primarily associated with Washington despite his time in Congress—may be better at talking to voters without promising them the moon. But there is no sign of them yet. For now the race is dominated by senators offering the moon on a plate, in Swiss cheese, pepper jack, or any other flavour.

SOURCE  

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Prominent Restaurant Bans MAGA Hats, Compares Them to Swastikas

Patrons won’t be served at a Silicon Valley restaurant if they wear a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a chef-partner of the Wursthall restaurant in San Mateo, California, said in a tweet last weekend that he views the hats as symbols of intolerance and hate. “It hasn’t happened yet, but if you come to my restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, you aren’t getting served, same as if you come in wearing a swastika, white hood, or any other symbol of intolerance and hate,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.

The tweet was no longer available Thursday but the newspaper reported it had more than 2,100 likes and more than 200 retweets as of Wednesday afternoon.

The red hats, which are sold on President Donald Trump’s campaign website, have become polarizing. The hats were worn by some Kentucky high school students involved in a Jan. 18 confrontation with a Native American elder near the Lincoln Memorial.

Lopez-Alt wrote the 2015 book “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.” He declined further comment to the newspaper, saying that his restaurant has received threatening emails following the tweet.

San Mateo resident Jamie Hwang, 42, told the newspaper she has mixed feelings about the ban, saying that San Mateo is diverse and members of her family support Trump.

“I see where he’s coming from, but I don’t think you should just keep people out because of a hat,” Hwang said.

Her dining companion Esther Shek, 39, said she believed the hats had “come to represent racism, intolerance, exclusivity.” But she added that refusing to serve Trump supporters would exacerbate a situation where talking about differences might be better.

“They already feel like they’re being demonized by what they call the liberal elite,” she said. “We shouldn’t add fire to that.”

Bao Agbayani, who was visiting from the Philippines, said the rule banning the hats wouldn’t keep him from dining at the restaurant. But he said he was alarmed by what the rule represented. “You’re discriminating against those with different political views,” he said. “That’s just not OK.”

SOURCE

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Germany’s Economy Cracking – Unemploymant rate for refugees up to 65 percent

Germany’s growth rate is cracking with a new estimate cutting the projected 2019 rate by 44 percent from 1.8 percent to a mere 1 percent.

Peter Altmaier, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy, is blaming BREXIT and global trade, specifically the row with the US. In fact, Germany’s growth rate has been on a steady decline since 2017, while its inflation rate has been rising from a low of 0.39 percent in 2016 to a projected 1.78 percent in 2019.

With low fertility rates, a short supply of labor, and a welfare system stretched to max point propping up a 65 percent unemployment rate for refugees, Germany has failed to mediate the problem and instead blamed false factors in an attempt to conceal and censor the facts.

It becomes apparent that the failed Iran Nuclear Deal is now even more vital than ever to prop up an economy that is close to slithering into a recession.

As such, Germany, together with France and the UK, has created a backdoor, a means of evading the US sanctions on business dealings with Iran.  The gamble is comprised of a clearing house system wherein money flows through a third party instrument labeled INSTEX.  Testing the efficacy of this channel through trade of nonsanctionable goods, Germany is waiting to see how Trump and his administration will react and whether fines and additional trade wars will erupt further.

Instead of negotiating with the US, Merkel is now putting Germany in the crossroads wherein weakened alliances could create a plummeting downward economic spiral that would not only take out Germany but the EU as a globalist power.

SOURCE  

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

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

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5 February, 2019

A good front page



The arctic weather conditions in the nation’s Midwest may be having some unexpected effects on some politicians.

At least, according to The New York Post which ran a cover on the so-called polar vortex which took a double jab at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The publication declared on its front page Thursday that the cold snap, which has seen temperatures in the negative double digits, is colder than the Democratic mayor’s “presidential hopes.

But the subtext on the New York Post cover was even more brutal: “So cold, AOC has her hands in her OWN pockets.”

Ocasio-Cortez makes no apologies for her controversial views and policy proposals and has just launched fundraising efforts for her 2020 re-election following reports of “a serious primary challengeby other Democrats in the House,” according to her Facebook post Wednesday.

SOURCE  

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'Medicare for All' will fail Democrats

Democratic senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris of California gave an outstanding performance in a CNN town hall in Iowa this week. I had never seen her speak on on stage before, but she came across as poised, tough, likable, and knowledgable. As I watched and listened to her, I thought uh oh, Donald Trump may have met his match. Then she suddenly blew herself up with one of the dumbest statements I have heard from a politician in a long time. When asked whether she endorsed “Medicare for All,”ť she dutifully said yes, as it is now Democratic dogma.

When Anderson Cooper pried further and asked if she favored abolishing private insurance plans, the obvious correct answer should have been, “Hell no.”ť Instead, Harris restated without hesitation, “I’m for Medicare for All,”ť which anyone watching would interpret as “for everybody.”ť Then she explained, “The idea is that everyone gets access to medical care. You don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork.”

Her plan, she said, would “eliminate all that.” It reminded me of a similarly boneheaded response several months ago by Democratic senator and presidential wannabe Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. Asked if she would favor abolishing ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, she inexplicably replied that she would. Why do leading Democrats say such politically suicidal things? The obvious answer is that this is where the far left of the party wants the candidates to go in 2020. It is as if these candidates are running for president of MoveOn.org, not of the United States. Except for a few left wing crazies, who in their right minds really wants to abolish our immigration enforcement or border patrol agencies?

Now Harris is blissfully following the same radical forces. My sense is that this was not a gaffe and she was actually coached to say this about “Medicare for All”ť to fully establish her liberal credentials. Tellingly, the crowd of Democratic primary voters in Iowa burst into applause when she said that she wants to do away with private insurance. It is one thing to endorse allowing young people to buy into Medicare, which is a bad idea, but not crazy. What is crazy is telling over 150 million Americans with employer provided or other private health plans that they will have to give it all up because the politicians in Washington have a better deal for you.

It was not so long ago that Barack Obama reassured voters that, under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.” That statement turned out to be untrue because millions of Americans across the nation lost affordable health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Still, people liked the idea that universal coverage did not mean that families would be forced into a government health plan.

It turns out Harris was only regurgitating the actual intent of “Medicare for All”ť legislation. Section 801 of the Medicare for All Act specifies that “no employee benefit plan may provide benefits that duplicate payment for any items or services for which payment may be made under Medicare.” This effectively bars employers from covering workers, retirees, and their families. No more health care choice. No more competition. No more forms to fill out. You get sick, go to the doctor, and it is basically free.

To cover the 30 million or so Americans with no health insurance, 150 million Americans would have to give up their current coverage. That is a terrible deal. Meanwhile, polls consistently find that about 70 percent of Americans with employer or union health plans like what they have. But that does not matter. The young bolsheviks will move them out. It also does not seem to matter that Medicare already faces tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities, or that it is soon to be flat out of money. This “Medicare for All” plan is like investing all of our lifetime savings in mortgage backed securities on the eve of the financial crash of 2008.

I share in the disdain that Harris holds for health insurance companies. They often turn out to be the unnecessary middle men driving up medical transactions. The law of economics would tell us that if Americans paid more of the upfront costs themselves, health inflation would fall, as has happened with programs like health savings accounts. Instead, we get the opposite system, as everyone pays for health charges for everyone else.

We have Democrats now touting 70 percent tax rates, wealth taxes, public health care, no border patrol, free college tuition, and $15 minimum wage. Moreover, we are hearing that as many as a dozen more Democrats will soon enter the presidential race, pushing the crowded field even further to the left. Suddenly, Donald Trump is looking like a sure winner in 2020.

SOURCE  

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CNN Labeled KKK Governor A Republican

In their unmoored worldview that's what they would expect him to be.  Must not mention that the KKK *attacked* Republicans

It didn’t take long for the news media to hit another iceberg. This time it was in the Old Dominion. Virginia became the subject of media attention (okay, some media attention) since Democrats tried to push a bill that would’ve permitted abortions up until the moment of birth. It was a ghastly bill that was rejected. Still, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, a medical doctor, decided to weigh in during a radio interview this week, where he was torched for his remarks that pretty much detailed how this bill would permit the murder of babies. The Democrats’ abortion extremism was on full display. He responded to the blowback by saying he doesn’t regret his remarks about the legislation.

Well, his bad week became a total disaster when his 1984 yearbook photo from Eastern Virginia Medical School, where it features two men, one of which is in blackface and the other is in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Northam apologized for the racist costume; though he didn’t specify which person he’s in the photo. The yearbook photo has been verified. It remained in the library on the school’s campus, which has led some to retroactively trash Ed Gillespie and the GOP for missing this during the 2017 gubernatorial election. Northam has apologized for the photo and promised to earn back the trust of the voters. For many, especially those on the Democratic side, scores of Democrats, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have called on Northam to resign, while others have crafted the odd position of ‘he needs to go, but just not right now.’

SOURCE  

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CNBC: The Shutdown Didn't Hurt Economy, Jobs Are Booming

The January jobs report is out today, and, despite the longest partial government shutdown in history, things are looking good. Don't take my word for it. CNBC's Sara Eisen explained why the economy is on the uptick Friday morning. Economists projected about 170,000 jobs added last month, but what we got was well over 300,000.

What does it all mean, "Morning Joe" anchor Mika Brzezinski wanted to know.

"They mean that the economy is still going strong and that employers aren't really fazed by the shutdown," Eisen said.  "Companies didn't hesitate to hire," she added. "It did not shake confidence."

She had some more numbers to prove it. It was "a bumper year for job creation," Eisen continued. The average per month for private employment was in the "2s." The new number is higher than the average for every month of last year. Again, she saw "no effect in terms of hiring for private employers" in regards to the shutdown.

Moreover, more people are entering the workforce. The current participation rate is 63.2 percent - the highest since 2013.m  January marked the 100th straight month for job gains.

SOURCE   

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Should taxpayers subsidize sport stadiums?

Politicians aren't likely to talk about what I explain in my latest video—how taxpayers were forced to donate more than $700 million to the owner of Atlanta's football team, billionaire Arthur Blank, to get him to build the stadium.

In addition to the subsidies, the Falcons get all the money from parking, restaurants, and merchandise sales. Sweet deal. But not an unusual one. Some NFL teams collect even more in government subsidies than it cost to build their stadiums.

So taxpayers, most of whom never attend a game, subsidize billionaires. Seems like a scam.

I don't fault Blank for grabbing the money. I like the guy. He made our lives better by founding Home Depot. We're both stutterers who donate money to AIS, a stuttering treatment program. Since politicians give money away, Blank's shareholders would consider him irresponsible not to take it.

The problem is that politicians give away your money in the first place.

I understand why they do it. They like going to games and telling voters, "I brought the team to our town!"

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and her cronies recently funneled $750 million of taxpayer money to the owners of the Oakland Raiders to get them to move the team to Vegas.

Reporter Jon Ralston asked her, "Why should there be one cent of public money when you have two guys who could pay for this themselves?"

The mayor replied lamely, "I think it really is a benefit to us that really could spill over into something." Spill over into…something. Politicians always claim giving taxpayer money to team owners will "spill over" to the whole community.

They call their handouts investments—a "terrific investment," as the mayor of Atlanta put it. But it's not a good investment. It's a bad one.

Politicians point to that extra business activity that occurs when the football team plays at home, but the Atlanta Falcons, like most NFL teams, play just 10 home games. The stadium is used for some concerts and soccer games, but most days little or nothing happens there.

That's why economists who study stadium subsidies call them a bad deal for taxpayers.

The problem is the seen vs. the unseen, as economist Frederic Bastiat put it. All of us see the people at the games buying beer and hotdogs. But we don't see the larger number of citizens, who had their money taken from them to spend on the stadium, not buying things.

We don't see two fewer customers in a restaurant or the home remodeling that never got done. Those humbler projects lack the political clout and don't get the media attention that politicians and the stadium-builders get.

So when Atlanta politicians brag about their beautiful stadium, and clueless media claim that it created lots of jobs, let's also remember the jobs the subsidies destroyed—and the tax money that was given to rich people.

The problem isn't just Atlanta, and it isn't just sports. Most every time government presumes to tell us where and how our money should be spent rather than leaving it up to free individuals, it creates a loss.

Politicians announce whatever project they fund with great fanfare, implying you should be thankful to them—as if football, or the arts, or whatever is unveiled in the latest ribbon-cutting ceremony, couldn't exist without politicians moving money from your pocket to the pockets of their cronies. But really, government shrinks your ability to make choices every time it steers money away from what you might choose to spend it on.

Football is popular enough to thrive without politicians subsidizing it.

SOURCE  

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Dems' Unmoored State of the Union Responder: Those Covington Kids Behaved Badly, And Trump's Racism is to Blame

Just standing there smiling is REALLY bad behaviour!

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who was defeated in her 2018 gubernatorial campaign, is her party's pick to respond to next week's State of the Union address.  In this interview -- released long after it was crystal clear that the original framing was catastrophically wrong and unfair -- she dismisses the "narrative" about wider context as nearly irrelevant. 

What's important, she explains, is what people saw in the context-free clip.  And what they saw was "inappropriate" language and "disrespect."  And yes, she's absolutely talking about the Covington Catholic students, not the Black Hebrew Israelites screaming slurs and obscenities at teenagers.  And not the Native American serial provocateur who's been caught in multiple lies, who decided it was a good idea to beat a drum inches away from a kid's face, and whose sidekick was busy telling the white students to "go back to Europe."

It doesn't matter what led to the viral moment, Abrams says.  What matters is that those kids behaved badly (which, overwhelmingly, they did not) -- and that it's Donald Trump's fault because they were following his lead on "xenophobia, racism, bigotry, and hatred."  If you're looking for a emotionalist, tendentious, left-wing hot take on Covington, even after the facts are in, it doesn't get more scorching than this:

Following her November defeat, Abrams is reportedly seeking to lean even harder into identity politics, which is a safe political bet, given the creepy zeitgeist of her party.  It's also telling that Democratic leaders are choosing to showcase a woman who refused to concede defeat in her race, instead suggesting that the outcome was tainted or illegitimate because of "suppression."  On this claim, as it apparently her wont, she's not allowing certain facts to stand in the way of her preferred story:

They complain that Kemp ran for governor while he was still secretary of state. Yes, but Georgia’s constitution allows for that, and it’s been done before. In the 2000s, Democrat Cathy Cox ran for her party’s gubernatorial nomination while serving as secretary of state. Kemp ran for re-election twice while simultaneously occupying the office, with no one seriously alleging malfeasance. In any case, localities count the votes, not the secretary of state’s office. They allege that Kemp shut down polling places. It’s true, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that 214 precincts have closed in Georgia since 2012. It’s just not the handiwork of Brian Kemp. Counties make the decisions about whether or not to shutter polling places. It’s usually cash-strapped rural areas that consolidate precincts to eliminate underutilized polling places and locations that don’t comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When a controversy exploded over a proposal to close seven of nine precincts in tiny, majority-black Randolph County, Kemp came out publicly and opposed the plan. (As it happens, Randolph voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but Donald Trump won five of the seven precincts slated for closure.) They charge that Kemp kept people in voting limbo over minor registration errors. Under Georgia’s so-called exact-match law, if information on a voter registration doesn’t match a driver’s license, state ID card or Social Security records, the voter has a little over two years to clear up the discrepancy. Until then, the voter is put into the “pending file” (53,000 people were on it). This isn’t a prohibition from voting. If the voter shows up at a polling place with an ID verifying his information (mandatory in Georgia, regardless), there isn’t an issue. Finally, they object to Kemp’s enforcement of Georgia’s “use it or lose it” rule. A similar law in Ohio was upheld by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

She lost fair and square, refused to concede, and is being rewarded with a high-profile platform.  The clip above is a useful example of how knee-jerk partisans will learn the lessons they want to learn, no matter what the evidence may demonstrate.  Part of the problem with the Covington affair, which feels like a distant memory already, was the eagerness of many in the press to extrapolate "larger truths" from a cultural flashpoint that they instantly decided was illustrative of something they fervently believed.  As more information trickled in, the media storyline shifted from "aren't these young Trumpers awful?" to, "look at these conservatives unfairly 'pouncing' on our collective rush to judgment!"  Ross Douthat noted on Twitter yesterday that journalists were happy to storm headfirst into the Covington cultural blaze, yet their treatment of Democrats' radical abortion bills has been exceptionally cautious and tepid by comparison:

In fact, many of the mainstream stories emerging from the late-term abortion controversy are almost-comical manifestations of the "conservatives pounce" template -- to the point of reading like satirical corporate PR for the abortion lobby: 

SOURCE  

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

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

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4 February, 2019

A note on the vocabulary people of English descent have inherited from their German ancestors of 1500 years ago

I argued yesterday that English vowels point to the Frisians from the North Sea coast as the dominant German tribe in Britannia but what about vocabulary?  Since all the invading groups, including the Frisians, spoke a form of German, vocabulary is unlikely to tell us much about who was who among the invaders -- but there is one puzzling feature of the vocabulary that we have inherited:  Some quite common words -- such as "take' -- are not of German origin at all.  The modern German word for "take" is "nehmen', which could hardly be more different.

Ultimately "take" is clearly from a Scandinavian source (such as Old Norse "taka") and for some reason, perhaps because of its brevity, it overtook and replaced the German word ("niman" in Old English).

So how did some Scandinavian words get into the vocabulary of North Germans?  That's pretty obvious.  There were all these tough Viking precursors on the North side of the Baltic -- while seas and oceans were seen as highroads rather than as obstacles in early times.  You could move people and goods much more easily over water than you could over dirt tracks.

And the Saxon homeland in Holstein did have a substantial frontage onto the South Baltic. 



It did also have a frontage onto the North Sea but there was nothing much nearby there -- Cuxhaven did not exist at that time -- so the Baltic frontage would have been by far the busiest and most influential. 

So some Scandinavian words did "leak" from North to South across the Baltic -- probably in the main via trade.  So vocabulary reveals that the Saxon influence in Britannia was clearly substantial.  It gave way to Frisian vowels (from the North Sea coast) but contributed some distinctly Baltic vocabulary.

The Scandinavians (Swedes) did not succeed in moving South themselves.  The Germans of the South Baltic coast always repelled any such attempts.  And it is tempting to suspect that the expansionist Saxons were the backbone of the German resistance.  Their main expansionary thrust was Southward but an expansion sideways along the South Baltic coast would seem like an obvious early move, with its opportunities to move by sea.  Seas and rivers were the highroads of the ancient world

The rivers Eider and Elbe did provide Northern and Southern pathways to the North Sea but rivers are a lot harder to navigate than the open sea.-- JR.

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Kamala Harris Sounds A Lot Like An Authoritarian

Leftism IS authoritarian

Some Democrats are trying to recast their soft authoritarianism as a patriotic endeavor. Don't let them get away with it.

The questions for the prospective Democratic Party presidential candidates to this point are nothing but endless iterations on ‘How evil is Donald Trump?’  Even when asked other questions it is soft pitch or questions or ones larded up with euphemisms and dishonest framing to make it virtual. Perhaps some could some guidance from conservatives—still a sizable Tk—might want to know.

For instance:

Democrats in New York, Virginia, and a number of states support laws that strip virtually any obstacle to obtaining an abortion up until the moment of birth. According to studies, most women who seek these abortions do not do so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment. Do you believe that a mother should have the right to obtain an abortion of a viable baby up until the moment of birth if the mother claims mental distress?

Do you believe babies who survive botched abortion procedures should be, through the purposeful neglect of doctors, allowed to die if that is the mother’s wish?

What limits, if any, do you believe there should placed on abortion?

On the issue of energy: Nuclear power, which doesn’t emit carbon dioxide, generates around 20 percent of American energy – or far more than any “green” energy source (for instance, solar power, even heavily subsidized by government, only produces 1.3 percent.) The “Green New Deal” calls on the elimination of all nuclear power within 11 years. Do you support this policy?

The “Green New Deal” also calls for the elimination of all energy production that produces carbon dioxide or air pollution, which oil and natural gas, one the cheapest sources of America energy, and one of the reasons the United States has been able to lead the world in carbon emissions reduction. How do you propose eliminating nearly 90 percent of all American energy usage in 11 years? If not in 11 years, how many years do you propose reaching this goal?

Do you support a national ban on fracking?

The elimination of fossil fuels production would likely costs tens of trillions of dollars of cost on the American consumer through spiking costs and massive infrastructure changes. Every car in America, for example, would have to be retrofitted to run on electricity. Should the government pay for the cost on families? How will we pay for it?

The US oil, gas industry itself supports over 10 million jobs in the United States that would be lost within the decade. Will you retrain millions of people to work in far more expensive but produces far less efficient energy? How will those people find new jobs – what will we do with their pensions and health care

The “Green New Deal” calls on the government to ensure that people give up their “non-essential individual means of transport” so they can use a “high-quality and modern mass transit.” Do you agree that certain Americans should be banned from owning cars if it helps the environment?

Turning to guns: You often use the term “assault weapon” to describe semi-automatic firearms. Since “assault weapon” isn’t an official category of firearm, can you explain what it means?

And, if you could, would you be in favor of a national ban on all semi-automatic weapons or semi-automatic rifles even for law-abiding citizens? Do you believe that is something America should strive for? Specifically, what types of guns would you like to see banned? How do would you propose confiscating them?

On health insurance, do you believe, like a number of Democratic Party hopefuls, that private insurance should be banned in the United States and Americans should be forced into a government-run plan? If not, how can Medicare for “all” work?

‘Medicare for All’ policy is estimated to cost taxpayers around $32.6 trillion over 10 Years. Even the best-case scenario estimates that instituting top marginal tax rate of 70 percent would raise a little more than $700 billion over that decade. How will you propose paying for the other $31.9?

Do you believe that nuns – and religious institutions and business owners– should be forced to pay for insurance that provides birth control and abortifacient drugs to their employers even if they hold longstanding faith-based opposition to such things?

Do you support “free” college?

Does it concern you that free college creates that people taking useful majors that will help them find productive work in the job market? How long will students be able to go to college for free? How many

The top individual income tax is the largest source of U.S. revenue. Right now the top 20 percent of Americans pay close to 90 percent of that income tax. What percentage do you believe would be a “fair share?”

Do you agree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that border walls are immoral? California shares a 140-mile border with Mexico, about 105 miles of which is walled or fenced, including a giant fence that juts into the Pacific Ocean. Is that wall immoral? If borer walls are immoral, should it be taken down?

Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is proposing an annual confiscatory tax on the wealthy

Freshman Democrats in Congress have accused Israel of being “evil” and hypnotizing the world and Jewish State can’t be democratic? Do you agree that Israel is like Iran, just another theocratic terror state? Do support the divestment and boycott of Israel?

SOURCE  

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Brent Bozell: Which Parents Should Be Scolded?

It's hard to fathom in this supercharged atmosphere, but politics actually has been more tumultuous than it is today (see: War, Civil). On the other hand, the war to define — or, better put, redefine — American culture has never been more ferocious.

Its militancy has reached the point where many on the libertine-left media are aggressively, and quite publicly, demanding that parents abide by their worldview or be ostracized from polite company.

And what an ugly worldview it is.

On Jan. 30, NBC's "Today" show devoted a segment to an allegedly controversial Instagram post by Carey Hart, a former Motocross rider and the husband of pop star Pink. He posted a video of his 7-year-old daughter, Willow, shooting a rifle at the range and wrote this caption: "Haven't poked the parent police bear in a few days. Willz and I shooting the 22 rifle. She is getting pretty good. Can hit a 12 inch pie plate from 30 yards. Started her shooting at 3yrs old."

Hart said his family doesn't hunt, just shoots for sport. "I'm raising the kids with knowledge of fire arms, how to handle them, shoot them, store them, and avoid them in uneducated hands. #knowledgeispower."

NBC's Kristen Dahlgren warned: "The response was swift. One critic commented, 'So confused about how something that symbolizes violence and fear needs to be taught to children.'"

But Hart is doing just the opposite, as anyone who owns a rifle (which we suspect doesn't include Dahlgren or her "critic") knows: Anyone using a firearm is taught to be afraid of it, hence the proper handling.

Dahlgren quoted others praising the video but then turned to the doctors, saying: "Between 2012 and 2014, an average of 7,000 children were killed or injured by firearms each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics official stance is guns should be locked, unloaded and away from where children find them."

Now, really, exactly who disagrees with the idea that guns should be kept from children, under lock and key? Is Hart guilty of that as well?

NBC's reporter also noted: "This is not the first time Hart's parenting has been called into question. Over the years, he and Pink have shared photos of their family online and some images, like these of Hart riding dirt bikes with their kids, have created a storm of criticism."

On screen, the graphics read: "STICKING TO THEIR GUNS: Pink's husband criticized for teaching daughter to shoot."

What should parents be teaching instead?

Well ... on June 18, 2018, the "Today" show promoted fifth-grader Desmond Napoles as a wonderful phenomenon. What's he done to deserve this? These were the words on screen to explain: "DESMOND IS AMAZING: 10-year-old 'Drag Kid' taking internet by storm."

They are no longer drag queens. They are drag kids.

This is good parenting.

NBC reporter Kate Snow gushed: "Desmond is a self-described drag kid. When this Brooklyn fifth-grader isn't in school, he's doing photo shoots and runway shows. He's already been profiled in Vogue, and even has his own drag name: Desmond Is Amazing."

Snow explained: "We met up with Desmond and his parents at the Phluid Project, a gender-neutral retail store in New York City. In contrast to their son, Wendy and Andrew Napoles say they couldn't be more mainstream."

Wrong. The mother said Desmond was "mesmerized" at age 3 when they both watched "RuPaul's Drag Race," a drag-queen competition, which aired on the LGBT channel Logo.

Snow gently pushed back with what "people" might say about Desmond, like "He's only 10." Desmond's mom then uncorked this analogy: "Mozart first touched a piano when he was 3. I think that there are talented children. And if you see that talent and they want to do it, why not?"

... Unless they want to shoot guns.

Online, NBC oozed, "Meet the 10-year-old 'drag kid' taking over social media with inspiring message." It noted that Desmond "is a smart, self-assured and talented 10-year-old on the rise as a social media star," and he "hopes to continue promoting acceptance."

In December, Desmond the "drag kid" did a dance number at a gay bar in Brooklyn called 3 Dollar Bill, collecting dollar bills from adult men in the crowd. NBC didn't follow up to question the parents about whether that was "promoting acceptance."

Does this make you want to celebrate — or throw up?

SOURCE  

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Mark Levin: Trump ‘Is Right’ to Criticize Intelligence Community’s Assessment of Iran

During his nationally syndicated radio talk show, “The Mark Levin Show,” on Thursday night, radio host Mark Levin said President Donald J. Trump “is right” to criticize the U.S. Intelligence Community’s threat assessment of Iran.

“The president of the United States has criticized his top intelligence officials who testified the other day, downplaying the threat of Iran, and for this, the president has been attacked,” Mark Levin said. “He’s been attacked by the usual types in his own party. He’s been attacked by the usual clowns in the media. Turns out, the president is right. The president is absolutely right about Iran.”

Mark Levin’s remarks came after the Intelligence Community (IC) released its 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment on Tuesday, Jan. 29. In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump criticized the IC for being “extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.” On his show, Levin quoted from an article by the Conservative Review.

Below is a transcript of Levin’s remarks from his show on Thursday:

“The president of the United States has criticized his top intelligence officials who testified the other day, downplaying the threat of Iran, and for this, the president has been attacked. He’s been attacked by the usual types in his own party. He’s been attacked by the usual clowns in the media. Turns out, the president is right. The president is absolutely right about Iran.

“The Iran deal fundamentally funded the terrorist regime in Tehran. He was told not to kill the deal. He killed the deal.

“This is the same intelligence community that became, as our buddy Jordan Schachtel writes at Conservative Review, ‘hyper-politicized and weaponized during the Obama administration,’ acted on ‘questionable information, such as the Clinton-funded Steele dossier, to substantiate Russia’s supposed impact on the 2016’ elections.

“Now, ‘Given that reality, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this IC product appears at times to passive[ly]-aggressively take issue with President Trump’s foreign policy decisions.’

“You see, the senior levels of these agencies, just below the top, are still loaded with the same fools who were there during the Obama administration.

“‘The IC assessment’ – Intelligence Community assessment, regarding Iran – ‘incorrectly and bizarrely labels Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a “centrist,”’ when he’s a radical. He is a terrorist ‘who has openly encouraged Iran-backed terrorist groups to export Iran’s ideology through force throughout the region. Additionally, in labeling Rouhani a centrist’ – the report does – the Intelligence Community ‘product contends that there is a strong ideological divide within the Islamic supremacist regime.’

“Now, we know this is false because Ben Rhodes, the former national security deputy director, in a[n] interview he did, where he spilled his guts, said that was the scenario that they pushed into the media, that the media then regurgitated, in order to get the Iran deal done. And he admits, it’s a lie, that there is no centrist president in this regime, including Rouhani.”

SOURCE  

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

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

**************************





3 February, 2019

Are we Anglo-Saxons really Anglo-Friesians?

The history of Britannia after the Roman departure in about 400 AD is obscure.  It was not until the venerable Bede, 300 years later,  that we have a systematic history for the years immediately thereafter.  And it was Bede -- who spent all his life in monasteries -- who tells us that the English are descendants of Angles, Saxons and Jutes.

But what if Bede got it wrong?  It seems that he was relying mainly on oral history and that can be unreliable in its details. And there is a linguistic reason why he may have got it wrong: English vowels.  Variations in language over time are often the best evidence we have for our understanding of prehistory.

English vowels are unusual. Our short letter "a", for instance is normally pronounced in continental Europe as "aah".  There are only two other European languages that pronounce vowels pretty much as we do:  Dutch and Frisian. 

"Frisians who?", might be your reaction to that. They are not a well known part of Europe.  There were originally rather a lot of them in coastal Europe South of Jutland (Denmark) and they still have a good foothold in coastal Europe in Nederland, where they form a Northern province (Friesland) of that country.

There is also however a chain of Frisian islands and they also run South from Denmark along the German and Dutch coast.  And Frisian is normally considered the European language closest to English, though Frisian itself is splintered into very different dialects these days. And as both islanders and coastal people the Frisians were obviously experienced sailors.

Now let's take that in conjunction with what we know of the Saxons.  Saxons seem to have originated in Holstein, in the extreme South of Jutland, most of which is now Denmark.  Jutes and Angles were further North in Jutland. 



And from about the 3rd century AD, the Saxons began to spread out, Eastwards to the adjacent lands of the Ostsee (meaning "East sea" but referring to what we now call the South Baltic coast) and South to what we now know as Lower Saxony, a large Northern province of Germany. Lower Saxony in those days contained various different tribes (and by some accounts still does) so the conquest probably took some time.  And one of the groups pushed fairly hard by the invading Saxons were the unfortunate Frisians, then living in some numbers on the North Sea coast.

And the primary push by the Saxons was Southward -- so that, in modern Germany as you go South, you encounter first lower Saxony (in the North!), then Saxony-Anhalt and then Saxony itself further South again.  Those Saxons were clearly a militarily successful tribe so are now located up and down North Germany.  So given their very successful push South, why would they get into boats and sail across to Romanized Britannia?  That was well outside their major focus.

And that is where the Frisians come in.  They were on the coast with the Saxons behind them so it is eminently believable that the people who got into their boats and emigrated were mainly Frisians, Frisian refugees who were also experienced Frisian sailors who knew well what was on the other side of the North sea. They didn't have to build boats.  They had them already for fishing and trade purposes.

That their vowels are the ones that survived among us suggests that they were in fact the most numerous invaders of Britannia. And Britannia was a tempting destination.  It was a well-established agricultural and pastoral civilization that grew wheat and rye and ran lots of juicy sheep. But the inhabitants had become soft after living for centuries behind the protection of Roman central government and Roman legions: Easy marks for any Germans

With its mild climate and frequent rainfall, Britannia was more lush than anywhere in Germany (and still is) so envious eyes had long been cast upon it. North Germans can (and do) speak fondly of the Lüneburger Heide but it is a desert compared to almost anywhere in England. 

But any invasion of Britannia by Northern Europeans during the Roman imperium had to be very short-lived.  On hearing of such invasions, the central Roman authorities in Londonium would send a disciplined Roman legion or two marching North on the excellent Roman roads -- and any invaders who got wind of that would promptly skedaddle.  If they didn't they would live (or die) to regret it.  The Roman Gladius was a very good chopping weapon

The Frisians might well have been referred to as Saxons because they came from what was already then known as part of the Saxon domains.  And Frisian is linguistically a form of low German so they were a Germanic tribe not greatly different from the Saxons.  They originated just South of the Saxon homeland.  And once the Frisians had set the ball rolling it seems likely that some Saxons came over too, once again lording it over the unfortunate Frisians

So it is my submission that Bede missed out on an important part of the story.  There probably WERE Angles, Saxons and Jutes who sailed across the water to Britannia but most of the invaders were Frisians, who, because of their subordinate role, had been thoroughly forgotten by Bede's time.

Should England really be called West Friesland?

Another possibility that seems fairly firm concerns the Jutes and Angles -- who together originally occupied most of Jutland.  Most of Jutland is now occupied by Scandinavians: Danes. The Danes pushed the Angles and Jutes out, which is why a lot of them sailed off to Britannia. But the Saxons were the tough guys of the W. Baltic area so the Danes were stopped more or less at the border of Holstein just South of Jutland.  The Danes even appear to have occupied Schleswig, though the Prussians in a much later era took half of that back.

The origin of the Danes is obscure but it seems most likely that they came South from Norway -- early precursors of the Norse Vikings.  Until about a century ago, Dano-Norwegian was regarded as a single language, so that tells you a lot.

Neither the Danes nor the Swedes, however, seem to have had much success on the South Baltic coast. That remained thoroughly German despite what we now know as Sweden looming over it to its  immediate North. And that failure was most likely the work of the Saxons. Saxons were expansionist from early on and the easiest route for expansion would have been Eastward along the South Baltic coast -- assisted by the greater ease of movement by sea.

So the Germans who kept the Scandinavians out of the South Baltic coast were probably in the main tough-guy Saxons by the time conflict arose

So the Jutes and Angles were driven out to Britannia by tougher Danes but nobody was tougher than the Saxons.  They just kept expanding, mostly Southwards but also to some extent Westward to Britannia

So most of the German migration to Britannia was by lesser German tribes -- Angles, Jutes and Frisians -- who were driven out of their original homelands by invaders -- but they in turn were tougher than the Romanized Celts who already lived in Britannia. So Britannia became England

The fact that the Angles had their name attached to the new land probably reinforces the idea that the Saxons were there in only small numbers.  It appears that, in the absence of a substantial  Saxon presence, the Angles led the conquest of the Celts -- JR

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Democrats Cut Jobs, Republicans Cut Taxes

It's tax-filing season, which is going to be great news for millions of Americans.

Last July, DNC Chief Tom Perez made an election pitch based on despair: “Too many members of our society are still struggling to find a good-paying job.” His assessment was quite the contrast to a little place we like to call “reality,” where unemployment is at record lows and wages are up due to competition for talent. The only ones taking away jobs are Democrats imposing unrealistic minimum wages in blue states and cities. Dems are hoping for recession, after all. A month into 2019 and three months removed from the Democrats’ win in the House, where do things stand?

One example of leftist policy is a report on Barack Obama’s crackdown on franchising as a favor to his Big Labor pals. “A report put out by the International Franchise Association and a Chamber of Commerce found that the Obama administration provoked an ‘existential threat’ to the franchise model in which small business owners operate under the umbrella of a national corporate brand,” reports The Washington Free Beacon. (Think McDonald’s and other fast-food chains.) “The Obama administration departed from decades of precedent when the National Labor Relations Board [NLRB] held that parent companies could be held liable for labor violations committed by franchisees. The report estimated that the new joint employer standard set curtailed expansion in the industry, leading to between 142,000 and 376,000 lost job opportunities — a 2.55 to 5 percent reduction in the workforce.” It also put a $33 billion dent in the economy each year since 2015. Thanks Obama.

The damage was already done, but at least the NLRB under Donald Trump has begun unwinding that regulation.

On the Republican side, 2017 saw the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — without a single Democrat vote. This week marked the beginning of tax-filing season for 2018 income, which means millions of Americans will be reminded just how much money they’re saving. While most of the attention was focused on corporate rate cuts, and while no tax law benefits everyone, Ryan Ellis, president of the Center for a Free Economy, reminds us “the biggest part of the tax cut by far was tax cuts for individuals.”

He explains, “To start with, tax rates for families were cut across the board — for everyone. The top rate of 39.6 percent was reduced to 37 percent. The tax rates underneath went down, too. The most common middle class marginal tax rates of 15 and 25 percent were reduced to 12 and 24 percent, respectively. The marriage penalty was eliminated in all but the top tax bracket.” Furthermore, because the standard deduction was substantially raised, nearly 30 million fewer families will waste time tracking down receipts for itemized deductions — saving both time and money by going for the standard deduction. And the child tax credit doubled to $2,000 per child.

Ellis also notes, “A median income family of four with two kids makes about $80,000 per year. Their income tax burden was reduced from about $4,600 to about $2,300, a 50 percent cut in income tax. A single parent with two kids making $60,000 per year got an even bigger tax cut, seeing her taxes reduced from $3,000 to $800. Even an individual making $35,000 got in on the fun — his taxes are cut from $3,200 to $2,600.”

Maybe the mainstream media should spend a little more time reporting that good news instead of attacking Catholic boys.

SOURCE  

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Expanding Economic Freedom at Home
    
If someone were to ask you to name the economically freest country in the world, what would you say?

Probably the United States. Even many non-Americans would likely give that answer. Unfortunately, they’d be wrong.

The economy that enjoys the highest level of economic freedom is thousands of miles away. It’s Hong Kong. The United States, surprisingly enough, isn’t even in the top 10 of the latest “Index of Economic Freedom,” an annual data-driven research project that scores and ranks almost every country.

So where does the U.S. finish in the 2019 “Index”? No. 12. That puts us between Iceland and the Netherlands, and behind two of our closest allies in the top 10: the United Kingdom (No. 7) and Canada (No. 8).

But before you assume there’s nothing to celebrate, let’s put that ranking in context.

For one thing, yes, the U.S. isn’t finishing as high as it once did in the “Index.” But after sliding to its worst showing yet in the 2017 edition, it’s been making a comeback.

It posted a better score on the 2018 “Index” — a 75.7 score (on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being the freest). This year, however, the U.S. earned a 76.8 score. That helped it move up six slots in the world rankings from No. 18.

So we’re doing better — which is more than we can say for many other countries. Among the 180 countries ranked in the latest edition, scores improved for 81 and declined for 92. Seven remained unchanged.

The U.S. still has a good amount of work to do before it again hits (or hopefully surpasses) its personal best of 81.2 points, which it posted in the 2006 “Index.” Still, we’re moving in the right direction. So let’s consider for a moment what we’re doing right — and what we’re doing wrong.

Two things contributed to our improved showing. One is a significant improvement in our “government integrity” score, which measures such things as cronyism and corruption. Another is a lessening of the tax and regulatory burdens.

The tax-cut package passed by Congress in December 2017 and signed by President Trump has given our economy a sizable boost. Lawmakers would be wise to lock in those gains by making those cuts permanent. For that matter, they should find other ways to reduce taxes on hard-working Americans.

But the “Index” editors also recorded modest declines in the U.S. scores for fiscal health (government spending is still climbing, and public debt keeps rising), labor freedom (a higher minimum wage isn’t helping), and monetary freedom (government subsidies and corporate welfare are both much too high).

Then there’s trade freedom, which has also taken a hit. The result could prove rather costly. “New protectionist policies that have raised tariffs and disrupted established manufacturing supply chains are just beginning to affect consumer prices and investment decisions,” the “Index” editors warn.

This year marks the 25th edition of the “Index of Economic Freedom.” The idea for producing such an annual guide grew out of concern in Washington in the late 1980s about the effectiveness of foreign aid. Officials knew that a commitment to the free-market system was essential in creating fertile soil for the seeds of development planted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other aid agencies.

There was basic agreement about the fundamentals of capitalism, but no systematic way to measure whether and to what extent those fundamentals existed in Mogadishu, Manila or Minsk. That was the void we sought to fill.

Today, copies of the “Index” are in libraries around the globe. Presidents and prime ministers worldwide refer to the “Index” as an important guide for economic policy. Its rankings are reported annually in countless broadcast and print media.

We’re proud of that success. And we’ll be prouder still if the 2020 edition finds the United States back in the top 10 — where it belongs.

SOURCE  

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Trump's Tax Cut 'Scam' Created 1.3 Million New Jobs, New CBO Data Show

Tax Cuts: During the tax cut debate in 2017, Republicans argued that the cuts would at least partially pay for themselves by spurring economic growth. Democrats said they were nothing more than a giveaway to the rich. The latest data from the Congressional Budget Office makes it clear that the GOP had it right.

The headline news from the CBO's latest annual budget and economic forecast report is supposed to be the that deficits will hit $897 billion in 2019, and top $1 trillion by 2022. Proof that the tax cuts failed, right? "The CBO's latest report exposes the scam behind the rosy rhetoric from Republicans that their tax bill would pay for itself," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The other headline is that the government shutdown would cut ultimately cost the economy about $3 billion this year.

But entirely overlooked is what the CBO report shows about the tax cuts. That they succeeded in boosting economic growth. And that extra growth is, in turn, partially paying for the cuts. Despite what Schumer says, this is precisely what Republicans claimed would happen.

The CBO doesn't spell this out, but the message is clear to any who look at the data. Start with GDP growth. The CBO makes it clear that the tax cuts spurred the boom.

Democrats claim that the solid growth in 2018 was baked in the cake while Barack Obama was president. But that's simply not the case.

In January 2017 — before Trump entered the White House — the CBO projected that the economy would expand by only 2% in 2018, followed by 1.7% in 2019 and 1.5% next year.

That's what was baked in the cake. Continued tepid economic growth. Keep in mind that, when the CBO made those economic forecasts at the start of the Trump administration, they were right in line with other mainstream economic forecasts.

What actually happened was a very different story. The actual growth for 2018 will likely have been 2.9% or 3%. And the CBO now expects GDP to climb 2.7% this year, and 1.9% next year.

The jobs picture improved dramatically as well. In January 2017, CBO forecast an average unemployment rate of 4.4% for 2018. The actual number: 3.9%

In January 2017, CBO said that the economy would create an average of just 94,000 jobs a month in 2018. The actual results for 2018: 203,000 news jobs a month.

In other words, the nation's economy in 2018 was almost $400 billion bigger and there were about 1.3 million more jobs created than the CBO had expected.

So, what changed after January 2017 that could explain the sudden shift in economic results? Why did the economy do so much better than anyone had anticipated?

Trump signed a major pro-growth tax cut, which went into effect at the start of 2018.

Using the latest CBO report, we can also calculate how much the tax cuts are actually costing, compared with what the CBO said they'd cost.

In late 2017, the CBO said the Republican tax cuts would cut revenues by $1.1 trillion in its first five years. But that assumed that the tax cuts would have zero effect on the economy.

Based on the CBO's new revenue forecast, however, which includes those economic effects, the tax cuts will have cut revenues by $878 billion over the first five years.

In other words, economic growth paid for 20% of the tax cuts. Sure, growth didn't pay for all the tax cuts. But Republicans never said they would.

To sum up, the tax cuts boosted growth, created more than a million additional jobs, and cost 20% less than advertised. And this is what Schumer calls a "scam"? If so, we could use more of them.

SOURCE  

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

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

**************************











1 February, 2019

Time’s up on Democrat obstruction as Senate GOP considers ending 30-hour debate rule to get more judges

Republicans led by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) are considering changing Senate rules to speed up the process of confirming nominees, and they should do so as soon as possible. In spite of continual Democrat obstruction, Republicans have done a good job of confirming judges. In fact, a total of 85 judges have been confirmed so far: two Supreme Court justices, 30 appellate court judges, and 53 district court judges.

After two years in office for President Donald Trump, that puts him at above the average of 163 confirmed every four-year term. Still, there are now more judicial vacancies than when Trump took office, and over 50 judicial nominees are awaiting confirmation.

When Trump took office, there were 125 judicial vacancies. Currently, there are 146 vacancies; and the Judicial Conference deems 70 of these vacancies to be judicial emergencies. In addition, there are 20 future vacancies due to judges planning to retire or take senior status.

While conservatives have a narrow 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, liberals have control of most of the appellate courts. Of the 13 circuit courts of appeal, Republican-nominated judges make up the majority in four circuits, Democrat-nominated judges have the majority in seven circuits, and two circuits are evenly split. Republicans are on the cusp of flipping the 3rd Circuit, which covers Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, and are close to flipping several more.

Why are nominations moving so slowly? Because Democrats are intentionally dragging out the confirmation process. When Republicans request unanimous consent to consider nominations, Democrats typically object. To end debate, Republicans must then invoke cloture, which requires a simple majority. Even after a cloture motion is passed, Senate rules still allow for 30 hours of debate on the nomination, and Democrats have been exploiting this.

Consequently, Senate Republicans are considering reducing the amount of debate time after cloture to two or eight hours, depending upon the office. There is already precedent for reducing debate time: in 2013, Democrats reduced debate time for many nominations.

There is no time to waste. Allowing Democrats to slow-walk judicial nominees could easily lead to many judicial vacancies still needing to be filled in January of 2021. At this point, it is far too early to tell who will win the Democrat presidential nomination, much less who will win the general election. Nor is it clear which party will control the Senate in the next Congress. Should Trump win reelection but Democrats retake the Senate, Democrats could be expected to block most Trump judicial nominees, especially those for appellate courts and the Supreme Court. Amidst all of the uncertainty, it is crucial that Republicans confirm as many judges as possible.

Of course, some will make the argument that Republicans should not shorten the amount of time allowed for debating nominations out of fear of what Democrats might do in the future. But those people may not been paying enough attention to the way that Democrats have been playing the game. For example, Democrats nuked the filibuster to confirm Obama’s judges and shamelessly smeared Justice Kavanaugh at the eleventh hour in hopes of derailing his nomination. Why should anyone expect them to stop there?

For good reason, lifetime appointments to the judiciary are very important to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Accordingly, he has devoted a lot of time to confirming judges; but the number of judicial vacancies has increased in spite of his efforts. The 30-hour debate rule was put in place with the understanding that Senators would, for the most part, behave reasonably. Democrats have not done so. Therefore, Republicans should accordingly reduce the amount of time allowed for debate after cloture has been invoked. There is no tomorrow.

SOURCE  

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Demo 2020 Frontrunner Vows to Destroy Private Health Care

ObamaCare was never the end goal; Democrats have always wanted single-payer.

Socialized medicine has long been the Holy Grail for American progressives. And why not? With nationalized health care, the state literally holds the power of life and death over its citizens, making them much easier to control.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders made socialized health care integral to his 2016 Democrat presidential primary campaign, and other Democrats — already having favored quasi-socialist ObamaCare — are going all in for the latest version, marketed under the name “Medicare For All” banner.

In 2013, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eagerly admitted single-payer (read “government-run”) health care was the ultimate goal, with ObamaCare just a step along that path. Of course, Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats knew they could not openly admit that back in 2008, so they blatantly and repeatedly lied. Or, as MIT professor and ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber admitted candidly at a 2014 health economics conference, “This bill was written in a tortured way. … Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. … Call it the ‘stupidity of the American voter’ or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass.”

Obama knew he was a liar when he repeatedly claimed, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”; a lie so egregious that PolitiFact awarded Obama with its “Lie of the Year” in 2013. Yet few Americans realize that the disastrous results ObamaCare produced — the bankrupted CO-OPs, the millions of Americans kicked off private insurance, the skyrocketing costs — were designed to make Americans so frustrated and angry with those greedy insurance companies that they would clamor for government-run health care.

And now Democrats, more radical than ever, are pushing socialized health care once again — albeit with some feigned resistance among the ranks to at least make it appear there’s thoughtful debate.

At a town hall meeting Monday night, Sen. Kamala Harris, current frontrunner for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination, was unapologetic in calling for socialized health care. After endorsing Medicare for All, she was asked if Americans who liked their current insurance could keep it. She replied unequivocally that private insurance would be outlawed, stating, “Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care. And you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require. … Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”

The private health care of 150 million Americans? Gone.

Moreover, hers was a lie so gargantuan as to make Obama proud.

Medicare has mountains of paperwork, as well as an approval process run by government bureaucrats. Saying so isn’t a “conservative attack,” as leftists claim; those fact come directly from the Medicare website. So with Medicare for All, when your life is on the line, you get the efficiency of the DMV, the competence of the Postal Service, and the compassion of the IRS.

And an astronomical price tag, which George Mason University’s Mercatus Center estimates at a mind-boggling $32.6 trillion over 10 years, nearly doubling the cost of all government. Harris and other proponents claim the doubling of taxes will be offset by eliminating premiums, reducing administrative inefficiencies (because we all know government is the gold standard of efficiency), and cutting drug costs, but these are more blatant lies. ObamaCare was passed promising costs under $900 billion over the following decade, but costs had doubled just three years after passage of the law, despite not being fully implemented.

We don’t even have to guess if this would work. The leftist utopias of Vermont and California both tried to implement single-payer, government-run health care, and both quickly abandoned the quixotic venture after costs spiraled out of control.

And what of results? We already have two government-run health care programs — the Veterans Administration and Indian Health Services — and both are national embarrassments. Five years ago the scandal broke in which we learned VA employees were falsifying appointment records to make it appear wait times were less than 14 days, when in actuality tens of thousands of veterans waited months, or even years, for treatment, with many dying while waiting.

Today this disaster is still not fixed, and has in fact gotten worse. What possible leap of logic would lead us to believe a government-run health care system that leaves hundreds of thousands of veterans without care will suddenly, miraculously be able to provide excellent care to hundreds of millions of Americans?

Leftmedia propagandists are eager collaborators in the “progressive” plan, recently touting polls showing a majority of Americans (56%) favor Medicare for All. That is true … sort of.

Americans support Medicare for All when told it would guarantee health insurance as a right (71%) and eliminate premiums (67%). But that support plummets when people are informed that the government-run system would lead to delays in getting care (26%) and higher taxes (37%), or that it would eliminate private insurance (37%) and the current Medicare program (32%).

Thousands more doctors each year are refusing to take Medicare patients because of shrinking reimbursements and the bureaucratic nightmare of fighting to get paid. It is delusional to think Medicare for All would improve the situation. In Canada and Great Britain, which have nationalized or regionalized health care, primary care is adequate, but seeing a specialist takes months.

Medicare for All would be an unmitigated disaster, and the American people overwhelmingly reject it when given the facts. Now Americans need to reject those who keep trying to repackage it and sneak it past us.

SOURCE  

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Leftmedia Spin on the U.S. Intelligence Threat Assessment

Actually, Trump has a maddening ability to be both wrong and right at the same time.

President Donald Trump loves this country and strongly advocates and advances an “America First” foreign policy. Whether it’s withdrawing from the terrible nuclear deal with Iran or the hamstringing climate accord from Paris, he’s moved to undo the “America Last” agenda of his globalist predecessor. And the Leftmedia hates him for it.

So we’re treated to New York Times headlines such as, “On North Korea and Iran, Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump” that are meant to portray Trump as an uninformed rube blundering his way through foreign policy. The topic at hand is the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment prepared by the U.S. intelligence community. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the assessment.

The trio warned about threats from Russia and China, which the assessment says are “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.” They also addressed North Korea, Iran, and ISIS. On each nation, Coats, Haspel, and Wray did indeed contradict some of Trump’s more brash assertions. For example, in announcing U.S. withdrawal from Syria, Trump declared, “We have won against ISIS; we’ve beaten them, and we’ve beaten them badly.” By contrast, Coats said the Islamic State will continue “to stoke violence” in Syria.

In our humble shop, however, we consider this to be another instance when Trump should be taken seriously but not literally. While Barack Obama effectively created ISIS, Trump has done a lot to beat it back. Unfortunately, by making hyperbolic, black-and-white declarations, he opens himself up to eye-rolling “fact checks” by the media and others. Trump has a maddening ability to be both wrong and right at the same time.

On North Korea, he did the same thing, saying after his summit with Kim Jong-un, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Yes, there is, says the intelligence assessment. “We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities, because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” Coats said. “Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization.”

Naturally, a good deal of time was spent on Russia’s election interference through Facebook. But Terence Jeffrey astutely argues what grassroots Americans are thinking: “The top national security issue facing the federal government today has nothing to do with deceptive political speech on social media. It has everything to do with our southern border.”

In the final analysis, the intelligence threat assessment is done in conjunction with the White House — these are executive agencies, after all — and the apparent disagreement arguably strengthens the American position in negotiations with our geopolitical foes. How? By keeping them off balance, on the ropes. Meanwhile, here at home, the Leftmedia is happy to keep churning anything that can be spun to make Trump look bad, reporting on complicated issues as checker games rather than chess matches.

Update: And of course Trump couldn’t resist punching back against the impression of him given over the last 24 hours:

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. Their economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”

SOURCE  

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The Democrats' Radicalism Problem
    
President Trump is deeply unpopular. According to RealClearPolitics, his favorability ratings now stand at just 41 percent — near-historic lows. This means that Democrats have the upper hand heading into 2020. All they have to do is not be radically insane.

And they just can’t do it.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., the media darling of the moment, stated on a CNN town hall this week that she wants to fully abolish private health insurance, ban all semi-automatic weapons and rid the American economy of carbon emissions within a decade.

None of these positions are popular. Americans are interested in the idea of Medicare-for-All so long as there are no costs. The minute they’re told that there may be delays in receiving care, as there are in nearly all countries with socialized medicine, support plummets to just 26 percent, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. Only 37 percent support Medicare-for-All if it means merely raising taxes. How about banning all semi-automatic weapons? As of October, 57 percent of Americans opposed banning semi-automatics. And when it comes to abolishing private cars — which would essentially be necessary to achieve the goals of the so-called Green New Deal — that proposal wouldn’t even chart.

Yet the Democratic primaries will require nearly every Democrat to embrace each of these positions. That’s probably why Democrats are quaking in their boots at the possibility of a third-party run by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Schultz has declared nationalized health care an impossibility; he has talked about the dangers of our massive national debt; he has opposed a 70 percent income tax rate. “I respect the Democratic Party,” Schultz told CNBC this week. “I no longer feel affiliated because I don’t know their views represent the majority of Americans.”

Now, Schultz may be a boring billionaire, but at least he isn’t pushing proposals so loony they alienate vast swaths of the American public. Democrats want to have it both ways: They want to push radical leftist policy, but they don’t want the blowback such policies entail. They want to pretend that radical leftism is popular even as they implicitly acknowledge the fact that it’s not all that popular.

Hence New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg’s fulminating over Schultz’s candidacy. She writes, “this frustrated executive’s politics aren’t widely shared by people who haven’t been to Davos.” Trump’s riding in the low 40s. Democrats shouldn’t have to sweat out fringe candidacies. Yet that’s what they’re doing, because they know they’ve pushed too far to the left.

There’s an easy answer to the Schultz conundrum for Democrats: Stop embracing the radical id of your own base. But that would involve recognizing that Trump’s unpopularity isn’t equivalent to support for radicalism. And Democrats will never acknowledge it — not as long as the hope remains that Trump’s unpopularity will translate into extreme leftist policy, the likes of which the republic has rarely seen.

SOURCE  

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

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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

The fundamental aim of all Leftist policy is to disrupt the lives of their fellow citizens -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- as much as possible

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"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.


Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics


Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit


The difference in practice


The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality


Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today


Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope





Leftism in one picture:





The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.



R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"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


MYTH BUSTING:


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (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

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



IN BRIEF:

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

THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY HAS DONE MORE TO IMPEDE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THAN ANY ONE THING KNOWN TO MANKIND -- ROUSSEAU

"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"


Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean


It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer




JEWS AND ISRAEL

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.


ABOUT

Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)


The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way



DETAILS OF REGULARLY UPDATED BLOGS BY JOHN RAY:

"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


BLOGS OCCASIONALLY UPDATED:

"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Recipes"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


BLOGS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED

"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
OF INTEREST (2)
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues


There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)


Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2



Selected reading

MONOGRAPH ON LEFTISM

CONSERVATISM AS HERESY

Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Lakoff
Van Hiel
Sidanius
Kruglanski
Pyszczynski et al.




Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

TELSTRA
OPTUS
AGL
Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus




Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)



Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/42197/20151027-0014/jonjayray.com/

OR: (After 2015)
https://web.archive.org/web/20160322114550/http://jonjayray.com/