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

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

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

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


31 January, 2020

The Deal of the Century

Gary Bauer
I just returned from a historic event in the East Room of the White House where President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a new peace plan.

The room was electric, filled with Christian and Jewish leaders, as well as key administration officials who worked on the plan, including Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Ambassador David Friedman.

There were also several ambassadors from Arab nations in the audience, a hopeful sign that others in the region are eager to work with Israel and the United States to advance peace in the Middle East.

The president received more than a dozen standing ovations, and Prime Minister Netanyahu received nearly as many as they outlined their vision for lasting peace. This is not a “pie in the sky” deal. Nor does it force Israel to do anything that will hurt its security. Here are some of the key elements of the Trump plan:

Jerusalem remains the undivided capital of Israel. This is essential from Israel’s stand point, and something that Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel and I worked very hard to guarantee.

The Palestinians must recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

Hamas must be disarmed, and the Palestinians must reject terrorism.

The so-called “refugee problem” will be settled outside the boundaries of Israel.

Israel will suspend construction in disputed territories for four years to give both sides time to implement various aspects of the deal.

The president pledged $50 billion of investment to provide hope and economic opportunity to the Palestinian people.

Trump spoke directly to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying, “If you choose the path of peace, America will be there to help you every step of the way.”

Netanyahu praised Trump as “the greatest friend that Israel has ever had in the White House.” He hailed the Trump peace plan as “a realistic path to a durable peace,” that recognizes Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley, and other strategic areas of Judea and Samaria.

The prime minister vowed, “If the Palestinians are genuinely prepared to make peace with the Jewish state … Israel will be prepared to negotiate peace right away."

The Real Problem

Almost every American president and Israeli prime minister has tried and failed to negotiate a lasting peace between Israelis and the Palestinians. The problem is not Israel or the United States.

The real obstacle to peace is the refusal of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah, and others to recognize the right of Israel to exist at all. Their so-called "leaders” have rejected every peace deal ever offered to them. They have to want peace with Israel.

As I noted above, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed the hope that the Palestinian leadership would not be stupid and reject this deal out of hand. Unfortunately, Mahmoud Abbas has already done just that.

Another major problem is that the Palestinian people are themselves divided between Abbas and his Fatah Party in the West Bank and Hamas, which rules Gaza. It’s not at all clear who speaks for the Palestinian people.

The 84-year-old Abbas is now in the 15th year of his four-year term of office and is expected to step down sometime this year. Polls show that Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran and dedicated to Israel’s destruction, could easily prevail in a new election.

How do you compromise with an opponent who wants you dead? Nonetheless, Prime Minister Netanyahu has once again joined with President Trump to try to find a way forward.



Hispanic Vote May Be Key to Trump Victory

A decade ago, political talkingheads were claiming that “demography is destiny.” A political neophyte named Barack Obama had won the presidency, the first black man to do so. Longtime Clinton friend and Democrat campaign strategist James Carville famously prophesied an age of Democrat dominance, even writing a book entitled 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.

And who could doubt him? The Democrat juggernaut — a coalition of black, Hispanic, women, and liberal white voters — looked unstoppable.

Then the Democrats, thanks to the Tea Party revolution, suffered historic losses in the 2010 midterms and again in 2014. And then, in what is arguably the biggest upset in American political history, Donald Trump defeated the powerful Clinton political machine and won the presidency.

But Democrats are banking on that being an anomaly — not to mention a side effect of an unfair and “racist” Electoral College. After all, if demography is destiny, then destiny is on their side. The share of the white vote has been steadily shrinking, replaced primarily by a growing Hispanic vote. As the Hispanic population grows, Republicans will be ushered into political obscurity.

Or will they?

A recent article in The Atlantic argues that Democrats should not assume that they will continue to dominate the Hispanic vote. Moreover, viewing Hispanics as a monolithic voting bloc and focusing only on the immigration issue is an enormous mistake.

The article notes that the first “warning sign” of the year came in the first week of January, in the form of a rally at the King Jesus International Ministry in Miami, where 5,000 Christian Trump supporters gathered to hear and cheer their president.

Huge rallies with Trump supporters, including Christians, are not unusual these days. So why was this one notable? Because King Jesus is home to the largest Hispanic evangelical congregation in America.

During the rally, President Trump declared, “The day I was sworn in, the federal government war’s on religion came to an abrupt end.” He also warned, “A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith can not endure.”

And this, says Domingo Garcia, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, is what Democrats are overlooking.

By assuming Hispanics will always vote Democrat and are driven primarily by immigration, Democrats are making little effort to understand the other issues that are important to Hispanic voters. Those include good jobs, a decent education for their children, the rising cost of college, affordable housing for their families, etc.

They also overlook that Hispanics, who are heavily Catholic, may not be fully on board with the agenda of a Democrat Party that has veered far left on issues like abortion, marriage, and gender itself.

When several candidates began speaking Spanish at a Democrat presidential primary debate, they were accused of “Hispandering,” speaking Spanish as a cheap way to ingratiate themselves to a voting bloc, similar to Hillary’s cringe-worthy display at a black church in Selma, Alabama, on the 42nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday, screeching, “I don’t feel no ways tired…” in a horribly affected black accent, quoting lines from a Negro spiritual.

When it becomes obvious that Democrats are taking the Hispanic vote for granted, it opens the door for Republicans to get their message through.

According to Garcia, “Latino conservatives in Florida and in Texas, by the way, are amenable to the Republican message and are willing to forgive Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino rhetoric to a certain extent. … That’s a small minority. But, you know, the difference between 20 and 30 percent could mean the difference of winning Texas or Florida or losing them.”

Setting aside the fact that Trump is not anti-immigrant (he has long praised legal immigration) or anti-Latino (he has often praised the work ethic and family strength of Latinos), Garcia has a point.

In 2016, Trump won 29% of the Hispanic vote, and in 2018, 32% of Hispanics voted for Republicans nationwide. And in states Democrats are hoping to flip, 2020 results may surprise many people.

In Georgia, the Hispanic vote more than doubled between 2014 and 2018, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp of Georgia made an impressive showing (39%) among Hispanic voters in 2018. Greg Abbott of Texas (42%) did even better. Right now, President Trump is polling around 32% with Hispanics.

With a third of Hispanics supporting a border wall, and Hispanic unemployment at an all-time low, President Trump may see an even bigger surge among Hispanic voters.

The Atlantic reports that many Latino leaders are very unhappy with the poor level of outreach they see from Democrat candidates, as well as poor campaign strategy. One of the political organizers referred to the anemic Democrat effort as a “master class” in “political malpractice.” Many Hispanics are feeling unappreciated and neglected by Democrats.

This could spell huge trouble for the Democrats in the November elections.

Several major polls in recent months show Trump’s approval rating among black voters surging to 30% or higher (Trump got just 8% of the black vote in 2016), likely as a result of record-low black unemployment, criminal-justice reform, and record funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

If Republicans can hold firm or increase its percentage of the Hispanic vote, while doubling or tripling their percentage of the black vote, the 2020 elections may be even more of a shocking, crushing defeat for Democrats than 2016.




"IT WAS ONLY TO SELL A BOOK": John Bolton's manuscript leaks as memoir preorders begin on Amazon; Trump fires back (Fox News)

MIDEAST TURBULENCE: Three rockets hit U.S. embassy in protest-hit Iraqi capital (AFP)

TOPSY-TURVY: Trump soars to highest job-approval rating of presidency despite impeachment trial (The Daily Wire)

MEANWHILE... For all the gravity of a presidential impeachment trial, Americans don't seem to be giving it much weight (AP)

TARGETING ORIGINALISTS: The ethical advisory arm of the federal judiciary is circulating a draft rule that would ban judges and their clerks from belonging to the Federalist Society (RealClearPolitics)

WHAT'S NEXT — THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? Michelle Obama wins Grammy award — for reading her own book (PJ Media)

AND NOT A MOMENT TOO SOON: Little Sisters of the Poor get a shot at the Supreme Court (Washington Examiner)

TWO CAN PLAY THIS GAME: Oklahoma bans state travel to California in tit for tat over LGBT laws (National Review)

POLICY: March for Life was also a model of intersectionality (Washington Examiner)

COMMUNIST MILITANCY: Sanders campaign rocked again: More staff caught advocating violence against opponents (The Daily Wire)

THE GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY: U.S. budget deficit to top $1 trillion in 2020 despite strong economy, CBO says (Reuters)

GOVERNMENT ISN'T THE SOLUTION: Healthcare access has declined in past two decade despite ObamaCare (Washington Examiner)

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM, PART I: Public schools are teaching The 1619 Project in class despite concerns from historians (Reason)

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM, PART II: Minnesota college helps "white students only" deal with "the nasty little racist inside them" (Campus Reform)

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM, PART III: How Drag Queen Story Hour indoctrination expanded across America (The Daily Caller)

POLICY: How the U.S. should respond to Britain's Huawei 5G decision (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Trump's peace plan is a rejection of Obama's anti-Israel pivot (The Federalist)


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

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


30 January, 2020

Supreme Court allows Trump’s immigration rule on public benefits to take effect

A divided Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to put in place a policy connecting the use of public benefits with whether immigrants could become permanent residents.

The new policy can be used to deny green cards to immigrants over their use of public benefits including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers, as well as other factors.

The justices’ order came by a 5-4 vote and reversed a ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that had kept in a place a nationwide hold on the policy following lawsuits that have been filed against it.

The court’s four liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, would have prevented the policy from taking effect.

Federal appeals courts in San Francisco and Richmond, Va., had previously overturned trial court rulings against the policy. An injunction in Illinois remains in effect, but applies only to that state.

The lawsuits will continue, but immigrants applying for permanent residency must now show they wouldn’t be public charges, or burdens to the country.

The new policy significantly expands what factors would be considered to make that determination, and if it is decided that immigrants could become public charges at any point in the future, that legal residency could be denied.

Roughly 544,000 people apply for green cards annually. According to the government, 382,000 are in categories that would make them subject to the new review.

Immigrants make up a small portion of those getting public benefits, since many are ineligible to get them because of their immigration status.

In a separate opinion, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch urged his colleagues to confront the “real problem” of so-called nationwide injunctions, orders issued by a single judge that apply everywhere. In this case, even though the administration won rulings in two different appellate courts covering 14 states, its policy could not take effect.

“What in this gamesmanship and chaos can we be proud of?” Gorsuch wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Clarence Thomas



Leftists Aim to Bar the Federalist Society

Never content to let the flow of modern politics take its natural course, leftists have devised a new way to stymy the progress President Donald Trump has made in appointing strict constructionists to the federal bench. Elections matter.

The Committee on Codes of Conduct of the U.S. Judicial Conference recently released a proposal to prohibit judges from belonging to the Federalist Society. The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to preserving the legal order of the nation by promoting, among other things, an originalist view of the Constitution, the separation of powers, and the concept that the role of judges is to say what the law is, not what some enlightened bench occupant thinks it should be. As you might imagine, leftists absolutely loathe this organization.

In Trump’s three years in office, nearly 200 federal judges have been confirmed, a remarkable achievement that may stand as one of the president’s greatest successes. This work has prevented the Left from populating our court system with judges who legislate from the bench and push a tyrannical agenda.

The Conduct Committee, which performs as the ethical advisory board of the federal judiciary, intends to ban judges from joining the Federalist Society or the American Constitution Society. In its draft proposal, the Conduct Committee states: “Official affiliation with either organization could convey to a reasonable person that the affiliated judge endorses the views and particular ideological perspectives advocated by the organization; call into question the affiliated judge’s impartiality on subjects as to which the organization has taken a position; and generally frustrate the public’s trust in the integrity and independence of the judiciary.”

The American Constitution Society (ACS) was created as the leftist answer to the Federalist Society, and it’s included as part of the Conduct Committee’s plan solely as a means of projecting an appearance of fairness. Don’t be fooled.

The ACS is but one of many organizations that lean left and hold sway in America’s judicial system. And it is hardly the most influential. A vast majority, nearly all, of the nation’s law schools are populated with leftist professors who promote a predictably left-of-center view to their students. Leftists also hold political sway over the American Bar Association. ABA routinely writes amicus briefs in court cases, nearly always on the left side of an argument. It also has a government-affairs office that spent $860,000 on lobbying just last year. These are two activities that the Federalist Society as a rule does not engage in. Yet, ABA doesn’t even show up on the Conduct Committee’s radar, and the Federalist Society is squarely in its crosshairs.

Ed Whalen, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and longtime Federalist Society member, told RealClearPolitics, “In short, the ABA has a consistent and longstanding practice of advocating liberal causes. If a line is to be drawn between the Federalist Society and the ABA, it is the ABA that should be deemed to be on the wrong side of the line.”

The Federalist Society operates in several states and frequently holds meetings to explore and discuss legal issues, frequently soliciting qualified speakers from both sides of an argument. It encourages intellectual honesty and curiosity. It is also the only significant counterbalance to the Left’s attack on Rule of Law. Which, again, is why the Conduct Committee wants the Federalist Society out of the way and is willing to sacrifice ACS in the process.

The Conduct Committee’s proposal, which Whalen had a hand in helping make public, has already provoked a vigorous debate. The proposal remains open during a 120-day comment period that will end May 20. Expect this fight to continue to that date, and possibly beyond.



The real threat to our republic

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has come out swinging in the past month often appearing with Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) in his bid for the Democratic Party nomination for president.  In fact, it could be argued that Ocasio-Cortez is responsible for bringing life to a moribund campaign and helping the 76-year-old Sanders come back from age questions after he suffered a heart attack during the campaign.

Ocasio-Cortez continues to make headlines that would doom past politicians. Her latest screed at a Martin Luther King, Jr. day event reveals the heart of the CheOC philosophy, “And to be ethical, if you’re a billionaire today, the thing that you need to do is give up control and power. So I don’t want your money as much as we want your power. The people. Not me.”

But let’s be clear, she views herself as the representative of the people, so she really means she wants more power to exercise on behalf of “the people.”

It is time to take the freshman congresswoman from New York seriously.  She is campaigning with the front-running candidate for the Democratic Party nomination who is a close second in Iowa and leads in New Hampshire. If not for some chicanery by the Democratic National Committee in 2016, many people believe that Sanders would have been the party nominee rather than Hillary Clinton.  So Sanders seriously could become President, which means that CheOC would likely be in a position to wield that power.

Ocasio-Cortez’ comments take on new meaning when combined with those of two Sanders field staffers in a pair of Project Veritas videos.  Both field staff leaders independently called  for those who don’t agree with them to go to re-education camps and gulags, with one wanting to compel billionaires to work twelve hours a day breaking rocks. The videos reveal that Bernie operatives view themselves as being in a revolution and if people fight against them, they have no rights and must be crushed.

There is no peaceful transition of power in the Bernie Sanders campaign world, as at least one promised that cities will burn if Bernie is defeated, and there certainly is no giving up power once it is attained.  The collectivist mission to save the planet is too important to be bothered by niceties like voting, and minority rights, which is why they view their fight as a revolution against a system which protects the minority against an avaricious majority.

A revolution where everything bends to their will with no dissent tolerated.

And this isn’t even the scary part.  The scary part is that Bernie Sanders did not fire these staffers.  The scary part is that Democrat candidates for President did not demand that Sanders disavow their views. The scary part is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow travelers have taken over the Democratic Party and no one in that Party or from their conventional and on-line media allies will stand against them. This is particularly  ironic because the Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires along with those who run Comcast (NBC), Disney (ABC) and Viacom (CBS) will be the first to be targeted for takeover as controlling media is the first step for revolutionaries in consolidating control.

The Democrat primary has exposed the divisions of the Party between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, and it is not looking good for those who propose a slower path to achieving the collectivist revolution. If you have any doubts, just search for national Democrat concerns over

So, when you see the next AOC joke, just remember, that the real AOC is not joking and if she and her followers win, they will be coming for your liberties and they won’t let little things like the Senate filibuster rule or the courts stop them.



Patriot on trial

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — On the witness stand was James E. Mitchell, a psychologist and architect of the Bush-era interrogation program that had inflicted torture on prisoners held in secret C.I.A. prisons after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Defiantly, he described how the program came about and why in his view it was necessary, growing emotional only when recounting how he came to the conclusion that it was his patriotic duty to personally implement the techniques he had devised.

Sitting yards from him in the military courtroom built specifically for their death-penalty trial were the five men accused of helping plot the attacks. All of them had been subject to the methods developed by Dr. Mitchell. Their alleged leader, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 by a team including Dr. Mitchell. They sat impassively as he testified at a pretrial hearing in their case.

It was an extraordinary moment in the slow-moving justice system set up to try foreign prisoners of the war on terror, with American lawyers for defendants who were tortured more than a decade and a half ago flipping the script to question an interrogator from the so-called black sites.

Dr. Mitchell, a former contract psychologist for the C.I.A., expressed no regrets or contrition, tearfully saying he did it for the American people at a time when President George W. Bush’s administration feared a follow-on attack by airplane or nuclear bomb to the Sept. 11 hijackings that killed 2,976 people.

“I’d get up today and do it again,” he said.

“I thought my moral duty,” he said, choking up, “to protect American lives outweighed the feelings of discomfort of terrorists who voluntarily took up arms against us. To me it just seemed like it would be dereliction of my moral responsibilities.




UNFORTUNATELY, THE PALESTINIANS AREN'T INTERESTED IN PEACE: Trump's Middle East peace plan expected to offer Palestinians conditional statehood (The Washington Post)

GOP TRAIN WRECK: Doug Collins to challenge Kelly Loeffler for Georgia Senate seat (Washington Examiner)

FOLLOW THE MONEY: House Democrats to vote to override state right-to-work laws, boosting labor movement (Washington Examiner)

A FINE ONE TO TALK: Authoritarian Hillary Clinton slams "authoritarian" and "Trumpian" Zuckerberg over Facebook's speech stance (National Review)

DEFIANCE: Britain says China's Huawei won't be banned from its 5G network (The New York Times)

CORONAVIRUS: China counts 106 virus deaths (aided by its censorship) as U.S., others move to evacuate (AP)

"WE'VE REACHED AN INFLECTION POINT": Concerned Veterans for America pushes for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan (National Review)

POLICY: The myth that the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings (Foundation for Economic Education)

POLICY: The Medicaid expansion cheat (Mises Institute)


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

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


29 January, 2020

Donald Trump to hand Israel full control of holiest site

Long overdue -- JR

Donald Trump is set to propose full sovereignty for Israel over Jerusalem’s holiest site as part of the most favourable peace plan ever offered to it, raising fears of renewed conflict over the contested land.

Under the plan Israel is expected to take up to 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlement blocs, as well as sovereignty over the Old City site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif.

The plan is not expected to hold out any immediate prospect of a Palestinian state. It envisages the Palestinian Authority forgoing any right to military power and recognising Israel as a Jewish state. It is not expected to make any provisions for Palestinian refugees.

Mr Trump greeted Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, at the White House on Monday and said he would announce “a very big plan” on Tuesday. He added: “It will be a suggestion between Israel and the Palestinians, it’s the closest it’s ever come and we’ll see what happens.”

He held separate talks with Benny Gantz, Mr Netanyahu’s challenger in next month’s election.

The timing, six weeks before Israel’s third election in a year, is seen as a boost for Mr Netanyahu, detracting from the corruption charges he faces.

Michael Herzog, a former Israeli peace negotiator, called the plan a “very significant paradigm shift” abandoning almost all Palestinian claims in favour of Israeli demands. “There are two national liberation narratives,” he said. “Previous plans have allowed these two narratives to exist but this plan is taking a decision in favour of the Jewish or Israeli narrative.”

Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, said the plan would be “dead on arrival”, adding: “It shows almost no regard to what Palestinians think.”

Dr Shikaki briefed the US team on his polling while they were formulating the plan, but said: “The way they read Palestinian opinion is detached from reality. They take 10 or 15 per cent support and make it 90 per cent.”

No Palestinian leaders have been invited to Washington for the announcement, having broken off contact with the Americans two years ago after Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, boasting that he had “taken Jerusalem off the table” in negotiations.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, refused to take a call from Mr Trump on Monday. His spokesman said the Palestinian Authority was ready to withdraw from security co-operation with Israel under the Oslo accords and force Israel to “bear its full responsibility as an occupation government”.

He added: “We warn Israel and the US government against crossing the red line.”

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said that the plan would prompt Palestinians to switch focus from a two-state solution to demanding their full civil rights within a single state of Arabs and Jews. That could force Israel to choose between giving up its Jewish character or its democracy by denying Arabs a vote.

“It is an attempt to destroy the two states,” he said. “But it will open the doors of one person, one vote from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean.”

The Palestinian leadership has made no effort to corral Arab states together to offer a counter-proposal, but individual Arab states are unlikely to be able to support it. King Abdullah of Jordan said he would “absolutely refuse” to accept the plan, adding: “The word ‘no’ is understood by everyone.”

Jordan’s Islamic wafq, or trust, administers the Temple Mount and the country borders the Jordan Valley, which Mr Netanyahu is expected to seek to formally annexe though a Knesset vote on his return from Washington.

Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, a spokesman for Islamic State, called on all Muslims to “be the warhead in fighting Jews and foil the so-called ‘deal of the century’.”



Wealth will weaken if we ever yield to populism

This week’s Davos meeting of virtue-signallers and plutocrats was preceded last week by a meeting at Stanford University of the Mont Pelerin Society. Long dominated by Milton Friedman, among the society’s luminaries today are two former US secretaries of state, George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice.

Founded in the aftermath of World War II, the Mont Pelerin Society set out arguments that free markets based on property rights and the rule of law were the keys to delivering prosperity and freedom. Its meetings provided an intellectual bulwark to the then prevailing attractions of communism or at least to socialism.

As the 20th century progressed, the sclerotic state of the socialist world was increasingly evident. By contrast, adopting the Mont Pelerin principles saw a revived Germany and Japan, followed in the 1970s by the creation of prosperity in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea. Similarly, we saw Chile breaking out of the pack of Latin American economies with lethargic growth. All these success stories had free or free-ish markets as their drivers.

And in the developed nations, unmistakeable benefits were seen from (economic) deregulation of prices, access to markets and breaking up of government monopolies. In the main, these favourable outcomes from free enterprise took place in democracies (not, of course, Chile or Hong Kong). Economic freedom, usually combined with political freedom, was bringing increased wealth, further legitimised by — perhaps even caused by — democracy. Democratic revolutions that embraced capitalism also transformed the failed socialist Eastern European economies. The later successes of China and India reinforced the importance of market systems as the growth progenitor.

All this has brought a massive increase in living standards, with the share of people living in poverty falling from 60 per cent 50 years ago to less than 10 per cent today.

No attendees of the Stanford meeting doubted market capitalism’s higher efficiency and ability to deliver growth, including for the benefit of poorer members of society. But recent developments that were debated at Stanford have undermined confidence that the model will continue to prevail.

These include the resumption of growth in the size of government and a weakening of property rights by, for example, the seizure of land usages rights. In Australia, government actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through planning laws and measures that restrain commercial activity include the increase in regulatory intrusions and permissions, like those that resulted in the Adani coalmine taking nine years to be approved. A worldwide consequence of such measures has been a general slowdown in growth rates.

There is also evidence that more people are not seeing the benefits of the growth that has taken place. Between 1970 and 2018 the top third of US income earners increased their aggregate share of total incomes from 29 per cent to 48 per cent, with the middle third falling from 62 per cent to 43 per cent and the poorest third seeing their share drop marginally to 9 per cent.

“This economy is not working for us” became a US left radical battle cry, especially among the young. Seeking more from the government now attracts 47 per cent support (up from 36 per cent in 2010). This has translated into surging support for a new form of socialism promoted by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Similar developments were seen in the UK, where Jeremy Corbyn, though losing the November Brexit election, attracted 70 per cent of the youth vote. The politics of envy is becoming evident, ironically led by the more highly educated who would be beneficiaries of greater dispersion of income.

This new form of socialism sees redistribution, reserving areas from commercial activities and abolishing cheap fossil and nuclear fuel accorded a higher priority over increasing aggregate income levels.

Another daunting development has been an upsurge in civil dissent, including deliberate attempts to paralyse economies and prevent free speech by groups such as the Extinction Rebellion.

Last year, this became open revolt in Chile, the most successful economy in Latin America with among the least unequal income distributions. A five-cent increase in the metro fare triggered mass fare evasion, with 17 metro stations bombed in a single night, an event clearly co-ordinated by a group that remains unidentified. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets with diverse demands ranging from lower taxes, higher pensions, better healthcare, and a variety of other free goods. The government has been forced to accede to many of these demands.

Democracy, which led to or at least coexisted with the diminished government controls driving higher income levels for more than 70 years, is now turning into populism and threatens to foment a new era of declining living standards. Donald Trump is now one of the few world statesmen with genuine public support and, trade policy aside, a smaller government agenda. But, although he is likely to be re-elected in November, even in the US economic prosperity is threatened by statism supplanting the proven superiority of free markets.



Democrats Want to Create 'The Irresponsible Society'

Last week, my colleague Megan Fox reported on remarks directed at Senator Elizabeth Warren by an angry father during an appearance in Iowa that went to the heart of what kind of country the Democrats want to create.

Warren has proposed canceling most student loan debt and offering a "free" college education to anyone who wants it. But where does that leave those who didn't take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt or paid their own way for college?

National Review:

“My daughter is getting out of school,”  he told Warren, while standing in her (what else!) selfie line. “I’ve saved all my money.”
“She doesn’t have any student loans,” he continued. “Am I going to get my money back?”

Warren immediately replied: “Of course not.”

The man, unsurprisingly, was not satisfied with her answer.

“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?” he said.

“My buddy had fun, bought a car, and went on all the vacations, I saved my money,” he continued. “He makes more than I did. I worked a double shift.”

The man then accused Warren of “laughing” at him, repeating that his family would “get screwed” for having done “the right thing” — before Warren ultimately shut him down, saying: “I appreciate your time.”

Warren's dismissive attitude is significant largely because it reveals a larger truth about the modern left; reward the irresponsible; punish or ignore the responsible. Offering to wave a magic wand and make a trillion dollars in personal debt disappear or offering "free" college education -- which everyone but a brain-dead zombie knows isn't "free" at all -- is nothing less than attempt to turn America upside down.

And Warren can't adequately explain (who could?) why what she is proposing is "fair."

Washington Free Beacon:

"For Americans who are in that father's position, who felt they did the right thing and you're bailing out those who didn't, what's your response?" [CBS Anchor Tony] Dokoupil said.
"Look, we build a future going forward by making it better," Warren said. "By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn't start it last week for you, or last month for you?"

"Are you saying ‘tough luck' to these people?" Dokoupil interjected.

"No," Warren responded. "Our kids have taken on a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt. We have got to back that up and say we're doing better going forward."

The author of the NR piece, Katherine Timpf, believes what Warren is proposing doesn't go far enough. Even paying back those who did things the responsible way and saved, and scrimped, and sacrificed isn't "fair" enough. Timpf recounts her own monumental struggles to get an education to follow her dream of a journalism career, only to have her dreams of attending Columbia University dashed when she refused to take on a massive student loan debt.

Unless Elizabeth Warren can go back in time and put me in a Columbia classroom during the time I spent cleaning those Boston Market bathrooms, her plan wouldn’t be “fair.” Unless she can give me the hours of my life back that I spent sitting alone covered in scabies cream, her plan wouldn’t be “fair.” The angry Iowa father’s plan, although well-intentioned, wouldn’t be “fair” to me. Elizabeth Warren can’t “pay me back” for a loan that I decided against taking out — a decision that I’d made  precisely because I did not expect that anyone else would pay it back for me.
Many people have made sacrifices to continue their education, or to allow their children to continue theirs. Others have made sacrifices by taking a path that didn’t include continuing, because they could not afford to do so. None of these are things that could ever be replaced with cash.

In other words? No — I don’t think that I should have to pay for someone else making an irresponsible decision when they could have made a responsible one. What’s more, talking about this issue only in terms of money truly minimizes the fact that, really, it’s about so much more.

I guess it boils down to what kind of society do you want? It's not just student loan forgiveness, or "free" college tuition paid for by those who pay taxes. Government radically altering the nature of American society makes a powerful underlying statement: you're a chump if you play by the rules. You're a knucklehead if you live your life responsibly. You're a dolt if you're self-reliant.

It's not Lyndon Johnson's "The Great Society," it's "The Irresponsible Society."

That's not the kind of country I want to live in.



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

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


28 January, 2020

Local zoning saved from Obama HUD rule by Trump administration after five-year fight

By Rick Manning

In 2014, local zoning was slated for elimination by the Obama Department of Housing and Urban Development using a proposed rule known as “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” but something happened on the way to far left utopians taking over decisions on where housing should be placed in local communities – Americans for Limited Government stepped into the fray.

A June 5, 2014, press release titled, “Time to defund HUD racial zoning rule in appropriations vote” fired the first shot in a five and a half year battle to stop the federalization of local zoning.   Below is the original press statement,

Time to defund HUD racial zoning rule in appropriations vote

June 5, 2014, Fairfax, Va.—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging the House of Representatives to defund implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule that will empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to achieve racial and income integration:

“Starting in October, HUD is empowering itself to redraw zoning maps in any locality that accepts any portion of the $3.5 billion a year in community development block grants from the federal government in an attempt to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income. This is a utopian pipe dream, and social engineering at its worst.

“Neighborhoods are constituted not based on racial quotas, but on economics. Housing discrimination based on race has been illegal for decades. There is no discrimination in people choosing for themselves where they want to live, and yet that is exactly what HUD is seeking to regulate.

“HUD has no place in local zoning decisions, and it is up to the House of Representatives to defund this dangerous rulemaking through a rider to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill coming up next week before the regulation’s projected October implementation.”

One day later, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) picked up the cause by introducing an amendment to the HUD appropriations bill defunding the implementation of AFFH which passed four days later in the House by a 240 – 181 margin.  However, Senate passage was much more problematic.

Over the course of the next three years, I had multiple meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s staff facilitated by Erica Suares who is one of the unsung heroes in the Senate.  Those meetings always included at least five easy defunds that the Senate should pursue which were already in the House appropriations language.  The Gosar defund was always one of these.

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) led the charge in the Senate with his legislation calling for ending the AFFH regulations, and his leadership helped keep the issue at the forefront in the appropriations defund battles.  Finally, on May 19, 2016, the Senate passed substitute language offered by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) which defunded the planning tools for AFFH implementation by an 87 – 9 margin.

However, even with the House and Senate passing different language trying to stop what became known as Obamazoning, it wasn’t until the massive spending Omnibus of 2017 when the Collins language prohibiting HUD from implementing AFFH became part of the spending bill, and with that you would think the story would have ended.

But noooo, because this is DC where bad ideas only go into hibernation but never truly die, some “conservative advocates” decided that the regulations revising AFFH should force local governments to change their zoning laws to cut red tape to enable more rapid housing development.  While the problem of local red tape delaying new home and other developments for years is real, Americans for Limited Government stayed philosophically consistent.  If the federal government dictating local zoning outcomes was wrong under the Obama administration, then it was still wrong under the Trump administration no matter the outcome goals.

Finally after meetings with HUD, a personal conversation with Secretary Carson, attending a HUD stakeholder meeting in Chicago, and multiple conversations throughout the Trump administration, the final AFFH rule was filed.

And we won.  It was amended to preserve local control over zoning laws.

Fighting for limited government is not an occasional venture, but an on-going, non-stop battle and last week, outside of the spotlight of the media, Americans for Limited Government won a huge victory.

Don’t expect any Fox News appearances or special reports, because the victory was about the guts of who makes decisions that impact each of our lives, and those who still believe that local government with all its faults, best reflects the will of its citizens than Washington, D.C., earned a hard fought victory against enormous odds.

As we enter the first week of the impeachment trial, it can seem that the world has been turned on its head, just know, that we can win.  It just takes a few great leaders and for each of us to keep in the fight and never give up.

Local zoning was saved, and a vast majority of Americans will never even know that it was threatened.



Beware Virginia’s mistakes or your state may be next

In recent years, Virginia has made a number of grave mistakes by electing out-of-touch liberal Democrats who are unfit for office. With the Democrats’ recent success at buying the state legislature with out-of-state contributions, Virginia residents can expect to soon begin paying dearly for those mistakes.

In 2017, Virginia elected Democrat Ralph Northam governor. During the election, Northam was endorsed by liberal newspapers even though he smeared his opponents portraying them as violent racists. Subsequently, voters learned that Northam had worn blackface, that his nickname was “Coonman” in college, and that he had a photo of someone dressed as a Klansman and someone in blackface on his page in his medical school yearbook. Although Northam initially admitted that he was in the photo in the yearbook, he reversed course the next day and denied it. Ridiculously, Northam claimed not to know how he acquired his racist nickname in college or how the racist photo wound up on his yearbook page. Embarrassed, members of his party and the media joined Republicans in calling for his resignation, but Northam refused. Before long, his party and the media embraced him once again.

Unfortunately, electing Northam was not the only poor choice Virginia made in 2017. It also elected Democrat Justin Fairfax lieutenant governor. After the election, voters learned that two women, who are both Democrats, accused him of forcible rape. Disgracefully, Democrats in the state legislature refused to support hearings to examine the allegations. Also in 2017, Virginia reelected Democrat Attorney General Mark Herring, who refused to do his job. In addition, Democrat Lee Carter, who is a proud Socialist, was elected to the House of Delegates.

Two years later, Virginia made more poor choices. In a special election last year, Northern Virginia voters elected Democrat Ibraheem Samirah, an anti-Semite, to the House of Delegates. Samirah had posted on social media that he thought it was “worse” to give money to Israel than to the Ku Klux Klan, and he has ties to Hamas. Samirah was then reelected in the 2019 general election. In that same election, Democrat Joe Morrissey, a statutory rapist and a disbarred attorney, was elected to the Virginia Senate. Morrissey previously served time in jail for having an illicit relationship with his 17-year-old secretary when he was 56 years old. In the wake of that scandal, Morrissey married the young woman; that was his first marriage despite the fact that he had fathered children with three other women. Furthermore, with their tidal wave of out-of-state cash, Democrats were able to flip a total of eight seats in the General Assembly in the general election giving them control of both chambers.

After seizing control of the state legislature, Democrats have wasted no time proposing one outrageous piece of legislation after another: infringing on gun owners’ rights, freeing violent felons, abolishing all safety regulations on abortion, expanding transgender rights, and banning spanking. As if that were not bad enough, Democrats have also proposed awarding Virginia’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of how Virginia votes, repealing Virginia’s Right to Work Law (which has been on the books for over 70 years), hiking the minimum wage, hiking taxes, hiking car fees, and allowing the use of speed cameras to more easily pick the pockets of motorists. To protect their fragile, new majorities, it is likely that Democrats will gerrymander districts next year so they can continue to drag Virginia down. The good news is that this assault on Virginia can be halted next year if Republicans put forward a strong gubernatorial candidate with a compelling agenda.

Nonetheless, at the moment, Virginia now serves as a warning to other states. Democrats simply cannot be trusted with power. They have little to no interest in pursuing the common good and will devote the vast majority of their energies to pursuing a narrow, divisive agenda to pander to special interest groups at the expense of everyone else. Voters elsewhere should take heed and reject the far-Left Democrat Party of today that embraces socialism and Bernie Sanders and despises faith, family, and free enterprise.



About those ‘Women for Trump’

“It would make me so excited to vote for a woman for president,” said Alice from Michigan. “I do think I will see one in my lifetime, and, as the mother of a daughter, it would especially thrill me.”

Yet Alice voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and expects to vote for him again in 2020. When I asked her why she didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, she said, “Hillary is an elitist Democrat who doesn’t care about women like me.” Alice wondered if liberal women would be willing to vote for female candidates like Nikki Haley, Ivanka Trump, or Condoleezza Rice.

What is in the minds of women who support Trump? This is a key question people ask me about the panel of 500 voters with whom I’ve interacted since 2016. They want to know how any woman can vote for a bully, whether they care that he has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, how they can support a president who puts children in cages, or why they would support someone who wants to take away the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. Isn’t this a terrible model for their children?

To answer these questions, I took a deep dive with 50 women who support Trump. I found two overarching themes: first, that women valued Trump’s policies over anything else, and second, that they saw Trump as a refreshing change from those they perceive to be elitist candidates of either gender who failed to understand and respect the power and determination of conservative women.

Women could be the difference in the presidential election. According to the Pew Research Center, women tend to vote at higher rates than men. And numerous studies of voters in key swing states, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, have found that white working-class women could determine the next president.

Policy — especially linked to the economy — matters deeply to women who voted for Trump, and to them it outweighs his coarse behavior. “In spite of all of the resistance, he has accomplished so much that is important to me,” said Dianne from New Hampshire. “Our economy is booming, unemployment is low, homeownership is up, our defenses are being reinforced, ISIS is weakened, and he is getting fairer trade deals.” Again and again, women stressed the health of their local economies: building booms, more jobs, and more people out shopping. And they credit the president for their prosperity.

The other big factor for female Trump voters is what they call his “respect” for them, a fundamental belief that Washington is run by people with multiple degrees from elite schools who look down upon them. They dwell on Barack Obama’s statement that they are bitter and clinging to their guns and religion and Hillary Clinton’s remarks about deplorables. Before Trump, they felt that they had no voice and no power. Said Anna from Iowa, “Donald Trump actually likes and respects people like me. He gets that the average citizen of the USA is not stupid, and the Democrats have not figured that out yet.”

These factors outweighed Trump’s boorish behavior. “He is not a politician,” said Susan from Ohio. “I wouldn’t want my daughter to date him, but I wouldn’t want her to date Bill Clinton or JFK or any of the other predators who have been in the White House.”

Trump also appeals to women who feel that the women’s movement has left them behind. Katie from North Carolina described it this way: “You know, not all women are pro-choice, not all women obsess over the glass ceiling, and many women want smaller government and a continued good economy.” Added Cynthia from Massachusetts, “The women’s movement does not represent me. A Women’s March with no conservative women involved? A real women’s movement would embrace all of us. It would fight for equal pay, equal opportunity, personal safety, and assistance in raising future generations. But feminists of today detest people like me, so why would I want to support them?” A majority of these Trump supporters feel alienation from liberal women, whom they perceive to be “angry” and “fist-clenching.”

Some of these women are open to alternatives to Trump — so long as that alternative isn’t too radical. Said Chrissy from New Jersey, “I am embarrassed by his tweeting and his behavior, and I also believe that we need someone who is less divisive — but I don’t see a choice when the Democrats stand for giving everything away for free.”

For every woman like Chrissy, however, there are many others who will support Trump regardless of who runs against him. They sound like Brenda from Pennsylvania. “He is the most transparent president ever, and he follows through on his promises,” she said. “He loves and supports his family, and he respects my money, rather than wanting to squander it.”

Is there a way to win the hearts of these women? Unless another candidate comes along who they believe respects them and their pocketbooks, they won’t be buying the book “A Very Stable Genius.” Instead, they’ll vote to reelect the president.



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

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


27 January, 2020

How Fragile Is Iran's Theocracy?


Iran's people barely can scrape together enough calories to keep body and soul together in the big cities, while entire parts of rural Iran are emptying out as rivers and wells go dry. Things are so bad that the number of babies born in Iran has fallen by nearly 25% in the past five years. Only Venezuela is worse off -- but the wicked Maduro government remains in power. Regimes that are willing to shoot their people dead in the streets (as Iran shot 1,500 protesters last November) can cling to power even under desperate material circumstances.

As I wrote at Asia Times yesterday:

One average salary pays for a small apartment outside the center, utilities, enough calories to keep body and soul together, and bus fare, which is subsidized. Throw in cell phone service, clothing, fruits and vegetables, and one or two meat meals a month, and an Iranian couple will require two average salaries. According to official data, food price inflation was 28% year-on-year as of December.
Medicine is another matter. Some imported items, for example, insulin pens, can’t be found at pharmacies in some provinces, according to a Persian-language report by IRNA. The Chancellor of the University of Isfahan told the national news agency that imported medicine such as chemotherapy drugs was in short supply, but that most other medication was available.

Import controls to spare foreign exchange have put autos outside the range of most Iranians. A VW Golf costs the local-currency equivalent of $48,000, according to Numbeo, or about 14 years’ average pay.

Reduced consumption has taken a toll on Iranian family life. According to the Tehran Times, citing Mohammed Javad Mahmoudi, head of the committee on population studies of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution. According to Mahmoudi, the number of babies born in Iran fell by nearly 25% between 2015 and 2019.

That short-term decline in absolute numbers of births is unprecedented outside of wartime. The number of Iranian women of child-bearing age increased slightly over the same period, so the collapsing birth rate clearly reflects decisions not to bear children.

As I have reported in the past, Iran faces a demographic crisis over the next two decades as its population ages rapidly. There are five prime-age Iranians supporting every Iranian over the age of 65, but by mid-century, the ratio will collapse to just 1.6 to one. Strangely, the Iranian authorities have reported an increase in the “total fertility rate,” namely the estimated number of children that the average woman will bear during her lifetime. The increase evidently is due to optimistic assumptions about the future rather than observed behavior in the present.

Iranians face desperate conditions,  if not actual hunger, due to the effect of economic sanctions. Add to this the long-term effects of mismanagement of the country’s scarce water resources. Afshin Shahi wrote recently in the Journal of Asian Affairs: “Approximately 97% of the country is experiencing drought conditions. Due to gross water mismanagement and its damaging impact on the country, Iran faces the worst situation in the water resources of any industrialized nation. Tens of thousands of villages have been deserted and most of the major urban centers have passed their limits to absorb new rural migrants. Some officials predict that in less than 25 years, 50 million Iranians would be displaced from their current homes because of the pressing ecological conditions.”

The comparison to Venezuela is sadly instructive. Desperation can strengthen a murderous regime rather than weaken it, as I explained last February after the Trump administration unwisely appointed Elliot "Export Democracy" Abrams as its point man for Venezuela.

Venezuela is following the ugly pattern of Latin American civil conflicts during the 20th century.... This is a depraved and wicked government of narco-socialists, but it will not be easy to dislodge.

Latin American revolutions as a rule result in prolonged, bloody wars of attrition. The civil war referred to as "La Violencia" in Colombia lasted from 1948 to 1959, killed about 300,000 people, almost three percent of the Colombian population, and displaced more than one million. Unspeakable atrocities including crucifixions were widespread. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1920 killed one million of Mexico's 20 million population. The El Salvador civil war of 1980-1992 killed about two percent of the population but displaced a quarter of the people.

The grisly death toll in such conflicts is the result of a system of corruption that reaches into the capillaries of society. The regime buys the loyalty of soldiers and police, and causes them to commit atrocities against the general population; the part of the population excluded by the regime wreaks a terrible vengeance on the regime's supporters, most of whom fight to the death rather than be hanged from lampposts. Typically the conflict continues until both sides bleed out.
....In a starving country where the government controls all the food, the cost of bribing a key military cadre is relatively low. The regime's bribed stooges won't give in easily, because everyone knows who they are.

The obvious alternative to Iran's Revolutionary Guard is the regular army. One hears rumors about discontent in the officer corps, but no real information. The Obama administration destroyed America's intelligence assets on the ground through a combination of malfeasance and incompetence (Iran cracked the CIA's system of communicating with its agents and rolled up its network several years ago).

Anything we can do to undermine the wicked mullahs of Tehran, we should. But we should have no illusions that the job will be easy.



Trump Becomes First President to Attend March for Life

I am not a religious person but this toon made me weep.  They were persons who were aborted

President Donald Trump today becomes the first sitting president to attend and speak at the annual March for Life rally. Over its 47-year history, no Republican president (and obviously no Democrat) has made an appearance at the nation’s largest pro-life rally. Though George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did offer brief supportive remarks via phone and satellite to the marchers, they always maintained a degree of separation.

But Trump is unlike any previous Republican and is most in his element when speaking to a massive rally. While Trump’s checkered personal history and his past support of abortion cause some to question his commitment, his impressive presidential actions in support of life simply cannot be ignored or deemed insignificant. While he and the previous Republican Congress failed to defund Planned Parenthood, Trump has followed through on other promises — nominating pro-life judges, signing a bill allowing states to block Title X funding from going to “family planning” organizations that perform abortions, and reinstating a federal policy preventing foreign aid from being used to provide or endorse abortions.

Trump is now boldly enjoining himself to the pro-life movement in a manner avoided by prior Republican presidents. Of all the negative character flaws one can criticize Trump for, boldness to stand up for what he believes is not one of them. Trump’s decision is truly momentous in the history of the pro-life movement.



A GOP-led edge: Red states see less unemployment, more economic growth

Opinion polling isn’t everything. However, it often gives you a good barometer of the general shape of things, especially at the state level. As of mid-2019, every single one of the top 10 most popular governors in the country were Republicans, while eight of the 10 least popular were Democrats. Generally speaking, voters trust Republicans more than they trust Democrats to lead their states.

A deeper look at GOP-led states’ economic success explains why — but beyond the minutiae of simple policy, the bottom line is that electing a Republican often means increased growth and lower unemployment. An even stronger rule bears out the opposite when Democrats control the governor’s mansion.

Indeed, some correlations will always transcend state politics. But what becomes clear is that there is a strong statistical case that electing a Republican governor — even without a matching GOP statehouse — plays a significant role in states’ economic success. Look no further than the last election cycle paired with economic statistics, and this trend soon becomes clear.

State unemployment rates and GDP growth must be viewed relative to national averages. The average U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in 2018 and 3.7 percent in 2019. Strong employment growth at the state level is directly correlated with governorship. Among the 20 states with the lowest unemployment rates (three are tied for 20th, so there are 23 states ranking here), 17 had Republican governors prior to 2018. North Dakota, which has a 2.5 percent unemployment rate, prospers in large part because of its Republican leadership’s decision to embrace new hydraulic fracturing technology. As a result, nearly a third of job openings in the state remain unfilled longer than three months. And it’s not only high-skilled workers who benefit from strong job growth; fast-food workers in North Dakota earn multiples of the $7.25 federal minimum hourly wage, fetching as much as $20 per hour.

Among states whose unemployment rates increased the most last year, Democrats were most likely in charge. In states whose unemployment rates increased more than statistical noise (more than one-tenth of a percent), five of the eight have Democratic governors. Furthermore, among the eight states that saw the sharpest decrease in unemployment (0.5 percent or more) — Alabama, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia — five have Republican governors. And only New Jersey had a Democrat in charge before 2018.

Meanwhile, U.S. GDP increased by 2.2 percent in 2017 and by 2.9 percent in 2018. During the first three quarters of 2019, the average was 2.4 percent. When ranking GDP growth by state, the correlation between economic success and Republican governors becomes even more clear. Among the top 10 growing states in the second quarter of 2019 (the most recent detailed numbers available), only two of the 10 had Democratic governors prior to the 2018 election cycle. Among the four states that had growth above 4 percent, Texas (leading with 4.7 percent), New Mexico and Wyoming had GOP executives; Alaska was run by an independent. In fact, these states’ growth represent almost 10 percent of all economic growth in the nation during this period.

In the 10 states with the slowest GDP growth, Democrats have more to celebrate: The same figures show that eight of the 10 worst-performing states in Q2 2019 had GOP governors in the prior election cycle.

Sounds like a good case for a split ballot. However, six of those slowest-growing states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine and New Jersey) have since elected Democrats to the statehouse. Since Kentucky’s election occurred in November 2019, we can’t factor that in. However, among the other states, GDP growth collapsed in 2019 after electing Democratic governors. In 2018 these states grew on average by 2.24 percent. In Q2 2019 it was a measly 0.92 percent annualized rate — a drop of 59 percent! Michigan’s growth rate fell from 2.7 percent to 1.1 percent, Illinois’ from 2.1 percent to 1.1 percent, Wisconsin’s from 2.5 percent to 1.1 percent, and Maine’s from 1.9 percent to an embarrassing 0.6 percent. In New Jersey (whose election was in 2017), it’s been cut by two-thirds, from 2.0 percent to an anemic 0.7 percent.

So, electing a Republican governor seems to give your state a fair but imperfect shot at growth.

What about states that added a GOP governor last cycle? There’s only one case in point here: Alaska’s governor’s mansion went from independent to red in 2018 — and growth followed. The state’s economy changed from a -0.3 percent contraction in 2018 to the third highest in the nation, at 4.1 percent in Q2 2019.

Numbers only tell a part of the story. The total sum of opportunity costs borne by high-tax states with Democratic governors and legislatures include incalculable damage to the working and middle classes. The states’ economic health (or lack thereof) further accelerates the magnet for millions of families fleeing taxation and regulation in blue states for better economic prospects in red states.

In 2020, 11 governors’ seats are up for grabs — and considering that seven of these are currently Republican, the residents of these states should heed the stark lessons of catching the blue wave in 2018.




NEEDED VISA OVERHAUL: U.S. imposes visa rules for pregnant women on "birth tourism" (AP)

RIGHT TO WORK: Union membership falls to record low of 10.3% — down 10% since 1983 (The Hill)

CHALLENGES STILL LOOM: Trump administration approves Keystone pipeline on U.S. land (Associated Press)

INDEFENSIBLE: Less than half of Americans know six million Jews killed in Holocaust (Washington Examiner)

WARPED PRIORITIES: San Antonio's Chick-fil-A fight has cost more than $300K so far (KENS 5)

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH? Immune cell that kills most cancers discovered by accident by British scientists (The Telegraph)

POLICY: How the oil-production boom has benefited America (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Counting the homeless, searching for solutions (RealClearPolicy)


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

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


26 January, 2020

Donald Trump a clear winner at World Economic Forum, despite best efforts of climate doomsayers

The theme for the World Economic forum in Davos this week is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”. It’s a noble aim but one that’s looking increasingly unlikely.

“Davos Man” — the pejorative shorthand for the rich liberal elite who catch up in the Swiss Alps each year — is still in control of the agenda of the world’s most elite conference. The vague nouns beloved of Davos men and women — inclusion, resilience, climate ­action, sustainability — peppered the program, which is in full swing this week with more than 3000 delegates in attendance.

But their political power is slipping away, starkly illustrated when the conference’s two highly unlikely protagonists — Donald Trump and Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg — were anything but cohesive on Wednesday.

Trump, the face of resurgent populist politics throughout the West and a conventional approach to business and economic growth, clashed with Thunberg, who shot to stardom as the frustrated face of “climate action” — a sort of Joan of Arc who demands an immediate end to fossil fuel use.

German economist Klaus Schwab founded the World Economic Forum in 1971. A not-for-profit foundation, its mission is to “improve the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas”.

No event attracts such a prestigious flock of political and business leaders. Apart from the US President, this year’s talkfest saw Prince Charles, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai rub shoulders.

For Trump, this year’s conference was a platform to rub his success in the noses of the world’s elite, who had largely written him off when he was running for the White House in 2016, then derided his early years as President — and now face his likely re-election before the next Davos meeting in January next year.

“The American dream is back, bigger, better and stronger than ever before … and no one is benefiting more than America’s middle-class,” Trump told the forum.

It’s a claim, however galling for the audience, that is becoming harder to refute. Wage growth in the US has picked up under his presidency, rising back above 3 per cent and bringing to an end a period of real income stagnation more than a decade long.

The US, with a freshly inked deal with China, appears to be winning the trade war. The stockmarket, Trump’s preferred measure of success, has continued to achieve new records. And the US economy is wallowing in the longest economic expansion in its history.

“ ‘America First’ does not mean America alone,” Trump memorably said in his first visit as President in 2018. He didn’t attend last year’s summit amid a partial US government shutdown. This year, the timing was particularly sweet given his impeachment trial was kicking off in the Senate back in Washington, DC, at the same time.

Trump was sending a message not only to the world but also to his Democratic foes. “We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty,” Trump said, in a none too veiled swipe at calls to stamp out fossil fuel use or impose taxes to curb carbon dioxide.

“Fear and doubt is not a good thought process because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism,” he said, calling on delegates to “reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”.

Trump struck the wrong, upbeat tone at a conference convened on the premise of an urgent need for action to save the planet, revelling in the US’s new-found position as the world’s No 1 producer of oil and natural gas.

Enter Thunberg, the anti-Trump, who sat just behind Cormann as Trump spoke. Thunberg, who chided governments for “listening to her but not hearing” in her own speech, has become the chief prophet of doom since she burst on to the world stage last year.

“We don’t need to cut emissions, we need to stop emissions,” she urged, before going on to ­accuse leaders of “cheating and fiddling around with numbers” with talk of cutting emissions to “net zero” — which means emitting no more carbon than is absorbed by the planet — by 2050.

“Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour, and we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else,” she added, saying “planting trees” wasn’t enough.

Thunberg’s earnest pleas have sway in the world’s boardrooms, such as that of international financial consulting giant deVere.

Only last week global investment giant BlackRock announced it was to shift out of companies linked to fossil fuel.

If Davos has made anything clear, it’s that any revolution will be powered by fossil fuels. The views of the democratically elected Trump will overwhelm those of the technocrats.

While Thunberg won the latter crowd at Davos, it’s not clear she is helping the cause of furthering ­efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions among the broader public who ultimately pick our leaders.

She may be preaching to the converted, turning off those on the fence who might not think a teenager is the best authority on such matters, while making people who don’t believe in climate change even more ardent deniers.

“Despite the considerable investments, renewable energies, such as wind power and photovoltaics are still not capable of satisfying the growing global energy demand,” noted Eric Heymann, a top resource analyst at Deutsche Bank, in a recent analysis.

All the panels in the world can’t change that basic fact.



The Israel-U.S. Model Has Been a Resounding Success

Victor Davis Hanson
Whether by accident or by deliberate osmosis, Israel and the U.S. have adopted similar solutions to their existential problems.

Before 2002, during the various Palestinian intifadas, Israel suffered hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries from suicide bombers freely crossing from the West Bank and Gaza into Israel.

In response, Israel planned a vast border barrier. The international community was outraged. The Israeli left called the idea nothing short of “apartheid.”

However, after the completion of the 440-mile border barrier — part concrete well, part wire fencing — suicide bombings and terrorist incursions into Israel declined to almost nil.

The wall was not entirely responsible for enhanced Israeli security. But it freed up border manpower to patrol more vigorously. The barrier also was integrated with electronic surveillance and tougher laws against illegal immigration.

The wall also brought strategic and political clarity. Those who damned Israel but freely crossed its borders sounded incoherent when they became furious that the barrier prevented access to the hated Zionist entity.

The Trump administration is currently seeking funds to create new border walls and replace old, porous fencing in order to stem illegal immigration on the southern border.

The strategy seems similar: The wall will free up manpower for better border policing. It likewise provides a certain political clarity. The United States is often criticized by Mexico and other Latin American countries. It is now being taken to task for the effort to make it more difficult to illegally enter such a supposedly unwelcome and hostile landscape.

For years, Israel’s great weakness was its dependence on imported energy, while its neighboring enemies grew rich exporting oil and natural gas. Yet in the last decade, Israel has ramped up production to take advantage of its vast natural gas reserves — to the point that it is not just self-sufficient in fossil fuels but soon will become a major exporter.

Now, Israel cannot be threatened economically by either Iran or various Persian Gulf monarchies. Its economy is stronger than ever. Europeans suddenly are more accommodating, given that Israel may well become a natural gas exporter to a fuel-hungry Europe.

Like Israel, but unlike Europe, the U.S. was eager to frack and horizontally drill to tap vast new fossil fuel reserves. The change in U.S. strategic energy independence is similarly astounding.

America is now the largest producer of natural gas and oil in the world. Its output has increased world supply, dropped prices and hurt America’s oil-exporting enemies.

The relative power of Russia and Middle Eastern nations, such as Iran, over U.S. decision-making has radically diminished — along with the need to station huge numbers of American troops in the volatile Middle East.

As in Israel, opponents either argued that more drilling would ruin the environment or that it would not work. They seem to be wrong on both counts.

Israel’s foreign policy could be called Jacksonian. Israel allies with friends, neutrals and former enemies whenever they share particular strategic goals.

In the topsy-turvy Middle East, Israel is now sometimes a strategic partner with formerly hostile regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. They all share greater fears of theocratic Iran and its terrorist appendages in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Apparently, much of the Arab world is no longer as interested in the Palestinian desire to destroy Israel. Many Palestinian groups are allied with a despised Iran, while many Arabs believe that Israel’s strength can sometimes be strategically useful.

Current American realism is similar. The U.S. is neither isolationist nor an interventionist nation-builder. Its foreign-policy goals are to enhance its military, expand its already powerful economy, limit its strategic exposure, and bank its resulting hard and soft power to use only as a deterrent force against those who kill Americans or endanger U.S. interests.

Instead of cajoling allies to join us in expeditionary wars abroad, the U.S. increasingly appears reluctant to intervene, especially in the Middle East. As a result, former critics are now becoming suppliants requesting U.S. assistance.

As with Israel, the U.S. is less eager to apply political litmus tests to its occasional allies. It also seeks to avoid quagmires where its overwhelming conventional firepower can be neutralized by terrorists and urban guerrillas.

The promoters of these unconventional policies, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump, are both despised by their respective establishments and under constant threat of removal by their livid political opponents.

Yet they both have transformed their respective countries. Their policies remind us that it is sometimes preferable to be respected rather than just be liked — and that when a nation is strong and does not beg for help, it often finds more than it needs.




A TALE OF TWO WHISTLEBLOWERS: Whistleblower who reported government waste, fraud, and abuse gets none of the protections the anti-Trump whistleblower received (RealClearPolitics)

VIOLATES FEDERAL LAW: Trump administration plans action against California over abortion-coverage requirement (The Wall Street Journal)

WARREN CORNERED: Father asks Elizabeth Warren if he's going to get his money back after paying for daughter's education (The Daily Wire)

VILLAGE ACADEMICS: Democrat professors outnumber Republicans 9:1 at top colleges (Washington Examiner)

VILLAGE ACADEMIC CURRICULUM: LGBTQ education is now mandatory in New Jersey schools (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

THE UGLINESS OF IDENTITY POLITICS: Miami PD suspends white officer who begins identifying as "black" (The American Mirror)

RIGHT TO LIFE: Tennessee governor announces fetal heartbeat bill, other abortion restrictions (National Review)

FOR THE RECORD: Toxic "forever chemicals" found in drinking water throughout the U.S. (USA Today)

POLICY: State Department is right to tackle "birth tourism" (The Heritage Foundation)

POLICY: Google is posing a serious threat to innovation (Issues & Insights)


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

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


24 January, 2020

Bloomberg’s Huge Spending Transforms 2020 Campaign

The other presidential hopefuls are so moronic that I think Bloomberg will surge through the primaries and get the nomination.  Both Trump and Jimmy Carter came from way behind so the precedent is there

The presidential election is 10 months away, but Michael Bloomberg’s long-shot campaign is running like it’s already late October.

The candidate has spent $217 million so far on television and digital advertising, mostly ignoring the Democratic primaries and squarely challenging President Trump. The total is roughly three-quarters of the amount spent by all other campaigns, including Mr. Trump’s, combined.

It’s the game plan the billionaire used in his campaign for mayor of New York City in 2001, when he outspent his competitor nearly 5 to 1. Big spending has also made his philanthropy a dominant force on climate change, gun control and other issues. And it is how he has managed his lucrative business, paying up to bring in talent.

The flow of cash—dubbed the Bloomberg effect by media-measurement firm Advertising Analytics LLC—has upended the financial dynamics of the election. Television ad rates jumped 45% in Houston after the Bloomberg campaign bought $1 million worth of ads in November, Advertising Analytics said. The campaign paid as much as double the going rate for staff and promised jobs to workers through November, whether or not Mr. Bloomberg stays in the race. The candidate, who is funding his run entirely by himself, now has 1,000 campaign staffers

It’s a big part of the reason roughly $20 billion is expected to be spent on political advertising this election cycle, dwarfing the previous record of $12 billion in 2016, according to media research firm, Borrell Associates. “Everything about what Bloomberg is doing is unprecedented,” said Rufus Gifford, former finance director for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Mr. Bloomberg remains a long shot, Mr. Gifford said, “but when you have Donald Trump as president and one of the 10 richest people running for president, anything can happen.”

Kevin Sheekey, Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign manager, said there’s more to Mr. Bloomberg’s candidacy than his spending, pointing to wealthy but politically inexperienced candidates such as Meg Whitman or Ross Perot who failed in the past. “Money won’t just determine elections,” he said. “You have to have a record and a message.”

Lots of rich people have run for office, lots of candidates have claimed excellent business credentials and many have claimed to have top-flight data operations, which Mr. Bloomberg emphasizes. What sets his campaign apart is his $55 billion checkbook.


Mr. Bloomberg is No. 9 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, ahead of each of the Google founders, either Koch brother and the wealthiest members of the Walton family. A person familiar with the plans said he could spend $500 million on the primaries alone, and Mr. Bloomberg hasn’t ruled out spending $1 billion before November if needed.

“Certainly it’s going to be disruptive,” said Robert Wolf, former chairman and CEO of UBS Americas and a longtime Democratic donor. “We just don’t know how yet.”

Mr. Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, is currently supported by 6% of voters, compared with 27% for former Vice President Joe Biden in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. More voters have a negative than a positive view of Mr. Bloomberg, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll from mid- December.

Mr. Bloomberg said he entered the race at a moment when polling data suggested voters placed less importance on ideology and more on finding a candidate who could beat Mr. Trump. His campaign believed Mr. Trump was winning the race and was going unchallenged in political ads in competitive states as Democratic candidates focused on the primary battle.

At the time, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was surging. Polls showed Mr. Biden beating Mr. Trump but within the margin of error. Ms. Warren’s policies, such as a wealth tax, would likely hurt Mr. Bloomberg, and she is generally disliked by his circle of wealthy New Yorkers, according to a longtime staff member. Mr. Bloomberg has said he will back whoever wins the nomination, even if it is Ms. Warren or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

To offset criticism that he was running out of his own self interest, Mr. Bloomberg pledged $15 million to $20 million to register 500,000 voters before the election. His attacks on Mr. Trump are part of that effort. “There’s a sense that Bloomberg is doing something that the party can’t do—going negative on Trump,” Mr. Gifford said. “It’s work that the party doesn’t have the money to do, and other candidates don’t have the ability to do.”

After Mr. Trump’s campaign said it had bought a 60-second TV spot during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, the Bloomberg campaign bought a 60-second spot that will target the president. The Bloomberg campaign declined to disclose how much it was spending for the spot, but advertising tracker Kantar/ CMAG estimates it is worth $10 million.

Bloomberg spending has drawn Mr. Trump’s attention. When the campaign aired an ad saying the president had broken his promise of protecting those with pre-existing health conditions, Mr. Trump pushed back on Twitter and labeled Mr. Bloomberg “Mini Mike.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign said that because he started late, it is focusing on the Super Tuesday votes on March 3, rather than the early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. The plan plays to Mr. Bloomberg’s financial advantage and minimizes his weaknesses—shaking hands and making small talk with voters, and giving stump speeches. The Super Tuesday states, where 40% of delegates will be chosen, instead depend more on television and digital advertising.

In addition to huge TV spending—$193 million on ads since his campaign began—the campaign has spent heavily online. It spent $16.1 million on Google ads as of Jan. 11 and $6.8 million on Facebook as of the end of December according to Kantar/CMAG.

Mr. Trump has spent $6.5 million on digital ads, and Tom Steyer, the other billionaire Democratic candidate, has spent $5.6 million since Mr. Bloomberg entered the race in November, as of the end of last year.

The Bloomberg campaign is offering field organizers salaries of $6,000 a month. For state data directors, it’s between $10,000 and $12,000 a month, according to job postings.

The campaign’s 1,000-person payroll is more typical of an operation in the final months before Election Day. Mr. Biden has roughly 400 campaign staffers, while Mr. Sanders has built an 800-person staff.

The former mayor’s late entry into the race has forced the campaign to “create a sense of momentum and hope people will actually jump on,” said a person familiar with Mr. Bloomberg’s state operations.

Super Tuesday focus

Campaign veterans said money won’t necessarily bring in the best staff and said many experienced staffers want to work for people they support. Other campaigns, including Ms. Warren’s and Mr. Sanders’s, already have operations in Super Tuesday states and are ramping up hiring in later states.

Mr. Bloomberg has spent in markets that haven’t been targeted by other Democrats. His campaign has plunked down $21.2 million on television advertising in Texas, where none of the leading Democrats have spent a penny. It has spent $8.4 million in Pennsylvania, which doesn’t hold its primary until April 28. It has even poured resources into smaller states that are typically not on the primary radar. In Idaho, it has spent $979,000 so far; in Utah, $1.6 million.

“He is going far, far ahead of where the rest of the guys are scrumming,” said Kip Cassino, executive vice president at Borrell Associates, the media research firm. “He is basically saying, ‘I’m not going to win in Iowa, and I am not going to get out there and kiss pigs. And I won’t win in New Hampshire, but I will win in the rest of the states, and I will get the states that most everyone didn’t care about before.’ ”

At the beginning of January, candidates had spent close to $540 million on political ads in the presidential race over the prior 12 months, about 10 times what would have been expected at this point in this election cycle, Mr. Cassino said. “We have never seen anything like this,” Mr. Cassino said, referring to Mr. Bloomberg’s spending. “We are only just starting to see how distorting this might be.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s potential handicaps among Democratic voters include his support for Republican candidates in the past, including former President George W. Bush. Other issues that could hurt are his support for charter schools in his education-reform efforts, and the stop-and-frisk policy he adopted as mayor, in which New York police had wide latitude to detain and search passersby for contraband. A federal judge eventually ruled the policy violated the constitutional rights of minorities. Mr. Bloomberg apologized for the stop-and-frisk policy before he kicked off his campaign.

Some Democrats fear Mr. Bloomberg could drag out the primary with his limitless budget, or use his money to try to influence the leading candidates, hoping to pull some of them to the political center, which he sees as the way to beat Mr. Trump.

Mr. Bloomberg’s team said the data operation he is building will benefit Democrats overall, which he said are far behind the Republicans on the gathering and use of voter data. His data firm, Hawkfish LLC, launched in the spring. It has hired Facebook’s former chief marketing officer and the former CEO of Foursquare, the location tracking firm.

Mr. Bloomberg has cited his research and spending on the 2018 midterm elections as evidence of his commitment to the party’s success. Democratic candidates won 21 of the 24 races in which he was involved. In most races, the spending focused on digital advertising early in the election cycle and TV advertising closer to election day, when ad reservations were more expensive and Republican groups could not as easily counter their message.

In an Oklahoma House of Representatives race, which appeared to be a long-shot for the Democrats, Mr. Bloomberg unleashed a wave of last-minute ads that attacked the Republican candidate. Democrat Kendra Horn won by a few thousand votes. “I supported 24 candidates who were good on guns and good on environment, and 21 of them won, and that flipped the House,” he said at a recent campaign stop in Philadelphia. “So if it wasn’t for that, you wouldn’t have [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and you wouldn’t have impeachment.



Why progressives hate Trump so much explained

Progressives all have the same goal, even those who don’t know it outright.  The progressive goal is to destroy the American system and replace it with a utopian heaven on earth.  That’s it. 

This goal could be the entire American system as Obama wanted to fundamentally transform us.  Or it could be something like our health care system.  Either way, the progressive sets out to destroy the current American system to replace it with their version of a utopian heaven on earth, of which those of us who live in reality understand it’s never going to happen.

The United States of America is the most liberal and tolerant country in the world.  Americans are the most generous people as well.  It is literally built into our system to constantly improve the lives of those who were treated poorly in the past.

But when you fall for the Marxian ideals of a utopian heaven where everyone is equal, where no one wants for anything, and you really believe it could be achieved, then even a tolerant, liberal country like the United States is no match. That progressive religion truly is an opiate of the Marxists.

Under Obama progressives had a daily feeling of conquering where they defeated American system after system, and they built themselves up to really accept that it was possible to achieve that utopian heaven on earth.

Then Trump got elected and their entire world came crashing down on them big league.



UK: Employment hits new record as jobs market strengthens

After ten years of Conservative government (2010 to 2020) Britain's unemployment figures are similar to Trump's American figures

Record numbers of women in work have propelled the employment rate to a new all-time high, fuelling speculation the Bank of England will steer clear of an interest rate cut later this month.

A total of 32.9 million people were in work during the three months to November, with the employment rate standing at an unprecedented 76.3pc according to the Office for National Statistics.

The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1974 at 3.8pc.

Wage growth held steady at 3.2pc, more than double the consumer prices index inflation rate of 1.3pc. This means families' pay packets are stretching further each month, boosting living standards.

Much of the growth was powered by a surge in women holding down a full-time job as fewer retire early or stay at home as full-time mothers.




SYSTEMIC HATE: Another Bernie staffer allegedly promotes violence: Kill the rich, put Republicans in camps (The Daily Wire)

WARNINGS IGNORED: Hillary defends the Clintons' longtime association with Harvey Weinstein, and it does not go well at all (Red State)

"MALICIOUS INTENT": Tulsi Gabbard files defamation lawsuit against Hillary for dubbing her a "Russian asset" (The Daily Wire)

"MY GOAL IS TO UNVEIL THE TRUTH ABOUT ABORTION": New England Patriots tight end and pro-lifer Benjamin Watson producing abortion documentary (The Hollywood Reporter)

TAXPAYER-SOURCED FUNDING: Planned Parenthood's annual report shows Big Abortion needs Big Government (CNSNews.com)

POLICY: The lethal legal legacy of Roe v. Wade (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: When will the #MeToo movement address pornography? (Washington Examiner)


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

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


23 January, 2020

Davos: Trump opens door to ‘tremendous’ UK trade deal as Mnuchin delivers warning over digital tax

President Donald Trump delivered a defiant defence of his record while his powerful entourage had a sobering message for the absent British government in Davos: the UK will face retaliatory trade sanctions if it persists with plans for a digital tax on the US tech giants.

Steve Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, had barely set foot on Swiss soil before hurling his throw-away bombshell. The British and Italians must suspend their plans for this contentious levy or face the full wrath of the Trump White House.

“If not, they’ll find themselves faced with President Trump’s tariffs,” he said on the margins of the World Economic Forum. A comprehensive trade deal between the two countries after Brexit will be effectively impossible in such circumstances.

Mr Trump was more oblique in his triumphant address to the Davos fraternity. “We look forward to negotiating a tremendous new deal with the United Kingdom: they have a wonderful new PM who wants very much to make a deal,” he said.

There was then a slight hesitation, as if Mr Trump was hedging the signal. The praise for Boris Johnson was not quite as effusive as usual. China’s Xi Jinping got markedly warmer treatment. “We love each other,” he said.

Mr Mnuchin told the Wall Street Journal that Britain should heed the harsh lesson learned by France over its plans for a digital tax, which effectively singles out Facebook, Google, and the Silicon Valley names for discriminatory treatment. 

President Emmanuel Macron this week agreed under intense pressure – and faced with sanctions on Gallic symbols such as wine, cheese, and handbags – to suspend the measure until the end of the year as talks continue. Billed as a “truce” in Paris, it looks more like a humiliating climb-down to everybody else.

Mr Johnson included the digital services tax in the Conservative Manifesto despite warnings from his own Cabinet and an avalanche of criticism from both trade experts and free market analysts. “It is a bad idea based on dodgy economics and flimsy evidence,” said Julian Jessop from the Institute for Economic Affairs.

The tax is inherently discriminatory and would be almost impossible to collect. Mr Johnson pre-empted a joint OECD initiative, acting on behalf of 134 states, that is thrashing out a broader solution with Washington. This would go beyond the digital sphere to include a wider range of companies, levelling the playing field between Europe and the US.

Britain’s decision to push its own tax in defiance of the US at this pivotal juncture of the Brexit talks seems extraordinarily ill-judged. The Government has already ruled out trade concessions on agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and access to the National Health Services on terms already enjoyed by EU multinationals. This leaves little to talk about in US-UK trade discussions. The digital tax closes the door entirely.  

Mr Trump’s speech was a provocative romp through American exceptionalism, with a cunning focus on his “blue collar boom”, as if to reproach Davos Man and the pious liberal elites ensconced in their stunningly expensive sanctum sanctorum. “The American dream is back, bigger, better and stronger than ever before,” he said.

Unemployment is the lowest in half a century. The jobless rate for African-American youth is the “lowest in recorded history”. Ditto for disabled workers. “The poorest are making by far the largest gains,” he said.

“America’s thriving, America’s flourishing, and yes, America is winning again like never before,” he said. His listeners are sophisticated enough to know that a fiscal boom and a budget deficit of 5pc of the GDP at the top of the cycle will always buy you a boom, but still his words are unsettling for globalists sitting on a becalmed world economy. Then he twisted the knife.

“We are freeing our businesses and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before. Today I urge other nations to follow our example and liberate your citizens from the crushing weight of bureaucracy,” he said.

Surely knowing that Greta Thunberg was in the audience, he could not resist a broadside against the “perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse". "They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers. I have them, you have them, we all have them,” he said.

“They predicted an overpopulation crisis in the 1960s, mass starvation in the 70s, and an end of oil in the 90s. These alarmists always demand the same thing: absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives. We will never let radical socialists destroy our economy, wreck our country or eradicate our liberty,” he said.

This was at a summit dedicated almost entirely this year to saving the planet from climate change. The audience could only grit their teeth. But whatever the Davos tribe think of Mr Trump’s brand of “America First” they cannot deny the sheer unbridled dynamism of his country.

Separately, Glenn Youngkin from the Carlyle Group said the US economy’s share of world output has amazingly risen from 23pc to 25pc over the last decade. “If you had predicted that 10 years ago, nobody would have believed you,” he said.

The last word goes to Mr Trump, who told listeners: “America’s newfound prosperity is undeniable, unprecedented and unmatched anywhere in the world.” Touché.



The media’s progressive bias has a propaganda guide — The AP Stylebook

Jon Caldara

Journalists have no idea how their work is perceived by a very sizable percentage of Americans.

At a recent wedding reception, I ran into a lady I’ve known for about 15 years. In her mid-60s she is the sweetest, most proper lady in the world. Never once have I heard a harsh word slip through her lips. When the conversation turned to the media, without prodding she simply asserted a loud, unambiguous, “(expletive) the media.”

When Trump points to the reporter pool in the back of one of his rallies and states, “They are the enemy,” he is singing to people like this. It’s one of the major reasons he became president.

It is fascinating how the built-up frustration to the main-stream media carried Trump to victory. It’s more fascinating that the media has shown absolutely no introspection into their role in the phenomenon. They really think most Americans see them as they see themselves — brave warriors of truth, not torchbearers for progressive ideology.

One only has to listen to NPR reporters and their pee-your-pants excitement at covering Trump’s impeachment to conclude they still have no idea so much of America considers them the enemy.

I have been around the media since the mid-80s as a cartoonist, columnist, talk show host, and of course through my years of political work. I love reporters. Almost universally they are engaging, caring, smart and riotously funny. And almost every one of them I have ever known feels called to journalism.

And not a single one of them recognizes how monolithically progressive the main-stream media is. Few of them will admit their profession is dominated by people with a left-of-center philosophy. And none, I mean none, see that what they pump out is serving the progressive agenda.

Talking to a reporter about how left the media is like talking to an alcoholic about his drinking. He honestly can’t see the issue and will angerly suggest you are the one with the problem.

But instead to turning to AA for an example of how to admit their problem, reporters turn to the AP, the Associated Press, to encourage it. The AP codifies reporters’ progressively loaded language with the AP Stylebook. This yearly updated, dictionary-like guide for reporters and editors is meant to make their work consistent.

What it actually does is cement terminology to promote political conclusions. It declares the winners and losers in political debates.

For reporters, it recommends avoiding terms like illegal alien: “use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person.” The AP instead suggests using terms like “undocumented.” While this is just fine with reporters, because most of them agree, it promotes a side on the immigration debate.

The first rule in winning any political battle is winning the language used to define the issue. In this, the media plays judge and jury.

The AP has updated its style to say that gender is no longer binary and thus declared a winner in this divisive debate. They ruled that, “Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex and gender.”

It’s admirable that reporters want to be compassionate to transgender individuals and those transitioning, as we all should be. But AP reporters first have a duty to the truth, or so they say. There are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome. That is the very definition of binary. The AP ruling it isn’t so doesn’t change science. It’s a premeditative attempt to change culture and policy. It’s activism.

The AP, once the guardian of grammar and proper word usage, now allows “they/them/their” as a “singular and/or gender-neutral pronoun.” So, the Associated Press is happy to change the plain grammatical meaning of words to promote an agenda. “They” is singular and up is down.

The terms defined in the Stylebook take at most a phrase or short sentence to describe. “Race-related coverage” takes more than four pages to bob-and-weave through political correctness. No wonder the country can’t have a coherent conversation about race. We’re not allowed to use words.

Even with all the latitude the Stylebook gives reporters to steer left, they still consistently violate AP standards to push their views further.

The AP asserts, “Often, (race) is an irrelevant factor and drawing unnecessary attention to someone’s race or ethnicity can be interpreted as bigotry.” If that is true, the media’s preoccupation with identity politics makes them worse than the KKK.

The AP declares “Music added to AP productions must not have an editorial effect, such as evoking sympathy.” Note to my friends on TV and at NPR: news with sound effects and music, your mainstay product, is commentary, not reporting. So just respect us enough to admit it.

The AP is so brazen as to state, “AP resists being used as a conduit for speech or images that espouse hate or spread propaganda.”

The AP is the conduit for propaganda. If they don’t own up to it and try to change it, they may help re-elect the president they loathe.



Saying that there are only two sexes is the unforgiveable sin

The excellent article on the media above produced a reaction.  Its author was fired.  By firing him, the newspaper confirmed all he said

A columnist at The Denver Post claimed on Friday that he was fired for recognizing only two sexes.

“What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn’t allowed) we must lose our right to free speech,” wrote columnist Jon Caldara, the president of a libertarian think tank known as the Independence Institute, in a Facebook post announcing his departure from the paper.

“I don’t care who uses whose bathroom, what you wear, or how you identify. People from this community have rights which we must protect,” Caldara went on, “But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech.”

The paper’s editorial editor, Megan Schrader, wrote to the Washington Free Beacon acknowledging Caldara had left the paper, but did not indicate whether he was fired for the reason he claims.

“I am writing a job description as we speak to fill his position,” Schrader said. “I hope that conservative Colorado writers will apply knowing that we value conservative voices on our pages and don’t have a litmus test for their opinions.”

Caldara had published a weekly column for The Denver Post since 2016. The column touched on a variety of conservative and libertarian topics.




FLIMSY CHARGES: McConnell proposes swift impeachment trial with long days (AP)

FINANCIAL AID IN THE CROSSHAIRS: Supreme Court takes up church-state separation in Christian schools case (NBC News)

INDIVIDUAL MANDATE PUNTED: Supreme Court won't rule on ObamaCare before Election Day, declines to fast track (NBC News)

AMBIGUOUS FUNDRAISING NUMBERS: Trump outraises individual Democrats but is behind the pack (The Resurgent)

FOR THE RECORD: Illegal border crossings fall a staggering 90% in Arizona following Trump policy change (The Daily Wire)

AND WHAT DOES SANDERS WANT? Sanders floats "moratorium on 99%" of deportations, demolition of border wall (National Review)

FAILED "REFORMS": Mexico murders rise to record 34,582 in AMLO's first year in office (Bloomberg)

POLICY: Yes, Trump deserves credit on black unemployment (Washington Examiner)


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

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


22 January, 2020

Some more interesting comments on Scruton


I asked him what he saw as the role of a conservative thinker in the modern world.

His answer was an almost perfect encapsulation of his approach to politics. “The role of a conservative thinker,” he replied, in his charmingly hesitant manner, “is to reassure the people that their prejudices are true”.

That brilliant Burkeian adage animated the whole of my subsequent career in politics, up to and through the Brexit referendum. These days, of course, “prejudice” has come to mean something like “being nasty to minorities”. But Roger was using the word in its literal sense, to mean prejudging new events on the basis of past experience. He understood that life would be impossible if we approached each new situation from first principles, ignoring what Burke had called “the wisdom of our ancestors”.

Roger was a conservative in the truest sense. He put is faith in the natural, the evolved, the organic. He preferred the tried to the abstract. He understood that we are curators of a vast and growing work, far more complex than any single generation could create on its own. As he was to put it many years later:

“Conservatism starts from a sentiment that all mature people can readily share: the sentiment that good things are easily destroyed, but not easily created. This is especially true of the good things that come to us as collective assets: peace, freedom, law, civility, public spirit, the security of property and family life, in all of which we depend on the cooperation of others while having no means singlehandedly to obtain it. In respect of such things, the work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation slow, laborious and dull.”

In truth, though, Scruton’s conservatism had no place for hatred. He was, as he would often say, motivated, not by indignation, but by love: love for our institutions, our laws, our nation.

Conservatism, as he saw it, was attitudinal rather than doctrinal. It resided in a series of instincts and manners, not in documents.



The Coming Fall of the Meritocracy

By economic historian, Martin Hutchinson

The last five years have been marked in most Western societies by a populist revolt against the values of a leftist university-educated elite. That elite had appeared invulnerable, and increasingly separated from the rest of us, as Charles Murray described in his 2012 study “Coming Apart.” There are thus two questions to be answered: how did the elite become so cut-off and misguided, and will its rule survive the populist revolt?

The problems of a society dominated, not by inherited status or money, but by an academically-selected intellectual elite were first explored in the British sociologist Michael Young’s 1958 classic “The Rise of the Meritocracy.” Young’s satire accurately forecast many features of today’s intellectual elite-dominated society. He foresaw that children from disadvantaged backgrounds would generally fail the academic tests in their schooldays, and therefore be barred from the meritocratic elite, which would become largely closed and hereditary, though remaining convinced it had achieved its position through superior merit and hard work, not by accident of birth. Murray’s “Coming Apart” confirms the inbred, self-satisfied and self-perpetuating nature of the elite, as Young had predicted.

Young’s book was intended as a biting attack on the society-closing tendencies which he already saw emerging in the Britain of 1958, which he believed quite contrary to the open egalitarianism for which he had fought when writing the election manifesto for Clement Attlee’s 1945-51 Labour government. In later life, Young, by then Lord Young of Dartington, expressed shock that Tony Blair’s Labour government of 1997-2007, which he supported, appeared to welcome the meritocratic society that had arisen, rather than condemning its socially closed and intellectually rigid nature.

Young’s satire took the form of an imaginary PhD thesis written in 2033; we have not yet reached that date, but the last five years are indicating that the reaction to Young’s Meritocracy has already begun. There are several intellectual tenets that the Meritocracy devoutly believes, but which tend to its perpetuation and the enrichment of its members, rather than to the good of society as a whole. These fallacies are increasingly being questioned by electorates, and their overthrow may well result in the demise of the Meritocracy itself.

One devoutly believed fallacy central to the Meritocracy is the importance of university education. This is an essential prop to the Meritocracy’s survival: if university education, and in particular elite university education, ceased to be overwhelmingly important, barriers to entry into the Meritocracy would collapse and their earnings, wealth and social position would be devastated. The Meritocracy’s belief in university education has resulted in a relentless increase in the percentage of young people who attempt four-year college degrees, a relentless increase in the costs of those college degrees (because their perceived importance is increasing, allowing their providers to gold-plate facilities and bloat staffing) and a relentless increase in the pressure on university students to conform to Meritocracy beliefs and values.

The rising cost of college and the increasing diversity of the workforce may be changing this, however. Recent data suggests that there is no longer any wealth premium for college graduation for people born in the 1980s, though earlier cohorts still enjoy such a premium. That is largely a result of the increasing cost of college; the 1980s cohort incurred hugely more college debt than earlier cohorts, and so its progress to financial stability has been correspondingly hampered. As college becomes a less economically rational decision, young people are looking more closely at alternatives, such as vocational training for jobs that often pay considerably better than standard college-graduate jobs, while employers are looking more closely at applicants who acquired their skills outside the college arena.

Technology affects this further. For a diligent, self-motivated student, it is now possible to obtain the knowledge that previously required a college degree through online courses, at far lower cost than a college degree, and without the obnoxious political indoctrination. Conversely, the political indoctrination and “dumbing down” of college courses has now gone so far that a college graduate in many humanities subjects is far less educated and far less ready to contribute usefully to the world than was his grandparent graduating from the same college. The revolt against college education is only just beginning; it has much further to go and there is an enormous shakeout of the college sector to come, devastating existing institutions and further devaluing their economically worthless degrees. The Meritocracy does not know it yet, but college education, the central bastion of its power, is due for serious erosion.

A second core Meritocracy belief is in the superiority of Meritocracy-oriented careers. This results in legislation being passed to ensure that such activities remain highly paid, and that the vulgarities of the free market do not apply to them. For example, whereas any foreign graduate in computer science (not generally a Meritocracy-favored profession) can get a programming job in the United States via an H1B visa, foreign lawyers are much more strictly regulated; they must graduate from a U.S. law school and pass a local bar examination, and there are no H1B visas held open for them. Hence the starting salary of a U.S. graduate lawyer is about three times that of the equivalent computer science graduate.

This belief has also manifested itself in the discussion of how Britain should go about negotiating a trade deal with the EU once the initial Brexit has been achieved – a task that must be completed in a mere 11 months. The “quality” media, dominated and consumed by Meritocrats, are unanimous that the key need is to obtain access to the EU market for British banks, while the “old-fashioned” industry of fishing can easily be sacrificed. Yet politically and economically, such an approach would be madness. The best British banks, the merchant banks, were slaughtered by the Financial Services Act of 1986, and none of the remaining “clearing” banks have shown themselves capable of making decent money in EU domestic markets, in over 30 years of trying. Furthermore, banking income merely makes the overstuffed salons of London even more overstuffed, and its property market even more unaffordable, neither of them significant benefits for Britons as a whole.

Conversely, fishing is a very important British activity, naturally so for an island surrounded by an immense quantity of shallow fish-friendly water. A sensible trade deal would therefore hold rock-solid against any encroachment of foreign fishing boats into British territorial waters, thus enabling the British fishing industry to manage this immensely valuable and sustainable resource in an optimal fashion. It is not insignificant that the most important British fishing centers are in Northern cities like Great Grimsby, captured by the Conservatives in 2019 with a magnificent “swing” of 14.7%. The inhabitants of Great Grimsby are natural Conservatives, but for Boris Johnson’s government they must be nurtured so their new-found Conservative voting becomes a habit. London bankers, on the other hand, Meritocrats and EU Remainers to a man, are often foreign and even if not, vote Liberal Democrat or Labour – the fine old crusted Tories of the merchant banks (Lord Bicester, where are you now that we need you!) having been forced into extinction.

A third area of devout Meritocrat belief is in the desirability of high levels of immigration and the joys of a “diverse” society. The Meritocracy gets all the benefits of immigration — it provides cheap baby-sitters, maids and landscapers – while suffering none of the costs, since most Meritocrat jobs are protected from foreign competition. Diversity is also a positive; Meritocrats get to interact with other well-educated Meritocrats from different cultures, and the restaurant choices available have expanded immeasurably since their childhood. For non-Meritocrats, on the other hand, immigration means more competition for low-wage jobs, higher costs for housing, less availability of schools and medical facilities and a more unpleasant, crime-ridden environment, since the homogenous trusting society of a well-defined local culture breaks down when outsiders enter.

Finally, while Meritocrats often believe in theory in a free market, they find its openness to non-Meritocrats highly unpleasant, and therefore seek ways to control it through regulation. An overriding anxiety such as global warming is ideal for this purpose; it allows the Meritocrats to design regulations for the entire economy and ensure that activity is steered into areas where Meritocrats, being expert in their new regulations, have an excellent chance of success. If a Gosplan central planning system worked at all, they would support it, but a heavily regulated economy with agreed “ESG” societal goals on climate change, corporate governance and social engineering is an excellent second-best for them.

The European Union, therefore, was and is a quintessential Meritocrat project; it adds complex Meritocrat-designed regulations, provides innumerable well-paid jobs requiring advanced degrees, involves mixing with numerous different cultures, and quells the free market in an uncountable number of ways.

Technological change is undermining the Meritocracy’s elite university educations. Democracy is undermining the Meritocracy’s belief in promoting Meritocrat economic activities and in flooding their countries with immigrants. The lack of noticeable global warming will eventually undermine their belief in regulation to prevent climate change (though they may well find another environmentalist shibboleth to replace it). The sheer economic dysfunction of the EU will eventually cause its miserable inhabitants to rebel, as many are already doing. For all these reasons, Meritocracy is therefore doomed.

We should rejoice; Young’s 2033 was a very unattractive dystopia, and the collapse of Meritocracy will lead to greater freedom for all of us, even those lucky enough to be good at passing examinations.



Good News: President Trump to Take on Birth Tourism and Anchor Baby Crisis in America

There are some 33,000 births in the US to foreign nationals each year. Another 39,000 babies are born to foreign students, guest workers and other long-term temporary visa holders. And, an additional 300,000 babies are born to illegal aliens each year in the United States.

According to Axios — President Trump is going to focus on this crisis in the coming weeks. And Democrats will no doubt fight him on this too:

The Trump administration has a new target on the immigration front — pregnant women visiting from other countries — with plans as early as this week to roll out a new rule cracking down on “birth tourism,” three administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has threatened to end birthright citizenship and railed against immigrant “anchor babies.” The new rule would be one of the first tangible steps to test how much legal authority the administration has to prevent foreigners from taking advantage of the 14th Amendment’s protection of citizenship for anyone born in the U.S.

“This change is intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” a State Department official told Axios.
The regulation is also part of the administration’s broader efforts to intensify the vetting process for visas, according to another senior administration official.



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

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


21 January, 2020

Trump Signs China Trade Deal, Pausing Sticky Economic Conflict

Note: Trump did NOT start a trade war.  He simply started fighting back

Pact Is a Turning Point in U.S. Trade Policy

President Trump signed an initial trade deal with China on Wednesday, bringing the first chapter of a protracted and economically damaging fight with one of the world’s largest economies to a close.

The pact is intended to open Chinese markets to more American companies, increase farm and energy exports and provide greater protection for American technology and trade secrets. China has committed to buying an additional $200 billion worth of American goods and services by 2021 and is expected to ease some of the tariffs it has placed on American products.

But the agreement preserves the bulk of the tariffs that Mr. Trump has placed on $360 billion worth of Chinese goods, and it maintains the threat of additional punishment if Beijing does not live up to the terms of the deal. “Today we take a momentous step, one that has never been taken before with China toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade with China,” Mr. Trump said at a ceremony at the White House. “Together we are righting the wrongs of the past.”

The deal caps more than two years of tense negotiations and escalating threats that at times seemed destined to plunge the United States and China into a permanent economic war. Mr. Trump, who campaigned for president in 2016 on a promise to get tough on China, pushed his negotiators to rewrite trade terms that he said had destroyed American industry and jobs, and he imposed record tariffs on Chinese goods in a gamble to get Beijing to accede to his demands.

“As a candidate for president, I vowed strong action,” Mr. Trump said. “Unlike those who came before me, I kept my promise.” The agreement is a significant turning point in American trade policy and the types of free-trade agreements that the United States has typically supported. Rather than lowering tariffs to allow for the flow of goods and services to meet market demand, this deal leaves a record level of tariffs in place and forces China to buy $200 billion worth of specific products within two years.

To Mr. Trump and other supporters, the approach corrects for past trade deals that enabled corporate outsourcing and led to lost jobs and industries. To critics, it is the type of managed trade approach that the United States has long criticized, especially with regard to China and its control over its economy.

While other presidents have tried to change China’s economic approach, Mr. Trump has leaned into it. The agreement stipulates that “China shall ensure” that its purchases meet the $200 billion figure by 2021, all but guaranteeing an export boom as Mr. Trump heads into the 2020 election.

“Although the administration claims it wants to enhance market forces in China, the purchase commitments hailed by the president will only strengthen the role of the state in the economy,” said Daniel Price, a former George W. Bush administration official and the managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors.

The president’s approach may pay off politically. He will head into a re-election campaign with a commitment from China to strengthen its intellectual-property protections, make large purchases of American products and pursue other economic changes that will benefit American business.

At a lavish White House ceremony crowded with cabinet members, lawmakers and executives from America’s biggest companies, Mr. Trump seized on the signing as a counterweight to impeachment proceedings that were taking place across town, where lawmakers were about to vote to approve House prosecutors for a Senate trial.

“They have a hoax going on over there — let’s take care of it,” he said.

But the agreement has plenty of critics in both parties, who say that Mr. Trump’s tactics have been economically damaging and that the deal leaves many important economic issues unresolved.

Those include cybersecurity and China’s tight controls over how companies handle data and cloud computing. China rejected demands that the text include promises to refrain from hacking American companies, insisting it was not a trade issue.

And the deal does little to resolve more pernicious structural issues surrounding China’s approach, particularly its pattern of subsidizing and supporting crucial industries that compete with American companies, like solar energy and steel. American businesses blame those economic practices for allowing cheap Chinese goods to flood the United States.

“A ceremony at the White House can’t hide the stark truth about the ‘Phase 1’ China trade deal: The deal does absolutely nothing to curtail China’s subsidies to its manufacturers,” Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which includes manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union, said in a tweet. “All those ‘forgotten men and women’ in U.S. factories have, once again, been forgotten.” The administration has said it will address some of these changes in Phase 2 of the negotiations and is keeping tariffs in place in part to maintain leverage for the next round of talks. Mr. Trump said he would remove all tariffs if the two sides reach agreement on the next phase.

“I will agree to take those tariffs off if we’re able to do Phase 2,” he said.

But Mr. Trump has already kicked the deadline for another agreement past the November election, and there is deep skepticism that the two countries will reach another deal anytime soon.

As part of the deal, Mr. Trump agreed to reduce the rate on tariffs imposed in September and forgo additional import taxes in the future.

But the United States will continue to maintain tariffs covering 65 percent of American imports from China, according to tracking by Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics. That leaves the United States with an overall tariff rate higher than that of any other advanced nation, as well as China, India and Turkey.

China will still tax 57 percent of imports from the United States in retaliation, according to Mr. Bown, though it’s possible some of those levies may be waived in the weeks to come.

The two sides did not immediately distribute copies of the agreement in Chinese, raising the question of whether translation issues had been fully resolved and whether the final text would be as demanding of the Beijing government in the Chinese version as in the English version.

“We also need to be sure that the wording of the agreement is the same in both the Chinese and English versions — history has shown that mismatches become easily exploited loopholes,” said Ker Gibbs, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

While updates about the trade war transfixed investors for much of the last two years, the official signing of the deal was greeted with something of a shrug. The S&P 500 rose roughly 0.2 percent.

A gauge of semiconductor companies, which have been particularly sensitive to the trade war, fell more than 1 percent.

The deal came under fire from top Democrats, including Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who criticized the agreement for failing to address China’s stateowned enterprises and industrial subsidies. He suggested that President Xi Jinping of China was privately laughing at the United States and that China has “taken President Trump to the cleaners.” “This Phase 1 deal is an extreme disappointment to me and to millions and millions of Americans who want to see us make China play fair,” Mr. Schumer said on the Senate floor.

Wendy Cutler, a vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute who negotiated trade pacts for the Obama administration, called the gains “meaningful, but modest.” “Because the United States was willing to compromise with China and not press them on the most difficult issues, they were able to reach positive ground,” she said.

The trade deal contains a variety of victories for American industry, including opening up markets for biotechnology, beef and poultry.

Banks, insurers, drug companies and the energy industry are also big beneficiaries.

China has also agreed not to force American companies to hand over their technology as a condition of doing business there, under penalty of further tariffs.

And it will refrain from directing its companies to obtain sensitive foreign technology through acquisitions.

The agreement also includes a pledge by both countries not to devalue their currencies to gain an advantage in export markets.

The president trumpeted many of China’s concessions during the signing ceremony, singling out audience members who will benefit.

He called out a litany of Wall Street executives, many of whom have been pressing for greater access to China’s financial services market, including Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the private equity firm the Blackstone Group and Kenneth C. Griffin, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Citadel. He also mentioned the chiefs of Boeing, Citibank, Visa and the American International Group, and the chip makers Micron and Qualcomm.

Referring to the energy purchases in the agreement, Mr. Trump told Senator Joni Ernst, the Iowa Republican, who was in attendance: “You got ethanol, so you can’t be complaining.” But those victories have come at a heavy price. The uncertainty created by Mr. Trump’s tariff threats and approach to trade has weighed on the economy, raising prices for businesses and consumers, delaying corporate investments and slowing growth around the globe. Businesses with exposure to China, like Deere & Company and Caterpillar, have laid off some workers and lowered revenue expectations, in part citing the trade war.

And other sources of tension remain in the United States-China relationship. The Trump administration has taken a tougher approach to scrutinizing Chinese investments and technology purchases for national security threats, including blacklisting Chinese companies like Huawei, the telecom firm.

“I think it’s maybe a useful pause in the downward spiral of U.S.-China relations,” Susan Shirk, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, said of the trade deal.



Bernie Supporters Plan to Boycott Election if Biden Is Nominee

What a great idea!

Bernie Sanders supporters are known for their steadfast loyalty to the socialist Vermont Senator, and some are promising to sit at home on Election Day if Joe Biden becomes the party’s nominee. These supporters warn that nominating another establishment candidate will ensure Trump’s reelection because they’ll sit it out.

Sanders’ supporters feel he “isn't getting his due though he's proven to have staying power in public opinion and fundraising, even after suffering a heart attack last October,” reports the Washington Examiner. “As of last week, he leads a tight four-horse race in Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3, raising a record figure of $34.5 million in the final financial quarter of 2019 for a total of $96 million.” Despite his strengths in the primary, they feel he’s being ignored and underestimated, and the possibility of nominating a socialist-lite candidate, they say, will dampen the enthusiasm of the grassroots.

More HERE 


Even without Jeremy Corbyn, The British Labour party are doomed – for this very simple reason

Crazy Leftists in Britain too

Soon enough, Jeremy Corbyn will be Labour leader no more. But this doesn’t automatically mean the party’s prospects will improve. Because, for all his many faults, Labour’s biggest problem isn’t Mr Corbyn.

It’s his supporters.

The supporters who put him there, and kept him there, and will choose his replacement. They’re the problem. In Tim Shipman’s book All Out War, published in 2016, there’s a quote from a despairing Labour MP who wisely requested to remain anonymous. “There are always going to be 500,000 people in this country who are off-the-page nuts,” the MP sighed. “The problem we’ve got is that they have all joined the Labour party to vote for Jeremy Corbyn.”

Thanks to that mass pro-Corbyn influx in the summer of 2015, Labour has a bigger membership than any other party in Europe. But that isn’t a strength. It’s a weakness. Because those pro-Corbyn members have so little in common with the wider electorate. Which means it’s become near-impossible for Labour to appeal to both. Try to win over the one, and immediately alienate the other.

So the party’s stuck. Stuck in the clutches of people who seem to spend more time attacking the last Labour government than attacking the current Conservative one. Increasingly it’s not even clear that they want Labour to form a government at all. Many of them instead obsess about forming “a mass movement”, whatever that means. If they actually wanted to achieve anything, there’s only one mass movement they’d care about. The mass movement of voters from Labour to the Tories, as seen on December 12.

Even though their idol is stepping down, the Corbynistas are unlikely to become any less fanatical. This week Momentum, the official Corbyn fan club, asked its members which leadership candidate they wished to endorse. Well, I say “asked”. The online ballot form featured only one name: that of Mr Corbyn’s close ally, Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Many of Mr Corbyn’s supporters probably don’t even think he should go. Before the election I covered a Labour rally in Northampton. A journalist from the Guardian asked Mr Corbyn, “If you lose the election, will you resign?”

The response from his supporters was immediate. “Why should he?” they blurted, in scandalised bewilderment. “Why should he?”

Obviously none of the leadership contenders can afford to say it, but Labour won’t get anywhere near office again until it rids itself of the Corbynistas. The quickest way to achieve this would be to make Jess Phillips leader. Most Corbynistas hate her so much that they would quit the party on the spot in disgust.

But, of course, she hasn’t a hope of becoming leader. Because the Corbynistas are still there to stop her.



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

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


20 January, 2020

Americans More Conservative as Democrats Turn Hard Left

The latest edition of Gallup’s annual survey of ideological and political leanings of the American people provides some interesting insights as we approach the 2020 elections.

According to the poll’s summary, “As Americans continued to lean more Democratic than Republican in their party preferences in 2019, the ideological balance of the country remained center-right, with 37% of Americans, on average, identifying as conservative during the year, 35% as moderate and 24% as liberal.”

This represents a 2% increase since 2018 of self-described conservatives and a 2% decrease in the number of self-described liberals. The number of moderates stayed the same.

That may seem a small fluctuation, but it’s a notable one. Nearly three-quarters of Americans identify as conservative or moderate, while less than one-quarter call themselves liberal at a time when half the Democrat Party identifies as liberal.

The Wall Street Journal notes that a major political trend of the past generation is the increasing number of Americans who identify as liberal (17% in 1992, rising to a peak of 26% in 2017, dropping to 24% in 2019). This led to predictions of an “emerging Democratic majority” made up of minority, young, and affluent white liberal voters. In fact, when Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, Democrat strategist and Bill Clinton ally James Carville declared Democrats would rule for the next 40 years.

Two years later Republicans enjoyed a historic wave election, winning back the House, and taking control of the Senate four years later.

One increasingly important factor in the political landscape is that while there has been a small decrease in the number of Americans who identify as liberal, the Democrat Party has, with remarkable speed, transitioned from a liberal party to a hard-left party.

No longer content to be a party of a Big Government “safety net,” the modern Democrat Party now embraces full-blown socialism, in principle if not always in name. Its leading voices demand nationalized healthcare under Medicare for All, “free” college tuition and other giveaways, and then ever-more-burdensome taxes on the productive classes to pay for it. This includes repeal of the 2017 Republican tax cuts that ignited the economy and spurred on historic lows in unemployment.

No longer a party that subscribes to the principle that “I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to say it,” the Democrat Party today seeks to silence opposing viewpoints through public shaming, doxxing, mob demonstrations, and even violence.

Where just eight years ago the Democrat Party claimed to want “tolerance” when it came to things like same-sex marriage, today it demands people of faith to abandon their religious beliefs and principles and bow before the altar of political correctness. All who refuse to submit to the demands of the Rainbow Mafia find themselves publicly attacked and the subject of lawsuits that destroy the businesses they have spent decades building.

Today’s Democrat Party seeks the complete destruction of traditional values. Leftists deny biological reality, embracing the lunacy of transgenderism (Gender Identity Disorder). They ridiculously claim that sexual behavior (i.e., hetero-, homo-, and bisexuality, etc.) is genetically determined but sexual identity (male, female) is based on personal feelings.

The Democrat Party also seems to reflexively side with the worst of humanity. That runs the gamut from creating “sanctuary cities” for illegal-alien criminals to siding with the leadership of the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, and condemning President Donald Trump for killing Qasem Soleimani, the terrorist mastermind responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American military personnel overseas.

Despite three years of almost universally negative coverage by the media, endless accusations that Donald Trump is “literally Hitler” and a pawn of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the successful completion of a circus sideshow impeachment effort (that will be exposed in the Senate for the fraud that it is), Democrats are utterly distraught that major election models predict a Trump reelection in November.

Unemployment is at historic lows, we have a new stock market record high seemingly every week, and median income is up $4,000 in three years. We also now have a president who kills our enemies rather than sending them planeloads of cash in the middle of the night. And yet the leading Democrat candidates for president range from solid progressive to radical left wing.

Democrats have no one but themselves to blame when they lose. They completely misjudged the American people. They thought we would embrace their anti-American, anti-business, anti-religion, anti-biology, pro-criminal, pro-terrorist agenda.

They were wrong.



‘Never Trump’ Revisited

A pundit examines his predictions in retrospect

David Harsanyi

One of the most irritating things about being a professional pundit is having random strangers hold you accountable for every column, tweet, and post you’ve ever written. Needless to say, I’ve accumulated plenty of bad takes over the past 20 years. An industrious critic with lots of time on his hands could, no doubt, rifle through millions of my words and unearth a number of contradictions.

These days, a popular way that Trump critics try to embarrass former “Never Trumpers” such as I is to point out that we’ve failed to embrace an appropriately adversarial attitude toward the presidency of Donald Trump. There’s an expectation—often, a demand—that “movement conservatives” be all in or all out on the Donald Trump presidency. Why aren’t we “against Trump” anymore, they wonder?

With the 2020 election season approaching, I figured it was time to revisit the numerous critical pieces I penned about Trump during his first campaign and take inventory of my alleged moral failings. As it turns out, I’ve remained consistent in my basic political beliefs. I wish I could say the same of my critics.

At the time, I harbored three major trepidations about a Trump presidency: The first concerned Trump’s political malleability—perhaps a better way to put it would be that I feared he lacked political convictions. I was convinced that Trump wouldn’t govern like a conservative, either ideologically or temperamentally. I was skeptical that he would uphold his promises to appoint originalist judges, exit the Iran deal, cut regulations, defend religious liberty, and overturn his predecessor’s unconstitu tional executive decisions—and that he would do much of anything I regarded as useful.

I was convinced that the billionaire would govern like a latter-day FDR, which, let’s face it, might well be what many Republican voters were really looking for all along.

On this question, I was largely, although not completely, wrong. Trump, certainly a big spender, has failed conservatism in much the same way that Republican presidents typically fail conservatism, with a complete disregard for debt. Though in some surprising ways—his steadfast support of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh even in the face of massive media pressure, or his insistence on moving the American embassy to Jerusalem in the face of foreign-policy groupthink—Trump’s obstinacy seems to have made him less susceptible to the pressures that traditionally induce GOP presidents to capitulate.

Through much chaos and incompetence and numerous self-inflicted wounds, Trump’s policy record is turning out to be a mixed bag: more moderate than his opponents contend, less effectual than his supporters imagine, and definitely more traditionally conservative than I predicted. I’m happy to have been wrong.

Granted, for me, a less energetic Washington is a blessing. Contemporary American political life features a series of unbridgeable divisions. Gridlock on a national level is a reflection of our intractable political differences. Frustrating as it may be, the system is working as it should. The nation is too big, too diverse, and too divided for the kind of centralized and efficient federal governance that many seek.

Whether we like to admit it or not, many of the most significant political victories of modern conservatism have been achieved by simply getting in the way. Trump, certainly, has been an obnoxiously effective impediment to an increasingly radicalized Democratic party. In the meantime, he has also taken a cultural rearguard action by helping fill the courts with constitutionalists.

Trump antagonists will dismiss this as a “but Gorsuch” argument. But ensuring that the judicial branch serves its purpose as a bulwark against government overreach—rather than being an unaccountable enabler of it—is nothing to sneer at. It’s a strategy that conservatives have long supported, and I don’t see why Trump should lead them to abandon that position.

“Aha!” critics will also say, “you’re willing to overlook all of Trump’s behavior in exchange for long-term ideological victory.” Absolutely! There are limits to everything, of course, but if the choice, as many voters rightly see it, is between a group that wants a nationalized health-care system to pay for abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy and one that doesn’t, it’s not a difficult one to make.

My second concern about Trump revolved around fears that his administration would mainstream protectionist trade policy and anti-market populism, already a staple of the progressive Left.

This change, sadly, has happened.

Perhaps Trump’s rhetoric on trade is merely a reflection of the growing grievances of many voters. Either way, trade wars are still raging, and highprofile conservatives such as Marco Rubio and Tucker Carlson feel perfectly comfortable railing against the market economy. The debate over capitalism within the conservative movement has only just started.

My third big fear was that Trump’s boorish and impulsive behavior would undermine his presidency. On this, the president hasn’t failed me, acting with all the grace, civility, and humility I expected.

While civility is an imperative in a decent society, we can’t ignore that Trump’s coarseness has also helped reveal the liberal establishment’s incivility and disdain for anyone who refuses to adopt its cultural mores. I’m sorry, I have a hard time taking etiquette lessons from people who can’t raise any ire over the Virginia governor’s casual description of euthanizing infants but act as if every Trump tweet should trigger his removal from office through the 25th Amendment.

So while I don’t like Trump any better today than I did when writing those critical pieces, I do live in the world that exists, not the one I wish existed. And that world has changed. What I didn’t foresee when writing about Trump’s candidacy was the American Left’s extraordinary four-year descent into insanity.

My own political disposition during the past four years has hardened into something approaching universal contempt. When I defend the president—as far as I do—it is typically in reaction to some toxic hysteria or the attacks on constitutional order that Democrats now regularly make in their efforts to supposedly save the nation from Donald Trump—whether they’re calling for the end of the Electoral College or for packing the Supreme Court, or they’re embracing shifting “norms” that are wholly tethered to a single overriding principle: get Trump.

Recently, for example, New Yorker editor David Remnick, the kind of high-minded, sane person we’re expected to take seriously, argued that removing President Trump from office was not merely a political imperative but a necessity for the “future of the Earth.” Four years ago, we might have found such a panicstricken warning absurd. Today, such apocalyptic rhetoric is the norm in media and academia.

As the Democrats’ allies in the media stumble from one frenzy to the next, it has become increasingly difficult to believe any of it is really precipitated by genuine concern over Russian interference or improper calls with a Ukrainian president or dishonesty or rudeness. The president has become a convenient straw man for all the political anxieties on the left, which have manifested in an unhealthy obsession and antagonism toward the constitutional system that allowed Trump to win.

Many of us would prefer a more articulate and chaste classical liberal as our president. I don’t have any special fondness for Trump, either, but I also don’t hold any special antagonism for him. Political support is a transactional arrangement, not a religious oath, and Trump has done much to like. I support policies, not people. If Trump protects the constitutional order, he deserves to be praised for it. If not, he doesn’t. But the notion of some Trump critics that conservatives have a moral duty to uniformly oppose the president for the sake of principle or patriotism—or because they once opposed him during a GOP primary—is plainly silly.



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

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


19  January, 2020

Conservatism = patriotism?

The late great English political philosopher Roger Scruton seems to have thought that patriotism is in fact the origin of conservatism.  There are many passages in his writings where he might as well be talking about patriotism when he is trying to define conservatism.

I think the close alliance between conservatism and patriotism is an important insight.  Leftists often seem to be unpatriotic and if Scruton is right they HAVE to be unpatriotic.  The relationship between conservatism and patriotism is organic.  They are not two branches of the same tree.  They are one single tree.

I won't try to do a scour through his writings in order to demonstrate that but I do give below some passages from an article in the WSJ that he wrote in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks

It is a tautology to say that a conservative is a person who wants to conserve things; the question is what things? To this I think we can give a simple one-word answer, namely: us. At the heart of every conservative endeavor is the effort to conserve a historically given community. In any conflict the conservative is the one who sides with "us" against "them"--not knowing, but trusting. He is the one who looks for the good in the institutions, customs and habits that he has inherited. He is the one who seeks to defend and perpetuate an instinctive sense of loyalty, and who is therefore suspicious of experiments and innovations that put loyalty at risk.

Sept. 11 raised the question: Who are we, that they should attack us, and what justifies our existence as a "we"? American conservatism is an answer to that question. "We the people," it says, constitute a nation, settled in a common territory under a common rule of law, bound by a single Constitution and a common language and culture. Our primary loyalty is to this nation, and to the secular and territorially based jurisdiction that makes it possible for our nation to endure. Our national loyalty is inclusive, and can be extended to newcomers, but only if they assume the duties and responsibilities, as well as the rights, of citizenship. And it is reinforced by customs and habits that have their origin in the Judeo-Christian inheritance, and which must be constantly refreshed from that source if they are to endure.

In the modern context, the American conservative is an opponent of "multiculturalism," and of the liberal attempt to sever the Constitution from the religious and cultural inheritance that first created it.

For the conservative temperament the future is the past. Hence, like the past, it is knowable and lovable. It follows that by studying the past of America--its traditions of enterprise, risk-taking, fortitude, piety and responsible citizenship--you can derive the best case for its future: a future in which the national loyalty will endure, holding things together, and providing all of us, liberals included, with our required sources of hope.

Sept. 11 was a wake-up call through which liberals have managed to go on dreaming. American conservatives ought to seize the opportunity to utter those difficult truths which have been censored out of recent debate: truths about national loyalty, about common culture and about the duties of citizenship. You never know, Middle America might actually recognize itself at last, when addressed in this way.

More HERE 

Scruton was also spot-on here

"The Left is united by hatred, but we are united by love: love of our country, love of institutions, love of the law, love of family, and so on... what makes us conservatives is the desire to protect those things, and we're up against people who want to destroy them."

There are also some good quotes from here in which we see his conception of a close interrelationship between patriotism and conservatism

So do I agree with Scruton?  I think I do. I have long seen hate and anger as the wellspring of Leftism and that seems inimical to love of country.

My previous comments on Scruton are here and here

I must stress in closing that we are talking here about the wellsprings of conservatism rather than day to day political issues.  Patriots can and do have different opinions about current issues.  There are even some gullible conservatives who think anthropogenic global warming is a thing


NAFTA no more as President Trump wins USMCA passage in Senate, keeps signature campaign promise to put America first on trade

A little more than a year after President Donald Trump promised to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if Congress did not adopt the USMCA — on Dec. 1, 2018, he said, “I’ll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time.  We get rid of NAFTA.  It’s been a disaster for the United States… And so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well…” — on Jan. 16, the Senate has overwhelmingly adopted the USMCA 89 to 10.

Senate passage came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) finally relented and allowed the trade deal to come up on the House floor, followed shortly thereafter by easy House passage 385 to 41 on Dec. 19, 2019.

Pending Canadian ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal, NAFTA is all but a memory.

None of this is surprising. President Trump won the Republican nomination and then ultimately the election in 2016 in the Rust Belt particularly on the political strength of his trade agenda, uniting conservative and union households and savaging Hillary Clinton as pro-NAFTA.

Now, Trump’s success in reshaping American politics around trade has now been confirmed by the massive bipartisan support for the USMCA.

Key bellwethers on the Democratic side came with pro-union Democrats including U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) all supporting passage. Both Democratic Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters voted for it. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) stands out as an exception as voting no, but then again, he’s running for President. But so is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and she supported it.

That tells you everything you need to know right there.

The blue-collar Democrat voters who supported President Donald Trump in 2016 and put him over the top ended up supporting the Trump trade agenda, making passage of the USMCA a political certainty even as Democrats in Congress were itching to impeach Trump and get the Senate trial underway. For those Democrats, there was greater political risk in going against Trump on trade than anything else.

To get the trade agreement done, Trump effectively threatened tariffs on Mexico plus withdrawal from NAFTA to bring all parties to the table, hammered out a deal and got it safely across the finish line — all in time for 2020.

And, as President Trump promised, the deal moves the ball in the America first direction.

Country of origin requirements are being increased to 75 percent, up from 62.5 percent, requiring automobiles will have at least three-quarters of their parts made in North America.

Mexico will recognize the right of collective bargaining and all parties agreed that “40-45 percent of auto content be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour,” according to the U.S. Trade Representative. In 2016, average pay in Mexico for manufacturing was $3.91 an hour. In 2017, the Associated Press ran a report entitled “In Mexico, $2 per hour workers make $40,000 SUVs.” This is a tremendous concession, and most certainly an improvement on NAFTA from a U.S. producer perspective.

On agriculture, Canada is allowing in greater access for U.S. dairy products.

On currency, the USMCA “address[es] unfair currency practices by requiring high-standard commitments to refrain from competitive devaluations and targeting exchange rates, while significantly increasing transparency and providing mechanisms for accountability,” according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Since 2008, the Mexican peso has depreciated against the U.S. dollar by 50 percent, from $0.10 per $1 USD to $0.05 per $1 USD. The new provision will give aggrieved parties an opportunity to target currency devaluation as an unfair trade practices, something that could set a new gold standard for trade agreements. This mirrors provisions in the newly signed executive, phase one trade deal with China, as gaining these provisions in USMCA is what enabled U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to extract them from Beijing as well.

On intellectual property, cross-border copyrights, trademarks and patents will be enforceable to cut back on knock-offs, plus additional protections for pharmaceutical and agricultural producers.

On financial services, U.S. financial services will be allowed to compete with local financial services in Canada and Mexico, getting most-favored nation treatment.

On textiles, the agreement will “[p]romote greater use of Made-in-the-USA fibers, yarns, and fabrics by: [l]imiting rules that allow for some use of non-NAFTA inputs in textile and apparel trade… [and by] [r]equiring that sewing thread, pocketing fabric, narrow elastic bands, and coated fabric, when incorporated in most apparel and other finished products, be made in the region for those finished products to qualify for trade benefits,” according to the U.S. Trade Representative.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning welcomed news of USMCA’s passage, declaring, “President Donald Trump kept his promise and ended the giant sucking sound that was NAFTA. The overwhelming Senate passage of Trump’s signature trade deal is an affirmation that a President who is determined to put America’s interests first can rewrite the rules for international trade.”

And all the so-called experts, the same ones who predicted Trump couldn’t win in 2016, said that such agreements with Mexico, Canada, China, Japan and South Korea were impossible to negotiate because Trump was threatening to use tariffs, that instead we’d have trade wars and recessions or depressions.

Boy, was that wrong. Instead, Trump levied the tariffs, the trade in goods deficit with China was cut by 13 percent in 2019 and everyone came to the table. It’s the year of the trade deal.

Now all the agreements are in the bag, unemployment is at a 50-year low and U.S. labor participation among working age adults is on the rise. The economy is humming, and USMCA will only help it grow even more as it boosts U.S. exports.

Meaning, President Trump was right all along on trade. His art of the deal to use U.S. leverage in the trade negotiations paid off big time and now the victories are mounting with USMCA and the China deal — all in time for 2020. Watch for trade to continue to dominate the landscape this election year as it reshapes American politics yet again and tells us whether 2016 and President Trump was a fluke — or the future.




HARDLY IMPARTIAL: Nearly all of Pelosi's impeachment managers supported impeachment before whistleblower complaint was filed (The Daily Caller)

BUREAUCRATIC BATTLE: Federal watchdog finds OMB violated law by withholding Ukraine aid — conveniently timed for the beginning of the Senate impeachment trial today. (Axios)

JUDICIAL OBSTRUCTION: Judge blocks Trump order that lets states, cities reject refugees (United Press International)

AND YET LIFE CONTINUES: The last decade was the warmest on record, NASA and NOAA find (NBC News)

"CREDIBLE THREATS," OR CONSTITUTIONAL END-RUN? Northam declares state of emergency, Capitol weapon ban ahead of gun-rights rally (Associated Press)

STRENGTHENING HIS IRON FIST: All senior Russian officials resign as Putin announces reforms that would weaken his successor (National Review)

POLICY: Today is Religious Freedom Day: Why America must recommit to religious freedom (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Counter Iran with an independent Kurdistan (Washington Examiner)

TRUMP DEFENSE: Trump impeachment defense team will include Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr and Democrat constitutional law professor Alan Dershowitz (CNBC)

AND YET THE TIMES SUGGESTS THE TIMING IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: Justice Department investigating years-old leaks and appears focused on James Comey (The New York Times)

FOR THE RECORD: No evidence ties Trump to troubling surveillance of Marie Yovanovitch (Washington Examiner)

MARITAL FRAUD: Investigators with ICE, FBI reviewing criminal allegations against Ilhan Omar (The Daily Wire)

NOT COMPLETELY UNSCATHED: Eleven U.S. troops were injured in January 8 Iran missile strike (Defense One)

RECIPROCATION: Army may send missile-defense systems to Middle East to counter future Iran strikes (Military.com)

AN ASSAULT ON COMMON SENSE: Thirteen states, DC, and New York City sue Trump administration over food-stamp work requirements (National Review)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Media label Tennessee religious liberty bill as "anti-gay" (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Why it's not simple to just raise the corporate income tax (American Enterprise Institute)


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

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


17 January, 2020

Donald Trump signs 'phase one' of trade deal with China which ends escalation of his trade war

Donald Trump took a victory lap on Wednesday as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House as his impeachment sped towards the Senate on Capitol Hill.

He boasted to an audience of dignitaries that a new trade deal with China will bring 'a future of fair and reciprocal trade,' then complained about the 'impeachment hoax,' and praised a string of Republican senators who he needs to vote for his acquittal.

The president has long complained about a massive trade deficit between Washington and Beijing. He pledged during the 2016 campaign to come down hard on China.

'We are righting the wrongs of the past,' he said Wednesday, observing that 'our negotiations were tough, honest, open and respectful.'

'This is the biggest deal anyone's ever seen,' he said, because 'China has 1.5 billion people.'

The president spent nearly a half-hour acknowledging business leaders and lawmakers who crowded into the East Room to watch. And he noted that some House members might have to leave early in order to vote on a motion to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

Some of the congressmen may have a vote—it's on the impeachment hoax—so if you want, you go out and vote. ... It's not going to matter because it's gone very well. But I'd rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, okay?' he said with a grin. 'They have a hoax going on over there. Let's take care of it.' 

Trump was not accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent Vice Premier Liu He in his place. Xi's absence left some with the impression that Washington wants the deal more than Beijing does.

The president announced that he will 'be going back to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate,' but it's unclear what he would be reciprocating for.

Vice President Mike Pence said the deal would guarantee $40-50 billion in Chinese purchases of American agriculture products.

And Trump said China will stop forcing American companies to share proprietary technologies with Chinese partners. 'You don't have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong,' he said to business leaders in the room.

The White House's guests included top executives from UPS, Boeing, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, VISA, Citibank, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, eBay and Ford Motor Company; casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who aims to see markets opened to him in China; television commentator Lou Dobbs; and Trump's ambassador in Beijing, Terry Branstad.

Branstad, a longtime Iowa governor before coming to Washington, got the job because of his deep ties to global agriculture.

While Wall Street will carefully examine the fine print, the trade deal will allow businesses around the globe to breathe a sigh of relief.

After a nearly two-year battle, the signing could give Trump an election-year boost as well. Still, tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports remain in place, leaving many Americans to foot the bill.

Reporters covering the East Room event on Wednesday wore White House credentials with no date printed on them. That unusual feature suggests Trump's trade negotiators weren't certain whether the event would happen as scheduled.

The 'phase one' agreement—which includes pledges from China to beef up purchases of American crops and other exports—also comes just as Trump faces an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, giving him a victory to trumpet at least in the short term.

The easing of US-China trade frictions has boosted stock markets worldwide in recent weeks, as it takes the threat of new tariffs off the table for now.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump's negotiating stance led to a 'fully enforceable deal' which could bring additional tariffs.

If China fails to abide by the agreement, 'the president has the ability to put on additional tariffs,' Mnuchin said on CNBC Wednesday as part of a media blitz promoting the new pact.

However, the most difficult issues remain to be dealt with in 'phase two' negotiations, including massive subsidies for state industry and forced technology transfer.

But Mnuchin said the deal puts pressure on Beijing to stay at the negotiating table and make further commitments, including on cyber-security and other services to win relief from the tariffs that remain in place.

'In phase two there will be additional roll backs,' Mnuchin said. 'This gives China a big incentive to get back to the table and agree to the additional issues that are still unresolved.'

Still, elements of the deal the administration has touted as achievements effectively take the relationship between the two powers back to where it was before Trump took office.

'The US-China phase-one deal is essentially a trade truce, with large state-directed purchases attached,' economist Mary Lovely said in an analysis. Even so, 'The truce is good news for the U.S. and the world economy.'

Still, the trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, cautioned that 'we will continue to see the impact of this in slower investment and higher business costs.'

After announcing the deal December 13, the U.S. canceled a damaging round of new tariffs that were due to kick in two days later and promised to slash in half the 15 percent tariffs on $120 billion imposed September 1 on consumer goods like clothing.

Mnuchin dismissed a Bloomberg report that the initial agreement could include provisions to roll back more tariffs on China after the election.

'The tariffs will stay in place until there is a phase two. If the president gets phase two quickly, he will consider releasing tariffs. If not, there won't be any tariff relief,' Mnuchin said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV. 'It has nothing to do with the election or anything else.'

Washington said Beijing agreed to import, over two years, $200 billion of U.S. products above the levels in 2017, before Trump launched his offensive.

Trump has repeatedly touted the trade pact as a boon for American farmers, saying China will buy $40 to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

U.S. farmers were hit hard by the tariff war—notably on soybeans which saw exports to China plunge to just $3 billion from more than $12 billion in 2017. The Trump administration paid out $28 billion in aid to farmers in the last two years.

But many economists question whether they have the capacity to meet that demand.

And Lovely raised a question about the wisdom on relying so heavily on the Chinese market.

'It also means Chinese retaliation could be reinstated, dampening farmers' willingness to invest to meet the very hard export targets in the deal.'

U.S. and Chinese officials say the agreement includes protections for intellectual property and addresses financial services and foreign exchange while including a provision for dispute resolution, which Mnuchin said will be binding for the first time.



Sally Pipes: Bernie's 'Medicare-for-all' misinformation — learn these facts before this week's debate

"The plan is nuts, it's absolutely mind-boggling," says Charles Payne discussing Bernie's proposal to raise taxes on anyone earning $29,000 plus a year

Sen. Bernie Sanders has launched a new misinformation campaign on "Medicare-for-all" in advance of this week's Democratic presidential debate.

Last week, advisers to his campaign released a study trumpeting the supposed savings "Medicare-for-all" would bring. Days prior, Sanders refused to say how much his "Medicare-for-all" plan would cost. "I don't give a number and I'll tell you why," he told the Washington Post. "It's such a huge number and it's so complicated that if I gave a number you and 50 other people would go through it and say, 'Oh .?.?."

That number is huge all right — as much as $40 trillion over its first decade, as Sanders himself has admitted. The human costs would be even higher, in the form of lengthy waits for critical care.

Paying for "Medicare-for-all" would require a host of new taxes. Before he "forgot" how much it would cost, Sanders proposed funding his plan with everything from a new 4 percent tax on every American household to a new 7.5 percent payroll tax. He claims Americans would pay less for health care, even with these new taxes.

That's unlikely. An analysis from Emory University professor Kenneth E. Thorpe found that 70 percent of working, privately insured households would pay more for health insurance under "Medicare-for-all" than they currently do.

To get a sense of the crippling tax burden "Medicare-for-all" would impose on Americans, look to other countries with health care systems where the government is the dominant or sole provider of health coverage. In 2019, the average Canadian family of four paid over $13,000 in taxes just for their health care, according to research from the Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank.

That health care tax bill has risen more than 65 percent since 1997. For childless couples, the cost of publicly funded health coverage has risen nearly 75 percent in the same period.

"Medicare-for-all" would require an even bigger tax burden than does Canada's system. Sanders envisions taxpayer-funded coverage of prescription drugs, long-term care, dental and vision care — none of which is covered by our northern neighbor's single-payer system.

Some 4.5 million people in the United Kingdom were waiting for specialist treatment as of March 2019 — an increase of 40 percent over the last five years.

The average household in the United Kingdom pays over 5,000 pounds a year to fund the National Health System — a 75 percent increase from two decades ago. A pair of British think tanks estimate that every British household will have to shell out an additional 2,000 pounds per year to keep the NHS running as the country ages.

Despite the massive tax increases it would require, advocates say "Medicare-for-all" would lower overall health care costs. A recent study co-authored by advisers to Sanders' campaign argues that single-payer systems save money by eliminating the administrative costs associated with private insurers. The authors claim the United States would have saved over $600 billion in 2017 alone if it had cut administrative spending to Canadian levels.

But the study doesn't consider the administrative costs associated with collecting taxes. Under "Medicare-for-all," those costs would almost certainly increase for government, employers and individual citizens alike.

The study also glosses over the fact that most of the administrative savings generated by "Medicare-for-all" would come from putting hundreds of thousands of people currently employed in the health sector out of work.

And then there's the disruption "Medicare-for-all" would foist upon patients. Government-dominated systems the world over do not provide unfettered access to free, high-quality health care. They respond to the impossible task of treating an unlimited number of patients with limited resources by rationing care. That results in long wait times.

Some 4.5 million people in the United Kingdom were waiting for specialist treatment as of March 2019 — an increase of 40 percent over the last five years. More than 11 million Britons waited more than three weeks for an appointment with a general practitioner, according to the most recent government data. Nearly 3 percent of the Canadian population was on a wait list for treatment last year.

These wait times add to the cost of "free" health care. Absence and reduced productivity of sick workers cost the United Kingdom around 23 billion pounds each year.

The truth about "Medicare-for-all" is ugly. Americans watching the debate this week must not fall prey to the falsehoods on health care that will no doubt be flowing from the candidates' mouths.




WITH LAWMAKERS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES? Democrats block a vote to support Iran protesters (The Daily Caller)

THE ART OF THE DEAL: Britain, France, Germany suddenly harden toward Iran after killing of Soleimani (The Daily Wire)

SO ABOUT THOSE BERNIE GULAGS... Federal judge upholds Trump family-separation policy (Hot Air)

OBSTRUCTION: House Democrats launch investigation into Trump's "Remain in Mexico" program (The Daily Caller)

IRONY: The 2020 Census has no citizenship question — but offers assistance in 58 foreign languages (Bongino.com)

NEW BUDGET BUSTER: Warren promises to cancel student-loan debt using executive powers (Politico)

POLICY: Why the European Union just admitted the Iran deal is dead (Washington Examiner)


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

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


16 January, 2020

Trump to Transfer $7.2 Billion for Border Wall

President Donald Trump will transfer another $7.2 billion from Pentagon accounts in 2020 to build the promised border wall, according to the Washington Post.

The paper reported January 13 that the president would use his national emergency powers to: divert an additional $7.2?billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction this year, five times what Congress authorized him to spend on the project in the 2020 budget, according to internal planning figures obtained by The Washington Post.

The Pentagon funds would be extracted, for the second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding. According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete [a total of] approximately 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.

The pending transfer, if not blocked by Congress or the courts, would bump up his border wall spending to $18.4 billion.

So far, Trump’s deputies have built a little over 100 miles of upgraded “wall system” and are in the process of planning and building another 350 miles.

Chad Wolf, the acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security, admitted last week that the agency will not meet the president’s target of 450 miles by election day. “I can tell you right now that we remain confident that we are on track to [reach] 400, 450 miles that are either completed or under construction by the end of 2020,” Wolf told attendees at a January 10 press conference in Yuma, Arizona.

Pro-migration groups, including advocates for cheap labor, are funding lawsuits to block Trump’s border policies. But a federal appeals court released $3.6 billion in border wall funding on January 8 that had been blocked by a lawsuit. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted the curbs while the Department of Justice prepares to appeal a lower judge’s decision to block the spending because of the lawsuit.

Officials say the border wall helps agents reduce illegal migration and shrink the transfer of drugs into Americans’ communities and young people.

The drug problem is especially bad in the towns that were damaged by the federal government’s support for free trade and the cheap labor stimulus for Wall Street. Breitbart News reported December 30:

The study by acclaimed researchers, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, notes that American communities that experienced an auto plant closure within the last five years saw a much greater rate of opioid deaths than communities whose auto plants have remained open — confirming that towns and small cities that have been hit by job-killing free trade have suffered more in the opioid crisis.

The researchers note:

“US manufacturing counties that experienced an automotive assembly plant closure were compared with counties in which automotive plants remained open from 1999 to 2016. Automotive assembly plant closures were associated with a statistically significant increase in county-level opioid overdose mortality rates among adults aged 18 to 65 years.”

Trump has also used diplomacy to build a series of legal agreements with Mexico and Central American countries that may allow border officials to return nearly all migrants to Central America, without allowing them to file for asylum, even if they traveled from Africa or India. The legal agreements will help bump up wages for blue-collar Americans — but will do little to raise white-collar salaries.



Crenshaw Answers Warren's 'Disingenuous' Question About Soleimani

At a campaign rally last week in Dover, New Hampshire, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) told her audience that she couldn't think of a good reason why President Trump ordered the recent deadly airstrike on Iranian terror leader Qasem Soleimani.

"Why not a month ago?" she asked. "Why not a month from now?" She ventured a guess and concluded that it was pure politics.

"One of the questions I raised just right after this came out, does this have anything to do with the fact that Donald Trump is right on the eve of an impeachment hearing?" she asked.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) had a better answer: "Okay Elizabeth Warren, I've got an answer for you," Crenshaw said on Fox News. "The reason why now is that Soleimani just orchestrated an attack on our embassy, killed an American citizen, and we had very good intel from the CIA, from the DNI, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. They said it was the best intel they've ever seen. That there was an imminent attack coming within days." "So Elizabeth Warren, that is why," he added for emphasis.

We know Warren didn't miss the news about the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Iran-backed militia members and supporters tried to force their way in to the compound last month, and it wasn't until President Trump sent in reinforcements that the mob retreated.

But Warren isn't the only Democrat pointing fingers at the president for Iran's aggression. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) claimed that the president's "saber-rattling" is to blame for the downing of a Ukrainian airliner that had just taken off from Tehran last week. All 176 people onboard perished. Iran admitted it had shot down the Ukrainian plane, albeit "unintentionally."

“If what is being projected is true, this is yet another example of collateral damage from the actions that have been taken in a provocative way by the president of the United States," Speier charged. "That's such a disgusting and deplorable accusation," Crenshaw said on Fox.

Soleimani is responsible not only for helping to plot the attack on the U.S. embassy, but other strikes on coalition bases in Iraq, some of which have killed U.S. contractors.

Still, Sen. Warren has had a heck of a time even calling Soleimani a terrorist. She got halfway there on "The View," but felt the need to some more context to her answer and left us even more confused.

At Warren's recent campaign rally in Dover, an angry attendee accused her of "siding with terrorists."



The liberal media likes to focus on how many House Republicans are retiring. Somehow this is supposed to make Republicans feel defeated and hopeless

In this context, I was startled recently to hear Congresswoman Elise Stefanik say 2020 was going to be the year of the House Republican woman. She went on to assert that there was a historic record being set for Republican women filing to run for the House.

I checked in with Chairman Tom Emmer at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and found that, if anything, Stefanik had understated the momentum of new recruits.

With House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and the leadership team going all out, the House Republicans are setting a remarkably encouraging series of records.

Consider these numbers: The total number of Republicans filed for House seats so far is 928, according to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) figures – or 188 more than the total at the same time in 2010 (740). The year 2010 matters because it was the last time Nancy Pelosi was kicked out of the majority and Speaker John Boehner led the House GOP to its biggest gain in modern times – with his “where are the jobs” slogan. In fact, in 2010 the House GOP gained 63 seats for a majority of 242 Republicans.

The House Republican recruiting surge is also tremendously widespread. So far, I am told that Republican candidates are running in 380 congressional districts (compared with 341 districts at this point in 2010).

Importantly, women and minority candidates have surged. This is an area which has historically been a Republican weakness. In Texas alone, there are at least 30 Republican women candidates. So far, 186 women are seeking to become House Republicans in total. The previous record was 133 women running for the House as Republicans. And filing is still open in a number of states, so the number will almost certainly increase.

I am told by the NRCC there are also 146 Republican candidates from minority communities. Furthermore, 188 veterans are running for the House as Republicans.


I will write more details about women and minority candidates in future columns. However, I think it is important to note a profound change underway in financing Republican campaigns.

The Democrats had an enormous advantage in the 2018 election because they had built an online donation system called ActBlue. ActBlue had been founded in 2004 to enable small-dollar donors to easily and efficiently help Democratic candidates all over the country.

When the online system was powered by the intensity of anti-Trump emotions, there was a flood of targetable money for Democratic candidates. Activists from all over the country could conveniently go online, identify the campaigns they wanted to help, and quickly send the money.

In the 2018 cycle, this system raised $1.8 billion over the two-year period. When this scale of small-donor involvement was combined with massive donors like Michael Bloomberg (who spent $5 million on ads in the last two weeks in some elections) the Democrats’ money advantage was enormous. This helps explain the Republican House defeats.

The threat posed by the ActBlue system was reinforced in 2019 when it raised more than $1 billion for the Democrats.

Republican leaders realized they had to match or exceed the small-dollar system the Democrats had invented. They developed a competitive model called WinRed.

The intensity of support for President Trump – combined with growing anger over the Democrats’ investigation and impeachment strategy – has made WinRed a success much faster than anyone expected.

In its first two quarters, WinRed raised $101 million. Its effectiveness is growing rapidly.  It raised $31 million in its first quarter of existence and more than doubled that in the second quarter with $70 million (fourth quarter of 2019). In fact, WinRed raised more in its first 190 days than ActBlue raised in its first five years.

The impact of the Democrats’ overreach on impeachment has been amazing. WinRed pages that mentioned “impeach” or “impeachment” raised 300 percent more than any other page.

In fact, the growing impact of WinRed can be seen in Stefanik’s experience. After her remarkable defense of President Trump on the House Intelligence Committee, she mentioned people could donate at WinRed on Fox News. In two hours, $500,000 was donated from across the country.

The combination of great recruiting, the development of WinRed as a system for engaging grassroots Republicans in races across the country, the intensity of Trump’s support, and the self-destruction of the Democrats are combining to create a new, dynamic, aggressive House Republican Party.

If retirements are the story of the past, then recruitment is the story of the future. This is the story on which Leader McCarthy and his team are focused.

I suspect it’s the story that will make him Speaker McCarthy in January 2021.




AT LONG LAST: House prepares to vote Wednesday to transmit Trump impeachment articles to the Senate, where it will be disposed of (CNBC)

BROKERING: U.S. drops designation of China as currency manipulator ahead of trade agreement (National Review)

THE TRUTH ABOUT POVERTY: Child poverty in the U.S. is at an all-time low, and saying otherwise does not help American families (Institute for Family Studies)

DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT: Stocks are up 495% in the past decade — here's why you probably aren't (MarketWatch)

TERRORISM IN THE HOMELAND: NAS Pensacola shooting was an "act of terrorism," Attorney General William Barr says; U.S. to expel 21 Saudi nationals in training program (Fox News)

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: According to Fox News, "Barr says DOJ was consulted before Soleimani strike as Trump goes on defensive." The Leftmedia spin regarding Trump's comments is a distinction without a difference, and it's meant to make it look like this was a conspiracy to kill some innocent Iranian without justification.

PREEMPTION: Here's a setup story from The New York Times to undermine anything about the Bidens and Burisma so that if something emerges on Joe, it can be written off as "Russian meddling": "Russians Hacked Ukrainian Gas Company at Center of Impeachment."

DEZINFORMATSIYA: TV's Trump news: three-fourths impeachment and 93% negative (NewsBusters)

FOR THE RECORD: Hillary Clinton vindicated on corruption charges? Hardly. (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: Obama's midnight regulations, lawsuits still hamper the U.S. economy (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: The why and how of market-driven medical care (RealClearPolicy)


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

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


15 January, 2020

Democrats Always Choose America’s Enemies Over America

Here’s an idea that our Democrat politician friends might want to try if they want to stop being back-stabbing garbage people. It’s kind of a radical notion and a little outside the box, but here goes: How about, just once, you stop sucking-up to the foreign bastards who are attacking our country and take America’s side?

Maybe you should not back and excuse the gay-hanging, women-stoning, airline-downing, Obama check-cashing, Israel-threatening, American-murdering cultists ruling Iran. Just a thought.

It’s kind of crazy, but it just might work.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what your man-bunned grad student TA taught you, that “Hey, America sucks and these foreigners have a good point about America’s history of imperialism and general badness.” Well, this is a stupid thing to think and you Democrats should stop thinking it. Instead, you should stand with your own country all the time, no matter what.

I know siding with America will infuriate a huge part of your base, since America-hating leftist pieces of Schiff are a key Democrat constituency, but you should try courageously standing up to the trash that forms the foundation of your reeking party instead of collaborating with those fifth columnist communists.  It’s called “character.” Get some.

Yes, I know it’s a proud Democrat tradition stemming back to when your party started, and then ensured the communists won, the Vietnam War. During the last decades of the Cold War, which the Republicans won, you sided with the Russians – for you younger Democrats, Russians only became bad to Democrats sometime in 2016. Still today, if there is a Third World USA-hating potentate or terrorist leader, that dirtbag can count on you. Say, does your vintage Che tee still fit?

But this act is getting old, like your leading presidential candidates.

Perhaps in your blue city/faculty lounge circles, concepts like “patriotism,” “loyalty” and “not allying yourself with communist and Islamist butchers” are character defects that, if you drones had the capacity to breed, you would attempt to breed out of the pack. But here in America, we like them. And we prefer Americans who side with America.

I know you don’t like Donald Trump. You have a right not to like Donald Trump. And if you feel it necessary, because you want to fix the skyrocketing stock market and rock-bottom unemployment problems he caused, you can campaign against Donald Trump and support his opponents, whether it be the senile pappy of the promiscuous crack connoisseur, or the fake Indian, or the crusty communist, or that insufferable little weasel who is mayor of the Indiana equivalent of Barstow. That is your right as an American. But you are total garbage if you choose to side with our enemies because you don’t like the guy who the American people elected over your objection.

Donald Trump is your president. Let me say that again. Donald Trump is your president.

He is the President of the United States of America. You don’t have to like that. You don’t have to like him. Feel free to run around the country shouting about how “He’s not my president!” But don’t ever side with our enemies because you are mad at him for crushing the Venezuela 2: The Quickening dreams of your idol Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit.

You spent the last three years babbling like idiots about “traitors” and “treachery.” Well, head docs call that “projection.” You are siding with the enemy in a war against the United States. And yeah, Iran has been at war with the United States for 40 years, ever since your peanut-farming, half-wit fellow Dem handed over the keys to the country to a bunch of Seventh Century Pennywises. The least you could do is show a little respect to the people trying to clean up your party’s mess.

Your party’s latest triumph is blaming Donald Trump because these drooling morons shot down a passenger airliner the night they launched missiles at our American soldiers. What the hell is wrong with you? Are you sick? Are you stupid? Are you huffing that funny powder you found in Hunter Biden’s medicine cabinet? What would ever have possessed you to start making excuses for people trying to kill Americans?

There’s a term in the military for people like you: “Blue Falcons.” It derives from the initials “BF.” The initial “B” is for “Buddy.” I’m not going to spell out what the “F’ is for. But you’re Blue Falcons if you sided with Iran’s mullahs against your own country because you got the sadz that mean old Trump is president and not Stumbles McMyturn.

You know, this Soleimani guy, before Donald Trump turned him into a wet bag of disarticulated chunks, murdered over 600 Americans and who knows how many more foreigners. It’s okay to say that he’s bad, and that smearing him across a Baghdad boulevard was pretty damn awesome. Hell, it’s mandatory. You should break out the champagne to celebrate his close encounter of the Hellfire kind. But you won’t. You can’t.

I understand this when it comes to that ridiculous AOC and her brother-curious grifter pal Illin’ Omar. I expect nothing from them except treachery. But a lot of Democrats have spent time in positions of power in Washington or otherwise have some credentials that might lead one to expect that they might resist the radical #resist nitwits. Some of them even served in uniform – Audie Buttigieg never shuts up about his adventures in the Squid Force. They should know better, and they should tell the morons in the Squad and the rest of their America-hating pals to shut their collaboration holes.

But that won’t happen. And it’s a disgrace.

Among the Democrat voters, there are patriots, including those who have served our country with honor and who continue serving today. Those Dem voters are disgusted with you and, if I was cynical, and I am totally cynical, I would issue them a heartfelt invitation to join the Republican Party, where people who love America are welcome. Walk away, Democrat patriots. Welcome to the GOP.

Regardless, you don’t take our disagreements outside of the country. You don’t fight in front of foreigners. And you don’t ever take the enemy’s side. These are just basic, threshold requirements to call yourself a “patriot.” Unless you don’t want to be a patriot. You Democrats who don’t, at least be honest and just come right out and admit that you hate America. And the rest of you should admit that you are just too weak to stand up for it.



Conservatives should stop blindly defending law enforcement, the clergy, and Big Business and examine the moral order of institutions

By Richard McCarty

It is time for fine-brush conservatism. For too long, broad-brush conservatism has defended certain institutions — including law enforcement, the clergy, and Big Business — to the hilt without demanding too many facts. To be clear, these are institutions worthy of vigorous defense, but it is not enough to just signal support. To defend society, bad actors must be rooted out. There is a moral order of institutions serving the nation that cannot be ignored and must be vigorously enforced in order for there to be prosperity.

Rather than defend people based on who they purport to represent, we should choose whom we defend based on their individual character and actions. By doing this, Republicans and conservatives should gain more respect in their communities and should find more support for their policies and politicians who are doing it right.

For starters, Republicans can no longer afford to reflexively defend every law enforcement officer assuming that they must have had a good reason for their actions. Yes, we want officers to go home safely at the end of their shift, and, yes, we want them to solve crimes; but we also want them to only use deadly force as a last resort, and we want them to respect our Constitutional rights. By blindly defending law enforcement, Republicans appear hopelessly out-of-touch. Whenever there is an officer-involved shooting, Republicans should demand a full, independent investigation. Law enforcement officers have tough and important jobs, but the bad apples and the incompetent officers must be weeded out — for our protection and the good of the other officers.

In addition, Republicans should stop blindly defending the clergy. In the past, the faithful — many of whom are conservative — have defended corrupt religious leaders or failed to hold them accountable as they have abused their positions. Most likely this was done out of fear that bad press would harm their faith or cause people to lose their faith in God. In the short-term, membership at a particular house of worship might fall after a scandal. But what is far worse is when the public finally finds out that religious leaders have committed serious crimes and that precious little was done to make it stop even after the crimes were discovered. That is far more likely to shake people’s faith rather than the crimes of a single individual. Fortunately, in recent years, we have largely seen a reversal of this view, and now more people of faith are demanding answers as well as personnel and policy changes.

Republicans should also stop automatically defending Big Business. These days, Big Business is incredibly powerful, is not opposed to selling the country out for a fast buck, and is only too happy to fund the abortion lobby, radical environmentalists, and socialists. Here are few examples of indefensible corporate behavior:

A profitable Fortune 500 company closes a factory in Wisconsin and ships the jobs to China;

A failed corporate CEO is handsomely rewarded on his way out the door;

A multibillion-dollar company lays off hundreds of American employees and requires them to train their foreign replacements who just arrived in the country on their H-1B visas; and

A gigantic corporation intentionally overworks its employees and gives them too little time to eat or take bathroom breaks.

Not only should we not defend these actions, we should blast these companies for their lack of patriotism and decency. At the end of the day, we need to remember that greed at the expense of the nation is not good, and it should be discouraged.

Some currently defending the disgraceful actions of Big Business probably do so, not because they agree with the behavior, but, rather, because they believe that they must defend this behavior or socialism will advance.

These people have it exactly backward. By defending outrageous behavior, these conservatives push people toward the socialists; instead of halting socialism, they are fueling it. On the other hand, by refusing to defend corporate America’s bad behavior, conservatives just might be able to help rein in some of the most egregious behavior; and when there are fewer instances of corporations taking advantage of customers or workers, there should be less interest in the left’s “solutions” — like 90 percent tax rates, maximum wages, and more unions.

In recent years, Republicans have overextended themselves blindly defending institutions without assessing the value they bring to improving and extending traditions. Without examining the moral order of our society, we fail to offer firm prescriptions to the issues we face. This situation is untenable, and it is time pull back the defensive lines and let the bad actors we have foolishly been sheltering finally face the consequences of their actions.

When you think about it, it is rather odd that a party that values the individual and deemphasizes group membership would defend people based on their institutional line of work. In other words, our criteria for choosing whom to defend is not consistent with our values. This must change.




"THE SUPREME LEADER IS A MURDERER": Iran opens fire on demonstrators. Protesters chant: "Our enemy is right here; they lie to us that it's America." (The Daily Wire)

DESPICABLE: No Senate Democrats support measure praising military for killing Soleimani. All GOP senators supported same resolution about Bin Laden during Obama years. (The Daily Wire)

NO HIDING IT: Iran admits it "unintentionally" shot down Ukrainian jetliner (The Washington Times)

BOOKER OUT: Cory Booker drops out of the presidential race (NBC News)

NO CAPITULATING: Taiwan's president reelected as voters back tough China stance (CNBC)

POLITICAL THEATER: House Democrats block hazardous-substance measure to protect unborn children (The Washington Free Beacon)

TAKING ON UNIONS: Trump administration rolls back Obama-era "joint employer" rule (Washington Examiner)

SORRY NOT SORRY: FBI director apologizes to FISA court — not Carter Page — for warrant application abuses (The Daily Wire)

RECIPROCITY UNDER FIRE: Virginia gun proposal puts concealed-carry agreements with other states in jeopardy (Washington Examiner)

BRAINWASHED: Shocking number of young Americans say other countries are better than the U.S. (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: The FISA court is complicit in the FBI abuses it's raising Cain over (The Federalist)

SATIRE: "The View" audience applauds Hitler after revelation he never voted for Trump (The Babylon Bee)


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

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


14 January, 2020

The Democrat’s Hatred of President Trump and America Itself Is Appalling

Over the last three years, these lunatics have tried to fake it, but their mask is off. We have watched them express outright hate for the Founding Fathers, the police, law and order, the rule of law, the Constitution, election results, and, most recently, the electoral college.  When I thought they had reached their wits ends, they put the pedal to the metal with their recent reaction to the killing of Iran’s top military General Qasem Soleimani.

I never thought I would see the day when Americans would be so full of hate toward their own country that they would rally around the terror-supporting nation of Iran. Seriously. Iran is the same country that took over the U.S. Embassy holding 52 American citizens hostage for 444 days. Iran is where they cheered in the streets as nearly 3000 Americans died in the 9-11 attacks on American soil. Iran is where “death to America” is routinely shouted. It’s the place where advocating for wiping the state of Israel off the map is commonplace. Iran continually threatens its neighbors while developing nuclear weapons for offensive purposes.

Need examples? A recent USA Today story reported that demonstrators hit the streets in Philadelphia, New York, and around the White House and that another 70 protests are scheduled. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was outraged after hearing about the airstrike and even referred to him as a “foreign official.” That’s like referring to Osama Bin Laden and ISIS leader al-Baghdadi as foreign officials. Filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message to Iranian leader Khamenei advising him to “let me and millions of Americans fix this.” Also, cop-hating nitwit Colin Kaepernick referred to the US military as terrorists for carrying out the airstrike. How nice. These American-hating liberals mourned the loss of the murdering Soleimani, making him out to be a martyr for heaven sakes. Another story mentioned how NPR reporters covering Soleimani’s funeral referred to it as a “historic day” for the Tehran regime.

Now let’s compare the left’s perspective against what more reasonable American officials say about Soleimani. Pentagon reports refer to Soleimani as a “shadow commander” who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and their allies and that the strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attacks. Soleimani was involved in coordinating rocket attacks to maim and kill troops based in Iraq. Retired General David Petraeus called Soleimani the most significant Iranian adversary during his four years in Iraq and said his killing was impossible to overstate. Former Obama national security adviser Susan slipped up. She said that they weren’t presented with the opportunity to take out Soleimani, but if they had been, they would have considered it. I highly doubt that. Remember Obama’s famous red line in Syria moment.

Even Iranian dissidents had the good sense to celebrate the killing of Soleimani calling the event one step closer to the downfall of the regime in Tehran. They pointed out that he was both hated and feared in Iran and was responsible for the death of thousands of protestors in Tehran. But not the American left.

American foreign policy is always subject to debate in America. That aspect is what differentiates democracies from a dictatorship like Iran, where dissidents are imprisoned. When Americans disagreed with Obama’s foreign policy decisions, however, Obama sympathizers including the liberal media, quickly turned any dissent into an opportunity to call people racist for disagreeing with the first black President. However, Former Senator Joe Lieberman is sensible. Lieberman said, “President Trump’s order to take out Soleimani was morally, constitutionally and strategically correct and that it deserves more bipartisan support than the begrudging or negative reactions it has received thus far from my fellow Democrats.”

President Trump laid out the case for taking out Soleimani. He said Soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. He said that the head of Iranians ruthless Quds Force himself facilitated horrific acts of terrorism in places like New Delhi, London, and inside the US. His camps trained killers responsible for the deaths of US service members. He was involved in a recent rocket attack that killed an American and severely injured other servicemen. And that he directed the violent assault on the US Embassy in Iraq.

One of the most solemn duties of the President of the United States is to protect the American people at home and abroad. Those aren’t just words a President utters when taking the oath of office. Trump personifies it. Most Americans, not on a partisan rant, appreciate it. 

Trump indeed had other options. But, he alone has to make the decision. It can be the most lonely spot a leader can find themselves in, but Trump signed up for this.

The position that America should not have defended itself using the policy of pre-emptive attack because of possible retaliation is what nations like Iran bolster to carry on their mischief in the region and around the world. We used that failed head in the sand policy prior to 9-11 when the system was blinking red that al Qaeda was planning an attack. A pre-emptive attack would have saved thousands of lives and injury not to mention the damage done to the US economy.

Iran is a menace and has been for a long time in the Middle East. Trump has chosen to deal with this threat and not hide from it. There is an added benefit to dealing forcefully with Iran. Kim Jong-un and North Korea are watching too.

So rather than wish that Soleimani rest in peace, I say may he rest in pieces. And to every other lunatic terrorist or nation that wants to kill Americans, wake up, you’re not dealing with Obama anymore. Trump has been clear from day one, and his correct decision to take out Soleimani proves once again that he keeps his promises.



Make presidential debates worth watching

by Jeff Jacoby

I HATE to be the bearer of bad news, but another Democratic presidential debate is coming. It's scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday at Drake University in Des Moines. I'm planning to watch, but only because I have to for work. You, on the other hand, are under no such obligation, and if you're like most Americans, you have no intention of tuning in.

In the first of these Democratic debates last June, the total TV audience (over two nights) topped 33 million. In the second debate, in July, the audience totaled 19.4 million. In the third, it was down to 14 million. It dropped again for the fourth, and for the fifth, and by the time candidates and moderators walked onto the stage at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles for the sixth of these affairs, the audience had dwindled to a mere 6.1 million. How low can it go?

Voters usually grow more, not less, interested as an election campaign unfolds, so by now vast multitudes should be avidly following every word of these debates. Instead, multitudes are doing the opposite, repelled by these tiresome, shallow, and predictable scrimmages. Presidential? That's the last thing they are. These gaudy TV events, with their high-tech gimcracks and game-show atmosphere, aren't forums for grappling seriously with genuine disagreements over policy. They're arenas for silly entertainment. Like WWE Wrestling, minus the gravitas, as someone once said.

The deficiencies of our televised debates are an old story. As far back as 1990, the late Walter Cronkite called them an "unconscionable fraud." If you've watched even one of these encounters, you know that they involve no actual debating. The candidates aren't interested in vigorously contending for competing policy differences. Their goals are to deploy their carefully honed talking points, to avoid stumbling into a gaffe, and — if the opportunity presents itself — to zing an opponent with an extemporaneous rebuttal carefully planned in advance.

Nowhere is it written that White House hopefuls must debate. Until Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy met in a CBS studio in Chicago in September 1960, no presidential candidates had ever faced off in that way. But if we are to have debates, they ought to be more than two hours of grandstanding soundbite theater. Their purpose should be not to see who can come up with the most memorable punchline or the sharpest opposition-research barb, but to give voters some insight into the thinking and substance of people who want to be president, and some insight into how they would conduct themselves in the highest office in the land.

How to do that? I offer four improvements:

1. Debate without moderators. If moderators weren't needed for the Constitutional convention debates in Philadelphia in 1787 or for the Lincoln-Douglas Senate debates in 1858, they certainly aren't needed for presidential candidates in 2020. Let two or more candidates sit down at a table with a single microphone and an agreed-upon topic, and have at it for 90 minutes, on air. Viewers could draw their own conclusions: Who drove the discussion? Whose arguments were persuasive? Who had facts and logic and their command? Who merely pontificated?

2. Discuss books. Great literature can shed light on challenging dilemmas and highlight the power of human character and motivation to resolve them. Why not invite candidates to read a classic work, then appear on camera to wrestle with the issues it raises? After studying Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, for example, they could analyze why Brutus feared Caesar's ambition, and whether his assassination was justified. They could take up Lord of the Flies, William Golding's 1954 masterpiece, and explore whether human beings instinctively seek peaceful cooperation, or gravitate to violence and domination. They could read Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail, and debate how a free society can recognize an unjust law and when civil disobedience is an appropriate strategy for changing such laws.

3. Workshop a crisis. How would a president react in an emergency? Obviously we can't be certain in advance, but candidates could be confronted with an unexpected scenario and forced to "respond" in real time: An Air Force fighter crashes over the Persian Gulf, and an Islamist terror group is taking credit. The "Big One" has struck along California's San Andreas fault, leaving Pomona and San Bernardino in ruins. Cyber-anarchists simultaneously paralyze Bank of America, Chase, and Capital One with a computer virus, unleashing havoc in financial markets and triggering a 1,000-point stock market selloff. What would the candidates do first? Whom would they reach out to? What information would they need? What choices would they face? What would they tell the nation?

4. Conduct formal debates. Real debate could have real value, if candidates were given sufficient time to make their case and rebut their rivals. Instead of the 45-second soundbites they're allowed now, with moderators skipping from question to question, a formal debate would require each participant to address at length a central proposition — e.g., "A wall should be built along the Mexican border" or "The $21 trillion national debt must be paid down." Candidates would be given a block of eight minutes each to make their case, plus two minutes for rebuttal after the others have spoken. The moderator's only role would be to keep time — no questions, no interruptions. Viewers would decide for themselves whose arguments seemed most thoughtful, prudent, realistic, and presidential.

Any of these variations would elevate the tone and deepen the content of the "debates" our candidates engage in now. American democracy deserves better than the spectacle of bickering, quibbling would-be presidents lined up like contestants on "Family Feud." After all, what is the point of debates that fewer and fewer voters want to watch?



Conway: Would Buttigieg Have Invited Soleimani Into the Wine Cave?

During a Saturday night interview with Fox News' Jesse Watters on "Watters World," White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway discussed Democrats continually defending Iranian Qud Force General Qasem Soleimani. She accurately described them as "apologists," the Daily Caller reported.

According to Conway, the 2020 Democrats had no idea what to think of President Donald Trump's order to kill Soleimani.

“I also think the 2020 crowd really didn’t know what to do with this because they’re stuck. Nobody cares what they say. Nobody pays attention to these town halls anymore," Conway explained. "They’re starting to feel the Bern again.

The guy who beat Hillary in 22 contests in the primary is raising all this money and is in it to stay and if you’re a socialist on economic policies, we know what your foreign policy is. They’re becoming apologists for the bad guys and that’s very disappointing.”

In a mocking way, she asked about Mayor Pete Buttigieg's "wine cave," a reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) claim that the South Bend, Indiana mayor shmoozes rich people.

“[Pete] Buttigieg, what did he want the president to do?” the White House counselor asked. “Is he going to invite Soleimani into the wine cave? We think that we know where Soleimani is and belongs. We think [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi is looking very lonely in hell and needed a roommate.”

Buttigieg has been an outspoken opponent of Trump's actions against Soleimani.



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

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


13 January, 2020

What explains the curious persistence of the Myers–Briggs personality test?

BOOK REVIEW of "What’s Your Type? The Strange History of Myers–Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing" by Merve Emre

Comments by Australian psychologist Nick Haslam below. Haslam is good at exposing the Myers Briggs nonsense but he is not equally good at examining his own assumptions

Standing at the end of a line, pressed up against the glass wall of a well-appointed meeting room, I asked myself the rueful question that all personality psychologists have posed at least once: why is the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator so damned popular? The smart, charismatic consultant facilitating this leadership course had given the questionnaire to his class and instructed us to line up according to our scores on extraversion–introversion. Far to my right on this spectrum of perkiness stood a colleague with a double-espresso personality; down this end, with no one to my left, I was decidedly decaf.

Let me get off my chest what’s wrong with the Myers–Briggs, or MBTI as it is known in the acronymphomaniac world of personality testing. The MBTI classifies people according to four binary distinctions: whether they are extraverts or introverts, intuitive or sensing types, thinkers or feelers, and judges or perceivers. Three of these distinctions rest on an archaic theory of personality typing proposed by Carl Jung, and the fourth was invented and grafted on by the test’s developers.

The four distinctions bear little relation to what decades of systematic research have taught us about the structure of personality. They are smeared unevenly over four of the five dimensions that most contemporary personality psychologists accept as fundamental, and completely ignore a fifth, which is associated with the tendency to experience negative emotions. The same effort to erase the dark side of personality is evident in the MBTI’s use of sanitising labels to obscure the negative aspects of its four distinctions. In large measure, being a thinking type amounts to being interpersonally disagreeable, and being a perceiving type to being impulsive and lacking in persistence. But in MBTI-world, all personality types are sunnily positive, a catalogue of our “differing gifts.”

The MBTI doesn’t only misrepresent the content of personality. It also gets the nature of personality fundamentally wrong. Despite masses of scientific evidence that human personality is not composed of types, its four distinctions are understood as crisp dichotomies that combine to yield sixteen discrete personality “types,” each with a four-letter acronym such as INTJ or ESFP. In reality, personality varies by degrees along a set of continuous dimensions, just like height, weight or blood pressure. In the face of mountains of research demonstrating that personality is malleable throughout the lifespan, proponents of the MBTI also argue that one’s type is inborn and unchanging. In short, the MBTI presents personality as a fixed essence whereas the science of personality shows it to be a continuous flux.

The MBTI also fails to meet the standard statistical requirements of psychological tests. Its items employ a problematic forced-choice format that requires people to decide which of two statements describes them better. Its scales lack coherence. The typology lacks re-test reliability, which means that people are commonly scored as having different types when they complete the measure on two separate occasions. Evidence that MBTI type correlates with real-world behaviour — known as predictive validity in the trade — is scant.

So why is a test with weak psychometric credentials, based on a musty theory of personality that gets the structure of human personality wrong, so enduringly popular? Arguably its weaknesses from a scientific standpoint are precisely what give it its appeal. Personality may not really form discrete types, but people relish the clarity of noun categories and binary oppositions. Personality may not really come in sixteen flavours, but MBTI types are sweet simplifications. Personality may be mutable, but people find reassurance in the idea that they have an unchanging true self. And the average person could not give two hoots about the statistical considerations that trouble test developers.

What matters to most people, at least those who complete the MBTI as an exercise in self-understanding rather than a compulsory workplace activity, is whether it offers accessible and palatable insight. And the MBTI undoubtedly provides that in spades. Its four-letter codes are readily grasped, its descriptions flatter our strengths, and the fact that its four distinctions bear some relationship to fundamental personality traits ensures that it offers a certain truthiness.

Although the shortcomings of the MBTI have been discussed within academic psychology for decades, a historical analysis has been lacking. Merve Emre’s fascinating new book fills that gap stylishly. Emre, a literature academic at Oxford, documents the genesis of the MBTI in the Jungian enthusiasms of Katharine Briggs and the more worldly ambitions of her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. Despite the subtitle’s questionable reference to the “birth” of personality testing — the first test dates back almost another thirty years to the first world war — the book’s recounting of the origins of the instrument is colourful and revealing.

Katharine Briggs emerges as someone single-mindedly devoted to making sense of human individuality and using that sense to guide people in directions to which she believed them suited. As a young mother without training in psychology, she developed a system of personality typing that she used in an informal child guidance, or “baby training,” enterprise, later finding a resonance between her ideas and those expressed in Carl Jung’s Psychological Types, which was published in 1921. Jung became Katharine’s “personal God”: at one point she wrote a hymn to him (“Upward, upward, from primal scum / Individuation / Is our destination / Hoch, Heil, Hail to Dr Jung!”). Encouraged by her correspondence with the great man, and armed with 3? x 5? index cards, Katharine refined her classification system and compulsively typed everyone she encountered, from neighbourhood children to Adolf Hitler.

Katharine’s daughter Isabel Briggs Myers had a more pragmatic cast of mind but inherited her mother’s absorption in types. After writing two mystery novels, she developed an early version of the MBTI while working for America’s first corporate personality consultant in 1943. Soon after, she launched it as a small commercial proposition. In the late 1950s the questionnaire was picked up by the Educational Testing Service, an eminent test developer and publisher in Princeton, New Jersey, giving it a chance at mainstream success and respectability. After endless wrangling between Isabel and staff psychometricians, though, the ETS lost interest and cut its losses. Seeing the instrument as “little better than a horoscope,” ETS staff insisted on conducting the same validation research as any other test would undergo, but Isabel remained resistant and possessive. Eventually a new publisher released the MBTI as a self-scored test and it quickly became a staple of the US$2 billion personality assessment industry, especially beloved by personnel consultants.

As history goes, Emre’s book is compelling and well paced. It presents Katharine and Isabel as rounded characters and places them in a richly drawn cultural and historical context. But as an account of personality testing more generally, the book is flawed. Despite having chronicled the many ways in which the MBTI was a cuckoo in the nest of personality psychology — the product of obsessed amateurs, disparaged by the psychometric orthodoxy at the ETS, popularised rather than professionalised — Emre sees it as emblematic. An emblem it is not. Unlike most other major tests, its use is not restricted to trained professionals and its legacy is protected by an almost cultish organisation that forbade Emre access to most of the Briggs–Myers papers, despite their officially being open to the public. Unlike other tests, the MBTI doesn’t promote itself by appeal to a validating body of scientific evidence. To treat the MBTI as representative of contemporary personality testing is like presenting the primal scream as representative of modern psychotherapy.

Emre is on more solid ground when she describes the functions of workforce personality testing, using the MBTI as an example. Its key purpose in that domain — only one of several in which it is used, it must be said — is indeed to select people who are likely to perform better than others in particular lines of work. Ideally that rationale is backed by evidence that the tests are valid predictors of workplace performance. Whether this purpose is benign or sinister is open to debate. It can be viewed positively as the legitimate application of behavioural science to enhance the wellbeing of workers and the success of organisations, or negatively as a dystopian tool for creating human cogs for the corporate machine.

Emre favours the darker interpretation, writing that personality typing “conscripts people into bureaucratic hierarchies.” This charge is hyperbolic: even if one is critical of the use of the MBTI or other testing, it does not force people into any position against their will, it is not employed exclusively in bureaucratic organisations, and it is used at least as much to differentiate people horizontally according to their strengths as it is to stratify them in hierarchies. The very same charge could be made against any other approach to selecting or assigning people to organisational roles, including interviews, hiring quotas or old boy networks.

The key question has to be whether personality testing selects and assigns people to work roles in ways that are better or worse than its alternatives: whether it is fairer and more valid, efficient or desirable than some other preferred metric. Unless there are grounds for believing that personality tests are worse than these alternatives, to criticise them for conscripting people into bureaucratic hierarchies is merely to express hostility to bureaucratic hierarchies.

Emre also struggles to form a consistent view when she discusses personality testing’s relationship to individuality. At times she presents the MBTI as a tool that promotes individualism by claiming to clarify each person’s specialised strengths and aid in their quest for self-discovery. At others she describes it in over-heated terms as “liquidating” or “annihilating” the self, as if a questionnaire had the capacity to destroy the person’s uniqueness. Here she cites the work of German social theorist Theodor Adorno, fierce critic of commodification (and jazz), who proclaimed that personality tests undermine human individuality.

Emre never quite resolves these antithetical views, but the paradox is only apparent. Receiving a score on a personality test, or even being assigned to an MBTI “type” does not submerge individuality. It simply provides it with a partial description that other people may share. Being described as brunette, overweight, liberal or a typical Taurus does not undermine a person’s selfhood but merely qualifies it, and the same is true when someone is described as being an ENTP. MBTI types, for all their conceptual failings, don’t reduce personal identity to one of sixteen psychological clones. They simply offer people a language for capturing some aspects of their personal distinctiveness.

In passing, Adorno’s critique of the “reified consciousness” involved in personality testing has a certain irony to it. In one of his books he recalled being asked by an American colleague whether he was an extravert or an introvert, writing contemptuously that “it was as if she, as a living being, already thought according to the model of multiple-choice questionnaires.” A few years later, while conducting his influential studies of authoritarianism, Adorno proceeded to create his own multiple-choice personality questionnaire.

Another confusion arises in Emre’s discussion of personality typology. Remembering the horrors of the Holocaust, Adorno rightly condemned the practice of assigning people to categorical types. This is a legitimate criticism of the MBTI, whose proponents view personality types as discrete and unchanging facts of nature. (Emre writes that Isabel Briggs Myers was astonished to find that scores on the MBTI’s scales were distributed in a bell curve, not in the camel-humped way that type theory supposed.) Emre notes this criticism of typology but then mistakenly applies it to personality testing in general. In contrast to the MBTI, almost all personality tests are explicitly anti-typological. These tests assess differences between people along a continuum without invoking bogus categories, and they do not make ill-founded claims that their scores correspond to unchanging personal essences. By failing to recognise that typological thinking is a specific failing of the MBTI, Emre misses the extent to which major criticisms of that instrument do not tarnish personality testing as a whole.

To serious students of personality, the continuing success of the MBTI within the testing industry is a source of bafflement. Emre’s book does not diminish that dismay, but it helps to clarify why the instrument is the way it is. Despite its unpromising beginnings, she demonstrates that it has a powerful appeal, offering an intuitively attractive way to apprehend ourselves as a pattern of distinctive strengths. In Emre’s preferred Foucauldian terminology, the MBTI is an effective “technology of the self.” The fact that it is a rather Bronze Age technology is almost immaterial.



Texas governor to reject new refugees, first under Trump

HOUSTON — Texas will no longer accept the resettlement of new refugees, becoming the first state known to do so under a recent Trump administration order, Governor Greg Abbott said Friday.

Abbott’s announcement could have major implications for refugees coming to the United States.

Texas has large refugee populations in several of its cities and has long been a leader in settling refugees, taking in more than any other state during the 2018 governmental fiscal year, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Since the 2002 fiscal year, Texas has resettled an estimated 88,300 refugees, second only to California.

In a letter released Friday, Abbott wrote that Texas “has been left by Congress to deal with disproportionate migration issues resulting from a broken federal immigration system.” He added that Texas has done ‘‘more than its share.”



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

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


12 January, 2020

Contrary to what the media reports, middle class Americans are surging

By nearly every measure today, we are living in a magnificent time for the American economy. There is a booming stock market fueling trillions of dollars of wealth gains, record low unemployment, 3 percent to 5 percent wage gains, and seven million unfilled jobs. So the recent headline for a CBS report seemed to strain all credulity when it declared, “Two years after Trump tax cuts, middle class Americans are falling behind.” Huh?

This might be the most dishonest news story headline of recent times. As the author of columns that ran a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal and on these pages which clearly documented that the median household income, meaning the middle class, has gained about $5,000 of income in just three years, I knew this headline was fatuous. The undeniable success story of the American economy is the surge in middle class incomes since President Trump took office and his tax cuts took effect, with middle class incomes increasing at least five times faster than under President Obama.

So how in the world did CBS mangle the universally good news to come up with an opposite conclusion? It turns out that there is a classic head fake in the report. The middle class is “falling behind” only relative to the gains of the wealthiest 1 percent. Even though the middle class has had a bigger income boost under Trump than anytime in 20 years, the middle class is allegedly now suffering a decline since the rich saw even faster gains. This appears to be an intentional distortion of economic reality.

Even more misleading is that CBS based its figures on a Congressional Budget Office estimate of what will happen with incomes over the next two years. The Congressional Budget Office also projected three years ago that gross domestic product might be some $600 billion below what it actually is today. This is not exactly an agency with a stellar record at predicting things. Even the CBS figures contradict the headline because the story claims incomes are up at least $4,000 per household for the middle class, adjusted for inflation under Trump. That compares with a $1,000 per household gain in incomes under Obama over eight years.

One critical conclusion of the CBS report is that “income for middle class Americans is growing more slowly than for both top earners and the poor.” But this is only because the tight labor market under Trump has brought about sizable wage gains for those at the bottom. The lowest quintile of Americans have seen some of the biggest percentage gains in income, according to an analysis done by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Can someone please explain how these gains for those at the bottom of the income ladder are a bad thing? These complaints are coming from the same voices on the left who obsess about income inequality, which is now declining by some measures. The biggest story of the economy has been upward mobility. The middle class is not falling behind, it is getting richer. Meanwhile, the tax cuts have reduced liabilities each year for the average family with children by about $2,000 a year. Overall median household family incomes have risen by almost 8 percent in just three years under Trump, compared to almost no gains throughout the previous 16 years.

None of this even includes the dramatic increase in middle class wealth during the Trump boom with the stock market up more than 50 percent since his election. This means the 150 million or so Americans in homes with 401(k) plans and other stock holdings are wealthier than they were in 2016. MarketWatch seems to think a roaring stock market only helps the poor. But by the way, the folks who get crushed during a downturn are always the poor and the middle class, as we learned in 2008 and 2009.

Ultimately, there is no truth to the CBS statement that the middle class is falling behind or that the tax cuts under Trump have not worked to raise incomes. Most families are doing much better financially, with 76 percent rating the economy as “pretty good” or “great,” according to CNN. This is what prosperity looks like, and this tide of growth is lifting nearly all boats.



In America, the remembered past is Biblical -- and Trump is at home with that

New Essay at Claremont Review of Books: 'Time Out of Joint'

What makes America different from the Old World? It's easy to draw up a list of doctrinal differences, but not so easy to pin down a uniquely American way of understanding ourselves and the world. We really are different, I argue, in a new review-essay at Claremont Review of Books. I take to task the great historian of the First World War, Christopher Clark, for attempting to identify Donald Trump with wicked reactionary movements of Europe's past. To refute Clark's smear, I delve deeply into American identity.

Claremont (usually behind a paywall) generously has made my essay available here:


Here's an excerpt from my new essay:

The unchanging past of European old-world society does not know time, but only “once upon a time.” Generations come and go, but life remains the same, and the past is identical to the future, blending into a perpetual present. But American time-consciousness leaves this old-world mentality behind and looks forward. This is neatly captured in one of our foundational stories, Washington Irving’s “Rip van Winkle.” Rip goes to sleep in the temporality of “once upon a time”—in Novalis’s enchanted world. He awakes after the American Revolution in a new temporality, in the clear light of the modern world.

* * *

But this American forward motion is not the utopian progressivism that Clark wants to identify with liberalism. Clark’s simple juxtaposition of progressive linear time and the changeless present of traditional society utterly fails to understand American temporality. America does not march toward the end of history, because its founders felt keenly Saint Augustine’s distinction between the heavenly city and the earthly city.

The American journey does not proceed toward the earthly paradise of the progressives, but to a vanishing-point on the horizon. That is why the most impassioned religion can cohabit here with the rule of reason. The American eschaton is not immanent, but beyond the horizon. The American avatar of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim is Huckleberry Finn, who, in true American fashion, concludes his journey by starting a new one, lighting out to the new territory ahead of the others.

Sadly, Clark’s application of the Continental philosophy of time is reductionist and impoverished. That is his fault rather than that of the philosophers. Heidegger’s older contemporary, the great Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig, asserted in 1921 that the Biblical concept of time was the normative case. “Revelation is the first thing to set its mark firmly into the middle of time; only after Revelation do we have an immovable Before and Afterward,” he wrote in The Star of Redemption (1921). “Then there is a reckoning of time independent of the reckoner and the place of reckoning, valid for all the places of the world.”

Rosenzweig never visited the United States or commented on its national character, but his intuition that the Biblical reckoning of time is “valid for all the places of the world” rings true by reference to America in one way and the United Kingdom in another. Biblical time is metaphysically different from the eternal present of primitive society: it begins with the irruption of the one Creator God into history, which sets a marker for past and future, as Rosenzweig observed.

* * *

In Heidegger’s construct, we absorb by mere repetition the heritage that fate has apportioned us. To be entschlossen, or decisive, means to Heidegger submitting ourselves to this fate.

America by contrast adopted the heritage of Israel in an act of religious imagination. The Puritan “errand in the wilderness” with its vision of a new “city upon a hill” adopts the history of Israel as America’s spiritual history, the foundation for a new covenant. That is why America’s remembrance transcends the mere repetition of accumulated habits and experience and becomes instead what Lincoln called “[t]he mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone.”

America looks back, not to a distant past of pagan legends, but to a Biblical history which it has chosen for the backdrop of its journey into a bright and glorious future.

In Germany, by contrast, the reconstruction of the past took a tragic direction that Novalis and the Christian Romantics failed to anticipate. Neo-pagans like Richard Wagner succeeded in mining the legendary past for a German identity founded upon race. This became the “national nervous fever” that Friedrich Nietzsche denounced in 1886 in Beyond Good and Evil: “the anti-French folly, the anti-Semitic folly, the anti-Polish folly, the Christian-romantic folly, the Wagnerian folly, the Teutonic folly, the Prussian folly…and whatever else these little obscurations of the German spirit and conscience may be called.”

The crux of Clark’s argument appears in his chapter on Hitler, which “builds a case for the distinctiveness of National Socialist temporality.” Hitler sought “to establish an ever more perfect identity with the remote past, out of whose still uncontaminated timbers the house of the future would have to be built. In the ‘longing for a common [German] fatherland,’ Hitler wrote, there lies ‘a well that never dries.’”

Clark indulges in a lengthy peroration on the Nazis’ fascination with what he calls “the remote past,” including archeological investigation of Teutonic prehistory, cataloguing of folk customs, and other efforts to promote a culture of German racial identity. The reader well may ask whether the Nazis’ amateurish evocation of the mythic German past had anything like the impact of Wagner’s operas, especially the “Ring” tetralogy derived from 13th-century epic sagas in the Nibelungenlied and the Scandinavian Eddas.

* * *

In Clark’s carnival-mirror comparison, Trump’s campaign rhetoric about restoring American greatness and reclaiming American manufacturing jobs evokes the same regression to a mythical past that beguiled the Nazis—as if the American steel industry, which in 1948 employed ten times more workers than it does today, were the equivalent of Nibelheim or Valhalla. That is a feverish instance of what Leo Strauss mocked as “reductio ad Hitlerum.”

To say that Trump has rough edges is an understatement, but it is nonsensical to identify “Make America Great Again” with the Nazi revival of the pagan past. America has no pagan past to revive. It was founded as a Christian nation with a Biblical culture, albeit low-church Protestant and antinomian.

Trump was the overwhelming choice of evangelical Protestants in the primaries and won the highest proportion of the evangelical vote on record. Evangelicals supported Trump rather than one of their own, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, because they sought not a national pastor but the sort of rough man who would lead them in battle against the Philistines—a Jephthah or Saul rather than an Elijah. In a country whose founders held to the Calvinist doctrine of total depravity, rallying behind a sinner is not the least bit incongruous or un-Christian, much less Hitlerian.




"SEND THEM OVER": Senators Dianne Feinstein and Joe Manchin join Democrats pressuring Pelosi to send impeachment articles to Senate (Fox News)

"THE LAWSUIT SEEKS ALL SUBPOENAS": Watchdog group suing Adam Schiff over release of private phone records (The Daily Wire)

$3.6 BILLION IN MILITARY FUNDS: Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifts injunction against border-wall funds (National Review)

PROPAGANDA: Iranian TV reports a different version of missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq (USA Today)

WAR BY OTHER MEANS: Texas facing 10,000 potential cybersecurity attacks from Iran per minute, Gov. Greg Abbott says (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

EPIC FAIL: Those who can't find Iran on a map (and there are plenty of them) are less likely to support the strike on Soleimani (Washington Examiner)

JUSTICE: Mexican national who killed Brian Terry has been sentenced to life in prison (Townhall)

NEARLY 3,000 DEATHS AND COUNTING: 2020 on track to be worst flu season in decades (The Hill)

WELCOME NEWS: Cancer death rates drop by largest amount on record (Axios)

SEEKING ANSWERS: Judge orders Google to turn over Jussie Smollett's emails (Associated Press)

POLICY: Why repealing the 1991 and 2002 Iraq war authorizations is sound policy (The Heritage Foundation)


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

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


10 January, 2020

I was right about the Ayatollahs!

Trump's warnings worked!  I predicted that the only thing that the Ayatollahs would do after Trump took out their terror general would be something tokenistic.  And that is exactly what happened.  They did fire missiles at two American bases but aimed the rockets so they would do minimal damage and forewarned American intelligence of what was coming. 

They were rightly scared of Trump's threat to hit them hard. They did not want to be the next dead Iranian.  To make their attitude triply clear they also announced that there would be no more attacks. So Trump just hit them with more sanctions. All the doomsters now have lots of runny egg on their faces! The red flag of war turned out to be a feather duster

Iran deliberately missed causing maximum damage to two US bases in Iraq, with most of its ballistic missiles failing to hit their target, intelligence sources claimed today.

Tehran launched what it promised would be a 'crushing revenge' strike against the US over the death of General Soleimani - but succeeded only in damaging two airbases in neighbouring Iraq.

Satellite images released today show only minor damage to the bases in Ain al-Asad in western Iraq and Erbil International airport in the north as Iran wanted to avoid escalating the conflict to all-out war, according to US and European government sources.

Images showed several missiles had either failed to explode on impact or else missed their targets. The remains of one rocket was found near the town of Duhok, some 70 miles from Erbil air base, which was the intended target.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired 22 ballistic missiles at the al-Asad airbase and Erbil in the early hours of Wednesday, but failed to kill a single US or Iraqi solider.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking on Iranian TV shortly after the missiles were launched, described the strikes as 'a slap' and said they 'are not sufficient [for revenge]' while vowing further action to kick US troops out of the region.

But foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the attack was now 'concluded', praising Iran's 'proportionate' response and adding: 'We do not seek escalation or war.'

It came as Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, revealed today that Iran gave him a tip-off about last night's missile strikes, giving time for troops to scramble to bunkers.

He received a call from Tehran warning him an attack was imminent in retaliation for the US killing of its highest ranking general, his spokesman said.

Iraqi officials then passed the information on to US troops before the attack began, according to CNN.

US troops also got a heads up with a warning from America's advanced detection system based in Maryland. 

Iran was believed to have tried to hit certain parts of the bases to minimise casualties and especially to avoid US fatalities, three sources said. This assessment was said to include some intelligence from inside Iran confirming the nature of the attack plan.

One of the US sources said: 'They wanted to respond but almost certainly not to escalate.'

Pentagon officials reportedly said they believe the Iranian military targeted areas of Iraq not heavily populated with Americans in order to 'send a message' without killing US personnel.

Iranian television had tried to claim that 80 'American terrorists' were killed, but that figure was quickly rubbished by Iraqi and US officials.

America said that 'early warning systems' detected the missile launches and sirens were sounded at the Asad base, allowing soldiers to seek shelter. It is not clear whether they were also informed by Iran.

Prominent analysts suggested Iran may have deliberately pulled its punches because they are fearful of the 'disproportionate' response threatened by Trump if US personnel were killed.



No matter what candidates say, America isn't leaving the Middle East anytime soon
Jeff Jacoby

TWO DAYS after the US drone strike in Iraq that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament passed a measure directing the government to oust American troops from its soil. The following day, a senior Marine Corps commander sent a letter notifying Iraqi officials that US forces "respect your sovereign decision to order our departure," and would begin preparations for "movement out of Iraq."

So US troops are finally heading home?  Of course not.

The parliamentary resolution adopted on Sunday, though heavily played up by American media, was merely a nonbinding request and had the support of only Shiite lawmakers — most of the Sunni and Kurdish members boycotted the session. According to the Wall Street Journal, Kataib Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist group backed by Iran, threatened vengeance against any member of parliament voting No on the resolution.

And just as Iraq's government isn't actually expelling US troops, US troops aren't actually planning to leave. The letter from Marine Gen. William Seely turned out to be an unsigned draft released by mistake. "There's been no decision made to leave Iraq," said Defense Secretary Mark Esper. "Period."

The whole episode embodied, in miniature, the single most obstinate reality of America's involvement in Iraq and the Middle East. Withdrawing our troops may seem a straightforward objective, but it just isn't possible.

Pledges to get America out of the Muslim world have become as much a part of presidential campaigns as rallies and fundraising letters. Bernie Sanders, denouncing "endless war," vows to pull the plug on US "military interventions" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pete Buttigieg promises that if he becomes president there will be no "open-ended" commitment of troops in the region, and intones: "The best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place." Elizabeth Warren declares flatly: "We ought to get out of the Middle East. I don't think we should have troops in the Middle East."

Yet the Democrats are saying nothing that Donald Trump didn't say when he was running to succeed Barack Obama.

"We should have never been in Iraq," Trump insisted during one 2016 debate. "We've been in the Middle East for 15 years, and we haven't won anything." He called for a total US withdrawal from Afghanistan. One of Trump's "most consistent and specific positions," Reason magazine recalled last year, was his "skepticism about American military interventions in other countries."

Then again, the same was true of Obama when he ran for the White House. "I'll be a president who ends this war in Iraq and finally brings our troops home," he assured voters in 2008. Eight years before that, George W. Bush made clear that American foreign policy had to be "humble" and that "we can't put our troops all around the world."

In fact, US troops are deployed in most of the world's countries; in some cases they've been present for more than 70 years. Most of those deployments aren't controversial because they aren't hazardous or in regions roiled by dictators or terrorism. The American presence in the Middle East is so vexing precisely because that part of the world is constantly in crisis and has so many hostile actors.

Which is why America can't leave, as presidents to their chagrin keep learning the hard way.

Obama came to office convinced that America needed to lower its profile in the Middle East. He favored a foreign policy in which Washington eschewed intervention and practiced restraint. Sticking to that policy, he pulled US troops from Iraq, refused to assist protesters in Iran, and didn't retaliate when Syria deployed chemical weapons. The results were disastrous. "After the United States left Iraq in 2011," writes historian Hal Brands, "the state nearly collapsed, ISIS surged to prominence, and an emergency military intervention — which has now lasted nearly five years — was needed to repair the damage."

In 2014, President Obama paid tribute to troops at Ft. Bragg, N.C., where he celebrated bringing US forces home from Iraq. Within months, though, he had rush military personnel back to Iraq as the threat from Islamic State grew increasingly deadly.

Until Thursday, Trump was largely following in Obama's footsteps. Iranian attacks — from firing missiles at Persian Gulf oil tankers to shooting down a US drone — were growing increasingly brazen. When a US contractor was killed in Kirkuk, Trump finally decided that a red line had been crossed, and meted a lethal punishment to Iran's terror master.

Does the killing of Soleimani presage a fundamental change in strategy? Will rolling back Iran's widening aggression become a serious US priority at last? That, no one yet knows. All we can know for sure is that America won't be leaving the region anytime soon.

Like it or not, the United States cannot abandon the Middle East without quickening its enemies and unleashing fresh chaos. Whoever wins the White House in 2020, the world's most treacherous and dangerous neighborhood will need the stabilizing presence of the world's democratic superpower. US troops have been permanently deployed in the Middle East for 30 years. It will likely be another 30 before they can safely leave.



ObamaCare turns 10 – but decade of failure is nothing to celebrate

As the calendar flips to 2020, we’re coming up on a decade since the passage of ObamaCare.

But Democrats aren't celebrating 10 years of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 23, 2010. That's largely because President Obama’s signature legislative achievement hasn’t yielded the affordable care Democrats promised.

Let's start with that opening adjective – "affordable." ObamaCare's champions insisted that their elaborate system of subsidies, taxes, regulations, public insurance expansions and state-level insurance exchanges would ultimately drive down the price of health coverage. Obama himself promised it would save the typical family $2,500 a year.

But the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed over the past decade. Premiums on ObamaCare’s exchanges have increased 75 percent since the marketplaces went live. Off the exchanges, the average employer-sponsored family health plan now has annual premiums of over $20,000.

That was all too predictable. ObamaCare required insurers to cover 10 "essential" benefits, including things like substance abuse treatment and children's dental services, even if consumers didn't want or need them.

The law also ordered insurers to charge all people of the same age the same rate, regardless of health status or history. And it capped premiums for the old at three times those for the young, even though health costs for older people are about five times those for younger people.

All those mandated benefits and extra regulations raise costs for insurers – which they pass along in the form of higher premiums.

Many employers and individuals have not been able to bear the higher costs ObamaCare has brought about. For example, the slice of small firms offering health benefits to their employees fell by one-quarter between 2012 and 2016.

Meanwhile, the only people who can afford coverage through the exchanges are those who receive subsidies from the federal government. More than 87 percent of exchange enrollees in 2019 were subsidized.

And so, despite a growing economy and falling poverty rate, the national uninsured rate ticked up last year, from 7.9 to 8.5 percent.

ObamaCare was also supposed to give people more insurance choices. Those who liked their health plans could keep them, Obama repeatedly promised. For those who didn't have good coverage, the Affordable Care Act would supposedly be a godsend.

Things didn't turn out that way. Many patients have seen their insurance choices dwindle. Aetna, for example, exited in 2018 after years of ratcheting down its presence on the exchanges. Executives reported they'd lost $900 million due to what they euphemistically called "marketplace structural issues."

The average number of insurers in each state declined 10 percent between 2014 and 2020. Consumers shopping for coverage on the exchanges in Delaware and Wyoming have just one "choice" of insurer this year. In 15 states there are just two insurers on the exchanges.

Democrats allege that "sabotage" by the Trump administration deserves much of the blame for ObamaCare's problems. But without the administration's intervention, things could have been worse.

Take the waivers the administration granted to seven states to give them more flexibility over how to spend ObamaCare's individual-market premium subsidies. A Heritage Foundation analysis found that average premiums in the waiver states for benchmark plans – which determine overall subsidy levels for everyone in the market – fell more than 7 percent last year. The result is lower premiums for customers – and lower subsidy bills for taxpayers.

In states that did not get waivers, average benchmark premiums increased over 3 percent.

ObamaCare has left a decade's worth of failure in its wake. Given that track record, Democrats can't be trusted to lead the next round of health reform.



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

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


9 January, 2020

Trump-Hating Leftists Usher in New Year of Trump Hatred

He stands in the way of their wish for a totalitarian America
Have you ever wondered why the political left is so inconsolably angry these days? Why does it consider President Donald Trump to be such a threat and his supporters so contemptible?

This isn’t my imagination. While most people expressed their New Year’s greetings in positive terms, the celebrity left defaulted to its Trump-hating form. Every day is a new day to rage against Trump, so why should their New Year’s Day pronouncements be any different?

Breitbart assembled a list of celebrity tweets illustrating the point. Rob Reiner tweeted, “Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a 2020 that doesn’t include an ignorant corrupt soulless liar occupying the People’s House.” Stephen King tweeted, “Of his lies we’ve had plenty … Kick his a— in 2020.” Rose O'Donnell couldn’t quite make it through a New Year’s tweet without denigrating Trump. “HAPPY NEW YEAR ALL,” she tweeted, adding the hashtag #2020removeHIM. Rosanna Arquette said: “Putin is not my president. happy new year.” In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Linda Rondstadt likened Trump to Hitler and the Mexicans to “the New Jews.” And the examples go on and on.

What is wrong with these narcissistic malcontents? It’s not like things are terrible in America. Economically speaking, we couldn’t be doing much better. We’re certainly better off than we were during the Obama years — by leaps and bounds.

Trump is also sticking up for America again, rebuilding our defenses; taking decisive action when our people or soldiers are in harm’s way, as with his immediate response to the attack on our embassy in Iraq; pressuring other countries to contribute to our mutual defense pacts; and expressing his pride in this country — as opposed to trotting around the globe and apologizing for it.

So what’s not to like? His tweets? Fine, but do you really think that’s what is driving them mad?

How about his alleged abuses of power? Please. They’ve been pressing for impeachment since before “Russia collusion” became their favorite mantra and long before they could identify Ukraine on a map.

They don’t hate Trump for having acted outside his constitutional authority — because he hasn’t. That was Obama. They don’t hate him because they believe he is extremely partisan. And if they were to believe it, they would have no credibility, for few presidents have been more partisan than Barack Obama, despite the progressive mythical narrative to the contrary.

You might recall how Obama used lawless executive orders to implement policy that Congress declined to legislate, forced Obamacare down our throats and smugly told his Republican opponents, “I won the election,” and that he didn’t “want them to do a lot of talking.” And surely you won’t forget how he bulldozed his stimulus package through Congress with less than a handful of Senate Republican votes after meeting with congressional Republicans just one day before the Democrats had drafted the 1,073-page bill.

They revile Trump because they can tolerate only one viewpoint — their own. They resent that they can’t cram down their ideas in all sectors of our society, our culture and our government. It’s not enough that they have virtual monolithic control of the messages disseminating from Hollywood, academia and the mainstream media. They want total power everywhere, without any dissent. They are furious that red-state America won’t roll over and surrender its sovereignty to them so they can complete the fundamental transformation of America into a socialistic, authoritarian state, and finish converting its culture into a post-Christian utopia. They are like agitated babies who’ve had their toys taken away and who militantly refuse to take a nap.

Trump is not just an annoying speed bump on their way to total societal and political domination but a force of nature to be reckoned with, wildly beyond their expectations. Having no respect for Trump or his ability, they wrongly assumed they could steamroll, marginalize or oust him and restore themselves to power.

They had no idea Trump would be so formidable an opponent. More importantly, they had no inkling that he represented something far greater than himself: a seemingly silent majority of everyday Americans who had had their fill of the left’s political and cultural tyranny.

Even though they’ve also directed their ire at Trump supporters — kicking them out of restaurants and other public places, and trying to suppress their liberties — they still seem to be operating under the illusion that if they can just remove Trump, they’ll easily recapture power.

Little do they realize that the more they mistreat Trump, the more they alienate his supporters — freedom-loving patriots from shore to shore. Or maybe their animus against him and us is so intense that they just can’t help themselves, and they don’t realistically consider the potential political fallout.

Or could it be that they are so cloistered in their elitist bubble that they still don’t realize the magnitude of support Trump has from tens of millions of people who will never give up on this nation as the world’s model for freedom and prosperity? The more they hate him, they more they abuse him, the greater our resolve to defend him — and America!



Trump Administration to Go After States Allowing Illegal Immigrants to Obtain Driver's Licenses

Chad Wolf, the acting Secretary of Homeland Security "is taking aim at new laws in New York and New Jersey that allow immigrants to get driver's licenses without proof they are in the U.S. legally, and restrict data sharing with federal authorities," according to a report from the Associated Press.

Wolf sent a memo within the department requesting "a department-wide study on how the laws affect its enforcement efforts."

New York is the 13th state that has authorized illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. In addition to giving illegals a state-issued license, the New York state law actually prohibits the New York Department of Motor Vehicles from providing data to any agency that enforces immigration law barring a judge's order–which seems like a flagrant attempt to aid and abet individuals who have broken federal immigration law.

New York officials claim the laws are meant to reduce the number of people uninsured (because obviously illegals should be getting health insurance that we're likely paying for) and improve traffic safety and give illegals better opportunities for employment.

I guess Andrew Cuomo and the New York Democratic Party would prefer illegals getting jobs over actual Americans.

According to Wolf's memo, which was obtained by The Associated Press, the department must be “prepared to deal with and counter these impacts as we protect the homeland.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, laws such as New York's, make America less safe. “The Trump administration takes the mission of protecting the Homeland very seriously,” said Heather Swift, spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. “These types of laws make it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain fraudulent documents," she added.



Conservative Christians Rally for Trump

Following the anti-Trump article penned by Mark Galli, Christianity Today's now-retired chief editor, in which he essentially declared that Christians who support President Donald Trump are violating their biblical beliefs and compromising their religious witness, hundreds of conservative Christian (and a few "Christian") leaders responded to that false dichotomy. In an effort to set the record straight, last Friday a group of conservative Christians calling themselves "Evangelicals for Trump" held a rally in Miami to express their political support for the president. Their aim was to challenge the political straw-man narrative that many on the Left (as well as many anti-Trump conservatives) have sought to cultivate — the false claim that a biblically consistent Christian cannot in good conscience support Trump.

An example of this underhanded and dubious political tactic to chip away Christian support for Trump is Vote Common Good. The organization's executive director, Doug Pagitt, a liberal who has long pushed against historical Christian orthodox beliefs, states, "There are many reasons why people have lost their faith in Donald Trump. We are not telling people to stop being Republicans; we are asking Republicans to not vote for this one. We are not trying to turn everyone into a Democrat. We are asking people to consider voting for one this time."

Notice the lack of any concern for the views expressed by any of the current Democrat candidates. The argument begs the question of a false binary in which Trump is assumed to be the greatest evil and therefore the only "righteous" choice remaining is anyone other than Trump. Based on this lazy and downright idiotic logic, Pagitt would rather Christians toss their vote to a hypothetical Adolf Hitler if he were the one running against Trump.

Fortunately, conservative Christians — like many conservative Americans in general — aren't so simplistic or easily duped into voting for candidates who aim to destroy Liberty. Conservative Christians know that all leaders are sinful and flawed, and that the choice of who to vote for more often than not comes down to a question of a lesser of two evils. It's a question of determining which political party and candidate's policy platform fits more consistently with a Christian worldview.

The "Evangelicals for Trump" rally in Miami loudly confronts the efforts of Democrats and the Leftmedia to stoke the false narrative that support for the president is morally indefensible. In fact, as Trump 2020 senior campaign adviser Jenna Ellis notes, "Evangelicals for Trump are quite soundly embracing our moral witness because this November, one candidate will advocate infanticide, abortion on demand, socialism, penalizing churches, the redefinition of marriage and family, destruction of individual freedom, greater reliance on welfare, censorship, and the entire bucket list of the anti-American, anti-Constitution, anti-freedom-loving liberal agenda." That candidate won't be Donald Trump.



The Award For Media Hyperventilating After The Soleimani Strike Goes To . . .

In the wake of Trump’s targeting of Iran’s Gen. Soleimani, the MSM seems to be competing among themselves for the most hyperbolic stories.  To give them their due:

We start with CBS and never-Trumper Mike Morrel for the headline soundbyte: “’There will be dead Americans’ as a result of Iran general being killed, ex-CIA deputy director says.” And how exactly will that be different than the previous weeks, months, years, or even decades of Iran’s war on the U.S.? No one thought to ask Morrel how many Americans died due to Iran and Soleimani during Morrel’s career at the CIA, nor to ask Morrel what he did to prevent those deaths, nor why he failed?

Slate’s Fred Kaplan writes the dramatic headline that “Trump Just Declared War on Iran.” Funny, I’m pretty sure Iran’s been at war with us since 1979. Kaplan doesn’t even try hard to muddy that reality; he just glosses over it, going so far as to imply that Soleimani acted at times as a U.S. ally.  Kaplan then quotes a statement from the mad mullah, Khamenei, that Iran will mount a “forceful revenge” and assures us that Khamenei means what he says. Only in the last paragraph of his article does Kaplan around to the recent Kataeb Hezbollah (really, Iran/Soleimani) strike against a military base, killing a contractor and wounding several troops, and Kataeb Hezbollah’s/Soleiman’s subsequent attack on American soil (i.e., our Embassy). He then dismisses those events as of no great importance. Apparently in Kaplan’s world there is nothing that Iran can do against the U.S. that amounts to war, nor anything the U.S. is justified doing in response unless it passes some new test Progressives developed only for Donald Trump: proportionality.

The NYT blares that “Iran is challenging Trump” by “announcing the end of the Nuclear Deal.” They tell their readers that “Mr. Trump’s gambit has effectively backfired,” as if the Nuclear Deal were viable and we were depending on it actually to stop the regime’s march to a nuclear arsenal. The fact that neither is true is explicitly why Trump pulled out of the “Deal” well over a year ago.

The next entry did not win the grand prize, but it has won the coveted Sherlock Holmes Award. That prize this evening goes to CNN, which publish the remarks of Chief Sitting Bull as if they are serious. CNN reports that Lieawatha is questioning “the timing of the Trump administration’s drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. . . ” CNN tells us that her question adds “to mounting skepticism about whether the President’s order was justified.” Sure, Soleimani was a really bad guy, but just the fact that he has spent the last 30 years of his life killing and plotting to kill Americans, and the fact that the attack was launched just as Soleimani was meeting in Baghdad with an Iranian proxy leader who had just killed an American . . . that timing is “very suspicious.” You know, sort of like her claims to Cherokee ancestry.

Which brings us to the runner up for the award Media Hyperventilation award – It’s the Intercept, which tells us that Trump “. . . May Have Kicked Off WWIII.” To paraphrase the article, Trump is a moron’s moron’s moron who acted very moronically. The article finishes with the flourish of a crie de couer that we’re all going to die because of Trump’s being a moron.

While the Intercept article is a very strong contender, even it can’t compete with the final nominee.

. . . Drum roll please . . .

Tonight’s grand prize winner for the most overwrought piece of melodrama goes to Gerrard Kaonga writing at the UK’s Sun for his WATCH Terrifying moment Iran unveils red flag at Mosque warning of severe battle to come. One can only hope that Gerrard was wearing his brown pants as he stared in abject terror.



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

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


8 January, 2020

Trump’s iconoclasm is a feature, not a bug

By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

Three years into his administration, President Donald Trump is subject to a level of obloquy surprising given the U.S. economy’s benign performance. Not only his political opponents, but even some nominal “conservatives” want to impeach him. The reason is clear: rigid thinkers committed to the “icons” of past consensus policy loathe President Trump with unparalleled venom for breaking those icons. But for more dispassionate thinkers, Trump’s iconoclasm clears the way to a better future.

The term iconoclasm dates from the anti-icon campaign of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III (717-741) although the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten had undertaken a similar campaign two millennia earlier. Like President Trump’s policies, iconoclasm was most popular in outlying parts of the Byzantine Empire (whose inhabitants had more contact with Moslems and Jews, both of whose religions forbid icons) than among the elites of Byzantium itself. While the iconoclasts had two period of considerable success, cultural and military, their writings and beliefs were eventually rigorously suppressed by the “iconodule” orthodox – a warning of the possible fate of Trumpism and Brexit, should those movements not succeed.

In modern usage, iconoclasm refers to any overthrow of beliefs cherished by a strong majority of the ruling elite. President Trump has been iconoclastic in many different areas; indeed, his combative and bombastic style is highly offensive to many of the long-term Washington and media elite. However, in certain areas his iconoclasm has involved significant movement in policy, which would not have been possible had an orthodox candidate, Republican or Democrat, been elected in 2016.

In trade, for example, the governing Washington orthodoxy since 1945 has been one of free trade, enforced by international agreements and institutions, on the grounds that conventional economic theory holds the economic gains from global free trade to be immense.

In the real world we live in, that orthodoxy is wrong in several ways. A pure Ricardian approach to comparative advantage, if applied to service industries such as software, allows the lower-wage countries performing theoretically simpler tasks to swarm up the value chain and take over the jobs of the rich-country specialists – we have seen this in action from the Indian software industry. Then a Gladstonian approach to free trade, allowing other countries to become protectionist while you remain free-trading, may hollow out the industries in which you initially have an advantage, outsourcing not 80% of the business but 100%. Furthermore, experience has shown that many countries, especially China, cheat on international trade obligations mercilessly, stealing intellectual property and building local monopolies that they use to expand into other areas.

Finally, tariffs yield revenue; it is by no means clear that a moderate tariff is any more distorting to trade patterns than an income tax. Certainly, a country that relies entirely on taxing its domestic citizens and imposes no tariffs on imports puts itself at a fearful competitive disadvantage. Inevitably also, the international institutions set up to facilitate free trade become self-serving bureaucracies, often hampering the very cause they are paid to maintain.

For these reasons, President Trump’s iconoclasm on tariffs is not only refreshing but beneficial. Thus, the Fed’s recent study attempting to prove that Trump’s tariffs have damaged the U.S. manufacturing sector appears mere special pleading from paid-up members of the free trade lobby. In reality, any such study should take account not only of the short-term benefits to industries protected by tariffs and costs to industries forced to pay higher input prices, but also the economic benefits from re-balancing Federal revenues away from income taxes and towards tariffs.

More important, any such study should take account of the signaling effect on foreign countries that impose excessive tariffs on U.S. exports or cheat in matters such as intellectual property. If the tariffs impose greater costs on protectionist or cheating trading partners than on U.S. businesses and consumers, they are beneficial in the short-term, and may be even more so in the long-term as they force trading partners to improve their behavior.

It has been clear for some years now that the global trading system is broken, by China, excessive regulation and the interaction of “funny money” interest rates and globalization. Trump has begun the difficult work of creating a better system, in which cheating is not rewarded, outsourcing to poor countries is not excessively encouraged and national coffers are filled modestly by the proceeds of reasonable tariffs, lifting costs from domestic taxpayers. His iconoclasm in this respect was long overdue.

A second area of President Trump’s iconoclasm is immigration. This topic had been dominated in both political parties by the cheap-labor lobby, using accusations of racism to demonize those who opposed them. The result had been decades of decline for U.S. blue-collar living standards, as low-skill immigrants, legal and illegal, flooded the labor market. Even at high-skill levels, such scams as the H1B visa program, a system of indentured servitude such as was celebrated by the slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, among others, had depressed both the earnings of U.S. tech workers and the willingness of U.S. students to go into tech – producing a glut of useless lawyers and sociologists.

Trump has not gone the whole way in reversing this policy – indeed he has showed signs of expanding the odious H1B and H2B visa scams – but he has at least acknowledged the effect of unskilled immigration on low-skilled U.S. workers and the need for the U.S. to control its borders. In the latter area he appears to have made genuine concrete progress – two decades after such progress should have been a top priority. By doing so, he has both improved policy and opened the door to its further improvement, as Trump’s reforms become generally accepted and their benefits become generally apparent.

A third area where Trump has smashed icons is “climate change”. Here the genuine science remains doubtful; there appears to be a warming effect from carbon dioxide, but it appears to be minor. What’s needed is a genuine research effort, with proper checks on the falsification of weather data. However, the global feeding-frenzy of dishonest scientists, greedy bureaucrats and fanatical control-freak Marxists must be stopped at all costs.

Trump has not stopped the feeding-frenzy altogether, but by withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Accord, over the horrified squawks of the media and the Washington establishment he has slowed it considerably and made it clear to the world that those participating in it are engaging merely in pointless economic self-flagellation. Much more needs to be done — indeed Margaret Thatcher can considerably be blamed for giving this nauseating gravy-train initial credibility as far back as 1988. Still there is now at least some chance that the long-term prosperity of the world will be saved from the red-green controllers who never really got over the fall of Communism in 1991.

Finally, in foreign policy President Trump has smashed several icons. He has firmly sought to downplay the importance of the Middle East, recognizing that jihadism is barely among the top half-dozen of the challenges the West faces. Moreover, since the invention of fracking Middle East oil is no longer a tourniquet around the world economy. He has recognized that Wilsonian policies of “nation-building” in areas where the U.S. has no geographic or cultural ties are very expensive, strategically counterproductive and morally futile.

Trump has opened dialog with tyrants like North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, recognizing that the previous half century’s policy of isolation had achieved nothing useful. He has positioned the United States as a strategic antagonist of China, recognizing that China’s nominally Communist autocracy has interests opposed to the United States and is ruthless in pursuing them. He has treated the European Union on a grown-up basis, recognizing that allies that contribute nothing to defense and undermine the alliance’s policies are useless.

The long-term outcome of these foreign policy changes is yet unclear, and it will certainly require at least another full term of President Trump for their full benefits to arrive, yet the recognition of hard realities and breaking of long-established foreign policy icons is in itself highly valuable.

In a few areas, Trump has not been iconoclastic and his policies may thus run into trouble. In monetary policy, he has even intensified the absurd Keynesian policy consensus for ultra-low interest rates and monetary “stimulus.” In fiscal policy, he has gone along with what had become a bipartisan policy consensus in favor of unbalanced budgets and wasteful public spending – the budget “hawks” had pretty well disappeared by the time Trump came to office. In both areas, the next few years are likely to produce an unpleasant economic reckoning, yet this will not be entirely Trump’s fault. Finally, in regulatory policy, where party policies were sharply differentiated, Trump has followed the Republican consensus for deregulation, and his party orthodoxy in this area has borne excellent economic fruit.

Even with decades in power, the Byzantine iconoclasts in the long run failed, and were duly written out of history. Trump’s iconoclasm will equally require much longer to bear full fruit – a second term and a like-minded successor in 2024, at a minimum. Yet if his iconoclasm can survive and avoid being trampled into oblivion by the mastodons of political correctness, Trump will have become both a successful and a very consequential President.



Trump Went Too Far in Threatening to Target Iranian Cultural Sites

Rick Moran writes well for a number of conservative sites but I have got to suspect that he has had a stroke or some other derangement recently.  Or maybe he is one of the last of the conservative "Never Trumpers".  He certainly goes all-out below to defame Trump.

He has leapt to the conclusion that he knows what Trump means by "cultural" (nobody does) and he gives no reasoning to say why it is wrong to attack cultural sites.  There are some United Nations documents that deplore attacks on cultural sites but the United States has not endorsed most of them.  In any case Moran does not refer to them. He in fact gives us no idea of where we are to find the "international norms of behavior" he refers to.  I would recognize his words as satire if I had found them on a satirical site.

It's a significant meltdown for Rick Moran.  He actually makes no argument in favour of his claims at all.  He just talks as if he were a judge delivering a verdict.  He just KNOWS! I can't imagine any actual Trump supporter taking the slightest notice of him

My best guess is that Trump has in mind demolishing one or two of their prettier mosques.  I cannot see any great sin in demolishing temples of the Devil. If it causes caution in Teheran it would be a good thing

As president, Donald Trump was absolutely correct to inform Iran that if it retaliates for the killing of the mass-murderer Qasem Suleimani that there would be a severe response from the United States.

But the president was dead wrong in threatening to hit Iranian cultural sites if Iran is stupid enough to attack us.

Trump may be too ignorant to know it, but his blustering threats have placed him outside of international norms of behavior and made it very difficult for our friends around the world to support us.

The reaction from Democratic presidential candidates to the killing of Suleimani was empty political gamesmanship, but their criticisms of Trump's threats to commit war crimes are spot on.

Trump's infantile view that talking tough denotes "toughness" means he has failed to heed the lessons of some of his more illustrious predecessors, including [LEFTIST] Theodore Roosevelt, whose "Walk softly and carry a big stick" served him and the United States well while he was president.

This is ignorance, plain and simple -- a man who speaks without thinking of the consequences. Let's hope he doesn't talk us into a war.




SOLEIMANI FALLOUT: President Trump threatens Iraq with sanctions, says U.S. won't leave unless "they pay us back" for air base (USA Today)

SERIAL CHEATER WITHDRAWS: Iran "abandons" limits of 2015 nuclear deal after top general killed in U.S. airstrike (Fox News)

ON ALERT: Three Americans killed in terror attack on African military base; rockets fired at U.S. embassy in Iraq (The Daily Wire)

ABOUT THOSE FOREIGN-POLICY CREDENTIALS... Joe Biden sided with terror leader Qasem Soleimani in handing control of Iraq to Iran (The Washington Free Beacon)

D'OH! Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters appeared to have been tricked by Russian pranksters into thinking she was speaking on the phone with Greta Thunberg and that the teenage climate activist had dirt on President Trump (Fox News)

OIL FUTURES: Why the oil market rally on elevated U.S.-Iran tensions may be short lived (MarketWatch)

SITTING ON A KNIFE'S EDGE: The $250 trillion burden weighing on the global economy in 2020 (Forbes)

"YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE REAL WORLD": Golden Globe Awards host Ricky Gervais tears into Hollywood elite (Fox News)

POLICY: With a small step and a big one, Iran just escalated against America (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Trump is quietly winning bigly at the border (Issues & Insights)


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

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


7 January, 2020

Donald Trump's Twitter threat to hit 'high level Iranian culture targets' draws accusations that he is plotting WAR CRIMES

They are not thinking big enough in trying to predict where Trump will strike.  It seems clear that fried Ayatollah is on the menu, direct attacks on the Mullahs themselves, maybe in their homes.  I quote Pompeo:

“We’ve made clear to the theocrats and kleptocrats that are running Iran today – running it into the ground against the will of their own people – we made clear to them that we would not respond just against these proxy forces that they run in Yemen and in Syria and in Iraq and in Lebanon,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

“We made clear that this cost would be brought home to them, to the leadership regime in Iran, and that we would raise costs. We wouldn’t just attack their asymmetric efforts, we would respond in a way that imposed costs on the decision-makers who are putting American lives at risk.”

And one thing Trump has shown is that he CAN target prominent Iranians

President Donald Trump has been accused by his critics of plotting war crimes after issuing a threat on Twitter to strike 'Iranian cultural' targets.

'Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD,' Trump wrote in a tweet on Saturday.

It came in response to an Iranian threat to strike 35 U.S. targets in the region in retaliation for the American drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Solemani early Friday.

It is not entirely clear what Trump meant by targets 'important to Iran & the Iranian culture', and a White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from DailyMail.com.

The Geneva Convention Protocol 1 bans 'any acts of hostility directed against the historic monuments, works of art or places of worship which constitute the cultural or spiritual heritage of peoples.'

However, neither Iran nor the United States have ratified Protocol 1. Both states are parties to 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which offers more vague language protecting cultural sites.

'For what it's worth, I find it hard to believe the Pentagon would provide Trump targeting options that include Iranian cultural sites,' tweeted Colin Kahl, a former deputy assistant to President Barack Obama.



The Left are up to their usual tricks
There is something really off in the media fury over Trump’s killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani. Let’s leave to one side whether the killing was wise (spiked thinks not). The virtual weeping over Soleimani’s death is still seriously messed up.

Serious foreign-policy talking heads and others in the chattering classes are talking Soleimani up as an anti-ISIS hero, almost as an innocent man ‘murdered’ by evil Donald Trump. This is dangerous nonsense. Soleimani was an Islamist theocrat and imperialist who unleashed terror across the Middle East and who was in Iraq (where he was killed) as part of Iran’s violent repression of dissent in that country. He helped to crush dissent in Iran, too.

The sorrow over his death has nothing to do with anti-imperialism – rather, it is driven by geopolitical cowardice, by a fear of taking decisive action, and by a loathing of Trump so irrational that it convinces its adherents that Islamist hardmen are good guys in comparison. This is perverse. Stop crying for Soleimani.

Via email from Brendan O'neill, editor of "Spiked"


Housing, Homelessness, and the Future of America

Every day we see it. And every day, it gets worse. However, as dire as homelessness seems, all is not lost. You can play an integral part in changing the tide in 2020.

This past year, the blight of homelessness spread to areas never before seen. San Francisco, for example, has experienced an astonishing 30 percent increase in its homelessness population—making national headlines.

Especially in the midst of plenty, it grieves me to see so many spending the holidays without a roof over their head, and mired in despair.

Homelessness is a multifaceted issue, to be sure, but the amount of housing regulations is a significant culprit, especially for families.

In California, for example, regulations alone comprise a third of the cost to build. Once defined by its pioneering spirit, the Golden State’s immense entrepreneurial potential in construction is being bogged down by invasive bureaucracy. This is the case in most other parts of the country as well.

Remember: in urban areas such as San Francisco, there once was an array of very low-cost, private housing options for the poor—nearly all eliminated by “urban renewal,” or outlawed by regulations.

Costly regulation is leaving many little choice but to live in public spaces—a scene that is all too familiar.

Even more ominously, homeownership is increasingly out of reach for young people and even the middle classes.

Studies have shown that homeownership significantly supports the well-being of one's children, increased graduation rates being one example. Homes also represent the largest store of equity for most Americans. Therefore, the devastating decrease in homeownership across income levels bodes ill for the future of our society.

Regulations are undermining the very fabric of the American dream of homeownership.

Fortunately, the Independent Institute has solutions to reinvigorate the power of private entrepreneurship.

If only set free, entrepreneurs can dramatically alleviate our current housing shortage.

I should know. My father, Willard Garvey, built large numbers of extremely low-cost “starter” homes for GIs returning from World War II, as well as for low-income families in Mexico, Peru, India, and Thailand—at affordable, market rates opening homeownership to vast numbers who had never dreamed it possible.

In 2020, Independent will be pursuing several projects to present free-market solutions to housing and homelessness. Our work starts with the release of our latest California Golden Fleece® Award.

As you may know, the Fleece Awards are our state government transparency project, which both spotlights wasteful government taxes, regulations, fraud, and spending projects and, importantly, offers solutions rooted in private entrepreneurship and enterprise.

Our upcoming Fleece, set for release in January, exposes the devastating cost of regulations and provides both bold and actionable steps to free entrepreneurs from these undue and arbitrary burdens.  Once free, entrepreneurs can address the issues of homelessness and the housing shortage.

Having been consistently featured across mainstream media, including USA Today, Los Angeles Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News, the Fleece Awards are reaching a mainstream audience with free-market policy and private, community-based solutions.

Building upon this success, we expect our new Fleece Award to be among our most impactful yet.

Via email from The Independent Institute


Facts Are the Antidote to Trump Derangement Syndrome
Being a conservative in perhaps the most liberal state in the country, Massachusetts, I’m often asked why I support the president by those on the left, some of whom think he’s a racist, misogynist, homophobe, criminal and, for good measure, a bully.

I laugh and say, “It’s because none of those things are true!” and then hit them with facts, not #FakeNews.

Let’s start with the absurd allegation that President Donald Trump is anti-women. “If that were true,” I ask, “why has he created millions of jobs for women?” Under the Trump administration, the unemployment rate for women is 3.5%, the lowest in 66 years. Hence the poverty rate for women has fallen to record lows. In September 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported, “While both the poverty rate and the number of people in poverty fell for many demographic groups between 2017 and 2018, a large proportion of the decline can be attributed to female-householder families with no spouse present.”

Why is this so vitally important? It’s because financial independence truly empowers and liberates women, giving them the freedom to chart their own course on their own terms, beholden to no one.

Isn’t that the definition of feminism?

This means millions of women employed in the roaring Trump economy fueled by capitalist, free market principles aren’t dependent on “the Man,” aka the government, reliant on that next welfare check, nor are they dependent on a man in the traditional sense. One of the many benefits? Women in bad jobs or bad relationships have the power to change direction without the paralyzing fear or financial worry they won’t be able to pay the rent or afford life’s other necessities.

If you think this isn’t a game changer, ask any woman who’s ever been trapped in a dead-end job or an abusive relationship. She’ll set you straight.

Last month, the president signed into law up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal civilian employees, which will go into effect this year. Undoubtedly, this most benefits women, who disproportionally care for children. It’s also a stepping stone toward the president’s broader goal of implementing paid family leave for all Americans, which will benefit women across the nation by not penalizing them financially for caring for their families.

Since Trump took office, nearly 7 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps, which means millions of women have transitioned from poverty and government dependence to a career and self-reliance.

If that isn’t female empowerment, what is?

My liberal friends will then pivot and say, “But Democratic lawmakers and cable news ‘experts’ say he’s a racist!” To which I counter that thanks to the president’s leadership with the economy, the black unemployment rate is also at a historic low. The president has delivered on criminal justice reform, giving thousands of those wrongfully incarcerated a second chance at life while also implementing a number of initiatives that support the nation’s historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. In fact, just last month, the president signed legislation that will permanently provide $255 million annually to HBCUs and dozens of other institutions that predominantly serve minority students. He also signed an executive order in 2018 that established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council to improve revitalization initiatives that target economically distressed areas including so-called opportunity zones.

Now, would a racist be uplifting minorities and empowering them with enhanced housing and education opportunities, block grants, access to small-business loans, jobs, higher wages and tax breaks while also rebuilding their communities?


And when it comes to allegations of homophobia, the Trump administration last year launched a global crusade alongside LGBTQ groups and human rights organizations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Leading the charge? Richard Grenell, the openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany the president appointed.

When I hear, “Trump’s a criminal,” from some on the far left, I remind them that in America everyone is innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers. Since the president has occupied the Oval Office, he’s been subjected to a daily deluge of investigations including a 22-month special counsel probe that found “insufficient evidence” of criminal mischief.

Undoubtedly, if any of these partisan investigations had found a scintilla of evidence of criminal wrongdoing, he would’ve been charged long ago.

Grasping for straws at this point, some of my Democratic friends will say, “OK, I guess you’re right, but he’s still a bully.” To which I respond that if you were to have the entire Washington establishment against you and the #FakeNewsMedia accusing you of treason and other accusations that are heinous, false, defamatory — and hurtful — wouldn’t you fight back, too?

That’s usually where the debate swiftly ends and they change the subject.

Bottom line: Plain and simple facts, not blind hatred fed by #FakeNewsMedia, should be one’s guiding light leading into the next election.




SANITY: Marine Corps authorizes concealed carry on bases following recent shootings (National Review)

CIRCLING THE WAGONS: Media struggle to explain recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks without blaming Jews, Trump (The Washington Free Beacon)

LIMITED VAPING BAN: Trump administration declares ban on mint, fruit-flavored vaping products (The Hill)

GUN-GRAB PROPOSAL: Virginia governor's call for 18-person gun-ban force comes under fire (Washington Examiner)

STOCKING UP: Guns and ammo "flying off the shelves" in Virginia as Democrats pursue confiscation (The Daily Wire)

REVISIONIST HISTORY: Ralph Northam calls for removing statue of Robert E. Lee from U.S. Capitol (The Daily Wire)

"A RADICALLY UNSETTLED PRECEDENT": Two hundred members of Congress are urging the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade (The Daily Caller)

"THE LIES ... HAVE BEEN FOREVER EXPOSED": First trans person to obtain legal "non-binary" sex status changes back to birth sex in blow to LGBT movement (PJ Media)

POLICY: The surprisingly good news about American family life — for kids (American Enterprise Institute)


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

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


6 January, 2020

Bye Bye Suleymani. Trump takes out Iran's terror-meister

The comments below are good but everybody seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room: The precise intelligence behind the strike. It was a hit on two moving cars from a "Reaper" drone.  If they follow form, the Iranians will be hysterical about "spies" at the moment.  They will be looking for the source behind the American knowledge that made the precision strike possible. They will be really freaked.

It will be like a snake eating its tail.  Several top Iranians  will come under suspicion and be executed.  The regime will weaken itself. 

They will probably be right to search for American sympathizers.  As the democratic upheavals in Iran show, there would probably be millions of them in Iran right now.  So the search for "spies" will be a needle in a haystack job. 

US military intelligence probably got a message about where the Iranian Solomon was and let Trump know of the possibilities.  Clearly, Trump was instantly decisive and grabbed the chance to nab a terrorist, a chance that probably existed for as little as an hour.

It could well have been just a chance bit of information that a decisive President made instant use of.  The network of "spies" that the regime will be obsessing over may not exist

As for Iranian "retaliation", it is unlikely to rise above the "token" level.  They have to face the fact that however hard they hit, Trump will hit them harder. He has made that clear

Kenneth R. Timmerman is executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, an organization that works to support democratic movements in Iran. He writes:

The killing of Iranian terror-meister Qassem Suleymani in a targeted U.S. air strike in Baghdad on Thursday will have a dramatic impact on Iran’s ability to conduct oversea terrorist operations and the stability of the Iranian regime.

But the real impact, one can legitimately wager, will be quite different from what you’ve been hearing so far from most of the U.S. and international media.

Rather than engendering some massive Iranian “retaliation,” as many talking heads have been warning, I believe this strike will throw the Iranian regime back on its heels, as wannabe successors contemplate their careers vaporizing in a U.S. drone strike and Iran’s civilian leaders fret that they have been exposed as emperors without clothes.

Put simply, the aura of the Iranian regime’s invincibility is over.

They have pushed us and our allies repeatedly, and have been encouraged by the modest response from U.S. political and military leaders until now.

But with this strike, the gloves are off. And the leadership in Tehran – and more importantly, the people of Iran – can see it.

Suleymani was not some run-of-the-mill terrorist. He was worst of the worst; a man with more blood on his hands than even Osama bin Laden. Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, 9/11, Benghazi: all of them were his doing.

But he was also the most respected and the only charismatic military leader to have emerged since the 1979 Islamist revolution in Iran.

No other leader in Iran today even comes close to Suleymani for sheer star power.

This is a huge loss for the Tehran regime; bigger, indeed, than if the Supreme Leader himself (who actually is a nobody) died or was killed.

I’ve been watching the Iranian regime for 40 years. The only military leader who even comes close to Suleymani was the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohsen Rezai.

But Rezai failed miserably when he entered the political arena as a presidential contender, failing in three attempts to break ten percent. He never had the star power that Suleymani engendered – not from lack of trying.

We have two historical parallels to compare to Thursday’s events: Operation Praying Mantis in April 1988, when U.S. naval forces sank 1/3 of the Iranian navy in a matter of hours after repeatedly catching them dispersing naval mines against international oil tankers in the Persian Gulf; and the presumed Israeli assassination of Iranian-Lebanese terrorist Imad Mugniyeh in Damascus in February 2008.

In both cases, we were told Iran and their proxies were going to counter-attack with devastating lethality. Hundreds of Americans and Israelis were going to die. Thousands! The entire region was going to explode.

In the end what happened? Absolutely nothing.

That’s what I predict here as well.

The Iranians have been lulled into thinking they can act with impunity in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Finally, the United States has drawn a firm hard line on their bad behavior.

This is exactly what we needed to do.

I believe the Iranian people will draw the obvious conclusion that this once powerful regime has feet of clay. Expect bigger anti-regime protests inside Iran in the coming weeks, and popular revolts against Iranian interference in Lebanon and Iraq as well.

To me, the biggest question remains: is President Trump ready for the revolution he has unleashed? With this single act, the United States has set in motion big historical forces for positive change. Are we prepared to help the forces of freedom against tyranny and oppression?



Fair and reciprocal trade will be President Trump’s legacy as economy continues to boom

As we embark upon 2020, with the third year of Donald Trump’s presidency in the can, the American economy is as good as it has been in at least 70 years, and after what many economists predicted would be a mid-year downturn, 2019 has turned into a boon year for all Americans.

Three economic drivers over the past year will be examined, the labor market, American consumer spending power and the state of international trade as the first two directly reflect the economic situation over the year and the latter sets the stage for the economic environment which our nation will compete in for the future.

The Labor Front by the numbers

The unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. The January, 2020 unemployment rate was 4.0 percent, meaning the unemployment rate has continued dropping even as some economists claimed that the country was at full employment.

7.3 million jobs were available in Oct. 2019 according to the Dec. 20 released report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

5.8 million unemployed Americans are in the workforce seeking job. In January, 2020, there were 6.535 million unemployed, meaning that there are approximately 720,000 fewer Americans unemployed at the end of 2019, than there were at the beginning of the year.

Note that there are 1.5 million more jobs available then people looking for jobs, and while the skills required and location of the available jobs and workers don’t match evenly, the 1.5 million

1.4 million more Americans are employed in Nov. 2019, than were employed in January 2019.

1.2 million more Americans entered the labor force between Jan. 2019 and Nov. 2019. This means that more people got jobs in 2019 than entered the workforce.

Why these matter?

Many economic doomsayers were predicting that demand for workers would diminish as the economy inevitably slowed, yet over the course of 2019, we have seen the unemployment rate dive to the lowest rates since the Vietnam War was raging and Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

Fewer Americans are unemployed than at any time since Dec. 2000, when there were 21 million fewer people in the workforce.

In practical terms, the number and percentage of people who are unemployed reflects the economic anxiety in the country.  When neighbors and family members are unemployed and struggling to find work, those who have jobs worry that they too may be in jeopardy of financial hardship.  Conversely, when everyone you know has a job and there are help wanted signs up all over town, you feel secure not only in your job but in the idea that you can risk quitting your job to get a better one if you want.

This is the liberating effect of the current economic situation, and the fact that the number of unemployed Americans dropped by 720,000 since Jan. 2019 tells a story of historic levels of job security as we 2020 gets underway.

What happened to wages and spending power in 2019?

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal disposable income information for the third quarter of 2019 which ended on Sept. 30.  Since Sept. 30, 2018, Americans’ disposable, after tax, income has gone up by $1,811 to $50,184.

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average hourly earnings continues to grow at 3.1 percent with real earnings, which account for the bite that inflation takes out of a paycheck, continue at 1.1 percent in November. The net effect is that wage increases are outpacing inflation allowing American workers to have more real disposable income at the end of November than they had in Jan. 2019.

The old adage that the harder I work, the further I get behind was driven by high inflation rates combined with minimal wage growth, so the only way to even keep even was to work longer hours to offset the hidden tax bite of higher prices at the grocery store, gas pump and elsewhere. This was turned on its head in 2019 as on average, people earned more money in November than they did in January, and the increased earnings were only partially offset by a stable, low inflation rate.

While the real raises are not astronomical, they are a welcome respite from the hamster wheel feeling that has afflicted Americans for a generation, where no matter how hard you run, at best, you end up in the same place.

2019 has been dominated by trade talk, has Trump’s focus on trade mattered?

President Donald Trump’s legacy will be determined by his trade agenda. The President has not been shy rhetorically on trade, but 2019 marked major progress in not just undoing 75 years of outdated policy, but in creating 21st century trade deals which put America’s interests first.

Negotiating a trade deal with Japan has been at the top of many administrations’ agenda, President Trump announced the first phase of an agreement with the Japanese had been agreed to in October, which includes increased U.S. farm sales to Japan at low to no tariff levels, and a digital section which should increase U.S. exports of digital products to Japan.

The U.S. Trade Representative office notes that the digital section of the first stage Japanese agreement, “meets the gold standard on digital trade rules set by the USMCA.”

And while the House of Representatives was playing smoke and mirror games on impeachment, they finally passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement replacing the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). USMCA not only has digital protections in it, but creates both an intellectual property barrier and transparency rules against currency manipulation which has the effect of driving the costs of U.S. produced goods higher vis-à-vis foreign made goods.

The intellectual property protection provisions of USMCA are one of the foundational changes that is the benchmark of the Trump trade agenda, and can be expected to be replicated and even strengthened in future negotiations with Japan, South Korea, Australia, Chile, the United Kingdom, EU, India and Brazil.

The goal is simple. Recognizing intellectual property rights is a fundamental aspect of capitalism, after all, if a person doesn’t own the product of his/her own mind than any other case for private property ownership pales. By creating a IP trade wall around China, President Trump will force the Chinese to choose whether to accept private property rights in their country, and abandon communism, or return to living in economic isolation behind their “Great” wall while the rest of the world’s economies thrive.

The much talked about China trade deal is an initial foray into this decision, but the tariff increases of 2019 merely set the stage for future discussions as the Chinese government is unlikely to follow the agreement to any great degree.

However, as Brexit and other world events unfold, the Trump trade plan will take center stage and the finely honed globalist trade system will be replaced by a mutually agreeable one between countries determined to meet their citizen’s interests. However, the President must win a second term to finish this job and create a capitalist trade wall which resets the global trading partnerships for the next fifty years.

A great American jobs economy makes reconfiguring the world’s trade economy a possibility as the Trump team negotiates from a position of strength, and 2019 will be marked as the year when the Trump promises became the world’s reality.

Only a non-politician who builds structures where no one else dreamed they might be could tackle and remake the global economy to benefit American citizens. President Trump’s entire presidency will be judged for generations on whether he succeeds or fails in making this vision of fair and reciprocal trade a reality.



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

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


5 January, 2020

Anti-Semites and Their Progressive Enablers

Jewish Americans can expect the Left to continue embracing its moral meltdown.

In New York, anti-Semitism has returned with a vengeance — abetted by the state’s new “bail reform” legislation.

Last week alone, eight anti-Semitic attacks were initially reported in New York City. All but one occurred in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Those attacks were followed by one in Monsey, where a man walked into a rabbi’s home during a Hanukkah celebration and attacked five people with a machete, critically injuring two. (He has been charged with a federal hate crime.)

And late Tuesday, reports surfaced of yet another savage assault against an Orthodox Jewish man by a group of seven black teenagers, and an incident where two men flashed a knife and yelled “Hey Jew boy” at a 17-year-old teen.

Unsurprisingly, Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed President Donald Trump and the hate “emanating from Washington.” Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the incidents on a “pattern of hate in this nation” that “starts at the top.”

That would be the same Mayor de Blasio who has championed anti-police rhetoric to the point where officers are being assaulted in broad daylight, and the same Gov. Cuomo who once asserted that “extreme” conservatives “have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

Predictably, both men are staunch supporters of the bail-reform law that kicked in on New Year’s Day, but demonstrated its “effectiveness” prior to its official start date, precipitating the no-bail release of most of the suspects involved in the initial eight attacks.

Why were they released before the law took effect? “The de Blasio administration has made it clear that we all need to get into compliance with bail reform now,” a law-enforcement source explained.

The law also engendered the resignation of NYC police commissioner James O'Neill, who warned the legislation would release thousands of dangerous inmates.

O'Neill wasn’t exaggerating. “Courts are in the process of case-by-case reviews that by New Year’s Day will release at least 3,800 people from county jails across the state,” the New York Post reported in mid-December. “Some officials estimate that a quarter to a third of their jail populations will be back on the street. The city’s looking at about 900 releases, with an estimated 170 defendants sprung on Staten Island alone.”

One of the early “springees” was Tiffany Harris. She was released without bail, despite admitting she slapped and cursed at three Orthodox women in Brooklyn, and despite having another open harassment and assault case on the court docket since November. Harris also received a no jail sentence for committing felony criminal mischief in Manhattan.

How did her release work out? One day later, she was re-arrested for punching another woman in the face.

Harris is the tip of a highly inconvenient iceberg. Despite leftist assertions that every attack is due to the “Anti-Semite-in Chief” in the Oval Office, Tablet columnist Armin Rosen reveals that “the perpetrators who have been recorded on CCTV cameras are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic,” a reality that “inverts the perpetrator-victim dynamics with which most national Jewish organizations and their supporters are comfortable,” he adds.

Comfortable? Ideologically compromised is more like it. In a devastating account published in The Lid, columnist Jeff Dunetz chronicles Democrats’ increasing acceptance of anti-Semitism, abetted by leftists who are not anti-Semitic but “cowardly refuse to expose and/or fight the Antisemitism rampant in their ranks.”

He cites several collaborators, including Barack Obama, who “allied himself with Al Sharpton who was a leader of the anti-Semitic pogrom in Crown Heights and incited the anti-Semitic firebombing of Freddy’s Fashion Mart in Harlem.” He notes that rabid anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan was supported by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and that Israel hater and anti-Semite Linda Sarsour has shared platforms with “Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velasquez, Brad Sherman, Mike Quigley, Al Green, Robin Kelly, Jamie Raskin, Donald McEachin, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

He reminds us of the Democrat Party’s cowardly refusal to condemn Ilhan “It’s All About the Benjamins [money] Baby” Omar for that slur and another tweet where she asserted that “Israel has hypnotized the world.” He notes that Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has two anti-Semites on his staff, the aforementioned Linda Sarsour and James Zogby, a man who has referred to Israelis as “Nazis,” and sitting members of Congress as “Israel Firsters.”

What about our “anti-Semitic” president? Trump “recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital” (in stark contrast to the chorus of boos that idea received at the Democrats 2012 National Convention), supported the the “Taylor Force Act to withhold U.S. taxpayer dollars from the Palestinian Authority until they stop rewarding terrorists with blood money,” pulled America out of the disastrous Iran deal, and “became the first president in US history to issue an official definition of Antisemitism” and “an executive order to fight the hatred of Jews.”

Trump signed that order to counter the increasing acceptance of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on college campuses. It instructed each agency tasked with enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to embrace the definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

A welcome development? Not for the Washington Post. “It is important to take measures to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism on campus, but not at the price of classifying Jews as a nationality,” the paper asserts. “This contradicts the feelings of most American Jews and opens up a dangerous discussion that really never existed in this country. In the end, in the name of protecting Jews from anti-Semitism, such a maneuver might lay the groundwork for a much more serious anti-Semitic threat.”

More serious than what? According to FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, Jews and Jewish institutions remain the biggest target of religion-based hate crimes, accounting for 59% of the overall total.

And again, what’s going on in New York cannot be ignored. “Nobody wants to talk about it, but something is going on between the black and Jewish communities in the New York City area that needs to be addressed,” warns columnist David Marcus.

Why won’t it be? “The problem for all the silent elected officials is that the perpetrators of these violent crimes don’t fit neatly into their political-enemies list,” columnist Karol Marcowicz explained last May, following a series of previous attacks. “They aren’t MAGA-hat-wearing white supremacists.”

Indeed. Thus, Jewish Americans can expect the Left to continue embracing its moral meltdown, driven by an all-consuming hatred of President Trump.

Will it get worse? “From the streets of Chicago to the city council of Seattle, and in the pages of academic journals ranging from the Cardozo Law Review to the Harvard Law Review and of mainstream publications from the Boston Review to Rolling Stone, advocates and activists are building a case not just to reform policing — viewed as an oppressive, violent, and racist institution — but to do away with it altogether,” columnist Christopher F. Rufo reports.

What could possibly go wrong? Tragically, Jews are statistically the most likely group of Americans to find out.



The Dangers of Elite Groupthink

The Washington Post recently published a surprising indictment of MSNBC host, Stanford graduate and Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow.

Post media critic Erik Wemple wrote that Maddow deliberately misled her audience by claiming the now-discredited Steele dossier was largely verifiable -- even at a time when there was plenty of evidence that it was mostly bogus.

At the very time Maddow was reassuring viewers that Christopher Steele was believable, populist talk radio and the much-criticized Fox News Channel were insisting that most of Steele's allegations simply could not be true. Maddow was wrong. Her less degreed critics proved to be right.

In 2018, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and the committee's then-ranking minority member, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), each issued contrasting reports of the committee's investigation into allegations of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's campaign team and the misbehavior of federal agencies.

Schiff's memo was widely praised by the media. Nunes' report was condemned as rank and partisan.

Many in the media went further. They contrasted Harvard Law graduate Schiff with rural central Californian Nunes to help explain why the clever Schiff got to the bottom of collusion and the "former dairy farmer" Nunes was "way over his head" and had "no idea what's going on."

Recently, the nonpartisan inspector general of the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, found widespread wrongdoing at the DOJ and FBI. He confirmed the key findings in the Nunes memo about the Steele dossier and its pernicious role in the FISA application seeking a warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

In contrast, much of what the once-praised Schiff had claimed to be true was proven wrong by Horowitz -- from Schiff's insistence that the FBI verified the Steele dossier to his assertion that the Department of Justice did not rely chiefly on the dossier for its warrant application.

When special counsel Robert Mueller formed an investigatory team, he stocked it with young, progressive Washington insiders, many with blue-chip degrees and resumes.

The media swooned. Washington journalists became giddy over the prospect of a "dream team" of such "all-stars" who would demolish the supposedly far less impressively credentialed Trump legal team.

We were assured by a snobbish Vox that "Special counsel Robert Mueller's legal team is full of pros. Trump's team makes typos."

Yet after 22 months and $32 million worth of investigation, Mueller's team found no Russian collusion and no evidence of actionable Trump obstruction during the investigation of that non-crime. All the constant media reports that "bombshell" Mueller team disclosures were imminent and that the "walls are closing in" on Trump proved false.

Mueller himself testified before Congress, only to appear befuddled and almost clueless at times about his own investigation. Many of his supposedly brightest all-stars, such as Lisa Page, Peter Strzok and Kevin Clinesmith, had to leave his dream team due to unethical behavior.

In contrast, Trump's widely derided chief lawyers -- 69-year-old Ty Cobb, 78-year-old John Dowd, and 63-year-old radio and TV host Jay Sekulow -- stayed out of the headlines. They advised Trump to cooperate with the Mueller team and systematically offered evidence and analyses to prove that Trump did not collude with the Russian to warp the 2016 election. In the end, Mueller's "hunter-killer team" was forced to agree.

When the supposed clueless Trump was elected, a number of elites pronounced his economic plans to be absurd. We were told that Trump was bound to destroy the U.S. economy.

Former Princeton professor and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman insisted that Trump would crash the stock market. He even suggested that stocks might never recover.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said Trump would bring on a recession within a year and a half.

The former head of the National Economic Council, Steven Rattner, predicted a market crash of "historic proportions."

In contrast, many of Trump's economic advisers during his campaign and administration, including outsider Peter Navarro, pundit Steven Moore, former TV host Larry Kudlow and octogenarian Wilbur Ross, were caricatured.

Yet three years later, in terms of the stock market, unemployment, energy production and workers' wages, the economy has been doing superbly.

The point of these sharp contrasts is not that an Ivy League degree or a Washington reputation is of little value, or that prestigious prizes and honors account for nothing, or even that supposed experts are always unethical and silly.

Instead, one lesson is that conventional wisdom and groupthink tend to mislead, especially in the age of online echo chambers and often sheltered and blinkered elite lives.




THANKS, OBAMA: In 2011, Obama met with one of the leaders in Baghdad embassy attack (PJ Media)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: Trump honored with "Bipartisan Justice Award" by black leaders (The Western Journal)

TOO GOOD TO IGNORE: CBS News reporter highlights minority improvements under Trump as most underreported story (The Daily Wire)

MASSIVE: Bernie Sanders tops Democrat field with massive $34.5 million haul in fourth quarter (ABC News)

MORE MASSIVE: Trump camp raises $46 million in final quarter; reelect team says impeachment drove best haul to date (The Washington Times)

MAGA: Trump beats own record for fewest new regulations issued in a year (The Washington Times)

POLITICAL FUTURES: New census data suggests previous report wrong: Republican states gaining seats in Congress (The Daily Wire)


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

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


3 January, 2020

Greta Thunberg: A Living Explanation of the Left

It is not easy to understand what the left—as opposed to liberals—stands for. If you ask a Christian what to read to learn the basics of Christianity, you will be told the Bible. If you ask a (religious) Jew, you will be told the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. If you ask a Mormon, you will be told the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Ask a Muslim and you will be told the Quran.

But if you ask a leftist what one or two books you should read to understand leftism, every leftist will give you a different answer—or need some time to think it over. Few, if any, will suggest Marx’s “Das Kapital” because almost no leftists have read it and because you will either not finish the book or reject it as incoherent.

So, then, how is one to understand what leftism stands for?

The truth is it is almost impossible. What leftist in history would have ever imagined that to be a leftist, one would have to believe that men give birth or men have periods, or that it is fair to women to have to compete in sports with biological males who identify as females?

There are two primary reasons it is so difficult, if not impossible, to define leftism. One is that it ultimately stands for chaos:

The other major reason it is impossible to define leftism is that it is emotion-based. Leftism consists of causes that give those who otherwise lack meaning something to cling to for meaning.

Two things about Greta Thunberg, Time magazine’s 2019 person of the year, embody these explanations.

With regard to chaos, here is what Greta Thunberg wrote at the beginning of the month: “The climate crisis is not just about the environment. It is a crisis of human rights, of justice and of political will. Colonial, racist and patriarchal systems of oppression have created and fueled it. We need to dismantle them all.”

Thunberg, like all leftists, seeks to dismantle just about everything. As former President Barack Obama said five days before the 2008 election, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

As regards emotion and meaning, The Guardian reports, this is what Thunberg’s father just told the BBC:

Greta Thunberg’s father has opened up about how activism helped his daughter out of depression … how activism had changed the outlook of the teenager, who suffered from depression for ‘three or four years’ before she began her school strike protest outside the Swedish parliament. She was now ‘very happy’, he said … ‘She stopped talking … she stopped going to school,’ he said of her illness.

The post-Judeo-Christian world the left has created has left a vast number of the West’s citizens, especially more and more young people, with no meaning. This Grand Canyon-sized hole is filled by leftist causes.

The fact is life is better, safer, and more affluent, and offers more opportunities for more people, than ever before in history. Just about all emotionally stable, mature people should be walking around the West almost delirious at their good fortune. Americans in particular should feel this way.

But leftists (again, as opposed to many liberals) are not usually emotionally stable and are certainly not mature. That is why depression among young Americans (and perhaps Swedes) is at the highest levels ever recorded.

So, like Thunberg, they look to left-wing causes to find meaning and emotional fulfillment. Until she embraced climate crisis activism—a chance, as she sees it, to literally save the world—Thunberg was so depressed “she stopped talking.” But thanks to climate activism and other left-wing activism, she is now “very happy” (an assessment I suspect many observers find hard to believe).

Feminism and “fighting patriarchy” (in an age when American women have more opportunities than ever before and more opportunities than women almost anywhere else in the world), fighting racism (in the least racist multiracial society in history), fighting white supremacy (which has almost disappeared from American life), and fighting on behalf of myriad other leftist causes—in other words, fundamentally transforming society—gives meaning to people with no meaning.

None of that is morally or rationally coherent. But it is very emotionally satisfying. Just ask Greta Thunberg’s dad.



Hispanics Along the Southern Border Are Campaigning for Trump. This Is Why They Support Him

The Democratic Party is great at capturing the minority vote. In fact, the Democrats have been great at telling Hispanics, African Americans and women that they should automatically vote for the Democratic Party. People are finally waking up and realizing that their values align more with the Republican Party than the Democrats. And that has people campaigning hard for President Donald Trump's reelection efforts.

"I look at President Trump as the one who most closely represents my values," 65-year-old Ray Baca, the Chairman of Border Hispanics for Trump, told CNN.

"People will hear that and say 'Values? What values does the president have.' So when you say 'values,' what do you mean?" CNN's Nick Valencia asked.

"I mean supporting things that I support, like being against abortion, being for limited government involvement, being for border security," Baca explained.

Valencia asked how Baca could support Trump even though he has "said racist things about the Hispanic community." But Baca disagreed. "We don't think he's said things that are racist," the Trump supporter replied.

Democrats have continually cited the president's desire for border security and eliminating illegal immigration as him being "hate-filled" and "racist."

Many Hispanics, especially those who have immigrated here through the legal channels, appreciate that Trump has brought light to the issue.

That is one of the likely reasons 29-year-old Blanca Binkley, a Mexico native, voted for President Trump in 2016. And she plans to do the same again in 2020. "We need to get our Hispanic brethren to quit voting Democrat simply because that's what they've always voted," Baca told a small group of conservatives.



Cory Booker Supports Abortion Because 'Women Are People'

The brainless one

Democratic candidate for president Cory Booker tweeted on Saturday that he supports abortion and encouraged other men to support the barbaric procedure as well because, as Cory sees it, "women are people."

To borrow from AOC, Keep going Cory. You’re so close to getting it.

To be fair, Cory's argument makes about as much sense as every other pro-abortion argument under the sun. If abortion did not involve the killing of another human being, a lot of the "it's just my body" nonsense might resonate with people whose mothers did not kill them during pregnancy.

Every Democratic presidential candidate supports abortion. If the media were interested in the differences among the candidates, they would ask the candidates about their stance on late-term and partial-birth abortions. But they know those questions would make the candidates appear cruel and heartless, so they only ask Republicans about the rare cases of an abortion in the event of rape or incest.

Anyway, Cory Booker said almost the same exact thing back in May. His campaign is struggling to gain traction in the polls, so maybe he's revisiting what has worked for him in the past.

Typical man thinking women need help from men to do something. But in all seriousness, can't men and women both relate to the unborn? We were all fetuses once.



California’s Latest Act of Idiocy: Killing Freelance Work

If there’s one thing the California government is good for these days, it’s failing to address crises that glaringly exist while creating new crises that shouldn’t exist—and then shifting the blame when everything goes wrong.

A new California law set to go into effect in the new year is the latest example of misguided legislation hurting the very people it was aimed to “protect” in the Golden State.

The law, Assembly Bill 5, puts severe restrictions on who is qualified to be an independent contractor or freelancer. The law puts heavy restrictions on how much work freelancers can do before being considered full-time workers. 

The legislation was passed to reduce the negative impact of the “gig economy,” where workers do various jobs on their own time but don’t get the benefits or long-term employment guarantees of a traditional, full-time job.

The problem is, it appears that instead of aiming to hire more full-time workers, companies are simply getting rid of freelancers and independent contractors in favor of a smaller number of full-time employees.

Of course, the freelancer law has major implications for ride-sharing services like Uber—which is battling the law and working with other companies to amend it with a ballot initiative—but it’s having a huge impact on freelance writers in particular.

Vox Media, which supported the new law, announced that it would be doing away with most of its California contractors who provide content for its sports websites on SB Nation.

“In the early weeks and months of 2020, we will end our contracts with most contractors at California brands,” SB Nation Executive Director John Ness wrote in a post, according to Fox Business.

“This shift is part of a business and staffing strategy that we have been exploring over the past two years, but one that is also necessary in light of California’s new independent contractor law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.”

There’s no question as to where the problem lies: The new law limits freelance contributions to 35-a-year to a single company, which in many cases is a tiny number for freelancers.

Billy Binion, writing for Reason, pointed out what this means for writers: “The 35-piece per publication limit comes out to less than one piece per week. Anyone who writes a weekly column, for instance, is likely out of a job if their publisher cannot hire them as an employee.”

Businesses and publishers in general now have an incentive to stay away from California workers and writers.

“If I’m a publisher from out of state,” said David Swanson, a San Diego writer who is the outgoing president of the Society of American Travel Writers, according to the Los Angeles Times, “and I have a choice of hiring a writer from California to do a job, or somebody from Colorado or Texas or Canada or India—and I’d have no chance of being sued—who do you think I’m going to hire? AB 5 simply makes it unattractive to hire writers from California.”

The gig economy might not be the best arrangement for everyone, but needlessly killing thousands of jobs is the last thing California lawmakers should be doing. The impact on businesses will likely be bad, but for those now out of a job in the new year, it will be far worse.

For many, the flexibility of independent contract work is highly appealing and in some cases necessary.

As Laura Baxter wrote for The Federalist, the law could fall particularly hard on parents, students, and the disabled. For others, freelancing is an important supplement to income that will now be lost.

And for those who pursue the dream of writing for a living, freelance work is often the only opportunity to do so. With this law, many California writers are now being forced to choose between ending that dream or leaving the state.

California, the richest state in the union, is seemingly perfecting the art of encouraging mass homelessness and putting people out of work. (And right behind it is New York, which may soon be adopting a similar law.)

Instead of blaming their problems on President Donald Trump, maybe California leaders ought to reexamine the broken ideology that has caused their state—which has every advantage of wealth, climate, and geography—to become a national laughingstock whose residents can’t get out fast enough.



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

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


2 January, 2020

What was so great about the 2010s

by Jeff Jacoby

Children who were born in the 2010s are likely to live longer, healthier, safer lives than anyone who came before them.

"ALL THINGS considered," the British polling firm YouGov asked 18,000 adults in 17 countries a few years ago, "do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither better nor worse?"

It wasn't close. Two-thirds of the respondents answered that things are getting worse. In most of the countries surveyed, the percentage of those who believed the world is getting better was in single digits — 8 percent in Denmark, 6 percent in the United States, 3 percent in France and Australia. Only in China did more people express optimism than pessimism.

It's an old story: Most people think the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Ask them about their own lives and they tend to be optimistic, but when they're questioned about society at large, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker observes, "they transform from Pollyanna to Eeyore."

Of course there's bad stuff in this world. Just open the paper or tune in to a news program, and you'll encounter no end of dismal and discouraging information. Poisoned politics, mass shootings, natural disasters, teenage suicide, rising antisemitism, refugee floods, social-media rancor, opioid addiction: Hate and fear and heartache have always been part of the human condition. But amid all the bad news, there's even more good news. Or there would be, if journalists were as inclined to report tidings of comfort and joy as they are to dwell on what's wrong.

Never have there been so many such tidings. Far from living in a uniquely awful era, we are living in the best era our species has ever known.

"If you had to choose a moment in history to be born," said Barack Obama in November 2016, "and you did not know ahead of time who you would be — you didn't know whether you were going to be born into a wealthy family or a poor family, what country you'd be born in, whether you were going to be a man or a woman — if you had to choose blindly what moment you'd want to be born, you'd choose now."

He was right. This decade, for all its sorrows, has been the best time to be alive. As Johan Norberg, Ronald Bailey, Matt Ridley, Gregg Easterbrook, and other economic optimists have documented, human beings have never been healthier, wealthier, and safer than they are right now. Those of us alive today, writes Ridley, "are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history."

What was so great about the 2010s?

Lives were longer. The average child born in 2019 can expect to live 72.6 years, according to the UN Population Division. Over the past decade, global life expectancy at birth increased by three years; since 1900, it has more than doubled. Driven by better nutrition and public health measures, the rise in lifespan has come to seem inexorable. Over the past decade, writes Norberg, the average life span increased almost 8 hours per day.

More babies survived. Worldwide, the infant mortality rate has fallen each year for the past 29 years. We take it for granted that babies grow up, but for most of human history, parents routinely buried their children. That was true even of wealthy parents in advanced countries: 26 children of US presidents died before their fifth birthday. In 1990, 12.6 million under-5 children died. In 2017, the death toll was 5.4 million — a 57 percent reduction.

Extreme poverty retreated. In the mid-1800s, 90 percent of the world's people were mired in absolute poverty — i.e., they lived on less than $2 per day. For most of history, grinding poverty was the norm. No longer. By 2015, the absolute poverty rate had fallen below 10 percent. Last year it dipped to 8.6 percent. In raw numbers, the population living in extreme poverty plummeted from 1.9 billion in 1990 to about 710 million now — even as the world's population was increasing by more than 2 billion.

Middle-class comfort became typical. Though many still struggle with poverty and financial insecurity, a majority of the world's people no longer do. The 2010s saw the arrival of what the Brookings Institution dubbed "a global tipping point" — the moment when more than half of mankind had enough discretionary income to be considered middle-class or rich. The poor, astonishingly, are now a minority of the human race.

Nearly everyone learned to read. For most of history, most people could neither read nor write, and education was generally reserved for the elite. Our generation, by contrast, is the most literate ever: During the 2010s, the share of the world's people (age 15 and up) able to read and write surpassed 86 percent.

Girls were more educated than ever. Within living memory, girls in many countries received almost no education; today, girls get more classroom time than boys. According to UNESCO, the UN educational and cultural agency, the global average for girls' schooling in 2017 was 12.5 years. For boys, it was 12.4.

There was more food. Famine, a scourge of humanity since biblical times, is now virtually nonexistent. Over the past half-century, food production increased far faster than global population. As a result, global malnutrition is at or near an all-time low, and farmers complain of harvesting too much food.

Famine is now virtually nonexistent. Food is more abundant than ever, and global malnutrition is at or near an all-time low.

The forests expanded. Though crops grew more abundant, the land needed to grow them shrank. "The 1.1 billion bushels of wheat the United States harvested in 1950 required 84 million acres," writes Easterbrook, yet "the 2 billion bushels harvested in 2015 required 55 million acres — nearly twice [the] yield from one-third fewer acres." With less land needed for farming, tree cover has rebounded. The Appalachian forest today is at its largest since Europeans first arrived in America. The 2010s saw forests "expand" in another way, too: In 2015, researchers from Yale definitively overturned the longstanding estimate that there were 400 billion trees in the world. The actual number, they showed, was an order of magnitude greater: There are 3.04 trillion trees on earth — 425 trees for every human being.

Additional examples of the decade's good news could fill another column: Falling homicide rates. Fewer deaths from climate-related disasters. The discovery of vaccines against malaria and Ebola. An unprecedented era of billionaire philanthropy. Near-universal access to electricity. The first photographs of Pluto and a black hole, among other scientific breakthroughs.

None of which is to deny the unkindness, suffering, and misfortune in the world — only to put it in perspective. In the 2010s, we were awash, whether we realized it or not, in tidings of comfort and joy. May the same be true in the 2020s.



There’s a lesson in Boris Johnson’s jolliness. Liberal miserabilism is a turn-off

That conservatives are the  happy people is begining to dawn.  Even the Guardian (below) sees it

How miserable are you feeling as you contemplate 2020? Putting aside our individual circumstances, the answer is often closely linked with how we are minded politically. A series of body blows to centrist thinking since the honeymoon period after the cold war gave way to a financial crisis and bitter backwash, followed by the arrival of Donald Trump and a gaggle of nationalist-populists around the globe. Add a resounding Boris Johnson majority at home, midwifing a Brexit on untrammelled terms – and liberal grumpiness has its reasons.

But it feels like the right moment to ask whether the gloom-deploying strategy has been so smart. A far-left Labour party served up a recipe of predictions of disaster to dim the fairy lights of the holiday season – and suffered calamity at the polls. More broadly, liberals (and not just the Lib Dem kind) need to think about how unattractively miserable they have become and what they might do about it.

One key reason Johnson has prevailed is his ambition and direction. This is being linked with a less attractive character trait, namely recklessness. But here is a politician who has carefully exploited Barnumesque moments to emphasise that he is different from the dreary run of his peers. Some people deem that innately hilarious; others find the antics and confection of his speeches wearing – a man-child in leader’s clothing.

Still, it would require a political tin ear not to heed his appeal to parts of the country that rejected his party’s forebears with such gusto.

North-west Durham, where I grew up, and nearby Bishop Auckland (which has acquired Agincourt significance for victorious Conservatives) are two such fiefs. They switched political course in large part because they were fed up waiting for the Brexit moment to come and because of the not unreasonable view that if you feel left behind in an area where for decades the only language has been Labour, it makes sense to change the language.

A stalwart Labour-voting friend in a Durham constituency told me a couple of weeks before the election that he kept encountering people who were considering switching intentions because Johnson was “someone you could sit down for a beer and have a laugh with”.

Back in the enclosed political drawing room of Remainy central London, the denunciations of his moral turpitude were a repeated theme. “I wish he would just go away,” snapped one acquaintance (pointlessly, it turned out).

Reality check – it was Anna Soubry’s Independent Group for Change that shut up shop at the end of 2019. When I email a prominent Tory defector to the Lib Dems to ask what comes next, he replies simply: “Time to do something else.” Sands today shift extremely fast and perceptions can differ widely, even before we reach the extremes of politics. Where Johnson’s critics saw egregious moral weakness, an on-off relationship with the truth and a threadbare promise to deliver more spending while dealing with the economic and logistical challenges of leaving the EU, a lot of other people disagree. As one of his cabinet puts it: “Boris is a personal Rorschach test”, in which the inkblot takes on multiple meanings.

Enthusiasm, even if misdirected, is more alluring than bearing a grudge about someone else’s vision. Yet the tentacles of pessimism have spread much more broadly among liberals, who traditionally believed in harnessing the best of human endeavour. Liberalism acknowledges the continuing fight of individuals and society against overweening power or obscurantism, but it also needs determination and flexibility.

Does the language of centrist progressives still say this with any gusto? Or is it locked into predicting disasters? The overuse of “catastrophic” to describe a range of Brexit outcomes is followed by a new contender in the cliche charts – “deeply troubling” (in which the “deeply” bit means something happened that one had not predicted and is thus confused about).

If the BBC gets unfairly into hot water on charges of skewed impartiality, I might suggest to commissioners, including my beloved bosses at Radio 4, that the tone and range of ideas can tip too easily into “woe is us”. As much as we relish the Greta Thunberg blasts on climate warnings and lawyers giving stern takes on how democracies might perish, it does reflect a mindset captured by the Pet Shop Boys’ satirical Miserabilism: “Make sure you’re always frowning/ It shows the world that you’ve got substance and depth.”

Somehow, the Conservatives have acquired a key liberal trait and vice versa. Tories have long been aligned to a view of mankind with roots in stoicism and gradual change. Yet the leap to leave the EU was also a moment when headstrong instinct prevailed over caution.

Liberals (in the British tradition) flourished politically as the Whig party, embracing institutional and social reform. Even when they miscalculated or sometimes failed (as in the “liberal” interventions of the early 2000s), the guiding desire was to engage with an evolving world. This did not always make them right, but it did make them a force to be reckoned with in democracies and on the international stage.

These days, the general mode of communication is a miffed sense of being rejected, while telling everyone they were right all along and you will one day realise this. I keep thinking back to Jo Swinson’s election night speech, which wanted to tell us that she stood by an “open, welcoming, inclusive society” (so far, so good), but ended blaming “nationalism” for eviscerating her party, rather than a poorly thought through Brexit strategy. After a rollicking SNP defeat, we can forgive a bad note or two, but that sourness needs to be dealt with by her successors or anyone with an intention to revive a third force between the far poles of British politics.

Just telling voters that they are the dupes of some vague but regrettable force does not feel open about why the progressive project is struggling in Britain and beyond. Battered centrists, who exist across the parties and beyond them, will need to respond to a new political settlement. They may have to bite their tongues as the prime minister, seeing a changed Conservative landscape before him, boosts investment in the north of England and entrenches in political territories that the centre-left deemed, in the fond but patrician language of Blairism, “our people”.

The projected reopening of the Newcastle-Ashington-Blyth railway line to boost deprived towns isolated by poor infrastructure will serve as a symbolic moment for the Johnson re-engagement with northern lands (and a useful fillip for more devolution, since the idea was hatched locally, before the election).

Such prospects also offer openings for local people, since they demand attention to the kind of detail and practical decision-making that centrists have long cared about – how projects work in practice, the consequences and opportunities for communities and environmental protections. Decentralising will encourage fresh thinking about how to reboot sagging projects such as the city academies for areas outside the metropolis and strategies for public sector revival that go beyond raising spending levels. That is the kind of progress liberals should hold the government to delivering, when the honeymoon is over.

To recover relevance, liberalism needs to change the way it sounds and how it thinks about itself, to make the arguments that matter – on how societies heal and flourish, the balance of state and market, and the need to engage voters fully on climate change – without alienating them by preachiness. Too many of these arguments will go unheard if the overall tone is self-pity and Bregret. A Greek chorus telling us how awfully the national drama is going will not sell tickets to the great progressive revival.



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

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


1 January, 2020

No posts today

I actually blogged right through the Christmas season, albeit on a considerably smaller scale.  So I am feeling the need for a break now. I expect to be back to normal tomorrow



Home (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, 'social justice.’ - Thomas Sowell

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

The Left Doesn't Like Christmas because Christmas is just too happy for them

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Who is this Leftist? Take his description of his political program: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative! Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Leftist principles are as solid as foam rubber. When they say that there is no such thing as right and wrong they really mean it.

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

Montesquieu knew Leftists well: "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The current Leftist mantra

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)