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

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

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

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29 June, 2018  

YUGE: Justice Anthony Kennedy to retire, opening Supreme Court seat for President Trump nomination

Reagan's greatest mistake erased at last

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, handing President Trump and Senate Republicans an opportunity to create a solidly conservative court that could last for decades.

Kennedy first informed his colleagues on the court about his plans, then personally delivered a simple, two-paragraph letter to Trump addressed, "My dear Mr. President."

Within minutes, the president said he would move "immediately" to select someone from a list of 25 potential nominees assembled previously with the help of conservative interest groups.

"It will be somebody from that list," Trump said. "Hopefully, we will pick someone who is just as outstanding."

Kennedy's long-rumored decision to step down July 31 will touch off a titanic battle between conservatives and liberals in the nation's capital, on the airwaves and in states represented by senators whose votes will be needed to confirm his successor.

Within hours of Kennedy's announcement, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network said it would launch a seven-figure, cable TV and digital advertising campaign targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats. The ad, titled "Another Great Justice," praises Trump’s nomination last year of Justice Neil Gorsuch in anticipation of his next nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who refused in 2016 to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland for a vacant seat, vowed to move ahead swiftly.

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy," McConnell said. "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall."



Supreme Court deals major financial blow to nation's public employee unions

A deeply divided Supreme Court dealt a major blow to the nation's public employee unions Wednesday that likely will result in a loss of money, members and political muscle.

After three efforts in 2012, 2014 and 2016 fell short, the court's conservative majority ruled 5-4 that unions cannot collect fees from non-members to help defray the costs of collective bargaining. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the decision, with dissents from Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

About 5 million workers could be affected by the ruling — those who pay dues or "fair-share" fees to unions in 23 states where public employees can be forced to contribute. Workers in 27 states cannot be forced to join or pay unions.

Justice Neil Gorsuch cast the deciding vote against what conservative opponents have labeled a form of compelled speech. The money helps labor unions maintain political power in some of the nation's most populous states, including California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Gorsuch, who had remained silent during oral argument in February, was the key because the court had deadlocked in a similar case two years ago following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The newest justice recently authored the court's 5-4 ruling that denied workers the right to join together in class action lawsuits rather than submit employer-sponsored arbitration.

The 2016 case challenged a powerful teachers union in California; the new one targeted state employees in Illinois. But the threatened impact was the same: elimination of fees paid by police, firefighters, teachers and other government workers who don't join the unions that represent them.

The landmark ruling overrules the court's own 41-year-old precedent, which said workers did not have to pay for unions' political activity but could be required to contribute to other costs of representation, such as wage and benefit negotiations and grievance procedures.

The court's decision frees those non-members from the fees, but unions also are braced to lose some dues-paying members who stand to save more under the new rule. That could force unions to raise dues on those who remain.

The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, was backed by conservative groups that have tried for years to overturn the court's 1977 decision upholding the fees for collective bargaining but not for political action.

The court ruled 7-2, 5-4 and 4-4 on three similar cases in the past six years, eating away at the 1977 decision without overruling it entirely. In 2016, Scalia's death a month after oral arguments denied conservatives their fifth vote.

The decision comes at a time when 61% of Americans approve labor unions -- the highest rating in Gallup polls since 2003 -- and teachers' strikes have roiled states from West Virginia and Kentucky to Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona.

"The fictional narrative of labor’s downfall is being upended by the reality working people are creating for ourselves," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said recently. "No matter the outcome of this case, millions of workers will continue to stand together to build a stronger, fairer America."

It remains unclear what impact the ruling will have on organized labor in general, which has suffered a 70-year decline in union membership. The nation's roughly 15 million union members make up less than 11% of the workforce, a drop from 35% during World War II. The decline is magnified in the private sector, where only 6.5% of workers remain unionized.

In the public sector, more than one in three workers belong to a union, a percentage that has held relatively steady for decades. AFSCME, the National Education Association, Service Employees International Union and American Federation of Teachers now face a likely loss of members.

Some groups that have fought to end compulsory fees argue that unions can stave off membership declines by better representing workers. They cite data from states such as Indiana and Michigan after the enactment of right-to-work laws.



Unhinged Democrat hate on show

The Republican National Committee released a brutal campaign ad on Tuesday exposing the violence the political Left, showing voters ahead of crucial midterm elections what the Democratic Party supports.

The video, which has gone viral across social media, shows numerous instances in which liberals have made chilling comments about inflicting violence on President Donald Trump and officials who work in his administration.

The ad features comedian Kathy Griffin posing for a photo with a bloody, decapitated head that looks like President Trump; singer Madonna saying she has thought about blowing up the White House; rapper Snoop Dogg shooting the president in his music video; HBO host Bill Maher saying he wants the economy to crash so it hurts Trump; Samantha Bee calling Ivanka Trump a “feckless c**t”; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying she doesn’t know why there aren’t uprisings “all over the country”; and Rep. Maxine Waters calling for violence, harassment, and uprisings against Trump officials.

The ad is so chilling to watch because it’s accurate. It went viral because this is what the Democratic Party has become in the era of Trump.

Rather than have healthy discussions on policy, the Left would rather stoke tensions and call for violence against the president, his supporters, and anyone who works in his administration.

The ad comes after several members of the Trump administration have already been targeted in recent days by liberal mobs after Waters urged people to confront them in public.

On Tuesday, a violent crowd showed up at the home of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Department Secretary Elaine Chao. She was caught on camera standing up to the protestors and defending her husband.

Over the weekend, pro-Trump Florida Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi was spit on by liberals while being chased out of a movie theater over the weekend.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to get her own personal security detail from the Secret Service after being refused service and harassed at a restaurant last Friday.

Prior to that, a mob of deranged liberals swarmed the home of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, putting her family at risk of being attacked, harassed, and confronted.

This is what Waters wanted, and the RNC is showing Americans exactly what the Democratic Party stands for ahead of crucial midterm elections in November.



'Ridiculous’ government bureaucracy

US Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney gave an intricate and often eccentric explanation of redundancy and overlap in federal bureaucracy in a presentation that stunned the president and the press.

“I call this the ‘drain the swamp’ cabinet meeting,” Mr Mulvaney said, adding that it has been about 100 years since the federal government was reorganised at this scale.

He criticised the “Byzantine nature” by which the government regulates, creating headaches for business owners, employees and taxpayers.

“If you have a cheese pizza, it’s governed by the Food and Drug Administration. If you put a pepperoni on it, it’s governed by the [Department of Agriculture],” he said.

“If you have a [live] chicken, it’s governed by the USDA. If that chicken lays an egg, it’s governed by the FDA, but if you break the egg and make an omelet, that’s again governed by the USDA.”

He said that a hot dog is regulated simultaneously by two government agencies and said that one of the most intricate and “bizarre” cases of regulations involved saltwater fish.

Mr Mulvaney said that a salmon in the ocean is governed by the Department of Commerce, but that when the salmon is swimming upstream into freshwater where it breeds, it is governed by the Department of the Interior.

On its way to the breeding grounds, it encounters a fish ladder — a device used to help fish navigate waterfalls and other impediments — that is governed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Mr Mulvaney said government regulations as they exist are often “stupid” or “make no sense”. President Donald Trump then interjected, “That was incredibly said. I think you should put that on television, not what I said [previously].”

Mr Mulvaney said the examples he gave were just a few of the impediments faced by small businesses trying to operate in compliance with the government.

He said that is part of the reason the Departments of Education and Labor should be merged. “They’re all doing the same thing,” he said, noting that both “try to get people ready for the workforce”.

He added that there are “horror stories” from the Army Corps of Engineers because of the overlaps they have with the Interior, Transportation and Defense Departments



Comparing the Border Situation to Nazi Germany? That’s a Form of Holocaust Denial

Dennis Prager

Last week, on the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch said that every American who votes for President Donald Trump is a Nazi. His exact words: “If you vote for Trump, then you, the voter—you, not Donald Trump—are standing at the border like Nazis going, ‘You here. You here.'”

Now, as virtually every Jew of Deutsch’s generation knows, a Nazi saying, “You here. You here,” refers to guards at Nazi extermination camps sending Jews to gas chambers or to work the barracks.

Also last week, Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA (a fact that, among other things, gives credence to the increasingly widespread realization that our intelligence elites have been morally and intellectually compromised) tweeted a photo of the tracks leading into Auschwitz-Birkenau, the most infamous Nazi extermination and concentration camps, with the caption: “Other governments have separated mothers and children.”

Deutsch, Hayden, and the myriad other fools who compare Trump to Hitler and the Nazis have utterly trivialized the Holocaust. As everyone who isn’t on the left knows, there is nothing morally analogous between the way the last three presidential administrations dealt with some children of immigrants who are in the country illegally and what the Nazis did to Jewish children.

American children are routinely separated from their parent when that parent is arrested, and if the arrestee is a single parent, the child is taken into government custody until other arrangements can be made. With regard to immigrants who are in the country illegally, the only way to avoid separation is to place the children in detention along with their arrested parent(s).

But this was expressly forbidden by the most left-wing court in America—the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—if detention lasts longer than 20 days, as it nearly always does when either a not-guilty plea or an asylum claim is made.

Moreover, as awful as separation from a parent is, these children were not treated like animals in cages but transferred to the care of relatives or foster homes, or housed with other detained children where they were provided with room, board, education, sports facilities, etc.

By contrast, Jewish children separated from their parents by Nazi guards were sent to gas chambers to die a gruesome, painful death by their lungs being filled with poisonous gas. And their parents almost always eventually suffered the same fate unless they were worked, starved, or tortured to death.

Comparing the two is not only a trivialization of the Holocaust; it is actually a form of Holocaust denial.

If Jewish children were treated by the Nazis the same way Central American children have been by America, then everything we know about the Holocaust is false.

Jewish children weren’t subjected to torturous medical experimentation, and they weren’t gassed and cremated. They were simply separated from their Jewish parents for a finite period of time, sent to stay with Jewish relatives or provided for by foster families while their parents were detained pending due-process legal proceedings.

According to Deutsch, Hayden, and all the leftists comparing America and Trump to the Nazis, Jewish children weren’t gassed; they played soccer while waiting to be reunited with their parents.

What is even more depressing than Deutsch and Hayden is the reaction—or silence—of most American Jewish organizations.

The Anti-Defamation League, which once defended Jewish interests, is becoming just another leftist interest group. I looked for some condemnation of Deutsch or Hayden and found none. Instead, in the words of the left-wing Israeli  newspaper Haaretz, the Anti-Defamation League “made a direct comparison to the Holocaust.”

It tweeted: “Children separated from their parents during the Holocaust speak out about the trauma it has caused. How can anyone defend such inhumane policies?”

The only criticism the Anti-Defamation League could muster was this: “People need to be extremely careful in drawing comparisons to the Holocaust and the Nazi regime in whatever context it is used.” But it offered no condemnation of those who actually made this odious comparison.

Leftism has poisoned much of American Jewish life. That is the primary reason, as reported in the just released American Jewish Committee poll, American and Israeli Jews are so divided on so many issues.

There were rabbis who announced they fasted when Trump was elected. Non-Orthodox synagogues around America sat shiva (the religious mourning period for a deceased immediate family member) when Trump won. And the Hebrew Union College, the Reform Jewish movement’s rabbinical seminary, had an Israel-hating writer as this year’s graduation speaker.

If you support Trump or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or hold almost any traditional Jewish worldview—like God creating the human being as male and female—you must either hide your opinion or risk being ostracized at almost any non-Orthodox synagogue.

To their credit, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Zionist Organization of America, and a few other organizations did condemn those who equate America under Trump with Nazi Germany. But most Jewish organizations kept quiet, offered tepid caution, or actually echoed the sentiment.

In other words, at this time, many American Jewish organizations are bad for the Jews, bad for Judaism, and trivialize the Holocaust in order to score political points.

If it’s any comfort (and it isn’t), things are no better in mainstream Protestantism or at the Vatican.

But here is real comfort: If the left keeps on smearing nearly half its fellow Americans as Nazis, it will assure more Republican victories this coming November.



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

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


28 June, 2018

Supreme Court Makes 5-4 Finding for Trump’s Travel Ban

The Supreme Court handed Trump a major 5-4 victory in favor of President Trump’s travel ban! The Neil Gorsuch appointment came through once again!

As CNBC points out, the 5-4 opinion states that Trump’s immigration restriction fell “squarely” within the president’s authority. The court rejected claims that the ban was motivated by religious hostility.

“The [order] is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” Roberts wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.”



Now it's McConnell

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao told a group of protesters at Georgetown University to back off when they began harassing her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell and Chao were leaving an event at Georgetown University on Monday night when they were confronted by a group of protesters who repeatedly asked McConnell why he was separating families and played audio of children crying at the border.

The protesters swarmed the SUV set to take McConnell and Chao off campus



James Woods Levels Maxine Waters, Tells Conservatives To Arm Themselves

“Let’s make sure we show up, wherever we have to show up,” Waters told a crowd in Los Angeles protesting immigration on Sunday. “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you cause a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome — anymore, anywhere.”

So, there you have it: Maxine going full Maxine. And, as usual, James Woods couldn’t resist responding.  And his thoughts were spot on.

“Now that a United States Congresswoman has called for harassment against Republicans and the inevitable violence that will come of it, I urge all of you to a) get armed, and b) vote,” Woods said.

“Your life literally depends on it.”

Woods was hardly the only one who urged conservatives to take similar precautions in the wake of Waters’ threat. Former Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke also advised similar actions.



Lawmaker Introduces Measure to Censure Maxine Waters After Calls to Violence

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs introduced a measure calling for Maxine Waters to be censured after her comments calling on opponents of President Trump to harass and protest administration officials in public.

Many viewed Waters’ comments as an incitement to violence, something the left has already engaged in with multiple incidents against Republican women including Flordia Attorney General Pam Bondi, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Biggs’ measure not only seeks to censure the congresswoman, it suggests she resign for telling her followers to confront political opponents in public.

“Individuals have the right to debate their differences civilly, without fear of retribution,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Maxine Waters’ comments condone public violence and encourage actions that jeopardize the safety and security of government officials and the American people.”

The measure also suggests Waters apologize to officials “for endangering their lives and sowing seeds of discord.”

Waters insists that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer don’t really disagree with her call for members of the Trump administration to be harassed in public.

Senator Cory Booker also offered his opinion, nodding in agreement with Waters. “Yes, you should protest. Yes, you should confront evil and injustice,” he said.



Hysterical Leftist demonization of conservatives: A prelude to violence

Patrick J. Buchanan

If Trump's supporters are truly "a basket of deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic" and "irredeemable," as Hillary Clinton described them to an LGBT crowd, is not shunning and shaming the proper way to deal with them?

So a growing slice of the American left has come to believe.

Friday, gay waiters at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, appalled that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was being served, had the chef call the owner. All decided to ask Sanders' party to leave.

When news reached the left coast, Congresswoman Maxine Waters was ecstatic, yelling to a crowd, "God is on our side!"

Maxine's raving went on: "And so, let's stay the course. Let's make sure we show up wherever ... you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."

Apparently, the left had been issued its marching orders.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled and booed at a Mexican restaurant last week, and then hassled by a mob outside her home. White House aide Steven Miller was called out as a "fascist" while dining in D.C. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi was driven from a movie theater.

Last June, the uglier side of leftist politics turned lethal. James Hodgkinson, 66-year-old volunteer in Bernie Sanders' campaign, opened fire on GOP congressmen practicing for their annual baseball game with the Democrats.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded, almost mortally. Had it not been for Scalise's security detail, Hodgkinson might have carried out a mass atrocity.

And the cultural atmosphere is becoming toxic.

Actor Robert De Niro brings a Hollywood crowd to its feet with cries of "F—- Trump!" Peter Fonda says that 12-year-old Barron Trump should be locked up with pedophiles. Comedienne Kathy Griffin holds up a picture of the decapitated head of the president.

To suggest what may be happening to the separated children of illegal migrants, ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden puts on social media a photo of the entrance to the Nazi camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

What does this tell us about America in 2018?

The left, to the point of irrationality, despises a triumphant Trumpian right and believes that to equate it with fascists is not only legitimate, but a sign that the accusers are the real moral, righteous and courageous dissenters in these terrible times.

Historians are calling the outbursts of hate unprecedented. They are not.

In 1968, mobs cursed Lyndon Johnson, who had passed all the civil rights laws, howling, "Hey, hey, LBJ: How many kids did you kill today!"

After Dr. King's assassination, a hundred cities, including the capital, were looted and burned. Scores died. U.S. troops and the National Guard were called out to restore order. Soldiers returning from Vietnam were spat upon. Cops were gunned down by urban terrorists. Bombings and bomb attempts were everyday occurrences. Campuses were closed down. In May 1971, tens of thousands of radicals went on a rampage to shut down D.C.

A cautionary note to progressives: Extremism is how the left lost the future to Nixon and Reagan.

But though our media may act like this is 1968, we are not there, yet. That was history; this is still largely farce.

The comparisons with Nazi Germany are absurd. Does anyone truly believe that the centers where the children of illegal migrants are being held, run as they are by liberal bureaucrats from the Department of Health and Human Services, are like Stalin's Gulag or Hitler's camps?

This is hyperbole born of hysteria and hate.

Consider. Two million Americans are in jails and prisons, all torn from their families and children. How many TV hours have been devoted to showing what those kids are going through?

Thirty percent of all American children grow up with only one parent.

How many TV specials have been devoted to kids separated for months, sometimes years, sometimes forever, from fathers and mothers serving in the military and doing tours of duty overseas in our endless wars?

Because of U.S. support for the UAE-Saudi war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, hundreds of thousands of children face the threat of famine. Those Yemeni kids are not being served burgers in day care centers.

How many Western TV cameras are recording their suffering?

When it comes to the rhetoric of hate, the cursing of politicians, the shouting down of speakers, the right is not innocent, but the left is infinitely more guilty. It was to the Donald Trump rallies, not the Bernie Sanders rallies, that the provocateurs came to start the fights.

Why? Because if you have been told and believe your opponents are fascists, then their gatherings are deserving not of respect but of disruption.

And, as was true in the 1960s, if you manifest your contempt, you will receive the indulgence of a media that will celebrate your superior morality.



Empathy, but also realism, are necessary in facing immigration

By Niall Ferguson  

I AM AN IMMIGRANT — a legal one. Over a period of 16 years, I’ve gone through a succession of work visas, acquired a green card, married an American citizen (herself an immigrant), passed the citizenship test, and in just 17 days will take the naturalization oath, accompanied by my wife and our two American-born sons.

Since 2002, I and members of my family have entered the United States umpteen times. At times, those crossings have been fraught. Once, before she got her green card, my British-born daughter was held up by immigration officers who doubted her story that she was visiting her father. Those were agonizing hours.

So I can well understand the great wave of moral outrage that swept the United States and world last week at the separation of asylum-seeking parents from their children at the US-Mexican border.

I can sympathize, too, with the parents, most of whom are from poor and violent Central American countries. My wife was once an asylum seeker from a poor and violent country. Her main motive for leaving Somalia for the Netherlands was to avoid an arranged marriage to a man she scarcely knew. Knowing that this was not a sufficient reason to be granted asylum, she emphasized the civil war in her country. In the same way, whatever their true motivations, today’s asylum-seekers from Honduras and Guatemala know to talk about the violence they are fleeing. This has become easier since 2009, when a court ruled that victims of domestic violence were entitled to asylum.
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To those of you contentedly living in the country where you were born, I address a plea for empathy and also realism. A world without cross-border migration would be a poorer world in multiple ways. The question is not whether to stop migration but how to manage it. But from those of you who regard any regulation of immigration as somehow unjust — who want illegal immigrants to be treated the same as those who follow the rules — I plead for rationality. Wholly open borders are not a sane option for any country. And comparing today’s US government with the Nazis — who systematically persecuted native-born German Jews by depriving them of their citizenship, then their rights, then their property, and finally their lives — is preposterous.

Last week, Vanity Fair quoted the claim of an anonymous “outside White House adviser” that Trump’s speechwriter Stephen Miller “actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border. He’s a twisted guy . . . He’s Waffen-SS.” I think this quotation tells us more about the standards of journalism at Vanity Fair than about Stephen Miller, who is both conservative and Jewish.

The problem of what exactly to do with asylum-seeking families predates Miller by about two decades. It was in 1997 that a consent decree was issued, known as the Flores settlement, which prohibits the US immigration authorities from keeping children in detention — even with their parents — for more than 20 days. As it takes up to 50 times longer to adjudicate asylum applications, the authorities either let the families go (at which point most disappear into the invisible army of the undocumented) or they try to separate parents from children.

The last time the issue surfaced, in 2014, the Obama administration threw in the towel. Just 3 percent of the tens of thousands of children from Central America who entered the United States that year were ultimately deported. The Trump administration didn’t want to be such a pushover. It was nevertheless pushed over — not by the asylum seekers, but by the media.

The German leader Trump more closely resembles is not Adolf Hitler but Angela Merkel. She too was forced to cave by the media, in 2015, when her statement to a sobbing Palestinian girl that Germany “could not manage” to accommodate refugees from the Middle East triggered a storm of emotion. You may recall what happened in the months after Merkel’s U-turn. European and American leaders confront essentially the same problem. I just wish the media would express the same outrage about the camps in Turkey and North Africa where Europeans are now trying to confine their would-be immigrants.

This is not an American problem. It is a global problem. According to a Gallup survey published a year ago, more than 700 million adults around the world would like to move permanently to another country. Of that vast number, more than one-fifth (21 percent) say that their first choice would be to move to the United States. The proportion who name a European Union country as their dream destination is higher: 23 percent.

As I said, they have my sympathy. I love Scotland, the country where I happened to be born, but it was not where I wanted to spend my life. What I didn’t do was jump on a boat with my kids and try to bluff my way into America, intending to stay there even if my asylum claim was rejected.

The United States has a broken immigration policy and it cannot be fixed by presidential executive orders. The Constitution clearly states that this is a job for Congress. That’s one of the things a newly minted American citizen learns. It’s the native-born journalists, with their addiction to hyperbole and bad history, who seem to have forgotten it.



The ethical emptiness of liberals

Do you guys remember that time when 2 nonpaying customers got kicked out of a Starbucks & liberals threw such a big temper tantrum that their employees were forced to take “diversity training”.... then 8 paying customers were kicked out of a Red Hen & they cheered?


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

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


27 June, 2018

Liberals Harass Pro-Trump Attorney General From Florida At Movie Theater, Spit On Her

This is a very slippery slope. If these attack on Trump officials continue there is a real possibility that Trump will encourage his followers to do the same to Democrats.  Trump very clearly believes in striking back.  He does it all the time.  So we could well see prominent Democrats spat upon.

I am confident that prominent Democrats would suddenly call for civility under those circumstances but if they did not, a mini civil war could develop.  And Trump would win that one too. Prosecution of the offenders described below is therefore important. The alternative justice system is vendetta and no sane person would want that primitive system in America

Intolerant liberal activists harassed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a movie theater on Saturday over her support for President Donald Trump. One deranged individual reportedly spit on her while yelling in her face.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, a video taken by left-wing activist Timothy Heberlein of Organize Florida shows law enforcement escorting Bondi out of the theater and back to her vehicle as several people harassed her.

Bondi was reportedly trying to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a movie about Mr. Rogers and his life.

“What would Mister Rogers think about you and your legacy in Florida? Taking away health insurance from people with pre-existing conditions, Pam Bondi!” said Maria José Chapa, a left-wing organizer. “Shame on you!”

Another heckler yelled: “You’re a horrible person!”

During an interview Monday on Fox & Friends, Bondi said “three huge guys” came up to her in the theater, and began screaming and cursing in her face. She said the abhorrent liberals also tried to provoke her boyfriend, who was with her at the theater.

The Florida AG said that one of the men spit on her while screaming in her face.

Bondi made it clear that she will not allow vile liberals to bully or alter her actions. She said she will continue to support enforcing the law whether liberals like it or not.

Bondi getting harassed and spit on came on the same weekend as Sen. Maxine Waters calling for more attacks and violence against members of the Trump administration.

During an unhinged speech on Saturday outside the Wilshire Federal Building, the California Democrat screamed that anyone who works for the president shouldn’t be welcomed in society. She also urged people to harass and confront administration officials and those who support the president when they are out in the public.

Waters’ extremist rhetoric comes one year after a Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter tried to assassinate multiple Republican lawmakers during a congressional baseball practice in Virginia. The deranged shooter shot Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, leaving him severely injured and fighting for his life in the hospital for several months.

Last week, a group of liberals swarmed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen’s home over the migrant crisis, putting her family at risk while trying to leave.

As the Left gets more desperate to oppose Trump ahead of midterm elections, these disgusting tactics and calls for violence only prove how insane and unhinged they have become.



More Violent Acts: DHS Official Finds Decapitated Animal On Front Porch Amidst Threats

An unidentified official at the Department of Homeland Security reportedly found a burnt, decapitated animal carcass on his front porch amidst further incidents of protests and calls for violence from Democrat members of Congress.

Reporting of the incident comes as employees of the agency have seen an increase in violent threats to them and their families, a response from leftists for President Trump’s illegal immigration policies.

A letter from Claire Grady, acting deputy secretary of DHS, went out to agency members of the department revealing that there has been a “heightened threat against DHS employees.”

“This assessment is based on specific and credible threats that have been levied against certain DHS employees and a sharp increase in the overall number of general threats against DHS employees,” Grady wrote.

ABC reported that “an official with knowledge of the incident” confirmed that “a senior DHS official living in the Washington, D.C. area found a burnt and decapitated animal on his front porch.”

Watch very closely on how the media is reporting the increase in threats – they don’t blame the people making the threats, they blame the Trump administration and their policies.

Even the ABC report states that DHS employees are “seeing violent threats with greater frequency because of the president’s immigration policy.”

It’s not “due to immigration policy” or “because of the President’s immigration policy.” It’s due solely to unhinged Democrats literally wishing ill and physical harm on their political opponents.

This vile animal abuse to threaten an administration official comes as Rep. Maxine Waters of California called for her supporters to form mobs and harass members of the Trump administration.

It wasn’t an off-the-cuff statement from the unhinged Waters. The threats have been defended by prominent Democrats. Nancy Pelosi, for example, seeks to blame President Trump for the level of discourse rather than Waters.

Senator Cory Booker also chimed in, offering a rambling response to the controversy which eventually lent support. “Yes, you should protest. Yes, you should confront evil and injustice,” he said.

“If I saw an administrator out and about, there’s nothing wrong with confronting that person, but not to lead with love and to do it in a way that is more reflective of the values that we are trying to reject in our country is unacceptable to me,” Booker said.

Is leaving a decapitated animal carcass on the porch of a DHS employee ‘leading with love,’ Mr. Booker?



Cheers Erupt as Calif. Trump Fan Warns What Illegals Are Doing to Black Community

A Donald Trump fan from the Golden State is going viral after a video showed her denouncing illegal immigration.

According to The Daily Wire, the video was taken at a meeting of the Santa Clarita City Council in May. The woman speaking is unidentified, but the video was posted by a Twitter user who describes herself as a “Christian, Conservative, Wife, mum.” An African-American herself, she says she wants to lead the “mass #Blaxit from the Democratic Party.”

The speaker in the video sporting a Make America Great Again cap is part of a group of citizens who turned out to speak against California’s “sanctuary state” policies, according to The Daily Wire.

And she didn’t mince words about the damage that unchecked illegal immigration in California has caused the black community there.  “The black community is most adversely affected by illegal alien activity,” the woman said.

“Because when these people — and I don’t care if they’re Swedish, Mexican, Nigerian, Nicaraguan, Arab, I don’t care — when you come here illegally, they don’t get trucked into Brentwood. They don’t get trucked into Beverly Hills. Hell, they don’t even get trucked into the fairly modest upper-class suburb where I live.

“They get trucked into Watts. Here in California in SoCal, they get trucked into the streets of Crenshaw. The Jungles (Baldwin Village, an underprivileged Los Angeles community). East LA.

“A lot of black people don’t have the privilege that I have,” she continued. “A lot of black people are already suffering academically. Thus they suffer economically. Thus they suffer in abject poverty and crime.

“Their schools are beyond a disgrace already,” she added. “When those schools get pumped with illegal aliens, (black students are) even more likely to drop out.”

She went on to note that money had to be spent on Spanish-language textbooks “because the illegal alien minors cannot speak the king’s English.”

“I, as an American citizen, born and raised in Los Angeles, cannot get a job if I want to do something different than what I do, which is fight for American people — I have to learn two languages,” she said. “Specifically Spanish. In my own country. You tell me how that’s fair.” (The crowd’s supportive noise here drew a gavel from the dais to demand quiet.)

As for children and parents who are separated when they’re caught at the border, the woman mentioned the number of people who have been separated from their families by illegal aliens, and how “they gotta go to the grave. You tell me how that’s fair.”

The video was posted in response to a tweet from MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a liberal flamethrower who wanted “to get our #AMJoy hashtag higher” in the conversation about illegal immigration. This certainly did it, although not perhaps in the way Reid might have expected.



IRONY: Anti-Gun David Hogg Strolls Through New York…With ARMED GUARDS!

For someone who hates guns, David Hogg sure does feel the need to be protected by them.

While taking a stroll through New York City, Anti-Gun Parkland student David Hogg was seen being protected by armed guards. Pretty ironic when you realize this is the same kid that doesn’t want armed guards to protect him at school.

As the American Mirror points out:

Hogg has courted the spotlight since the school shooting with numerous appearances on talk and political shows to champion gun control, speeches at rallies to fight the National Rifle Association, and calls for a political revolution that hasn’t materialized.



Now, we have a Constitutional Crisis

Printus LeBlanc notes that Deputy AG Rosenstein has expressed an intention to prosecute Congress -- an action forbidden by the constitution

Since the election of President Trump, the media and progressives have been clamoring for a “constitutional crisis.” Well, they finally got the crisis, although it doesn’t appear to be the one they wanted. The actions of a senior Justice Department official have thrust the country into a constitutional crisis involving the Department of Justice and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

On Feb. 3, Gregg Jarrett of Fox News first reported on an incident involving Rosenstein and the House Intelligence Committee. Jarrett stated, “In a meeting with Chairman Devin Nunes, FBI Director Christopher Wray and others, the source says that Rosenstein threatened to subpoena the texts and emails of Congress because he was ‘tired of dealing with the Intelligence Committee.’” Jarrett was roundly criticized for the report by the mainstream media, and the story seemed to die.

Further investigation by Catherine Herridge would result in a bombshell report released on Wednesday, June 13, confirming the Jarrett story. Herridge acquired emails from then senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel writing to the House Office of General Counsel stating, “The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding…Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”

The FBI does not dispute the action took place just that the people involved took it the wrong way, stating, “The FBI disagrees with a number of characterizations of the meeting as described in the excerpts of a staffer’s emails provided to us by Fox News.” Notice the bureau did not deny the conversation took place.

The next tactic the DOJ took was to defend the Deputy AG’s actions. The DOJ excused his outburst against Congress by was stating he was referring to how the DOJ would defend litigation brought by the Committee, including contempt or impeachment proceedings. There is a slight problem with this excuse, the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1 of the Constitution is known as the Speech or Debate Clause. It states, “For any Speech or Debate in either House, [The Senators and Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other Place.” What this means is that as long as Congress is doing its official duty, such as oversight, it shall not be interfered with, from say a subpoena by an overzealous DOJ employee. If Rosenstein thinks he is going subpoena records for a civil trial, the only thing he will get is a House Resolution number.

The Congressional Research Service wrote a report in Dec. 2017 on the clause stating, “Judicial interpretations of the Clause have developed along several strains. First and foremost, the Clause has been interpreted as providing Members with general criminal and civil immunity for all ‘legislative acts’ taken in the course of their official responsibilities. This immunity principle protects Members from “intimidation by the executive” or a “hostile judiciary” by prohibiting both the executive and judicial powers from being used to improperly influence or harass legislators.

Second, the Clause appears to provide complementary evidentiary and testimonial privileges. Although not explicitly articulated by the Supreme Court, lower federal courts have generally viewed these component privileges as a means of effectuating the purposes of the Clause by barring evidence of protected legislative acts from being used against a Member, and protecting a Member from compelled questioning about such acts.”

So, either Rosenstein didn’t know about the Speech or Debate Clause, or he did and ignored it in a fit of rage. Either is extremely disturbing.

Finally, and probably the most important, Congress has a constitutionally mandated duty to investigate the executive branch. The Deputy AG is not in the Constitution, Congress is. Congress has the constitutional authority to provide oversight of executive agencies, of which the DOJ is part of. The DOJ does not have the authority to subpoena Congress because it doesn’t like bias and wrongdoing within its walls being exposed.

This latest crisis is another in a long line of missteps by Rosenstein. First, the Deputy AG signed a FISA warrant to spy on an American citizen, despite the warrant being filled with unverified intelligence, according to the Nunes memo.

Second, Rosenstein wrote the memo that outlined why James Comey should be fired as Director of the FBI. That action led to the creation of the out of control Special Council currently investigating anything and everything. Rosenstein is the very definition of “conflict of interest.” And now we have Deputy AG Rosenstein spitting in the face of Congress, essentially declaring he is his own kingdom and responsible to no one.

To top everything off, as this story is being written, the DOJ Inspector General report on the FBI’s actions during the Clinton email probe, and one thing sticks out. The DOJ possibly misled Congress when it turned over text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The DOJ handed over a string of text messages, but left out one of the most damning messages from Strzok to Page stating, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” when answering a question about Trump possibly becoming President.

Since AG Sessions is recused from this matter, the fault must lay at the feet of the Deputy AG. This goes well beyond the appearance of impropriety.

If House Speaker Paul Ryan will not defend Congress, now is the time for a wannabe Speaker to rise. Several Members are jockeying for position to be the next Speaker after Ryan leaves, and the American people want to see someone that wants to be a Speaker stick up for the Article I branch of government. Two things need to happen. Rosenstein needs to be fired, and Congress should immediately move to secure the requested documents. If the Speaker lets this blatantly unconstitutional act go unanswered, he might as well turn out the lights and lock the Capitol up. There is no reason to have a Congress if it will not stick up for itself.



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

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


26 June, 2018  

Trump Administration Wins Key Obamacare Lawsuit

Federal appeals court rules that insurers aren’t entitled to risk corridor subsidies.

A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a major victory by ruling against an insurance company whose lawyers claimed the taxpayers owed it $214 million in Obamacare subsidies. Moda Health Plan had sued the government, claiming that it was owed the money pursuant to the law’s “risk corridor” program. The Trump administration argued that it couldn’t legally disperse the funds because doing so would have violated an explicit congressional requirement that this particular subsidy program remain budget neutral. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with the Trump administration.

Yesterday’s appeals court ruling reversed a summary judgment handed down by Judge Thomas C. Wheeler of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims wherein he ordered the government to reimburse Moda for losses it incurred on coverage sold via Obamacare exchanges. That Wheeler’s ruling was reversed shouldn’t be surprising, however. He was the only judge to find for the plaintiffs in any of several risk corridor lawsuits — and for good reason. Article I of the Constitution is not ambiguous about which branch of our government is authorized to appropriate funds from the U.S. Treasury. Judge Wheeler evidently skipped the high school class where the rest of us learned these things:

There is no genuine dispute that the Government is liable to Moda. Whether under statute or contract, the Court finds that the Government made a promise in the risk corridors program that it has yet to fulfill. Today, the Court directs the Government to fulfill that promise. After all, “to say to [Moda], ‘The joke is on you. You shouldn’t have trusted us,’ is hardly worthy of our great government.

The problem with Judge Wheeler’s “reasoning” is, of course, that it wasn’t the government that made the promise involving the risk corridors program. It was the Obama administration and its congressional accomplices. Insurers were told that this subsidy program would force insurers enjoying big profits via Obamacare to pay into a pool from which less profitable plans would be subsidized. It evidently never occurred to the people who run Moda that their competitors would also lose their shirts and find themselves unable to pay into the pool. But this is exactly what happened. The amount paid into the fund was a mere fraction of the reimbursement claims.

In late 2015 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that profitable insurers had paid in a mere $362 million while their far more numerous unprofitable counterparts had requested $2.87 billion to cover their losses. In other words, more insurers lost their bets on Obamacare than won. And the latter, having been gullible enough to believe the promises of the Democrats, expected the taxpayers to fund their stupidity. But Congress passed, and former President Obama signed, a bill requiring the risk corridors to remain budget neutral. Consequently, losers like Moda Health Plan were able to recover only 12.6 percent of their Obamacare losses.

But the problem here isn’t the legislation that imposed budget neutrality on the risk corridor program. It is that Obamacare was so poorly designed that insurers were doomed from the moment they bet on it. The authors of the law provided no source of reimbursement beyond the “excess funds” contributed by “highly profitable” carriers. When the excess funds failed to materialize, the insurers sued. Health Republic filed a class action lawsuit against the government for $5 billion, Highmark Health sued for $223 million, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina filed a $129 million lawsuit, Land of Lincoln Health sued for $70 million, and Moda Health filed its suit.

This by no means exhausts the list of insurers who want the taxpayers to bail them out, which is why yesterday’s decision is so important. The ruling will set a precedent for the other pending cases. Although Moda and the insurers listed above made a half-hearted statutory argument for full payment of the risk corridor “obligations,” the real foundation upon which they built their case was the claim that the congressional rider requiring the risk corridor to be budget neutral didn’t relieve the government of its duty to pay the subsidies. They claimed that the program created an implied-in-fact contract requiring full payment. The Appeals Court rejected that argument out of hand:

Moda asserts an independent claim for breach of an implied-in-fact contract that purportedly promised payments of the full amount indicated by the statutory formula in exchange for participation in the exchanges.… Here, no statement by the government evinced an intention to form a contract.… Accordingly, Moda cannot state a contract claim.

The reality is that, like most of the arguments made in court by attorneys burdened with the unenviable task of defending Obamacare, the statutory and implied contract claims of Moda’s lawyers were post hoc confections meant to appeal to the liberal palate of Judge Wheeler. There was never any chance that an honest Appeals Court would swallow such muck. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve seen the last of Moda Health Plan v. United States. The insurance company may seek an en banc review, or even petition SCOTUS. But it’s unlikely that either will bite. Rack up another Trump win. This winning thing is starting to become a habit.



Trump Is Reorganizing The Federal Government And Interior Secretary Zinke Loves It

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to reorganize the federal government, a welcome move for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as he attempts to restructure the Department of the Interior (DOI).

Trump’s order directs the Office of Management and Budget to suggest ways to consolidate the federal government, streamlining agencies and repositioning some under departments more closely aligned with each agency’s responsibilities, according to a White House statement.

“President Trump is a businessman who knows that an effective operation needs to be organized for success, which is exactly why he is leading this commonsense reorganization of the executive branch,” Zinke said in a statement commending Trump’s move. “By merging agencies that handle similar, if not the same, functions we would be able to greatly improve services to the American people and better protect the land and wildlife under our care.”

Zinke is currently making plans to reorganize his own department, but those plans have been complicated by agencies that he has no control over.

For example, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulates many areas in tandem with the DOI agencies in rivers and lakes but falls under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), under the Department of Agriculture, governs millions of acres that cross over DOI-managed lands or habitats.

Zinke’s plans involve a massive reorganization that sets DOI agencies in charge of areas of the U.S. rather than breaking down responsibilities by habitat or animal.

He can only go so far streamlining responsibilities, however, without help from the White House. Trump’s reorganization of the executive branch could fix many of those issues.

“At Interior, we are leading the government reform and modernization by consolidating dozens of regional bureau boundaries into twelve common unified boundaries — down from 61 for the nine bureaus — and pushing more assets and decision-making out into the field,” Zinke said.

Some of the moves suggested involving both the NMFS and USFS, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, which falls under the direction of the Department of Defense.



An Apology to David Horowitz: He Was Right about Bill Kristol


The odious Bill Kristol tweeted today, "Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state." For those who are not aware of the term "deep state," it refers to the secret services in a dictatorship who overthrow governments, manipulate the press, and otherwise eliminate opponents. I first heard the term in reference to Turkey, whose military and intelligence services overthrew governments they didn't like with depressing regularity during the postwar period. To speak of a "deep state" in an American context is to say that the United States is turning into a banana republic.

This is no joking matter. I am confident that President Trump and the tough guys in his cabinet will root out the saboteurs, leakers, manipulators, and liars who infest the intelligence services and who conspire with the liberal media to invent fake-news charges against a duly elected administration. But the danger is real, and the fact that the intelligence community is playing games with domestic politics is a danger to our liberties.

Last May 15, the perspicacious David Horowitz denounced Kristol in Breitbart as a "renegade Jew." Of course, the headline was employed later to show that Breitbart was anti-Semitic--even though Horowitz was arguing that Kristol had betrayed critical Jewish interests. I responded with a note in this space to the effect that Kristol wasn't a "renegade Jew," just a sore loser throwing a tantrum. It was "churlish," I said, to attack a man's religion in that way.

'Renegade Jew'? No, Just Wrong About Everything
Horowitz was right and I was wrong, and I herewith offer him my apology.

Kristol is a renegade Jew, and an apologist for anti-Constitutional, illegal manipulation by America's self-designated "deep state." His hatred for Donald Trump has unhinged him. Decent people should cross the street to avoid walking too close to him.



Chain Migration Turned This Small Penn. Town of 25,000 Upside Down

With the sudden interest of the national media in the families-separated-at-border storyline, the American immigration narrative is currently wound up in what’s happening to children caught crossing illegally with their families on the southern border.

But a look at a town in northeastern Pennsylvania, where immigrant families staying together have completely overhauled the population and atmosphere might have more lessons for country in the long term.

And they don’t paint the rosy picture immigration activists are trying to sell the American public.

During the 2016 campaign, Hazleton, Pennsylvania, and surrounding Luzerne County were occasionally in the national news because of the power of immigration as an issue. In October, The New York Times analyzed the area under the headline: “In a City Built by Immigrants, Immigration Is the Defining Issue.”

After Donald Trump’s unlikely victory in November, Newsweek published a December piece headlined, “Why did Donald Trump win? Just Visit Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.”

The premise still holds.

A lengthy piece published last week by the City Journal, a quarterly magazine of the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is headlined “Chain Migration Comes to Hazleton.”

It describes how in less than 20 years – barely the space of a generation – a town with a population of 25,000 has “been radically transformed since the early 2000s by secondary chain migration, principally driven by Dominicans — immigrants, both legal and illegal, as well as second- and third-generation citizens arriving from the New York metropolitan area.”

The numbers tell the story:

In 2000, Hispanics made up less than 5 percent of Hazleton’s population; they now account for more than 50 percent. Such rapid and dramatic demographic shifts are rare in U.S. cities. For Hazleton, the consequences have been profound, and the city is struggling to cope.”

That might be something of an understatement.

The changing demographics have changed the physical appearance of the Luzerne County town, which was incorporated as a borough in 1857 and became a city in 1891.

City Journal reported:

  Vinyl banners with loud graphics soon came to dominate the facades of sober nineteenth-century retail buildings. Pentecostal and evangelical congregations now fill former Catholic and Protestant churches. Blocks of duplex homes, uniformly encased with aluminum siding, crowd with families living in Section 8 housing or in subdivided rental units.

The public school system has been radically altered:

  In 2007, the district was 28 percent Hispanic and 69 percent non-Hispanic white. As of 2014, the district was 45 percent Hispanic and 51 percent non-Hispanic white… But Hazleton’s budget can’t keep pace with all the new arrivals, many of whom need special services. A district that had need for only one ESL teacher in the 1990s, for example, now has 2,298 English-language learners, nearly 20 percent of its student body; more than half the student body today live in low-income households. By 2017, the school district—encompassing over 250 square miles of southern Luzerne County, northern Schuylkill County, and western Carbon County—faced a $6 million deficit, in part driven by the demographic change.

And then there’s crime. As the City Journal reported, the town’s location near the intersection of Interstates 80 and 81 makes it an “ideal location” for cocaine and heroin operations run by drug rings dominated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic or their families.

When the town eventually tried to take action, it ended up on the losing end of a court case that went all the way to the Supreme Court (and also made Hazleton a national headline name for a time).

As the City Journal reported:

  For many Hazletonians, the city reached a grim tipping point in 2006, when two illegal immigrants from the Dominican Republic were charged with murdering a 29-year-old father of three. The killing shocked the community. Hazleton’s then-mayor, Lou Barletta, responded by introducing an ordinance, soon passed by the city council: the Illegal Immigration Relief Act, which fined and penalized employers and landlords for hiring and renting to illegal immigrants. The ACLU challenged the act, and the fight went to the Supreme Court. In 2014, the Court declined to review two federal appellate decisions that struck down the measure. The following year, a U.S. district court judge ruled that Hazleton had to pay $1.4 million to the attorneys who had sued the city over the act. The judge’s order was devastating for a cash-strapped city struggling to provide adequate services to its growing Hispanic population.

None of that is good news for the Democrat Party, or activists on the side of unchecked immigration.

And there’s a reason: Donald Trump won Luzerne County with 77 percent of the vote, according to the City Journal.

However, Hazleton shouldn’t be seen as an example of why immigration should be opposed as a rule. One thing the liberals are right about is that immigrants have always played a key part of building the United States.

What Hazleton does show is the danger of unchecked immigration, based solely or even largely on the “chain” of relations to those immigrants who are accepted into the country.

America should be a nation that welcomes immigrants who are willing to assimilate into the country as a whole, not bunker themselves in ethnic enclaves for generations.

While liberals try to stage a tear-jerking soap opera about separating families in the Southwest part of the country, it might behoove the rest of us to look at a town in northeastern Pennsylvania for a bit, like Fox News host Tucker Carlson did in March.

Unchecked, chain immigration is not always a pretty picture.



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

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


25 June, 2018  

Kansas is ground zero of illegal voting, yet federal judge issues reprieve

Hundreds and perhaps thousands of non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in Kansas, a state that is at ground-zero in the conservative effort to police voter rolls and the liberal campaign to protect them.

The numbers are contained in a new study by Old Dominion University political science professor Jesse T. Richman. He gained fame as the researcher who put a national estimate on the number of non-citizens who register and vote. His contention that there are tens of thousands of illegal Democratic voters angered the liberal media and academia. Some professors signed an open letter blackballing him.

Mr. Richman did the Kansas study as an expert witness for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the country’s leading elected official in the anti-voter fraud movement.

On Monday, the Republican lost his court case against the ACLU. A U.S. District Court judged ruled that his required proof-of-citizenship to register to vote was unconstitutional. He said he will appeal.

Mr. Kobach suffered another defeat in January. President Trump abolished his White House voter fraud commission co-chaired by Mr. Kobach. The aim was to try to capture an accurate illegal voting number by comparing registration lists with other data points, such as U.S. government rosters of permanent resident Green Card holders and visas.

But Democratic-run states refused to provide voter rolls, information that can be obtained by political parties for get-out-the-vote operations.

Mr. Richman’s Kansas analysis begins with the assumption that 115,550 adult non-citizens live in the state, based U.S. Census figures. From there, he relied on a number of different data sources to extrapolate numbers. Most important is the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) compiled by a consortium of universities and YouGov pollsters.

Based on actual names on registration lists, he estimates the number of noncitizen registered voters is between 1,202 and 3,813 based on the CCES from 2008 to 2016.

The numbers are much larger when the Richman study relied on surveyed noncitizens who said they were registered to vote.

Using the CCES from 2006 to 2016, the number is 18,488, about 15 percent of Kansas’ non-citizen population.



Leftist scheme defeated in Massachusetts

SHED NO TEARS for the "millionaires tax" ballot initiative, which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struck down on Monday. From the outset, the initiative was a cynical ploy to get voters to do something they have repeatedly rejected — replacing the state's flat-rate income tax with a system of graduated tax brackets. But nobody was fooled by the ruse, least of all the SJC.

Five times in five decades, Massachusetts voters have been asked to scrap the uniform tax rate required by the state's constitution. Five times they have refused. So activists this time came up with a two-fer: They proposed a "Fair Share Amendment" that would not only whack anyone earning more than $1 million with an 80 percent income-tax surcharge, but would also earmark the money raised for two popular purposes — public education and public transportation.

On both counts, the two-fer was illegal.

Article 48 of the Massachusetts Constitution allows private citizens to initiate ballot questions, but there are conditions: An initiative's provisions (1) must be so plainly "related or . . . mutually dependent" that they embody a single purpose, and (2) earmarking — a "specific appropriation of money from the treasury" — is disallowed. The proposed amendment met neither condition. Its provisions were obviously not closely related (public education has no inherent link to public transportation, and neither is connected to taxing the wealthy). And by specifying how the surtax revenue would be spent, the Fair Share Amendment was an exercise in blatant earmarking.

The rules for ballot questions have been in effect for 100 years. The millionaires tax initiative violated those rules, and it was Attorney General Maura Healey's obligation to say so. Instead, abdicating her duty, she certified the initiative for submission to the voters. It was not her finest hour.

Now the Supreme Judicial Court has cleaned up Healey's mess. In a 5-2 decision, it ruled that the proposed initiative, by jumbling together unrelated elements, was disqualified for the ballot. "It would be unfair to place voters in the untenable position of casting a single vote on two dissimilar subjects," the court held.

Reasonable people can disagree on the merits of a flat-rate vs. graduated income tax, on the wisdom of a millionaires surtax, and on how much the state should spend on education or the repair of roads and bridges. All are perfectly legitimate subjects for political debate; the court, quite correctly, didn't weigh in on any of them.

But while the justices may be nonpolitical, they aren't deaf and dumb. The SJC didn't just fall off the turnip truck. And its opinion makes clear that it understood perfectly well what the progressive coalition behind the Fair Share Amendment had hoped to pull off.

"We are not entirely unaware of the possibility" that the amendment was purposely drafted "to 'sweeten the pot' for voters," the majority remarked dryly. Knowing that every previous attempt to permit graduated tax rates had failed, activists this time around hoped to tempt voters with the prospect of more money for favored causes — and with a dash of eat-the-rich class envy thrown in for good measure. The SJC doesn't actually say that, of course. Instead it quotes someone who did: former Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

"In the past, constitutional amendments have been very differently constructed," Rosenberg explained when he endorsed the initiative. "This one, because it is focused specifically on money for education and transportation, will stand a better chance of being approved. And also because it is very clear that it [affects] people who make more than $1 million."

It was just that kind of cynical "wheedling and deceiving," wrote the majority in spiking the proposed amendment, that Article 48 was designed to block. The place for jury-rigged legislation that cobbles together widely disparate provisions is the Legislature, not in initiative petitions placed before the voters. A ballot question isn't a wish list. It must present a unified and coherent statement of public policy. The millionaires tax missed the mark by a mile, and the SJC gave it what it deserved.



Commentary seldom gives Trump an even break

Comment from Australia by CHRIS MITCHELL, a recently retired editor of "The Australian", well-known for his mockery of global warming

In 1989 when Frank Devine, former editor of the New York Post, was a newish editor-in-chief of this paper he asked me to arrange something we had never done in our daily editorials: he wanted to include a picture of the Berlin Wall and endorse president Ronald Reagan’s 1987 Berlin speech, “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

It was an important lesson: presidents can change history and editors need to be alive to the power of political outsiders to drive that change. Many people have compared Reagan to US President Donald Trump. Bret Stephens, formerly of The Wall Street Journal but now at The New York Times, wrote a piece published here in The Australian Financial Review last Thursday saying Trump was no Reagan.

Sure, Trump is from another, brasher era. Where Reagan was a B-grade movie star, Trump is a reality TV icon. Yet both were Washington outsiders and both used force of personality and personal relationships to try to tear down what previous administrations had seen as facts of life. As Stephens wrote, “The Cold War didn’t need to last forever. The sec­urity paradigms that defined it weren’t immutable laws of history.”

People with long memories will recall how vicious the progressive media was about Reagan, who they treated initially as a buffoon. They mocked his challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev and ridiculed his plans to build a “star wars” missile defence shield that would have forced a financially strapped Soviet Union to respond.

The liberal media was wrong. Reagan and his ally, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, proved strong individuals could change history. The Soviet Union disintegrated. This was not a small rogue state like North Korea. It was a giant of 390 million people that included the Baltic states, the Caucasian states of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the east European countries of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and Soviet Central Asia.

So here’s the thing. When Trump faced down “Little Rocket Man” last year he was threatening “fire and fury” against a state with nuclear weapons, but only a fraction the size of the colossus Reagan and John F. Kennedy before him had faced down. Trump’s threats worked, and Korean peninsula denuclearisation is now possible. What to make, then, of media reaction to last week’s summit in Singapore between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

This paper’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, no US-style left-liberal media type, was rightly cautious about what Trump might be giving away, especially in pledging to abandon joint military exercises with South Korea. It is in Australia’s interests that the US-led alliance system remain strong in the Pacific and South Korea is a key part of it. But Sheridan made another point: “Part of the problem with much analysis is that people approach it as pro or anti Trump.”

Just as they did with Reagan and Thatcher. The Pacific alliance has not solved the North Korean problem. Neither Kim nor his father, Kim Jong-il, or grandfather Kim Il-sung has ever been brought to heel by sanctions. Presidents since Bill Clinton have expended enormous effort and money to try, unsuccessfully, to prevent the hermit kingdom from acquiring nuclear weapons. Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, at least partly for his efforts to settle the North Korean issue. Yet he warned in 2016 that North Korea remained the world’s most intractable problem.

The North conducted its first successful nuclear test under Kim Jong-il in 2006 (after withdrawing from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2003) and now probably has 20 warheads and missiles capable of travelling 13,000km. It is unclear whether they would be capable of carrying a nuclear payload that far.

No serious editor will want to be proved wrong in declaring Trump a failure or a success before either becomes clear. Yet as people gravitate to news they agree with, newspapers reap rewards for commentary that really is no better than last week’s puerile attack by actor Robert De Niro, who received a standing ovation for saying two words: “F..k Trump”.

This paper’s associate editor Chris Kenny, who visited North Korea when a staffer for former foreign minister Alexander Downer, wrote about Trump’s strategy last Thursday, arguing Trump could not receive a fair appraisal from most media. Trump was a dangerous warmonger last year when he threatened Kim Jong-un but is soft on dictators this year for giving Kim a place at the negotiating table. Surely decades of failure of talks and refusal to meet Korean leaders should suggest to a normal person (not of the foreign policy establishment) that a different course might be worth exploring.

Some commentators were even silly enough to point out the North Korean media had trumpeted the summit as a win for Kim. They would, wouldn’t they, given they are state controlled. And the US needs a partner to deal with so a positive reaction in Pyongyang is crucial to preserve Kim’s leadership. The media’s Trump derangement is just as bad in discussion of Trump’s business dealings with Russia and special counsel Robert Mueller’s examination of potential involvement by parts of the Trump campaign in Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Which brings us to Sarah Ferguson’s three-part series for Four Corners. The first two episodes have been entertaining even if they have revealed nothing new.

The program has left itself wriggle room by airing background material on key players that runs counter to the prevailing narrative on the Russia story. Except so far for one person, and it is the one Ferguson has used as an honest broker, former Obama national intelligence director James Clapper. Whether discussing Trump’s attempted property dev­elopments in Moscow in episode one or the role of low-ranking Trump staff George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in episode two, Four Corners really should have pointed out some facts about Clapper’s role in the affair. He is accused of leaking the discredited Christopher Steele dossier about Trump to CNN, then lying to congress about it. Ferguson admitted her main source in part one, Trump property development associate Felix Sater, has been a 20-year informer for the FBI and intelligence source for other agencies. Part two also admitted Papadopoulos and Page were junior staff with almost no influence.

While Twitter took all this to be incriminating, I thought it raised an obvious question: how is some big-noting and financial cadging by staff on the periphery of the campaign the “story of the century”, as the series has been branded?



A Leftist "fact checker" at work

Confirmation bias damages reputations. It ruins credibility. It destroys lives

When researchers ignore contradictory data that undermines their assumptions, junk science prevails. When police conduct investigations with predetermined outcomes, wrongful convictions abound. And when reporters cherry-pick facts and distort images to serve political agendas, media outlets become dangerous weapons of mass manipulation.

Take Talia Lavin, a young journalist who has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Her pedigree appears impeccable on its face: She graduated with a degree in comparative literature from Harvard University six years ago. After graduation, she won a Fulbright Scholar fellowship to study in Ukraine. She “worked in all realms” of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news agency and wire service, copy-edited for the feminist Lilith magazine, and contributed stories and translations for the Huffington Post.

Lavin has held the coveted position of “fact-checker” for the revered New Yorker for the past three years. The publication brags that its “fact-checking department is known for its high standards.” It demands the ability “to quickly analyze a manuscript for factual errors, logical flaws, and significant omissions.” The editorial department requires “a strong understanding of ethical reporting standards and practices” and prefers “proficiency or fluency in a second language.”

Impressively, Lavin speaks four languages (Russian, Hebrew, Ukrainian and English). Her abdication of ethical reporting standards, however, raises fundamental questions not only about her competence but also about her integrity — not to mention the New Yorker‘s journalistic judgment.

With a single tweet, the New Yorker’s professional fact-checker smeared Justin Gaertner, a combat-wounded war veteran and computer forensic analyst for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Lavin, the professional fact-checker, rushed to judgment. She abused her platform. Amid the national media hysteria over President Donald Trump’s border enforcement policies, Lavin derided a photo of Gaertner shared by ICE, which had spotlighted his work rescuing abused children. Scrutinizing his tattoos, she claimed an image on his left elbow was an Iron Cross — a symbol of valor commonly and erroneously linked to Nazis.

The meme spread like social media tuberculosis: Look! The jackboots at ICE who hate children and families employ a real-life white supremacist.

Only it wasn’t an Iron Cross. It was a Maltese Cross, the symbol of double amputee Gaertner’s platoon in Afghanistan, Titan 2. He lost both legs during an IED-clearing mission and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Valor and the Purple Heart before joining ICE to combat online child exploitation.

When actual military veterans, whom Lavin failed to consult before defaming Gaertner so glibly, pointed out that the image looked more like a Maltese Cross, Lavin deleted her original tweet “so as not to spread misinformation.”

Too damned late. The harm to Gaertner’s name and honor is irreparable and cannot be unseen, unread or unpublished.

The New Yorker issued an obligatory apology and acknowledged that “a staff member erroneously made a derogatory assumption about ICE agent Justin Gaertner’s tattoo.” But what consequences will there be for her journalistic malpractice? Who is supervising her work at the famed publication? What other lapses might she be responsible for during her present and past stints as a checker of facts and arbiter of truth?

The magazine editors claim “we in no way share the viewpoint expressed in this tweet,” yet the abject ignorance of, and knee-jerk bigotry against, law enforcement, immigration enforcement and the military underlying Lavin’s slime run rampant in New York media circles. And they all know it.

Lavin has not commented on the matter and instead turned her Twitter account private. But we can infer her attitude about her present troubles from a defiant piece she published just last week in The Forward magazine, where she pens a regular column. Titled “No, We Don’t Have To Be Friends with Trump Supporters,” the piece, laden with Nazi allusions, decries asylum reform, strengthened borders and ICE agents enforcing the law.

Rejecting calls for decency in public debate over these contentious matters, she spat: “[T]ough nuts, sugar. When they go low, stomp them on the head.”

She further raged: “It is high time, when you find yourself next at a dinner party with someone who has gone Trump, to smash your glass to shards and leave. It is time to push yourself away from the table. It is time to cease to behave with subservient politesse towards those who embrace barbarity with unfettered glee.”

Better “gone Trump” than gone mad. In her unfettered haste to condemn those with whom she disagrees, the New Yorker’s professional fact-checker failed to check her own toxic biases. Lavin’s act was no innocent gaffe. Like the journalists-turned-propagandists who have falsely spread Obama-era photos of immigrant detention centers to attack the Trump White House, Lavin engaged in mass manipulation under the guise of resistance journalism.

Truth is collateral damage.



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

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


24 June, 2018  

Lying media again

An image that went viral of a little Honduran girl crying after being apprehended in the US was not separated from her mother, her father says.

The Honduran toddler pictured sobbing in a pink jacket before US President Donald Trump on an upcoming cover of Time magazine was not separated from her mother at the US border, according to a man who says he is the girl's father.

The powerful original photograph, taken at the scene of a border detention by Getty Images photographer John Moore, became one of the iconic images in the flurry of media coverage about the separation of families by the Trump administration.

Dozens of newspapers and magazines around the globe published the picture, swelling the tide of outrage that pushed Trump to back down Wednesday and say families would no longer be separated.

"My daughter has become a symbol of the ... separation of children at the US border. She may have even touched President Trump's heart," Denis Valera told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Valera said the little girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, have been detained together in the Texas border town of McAllen, where Sanchez has applied for asylum, and they were not separated after being detained near the border.

Honduran deputy foreign minister Nelly Jerez confirmed Valera's version of events.



500 days of unleashing our economic engine

Amazing growth – while protecting environment, health and welfare from actual threats

Paul Driessen

The “mainstream media” remains riveted on alleged Trump-Russian collusion and how the Trump-Kim Jong Un deal will fail. But it mostly ignored reports on Russia-environmentalist collusion and China-environmentalist collusion – and milestones reached during the Trump Administration’s first 500 days.

In that short time, the US economy has gone from the lowest labor participation rate since the 1970s to nearly the lowest Black, Hispanic and women’s unemployment rates in history. It added 223,000 jobs just last month. Many employers are struggling to find qualified workers, even though private sector salaries and benefits have been increasing to attract them. (Perhaps generous welfare and unemployment payouts still tempt too many?) More than 4 million Americans have received pay raises and/or bonuses.

Businesses large and small are investing billions of dollars in facilities and equipment, and the Dow Jones Industrial average skyrocketed from 18,800 points just after the November 2016 elections – to a record 26,617 on January 26, 2018, before falling to 23,533 and then rebounding to 25,200. IRA, 401(k), and private and government pension funds have gained hundreds of billions in cumulative value.

Economists predict a growth rate of 4% for the second quarter of 2018, while one of the best forecasters says we may hit 5% by year’s end, thanks to extensive investment capital flowing into the USA.

The primary reasons for these changes were anticipation of and reaction to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of December 2017 and the Administration-wide reduction in regulations: not enacting many new ones, while reversing past bureaucratic rules, obstacles and delays. Two departments led the way: EPA and Interior.

* The Obama Department of the Interior implemented numerous actions to curtail fossil fuel production, mining, ranching and other economy-enhancing programs. During his first 500 days, Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed, eliminated or streamlined many of those rules and decision-delaying processes.

In accordance with the 2017 Tax Act, he opened the narrow “Coastal Plain” of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing and drilling, so that the area’s enormous oil and gas potential can be evaluated. Environmentalists had blocked access for nearly 40 years, denying America critically needed energy that can be developed safely under practices proven by decades of operations at the Prudhoe Bay oilfield.

Secretary Zinke also ended DOI’s war on coal and opened large tracts of valuable Utah coal reserves that had been closed off via abusive use of the 1906 Antiquities Act. He did so while fully protecting smaller monument areas of true historic, prehistoric and scientific value. Onshore and offshore, he opened millions of acres to oil and gas leasing, so that they can go through a full formal study and review process, with some of them ultimately being made available for exploration, drilling and production.

These and other actions have already helped send US oil production to a record (projected) 2018 output of 10.7 million barrels a day. They have created thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues to support essential government programs and services.

The new DOI and other government policies also helped the United States export a record $20 billion in crude oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products in April 2018 alone. US natural gas exports also increased – by 66% over their first quarter 2016 level.

After years of neglecting this critical obligation, Interior has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to restoring, repairing and maintaining national park lands, trails, lodges and visitor centers, so that families can continue enjoying them.

Meanwhile, many other Interior Department lands will now be managed under traditional “multiple use” guidelines that permit motorized access, non-wilderness recreation, grazing, forest management, timber harvesting, and responsible development of energy resources above and below the ground – all via expedited planning and permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws.

Finally, with an eye toward America’s current and future defense, renewable energy, communication and other needs, Interior issued a detailed report assessing the nation’s access to the “critical minerals” that are essential for manufacturing those vital technologies.

* Under President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency was the most regulation-prone agency in government. Its heavy-handed rules cost the US economy billions and killed countless jobs. No longer.

During his first 500 days, Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA reduced or eliminated numerous burdensome regulations, likely saving America at least $1 billion a year in regulatory costs so far – while still protecting air and water quality and safeguarding human health against actual, demonstrable risks.

He helped persuade President Trump to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Treaty, which would have forced the USA to slash its greenhouse gas emissions and thus its reliance on fossil fuels, and pay billions of dollars annually into a “green climate” slush fund. Meanwhile, China, India and other rapidly developing countries will continue expanding their oil, gas and coal use … and CO2 emissions. In short, Paris will bring no climate benefits, even if CO2 actually is a primary factor in climate change.

Pruitt also repealed the deceptively named “Clean Power Plan,” which used dishonest claims about particulate, mercury and carbon dioxide emissions, exaggerated “social cost of carbon” data, and dubious assertions about climate change to justify rules that forced numerous coal-fired generators to shut down.

Pruitt also proposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, questionable, non-replicable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. The new rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine, validate or debunk. Studies that do not comply cannot be part of the decision-making process.

Equally important, Pruitt ended the underhanded sue-and-settle tactic that allowed radical environmental groups to work with EPA officials behind the scenes, to devise policies, sue in friendly courts to force their implementation, and then settle the cases – without parties affected by the decision able to present testimony or have their day in court. (My only complaint here is that Pruitt perhaps should have waited until conservative groups had some opportunities to use the same tactic to advance their policy agendas.)

The Pruitt EPA has garnered bipartisan praise for moving to expedite the cleanup of Missouri, Montana, Texas and other Superfund toxic waste sites that have posed threats to local communities for decades. It received similar support (and environmentalist criticism) for rescinding the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that gave EPA effective control over every creek and temporary puddle in the nation

Those who still believe rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing dangerous manmade climate change will be happy to know that the United States has reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other country – even as America entered a new energy and economic renaissance under President Trump. In fact, they were down another 2.5% in 2016, on top of an 11% decline 2005 through 2015.

This is largely due to the Obama era war on coal, which resulted in hundreds of coal-fired generating units closing since 2008, with many replaced by increasingly efficient natural gas generators. With China, India, Germany and the rest of the world using fossil fuels to generate reliable, affordable electricity, it’s time for the United States to do likewise. Zinke and Pruitt are doing exactly that.

All of this represents enormous progress in returning to environmental common sense, restoring business and consumer confidence, and unleashing America’s powerful energy and economic engines.

However, there is still much to do: from immigration reform to renegotiated trade agreements that end the expanding tariff battles, and building more pipelines to get the nation’s increasing oil and gas production to power plants, refineries and export terminals – to ensuring a lasting Trump legacy through legislative deals, court victories and longer-term strategies, to augment executive orders and regulatory actions.

Using all this progress as a guide, imagine what could be accomplished over the next 500 days, the 950 days before Mr. Trump’s first term ends – or the next 2,400 days until the end of his second term!

Via email pkdriessen@gmail.com


Just How Far Are Democrats Lurching Left?

The party's presidential hopefuls are leading the charge toward ever more socialism

The expected electoral Blue Wave in 2018 has been tempered a bit considering the positive economic news based on the tremendous reversal in unemployment that sweeps across demographics with wages rising, consumer confidence soaring and small business optimism through the roof. Democrats’ recourse has been to double down on the extremist #Resist movement to the point that they’re literally hoping for recession just to get Donald Trump.

This thinking has positioned Democrats against the sweeping Republican tax cuts that have opened the economic flow of activity, against real DACA reform and against sweeping diplomatic efforts such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Put another way, they’re against peace and prosperity.

Now that’s a party platform that appeals to the masses!

This past week, a large gathering of the political Left occurred in Washington, DC — the We the People Summit. The event can be best summarized by a quote made by one of the event’s moderators and president of Demos, a progressive Democrat policy organization: “We’re not just pulling the party to the left. We’re pulling the party into the future.”

The list of host sponsors, in addition to Demos, tells the story: Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, MoveOn, People’s Action, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, PICO National Network, Caring Across Generations Action Fund, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Sierra Club and United We Dream Action.

It doesn’t take a political scientist or consultant to see the obvious: Democrats are moving further to the political left and, in their own words, working to “project a bold, transformative vision.” Anyone remember what happened for eight years the last time some smooth-talking politician promised an agenda rooted in “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”?

Interestingly, as the political Left demands more and more government control, intervention and, yes, socialism, the political Right has moved into a governing role that, while still motivated by principles, is not as ideologically driven as the days of the Tea Party’s beginnings almost a decade ago. But that’s another story.

Exactly what are these bold, transformative Democrats proposing?

At last Wednesday’s progressive pep rally, the main event revolved around the current pool of 2020 presidential hopefuls for the Democrats — U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Kristen Gillibrand (New York) and Kamala Harris (California).

These politicians previewed issues that we should expect in the 2018 elections as well as the 2020 presidential cycle. Despite their passion, their platform was embarrassingly reflective of the mythical belief that government has its own money, can create jobs and is the institution that should, by default, replace all others that serve a civil society.

Let’s start with Medicare for All.

Remember that Medicare, the health insurance program funded by payroll taxes, surtaxes and some premiums from beneficiaries, is available to those 65 years of age or older and a select few more. Democrats want a single-payer (government) health insurance program for all citizens, and likely noncitizens, of the U.S., operating as Medicare for All. Universal health care sounds great because it covers all care. It’s the price tag of reality, however, that should deter us. Not to mention the inherent loss of Liberty.

Never mind that the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released a report just two weeks ago that declared the health insurance program for seniors would be insolvent by 2026. That means Medicare’s debts and promised services will outnumber its funds in only eight years. But, to paraphrase Lady Margaret Thatcher, when you’re a socialist, you don’t have a problem until you run out of other people’s money. Medicare is almost there.

The “We the People” parade of progressive hogwash also featured the call for a “living wage,” with specifics offered that range from a $15/hour minimum wage to a universal wage for everyone to eliminate economic inequities. Let’s ask Seattle how its business head tax, ostensibly aimed to generate $48 million to address homelessness and housing costs, worked out. It’s exactly the same premise. Mandating that a business pay some type of universal wage is a tax on jobs.

On immigration, the wannabe Democrat standard-bearers boast of the humanity that only they possess with their view that an open-border policy is the answer. They insist the “rights” of illegals are in jeopardy as long as racist Republicans enforce immigration laws and the notion of sovereignty within our own country. Yet the truth is, Democrats stand with the “animals” of MS-13 — perpetrators of heinous crimes — against the citizens of our nation. They keep moving further to the left.

Other foundational topics addressed last week included the leftist sacrament of unrestricted abortion, the rights of the gender confused, “free” college tuition for all and the need to cut our military to make way for more welfare spending.

But the event and the upcoming elections can be easily summarized: Democrats hope to ride a Blue Wave by offering “Better Deal” socialism that fails every time it’s tried. And yet they accuse Republicans of moving to the right.

Via email


Obsessive media coverage risks fuelling the rise of Donald Trump

Swiss journalist PATRIK MULLER below can see what the American Left apparently cannot: That the  ever-boiling media hate of Trump defeats their purposes.  Even before he was elected he dominated the news. The Left just cannot restrain their hate of him

As a Swiss journalist, I’ve followed US politics and media since the Clinton administration. But when I moved to Boston five months ago, I got a new perspective, and it has stunned me. I’m subscribed to several major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Too much of the press is obsessed with the US President.

In The New York Times, I counted 14 articles dealing with Trump in a recent Friday edition. One of them, an editorial, was titled “The Cult of Trump” and accused Republicans of revolving around a man rather than ideas. Could it be that the media’s excessive Trump coverage is a kind of cult, too? Could it be that, as important as this presidency indeed is, other relevant issues are crowded out?

To be sure, the media must report and comment at length on events such as the G7 and North Korea summits. They must analyse in detail the withdrawal from the Iran deal, the imposition of tariffs, and turnover in the administration. It is journalists’ duty to investigate and criticise every president and administration.

Yet many news organisations allow Trump to dominate the news cycle even when it comes to trivialities. Do his tweets about Kanye West, Roseanne Barr, the National Football League’s national anthem policy and the latest twist in the Stormy Daniels case warrant the scale and scope of the coverage?

The Trump hysteria extends to the President’s family and friends. When a reporter from The Boston Globe disclosed that “a small number” of Harvard alumni mocked Jared Kushner in their 15-year reunion book (“Shame on you!”), the newspaper ran the scoop on its front page.

From a Swiss perspective, this all seems familiar. In the 1990s, my country saw the rise of a man later described as the first populist in Europe, Christoph Blocher.

The billionaire entrepreneur took over the Swiss People’s Party and transformed it into a conservative, Eurosceptic and immigrant-weary movement. Blocher dominated the headlines for years, much the way Trump does in the US. Amid dire warnings by virtually every Swiss news outlet, Blocher’s party increased its share of the vote constantly, from around 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

In retrospect, it’s accepted that Blocher’s exuberant media presence, and his demonisation, helped him rise. While meaning to do the opposite, the media made him the hero against the “political class”. Similarly, Trump’s approval numbers are higher than when he was elected, and many Republicans who once were ambivalent now support him. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a private conversation, reported this month: “I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump. I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”

Johnson is a former journalist, and it’s worth thinking about how the method works on the press.



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

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


22 June, 2018  
Frightened, alone and locked up… Not children in Trump's border camps, but young migrants who were detained under Obama

Frightened, alone and locked in 'cages' - at first these images of migrant children appear to be straight from Donald Trump's America.

But in fact they show thousands of youngsters detained at the US border under the Obama administration in 2014.  

The youngsters were locked up at shelters in Texas and Arizona after arriving unaccompanied at the border in their tens of thousands that year.

The problem faced by both presidents is what to do with children who arrive at the border with no adult or legal guardian alongside them.

While unaccompanied youngsters from Mexico can be immediately turned back, those arriving from further afield - such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - have to be granted a legal hearing.

That leads to the children being locked up in shelters while the cases work themselves out, and caused a barrage of criticism for both leaders.

Under Trump, 32,372 unaccompanied minors have arrived at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, which is more than triple the number which arrived last year.

By comparison, an estimated 60,000 unaccompanied minors arrived under the Obama administration in 2014, almost four times the number that arrived in 2012. 

At the time Obama faced protests from both sides of the aisle and was accused of encouraging minors to chance the crossing with soft-touch immigration policies.

Meanwhile Trump has been accused of using the children as political pawns to force Democrats to sign tougher immigration laws.



Trump signs executive order to end family separation

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating children from their families in detention centers for illegal immigrants. The order will likely be challenged in court, however.

“I'll be signing something in a little while that's going to do that," Trump said on Wednesday morning. “I'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I'm sure.”

The “something” is an executive order to keep families together in immigration detention facilities, which Trump signed on Wednesday before departing for his scheduled trip to Minnesota.

The current practice of housing children at facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services stems from a 1997 Flores settlement, under which the Clinton administration agreed not to hold children in immigration jails for more than 20 days. Subsequent administrations chose to implement that law by releasing the families into the US with a promise they would appear before immigration courts. In most cases, that would never happen.

“We’re going to keep families together, but we have to keep our borders strong,” Trump said.

The temporary measure will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to detain families crossing the border illegally together, except "when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare."

It also instructs the Department of Defense to provide "any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary."

Meeting with GOP lawmakers at the White House earlier in the day, Trump brought up that a deal on immigration with the Democrats was almost done in January, but a federal judge ruled in favor of keeping an Obama-era executive action shielding some illegal immigrants, known as DACA.

“All of a sudden they weren’t there anymore,” Trump said.

Democrats have refused to support any of the proposed immigration bills in Congress, saying that Trump can fix the family separation issue through executive action.

“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Tuesday. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already announced it would challenge reunifying children with their parents, since that would mean effectively putting them in jail, violating the terms of Flores.



The sewer that is a Leftist mind

He had to apologize but he gave us a view of the disgusting  maggot-infested cesspit that is his mind

Peter Fonda proposed kidnapping the president’s youngest son. His tweet has been deleted, but its authenticity was initially corroborated by Twitter responses and multiple screenshots before Fonda himself apologized for it. He wrote:


On Wednesday afternoon, Donald Trump Jr. ripped actor Peter Fonda. Here’s what Barron’s big brother had to say:

“I didn’t think it was possible but Peter Fonda has found a way to be as disgusting as his sister Jane as when she stood with the enemy in Vietnam. Doesn’t get more vile than wishing for a young boy to be raped by pedophiles. There’s a special place in hell…”, Don Jr. tweeted.

As we reported earlier, the Secret Service has officially been called on Peter Fonda after his threat to Barron:

In another shocking all-caps Twitter rant, Fonda had this to say:


He then followed up with this now deleted tweet:

“Sounds great. We don’t have to take the agents kids, we only need to surround their schools and scare the shit out of them and worry the fuck out of the agents frm CBE ICE & REGULAR BORDER PATROL AGENTS. WE NEED TO SCARE THE FUCK OUT OF THEM! NEED TO MAKE THEIR CHILDREN WORRY NOW

Paul Joseph Watson correctly said this about Fonda’s twitter rants:

Things @iamfonda has encouraged in the last 24 hours;

- Showing up at schools to "scare the shit out of" children of Border Patrol agents.

- Putting Barron Trump "in a cage with pedophiles".

- Hacking a government database.

This is gonna be an interesting test of Twitter's TOS.



On Tuesday, President Trump slammed the media during a speech to the National Federation of Independent Business Leaders

“We don’t want people pouring into our country. We want them to come in through the process, through the legal system, and we want ultimately a merit-based system where people come in based on merit. Keep in mind, those who apply for asylum legally at ports of entry are not prosecuted. The fake news media back there doesn’t talk about that.”

As the audience laughed, Trump noted, “They are fake. They are helping, they are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe. They know it, they know exactly what they’re doing, and it should be stopped.”

The audience ate it up.

Trump finished by talking about the dangers of MS-13 and gangs.

“People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process and frankly, they endanger all of our children. You see what happens with MS-13, where your sons and daughters are attacked violently. Kids that never even heard of such a thing are being attacked violently, not with guns, but with knives because it’s much more painful,” Trump said.

He continued, “Inconceivable that we even have to talk about MS-13 and other gangs. They attack violently, the most painful way possible. And a bullet is too quick.”

Trump added, “And we are allowing these people into our country? Not with me. We are taking them out by the thousands. We are taking them out by the thousands.”



Trump rips media for ignoring Americans 'permanently separated' from loved ones by illegals' crimes

President Trump slammed the media Wednesday night for ignoring American families “permanently separated” from their loved ones in crimes committed by illegal immigrants, on the same day he reversed a much-criticized policy that separated illegal immigrant children from their parents.

At a packed campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, the president tried to change the focus from his immigration policy backpedaling by spotlighting cases such as Kate Steinle, a woman shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco in 2015.

“The media never talks about the American victims of illegal immigration — what’s happened to their children, what’s happened to their husbands, what’s happened to their wives,” Mr. Trump said. “The media doesn’t talk about the American families permanently separated from their loved ones because Democrat policies release violent criminals into our communities.”

He said TV networks “don’t bring cameras to interview the ‘Angel’ moms whose children were killed by criminal aliens who should have never been here in the first place.”

“But as your president, I will always fight to protect American families,” Mr. Trump said. “I will never be silent in the face of vicious smears and attacks on the heroic agents and officers of ICE and the border patrol who save thousands and thousands of lives.”

He turned that theme into a campaign issue, telling the boisterous crowd, “If you want to create a humane, lawful system of immigration, then you need to retire the Democrats and elect Republicans to finally secure our borders.”



Gowdy Blasts FBI And Comey For ‘Textbook Bias’

Gowdy blasted former FBI director James Comey for his handling of the rigged Clinton Investigation, noting FBI agent’s prejudgements on the outcome of the Hillary investigation and prior to the Trump investigation.

“If prejudging the outcome of an investigation before it ends and prejudging the outcome of an investigation before it begins is not evidence of outcome determinative bias, for the life of me, I don’t know what would be,” Gowdy stated.

Gowdy has previously admitted his belief, “Former Director Comey violated Department policy in several significant ways.”

“The FBI’s actions and those of former Director Comey severely damaged the credibility of the investigation, the public’s ability to rely on the results of the investigation, and the very institutions he claims to revere.”

Gowdy ultimately declared,“we can’t survive with a justice system we don’t trust.”

The American people should be able to trust that the FBI will run fair investigations on behalf of the United States of America. Clearly, that’s not the case.



Trump takes on airline unfairness

American aviation transcends multiple industrial sectors, including the service industry and manufacturing. For decades, U.S. airlines and workers have been attacked by foreign competitors that skirt fair competition provisions in our aviation trade deals, known as Open Skies agreements.

By providing massive subsidies to their state-owned airlines, the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have violated these agreements and destabilized the marketplace for American competitors. The Trump administration, as it has on other key fronts, including tax reform, took decisive action and brought both Gulf states to the negotiating table. It extracted promises of financial transparency and an end to mass subsidization, putting a stop to the “capacity dumping” that Qatar Airways, Emirates, and Etihad Airways have used to push U.S. domestic airlines and other foreign competitors out of air travel markets.

It is astounding that previous administrations failed to stand up for American workers and ensure a level and fair playing field. The failure to enforce our Open Skies agreements with these two countries put 1.2 million American jobs at risk. President Trump has thankfully shown that he understands the stakes. But that hasn’t stopped special interests, operating on behalf of the Gulf state airlines, from trying to muddy the water with misinformation and political brinkmanship. They’ve used shady tactics for years to try to prevent the U.S. government from taking any action.

The Gulf carriers are backed by K Street fronts that have been accused of carrying water for foreign interests. As the Associated Press and others have reported, the U.S. Travel Association (which has led the opposition) is “funded by the Emirati airlines.” Breitbart News has exposed the foreign ties of U.S. Travel land its cohorts, many of whom – including public relations flak Jonathan Grella – have also been outspoken critics of President Trump. Grella, per Breitbart, has referred to President Trump as a “nasty bully.” The Air Line Pilots Association has requested that the Department of Justice investigate U.S. Travel for its failure to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act due to its ties to the United Arab Emirates.

Thankfully, the White House and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have seen through this hackneyed ruse. Over 300 lawmakers called for enforcing our Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. At the end of the day, President Trump has proven that he is a staunch ally of American workers – unwavering in his commitment to ensure free and fair competition and to put our economy in the best position possible. It is doubtful that any amount of mudslinging and misinformation peddled by foreign interests and opponents of President Trump’s agenda will change that.



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

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


21 June, 2018

Trump is a genuine original

Let me risk a prophecy:  Future Presidents are now going to feel that they have to do this too

Donald Trump gave an impassioned speech Tuesday to a group of business leaders in Washington, D.C., in which he hammered the recent outrage over immigration policies.

Recent media outrage over the administration’s enforcement of America’s border laws — that result in the separating some families at the border if they seek asylum after crossing the border illegally at non-checkpoint locations — has captured the nation’s attention.

Trump took the fight directly to the media in the speech, saying they were on the side of the smugglers and human traffickers who operate on our borders. The president also hit back at Hillary Clinton for attacking him over open borders criticism.

The president also hit Obamacare taxes and regulations and lauded his tax cuts in front of the business leaders. “Cuts, cuts, cuts, cuts, cuts,” Trump said.

The room was enthusiastic toward Trump and his attacks on various political opponents, regularly applauding and cheering passionately.

As Trump exited the stage, he took a moment to wave at the audience. Then, the president approached an American flag in the corner of the room and gave it a hug.

It was not the first time that Trump has given a hug to the American flag. He also did so on the campaign trail.



Trump blesses House Republicans' new compromise immigration bill

A lot of GOP congressmen were initially skeptical of Trump but his successes have now given him authority.  So we see that his support is expected to change minds towards voting for the bill

President Trump blessed House Republicans’ new compromise immigration bill “1,000 percent” Tuesday, giving political cover to conservatives looking to back the bill and creating momentum ahead of a showdown vote expected later this week.

He said the legislation, which grants citizenship rights to illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” funds his border wall, limits the chain of family migration and ends the visa lottery, checks off all the boxes on his immediate immigration wishlist.

Meeting with Republicans for an hour Tuesday evening, Mr. Trump told them he would welcome a fix to the family separation issue that’s engulfed the immigration debate this week. But he made clear any action will have to come from Congress, not from the administration.

His blessing clears up the mess he left last Friday, when he said he “wouldn’t sign” the bill. The White House later said he misunderstood the question, but his wavering had left a number of conservatives fearful of voting for the bill only to have the president walk away from the legislation, leaving them on a political ledge.

“He says I am behind you 1,000 percent and I am not going to leave you out to dry,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, chair of the House Republican Conference.

Whether that’s good enough to win 218 Republicans — the number needed to approve the bill — is unclear. “It’s going to be close,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who helped craft the compromise bill. “This is a very challenging issue, very controversial. All members are going to have to take some risks to make this happen.”

Rep. Mark Meadows, head of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, said he’s still weighing his own vote, but the bill is a no-go for some conservatives. “I think there are some who believe that it is amnesty and they don’t want to vote for amnesty,” he said. He also said there are some on the liberal side of the party who wanted a more generous legalization for Dreamers.

“We represent very different districts,” he said. “The thing that motivates me to stay involved is I think the moderates negotiated in good faith - whether we get to 218 or not I don’t know.”

GOP leaders released the official version of the bill Tuesday evening while Mr. Trump was meeting with them.

The bill would grant full legal status and a path to citizenship to people who qualify for the Obama-era DACA program. The bill also ends the visa lottery and limits the types of family members that can be sponsored for immigration — then takes those visas and uses them on the DACA population and other children brought to the U.S. by their parents.

In terms of enforcement, the bill allows Homeland Security to detain more people and deport them faster, and it increases the threshold for people attempting to claim asylum, with a goal of cutting down on fraudulent claims that have clogged the system.

GOP leaders tucked in a new fix for the family separation issue, allowing the government to hold children and their parents in immigration detention facilities for longer than 20 days. The bill also says that illegal immigrant parents charged with misdemeanors, who normally would be sent to the criminal justice system’s jails, can be held in immigration detention — meaning they can remain with their children.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan told The Washington Times Mr. Trump got a good reception from the party. “It was great,” he said.

Outside the meeting a group of Democrats marched along the corridors holding signs that said, “Families Belong Together,” and that depicted some of the now-iconic photos of children and their parents at the border.

As the president walked through one of the Capitol’s corridors a heckler shouted at him “Mister President, F– you!” An NBC reporter said on Twitter that the culprit was a congressional intern.

Earlier Tuesday some of the president’s key supporters warned him against embracing the bill. The National ICE Council, the union that represents officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the bill falls short on a number of the president’s campaign promises.

Chris Crane, the council president, wrote a letter to Mr. Trump saying the bill would open the door to massive fraud, would allow people who defied judges’ deportation orders to get on a pathway to citizenship, and fails to make good on Mr. Trump’s promise of a deportation force of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

He labeled the bill the “Ryan amnesty” and said it also repeats the same mistakes of the failed 2013 “Gang of 8” immigration bill.

“You pledged publicly to ‘have the backs’ of the men and women of ICE law enforcement. I am asking you to keep that promise,” Mr. Crane wrote. The ICE Council endorsed Mr. Trump on the campaign trail in 2016.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said he is “sympathetic to their concerns” but that the compromise is better than alternative proposals that they would have “hated.”

“But we really have to do something that can get to 218 votes and some of the people who are in that negotiation did not support their request,” Mr. Goodlatte said. “This happened very quickly and if they don’t think they were consulted enough I understand that.”

GOP leaders plan two votes later this week.

One would be on an enforcement-heavy bill written months ago by Mr. Goodlatte and Rep. Michael McCaul, chairmen of the two key committees. That bill includes a renewable DACA permit but doesn’t give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. It does include a host of new enforcement measures such as requiring businesses to use E-Verify to check their workers, cracking down on sanctuary cities and making it a misdemeanor to overstay a visa.

Those measures went too far for many Republicans and the Goodlatte bill struggled to reach 218 supporters.

So GOP leaders pushed Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. McCaul and moderate lawmakers to work on the compromise bill.

Mr. Trump had previous backed the enforcement-heavy bill, but his full-throated support for the compromise was critical.

“Folks that would have been against it, I think it’s harder for them to be against it now,” said Rep. Bill Flores, Texas Republican. “I think he probably changed a lot of minds.”



CNN Tries To Shame Border Patrol Agent — He Flips The Script And Leaves Host Speechless

The dear little lady interviewer has got her lashes on, her blusher on and her hair just right but she forgot to fill her head up with knowledge of her subject

CNN brought on Chris Cabrera, a spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, Tuesday to discuss the Trump administration enforcing America’s border laws.

The Trump administration has enacted a policy of zero tolerance when enforcing America’s border laws. The laws result in separating some families if they cross the border illegally at non-checkpoint locations.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin brought on Cabrera to grill him over the enforcement of the policy. However, it was Baldwin who got the grilling when Cabrera fact-checked her over the status of immigrants at the border.

“There’s so much being thrown at people who don’t know as much about immigration certainly as you do as a border patrol agent, but there a a couple of ways to come into this country if you’re an undocumented immigrant and you come out on the Rio Grande river, that’s illegal,” Baldwin said.

Cabrera countered, “Even if you’re a U.S. citizen, it’s illegal.”

Baldwin then asked specifically about delays for asylum seekers.

Cabrera said bluntly, “We’ve had this situation going on for four years now. I don’t think you can necessarily blame it on one administration or another. It started under one and is continuing under another. It hasn’t been fixed and it needs to be fixed.”

He continued, “Right now we have this beacon of, ‘We’ll leave the light on for you and let you come illegally into the country.’ If you’ve seen some of the stuff we’ve seen, you’d understand how important it is to have a tough stance to divert people from coming here.”

Cabrera then bluntly told Baldwin some of the horrors he has seen.

“When you see a 12-year-old girl with a plan B pill, her parents put her on birth control because they know getting violated is part of the journey, that’s a terrible way to live. When you see a 4-year-old girl traveling alone with just her parents phone number written across her shirt. We had a 9-year-old boy have heat stroke in front of us and die with no family around. That’s because we’re allowing people to take advantage of this system.”

The retelling of the child horror stories elicited an audible gasp from Baldwin.

Cabrera went on to say that it’s up to Congress to change the law, but until then his agents will continue to enforce the laws on the books.

“Most of our agents are parents. I’ve seen guys and I’ve done it myself, you give your last bottle of water to a kid, you’ll take a toy out of your car to give to one of these kids because you know the situation they’re in.” Caberera said. “Agents are very sympathetic. We’re human, we’re fathers, we have families. We do a lot for the communities here, whether or not a camera is involved. Our agents are very involved. And nobody saves more lives along the southwestern border than the U.S. Border patrol.”



Border Ranchers Shock MSNBC With Facts On Illegal Immigration

A husband and wife who ranch on the Rio Grande river told MSNBC on Tuesday that they believe President Trump is doing the right thing by enforcing border laws.

MSNBC tried to ask the couple a multitude of leading questions about the separation of families when they cross the border illegally, but the ranchers continuously smashed their narrative.

“When you see parents and children separated why do you support the policy that, to many people, appears to be heartless?” MSNBC’s Kerry Sanders asked.

“It’s basically the laws of our land,” Presnall Cage said. “Trump I believe is going in the right direction. I believe it’s going to be a deterrent to keep this from happening.”

Sanders asked Stephanie Cage, “You’re a mother, you’re a grandmother of seven, um, how do you react when you see that the families are being split apart?”

“Of course it is very upsetting, but I’m as equally upset with the parents for exposing their children to the dangers of smuggling their children across the border,” Cage replied.

The Cage family also debunked the notion that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are fleeing violence, retorting, “That’s very much exaggerated … very few cases are caused by that, I think most of them are coming over here to try to make a better life in this country and all this country has to offer.”



US leaves UN Human Rights Council

They should leave the corrupt UN entirely  -- or at least stop funding it

Washington has decided to walk out of the UN Human Rights Council.  The US has long cited concerns about the body’s “anti-Israel bias.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the decision at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

This is the first time a member of the council would leave the body voluntarily. The US was halfway through its three-year term on the 47-member panel.

On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein criticized Washington over the “unconscionable” policy of separating children of immigrants who cross the border illegally and holding them in detention centers. “I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children,” al-Hussein said.

While the timing of the US exit from the UN body coincides with this criticism, Washington’s objections to the Human Rights Council over the years have mostly been in regard to Israel. Ambassador Haley has accused the council of a “relentless, pathological campaign” against Israel, and said the US would leave unless the body gets rid of its “chronic anti-Israel bias.”

Shortly after its establishment in 2006, the council voted to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every session, known as Agenda Item 7. Likewise, the body’s special rapporteur on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only expert whose mandate is not time-limited.



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

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


20 June, 2018  

Can unemployment go lower?

The facts:

"The US unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in May 2018 from 3.9 percent in the previous month, and below market expectations of 3.9 percent. It was the lowest rate since April 2000, as the number of unemployed decreased by 281 thousand to 6.07 million and employment rose by 293 thousand to 155.47 million. Unemployment Rate in the United States averaged 5.78 percent from 1948 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and a record low of 2.50 percent in May of 1953"

So, in a sense you see the answer to my question before you. Just 4 months after escaping decades of "Progressive" administrations, with the election of Ike, the American economy went wild in 1953. Though progress had also been made under the preceding moderate Truman administration.  Clearly there was a big catchup with business projects that would have been risky under the Democrats being suddenly seen as safe for investment.  Much the same has happened under Trump.  Conservative administrations are good for business confidence and confident businessmen expand their activities -- creating jobs.

The good figure for 2000 was under Bill Clinton, a passing era in which budgets were not only proposed and adopted but were actually  in surplus for three years, partly by way of cutting back the military. Clinton was a moderate in many ways and in relation to the economy ran very conservative policies.

So back to normality.  As the summary of facts above shows, the average rate of employment over the years is over 5% and economists have long proclaimed that 5% is a "frictional" or natural level of unemployment -- a level which you can't go below for long

So is that right?  There is no sign of it. People thought the 3.9% figure recorded in April was as low as you could go but now we see a further fall to 3.8% in May.  And, despite Democrat denials, it is an effect of the present administration.  In May 2010, the second year of the Obama administation, the figure was 9.6% -- a large gap indeed.  So Trump has got an amazingly successful recipe for American prosperity.  Whatever he has been doing must be given great credit for creating jobs

Yet what Trump has been doing runs completely against conventional economic wisdom.  Economists preach free trade as the highroad to prosperity -- but Trump has been a champion of tariffs and import restrictions.  But Trump has recently said that he learned the free trade story while he was at Wharton and still regards it as the ideal.

So it is clear that free trade alone is not enough for prosperity in the real world we have at the present.  You actually have to sponsor jobs -- by protections if necessary -- in order to get good job growth.  There was striking evidence of that in the 19th century -- when American industry prospered mightily behind high tariff walls.  But there is no such thing as a free lunch and the penalty in that case was a civil war, when Northern manufacturers faced the threat of losing half of their markets in the South. They could not and did not allow that

But although the opposition to Trump is as furious as anything seen in the old South, the powers of a modern president are too great for Trump opponents to challenge.  The fact that the military is strongly pro-Trump is also a barrier to armed rebellion.

But economists are not very good at factoring war into their equations so how do they explain the 19th century boom?  It is to them a classic case of the "infant industry" exception.  American technology and industry were still very new and well behind the mature industries of the old world. So it had to be given time to catch up. And that does seem to be what happened.  So the 19th century experience is no guide to the 21st century.  It gives us no assurance that Trump's policies will continue to succeed. As initial optimism wears off and the costs become evident, one could argue that America will rebound to the old 5% level of "frictional" employment.  You cannot square the circle for long.

So is there any other precedent which would lead us to believe that the Trump good news will continue?  There is: Australia of the 1950's and '60s.  The Prime Minister of Australia from 1949 to 1966 was the avuncular Robert Menzies, a very conservative man. Many people who remember those years recall that era as a golden age.  And what were his economic policies?  They were very protectionist and focused on creating and preserving Australian jobs. So that sounds a lot like Trump, does it not?  So what was unemployment like in his era?  It was almost always UNDER 2%.  It was regarded as a political crisis if it looked like it would go over 2%.  Frictional unemployment barely existed.

So the lesson is clear:  Maximum jobs requires some protection of industry.  Both Trump and Menzies have demonstrated that.  It could be called the "Trump Rule".  And the Australian precedent says that we can even hope for 2% under Trump.  How good is that? 

So WHY is an actively protectionist administration needed for businessmen to be maximally enterprising?  It's dead simple.  It gives businessmen throughout the country the feeling that government has got their back.  It gives them the feeling that government will at least be on their side if there is a push for change of any sort.  Democrat administrations are, by contrast, enemies of business -- and blind Frederick can see that. Hence 9.6% unemployment under Obama compared with 3.8% under Trump. Businessmen are people too.  They respond to incentives and recoil from attack -- JR.


DACA kids approved by Obama despite murder, rape and sex crimes arrests

Ten people who’d been arrested on murder charges were nonetheless granted permission to remain and work in the U.S. under the Obama-era DACA amnesty, according to new government data released Monday.

Thirty-one “Dreamers” had rape charges on their records, nearly 500 had been accused of sex crimes, and more than 2,000 had been arrested for drunken driving — yet were approved for DACA status.

All told, 53,000 people who have been approved for DACA — 7 percent of the total — had a criminal record when the government granted them status. Nearly 8,000 racked up criminal charges after they’d been approved, according to the data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

DACA turned six years old on Friday and is back in the news as the House of Representatives begins to debate whether to grant a broad amnesty to Dreamers, and as courts across the country grapple with the legality of the 2012 program.

The new data will likely affect both the legislative and court action, since it gives some indications of the levels of screening, and waivers, the government is willing to offer for Dreamers who apply.

All told more than 888,000 people have applied for DACA status over the years. Of those, more than 770,000 were approved. Nearly 67,000 were rejected — and of those, about 31 percent had criminal records, the data show.



Dems Exploit Children of Illegals for Political Fodder

Appealing to emotions with false assertions, Democrats and their propaganda mouthpieces in the mainstream media have manufactured a campaign issue they seek to ride all the way to the November elections. As President Donald Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration, Democrats are shouting about his zero-tolerance law-enforcement policy that sometimes separates children from parents who illegally cross the U.S. border. As Democrats have increasingly run to the fainting couches, some have even ridiculously compared Trump's law enforcement to that of Nazi Germany. It's a classic case of uninformed emotions leading to calls for changing a policy few even care to understand.

First and foremost, the Trump administration has not changed any rules that govern the nation's immigration and border enforcement. As Rich Lowry of National Review explains, "Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child's parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings."

The Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy is simply a change from Barack Obama's policy of limited enforcement in which his administration deliberately avoided enforcing the nation's immigration laws consistently.

What has caused all the commotion over separating children from their illegal alien parents is something called the Flores Consent Decree, which mandates that children can be held by the government for no longer than 20 days. This law has been effectively exploited by illegal aliens, who, after crossing illegally, request asylum, a process often exceeding the short window of 20 days. Paul Mirengoff of Power Line notes, "Since asylum petitions take more than 20 days to process, the government must either release the adults and children together into the country pending the adjudication of the asylum claim or hold the adults and release the children, thereby separating them. If the adult illegal immigrant is released while the claim is pending, it's extremely unlikely that the government will find him or her again. Thus, releasing the adult is tantamount to allowing the illegal immigrant to live in the U.S. regardless of the merits of the case." That explains why Democrats want to keep the racket going. Worse, their "sanctuary cities" serve as beacons attracting even more illegals.

A clear first step to end the issue of separating families would be the elimination of the Flores Consent Decree. But aside from all the absurd over-the-top emotional criticism of the practice of separating children from adults who have illegally crossed the border, the fact of the matter is that separating children from their parents is not at all unusual law-enforcement policy even for U.S. citizens. In 2016, more than 21,000 children were separated from their parents and placed into foster care after their parents had been incarcerated. Where are all the emotional calls to end the practice of separating children from their criminal parents? Should the children live with their parents in prison? Obviously the question is absurd on its face, so why isn't the reaction the same with regard to those who break our nation's laws by entering the country illegally? There are legal means by which families can seek asylum within the U.S., and parents who do so are not separated from their children.

By the way, Trump has repeatedly called on Congress to come up with solutions to the illegal immigration problem, including funding for the construction of a border wall. But Democrats now oppose what they once supported.

This issue boils down to Democrats and the Leftmedia claiming to take the moral high ground while at the same time attacking the very laws that enable a nation to secure its borders. Noncitizens do not have a right to enter the U.S. Trump's enforcement of the law is what every American should desire, and if a majority want the law changed, then they can lobby Congress to make that change. Don't fault Trump for doing his job. Unfortunately, Democrats seeing nothing but an opportunity to exploit emotions for votes.



Backdoor to illegal immigration closing: U.S. clears more asylum cases than it receives in May

The government is making headway on the asylum backlog for the first time in years, clearing more cases in May than it received, as officials finally think they have hit on ways to tamp down on people abusing the system as a backdoor method of illegal immigration.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services took in 7,757 cases last month, but completed 7,959 cases.

The success came on both sides of the ledger. New cases have been cut nearly in half when compared to the peak years during the Obama administration, while the number of cases closed more than doubled compared to the Obama years.

And those achievements came even before the Justice Department’s decision this week to tighten standards for asylum. That move should speed USCIS’s ability to reduce a backlog that’s reached nearly 320,000 cases, as would-be illegal immigrants figured ways to use the asylum system as a loophole to gain a foothold in the U.S.

“Asylum and ‘credible fear’ claims have skyrocketed across the board in recent years largely because individuals know they can exploit a broken system to enter the U.S., avoid removal, and remain in the country,” said Michael Bars, a spokesman for the agency.

Asylum is the protection given to people already on U.S. soil who say they fear being sent back home. Refugees are people who make that request from outside the U.S.

In recent years the number of asylum-seekers has soared, with illegal immigrants from Central America in particular turning to the asylum system. They say they’re fleeing poor conditions back home. Security experts say they’re exploiting a loophole-filled U.S. system to avoid being deported.

In 2011, before the surge of Central Americans took hold, USCIS ended the year with fewer than 10,000 cases pending. By the end of 2015 the backlog was more than 125,000 cases, it leapt to 233,000 at the end of 2016, and topped 300,000 late last year.

Someone who lodges an asylum claim at the border must clear an initial “credible fear” screening by saying he would be in danger if sent home. It’s a low bar that most meet.

Take the recent migrant caravan, most of whose members said they were claiming asylum. As of June 1 USCIS had reviewed 357 of their cases, and had granted positive credible fear decisions in 337 of them — a 94 percent success rate. Among the broader population, credible fear approval rates hover above 75 percent.

From there, the applicants are supposed to pursue their asylum claims with USCIS or with the Executive Office of Immigration Review. But officials say as many as half of them won’t pursue those claims — particularly if they’ve already been released into the U.S. and can disappear into the shadows.

Of those who do pursue cases, most won’t be approved.

The Washington Times reached out to several immigrant-rights groups to run the backlog numbers by them, but didn’t receive comments.

More generally, though, administration critics say they believe the government has become too hawkish in doling out asylum denials, preventing people with potentially valid claims from having a chance to make their case.

“We don’t know for sure, because none of the agencies have responded. But we hear that parents are going to court in mass trials and having their asylum claims denied – not heard, but denied — and then the parents are deported,” Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, said in a speech on the floor of the U.S. House this week.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, released an analysis this week arguing the administration is making it tougher to claim asylum on the front end, and pressing for faster decisions on the back end, which the analysts said lead to errors and an increased risk of deporting people who should have received asylum.

Administration critics were further enraged this week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a ruling that domestic violence or fear of gangs is not, on its own, enough of a reason to be granted asylum.

Mr. Sessions said the U.S. asylum system isn’t a solution to rough conditions across the globe, but rather a special protection for people facing persecution by a government, or people whose governments are essentially endorsing the persecution by looking the other way.

Immigrant-rights advocates and congressional Democrats said that will mean a “death sentence” for some women living in abusive relationships or children in dangerous neighborhoods in Central America.

USCIS, though, says the changes will bring clarity to a system in need of firm guidance about how far asylum protections can be stretched. “The attorney general’s decision will be implemented as soon as possible,” said Mr. Bars, the agency spokesman.

USCIS officials credited several changes for this year’s successes in controlling the backlog.

In January the agency reversed an Obama-era policy that focused on the oldest cases, and instead went to a last-in-first-out, or LIFO, approach that makes quick decisions on people showing up at the borders or lodging claims in the interior right now. LIFO helped cut a backlog in the 1990s, and it’s already making a dent now, officials said, by changing the incentives.

Under the Obama approach, someone who showed up demanding asylum might have waited two years for a first interview. During that time they could apply for a work permit, giving them a foothold in the U.S.

With the new LIFO policy applicants are getting their first interview in three weeks. And since most people interviewed are ineligible, and can be put into deportation proceedings once their claims are rejected, it’s discouraging those who had been taking advantage of the system, the agency says.

The agency has also more than doubled its team of asylum officers over the last five years, to nearly 700, and has borrowed another 100 people from the refugee caseload — similar work — to help on the asylum backlog.

USCIS says about a quarter of the backlog are people who know they don’t qualify for asylum, and want to get rejected. They feel they have claims they want to make before an immigration judge, but the only way to get a day in court is to lose their asylum claim and be put into deportation proceedings, where they can argue their other case.

USCIS has come up with a method for trying to identify and clear those people through faster.



Two scumbags: Harvey Weinstein and friend


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

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


19 June, 2018  

Behind the chaos curtain, Trump is grinding out a lot of policy wins

Some grudging admissions from the "Boston Globe" below, in the heart of "blue" country:

President Trump’s White House presents a daily tableau of chaos, falsehoods, caustic attacks, and allegations of corruption. But despite his stormy and impulsive management style — and in some ways, because of it — Trump is presiding over an administration that is grinding out policy victories with surprising efficiency, fulfilling campaign promises and propelling his support among Republican voters to record heights.

Nearly 18 months after taking office, his accomplishments have reached something of a critical mass, with Republicans rallying around him over wins that have thrilled the party base from social conservatives to defense hawks. The majority of his successes have been reversals of the Obama agenda, a goal shared by Republican leaders who are now tacitly or actively participating in his remake of the 164-year-old Republican Party to match his own image and priorities.

Republican supporters assert that, after a rocky start in 2017, Trump has learned on the job and is now firmly in control of the GOP and the nation’s agenda. If they are right, it is certainly Democrats’ worst nightmare.

“Every month that goes by strengthens the president’s hand,” said Christopher Ruddy, a Trump confidant and the chief executive of the right-leaning media outlet Newsmax. “His foreign policy success, especially now with North Korea, makes people think, ‘OK, he’s different. I don’t agree with all his approaches, but something is working here and let’s give it a try.’”

Even Republicans who have been highly critical of Trump are torn. They are impressed with the pace of his work on the conservative wish list, as they continue to fret about the direction he is pulling the Republican Party, away from its traditional ideological pillars and toward one that revolves around Trump’s singular personality.

Despite a chaotic and scandal-plagued tenure, President Trump has racked up a long list of conservative victories after 18 months in office.

“When are Republicans going to stand up to Trump? Never. They’re getting what they want,” said Charlie Sykes, a longtime Wisconsin-based conservative talk radio host.

“This is the agonizing dilemma for a lot of folks,” he said. “You get the tax cuts, but then of course you might have to swallow a trade war. You get federal judges, but you might also have to bite your tongue when you see attacks on the rule of law. A lot of Republicans and conservatives are really wrestling with that checkered record.”

Trump has reshaped the federal judiciary system — from his Supreme Court appointment of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch to dozens of lifetime appointments in the lower courts. He has taken a sledgehammer to Barack Obama’s environmental policies. He has appeased social conservatives with policies targeting transgender rights. He has eviscerated Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And while he is satisfying conventional Republican constituencies like business executives and evangelicals, his penchant for disrupting the status quo is appealing to a non-traditional populist base hungry for action in a capital long frozen in place by partisan divisions. In the past week alone he has blown up decades of GOP doctrine and conventional wisdom by upending decades-old trade policies, feuding with mainstay allies, and opening up direct talks with North Korea.

His record goes a long way toward explaining why Republican leaders are so often silent in the face of new Trump policies such as cozy relations with Russia and attacks on federal law enforcement. Members of Congress can read polls like anyone else: Nearly 90 percent of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing, which puts him at a higher level of support than any president has had with his own party aside from George W. Bush, whose popularity soared after the 9/11 terror attacks. Among all Americans, Trump’s approval rating has consistently climbed above 40 percent in recent weeks — low for historic standards but a resurgence for him.

Many candidates are hugging Trump tightly, running ads that feature him prominently and tout how closely aligned they are to his policies. Republican primary voters in South Carolina last week ousted an incumbent, Representative Mark Sanford, who had been critical of Trump, and in Virginia they nominated a controversial US Senate nominee, Corey Stewart, who has modeled his campaign on Trump in both substance and style.

“They’re talking about things he wants to do, especially immigration,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at the Cook Political Report who closely tracks races around the country. “The most frequent mention of something that he has done is tax cuts.”

Trump’s surge in strength highlights the stakes for Democrats in 2018. If they hope to slow him down they need to win back majorities in Congress, and there have been some troubling signs.

In Florida — the nation’s largest swing state and a key to the 2020 presidential election — some 48 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, compared with 49 percent who disapprove, according to a recent survey conducted for Politico and AARP. His numbers are even better among voters age 50 and older, which is an important factor in a state rich in reliably voting retirees.

In the US Senate race, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is running neck and neck with Republican challenger Rick Scott, who is the current governor.

“This is what keeps me up at night,” said Peter Fenn, a longtime Democratic strategist. “I’m afraid that Democrats are so upset with the abnormality of Donald Trump that they’re not focusing enough on the substance — on the policies and the programs and the damage that he’s doing to the country.”

“To pretend nothing’s getting done, or it’s just about the tax bill and North Korea — even if those are front of mind — is a mistake,” he added.

Fenn thinks Democrats need to make a stronger argument about why voters should reward them with majorities: that they could be an effective check on Trump.

“This is not a competent man in charge here. But that doesn’t make any difference,” Fenn said. “There are people, whether in the Justice Department dealing with immigration or in housing and urban development dealing with help for poor people — you’ve got ideologies in there who are undermining, in our view, clear, right policy objectives.”

In many cases, Trump has managed to impose his will on issues despite intra-party divisions that have prevented sweeping legislation from clearing Congress.

While Congress was unable to repeal Obama’s signature health care law, for instance, Trump and Republicans have devised ways to weaken it substantially. In the December 2016 tax cut bill, they ended the individual mandate requiring that virtually all Americans have health insurance. And now the Justice Department has said it will not step in legally to protect patients with pre-existing conditions hit with coverage denials or exorbitant premiums.

Longer term, there is a downside to many of Trump’s actions, and many of them are still a work in progress. Talks with North Korea, for example, show the power of Trump’s stagecraft to punch through decades of deadlock, but many Republicans worry that he is giving away too much without any firm commitments from Kim Jong Un, a ruthless dictator who has recently gone through a rapid public relations remake.

Trump’s policy successes also could be fleeting: Most of them have come through executive orders, which means they could be undone as quickly as he enacted them. Trump has issued such orders at a rate of 54 per year, a brisker pace than any other president since Jimmy Carter, according to data kept by the American Presidency Project.

Still, key members of Trump’s Cabinet have proved lethally efficient when it comes to gutting Obama-era policies.

His secretaries and administrators have slashed the size of federal parkland, rescinded fuel economy standards, opened up new offshore oil and gas drilling along US coastal waters, and authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from Canada to the United States. They have dismantled a unit of the Department of Education that investigated some for-profit schools, and have delayed rules designed to protect borrowers defrauded by predatory lenders.

“In those places where he placed very conservative people who had a clear agenda . . . there is definitely big change happening in subterranean ways,” said Daniel Gitterman, a professor of public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has studied Trump’s executive orders. “Perhaps by all the focus on dysfunction of the White House, we’re missing that he’s got some lieutenants who have a clear mission.”



54% of alien children, teens, on welfare, nearly half for adults

More than half of all non-citizen children and teens in the United States are receiving taxpayer-funded welfare, mostly Medicaid, while nearly half of all non-citizen adults legally in the country are on welfare, according to a new report.

In a just-released study of welfare use by U.S. born Americans, naturalized citizens and non-citizen aliens, the Migration Policy Institute found that of the 22 million non-citizens in the country, 10.3 million are one at least welfare program.

The report said that 54.2 percent of children and teens up to age 17 receive at least one of four major public welfare benefits while its 46.3 percent for those aged 18-54 and 47.8 for older aliens.

By comparison, 32 percent of the U.S. born population of 270 million receive some welfare. Of those, 45.8 percent are children and teens, 30 percent are aged 18-54 and 22.5 percent are age 55 and older.

The report warns that the Trump administration is considering new rules that would make it difficult for immigrants to receive a green card if they or one of their dependents are receiving Medicaid, cash welfare, food stamps or Social Security benefits.

MPI estimates that the law would have a “chilling effect” on immigration and cut welfare use by aliens significantly, likely what the Trump administration wants to hear. According to the report:

Although it is difficult to estimate precisely how many people would alter their behavior in response to the proposed change in public-chart policy, if immigrants’ use patterns were to follow those observed during the late 1990s there could be a decline of between 20 percent and 60 percent -- and that even some members of groups exempt from the new rule [e.g. refugees] would likely withdraw from pubic programs.

MPI noted that U.S. born children of non-resident immigrants could be hurt by the changes.



Small Business Optimism Through the Roof

Business optimism soars to 1980s levels. Good news for America. Good news for Trump.   

Thanks to President Donald Trump’s aggressive agenda of cutting onerous regulations coupled with the passage of the GOP tax cuts — which not a single Democrat voted for — the U.S. economy has blasted out of the eight-year doldrums that Barack Obama once labeled the “new normal.” The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) noted that, this past May, optimism among small businesses hit the second-highest level ever recorded, just shy of the record set in 1983. And who was president in 1983?

The NFIB gave credit for the optimism primarily to Republican tax reform, writing, “The new tax code is returning money to the private sector where history makes clear it will be better invested than by a government bureaucracy.” But it also pointed to Trump’s policies, noting, “Regulatory costs, as significant as taxes, are being reduced.” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg explained just how well small business is doing: “Small business owners are continuing an 18-month streak of unprecedented optimism, which is leading to more hiring and raising wages. While they continue to face challenges in hiring qualified workers, they now have more resources to commit to attracting candidates.” NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan added, “Main Street optimism is on a stratospheric trajectory thanks to recent tax cuts and regulatory changes. For years, owners have continuously signaled that when taxes and regulations ease, earnings and employee compensation increase.”

Meanwhile, Democrats and leftists can only see negatives. Nancy Pelosi continues to decry the Republican tax cuts as bad for America and pledges to roll them back if Democrats regain control of Congress. And yet, the government isn’t hurting for tax revenue — the Fed just collected a record high in individual income taxes through May. Do Democrats really believe that Americans are longing for the years of next-to-no growth in the overly regulated Obama economy?

And then there’s #Resistance leader Bill Maher, who acknowledges the fact that the economy is doing great but whose leftist desire for greater government control over the lives of citizens trumps any joy he has for the growing economy. In fact, he’d rather Americans suffer under a bad economy if it gets the Left back into power. For leftists like Pelosi and Maher, the real issue is one of power.

It would seem that Trump and Republicans have been the ones listening to Americans, while Democrats and leftists are focused solely on preaching their socialist ideology, irrespective of reality or the Constitution.



Why Kanye West and More Black Americans Are Supporting Trump

Kanye West surprised the American music scene by dropping a single, "Ye vs. The People," in which he and fellow rapper T.I. go back and forth about their political views.

Some are calling his vocal support of President Donald Trump nothing more than a publicity stunt. But even if that's true, West is bringing attention to some very important issues.

At what point did Trump become such a villain and the blame for everything and everyone's problem?

An article from Revolt TV points to over 35 positive rap references to Trump, including Jay Z, Ice Cube, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, and Meek Mill. You get my point.

FiveThirtyEight did a study on 266 hip hop songs and lyrics referencing Trump and Hillary Clinton. From 1989 until 2015, Trump was positive and represented money, power, and what many strive to achieve, including "Listen I ain't from the slums, I fought my way up out the slum / Arrogant rich n-- , we might vote for Trump," Cam'ron rapped on "Dope Spot" in 2015 .

Most references to Clinton were negative, including "Never Put Your Trust in Hillary Rodham".

Even some of the most recognized black leaders, including Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton praised Trump for his diversity efforts. Trump endorsed Jackson in his failed attempt to run for president years ago.

So something besides just ideological differences has to be going on here, right?

Is it Trump? Is it the Republican Party? Is it the policies he represents? Most people I ask give reasons that are personal, as well as what they've heard through liberal media.

In the song West said, "See that's the problem with this d- nation / All Blacks gotta be Democrats, man, we ain't made it off the plantation."

And while I wouldn't put it quite the same way, I do believe many of the policy priorities so strongly supported by the left do more to keep people poor than they do to lift them out of poverty.

According to Forbes, "Welfare offers short-term help and long-term poverty." The first failure of government welfare programs is to favor help with current consumption while placing almost no emphasis on job training or anything else that might allow today's poor people to become self-sufficient in the future.

It's hard to argue against policies that will reduce energy poverty for black and minority communities, or to defend why you dislike Betsy DeVos and K-12 education policy under this administration promoting school choice when your child attends private school.

Opportunities to pursue the American dream without worrying that an occupational license scheme will keep you from starting your own business have become a cornerstone of conservative policy, and the opportunity to receive justice under the law and take mental health into consideration is getting more and more attention every day.

These are policy priorities of the Trump administration and issues I was in favor of long before Trump became a candidate. These are issues that most African-Americans and other minorities believe in.

I rode a bike and delivered newspapers every morning from sixth through 12th grade and earned a football scholarship.

I've also been a small business owner under Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump. These and other experiences have allowed me to see life through a different lens.

For me, there's no comparison. We've been more successful as a small business and family under these Republican administrations than under the Obama administration. That's why I believe in opportunity over handouts, and empowerment over entitlements.

When it comes down to it, it's about opportunity, and that's something we should all get behind. However, like many other blacks who have spoken out in support of the Trump administration, I've been called names, lost friends, and gotten all sorts of clapback because I see things differently.

I'm a husband and father whose children are taught to respect everyone's point of view-even if you don't agree. But more and more, those who don't follow the narrow box built for us by the left are written off as crazy.

However you choose to vote, we should all be able to agree to respect each other. Just because we disagree doesn't mean we're enemies. So, do you, Kanye West! And props for speaking your truth. We should all feel comfortable doing the same.



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

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


18 June, 2018

White House Fires Back After MSNBC’s Scarborough Compares Immigration Policy to Nazis

When you have to go to the Nazis to criticize someone, unless they’re an actual anti-Semitic fascist, you can be fairly certain that you’re not exactly making a good decision. I figured this would pretty much be a given in the 2010s, but the presidency of Donald Trump has again brought to the fore the specter of the Holocaust and Nuremberg rallies.

The latest public figure to resort to the Nazis is (what a surprise) MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, who is convinced that the Trump administration’s policies on families caught immigrating illegally is something straight out of the Third Reich.

During a Friday morning rant, Scarborough went after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who has said that the administration was merely enforcing the law by detaining those caught crossing the border illegally and then putting their children into state custody after 20 days (an Obama-era regulation, it must be noted).

“It’s not the law,” Scarborough said. “This is Donald Trump’s interpretation of the law.”

Then Scarborough went into waters where even MSNBC usually won’t tread.

“I know children are being ripped from their mother’s arms, even while they’re being breast-fed. I know children are being marched away to showers, I know they’re being marched away to showers,” Scarborough said, “being told they are just like the Nazis, and said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back.

“You’d think they’d use another trick like, ‘Hey, got a slurpee room over there, we’re going to take them to get them a slurpee.’ I mean, that would be better than, ‘We’re marching them in the showers — they’ll be right back,’ and then they never come back.”

If ICE is doing this, it would probably behoove them to stop, although this information has a whiff of the Ferris Bueller 31 Flavors scene about it. Furthermore, Scarborough didn’t seem to acknowledge that the regulation stipulating that ICE can’t detain children for over 20 days came into effect under the Obama administration.

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It’s worth pointing out that this whole narrative about ICE taking children away seems to have come mostly from a tweet by a Boston Globe reporter who seems to have gotten this information third-hand

“It is appalling that Joe Scarborough would compare sworn federal law enforcement officers — who put their lives on the line every day to keep American people safe — to Nazis,” a statement from White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley read. “This is the type of inflammatory and unacceptable rhetoric that puts a target on the backs of our great law enforcement.”

“It is also horribly insulting to the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust,” the statement continued. “Not only is Scarborough’s rhetoric shameful, but his facts are categorically false.”

He also noted that there was no difference between how American citizens and illegal aliens were treated when they broke the law.

“When American citizens break the law, they are separated from their children and prosecuted,” Gidley said. “It’s unclear why Scarborough believes that illegal aliens are entitled to more rights than those afforded to American citizens.”

“While Scarborough is quick to launch into his straight-to-camera outrage over the temporary separation of illegal alien families, he has never shown similar outrage for the permanent separation of American families forever torn apart from their children, who were killed by criminal aliens as a result of Democrats’ open borders policies. If Joe Scarborough actually cared about keeping illegal alien families together, he would use his platform to support the Trump Administration’s efforts to close loopholes in federal immigration law.”

I doubt that last part will be on the agenda of “Morning Joe” anytime soon, but I would hope that Nazi comparisons won’t be, either. It’s one of the few things I can definitively say is below even Joe Scarborough and his morning retinue.

Invoking the Nazis over almost anything is a poor decision. Invoking them over ICE agents who are merely enforcing the law is beyond inappropriate.




Department of Homeland Security officials on Friday flatly denied a widely reported allegation that border authorities forcibly separated a breastfeeding baby from her mother while she was awaiting prosecution for entering the country illegally.

“We do not separate babies from adults,” a DHS official told reporters during a background briefing. “It’s a bright line.”

CNN first reported that an illegal immigrant from Honduras claimed federal authorities took her daughter while she breastfed the child at an immigration detention center in McAllen, Texas, on Tuesday. The CNN report was picked up by several national media outlets, including the Huffington Post, The Daily Beast and Vox, sparking further condemnation of the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families caught crossing the border illegally.

The CNN report did not quote the mother herself, but rather an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project who had reportedly interviewed the woman. A Customs and Border Protection spokesman denied the allegations in a statement to CNN on Wednesday.

“Nothing could be further from the truth and these allegations are unsubstantiated,” the spokesman, Carlos Diaz, told CNN in an email.

DHS officials reiterated that denial on Friday, telling reporters the claim was false and that department officials have been working to investigate the circumstances surrounding the allegation.

Also Friday, the Department of Justice confirmed that 1,995 migrant children were separated from 1,940 adults from April 19 through May 31. The adults in that group were prosecuted for illegal entry, immigration violations, and in some cases, other criminal conduct. DOJ officials did not release a breakdown of the children’s ages or the charges brought against the adults.

The family separations stem from Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting as many cases of illegal entry as possible, regardless of whether the defendant was crossing the border with children. The policy has been denounced by immigration activists and religious groups, who have called it a cruel exercise of prosecutorial authority. (RELATED: Bishop Of Tucson Calls For Canonical Penalties For Catholics Involved In Separating Families At Border)

Sessions defended the policy on Friday, arguing that the Bible chapter Romans 13 instructs Christians to “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful,” Sessions said in a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The family separation figures released Friday are for migrants who jumped the border between official ports of entry, DOJ officials said. Family units who present themselves at the ports are not separated, except in cases where border officials can’t confirm the relationship between the child and the adult, or if there is some concern about the child’s safety.



James Woods effectively mocks ‘Negative’ Nancy — in One Sentence

Nancy Pelosi has been making headlines this past week after a press conference revealed exactly how ‘anti-America’ she is.

Now deemed ‘Negative Nancy,’ she explained how record low unemployment, a booming economy, and mending relations with North Korea is not only ‘bad’ for Americans, but also just plain evil.

All positive results from the Trump camp, she turns around and spins it to be negative.

Pelosi also outright lied, saying, “The president’s reckless policies are exploding gas prices, wiping out the few meager gains that some families should have received from the GOP tax scam, as wages remain stagnant.”

This week, Actor James Woods came to his own conclusion about Negative Nancy, and we think he may be spot on…

“I’m now convinced #NancyPelosi is a GOP plant…”

If you think about it, this makes a LOT of sense. It’s truly surprising that Pelosi is allowed to serve in the House of Representatives — continuing to win reelection time and time again. Are there really that many liberals who want to see this nutjob in charge? She makes the left look bad, daily.




Alan Dershowitz slammed the legal system for allowing the jailing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, explaining on Saturday’s “Fox & Friends” that he shouldn’t be jailed based solely on an indictment.

Dershowitz, Harvard Law School professor emeritus, said, “The government says he did it, he says no he didn’t do it … Why does the government get to win without a hearing or trial?”

Dershowitz argued that it wasn’t just Manafort, and that there were thousands of Americans who are jailed based on indictments rather than trials, and he said that such action was “obnoxious to the Constitution.”

"There are thousands of people today in jail today, before they have been convicted of any crime. Many minorities, now Paul Manafort joins them based on an indictment. And indictments are not supposed to have any real impact, we still have a presumption of innocence. Under the law Manafort is no more guilty of contacting witnesses or attempting to obstruct justice than any of us. The government says he did it he says no he didn’t do it. He ‘didn’t know they were witnesses, and his conversations entirely innocent'. Why does the government get to win without a hearing or trial?"

Dershowitz said that the real problem was that Manafort was being jailed to keep up the “pressure.” He said, “Well, it’s part of pressure. If Paul Manafort weren’t part of the campaign, nobody would have ever looked into his background, his lobbying. Nobody would be monitoring and finding out whether he is calling witnesses.”

He further noted that Manafort’s actions, even if they were not entirely above board, were the natural response of anyone who was under investigation. “You know, it’s the most natural thing in the world when you are under investigation to see if maybe the witnesses should tell the truth.”

Dershowitz finally suggested that there should have first been an evidentiary hearing or what he referred to as a “mini-trial.” He explained, “[Manafort] could call witnesses. And only then do you put somebody in jail. You can get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich as the chief judge of New York once put it. Prosecutors just play with grand juries. They tell them what to do. There are 23 chairs lined up to be moved around by prosecutors. And the idea that we now put people in jail based on what a grand jury does, hearing only one side of the case… really is obnoxious to our Constitution.”



LOL. The hostility never stops

Trump opens his mouth — and spews lies. His press conference was a cavalcade of lies, mischaracterizations, and breathtakingly inappropriate statements.

No middle road there! A heading above from the Boston Globe of June 16


A great city ruined by Leftist policies

'The streets are filthy, there's trash everywhere - It's disgusting!': Tourists express shock and horror after visiting San Francisco, saying 'rampant drug use and violent crime' will keep them from ever coming back

Tourists traveling to San Francisco are shocked at the level of disarray the city is in as they complain about rampant crime and open injection drug use via the Internet.

Chances are that many of the residents living in the 'City by the Bay' have become desensitized to the worst aspects of the California community.

But for visitors looking to get a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge or snack on clam chowder at Fisherman's Wharf, the scenes can be jarring.  

'Is this normal or am I in a "bad part of town?,"' an Australian traveler recently posted to Reddit following a visit to the city, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

'Just walked past numerous homeless off their faces, screaming and running all over the sidewalk near Twitter HQ and then a murder scene. Wife is scared to leave hotel now,' the horrified Aussie added. 

Another Reddit message posted by a Canadian visitor expressed the same sentiment just days later, describing the city as 'terrifying.'

'I'd been there for probably less than a day, just wandering around the center, and already seen more than enough poverty and suffering to cause me wanting to leave desperately,' a tourist from London wrote last year.

'I saw many people talking to themselves, or to things that weren't there. Even in a Macy's, and there weren't any police officers to help them or do anything about it,' the British social media user added.

Those Reddit posts garnered a surprising reaction on the site's messaging broad, with more than 650 responses from people offering suggestions on how to stay safe and what neighborhoods to avoid.

Nearly all lamented over the fact that one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in America had fallen into such disrepute.

Even members of the city's own visitor's bureau expressed outrage over San Francisco's growing reputation as an unsafe tourist destination. 

'The streets are filthy. There's trash everywhere. It's disgusting,' Joe D'Alessandro, president of S.F. Travel, told the Chronicle earlier this year.

'I've never seen any other city like this — the homelessness, dirty streets, drug use on the streets, smash-and-grabs.' 

Kevin Carroll, executive director of the Hotel Council of San Francisco, told the paper that if something is not done soon, businesses are going to suffer from a lack of tourist dollars.

'People come into hotels saying, "What is going on out there?"' They're just shocked. People say, "I love your city, I love your restaurants, but I'll never come back.'"



African invaders sent back by Italy arrive in Spain

An Italian coast guard ship has arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia, carrying migrants rescued by the Aquarius charity-run vessel, which Rome refused to allow to dock a week ago.

The coast guard ship is one of two Italian vessels that took on some of the Aquarius's 629 passengers before escorting it to Spain, at the invitation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The ship's arrival ends the migrants' gruelling nine days at sea but leaves wide open a fierce debate in Europe over how to handle immigration.



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

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


17 June, 2018  

The rise and fall of average IQ test scores

I was just cranking up my aged brain to say something about the latest IQ findings when I found that young Oliver Moody of "The Times" has spared me the trouble.  His summary is below.  There are a  few things I would like to add, however.

Perhaps the most interesting fact to emerge is that dumb women having more babies is not a problem.  As long as I have been reading the literature on IQ, people have been worried about that.  Are all these smart ladies who think no man is good enough for them degrading the average intelligence of the human race?  Wonder of wonders, the latest research from Norway was able to rule that out. 

Various people have pointed out that the dumbest females for various reasons tend to have NO babies and a majority of high IQ females do have some babies.  And it was always hoped that those two effects would cancel one another out. And we now have grounds to believe that exactly that has happened.

A lot of interesting IQ research comes out of Norway and Sweden.  The reason is that the Scandinavian countries are very authoritarian, which leads them to keep extensive records about each individual person in their countries.  So if you can get access to government data you can base your research on the whole population, not just a sample, with all its attendant doubts and difficulties.

So what we now know with some confidence is that IQ scores rose during the first three quarters of the 20th century but then flattened out before going into a decline.  And that could clearly not be due to genetic changes.  Evolution doesn't work that fast.

So what WAS going on?  There are two major possible explanations: Computer games and education. Blaming computer games has been going on as long as there have been computer games and it is in my mind just snobbery or some such:  A convenient whipping boy for all sorts of ills.  There is actually a fair bit of evidence that games and internet exposure generally are most likely to be good rather than bad for our brains (e.g. HERE and  HERE  and  HERE)

Additionally, like Piaget, I have tended to find the kids in my care to be instructive.  My son, for instance, could load up and play his favourite computer game when he was two and he plays a lot of games to this day now he is in his 30s and works as an IT professional.  And what I saw was that game playing is normally quite social. There will usually be other kids hanging around and talking even with single-user games and some games are quite educational in themselves.  My son learnt most of his ancient history from "sims" set in that era. He learnt precious little ancient history at school.  So I personally exonerate games from being bad for most people.

So what DID go wrong?  Just one thing can account for both the rise and fall in measured IQs:  Testing.

During my schooldays in the '50s testing was all the rage.  We even did IQ tests at least once a year.  And there were heaps of in-school tests. From about grade 3 on, for instance, we would have weekly spelling tests -- in which a kid got a list of 10 words that he had to learn how to spell. Being a born academic, I always got 10 out of 10 and was regularly praised for it.  Which was a bit unfair because I put zero work into it.  I just had to see a word once to know how to spell it. I still do.

And I think that is one example of a huge difference between then and now.  Education used to be COMPETITIVE and "winners" got all the praise. And nobody apologized for that.

It seems to me that there should be no great  difficulty in arranging prizes for both ability and effort but the Left have simply closed their eyes to ability

By about 1975 or thereabouts, however, the political Left had got a vice-like grip on education worldwide.  Even in chapter  48 of my 1974 book, I noted its encroachment. And Leftists HATE competition because it clashes with their idiotic and counterfactual belief that "All men are equal".  To validate that gospel, therefore, all had to have prizes, not just one kid.  And if you believe that all men are equal, there would be no point in testing.  If the marks come out all the same, what would be the point? But the marks don't come out all the same so to avoid that reality, you just don't do testing if you can avoid it.

The rise in measured IQ scores during the first three quarters of c20 has been the cause of much discussion and the most usual explanation for it is that it was due to the steady expansion of education during that era.  More kids gradually got more education as the century wore on.  And that was highly relevant to performance on IQ tests.  All the testing you did at school made you "test-wise" and that helped you to do well on IQ tests. 

You learnt, for instance that ever useful strategy of: "If you don't know, guess". Some guesses will be right and that will raise your overall score. IQ subtests that were not facilitated by testing -- breadth of vocabulary for instance -- showed very little rise in scores.  You know what an uncommon word means or you don't. So it was environmental rather than genetic factors that explains the rise in average IQ scores -- known generally as the "Flynn" effect.

But the dominance of Leftism wiped all that. Leftists have a horror of competition so avoided testing at all costs.  So an education no longer helped you to do well on IQ tests. And as Leftism gradually tightened its grip, the education effect on IQ scores shrank and shrank.  So IQ scores declined gradually over the years.

It's consoling to note however, that the genetic contribution to IQ test score has not changed.  We are still as bright as we ever were and what we are genetically is increasingly the sole thing reflected in the IQ test scores.

The IQ scores of young people have begun to fall after rising steadily since the Second World War, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.

The decline, which is equivalent to at least seven points per generation, is thought to have started with the cohort born in 1975, who reached adulthood in the early Nineties.

Scientists say that the deterioration could be down to changes in the way maths and languages are taught, or to a shift from reading books to spending time on television and computers.

Yet it is also possible that the nature of intelligence is changing in the digital age and cannot be captured with traditional IQ tests. The turning point marks the end of a well-known but poorly understood trend known as the Flynn effect, in which average IQs have risen by about three points a decade for the past 60 or 70 years.

“This is the most convincing evidence yet of a reversal of the Flynn effect,” Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the research, said. “If you assume their model is correct, the results are impressive, and pretty worrying.”

There had been signs that IQ scores might have fallen since the turn of the millennium. Two British studies suggested that the decline was between 2.5 and 4.3 points per decade. This has not been widely accepted owing to the limited research to date. A study has now shown, however, that Norwegian men’s IQs are measurably lower today than the scores of their fathers at the same age.

Ole Rogeberg and Bernt Bratsberg, of the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Oslo, analysed the scores from a standardised IQ test of more than 730,000 men who reported for national service between 1970 and 2009. The research appears in the journal PNAS.

The vast majority of young Norwegian men are required to perform national service and take a standardised IQ test when they join up.

The results, published in the journal PNAS, show that those born in 1991 scored about five points lower than those born in 1975, and three points lower than those born in 1962.

The reasons behind the Flynn effect and its apparent reversal are disputed. Scientists have put the rise in IQ down to better teaching, nutrition, healthcare and even artificial lighting.

Some academics suggest the recent fall could be down to genetics. Their argument is, crudely, that less intelligent people have more babies, and so over time the gains are cancelled out by the spread of genes linked to low-intelligence.

Yet this theory has been scotched by the Norwegian paper. Because the decline can be observed within the same families, it is unlikely to be the result of a demographic shift.

Dr Rogeberg said it was more plausible that the changes in the way children are educated or brought up – such as less time drilling pupils in reading and mathematics – were at play.

He stressed that the findings did not necessarily mean that today’s young people were any more stupid than their parents. Instead, it may be that definitions of intelligence have yet to catch up with the skillset needed to navigate the digital era.

“Intelligence researchers make a distinction between fluid and crystallised intelligence,” he said. “Crystallised intelligence is stuff you have been taught and trained in, and fluid intelligence is your ability to see new patterns and use logic to solve novel problems.”

Classic IQ tests, with their emphasis on arithmetic and verbal reasoning, tend to favour the kind of crystallised intelligence that is fostered by a more traditional education. “If this is the underlying cause of the decline, this need not be overly worrying,” Dr Rogeberg said.

Robin Morris, professor of neuropsychology at King’s College London, said IQ scores probably had hit a ceiling in the west, but there was not yet any reason to be unduly concerned.

“I think the reverse Flynn effect is real but would urge caution about generalising based on one sample,” he said. “Probably the tailing off is a general effect in high income countries in which the contributor factors generally stabilise.”



Embarrassing backdown on Seattle's Redistribution Scheme

The city council repealed the "head tax" passed just last month to "combat homelessness."

In May, the Seattle City Council class warriors unanimously enacted a head tax — a $275 penalty for each full-time employee of a company earning annual revenue of at least $20 million. Yet in the face of stiff opposition, the council reversed course Tuesday, dropping the tax in a 7-2 vote.

Some 600 Seattle employers would have been hit by the tax, which was supposed to fund income redistribution to address the city’s homeless crisis. Amazon and Starbucks led the charge to oppose it because, obviously, the tax would destroy jobs. (It’s worth noting that homeless people are generally jobless.) Amazon even halted construction on a new office tower in downtown Seattle. While Amazon’s billionaire chief, Jeff Bezos, is no friend of Liberty, he got this one right — even if he is a hypocrite. The final straw was likely Monday’s announcement that a business-supported group called No Tax on Jobs had already gained enough signatures to challenge the tax on the November ballot.

Kshama Sawant, the socialist council member who pushed the tax in the first place, lamented, “I have a news flash for council members who capitulated to this in lightning speed: This was never going to be easy in the face of mass corporate misinformation. It’s a complete betrayal of working people.” Actually, the real economic fact is that repeal will save a lot of Seattle jobs.

Mayor Jenny Durkan and the members of the council who reversed course didn’t exactly admit they were wrong, though. “It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis,” their statement said. “We heard you … [and will] repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”

In other words, you selfish jerks are ruining our redistribution scheme. But don’t worry; Seattle’s socialists will come up with another plan to confiscate money.



MSNBC’s Andrew Mitchell Demands Christianity Be Removed from Politics

It’s funny when they just come out and say it.

For traditional Americans, the left’s vitriolic hatred of Christianity has been known for some time. Whether it’s taking prayer out of school or shaming public displays of faith, liberals try to vanquish Christian teaching from the public square.

This was apparent recently when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Christian baker who refused to design and bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage ceremony. Rather than allow a faithful baker to live out his faith in his profession, the left insisted that he hide his Christianity, only bringing it out in private moments. (RELATED: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Religious Liberty Case).

Now we have yet another example of the anti-Christian bias so frequent on the left. Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked the biblical passage of Romans 13 to justify his enforcement of federal law. In the verse, the apostle Paul urges Christian adherents to obey the law of whichever country they happen to be living in. The left, of course, wasn’t having it. (RELATED: WaPo Compares Sessions to ‘Slaveholders’ After He Quotes Bible Passage Related To Immigration Policy).

Andrea Mitchell, one of MSNBC’s top reporters, chastised Sessions, saying she didn’t think Christianity had a place in our public policy:

Conservative writer Erick Erickson shot back at Michell for her remark, reminding her that plenty of American thinkers have invoked Scripture to help shape laws:

Mitchell replied, saying that strict immigration laws violate the ethics of the New Testament:

Just a reminder: Andrea Mitchell is greatly admired by Hillary Clinton, and if one wants to speculate, probably her favorite reporter.

Mitchell couldn’t be more wrong, of course. The American system of government was designed by our founding fathers who were faithful. John Adams famously wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Denying the role religious texts play in our government is to deny the very foundation of America itself, which was founded upon enlightenment principles mixed with a reverence towards “nature’s God.”

That doesn’t make America a theocracy, as so many liberals contend. Rather, it acknowledges the truth of our founding and the beneficial role religion can play in the public square.

Mitchell’s comment is insulting because it implies that someone of religious conviction can’t help craft public policy as an elected official. Would she say the same thing about a Muslim or Jewish lawmaker who cites the Quran or the Torah?



Chaos in California: Sanctuary policies prompt release of manslaughter, rape convicts

Deportation officers arrested 162 people in the Los Angeles area this week in a new action aimed at one of the country’s most notorious sanctuary city areas.

Nearly a third of those arrested had been in local custody before but were released under sanctuary policies, said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One of those had served time for voluntary manslaughter, while another had been convicted of assault with intent to rape. Both were released despite active ICE detainer requests, the agency said.

ICE says that when local police won’t cooperate, deportation officers are forced to go out into communities to try to get their targets — and that means they’ll end up arresting more rank-and-file illegal immigrants who weren’t targets, too.

It’s also more dangerous for all involved, said David Marin, director of the deportation office for Los Angeles — though he said it’s necessary.

“We will continue to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests to ensure the safety of the law-abiding citizens of our Southland communities,” he said.



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

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


15 June, 2018

The "Trump Doctrine" for the Middle East

Trump has shown the strength of the United States and restored its credibility in a region where strength and force determine credibility

After three successive American Presidents had used a six-month waiver to defer moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem for more than two decades, President Donald J. Trump decided not to wait any longer. On December 7, 2017, he declared that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; the official embassy transfer took place on May 14th, the day of Israel's 70th anniversary.

From the moment of Trump's declaration, leaders of the Muslim world expressed anger and announced major trouble. An Islamic summit conference was convened in Istanbul a week later, and ended with statements about a "crime against Palestine". Western European leaders followed suit. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said that President Trump's decision was a "serious mistake" and could have huge "consequences". French President Emmanuel Macron, going further, declared that the decision could provoke a "war".

Despite these ominous predictions, trouble remained largely absent. The Istanbul statement remained a statement. The "war" anticipated by Macron did not break out.

The Islamic terrorist organization Hamas sent masses of rioters from Gaza to tear down Israel's border fence and cross over, to force Israeli soldiers to fire, thereby allowing Hamas to have bodies of "martyrs" to show to the cameras. So far, Hamas has sent 62 of its own people to their death. Fifty of them were, by Hamas's own admission, members of Hamas.

Palestinian terrorist groups fired rockets into southern Israel; Israeli jets retaliated with airstrikes. Hamas sent kites, attached to incendiary devices and explosives, over the border to Israel. So far, 200 of the fire-kites that Hamas sent have destroyed 6,200 acres of Israeli forests and farmland.

Pundits who predicted more violent reactions have been surprised by the relatively quiet reaction of the Palestinian and Muslim communities. The reason might be called the "Trump Doctrine for the Middle East".

One element of it consisted of crushing the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. President Trump had promised quickly to clear the world of what had become a main backbone of Islamic terrorism. He kept his promise in less than a year, and without a massive deployment of American troops. Trump has shown the strength of the United States and restored its credibility in a region where strength and force determine credibility.

Another element of it was put in place during President Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2017. President Trump renewed ties which had seriously deteriorated during the previous 8 years. Trump more broadly laid the foundation for a new alliance of the United States with the Sunni Arab world, but he put two conditions on it: a cessation of all Sunni Arab support for Islamic terrorism and an openness to the prospect of a regional peace that included Israel.

Both conditions are being gradually fulfilled. In June 2017, Saudi Arabia's King Salman chose his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as heir to the throne. MBS started an internal revolution to impose new directions on the kingdom. The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, created on December 15, 2015, was endorsed by the United States; it held its inaugural meeting on November 26, 2017. In addition, links between Israeli and Saudi security services were strengthened and coordination between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries intensified.

An alliance between Israel and the main countries of the Sunni Arab world to contain Iran also slowly and unofficially began taking shape. MBS, calling called Hamas a terrorist organization, saying that it must "be destroyed". He told representatives of Jewish organizations in New York that Palestinian leaders need to "take the [American] proposals or shut up."

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas was summoned to Riyadh twice -- in November and December 2017; and it appears he was "asked" to keep quiet. Never has the distance between Palestinian organizations, and Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Arab world, seemed so far. The only Sunni Arab country to have maintained ties with Hamas is Qatar, but the current Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, has been under pressure to change his stance.

Immediately after President Trump left Riyadh, a third element emerged. The US presidential plane went directly from Riyadh to in Israel: for the first time, a direct flight between Saudi Arabia and Israel took place. President Trump went to Jerusalem, where he became the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall, the only historical remains of a retaining wall from the ancient Temple of King Solomon. During his campaign, Trump had referred to Jerusalem as "the eternal capital of the Jewish people", implicitly acknowledging that the Jews have had their roots there for 3,000 years.

After his visit to the Wall, President Trump went to Bethlehem and told Mahmoud Abbas what no American President had ever said: that Abbas is a liar and that he is personally responsible for the incitement to violence and terror. In the days that followed, the US Congress demanded that the Palestinian Authority renounce incentivizing terrorism by paying cash to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks. President Trump's Middle East negotiators, Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt made it clear to Palestinian leaders that US aid to the Palestinian Authority could end if the US demand was not met. Nikki Haley told the United Nations that the US could stop funding UNWRA if Palestinian leaders refused to negotiate and accept what the US is asking for. Since it was founded in 1994, the Palestinian Authority has never been subjected to such intense American pressure.

The fourth element was President Trump's decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal. President Trump immediately announced he would restore "the harshest, strongest, most stringent sanctions" to suffocate the mullahs' regime. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has since presented to Iran a list of 12 "basic requirements" for a new agreement.

President Trump's decision came in a context where the Iran regime has just suffered a series of heavy blows: the Israeli Mossad's seizure in Tehran of highly confidential documents showing that Iran has not ceased to lie about its nuclear program; the revelation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Mossad operation, and the Israeli army's decisive response to an Iranian rocket barrage launched from Syrian territory. By it, Israel showed its determination not to allow Russia to support Iran when Iran uses its bases to attack Israel.

Netanyahu was invited by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Moscow on May 9 to commemorate the Soviet victory over Germany in 1945; during that visit, Putin seems to have promised Netanyahu neutrality if Israel were attacked by Iranian forces in Syria. Putin, eager to preserve his Russian bases in Syria, clearly views Israel as a force for stability in the Middle East and Iran as a force for instability -- too big a risk for Russian support.

In recent months, the Iranian regime has become, along with Erdogan's Turkey, one of the main financial supporters of the "Palestinian cause" and Hamas's main backer. It seems that Iran asked Hamas to organize the marches and riots along the Gaza-Israel border. When the violence from Gaza became more intense, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was summoned to Cairo by Egypt's intelligence chief, who told him that if violence does not stop, the Israel military would carry out drastic actions, and Egypt would be silent. It could become difficult for Iran to incite Palestinian organizations to widespread violence in the near future.

It could become extremely difficult for Iran to continue financially to support the "Palestinian cause" in the coming months. It could soon become financially unbearable for Iran to maintain its presence in Syria and provide sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah. Turkish President Erdogan speaks loudly, but he seems to know what lines not to cross.

Protests in Iran have become less intense since January, but the discontent and frustrations of the population persist and could get worse.

The Trump administration undoubtedly realizes that the Iranian regime will not accept the requirements presented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and that the harsh new sanctions might lead to new major uprisings in Iran, and the fall of the regime. Ambassador John Bolton, now National Security Advisor, mentioned in January that the "strategic interest of the United States" is to see the regime overthrown.

Referring recently to the situation in the Middle East and the need to achieve peace, Pompeo spoke of the "Palestinians", not of the Palestinian Authority, as in Iran, possibly to emphasize the distinction between the people and their leadership, and that the leadership in both situations, may no longer be part of the solution. Hamas, for the US, is clearly not part of any solution.

No one knows exactly what the peace plan to be presented by the Trump administration will contain, but it seems certain that it will not include the "right of return" of so-called "Palestinian refugees" and will not propose East Jerusalem as the "capital of a Palestinian state". The plan will no doubt be rejected by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas; it already has been, sight unseen.

Netanyahu rightly said that Palestinian leaders, whoever they may be, do not want peace with Israel, but "peace without Israel". What instead could take place would be peace without the Palestinian leaders. What could also take place would be peace without the Iran's mullahs.

It should be noted that on December 7, 2017, when Donald Trump announced the transfer of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem, the leaders of the Muslim world who protested were mostly Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Hassan Rouhani. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman did not send representatives to the Islamic summit conference in Istanbul. When the US embassy in Jerusalem opened its doors on May 14, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf emirates were quiet.

On that day, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron repeated what they had said on December 7, 2017: that the embassies of Germany and France in Israel would remain in Tel Aviv. Macron condemned the "heinous acts" committed by the Israeli military on the Gaza border but not aggression of Hamas in urging its people, and even paying them, to storm Gaza's border with Israel.

If current trends continue, Macron and Merkel could be among the last supporters of the "Palestinian cause." They sound as if they will do just about anything to save the corrupt Palestinian Authority.

They are also doing everything to save the moribund Iran "nuclear deal," and are deferential to the mullahs' regime. During a European summit held in Sofia, Bulgaria, on May 16, the Trump administration was harshly criticized by the European heads of state who argued that Europe will "find a way around" US sanctions and "resist" President Trump. European companies are already leaving Iran in droves, evidently convinced that they will be better off cutting their losses and keeping good relations with the United States.

On June 3-5, Benjamin Netanyahu went to Europe to try to persuade Merkel, Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May to give up backing the Iran nuclear deal. He failed, predictably, but at least had the opportunity to explain the Iranian danger to Europeans and the need to act.

As Iran's nuclear ties to North Korea have intensified in the last two years -- Iran seems to have relied on North Korea to advance its own nuclear projects -- the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula that might have begun with the Donald Trump-Kim Jong-Un meeting in Singapore on June 12, clearly will not strengthen the Iranian position.

European leaders seem not to want to see that a page is turning in the Middle East. They seem not to want to see that, regardless of their mercenary immorality, of their behavior staying on the page of yesterday, is only preventing them from understanding the future.



Trump Crackdown on Illegals May Force Dems' Hand

AG Sessions is leading a new charge of border enforcement and tackling visa overstays.

Starting around January 2017, America saw a massive drop in illegal border crossings, primarily due to candidate Donald Trump’s tough rhetoric discouraging it, but also due to increased border enforcement.

However, in recent months, illegal border crossings are on the rise. As reported by The Washington Post, “U.S. border agents made more than 50,000 arrests in May for the third month in a row.” The anti-Trump paper then informs us that’s “an indication that escalating enforcement tactics by the Trump administration … [have] not had an immediate deterrent effect.”

However, it takes no leap of logic to discern this increase is due in no small part to efforts by Democrats to undermine America’s immigration laws and national security. Democrat-run cities claim “sanctuary city” status, actively undermining federal immigration law to the detriment of the safety and security of American citizens. Prospective immigrants know they only need to get to one of those cities.

Look no further than a recent video of the mayor of Philadelphia literally dancing a jig in celebration of a federal court ruling preventing the Trump administration from withholding grants to the city due to its protection of illegal aliens. One can assume the families of Philadelphians killed, raped or assaulted by illegal aliens in the city were less celebratory.

The Trump administration has shown its determination to secure the border and crack down on illegal aliens. That’s good news when 90% of those arrested for crimes already have criminal convictions. While Democrats have managed thus far to thwart efforts to build a border wall, President Trump is making full use of his executive powers in other areas.

In a recent interview, Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to a report on illegal alien crime statistics by arguing, “The illegal immigrant crime rate in this country should be zero. Every crime committed by an illegal alien is, by definition, a crime that should have been prevented. It is outrageous that tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year because of the drugs and violence brought over our borders illegally and that taxpayers have been forced, year after year, to pay millions of dollars to incarcerate tens of thousands of illegal aliens. … Today’s report is yet another reminder that we must continue this [zero tolerance] policy and help fulfill President Trump’s goals of restoring lawfulness to our immigration system and ensure that immigration serves the good of this country.”

AG Sessions has announced a renewed push to shut down the flow of illegal aliens on multiple fronts.

One is a narrowing of the criteria under which an alien can qualify for asylum. In a 31-page document issued Monday, Sessions declared, “Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.” He further noted, “The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.” Asylum is still possible under these circumstances, but it’s not guaranteed.

While Democrats decry this as a draconian action, the addition of domestic and gang violence as qualifying asylum criteria is new, only added in 2014.

Democrats were embarrassed recently when a tweet by former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau went viral, then backfired. The post showed pictures of illegal alien children sleeping in an ICE detention cell. Favreau blasted the practice of separating children from parents, blaming Trump. As it turns out, the picture was from 2014, during the Obama presidency.

Sessions addressed this issue specifically, noting that if parents do not want to be separated from their children, they should not attempt to cross the border illegally, and if they do attempt it, then the blame lies with the parents, not the U.S. government, which has a right to protect its territorial sovereignty and its citizens.

Sessions declared, “If you cross the border unlawfully … we will prosecute you. … If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we’ll prosecute you. … If you’re smuggling a child, then we’re going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally.” Whatever one thinks of this policy, Sessions clearly intends to deter people from attempting illegal crossings in the first place.

The Trump Justice Department has also announced a crackdown on visa overstayers, who make up nearly half of all illegals in the U.S., and those who gained U.S. citizenship by fraudulent means.

Lamentations by Democrats are cynical and duplicitous. Democrats, at least among leadership, care little about the plight of minority aliens beyond their usefulness as a political wedge issue to damage Republicans.

This was evident from the fact they did nothing on the issue in 2009 and 2010 when they had supermajorities in the House and Senate. It was also evident this year when President Trump offered amnesty for three times as many aliens as had qualified under Obama’s unconstitutional DACA program, in exchange for securing the border and ending chain migration and the visa lottery. Democrats refused. It was evident when Democrats shockingly defended the brutal, murderous Central American gang MS-13, which Trump called “animals.”

While Sessions has been the hard-liner and Trump firm but willing to negotiate, this may be a bit of good cop/bad cop. Democrats are recalcitrant when it comes to securing the border and protecting American citizens, but with significant new pressure brought to bear by Sessions, Democrats may be forced to come to the table.



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

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


14 June, 2018  

Trump critic loses GOP primary, after Trump endorses his opponent

The Trump brand on the GOP is now overwhelming

Over more than two decades, South Carolina voters forgave U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford for his quirkiness, his infidelity and his lies. But they could not forgive him for his criticism of President Donald Trump.

Sanford lost his first election ever Tuesday, beaten for the Republican nomination for another term in the coastal 1st District around Charleston by state Rep. Katie Arrington.

Less than three hours before the polls closed, Trump endorsed Arrington on his Twitter account with an especially personal shot at Sanford.

"Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina," the president wrote, referring to Sanford's trip to South America in 2009 to have an affair while his unknowing staff in the governor's office told reporters he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Sanford survived that public confession to the affair to win two more terms to the U.S. House. But Arrington made an issue of his criticism of the president, calling him a "Never Trumper."

One of her ads got personal too, saying "it's time for Mark Sanford to take a hike — for real this time."

After declaring victory Tuesday, Arrington asked Republicans to come together. And she reminded them who she thinks leads them: "We are the party of President Donald J. Trump."

Sanford won three terms for U.S. House in the 1990s, then two four-year terms as governor before the affair marred the end of his second term. He returned in 2013 and won a special election to his old U.S. House seat, holding on twice more.

Throughout his political career, Sanford has played up his outsider credentials — both in the U.S. House, where he supported a box to check on federal tax returns to put $3 toward the national debt, and as governor, bringing a pair of squealing pigs to the state House and Senate chamber to protest what he call pork spending.

But Arrington, who works for a defense contractor, has exploited that trait, pointing out Sanford's call for Trump to release his tax returns, his vote against Trump's border wall proposal, and his calling proposed tariffs on alumni and steel "an experiment with stupidity."

Sanford responded that he speaks his mind regardless of party and said he has shown over two decades he is a true conservative. In his remarks Tuesday night, he said: "I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president."

Then there was the Twitter post just after 4 p.m. Tuesday. After attacking Sanford, the president backed Arrington.

"I fully endorse Katie Arrington for Congress in SC, a state I love. She is tough on crime and will continue our fight to lower taxes. VOTE Katie!"

Sanford is a second U.S. House member from the South attacked by a challenger for criticizing Trump. In Alabama, U.S. Rep. Martha Roby is in a July 17 runoff against former congressman Bobby Bright. Roby said two years ago that Trump's 2005 lewd comments about women, captured on an "Access Hollywood" microphone, made him "unacceptable as a candidate for president."

Arrington will take on Joe Cunningham, a construction lawyer and yoga studio owner who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday.

The district, which includes Charleston and the southern coast, has not elected a Democrat since 1978.



Time for Trump’s Choice, Not Obama’s, to Head America’s Global Broadcast Operations

If war is the continuation of diplomacy by other means, public diplomacy is a theater where states use ideas instead of ordnance.

But in this important battlefield, the U.S. is not currently fighting with generals chosen by the commander in chief elected by the American people in 2016. The ideas are still being shaped by officials picked by President Barack Obama, not President Donald Trump.

All of this may be about to change now that the White House has announced its intention to nominate Michael Pack to replace Obama appointee John Lansing as head of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency in charge of broadcasting operations in support of freedom around the world.

Pack, a documentary filmmaker, is a former executive with the liberal Corporation for Public Broadcasting and former president of the high-brow conservative Claremont Institute.

But don’t expect “The Resistance” to take Pack’s nomination lying down. Like those World War II Japanese soldiers who held out in Filipino jungles until well into the 1970s, that hardy band of stalwarts continues to refuse to acknowledge Trump’s victory.

The administration must stick to its guns as it steers Pack through the usual traps, most importantly confirmation hearings by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, headed by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

For close to a decade now, diplomacy—including the public kind—has been used to promote liberal causes and lifestyles on which the American polity has not yet reached consensus. This use of taxpayer money does not serve U.S. national interests and must stop.

Lansing, a former president of Scripps Network, is one of the key officials who has been shaping public diplomacy during the 500 days of the Trump presidency. Another is Amanda Bennett, head of the Voice of America and also an Obama holdover.

Once confirmed by the Senate, Pack would be expected to sack Bennett, a veteran print journalist, and replace her with someone else in short order.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, with an annual budget of $684 million, oversees not just the Voice of America but other government-financed broadcasters such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Radio and TV Marti, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. They’ve all come under criticism for continuing to promote Obama’s policies and worldview.

Take Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. An independent study carried out under the auspices of the American Foreign Policy Council late last year found that Radio Farda’s broadcasts to Iran made no effort to describe the detrimental effects of the Iran nuclear deal signed by Obama but recently abandoned by Trump.

“Simply put, Iranians were told in detail that the Obama White House supported the agreement, and why. They have not been afforded the same explanations of current administration policy,” the study said.

Voice of America, meanwhile, has run stories undermining the Trump administration’s pro-life and immigration policies, and touting same-sex marriage.

The idea that the estimated worldwide audience of 175 million being reached by U.S. international broadcasting might be lost to liberalism’s message is enough to give some people the vapors.

Which apparently explains why the media hits on Pack keep piling on. An immediate one after the announcement of his nomination came from Hadas Gold, who wrote on CNN’s website that Pack is an ally of Steve Bannon,  Trump’s former chief strategist. The article noted “concern over Pack’s nomination” from “several sources” who supposedly fear that Pack would turn the Voice of America “toward a decidedly more pro-Trump bent.”

“Several staffers at the BBG [Broadcast Board of Governors] have told CNN they plan to leave if Pack is confirmed,” wrote Gold, as if this were somehow a disincentive to the White House to do anything but double down on Pack.

The more staid Foreign Policy magazine followed Monday by describing Pack as a “close ally” of Bannon and wrote that “critics have raised alarm bells over the proposed appointment.”

Both these reports, and others, point out that, under congressional changes Obama signed into law in his last year in office, the governing board would be turned into a less powerful advisory board, giving more power to its new CEO.

Underlying the angst over Trump’s using his power as president to name the heads of agencies is the canard that Lansing and his predecessors have been “more mainstream newsroom leaders” (in the words of Gold) than Pack.

That is somehow hard to square, unless one truly believes that Scripps is more “mainstream” than the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Claremont Institute. More likely, “mainstream” just basically means “liberal” and Gold basically has substantiated the charge of conservatives who derisively use both words interchangeably.

There’s also the “Bannon ally” charge, shrouded as it is in all manner of innuendo. It seems to be based on the fact that Pack has worked on two documentaries with Bannon (two, in a 35-year career), and that last year Pack wrote this essay for The Federalist that mentioned Bannon.

One of the documentaries dealt with the two biggest battles of the Iraq War, Fallujah and Najaf, and the other with Adm. Hyman Rickover, a Jewish immigrant who was the father of the nuclear submarine. Hardly pitchfork populism, in other words.

Pack’s March 2017 article in The Federalist began by noting of Bannon: “Now that there is a documentarian in the White House, perhaps conservative documentaries can earn some respect—and a revival.”

Most of the article, however, was an accurate precis of how budding American documentary filmmakers are cultivated from university on through channels for distribution, credentialing, networking, and awarding so that they become leftists.

The process, Pack wrote, produces documentaries that “view American history and society solely through the lens of race, class, and gender.” Viewers and the nation, he averred, “would be better served by a diversity of views.”

Providing diversity to that 175 million-strong audience is why you are likely to hear more criticism of Pack. The administration better hang tough.



Brent Bozell: The Entitled 'Comedy' Elites

What is it about our entertainment elites that makes them think they are so much wiser than everyone else? Why do they seem to think that comedians like Samantha Bee and Donald Trump impersonators like Alec Baldwin are going to save America with their rants?

The arrogance of the late-night "comedians" overflowed when Bee called Ivanka Trump a "feckless c—-." See how Bee's old boss Jon Stewart came rushing to her defense: "You could not find a kinder, smarter, more lovely individual than Samantha Bee. Trust me; if she called someone a ..." (Translation: The person deserve it.)

How hard would it be to find someone kinder and smarter than Bee? Most Americans could do it in 10 seconds. But that's how the vile entertainers stand up for one another. They are the true elites, engorged with self-absorption and disdainful of anyone who misses the point that they are the witty conscience of the country. Standards? They have none. They are above them. Thus, they viciously carve up conservatives in a way they would never dream of talking about their liberal heroes. (Rewind to Bee hugging Hillary Clinton and crying out, "It should have been you!")

Bee's arrogance was self-evident in her lame "apology" that began with a sarcastic "Sorry for breaking America." She shot back at critics: "Look, if you are worried about the death of civility, don't sweat it. I'm a comedian. People who hone their voices in basement bars while yelling back at drunk hecklers are definitely not paragons of civility. ... Civility is just nice words. Maybe we should all worry a little bit more about the niceness of our actions."

"(D)on't sweat it. I'm a comedian" is a Get Out of Jail Free card. They can compare conservatives to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Osama bin Laden and Satan, but if you think that's too rough, "I'm a comedian." They can pretend to be policy wonks, and when their "facts" crumble, "I'm a comedian." They can make "jokes" about beheading the president, and that's not vicious ... when done by a comedian.

"Entertainers" like Bee should not have a platform to spew hateful, sexist slurs. Just like Kathy Griffin, she only apologized for her own selfish interest. As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League put it: "A comedian has no more right to obscenely insult people than a cop has a right to randomly beat a person up. Neither should be allowed to take cover hiding behind his status."

Liberals have argued that not only did Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump deserve to be "called out" for their inhumanity but also every vile insult of Donald Trump's family is somehow his doing. A columnist for the Washington Post even held Trump responsible for America's declining birthrate. (Liberals won't bring children into Trump's world.)

What responsibility do they think they bear for our discourse? In 2006, Baldwin wrote in the Huffington Post that then-Vice President Dick Cheney is a "terrorist" and a "lying, thieving Oil Whore. Or, a murderer of the US Constitution." In 2010, Stewart welcomed now-infamous accused sexual harasser Louis C.K. to "The Daily Show" and let him proclaim, "I was going to say that the Pope f—— boys, and I didn't have time." In 2012, Bill Maher welcomed former Gov. Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy by calling her the C-word and a "dumb twat."

Search for any condemnation from Tinseltown.

People like Bee and Maher mistake their rage-filled rants for humor and mistake their emotional contempt for conservative politicians for expertise. Most of all, these deluded leftists can't see how their vicious hot air is the wind beneath Trump's wings.



56 Lawmakers Ask HHS Probe of Planned Parenthood’s Response to Child Sexual Abuse

A group of 56 lawmakers led by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., is urging federal officials to investigate the extent to which Planned Parenthood fails to report suspected sexual abuse of minors.

In a letter Thursday to the Department of Health and Human Services, Hartzler and 55 other Republicans ask the agency to probe whether Planned Parenthood, as a recipient of federal Title X funds, “failed in its duty to report suspected child abuse to local authorities and to HHS.”

Hartzler and other signers announced the formal request of an investigation in a press conference Thursday morning at the Capitol.

Their letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar comes less than a week after the pro-life group Live Action released a report alleging Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, covered up evidence of child sexual abuse.

Among the signers are two senators—Joni Ernst of Iowa and James Lankford of Oklahoma. Besides Hartzler, the 53 members of the House requesting the probe include Chris Smith of New Jersey, Mark Walker of North Carolina, and Diane Black of Tennessee.

The Daily Signal previously reported that the Live Action study, “Aiding Abusers: Planned Parenthood’s Cover-Up of Child Sexual Abuse,” alleges that Planned Parenthood has been caught on multiple occasions providing abortions to victims of sexual abuse as young as 12 and 13, failing to report suspected sexual abuse to authorities, and sending victims back to their abusers.

The report singles out situations where it says abusers forced minors to get an abortion because they had become pregnant after rape and sexual abuse, while Planned Parenthood looked the other way.

Title X is a federal grant program for preventive and family planning health services.

In their letter, the lawmakers ask that Health and Human Services specifically investigate and make available:

All records (including from regional offices) regarding any and all incidents of Planned Parenthood Title X recipients’ failure to report suspected sexual abuse of minors in their care;

A record of the steps taken to bring the recipient into compliance each time it was discovered that a Planned Parenthood Title X recipient failed to report suspected abuse, and documentation of the consequences for each recipient that refused to come into compliance; and

Data from Planned Parenthood Title X facilities for the past 10 years showing in the aggregate how many children below their particular states’ age of consent received services that would indicate they were sexually active … as well as the number of reports of suspected child sexual abuse Planned Parenthood made to law enforcement during that same period.

Although a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood declined to comment on the lawmakers’ letter, she referred The Daily Signal to background materials in which media and other critics characterize Live Action’s video report as deceptive, heavily edited, and untrue.

President Donald Trump’s administration released text May 22 for a proposed rule that would force abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood to choose between federal funding and performing abortions under the same roof as other programs.

Conservative lawmakers have sought unsuccessfully to end taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood. The abortion giant, which received a total of $543.7 million in taxpayer dollars in 2016, contends that none of that money goes toward abortions.

Hartzler and the other signers of the letter to Azar write that Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million a year in Title X funds from taxpayers. It is the country’s largest recipient of the federal family planning funds, they say, and should not be aiding perpetrators of sexual abuse.

“In light of this [Live Action] report and the influx of federal resources to this organization,” the lawmakers write, “we respectfully request that you investigate Planned Parenthood, as well as other current Title X recipients, to determine how widespread the failure of abuse reporting is.”

In an email Thursday night to The Daily Signal, HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley wrote: “We have received the letter and will respond.”



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

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


13 June, 2018  

We were suckered!

My favorite picture was not so telling after all.

The picture below was taken just a couple of seconds after that great picture of Trump looking into space

Everybody is laughing above.  She was apparently telling a joke.

At least Trump was still the centre of attention.


Wow: Supreme Court Delivers Huge Ruling On Dem Governor’s Order Giving Felons Voting Rights

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order restoring the “right to vote” of more than 200,000 felons was illegal and unconstitutional.

According to Fox News, Virginia’s highest court ruled on Friday that the Democrat governor overstepped his authority and should not have allowed tens of thousands of felons the right to vote.

In a 4-3 decision, the high court ordered the state to cancel the registration of roughly 11,300 felons who signed up to vote after McAuliffe’s April 2016 executive order. His ruling allowed many felons to vote in the 2016 presidential election, which happened to be a state Hillary Clinton won.

McAuliffe, a top ally to Clinton who campaigned with her in the 2016 presidential election, came under fire last month when an admitted pedophile and convicted felon announced that he would be running for state office. The felon was legally eligible to run for public office because of McAuliffe’s order.



Study: Immigration Costs GOP 5 States, 11 House Seats

Business donors’ demands for mass immigration have cost the GOP five states in presidential elections and 11 House seats in congressional elections, according to a new study by pro-immigration economists.

“In House elections, 11 congressional districts and 5 states in presidential elections switched to a Democrat majority” between 1990 and 2010, says the April 2018 study, titled “The Political Impact of Immigration.”

“No state and no congressional district switched from a Democrat majority to a Republican majority as a consequence of immigration,” said the report, authored by pro-migration economist Giovanni Peri, Anna Maria Mayda, a Georgetown University professor now at the U.S. State Department, and Walter Steingress, an economist at the Bank of Canada.

“If the study’s results are correct, it is very difficult to imagine the Republican Party will remain viable nationally if immigration continues at the current level,” said Steve Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies. Currently, the federal government welcomes one legal immigrant for every four Americans who turn 18 as it tries to spur business activity via mass immigration.

The study comes out as business lobbyists use a group of almost 25 GOP legislators to push GOP leaders in the House towards another huge no-strings amnesty for more than 2 million young ‘DACA’ illegals.

The GOP leaders — led by House Speaker Paul Ryan — are signaling their support for the amnesty and their opposition to an immigration compromise developed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte. Very few of the ‘DACA’ migrants are likely to vote Republican, and they are likely to bring in several million additional chain-migration relatives to vote for Democratic Party candidates by 2040. But Ryan has long been an advocate of greater immigration and he opposed the 1994 effort to curb illegal immigration in California via Prop. 187. California was once dominated by the middle-class voters, but is now dominated by a high/low alliance of wealthy progressive leaders and many low-wage voters, leaving the GOP powerless.

The study also argues that high-skill migrants — including the roughly 1.5 million white-collar guest-workers in the United States — push GOP-leaning college graduates to vote for the Democratic Party. The GOP’s loss of college-grad votes exceeds the GOP’s gain in blue-collar voters, says the report:

Our strongest and most significant finding is that an increase in high-skilled immigrants as a share of the local population is associated with a strong and significant decrease in the vote share for the Republican Party …

The first is Gwinnet County in Georgia, which saw its share of immigrants increase by 26 percentage points over 20 years. Immigration was mainly high-skilled (two-thirds of immigrants were high-skilled). In addition, the native population in 1980 was rather skilled. The county is part of a commuting zone that ranks at the 26th percentile of the unskilled-to-skilled distribution of natives in 1980.16 According to the coefficients in Table 7, column 1, the implied decrease in the Republican vote share is 10.2 percentage points …

The immigration patterns have also polarized the United States by geography, the report says:

It increased political polarization in the United States. Large urban areas, already exhibiting a Democratic majority, are those where the pro-Democrat effect of immigrants was stronger, but those counties were already leaning Democrat before. Similarly, the effect of new immigrants increased the Republican vote share in some less-urban and low-skilled counties that already exhibited a Republican majority in 1990.

This fall, President Donald Trump may test the study’s claim that high-skill immigration reduces the GOP’s vote share among college graduates.

His deputies are planning to reform of the H-1B program, which has ceded a huge slice of the U.S. information-technology sector to lower-wage guest-workers and immigrants from India. The program — which now keeps a population of at least 460,000 non-immigrant foreign graduates in U.S. professional jobs — would be reformed and shrunk by narrowing the law’s definition of “specialty occupations,” according to the deputies’ planning document provided to Breitbart News.

Unlike prior GOP leaders, Trump has periodically blasted and praised the H-1B program. In March 2016, f0r example, Trump issued a statement saying:

 The H-1B program is neither high-skilled nor immigration: these are temporary foreign workers, imported from abroad, for the explicit purpose of substituting for American workers at lower pay. I remain totally committed to eliminating rampant, widespread H-1B abuse and ending outrageous practices such as those that occurred at Disney in Florida when Americans were forced to train their foreign replacements. I will end forever the use of the H-1B as a cheap labor program, and institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program. No exceptions.

If Trump promotes the planned H-1B reform, he would be effectively promising to raise salaries for white-collar voters, giving college-graduate Americans a pocketbook incentive to vote against the Democrats’ policy of encouraging immigration.

Amid the economic boom, white-collar wages have remained almost flat, according to Korn Ferry, a recruitment agency. The agency reported May 14 that:

while the job market is at the hottest it’s been this century, salaries for newly minted college graduates are virtually flat [in 2018] from 2017.

In the study, researchers analyzed salaries of 310,000 entry-level positions from nearly 1,000 organizations across the United States. Based on the analysis, 2018 college grads in the United States will make on average $50,390 annually. That is 2.8 percent more than the 2017 average ($49,000).

“With the 2018 U.S. inflation rate hovering just over 2 percent, real wages for this year’s grads are virtually flat,” said Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner Maryam Morse. “

But Trump only “flirts with” urging CEOs to raise white-collar and blue-collar wages, said Camarota. “For reasons that make no sense to me, he can’t bring himself to say ‘Higher wages and a tight labor market are my goal.'”

Polls suggest the H-1B program is very unpopular. An August 2017 poll reported that 68 percent of Americans oppose companies’ use of H-1Bs to outsource U.S.-based jobs that could be held by Americans.

Amnesty advocates rely on business-funded “Nation of Immigrants” push-polls to show apparent voter support for immigration and immigrants.

But “choice” polls reveal most voters’ often-ignored preference that CEOs should hire Americans at decent wages before hiring migrants. Those Americans include many blue-collar Blacks, Latinos, and people who hide their opinions from pollsters. Similarly, the 2018 polls show that GOP voters are far more concerned about migration — more properly, the economics of migration — than they are concerned about illegal migration and MS-13, taxes, or the return of Rep. Nancy Pelosi.



Illegal Immigration Is a Major Crime Problem

A new DOJ report reveals that one out of five individuals in federal prisons is an illegal alien.  

A recently released Justice Department report reveals that an astonishing one in five individuals incarcerated in federal prisons is an illegal alien, which amounts to a $1.5 million bill every day to the American taxpayer. However, the greater expense of illegal immigration is not measured in dollars. The report notes illegal alien crime statistics from the state of Texas alone between 2001 and 2018 — more than 663,000 offenses were committed, including 1,351 homicides, 7,156 sexual assaults, 79,049 assaults and 44,882 thefts, to name but a few. Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan also said this week that “nine out of 10” illegal immigrants arrested have criminal records.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded to the report, stating, “The illegal immigrant crime rate in this country should be zero. Every crime committed by an illegal alien is, by definition, a crime that should have been prevented. It is outrageous that tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year because of the drugs and violence brought over our borders illegally and that taxpayers have been forced, year after year, to pay millions of dollars to incarcerate tens of thousands of illegal aliens. … Today’s report is yet another reminder that we must continue this [zero tolerance] policy and help fulfill President Trump’s goals of restoring lawfulness to our immigration system and ensure that immigration serves the good of this country.”

But despite President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration via his “zero tolerance” policy, the number of illegal alien border crossings has steadily climbed. And one of the primary culprits for this increase can be attributed to Democrats and their huge push for lawless “sanctuary cities” that essentially act as giant magnets attracting greater numbers of illegal aliens.

While Democrats and much of the mainstream media like to play up the plight of these illegal aliens as a justification for ignoring U.S. immigration laws, the undeniable fact is that major criminal syndicates have taken advantage of these sentiments to further their criminal enterprises. The drug trade and other nefarious criminal activity such as human trafficking exploit many migrants, often making them the biggest victims of illegal immigration. And sanctuary cities are only proving to supply these criminal organizations with more individuals to exploit — by falsely advertising protection to people who willfully break U.S. immigration law.

Regardless of how Democrats and the Leftmedia portray the issue of illegal immigration, it is first and foremost a crime problem. And the fact is that Democrats, with their sanctuary city policies, are guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. And as this DOJ report demonstrates, Trump’s rhetoric on the problem is much closer to reality on the ground than that of the MSM and Democrats.



Putin’s Success Masks Russian Weakness

Things are breaking his way. But if China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts

By Walter Russell Mead

Vladimir Putin’s foreign-policy flair has both electrified and horrified the world for a full decade. Since 2008, Mr. Putin has partitioned Georgia, invaded Ukraine, and annexed Crimea. He has raised Russian power and prestige to their highest levels since the Cold War. He has muscled Russia back into the Middle East while inserting himself into America’s 2016 presidential election. He has also demonstrated an unequaled ability to weaponize information and bolster Russian power on the cheap.

Breaking the rules, in other words, is Mr. Putin’s specialty. But this year he seems to be taking a more laid-back approach. The Kremlin continues to spread disinformation, and its political opponents still occasionally turn up poisoned or dead. But as U.S. policy has become more frenetic under President Trump, Russian foreign policy has become more restrained.

In February a U.S. air and artillery assault killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria, but Mr. Putin’s response was low-key. In March he announced the first cuts to Russian military spending since 1998. In April he reacted with patience and calm when a popular revolution arose in Armenia against the pro-Russian government. And in May Russia stepped back as Israel bombed Iranian military installations across Syria, suggesting Mr. Putin agreed at least partly with the U.S. about the future of Iran’s presence there. As if that weren’t enough, Russia has joined Iran’s archnemesis, Saudi Arabia, in boosting oil production. This will help stabilize emerging economies that have been hurt by rising interest rates.

Don’t misunderstand: Mr. Putin hasn’t had a change of heart or decided to mend fences with the West. He is toning down his foreign policy simply because so many of his key objectives have been accomplished that his best option now is to consolidate his gains.

Ten years ago, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were on offense in Eastern Europe. Mr. Putin feared that the spread of Western ideas into Russia would challenge his rule. Those worries are gone: A divided and confused West has given up its dream of pushing eastward, and both the EU and NATO are less confident and less effective than they were a decade ago. The West no longer endangers Russia. The real question is how much Russia endangers the West.

Mr. Putin is no Stalin ; he seeks to weaken the West rather than destroy it. From his point of view, the current situation in Europe looks promising: The U.S. and Europe are drifting apart. The gap within the Continent also continues to grow, as discontent mounts between Germany and many of its southern and eastern partners. Italy’s new government is likely to push to end sanctions against Russia, while forcing Europe into a new bout of navel gazing over the euro. All this favors Moscow without requiring Mr. Putin to do much of anything.

In the Middle East, Russia would profit similarly from a period of relative inaction. Mr. Putin cannot realistically expect to make Russia a hegemonic power there, but he hopes to replace the U.S. as the region’s primary balancer and diplomatic power broker. Because the Syrian intervention is unpopular in a Russia that still remembers the Soviet Union’s disastrous march into Afghanistan, Mr. Putin must carry out this mission on the cheap.

For the moment things are breaking Mr. Putin’s way. If Syria is to be a playing field for outside powers, the U.S. and Israel would prefer Russia be the leader rather than Iran. Mr. Putin can tell Benjamin Netanyahu that Russia is the best security against the Iranian forces on Israel’s border. At the same time, Mr. Putin can promise Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Russia will keep Bashar Assad in Damascus and the U.S. out.

Despite Mr. Putin’s successes, Russia remains weak, and its leverage over other nations is limited. China can woo its neighbors with multibillion-dollar projects like its “One Belt, One Road” trade initiative. Russia has much less to offer: If China is a tiger, Russia is a pussycat on stilts. Mr. Putin can obstruct Germany’s faltering European project, but he lacks the resources to offer an alternative. In the Middle East, the Kremlin’s position depends on American forbearance. If President Trump decides to make opposing the Assad regime a crucial part of his anti-Iran strategy, Mr. Putin may have to stand by and watch his client fall.

Meanwhile, developments at home counsel restraint as well. While Mr. Putin’s string of dramatic foreign-policy successes has shored up his domestic popularity, Russia’s sclerotic economy and corrupt social order ensure that the foundations of his power remain weak. Mr. Putin has made Russia great again on the international stage, but the Russian people would rather see him use that daring and finesse to improve the situation at home



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

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


12 June, 2018  

Our military: The greatest social engineering machine ever built

DAVID SCHARFENBERG seems well-informed and interesting in what he writes below but there are some important things he misses. The first is that the military overwhelmingly like Mr Trump. They have little disagreement with his policies and they greatly appreciate his support for what they do. And his patriotism mirrors theirs. So if the army has any social role it will be to amplify support for Mr Trump -- which is about opposite to reconciling blue-staters with red-staters.

And the enthusiasm for Mr Trump is part of a world-wide phenomenon: Armies worldwide tend to be conservative. Army men are practical men. They have little time for the airy-fairly and often perverse theories that drive Leftists. The great Leftist conviction that all men are equal is idiotic in an army context. So when the votes come in from military bases the balance is in favor of conservative candidates by about 2 to 1.

But most pertinent of all, it has all been said and tested before. Mr Scharfenberg is not as sharp as his Ashkenazi surname suggests. He has not delved into the history of his ideas.

In the aftermath of WWII, in 1949, a book appeared called "The American soldier", by Samuel Stouffer. It appears now to be out of print but you can get secondhand copies on Amazon. Something in it attracted widespread attention among psychologists and sociologists. It reported that blacks and whites got on a lot better in the army than they did in society at large.

With stars in their eyes, social scientists drew the wonderful conclusion from this that "contact" was the solution to good race relations. The fact that the army was a very different environment from other environments and the fact that blacks and whites were forced to get on by military requirements were generally dismissed. So a whole series of studies were done in an effort to confirm the "contact hypothesis" -- that blacks and whites just had to get to know one-another better in order to like one-another.

It all seems rather silly in retrospect and the results of the research showed that. Despite the best that statistical trickery could do, the hypothesis got only the weakest support and, indeed, the results sometimes showed that contact made the two groups like one-another LESS! I summarized a lot of that research here

But the most spectacular finding on the question eventually came from Australia, using not a survey but the entire national population. In 1967 Australia had a constitutional referendum designed to give blacks a better deal. And the results differed a lot according to what geographical area the answers came from. In parts of the country where there were a lot of blacks, there were far more "No" votes than in parts of the country where blacks were rarely seen. So, overall, the correlation between vote and contact was .90 -- which is about as high as you get in the social sciences. The more Australians saw of blacks, the LESS they liked them! I have covered that finding in more detail here

So Scharfenberg's hopes are not borne out by the evidence. What he proposes in his last sentence below will not work. And it is clear on general principles why. As we have seen from Robert Putnam's well-known findings (particularly as seen in his book "Bowling alone"), homogeneity in human groups promotes solidarity while diversity promotes mistrust and fear. So mixing people from different backgrounds together will in general simply create mistrust -- the opposite of what Mr Scharfenberg hopes for.

The military may, actually, be the best hope we've got for mending the cultural and regional divisions the president has exploited politically.

For generations now, the armed forces have provided an opportunity - unmatched in American life - to put very different people in close proximity, and force an explicit reckoning with our most urgent social questions.

Racial integration, women's equality, the role of gay and lesbian Americans in public life - time and again, the military has played an important, if often reluctant, role in tackling the country's biggest challenges.

Now, with Trump and the GOP Congress looking to dramatically expand the military, could the armed forces be on the leading edge of the next great reckoning in American life? Could the military help us close the worrisome gap between red and blue?

THE UNITED STATES of the early 20th century was a nation stewing in bigotry.

In the South, lynch mobs enforced a dehumanizing racial caste system. Black people who escaped to the North as a part of the "Great Migration" confronted another kind of racial animus. And waves of immigration from new parts of Europe and Asia only added to Anglo America's anxiety - layering an ugly nativism on top of the country's white-black tensions.

But then, World War I arrived. And the country was forced to sideline the hate - at least for a time. An army of millions had to be raised. Quickly. And it couldn't be assembled without substantial numbers of African Americans and immigrants.

"It was in this crisis," writes Richard Slotkin, author of "Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality," "that American leaders rediscovered the ideals of civil equality."

But if the military offers a rare opportunity to lower the temperature - to ease the red state-blue state divide - it succeeds only as long as it can attract recruits from both parts of the country.

The Committee on Public Information declared the country a "vast, polyglot community" that aspired to something "higher than race loyalty, transcend[ing] mere ethnic prejudices, more binding than the call of a common ancestry." And some 350,000 black soldiers went on to serve with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

Those soldiers faced discrimination on the battlefield. And their service hardly meant the end of racial strife at home. Competition for jobs and housing among returning veterans led to a series of race riots in the "Red Summer" of 1919 that left hundreds of blacks dead.

But the war, as Slotkin writes, aroused an activist spirit among minority groups, who pressed for an end to Jim Crow and challenged the real estate "covenants" that locked Jews and other ethnic groups out of the most desirable neighborhoods.

After World War II, President Truman moved to racially integrate the armed forces in 1948. And while the military responded slowly - there were still segregated units at the start of the Korean War - it did integrate, in time.

Generations of black people and white people worked in close proximity. And over time, a quiet revolution in race relations took hold. Enmity between black and white didn't disappear entirely. Far from it. But it dissipated. And the military moved closer to racial equality than, perhaps, any major institution in American life.

The late Northwestern University military sociologist Charles Moskos may have distilled it best: The military, he used to say, is the one place in American society where black people routinely boss white people around.

And it's hard to pin down what we mean, even, when we talk about the divide between the "South" and the "Northeast," says Meredith Kleykamp, a University of Maryland sociologist who studies the military.

But, she suggests, we seem to be talking about politics and class. The South is more conservative and blue-collar, the Northeast more progressive and better-off.

Nothing that happens in the military is going to change that basic dynamic; no one expects anything like the flattening of racial hierarchies that's occurred in the barracks and on the front lines.

What's required - what's already happening on a small scale - is something far more modest. The day-to-day, humanizing chatter of co-workers. The red state-blue state banter that happens almost nowhere else in the country.

After all, cohesion is something like the guiding principle of the military.

When Marine recruits first step off the bus at boot camp in the wee hours of the night on Parris Island, S.C., they are immediately put in formation - a drill instructor screaming them into a unified whole. And not once, during their 13 weeks of training, are they allowed to say the word "I."

There is a sublimation of self - and an allegiance to the group - that's difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't seen it up close.

Over in the Army, says retired Brigadier General Jack Hammond of Reading, Mass., the mantra is "cooperate and graduate." And the bonds that form in training allow for the sort of civil conversations about hot-button issues like gun control and immigration that are so absent from our politics.

It's not that minds are changed, says Hammond, it's that "the temperature comes down"; soldiers recognize that people from different places, with different points of view, aren't out to get them.

But if the military offers a rare opportunity to lower the temperature - to ease the red state-blue state divide - it succeeds only as long as it can attract recruits from both parts of the country.

And over the last few decades, it has struggled to maintain that balance. In 2016, just 12.7 percent of new military accessions came from the New England and Middle Atlantic states. That's just over half the Northeast's tally from the late1970s.

The South, meanwhile, accounts for some 44 percent of accessions. And conservative states in the western part of the country, like Nevada and Arizona, are sending among the largest proportions of their 18 to 24-year-old populations to the military.

The shift is, in part, about larger patterns of migration to the American Sun Belt. But there are other factors at play, too.

There is also the matter of cultural and political opposition to the military. Recruiters all over New England have stories - of parents who hang up on them, or tell their children they're too good for the armed forces. One group recently tailed Army recruiters at a South Shore track meet, monitoring their interactions with students.

As journalist and veteran Jacob Siegel put it in a piece in the Daily Beast a few years ago, "the military is a socialist paradise!" There's far less income inequality between a private and a general than there is between a worker and a CEO, he notes, and there's greater social mobility, too.

Kleyman, the military sociologist, says there are significant psychic benefits, too. "When people leave the military - sure, they miss having a housing allowance - but what they really miss is that sense of purpose, that sense of meaningfulness of your work," she says.

Service that tilts to the red states, Kleyman says, isn't just a burden unevenly shared, but a benefit unequally shared.

Still, recruiters have flogged those benefits for years, with little to show for it. And it's not just about blue-state culture.

Consider the role of population density. Members of the military disproportionately hail from sparsely populated areas, where there aren't a lot of other employment options. And the blue states tend to be more densely populated. Indeed, the most rural blue state in the Northeast - Maine - has substantially higher accession rates than its neighbors.

The geography of military installations is also a significant force. The outposts that survived the budget-driven base closure process of the last several decades are heavily clustered in the South and West. "Think of it like a smile," says Major General Jeffrey Snow, commanding general of the US Army Recruiting Command. "You could put your hand on North Carolina and draw a smiley face that goes down through Texas and up halfway through California."

Many have grown to a massive size - three mega-bases in North Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky have populations of more than 200,000 each.

If a child lives near a base - especially one of that scale - he is far more likely to know adults who serve in the armed forces: a friend's mother or a baseball coach. And children's career choices are powerfully influenced by the choices of adults around them: Nearly half of all Army recruits, for instance, come from military families.

Of course, building new installations in the Northeast would be a challenge. Land costs are significant,. Political opposition would probably be substantial, too. But if the nation wants to build a more diverse military, it could invest. It could bring the armed forces directly to blue-state America.

Ramping up recruitment from that part of the country could, ultimately, be a matter of military readiness. As war-fighting becomes a more technologically sophisticated exercise, the armed forces will need more - not fewer - soldiers, sailors, and Marines from the best-educated parts of the country.

If the military can't stitch the country together by itself, though, it can play a leading role. It can be an important model for a larger effort.

If we truly want to heal our fractured republic, we'll have to build a system that consciously emulates the military - pulling together people from all its disparate parts and putting them side by side.



You Don’t Get to Rewrite the Constitution Because You Dislike Donald Trump

David Harsanyi   

If your contention is that President Donald Trump has the propensity to sound like a bully and an authoritarian, I’m with you. If you’re arguing that Trump’s rhetoric is sometimes coarse and unpresidential, I can’t disagree.

Yet the ubiquitous claim that Trump acts in a way that uniquely undermines the rule of law is, to this point, simply untrue.

At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has it right when he argues that “elites” often seem more concerned about the “mellifluous” tone of leaders rather than their abuse of power. “Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential,'” he writes. “Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens.”

But while former President Barack Obama’s agreeable tone had plenty to do with his lack of media scrutiny, many largely justified, and even cheered, his abuses because they furthered progressive causes. Not only did liberals often ignore the rule of law when it was ideologically convenient for them; they now want the new president to play by a set of rules that doesn’t even exist.

Partisans tend to conflate their own policy preferences with the rule of law, or democracy or patriotism. But the pervasive claim that the Trump administration has uniquely undermined the law, a claim that dominates coverage, typically amounts to concerns regarding how he comports himself.

For example, entering into international treaties without the Senate or creating fiscal subsidizes without Congress are the types of things that corrode the rule of law. Firing (or threatening to fire) your subordinates at the Justice Department, on the other hand, is well within the purview of presidential powers.

Trump, as far as I know, hasn’t shut down a single investigation into himself or anyone in his administration or campaign, despite evidence that a special counsel’s creation was based on politically motivated information.

Though he may be wrong, it’s not an attack on the rule of law for the president to claim privilege. Nor is a president undermining the rule of law if he pushes back against an investigation into Russian collusion.

The intelligence community is not sacred. Americans have no patriotic duty to respect former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or former CIA Director John Brennan. The president is free to accuse them of partisanship. Doing so is not an attack on the rule of law any more than the reverse.

Nor does Trump undermine the rule of law when offering presidential commutations and pardons (nor would he even, perhaps, if he were to pardon himself).

Nor does Trump undermine the rule of law when he rolls back the previous administration’s unilateral abuses on immigration and bogus treaties. In many ways, Trump has strengthened the checks and balances that were broken by the rhetorically soothing President Obama. Mock it if you like, “but Gorsuch” will likely do more to curb the state’s overreach than any justice the left would ever put on any bench.

You don’t get to fabricate a new Constitution every time there’s a president you dislike. American patriotism isn’t predicated on pretending that Russia can flip our election with some Facebook ads, but it is certainly grounded in the idea that we all hold consistent constitutional principles.

More HERE 


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

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


11 June, 2018  

Trump is a free trader after all

I have often noted that he has an economics degree -- from the prestigious Wharton school -- and he now shows that he remembers it

President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the G-7 countries to wipe out all trade barriers among them, but vowed that until that happens, he will fight tooth and nail against any nation trying to take advantage of the U.S.

“We’re talking to all countries, and it’s going to stop, or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer if we have to do it,” Trump said, according to CNBC. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing, and that ends.”

“We can’t have an example where we’re paying, the United States is paying, 270 percent — just can’t have it — and when they send things into us you don’t have that,” he said.

Trump noted that American farmers have been affected by past trade policies that make it hard for them to sell goods abroad, The New York Times reported.

“You look at our farmers. For 15 years, the graph has gone just like this, down,” he said.

“I blame our leaders. In fact, I congratulate the leaders of other countries for so crazily being able to make these trade deals that were so good for their country and so bad for the United States. But those days are over,” Trump said.

The president said he would prefer a world in which there were no trade barriers. “No tariffs, no barriers. That’s the way it should be. And no subsidies. I even said, ‘No tariffs,'” Trump said, according to France 24.

He recently imposed stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the U.S. from European Union, Canada and Mexico. That followed a similar action in March applying to many other nations.

Trump has said that as long as he believes other nations are unfair to the United States, he will fight back with every tool at his disposal. That has caused friction between Trump and the other G-7 nations — France, Britain, Canada, Japan, Germany and Italy.

Trump downplayed those differences Saturday in a press conference that came at the conclusion of the G-7 summit. “We had extremely productive discussions on the need to have fair and reciprocal” trade, he said.

“We want and expect other nations to provide fair market access to American exports and that we will take whatever steps are necessary to (protect) industry and workers from unfair practices, of which there are many. But we’re getting them worked out, slowly but surely.”

Trump said he would prefer a completely level playing field among all the G-7 partners. “Ultimately that’s what you want, you want tariff free, no barriers, and you want no subsides because you have some countries subsidizing industries and that’s not fair,” Trump said, according to Business Insider. “So you go tariff free, you go barrier free, you go subsidy free, that’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance.”

Trump left the G-7 summit ahead of everyone else due to his Tuesday summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. During his solo press conference, he alluded to media reports that his call for a no-tariff zone took other nations by surprise.

“People were … I guess they gotta go back to drawing board and check it out,” Trump said.

“I don’t know if they were surprised with President Trump’s free trade proclamation, but they certainly listened to it and we had lengthy discussions about that,” said Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser, who appeared with Trump. “As the president said, reduce these barriers, in fact go to zero, zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, zero subsidies, and along the way we’re going to have to clean up the international trading system.”



Trump tells it straight

President Trump was asked by A reporter about recent remarks made by Lebron James, who both said his team would refuse to go to the White House if they won the NBA championship.

Trump’s response is priceless:

“I didn’t invite them. No, I didn’t invite Lebron James and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team. But we have other teams that are coming. You know, if you look, we had Alabama, national champion. We had Clemson, national champion. We had the New England Patriots. We had the Pittsburgh Penguins last year.”

Trump then mentioned that the Stanley Cup winners the Washington Capitals would be invited to the White House!

“You know, my attitude: If they want to be here, it’s the greatest place on Earth, I’m here. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them.”



Trump roasts hypocritical Trudeau

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he has asked U.S. representatives not to endorse the joint communique put out by the Group of Seven leaders after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "false statements" at a news conference.

After departing from the Quebec summit for Singapore, Trump tweeted that Trudeau's remarks at a news conference, where he said Canada would not be pushed around, "were very dishonest and weak".

"PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, 'US Tariffs were kind of insulting' and he 'will not be pushed around.' Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!" the U.S. president tweeted.



One Magnificent Photo Sums Up Donald Trump's G-7 Visit

A Picture is worth a thousand words

Tense and confrontational, it appears to sum up President Donald Trump’s entire trip, which highlighted divisions among the global powers.

The image dramatically depicts the German leader in an assertive pose, planting both hands firmly on a crisp tablecloth as she addresses President Donald Trump, who is seated before her with his arms crossed wearing a dispassionate expression.

The picture was released by the office of German Chancellor



From statewide contests to local races, all politics are about Trump
Report from Boston

Donald J. Trump has never campaigned in Hatfield. The president is not calling for cuts to school funding in Southampton or denying new liquor licenses in Northampton. But in the race for the First Hampshire District’s state representative seat, where the East-West railway and dairy farming are campaign fodder, so is Trump.

“He’s kind of like that figure — he who shall not be named — who sort of looms above all things,” said Lindsay Sabadosa, who is vying against fellow Democrat Diana Szynal for the open House seat. “Even at my campaign kickoff, I was asked: ‘What can you do, as a state representative, about Trump?’ ”

For local and statewide campaigns normally walled off from Washington, Trump has loomed large across the ballot in Massachusetts this year, permeating the dialogue and campaign messaging in races that are usually dominated by local, not federal, issue

In the race for governor, Trump is wielded as a political cudgel. For secretary of state, he’s a call to action. In the attorney general’s race, he’s both.

If all politics was local in the era of Tip O’Neill, the reverse may be true under Trump.

“It’s Trump 24/7, and it’s very hard for the Democrats to get through the wall of noise,” said Phil Johnston, a former chair of the state Democratic Party.

“People are very strongly with him or very strongly against him, and the country is terribly divided in unprecedented ways,” he added. “Those emotions, which those divisions stir up, will be very important factors in November.”

The prevalence of Trump shifts from race to race, but his specter has undoubtedly permeated the campaign trail, sometimes in surprising places.

Secretary of State William F. Galvin, facing his most serious primary fight in two decades in office, hung his pitch at the party’s convention, in part, on telling Democratic activists that he’s the best defense against any Russian or Trump election meddling in 2020. Supporters of his opponent, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, have made a similar pitch in endorsing him.

In her reelection bid, Attorney General Maura T. Healey has punctuated her term by pointing to the dozens of lawsuits she has brought or been party to against the Trump administration.

Yet, the Republicans running against her have sought to turn the tables. Healey, they argue, is actually too focused on Trump, to the detriment of the state. Jay McMahon, in winning the GOP endorsement in April, called the lawsuits “frivolous.” His primary opponent, Dan Shores, contends that for every lawsuit Healey files against the Trump administration, “that’s one more drug dealer that goes free.”

Perhaps nowhere, however, has Trump been cited more often than in the governor’s race. Jay Gonzalez and Robert K. Massie, the two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination, have repeatedly sought to tie the president to Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016.

Gonzalez, in criticizing the decision to send a National Guard helicopter and a two-person crew to the southern border, charged that Baker is “helping Donald Trump enforce his hateful policies.” Massie has argued that Baker hasn’t done enough to criticize the administration.

Meanwhile, buffeting Baker’s right flank is Scott Lively, a conservative antigay pastor who has called himself “100 percent pro-Trump” in their Republican primary.

Baker has responded by saying his focus remains on the state, making him one of the few this election cycle trying hard to keep Trump talk off the campaign trail.

“[Baker] will continue to vocally disagree with and advocate against federal policies misaligned with the best interests of the Commonwealth on issues like health care, climate change, and immigration,” said Jim Conroy, a senior adviser to Baker.

The focus on Trump has, in recent months, seeped into local races, where an array of candidates have pointed to his election as a catalyst for them launching their first political campaign. That includes Sabadosa, the First Hampshire candidate, and Chelsea S. Kline, who launched an activist group in early 2017 and is now the only Democrat on the ballot for the state Senate seat previously held by former Senate president Stanley C. Rosenberg.

“I hear these concerns from constituents,” Kline said. “I can ensure them I am looking out for all of them on the local level.”

Some have directly made Trump a campaign issue. Tram Nguyen, an Andover Democrat challenging state Representative Jim Lyons, said she’s compared the Republican incumbent and president to voters in her argument for a more collaborative lawmaker.

“He is a Trump supporter, and the public knows about it,” she said.

Lyons, who voted for Trump but backed Senator Ted Cruz in the 2016 presidential primary, said he’s never hid his views since first winning the seat in 2010. But the conservative also put daylight between himself and the president. “There’s no relationship to Donald Trump’s positions,” he said.

In Lexington, Michelle Ciccolo, a candidate in a five-way Democratic primary for a House seat, touts on her campaign website the need to “push back on the regressive efforts coming out of Washington” — amid discussions about local transportation and school funding.

“I don’t think we get to pretend that what’s happening on the national level isn’t affecting us on the local level,” Ciccolo said in an interview.

But wielding anti-Trump rhetoric can mean walking a fine line for Democrats, especially in local races where it’s harder to draw a direct line between Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

“I think that every campaign is considering what Trump means to their election cycle,” said Jay Cincotti, a Democratic campaign operative. “If your opponent is an unabashed Trump supporter, that’s an easier tie to make. If your opponent has supported positions that the president has supported, like immigration, that’s easy to make.

“But if I’m running for state rep,” he said, “and I’m using Trump for the sake of Trump, it could have voters scratching their heads.”




But Leftist Privilege will prevent him from ever being held accountable

The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday that “the Obama administration skirted key U.S. sanctions to grant Iran access to billions in hard currency despite public assurances the administration was engaged in no such action, according to a new congressional investigation.”

And it gets even worse: “The investigation, published Wednesday by the House Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, further discloses secret efforts by top Obama administration officials to assure European countries they would receive a pass from U.S. sanctions if they engaged in business with Iran.”

This revelation comes after the news that came to light in February, that, according to Bill Gertz in the Washington Times, “the U.S. government has traced some of the $1.7 billion released to Iran by the Obama administration to Iranian-backed terrorists in the two years since the cash was transferred.”

There is a law that applies to this situation. U.S. Code 2381 says: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

In a sane political environment, Barack Obama would be tried for treason.

He showered hundreds of billions of dollars on the Islamic Republic of Iran. There are those who say, “It was their money. It belonged to the Iranian government but was frozen and not paid since 1979.” Indeed, and there was a reason for that: not even Jimmy Carter, who made the Islamic Republic of Iran possible, thought that money, which had been paid by the Shah’s government in a canceled arms deal, belonged to the mullahs who overthrew the Shah. Likewise Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush all thought that the Islamic Republic was not due money that was owed to the Shah.

Only Barack Obama did.

The definition of treason is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran order their people to chant “Death to America” in mosques every Friday, and repeatedly vow that they will ultimately destroy the United States of America and the state of Israel. How was giving them billions and helping them skirt sanctions applied by the U.S. government not treason?

Other Presidents have been incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, but which has committed treason on a scale to rival the treason of Barack Obama?

However this catastrophe plays out, there is one man who will suffer no consequences whatsoever: Barack Obama. That’s Leftist Privilege. It’s good to be a powerful Leftist in Washington nowadays. Laws? Pah! Laws are for conservatives.



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

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


10 June, 2018  

A significant letter

Below is a letter from Charles Krauthammer which is fully self explanatory.  What I want to draw attention to is the gratitude expressed in it.  It is not the letter of complaint that it well could have been. So why, amid very distressing circumstances, is it a letter of gratitude rather than complaint?

It's because Krauthammer is a conservstive.  We all have our ups and downs but conservatives are dispositionally happy people.  The surveys always confirm greater happiness among conservatives.  And gratitude comes from being happy with your life.  If you are a committed Christian, as many conservatives are, you give thanks daily.

Leftists, on the other hand are dissatisfied with the world in which they live so have little cause to be thankful.  They are miserable complainers instead. I sometimes feel sorry for them. I particularly feel sorry for them when I see the mental gymnastics they have to undertake to deny all sorts of realities, such as the absence of global warming or the real differences between men and women.  In the past, in the 19th and early 20th century, Leftists would frequently proclaim that "All men are brothers".  Fortunately, you don't hear that bit of lunacy very often these days.

"I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.

In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications –  which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.

However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months.

And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing. Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work.

I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

 I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life –  full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended"

Note that in addition to the matters Krauthammer raises above he in his youth became permanently paralyzed from the neck down after a diving board accident that severed his spinal cord.  He has spent his whole adult life in a wheelchair.  So his gratitude is truly heroic


I would like to add another instance of conservative gratitude by reproducing something I wrote a few years ago:

Is a grateful heart the mark of a conservative?

I think it is. Prayers of thanks are routine for Christians but I think it extends beyond Christians.

I was moved to that thought by the case of conservative Australian cartoonist  ZEG, who is a former member of the armed forces, a former policeman and a very conservative man.  Zeg (Steven Gunnell) undoubtedly has a grateful heart.  At age 48 he has discovered that he has a dangerous vascular formation in his brain that could kill him at any time.  And it is very nearly inoperable. It is probably as I write this that he is undergoing the risky surgery involved. He will probably survive but runs a big risk of being destroyed as a person.

So is Zeg bitter, angry and resentful?  Far from it.  I reproduce on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS the email he sent to people he knows before he went into hospital.  It is one long note of gratitude and thanks to his many friends.  I am proud to be among them. There are even some politicians he praises!

But what struck me particularly was this paragraph:

"Remember always that we inherited this great gift of freedom and democracy from the generations before us -- thus it is our responsibility, NAY,  our duty to ensure that the next and future generations inherit not only what we have now but an even better and more secure freedom"

Could any Leftist write that?  I can't see it.  They HATE what they have inherited.  That we feel a connection with our forefathers and an appreciation of what they worked -- often very hard -- to achieve is a large part of what makes us conservative.  We are connected to our past.  Leftists are not.  Or if they do feel a connection, they despise it.  What sad people!

And as Zeg says, in appreciating the blessings that we have been given through no work of our own, we feel an obligation at least to preserve it.  Most of us would rather just get on with our own lives rather than bothering with politics but, when there are so many twisted and relentless enemies of what is dear to us, we have to fight.

A great Christian song of gratitude and appreciation



Conservatives saw this coming

Leftist vileness knows no limits

If you listen to the liberal media, Donald Trump is a terrible racist and misogynist who hates minorities and women.

He apparently isn’t very good at it, however. On Wednesday, the president officially commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, an African-American woman who was sentenced to life in prison for a non-violent drug crime.

You might think that liberals, who have made drug legalization and criminal justice reform two of their banner issues, would be elated. You would be wrong.

As Johnson was freed after spending 21 years in prison, many bitter leftists chose not to celebrate her release or acknowledge Trump’s decision, but instead they chose to backhandedly bash the president.

“The View” host Joy Behar led the charge, declaring that the reason Trump had freed the black grandmother was so that he could boost his Twitter following.

Yes, really.

Pointing out the fact that Trump met with Kim Kardashian West, the celebrity wife of Kanye West, before making his decision, Behar decided that her fame, not the extreme sentence for a non-violent elderly woman, was the reason the president commuted the sentence.

“Kim also has 112 million followers on Instagram and 60 million on Twitter. So, you know, if he is thinking of running again, he’s got that nice little constituency over there, so that is not a coincidence. … He has motives,” the television host declared, according to The Daily Caller.

Other liberals were equally ungracious. Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu also bashed the meeting with Kim Kardashian West that led to the woman’s release. He bitterly said to CNN that the criteria by which people are pardoned “shouldn’t be based on which celebrities have access to the president.”

Somehow it’s now a bad thing that someone used his position for a good purpose. Apparently in Lieu’s mind, the president was supposed to let Johnson rot in jail after Kardashian West brought up her plight.

Another liberal lawmaker, Congressman Adam Schiff, joined in the whining over justice for an elderly black woman.

“Good news! Convicted of a serious crime? Serving a long sentence? Now, you too can get a pardon. No more lengthy delays while DOJ reviews your case. You can be out in days!*” he posted on Twitter, clearly upset that Johnson was being released.

“*Offer only valid if recommended by friends or family of (Donald Trump) or you appeared on Celebrity Apprentice,” he continued.

It should be noted that Johnson wasn’t out in “days.” She was in prison for over two decades and may have died there — until Trump intervened.

Vox, a news outlet with a well-known liberal slant, couldn’t even report the story without whining about Trump’s decision.

“Trump wants to execute drug dealers,” the news group posted on Twitter. “But he granted commutation to one because Kim Kardashian asked.”

Again, Donald Trump listening to a woman and freeing another is now apparently a bad thing. So much for the “misogynist” narrative.

A powerful female using her meeting with the president to enact change and right a wrong is now off limits, because it destroyed the left’s false narrative about Trump being a female-hating racist.

That’s exactly the phenomenon that Twitter user Makada, herself being a black woman, pointed out on Wednesday.

“I see a lot of liberals on social media attacking Kim Kardashian and President Trump for freeing Alice Johnson,” she wrote.

“Has Trump Derangement Syndrome gotten so bad that the left is against freeing an elderly black woman who was serving a life sentence for a non-violent crime?” she wondered. Over ten thousand people “liked” her post.

The answer to Makada’s question is “yes.”

Yes, so-called Trump Derangement Syndrome really is that bad. Liberals will now defend brutal murderers and rapists like MS-13, side with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and bash the release of a harshly-sentenced black woman, all because attacking Trump is more important to them.

That’s truly pathetic, but many Americans are starting to realize that the president is not the evil monster liberals have made him out to be after all.



My take on Kardashian/Trump

Lets's not kid ourselves. A large factor in Kim Kardashian getting personal access to the President was the fact that she is a good-looking lady.  And Trump's liking for good-looking ladies is well-known.  And the picture below shows Trump grinning from ear to ear when he had her beside him, which confirms rather well his motivation.

So you might think that the picture was circulated by Leftists to discredit Trump.  In fact he himself tweeted it.  He is not embarrassed to be himself, which is usually a major indicator of psychological good health.


For 'SNAP' to Work, It Must Emphasize More Work

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) has a significant flaw: It does not sufficiently emphasize work. The program does a good job helping America’s poor afford food for their families, but up until recently SNAP administrators’ principal aim has been to add recipients to its rolls rather than help them find employment. As a result, many recipients could be working but are not, despite the fact that recipients who can and do work even a little are far less likely to be poor or live in households reporting difficulty affording food.

Several elements within House Republicans’ pending Farm Bill would help improve SNAP by encouraging work and earnings to fight poverty at its roots.

When we talk about increasing work among SNAP recipients, we must be clear about who we are not talking about. We are not talking about children, the elderly, adults with disabilities, or those taking care of young children or disabled relatives.

Even narrowing down the target demographic to healthy adults on SNAP who are not working leaves a significant number of Americans -- roughly 9.5 million -- who could work but do not. The problem begins in Washington: I know from my time as New York’s administrator of SNAP that everyone from case managers to administrators has been told that increasing employment is not their job. So SNAP is helpful, but it is not a road out of poverty. One quote from a SNAP enrollee has resonated with me: “That program is great at getting me an EBT card [electronic food stamps benefits] but does nothing to get me a job.”

So how does the proposed Farm Bill achieve this objective? A modest activity requirement for SNAP recipients ages 18 to 59 who are not caretakers of young children or disabled in any way. The requirement can be fulfilled by spending twenty hours each week in activities as diverse as volunteering, workforce training, education, or community service. For those currently out of work, the bill also expands training programs to give them skills to reenter the workforce, committing an additional $1 billion to make that happen. Importantly, states would not be allowed to sanction recipients for noncompliance without offering an available activity. For households with school-age children, the sanction for noncompliance would be restricted to a reduction in benefits — not a termination.

Few who assess SNAP think that an activity requirement is categorically wrong, and the modest terms of this proposal should allow for a consensus that reflects the opinions of Americans broadly. Eighty-seven percent of Americans — including eighty-one percent of people in poverty — agree that welfare programs should nudge the poor to work or participate in a training program (if they are physically able to do so) in return for benefits. Nearly everyone recognizes that the purpose of antipoverty programs such as SNAP should be to help people get back on their feet, earn their own livelihoods, and stay out of poverty for good.

The Farm Bill would also encourage earning and saving by improving the policy of “asset testing.” Households would now be able to own assets up to $7,000 (and more for homes with elderly or disabled people) without the risk of losing benefits. But in setting a firm asset limit, the bill would not allow states to waive the test. This prevents people with substantial assets from taking advantage of the program.

One last way SNAP can be more than just a benefit card is by helping to obtain child support from noncustodial parents of children receiving SNAP benefits. This Farm Bill would require states to ensure that children in single-parent families receive the child support they deserve by mandating that custodial parents seeking SNAP benefits cooperate in establishing child support orders. Less than half of poor single-parent families — many of whom are SNAP recipients — currently have formal child support orders in place, which leaves poor custodial parents without the money they need to support their children.

I have found the rhetoric surrounding work requirements from some who ostensibly want to help the poor to be baffling. For some reason we keep hearing about how entry-level jobs are not worth poor Americans’ time, that government aid is a fundamental right that comes with no responsibility, or even that having some earnings won’t make SNAP recipients better off, all of which flies in the face of everything we have learned about poverty, responsibility, and mobility. To me -- someone who administered social services programs for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- this rhetoric is more harmful to the poor than the modest work requirements proposed in this bill.

Over the years SNAP has reduced hunger for poor Americans, but has been less successful in helping them escape poverty for good. The Farm Bill’s reforms are a good way to help people in need find and retain employment. They are an important step toward realizing SNAP’s proper mission as an antipoverty program.

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2007 to 2013, he was the commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, the city agency responsible for the cash welfare, food stamp and Medicaid programs.



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

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


8 June, 2018  

$119,050,900,000: Merchandise Trade Deficit With China Hit Record Through April

President Xi is sitting pretty

These figures are not as alarming as they seem. They are part of a triangular trade flow that includes Australia. To make all the gadgets they sell to Americans China needs a lot of raw materials, particularly iron ore, aluminium oxide and metallurgical coal. And Australia has heaps of them all -- sometimes just sitting on the ground just waiting to be scooped up

So China buys heaps of those things using the surplus dollars that they get from trading with America. And Australia in turn buys heaps from America using the greenbacks they got from China. Australia doesn't make much. It is overflowing with natural resources that other countries buy. So it makes sense to buy in manufactured goods with the easy dollars Australia gets from exporting commodities. And Australia buys in lots of stuff from America. So Australia has a big trade deficit with America. In other words, some of those greenbacks that flow to China come back to America via Australia. It doesn't all balance out exactly but the balance is not as bad as it looks at first.

So what does China do with its great hoard (trillions) of greenbacks? It sends a lot of them straight back to America as investments. It uses them to buy American companies and American real estate. That sounds bad to a lot of people but again it is not as bad as you think. China is in fact very trusting in doing so.

Say they buy an American farm. Does that deprive America of anything? Hardly. They cannot pick the farm up and take it back to China can they? They just take it on faith that America will let them keep and use it. They make themselves hostage to America. And whether they buy farms or companies it will usually be something that they already know about -- something in which they have expertise. So they will combine their expertise with American expertise to create a better business

Let me give a theoretical example: Say they buy up a soy bean farm. Chinese eat a lot of soy beans. The American farmer will probably be left in charge of the farm because he knows best how to farm in America. What the Chinese know about in great detail will be what cultivar of the beans is most popular in China and how best to market the beans. So the new Chinese owner will guide the American farmer on what beans to plant, when to plant them and how to prepare them for export. Result: more exports of beans from America to China -- thus helping to reduce that trade imbalance.

It's not always as simple and as balanced as that but something like that does often happen. So again, the imbalances are not as bad as they look at first. There is still a lot of work for Mr Trump to do, however. There is a real imbalance in America's trade with China and one part of the reason for that is that China put up barriers to imports from America. Mr Trump has already got some of those barriers pulled down but there is still more to be done

And as every economist will tell you, there are "invisible" exports -- for instance the financial services of Wall St and patent rights. China buys a lot of them. Americans hold a lot of patents and charge people to use them.  China is often slack in buying patents it uses but when they want to export something they have to have the patent rights that thing uses.  So America has a big surplus with China on "invisibles". There is still not an overall balance but Mr Trump has less work to do to get fair trade than it at first appears

The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China set a record through April, hitting $119,050,900,000 for the first four months of 2018, according to data released today by the Census Bureau.

From January through April, the Census Bureau reports, the United States exported $42,291,500,000 in goods to China while importing $161,342,400,000.

In other words, when measured by dollar value, the United States bought about 3.8 times as much in goods from China as China bought from the United States.

Prior to this year, the record for the highest trade deficit with China in the first four months of the year came in 2015, when it hit $115,320,000,000 in constant April 2018 dollars (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).

The last time the U.S. ran a merchandise trade surplus with China in any given month, according to the Census Bureau data, was in April 1986, when the U.S. ran a $54,000,000 trade surplus with China. In every month since then, the U.S. has run a merchandise trade deficit with China.

In 2017, according to the Census Bureau, the top products the U.S. imported from China (by dollar value) were cell phones and other household goods ($70,359,818,000); computers ($45,515,206,000); telecommunications equipment ($33,490,521,000); computer accessories ($31,648,577,000); toys, games and sporting goods ($26,751,412,000); apparel, textiles, nonwool or cotton ($24,137,388,000); furniture, household goods ($20,669,126,000); other parts and accessories of vehicles ($14,406,417,000); household appliances ($14,138,581,000); and electric apparatus ($14,080,858,000).

The top products the U.S. exported to China in 2017, according to the Census Bureau, were civilian aircraft, engines, equipment and parts ($16,264,533,000); soybeans ($12,258,835,000); passenger cars, new and used ($10,211,268,000); semiconductors ($6,076,509,000); industrial machines, other ($5,447,303,000); crude oil ($4,400,921,000); plastic materials ($4,002,797,000); medicinal equipment ($3,453,343,000); pulpwood and woodpulp ($3,359,165,000); and logs and lumber ($3,177,402,000).



Fish oil won't help your heart

That's what the study below tells you.  I give the full abstract for those who might want to evaluate the study for themselves but it a pretty good demolition of the fish oil religion.  There were a couple of published replies trying to save the religion but the authors below gave them a pretty good rejoinder here

Associations of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement Use With Cardiovascular Disease Risks; Meta-analysis of 10 Trials Involving 77?917 Individuals

Theingi Aung ET AL.


Importance:  Current guidelines advocate the use of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids supplements for the prevention of coronary heart disease and major vascular events in people with prior coronary heart disease, but large trials of omega-3 fatty acids have produced conflicting results.

Objective:  To conduct a meta-analysis of all large trials assessing the associations of omega-3 fatty acid supplements with the risk of fatal and nonfatal coronary heart disease and major vascular events in the full study population and prespecified subgroups.

Data Sources and Study Selection:  This meta-analysis included randomized trials that involved at least 500 participants and a treatment duration of at least 1 year and that assessed associations of omega-3 fatty acids with the risk of vascular events.

Data Extraction and Synthesis:  Aggregated study-level data were obtained from 10 large randomized clinical trials. Rate ratios for each trial were synthesized using observed minus expected statistics and variances. Summary rate ratios were estimated by a fixed-effects meta-analysis using 95% confidence intervals for major diseases and 99% confidence intervals for all subgroups.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The main outcomes included fatal coronary heart disease, nonfatal myocardial infarction, stroke, major vascular events, and all-cause mortality, as well as major vascular events in study population subgroups.

Results:  Of the 77?917 high-risk individuals participating in the 10 trials, 47?803 (61.4%) were men, and the mean age at entry was 64.0 years; the trials lasted a mean of 4.4 years. The associations of treatment with outcomes were assessed on 6273 coronary heart disease events (2695 coronary heart disease deaths and 2276 nonfatal myocardial infarctions) and 12?001 major vascular events. Randomization to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (eicosapentaenoic acid dose range, 226-1800 mg/d) had no significant associations with coronary heart disease death (rate ratio [RR], 0.93; 99% CI, 0.83-1.03; P?=?.05), nonfatal myocardial infarction (RR, 0.97; 99% CI, 0.87-1.08; P?=?.43) or any coronary heart disease events (RR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.90-1.01; P?=?.12). Neither did randomization to omega-3 fatty acid supplementation have any significant associations with major vascular events (RR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.93-1.01; P?=?.10), overall or in any subgroups, including subgroups composed of persons with prior coronary heart disease, diabetes, lipid levels greater than a given cutoff level, or statin use.

Conclusions and Relevance:  This meta-analysis demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids had no significant association with fatal or nonfatal coronary heart disease or any major vascular events. It provides no support for current recommendations for the use of such supplements in people with a history of coronary heart disease.



Food for thought

Dr Madsen Pirie explains


An elegant proof of why planned economies don't work: the efficient markets hypothesis

The efficient markets hypothesis tells us that it's not possible to regularly beat the market. For information about what prices should be is already incorporated into those prices. Sure, some beat it for some period of time because that's just the way statistical variability works. Some, like Warren Buffett, beat it for a long time but then his cost of funds is lower than the market's.

We also have all sorts of people out there who insist that the use or markets to allocate economic resources is the wrong way to be doing it. That the wise people in government should be doing this for us instead perhaps.

At which point, an interesting comparison:

"The message is clear: the beat-the-market efforts of professionals are impressively and overwhelmingly negative. In any asset class, the only consistently superior performer is the market itself. It is well to consider, briefly, the connection between the socialists and the active managers. I believe they are cut from the same cloth. What links them is a disbelief or skepticism about the efficacy of market prices in gathering and conveying information."

Odd to equate socialists and money managers, true. But the underlying point does stand. If we had evidence from our unfettered (no, don't titter at the back there) financial markets that they could consistently be beaten by good planners, then it's possible that good planners with adequate powers could improve upon a market economy.

We don't see that market outperformance - thus the planning part isn't going to work either, is it? For all the evidence we have is insisting that we cannot beat the market.



The balance of old and young

There is much current comment about an alleged imbalance between addressing the problems faced by young people today and attending to those bearing more upon older people. Some analysts claim that too much emphasis has been placed on meeting the problems of the elderly, and not enough on those of the young.

Older people [in Britain] have a triple-lock pension, rising with inflation or wages, or at 2.5%, whichever is the largest. They have free travel passes, a Christmas bonus, and a winter fuel allowance. Those over 75 have free TV licences, plus free or reduced admission to many attractions and services. Many are home-owners, free of mortgages, with private pensions to supplement the state’s provision.

Young people, by contrast, find it difficult to become home-owners with an inadequate housing stock, rising prices, fairly static incomes, and difficulty in saving enough for a deposit. Many graduates face tuition fee debts of nearly fifty thousand pounds. They face increased taxes and National Insurance, and many lack the comfort of an adequate private pension to support them in retirement.

This has created a political tension between young and old, a tension that comes out at the ballot box. Some of this showed in the 2017 UK general election, when the Labour Party offered to cancel tuition debt and help young people with social housing and a minimum wage increase. The Conservatives, by contrast, offered little to young people, and threatened the elderly with the confiscation of their homes to defray social care costs.  In that election Labour did better than expected or predicted.

The elderly are more numerous than the young, and historically more likely to vote, although this may have been less true than usual in the 2017 election. Some political observers see the prospect of a bidding war at general elections, with parties bidding for the votes of these two divergent constituencies. Should the young be taxed to fund benefits for the elderly, or should cuts in benefits for the old finance tax cuts for the young? Someone has to pay for the benefits.

There is a way to avoid having today’s young funding today’s old. It can be done by having yesterday’s young funding today’s old. This involves young people building up savings funds while they are earning, and using those funds to support themselves when old. It still involves the young funding the old, but removes the bidding war by having the elderly pay for their own benefits from savings when younger, accumulated over their working lives.

This personal fund, dubbed a “Fortune Account” by the ASI, would be the property of the individual, with any money remaining at death forming part of a person’s estate, to be inherited by heirs.

The Treasury fears that some people would not save enough, but dump themselves onto a state unable to let them starve, people the Treasury calls “freeloaders.” This is a valid concern, and one reason why people would be required to pay into such funds. There would be no net gain in compulsion, since National Insurance is not voluntary either.

The transition itself presents a major problem. One generation has to save for their own retirement, while simultaneously funding the commitments made to today's elderly. It might involve some one-off source of finance to fund the changeover, perhaps by a sale of remaining state assets such as land and buildings.

People would choose between competing providers to handle their Fortune Accounts, as happened when Sweden privatized its state pension scheme. The state would provide funds on behalf of those unable to earn enough to finance their own savings.

The change would be disruptive, without doubt, but it would prove a massive source of future investment as the providers put the funds to good use, investment that would augment economic growth.

Above all, it would end the divisiveness caused by the political struggle between young and old as each group sought to benefit itself at the other’s expense. And it would end the imbalance between them.



Kathy Griffin Launches Vile Attack on Ivanka over Kate Spade’s Suicide

I thought Ivanka's comment was very well judged but I think what we see below is Leftist envy.  Ivanka has got it all and Griffin is just an unfunny comedian

Washed-up “entertainer” Kathy Griffin is best known to the American public for the incredibly distasteful picture she posted of herself last year holding a mock severed head representing President Donald Trump

She has also insinuated the president’s sons are rapists, and supported Canadian comedian Samantha Bee’s vile insult of Ivanka Trump while chatting with the harpies on ABC’s “The View.”

But Griffin’s own attack on Ivanka this week – in response to the first daughter’s thoughtful Twitter post on the suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade — was beyond the bounds of rational behavior. Even for a nut job like Griffin, it was way too far.

As word of the death spread, Ivanka Trump – who has built her own brand of success in the fashion world — took to Twitter to express her sadness, and urge any readers who might be in danger of harming themselves to seek help.

“Kate Spade’s tragic passing is a painful reminder that we never truly know another’s pain or the burden they carry,” she wrote. “If you are struggling with depression and contemplating suicide, please, please seek help.”

That’s about as unobjectionable a tweet as has even been posted. But for a borderline-lunatic like Griffin, it was a red flag to charge.

"You're all talk feckless, you're all talk."

Using the word “feckless” no doubt to bring to mind Bee’s vicious words last week

In another tweet she expanded on that: “If someone is feckless does that mean they have no feck? So when it comes to Ivanka can I say she’s all talk and no feck?”

But other than using a tragic death as an opportunity to exercise some mean-girl bullying muscles, and opportunistically try to boost her own sagging career, it was difficult to understand what Griffin might have been talking about.

Griffin is clearly not someone playing with a full deck, so it’s understandable that she would be sensitive to mental health issues. But even with that, the idea of attacking Ivanka doesn’t make sense.

In any case, lashing out at Ivanka Trump for apparently heartfelt advice to those suffering from depression is simply unhinged. Maybe Griffin’s the one who should be seeking help. Before it’s too late.



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

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


7 June, 2018  

Kate Spade found dead by hanging at her Upper East Side home after telling her daughter it's not her fault in suicide note

For some reason this news really upset me. I had never heard of her before and what I know about fashion could be written on the head of a pin, but the thought this news brought to me was:  "What does it take to be happy?"  By most criteria she was a good woman who had it all but she had been depressed for a long time.  How come she couldn't find a way out of her problems?  How fragile many of us are and how  little we understand about ourselves and about human relationships.  Given that she had a 13 year old daughter, how much pain she must have felt to take that way out

Putting my psychologist's hat on, however, I think I can venture an explanation of what she did.  For a start, she apparently had endogenous depression -- depression that came from within her rather than being a response to external stresses.  Her friends  tried for years to get her to seek help with it.  But she refused treatment in case news of the treatment leaked out and damaged the cheerful image of her brand.  She herself described herself as a worrier. So she had  anxious depression.  Although depression and anxiety are traditionally conceptualized as two independent disorders, they are highly co-morbid.
But she had a good marriage and a young daughter she loved.  So that kept her going.  But there is some hint that strains had developed in her marriage and the daughter had just turned 13.  And a 13 year old daughter can be a problem. I took two step-daughters through that age so I know a little about it.  It is the time of daughters finding their individuality, the time when they separate theselves from their parents.  So a little darling can suddenly become a little critic.

And that is exactly what happened to Kate in a rather big way.  She recently commented about her dauighter saying that whatever she wanted and valued, her daughter would want the opposite.  She who could least bear it encountered a strong case of daughterly rejection.  And that pushed her over the edge.  Hence it was to her daughter that she left her suicide note, which was loving to the end. I feel so sorry for her

UPDATE:  Since I wrote the above ,more information has come to light.  It has been confirmed that Kate was having difficulties with her marriage.  I took account of that but considered it only a contributing factor, though undoubtedly an important one  But one claim that I don't credit is that she was manic depressive.  There is NO record of manic behavior on her part but plenty of evidence of chronic anxiety.  So I stick with my diagnosis of anxious depression, aggravated by her daughter's transition to a teenager

Iconic designer Kate Spade hanged herself with a scarf in the bedroom of her Upper East Side home — and left a note telling her daughter it wasn’t her fault, sources said.

A housekeeper found the body of the 55-year-old fashion maven inside her Park Avenue apartment about 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Spade’s husband Andy, the brother of comedian David Spade, was home at the time. But the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Frances was at school, sources said.

The note left by Kate Spade, in addition to absolving her daughter of responsibility, instructed the teen to seek answers from her father.

Spade was upset over “problems at home,” said a source. The source did not elaborate.

Spade was a 30-year-old former magazine editor in 1993 when she launched a line of sleek handbags that grew into a $2.4 billion global empire.



Patrick Buchanan: Boehner's Right – It's Trump's Party Now

"There is no Republican Party. There's a Trump party," John Boehner told a Mackinac, Michigan, gathering of the GOP faithful last week. "The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere."

Ex-Speaker Boehner should probably re-check the old party's pulse, for the Bush-Boehner GOP may not just be napping. It could be comatose.

Consider. That GOP was dedicated to free trade, open borders, amnesty and using U.S. power to punish aggressors and "end tyranny in our world." That GOP set out to create a new world order where dictatorships were threatened with "regime change," and democratic capitalism was the new order of the ages.

Yet, Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination and won the presidency — by saying goodbye to all that.

How probable is it that a future GOP presidential candidate will revive the Bush-Boehner agenda the party rejected in 2016, run on it, win, and impose it on the party and nation?

Bush-Boehner Republicanism appears to be as dead today as was Harding-Coolidge Republicanism after 1933. And if Trumpism is not the future of the GOP, it is hard to see what a promising GOP agenda might look like.

A brief history: In seven elections starting in 1992, Republicans won the presidency three times, but the popular vote only once, in 2004, when George W. was still basking in his "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

What fractured and overwhelmed the Bush-Boehner Republican Party?

First, demography. The mass immigration of Third World peoples that began with the 1965 immigration act, and the decline in the birth rate of native-born Americans, began to swamp the Nixon-Reagan New Majority.

Second, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and USSR removed the party's great unifying cause from Eisenhower to Bush I — the Cold War. After the Red Army went home, "America First" had a new appeal!

Third, faithful to the free trade cult in which they were raised, Republicans championed NAFTA, the WTO, and MFN for China.

Historians will look back in amazement at how America's free trade zealots gave away the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen, as they quoted approvingly 18th- and 19th-century scribblers whose ideas had done so much to bring down their own country, Great Britain.

Between 1997 and 2017, the EU ran up, at America's expense, trade surpluses in goods in excess of $2 trillion, while we also picked up the bill for Europe's defense.

Between 1992 and 2016, China was allowed to run $4 trillion in trade surpluses at our expense, converting herself into the world's first manufacturing power and denuding America of tens of thousands of factories and millions of manufacturing jobs.

In Trump's first year, China's trade surplus with the United States hit $375 billion. From January to March of this year, our trade deficit with China was running at close to the same astronomical rate.

"Trade deficits do not matter," we hear from the economists.

They might explain that to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And perhaps someone can explain the wisdom of handing 4 percent of our GDP each year to an adversary nation, as U.S. admirals talk tough about confronting that adversary nation over islets and reefs in the South China Sea.

Why are we enriching and empowering so exorbitantly those whom we are told we may have to fight?

Fourth, under Bush II and Obama, the U.S. intervened massively in the Near and Middle East — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. And the forces that pushed up into those conflicts, and so disillusioned the nation that it elected Barack Obama, are back, pushing for a new war, on Iran. They may get this war, too.

Yet, given the anti-interventionist and anti-war stance of Trump's winning campaign, and of the Bernie Sanders campaign, U.S. involvement in Middle East wars seems less America's future than it does her past.

After his 16 months in office, it appears as though the Trump presidency, no matter how brief, is going to be a watershed moment in U.S. and world history, and in the future of the GOP.

The world is changing. NATO and the EU are showing their age. Nationalism, populism and tribalism are pervasive on the Old Continent. And America's willingness to bear the burden of Europe's defense, as they ride virtually free, is visibly waning.

It is hard to see why or how Republicans are ever again going to be the Bush-Boehner party that preceded the rise of Trump. What would be the argument for returning to a repudiated platform?

Trump not only defeated 16 Bush Republicans, he presented an agenda on immigration, border security, amnesty, intervention abroad, the Middle East, NAFTA, free trade, Putin and Russia that was a rejection of what the Bush-Boehner Party had stood for and what its presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012, John McCain and Mitt Romney, had run on.

If the Republican Party is "napping," let it slumber on, undisturbed, for its time has come and gone. We are in a new world now.



Cut the Red Tape to Get More Affordable Housing

“I’d love to live in San Francisco, but I don’t want to pay $750,000 to live in a closet.” That’s what I tell my introductory economics students when I discuss housing prices. I probably need to update it to $2 million or something like that.

Why? Why is housing so expensive in cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York? It’s expensive because demand is high and rising. It’s insanely expensive to live in San Francisco because practically everyone wants to live in San Francisco.

But that’s only half the story. Housing is also insanely expensive because supply isn’t rising very quickly.

When you have demand rising quickly and supply changing slowly, you get rising prices. So how do we fix it?

First, we need to take a very hard look at the rules making it very hard to supply new housing. As Thomas Sowell points out in a Hoover Institution interview, land-use restrictions make it “prohibitively expensive” to build new housing in a lot of places.

In a 2008 paper in the Southern Economic Journal, the economists Edward Glaeser and Kristina Tobio argue that since 1970, the ease of increasing the housing supply explains the explosive growth of “Sunbelt” cities like Houston, Atlanta, and Dallas (their published paper is here, an ungated policy brief explaining their finding is here).

Second, we need to take a very hard look at how our moral intuitions might cloud our judgment. Trade-offs are everywhere, and by forcing housing to be safer and more comfortable we necessarily make it more expensive. Just as people are willing to live in a mediocre school district or high-crime area to get cheaper housing, they might be willing to accept the risks associated with less-safe housing if it means cheaper housing. This is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to respect that choice.

Consider the “lodger evil” of the Progressive Era. According to the historians David T. and Linda Royster Beito, the term “referred to the practice of many urban families...to double up through subletting” so that they could “save on rent and earn extra income.” As the Beitos put it, “(t)he lodger evil was very much the trial-and-error creation of ordinary people and clashed head-on with the top-down approach of Progressive Era political elites.”

A tragic reality? Of course, but paraphrasing something I once heard from the economist David Henderson, we don’t make people better off by eliminating the choices they actually make.

Third, we need to look at the “rules about the rules,” or the constitutional political economy for which James M. Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize, that makes it possible for people to enrich themselves at others’ expense—in this case, by making it easy for homeowners to increase the value of their own property in desirable areas by making it prohibitively expensive for others to build or move in. This is the NIMBY phenomenon—“not in my backyard”—that leads people to oppose new residential and commercial development.

But if property rights mean anything, they mean that my backyard is not your backyard—nor is your backyard mine.

A literal example illustrates. There’s an empty lot just across the alley from my backyard, situated between two houses the next street over. It’s entirely possible that the owner of that lot might build something I don’t like—a brutalist house painted hot pink, for example, or a halfway house for recovering drug addicts. But My Backyard ends at the property line. If I want a say in what ends up on that lot, I should buy the lot.

One might object that something like a halfway house or a hot pink brutalist monstrosity would generate negative externalities. I’m sympathetic to the argument (believe me: I’m looking at the trees on the lot as I type this). That risk, however, was reflected in the price of the house when we bought it. In that sense, we’ve already been “compensated” for negative spillovers that might emerge. If we’d wanted a lot of control over what our neighbors can do with their property, we could’ve bought a home in a gated community with a powerful Homeowners’ Association and lots of strict rules. We didn’t.

Housing is expensive for two basic reasons: high demand and low supply. There’s a solution, though: get rid of some of the rules making it so hard for people to supply new housing.



Golden Deep State

 The surging national economy has given California a budget surplus by some accounts of more than $5 billion, with tax collections up about $3.8 billion above what Governor Jerry Brown anticipated in January. California taxpayers should not expect Brown to return any money to the taxpayers, in the style of governor George Deukmejian, who passed away on May 8. As he said back in 1987, “I think we can be very pleased that we were able to protect this money for the taxpayers and that we have honored the spending limit enacted by the voters through the initiative process.” Outgoing governor Brown has other plans.

He wants to give state prison guards their biggest raise since the recession, a 9.3 percent hike over three years that will cost $114.6 million in the budget year that begins July 1 and $331 million over the next two years. The pact also allows the guards to cash out up to 80 hours of accrued vacation time. Other sweetheart deals are surely set in store, and taxpayers might recall the back story.

On his first watch as governor, Brown made it a priority to expand collective bargaining for government employees. These unions implement government policy and function as a kind of “deep state” that remains in place, whatever the administration. So politicians tend to give the government employee unions what they want.

On Brown’s second watch, the Service Employees International Union demonstrates outside the capitol chanting “this is our house!” That is in fact the case, and the governor has sweetened the deal. He backs measures to boost funding for low-income students and English learners, then under his principle of “subsidiarity,” lets the various districts spend the money on bureaucracy. For example, in 2014 the massive Los Angeles Unified School District gave principals and administrators a pay raise of 6.64 percent, adding a lump-sum bonus equal to 2 percent of salary. And all this comes apart from any hike in student achievement or accountability.

Whatever happens with the Delta tunnels or the bullet-train, Jerry Brown’s legacy is a state where deep-state drones are number one.



Trump Clips Eagles' Wings
No pandering there!  Trump withdraws respect from those who disrespect their country

Donald Trump was elected in large part because normal Americans grew tired of rabid leftists calling them jingoist racists. And even if it means canceling traditional meet-and-greets with sports champions at the White House, Trump is going to stand with the American people — in this case, against the NFL’s kneeling social justice warriors.

With less than 24 hours’ notice, Trump scrapped the planned ceremony to recognize the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, citing the long-running dispute over the national anthem and the small contingent of Eagles players (fewer than 10) even willing to attend.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a White House statement. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better. These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony — one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

For the record, the Eagles released the only player who kneeled during a preseason game. Others stood with power fists during the season. In any case, Trump is making this is a victory lap of sorts after the NFL’s recent policy announcement threatening to fine teams with players who kneel for the anthem.

But Trump isn’t taking guff from any professional sports team. He uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors last year (look for the same thing to happen after they win again this year). In Trump’s estimation, if millionaire celebrity sports stars are going to snub him and the country, why not return the favor? As the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams put it, “Donald Trump truly is the culture war 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 (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


6 June 2018

Hooray! U.S. Supreme Court backs Christian baker who rebuffed gay couple

But how deplorable that it needed SCOTUS for the plain language of the constitution to be implemented.  What a disgrace the State courts are!

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory on narrow grounds to a Colorado baker who refused based on his Christian beliefs to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, stopping short of setting a major precedent allowing people to claim religious exemptions from anti-discrimination laws.

The justices, in a 7-2 decision, said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed an impermissible hostility toward religion when it found that baker Jack Phillips violated the state's anti-discrimination law by rebuffing gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig in 2012. The state law bars businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.

The court concluded that the commission violated Phillips' religious rights under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

But the justices did not issue a definitive ruling on the circumstances under which people can seek exemptions from anti-discrimination laws based on religion. The decision also did not address important claims raised in the case including whether baking a cake is a kind of expressive act protected by the Constitution's free speech guarantee.

Two of the court's four liberals, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, joined the five conservative justices in the ruling authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who also wrote the landmark 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

The baker case became a cultural flashpoint in the United States, underscoring the tensions between gay rights proponents and conservative Christians.

Both sides claimed a measure of victory. The couple's supporters noted that the ruling embraced the importance of gay rights and made it clear that businesses open to the public must serve everyone. The baker's lawyers said the ruling emphasized that the government must respect religious beliefs.

"Our society has come to the recognition that gay persons and gay couples cannot be treated as social outcasts or as inferior in dignity and worth," Kennedy wrote.

But Kennedy said the state commission's hostility toward religion "was inconsistent with the First Amendment's guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion."

In one exchange at a 2014 hearing before the commission cited by Kennedy, former commissioner Diann Rice said that "freedom of religion, and religion, has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust."

Kennedy said the commission ruled the opposite way in three cases brought against bakers in which the business owners refused to bake cakes containing messages that demeaned gay people or same-sex marriage.

Republican President Donald Trump's administration, which intervened in the case in support of Phillips, welcomed the ruling. "The First Amendment prohibits governments from discriminating against citizens on the basis of religious beliefs," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

The decision made it clear that even if the court ultimately rules in a future case that bakers or other businesses that sell creative products such as florists and wedding photographers can avoid punishment under anti-discrimination laws, most businesses open to the public would have no such defense.

Kennedy wrote that any ruling in favor of creative professionals must be "sufficiently constrained, lest all purveyors of goods and services who object to gay marriages for moral and religious reasons in effect be allowed to put up signs saying 'no goods or services will be sold if they will be used for gay marriages,' something that would impose a serious stigma on gay persons."

Of the 50 states, 21 including Colorado have anti-discrimination laws protecting gay people.

The case marked a test for Kennedy, who has authored significant rulings that advanced gay rights but also is a strong advocate for free speech rights and religious freedom.

"The outcome of cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts, all in the context of recognizing that these disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious beliefs, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market," Kennedy wrote.

Mullins and Craig were planning their wedding in Massachusetts in 2012 and wanted the cake for a reception in Colorado, where gay marriage was not yet legal. During a brief encounter at Phillips' Masterpiece Cakeshop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, the baker politely but firmly refused, leaving the couple distraught. [The poor petals!]

They filed a successful complaint with the state commission, the first step in the six-year-old legal battle. State courts sided with the couple, prompting Phillips to appeal to the top U.S. court.

"Today's decision means our fight against discrimination and unfair treatment will continue," the couple, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. "We have always believed that in America, you should not be turned away from a business open to the public because of who you are."

Mullins and Craig said Phillips was using his Christian faith as pretext for unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Phillips and others like him who believe that gay marriage is inconsistent with their Christian beliefs have said they should not be required to effectively endorse the practice.

"Government hostility toward people of faith has no place in our society, yet the state of Colorado was openly antagonistic toward Jack's religious beliefs about marriage. The court was right to condemn that," said lawyer Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Phillips.

Phillips himself was not available for comment.

The litigation, along with similar cases around the country, is part of a conservative Christian backlash to the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.

The court will soon have the opportunity to signal its approach to handling similar cases. The justices on Thursday are set to consider whether to hear an appeal filed by a flower shop owner in Washington state who refused to create an arrangement to celebrate a gay wedding based on her Christian beliefs.



Globalization is political poison

Martin Hutchinson

Since 1991, globalization has been touted as the solution to all the world’s problems, that will pull emerging markets out of poverty while making rich countries more efficient and competitive. Yet in the last few years, public opinion has soured on it; whenever new measures of globalization are proposed, voters oppose them vehemently. There are good reasons for this.

The simple optimism of Thomas Friedman’s 2005 “The World is Flat” suggested that over time, modern communications would iron out the political differences and economic inequalities between societies, making a harmonious world that was both more equal and richer. Even back then, it was clear that low-skill workers in rich countries would suffer relatively, but it was believed that global growth would be sufficiently rapid to handle the problem. After all, if the best brains of China and India were now able to play a role in driving innovation, surely innovation must speed up enormously from its previous level, with corresponding benefit to global productivity and growth rates.

This has not happened, mainly because the world’s governors have added several other policies into the mix that have nothing to do with classical Ricardian liberalism, the motive-force behind globalization. These policies have turned the fairly marginal benefits available from globalization into gigantic costs, at least as far as the majority of rich countries’ populations is concerned.

The most damaging policy error that globalist governments have made is to over-regulate, using new international bodies to impose regulations from which businesses can’t escape. Before regulation was global, companies that wanted cheap labor or which had an unpleasant manufacturing process could simply locate in an emerging market whose inhabitants would be glad of the jobs. Now that is no longer possible; global environmentalist and labor regulators, and their NGO enforcers chase all over the world, harassing businesses wherever they operate. Only anti-globalist “rogue regimes” are exempt, one reason why popular support for such regimes is growing.

Over-regulation, whether environmental or otherwise, has a doubly damaging effect on the victims of globalization. It slows overall global growth, so that the benefits of globalization may no longer be sufficient to protect the loving standards of the low-skilled in wealth countries. Further, regulations are generally differential in their application, so rich country manufacturers can escape some of the more foolish domestic regulations by relocating manufacturing to the Third World – thereby hollowing out the good blue-collar jobs that the rich country labor force needs.

A second downside of globalization is crony capitalism. In a non-globalized world, companies from all over the world compete, and have competitive advantages only in their own countries. However, as the world globalizes, the major multinationals can buy up or drive out local competitors. Once this happens, the multinationals’ innovation and resulting productivity growth is slowed by their gigantic behemoth size and inefficiency. However, as governments have grown larger and regulations more complex, the multinationals have been able to ally with host governments all over the world to draft regulations that favor them and keep out upstart competitors. Even in the high-tech sector, the symbiotic relationship of Facebook and Google, not with their domestic regulators but with EU regulators, is able to ensure that their global oligopoly is preserved for all time, and not subject to erosion by pesky new competitors. Again, globalization makes cronyism inevitable, and with cronyism comes bloated bureaucracy and sluggish innovation.

A third accompaniment of globalization has been ultra-low interest rates, already set below the optimum level by Fed chairman Alan Greenspan in 1995 and lowered further worldwide with each economic hiccup. On a global scale, these have narrowed the capital cost differential between rich and poor countries, artificially speeding the relocation of rich county industries, since new factories can be erected artificially cheaply in emerging markets. Then, within economies, these low interest rates have encouraged tsunamis of misdirected investment, whether on companies that should have been allowed to die or on over-priced real estate. Millennials now cannot afford urban housing; ultra-low interest rates, in many cases negative in real terms, have driven house prices to artificial and unsustainable levels. By misdirecting capital, low interest rates have also lowered productivity growth, the only means by which living standards can be improved. In general, low interest rates have enriched those with connections, at the expense of everybody else; with globalization, there has been no escape from them.

A moderate amount of high-skill immigration is necessary in a globalized world; you must attract the skills that are not available locally. However, globalization’s proponents have widened this to include massive low-skill immigration, whether on guest-worker contracts or simply illegal, as well as endless floods of refugees. This kind of immigration lowers domestic wages and strains welfare systems, depressing living standards (and indeed quality of life) throughout the economy.

Finally, globalization has been accompanied by a bloating of government spending worldwide. To some extent, governments bloat spending because they can. If interest rates are ultra-low, even negative in real terms, there is no incentive to stop wasting money on boondoggles that may attract votes. However, apart from the unsustainability of most current budget deficits, by bloating government, resources are diverted from their most productive uses to the utterly unproductive public sector. Thereby, real productivity (which may differ from that in GDP accounting, which takes all government activity as beneficial) is once again caused to decline.

In Third World countries also, where controls on corruption are feeble, bloated government spending attracts the “best and brightest” into the public sector, where dodgy money can be made most quickly – the Malaysian 1MDB mess, aided and abetted by Goldman Sachs, is a prime example of this, which should now be punished to the fullest extent of available law. However, allowing democratic change to punish government malfeasance is not a sufficient solution to this problem; it will merely cause the crony globalist governments to rig the political system, as the EU is attempting to do in Italy and elsewhere, to prevent that change from happening.

In theory, globalization should enable poor countries to grow rich, while rich countries also benefit and innovation proceeds at a wildly accelerated pace – that’s what the Ricardian textbooks say. In practice, over-regulation, cronyism, artificially low interest rates, excessive immigration and government bloat have made globalization increasingly damaging to the living standards of ordinary people in both rich and poor countries. That damage to living standards is growing further day by day as the poorly controlled globalist economic system becomes more corrupt and inefficient.

To win an election, therefore, just get your opponents to advocate a thoroughly globalist, international platform (or, within the EU, EU-integration, which comes to the same thing). The voters have seen through the follies of globalization and will duly reward the party that opposes it most vehemently.



Roseanne and the double standard

Who knew we would look back at Roseanne Barr's crotch-grabbing massacre of the national anthem in 1990 and see a mere flesh wound on her career? She embarrassed herself, mocking America in front of America, but her hit show rolled along.

But one egregiously racist tweet destroyed the "Roseanne" reboot of 2018 in a Hollywood minute. Tweeting that former Barack Obama top aide Valerie Jarrett is a mixture of the Muslim Brotherhood and "Planet of the Apes" put an abrupt end to the top broadcast television program of the year.

ABC made the right decision — and the obvious business decision. You cannot compare blacks to monkeys. That is an old, dehumanizing trope. It is viciously mean-spirited to compare President Donald Trump to an orangutan, as many leftists have. But that is a mockery of one man's hair and intelligence, not the rhetorical equivalent of a burning cross.

In retrospect, everyone said ABC should have known this was going to happen. Barr has always been a loose cannon, and her politics have zigzagged from running on the presidential ticket of the nutty-left Green Party all the way over to backing Trump. But the network thrived with the original formula of "Roseanne," and it saw a win-win with a reboot: The show's old audience would tune in, and ABC could sell itself as reaching out to the red states after mysteriously dumping Tim Allen's hit show. The ratings were terrific. Then Roseanne drove the reboot over a cliff.

Dehumanizing tropes about black people don't always destroy careers ... when the black is a Republican. For example, Pat Oliphant didn't stop being the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world after he drew then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a parrot with large lips sitting on then-President George W. Bush's hand in 2008.

This was a trend. Christian Science Monitor cartoonist Jeff Danziger drew a barefoot Rice in a rocking chair saying, "I knows all about aluminum tubes! (Correction) I don't know nuthin' about aluminum tubes ..." In the radical fever swamps, cartoonist Ted Rall drew one with Rice saying, "I was Bush's beard! His house n——!" And a black male character replies, "Now hand over your hair straightener." He is wearing a T-shirt that says, "You're not white, stupid."

Even as "Roseanne" is canceled, let's not congratulate Disney CEO Bob Iger as the King of Televised Civility. This is the same company that dragged its feet for weeks after ABC co-host Joy Behar insulted millions on "The View" when she cracked that Christians like Vice President Mike Pence who act like "Jesus talks to you" have a "mental illness." We protested until Behar apologized on air, and she has since compared Trump to an orangutan, because it's just another day in the Resistance.

Days before the Barr debacle, Disney-owned ESPN rehired Keith Olbermann, fresh off a series of unhinged Trump-hating videos for GQ magazine and a book titled "Trump Is F—-ing Crazy (This Is Not a Joke)." He's also vicious on Twitter, like this tweet to the president and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio: "You and @Potus can go f—- yourselves, you racist Nazi f—-s!" In another tweet, he lectured Republicans with emphasis: "This is the creature you have unleashed



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

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


5 June, 2018


The party car has no brakes

On May 10th, Tom Steyer was shouted down at his own town hall for pointing out that President Trump hasn’t actually killed millions of people.

Steyer was in Cedar Rapids on the road with his Need to Impeach tour. The billionaire had come to Iowa to boost his political standing by going further to the extreme than the Democrat leadership. Rep. Pelosi, Rep. Schiff and other top Dems had been warning against impeachment messaging. Steyer embraced it.

But hating Trump, like every other leftist extreme viewpoint, has no actual stopping point.

A woman in the audience asked, “What's the difference between him and Hitler?” "Hitler ended up killing millions and millions of people," the leftist billionaire noted in his reply. "Mr. Trump has shown a disregard for our law... but he hasn’t killed millions of people."

And the audience swiftly shouted him down for stating the obvious.

The trouble with trying to outleft the left is that there’s always someone more extreme than you are. Even if you want to impeach Trump, you’ll be deemed a sellout for not calling for his assassination.

It’s not enough to compare Trump to Hitler, as Steyer did, you have to insist he’s every bit as bad as Adolf.

The scene in Cedar Rapids was the inevitable outcome of building politics around hating one man as hard as possible. The transformation of the Democrats into the anti-Trump party means that if he really wanted to get a wall built tomorrow, all he would have to do is come out against it this afternoon.

Over at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum pleaded, “Liberals Really Shouldn’t Be Defending MS-13 Just Because Donald Trump Doesn’t Like Them.” But tell that to Nancy Pelosi. If Trump hates MS-13, the left will learn to love it, even if it never heard of it before, and draw on all the old rationalizations of terrorism (there’s a moderate MS-13 wing, innocent immigrants get caught up in the hunt for MS-13, dehumanizing people is dangerous) to rationalize its reflexive antipathy. If Jared and Ivanka show up in Jerusalem, the left will learn to love Hamas. The left’s response to North Korea shifts with Trump. When Trump negotiates, the left hates the Norks, when he threatens them, it’s come on down Kim Jong-un.

It’s not a cult of personality, but a cult of anti-personality. The Democrats feverishly worship whatever they imagine the antithesis of Trump to be at any given time. Even if it’s a violent murder and rape gang.

But it’s not just a case of, “Whatever Trump’s for, I’m against it.”

Bernie’s socialism was controversial in the ’16 primaries. In ’18, most of his ideas have been embraced by his prospective ’20 rivals. His people are rising within the DNC.

Hillary Clinton didn’t just kill off her crooked political dynasty. Her defeat also killed triangulation.

What’s the point of waiting around for decades, playing the long game, moving to the middle, trying to avoid taking a controversial stand or uttering an uncensored thought, only to lose twice?

No Dem wants to be the next Hillary Clinton. They want to be the next Obama or Bernie.

The Overton window isn’t just open, it’s broken. There are few ideas that can’t be put forward anymore. Especially on the left. In tribal politics, moderation isn’t a virtue, it’s a vice.

That’s the problem.

The lack of boundaries is liberating. But everyone has boundaries. Even the guy with a Need to Impeach tour. He just has no way to set them anymore. Or point out that Trump isn’t literally Hitler.

Neither does the rest of his political movement.

You’re either an extremist or a sellout. And there’s always someone crazier out there to cry sellout.

Free health care, college education and jobs have already been done. Bernie ran on free college and healthcare. Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris are already all over free jobs.

What’s next? How do you out-Bernie him in 2020? Free homes, free cars and free drugs?

Socialism works until you run out of other people’s money. But at this rate, the Dems will run out of other people’s ideas even before they even manage to run out of other people’s money.

And then the 2024 Dems will run on straight Communism.

Extremism in hating Trump is no vice, among the Dems, and no virtue is greater than loving socialism.

The first casualties of campaign finance reform were the moderates. The power shifted from local districts to big national donors with massive organizations. Goodbye Bill and Bob in Pennsylvania, hello George Soros and the other SPECTRE board members of the Democracy Alliance. Crowdsourced platforms like ActBlue allowed San Francisco donors to pour big money into local red state races.

And the most passionate and committed Dem donors weren’t moderates, but extremists. National single issue lobbies consolidated into a coordinated campaign to push pro-life and pro-gun Dems out of the party. The progressive political machine manufactured passion candidates who were unqualified extremists. Mostly the machine lost. But it won big when a Chicago lefty took the White House.

As the Democrats head into the midterm elections, some in the leadership are trying to moderate their tone. But why bother? Extremism pays. Just look at the cash flowing to key #resistance politicians.

When Rosie O’Donnell got into trouble for illegally over-sized campaign contributions, she claimed that she donates money ActBlue to help her cope. “My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing trump, his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed.”

She’s not alone. There’s a river of blue state money pouring into local; elections. The cult of anti-personality that the Democrats have built around Trump has been a financial windfall for the left. The Democrats hold fewer elected seats, but their holders are more likely to be politically correct. It wasn’t a defeat for the left. But a successful purification of a political party by what was an extremist faction.

The descent of the Democrats into extremism allowed Republicans to achieve a nearly unprecedented electoral dominance. As the Democrats tightened their grip on urban minority blocs and suburban bedroom communities, the South and the Midwest slipped through their fingers. But instead of moderating their tone, they consolidated control over the media and unelected officials.

The eavesdropping on Trump officials and the resulting Mueller investigation are the result.

If the Democrats succeed in reversing the results of the 2016 election by engineering a coup through the DOJ and the media, elections will cease to matter. And that will eliminate any final check on the left’s political extremism. That is what the investigations tearing apart America are really about.

The social consensus is gone. Instead the left manufactured its own social consensus on values and used the entertainment industry and the educational system to indoctrinate each generation anew. The political consensus was swept out on a tide of cash. And the electrical consensus is under siege by a movement that is trying to make elections in America as irrelevant as they already are in California.

And the Democrats are going as crazy nationally, as they did in California.

The Founding Fathers rebelled against a mad king notorious for talking to trees. But old George was replaced with a tyranny of leftists who, unlike him, may not shake hands with trees, but do hug them.

Madness is the privilege of absolute power. When there is no one to challenge their right to rule, governments go mad. North Korea’s insane Marxist madhouse is a typical example. The Democrats have been set free to indulge in the extremes of madness with none of the political consequences. The media won’t hold them accountable and, if they have their way, the voters won’t be allowed to either.

The Democrat car, environmentally correct, painted bright red and full of the exact right number of minority drivers, is racing for the cliff. It has no brakes and no one in the cars wants to use them anyway.



Chick-fil-A Mocks the Lefty Myth About Wage Stagnation

“As the owner, I’m looking at it big picture and long term.” Those are the words of Eric Mason, owner of a Chick-fil-A in Sacramento, CA.

Mason was talking about his employees and sales. He believes successful restaurants are an effect of happy, well-paid workers.  That’s why he’s offering his employees wage increases that would boost their pay from $12-13/hr. to $17-18/hr.

That Mason is raising worker pay well beyond California’s minimum wage is a reminder that pundits on the left are flying blind when they emote about stagnant wages.  They could learn a lot from Mason. Mason sees very clearly what they don’t: low-wage workers are incredibly expensive.

They are because they’re not very productive.  As is frequently said, you get what you pay for.  Low-wage workers don’t need to perform very well simply because they’re not being compensated for it.  Mason wants his business to boom, which means he wants his employees to feel well rewarded.  Quoted in the Washington Post about his decision to boost employee compensation, Mason said “[W]hat that [pay well above the minimum wage] does for the business is provide consistency, someone that has relationships with our guests, and it’s going to be building a long-term culture.”

“Long term culture” is crucial here.  Mason’s point is that employee turnover is very costly.  Not only is it time consuming to train workers who will soon depart, it’s also bad for the business.  People patronize restaurants for all sorts of reasons.  Consistency in terms of food and service, and a welcoming atmosphere plainly factor.  Each quality is more likely to be found in restaurants that retain their employees for the long term.

The above speaks loudly to how expensive it is to underpay.  To do so, as in to presume to exploit, is to drive away the workers who are capable of mastering the menu, creating a “long term culture,” and who will know many customers by name and order.

Mason’s insight is as old as profit is.  Henry Ford understood long ago what Mason does now.  Poorly paid workers are a business-sapping burden. Ford didn’t give his employees raises so that they would buy Ford cars; rather he offered them impressive raises because annual turnover of over 300% was limiting his ability to profit.  Low wages were costing Ford’s eponymous company a great deal.  Mason wants to avoid the high cost of short-changing his employees. 

Mason’s actions belie the popular lefty belief that businesses thrive by paying their workers as little as possible.  He’s a wise owner for sure, but can those who think businesses grow through exploitation really believe that Mason’s view about compensation is a minority one? More realistically, well-run corporations of varying shapes and sizes well understand that businesses succeed thanks to the people who show up for work each day.  Successful owners and CEOs understand that parsimony is not the path to profits.

Profitable businesses get that way by overpaying.  Does anyone remember General Electric’s nickname when it was the premiere U.S. blue chip in the late 1990s? “Generous Electric” employees were exceedingly well compensated, and then it was said about Time Warner around the same time that it retained its workers with “golden handcuffs.” So fearful was it of losing its human capital to Silicon Valley upstarts, Goldman Sachs handed out generous stock bonuses during the original internet boom. More modernly, readers need only consider Amazon.  It’s one of the five most valuable companies in the world.  Not surprisingly, the pay at Amazon is very impressive.  Anyone who doubts this need only consider the feverish competition among North American cities for the Seattle giant’s second HQ.

Are the previous examples too large and too corporate?  Too coastal, or too outlier? Too college-degree focused? If so, fine.  Consider the plumbing industry.  In a front page Wall Street Journal story from last week, it was reported that Ft. Collins-based Neuworks Mechanical is offering plumbers “on-site tap flows with craft beer”, roasted espresso, a smoker for brisket lunches, and next up, a yoga studio. A plumbing company in St. Paul offers arcade games and a “quiet room,” while another plumbing outfit unearthed by the Journal provides its workers with massages and spa treatments.

Which brings us to the myth about stagnant pay in the U.S.  Really? If pay were stagnant, does anyone think businesses would be paying so much and offering so much in order to win and retain workers? No doubt some owners and CEOs are quite simply enlightened and realize that a happy work force means happy customers, but to some degree this bidding war for workers is the result of a scramble for talent among all businesses. 

Stagnant pay presumes a lack of economic growth, and a dearth of successful businesses.  Except that that U.S. has had some of the greatest growth since the early 1980s, and it houses a majority of the world’s most valuable companies.  In an economy reliant on people, it’s only natural that the people staffing U.S. businesses are being paid more and more, and being compensated in ways that are more and more creative.  So impressive is compensation in the U.S. that even fast food businesses must pay up to compete.  Indeed, as the Chick-fil-A story reminds us, it’s not just Starbucks that is going out of its way to retain workers with pay and perks.

So while many on the left surely want the best for workers, far too many labor under the false illusion that businesses strive to minimize employee costs.  Not at all.  They can’t afford to. They strive to overpay because a failure to retain employees is the path to decline.



TSA and Border Patrol stole his life savings but never charged him with a crime

His American dream was helping his family in Albania. It ended when he walked through security at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

A U.S. citizen for more than a decade, Rustem Kazazi was flying back to Europe to help his Albanian family repair their home and maybe even to buy a little beach house somewhere along the Adriatic Sea. He placed $58,100 into three clearly marked envelopes, then packed the money away in his carry-on luggage.

It was 13 years of his life savings – and the federal government took every penny.

TSA employees discovered the cash, and agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized it. But first they strip-searched Kazazi and interrogated the 64-year-old without a translator as he covered himself with a towel.

That was in October. Kazazi still hasn’t been convicted (or charged!) of any crime, and CBP didn’t offer any explanation for a month. But thanks to a law enforcement procedure called civil asset forfeiture, CBP also hasn’t given Kazazi his savings back. The federal government finally came up with an explanation: they suspected he was “involved in a smuggling/drug trafficking/money laundering operation.”

The large sum wasn’t for anything nefarious explained Kazazi, a former Albanian police office. “The crime in Albania is much worse than it is here,” he told the Washington Post. “Other people that have made large withdrawals [from Albanian banks] have had people intercept them and take their money.” Plus, hard U.S. currency is worth more.

And because traveling with that kind of cash isn’t a crime, the Kazazi family has filed suit against the federal government.

“You have the right to travel with cash in America, even when you’re flying internationally,” said Wesley Hottot, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents the Kazazis in the lawsuit. “But again, we’re encountering a situation where law enforcement sees somebody with legal cash, assumes they must have done something criminal, and they just take the money. It is disturbing how little respect federal agents show for the civil rights of American citizens.”

Those federal agents aren’t an anomaly. It’s not just a bad apple here and a rotten one there. Civil asset forfeiture is the preferred policy of the nation’s top cop.

"I love that program," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said at a law enforcement conference last September. "We had so much fun doing that, taking drug dealers' money and passing it out to people trying to put drug dealers in jail. What's wrong with that?"

Turns out, a lot is wrong with the 1980s-era policy. Police aren’t just nabbing drug money. Around the country, law enforcement are taking cash, cars, and real-estate without ever charging victims with a crime. To seize property, the police only need to suspect it is connected to criminal activity. Afterwards, even clearly innocent citizens like Kazazi have no recourse except a lawsuit.

“This family’s case, like so many others, shows why civil forfeiture must end,” explained IJ attorney Johanna Talcott. “The Kazazis did nothing wrong and were never charged with a crime, but the government still won’t return their money all these months later. This kind of abuse is far too common because civil forfeiture is an inherently abusive process that will always have disastrous effects on innocent people. Enough is 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 (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


4 June, 2018

Record Wage Increases, Record-Low Unemployment

A good economy is bad for Democrats, and today brings more good economic news.

As we noted last month, a good economy is bad for Democrats. And we got another load of good economic news this morning, regardless of Leftmedia spin.

First up, The Wall Street Journal’s James Freeman writes, “The number of small companies raising wages hit a record high in the U.S. this month. That’s according to the latest National Federation of Independent Business employment survey. … A full 35% of owners of small firms report increasing labor compensation, the highest percentage since NFIB started asking about it in 1986.” That trend could get even better, as Freeman notes that “businesses are ramping up spending on the tools that make their workers more productive and therefore able to command higher wages.”

Much of the wage increases are due to a tighter labor market. Employers added 223,000 jobs in May, which was higher than media expectations but not quite as surprising for those of us not blinded by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Headline unemployment dropped to 3.8%, the lowest since 2000. Black unemployment dropped to a new record low of 5.9%. And The Washington Post reports, “Many economists predict it will fall even further this year, potentially dropping to 3.5 percent, which would be the lowest rate since 1969.” It might have physically hurt that poor Post reporter to note such good news under Donald Trump.

Nancy Pelosi called Republican tax cuts “Armageddon” before dismissing them as “crumbs.” Back here in reality, the American economy is enjoying the fruit of good policy, brought to you without a single Democrat vote.



BOOM: Black Unemployment Hits All-Time Low Just Like President Trump Promised

The American people as a whole were in for a treat on Friday with the latest economic numbers. According to The Daily Caller:

The numbers reveal that the U.S. economy is booming and many key indicators of economic health are trending in the right direction. According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, the lowest in nearly two decades.

223,000 jobs were created and the May increase in payroll was bullish, surprising economists, according to NPR.  However, the most historic data points seem to be centered around black unemployment. The unemployment rate for African-Americans plunged to 5.9 percent in May. That is a record low. Interestingly, the gap between white ad black unemployment has shrunk to the smallest since these numbers have been recorded. The white unemployment (3.5%) and black unemployment (5.9%) is the smallest gap since the release of these numbers, beginning in the early 1970s.



Trump Puts an End to Taxpayer Subsidies for Unions

Government employee unions have enjoyed an absolute boondoggle in recent years, receiving hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds. But the boon could soon be over thanks to a new executive order from President Donald Trump.

Last Friday, the president signed an executive order requiring that federal government employees who work full-time for the public employee unions at taxpayer expense spend at least 75 percent of their paid time on the government’s business. The administration estimates this will save taxpayers $100 million.

This measure is one of three executive orders the president signed on Friday. Those orders do not eliminate taxpayer subsidies for public employee unions altogether—that is Congress’ job—but they do end the taxpayer subsidy of travel for union business; mandate that unions be charged fair market value for rents of government office space; streamline the public employee appeals process so that bad apples can be fired more rapidly; and force taxpayer-funded union workers to spend at least three-quarters of their time doing the people’s business.

Most people are shocked to learn that taxpayers have been footing the bill for public employee union salaries, but they become incensed when they learn that in 2016, union employees were paid $177 million by the federal government, not counting office space and travel expenses.

A 2013 Freedom of Information Act request by Americans for Limited Government discovered that the Department of Veterans Affairs alone had over 250 employees working full time for unions in 2011. The Transportation Department had 35 employees on full-time “official time,” many of whom had salaries in excess of $170,000 per year.

And in 2012, when the IRS was busy playing politics by delaying and denying tea party group applications for nonprofit status, The Washington Times reported that more than 200 full-time IRS employees were engaged in nothing but union activity. The same report added that taxpayers picked up the bill for another $687,400 in union travel at the IRS alone.

It’s bad enough that the federal government spent between $150 and $200 million a year on union salaries and travel, but what’s worse is that this indirectly subsidized unions’ political activity. Because money is fungible, the money that public employee unions didn’t have to spend on personnel could then be turned around and spent on politics.

Public employee unions are among the biggest donors in politics, with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ranked the 15th-largest contributor so far in 2018, according to OpenSecrets. And this group, in particular, has overwhelmingly favored Democrats over Republicans.

Of the $4,843,291 that this group has poured into politics this year, exactly $6,000 of it went to groups, causes, or politicians considered to be Republican or conservative. In 2016, it spent almost $16 million on politics with under $8,000 going to Republican or conservative groups. In that same election cycle, its political action committee could not find a single Republican to support, giving 100 percent of its money to Democrats.

This is just one case out of many. For years, taxpayers have subsidized public unions that pursue political activities and overwhelmingly donate to Democrats. Their donations are designed to grow government, and consequently, their own membership.

Public employee unions don’t even pretend to be anything but big government advocates. The president’s executive order forcing taxpayer-funded union employees to spend 75 percent of their time doing their federal job is a good first step in reigning in this far-left government funding stream.

Trump deserves kudos for recognizing the absurdity of taxpayer funding of the left, and in particular, he deserves credit for hiring people like Russ Vought and James Sherk for the Office of Management and Budget and White House staff, respectively, and Nathan Mehrens for the Labor Department.

By hiring people who have studied and understand how the current federal civil service system perpetuates the administrative state, Trump set himself up for success when it comes to dealing with the wash, rinse, repeat swamp cycle that the public employee unions perpetuate.

Recently, much of the discussion about public employee unions in politics has been focused upon the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court decision, which could allow public employees at all levels of government to opt out of paying dues as a First Amendment right. But these new executive orders will have a much greater impact on the federal bureaucracy, since federal employees already have the right to not join the union.

This executive order will shift about $100 million in union employee costs back onto the unions. This will force them to prioritize which cases should be fought and which ones should be settled, injecting some rationality and perhaps greater speed into the federal government firing process.

Now, the president needs to take the next step: force the public employee unions to compete for their members through an opt-in process, where the employee would have to actively decide to be a member of the union rather than being assumed to be a member unless he or she fills out the proper paperwork.

If the president takes this next bold step, the public employee union stranglehold on the federal government will be broken, giving Congress a chance to pass full-blown civil service reform.

You can almost hear the swamp draining.



Fake News: Blaming Trump for Obama's Policy

In an apparent response to President Donald Trump's call to pressure Democrats into getting serious on securing the border — specifically conceding on funding for a border wall — leftists spread an image across social media of illegal alien children sleeping in an ICE detention cell. In a bit of poetic irony, Barack Obama's former speechwriter Jon Favreau also shared the image, declaring, "Look at these pictures. This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible." The glaring problem: The photograph was from an article published by The Arizona Republic in 2014. And who was president then?

Trump responded to the fake news, writing, "Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama's term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires. Dems must agree to Wall and new Border Protection for good of country... Bipartisan Bill!" The whole episode sounds a lot like the recent BIG Lie about Trump supposedly calling immigrants "animals," when he was specifically referring to the violent MS-13 gang.

Aside from this latest fake news episode, the controversy over separating illegal alien children from their parents is a result of current immigration law — law that Trump is calling on Congress to change. And while the law clearly isn't an ideal means of dealing with the often confusing situations that can arise, the responsibility must ultimately lie with those illegal alien parents who are knowingly breaking U.S. immigration law. Furthermore, fault also lies with Obama and his unconstitutional implementation of DACA, which only served to encourage more illegals to bring children with them, sometimes as cover.

In an effort to dissuade families from illegally immigrating, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently warned, "If you cross the border unlawfully ... then we will prosecute you... If you smuggle an illegal alien across the border, then we'll prosecute you. ... If you're smuggling a child, then we're going to prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you, probably, as required by law. If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally. It's not our fault that somebody does that."

The truth is Trump has called for strong enforcement of the U.S. border, in part via building a wall, and has declared his desire to seek a legislative solution on DACA, both of which Democrats have resisted because they'd rather have a political wedge issue. Democrats are the ones most responsible for creating and exacerbating this problem by their continued campaign to intentionally undermine U.S. immigration law. So they can spare us their phony outrage.



Trump pardons Dinesh D'Souza — and might do the same for Rod Blagojevich and Martha Stewart

D'Souza's "offence" was to give $20,000 to a conservative politician's campaign fund

 In granting the fifth pardon of his presidency Thursday, President Trump showed that he's not afraid of political consequences of using his clemency power to correct what he perceives as unjust, politically motivated prosecutions.

On an Air Force One flight to Houston, Trump pardoned conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza for making illegal campaign contributions — and then said he is also considering presidential clemency for others, including former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.

He told reporters that Blagojevich's attempt to sell Barack Obama's former Senate seat after Obama became president was "a stupid thing to say" but not worth 18 years in prison. Blagojevich, a Democrat, appeared on Trump's reality television show Celebrity Apprentice in 2010.

Trump said a pardon of Stewart also crossed his mind. Stewart, the head of a publishing and television empire who hosted a spinoff of The Apprentice, was convicted of obstructing justice in an investigation into insider trading in 2004.

"I think to a certain extent, Martha Stewart was harshly and unfairly treated. And she used to be my biggest fan in the world — before I became a politician," Trump said. "But that’s OK. I don’t view it that way."

Trump said he called D'Souza, who is serving five years' probation for making illegal campaign contributions, to give him the news Wednesday night. "I’ve always felt he was very unfairly treated. And a lot of people did," he said. "What they did to him was horrible.”

Trump said no one asked him to pardon D'Souza, but D'Souza himself credited a social media campaign and the intervention of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — a family friend — in bringing the case to Trump's attention

And although D'Souza's lawyers argued that he was selectively prosecuted because of his attacks on Obama, D'Souza himself backed off the claim at his sentencing.

"I'm sorry for what I did. I have never said otherwise," he said then. "I have never even said I am being selectively prosecuted. I feared that I was being."

D'Souza pleaded guilty of making "straw donations" in the names of others to support the candidacy of Republican New York Senate candidate Wendy Long, who lost to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. Those straw donations allowed him to give $20,000 in illegal contributions to the campaign, exceeding the $5,000 legal limit.

Those facts provide a parallel to the federal investigation into Trump's attorney, who may also face federal charges of exceeding campaign contribution limits and failing to disclose a $130,000 payoff to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who claims she had an extramarital relationship with Trump in 2006.

Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine law professor who specializes in election law, said the pardon sends "yet another signal to Michael Cohen and others about the possibility of a Trump pardon."

Sixteen months into his presidency, Trump has pardoned more people than any president since George H.W. Bush in 1989.

His pardons include former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned for contempt of court and former Bush White House aide Scooter Libby for lying to the FBI in a leak investigation.

Trump also pardoned Kristian Saucier, a former Navy submariner whose conviction for mishandling classified information became a conservative cause because of its comparisons to Democratic Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.

And last week, Trump gave a rare posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the former heavyweight boxing champion convicted in 1913 of racially motivated charges related to his relationship with a white woman.

Like all of those cases, D'Souza did not apply for a pardon with the Office of the Pardon Attorney, the Justice Department unit that conducts investigations of pardon cases and sends recommendations to the president. Under Justice Department rules, D'Souza would be ineligible through that process because he's on probation.

Likewise, neither Blagojevich nor Stewart has applied for clemency.

The president's constitutional authority to pardon is not bound by those rules, so Trump has granted politically charged pardons though he denied 180 applications from people who applied through the Justice Department.

D'Souza, 57, is an Indian-born author and documentary filmmaker whose work has assailed Obama, Islam and multiculturalism. His most recent book is The Big Lie: Exposing the Nazi Roots of the American Left.

Though he was spared prison time in the campaign-finance case, D'Souza's conviction put him under court supervision. He was required to undergo weekly counseling sessions and complete an eight-hour day of community service during every week of his five-year probation. That community service: teaching English to Spanish-speaking immigrants at Catholic parishes.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump determined D'Souza was "fully worthy of this pardon." "Mr. D’Souza was, in the president’s opinion, a victim of selective prosecution for violations of campaign-finance laws," she said. "Mr. D’Souza accepted responsibility for his actions and also completed community service by teaching English to citizens and immigrants seeking citizenship."



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

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


3 June, 2018  

Trump and conspiracy theories

There is a layman's version here of the academic article below.  The article does not explicitly refer to Trump and his supporters but there can be no doubt about where the gun is aimed.  Basically, the article implies Trump voters are simpletons who explain everything by inventing conspiracies

Their basis for that is however a correlation and, as we all know, correlations don't prove causation.  So the authors are just theorizing about what is behind their findings.  But if they can theorize so can I and I see a rather different causal chain

For a start, tarring conservatives as  conspiracy theorists is a bit rich.  On some accounts up to a third of Democrat voters see the 9/11 attacks as a put-up job arranged by George Bush II.  That's some conspiracy!  And the biggest conspiracy theory of all -- antisemitism -- had its most notable protagonist in the socialist Hitler.  And to this day antisemitism is by far most common among Leftists -- particularly in Britain.

What the authors below found was that people who thought America had lost its way and was going downhill also tended to see conspiracy theories around them.  People who agreed with statements such as: "In this country, there is a 'real America' distinct from those who don't share the same values" and "America's greatest values are increasingly decaying from within" were more likely to agree with statements such as: "The media is the puppet of those in power" and "Nothing in politics or world affairs happens by accident or coincidence."

Note that the latter statement is straight Calvinism (See Ephesians 1:4,11) and is also believed by Muslims -- so calling it a conspiracy theory is defining conspiracy theories very widely.  Are all Presbyterians conspiracy theorists?  And it is not only Presbyterians who see the hand of God in their lives. Many Christians do.  One suspects that the authors below know nothing about religion in America.  The leading author hails from an academic bubble in California so that could well be.

And it is certainly clear that most of the media serves the Leftist elite.  They don't preach mainstream values.  So again "conspiracy" is very broadly defined. 

And the authors regard all conspiracy theories as wrong.  But are they? Most such theories probably are but what if one is right occasionally?  Using the broad definition of conspiracy favored by the authors below, an elite consensus could be called a conspiracy.  And the  co-ordinated message of the Leftist elite in praise of all sorts of unnatural things -- such as homosexuality and abortion -- is certainly an elite consensus. 

And it must look like a conspiracy to the man in the street -- and it is in one way: An attempt by a small and interconnected minority to bring about a major change in the circumstances of the majority.  Donald Trump's determination to disrupt that elite consensus won him power. 

And the unanimous hostility of the establishment to Donald Trump during and after his election campaign could well be seen as a conspiracy -- co-ordinated action by an influential minority designed to take away the ordinary people's champion.

That is particularly so now that we know what Obama's FBI was up to.  There definitely was a quite unambiguous conspiracy there to defeat Trump.  So it is entirely reasonable to see conspiracies in America's deep state.  There WERE conspiracies there.  And that could obviously lead people to more readiness to accept conspiracy theories generally.  Conservatives do well to believe conspiracies given the realities of the day. Sadly, such a theory could well be right in today's world. 

To summarize: The unanimous opposition to him among the elites led Donald Trump to suspect a conspiracy against him; He made that opposition to him (by the "swamp") a central part of his campaign; His followers saw the matter similarly and they have now been proven right.

The role of system identity threat in conspiracy theory endorsement

Christopher M. Federico et al.


Conspiracy theories (CTs) about government officials and the institutions they represent are widespread, and span the ideological spectrum. In this study, we test hypotheses suggesting that system identity threat, or a perception that society's fundamental, defining values are under siege due to social change, will predict conspiracy thinking. Across two samples (N = 870, N = 2,702), we found that system identity threat is a strong predictor of a general tendency toward conspiracy thinking and endorsement of both ideological and non?ideological CTs, even after accounting for numerous covariates. We also found that the relationship between system?identity threat and conspiracy?theory endorsement is mediated by conspiracy thinking. These results suggest that conspiracy?theory endorsement may be a compensatory reaction to perceptions that society's essential character is changing.



The Carnivores of Civil Liberties

Victor Davis Hanson
After a landslide loss in the 1972 presidential election, the Democratic Party was resuscitated the following year by the Watergate scandal. The destruction of the Nixon presidency powered the Democrats to make huge political gains in the 1974 elections.

Watergate also birthed (or perhaps rebirthed) modern investigative journalism. A young generation of maverick reporters supposedly alone had challenged the establishment in order to uncover the whole truth about abuses of power by the Nixon administration.

Liberalism rode high during the Watergate era. It had demanded that civil liberties be protected from the illegal or unconstitutional overreach of the Nixon-era FBI, CIA and other agencies. Liberals alleged that out-of-control officials had spied on U.S. citizens for political purposes and then tried to mask their wrongdoing under the cover of “national security” or institutional “professionalism.”

All those legacies are now eroding. The Democratic Party, the investigative media and liberalism itself are now weirdly on the side of the reactionary administrative state. They have either downplayed or excused Watergate-like abuses of power by the former Barack Obama administration.

Liberal journalists apparently have few concerns that the FBI apparently used at least one secret informant to gather information about the 2016 Trump campaign. Nor are they much bothered that members of the Obama national security team unmasked the names of U.S. citizens who had been improperly surveilled. Many of those names then were illegally leaked to the press.

Democrats seem indifferent to the fact that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid a foreign agent, Christopher Steele, to compile dirt on Republican candidate Donald Trump — largely by trafficking in unverified rumors from Russian interests. Obama administration officials leaked details from that dossier.

Civil libertarians appear unconcerned that the Department of Justice sought to deceive the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, getting it to grant warrants to allow the surveillance of U.S. citizens based on the suspect and politically motivated Steele dossier.

Few are upset that former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper have lied under oath to Congress on matters pertaining to surveillance. Rather than being investigated by the media, both are now making frequent media appearances.

The FBI cannot remain credible when its former director, James Comey, leaks confidential memos about meetings with the president to the media — with the expressed intent of leveraging the appointment of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who turned out to be a longtime friend of Comey’s.

Why have the former guardians of civil liberties flipped in the near half-century since Watergate?

One, both the media and the liberal establishment believed that the outsider Trump represented an existential danger to themselves and the nation at large — similar to the way operatives in the Nixon administration had felt about far-left presidential challenger George McGovern in 1972.

But this time around, liberals were not out of power as they were in 1972. Instead, they were the establishment. They held the reins of federal power under the Obama administration. And they chose to exercise it in a fashion similar to how Nixon’s team had in 1972.

Second, pollsters and the media were convinced that Hillary Clinton would be elected. As a result, members of the FBI, CIA and other federal bureaucracies apparently assumed that any extralegal efforts to stop the common menace Trump would be appreciated rather than punished by a soon-to-be President Clinton.

Three, those in the Obama administration, the Clinton campaign and the media formed an echo chamber. All convinced themselves that any means necessary to achieve the noble ends of precluding a Trump presidency were justified.

The danger of such groupthink continues; even now they are unaware of the impending bomb that is about to go off.

Public opinion has radically changed. A majority of Americans believe the Muller investigation is politically motivated, according to a CBS News poll.

The inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email scandal is soon due. It will likely detail violations of ethics and laws among Obama administration officials and may include criminal referrals.

Already, a few liberals and former Clinton supporters are warning the Left that it is on the wrong side of history and about to reverse the entire post-Watergate liberal tradition.

There is a reckoning on the horizon. It has nothing to do with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Instead, the traditional, self-appointed watchdogs of government overreach have turned into the carnivores of civil liberties.



The Mojo of Trumponomics

T.S. Eliot famously wrote that April is the cruelest month, but when it comes to America’s fiscal picture, nothing could be further from the truth about this past April. The latest government numbers confirm that last month was a blockbuster for growth, federal revenues, and deficit reduction.

One of the key principles of Trumponomics is that faster economic growth can help solve a multitude of other social and economic problems, from poverty to inner-city decline to lowering the national debt.

We’re not quite at a sustained elevated growth rate of 3 percent yet, but the latest economy snapshot tells us we are knocking on the door. The growth rate over the last four quarters came in at 2.9 percent, which was higher than any of the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Halfway through this current quarter, which began on April 1, the Atlanta Federal Reserve estimates growth at 4 percent. If that persists through the end of June, we will have reached an average growth rate of 3 percent under President Donald Trump.

Not bad, given that nearly every liberal critic trashed the president’s campaign forecast of 3 percent to 4 percent growth as an impossible dream.

Economists such as Larry Summers, Obama’s first chief economist, gloomily declared that we were mired in a new era of “secular stagnation” and that 3 percent growth was unachievable. Paul Krugman of The New York Times said it was more likely we would see flying cars than 3 percent to 4 percent growth.

Now for the even better news. We are already starting to see a fiscal dividend from Trump’s tax, energy, and pro-business policies. The Congressional Budget Office reports that tax revenues in April—by far the biggest month of the year for tax collections because of the April 15 filing deadline—totaled $515 billion, which was a robust 13 percent rise in receipts over last year.

MoneyWeek reports that the $218 billion monthly surplus (revenues over expenditures) this April was the largest ever, with the previous record being $180 billion in 2001. (April is always the one surplus month.)

Here’s the simple lesson: more growth, more tax revenue.

But there’s another lesson, and it is about how wrong the bean counters in Congress were who said this tax bill would “cost” the Treasury $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion in lost revenues over the next decade.

If the higher growth rate that Trump has already accomplished remains in place, then the impact will be well over $3 trillion of more revenue and thus lower debt levels over the decade. Putting people to work is the best way to balance the budget. Period.

Critics will dismiss the importance of these higher revenue collections by arguing that the new receipts are for 2017 tax payments, which don’t take account of the tax cut that passed in December. This ignores that some of the growth we have seen was a result of the anticipation of the tax cut. Moreover, the fact that the tax cuts are just sinking in means that we should get even higher growth rates for the next several years at least.

Alas, it is not all good news in the April surprise. The inexcusable omnibus spending bill increased federal spending by some $300 billion in 2018, and we are starting to feel the impact of that splurge. Federal outlays are up 8.7 percent in April. That’s unforgivable, given that Republicans run everything in Washington these days.

No one thought that Trump could ramp up the growth rate to 3 percent or that his policies would boost federal revenues. But he is doing just that—which is why all that the Democrats and the media want to talk about these days is Russia and Stormy Daniels.



Google Says Republicans Are Socialists

A search listed the California Republican Party's ideology as "Nazism."

Less than a week before the California primaries, Google search lists the state’s Republican Party ideology as “Nazism.” Vice News reports, “In the ‘knowledge panel’ that provides easy access to information next to search results, Google was showing ‘Nazism’ as an ‘ideology’ of the party as of Thursday morning. The word ‘Nazism’ was hyperlinked to a secondary page that shows ‘Nazism’ alongside other ‘ideologies’ of California Republicans like ‘Conservatism,’ ‘Market liberalism,’ ‘Fiscal conservatism,’ and ‘Green conservatism.’”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blasted Google: “It is disgraceful that the world’s largest search engine has labeled millions of California Republicans as Nazis. This is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account. The bias has to stop.” McCarthy is correct. The most recent example was Google’s silencing of pro-life ads before the Irish referendum on whether to legalize abortion. But don’t forget the tech giant’s firing of software engineer James Damore last year for his daring to question the company’s leftist dogma, or its use of the hate-mongering Southern Poverty Law Center to police YouTube.

Google responded with a “dog ate my homework” excuse, blaming the “mistake” on Wikipedia vandalism. In other words, “Oops, but it really wasn’t our fault. Can we move along now?”

But aside from Google’s convenient mistake, what may be more frustrating is the regular misrepresentation, even among conservatives, of Nazism as a far-right political movement. The fact is both Nazism and communism are extreme expressions that come out of the same leftist ideological camp of socialism. Both produce totalitarian forms of government that preach the “needs” of the collective over and against individual rights and Liberty. The primary difference between the two totalitarian ideologies is that of race-based nationalism versus collectivist globalism. The term “NAZI” itself was the German acronym for National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

By contrast, conservatism champions the protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual against the encroachment of the collective. Yet the Leftmedia has taken President Donald Trump’s populist message of America First (nationalism) and falsely linked it with racism in an effort to imply that Trump and all Republicans are fascist Nazis. Nothing could be further from reality, but in the age of identity politics, emotions rather than facts are what sell.



Some sarcasm from Twitter

Trump is racist because...he's showing that a privileged rich white man can bring down unemployment among minorities in a way the guy before him couldn't

Horrifically, Trump will spend 8 years working to drive down unemployment and crime in black communities as a dogwhistle to racists


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

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


1 June, 2018  

Genetic Intelligence Tests Are Next to Worthless (?)

I take the title above from the title of a long and very readable article by Carl Zimmer, a NYT journalist.  You could almost predict the title from the fact that he is a NYT journalist.

But the article is extremely well done.  It is something of a triumph of the journalist's art. He explains the facts and issues of his subject beautifully.  I wish I could write as well.  We both try for lucidity and simplicity but he does by far the better job. That he is a journalist and that I am an academic shows. I never could get teddy bears into my writing.

The article is a long one so I am not even going to excerpt it.  Instead I am going  to offer what I hope is a fuller perspective on the matters he raises.  Put simply, he mistakes the major issue involved.

When we look at his title, we have to ask: "Worthless for What? His answer is that currently available genetic information is useless as a substitute for a normal IQ test.  He is absolutely right about that and his warning is well-taken.  People who claim to assess your IQ from your genetic profile are little better than quacks and their results are of no everyday use.

And the reason for that is that IQ appears to be just one aspect of your body's general good functioning.  The brain is just one organ of the body and if the body overall is functioning well the brain should be working pretty well too. And from the research with IQ tests we find an amazing range of good things that high IQ correlates with -- better health, longer life more harmonious marriages etc.  You name it, more or less. 

So that lies behind the fact that there are a LOT of influences on your IQ. They may be scattered anywhere in your body.  What IQ researchers have said for a long time is that IQ is "polygenetic".  It is the sum of a whole lot of little genetic influences.  Almost anything that influences your overall health could also influences your IQ.

At this stage I have to stress that I am talking about the "in general" case.  As elsewhere in life, there are exceptions to the general rule. There are healthy specimens who are as dumb as a brick (some Hollywood actors?) and there are other unfortunates such as Stephen Hawking and Carl Steinmetz where a brilliant brain inhabits a broken body.  Sometimes you need just one faulty gene to have a big influence on your bodily health.

And it is the general case that interests scientists.  They are not actually much interested in YOU.  They are only interested in what emerges from a study of people in general. So when they find some of the many influences on IQ in people's genes they see themselves as being on the right track in seeing IQ as mainly genetic.  And the advances are already exciting.  As each new study comes out, more and more of the genetic influences on IQ are being found.  Genetics generally is in its infancy and the genetics of IQ are no exception. 

And so far there has not been a single study looking at epigenetic influences on IQ.  Epigenetics are bits of your genetic profile which influence how other genes work.  They can even turn a gene "on" or "off".  So to expect that current studies could give us the whole genetics of IQ is very naive.  The fact that we have at this early stage already been able to detect some of the genetics involved is the interesting and exciting part. 

In other words the issue is not whether or not we can measure your IQ from your genes right now but rather whether we are on the right track towards that.  And from a scientific point of view we are doing amazingly well considering the huge difficulty of such research -- JR.


Your father's Republican Party has vanished. His Democratic Party has, too

by Jeff Jacoby

ADDRESSING THE New York State Democratic convention last week, Joe Biden endorsed Governor Andrew Cuomo for reelection and delivered some blistering criticism of the party that controls Congress and the White House.

"This is not your father's Republican Party," declared the former vice president. With its "phony populism" and "fake nationalism," he said, the GOP is "sending a vision of America around the world that is distorted, that's damaging."

Biden is reportedly considering another run for president in 2020, so attacks on Republicans and their leader are to be expected. But he's not wrong: The GOP under Donald Trump manifestly isn't the Republican Party of a generation ago. The turn against free trade, the harshness on immigration, the rising admiration for Russia's ruler, the tolerance of debauchery and bad character in political leaders — today's Republicanism is indeed a far cry from that of Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.

But it isn't only the GOP that has changed so profoundly. So has the Democratic Party.

"We have to take a long look in the mirror and face the hard truth," Cuomo told the Democratic delegates in his convention speech. That truth, he said, is that Democrats lost the last presidential election "because we lost the connection with who we are and why the middle class and working families made the Democratic Party their home in the first place."

Cuomo's concern for middle- and working-class values may be genuine, or it may reflect the fact that he's facing a primary challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, whose politics are skewed even more to the left than his. Either way, there's no denying that the Democratic Party today has far less sympathy for Main Street attitudes it used to embrace.

There was a time, for example, when self-described "pro-life liberals" were welcome in the Democrats' big tent. Democratic governors like Ella Grasso of Connecticut and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania firmly opposed abortion; as recently as 2009, dozens of House Democrats initially opposed the Affordable Care Act because it lacked restrictions on abortion funding. But no longer is there room in party councils for more than one position on the issue. Democratic Party chairman Tom Perez decreed last year that Democratic candidates must support a woman's right to choose. "That," he said, "is not negotiable."

Dissent is not permitted on other topics as well.

Moderate liberal Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was a rising star in Democratic circles in the 1980s; by 2000 he was the party's candidate for vice president. But Lieberman strongly supported the Iraq war, a position that by 2006 made him persona non grata in Democrats' eyes. Lieberman's ostracism confirmed that the once-robust national-security wing of the Democratic Party — the home of Cold War hawks like Harry Truman, Jack Kennedy, and Scoop Jackson — was defunct. Democrats, the original party of peace through strength, became the party of disengagement and retreat.

Liberal Democrats in the 1960s believed in color-blindness — they agreed with Thurgood Marshall that "racial criteria are irrational, irrelevant, odious to our way of life." Liberal Democrats today insist on racial criteria, demanding rigid "diversity" in everything from workplace hiring to college admissions to the Academy Awards.

Your father's Democratic Party was an ardent defender of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. No more: Liberal Democrats today, reports the Pew Research Center, are much less likely to support Israel than to support its Palestinian enemies.

Two decades ago, a popular president fought hard for a North American Free Trade Agreement, signed the Iraq Liberation Act, and kept his promise to "end welfare as we know it." He not only enacted a Balanced Budget Act, but produced four consecutive federal budget surpluses. He cut the top capital-gains tax rate from 28 percent to 20 percent. He led NATO in liberating Kosovo. He resisted same-sex marriage. He codified economic sanctions against Cuba.

Bill Clinton is still popular with Democrats. But in a party that has shifted sharply leftward, there's little room for the centrist positions he upheld as president.

Biden is right about the Trump GOP: It is decidedly not your father's Republican Party. And your father's Democratic Party? It too, alas, is a thing of the past.



Don the Lemon is so unbalanced it is a wonder he can walk without falling over

Leftists can be as abusive and foul mouthed as they like but other must not step a foot out of line

During a segment on Tuesday night, Lemon began discussing news that ABC cancelled the hit show “Roseanne” after its star, Roseanne Barr, sent out a controversial tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a former top aide under President Barack Obama.

“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr wrote in a now deleted tweet about Jarrett. Barr has since apologized for her tweet.

As noted by Mediaite, Lemon tied Barr’s comments to Trump and his supporters, strongly implying that the president is responsible for fostering a culture in America that promotes bigotry and racism.

“We know what Donald Trump thinks. We know what Roseanne Barr thinks. It’s time for us to stop playing around with soft words by saying, ‘Oh, well they’re saying insensitive things.’ No, it’s racist! They’re exhibiting racist behavior. And far too many of our fellow American citizens agree with them. And feel emboldened to say out loud the things they wouldn’t have dared to say in public just a few years ago. In an America where racism happens every day, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, in our schools, in a Starbucks, in a park, at an Airbnb, what is America going to do about it?”

“We have to stop pretending that this president has nothing to do with it, that he’s not emboldening racists and racism and giving them a platform and making it okay.”

Lemon calling Trump and his supporters racist further confirms what many believe about CNN, but he also proved how biased and tone-deaf he is regarding media figures who have made disturbing comments on television.

Lemon and the media were no where to be found when ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel mocked First Lady Melania Trump’s accent.

What about when Fox News host Sean Hannity exposed Kimmel for being a pervert? Hannity tweeted out numerous videos of Kimmel from years ago, where he is asking women to feel his crotch, and even “joked” that one girl was underage.

Remember when ABC’s “The View” co-host Joy Behar said Christians have a mental illness?

How about MSNBC’s Joy Reid getting busted a second time in recent months for having dozens of bigoted, homophobic posts on her personal blog, The Reid Report, that slandered the LGBT community?

What about MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski saying President Trump has a sexually transmitted disease?

None of those liberals were ever suspended or reprimanded and still have their jobs.

Lemon never condemned them for making those sick comments, yet he used an entire segment on Tuesday to label Trump and his supporters as racist over something Barr said.

This is just the latest example of CNN blaming Trump and smearing his supporters.



Horror!  CNN Brings in Deportee’s Wife, She Defends President Trump

Months after federal immigration agents deported a husband and father who had been in the U.S. since he was brought to the country illegally at the age of 10, his family is still desperate to be reunited.

Jorge Garcia’s case made national headlines in January after video surfaced of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers escorting him away from his sobbing wife and children.

Despite her grief, however, Garcia’s wife of 15 years does not blame the Trump administration. Cindy Garcia told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin this week that this situation was caused by a broken immigration system, not those tasked with upholding the laws as they are currently written.

“I am not upset at our government due to the fact that I am a U.S. citizen and that our laws come first,” she said. “Our laws are just broken and I can’t be mad at Trump for doing his job because that is his job to protect us, as U.S. citizens, from criminals.”

Garcia cited her family’s experience as a prime reason America should reform its immigration policy.

“The only thing is my husband was not a criminal and those are the laws that need to be fixed because they are broken,” she said. “For the people that are here, brought as children, doing the right thing and have never committed a crime, we need to fix a pathway to citizenship for them.”

On the other hand, she took a firm stance that “criminals that have come here illegally … need to go back.”



U.S. Back At No. 1 Competitiveness Ranking — Will Trump's Critics Ever Admit To Being Wrong?

Have Donald Trump's policies had a big impact on the U.S. economy and its competitiveness? The answer, we think, is an obvious yes. Now comes a new report, based mainly on "hard" data, that confirms that.

The report comes from the IMD Competitiveness Center in Switzerland. Each year it ranks countries by 256 different variables to come up with its global competitiveness rankings.

For 2018, there was a surprise: The U.S. leapt three places to take over the top spot in global competitiveness — just ahead of Hong Kong, Singapore, the Netherlands and Switzerland. That jump was based on its "strength in economic performance and infrastructure," ranking first in both areas.

That this is so shouldn't shock anyone with any knowledge of what's going on in the economy.

Since Trump took office, GDP growth has averaged 2.9%, up from 2% under President Obama. Unemployment now stands at 3.9%, and jobless rates for African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics are at or near all-time lows.

Inflation, at about 2%, remains under control. Business investment is surging, and a big reason for that is that corporate taxes are low, thanks to Trump's tax cuts.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to slash away at the thicket of regulations that strangles the U.S. economy, costing us collectively nearly $2 trillion a year. All of this has helped to fuel an economic renaissance of sorts. U.S. households are $7.1 trillion richer since Trump entered office, thanks to rising share prices and strong real estate markets.

Just to be clear, we're not citing this one report as a be-all and end-all for competitiveness or even for the fate of the economy. Nor are we in the forecasting business.

But others are, and among them have been some of Trump's fiercest critics. To read what they wrote and said, the U.S. returning to No. 1 in competitiveness wouldn't just be unlikely — it would be impossible.

Just last November, for instance, a blog post on the Economic Policy Institute's website informed us that "Republican tax plan will reduce American competitiveness." That was, to be kind, wide of the mark.

Similarly, the liberal Brookings Institution opined in March of last year that "Trump's 'America First' budget will leave the economy running behind." Didn't happen.

Going back even further, many economists and pundits were wrong — dead wrong — about Trumponomics. But to this day they can't bring themselves to admit it. Imprisoned by the illogic of their own liberal ideology, they all saw not just failure, but instant disaster. They still do.

3% Growth Is Possible

Trump might be on the verge of another big win over his critics in the media and economics profession.

Recall that when Trump promised 3% growth, he was roundly criticized and even ridiculed for what many claimed was pie-in-the-sky political hyperbole. Some even said such growth would be impossible.

But, as we noted, GDP growth has averaged 2.9% since Trump moved into the White House, just a hair under 3%. If the Atlanta Fed's GDP "Nowcast" — which uses current data to make up-to-date forecasts — is correct, 2018's second quarter could see growth of as much as 4%.

That would push average growth above 3% for Trump's term. If so, that would be yet another "crazy" idea that Trump had that turned out to be true.

While all those dire prognostications we mentioned proved false, the media continue to quote those who made them uncritically.

It seems that among the media and the Beltway and coastal elites, no distortion of Trump's many successes ever gets corrected — only repeated. And facts are never acknowledged — only ignored or distorted.



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

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


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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolfs in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

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

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

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The 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.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ― Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." -- Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

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
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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
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basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

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OR: (After 2015)