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

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

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

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


30 June, 2019

Political disagreements between couples

Someone recently sent me a copy of a book titled "I love you but I hate your politics", by psychiatrist Jeanne Safer.  90% Of the book is a series of stories about conflicted couples:  What they did and why. And for many of the couples there were some improvements in their attitudes towards one-another after discussions with Safer.

The stories were almost all about very liberal women who suddenly found that their men liked Donald Trump.  That caused the ladies to dissolve in fury while the men mostly remained calm. Both partners usually made an effort to convert the other to their POV but none of them succeeded. 

So the challenge was cohabitation. How could the lady find a way to live with a man whose political preferences were to her the embodiment of evil?  In the final pages of the book a number of sensible strategies were suggested but the conclusion was overall a sad one. Both sides had to put out of their minds thoughts that were important to them.

And in some instances no hope was possible.  A person with certain strong conservative opinions was simply a flawed character who must simply be deserted and avoided.  Some conservative opinions placed the person as a fundamentally bad person whom nothing could save

I imagine that liberal women reading the book will be comforted to see that that there are many other women like themselves and that, with effort, a conservative spouse can be lived with in moderate peace if he has other good characteristics.

My own experience has been nothing like anything in the book.  I have been married four times with lots of "try before you buy" in between the marriages.  And almost all of the women concerned have at the outset had some degree of feminist convictions. 

I had the advantage however of being a libertarian/conservative  so I was almost always able to explain my views by reference to generally agreed values -- the importance of individual liberty, for instance.  And I have yet to find a woman who can answer "Yes" to the question: "Is it fair to take money off someone who has earned it and give it to someone who has not earned it?" That question strikes at the whole heart of liberalism and makes it clear that a conservative viewpoint has some point and some merit and some morality

So just by putting forward clear arguments in a peaceful and non-aggressive way, I was almost always able to get the lady to be at peace with my political views.  Mostly in fact they moved their views distinctly in my direction.  None of the women concerned were however ferociously political -- like the angry ladies described in the book.  That may be in part due to the fact that Australia is a much more relaxed country than the USA.

I would however like to meet one of those fierce American ladies.  I think that by calmly and with good humor getting them to consider the basis of their beliefs I could get them to  arrive at a much milder and more tolerant version of them. It worked for Socrates and it works for me. All you need really is to use common conservative talking points and ask the lady why they are wrong.  Because conservatives have reality on their side while Leftism is just emotionalism, there is some hope that reality may eventually intrude on the lady's mind. You just have to know your facts

Where the need for their liberal beliefs is strong, however, not much change can be expected.  They need to hang on to those beliefs. And the ladies who consulted with a psychiatrist about the evil in their husbands are surely a self-selected sample of women who badly need their political beliefs.  It is not uncommon for friends and partners to have different political views but in most cases it is tolerated as a minor quirk in the other.

So why were the ladies in Safer's sample so rage-filled?  It was almost certainly an inborn disposition.  Leftism generally is anger-fueled.  As all the surveys show, conservatives are the happy people, which leaves most Leftists as unhappy people.  And there is a large body of evidence showing that your level of happiness/unhappiness is pre-set and varies from that pre-set level only rarely and is not much influenced by events.

So liberal beliefs perform an important function.  They validate the anger that the person feels.  So when someone comes along and strikes powerfully at liberal beliefs -- as Donald Trump does -- that is very upsetting.  It challenges you whole rationale for understanding yourself.  No wonder he evokes such widespread rage.


Trump’s lack of decorum, dignity and statesmanship

I don’t care. I can’t do without this President. He fights for America

By Evan Sayet

My Leftist friends (as well as many ardent #NeverTrumpers) constantly ask me if I’m not bothered by Donald Trump’s lack of decorum. They ask if I don’t think his tweets are “beneath the dignity of the office.” Here’s my answer.

We Right-thinking people have tried dignity. There could not have been a man of more quiet dignity than George W. Bush, as he suffered the outrageous lies and politically motivated hatreds that undermined his presidency.

We tried statesmanship.

Could there be another human being on this earth who so desperately prized “collegiality” as John McCain?

We tried propriety – has there been a nicer human being ever than Mitt Romney?

And the results were always the same. This is because, while we were playing by the rules of dignity, collegiality and propriety, the Left has been, for the past 60 years, engaged in a knife fight where the only rules are those of Saul Alinsky and the Chicago mob.

I don’t find anything “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper” about Barack Obama’s lying about what went down on the streets of Ferguson in order to ramp up racial hatreds because racial hatreds serve the Democratic Party.

I don’t see anything “dignified” in lying about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and imprisoning an innocent filmmaker to cover their tracks.

I don’t see anything “statesman-like” in weaponizing the IRS to be used to destroy your political opponents and any dissent.

Yes, Obama was “articulate” and “polished.” But in no way was he the least bit “dignified,” “collegial” or “proper.”

The Left has been engaged in a war against America since the rise of the Children of the ‘60s. To them, it has been an all-out war, where nothing is held sacred and nothing is seen as beyond the pale. It has been a war they’ve fought with violence, the threat of violence, demagoguery and lies from day one – the violent take-over of the universities – until today.

The problem is that, through these years, the Left has been the only side fighting this war. While the Left has been taking a knife to anyone who stands in its way, the Right has continued to act with dignity, collegiality and propriety.

With Donald Trump, this all has come to an end. Donald Trump is America’s first wartime president in the Culture War.

During wartime, things like “dignity” and “collegiality” simply aren’t the most essential qualities one looks for in their warriors. Ulysses Grant was a drunk whose behavior in peacetime might well have seen him drummed out of the Army for conduct unbecoming.

Had Abraham Lincoln applied the peacetime rules of propriety and booted Grant, the Democrats might well still be holding their slaves today. Lincoln rightly recognized that. “I cannot spare this man. He fights,” Lincoln said.

General George Patton was vulgar-talking. In peacetime, this might have seen him stripped of rank. But, had Franklin Roosevelt applied the normal rules of decorum then, Hitler and his National Socialists would barely be five decades into their thousand-year Reich.

Trump is fighting. And what’s particularly delicious is that, like Patton standing over the battlefield as his tanks obliterated Rommel’s, he’s shouting, “You magnificent bastards, I read your book!”

That is just the icing on the cake. But it’s wonderful to see that not only is Trump fighting, he’s defeating the Left using their own tactics. That book is Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – a book so essential to the Liberals’ war against America that it is and was the playbook for the entire Obama administration and the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis.

It is a book of such pure evil that, just as the rest of us would dedicate our book to those we most love or those to whom we are most indebted, Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Trump’s tweets may seem rash and unconsidered but, in reality, he is doing exactly what Alinsky suggested his followers do. First, Trump didn’t just go after “the fake media” – and they are so fake that they have literally gotten every single significant story of the past 60 years not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the truth, from the Tet Offensive to Benghazi, to what really happened on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Trump isolated CNN. He made it personal, just as Alinsky suggested.

Then, just as Alinsky suggested, Trump employs ridicule – which Alinsky described as “the most powerful weapon of all.” Most importantly, Trump’s tweets have put CNN in an untenable and unwinnable position. They need to respond.

This leaves them with only two choices. They can either “go high” (as Hillary would disingenuously declare of herself, and the fake news would disingenuously report that as the truth) – and begin to honestly and accurately report the news. Or they can double-down on their usual tactics and hope to defeat Trump with twice their usual hysteria and demagoguery.

The problem for CNN (et al.) with the former is that, if they were to start honestly reporting the news, that would be the end of the Democratic Party they serve. It is nothing but the incessant use of fake news (read: propaganda) that keeps the Left alive.

Imagine, for example, if CNN had honestly and accurately reported then-candidate Barack Obama’s close ties to foreign terrorists (Rashid Khalidi), domestic terrorists (William Ayers & Bernardine Dohrn), the mafia (Tony Rezko), or the true evils of his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright’s church.

Imagine if they had honestly and accurately conveyed the evils of the Obama administration’s weaponizing the IRS, to be used against their political opponents. Or its running guns to the Mexican drug cartels. Or told the truth about the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the Obama administration’s cover-up.

So, to my friends on the Left – and the #NeverTrumpers, as well – do I wish we lived in a time when our president could be “collegial” and “dignified” and “proper”? Of course I do.

These aren’t those times. This is war. And it’s a war that the Left has been fighting without opposition for the past 50 years.

So, say anything you want about this president. I get it. He can be vulgar. He can be crude. He can be undignified at times. I don’t care. I can’t spare this man. He fights for America!



Mark Levin: Getting Rid of Detention Centers, I.C.E. 'Is the Insanity of the Radical Left'

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show “The Mark Levin Show” on Tuesday, host Mark Levin decried efforts to eliminate border detention centers and I.C.E., calling it “the insanity of the radical left.”

“So now they’re against I.C.E., which is the federal government’s interior enforcement mechanism on immigration,” stated Mark Levin. “‘Eliminate I.C.E.,’ they say. And ‘eliminate detention,’ they say. This is the insanity of the radical left!”

Mark Levin’s comments came after the House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday by a margin of 230 to 195 that would, according to The New York Times, “send $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid to the border to address horrific conditions facing a crush of migrants, attaching significant rules on how the money could be spent in the first action by Democrats to rein in President Trump’s immigration crackdown.”

Here is a transcript of Mark Levin’s remarks from his show on June 25:

“There’s two things you do with people who come here illegally, or who claim asylum status: You release them, or you detain them to try to figure out who they are and what their legal status [is] and so forth and so on.

“So if you don’t support detaining them, you support nothing – that people should walk freely into the country, and off they go, whether it’s up to Boston or Philadelphia or New York, Washington, Richmond, whether they go to Chicago Illinois, whether they go to Los Angeles or Sacramento or San Francisco or San Diego. Maybe they’ll head over to Houston, Dallas, Waco. Who knows? They’re just free to come in.

“So, what they are arguing for – listen to this; it’s important – no detention, that you are not to detain people who are coming here illegally. You’re not to ask them who they are. You’re not to ask them if they are actually the parents of these children. I want you to think about what they are arguing for. No detention centers means no detention. Where are you going to put them all, in Beverly Hills, in Palm Springs, in the Hamptons?

“So now they’re against I.C.E., which is the federal government’s interior enforcement mechanism on immigration. ‘Eliminate I.C.E.,’ they say. And ‘eliminate detention,’ they say. This is the insanity of the radical left!

“They are anti-American; they’re inhumane; they are anti-citizen. Well, what would you call it?

“Let me be abundantly clear so that even low-IQ Joe Scarborough can understand what I’m saying, so even low-IQ Chris Cuomo – the dumbest of the family – can understand what I am saying, so even smirky, snarky, stupid— Well, anyway. So, fill in the blank. If there aren’t detention centers, then you can’t detain these people. If Congress doesn’t fund these centers, then there aren’t diapers and toothpaste.”



Kevin Sorbo Exposes Left’s Hypocrisy on Immigration: Obama Was ‘Saying the Same Thing’ as Trump

In a tweet on his Twitter page, actor Kevin Sorbo, known for his roles in the hit TV shows “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and “Andromeda” and more recently for his family-friendly, Christian films “Let There Be Light,” “God’s Not Dead” and “Christmas Dreams,” remarked on the left’s hypocrisy, pointing out that former President Barack Obama was “saying the same thing” as President Donald Trump on immigration.

“Wow.......so true,” wrote Kevin Sorbo in a tweet. “But the Left will never listen. Obama is saying the same thing Trump is saying. Incredible how Trump gets attacked for this. Not surprising, though.”

Kevin Sorbo’s tweet came in response to a tweet put out by actress and former talk show host Stacey Dash. In the tweet is a video of former President Barack Obama during a segment of a Democratic Party presidential primary debate commenting on the issue of illegal immigration on the southern border of the United States. “The reason Barack Obama won the presidential election in 2008….. Is the same reason they want to impeach President Trump in 2019,” tweeted Dash.

“This administration, the Bush administration, has done nothing to control the problem that we have,” stated former President Barack Obama in the video. “We’ve had five million undocumented workers come over the borders since George Bush took office. It has become an extraordinary problem, and the reason the American people are concerned is because they are seeing their own economic positions slip away. And often times, employers are exploiting these undocumented workers; they’re not paying the minimum wage; they’re not observing worker safety laws.

“So, what we have to do is create a comprehensive solution to the problem,” continued Obama. “Now, I have already stated that as president I will make sure that we finally have the kind of border security that we need. That’s step number one. Step number two is to take on employers— Right now, they, an employer has more of a chance of getting hit by lightning than being prosecuted for hiring an undocumented worker. That has to change. They have to be held accountable. And when we do those things, when we do those things, I believe that we can take the undocumented workers who are here, get them out of the shadows, make sure that they are subject to a stiff penalty, make sure that they are learning English, make sure that they go to the back of the line so that they’re not getting an advantage over people who came here legally.

“And when we do that I think that we can, instead of shedding all this heat, start shedding some light on the problem, and we can once again be a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. That’s what I intend to do as president of the United States,” concluded Obama.



The blatant lies of Elizabeth Warren: Trump Deliberately Trying to ‘Psychologically Scar Children,’ ‘Destroy Families’

He is clearly doing no such thing.  He is just trying to hold back the flood of self-selected immigrants.  It would be a tragedy if a liar like Warren were to gain any power.  She has no honesty in her. She is pure egotistical evil

President Donald Trump’s administration is intentionally inflicting cruelty on illegal alien families, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) claimed Wednesday.

What’s more, Trump is deliberately trying to “psychologically scar children” and tear apart families, Warren charged in a Twitter post linking to an ABC News article likening illegal alien holding centers to “torture facilities”:

"What @realDonaldTrump's admin is doing is intentional cruelty – a deliberate attempt to destroy families and psychologically scar children. Shame on @realDonaldTrump & shame on his @SenateGOP allies who have done his bidding on these horrific policies."



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, 2019

Where Keynes and the Keynesians get it wrong

I learnt my economics from a school that respected Keynes.  They were quite clear that Keynes had become an excuse for willy-nilly government spending but still accepted that Keynes was right in how to cure a deflation or a recession. Spending up big during a recession was good but not during more prosperous times. Politicians of course want to spend up big at all times.

There is a long article here that sets out in detail why Keynes was wrong altogether. He should not be followed even during a recession.  I am going to be so bold as to try to explain why in just a few paragraphs.  If I seem to be missing something please go to the long article that I have mentioned.

Keynes was a Leftist and his thinking was typically Leftist and wrong.  Leftists think only in big aggregates like race, class, Kulaks and sex. Considering the individual seems to be beyond them.

And Keynes did exactly that.  Instead of looking at the complexities of a modern industrial economy he looked at one of the biggest aggregates of all:  Aggregate demand.  So to him recessions and depressions were not explained by the myriad details actually at work in an economy at the time.  He saw recessions as glaringly simple: A recession was a deficiency in aggregate demand.  And that was easy to fix:  Let the government spend up big and thus increase aggregate demand.

But if it matters at all, aggregate demand is a symptom not the  problem itself.  You have to look at what in detail has damaged economic activity.  You have to go into that boring nitty gritty activity of looking for the source of the problem or problems. 

And you will very often find that the problem is some sort of government meddling.  The great crash of 2008, for instance, was the result of huge Federal interference in the housing market.  Banks were virtually forbidden from lending carefully.  Checking whether a person would likely be able to afford his mortgage payments was "racist".  And housing is a BIG sector of the economy so when the inevitable crisis resulting from many loans in default arrived, the crash and losses were very big indeed.

So the cure for a depression will often be a REDUCTION of government activity, not an increase in it. Keynes got it exactly wrong.

And Keynes also overlooked that recessions have a function.  If there are businesses that are no longer prospering, a recession will normally send them broke.  And the resources (manpower, real estate etc) freed up by that collapse will become available for use by startups who can use them more productively: Schumpeter's "creative destruction".  And if such a reallocation of resources is allowed to run its course without interference it will normally be short-lived.  Business will pickup again within as little as a year. 

So Keynes was wrong at the most basic level. Recessions are not a problem at all.  They are a normal, natural and desirable process of reallocating resources more efficiently. They are a healing episode wherein senile businesses are put out to grass while new businesses take over. They do give pain in some quarters but there is no gain without pain


Dems' 'Fake Border Crisis' Turns Out to Be Real

Detention centers are overrun and people are dying while trying to cross the border.    

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the “fake crisis at the border.” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called it “a crisis that does not exist.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “There is no crisis at the border.”

Byron York highlights those and many other Democrats (and a few Republicans) utterly denying the crisis at our southern border. But many of those same people are now decrying that crisis, particularly so they can blame President Donald Trump, who just happens to be the only one trying to stop the crisis.

Kevin Williamson explains the foundation of it all: “The problem of illegal immigration is itself the result of massive administrative failure in the United States. By systematically failing — and refusing — to enforce our own immigration laws, we have created the international equivalent of what the tort lawyers call an ‘attractive nuisance.’ There are jobs, homes, support, and (in spite of the law) benefits to be had in the United States, with relatively little prospect of serious consequences for those who are caught. If you are a poor Guatemalan without much in the way of economic and social prospects, illegal immigration to the United States is a perfectly rational choice. Guatemala has its own deficiencies, to be sure, but the situation here is Washington’s creation, not Guatemala City’s.”

With that, we come to the latest news on the immigration front.

First, Trump has named Mark Morgan, Barack Obama’s former Border Patrol chief, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection after its current acting commissioner, John Sanders, announced his resignation effective July 5. Morgan had just taken over at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier this month. Here’s how The Washington Post “reports” the move:

A week after beginning his reelection campaign with promises of mass deportations, President Trump sent the agencies responsible for immigration enforcement deeper into disarray on Tuesday, replacing his interim border chief with a figure he plucked from cable news punditry last month.

You know where the Post mentions that Morgan was Obama’s guy? The 25th paragraph.

In any case, Trump’s move does come amid continued bad Leftmedia publicity for his border policies, particularly regarding detention of illegal border crossers. Perhaps his strategy with personnel changes is to keep moving the lightning rod.

Beyond the kerfuffle over “concentration camps” at detention facilities, the latest bad publicity is the horrific photo of the Salvadoran father and toddler daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. “This photo of a dead father and daughter shows the true nature of Trump’s immigration policy,” reads the headline at Vox. No it doesn’t. Why was this Salvadoran man and his family allowed to get through Mexico and then escape a holding facility? Poor enforcement there, for one thing, but also because Democrats invited a border invasion.

Don’t believe us? Take Elizabeth Warren’s word for it. She backs the proposal of fellow Democrat presidential candidate Julian Castro to repeal the federal law criminalizing illegal border crossing. “We should not be criminalizing mamas and babies trying to flee violence at home or trying to build a better future,” Warren says. Well, they’re dying on the way here trying to follow her advice, all while leftists are standing on the caskets of the dead to politically attack Trump.

Meanwhile, before tonight’s presidential debate, several candidates attempted to gain access to detention facilities for political photo ops — like the pathetically embarrassing one staged by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What happened to this father and daughter shouldn’t happen to anyone. The question is what are government officials going to do to stop it? The Trump administration, despite being utterly overwhelmed with illegal crossings and managing detention centers well over capacity, wants to close the border to such crossings. Democrats want to fling wide the gates.

As for legislation, the House passed a $4.5 million emergency border bill Tuesday, but it includes so many mandates to provide free stuff for border crossers while lacking key enforcement provisions that Trump has threatened a veto. To be clear, there should be money allocated for true humanitarian relief, and detained migrants should be treated humanely. But a U.S. detention center is not the Ritz-Carlton, and people who cross the border illegally have no “right” to be here.

This humanitarian crisis is largely the result of Democrats, who advertise “free” stuff and sanctuary policies if only migrants can reach American soil. That’s a cynical ploy for votes and it’s having serious and deadly consequences.



SCOTUS Deserves Praise for Reversing Itself on Takings Clause Injustice

Our constitutional system assumes that federal courts serve to remedy an injustice created by officials in the legislative and executive branches. Unfortunately, federal courts, even the Supreme Court, sometimes are responsible for creating an injustice.

Thirty years ago, the Supreme Court did that for property owners in Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City. On Friday, in Knick v. Township of Scott, the court ended that injustice by overruling Williamson County by a 5-4 vote.

For more than 30 years, people with claims under the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause have been told, “Get in the back of the bus. You are not allowed to go to federal court to seek relief for a claim that a state official has taken your property without just compensation.”

A reasonable person might say, “Huh? How can that be? Everyone else can go to federal court to sue the state over a constitutional violation. People can sue in federal court for a First Amendment free speech clause violation, a Fourth Amendment search and seizure violation, and so forth. Even a prisoner convicted of murder can sue the state for an Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishments clause violation. Why not me?”

Those are fair questions. The answer is that the Williamson County decision—a ruling only a lawyer could love—was responsible for that outrage.

Before I discuss that case—and its offspring, San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco—let me mention three settled background principles.

First, the Fifth Amendment’s takings clause expressly prohibits federal and state governments from taking someone’s private property without providing “just compensation.”

Second, overly burdensome state regulations can amount to a “taking” of private property if those rules deny someone the opportunity to make use of, or make a profit from, his land without guaranteeing him “just compensation.”

Third, federal law—the Civil Rights Act of 1871—expressly guarantees everyone a right to sue for relief for a state or local federal constitutional violation.

Together, these three well-established principles should permit someone to claim that a state or local statute, ordinance, or regulation, or the action of an executive official, has the effect of taking his land, which would then entitle him to some type of relief for the harm he has suffered.

This may seem simple, but few legal issues can’t be mucked up by judges, even those on the Supreme Court.

In Williamson County, the Supreme Court concluded that a person has not stated a takings clause violation until he proves that the state will not compensate him for his losses, and he cannot know the answer to that question until the state courts have rejected his takings clause claim.

That is far from obviously reasonable. If the state has not already paid the property owner, and if there is no state law equivalent of a workers’ compensation system—that is, if a property owner cannot just file a claim and receive payment—there should be no doubt that the state will not pay him. Requiring him to ask the state courts to tell him the obvious is just a waste of time.

The one saving grace of the Williamson County decision is that it appeared to give the landowner the opportunity to return to federal court once the state courts told him the government would not compensate him.

Rather than cutting him off at the knees, Williamson County seemed merely to order the landowner to wade out to knee-level before returning to federal court.

But that’s not how it worked out.

This brings us to the Supreme Court decision 20 years later in San Remo Hotel, L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco. There, the court held that a person whose just compensation claim is rejected by the state courts cannot relitigate that issue. Why? Because the state court decision is final and cannot be relitigated in federal court. 

The average person would find it shocking to see a lawyer try to persuade a court to adopt such an obvious catch-22, but the Supreme Court bought the argument and this injustice was allowed to stand for over 30 years.

Rose Mary Knick owns land in Pennsylvania on which a graveyard might contain the ancestors of her neighbors.

In 2012, the township passed an ordinance saying that cemeteries must be open and accessible to the pubic during daytime. The township later told Knick that she was in violation of the ordinance. She sued to have the township’s actions declared a “taking,” but ultimately lost because of Williamson County.

On Friday, the Supreme Court finally owned up to the mistake it made in the Williamson County decision.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts reasoned that, “Contrary to Williamson County, a property owner has a claim for a violation of the takings clause as soon as a government takes his property for public use without paying for it.” The text of the takings clause makes that obvious.

The clause reads: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” It does not say: “[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without an available procedure that will result in compensation.”

The rationale underlying the takings clause, the court reasoned, also demanded that result. Once the state has taken someone’s property, the owner enjoys “an irrevocable” federal constitutional “right to just compensation,” regardless of whatever procedures the state might adopt to pay him.

As Roberts quite colorfully put it, “A bank robber might give the loot back, but he still robbed the bank.”

After finding its decision in Williamson County to be wrong in a variety of ways, the court decided that stare decisis—or respect for precedent—principles did not prevent overruling it.

“Williamson County was not just wrong,” the court concluded. Its “reasoning was exceptionally ill-founded” and inconsistent with the court’s earlier takings clause cases.

The Williamson County “state-litigation requirements has been a rule in search of a justification for over 30 years.” Stare decisis considerations also count for less when remedial decisions are at stake, because they “do not ‘serve as a guide to lawful behavior.’”

Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. She concluded that Williamson County was correctly decided and that, in any event, stare decisis principles militated against overruling it.

The Knick majority deserves kudos for its action. For more than 80 years the Supreme Court has relegated property rights claims, as the court noted in that case, “to the status of a poor relation.”

Members of the intellectual class have long deemed property rights too plebian to be worthy of their interest or robust legal protection, notwithstanding the fact that only a strong, legally protected system of property rights enables the academy to be both condescending and employed because of the contributions made by people who own property.

Property rights, they contend, must be gradually withered in the same way that a slowly dripping stream of water will erode the strongest boulder onto which it falls.

Were it not for public interest organizations, such as the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represents people such as Knick for free, state officials would, through litigation, wear out all but the wealthiest property owners.

After all, the Knick case was captioned “Rose Mary Knick v. Township of Scott,” not “Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin v. Township of Scott.” Any one of them could buy a county or state that sought to take their land. People like Knick cannot even defend their own land in court.

Finally, the court properly decided that stare decisis considerations did not justify leaving in place the “preclusion trap” set by Williamson County and sprung by San Remo.

I have harshly criticized the court’s decision in Williamson County because its ill-considered ruling jeopardized the property rights of average people.

It is always difficult to admit that one made a mistake, particularly a big one, and the Supreme Court consists of nine people, so it is difficult for them to confess that they flubbed one. That the court did so in Knick is praiseworthy.

Courts expect people to “fess up” when they go astray. Just ask any offender facing sentencing. It is only reasonable to expect the same response from a judge who makes a mistake.

Five members of the Supreme Court did just that Friday. We owe them our thanks for doing what they expect everyone else to do in the same circumstances.



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, 2019

Former Trump Aide Loses Job After Calling New York Rep. Jerry Nadler A ‘Fat F*ck’

This gave me a laugh.  I think I share his opinion of Nadler.  Calling him fat was of course the worst.  Nadler is lucky Hope Hicks did not walk out on him after his insulting way of addressing her.  But she was too much of a nice lady to do that , of course.  I would have called him a pig -- at risk of being unfair to pigs

A few days ago, former Trump campaign aide Jason Miller went on a profanity-laced Twitter tirade against House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

During last week’s closed-door testimony with Hope Hicks, Nadler referred to her more than once as “Ms. Lewandowski.” Miller bashed Nadler in response, in tweets repeatedly calling him a “fat fuck.”

Miller ended up taking down his Twitter account.

Now The Daily Beast is reporting that Miller is no longer working at the consulting firm Teneo:

“I have parted ways with Teneo by mutual consent and look forward to formally announcing my next move in the coming weeks,” Miller said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “Teneo is an incredible firm and without a doubt the premier CEO consultancy on the planet. They have always been great to me and I’m proud to have called them teammates for the past two and a half years.”

Miller also called Nadler a “fucking scumbag” and said, “We’ll call Mr. Nadler ‘Mr. MuffinTop.’”


Trump Signs Executive Order Imposing ‘Hard-Hitting Sanctions’ Against Iran

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Monday issuing what he described as “hard-hitting sanctions” against Iran.

“In a few moments, I’ll be signing an executive order imposing hard-hitting sanctions on the supreme leader of Iran and the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran and many others. Today’s action follows a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of U.S. drones,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

“You shot down the drone. It’s—I guess everyone saw that one, and many other things and done many other things. Aside from the individual drone, you saw the tankers, and we know of other things that were done also, which were not good and not appropriate,” he said.

The president said the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is ultimately “responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime.”

“He’s respected within his country. His office oversees the regime’s most brutal instruments, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Sanctions imposed through the executive order that I’m about to sign will deny the supreme leader and the supreme leader’s office and those closely affiliated with him and the office access to key financial resources and support. The assets of Ayatollah Khamenei and his office will not be spared from the sanctions,” Trump said.

The sanctions “represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” the president said, and he promised to continue to apply pressure on Tehran “until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies.”

Trump criticized the nuclear deal signed by former President Barack Obama, calling it “a disaster.”

“It was not doing what it was supposed to do. Many bad things were taking place, and most importantly, it was so short-term that within in a very short number of years, they would be able to make nuclear weapons, and that’s unacceptable. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” the president said.

“Also included in this is we want the stoppage immediately of their sponsoring of terrorism. They sponsored terrorism at a level that nobody’s ever seen before, and that’s been over the last number of years, and they’ve taken all of that money that was given to them by the past administration, and much of it was given out to terrorist organizations,” he said.

Trump also criticized former Secretary of State John Kerry for acknowledging that Iran will probably use some of the money to fund terrorism.

“In fact, I remember when John Kerry was asked a question about whether or not this money will be spent for terror. He actually said yes, or at least he was referring to some of it, but he said, yes, it will be used for terror. If you can believe that, we’re giving them money, and we’re saying, yes, it can be used for terror. That was not a good answer, but that was the least of it frankly,” the president said.

Trump said the U.S. is a “a peace-loving nation” and does not “seek conflict with Iran or any other country.” He also said that he looks forward to the day when the sanctions can be lifted “and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous, and productive nation. “

“That can go very quickly. It can be tomorrow. It could also be in years from now. So I look forward to discussing whatever I have to discuss with anybody that wants to speak. In the meantime, who knows what’s going to happen. I can only tell you we cannot ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon, and it won’t happen,” the president said.

Trump also said he doesn’t want money to be spent on sponsoring terrorism and noted that Iran is the number one sponsor of terrorism worldwide. He said the U.S. has shown “a lot of restraint,” but that doesn’t mean it would show restraint in the future.

“I felt that we want to give this a chance, give it a good chance, because I think Iran potentially has a phenomenal future, just – and I say that about North Korea too. I’ve said it about North Korea. I think North Korea has a phenomenal future, and I think Iran also has a phenomenal future,” the president said.

Asked whether his goal is to negotiate a new deal with Iran, Trump said, “We would love to be able to negotiate a deal if they want to. If they don’t want to, that’s fine too, but we would love to be able to, and frankly, they might as well do it soon.”

He praised the Iranian people as “great people,” adding that he knows “many of them” from living in New York. He also criticized Obama’s deal with Iran again, saying, “The deal should have never been done.”

“It wasn’t ratified by Congress, wasn’t properly done as you know. As a treaty, it wasn’t properly done. It was incorrectly done, but we’ll get it properly done, so we’ll see what happens. I hope it’s going to be for the good,” the president said.

When asked whether the sanctions were in response to Iran shooting down the U.S. drone, Trump said, “This you could probably … add that into it, but basically, this is something that was going to happen anyway.”

As far as what message he has for the supreme leader and whether he wants a one-on-one meeting with him, Trump said, “My only message is he has the potential to have a great country and quickly, very quickly, but I think they should do that rather than going along this very destructive path – destructive for everybody. We can’t let him have a nuclear weapon.

“He said he doesn’t want nuclear weapons. It’s a great thing to say, but a lot of things have been said over the years, and it turns out to be not so, but he said very openly and plainly for everyone to hear that he does not want to have nuclear weapons, so if that’s the case, we can do something very quickly,” the president said.



Retraction of 13 ‘Glowing’ Disaster Reports Throws Light on Dysfunction of Bureaucracy

Another bureaucratic fiasco simply reinforces why the nine most terrifying words in the English language are still: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

The number of declared national emergencies—and how much we spend on them—is rising, yet one of the agencies tasked with handling national emergencies has been particularly opaque about its effectiveness.

A recent news report about the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, highlights how dysfunction within an administrative agency can get papered over for years without any kind of accountability.

According to The Washington Post, an internal investigation of a Department of Homeland Security watchdog found that the agency “whitewashed” a series of internal reports about FEMA’s disaster response. FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

The disclosure led to the resignation of John V. Kelly, a career government auditor and the department’s acting inspector general, who had ordered the reports.

The Post reported that Kelly “chose to flatter FEMA’s staff in some reports, instead of hold them accountable.”

As bad as that is, it gets worse.

“Investigators determined that Kelly didn’t just direct his staff to remove negative findings,” according to the Post. “He potentially compromised their objectivity by praising FEMA’s work ethic to the auditors, telling them they would see ‘FEMA at her best’ and instructing supervisors to emphasize what the agency had done right in its disaster response.”

This led to the extraordinary action in which the inspector general’s office retraced 13 FEMA reports.

Jennifer Costello, the deputy inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, was undoubtedly correct when she wrote that the inspector general’s retraction of the FEMA reports was “not an insignificant matter” and that the reports “represent millions of wasted taxpayer dollars and understandably cast doubt on our credibility.”

So, basically, the glowing FEMA reports left the American people with no idea how to assess the work of our federal disaster response agency, which has a budget of $18 billion as of 2018.

Accountability developed only in 2016 when, according to the Post, House Republicans began to ask questions about a response to flooding in Louisiana that had received a glowing inspector general report based on an internal audit.

Something clearly was wrong with the FEMA reports, Mike Howell, senior adviser on executive branch relations at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email. Howell previously was oversight counsel in the Department of Homeland Security and senior counsel at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“A few years ago when I was on House Oversight, we were reviewing the federal response to major flooding in Baton Rouge, [and] we found tons of issues, tons of wasted money, fraud, etc.,” Howell said, adding:

The inspector general then issued a report that said FEMA did a great job. We flipped out and confronted them with the obvious evidence of FEMA not doing a great job. The result was they retracted the report and then began a look back at the series of after action reports the office of inspector general was issuing post disaster. Turns out nearly every one gave FEMA shining stars.

Americans generally expect the federal government to play an active role in responding to natural disasters and crisis.

The resources drawn from taxpayers are vast, but they aren’t infinite and shouldn’t be treated as such.

As the nation’s debt piles up, we need to be more cautious before we throw our hard-earned money into the salad bowl of endless acronyms that defines the modern federal government.

Even causes that have broad support can become wasteful calamities.

It’s clear that handing enormous power solely to unchecked bureaucratic agencies opens the path for both monumental waste and outright abuse of power.

This is not the constitutional system of checks and balances that the Founding Fathers had in mind.

The FEMA report disaster is just the latest evidence that demonstrates the need for Congress to more actively take back the power it has surrendered to the “fourth branch” of government—our vast and growing federal bureaucracy.



LOL: Trump’s Supreme Court Pledge Just Triggered The HELL Out Of Democrats

President Donald Trump made a huge pledge about Supreme Court this week, and it likely just triggered Democrats in a huge way.

During an interview on Monday with The Hill, the president said he would make a nomination to the Supreme Court if there is a vacancy before the 2020 presidential election.

“Would I do that? Of course,” Trump said in response to being asked if he would try to fill a SCOTUS vacancy during a presidential election.

When asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not allowing a hearing on Merrick Garland — the judge President Obama nominated during the 2016 election to fill the seat after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away — Trump said the circumstances are different now.

“They couldn’t get him approved. That’s the other problem because they didn’t have the Senate. If they had the Senate, they would have done it,” Trump said, referring to Democrats.

“It depends. I mean, we have the Senate. We have a great Senate. We have great people. If we could get him approved, I would definitely do it. No, I’d do it a lot sooner than that. I’d do it. If there were three days left, I’d put somebody up hoping that I could get ’em done in three days, OK?” he continued.

Since Trump took office, the Senate has confirmed over 100 of Trump’s nominees to serve on powerful courts across the country.

Trump also has two Supreme Court nominees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Here’s more from The Hill:

Three of the nine current justices on the Supreme Court are 70 or older, though none have indicated they are preparing to retire. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86, Stephen Breyer is 80 and Clarence Thomas is 71. Ginsburg and Breyer are both members of the court’s liberal wing, while Thomas is a conservative.

Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 seats. A nominee needs only a simple majority for confirmation.

The confirmation process typically lasts weeks or months, with individual senators seeking meetings with the nominee before they advance to a hearing before the Judiciary Committee and a full vote in the Senate.

The president was also asked about the 2020 presidential election and said he hopes former Vice President Joe Biden “does very well” in the Democratic primaries, but he thinks “there is something going on in that brain of his.”

“How he doesn’t get President Obama to endorse him — there has to be some reason why he’s not endorsing him,” the president said.  “He was the vice president. They seem to have gotten along. And how President Obama’s not endorsing him is rather a big secret,” Trump mused, adding, “Then he goes and lies and said, ‘I asked the president not to endorse me.’ Give me a break.”



Trump Weighs In On Reparations; Dems Won’t Be Happy

He politely calls it BS

It is an idea that was once so far outside of the mainstream that even the hallowed Barack Obama wasn’t keen to it but the 2020 Democrats and a radicalized base will be pushing reparations in a cynical effort to pander to the all-important black vote even if it is a loser outside of coastal elite cultural enclaves and the Twitterverse.

The House Judiciary Committee held the first hearing on the issue in a decade earlier this month, and a handful of Democratic presidential candidates seeking to challenge Trump in 2020 have broached the idea.

“I think it’s a very unusual thing,” Trump said of the possibility of reparations. “You have a lot of — it’s been a very interesting debate. I don’t see it happening, no.”

The Democrats are delusional if they actually believe that reparations and thinly-veiled Holocaust denial with their invocation of concentration camps is going to resonate in a national election and even HBO’s smarmy host Bill Maher warned them that the clown car is speeding for the edge of a cliff if a course correction doesn’t take place.



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

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


26 June, 2019

Where "blue" Bostonians are coming from

Martin Hutchinson

Harvard University last week rescinded its acceptance of Parkland-shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv on the grounds of offensive tweets made when he was 16. This resulted in considerable media criticism that, in imposing political correctness codes and denying free speech, Harvard was betraying its beliefs. But that is nonsense. Harvard was founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony of 1636. Bigoted small-minded intolerance and persecution of dissidents are central to its founding traditions.

One of President Ronald Reagan’s most implausible flights of rhetoric was his frequent invocation of Massachusetts Bay Colony founder John Winthrop’s aim to create a “shining city on a hill.” To me, this made very little sense as an aspiration for Americans in the modern age – 1630s Boston was not a place in which you would have wanted to live.

Winthrop’s Massachusetts Bay Colony had very few of the freedoms for which the United States would later become famous. Religious dissidents were either expelled from the colony, or, in the case of a few unlucky Quakers, hanged. People could be and were prosecuted for smoking tobacco, profane dancing and sleeping in church. 31 people were executed for witchcraft over the course of the 17th Century, including but not limited to the notorious 1692 Salem Witch Trials. Those executed included the unfortunate Congregationalist minister George Burroughs, who was gender-inappropriately hanged for witchcraft so the locals didn’t have to pay the tithes that supported his church. Finally, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first in North America to institute slavery in its legal code.

Harvard University was an enthusiastic participant in the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s intolerance and cruelty. The University’s President for 20 years (1681-1701) was Increase Mather, whose 1684 book “Remarkable Providences” proclaimed the reality of witchcraft, quoting liberally from the Catholic witchcraft handbook “Malleus Malificarum” (thus showing his ecumenism in this area) and inspired the Salem trials, which were directly encouraged by his son Cotton Mather. It should be noted that witchcraft trials had more or less died out in the civilized parts of Europe, including Britain, by this time; Malleus Malificarum having been written as long previously as 1487.

The early Harvard, therefore, was not a place of renaissance of ancient learning and formation of new science, like Oxford, Cambridge or Bologna; it was a place of stultifying religious conformity and utter intolerance of dissent. We should thus not be surprised that today’s Harvard follows its own early traditions rather than those of more broad-minded European seats of learning.

The Enlightenment, with its moderation, skepticism, tolerance and enthusiasm for new ideas, came very late to the Harvard community; it is now clear that in some respects it never really arrived. This lack shows itself in many ways; if you have Increase Mather managing your endowment, he will lack intellectual flexibility and you must expect to underperform seriously the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index.

The continuing influence of 17th Century Puritanism explains much that is otherwise inexplicable about American history. One understands why Thomas Jefferson chose independence in 1776, and Washington appears to have been subjected in early life to stultifying British Army snobbery that was intolerable to him as a Virginia gentleman. However, it was never clear why the conservative and rationalist John Adams should choose to overthrow the established order as he did – until you realize that he was brought up among 17th Century Puritans, and thereby hated both the Church of England and still more the ecumenical tolerance of Catholicism demonstrated by the 1774 Quebec Act. Even in Adams, a civilized and moderate man who would be much liked by George III when he was Ambassador to London after the war, Winthrop’s intolerant Boston was present to warp his judgement.

The intolerance of Winthrop’s Boston survives in today’s world, but it is aggressively secular. That does not mean it is rationalist; the left believes in global warming just as strongly as Increase Mather believed in witchcraft, with just as little evidence. Colleges, and Harvard in particular, no longer select on merit but using all kinds of diversity algorithms, whose reinforcement of existing prejudice would be highly recognizable to Increase Mather, even if he would find their precise motivations peculiar.



Trump Warns Iran: I’m Not Looking For War, But If One Breaks Out ‘It’ll Be Obliteration’

President Trump told the Iranian regime during an interview aired on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday that he was not looking for war – but that if war breaks out, “it’ll be obliteration like you've never seen before.”

“But I’m not looking to do that,” he added, in remarks directed at supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “But you can’t have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk? Good. Otherwise you can have a bad economy for the next three years.”

Trump reaffirmed that he was willing to sit down with the Iranians with “no preconditions.”

“Look, you can’t have nuclear weapons,” he repeated. “And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.”

The interview was recorded on Friday, the same day Trump confirmed on his Twitter account that he had approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for its shooting down of a military surveillance drone, only to call it off shortly before it was to go ahead.

Host Chuck Todd asked the president whether he felt any of his advisors were pushing him to take military action against Iran.

Trump replied that he had “doves” and “hawks” among them, adding that “[National Security Advisor] John Bolton is absolutely a hawk.”

“If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?” he said. “But that doesn’t matter, because I want both sides.”

Trump then recalled his longstanding opposition to the Iraq war launched in 2003, and repeated his frequent assertion that the U.S. has spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.

Visiting Israel at the weekend, Bolton had a warning for Iran too, saying that neither the regime in Tehran “nor any other hostile actor, should mistake U.S. prudence for weakness.”

“No one has granted them a hunting license in the Middle East,” he said in comments alongside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Bolton then quoted an excerpt from Trump’s Friday morning tweet: “our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting and more added last night. Iran can never have nuclear weapons, not against the USA, and not against the world.”

“And as he made clear yesterday, referring to his earlier remarks,” Bolton added, “the president said, I just stopped the strike from going forward at this time.”

Bolton was apparently quoting from a tweet by the president on Saturday, in which he said, “I never called the strike against Iran ‘BACK,’ as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”

Bolton also indicated that the new sanctions against Iran, referred to by Trump since Friday, would likely be publicly announced on Monday.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, reacting to news of an imminent sanctions announcement, said Sunday the U.S. has already slapped all the sanctions it can on Iran, and there are none left to impose.

In comments at the White House, in his tweets, and in his NBC interview, Trump indicated several times that the fact the drone shot down by the Iranians over the Persian Gulf was unmanned had been a factor in his decision not to carry out a punitive strike.

On Friday an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander said that a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon spy plane had been accompanying the RQ-4A Global Hawk drone but had deliberately not been targeted by the surface-to-air missiles used to bring down the drone.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday that the Iranians had been “very wise” not to shoot down the P-8, which he said carried a crew of 38.

“They had it in their sights, and they didn’t shoot it down,” he said. “I think that was a very wise decision – and I think that’s something that we very much appreciate.”

Trump also described himself as neither a “warmonger” nor a “dove,” as he said some people call him. “I think I’m neither, if you want to know the truth. I’m a man with common sense, and that’s what we need in this country.”



Border Chief Announces A Decline Of One-Third Of Illegals Crossing Border Since Mexico Deal

Brandon Judd is the president of the Border Patrol Council.  He appeared on Fox Business to make a bombshell announcement.

Thanks to President Trump’s deal with Mexico, illegal border crossings are now dropping bigly.

Judd noted, “There’s not going to be a deal that gives President Trump a win. Democrats are just not going to do that. Going into 2020 they are doing everything they can to take this president apart and so they’re not going to give him a win… I don’t see Democrats giving him any wins going into 2020… He was able to strike a deal with the Mexican government that any president prior to him would have loved to have had. And since he’s been able to strike that deal we’ve seen a drop in nearly a third of people crossing the border prior to the month of June. So we’re already seeing the huge dividends of that experience that President Trump brought to the Oval Office.”

No matter how you slice it, this is huge for America. It’s also great for Trump’s re-election hopes come 2020.

This was his biggest promise years ago and he is delivering.

In just a few days, the private group “We Build the Wall,” led by triple-amputee Brian Kolfage, constructed a full mile of wall on America’s southern border.

They have reported zero crossings, thus far.



Mexico Sends 15,000 Troops To U.S. Border To BLOCK Illegals From Entering America

Because of President Trump’s recent deal with Mexico, America’s southern neighbor is now officially stepping up to the plate to curb the flow of illegal immigration.

All it took was the threat of tariffs.

Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 troops to the US-Mexico border, according to the country’s Secretary of Defense Luis Sandoval.

“In the northern part of the country, we have deployed a total of almost 15,000 troops composed of National Guard elements and military units,” Sandoval announced today in Cancun.

Approximately 2,000 National Guard members have already been deployed to Mexico’s southern border with Belize and Guatemala, he noted, adding to the 4,500 troops already spread across the area. Many migrants begin their journey in Central America and even further south, passing through Mexico on their way toward the United States.

Getting things done. That’s how Americans can sum up the bulk of Trump’s first term in office.

There’s no reason to assume the same won’t happen in his second term, God-willing.

Once again, the mainstream media got it wrong when it comes to Trump. This is just further proof that they aren’t even trying.

The latest nothingburger is that 45 was holding a blank piece of paper after signing an agreement with Mexico to curb illegal immigration…

Mexico said “NOOOOOOO! We’ll do whatever you want.”

Trump then got America’s southern neighbor to agree to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States.

His tough stance worked.



Just-Promoted DCCC Official Has History of Homophobic, Racist Comments

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official tapped last week to lead a new multimillion-dollar initiative to connect with "people of color and younger Americans" deleted thousands of old tweets after the Washington Free Beacon reached out regarding many homophobic and racially insensitive posts.

Tayhlor Coleman, a longtime staffer at the committee, was named the DCCC's first director of the cycle of engagement, a role DCCC chairwoman Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) said would be a "tremendous challenge."

"I want to thank Tayhlor Coleman for taking on this tremendous challenge at this critical moment," Bustos said. "I can think of no one more prepared to lead this effort than her."

Coleman took to Twitter this month to express her support for the gay community, but her previous posts give a different perspective of her views.

In February 2010, for example, she tweeted out concern about "giving a lesbian" her phone number, tagging the tweet with "#homophobia."



US Officials Reveal Retaliatory Strike in Response to Iran’s Drone Attack

Even though President Donald Trump canceled plans Thursday to conduct a retaliatory airstrike against Iran, the U.S. military did carry out a cyberattack against the Islamic Republic.

“Sources said U.S. Cyber Command launched the cyberattack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the U.S. Navy drone last week,” Fox News reported, referring to the $130 million drone that Iran downed.

Citing two former intelligence officials, Yahoo also reported the news, noting a “retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships.”

Iran claimed that no successful cyberattack on any its assets has occurred.

In addition to the reported cyberattack, the president announced on Monday new sanctions aimed at denying Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his office access to “key financial resources.”

“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement in and support for terrorism, fueling of foreign conflicts, and belligerent acts directed against the United States and its allies,” Trump said.

Trump described the Iran nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration as a “disaster,” because it would allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons within a relatively short period of time.

Further, it did not address the other bad conduct by the regime, such as ballistic missile testing and the support of terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East.

“Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump said. “I think a lot of restraint has been shown by us,” he added. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future.”

Fox reported that the U.S. currently has about 70,000 military personnel stationed in the region, along with the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group, which has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf.

According to The Associated Press, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia on Monday to discuss countering the military threats posed by Iran.

Pompeo tweeted, “Productive meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud today to discuss heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security in the Strait of Hormuz. Freedom of navigation is paramount.”



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, 2019


I have just heard that Herb London died late last year, aged 79.

He was an historian by training, came from a Jewish family and was a tireless campaigner for conservative causes for 50 years or more.  I myself was reading his articles for over 40 years.  The last one I reproduced was on October 09, 2015.  I am genuinely sad that I never got to shake his hand.

I have put online some time ago a 1980 article from him titled My life with "the kids".  It tells of his encounters with student radicals in the '60s and '70s.  It is eerily reminiscent  of the student Left today so is rather encouraging.  Society survived the '60s and '70s reasonably well so presumably the present ructions will do no unsurvivable harm.

I was amused by this little episode that Herb related:

"Two days later a contingent of revolutionary action students visited my office, again demanding that my files be opened for inspection. I smiled, clenched my fist, asked them whence they derived the authority to make this "request," and invited them to leave. They refused. A spokesman, obviously trying to muster all the courage he had, said, "Suppose we take matters into our own hands." I softly responded, "You're welcome to try." There were no takers"

Why did the students cave in so readily? To understand, you need to know that Herb was 6'5" and an athlete in his youth -- JR.


Mike Lee’s New Bill Would Enforce ‘No Regulation Without Representation’

Americans should not have to put up with so many  government regulations imposed by unelected bureaucrats, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Tuesday while outlining a legislative remedy at The Heritage Foundation.

“If the Founders’ rallying cry was ‘No taxation without representation,’ ours must be, or must at least involve, ‘No regulation without representation,’” Lee said at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.

Lee said he introduced the Take Care Act as the third part to a conservative legislative program that seeks to reduce the size and impact of administrative agencies, what he called the “headless fourth branch of the federal government.”

The Utah Republican officially introduced the bill June 12 with Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.

“We’ve given the modern administrative state 80 good years. That’s a nice long try,” Lee said. “It’s bad. We’ve got to undo it.”

Lee told his Heritage audience that regulatory rules written and enforced by unelected administrators violate Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, which declares that all laws must be passed through both chambers of Congress and be signed into law by the president.

The proposed Take Care Act, Lee said, would solve this problem by allowing the president to use his constitutional power to remove upper-level agency officers who aren’t “faithfully executing the law.”

Currently, Lee said, executive branch officials may be removed only for committing an act of misconduct such as “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office,” and are protected against being removed for political reasons. 

He argued that this change would make the bureaucracy accountable to the people again.

“The way to accomplish that goal, while not easy by any stretch of the imagination, is itself straightforward,” Lee said. “We need only look to the structural design of the Constitution, and the form of the administrative state equivalent. This is so simple. It’s one of the simplest features of our Constitution, and it’s also the most important.”

Lee, author of the related book “Our Lost Declaration: America’s Fight Against Tyranny from King George to the Deep State,” said that because Congress today delegates the majority of its lawmaking to unelected, unaccountable regulatory agencies, this abuse of legislative power is much more concerning than executive tyranny.

“Our constitutional obligation to write laws we have handed over to bureaucrats who are in no way chosen by the people, in no way accountable to the people,” Lee said, adding:

We’ve delegated that which [18th-century French political philosopher] Charles de Montesquieu described as something that cannot, should not, must not be delegated. … The power to make law involves the power to destroy all sorts of things. And so that’s why it was entrusted only to that branch of government most accountable to the people at the most regular intervals.

Lee said that although some have expressed concern that his bill would give the president too much power, political constraints (such as the Senate’s “advise and consent” role in executive nominations) would ensure that agency officials could fulfill their responsibilities without undue interference.

“I’d still rather have the president act as president,” Lee said. “And I’d say that even if we’re talking about some future president, with whom I would likely disagree a lot. Let’s say future President Elizabeth Warren; I would rather have even that president wield the executive power than an unknown technocrat.”

Lee went so far as to say that a more powerful executive is preferable to the so-called “expert” government administrator, and that’s why Congress should pass his legislation.

“The unknown, nameless, faceless bureaucrat, however well educated, well intentioned, hardworking, and highly specialized, would not have to answer to the American people, not ever,” Lee said.



Judge Jeanine Mocks ‘Stupid’ Lunchbucket Joe; ‘Stick To Making Friendship Bracelets'

It’s been a long time since a serious presidential contender had this bad of a week this early in the campaign but Joe Biden’s past seven days have been an unmitigated catastrophe by anyone’s standards.

Already stumbling despite an abundance of fawning media coverage, the former vice president stepped in it big time when on Tuesday he glowingly spoke of pro-segregationist Dixiecrat senators and ignited a firestorm when some of his fellow 2020 candidates all but accused him of being a racist.

Promoted as the left’s best hope to beat President Trump in next year’s election, lunchbucket Joe is facing friendly fire which will only intensify at next week’s debates. It will be in Miami where the already hobbled presumptive nominee will be ripped to shreds by the likes of black candidates Cory Booker and Kamala Harris in an event that will be partially moderated by MSNBC’s conspiracy queen Rachel Maddow.

It’s hard to see the geriatric gaffe machine making it through the next year and to Milwaukee where the nominee will be crowned and some including Judge Jeanine Pirro are already mocking the idea that good old Joe with the donkey teeth believes that he has a realistic shot at returning to the White House.

In the latest installment of “Justice With Judge Jeanine” the popular Fox host delivered a verdict of ridicule on Biden while delighting in the spectacle of the Democrats already tearing each other to pieces in what she called an “all-out bare-knuckled, beat down clown show” during her opening statement monologue.

“Like cannonballs, their plan not so much to promote themselves as it is to eat each other alive. Example. As if their supposed front-runner Joe Biden doesn’t have enough problems just being who is, past plagiarisms illustrate his lack of depth on important subjects. His penchant to stick his nose in women’s necks — I still haven’t figured out what the man is sniffing for!”

“I don’t remember things being this bad 15 months before the Republican primary”

She saved her best for last with a taunting reference to Biden’s former boss Barack Obama – a man who he made a friendship bracelet for but who to this point is avoiding his ex-veep like he has the Ebola virus.

“Even Joe’s best pal Barack is uncharacteristic all silent these days. Joe has to remind him that they are besties with the best friend forever bracelet. Joe, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for your best pal Barack to endorse you, so stick to making your friendship bracelets and wishing and hoping. America doesn’t need a best friend.”

Judge Jeanine also predicted that Trump would have smooth sailing to reelection thanks to the infighting among Dems:


The American Presidency has become a sort of kingship -- as Obama vividly demonstrated

Regulation has come to be used instead of legislation. Obama boasted of it - saying he had "a pen and a phone". Trump is the only one who is trying to rein regulations in but to undo the destructiveness of the Left he too sometimes has to use their methods
Jeff Jacoby

'After four years of Donald Trump," declared Senator Amy Klobuchar in a statement on Tuesday, "a new president can't wait for a bunch of congressional hearings to act." To that end, the Minnesota Democrat, who hopes to become the new president in January 2021, issued a 16-page list of all the "concrete steps she will take in her first 100 days" if she is elected to the White House.

Some of Klobuchar's promises are wholly conventional ("Visit our troops") or matters of routine management ("Reduce State Department vacancies"). A few are about as noteworthy as calling water wet ("Fill judicial vacancies").

Many, however, would represent real shifts in US policy. Klobuchar's pledges include the immediate importation of prescription drugs, a boost in the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors to $15, an end to the trade embargo on Cuba, the addition of transgender identity as a protected civil rights category, and a return to the Iran nuclear deal. Those aren't modest adjustments; they would significantly change the way the federal government currently operates. Obviously that's Klobuchar's objective — and for many voters, the undoing of President Trump's work can't begin soon enough.

But do Americans really want their government to operate on the basis of unilateral presidential decrees? When Klobuchar dismisses any thought of waiting "for a bunch of congressional hearings" before upending the government's priorities and principles, what she is really dismissing is the constitutional order, which puts Congress, not the president, in charge of changing US law. There is nothing ambiguous about Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. "All legislative powers," it begins, "shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." All — not just the ones a president isn't too impatient to wait for. Yet Congress is almost an afterthought in Klobuchar's approach.

The senator from Minnesota is far from alone. Most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates are vowing to bypass Congress and use executive orders to get what they want.

Senator Elizabeth Warren says that on her first day as president, she'll order a "total moratorium" on new fossil fuel leases, closing the door to drilling for energy offshore and on public lands. Senator Bernie Sanders will ban companies that outsource American jobs from qualifying for federal contracts. Beto O'Rourke would direct US officials to release from detention any undocumented immigrants with no criminal background. And Kamala Harris threatens an ultimatum: If members of Congress don't "get their act together" and pass new gun-control laws within 100 days of her inauguration, she warns, she will impose the restrictions without them.

This tide of executive unilateralism rises with each incoming president.

George W. Bush authorized the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding and other practices widely considered torture, notwithstanding the prohibition of torture under longstanding US law and treaty. Barack Obama insisted many times that he had no authority on his own to waive the deportation of youthful undocumented immigrants — but then did so anyway by executive order in 2012. After Congress refused to fund a massive wall on the Mexican border, Trump declared that a national emergency empowered him to spend the money just the same.

For every such high-profile example of a president making law by edict, many more occur out of the spotlight. Increasingly, the vast powers of the federal bureaucracy are deployed not as Congress directs through legislation, but as presidents command through executive order. One of the first priorities of each incoming president now is to sign a slew of new directives countermanding the old ones. Before Trump entered the White House, he excoriated his predecessor for "constantly issuing executive orders that are major power grabs." That hasn't stopped him from spending the last 30 months engaged in power grabs of his own. It won't stop his successor from going even further.

This is not a partisan complaint. Democrats and Republicans are equal offenders. Presidents are growing more and more autocratic, and that should alarm all Americans, whatever their political leanings. "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1788. Could even he have imagined, though, just how much liberty Americans would eventually yield? Or just how much power they would allow presidents to amass?

There was a time when even the most dominant presidents took it for granted that they could not simply act without regard to Congress. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln had no choice but to move unilaterally, since the nation was under attack and Congress was out of session. But as soon as legislators returned to Washington, he took pains to secure congressional legitimacy for his actions. The same was true of Franklin Roosevelt. "Even through the World Wars and Depression," writes Bruce Cannon Gibney in The Nonsense Factory , his sweeping new study of America's legal system, "FDR accomplished most of his work through Congress . . . returning time and again to Congress and voters for support."

Today's presidents and would-be presidents, by contrast, make no secret of their intention to sidestep Congress


President Trump Scores Highest USA/Suffolk Approval Rating Ever, But It’s Not News To USA Today

President Donald Trump has scored his highest approval rating ever in a key national poll, but the media outlet that produces it, USA Today, never mentioned that fact in its write-up.

This week’s USA/Suffolk poll, taken from June 11 through June 15 and presented by RealClearPolitics along with other polling, had the president at a 49 percent approval rating versus 48 percent who disapprove.

The rating is a marked increase from the president’s lowest points in that particular poll. August 2018 saw Trump’s approval at 40 percent, and his score of 38 percent in February 2018 was the lowest rating of his presidency.

While Trump’s highest approval seemingly wasn’t news to USA Today, the 38 percent from last February certainly was. From the outlet’s February 2018 write-up:

"As President Trump sends mixed signals about what he’ll support when it comes to gun legislation, his approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in the USA TODAY survey since he was inaugurated last year. Just 38% now approve of the job he’s doing as president; 60% disapprove."

Wednesday’s USA Today article on the latest poll, titled, “Poll: What do Democrats want to hear about at the debates? (Hint: It’s not Trump.)” did not specifically mention the president’s approval rating, but rather focused on issues Democratic presidential candidates should discuss in the debates.

Another USA Today article on the topic, by Suffolk Political Research Center director David Paleologos, also focused on Democratic candidates.

"The latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY national poll of registered voters identifies a “Starting Five” on the proverbial Democratic team: former Vice President Joe Biden (30 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders (15 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (10 percent), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9 percent), and Sen. Kamala Harris (8 percent), with 17 percent undecided. On the bench and ready to join the fray are Sen. Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke at 2 percent each, while the other 17 candidates together drew support from just 7 percent of likely Democratic primary/caucus voters."


Rape accuser wimps out of pressing charges on absurd grounds

Trump wouldn't drill anything that rough

Elle magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll said Friday that she would not press charges against President Donald Trump for allegedly raping her in the mid-1990s because that would be “disrespectful” to immigrant women who are victimized by rape, noting that her alleged rape only lasted “three minutes.”



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, 2019

'Everyone I Don't Like Is Hitler'

Totalitarian leftists keep wrongly throwing around the "Nazi" label over any disagreement.  

It’s nothing new for leftists to hurl the “ultimate” insult at conservative opponents — the inevitable comparison to Nazis generally or Adolf Hitler specifically. As we’ve noted before, they root this insult in decades of propaganda in American schools mislabeling the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazis) as “right wing.” Wikipedia’s definition is both typical and particularly hilarious for its incoherence: The Nazi party “was a far-right political party in Germany … that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism.”

Read that again.

The bottom line is that leftists don’t want to be associated with ideologues who murdered millions based on race/ethnicity. Never mind that National Socialism’s leftist ideological sibling, Marxist Socialism, resulted in the murder of tens of millions based on politics and power.

Thus, leftists accuse anti-totalitarian Republicans of being totalitarian Nazis. President Donald Trump has been slapped with this label more times than we can count, even though if he’s trying to be a Nazi, he’s doing it all wrong. This week brought several new comparisons.

It all started with the obnoxious and ignorant representative from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who declared that the U.S. Border Patrol is “running concentration camps on our southern border.” For good measure, she added that Trump’s is “an authoritarian and fascist presidency.”

Likewise, CNN’s Don Lemon, while lecturing about Trump and race, said, “Think about the despicable people we’ve had in history. … Think about Hitler.” His argument was essentially that Trump and conservatives who say things he doesn’t like should be censored because they’re just like Hitler.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo — we can’t believe we’re saying this — got it right, firing back at Lemon, “Comparing anything to an extreme like a Hitler weakens the argument.” He added, “A guy who says things I don’t like … is not necessarily a step away from a genocidal maniac.”

As for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she’s smart enough not to invoke the Nazis, but she did nearly everything but and didn’t exactly rebuke Ocasio-Cortez for her hateful hyperbole. Instead, Pelosi added to it, calling Trump’s plan to uphold the law by deporting illegal aliens “cruel,” “discriminatory,” “an act of utter malice and bigotry,” and “inflicting inhumanity.” She then had the gall to accuse Trump of “sabotaging good-faith efforts” to solve the immigration problem.

If it’s “good faith” to call Trump a Nazi — or even just the relatively mild epithets Pelosi hurled — we’d hate to see an ugly attack.

To tie this all together, it’s more than ironic that the Democratic Socialists are screaming that Trump’s enforcement of immigration law — never mind his agenda of deregulation and smaller government — represents totalitarianism, while it is their party advocating not just government control of our lives and redistribution of our income but censorship and punishment for all who dare disagree.

Who are the real totalitarians?



Newt Gingrich On The Anti-American Sentiment Pervading The Left: ‘The number of lies’ is ‘astonishing’

Some Democrats are telling lies about America and President Trump is exposing those defaming the country, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday.

Comparing U.S. border detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps and denying America is “great” — as the president’s slogan declares — are two top examples of such, Gingrich told host Laura Ingraham on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Fox News Reports:

“The number of lies being told right now about the United States is astonishing,” he said. “But all Trump is doing is, he’s drawing to the surface the deep hatred which on-campus had certainly began by the middle of the 1960s and has grown and grown like a cancer.”

“If you are a Democrat today and go to a normal Democratic meeting and start talking about how wonderful America is, how great the Founding Fathers were, how remarkable the Constitution is, you’d be booed off the stage.”

Ingraham pointed to several examples of Democrats she considered to be defaming America.

In one clip, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared to criticize President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

“We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great,” the third-term Democrat said.

In another clip, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., claimed, “There are things that are savagely wrong in this country.”

Gingrich claimed Trump is able to fire up his opponents by using slogans like “MAGA.”

“I think it’s amazing that President Trump has this knack for framing things in such a way that his opponents go crazy,” said the former Georgia congressman, whose books include “Trump’s America” and “Understanding Trump.”

“You now have, for example, the president says, ‘Keep America Great,’ which I think is a great campaign slogan for next year. The Democrats promptly say, ‘No, keep America weak.’ The president says, ‘I’m proud to be an American,’ the left says, ‘I’m ashamed to be an American’.”



Trump Just Revolutionized Health Care — And Nobody Noticed

Few have ever heard of “Health Reimbursement Accounts,” but they could fundamentally change the nation’s health care system — for the better — and destroy the Democrats’ case for socialized health care.

Late last week, the Trump administration finalized rules that will let companies put money into tax-exempt HRAs that their employees could then used to buy an individual insurance plan on their own. Seems like no big deal, right? Except it will start to unravel a 77-year-old policy mistake that is largely responsible for many of the problems the health care system suffers today.

Back in 1942, the Roosevelt administration imposed wage and price controls on the economy. But it exempted employer-provided benefits like health insurance, and the IRS later decreed that these benefits wouldn’t be taxed as income.

The result was to massively tilt the health insurance playing field toward employer-provided insurance. Today 88% of those with private insurance get it at work.

The massive tax subsidy — now valued at more than $300 billion — also encouraged overly generous health plans, because any health care paid by insurers was tax exempt, while out of pocket spending had to come from after-tax dollars.

So not only did this Roosevelt-era mistake create an employer-dominated health insurance market, it made consumers largely indifferent to the cost of care, since the vast bulk of it was picked up by a third party.

But while health care experts across the political spectrum recognize this mistake, Democrats’ response has been to get the government even more involved in health care, with the latest proposal a total government takeover under the guise of “Medicare for All.”

Republicans, to their credit, have been pushing in the opposite direction. The introduction of Health Savings Accounts — a GOP reform idea Democrats fiercely opposed — 14 years ago helped to remedy one of the tax distortions, by allowing some people to pay out of pocket costs with pre-tax money.

Even with all the restrictions Congress put on HSAs, the market for high-deductible HSA plans exploded — climbing from nothing in 2005 to nearly 30% of the employer market today. By the end of last years, consumers had saved up $10 billion in these accounts.

The rise in these “consumer directed” plans was at least partially responsible for the slow-down in health spending in recent years, according to official government reports, as consumers increasingly started shopping around.

Trump’s HRA rules will have a far more profound impact.

Under the plan, employers will be able to fund tax-free Health Reimbursement Accounts for their workers, who can then use the money to buy an individual insurance plan — thereby taking another step toward fixing the 77-year-old tax distortion. The rule also lets employers fund a different account to buy cheaper “short-term” plans.

“This subtle, technical tweak has the potential to revolutionize the private health insurance market,” wrote Avik Roy, one of the smartest health care experts around, in the Washington Post.

The administration figures that 800,000 employers will eventually move to HRA plans, and 11 million workers will get their benefits this way.

At the same time, Trump also loosened the federal rules that had needlessly impeded “association health plans.” These are plans that let members of various groups band together to buy insurance. The result will be more competition, and more affordable choices for millions of people.

The Democrats’ response? Attack these changes as another attempt by Trump to “sabotage” Obamacare. What they really fear, however, is that the two new rules will destroy their case for socialized medicine.

As Roy put: “Together, over time, these changes would give workers more transparency into — and more control over — the health-care dollars that are now spent by other people on their behalf. That transparency and control, in turn, would create a powerful market incentive for health-care payers and providers to lower prices and increase quality.”

Once that happens, the last thing these millions of newly empowered health care shoppers will want is to be shuffled into a one-size-fits-all government plan designed for the masses by socialists like Bernie Sanders.



Like Ike, Trump moves towards mass deportation of ‘millions of illegal aliens’ as Mexico cracks down

Taking a page from the playbook of Dwight D. Eisenhower, President Donald Trump announced on June 17 that the federal government will be undertaking a massive operation to remove millions of illegal immigrants from the United States. Once derided as impossible by Trump’s opponents, this may be the most major undertaking at deportation in more than 60 years.

On Twitter, Trump wrote, “Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”

At the moment, the current rate of apprehensions is more than 144,000 a month in May, up from 109,000 in April, 103,000 in March and 76,000 in February, according to data compiled by Customs and Border Patrol. That’s on top of the millions of illegal immigrants already here. So, off the bat, that is hundreds of thousands of removals needed on a monthly basis to keep up with the flow.

The announcement came on the heels of a joint agreement between the U.S. and Mexico to dramatically curb illegal immigration after Trump had threatened Mexico with up to 25 percent tariffs on goods by October if no deal was made. Per the agreement’s text courtesy of the U.S. State Department, “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

In addition, the U.S. will be expanding the Migrant Protection Protocols, per the agreement, “those crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their asylum claims… [And,] Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.”

Trump praised Mexico in his tweet, writing, “Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people… long before they get to our Southern Border.”

The overall program of mass deportation was once said to be impossible by Trump’s opponents in the 2016 GOP primary. One of those skeptics was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. At the Fox Business-Wall Street Journal Republican Presidential Debate in Milwaukee, Wis. on Nov. 10, 2015, Bush expressed his skepticism, saying, “12 million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible.”

Bush was responding to Trump’s call for the deportation of millions of illegal immigrants at the debate, when he cited the Eisenhower program: “Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. ‘I like Ike,’ right? The expression. ‘I like Ike.’ Moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country…”

Now, it looks like Trump is actually moving forward with the plan, which harkens back to the 1954 Eisenhower deportation program in Border States, which came after more than a million estimated migrant workers had crossed into the U.S. illegally in the prior decade as illegal immigration exploded under the U.S.-Mexico Bracero guest worker program.

The deportation program appears to have been designed to scare people away, notes the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) in a 2010 article by Fred L. Koestler: “The forces used by the government were actually relatively small, perhaps no more than 700 men, but were exaggerated by border patrol officials who hoped to scare unauthorized workers into flight back to Mexico. Valley newspapers also exaggerated the size of the government forces for their own purposes: generally unfavorable editorials attacked the Border Patrol as an invading army seeking to deprive Valley farmers of their inexpensive labor force.”

As for the number actually deported by the government in the operation, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) reported a little more than 80,000 apprehensions in all of Texas outside of El Paso and the Trans-Pecos. But, notes the TSHA article, “It is difficult to estimate the number of people forced to leave by the operation. The INS claimed as many as 1,300,000, though the number officially apprehended did not come anywhere near this total. The INS estimate rested on the claim that most undocumented immigrants, fearing apprehension by the government, had voluntarily repatriated themselves before and during the operation.”

The same thing might be happening here with the Trump plan, where a major crackdown on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border may result in more self-deportations. There is some evidence, with the number of voluntary departures accelerating in the first two years of President Trump’s term, according Justice Department data compiled by the Marshall Project and Github. The number of voluntary departures hit 29,818 in 2018, up from 13,898 in 2017 and 8,556 in 2016.

A piece from Politico in May certainly highlights the advantage of illegal immigrants leaving voluntarily, “Under immigration law, voluntary departure is considered a kind of privilege. If you are deported, you have to wait years to apply for a visa to reenter the United States, but those who leave voluntarily don’t have the same wait.” Now, with the odds of deportation rising under Trump, many are choosing to leave before they are removed.



West Point graduate becomes defense secretary

President Trump nominated Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and former West Point classmate of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on Friday to be the next defense secretary.

If confirmed, Mr. Esper, an Army infantryman who fought in the Persian Gulf war of 1991 before becoming a lobbyist for Raytheon, would succeed Jim Mattis, who resigned in December during a dispute over pulling American troops out of Syria.

Mr. Esper is set to become acting defense secretary on Sunday, after the abrupt resignation of Patrick Shanahan, who was also nominated by Mr. Trump to the top Pentagon job. Mr. Shanahan withdrew on Tuesday amid news reports about his 2011 divorce.



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

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


23 June, 2019

Four reasons why Trump is cruising toward re-election

A rather surprising realistic view coming from The Guardian

Remarkably, given the traumatic experience of 2016, many Democrats have still not learned the key lesson of US democracy: elections are not won by passive majorities but by mobilized minorities. And while the passive majority might be with the Democrats, or at least not with Trump, the mobilized minority is. There are (at least) four reasons why, at this moment, Trump is cruising towards re-election.

The first reason is, of course, the economy. While we can argue about how meaningful and solid the current economic growth is, there is no denying that, in terms of the conventional economic indicators, the state of the US economy is excellent. Consequently, prediction models based primarily on economic indicators, which correctly predicted the 2016 elections, predict a resounding Trump victory in 2020.

Second, Trump has so far delivered to his non-traditional base. The average Republican, commonly referred to as the “moderate Republican”, is still not a fan of President Trump, who is seen as too confrontational and vulgar, but got the one thing they care about: a tax cut. Scared of a “socialist backlash” within the Democratic party, they will come out to protect their new gains by voting Trump.

Similarly, the Christian right will once again come out strong. While the support for Trump by religious voters puzzles liberals, it is pretty straightforward: the supreme court. Here, again, Trump has delivered. He has appointed two staunchly conservative anti-abortion judges to the supreme court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and promised to appoint more. And with the possibility of (at least) one position possibly becoming vacant in the next presidential term, ie Ruth Bader Ginsburg (perhaps also Clarence Thomas), the Christian right mobilization will run on full cylinders again. The reward for the faithful: overturning Roe v Wade!

Finally, there is the real Trump supporter, the mostly blue-collar and lower-middle-class white voters who want to “build the wall” (nativism) and “drain the swamp” (populism). So far, they have not really gotten what they wanted. The swamp has barely been drained – rather, it has been expanded by corrupt Trump appointees – while, despite all of Trump’s grandstanding, the wall is still mostly a fence-in-building. In short, the real Trump voter is left wanting – as is at times loudly proclaimed by their media voices like Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson. But where can they go? To the most diverse party in US history? The party of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Stacey Abrams and Elizabeth Warren?

But maybe they will stay at home, disappointed? Not really. They have not been betrayed by Trump. He can rightly claim that he has done all he could to keep the wall on the political agenda and push through a brutal anti-immigration agenda. He will claim that he has been “sabotaged” by the “deep state” and their corrupt helpers in Congress (including “weak” Republicans). Hence, he needs a second term to break the last resistance so that can make good on his promises.

Third, against this mobilized minority stands a majority of Americans unhappy with Trump but largely uninspired by the Democratic party. They see a party without a clear profile, divided over more than 20 primary candidates, who differ on more than they agree on. Moreover, with still some 500 days to go until election day, Democrats are already turning against each other – with anti-Sanders donors trying to co-opt candidates, while Democratic insiders are feuding with the Sanders camp, which is fundraising against the Democratic establishment.

All of this is putty in the hands of the Trump campaign, the fourth reason the president is set for re-election. As should be clear by now, Trump actually ran a good campaign in 2016 – clearly much better than Clinton, who misread the rust belt states, among others. Trump has been running a “permanent presidential campaign” since his inauguration, which has picked up financial steam more recently. The campaign has been raking in money by the tens of millions, including from key Republican campaigners and donors who had spurned him in 2016.

Trump may be historically unpopular, but he is popular enough to be (comfortably) re-elected. His supporters have agency and urgency, the two things the Democrats are still lacking. They have 500 days left to create this, together, rather than apart.



Slavery Reparations are back in Congress

David Horowitz

They're at it again. Yesterday the Democrat controlled House of Representatives held hearings on a commission to consider reparations for slavery – a guilt-fest of attacks on white America propelled by the brain-dwarfing idea that more than 150 years since its abolition, the consequences of slavery continue to get worse with each passing day.

The idea of reparations is absurd on its face—payments to people who were never slaves by people who were never slaveholders.

Only one in five whites in the antebellum South was a slave owner. Are the 80 percent who had no slaves just as guilty as the 20 percent who did?

What about the 350,000 Union soldiers who died to free the slaves? Should their descendants pay in money now after already having paid in blood?

And what of the waves of immigrants who came to America long after the abolition of slavery? Are those who entered the melting pot at Ellis Island to get a bill?

And will the Vietnamese boat people, the refugees from communism and the undocumented Mexican immigrants of today also be required to pay up?

And in fact have reparations not already been paid in the form of the trillion dollars in transfers to black people in the form of welfare benefits and racial preferences resulting from the Great Society legislation of the 1960s?

Is it not relevant that the GNP of today's black American “nation” is the tenth highest in the world, resulting in a per capita income between 20 and 50 times higher than that of the African countries from which the slaves were originally taken?

Reparations comes up again before the U.S. Congress today not because it is a good idea or a moral one. It is, in fact, intellectually incoherent and morally corrupt.

It comes up for one reason-- because the Democrats who control the House want to energize a black constituency for the elections while mobilizing the “Socialists” and others who believe America will always owe a debt to the history of its founding.

It is no accident that almost all the major Democrat candidates for president have made a self abasing visit to Al Sharpton, kissed the racial arsonist's ring, and signed on to the demands of his National Action Network—chief among them the demand for reparations.

Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O'Rourke are already on board. Sen Corey Booker one upped them all by testifying at today's hearings that he was “broken hearted and angry” that reparations were not already in effect.

These hearings may be a political puppet show, but even stupid ideas have consequences. Recent polling show that a majority of Democrat voters now favor of reparations for slavery

Via email: info@horowitzfreedomcenter.org


Congress Reins in IRS Abuse of Federal Forfeiture Laws

Long overdue

Last week, the Senate very quietly passed the Taxpayer First Act, H.R. 3151. The bill, which now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature, seeks to improve customer service and better assist taxpayer appeals. The bill included other provisions, however, that seek to rein in the Internal Revenue Services abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws.

Several years ago, the media began reporting on small business owners whose bank accounts were seized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the depositor had made frequent deposits or withdrawals below $10,000. This dollar threshold requires the bank to submit a report under the Bank Secrecy Act.

Intended or not, this is called “structuring,” and it’s illegal, although one would imagine that the vast majority of Americans aren’t aware of this. The reports keep track of these deposits and withdrawals to monitor for suspicious activity related to money laundering or fraud. If suspicious activity is suspected, the IRS will seize the account of the owner, as well as the money in the account. The IRS can take permanent possession of the money through federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

A 2017 audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that roughly 91 percent of the 278 sampled structuring cases involved funds that were legally obtained. Although the IRS’ Criminal Investigations Division did find tax violations in 21 of these cases, the TIGTA noted, “In the remaining 231 legal source cases, there was no evidence that the property owner structured funds to hide income from illegal activity (other than structuring) or to underreport income on their tax return. Current law does not require that the funds have an illegal source (e.g., money laundering or criminal activity other than the alleged structuring). In these 231 cases, $17.1 million was seized and forfeited to the Government.”

Basically, the IRS stole $17.1 million from people who did nothing wrong.

Take the case of Andrew Clyde. A veteran, Clyde runs a legitimate business -- a gun store -- in Athens, Georgia. Back in late 2012 and early 2013 his shop, Clyde Armory, had seen good business because of the fear that then-President Barack Obama would try to push Congress to pass additional gun control measures. Clyde made frequent transactions under $10,000 because of his insurance policy wouldn’t cover more than that threshold for off-premise losses.

In April 2013, the IRS seized Clyde Armoney’s bank account because of the deposits under $10,000, and the $940,313 in it. Eventually, Clyde settled, surrendering $50,000. He called this “a tactical retreat” during his February 2015 testimony before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. “I did not serve three combat tours in Iraq only to come home and be extorted,” Clyde said.

Clyde wasn’t alone. During that same hearing, he testified alongside Randy Sowers, a dairy farmer from whom the IRS wrongly seized $60,000, and Jeffrey Hirsch, part owner of Bi-County Distributor, from whom the IRS wrongly seized $446,000. The federal prosecutor who oversaw that case was Loretta Lynch. The case against the money went away in 2015 while Lynch was being considered to serve as attorney general.

The IRS made a policy change in October 2014 in which the agency said that it would no longer pursue seizure and forfeiture of bank accounts in structuring cases “unless there are exceptional circumstances justifying the seizure and forfeiture.” In March 2015, Attorney General Eric Holder placed limits on the use of civil asset forfeiture in banking. The Department of Justice wouldn’t pursue civil or criminal forfeiture until formal charges were brought against an individual suspected of illicit activity.

Essentially, structuring deposits or withdrawals couldn’t be the primary offense, and the suspected structuring had to be tied to another offense, such as money laundering.

This policy change, however, was only administrative. It could be easily changed by a future administration. Congress had to codify it, as well as reform the underlying issue. Although the House passed the Restraining Excessive Seizure of Property through the Exploitation of Civil Asset Forfeiture Tools (RESPECT) Act in 2016 and again in 2018, the Senate didn’t act on the legislation, and thus the RESPECT Act’s prospects in the past two congresses died.

In February 2019, at the outset of this new Congress, Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and John Lewis (D-Ga.) reintroduced the RESPECT Act. The RESPECT Act is a modest bill. The bill simply requires a federal prosecutor to demonstrate by probable cause that the funds are connected to illicit activity and codifies the IRS’s policy change from October 2014. It also allows the individual from whom the money has been seized to immediately challenge the seizure.

Although the RESPECT Act hadn’t moved as a standalone bill in this Congress, the text of the bill was included in the Taxpayer First Act in sections 1201 and 1202. The House passed the Taxpayer First Act by a voice vote on June 10. On Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brought the bill to the Senate floor and passed it by a voice vote.

Although the Taxpayer First Act is now headed to President Trump’s desk for his signature where he is expected to sign it, there is still much more left to do to reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws. Although several states have passed civil asset forfeiture reforms in the past five years that increase evidentiary standards and strengthen reporting requirements, Congress has failed to move forward on the issue.

Thankfully, two amendments have been introduced to the Commerce, Justice, and Science division of H.R. 3055, the second appropriations “minibus” bill for FY 2020, to address civil asset forfeiture. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) has filed an amendment to prohibit the transfer of assets from the Justice Assets Forfeiture Fund to a state or local law enforcement agency. Reps. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) have filed an amendment to prohibit adoptive seizures. The House Rules Committee will meet on June 18 at 5:00 pm to begin determining which amendments will be considered on the floor of the House.



AOC Makes Moronic Claim That The USA Has Concentration Camps On Southern Border

One does not expect Leftists to be patriotic but comparing your country to Nazi Germany is borderline deranged

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez illuminated her relative lack of knowledge of human history yet again last night, this time telling her Instagram Live followers that the United States is "running concentration camps" on the southern border. Not only does Rep. Ocasio-Cortez cheapen the significance of the Holocaust with this remark, she also damages the Democratic Party who in previous years has caged illegal aliens children in the exact same detention facilities but more recently has denied billions of dollars in funding to address the migrant crisis.

The Washington Examiner's Jerry Dunleavy drew attention to this last night after AOC, who has stylized her modern-day fireside chats in the manner of Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (you know the hero of leftists who first put Japanese-Americans in the internment camps), made the absurd remarks to her followers. First, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sat in her "ReMatriate the Land" tee shirt and began assembling a piece of furniture while slipping into a stream of consciousness thought regarding the economy and why she fights against President Trump. According to the freshman congresswoman, President Trump is an authoritarian and fascist because she says the detention facilities to house thousands of asylum seekers are modern day concentration camps.

"The United States is running concentration camps on the southern border. And that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps," she said. "And if that doesn't bother you, I don't, I got nothing. Like we can have -- I wanna talk to the people who are concerned enough with humanity and that never again means something"

"And that the fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the home of the free is extraordinarily disturbing. And we need to do something about it," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained.

"This week immigrant children were moved to the same internment camps where the Japanese were held [By a Democrat president] in the early twentieth century," she continued.

Matt covered last week how these exact same leftists and Democrats were silent when President Obama placed illegal aliens and migrant children in the exact same military base during his presidency. [So Obama is a Nazi too?] The Democratic Party had nothing to say then, but now their standard-bearers warn that America is losing the values which made us America.

As AOC told her followers, "This is not even about a crisis, this is not just about the immigrant community being held in concentration camps and if America will actually remain America, or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency."

"I don't use those words lightly, I don't use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is," she remarks before getting back to putting together a chair.

First, six million Jews and at least five million more non-Jews killed were killed in Nazi concentration camps in these via gassing, starvation, death squads, abuse, unsafe sanitary conditions, and more. Likewise, estimates are that a total of 17 million died at the hands of the Nazi regime during World War II.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, while in some parts overcrowded, is nothing near that. In fact, it is arguably the exact opposite. Asylum seekers and detained illegal aliens are given meals, healthcare, clothing, shelter, and are released into America after a certain time period. Many are never detained in these facilities at all and are freely allowed to travel the country to generous cities like Portland, Maine where welfare programs are established for asylum seekers. It is a gross mistake of the Congresswoman to equate the problem at the southern border with Nazi Germany. Her comparison shows she is either flippant about the horrors of the Holocaust and does not take it seriously, or is severely ignorant about what truly happened.

But more to the point, it also seems that she is painstakingly unaware of what is happening within her own party today. As mentioned, there have been problems of overcrowding in certain facilities. However, House Republicans have tried 15 times this year to secure $4.5 billion dollars specifically to "feed and shelter migrant families and unaccompanied children, fund urgent medical care and transportation, and pay for growing overtime cost for DHS men and women on the frontlines." 

Whatever mistreatment of these migrant families that AOC says is proof of concentration camps is being caused by the Democratic party. Her party refuses to work with Republicans to provide the necessary funding thus resulting in the crisis.

For all the bluster from the left about how President Donald J. Trump's Twitter account is dangerous, it would appear that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Instagram feed is where truly delusional and harmful comments are flung onto the American people who are often young and impressionable followers who will actually believe her comments.

UPDATE: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez defended her position after initial backlash by claiming it was the Republicans who are actually morons on this subject for not understanding that by concentration camps, she did not actually mean the ones like in Nazi Germany rather she was referring to the technical definition


Not quite sure where she has found a technical definition but the term goes back to the Boer war, when such camps were set up by the British to remove and isolate Boer women and children from their homes.  The present American facilities, by contrast, are to accommodate people who have VOLUNTARILY left their homes


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, 2019

1973: The Year John Kenneth Galbraith Made Socialism Mainstream

Galbraith was a Fascist in all but name. I remember reading his "Affluenr Society" about 40 years ago and thinking that he had highlighted a clear problem -- without offering much of a solution to it.  His point that public goods (roads etc.) are almost always inferior in quality to private goods is true but I think now that it has mostly got to be that way.  There is no ready "solution" to it.  Socialist solutions will only make the problem worse. Market solutions (toll-roads etc) can however help

I started writing about economic issues in 1971, first in Reason then National Review. One of my most serious early articles –­and certainly the most unread–­ was a 2800-word critique of John Kenneth Galbraith in The Intercollegiate Review, posing as a book review with the mildly disrespectful title “Irrelevant Anachronism.” 

Ken Galbraith and I met years later, when he was invited to comment about my presentation at a 1987 debate at Harvard [recorded by C-Span] about “The Disappearing Middle Class” on a panel with Lester Thurow, Barry Bluestone and Frank Levy. 

In Paul Krugman’s ill-tempered 1994 book, Peddling Prosperity [which I reviewed as “Peddling Pomposity”], he called Galbraith “the first celebrity economist,” adding that “he has never been taken seriously by his academic colleagues, who regard him as more of a media personality.”

Today, Krugman is a leading celebrity economist and media personality. But he never approached the pop chart supremacy and political clout that Galbraith once had. Galbraith was, for example, the uncontested bandleader behind the deafening drumbeat for Nixon’s price controls in August 15, 1971.

My September 24, 1971 cover story for National Review, “The Case Against Wage and Price Controls” began by dismembering the arguments behind Galbraith’s briefly victorious argument that, “The seemingly obvious remedy for the wage-price spiral is to regulate prices and wages by public authority” [from The New Industrial State, 1967].

Once the central government can tell workers what their labor is worth and tell businessmen how to price their products, that is about as far as we can possibly get from a free market, and Nixon’s New Economic Policy was perhaps as close as the U.S. ever came to full-blown socialism (aside from rationing in major wars). The only thing worse would be allowing the government make virtually all decisions about what producers can produce and consumers can consume ­–­ otherwise known as “socialism.”

In his 1973 book, Economics and the Public Purpose, Galbraith found a “socialist imperative” for virtually every product or service of much importance. As in the case of his campaign for wage and price controls, this clarion call for socialism fit in with the temper of the times and did not generate the concern or skepticism the word sometimes arouses today.

When Americans today wonder what “socialism” means, they could do worse than recall how the quite mainstream commentator John Kenneth Galbraith defined it in 1973. Newsweek provided a concise summary on October 1, 1973 with Arthur Cooper’s glowing review of Galbraith’s book, Economics and the Public Purpose (also the topic of my review about its quaint irrelevance).

In the tradition of New Deal regulatory protagonists Berle and Means (whose inspiration he acknowledged in many books), Galbraith wrote of a “bureaucratic symbiosis” between the federal government and the “planning system” of giant corporations and their “technostructure” of lawyers, scientists, engineers and lobbyists.

Cooper explained:

Galbraith is certain that the people are being exploited by a [corporate-dominated] planning system whose interests run increasingly counter to their best interests… [and is] blunt about what is required to rectify the situation- “a new socialism.” This socialism demands various actions:

*          Set up “full organization under public ownership of the weak parts of the market system- housing, medical care and transportation.”

*          Encourage small-business men and firms in the market system to form trade associations, with governmental regulation of prices and extend coverage of the minimum wage as well as a major increase in the amount.

*          Abandon the unrealistic goal of full employment and institute instead a guaranteed or alternative income for those who cannot find satisfactory work.

*          Convert “fully mature corporations” into fully public [government-owned] corporations. This would mean public purchase of stock for fixed- interest-bearing securities so that capital gains would accrue to the public treasury. Such public corporations as Renault and the Tennessee Valley Authority are run this way now.

*          Also convert large specialized weapons firms doing more than half their business with the government into full public corporations. “The large weapons firms are already socialized except in name”-e.g., Lockheed and General Dynamics.

*          Impose a public authority to coordinate different areas of the planning system. Thus, the promotion of electrical use by appliance firms will not run absurdly ahead of the utilities’ ability to supply electricity.

*          Establish “a special presumption” in favor of public support of the arts.

Admittedly not a “revolutionary,” Galbraith allows that all this will come about only through political processes- once politics itself is emancipated from the grip of the planning system. Since he believes the Republican Party is “the instrument of the planning system,” Galbraith’s hopes repose in the McGovern wing of the Democratic Party. Will Galbraith’s ideas, which may be “radical” but certainly sound sensible, work? Maybe time will tell. But John Galbraith sounds like an idea whose time has come.

Mr. Cooper’s 1973 hope that the time had come for socialism proved a decidedly premature forecast, thanks in part to (1) George McGovern’s unprecedented presidential defeat and (2) the stagflationary disaster resulting from Nixon’s 1971-74 policy of mixing a deliberately debased dollar with Galbraithian wage and price controls.

Belief in socialism requires innocently trusting politicians and bureaucrats to make all your decisions for you, typically by promising to give you goodies that some other chump is expected to pay for. This inevitably involves greatly limiting individual choices: the fewer choices are left, the more “socialist” the system has become. “Single payer,” for example, means a single choice. Take it or leave it. Second or third choices become illegal.

If a single choice from the bossy political duopoly was better than many in the marketplace, we might as well replace all U.S. restaurants with a chain of federal cafeterias, and allow production and sales of only one people’s car in only one color.



Bernie replies

Bernie is good at highlighting problems but his socialist "solutions" are worse than the disease.  They have been tried many times with results that range from the bad to the catastrophic

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leveled a forceful attack on President Trump on Tuesday, accusing the commander in chief of seeking to secure his own reelection by playing to the country’s racial, economic and political divisions.

Sanders’s remarks came minutes after Trump formally launched his 2020 reelection bid at a campaign rally in Orlando, Fla. In a live-streamed response to that rally, Sanders cast himself as the antithesis of Trump, and pleaded with voters to deny the president a second term in the White House.

The Hill Reports:

“We have a president who is a racist, who is a sexist, who is a homophone, who is a xenophobe and he is a religious bigot,” Sanders said. “His strategy to win reelection is to divide people up.”

Speaking to supporters in Orlando on Tuesday, Trump touched on a series of familiar talking points. He decried special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as a “witch hunt,” railed against journalists covering the event and touted an economic boom under his tenure in office.

Sanders’s rebuttal, however, took aim at what the Vermont senator said Trump failed to address at the rally, including the threat posed by climate change and staggering economic inequality in spite of low unemployment rates and a soaring stock market.

“Listening to Trump made me feel very much that he is a man living in a parallel universe, a man out of touch with the various needs of people,” Sanders said.

For Sanders, it was a particularly pointed response, geared more towards building an electoral case against Trump than furthering the calls for political revolution that have defined much of the senator’s career. At no point, did he mention his democratic socialist ideology or criticize compromise-minded politics.

Instead, he made the argument that the country’s top priority, for the time being, should be to reject Trump at the ballot box in 2020.

That may prove to be a particularly effective message for Sanders in an election cycle in which Democratic primary voters are consumed with defeating Trump.

The Vermont senator has stagnated in polls in recent weeks, while other candidates, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have risen. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, who has made beating Trump the central theme of his presidential campaign, remains the frontrunner.

Indeed, a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed six Democratic presidential hopefuls defeating Trump in Florida in hypothetical matchups. In that survey, Sanders led Trump by 6 points.

Sanders said on Tuesday that Trump’s political future was precarious, arguing that “poll after poll is showing the country that Trump is falling further behind in terms of his ability to get reelected.”

And while much of Sanders’s speech touched on familiar topics for the senator – stagnant wages, college affordability and the promise of universal health care – he urged voters to first reject Trump in 2020.

“We got a lot to do,” he said. “But our job most importantly is to defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country. Our job is to keep our eyes on the prize.”

“Our job is to resist Trump’s effort to divide us up.”  [Democrat identity politics don't divide us up at all?  A big case of projection here]



Trump on The Democratic Party: ‘More Radical, More Dangerous, And More Unhinged’

The Democratic Party “has become more radical, more dangerous, and more unhinged than at any point in the modern history of our country,” President Trump said on Tuesday night.

In a no-holds-barred speech in Orlando, Florida kicking off his re-election campaign, Trump lashed out at the Democratic Party, hitting it particularly hard on the issue of border security.

“No matter what label they use, a vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream,” he told the packed 20,000-seat Amway Center, where according to local media some supporters had been lining up since Monday morning.

“Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage,” Trump declared. “They want to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it. Not acceptable, it’s not going to happen.”

In one stinging segment of the speech, Trump said nothing would make him happier than to be able to work with Democrats to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, bring down drug prices, and compete with other countries.

“There’s so many great things we could do right now in a bipartisan way. But they’ve been afflicted with an ideological sickness that protects foreign borders but refuses to protect our borders; that promotes jobs overseas but allows our factories to close; that promotes democracy abroad, but shreds our Constitution at home; that declares support for free speech and free thought, but relentlessly suppresses them both; and that constantly savages the heroes of American law enforcement. We don’t want that, we don’t want that.”

Immigration and border security was among the issues the president sought to emphasize most in the rally.

“On no issue are Democrats more extreme and more depraved than when it comes to border security,” he said. “The Democrat agenda of open borders is morally reprehensible. It’s the greatest betrayal of the American middle class – and frankly American life our country has as a whole.”

“Nobody seen anything like it. People are pouring in – but we’ve stopped them.”

Not one of the 24 Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, he said, has come out publicly in support of the personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol agencies.

“In the ultimate act of moral cowardice, not one Democrat candidate for president, not a single one, has stood up to defend the incredible men and women of ICE and Border Patrol – the job they do is incredible.”

There was not a lot of early Twitter reaction to Trump’s speech from Democratic presidential hopefuls, although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) posted a video response to a speech which he summarized as “an hour-and-a-half speech of lies, distortions and total, absolute nonsense.”

Sanders listed issues which he said Trump had not mentioned, including climate change, “oppressive” student debt, and gun violence.

“When Trump talked about immigration, he talked about it in his usual racist way – and his racist way is his effort to try to divide us up.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), without referring directly to Trump’s comments in Orlando, tweeted afterwards: “Donald Trump’s treatment of those seeking a better life in our country is inhumane. Make no mistake: In a Warren administration, we will defend and protect immigrants and their families.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “Just a reminder: Donald Trump is a coward. He is a misogynist. He has torn apart the moral fabric of this country. And I believe his kryptonite is a strong woman who can’t be silenced.”

‘Abolish ICE’

A number of the Democratic presidential candidates have called for ICE to be shut down or restructured, although most did so around the middle of last year, when then-congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and others were championing the anti-ICE campaign.

Sanders said he wants to “abolish the cruel, dysfunctional immigration system we have today,” a step which he said would mean “restructuring the agencies that enforce our immigration laws, including ICE.”

Warren called for “replacing ICE with something that reflects our values.”

“We need to abolish ICE, start over and build something that actually works,” tweeted Gillibrand.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told MSNBC, “I think there’s no question that we’ve got to critically re-examine ICE and its role and the way that it is being administered and the work it is doing. And we need to probably think about starting from scratch, because there’s a lot that is wrong with the way that it is conducting itself.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also called for ICE to be shut down.

“I think Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is right,” he said. “We should abolish ICE. We should create something better.”



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, 2019

The opening speech in Florida

I am not going to repeat any of the text of what Trump said in the opening speech of his campaign.  Details of that are already widely available.  But I have a few brief comments. 

I have studied closely the Fascist/Nazi era in prewar Europe so comparisons with that come easily to mind.  And there is no doubt that Trump's speaking style closely resembles that of Mussolini -- the staccato words, the air of indignation, the facial expressions  and the bodily movements.  And both men were preaching a message of insurgent patriotism -- of taking the country back from those who did not have its interests at heart.

But Mussolini was a very successful orator and leader.  So it is no surprise that another successful insurgent patriot would reinvent his approach.

The similarity to Hitler is much less marked.  Unlike Trump, Hitler was very fluent and did not continue on the same constant emotional level that Trump does.  Hitler's speeches were a crescendo, starting out very calmly and gradually building up to a huge pitch of emotionalism and excitement.  The only similarity I can see between Hitler and Trump is that both spoke extempore, without using prompts.   Obama, by contrast read almost every word of his speeches off a teleprompter. His persona as a speaker and leader was a complete fake.  He was basically a dummy.

So any Leftist reading these comments will be disappointed.  They will love the Trump/Mussolini comparison and say that Trump is therefore a Fascist but will hate the Hitler comparison which says that Trump is not at all like Hitler.  But that is the way that the cookie crumbles.  All it shows is that anybody who judges people by their speaking style is a fool.  It's policies that count, not the window dressing. 

And the policies of the two men are about as opposite as you can get. Musso summarized his policies as: "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato" (Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State).  Trump, by contrast, is doing his best to get the government out of people's lives -- JR.


"More than a President":  CNN gets it right for once

"The Fake News doesn't report it, but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high," tweeted Trump on Tuesday morning. "Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild - See you later!" It was his third tweet in 24 hours touting the crowds gathering to witness the campaign kickoff. "Big Rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records," Trump tweeted on Monday. "We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody. Over 100,000 requests."

It's easy to roll your eyes at this now-familiar Trump self-puffery. Biggest crowds in history! More than 100,000 requests for an arena that only seats 20,000! Enthusiasm beyond belief! The fake news won't report on it!

But here's the thing: The spectacle happening in Orlando in advance of tonight's big speech is yet more clear evidence that Trump is more than a politician or even a President -- he is a pop-culture phenomenon the likes of which none of the 23 Democratic candidates running can match.

Trump is viewed -- by his most loyal supporters and even by those who may not support him but don't loathe him -- as a sort of rock star. (The President's reference to his Orlando crowd as never before seen outside of rock concerts was almost assuredly accidental -- but telling nonetheless.) The ardor and commitment of those who stand beside Trump is the envy of any politician looking to keep his base behind him. And the reverence they express for Trump -- buying his MAGA hats, making homemade T-shirts with his face plastered on them, the guy with the "wall" suit -- is the sort of stuff that get-out-the-vote experts salivate over.

That anecdotal energy is reflected in polling, too. Trump's job approval rating among Republicans in the latest Gallup monthly tracking poll was 89% -- and it hasn't been lower than 80% since December 2017. While Trump's overall job approval number was just 43% in the latest CNN poll this month, when you included only those registered voters who described themselves as "very enthusiastic" about the coming election, 48% approved of the job the incumbent was doing while 50% disapproved -- a far closer split.

It's important to remember that prior to being President -- or even running for president -- Trump had woven himself into the cultural fabric. Whether through cameos in movies ("Little Rascals," "Home Alone 2"), his reality TV shows or a steady stream of personal life rumors in gossip rags, Trump was someone known across the country -- and really, across the world. And for a not-small subset of people Trump represented aspirational wealth -- a man who had succeeded so much that he could do and say whatever he wanted, all while living in the lap of luxury.

At the start of his presidential bid, many of the people who turned out were there to see a celebrity, not a politician. They figured that Trump probably had no chance but still wanted to see if he would sign their dog-eared copy of the "The Art of the Deal." Trump won many of them over with his performative nature and his passel of promises about how he could fix everything.
While many of those promises haven't yet come true -- the wall along the southern border is not completed, for example -- lots of Americans who still support Trump don't really care because they voted for a celebrity and that's exactly what they got. They don't hold him to the same standards they hold other politicians because they don't see him as a politician; they see him as a rock star.



Fake News Fail: Fans of Supposedly Unpopular Trump Line Up 40 Hours Early To Watch Him Speak

To hear the predominately liberal establishment media tell it, President Donald Trump is a deeply unpopular politician who assuredly will lose his 2020 re-election bid in embarrassing fashion to whichever Democrat he faces.

It would appear, however, that the people of central Florida and the surrounding area didn’t receive that message, as reports indicate there has been a phenomenal display of support for the president in that region that the mainstream media are reluctant to share with the rest of the country.

That show of support comes by way of the massive number of Trump supporters who have sought to obtain tickets to a Tuesday night rally in Orlando that will mark the official launch of the president’s re-election campaign.

Supporters started lining up for the rally early Monday morning, roughly 42 hours prior to the start of that event.

On Monday, Trump tweeted, “Big Rally tomorrow night in Orlando, Florida, looks to be setting records. We are building large movie screens outside to take care of everybody. Over 100,000 requests. Our Country is doing great, far beyond what the haters & losers thought possible — and it will only get better!”

Orlando’s WKMG-TV reported that the first handful of Trump supporters to arrive outside the Amway Center for the rally at 8 p.m. Tuesday showed up around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

The very first man in line, Gary Beck of Panama City, told the station, “There’s going to be a bunch of people, and it’s going to be pretty intense.”

“The electricity is going to be high,” he said. “It’s time for America to get back on its feet and be made better than it’s ever been before.”

Despite having a long wait in line until the event begins, those who showed up early will no doubt consider themselves lucky by Tuesday night, given that while their entry to the event is all but assured. The same cannot be said of the tens of thousands of other Trump supporters who have requested tickets to the rally, upward of five times as many as the 20,000-seat venue is permitted to hold.

Indeed, Florida Today reported Thursday that there had been such a massive response to the announcement of the campaign kickoff rally that organizers were forced to make the event a “first-come, first-served” affair.

“Orlando rally entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee entry,” Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign, said in a statement to the news outlet. “There will be screens outside the venue to watch the rally once capacity is reached.”

The huge demand for the Orlando rally tickets is the opposite of what the establishment media would have everyone believe about Trump’s popularity.

Instead, the liberal media want Americans to think the Democratic candidates — who are drawing dozens, sometimes hundreds of supporters to their events — have the bulk of the nation behind them while Trump stands virtually alone.

The many people in central Florida who are willing to stand in line for a chance to see and support their president tell a vastly different story.



Why Doesn’t the Left Want To Know How Many US Citizens Live in America?

Questions as part of the coming census will include age, sex, ethnic origin, race, household relationship and if a housing unit is owned or rented. Reinstatement of the citizenship question will hang on the failure or success by Democrats to obstruct a Supreme Court vote.

President Donald Trump believes that “When a census goes out you have the right to ask whether or not someone is a citizen of the United States.” Democrats against the reinstatement of a citizenship question have bills in the House and in the Senate that would prohibit it.

Census results provide the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, congressional redistricting, electoral college votes, and the annual distribution of billions of dollars to states, counties and communities. The Constitution mandates a census every ten years.

A citizenship question was in the census until 1950 when two census forms were initiated; a short and a long form. From 1970 to 2000 a question regarding citizenship remained in the long form.

In 2010, President Barack Obama removed it. Trump wants it reinstated.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the reinstatement by the end of June, in time to have a resolution for the 2020 census. California and other states sued to block reinstatement. States with large immigrant populations fret that congressional seats and federal funding will be impacted.

Leftist groups assaulting the citizenship question include The Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Muslim Advocates, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, National Association of Latino officials, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, several unions, and 124 more organizations. Declarations propose that a citizenship question is racially discriminatory.

Fearing that the Supreme Court would vote for reinstatement, outrageous political delay tactics from the House Oversight and Reform Committee are led by Congressman Elijah Cummings. He demands Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross provide additional testimony and secured documents. He issued contempt citations on each of them. Democrats hope to run out the clock on the Supreme Court’s ability to vote in a timely manner.

Trump invoked Executive Privilege to block Cummings heinous “slow the process” tactics. If he succeeds, the Supreme Court decision will be postponed, and the time frame will have passed.

President Lyndon Johnson signed The Voting Rights Act into law in 1965, with a goal to overcome legal barriers that prevented African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. There have been amendments; but the major premise remains: to ensure there are no legal barriers preventing American citizens from voting.

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to vote. To enforce the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department needs to know how many eligible citizens exist and where they live.

States with large immigrant populations claim that asking about citizenship will frighten people to avoid filling out census forms. The Census Bureau is legally bound to confidentiality, and cannot share respondents answers with anyone — not the IRS, the FBI, the CIA, Homeland Security or any government agency.

Congressional seats are not assigned by the number of citizens, but by the number of residents. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Chicago, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and others have high numbers of congressional seats due to large citizen and non-citizen populations. Non-citizen residents are counted in the census which could result in more congressional seats.

If there are fewer voters in a district than citizens eligible to vote, it could be a case for voter suppression under the Voter Rights Act. If there are more registered voters in a district than there are U.S. citizens, that could cause concerns of voter fraud.

In either case, the Justice Department must have citizen census numbers in order to make an informed determination.

Political acrimony is being used to prevent the 2020 census from determining how many residents of this country are U.S. citizens. In this, the left is on a fool’s errand.



Manafort To Avoid Time at Rikers Following Letter from Top DOJ Official

Paul Manafort was reportedly headed for Rikers Island to await trial on the state level in New York but will be held in a federal facility following a letter from a Department of Justice higher-up, reported The New York Times on Monday.

Manafort, a former lobbyist, was convicted on charges of tax illegalities brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his Russian interference investigation.

Federal prison officials said Monday that the former Trump campaign chairman will not be held at the notorious Rikers Island after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen took an interest in where Manafort was held, The Times reported.

New York prosecutors did not object to Manafort’s attorneys’ proposal that he remain in federal custody and be made available to the state when necessary for health and safety reasons, a senior DOJ official told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Manafort is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan ahead of his arraignment next week, federal prison officials told Manhattan prosecutors Monday, according to a source cited by The Times.

A senior DOJ official confirmed to TheDCNF that Manafort had been transferred from Pennsylvania, where he is currently serving his sentence, to New York.

Manafort could stay at the Manhattan facility or go back to the Loretto, Pennsylvania, prison where he is serving seven-and-a-half-years, people with knowledge of the matter told The Times. Both are federal facilities.

Manhattan’s district attorney obtained an indictment of Manafort on 16 state felonies in mid-March.

The fraud charges brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. mean Manafort could still have to serve prison time if convicted because President Donald Trump’s commutation and pardon powers extend only to federal sentences.

Manafort is serving a federal sentence as a result of two separate trials.

He pleaded guilty to and was convicted of charges related to political consulting work he did in Ukraine prior to joining the Trump campaign in 2016.

Manafort’s lawyer Todd Blanche, however, continues to object to the charges brought by Vance.



Only In Seattle: White Woman To Teach An ‘Undoing Whiteness’ Yoga Class

Just another "alternative" nut

If you’ve ever felt guilt as a white person doing yoga — you know, appropriating another culture like that — there’s a solution: you can take a yoga class focused on “undoing whiteness,” and instead of just releasing all of the tension in your muscles, you release all of the white supremacy embedded in your body.

The Seattle Times reports:

This spring, [Laura] Humpf publicized an “Undoing Whiteness” yoga class at Rainier Beach Yoga, geared toward white people wishing to “unpack the harmful ways white supremacy is embedded” in their “body, mind and heart.” Along with providing a contemplative space, the class would dissect the “pathology of whiteness” — an obliviousness to the batch of privileges society grants white skin — and how it operates in daily life.

Humpf, 39, sees her class as going beyond yoga’s elegant poses. It seeks, she says, to arrive at yoga’s literal meaning: union. White supremacy thwarts achieving that union within the individual and with others, says Humpf.

Along with posing the toxic whiteness out of themselves, participants hear excerpts from the book “Witnessing Whiteness,” meant “to help white people deal with discomfort around race-based conversations.”



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, 2019

Amazon hits out at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for saying it pays warehouse workers 'starvation wages' with tech giant saying they pay $15 an hour minimum

Does she ever get anything right?

Amazon fired back at New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Monday after she accused the company of paying 'starvation wages' to its warehouse workers and said low pay worker pay helped enrich billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos. She also said the firm underpaid 'every single person' in its workforce.

The Internet shipping giant responded after Ocasio-Cortez blasted the company in an interview on ABC's 'This Week' program Sunday.  

'.@AOC is just wrong,' the company wrote Monday, tagging her roughly 4 million followers on Twitter. 'Amazon is a leader on pay at $15 min wage + full benefits from day one. We also lobby to raise federal min wage,' the firm wrote.

Amazon executive and former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney chimed in on Twitter: 'More than 42% of all working Americans earn less than the $15/hour Amazon pays entry-level fulfillment center employees. And all our employees get top-tier benefits. I’d urge @AOC to focus on raising the federal minimum wage instead of making stuff up about Amazon,' he fired back.

The firm hiked wages last year after coming under criticism by the gap in pay between warehouse employees and top execs.

This year Forbes magazine listed the Bezos family at the top of its billionaires list (Bezos is getting divorced from wife MacKenzie following revelations he was having an affair), with an estimated $131 billion worth.

A company spokesperson called the charges 'absurd,' adding that 'hourly associates at our Staten Island facility earn between $17.30 and $23 an hour, plus benefits which include comprehensive medical, dental, and vision insurance,' Fox Business reported.

'On top of these benefits, Amazon pre-pays 95% of continuing education tuition costs through its Career Choice program for associates who want to pursue in-demand careers. For anyone who wants to know what it's like to work in an Amazon fulfillment center, sign up for a tour today,' said the spokesperson.

Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Bezos in a Sunday interview with ABC News where told host Jonathan Karl how she thinks Bezos made his trillion dollar company founded in 1994 a success.

She was asked if a true progressive program was put in place, would someone like Bezos still be a billionaire? AOC has made it clear she thinks having billionaires is immoral.

'But if his being a billionaire is predicated on paying people starvation wages and stripping them of their ability to access healthcare…'

She said the amount Amazon workers are paid is 'certainly part of the equation'.

Amazon increased the minimum wage to $15 last November in response to criticism. The federal minimum wages has been $7.25 since 2009.

The company paid no tax to the US in 2018.

'When you have a very large workforce and you underpay every single person and then you also participate in taking billions of dollars of government subsidies, that could be part of it,' the New York Democrat told ABC's This Week.

'Whether Jeff Bezos is a billionaire or not is less of my concern than if your average Amazon worker is making a living wage, if they have guaranteed health care and if they can send their kids to college tuition-free,' she said Sunday.

'And if that's the case, and Jeff Bezos is still a billionaire, that's one thing.'

Bernie Sanders and AOC recently vowed to outlaw a new Amazon credit card designed for people with poor ratings over its high interest rate.

The Vermont senator accused the tech giant of 'greed' over the 28 per cent interest rate on its new card, and said it will only 'make the poor even poorer'. 'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I will outlaw it,' he added, in reference to legislation the pair introduced last month which would cap credit rates at 15 per cent.

Amazon launched its new secured credit card earlier this week. Users pay a deposit - in Amazon's case between $100 and $1,000 - to 'secure' a line of credit which acts as collateral and sets their spending limit.

In Amazon's case, the cards would only be available to those on their $119-per-year Prime package. The deposit would only be repaid when customers upgrade to a regular Amazon Store Card after seven months of on-time payments. Both the secured card and store card can only be used for Amazon purchases.

Sanders and AOC's bill, which was introduced last month, came after Sanders found the average annual salary for an Amazon worker is $28,000 but half of their employees were paid under that amount.

Likening Wall Street lenders to 'loan sharks', they say it is unconscionable that banks borrow at 2.5 per cent while lending at an average rate of 17.7 per cent. Many customers pay a far higher percentage on their loans.

The proposal also would let more than 30,000 post offices provide banking services for low-income Americans who currently don’t have ready access to banks.

With Republicans in control of the Senate, the proposals have virtually no chance of becoming law, but provide Sanders with a stumping tool as he runs for President.

Amazon cancelled plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City recently after they faced backlash from residents of New York's Queens borough, including AOC, who complained about the negative affect the company would have on the community.



Elites Have No One to Blame for Populism but Themselves

Victor Davis Hanson

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election, and the “yellow vests” protests in France?

What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment?

What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies, and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. New global markets and commerce meant Western nations outsourced, offshored, and ignored their own industries and manufacturing (or anything dependent on muscular labor that could be replaced by cheaper workers abroad).

Three, unelected bureaucrats multiplied and vastly increased their power over private citizens. The targeted middle classes lacked the resources to fight back against the royal armies of tenured regulators, planners, auditors, inspectors, and adjustors who could not be fired and were never accountable.

Four, the new global media reached billions and indoctrinated rather than reported.

Five, academia became politicized as a shrill agent of cultural transformation rather than focusing on education—while charging more for less learning.

Six, utopian social planning increased housing, energy, and transportation costs.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.

Green policies were aimed at raising fees on, and restricting the use of, carbon-based fuels. But proposed green belt-tightening among hoi polloi was not matched by a cutback in second and third homes, overseas vacations, luxury cars, private jets, and high-tech appurtenances.

In education, government directives and academic hectoring about admissions quotas and ideological indoctrination likewise targeted the middle classes but not the elite. The micromanagers of Western public schools and universities often preferred private academies and rigorous traditional training for own children.

Elites relied on old-boy networks to get their own kids into colleges. Diversity administrators multiplied at universities while indebted students borrowed more money to pay for them.

In matters of immigration, the story was much the same. Western elites encouraged the migration of indigent, unskilled, and often poorly educated foreign nationals who would ensure that government social programs—and the power of the elites themselves—grew.

The champions of open borders made sure that such influxes did not materially affect their own neighborhoods, schools, and privileged way of life.

Elites masked their hypocrisy by virtue-signaling their disdain for the supposedly xenophobic, racist, or nativist middle classes.

Yet the non-elite have experienced firsthand the impact on social programs, schools, and safety from sudden, massive, and often illegal immigration from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia into their communities.

As for trade, few still believe in “free” trade when it remains so unfair. Why didn’t elites extend to China their same tough-love lectures about global warming, or about breaking the rules of trade, copyrights, and patents?

The middle classes became nauseated by the constant elite trashing of their culture, history, and traditions, including the tearing down of statues, the Trotskyizing of past heroes, the renaming of public buildings and streets, and, for some, the tired and empty whining about “white privilege.”

If Western nations were really so bad, and so flawed at their founding, why were millions of non-Westerners risking their lives to reach Western soil?

How was it that elites themselves had made so much money, had gained so much influence, and had enjoyed such material bounty and leisure from such a supposedly toxic system—benefits that they were unwilling to give up despite their tired moralizing about selfishness and privilege?

In the next few years, expect more grassroots demands for the restoration of the value of citizenship.

There will be fewer middle-class apologies for patriotism and nationalism. The non-elite will become angrier about illegal immigration, demanding a return to the idea of measured, meritocratic, diverse, and legal immigration.

Because elites have no answers to popular furor, the anger directed at them will only increase until they give up—or finally succeed in their grand agenda of a nondemocratic, all-powerful, Orwellian state.



The Left Held National #ImpeachTrump Rallies: ‘almost nobody showed up’

Activists held rallies across America on Saturday in support of impeachment against President Donald Trump. There was just one problem: hardly anyone showed up.

The Blaze Reports:

Who organized the rallies?

The rallies were organized by far-left activist group MoveOn.org, which is pressuring congressional Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“Events will be visible, family-friendly, public gatherings to demonstrate to our representatives that impeachment is the will of the people. Together, we will inform our communities about Trump’s abuses and the process of impeachment, then make plans to convey our support for impeachment to our elected officials,” the group said on its website.

MoveOn partnered with nearly two dozen groups, including the far-left Women’s March, to host more than 130 protest events in cities across the country. Some politicians, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.), even spoke at rallies.

Pictures across social media revealed that just dozens of activists showed up at most rallies, while just a few hundred showed up in larger, more liberal cities.



Trump Pushes a Major Win for Hunters and Anglers: Access to Huge Swaths of Previously Off-Limits Land

As part of President Donald Trump’s commitment to open public lands to the public, his administration has proposed expanding access at federally controlled wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries by more than 1.4 million acres.

The proposal is currently up for public comment and could take effect this fall.

“He’s basically said, ‘Git-R-Done,’” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said of Trump in an interview, according to the Washington Examiner.

“The president fundamentally gets that hunters and anglers are the true conservationists in our society. He understands that history and that we need to act in efforts to expand hunting and fishing while at the same time being respectful of private land rights, respectful of state law,” Bernhardt said.

The proposal would increase the number of places managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service that are open for hunting and fishing. Sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System open for hunting will increase from 377 to 382, while sites open for fishing will increase from 312 to 316.

Within the National Fish Hatchery System, 15 sites will be open for hunting or fishing for the first time, according to a statement on the Interior Department’s website. A full list of sites is available through the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website.

“President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” Bernhardt said in a Department of the Interior news release.

“Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life.

“These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”

In the Examiner interview, Bernhardt said access is the first step to appreciation of all America’s outdoors has to offer, and recalled his access to federal lands in Colorado as an example.

“Exposure matters,” he told the newspaper. “Having those opportunities to succeed and fail made me more confident and made me more willing to accept challenges. [If] I lived somewhere where my parents had to drive 300 miles for me to hunt or fish, it wouldn’t have happened at all, though that might have been a lot better for my grades,” he said.

Bernhardt related a comment from former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, who told Bernhardt early in his career with the Interior Department to buy a boat.

“He said, ‘You need to get a boat. The great thing about a boat, if you get your kids on one, even if they are with their friends, they’re stuck with you,’” Bernhardt said, noting that his children are now as fond of the outdoors as he is.

In the Examiner interview, Bernhardt said that his staff went through federal regulations and culled a slew of them to simplify life for sportsmen, and that the new rules align federal regulations with state ones to end confusion.

“You’ve got to be a lawyer to figure out if you can hunt or can’t hunt,” he said, describing the current rules-heavy climate that limits access to public land.

“The biggest reason people don’t start or don’t stay hunting or fishing is largely the access to areas. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to expand access,” he said.

The proposal has the support of many groups that support the outdoors. “This announcement will benefit America’s sportsmen and -women by providing access to prime hunting and fishing areas,” Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said according to the Washington Examiner.



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

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


18  June, 2019

NYT writes: U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid

President Trump tweets: "Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia. This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country..."

The story gives Russia forewarning that the USA has expert code crackers too and is thus a betrayal.  But the NYT is a firmly Leftist organ so it will of course do anything it can to harm the USA. All of the major bills advocated by the Democratic party in recent months -- such as the "Green New Deal" -- would be hugely disastrous for the American economy and the welfare of ordinary Americans -- but that's a feature, not a bug

Remember the "Affordable Care Act", which made health insurance effectively UNaffordable for many who previously did have insurance?  Again a feature, not a bug

The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

The administration declined to describe specific actions it was taking under the new authorities, which were granted separately by the White House and Congress last year to United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military’s offensive and defensive operations in the online world.

But in a public appearance on Tuesday, President Trump’s national security adviser, John R. Bolton, said the United States was now taking a broader view of potential digital targets as part of an effort “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’”



American prosperity is rolling forward — despite impeachment-obsessed Democrats

By former Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.)

Now that House Democrats are on the verge of plunging the nation into an impeachment crisis, America is about to learn what President Obama was talking about when he lectured frustrated Republicans that “elections have consequences.”

Boy, do they.

A quick comparison of this session of Congress with the last clearly illustrates the point. By any measure, the 115th with about a thousand bills passed out of the House was, as then-Speaker Paul Ryan said, “One of the most productive sessions of Congress in a generation.”

Fast forward a year and there is little in the way of accomplishment, as some of us forewarned, in the 116th Democrat-controlled House. Not even a budget resolution. By contrast, the 115th passed three budget resolutions (I was senior freshman on the Budget Committee), and for the first time in over two decades passed nearly 80 percent of its appropriations on time.

About the only thing the 116th is guaranteeing in next year’s spending bills is a repeal of the Hyde Amendment ban on taxpayer funding of abortion.

Of course, the biggest achievement of the Trump administration and its work with the last session of Congress was a return of 3 percent economic growth with wages growing faster than at any time over the last decade. In fact, it’s been so successful that Joe Biden is trying to take credit for it.

But, as Bill Clinton used to say, that dog won’t hunt.

The truth is the Obama-Biden administration presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression averaging just 1.5 percent annual GDP growth. All the while massively raising taxes and doubling the debt. The Carter-style malaise wasn’t lifted until tax and regulatory reform took place under the Trump administration and the 115th Congress.

Indeed, as important as tax reform was, freeing the economy from the Obama-era regulatory bender of some 600 “major” (having an economic effect of $100 million or more) rules was what really jumpstarted growth. By the end of 2016, there were over 95,000 pages in the Federal Register — the most since 1936, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Even after the election on Nov. 9, 2016, the Obama administration released another 145 regulations, costing more than $16 billion. The total compliance burden was the economic equivalent of the federal income tax costing Americans roughly $15,000 per household.

That’s why in the first 100 days of the 115th Congress we passed, and the president signed, a record 14 Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions successfully overturning these costly federal mandates — immediately saving at least $3.7 billion and 4.2 million hours filling out federal paperwork.

In Minnesota and across the country, this meant a resurgence in mining, logging and manufacturing jobs resulting in the US becoming a net energy exporter for the first time in 75 years. Contrast that with the $93 trillion “carbon tax” known as the Green New Deal seeking to retrofit every building in America and all of a sudden the infamous “bridge to nowhere” starts to look like a bargain.

There’s more work to be done with so-called agency “guidance letters” that have the force of law but get around congressional oversight. I introduced the Reforming Executive Guidance (Reg) Act in the 115th to make these documents subject to the CRA as well as the Administrative Procedure Act and just recently the administration put agencies on notice that all regulatory actions should be subject to review.

Finally, as Democrats refuse to fund border security, their $32 trillion “Medicare for All” scheme aims to provide benefits for undocumented immigrants and remove restrictions on taxpayer funded abortions — even late-term ones. Indeed, on health care, the Pelosi Democrats seem committed to finishing the job of socialized medicine that Obamacare started, even flirting with the idea of eliminating private employer-sponsored insurance.

And in case you thought the 115th was just a partisan exercise, think again. For the first time in decades, criminal justice reform was signed into law with the First Step Act as well as the bipartisan Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018. I was proud to sponsor the latter with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), giving nonviolent offenders a second chance instead of lengthy or lifetime prison sentences.

Again, the contrast is striking with House Democrats now in control obsessed with never-ending investigations and partisan witch-hunts after $25 million, 500 subpoenas and a million-and-a-half documents found no evidence of collusion. Then again, if they really believe they were hired to start a full blown impeachment crisis in the middle of an economic expansion, they should take the vote.

Republicans in 2020 may just be sitting back channeling Clint Eastwood’s famous onscreen line: “Go ahead, make my day.”



Bernie Sanders: Americans 'will be delighted to pay more in taxes'

Another Leftist flight from reality

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, continued to defend Democratic socialism and argued that Americans would be "delighted to pay more in taxes" if his policies are carried out.

On Wednesday, Sanders attempted to sway voters into the ideology of Democratic socialism and argued in favor for what he called an "Economic Bill of Rights," where every American would have a right for items like free health care and education. He also insisted that President Trump is a "corporate socialist" for providing billions in subsidies and tax breaks for corporations.

During an appearance on CNN, the Democratic candidate was asked how he will respond to Trump's attacks on the campaign trail, specifically when the president invokes Venzuela as an example of failed socialism.

"Look, what we have to understand, for example... the United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right," Sanders explained. "In many countries in Europe, Germany for one, you go to college and the cost of college is zero. I think in Finland they actually pay you to go to college. In most countries around the world the level of income and wealth inequality, which in the United States today is worse than at anytime since the 1920s... that level of income and wealth inequality is much less severe than it is right here in the United States."



One year after net neutrality ended, the Internet works better than ever

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement celebrating one year since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ended net neutrality:

“One year ago today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wisely ended the Internet regulatory nightmare that was to be net neutrality. Chairman Pai’s action was met by apocryphal cries of doom about the future of the Internet. Well, one year later, the domestic Internet is doing fine with advancements moving ahead which will deliver dramatically faster Internet to more Americans within the next five years.  With 5G and Internet speeds about to become 100 times faster than they already are, technology was always going catch up and rapidly overtake the stated rationale for the Obama era net neutrality regulations. Now that the limits of 3G and 4G infrastructure have been surpassed, the fear of throttling Internet speeds has become a footnote in history.

“Regulating the pipelines that the bits and bytes which make up the Internet might make sense to the 70+ year old philosophical and political leaders of the Democratic Party, but Pai’s vision of creating more and diverse types of pipelines to handle data travelling at ever increasing speeds is what leads us to the Internet of the future. We never needed net neutrality, which was nothing more than an obstacle to the 5G transformation of our digital economy.

“Americans for Limited Government thanks Chairman Ajit Pai and his fellow Commissioners on the FCC for their vision in ending net neutrality and allowing the flourishing of the Internet superhighway.”



Another amoral black

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by former campaign staffer Alva Johnson, saying “the complaint presents a political lawsuit, not a tort and wages lawsuit.”

“If plaintiff wishes to make a political statement or bring a claim for political purposes, this is not the forum,” U.S. District Court Judge William Jung added.

In an interview with MSNBC in February, Johnson said she briefly was with presidential candidate Donald Trump on an RV during a campaign stop in Florida and told him to “go kick ass” before he stepped out to rally a group of campaign interns. She claimed Trump held her hand and began getting closer before kissing her near her mouth.

“I knew it was inappropriate because I worked in human resources. So I knew that it was completely inappropriate. It was gross and creepy. Like I could sometimes still see those lips,” Johnson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

Several other people who were present at the time of the alleged incident, including former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have indicated that it never happened, according to a February report by MSNBC. The White House has maintained that the alleged incident was a fabrication. “This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in February.



What happens when and where Judeo-Christian culture prevails

I should like to have taken an anthropologist with me to a small country town in California, USA, where I spent a week with my wife in the home of our granddaughter, Leah.

Camarillo is an unusual place to find a Jewish community, but our grandson-in-law, Rabbi Aryeh Lang, leased a shop in the main centre some years ago and has converted it into a synagogue.

Right next to the main shopping centre - no more than about a dozen shops, a bank, medical centre and supermarket - is a large retirement village accommodating 3,000 retirees who live in separate one- or two-bedroom cottages. It has everything from a golf course to a swimming pool and private TV station.

In addition to the large Jewish retiree population, there are a growing number of young families shifting out from Los Angeles. It is also the centre of a strongly Christian population, the backbone of the USA.

I went with my grandson-in-law to visit Jewish patients at the St John Pleasant Valley Hospital, a five-star hospital in every respect. The rabbi is on easy terms with staff and the Catholic chaplain.

While there, I was told of a patient who had been operated on, but it was thought he would not walk again. However, he did walk down the passage, and the nurses stood in line and clapped. It was this kind of atmosphere that impressed me deeply.

Greeted by strangers

Many times, crossing a road, a car or commercial vehicle, approaching 50 metres away, would brake and stop to allow me to cross. Strangers would greet me.

In a supermarket, at the checkout, the girl asked me for my card which entitles regular customers to a 10 per cent discount. When I explained that I was a visitor, the woman behind me, a complete stranger, put her card through the machine for me. Somewhat dubious about accepting a discount to which I was not entitled, I could only thank her.

When my wife and I needed a doctor, and I explained that we were not covered by insurance in the US, he halved his fee by not charging my wife for her visit. I later learned, from a circular he sent out, that he was a "born again" Christian.

This is what I mean when I talk about societies that remain faithful to the Judeo-Christian cultural tradition, and why those who scoff at it are undermining our society and almost inevitably propelling the West into abject surrender to forces of evil.



Insane woman Links Trump to Cancer, Says Climate Change Is Reason Why Biden Can’t Cure Cancer

In psychiatry, such statements would be called thought disorder -- symptomatic of schizophenia

Failure to address climate change was cited by “The View” host Joy Behar this week as a possible reason why Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden might not be able to make good on his pledge to cure cancer.

The former vice president launched the Biden Cancer Initiative to promote research into possible cures.

Behar suggested it will not be Biden’s fault if he fails to deliver.

“I would say that curing cancer is going to be much more difficult when there’s so much climate change and pollutants in the environment. Because a lot of cancer is environmentally caused,” she said.

Behar then took a jab at President Donald Trump.

“This president rolls back anything that will clean the air. They’re working against each other if they don’t also clean up the emissions.”

“He already had a big initiative that he helped the government fund for brain cancer. And I think this should be at the forefront of a platform in every way. I don’t know why curing cancer hasn’t been,” Behar 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)


17 June, 2019

Do sweet drinks give you heart attacks?

I haven't had time lately to look at the latest medical research but as soon as I do I find the utter crap below.  It's quite grievous that one finds this in a leading medical journal. There must be an utter drought of good medical research. It's looking like you could wipe off 99% of all published medical research with no loss.  Most of the authors would do more good driving taxis.

Here's what the researchers did: They threw out 85% of their data and did the analysis on the remaining 15%.  Why did they do that?  Because it was the only way they could get the conclusion they wanted. Snobs look down on sweet drinks and, as elitist snobs,  they wanted to prove that such drinks can kill you. Sadly, even with the gross abuse of their data, they still found only the most marginal effect in the desired direction.

Clearly, in their data as a whole the finding was of "no effect" from the deplored drinks.  They would not otherwise have introduced such a great distortion into their statistics. So their research does in fact prove something -- just not what they wanted it to prove.  It proves that sweet drinks are completely harmless.  Drink all you like of them.

Association of Sugary Beverage Consumption With Mortality Risk in US Adults: A Secondary Analysis of Data From the REGARDS Study

Lindsay J. Collin et al.


Importance:  Research has linked sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption to coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, but the role of nutritionally similar fruit juice and the association of these beverages with mortality risk is unknown.

Objective:  To assess the association of SSBs and 100% fruit juices, alone and in combination (sugary beverages), with mortality.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This cohort study is a secondary analysis of data obtained from 30?183 participants in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. The REGARDS study was designed to examine modifiers of stroke risk. Enrollment took place from February 2003 to October 2007, with follow-up every 6 months through 2013. Overall, 30?183 non-Hispanic black and white adults 45 years and older were enrolled in the REGARDS study. Those with known CHD, stroke, or diabetes at baseline (12?253 [40.6%]) and those lacking dietary data (4490 [14.9%]) were excluded from the current study, resulting in a sample size of 13?440. Data were analyzed from November 2017 to December 2018.

Exposures:  Sugar-sweetened beverage and 100% fruit juice consumption was estimated using a validated food frequency questionnaire and examined using categories of consumption that align with recommended limits for added sugar intake as a percentage of total energy (TE; <5 12-oz="" 5="" and="" br="" increments.="" serving="">
Main Outcomes and Measures:  All-cause and CHD-specific mortality were determined from cause of death records and family interviews and adjudicated by a trained team. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated using regression models.

Results  Overall, 13?440 participants had a mean (SD) age of 63.6 (9.1) years at baseline, 7972 (59.3%) were men, 9266 (68.9%) were non-Hispanic white, and 9482 (70.8%) had overweight or obesity. There were 1000 all-cause and 168 CHD-related deaths during follow-up (mean [SD] follow-up, 6.0 [1.8] years). Mean (SD) sugary beverage consumption was 8.4% (8.3%) of TE/d (4.4% [6.8%] TE/d from SSBs; 4.0% [6.8%] TE/d from 100% fruit juice).

Among high (?10% of TE) vs low (<5 0.97-1.33="" 0.97-2.15="" 1.03-1.19="" 1.09-1.42="" 1.11="" 1.14="" 1.24="" 1.44="" 12="" additional="" all-cause="" and="" association="" beverage="" br="" chd="" ci="" consumed.="" consumed="" consumers="" consumption="" each="" for="" fruit="" hrs="" in="" juice="" models="" mortality.="" mortality="" no="" of="" oz="" risk-adjusted="" significant="" sugary="" te="" there="" was="" were="" with="">
Conclusions and Relevance:  These findings suggest that consumption of sugary beverages, including fruit juices, is associated with all-cause mortality. Well-powered and longer-term studies are needed to inform their association with CHD mortality risk.



Trump or bust: President warns of market crash 'the likes of which has not been seen' if he is not re-elected in 2020

This is more than a boast.  Trump has got his results mainly by reviving business confidence.  There would be a real freeze-up of that if he left

President Donald Trump has said that failure to re-elect him would result in economic disaster.

'The Trump Economy is setting records, and has a long way up to go....However, if anyone but me takes over in 2020 (I know the competition very well), there will be a Market Crash the likes of which has not been seen before! KEEP AMERICA GREAT,' he said in a tweet on Saturday morning.

The tweet was sent as his motorcade rolled from the White House to Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia.

Trump officially starts his 2020 campaign on Tuesday with a rally in Orlando, Florida.

He appeared to be gearing up for full campaign mode, testing a message that will highlight economic growth and low unemployment under his administration.

'Despite the Greatest Presidential Harassment of all time by people that are very dishonest and want to destroy our Country, we are doing great in the Polls, even better than in 2016,' he said in another tweet. Trump added: 'will be packed at the Tuesday Announcement Rally in Orlando, Florida.'

Trump has claimed several times this year - and as recently as Friday - that the U.S. stock market would be 5,000 to 10,000 points higher if the Federal Reserve hadn’t raised interest rates four times in 2018.



Pompeo: Iran Attacked Those Tankers

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran Thursday, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid the blame squarely on Iran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today," Pompeo declared Thursday. "This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication."

Moreover, Pompeo added, "This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations."

That unprovoked aggression may come with consequences. Pompeo said, "These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran. ... Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum-pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail."

In any case, Pompeo concluded, "The international community condemns Iran's assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians. ... The United States will defend its interests and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability."

As for where this fits in the chronology of recent events, The Wall Street Journal editorial board observes, "The assault on the tankers validates the U.S. decision the past month, met with skepticism at the time, to send the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln into the Gulf along with destroyers and cruisers, in the expectation that Iran was planning an attack in the region. Indeed it was."

And a footnote: One of the responding U.S. Navy vessels was the USS Bainbridge. Students of history will recall that the Bainbridge also hosted the SEALs who killed the Maersk Alabama hijackers. Seems like the Revolutionary Guard is playing with fire — especially considering they're literally caught on video released by U.S. Central Command.



Gowdy And Chaffetz Rip Media Hypocrites Over How They Ignored Obama Admin Stonewalling Congressional Investigations

Once again we see the Harry Reid effect.  Leftists change the rules without foreseeing that two can play that game.  But asking a Leftist to think ahead is asking a leopard to change its spots

In an interview of former congressman Trey Gowdy by former congressman Jason Chaffetz, they excoriate the absence of outrage from the media when the Obama administration stonewalled investigations by Congress.

Gowdy praised Chaffetz for trying to speak to the media when he was in Congress, but then decried them for their “duplicity” and unfair “relativism.”

“Hey, how about six years worth of not being able to get information from President Obama’s administration?” he responded.  “I mean, where was the outrage?” he asked rhetorically.

Chaffetz agreed. “Where are the Politico, [The] Hill, Washington Post articles about how outrageous it is the executive branch was not cooperating with legitimate oversight?” he asked.

“You don’t see any of it!” Gowdy exclaimed. “So look I get that our former line of work ain’t that popular,” he continued, “but folks in the media are not trusted as much as we need them to be in a robust, thriving democracy, and at some point, they need to ask themselves, I wonder why we’re not trusted, I wonder why people think we’re in the tank for Democrats?”

Later in the interview, Gowdy also mocked former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe for recent comments where he said that the president should be impeached.

“I really don’t know anyone who gives a damn what Andy McCabe thinks about impeachment and Donald Trump,” said Gowdy. “I really don’t, other than the reporter that asked him!”



Mass Homelessness Exposes California’s Political Dysfunction

California’s great wealth only masks its increasing dysfunction. Nothing highlights this quite like the explosion of homelessness in the Golden State.

By any measure, California’s homelessness crisis is reaching epic proportions.

There are now nearly 60,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County, a 12% increase from the previous year, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Los Angeles is hardly an outlier.

“Other localities in California saw substantial increases compared with 2017, when they last conducted a count,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “In San Francisco, the number rose 17% while Alameda County, which includes Oakland, saw a 43% increase. Homelessness grew 42% in San Jose over the past two years and 31% in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley.”

San Francisco, for all of its radical politics, is a beautiful city by the bay. Yet it’s evolving into a dysfunctional, filthy mess.

“Even in the good old days there was a Skid Row. Now the beggars, drug addicts, and lost souls are all over the city,” wrote San Francisco columnist Carl Nolte.

How bad has it become? Nolte wrote:

The city is out of control. Traffic is a mess, but it’s rare to see a traffic control officer. Trucks are double-parked everywhere. The city is dirty—a friend just back from Mexico City was astounded to find the streets there far cleaner than the ones in her native city. There is so much human waste on the streets of San Francisco the city formed a ‘poop patrol’ where workers are paid $71,000 a year, about same as the average school teacher.

Still, California seems to have more pressing matters to attend to, like banning plastic straws, plastic bags, and paper receipts. Also, providing free health care coverage to illegal immigrants.

California maintains a generous welfare regime, and its temperate and generally pleasant weather make it a natural haven for homeless people.

These populations are growing at a quickening pace, even as cities like San Francisco grow in wealth and opulence. Even worse, diseases that are more associated with medieval times than modernity are quickly spreading.

Los Angeles is currently suffering from an outbreak of Typhus, a flea-borne disease spread by rats. This comes hand-in-hand with the growing homeless community: Filthy conditions and widespread homelessness have aided the spread of this deadly disease, which has affected police officers, city officials, and others around the city.

But as is typical for California, the state’s “remedies” never address the underlying issues and instead try to quell the homelessness problem with more direct welfare methods.

If anything, this has just created a larger incentive for homeless people to come to the state—but not as a means of escaping their situation or to receive the help they need.

California has thrown billions of dollars at the problem, and plans to throw billions more. But that won’t solve the underlying issues. The problem is a culture that has allowed homelessness, filthy streets, and increasingly unlivable conditions to persist.

There are productive measures that can be taken to at least alleviate the crisis.

One step would be to address the problem of mental illness.

The deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill en masse has had serious consequences, and there’s no doubt it has contributed to the present surge in homelessness. This is a nationwide phenomenon.

There may be at least some hope in San Francisco, where the City Council recently took an overdue step making it easier to involuntarily commit the mentally ill to institutions. Simply taking these mentally ill individuals off the street helps reduce drugs, crime, and general lawlessness in society, which are all compounded by homelessness.

Some cities have taken other measures that seem to have made progress.

According to City Journal, in Houston “local leaders have reduced homelessness by 60% through a combination of providing services and enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for street camping, panhandling, trespassing, and property crimes.”

Houston’s focus is on making the city a cleaner, more sanitary place for all residents.

These measures often prove more effective than simply reducing housing costs, as City Journal noted, because the high cost of housing, while a burden on the working poor, is rarely the cause of homelessness.

Even so, California could put a dent in its own housing costs by tackling housing regulations that have reduced the amount of housing available and pushed costs upward.

As I wrote last year, “no-growth policies combined with draconian environmental restrictions—such as the California Environmental Quality Act passed in the 1970s—made new building impossible or prohibitively expensive.”

So, three things California could do to start turning this crisis around are: reducing housing prices through deregulation, ensuring that the mentally ill receive necessary treatment and are taken off the street, and strictly upholding the rule of law.

Will the powers that be in California finally get smart?

Probably not, but if they don’t, the crisis—and the embarrassment—will only intensify as middle-class Americans continue leaving the state in droves for greener (or redder) pastures.



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

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


16 June, 2019

America is being divided by a fountain of hate from the media

Ever since the Mueller Report was released on April 18th, and as America moves closer to the 2020 presidential election, our country is quickly wrenching itself apart along partisan lines. Disturbingly, the media are enthusiastically throwing gasoline on this rift.

Liberal journalists are not merely playing the role of partisan commentators. It’s bad enough that they are. Could it be as it appears, that some reporters may have actually colluded with entities at various government agencies throughout the ongoing Russia collusion saga?

Indeed the media may be the “enemy of the people.”

According to the Washington Examiner and other media outlets, the  DOJ inspector general's FISA abuse investigation is expected to wrap up sometime in June – possibly even in the next week. Rep. Matt Gaetz has stated of this report that “one of the other nuggets that the inspector general is working on is the corruption that existed between the media and members of the FBI.” Gaetz doubled down on the media’s corruption over the past two years: “where members of the mainstream media were giving concert passes and athletic tickets and other incentives to people in the FBI to leak to them so we’ll be seeing that even before we see the inspector general’s report on how this fraudulent investigation began.”

The media have been, and are to this day, acting as partisans, with some journalists openly encouraging their colleagues to campaign against the president. Liberal journalists blatantly pick sides and by so doing bear great responsibility for tearing apart an already highly divided nation. A February 2019 Pew poll, documents our growing partisan divide: “Republicans and Democrats have grown further apart on what the nation’s top priorities should be.”

This partisan rift is ongoing and dangerous. The media’s partisan bias and the role they have played in dividing America is undeniable.

Major media talking heads resort to the trope that they are merely reporting the facts and letting the public make what it will of their “factual” reporting, but consider the reporting after the Mueller Report came out, whereby the media doubled down on their campaign for the president’s impeachment:

“TV news coverage of President Donald Trump was just as hostile (92% negative) in May as it was in the months immediately before Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his final report in March, according to the latest analysis by the Media Research Center.

“In fact, the Russia investigation now accounts for twice as much of President Trump’s overall evening news coverage as it did prior to the report’s completion.”

According to a 2017 Pew Study, the coverage of this president is more negative than virtually any other president, and more focused on his personality than his policy.

If President Trump is a proxy for the media’s disposition towards conservatives, which he is, then the divisive and partisan nature of the “reporting” is bound to lead to even more division. Consider some recent examples of reporting to date.

A recent State of the Union on CNN with Jake Tapper, where Tapper asked Kellyanne Conway whether President Trump's response to Charlottesville was, as he has said, “perfect.”

Conway forcefully made the case that the President's “very fine people on both sides” comment was clearly in reference to people peacefully opposing the removal of Confederate statues, not to the neo-Nazis. After several back and forths with Conway, Tapper simply wouldn’t drop his criticism of it not being “perfect.” Conway eventually shot back, “It looks like you, and others, looking at 2020, are worried that this guy can't be beaten fairly and squarely.” Obviously, Tapper was employing the racism dog whistle and Kelly Anne was not having any of it.

The problem with such an exchange is not the actual conversation, but the implication. Tapper’s comments were insidious accusations of racism speaking on behalf of the left. By harkening back to Charlottesville, Tapper was drudging up old accusations that the president and his “basket of deplorables” are the worst type of people this nation has to offer – neo-Nazis and racists.

Then there is the May 4th AM Joy show with host Joy Reid, which is also illustrative: the MSNBC host interviewed Malcolm Nance who warned that if Trump is re-elected in 2020, we may not have a "nation" anymore.

In other words, if Republicans and conservatives win in politics, our country as we know it, will cease to exist. According to Reid and her colleagues in the media, it is conservatives, nearly half of the country, who are causing the country to fracture.

Reid and Nance are emblematic of the media’s disposition overall towards the average Trump supporter. And that’s disconcerting considering just how many Americans are part of that base of support. According to the most recent FiveThirtyEight poll, Trump’s approval rating as of the writing of this piece hovers around 42 percent. That is nearly half the country and a cohort of people for whom liberal talking heads at MSNBC, CNN, and other liberal outlets are alluding to when they discuss and opine on the horrors of a possible Trump re-election. It is conservatives, the talking heads on “The View” claim, who are a “cult of mentally crazy people.”

When the media regard nearly half the American people with such disdain, and report the news accordingly – and during an already divided time in our history – the end result may well be a house divided against itself, which cannot stand. If and when it all comes down, the media will have played a pivotal role in bringing our American house down.



Trump Policies Lifting Blacks, and They're Noticing

He won 8% of the black vote in 2016, but that may increase in 2020 due to good policies.

Forget the regular Leftmedia polls. The findings of multiple election-prediction models sent shock waves through Democrat ranks recently, with every model predicting President Donald Trump will win reelection in 2020.

Steven Rattner, former economic adviser to Barack Obama, reported on the findings of Yale professor Ray Fair’s model, which correctly predicted Obama’s electoral victories in 2008 and 2012, even forecasting the popular-vote share within 0.6%.

That same model now predicts Trump winning with 56% of the vote in 2020. In a dozen models reviewed by Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, Trump wins in every one.

If that turns out to be the case, it will likely be in part because of an increased percentage of the black vote for President Trump. In 2016, Donald Trump garnered just 8% of the black vote; double the percentage won by John McCain in 2008, and 50% more than Mitt Romney in 2012.

But that was before he took office and began implementing his America-first, economy-boosting policies. These policies are the “magic wand” Obama couldn’t find; policies resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in half a century, and the lowest black unemployment rate ever recorded. Prior to President Trump, black unemployment had fallen below 7% just once in U.S. history. As of May, it had been below 7% for 15 straight months.

It was also President Trump who signed the GOP’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, creating Opportunity Zones that incentivize private investment in disadvantaged communities plagued by poverty and crime, populated most often by minority households.

These policies have translated into nearly 1.5 million black Americans gainfully employed who were out of work under Obama — now lifted out of poverty with a chance to thrive, and to take pride in their financial independence.

President Trump has taken action to lift the black community in other ways as well.

He has received bipartisan praise for signing the FIRST STEP Act, a criminal-justice-reform bill spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Under the law, nonviolent offenders can qualify for reduced sentences by participating in programs that teach them basic life skills, with the goal of ending the revolving door of repeat offenders.

The bill, now law, has reduced prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders by an average of 29.4%, from an average original sentence of 239 months to an average of 166 months.

And it is black prisoners who have disproportionately benefited from the reforms. Of the 1,051 requests for reduced sentences approved in the first four months since the law was enacted, 91.3% of those were for black inmates, and 98% were men.

But even that does not tell the whole story. At the 2019 Prison Reform Summit, held at the White House in celebration of the FIRST STEP Act, President Trump announced further efforts to help rehabilitate convicts; an initiative to help them find employment and build careers, to reduce recidivism and truly give these former prisoners a shot at being respectable, productive members of society.

With unemployment rates as much as five times higher than the national average, many released prisoners struggle to find employment, which can be demoralizing, and an incentive to return to crime. This law gives them hope for a better future.

In the four months since President Trump signed the bill into law, more than 16,000 inmates have enrolled in drug-treatment programs, and another 500 convicts who received unfair sentences have been released from prison. It should be noted that criminal-justice reform is being enacted at the state level as well, with Republican-led Georgia and Texas leading the way, and Republican-led Florida following suit. Even hard-core progressive and former Obama adviser Van Jones admits conservative Republicans are “now the leaders” on criminal-justice reform.

And while Democrats fight tooth and nail against school choice, keeping poor minority children trapped in failing schools, President Trump fought for a $5 billion federal tax credit on donations that fund scholarships to private schools; this proposal is supported by 64% of black Americans.

President Trump also provided unprecedented levels of federal funding for, and created a Presidential Board of Advisors for, HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Johnny C. Taylor, President/CEO Of The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, called this “bittersweet,” explaining that the black college community assumed this would have been “easily accomplished” in the eight years under Obama, the first black president; but it never happened. Yet within 45-days of President Trump taking office, all of the HBCU presidents assembled in the Oval Office to watch as Trump signed the executive order making it happen.

So while Democrats continue to accuse President Trump of being a racist, and deny him credit for enacting policies that make the lives of black Americans immeasurably better, many black Americans are taking notice both of Trump’s efforts, and of the Democrat Party’s long history of taking the black vote for granted.

Nse Ufot, executive director of failed Georgia Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’s New Georgia Project (which worked to register minority voters in Georgia), said, “Black voters, voters of color, are often treated as an afterthought [by the Democrat Party]. Persuasion that their vote matters … is not an October conversation.”

He’s absolutely right. So maybe it’s time for black voters to take a look at the Republican Party — the party that freed the slaves, passed civil-rights legislation, and is working hard to make black lives better in myriad ways, rather than the Democrat Party that takes 90%+ of their vote and keeps them downtrodden and dependent.



‘Socialist’ Nordic Countries Are Actually Moving Toward Private Health Care

Rising support for socialism in the United States comes at a time when politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., promise a great many “free” services, to be provided or guaranteed by the government.

Supporters often point to nations with large social programs, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Scandinavian states, particularly when it comes to health care.

Never mind that these are not true socialist countries, but highly taxed market economies with large welfare states. That aside, they do offer a government-guaranteed health service that many in America wish to emulate.

The problem for their argument is that, despite these extremely generous programs, some of these countries are seeing steady a growth of private health insurance.

“Medicare for All,” the prominent socialized medicine proposal in the United States, is most similar to the Canadian system in which providers bill the regional office administering the program.

In Medicare for All, there would be no cost-sharing schemes and all coverage would be comprehensive, including prescription drugs, dental, vision, and other services deemed necessary by the secretary of health and human services.

The Scandinavian systems are similar to Medicare for All in the respect that they use regional offices to administer reimbursements to providers.

Yet they differ in critical ways: They employ cost-sharing for certain services, they are less comprehensive in their coverage, and they allow for private health insurance plans to complement or supplement the government system to cover out-of-pocket expenses and to circumvent wait times or rationed access to specialists.

These are precisely the things Medicare for All would abolish. It’s intriguing that while socialists in America would rush to nationalize the health care system, Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes are all gradually increasing their use of private health insurance.

Between 2006 and 2016, the portion of the population covered by private insurance increased by 4% in Sweden, 7% in Norway, and 22% in Denmark.

The increases in Sweden and Norway are modest but noteworthy, considering that most out-of-pocket payments have a relatively low annual limit.

Private plans in Sweden and Norway are mainly designed to supplement the government-run plan.

In addition to covering out-of-pocket costs, these plans also guarantee prompt access to specialists or elective procedures, which the state plans often fail to provide.

Denmark also allows “complementary” insurance plans, which cover services that are partially or not at all covered by the national system, including dental and vision services.

This growing European interest in private health insurance typically stems from dissatisfaction with the state-run systems, which often provide poor or incomplete coverage and long wait times.

By contrast, private plans offer wider coverage, shorter wait times, access to private facilities, and more flexibility in patient choice.

For instance, in a 2009 survey, nearly half of Danes felt waiting times were unreasonable while only about a third disagreed. In 2007, the Danish government enacted a wait time guarantee of one month to receive treatment.

Most of the private health insurance in Denmark, as well as in Sweden and Norway, is employer-based. In Denmark, the increase in private insurance is likely due, in part, to employers seeking to recruit top-tier talent by including health coverage as part of a benefits package.

In turn, private insurers make a strong pitch to employers, informing them that having private coverage minimizes their employees’ time lost to illness and ensures they have prompt access to medical care.

In that 2009 survey, the largest portion of respondents believed the most important factor driving employer-based coverage was that it results in “less sickness absence due to quicker treatment.”

The second and third most popular responses were that it provides access to private hospitals and circumvents long wait times in the public system.

In this way, private options create value for average Danes getting premium health coverage as a perk of employment, for Danish employers who can compete for the high end of the labor market, and for the insurers who are selling this service.

Private insurance plans even create value for the government because it decreases public health expenditure. Roughly half of respondents in the survey had their last hospital visit paid by a private insurer.

Recall: This would all be illegal under Medicare for All. Private health insurance would be abolished for everyone.

Danes are right to deny that they are a socialist country, but their generous welfare programs, and those of the Swedes and Norwegians, are clearly objects of envy for American socialists.

While the Scandinavian health care systems are each different in their own ways, they all offer universal coverage for citizens, and any cost-sharing comes with low annual limits.

They provide nearly everything that a proponent of socialized health care could ask for—and yet each of these countries host a growing private health insurance sector.

It behooves us to ask why this is before we outlaw our own private care.



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, 2019

Steve Bannon Demands Joe Biden Release Tax Returns To Prove He’s Not Compromised By China

Two can play the tax return game

President Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon said Sunday that former Vice President Joe Biden must release his tax returns to prove that he’s not benefiting economically from China.

“We have to see Joe Biden’s tax returns because we have to see if Joe Biden was a financial consultant to [the fund] or an adviser. Biden has got to answer some basic questions: if he’s been compromised by the Chinese Communist Party? What was his involvement during the Obama administration?” Bannon told John Catsimatidis on 970 AM in New York.

The New York Post Reports:

The fund Bannon was referring to was Bohai Harvest RST, which was started by Biden’s son Hunter. Hunter Biden struck a deal with the state-owned Bank of China in 2013 to create the fund, which coincided with a trip Hunter Biden took to the country with his father, then the vice president.

“The Bank of China is the Chinese Communist Party’s piggy bank,” Bannon stated.

The timing and ability for such a small firm to win the business has raised eyebrows since.

“Biden has got to be the worst,” Bannon said Sunday. “He’s got this private equity fund his son runs. I believe most of the net worth of his family is tied up in that.”

Bannon pointed to a remark Biden made in early May, just days into his 2020 bid, in which the ex-veep downplayed any threat posed by China.

“China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said, pointing to some of China’s problems, including corruption. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not, they’re not competition for us.”

“Biden has got a lot to answer for,” Bannon went on. “And he continues to kind of laugh it off.

He continues to say, ‘Hey, [China is] not really a strategic competitor to us.’ Even people on the Democratic left, even Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, everybody says they’re a totalitarian, mercantilist, surveillance state.”

Bannon also noted that China will be an important issue in the 2020 campaign because “the centerpiece of President Trump’s economic program” is bringing American jobs back from China.

When Biden was running for vice president in 2008 he released a decade’s worth of tax returns and subsequently released his taxes for every year he served in office. He has yet to publicly release his returns from his years outside of government.



Why Conservatives Should Take Heart Despite Socialist Upsurge

Socialism is the zombie ideology of our era: It fails everywhere, and yet it keeps rising back from the dead.

Despite embarrassing socialist failures in China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and now Venezuela, the true believers march onward. Good intentions are unassailable. The revolution must go on.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., arguably has done more than any other living American to market socialism to the next generation. And with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., following closely in his wake, rest assured we’ll be contending with socialism for years to come.

A recent Gallup survey shows that their message is resonating with more and more Americans.

While 51% say socialism would be bad for America, 43% say it would be good. And notably, among the 18-34-year-old cohort, 58% favor socialism while 37% disfavor it.

Those numbers hang like a dark cloud over America’s future, but they don’t tell the whole story.

Interestingly, according to Gallup, Americans still favor the free market over government in multiple areas, including technological innovation, health care, and even basic things like wages, distribution of wealth, and the economy overall. And the comparison isn’t even close.

By contrast, Americans favor government over free markets when it comes to protecting consumers’ online privacy and environmental protection.

This creates quite a mixed picture, even a contradictory one. As a matter of simple math, there have to be millions of Americans who say they favor some form of socialism, yet favor the free market in general when it comes to certain aspects of their lives.

How can that be?

As it turns out, Americans define “socialism” in quite different ways. Traditionally, socialism has meant government ownership of the means of production—businesses, factories, etc. But today, only 17% of Americans hold that definition, according to Gallup. Meanwhile, 23% equate socialism with vague notions of social equality. Another 23% have no opinion on the matter.

So, the public meaning of “socialism” today is indeterminate, meaning that public opinion toward “socialism” doesn’t tell us very much about people’s policy preferences.

But even if it did tell us a lot, public opinion isn’t the surest predictor of what will pass in Washington. After all, big-government policies have often passed in spite of public disapproval.

Obamacare is case-in-point here. At the height of the Obamacare debate in 2010, 59% of Americans disapproved of the bill while just 39% approved. That didn’t stop Obamacare from passing with a supermajority in the Senate.

We should also recall that big-government policies have often come in moments of great national crisis. These moments are often exempt from the dominant themes in public opinion.

Polling trends may be stable in a free-market direction, but when a moment of crisis comes, the public often tolerates—and even demands—immediate action from the government.

That usually translates into an expansion of government.

This happened in both the Great Depression and the Great Recession following the 2007 financial crisis. A host of new programs were created that had little to do with immediate economic recovery—yet they became entrenched parts of the federal government and remain with us to this day.

What’s more, Americans have come to assume these programs are legitimate functions of the federal government. The status quo trains us in what is acceptable, so once a policy becomes enshrined in law, it’s very hard to get rid of. That makes staving off such policies in the first place all the more urgent.

Today’s fight over socialism is in large part a branding war. The left constantly rebrands itself. In the mid-20th century, progressives decided to adopt the word “liberal,” since “progressive” had fallen into disrepute. The same thing eventually happened to the word “liberal,” so now, they’re back to the word “progressive.”

We see this with socialism, too. America’s avowed socialists know the word “socialism” is radioactive in America, so they’ve championed their policies in terms of “fairness” and “equality” while allowing socialist ideology to color those terms.

Such is the strategy with Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill, a proposal that would allow the government to take over American health care, putting us in league with Canada and the U.K. The bill polls surprisingly well with the public (56% approve) until respondents learn that the bill would abolish private insurance. Then, support plummets to 37%.

That’s why the fight for truth in policymaking is so important—and why the left’s branding tricks are so pernicious.

Americans still have a gut instinct in favor of freedom and the free market, as shown in the details of the Gallup survey. Conservatives should use that to their advantage by dismantling the left’s branding charade.

The truth of each policy proposal must be placed into the light of day—because once such bills pass, America will “find out what’s in it.” Once that happens, yesterday’s fringe view could become the new normal.



California to Pay Health Care for Illegal Immigrants

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic legislature have reached an agreement that would insure 90,000 low-income illegal immigrants residing in California with full health care benefits.

The agreement reached would be available to those who are low income, between the ages of 19 and 25, who permanently reside in the state. The 90,000 illegals would be insured through the California Medicaid program, commonly referred to as Medi-Cal.

The Sacramento Bee says the plan would be implemented by January 2020.

“While it’s not all we sought, it will provide a real tangible difference for people, especially for those around and below poverty and for middle income families who don’t get any help under the federal law,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the advocacy group Health Access.

“Indeed, a family of four earning as much as six times the federal poverty level -- or more than $150,000 a year -- would be eligible to get about $100 a month from the government to help pay their monthly health insurance premiums,” Fox News reports.

In order to finance the illegal immigrants, the state has enacted an Obama-era regulation commonly referred to as the “individual mandate” that taxes those who aren’t covered by health insurance.

The final budget must be approved by the state legislature which is expecting to vote on it later this week.


Why I'm Never Going Back To California

Calfornia's Democrat-controlled government spends its time crafting laws to jail people for using the wrong pronoun while the obscene condition of downtown Los Angeles has become an international disgrace.

A week or so ago, Dr. Drew Pinsky spoke with Fox News host Brian Kilmeade about the horrific conditions on the streets of Los Angeles, America's second-largest city, before making the frightening prediction, “There will be a major infectious disease epidemic this summer in Los Angeles."

Pinsky described to Kilmeade what he believes to be the almost medieval conditions in the City of Angels and compared local politicians to Nero, the infamous Roman Emperor who allegedly fiddled while his nation burned.

"We have tens and tens of thousands of people living in tents. Horrible conditions. Sanitation. Rats have taken over the city. We're the only city in the country, Los Angeles, without a rodent control program. We have multiple rodent-borne, flea-borne illnesses, plague, typhus. We're gonna have louse-borne illness. If measles breaks into that population, we have tuberculosis exploding. Literally, our politicians are like Nero. It's worse than Nero," Pinsky said.

Homelessness and trash are a growing problem for residents in Los Angeles and as the garbage piles up, so do the rats, fueling concerns about flea-borne typhus, according to a report this week.

Pinsky said the city's homeless situation and sanitation crisis are out of hand and politicians are doing nothing to stop it. He believes the mentally ill will suffer the most and that officials are not reacting to an eventual epidemic reported Victor Garcia of Fox News.

"It's like nothing I've ever seen in my life," Pinsky said. "I feel like I'm on a train track waving at the train and the train is going to go off the bridge. The bridge is out."

Pinsky added, "Here's what I want to do, I want to take away qualified immunity from the politicians so we can go after them for reckless negligence."

Tammy Bruce recently explained that one glance at the formerly Golden State is a frightening embarrassment. The latest indictment of liberal leadership is the trash heap of Los Angeles. Literally. Despite the emergence of louse-borne typhus, Los Angeles can’t seem to get its act together.

According to Ms. Bruce, Steve Lopez of the Los Angeles Times reported on the obscene condition of downtown Los Angeles, “A mountain of rotting, oozing, stinking trash … stretching a good 20 yards along a skid row alley. Rats popped their heads out of the debris like they were in a game of Whac-A-Mole, then scampered for cover as a tractor with a scoop lurched toward them. … The trash problem is not confined to any one street, but this particular location on the 800 block of Ceres Avenue is surrounded by food distribution companies that sell to shoppers, vendors, stores and restaurants. I counted seven within a block, so you have to wonder — given the colonies of football-size rats — about the potential contamination of the food supply chain and the spread of disease.”

This disaster did not just thunder into LA like an earthquake – unpredicted and without human causation – it’s been brewing for quite some time, but what have the Democrats who run California and LA been doing the past few years?

On October 4, 2017, California’s then- Governor, Democrat Jerry Brown, signed legislation that would punish health care workers with a fine, and potential jail time, if they decline to use a senior transgender patient's "preferred name or pronouns."

"It shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to take any of the following actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status," the bill reads.

Among the unlawful actions are “willfully and repeatedly” failing to use a transgender person’s “preferred name or pronouns” after he or she is “clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.”

The law states that if provisions are violated, the violator could be punished by a fine “not to exceed one thousand dollars” or “by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed one year,” or both, Brooke Singman of Fox News reported.

So, the California legislature was able to craft an excruciatingly detailed law to make sure people suffering from gender dysmorphia and other mental illnesses are not upset by the use of their non-preferred name or pronoun, but what happens when it is confronted with a trash problem of epidemic proportion?

Tammy Bruce reports “Gov. Gavin Newsom called growing homelessness in California a national disgrace as he announced Tuesday that he is launching a task force to find solutions amid a housing crisis in the most populous state.”

So, instead of dealing with the reality of the problem, Mr. Newsom announced the creation of a task force, the members of which will travel around the state and make recommendations. There’s only one recommendation that will work and will change the state’s fate, says Ms. Bruce: a plea to all California voters to stop electing Democrats.



Nikki Haley: Don’t Call Political Opponents ‘Evil;’ ‘I’ve Seen Evil’

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) told attendees at Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership (TPUSA) Summit that American politics are “reaching the point of hate” now that politicians are calling each other “evil,” simply for having policy differences.

Politicians’ passions have become toxic, Haley said Friday during a question and answer session with TPUSA President Charlie Kirk, The Daily Caller reports:

“I believe in being passionate, I do. But when it gets toxic and I say that now it’s getting to where people are calling each other evil. They’re hiding behind anonymous things and they’re saying things that are really reaching the point of hate.”

Haley said it’s wrong to call political opponents evil when they’re just expressing different ideas, because she has seen true evil during her travels with the United Nation:

“When I hear them call each other evil, it bothers me because I’ve seen evil. I’ve been to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they use rape as a weapon of war. I’ve been to South Sudan where they’ve taken babies from women’s arms and thrown them into fires. … That’s evil. What we’re having in our country is a debate of ideas. That’s it.”


13 June, 2019

Thousands in Britain left to go blind due to eye surgery rationing

And the NHS isn't even apologetic.  Aint single payer healthcare grand?

Thousands of elderly people in Britain are left to go blind because of rationing of eye surgery in the National Health Service (NHS), a report revealed on Saturday April 6.

The Times newspaper said a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery.

The survey has found that the NHS has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago.

The RCO said its survey has found 62 per cent of eye units retain policies that require people's vision to have deteriorated below a certain point before surgery is funded.

With more than 400,000 cataract operations carried out each year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) concluded that there was no justification for policies that denied patients cataract removal surgery until they could barely see.

The RCO said that refusal to fund surgery was insulting and called into question the entire system through which the NHS approves treatments.

Ms Helen Lee of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) said: "Cataracts can have a dramatic impact on someone's ability to lead a full and independent life, potentially stopping them from driving and increasing their chance of serious injury by falling. The NICE guidelines make it clear cataract surgery is highly cost effective and should not be rationed. It is nonsensical for clinical commissioning groups to deny patients this crucial treatment."

Ms Julie Wood, CEO of NHS Clinical Commissioners, which represents local funding bodies, defended the restrictions.

She told the Times: "NICE guidance is not mandatory and clinical commissioners must have the freedom to make clinically led decisions that are in the best interests of both individual patients and their wider local populations. The NHS does not have unlimited resources."



No, My Study Did Not Find Medicare for All Would Lower US Health Costs By $2 Trillion

Charles Blahous

Last year I published a study with the Mercatus Center projecting that enacting Medicare for All (M4A) would add at least $32.6 trillion to federal budget costs over the first 10 years. After the study was published, some advocates misattributed a finding to it, specifically that M4A would lower national healthcare costs by $2 trillion over that same time period. This misattribution has since been repeated in various press reports. Multiple fact-checking sites have pointed out that the study contains no such finding, as did a follow-up piece I published with e21 last year. However, because the mistake continues to appear occasionally, this article provides additional detail about how and why it is wrong.

First, some brief background on the study itself. The study estimated the federal budget costs of M4A, as this is an important number that would guide Congress’s procedural points of order if such legislation were considered. The study did not focus on aggregate changes to national health spending under M4A, in part because such estimates do not affect Congress’s legislative procedures. Whenever Congress considers legislation with budgetary significance, such as a new federal program or a tax cut, its procedures are affected by what the bill would do to federal spending, revenues, and deficits, but not private-sector spending. For example, no Congress would consider a large tax cut as having zero budgetary effect, based on the irrelevant rationale that the reduction in federal revenues would be offset by an equal gain in taxpayers’ after-tax income.

Accordingly, my study’s estimates, like any performed by the Congressional Budget Office, focused on M4A’s effects on the federal budget rather than on other areas of the U.S. economy. This is a primary reason why neither the $2 trillion figure nor any other such estimate appears in the study.

However, a critical additional reason why the attribution of $2 trillion in savings is wrong is that it is inconsistent with the study’s conclusions. Some have attempted to convert the study’s lower-bound federal cost estimate of $32.6 trillion into an estimate of savings in national health spending, arriving at the $2 trillion number. It is incorrect to do so, as the following analogy may help to explain.

Imagine that members of a family have separate cell-phone data plans that add up to $57 a month. Now imagine the following conversation:

Q: How much would it cost my mother to buy my cell-phone data for me instead of continuing to pay it for myself? I think she’s better than I am at negotiating a good deal.

A: Well, if she buys it and allows you to use it for free, your usage will typically go up. Even if she’s the brilliant negotiator that you say, it’s going to cost her at least another $33 a month on top of her current expenses. Most likely her extra costs would be between $33-$39, possibly more.

Q: But then it wouldn’t cost me anything, right? Don’t you have to think of it in terms of how much money everyone in the family, together, would pay? If she bought it, how much would my family as a whole be paying?

A: Well, she was already paying $22 each month, so altogether the family would pay at least $55, probably between $55-$61, again possibly more.

Q: But otherwise we’d pay $57. So, you’re saying we’ll save $2 a month because of her superior negotiating skills?

A: No, I didn’t say anything about her negotiating skills; you did. Her actual history shows a tendency to overspend. I’m just saying that even under your assumption, it’s going to cost the family at least $55, probably somewhere between $55-$61. It’s actually highly unlikely it would be as low as $55.

Q: Great, so you’re saying we’ll save $2!

Basically, what some advocates have done is the equivalent of the above. They’ve done this by taking my study’s lower-bound federal cost estimate and converting it into a claim of savings relative to currently projected national health spending. The study does indeed emphasize the lower-bound estimate, but it does so only by way of explaining that the federal costs of M4A would be at least $32.6 trillion over 10 years, and more likely substantially higher. The study does not present the $32.6 trillion number in a manner consistent with a finding of $2 trillion in national health cost savings.

The study is clear and explicit that the $32.6 trillion estimate is a lower-bound (best case) estimate, and repeats this caveat throughout the report. This point is made in the study’s abstract, on its first page of text, and in many other passages. To cite but some of the quotes from the study explaining the nature of the lower-bound estimate:

It is likely that the actual cost of M4A would be substantially greater than these estimates” (Abstract)

 “Conservative estimates” (Abstract); “conservative estimates” (p.3)

“It is likely that the actual cost of M4A would be substantially greater” (p. 3)

“These cost estimates essentially represent a lower bound” (p. 4)
“Actual savings (from lower drug prices) are likely to be less than assumed under these projections (p. 14)

“This is an aggressive estimate of administrative savings that is more likely to lead to M4A costs being underestimated than overestimated” (p. 14)

 “The resulting implicit estimates of national and federal spending on LTSS should be regarded as conservative” (p. 17)
“This study’s assumption of no net increase in LTSS benefit utilization. . . is an additional factor contributing to these projections’ being more likely to underestimate costs than to overestimate them” (p. 17)

The study does contain a couple of isolated references to scenarios in which national health spending would decrease relative to current projections. One such reference is preceded by a reminder that the actual cost of M4A would likely be “substantially greater” than this “lower bound” estimate, while the other one notes that this decrease would only occur “under the assumption that provider payments for treating patients now covered by private insurance are reduced by over 40 percent,” along with other aggressive assumptions, and that “whether providers could sustain such losses and remain in operation” was a “critically important” unanswered question.

In other words, the study emphasizes that the $32.6 trillion federal cost minimum cannot be accurately converted into a claim of $2 trillion in national health cost savings. Actual costs would likely be substantially greater (specifically, factors such as drug costs, health provider payment rates and long-term care utilization would probably all be greater than assumed in that lower-bound estimate). It is the same principle by which, if someone tells you that something now costing $57 would cost somewhere between $55-$61 after a policy change, it would be incorrect to claim thereafter that the person had concluded you would save $2.

It is not possible to correct every advocate’s mistaken claim that my study found that M4A would lower national health costs by $2 trillion over 10 years. But anyone interested in accurately understanding the study should be aware that it contains no such finding.



Leftism Makes People Meaner: Reflections on the Torture of Paul Manafort


The sadistic treatment of Paul Manafort illustrates something I have believed since I attended graduate school in the 1970s and saw the behavior of left-wing students: Leftism makes people meaner.

There are kind and mean conservatives and kind and mean liberals. Neither liberalism nor conservatism makes people kinder or meaner. But this is not the case with leftism. With the handful of exceptions that accompany every generalization, leftism makes people meaner, even crueler.

Take the transfer of Manafort, the one-time Trump campaign manager, from a federal prison to New York's Rikers Island prison. Rikers Island is universally regarded as a wretched place. As Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote:

The decision to move Paul Manafort ... from the decent federal prison to which he was sentenced to solitary confinement to the dangerous hell hole that is New York City's Rikers Island seems abusive and possibly illegal.
I know Rikers well having spent time there visiting numerous defendants accused of murder and other violent crimes. It is a terrible place that no one should ever be sent to.

Mass murderers and torturers are among those incarcerated at Rikers Island.

Moreover, Manafort, found guilty solely for white-collar crimes, will be placed in solitary confinement -- "for his own safety."

Virtually everyone who has written about solitary confinement, both on the right and the left, deems it torture. Manafort will therefore be tortured after being sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for fraud and, in the words of the Daily Wire, "a little-known law that requires lobbyists to report that they are working on behalf of a foreign government (in Manafort's case, Ukraine)."

Angry over the possibility that Manafort may be pardoned by President Trump, the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, charged Manafort with additional crimes based on state law. That way, if found guilty of state offenses, he cannot be pardoned by Trump, as the president's power to pardon applies only to federal -- not state -- crimes.

Everyone knows this prosecution is politically motivated. Vance hates the president and wants to use solitary confinement in a hellhole with violent criminals to squeeze Manafort into testifying against the president.

As Dershowitz said to me on my radio show, what Vance is doing reminds him of Stalin and Beria -- the infamous state prosecutor, a man Stalin referred to as "my Himmler." Dershowitz, a lifelong liberal Democrat and supporter of Hillary Clinton, does not use Stalin analogies loosely.

To her credit, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: "A prison sentence is not a license for gov torture and human rights violations. That's what solitary confinement is. Manafort should be released, along with all people being held in solitary."

I might add that my opposition to Manafort's treatment is not partisan or new. On a number of occasions over the years, I have cited favorably New York Review of Books articles describing the horror of solitary confinement.

Despite its history of opposition to solitary confinement, The New York Times article reporting the plan to relocate Manafort said nothing against the unnecessary transfer but did comment on the expensive suits Manafort used to wear.

Solitary confinement is "basically a deathtrap," former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik wrote when Manafort was placed in solitary at his federal prison. Manafort should never have been sentenced to solitary confinement. But Robert Mueller (and Judge Amy Berman Jackson) sought it for the same political reason Vance has: to break the man.

As former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell wrote:

When a witness or defendant from whom prosecutors want 'cooperation' does not do as they demand, they put him in solitary confinement. And it works. It literally breaks people.
Solitary does have a place in our prison system, but only for those people who are simply too dangerous to be placed around others at all. However, the torture of solitary confinement should never be used as it is now to break people to prosecutors' will -- to torture them until they will say or do anything to get out.

"Solitary is also called the 'hole.' It's a small space, barely large enough to stand, with a slit for light, to which prisoners are confined/caged for 23 hours a day...

Paul Manafort, seventy years old, has endured this torture for eight months. He's now in a wheelchair, while Judge Amy Berman Jackson mocks his rapidly deteriorating health. Where is the outcry from the ACLU?

So, then, what enables Vance, Mueller and Jackson to engage in such evil?

The only answer is their politics -- the politics of the Trump-hating left. Cyrus Vance, Robert Mueller and Amy Berman Jackson may well be good parents, loving spouses, loyal friends and charitable individuals. But leftism has given them permission to act vilely and mercilessly while thinking of themselves as fine people -- just as evil doctrines have done throughout history.

As noted at the beginning of this column, when I was at Columbia, I witnessed this leftist mean-spiritedness firsthand in the personal cruelty of left-wing agitators against professors and others with whom they differed.

Here's a question perhaps millions of parents will be able to answer: If your child returned home from college a leftist, was he or she a kinder or meaner person than before he or she left for college?

The question is rhetorical.



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, 2019

Depressed billionaires are good news

Martin Hutchinson below continues his Philippics against low interest rates.  Martin is an economic historian and by historical standards interest rates have been weirdly low for some years now.  Low interest rates in effect price the use of capital very cheaply and, as Martin says, that renders  acquisition of all real assets very easy.  So investors have it easy and profit accordingly.

An important question, however, is whether low interest rates also benefit the average Joe.  Everybody benefits from low interest rates so it should on theory be good for any borrower.  Even an average person can now afford a lot of borrowing to buy a house or whatever.

But the unmentionable person in the woodpile is the effect on asset prices of lots of keen borrowers in the market.  Asset prices are obviously bid up.  So low interest rates are not much benefit to you if the house you want to buy has had its purchase price inflated by the easy money environment.  What you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts.

It seems at the moment however that the easy money effect may have approached an asymptote.  A new price equilibrium may have been reached in the real estate market.  The party is certainly over for a while as far as real estate is concerned. House prices overshot the equilibrium level for a short while and may now be settling down to sustainable levels.  So what your house is worth should stay much the same for some time  -- barring unexpected shocks.

One shock would be the implementation of Martin's recommendations. If central banks did jack up interest rates to Martin's desired levels, there would be a huge rash of bankruptcies as people became unable to pay their mortgage interest bills -- with a concomitant huge slump in real estate values.  So anybody with a mortgage should be hoping that Martin is a voice crying unheard in the wilderness.

But I think he will remain unheard and unheeded. I suspect that he is overlooking something.  Administered interest rates need not closely reflect the market but they cannot easily be too far outside the market for too long.  And I suspect that the low interest rates of the last decade are in fact a market response to the abundance of capital poured out by first Obama's and now Trump's money creation binges. Capital has become cheaper because it is more abundant.  So while governments are "printing" lots of new money, interest rates should stay low.

But that gets us to the thorny question of how long can government continue to create new money without ill effects -- without galloping inflation in particular. We have seen recently the economic disaster that unbridled money issue brought about in Zimbabwe and Venezuela so the old economic laws can still be seen functioning.

And I think it is obvious where the money has gone in the U.S. and other similar economies -- such as Britain and Australia.  It has gone into real estate prices. Real estate prices have risen to soak up all the new money. Why the expanded  money supply  has not affected other prices much is a bit surprising but the way that people cut back on other expenditures in order to save up for a home probably explains that.

So where do we go from here?   There are a lot of people who wish they knew and I am one of them.  There are feeble efforts in the GOP to rein in government spending but with neither Trump or the Donks on side that unlikely event is not going to happen soon.  If I am right that real estate prices have stabilized, we may start to see cost pressures on other assets -- meaning that ALL other prices will start to rise sharply.  How long will Trump and Congress tolerate that?  For quite a while is my guess

“It’s a depressing environment” said billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller to MarketWatch, explaining that he is investing in Treasury bonds in the hope that short-term interest rates will descend to zero again. At first sight, that should be bad news for the rest of us. But when you examine the different financial universe in which billionaires live, you come to realize that Druckenmiller’s gloom may be a healthy sign – provided the Fed doesn’t follow his policy recommendations.

“What’s good for General Motors is good for America, and vice versa” famously said GM CEO “Engine Charlie” Wilson at his Secretary of Defense Senate hearing in 1953. That was undoubtedly true then. GM employed hundreds of thousands of people, its suppliers and distribution system employed millions, and Americans as a whole, in their jobs, their wealth and their consumption, benefited from the health of the great manufacturing companies of which GM was the epitome.

What was true for General Motors in the 1950s is much less obviously true for the major corporations of 2019, notably the FAANGS (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet/Google). For one thing, much of their business consists of manufacturing in emerging markets such as China. Thus if Apple’s sales zoom up, for example, it may merely mean the employment of another army of Chinese workers and a surge in profits parked in tax havens, with no obvious benefit for the U.S. economy at all.

If the interests of today’s large companies, especially in tech, are detached from those of the United States, the same is still more true of the billionaires who run those companies or invest in them. In particular, economic policies that benefit billionaires are mostly highly damaging to the interests of ordinary citizens and of the United States as a whole. Not only can billionaires benefit economically from policies that damage the interests of ordinary citizens, there is reason to believe that, at the present time, billionaire angst and gloom may lead to better times for the rest of us.

The principal policy that over the past two decades has benefited billionaires and damaged the rest of us is that of artificially low interest rates. Low interest rates benefit asset prices, of stocks, bonds and real estate, while artificially depressing the cost of borrowing. Billionaires obviously have more assets than the rest of us, not just as a truism, but also in the sense that a higher proportion of their income after expenses is derived from revenues from assets and fluctuations in asset prices, which are relatively unimportant for those mostly dependent on earned income and pensions derived therefrom.

Because of their wealth, billionaires also have access to more and cheaper leverage than the rest of us. This combination, of greater dependence on asset values and greater ability to borrow cheaply, gives them a double-whammy benefit from interminable periods of low interest rates. Their assets rise in price, increasing their wealth both in absolute terms and in relation to the rest of us more dependent on earned income. In addition, they can leverage at artificially cheap costs and thereby buy more assets.

The ability to take on cheap leverage has been especially valuable to two classes of billionaire: those investing in real estate and those engaged in money management through hedge funds and private equity funds. As a result, those sources of wealth have increased in importance in recent decades, overwhelming wealth from conventional businesses like oil and retailing, which dominated the “rich list” 30 years ago. However, real estate and money management billionaires are especially cut off from the rest of the economy; both can flourish while the economy as a whole stagnates.

For that reason, the Barack Obama years were an especially joyful period for such people and especially miserable for the rest of us. The economy stagnated, while interest rates were held artificially low for a decade. The additional refinement of “quantitative easing” and the policy of globalization made matters even easier for them; it produced new pools of money, from foreigners and financial institutions, which could be poured into real estate and market speculation, growing the billionaires’ asset pools still further.

It is now clear that artificially low interest rates damage the real economy, in which ordinary people work. They distort investment away from productive uses – productivity growth in all the countries with near-zero interest rates has been abysmal over the last decade. Only in the United States, where rates have been allowed to lift somewhat, has it recovered, though there has been no retrieval of the productivity growth lost forever in the stagnant Obama years. With asset prices artificially high, a crash, wiping out huge amounts of wealth, is utterly inevitable – Lord Liverpool foresaw and warned against this repeated cycle as far back as 1825. Everyone except billionaires is currently poorer for these policies; once the crash comes, even some of the billionaires will suffer as well.

There are a lot of forces tending to continue the billionaire bonanza. For example, the IMF earlier this year proposed a new dual currency structure, in which cash would be forcibly devalued against e-currency, stealing people’s savings, simply so that central banks could institute even more cuckoo policies of negative interest rates. It beggars belief that globalist bureaucrats, all careful and diligent readers of the Financial Times and the Economist, can come up with ideas as destructive as that, and then express surprise when a despised, tortured people vote for populists. It is incredible that they would impose all the costs of a second currency on the economy, deliberately discriminating against savings, so that some damn silly Keynesians can impose their leftist fantasy monetary policies on us. I would probably vote for Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan against those guys — at least one would enjoy the spectacle of a massacre of IMF economists while one’s savings were being looted.

Other policies favor billionaires at the expense of the rest of us. One is the charitable tax deduction. This allows billionaires to reduce their tax bills to infinitesimal proportions, which acquiring a spurious reputation as a generous donor – and getting all kinds of non-cash benefits in return. Since many of the charities themselves spend most of their resources lobbying for policies that damage the interests of the rest of us, their special privileges are doubly obnoxious.

Druckenmiller and President Trump, both billionaires, are united in one demand: they want lower interest rates as soon as possible. Their wish is entirely self-serving; lower rates will merely further prop up the prices of the assets that both men own, already hugely overpriced. Declines in the prices of high-end real estate in the major urban centers are already happening, ding the wealth of billionaires, and are thoroughly beneficial to those of us not owning high-end real estate. Someday, we may be able to afford to live in New York and San Francisco again (not that one would want to!) Declines in loss-making tech private equity investments, also beginning, will be good for the rest of us as resources are reallocated from these money pits into products that are genuinely useful and not bottomless chasms of endless operating loss, sucking resources from more beneficial innovation.

Declines in stock market prices may seem more equivocal, but you should remember that most middle-class people with stock market investments are continually saving for their retirements. A market decline thus increases the future returns on their investments, brings them a higher dividend yield and allows them to make new stock purchases at lower prices. A market that declines and then recovers, through the magic of dollar-cost averaging and higher dividend yields, will make a middle-class stock purchaser far wealthier than a market that stays overpriced throughout.

Because of those years’ extreme monetary policies, most of the billionaires of the last twenty years are creatures of the night, that will disappear amidst much shrieking and wailing if we can restore the economy’s genuine health. A sustained period of higher interest rates, wiping out all the excesses of the Obama period and before, is needed to achieve. Let us hope the Fed stops its ears to the low-interest rate sirens, from President Trump, Druckenmiller and all those whose wealth depends on the currently grossly distended economy. A 4% Federal Funds rate, extended over the next five years, will restore the health of the U.S. economy, to the point that what’s good for General Motors and its 2025 equivalent will genuinely be good for America.



Tucker Carlson: The Democratic Party demands delusion - and that doesn't bode well for them in 2020

On Sunday, CNN held town hall specials with a trio of presidential candidates -- Seth Moulton, Eric Swalwell and Tim Ryan. We watched it so you wouldn't have to. All three of them are Democratic members of Congress. None is in danger of becoming president anytime soon.

So why do we pay attention to what they say? Well, because as they stammer and sweat and pander profusely, they give us a good idea of what the Democratic primary voters believe and what they care about. And of course, the thing they care about most -- a thing they can't stop talking about ever -- is race. They are obsessed in a deeply unhealthy way. Racial obsessions are always deeply unhealthy.

Moulton explained that Georgia didn't elect Stacey Abrams governor not because she wouldn't be a good governor, but because, you sir, are a bigot.

"We have a problem with racism in American today," he said. "If this country wasn't racist, Stacey Abrams would be governor. People of color are being systemically denied the most basic right in the democracy, which is the right to vote."

Moulton went to Andover and Harvard, unlike you. So he must be unbelievably impressive, probably a verified genius and a good person, too. And yet, somehow Moulton didn't bother to muster a single piece of evidence to show any of his claims were true. Because actually, they're not true, because it's not 1953 anymore. They can't let you know that, though.

For Moulton's purposes -- purposes of control -- it has got to be Jim Crow Alabama at all times, now and forever. Burning crosses and the sound of night riders in the distance. That will keep you terrified and easier to manipulate. That is the whole point.

Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to bring the South to heel. But the modern Democratic Party doesn't need the military; instead, they've got big business to make the population obey. Eric Swalwell of California bows before the gods of woke capitalism.

Jim Sciutto, CNN anchor:: We have Netflix, Disney, NBC Universal, WarnerMedia which owns CNN. They have all warned they halt business here if the law goes into effect. I wonder, do you support that economic boycott?

Swalwell: Yes, if that law goes into effect, I absolutely do, and CNN may have to move. There's a lot of young women who work at CNN that could be affected.

Do you support putting big companies in charge of America's social policy? Eric Swalwell was asked. "Of course I support that," he might as well have said. "Screw the voters. They are irrelevant. Our billionaire donors will bring back the abortion fairy." You'll notice the applause from the audience. They love that.

Democratic primary voters love it when you talk like that -- that some billionaire is going to ride to the rescue and make everything okay. You know what they don't like? They don't like reality. That infuriates them. Biology is real. Russia did not beat Hillary. Global warming isn't actually killing millions of people right now.

All true statements. All of those statements drives them bonkers because they are true. Here was the response from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is also running for president, reminded them that, actually, socialism doesn't really work.

Hickenlooper: If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer. I was re-elected -- [Booing]

Hickenlooper: I was -- you know, if we are not careful, we are going to end up helping to re-elect the worst president in American history ...

So that is the point where Hickenlooper should have paused and called out the audience, like a standup comic, and ask them to name a single place outside of Sweden in the 1970s in which socialism has actually worked. Anyone? Anyone?

But of course, he didn't do that. He was too afraid. A moist-palm Democrat. God knows what the mob would have done if he tried. Watch what happened to John Delany, maybe the bravest of anyone in the race, when he suggested the Medicare-for-All might not be such a great idea:

Delaney:  Medicare-for-All may sound good, but it's actually not good policy. Nor is it good politics. I'm telling you ... I'm telling you ...  [Booing]

He is dying out there. "Boo! Stop him before he hurts our dreams. If we want it to be true, it must be true," screamed the 4-year- olds in attendance. "I am the center of my universe. Cater to me. Tell me I'm wonderful."

If you strip it all away, that really is the message of the Democratic voters -- 200-proof narcissism. "Give us more."

The Narcissist-in-Chief was very offended. For the crime of making an obvious point, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on Twitter and demanded that Delaney get out of the race. And that doesn't, in the end, bode well for Democrats. When a party demands delusion, that means only the delusional can win.



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, 2019

Rush to Subvert Electoral College Hits Roadblock

Democrats in Maine and Nevada decline to join the National Popular Vote initiative.    

Ever since the 2017 inauguration, we’ve known leftists would do whatever they could to bring down Donald Trump’s presidency. Indeed, while most of the nation waited breathlessly for Robert Mueller to announce the results of his two-year, $30-million investigation into the now-debunked Trump/Russia collusion conspiracy, Democrats were working on a backup plan to keep future Republican nominees from ever setting foot into the White House.

Their plan is known as the National Popular Vote, an interstate compact that would essentially make the Electoral College null and void. In its early stages, the campaign didn’t garner much attention. But now that we’re facing the real possibility of ending the Electoral College, people seem to be waking up to this sleight-of-hand attempt to undermine the Constitution and ensure one-party rule in perpetuity.

The campaign had been picking up steam. Had. Recently, both Maine and Nevada dealt setbacks to the initiative, with Maine’s state House rejecting it in bipartisan fashion and Nevada Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak vetoing his state’s measure. He even explained what many Americans already know to be true: The NPV compact would “diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose.”

Still, as the editors at The Wall Street Journal write, “Fourteen states so far, along with the District of Columbia, have joined a compact to bypass the Electoral College by pledging their presidential electors to whichever candidate wins more ballots nationally.”

In other words, if the candidate your state chooses on Election Day falls short by one vote in the national tally, all of his electoral votes go to his opponent.

Even worse, the system would open up the floodgates to increased voter fraud and would do violence to both the wisdom of the Founders and the “one person, one vote” goal that Democrats talk about ad nauseam.

The initiative is misleading and subversive.

Tara Ross writes at The Daily Signal, “National Popular Vote’s compact would radically change the presidential election system, even as it pretends to leave America’s current state-based Electoral College untouched. National Popular Vote must be laughing all the way to the bank. It relies on the state-based aspects of the system when convenient, but then switches to reliance on a national tally when that’s convenient.”

Ross asks us to “consider what is happening on another front: California legislators are working to prevent President Donald Trump from appearing on their state ballot in 2020. Assuming Trump is the Republican nominee, how could he possibly win the national popular vote when he will be unable to win even a single vote from the largest state in the Union?”

Democrats who pride themselves on defending voting rights are essentially seeking to steal the votes from millions of Americans in order to support the popular-vote winner. And while no system is perfect, the Electoral College ensures that presidents represent the interests of a broad section of the American population, not merely the views of people living in big cities or on the coasts.

Under NPV, future candidates for president would never again set foot in Nevada, Iowa, New Mexico, or any other state between New York and California. After all, why go on the stump in 30 small states when all one needs is California, New York, and a few other big states to siphon the votes away from the rest of the citizenry?

Think about it: Under NPV, a candidate could theoretically lose 39 states and still win the presidency. That’s what founding father James Madison called “the tyranny of the majority.”

Undeterred, Oregon moved one step closer to becoming the 15th state to pass the national popular vote bill by sending it to the Democrat governor for a rubber stamp. This would bring the tally to 196 of the 270 votes needed to put the NPV into effect.

But there’s still a glimmer of hope that we can save the Electoral College. Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight, “The compact could encounter other obstacles. Republicans could recapture full control of one (or more) of the states in the compact and repeal the National Popular Vote law. And if the compact began to look like it was really going to take effect, opponents would likely sue and claim that it is unconstitutional. So despite its successes in 2019, the National Popular Vote interstate compact remains a highly uncertain proposition in the long term.”

For now, it looks like the Electoral College will remain in place for the 2020 presidential election. After that, all bets are off. Progressives have chipped away at the Constitution for more than a century, but now they’re taking a sledgehammer to its foundation.

If thoughtful legislators don’t rise up to stop NPV from taking effect now, we may never have the means to stop it in the future.



Barr Asking Questions the Media Don't Want Asked
“I’m amused,” Attorney General William Barr told CBS News’ Jan Crawford, “by these people who make a living by disclosing classified information, including the names of intelligence operatives, wringing their hands about whether I’m going to be responsible in protecting intelligence sources and methods.”

He went on after further questions: “Well, the media reaction is strange. Normally the media would be interested in letting the sunshine in and finding out what the truth is. And usually the media doesn’t care that much about protecting intelligence sources and methods. But I do, and I will.”

You don’t have to have been “in the business” for Barr’s nearly 50 years to understand what he means. Just flash back 13 years to June 2006 and read The New York Times’ revelations about the Swift bank procedures.

The Belgian-based Swift manages foreign currency transfers, and after 9/11, the CIA and Treasury conducted data searches to spot — and, ultimately, stop — terrorist financing. The Times’ story conceded that this program was successful in obstructing terrorist activity, and it identified no abuses.

Top administration officials pleaded with The Times not to publish the story, and then-President George W. Bush said the publication was “disgraceful.” Times editor Bill Keller’s justification was that “the administration’s” — not the government’s but the administration’s — “extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data … is a matter of public interest.”

In other words, The Times didn’t care much about weakening America’s fight against terrorism by disclosing classified information and revealing intelligence sources and methods. It was more interested in letting the sunshine in on a program that, to the best of its knowledge, had infringed no one’s rights.

Some called for prosecution of The Times for violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalizes the publication of classified information, signed by then-President Woodrow Wilson two months after the U.S. entered World War I. But as then-Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out in his 1998 book “Secrecy: The American Experience,” the Espionage Act is overbroad, and government tends to overclassify information, including even newspaper articles.

Accordingly, successive administrations up to and including George W. Bush’s have declined to prosecute news media for publishing stories, including leaks of classified information, that seem clearly forbidden by the words of Wilson’s Espionage Act.

Abandoning that precedent, perhaps surprisingly, was the administration of Barack Obama. He described himself as “a strong believer in the First Amendment” and dismissed “stories about us cracking down on whistleblowers or whatnot” as “a really small sample.”

Actually, they were an unprecedentedly large number. As James Risen, co-byliner on The Times’ original Swift story, wrote in December 2016, the Obama administration “has prosecuted nine cases involving whistleblowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined.”

Obama’s Justice Department subpoenaed Associated Press phone records — of AP trunk lines and 30 separate phones. It identified Fox News reporter James Rosen as a “co-conspirator” in an Espionage leak case. The supposedly liberal and pro-First Amendment Obama administration was actively pursuing what the Columbia Journalism Review called “a massive intrusion into newsgathering operations.”

It’s true that Obama did not emit as many tart words for the press in his eight years as president as Donald Trump has in his two and a half. But it’s also true that Trump has come nowhere near to challenging Obama’s record as the president most inclined to sic law enforcement on the press since Woodrow Wilson himself. Liberal Democrats aren’t necessarily the best friends of press freedom.

Nor are they, it seems, friends of a citizen’s right to privacy or a candidate’s right to seek public office without government surveillance. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when Barr made the point that the government “spying” had occurred on the Trump campaign, Democrats and the press expressed horror. You’re not supposed to say “spying,” apparently, even though Democrats and media like The Times have routinely used it as a conveniently short and understandable synonym for surveillance.

As Barr told Crawford, spying is appropriate if it’s “adequately predicated” — and it’s unclear whether the spying on the Trump campaign was. Certainly, the use of the partisan and unverified Steele dossier is not adequate.

Barr is old enough to remember when liberals did not take government legal or intelligence agencies’ word that spying on an administration’s opponents was justified and did not attack those who questioned it as unpatriotic.

He may be amused that such doings are self-righteously justified today, but it’s good that he’s willing to ask questions most of the media don’t want asked, to determine how the Obama law enforcement and intelligence agencies set about spying on the opposite party’s presidential campaign.



Backflip Biden
After two days of intense criticism, Joseph R. Biden Jr. reversed himself Thursday night on one of the issues most important to Democratic voters, saying he no longer supports a measure that bans federal funding for most abortions.

As recently as Wednesday, Mr. Biden’s campaign had said he supported the measure, known as the Hyde Amendment. His decision to change positions illustrates the intense pressure he faces as the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.

[What is the Hyde Amendment? Here’s a look at what it does, and why the politics have shifted.]

His turnaround was abrupt, particularly because Mr. Biden has grappled for decades with his views on abortion rights. While he has said he supports Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal nationwide, he has opposed members of his own party on a number of abortion measures, ascribing his reluctance to his Roman Catholic faith.

In a speech at a gala hosted by the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta on Thursday night, Mr. Biden credited the change, in part, to recent efforts by Republicans to roll back abortion access in states including Georgia and across the country — especially in the South — calling them “extreme laws.”



Lies are normal for the Left

Joe Biden has claimed for DECADES that he marched during the civil rights movement.

And while this claim has been disputed ever since he first made it in 1987…he’s still making it. Even though he was told not to by his own people.

“When I marched in the civil rights movement, I did not march with a 12-point program,” Biden told a New Hampshire audience in 1987. “I marched with tens of thousands of others to change attitudes. And we changed attitudes.”

Nope, he didn’t.

Jake Tapper reminded his panel of what the New York Times had previously reported: “More than once, advisers had gently reminded Mr. Biden of the problem with this formulation: He had not actually marched during the civil rights movement. And more than once, Mr. Biden assured them he understood — and kept telling the story anyway.”

“That is really, really weird,” Tapper followed up with an awkward chuckle.

CNN Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny replied: “When he gets very comfortable out on the stump speaking and other things, he has tended to embellish. He has tended to, you know, make things sound slightly rosier than they are.”

Yeeeeah. They’re taking it SO easy on him. He’s not embellishing. Biden is peddling a repeatedly disproven lie.



Who You Callin' Fascist?

R. Emmett Tyrrell
For over two years now, a peculiar combination of the media and the Democrats has been goading Donald Trump, always to painful effect — painful for both sides in this vituperative battle but particularly painful to the media and the Democrats. Not much good has come of it.

The media and the Democrats vilify Trump as a Hitler, a fascist, a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe and so forth. What is more, they do not approve of his hair. Interestingly, they do not disparage him as a Stalin, a Castro or a communist. Why do they not dip into their arsenal of dread phraseology to call him a Stalinist, a Castro or a communist? Is it because they still see these comrades as the good guys? Do they perceive communists as liberals without the red tape? What Henry Wallace once called liberals in a hurry.

Do the media and the Democrats harbor some lingering respect for these historic friends of the working class? Are they somewhat smitten by the bilge of the left? Do they even understand the term “fascist”? What would Sen. Chuck Schumer or Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi describe as Trump’s fascist traits? His songs? His martial music? What is his daily uniform? All I see is Donald’s sober business suit, always worn with a tie, a white shirt and wingtip shoes. How does this uniform differ from that of Schumer?

What is all this talk of fascism? Fascism generally features politicians who favor one-party dictatorship above democracy. Fascism favors a glorified sense of nationalism, often of race over the individual. In governance it favors centralized government and is heavily militaristic. Actually, when you compare fascism with communism, it is pretty much the same thing, though the German and Italian fascists always were smarter dressers, and their guns usually worked better. The communists even caught up with German racism eventually. Both the Germans and the Russians were anti-Semites.

What is more, now that the latest edition of Democrat is coming out as a socialist I guess they have all the more reason to stay clear of calling Trump a communist or a Stalin or a Castro. These Democrats are at least Stalinists in the economic sense, and they can always adopt the one-partyism and militarism later.

Yet to return to my original point about the effect these coarse terms are having on the public discourse, particularly for the media and the Democrats: All the media and the Democrats achieve, it seems to me, is enraging Trump, who resorts to his Twitter account and fires off a volley that leaves the media and the Democrats the worse for wear. The fact is that Trump is better at it than they are, and he usually amuses. The media and the Democrats never do. Hitler was not funny. Nor was communism. Donald’s “fake news” has caught on, and everyone knows who authored the term, along with “Crooked Hillary” and “Pocahontas” and “Crazy Bernie” and all the rest.

When the race really gets under way, what will Trump make of poor old Joe Biden, the gaffable one (I shall take credit for that one)? Biden was caught red-handed, as they say, filching from a speech by Neil Kinnock of Britain’s Labour Party. Kinnock is not even an American. Already Trump has dispatched Beto O'Rourke with his notice of the former congressman’s “hand movement.” “Is he crazy?” Trump said. He had only a few hours to come up with that one. Well done, Donald! Beto has yet to recover. There will be two dozen more Democratic candidates who bite the dust before Trump finishes off the final Democratic candidate. Will the candidate be the one from South Bend, or is there another would-be John F. Kennedy out there? It is going to be vastly amusing.

As I say, it is destructive language from both sides, but from one side it is at least amusing. I noticed this when I first met Trump in 2013. He is very entertaining. I can well imagine him, long after he is out of office, relaxing with friends and watching old tapes of himself up against the Republican gang in 2016, and then against Hillary, agelastic Hillary. She thought she could beat him, and after she lost she plotted with her friends in the intelligence community to run him out of office. She, a life-long liberal, threw in with certain chieftains of the FBI and the CIA (and presumably others) to turn these institutions against the American people in an election. They were the kind of liberals who were always haranguing us against the police power of the state. But they were the first in American history to turn the intelligence community against us. Clinton has been a malign force in American politics since her early days. I am glad she turned her back on Goldwaterism.

These next months will be interesting.



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, 2019

Trump Suspends Tariffs On Mexico Following Deal On Migrants

President Donald Trump has announced an immigration reform deal with the Mexican government which likely will allow border officials to end the catch-and-release of Central American migrants.

Ending catch-and-release is a huge win for Americans and Trump because it means border officials now have a legal alternative to the catch-and-release rules which allow migrants to legally enter the United States if they bring children and claim asylum.

Those catch-and-release rules set by Congress and the courts also allow the migrants to get work permits before their asylum court hearings, which are now backlogged for two or more years.

Instead of catch-and-release, the migrants can be returned to Mexico until their asylum claims can be heard by a judge.

The “joint declaration” was outlined in a State Department message:

… those [migrants] crossing the U.S. Southern Border to seek asylum will be rapidly returned to Mexico where they may await the adjudication of their [US.] asylum claims.

In response, Mexico will authorize the entrance of all of those individuals for humanitarian reasons, in compliance with its international obligations, while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims. Mexico will also offer jobs, healthcare, and education according to its principles.

The United States commits to work to accelerate the adjudication of asylum claims and to conclude removal proceeding as expeditiously as possible.....

Both parties also agree that, in the event the measure adopted do not have the expected results, they will take further actions.

Mexico’s agreement to offer jobs and healthcare to the migrants will weaken lawsuits by pro-migration U.S. groups that oppose the deal.

In exchange, the U.S will also work with Mexico to spur regional economic development.

Mexico also promised to step up police enforcement against the cartels’ labor trafficking from Central America into the United States:

Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.

The promise of extra enforcement is vague, and far less important to U.S. border security than the return of migrants to Mexico.

However, border officials face the practical problem of processing migrants for return to Mexico at a faster rate than the cartels can bus them up to the border. If the border agencies cannot keep pace with the cartels’ transport networks, they may be forced to release some migrants into the United States.

The compromise deal allows Mexico to dodge the escalating tariffs that Donald Trump promised, and it also means that Mexico does not have to formally declare itself a “safe third country.”

Trump and his deputies wanted Mexico to declare itself a safe third country because that would give U.S. border officials the permanent legal authority to reject migrants who cross through Mexico. But the Mexican government’s agreement to host the migrants before their U.S. court hearings provide similar legal authority to U.S. border agencies,

The deal means that border agencies will not have to release migrants into the United States prior to their asylum hearings.

The end of catch-and-release will likely wreck the cartels’ labor-trafficking business, which depends on migrants getting U.S. jobs to repay their smuggling debts. Few poor people in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala will go into debt with the cartels, or mortgage their farms and homes to the cartels, once they know they will be forced to remain in Mexico prior to their asylum hearings.

The reduction of migration will also help stabilize the Central Americans countries, which is needed before foreign investors build farms or factories in those nations.

Under current rules, roughly one million Central Americans will walk through the border loopholes created and preserved by courts and Congress, and into Americans’ workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools during the 12 months prior to October.

Politically, a good deal for Trump is a bad deal for Democrats, who have campaigned during the last few days to prevent a deal that would slow the inflow of migrants.

Democrats oppose a deal, in part, because it reduces their bargaining power in the domestic fight against Trump to win amnesty for millions of illegals.



Socialism is Not Democratic

Nor is it compatible with the Constitution

By Charles C. W. Cooke

BACK in 2011, while covering Occupy Wall Street, I was accosted by a man wearing a large cardboard box. On this box, which he wore around his torso as might a child pretending to be a robot, he had scribbled down a theory that, at first glance, seemed more sophisticated than most that were on display. “Hey, man,” he said to me, “it’s up to us.” To explain, he turned around to reveal the other side of the box, which bore a single word: DEMOCRACY. Then, having paused for effect, he turned around again and pointed to the front, on which he had written down almost every single economic system that had been tried in human history: CAPITALISM, SOCIALISM, MERCANTILISM, AUTARKY, DISTRIBUTISM, FASCISM, FEUDALISM, POTLATCH, MUTUALISM, and so forth. “It’s up to us,” he said again. “It’s our democracy, and we can choose the economy we want.”

Further conversation revealed that he believed this quite literally. In his view, democracy was the sole nonnegotiable element of our political system, while everything else was up for grabs. If a majority wanted to nationalize the banks or abolish private property or bar all international trade or invade Brazil and harvest its resources, that was its prerogative.

As might be expected, he had a prediction and a predilection: Socialism, he explained, was both the most likely system to be adopted, because it catered to the “majority, not the 1 percent,” and the best, because it would fix all of America’s problems without any downsides. “It’s up to us.”

I have thought about this conversation frequently since then, because it highlights some of the core misconceptions held by socialism’s champions, which are, in no particular order, that the retention of a democratic system of government makes massive state intervention more acceptable, that “capitalism” is a “system” in the same way as is “socialism,” and that liberal democracy—and, in particular, America’s brilliant constitutional order—can survive the establishment of a socialist economy.

 Because I was there to write about the protests rather than to get into prolonged arguments, I listened and probed rather than disputed his contention. Had I been debating him, however, my rejoinder would have been a simple one: No, it’s not “up to us.” Or, at least, it’s not up to “us” in the way that my friend in the cardboard box was using the word “us.” As I write, ascendant elements within the American Left are engaged in a sustained attempt to reintroduce and rehabilitate the word “socialism,” in part by prepending to it a word that has a much better reputation and an infinitely better historical record: “democratic.” Voters should not be fooled by the rebranding, for there is no sense in which socialism can be made compatible with democracy as it is understood in the West.

At worst, socialism eats democracy and is swiftly transmuted into tyranny and deprivation. At best—and I use that word loosely—socialism stamps out individual agency, places civil society into a straitjacket of uniform size, and turns representative government into a chimera.

The U.S. Constitution may as a technical matter be silent on most economic questions, but it is crystal clear on the appropriate role of government. And the government that it permits is incompatible with, and insufficient to sustain, socialism. This is deliberate. In the United States, and beyond, we do not think about our democracy in purely procedural terms. While majority rule on certain political questions is indeed deemed imperative, we nevertheless reject the notion that majorities may do whatever they wish, we demand that our institutions leave room for civil society and for individuals, and we insist upon a broad presumption of liberty that extends across all areas of human activity.

It is reasonably well understood in this country that to place the word “democratic” in front of, say, “speech restrictions” or “warrantless searches” or “juryless criminal prosecutions” would be in no way to legitimize those things or to make them more compatible with the preservation of a free society. It is less well understood that to place the word “democratic” in front of “socialism” is an equally fruitless endeavor—and for the same reasons.

To those whose conception of “democracy” is limited entirely to the question of “Who won the most votes?” this may seem paradoxical. To those familiar with the precepts beneath the Anglo-American tradition, however, it should be quite obvious. Just as the individual right to free speech is widely comprehended as part of what we mean by “democracy” rather than as an unacceptable abridgment of majority rule, so the individual rights protected in property and by markets are necessary to the maintenance of a democratic order—in this, deeper, sense of the word.

In the West, choosing to trade with a person in another country is, itself, a democratic act. Electing to start a company in your garage, with no need for another’s imprimatur, is, itself, a democratic act. Banding together to establish a cooperative is, itself, a democratic act. Selecting the vendor from which you source your goods and services—and choosing what to buy from it—is, itself, a democratic act. Keeping the lion’s share of the fruits of your labor is, itself, a democratic act.

When governments step in with their bayonets and say “No!” they are, in effect, keeping your choices off the ballot. Properly understood, the attempt to draw a hard line between “democracy” and “economics” is not only a fool’s game but a game that socialists do not in fact play themselves. Ugo Okere, a self-described “democratic socialist” who ran for the Chicago City Council earlier this year, was recently praised in Jacobin magazine for explaining that “democratic socialism, to me, is about democratic control of every single facet of our life.”

That’s one way of putting it, certainly. Another is “tyranny.” Or, if you prefer, democratic tyranny. Alexis de Tocqueville observed that “the health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.” Lose those functions in America, and you lose democracy in America, too.

And then there is the question of socialism’s substantive record, which is so extraordinarily disastrous that it renders my friend-in-the-box’s theoretical argument useless even on its own terms. It is, in a strictly technical sense, “up to us” whether we choose to, say, smash ourselves repeatedly in the face with a hammer, but that is neither here nor there given that nobody in his right mind would elect to smash himself in the face with a hammer. We should avoid socialism with a similar diligence—and for similar reasons.

History has shown us that socialism exhibits three core defects from which it cannot escape and which its champions cannot avoid. The first is what Hayek termed “the knowledge problem.” This holds that all economic actors make errors based on imperfect knowledge but that a decentralized economy will suffer less from this, partly because the decision-makers are closer to the information they need, and partly because each actor does not wield total control over everything but is only one part of a larger puzzle. The second problem is that, because socialism eliminates both private property and supply and demand, it eliminates rational incentives and, thereby, rational calculation.

The third problem is that socialism, following Marx’s dialectical theory of history, lends itself to a theory of inevitability or preordination that leaves no room for dissent, and that leads in consequence to the elevation of a political class that responds to failure by searching for wreckers and dissenters to punish.

Worse still, because socialists view all questions, including moral questions, through a class lens, these searches tend to be deemed morally positive—bound, one day, to be regarded by History as Necessary. Together, these defects lead to misery, poverty, corruption, ignorance, authoritarianism, desperation, exodus, and death.

Ironically enough, they also lead to socialism’s exhibiting a record of failure in precisely the areas where it is supposed to excel. Despite the promises in the brochure, socialism has been terrible at helping the poor; it has been terrible at helping women advance; it has been terrible for civil liberties; it been terrible at helping the environment; it has been terrible at attracting immigrants; it has been terrible at tolerating and protecting minorities; it has been terrible at fostering technology, architecture, and art; it has been terrible at producing agriculture; and, worst of all, it has been terrible at sharing power and resources—indeed, it has done precisely the opposite, creating new “ruling classes” that are far less adept, far less responsive, and far less responsible than the ones they replaced.

It has become something of a running joke that, whenever socialism’s history is highlighted, its diehard advocates insist that “that wasn’t real socialism.” This defense is frustrating. But it is also instructive, in that it is an admission that, like perpetual motion, socialism has never been realized in the world. The U.S. Constitution has survived for so long because it was built upon the understanding that man is imperfect and always will be, because it accepts that selfishness is ineradicable and so must be harnessed, because it acknowledges that power corrupts as much in our era as it ever did, and because it makes provisions for the fact that disunity is inevitable in any free society.

Capitalism, too, has survived because it is built on truth rather than myths. Socialism, by contrast, has failed each and every time it has been tried because it is predicated upon precisely the opposite—that is, precisely the wrong—assumptions.

One would have imagined that, at some point, “That wasn’t real socialism. . .” would have been followed by “. . . and real socialism can’t exist because man isn’t perfectible, selfishness is ineradicable, power has needed restraining since the dawn of time, and political unity is a dangerous and undesirable myth.”

 Alas, no such recognition has yet been forthcoming. In the 20th century, Communism killed at least 100 million people—by democide, by famine, by central planning, by war—and yet it is still acceptable to say in public that it was a “nice idea.” In the post-war period, “democratic” socialism ravaged the economies of the West like a virus and required a counterrevolution to remove, and yet it remains sufficiently seductive to a slice of the public as to present a threat to the American order.

Today, the states that have actively rejected socialism are growing fast (India, Poland, the former East Germany) while those that fell prey to the temptation are either moribund (Greece), tyrannies (China), or international pariahs (Cuba and North Korea)—and yet there is still a solipsistic cottage industry dedicated to blaming their successes and failures on decisions made by the United States.

The damn thing is ineradicable. And so we get Venezuela. That Hugo Chávez’s centrally planned “Bolivarian Revolution” has descended into dictatorship, repression, starvation, and crisis was apparently genuinely shocking to a good number of the people who write about politics for a living. Six years ago, upon Chávez’s death, the Guardian’s Simon Reid-Henry reflected the consensus view on the left by arguing that Chávez had shown “that the West’s ways aren’t always best” by “[refashioning] Venezuelan democracy in ways that he thought better addressed the country’s long-standing development issues.” His paper’s editorial board went one further, describing Chávez’s work as an “unfinished revolution.”

Predictably enough, this was in fact a correct characterization of Venezuela’s fate—just not in the way that the Guardian had anticipated. Five years after that edition went to print, Ricardo Hausmann, the former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, was explaining that “Venezuela’s economic catastrophe dwarfs any in the history of the U.S., Western Europe or the rest of Latin America.”

Surprise! “The West’s ways aren’t always best”? The Venezuelan president is now a ruthless dictator who has cracked down on free speech, prohibited mass political protests, and confiscated firearms from anyone who has been even remotely critical of him. Thirteen percent of the country’s population has now fled, and those who have remained have been left so degraded by the government’s price controls that they have gone years without toilet paper, meat, and other basic necessities and have in consequence taken to eating zoo animals for sustenance and to scouring garbage bags for supplies.

According to the Pharmaceutical Federation of Venezuela, the country is suffering through an 85 percent medicine shortage and a 90 percent shortage of basic medical supplies. The child-mortality rate has increased 140 percent. Ninety percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. This year, the IMF predicts, inflation will hit 10 million percent. All this in a country with the world’s largest oil reserves— reserves greater than those of the United States by a factor of ten.

“It’s up to us.” One of the great advantages to living at the tail end of 6,000 years or so of human civilization is the chance we have been afforded to look back and learn from the lessons accrued by others without having to go through the pain of learning them for ourselves. History is a complicated thing, and should be treated as such, but there are nevertheless a few core rules by which we can live:

Do not inflict laws on others to which you would not subject yourself; ensure that you distribute power among several rival institutions, and, if possible, several geographical locations; never relinquish the right to free speech, the right to free conscience, the right to freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, or the right to a jury trial; insist on being represented by a parliament, and make sure that you prohibit that parliament from loaning its powers to a king, temporarily or permanently; do not ask people to give up more of their income than they are permitted to keep; and don’t, whatever you do, be seduced by socialists bearing promises. And if you are seduced, get out before it’s too late. You have nothing to lose but your chains.



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

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


9 June, 2019

Prosperity prolongs life

No wonder lifespans are so short in Russia after so many years of socialism.  Capitalism gives life.  Socialism gives death

The Intimate Link Between Income Levels and Life Expectancy: Global Evidence from 213 Years

Michael Jetter et al.


What is the main driver of life expectancy across societies and over time? This study aims to document a systematic and quantitatively sizeable relationship between income levels and life expectancy.

A panel data set of 197 countries over 213 years is analyzed with different regression methods. Robustness tests are provided.

By itself, GDP per capita explains more than 64 percent of the variation in life expectancy. The Preston curve prevails even when accounting for country? and time?fixed effects, country?specific time trends, and alternative explanatory variables such as health?care expenditure, malaria prevalence, or political institutions. If anything, this link has become stronger over recent decades when data quality has improved. Results from instrumental variable estimations suggest this finding to be largely unaffected by reverse causality. Quantile regression results suggest the relationship between income and life expectancy to be persistent across different levels of life expectancy.

Income matters for life expectancy. If policymakers want to prolong people's lives, economic growth appears to be the pr



How to make the USPS lose even MORE money

The United States Postal Service is a chronic money loser and politicians have failed to trim its most wasteful services, such as Saturday delivery. For his part, Vermont socialist and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to expand the USPS into banking.

As Sanders writes in a May 9 Medium commentary, “Today’s loan sharks wear expensive suits and work on Wall Street, where they make hundreds of millions of dollars in total compensation by charging sky-high fees and usurious interest rates, and head financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and American Express.” For Sanders, “an important way to provide decent banking opportunities for low-income communities is to allow the U.S. Postal Service to engage in basic banking services.”

“What could possibly go wrong with that?” wonders Justin Haskins at Fox News. Haskins finds “no reason to believe the federal government is capable of effectively providing anyone with banking services, nor is there a dire need for such a costly new system.” For Haskins, this is “nothing more than a scheme to dramatically increase the size, power, and influence of the federal government,” and akin to “socialist banking.”

Sanders chose to spend his honeymoon in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Fellow “democratic socialist” Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is on record as saying that “capitalism will not always exist in the world.” The pair’s USPS banking plan, the “Loan Shark Prevention Act,” does expand the power of government, and under socialism, the government controls the commanding heights of the economy. To understand what that means in practice, see conditions in Cuba.

“The Cuban government announced Friday it is launching widespread rationing of chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap, and other basic products in the face of a grave economic crisis,” explains a recent CBS News report. So it’s all about shortages, rationing, and perpetual poverty.



The vote-by-phone tech trend is scaring the life out of security experts

With their playbook for pushing government boundaries as a guide, some Silicon Valley investors are nudging election officials toward an innovation that prominent coders and cryptographers warn is downright dangerous for democracy.

Voting by phone could be coming soon to an election near you.

As seasoned disruptors of the status quo, tech pioneers have proven persuasive in selling the idea, even as the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine specifically warn against any such experiment.

The fight over mobile voting pits technologists who warn about the risks of entrusting voting to apps and cellphones against others who see internet voting as the only hope for getting most Americans to consistently participate on Election Day.

“There are so many things that could go wrong,” said Marian Schneider, president of Verified Voting, a coalition of computer scientists and government transparency advocates pushing for more-secure elections. “It is an odd time for this to be gaining momentum.”

Behind the vote-by-phone push is a political operative who grew rich helping Uber elbow its way onto city streets and Bird populate the sidewalks with electric scooters, and who sees mobile voting as a potential cure for an ailing democracy.

Bradley Tusk is using the same tactics in this personal crusade that he used to advance tech startups. He has bet a significant share of the fortune he built off his equity stake in Uber that the gospel of mobile voting will spread so fast that most Americans will have the option of casting their ballots for president by phone as soon as 2028.

He has already persuaded the state of West Virginia and the City of Denver to start tinkering with voting by phone, and hopes to move quickly from there.

“What we learned at Uber is once the genie is out of the bottle, it can’t be put it back in,” said Tusk, a venture capitalist who managed former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s reelection campaign before bouncing to Silicon Valley. In the tech world, he invests in startups that face political and regulatory hurdles, then helps knock those hurdles down by galvanizing the public’s appetite for game-changing innovations.

Tusk is certain participation in elections would surge if the technology were widely permitted, even though studies in some of the few places around the world that have tried the method revealed no big turnout boost. Although turnout for the 2018 midterm election was the highest in more than a century, it still brought out only about half of eligible Americans. And while turnout has gone up for presidential contests, it has dropped sharply for many state and local elections around the country.

The entrepreneur frames the fight as one pitting reformers against special interests invested in a low turnout that makes lawmakers unaccountable and easy to corrupt. He talks of the security concerns as if they are a sideshow. Sure, the scholars raising them are earnest, he said, but their approach to the challenge bewilders him. He likens them to people whose only solution to making a swimming pool safer is to fill it with concrete.

He and the executives at Boston-based Voatz, the company he is working with, say the way to make the technology more secure is to improve it through more pilot programs.

“Magic beans,” responds Josh Benaloh, a senior cryptographer at Microsoft, accusing backers who make claims for secure voting technology of peddling something that doesn’t exist. Benaloh sits on the National Academies committee that has warned against the technology.

This is a personal crusade for Tusk. He has refrained, he said, from investing in any of the start-up firms he recruits. His motivation comes from the dismay he developed over what he saw in politics, most notably when he was deputy governor in Illinois under Rod R. Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years in federal prison for corruption. Tusk detailed his disgust in a book he wrote in 2018 titled “The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics.”

“I don’t see a world where the country can survive long term without something that fixes the dysfunction,” Tusk said. “Maybe this is that something.”

He’s meeting with election officials all over the country, offering to pay for pilot mobile voting programs out of his own pocket, as he did in West Virginia and Denver. Tusk is aiming to get 25 such pilots launched over the next few years, spending as much as $50 million. He is optimistic that a couple of states will work with him to allow voting by phone in the 2020 presidential primaries.

So far the pilot programs have been small. West Virginia used the Voatz app to offer mobile voting as an option to military personnel serving abroad in both the primary and general election in 2018. There were 144 votes cast in the state using it. Denver officials offered it as an option to several dozen voters in municipal elections in May. Tusk is confident that states that start dabbling in it will scale up quickly, and make the tech universally available in just a few election cycles.

“The technology can be perfected, but people have to look at this,” said Mike Queen, deputy chief of staff to West Virginia’s secretary of state. At a national gathering of secretaries of state this month in Santa Fe, West Virginia will be urging other states to launch their own pilot programs.

That prospect alarms some of the nation’s most prominent election-security thinkers, who see in Tusk a formidable adversary with an intimidating public relations tool kit. They say he and other promoters for the projects are misleading election officials about how secure the systems are.

“There is wide agreement among computer security experts that this is problematic,” said David Dill, a professor emeritus in computer science at Stanford. “It disturbs me that officials are getting enthusiastic about this voting technology without talking to the people who have the expertise to evaluate its security.”

The National Academies report warns that the risks of this and other forms of internet voting are “more significant than the benefits.”

“Secure Internet voting will likely not be feasible in the near future,” the report said.

The report specifically disputes claims by firms like Voatz that say their system is secure because it sends votes over a blockchain. The technology leverages a network of potentially thousands of independent computers with their own security systems, aiming to diffuse risk. Promoters of such voting say hackers could not alter an election without penetrating thousands of independent security systems.

That argument is in dispute.

“Anybody who is promoting blockchain voting either doesn’t understand blockchains, doesn’t understand voting, or is being dishonest,” said Benaloh, the Microsoft cryptographer. He was speaking at a panel earlier last month at Columbia University that also included West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner.

Cryptographers tick off a list of reasons blockchain technology used for such things as trading Bitcoin won’t work for protecting American election systems, which foreign agents already see as ripe for attack. The cryptographers warn that the app could be breached and stealthily redesigned to rig votes, that malware spread onto voters’ phones could make the system go haywire, that blockchains themselves introduce new security vulnerabilities.

Spreading voting out over the internet, computer experts at America’s most prominent research universities caution, also makes it impossible to create a reliable backup paper trail that election officials can use to audit results.

Blockchains “don’t solve any of the problems,” Benaloh said. “They actually introduce new ones, and make things worse.”

Voatz is refusing to open up its code to unaffiliated programmers and cryptographers like Benaloh and Dill for stress testing of vulnerabilities, citing trade secrets. But its chief executive, Nimit Sawhney, bristles at their critiques, saying they reflect “a misunderstanding of how we use the blockchain.”

The stakes are high. The lead investor behind Voatz is the venture arm of Overstock.com, which states its mission is to “change the world by advancing blockchain technology.”

West Virginia officials say they are taking it slowly. They have no plans right now to expand beyond overseas military personnel, saying those are voters who could otherwise be disenfranchised, and that the state’s audit showed the Voatz technology was effective in enabling them to vote securely.

But Tusk believes the technology will spread quickly.

“Once we prove this is a thing that works and people can do it, I think there will be real demand for it,” he said.

And he has learned well how to inject the pitch into popular discussion.

Recently, the idea of voting by phone emerged as a subplot on the popular Showtime drama “Billions.” The plot twist came after Tusk had dinner with one of the show’s creators. In the show, security concerns scarcely register as a legitimate barrier. The foil is a corrupt Washington politician motivated by anything but the public good.

What did Tusk think of the way the show framed his battle?

“It was great,” he said.



Desperate Dems Trying to revive Watergate
Destroying Trump is the only policy they care about

At this point, the vast majority of Americans are sick and tired of rehashing the news from 2016. Well, Democrats — the “progressives” always yammering about being on “the right side of history” — are about to ensure that we rehash the news of 1972.

In hearings set for Monday, June 10, House Democrats plan to make quite the spectacle of beginning to review Robert Mueller’s report by calling as their first witness John Dean, the former White House counsel … to President Richard Nixon. As National Review notes, “Dean served as the star witness in the Watergate impeachment trial and ultimately pled guilty to obstruction of justice in 1973.”

Why are Democrats pulling what appears to be a totally irrelevant stunt? Because they clearly want to draw parallels between the drive to impeach President Donald Trump and the scandal that eventually forced Nixon’s resignation. “This is Trump’s Watergate,” they tell us. Dean himself called the Mueller report “more damning” than anything produced by the Senate in the ‘70s on Nixon, and he insisted regarding Trump’s actions that “this is clear obstruction.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler declared, “While the White House continues to cover up and stonewall, and to prevent the American people from knowing the truth, we will continue to move forward with our investigation.”

The truth is, what Democrats in concert with Barack Obama’s “Justice” Department did with the fake dossier is much more significant and a much greater assault on freedom and free elections than anything Nixon ever did.

Even The Washington Post’s Watergate-era liberal, Bob Woodward, has called for an investigation into the FBI and CIA’s reliance on the Christopher Steele dossier. “I think it was the CIA pushing this,” he said. “Real intelligence experts looked at this and said, 'No, this is not intelligence; this is garbage,’ and they took it out. … The idea that they would include something like that in one of the great stellar intelligence assessments, as Mueller also found out, is highly questionable.”

Nevertheless, Mueller may be done, but the Democrats’ MAGA obstruction continues and will continue through at least November 2020.



Did Votes By Noncitizens Cost Trump The 2016 Popular Vote? Sure Looks That Way

This article from 2017 deserves a re-run.  Very little has been done about the problems it raises

Election 2016: Late in 2016, we created a stir by suggesting that Donald Trump was likely right when he claimed that millions of noncitizens had illegally voted in the U.S. election. Now, a study by a New Jersey think tank provides new evidence that that's what happened.

Last November, just weeks after his Electoral College win that gave him the presidency, then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

The reaction was angry and swift, with the left accusing him of being an "internet troll" and of hatching a "Twitter-born conspiracy theory."

At the time, we noted that a group called True The Vote, an online anti-voter-fraud website, had claimed that illegals had cast three million votes last year. The media and left-wing groups immediately portrayed True The Vote as a fringe group with little credibility.

The only problem is, a study in 2014 in the online Electoral Studies Journal made a quite similar claim: In the 2008 and 2010 elections, they said, as many as 2.8 million illegal noncitizen votes were cast, "enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes and congressional elections," said the study, authored by Jesse T. Richman and Gushan A. Chattha, both of Old Dominion University, and David C. Earnest of George Mason University.

The bombshell was this: "Noncitizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress."

It got little coverage in the mainstream media, and what coverage it did get was almost entirely dismissive.

Now comes a new study by Just Facts, a libertarian/conservative think tank, that used data from a large Harvard/You.Gov study that every two years samples tens of thousands of voters, including some who admit they are noncitizens and thus can't vote legally.

The findings are eye-opening. In 2008, as many as 5.7 million noncitizens voted in the election. In 2012, as many as 3.6 million voted, the study said.

In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were 21.0 million adult noncitizens in the U.S., up from 19.4 million in 2008. It is therefore highly likely that millions of noncitizens cast votes in 2016.

And it was no accident. Democrats had extensive get-out-the-vote campaigns in areas heavily populated by illegal aliens. As far back as 2008, Obama made sure that those who wanted to vote knew it was safe, announcing that election records would not be cross-checked with immigration databases.

And last year, the Obama White House supported a court injunction that kept Kansas, Alabama and Georgia from requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. The message was sent, loud and clear: If you're a noncitizen or here illegally, don't be afraid. You're free to vote. No one will stop you.

We don't know the exact number of illegal votes. No one does. But the data that are available suggest that the number of illegal votes was substantial — probably in the millions, as Trump said — and likely had a significant impact on the election's outcome.



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, 2019

President towers over London, and Queen comes up trumps

Comment from Australia

Scott Morrison [Australian PM] was overshadowed in Britain by Donald Trump. That is no criticism of our Prime Minister. Who in the world wouldn’t be overshadowed by Trump? Maybe the Queen, certainly no one else. For all that, Morrison was hot property in London. Everybody wanted to see him. Everybody loves a winner.

But Trump was the London superstar. The US President was on his best behaviour. Theresa May, beaten, battered and barely functioning, was a figure to excite pity even from Trump and he was as kind to her as a parent with a sick child.

Despite the oddities of his state visit, serious business was done. Trump is only the third US president to receive the honours of a full state visit. Trump responds well to flattery and he certainly did this time. He was charmed and impressed by the Queen.

It is worth pausing to note the incredible global triumph of the Queen. She is surely the most popular woman in the world. She is a magnificent silent rebuke to the age. She does not hector. She does not abuse. She makes no real gesture to the zeitgeist. She doesn’t do psychodrama and self-disclosure. Yet she is the most powerful element of Britain’s vast, accumulated soft power.

It is right for Britain to give Trump a state visit. It is not an honour for an individual but for the office of the presidency, an especially powerful symbol of continuity in a troubled time. The anti-Trump demonstrators covered themselves in ignominy. They are happy to welcome the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, but determined to mock and insult the US President.

Much that Trump has tweeted and said in the past has been vulgar and offensive. But I don’t see how you credibly criticise him for this by being more vulgar, offensive and extreme yourself.

The two most foolish Londoners this week were mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Khan styles himself a moderate, sensible, social democratic politician and once had ambitions to lead the Labour Party. Yet a day before Trump arrived Khan wrote a newspaper opinion piece that denounced him as the moral equivalent of the fascist dictators of the 20th century.

This is, frankly, grotesque on Khan’s part. Those fascist dictators include Adolf Hitler, who murdered six million Jews, invaded and laid waste to his neighbours and waged a world war in which tens of millions were killed.

It is perfectly legitimate to criticise Trump for all manner of things, stylistic and substantial. It is not only functionally insane to equate him to fascist dictators, it is deeply corrosive of the fundamental decencies of political debate. Forget all these pious denunciations of populism from progressive politicians. When figures like Khan use such grotesquely exaggerated moral categories to denounce Trump, they are promoting extremism more effectively than anyone else.

Khan of course does not espouse violence against anyone. But far from being a voice of moderation, he cynically manipulates the emotional extremism of our demented moment in history. He got the reaction he wanted. Trump tweeted critically of Khan, calling him, among other things, a “stone cold loser”. This encouraged much of the British media to embark on a full-scale jihad denunciation of Trump. Mind you, the outrage seemed tired and stale this time. Corbyn railed against Trump for criticising Khan.

There is an element almost of class snobbery here. Trump speaks in colloquial terms, which innately sound rough, whereas Khan speaks in the mellifluous Davos man dialect which, though oleaginous, sounds superficially reasonable. But Khan’s remarks were significantly more extreme than Trump’s.

Corbyn’s performance was even worse than Khan’s. Corbyn decided he would address the street protest against Trump. He also boycotted the state banquet the Queen hosted.

Trump’s own later comments on Corbyn were, by Trump’s standards, mild, calling Corbyn ”somewhat negative”. Corbyn’s irresponsibility is profound. If Corbyn should become prime minister, he will be responsible for Britain’s national security. As Theresa May observed, and as anyone with an IQ above room temperature knows, no relationship is more important to British security than the US relationship. Whether a Trump administration would trust a Corbyn government enough to continue the intelligence-sharing relationship at the heart of the entire Five Eyes Western alliance would be a critical question for British security.

Corbyn did not lead a street protest against Xi, whose government has put a million Muslim Uighurs in centres human rights activists describe as concentration camps. And he has a long history of supporting dictators such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

The only moment I felt a speck of sympathy for Corbyn was when Trump revealed that Corbyn had asked for a private meeting and Trump turned him down.

The biggest issue of substance was the US asking Britain not to allow Chinese telco Huawei to participate in its 5G network. Numerous Conservative leadership contenders have come out in favour of excluding Huawei. May’s preference, according to leaks, was to allow Huawei into the periphery of the network but not its core.

In his press conference with May, Trump said he was sure the Huawei issue would not be a problem. He didn’t force the Brits to capitulate in public but it looks as though they are moving towards the US and Australian position.

Former foreign secretary William Hague, who was in government when Britain was co-operating with Huawei to make sure its equipment was secure for British use, argued in a powerful newspaper column that the Chinese government, the technical issues and the strategic environ­ment had all changed and Britain should now keep Huawei out of its 5G network altogether.

If Trump’s visit achieved that policy change, it was a singular success.

The visit was originally conceived as coming after Britain had left the EU and would be on the lookout for new trade deals. Trump, enticingly, offers Britain a “phenomenal” trade deal if it ever does clear itself of the EU.

But that is all speculative. May formally resigns the prime ministership tomorrow. Everything then depends on the next Conservative prime minister, most likely Trump’s friend, Boris Johnson, who talked with Trump over the phone but otherwise sensibly kept a low profile.

This week, Johnson was the most level-headed British leader of the lot. Apart from the Queen, of course.



Life in the San Francisco Soviet

No free speech.  As in the old Soviet Union, police can come after you for what you say -- even using the good Soviet practice of breaking down your door

San Francisco public defender-filmmaker Jeff Adachi passed away at age 59 on February 22, reportedly from cocaine and alcohol plus a heart condition. Local reporter Bryan Carmody thought the circumstances were unusual and began to investigate. Carmody told Matthew Keys of the California Globe that as he gathered information, an unnamed individual provided him with a 16-page police dossier with photographs and investigator’s reports. San Francisco police began pestering Carmody for the source of his report, which he declined to reveal. The reporter was not charged with a crime, but San Francisco police chief William Scott said the reporter “crossed the line,” motivated by profit or animosity toward Adachi.

Two judges issued search warrants, and on May 10 the police broke down Carmody’s door with a sledgehammer and held the reporter in handcuffs for six hours. Police confiscated Carmody’s notebooks, cellphone, computer, hard drives, and cameras, taking away video equipment worth more than $30,000. Carmody still declined to reveal his source.

In classic style, San Francisco mayor London Breed flip-flopped on support for the raid, and local officials were divided. It remains unclear who launched the raid, but there is no doubt that the action violated Carmody’s First Amendment rights. No word yet whether any officers declined to participate in the raid, or expressed any regrets afterward. The officers’ unquestioned obedience recalls another case in 2012.

In November of that year, voters were to decide four ballot measures on taxes and spending. The Senate Governance and Finance Committee held hearings on these measures, and the California Channel gave voters statewide a chance to watch and gain insights. Senate boss Darrell Steinberg told state employees to pull the plug on the broadcast, and they did so, keeping voters statewide in the dark. Afterward, Steinberg proclaimed “I pride myself on being open and transparent.”

In similar style, San Francisco officials all claim to support the First Amendment. With police and public officials alike, California taxpayers should watch what they do, not what they say.



Biden Swipes Trump Over Brunei LGBT Abuses, But Obama Administration Embraced the Sultanate

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday sought to link the Trump administration’s LGBT policies at home to attacks on LGBT individuals abroad, saying the U.S. should refuse to cooperate with governments responsible for violations, “as we did in our administration.”

But the example he cited – Brunei’s recent phasing in of a penal code providing for death by stoning for sodomy and adultery – was not one on which the Obama administration took a strong public stand when it was first announced more than five years ago.

Addressing the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Ohio gala, the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful assailed the Trump administration’s LGBT policies, and suggested that it was sending a poor example to other countries.

“We have to make it clear – as we did in our administration – the United States of America will not stand for it in any countries and we will not cooperate with those countries who engage in this fratricide that they’re moving on,” he said. “Using religion or culture to discriminate against or demonize LGBTQ individuals is never justified, not anywhere in the world.”

Pointing to difficulties faced by LGBT people in a number of countries, Biden continued, “We’re losing ground to some of the divisive politics we’re battling here at home in the Trump administration.”

“That’s why it’s so important for the rest of us to speak out, make clear how repugnant we find these actions. For example in Brunei, a new law recently put into effect authorizes the execution by stoning of gay sex and adultery.”

“It was only thanks to the international outcry – not withstanding this president – and the global pressure that the sultan pulled back from that position, maintaining a de facto moratorium on the death penalty. Wasn’t that so nice of him? He has very little social redeeming value.”

Brunei’s controversial statute took effect last March, but on the eve of Ramadan Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a de facto moratorium on executions would remain in force. (He did not rescind the Islamic code itself, saying it was “crucial in protecting the morality and decency of the public.”)

‘Our ambassador has relayed our concerns privately’

Despite Biden’s “as we did in our administration” remark, the Obama administration did not take a firm public stance when the Islamic sultanate first announced the shari’a punishments back in 2013.

Brunei was one of 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement which the Obama administration viewed as a top priority. As such the small, oil-rich sultanate was considered important enough to merit a number of visits by senior administration officials, as well as meetings between President Obama and Bolkiah in Washington and New York.

Obama intended to visit Brunei for an Oct. 2013 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit but canceled due to a government shutdown. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry did visit, and just days later the sultan first unveiled his shari’a penal code plans.

“Phase one” of the code took effect the following May, shortly after Kerry in a statement hailed the “excellent cooperation” between the U.S. and Brunei and described the sultanate as “wonderful.”

The development sparked a boycott – promoted by the Human Rights Campaign and others – of iconic Beverly Hills hotels owned by a Brunei investment fund controlled by the sultan.

But the Obama administration’s response was low-key.

That same month (May 2014), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Kerry had not spoken to the sultan since the law was announced seven months earlier, but said, “our ambassador has relayed our concerns privately to the government of Brunei.”

In September 2014, Bolkiah and his wife were invited to a reception hosted by Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Kerry met with Bolkiah in Jakarta a month later.

In June 2015, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked about some LGBT activists’ criticism of the TPP, because of Brunei’s death-by-stoning plans.

He replied that while some argue such countries should be shunned or isolated because they “discriminate against people because of who they love,” Obama believed that engagement was the best way to advocate for the kinds of values he “has championed while sitting in the Oval Office.”

Three months later, the Obamas again hosted Brunei’s first couple at a reception on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, this time at the New York Palace Hotel.

When the TPP text was released in Nov. 2015, Earnest was asked why it did not include language “addressing laws criminalizing homosexuality in Malaysia and Brunei.”

He replied that there were provisions relating to “raising human rights standards,” adding that whenever Obama travels around the world “he makes clear to the leaders of other countries when he’s visiting with them how seriously we take the issue of human rights.”

Days later Obama met with Bolkiah again, at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Philippines. In 2016 Bolkiah was back in the U.S. for an ASEAN summit hosted by Obama in California.

President Trump pulled out of the TPP shortly after his inauguration.

When Brunei earlier this year moved ahead with “phases two and three” of the shari’a code, the State Department said in a statement the decision “runs counter to its international human rights obligations, including with respect to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“All governments have an obligation to ensure that all people can freely enjoy the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms to which they are entitled,” it said. “The United States strongly opposes violence, criminalization and discrimination targeting vulnerable groups, including women at risk of violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.”

Other elements of Brunei’s code range from limb amputation for thieves, lashes, terms of imprisonment, or fines for offenses such as “propagating” a religion other than Islam to a Muslim, drinking alcohol, attempting suicide or “failure to perform Friday prayer.”



FDA Approves $2 Million Drug. Blame the Price on Excessive Regulation

Last year, drug producer Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics received significant criticism for attempting to offer patients access to an experimental treatment procedure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (often called ALS or Lou Gherig’s disease) for $300,000. A drug recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration dwarfs this price.

A new gene therapy drug named Zoglensma became the most expensive drug in the world, costing patients over $2.1 million for one-time use. Zoglensma joins a small (and outlandishly expensive) group of treatments called gene therapy drugs. Gene therapy uses actual genes to treat or prevent diseases.

Before Zoglensma’s approval, its predecessor treatment, named Spinraza, cost patients $750,000 for the first year’s treatment and an additional $375,000 for each additional year. Other FDA approved gene therapy treatments cost between $375,000 and $875,000.

Zoglensma treats spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare genetic disease that restricts the nervous system’s ability to coordinate voluntary muscle movement. Nearly one in eight-thousand people carry the SMA gene. Tragically, the disease typically affects infants. In severe case, infants with SMA are unable to sit upright, suffer from severe joint pain, and ultimately die from respiratory failure. SMA is considered the most common genetic cause of death in infants.

Despite providing rare and promising results, many gene therapy drug prices place them beyond financial reach for many families in tragic situations. But why are these treatments so expensive?

A significant reason is government regulation.

Unlike other drugs regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, gene therapies are subject not only to the regulatory structure of the FDA, but also to the Office of Biotechnology Activities, and the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. Excessive regulatory oversight creates an elongated and expensive route to approval. By one estimate, an approved gene therapy drug costs nearly $5 billion (five times as high as the average cost of FDA approval). Covering these costs is difficult because many of the diseases gene therapy drugs treat are extremely rare.

Gene therapies are also often tailored to specific individuals, making completing clinical trials for FDA approval very challenging and costly. One estimate holds it costs drug providers nearly $1 million per clinical trial participant. For reference, the first phase of the FDA approval process typically requires twenty to eighty participants. The third and largest phase usually requires at least 3,000 participants.

Gene therapies provide those with rare, serious, and possibly terminal conditions with the ability to significantly improve their quality of life. When pioneering medical breakthroughs provide such an opportunity, it is imperative to provide treatment where possible. Existing regulations serve to hinder access to treatment by making it prohibitively expensive. Drugs costing over $2 million are the latest symptom of the overregulation disease.



My scripture blog

I have just finished updating my Scripture blog.  Anybody who finds helpful my commentaries on important issues of scriptural interpretation way find it worth a look.


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, 2019

Far More Than a Culture War Rages in America
America’s two greatest presidents, Washington and Lincoln, both believed that the ultimate threat to the United States wouldn’t come from abroad in the form of a foreign enemy but rather from within. In his Farewell Address, Washington warned of the dangers of “party passion,” and the “disposition to retaliate… [giving] ambitious, corrupted or deluded citizens… facility to betray, or sacrifice the interests of their own country…sometimes even with popularity…” Lincoln said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” On another occasion he said, “…if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

Of all the cultural changes that endanger the well-being and happiness of Americans and impair the governability of the nation, severing the present from the past and the rise of division and intolerance are probably the two greatest threats. In the last 25 years, division and intolerance have increasingly become defining characteristics of American politics and culture — attributes at odds with the vision of the founders and most successive presidents who understood that shared values and unity were the bedrock of American strength.

So all-encompassing has division and intolerance become now, that older generations hardly recognize in contemporary American culture, the place and spiritual home of their childhood. And today, one can rarely take in the arts on stage or in museums, comedy, contemporary Hollywood productions or major league sports without having one’s sensibilities offended or being confronted with politically correct inferences that reflect intolerance and condescension.

Beyond our borders it’s always been a crazy and depraved world. Anti-Semitic prejudice and intolerance has a long history in the Middle East and has been on the rise in Europe and the U.S., taking a turn for the worse on U.S. college campuses in recent years and punctuated this last year with mass murder and attempted mass murder at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California. In the last 25 years Christian persecution has been increasing in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa from the upsurge of militant Islam. And just when ISIS appears defeated, the shocking news of mass killings of Christians carried out by Islamist terrorists, who directed their bombings at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka Easter morning reminds us of the harsh reality and magnitude of anti-Christian persecution and intolerance.

In January, Newsweek magazine, which is no friend of Christianity, reported that “Christian persecution and genocide is worse now than in any time in history.” The Pew Research Center recently noted that “in 144 [out of 195] countries in the world, Christians are the most targeted religion.”

To the extent Americans are aware of these facts and that more Christians have died for their faith in the 20th century than at any time in history, some might find consolation that such persecution is primarily taking place outside of the United States. But is that really so and what is to come?

Historians whose research is based on primary sources know that the United States was founded by self-professing Christians. The Founders came from different denominations, but they agreed on fundamental beliefs. And when those fundamentals were applied to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the trajectory of human history was radically changed, for it was Christian Biblical principles that were the basis for man having inalienable rights from God that no government can deny or take away. In the words of President John F. Kennedy many years later: “The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” Similarly it was Christian principles in the Declaration and Constitution that asserted that the legitimacy of government came only from the consent of the people and that human dignity and equality for everyone was the calling of this new revolutionary United States of America.

The supposition that America was founded by Christians based on Christian principles does not mean that every American was or would be Christian. From the beginning, America’s doors were open to people of all faiths — or of no faith — to live in peace and tolerance, knowing they could practice their religion or lack thereof without harassment or discrimination. Christianity not only presupposes respect for people’s free will, but also tolerance, which is the essential guarantor of the rights of others to differ in their personal beliefs and expression.

The earliest groups of settlers coming to America were Protestants — Pilgrims, Puritans, Baptists, Dutch Reformed, Anglicans, and others — and they had various and strong disagreements amongst themselves. By experience, they knew secular government was the only workable option because a theocratic-type alternative would be oppressive and cause perpetual turmoil and civil conflict. Since the founders were Protestants, they were basically optimists and believed that things work together for good because of the dual assumption that the hand of God’s providence is at work in human affairs and that spiritual truth would prevail through man, by love not force, by the example of service and sacrifice for others, and by the exercise of free will in the marketplace of ideas.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, but its acceptance was stalled for several years because the larger and most influential states feared that the document gave the federal government too much power and they wanted to amend the Constitution to provide for and guarantee specific protections regarding the rights of the people and the states. Finally, with ten amendments, the Constitution was ratified by the last state, Rhode Island, in 1790. Those protections were of course known as the Bill of Rights, with the First Amendment providing the explicit guarantee of religious liberty, which included related rights of freedom of the press, speech, and assembly.

That the United States was a Christian nation was affirmed in 1892 in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Holy Trinity Church v. The United States, wherein the Court’s findings included a lengthy and detailed accounting of the Christian foundation of both the individual states’ constitutions and the federal U.S. Constitution. The Court summarized its findings, stating: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. [It is] impossible that it should be otherwise and in the sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

Once considered the most towering figure in the Democratic Party, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in 1935 that, “We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.…[W]here we have been the truest and most consistent in obeying its precepts, we have attained the greatest measure of contentment and prosperity.”

Fast forward a generation from Roosevelt and things began happening that rapidly changed the path of American values and culture. Two Supreme Court case rulings on the interpretation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause in the early 1960s removed reference and respect for the Almighty from public schools. Together, Engle v. Vitale (1962) and Murray v. Curlett (1963) ruled it was unconstitutional to have prayer, and readings or recitations from the Bible in the classroom or on the grounds of public schools.

Nine years later in 1971 the Supreme Court took up Roe v. Wade, ruling on January 22, 1973, that under the 14th Amendment, a woman’s right to abortion trumped any other competing rights and could not be abridged by state laws banning abortions. This ruling effectively stripped unalienable rights and equality from both the unborn and the father. In yet another 14th Amendment ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, handed down on June 26, 2015, in a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, legalized same sex marriage nationwide, a decision that transformed the definition of the family, which had been for millennia the foundational institution for pro-creation and child-rearing. In the dissenting words of Chief Justice Roberts, that narrow majority ruling was likely to unleash a new level of intolerance and division because it “not only overlooks our country’s entire history and tradition, but actively repudiates it, preferring to live only in the heady days of the here and now.”

That these Supreme Court rulings incrementally and collectively weakened the authority and influence of Christianity in American society and culture, there can be little doubt. In legislating from the bench and creating whole new rights, these Supreme Court rulings are fundamentally problematic, as they run contrary to the Constitution’s requirements of separation of powers. In both Roe and Obergefell, the Supreme Court usurped and nullified the legislature, whose constitutionally defined role was to originate, debate, and vote on new laws — particularly important when those new laws would fundamentally change family life and society. But also — insofar as law is uncompromising — the Obergefell ruling would escalate the culture war because newly created rights of a minority were certain to clash with and encroach on the rights, sensibilities, and long-standing moral values and institutions held by the majority.

The imprimatur of five Supreme Court justices effectively opened the door to some 2% of Americans being able to dictate to the population at large what they can say, how they can conduct their business, and even influence what churches and synagogues are allowed to practice and preach. From there it’s been a short step in the LGBT agenda to demand ever more equal rights — such as equal access to public bathrooms and locker rooms of either sex, and the right to participate in sports under the transgender’s new sex rather than the biological birth gender like everyone else. And the way it has been going, those who dare question these trends are likely to be charged with being homo- or transphobic and engaging in hate speech.

Thus, the mooring of a Christian anchor hat helped provide protection and continuity around common sense and shared values — established over millennia — and for some three centuries dating back to colonial times, was cast aside in the course of a few decades. Effectively, a few Supreme Court decisions were instrumental in bending the trajectory of American society’s values and priorities that had been shaped by 2000+ year-old transcendent virtues, aspirations and unalienable God-given rights to a new direction preoccupied with unrestrained self-interest and man-made worldly rights of self-gratification.

To be fair, gradual steps leading to marginalization and discrimination against Christians in America were underway considerably before the aforementioned Supreme Court decisions. The influence of John Dewey, lauded as the greatest educational thinker of the 20th century, can be traced back to the 1920s. Dewey was an atheist, who believed and said, “There is no room for fixed and natural law or permanent moral absolutes.” In the decades that followed, various quarters of the public school educational establishment sought to downplay and erase the facts about the role of Christianity in America’s founding and shaping of the nation.

In 1986, Dr. Paul Vitz, a professor of psychology at New York University, published the findings of a commission’s study in which he participated to examine the degree and nature of bias in 60 social studies and history textbooks used by 87% of public schools across the United States. Not only was there no God being thanked by the Pilgrims in the first Thanksgiving, but the study found that almost every other reference to the Christian influence of early America was systematically removed.

In this regard George Orwell’s dystopian future depicted in 1984 has already arrived. Orwell wrote: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, and every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

As Orwell also noted, “the whole aim of Newspeak and Doublethink is to narrow the range of thought.” Political correctness has the same goal and that’s why its adherents are so intolerant — seeking to shut down and silence people with whom they disagree on college campuses across the country, clamoring for removal of historic statues and monuments, and demanding that people with differing views on such subjects as climate change and LGBT rights be silenced, fined or arrested.

Shocking as it might seem, a pattern has been emerging in the U.S. with similarities to the longstanding standard practices in Communist and Fascist totalitarian states — that is: to rewrite history and indoctrinate the youth so as to be able to manipulate and control the future cultural and political landscape.

In that sense the U.S. is closer to a future that is reminiscent of developments that led to persecution in 1930s Germany than anyone would like to contemplate or admit. The Nazi propaganda machine censored non-conforming views and sought to isolate and discriminate against Jews — a strategy intended to engender hatred and prejudice against them within the greater German population, thus setting the stage for the genocidal “final solution” of the Holocaust.

This is not to say that Christians are on the threshold of massive physical persecution in the U.S. But make no mistake, Christianity in America is being marginalized and put on the defensive by growing prejudice and outright hostility. And this trend of intolerance and disenfranchisement of Christians is happening at a time when the digital megaphone of social media is getting increasingly dominant.

Propaganda may actually be more effective in America than in totalitarian societies because of the power of repetitive messaging from ostensibly separate and diverse private media sources within the United States. Citizens in totalitarian societies aren’t as easily fooled because they know that the government controls the media and all its messaging.

In America propaganda narratives originate less from government than from progressive-minded groups of people who tend to think and act “collectively.” Many with this collective mindset are naturally predisposed to joining forces with what Boston University Professor Angelo Codevilla described as America’s Ruling Class, by pursuing careers in the knowledge and information industry — where others of a similar progressive mindset tend to work. Institutions that are largely dominated by the Ruling Class include the mainstream media; social media and information search multinational corporations — notably but not limited to the near monopolies of Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google; the educational establishment and universities; government bureaucracies; large segments of the law practice and the Democratic Party; and many non-profit foundations.

It is noteworthy that the rise of militant secularism and a decline in tolerance and civil discourse has taken place concurrent with the rise and proliferation of social media in America. And for many, visceral hate and name calling have all but replaced civil discourse and debate. America is more divided now than at any time in its history, except perhaps during the period leading up to the Civil war. But because it is hatred and intolerance that fuel this so-called culture war, we have actually opened the floodgates of spiritual warfare, with the forces of darkness and deceit seeking the destruction of the forces of light and truth.

Just so we can’t miss what’s at stake, this epic spiritual battle — that threatens the very foundation of society and the nation — is driven by extreme hate and intolerance, and Christianity, the religion of love and the Savior, is now in the crosshairs.

Who can deny that America’s blessings are unparalleled in human history? The colonists, through their representatives, drafted a revolutionary Constitution that created a system of limited government with checks and balances and separation of power, which also prioritized the protection of the people’s rights and property. It was the first government in human history whose legitimacy came from the people and whose purpose was to serve the people.

As a result the United States rose from colonial poverty to the world’s most creative, prosperous and generous nation in just 200 years. A miraculous accomplishment. And that success happened not by chance, but because the nation’s Christian foundation and Constitution put limits on government and empowered the people to be creative and productive. In the words of the 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, “Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?”

Unfortunately, with affluence comes spiritual laziness. Comfortable and disengaged Americans have forgotten the admonitions by Washington, Lincoln, and a number of modern presidents, that it’s necessary to understand and overcome the forces and determined enemies within who seek power by emasculating the values of individual liberty and the institutions that have made America great. Some 20 years before he was elected the 40th U.S. president, Ronald Reagan reminds us that, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”

What’s needed now is an awakening and spiritual revival within Christianity that acts as a positive force throughout America. That revival would not only inspire believers and reach non-believers, but it would also help the silent majority and less engaged people whose yearnings may be simple, such as the return of civility, satisfaction, and joy that comes from being more authentically connected with people and with the nation’s profound heritage. If Christianity is the source of both love and the principles that are at the heart of the Constitution, it is certainly worth defending. For as Christianity in America goes, so goes everything else.



Sen. Rand Paul: Violence Is 'Inherent to Socialism'

All their policies are coercive. Coercion is their only idea for how to get desired things to happen

Speaking to The Blaze’s Andrew Wilkow, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) said that violence is “inherent to socialism.” The senator explained that he and his wife discuss this topic within their forthcoming book “The Case Against Socialism”:

“And in it, we talk about, is it an accident that you get violence and genocide under socialism? Or is it an inevitability, is it inherent to socialism?” Senator Paul answers the question in the affirmative: “Really, is violence inherent to socialism? And I think the answer is absolutely yes.”

He said that in the upcoming book they note varying levels of socialism. In a small quantity, “it’s just sort of I threaten you with a fine but there’s no real followup,” Sen. Paul explained—but he said when the government seeks to take away private property by force, that is when violence ensues:

“And so the ultimate conclusion of socialism where you really take people’s property, people do resist and it becomes violent and that’s when you have the Gulag,” Paul said, pointing to history: “Whether it was Stalin, or Hitler, or Mao, Pol Pot, Maduro or Chavez, Castro—doesn’t seem to be that there is a benign socialism out there.”

While people highlight Scandinavia, Sen. Paul disagreed with applying the label of socialism to the region, stating that “they point to Scandinavia, which in reality really isn’t socialism, it’s a high tax welfare state, but you still have private property. They didn’t go confiscate the property in Sweden.”

Sen. Paul highlighted the pomposity of an ideology that claims the government can make better decisions for people than they can make for themselves:

“Socialism, or big government, or government control of things, ultimately is the most arrogant and elitist concept you can imagine. Because it is a very arrogant concept for me to think, I know what church would be best for you, I know what school would be best for you, and I think you’re eating too many hamburgers and that you need more vegetables—all of those things are arrogant for me to presume that I know best for you.”

He described the dichotomy between ideologies:

“And this is what is the real difference between those who believe in liberty and those who believe in coercion, is, they think they know what’s best, and they’re willing to send a guy with a truncheon and beat you over the head if you don’t listen.”

“And they say, ‘Oh, we’re not willing to do that we’re just going to fine you.’” But upon failure to pay the fine, “They’ll put you in jail,” he said, noting, “Ultimately it’s the threat of state violence, but because they presume they’re right.”



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, 2019

Democrats 2020: The Grievance Party
Describing the Democratic Party as one built on “identity politics” used to be a pejorative. But Georgia’s failed 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams, recently defended this description of her party. “I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are,” said Abrams, “and it’s exactly how we won. … When we refuse to engage in the conversation of identity politics, when we refuse to acknowledge that we see you and we understand you and we understand the barriers that you face, then what we are met with is a lack of trust.”

Fellow Democrat and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg apparently failed to get the memo. A week before Abrams embraced and even expressed pride in Democrats’ identity politics, Buttigieg was blasting President Donald Trump for his “racist” use of it. Trump, said Buttigieg, engages in “peak white identity politics” that creates a “crisis of belonging” in America “designed to drive apart people with common interests.” Buttigieg added, “When you do not belong, it doesn’t just put you in a bad mood; it puts you in a different country.”

By “identity” politics, Democrats really mean grievances. The party leaders push the narrative that blacks, Hispanics, gays, etc. are victims, whether due “inequality” or “sexism” or “racism” or “otherism.”

Take 2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris, who announced plans to end the alleged grievance of “unequal pay.” Harris claims women working full time make 80 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men. She insists it’s worse for minorities: Black women are only paid 61 cents on the dollar, Hispanic women 53 cents. Never mind that the Labor Department long ago debunked this myth.

In 2009, the Labor Department, after controlling for education, job differences, number of hours worked and other factors, found that the wage gap between genders shrank to 5%: “A greater percentage of women than men tend to work part-time. Part-time work tends to pay less than full-time work. A greater percentage of women than men tend to leave the labor force for childbirth, childcare and elder care. Some of the wage gap is explained by the percentage of women who were not in the labor force during previous years, the age of women, and the number of children in the home. Women, especially working mothers, tend to value ‘family friendly’ workplace policies more than men. Some of the wage gap is explained by industry and occupation, particularly, the percentage of women who work in the industry and occupation.” As to the remaining 5% difference, the report said even that could be explained by reasons other than sexism.

Harris’ proposed “equal pay” law mandates that companies obtain federal certification to demonstrate women are not being underpaid. Failure to certify could cost billions in fines. Companies also incur fines of 1% of average daily profits for each 1% “gap” between the pay of male and female employees who perform the same job.

Harris might like to start with her own Senate office. Her average male Senate staff salary was 6 cents more on the dollar compared to that of a female staffer, the Washington Free Beacon found. Men earned more on the dollar compared to women during the first full month on Harris’ presidential campaign. But this is par for the course. President Barack Obama repeatedly railed against the alleged “pay gap” between men and women. Never mind that during his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama paid his non-intern male Senate staffers more than he paid female staffers, $54,397 to $45,152, respectively. In the White House, President Obama continued his “sexist” tradition, paying male staffers more than female staffers, $71,000 to $60,000, respectively, according to a 2011 annual report. Sen. Hillary Clinton, from 2002 to 2008, also paid male staffers more than female staffers — $15,708.38 more, with females getting 72 cents on the dollar compared to men, according to Senate expenditure reports.

Socialist Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders peddles another grievance: If some get paid a lot, why can’t others get paid more? “If we are a nation that can provide contracts to baseball players for hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Sanders, “don’t tell me we cannot pay teachers in this country the kind of wages and salaries they deserve.”

Sanders might be on to something. He implicitly suggests that under a privatized educational system, teachers would be compensated at the level of their expertise, as defined by the free market. Under such a private system, schools could bid for “top draft picks,” the best students coming out of education colleges. Put the Annual Teacher Draft on cable TV. The best sign lucrative contracts, renewed based upon performance, with pay adjusted up or down accordingly. No tenure, no requirement of an act of God to fire someone for incompetence. Grievance solved.

Sanders for secretary of the Department of Education!



No Credit Where Credit It Is Due

The quote is attributed to President Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan kept it on his desk: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

It is even more amazing what has been accomplished with the American economy, but Democratic presidential candidates, the media and economists such as Paul Krugman of The New York Times refuse to give President Trump any credit. Recall that it was Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, who predicted that Trump’s election would trigger “a global recession.” One continues to wait in vain for an “I was wrong” statement from him.

The Economist, a center-left British magazine that includes coverage of events in the U.S. and is no fan of the Trump administration, recently published a remarkable editorial that contains gems Republicans should quote between now and the next election. They include a strong rebuke to the contention of many Democrats that “working people” are still struggling and that the improved economy continues to benefit only the wealthiest 1 percent.

The bleak picture painted by Democrats, the editorial says, “is at odds with reality.” The Economist refers to a worldwide “jobs boom” and (note to Bernie Sanders and others promoting socialism) asserts that, “Capitalism is improving workers’ lot faster than it has in years … the zeitgeist has lost touch with the data.”

Noting that U.S. unemployment at 3.6 percent is the lowest in 50 years, the magazine says, “Less appreciated is the abundance of jobs across most of the rich world.”

A more educated population, the matching by websites of jobs to qualified applicants, and, yes, economic stimulus efforts that helped fuel the emergence of economies from the last recession have all contributed to the American economy and many European economies.

Then there is this, which has been the gospel of conservatives for decades when it comes to welfare and its disincentive for many to find work: “… reforms to welfare programs, both to make them less generous and to toughen eligibility tests, seem to have encouraged people to seek work.”

This has forced liberal politicians to shift their focus from the unemployed to the “quality” of jobs. British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is quoted as saying, “Our jobs market is being turned into a sea of insecurity.”

“Reality begs to differ,” says The Economist. “Official projections” predict that by 2026, “America will have more at-home careers than secretaries.” Jobs and the skills necessary to fill them are changing, but not so rapidly that workers — and especially younger people — cannot adjust their education and training to match the new requirements.

Wages are rising almost everywhere, and, as the editorial says, tight labor markets “lead firms to fish for employees in neglected pools, including among ex-convicts. … American wonks fretted for years about how to shrink the disability-benefit rolls. Now the hot labor market is doing it for them.”

This is the argument that conservatives, many Republicans and the Trump administration have been making for some time. Economic growth, not government, raises most boats.

While acknowledging “The jobs boom will not last forever” and that a recession will eventually “kill it off,” the editorial concludes that the economic boom “deserves a little appreciation.”

It deserves more than that and would be more than appreciated if it all happened under a Democratic president. Republicans and the Trump administration should seize on this reality and promote it every day, asking voters if they want to continue with these successful policies or return to low economic growth and fewer jobs.

It is a question Democrats and their policies of higher taxes and reimposed regulations will find difficult, if not impossible, to answer.



Inheritance Welfare Liberals — The Effluent of Generational Wealth and Privilege

Irony: Legions of leftist cadres hate the wealthy elite benefactors who gave them rise.
“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” —John Adams (1780)

(Note: I have referenced what I call “inheritance welfare liberalism” in columns for two decades. What follows is a long overdue column devoted to this cultural malignancy eroding our nation’s foundational legacy of Liberty. It is especially virulent among affluent millennials who embrace leftist political and social organizations and policies, and spend their time and money propagating the same.)

Founder John Adams, before serving as vice president to George Washington and following him as our second president, was a Boston lawyer and Revolutionary War leader. In 1774, on the insistence of his second cousin Samuel Adams (my favorite of the Founders after Washington), John Adams played a key role in the drafting of the letter of grievances to King George III.

A year later, it was Adams who nominated Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. And in June of 1776, Adams organized and chose the Committee of Five who would draft our Declaration of Independence: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, Roger Sherman, and Adams himself.

Bookending his Revolutionary War role, in 1783 Adams was appointed the American commissioner to negotiate the Treaty of Paris, ending the hostilities between Britain and the newly formed United States. The treaty was signed on September 3, 1783, and American independence was officially recognized.

Countless volumes have been written about Adams, perhaps the best being the 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning epic John Adams by historian David McCullough, which was also the basis for an acclaimed documentary series.

Adams, who was also father to our sixth president, John Quincy Adams, is frequently and fittingly quoted in The Patriot Post, and even a cursory review of his quotes in our Founder’s Quote Database reveals his timeless wisdom.

But for as long as I’ve been a student of American history and its relevance in the present, particularly the history of our Founders and the extraordinary legacy of Liberty they bequeathed to us, there has been one quote from Adams that always caused me consternation.

In May of 1780, before the pivotal battle of Kings Mountain and the surrender of British commanding general Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown, Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail in which he asserted: “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

In the context of his time, I understand the sentiments expressed by this esteemed Founder, but later generations proved the substance of his words errant. It was assumed by Adams that successive generations would be imbued with the patriotic virtues required to sustain Liberty.

But there is no such inherited legacy, as Thomas Paine noted in his 1776 pamphlet, Common Sense: “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

And on the degrading influence of generational wealth on virtue, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard.”

In his day, Adams’s words were shaped by a desire for peace and prosperity, for the ability of his sons to be free not to focus on war-fighting but on the sciences, that their children might be free to focus on the arts.

The problem with his perspective on posterity is that the generations following those who have sacrificed much to sustain Liberty know progressively less about the cost of sustaining that Liberty, and they tend to consider it a hereditary right rather than a responsibility. The consequence is a spiral into the fatal cycle of democracy, which follows this sequence: from bondage to faith; from faith to courage; from courage to Liberty; from Liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back into bondage.

This cycle is perpetuated by an abject ignorance of generational history — no sense of the price paid for freedom. The great 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke observed, “The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” Indeed, that delusion is dependent on erasing the knowledge of the past. As 20th-century philosopher George Santayana concluded in his treatise, The Life of Reason, “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” English writer and dystopian philosopher Aldous Huxley put it more succinctly: “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

James Madison’s Supreme Court justice, Joseph Story, wrote that if Liberty is to be extended to the next generation, then we must teach successive generations well: “Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.”

Like Liberty, a dollar earned and a dollar inherited are both dollars, but a dollar earned has a very different value to its holder than a dollar inherited.

Among the most influential in each generation are its wealthy. This would include the creators of wealth, but mostly it’s those in succeeding generations who inherited their wealth and its commensurate privilege. They are from “families of means,” not fortune-builders but fortune-spenders, disconnected from the challenges and difficulties most often associated with wealth creation.

I’ve written at length about notable politicians who were what I call “inheritance welfare liberals” — those who inherited their wealth and, by extension, the opportunity and class standing it provided. They are beneficiaries of generational privilege, dependent on financial inheritance and no longer embodying the essential spirit of the self-reliance that created that wealth — the self-reliance that forms the core of American Liberty. The resulting “dependence ethos” is virtually indistinguishable from the dependence ethos of those who have been generationally inculcated with the belief that they’re dependent upon welfare handouts from the state.

Though markedly dissimilar in terms of their power and influence, the underlying difference between inheritance welfare liberals and generations of poor welfare recipients is that the former depend on investment and trust distributions, while the latter depend on government redistributions.

The most influential inheritance welfare politician of the 20th century was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who seeded the so-called “Great Society” and the modern welfare state, effectively enslaving generations of poor people.

Of course, it’s not a universal truth that all who inherit wealth and opportunity are condemned to a welfare mentality. In some cases, the first generation has inspired the succeeding generation to work hard — to invest their lives rather than spend their lives.

But in most cases, by the third generation of those who are painters, poets, musicians, or otherwise engrossed in the arts, they have little if any attachment to the first generation which provided them the freedom and luxury of such pursuits. They place little value in their grandparents’ sacrifices to establish and maintain Liberty and the privilege they enjoy. They form today’s liberal elite, who put their time and resources into political and social causes that are antithetical to Liberty and free enterprise.

Because they have little genuine sense of self-reliance and are dependent on the labors of others, they identify with and become outspoken advocates for the dependence of others. They are the primary benefactors of today’s Democrat Party, which is devolving into a socialist party as it attracts ever-greater legions of “useful idiots.”

Ironically, these wealthy elite fund the front lines of class-warfare cadres, the effluent of generational privilege, who hate the very same inheritance welfare benefactors who gave them rise.

I should note that generational welfare-inheritance influencers are not always leftist protagonists. Some also form the core of establishment Republicans. The common denominator between wealthy leftists and establishment Republicans is that both groups are very disconnected from the bedrock grassroots Americans upon whom they’re utterly dependent for their existence.

John Adams’s wisdom on Liberty has been timeless and enduring, but his assertion about sequential generational beneficiaries of what was earned by previous generations has proven to be deeply flawed.

Finally, as it relates to the inheritance of Liberty, this just-past Memorial Day, I offered some advice to those who genuinely want to demonstrate their gratitude to all who gave the last full measure and paid the highest price for their Liberty, and those who, likewise, want to thank active duty and veteran military service personnel for the freedom they have, and continue to defend, at great cost.

That advice: Strive to be, first and foremost, an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice.

Tragically, most young people have no context for understanding what it means to be “an American citizen worthy of their sacrifice,” because their Liberty and privilege was inherited, not earned. Consequently, their ideas have been largely shaped by self-centered social and academic influencers who not only take Liberty for granted but who embrace the statism that progressively suppresses it.



Large AFRICAN Group Wades Across The Rio-Grande Into The United States

A group of illegals from Angola, Cameroon and Congo waded across the Rio Grande River and into the United States, video from Customs and Border Protection shows.

The video shows male and female adults walking through the water and into Texas, several with children on their shoulders.

The attempted invasion occurred on Thursday, according to the agency. The river — or “natural barrier” — was so shallow, the surface didn’t reach the adults’ waists.

There were 116 in the group, the agency says.



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, 2019

The Real Constitutional Crisis: Unaccountable Bureaucracy

Bureaucrats not only threaten our Constitution but actively trample it all the time

For the last few weeks, the lemming-like Democrat/Media Complex has been promoting the highly coordinated message that America is in the midst of a “constitutional crisis.” They’re right on the mark, but due to their reflexive hatred of Donald Trump, they’ve picked the wrong target. It isn’t the president who threatens the Constitution. It’s a cadre of unelected, unaccountable, insulated bureaucrats who not only threaten it but have actively trampled it — for years.

An investigation conducted by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a nonprofit legal organization “that defends Americans’ liberties when threatened by government overreach and abuse,” reveals the enormous implications of unaccountable power-mongering. In the midst of pursuing litigation against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) labeling of vaping devices and e-cigarettes as tobacco products, and thus subjecting them to regulations that will damage the industry and perhaps adversely impact public health — all of which is antithetical to the FDA’s mission — they discovered a career bureaucrat had signed off on the rule.

The problem? The bureaucrat had no authority whatsoever to do so. “The Constitution’s Appointments Clause requires that rules binding Americans must be issued by ‘officers of the United States’ — i.e., government officials appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, or hired by cabinet secretaries under congressional authorization,” PLF’s legal policy director Clint V. Brown explains. “Such officials are subject to political accountability, which allows them to wield political power such as issuing binding rules.”

By contrast, career bureaucrats are government employees hired through a merit system that is supposed to be immune to political influence in both hiring and firing procedures.

Because of this ruling, PLF decided to look more extensively at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which oversees the FDA. What they discovered should infuriate every American who supports the Rule of Law and the Constitution: “Looking at all rules issued by HHS from 2001 to 2017, we found that 71 percent of the 2,952 rules we reviewed were unconstitutional,” Brown reveals. “The worst offender within HHS is FDA, where 98 percent of rules are unconstitutional.”

Note first that a single government agency averaged implementing just under 174 rules every year for nearly two decades. Note further that even at the lower rate of 71%, 123 of those rules were unconstitutional. And while Brown notes that many of them are “highly technical’ and aimed at "scientific drug and food development,” others “are significant regulations that carry huge costs and have a substantive impact felt by businesses and consumers.”

Why has this occurred? Because we have a Ruling Class that is more than willing to abdicate responsibility and allow “faceless and unaccountable bureaucrats who never have to answer to the voters or the political process” to run the country. And because of the aforementioned merit system, firing many of these people is virtually impossible, no matter how badly they perform.

Is there any doubt that such a dynamic breeds arrogance?

Brown offers a partial solution to the problem, explaining that Trump could require that “only Senate-confirmed officials sign-off on his administration’s rules.” Yet that presumes those officials will be in charge of promulgating regulations and be beholden to the president should they fail to do his bidding.

Are they? In an effort to bash the president, the Miami Herald asserted that Trump was on the verge of “dumping” (more linguistic coordination) as many as 1,000 illegals per month on the state of Florida. Yet according to the president himself, he had no knowledge of the plan and subsequently killed it. White House and DHS officials characterized it as a “misunderstanding,” while both the Herald and Politico insisted Trump’s “chaotic” immigration policies were to blame.

Were they? Or was this incident indicative of unilateral action undertaken by officials interested in pursuing their own agenda, hoping Trump won’t notice or won’t care?

But Trump does care about immigration policy, and when he did take on the bureaucracy by removing DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph D. “Tex” Alles because they weren’t in alignment with his agenda, The Washington Post characterized it as a “purge” while The New York Times portrayed it as “political bloodletting.”

That would be the same Washington Post and New York Times that both insisted there was no crisis at the border until there was a “new reality” (Post) and we had reached a “breaking point” (Times).

America’s real breaking point? Bureaucratic arrogance — and the lawlessness it engenders — is metastasizing, driven by a 2016 election that didn’t produce the properly “enlightened” results favored by those bureaucrats. “Real coups against democracies rarely are pulled off by jack-booted thugs in sunglasses or fanatical mobs storming the presidential palace,” Victor Davis Hanson writes. “More often, they are the insidious work of supercilious bureaucrats, bought intellectuals, toady journalists, and political activists who falsely project that their target might at some future date do precisely what they are currently planning and doing — and that they are noble patriots, risking their lives, careers, and reputations for all of us, and thus must strike first.”

This evolution of bureaucracy to the point where we have a de facto government-within-a-government was not unforeseen. “The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations,” wrote president Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937.

That’s because, as Roosevelt so astutely noted, “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation has blown up that long-cultivated fairy tale in no uncertain terms. And even more ominously, it’s not hard to conclude that unconstitutional rules perpetrated by the likes of bureaucrats at HHS might be among the most benign efforts to undermine the will of the American people. Far more brazen abuses of power has already been documented at agencies like the EPA, NSA, and the IRS.

In a better nation, the PLF’s revelations would engender a top-to-bottom review of every government agency, and every rule or regulation promulgated and enforced by unelected bureaucrats. In this one, Americans remain beholden to bureaucrats empowered by impotent, self-interested politicians, equally invested in avoiding accountability.

Or even worse. House Democrats called Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson “cruel,” “mean-spirited” and “despicable” for not breaking the law that prohibits him from providing housing assistance to illegal aliens.

“Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.” ?Hannah Arendt

That’s America’s real constitutional crisis.


Does the Constitution Mandate Universal Birthright Citizenship? Here’s the Answer

Amy Swearer

Who is a United States citizen by birth? This question has increasingly received national attention, in large part because of President Donald Trump’s promise to “end birthright citizenship.”

As I explain, however, in my recent Heritage Foundation legal memo titled “The Citizenship Clause’s Original Meaning and What It Means Today,” Congress definitively settled that question in 1866 when it passed the 14th Amendment. The problem is that Congress’ answer was far different from what Americans today often assume.

Even though the U.S. government has long abided by a policy of universal birthright citizenship—that is, of treating all persons born in the United States as citizens, regardless of the immigration status of their parents—the reality is that the Constitution doesn’t mandate this policy.

In fact, while the Citizenship Clause eliminated race-based barriers to birthright citizenship, Congress expressly intended to limit birthright citizenship based on the strength of a person’s relationship to the United States.

More importantly, the government today needn’t amend the Constitution in order to restrict citizenship for the U.S.-born children of illegal or non-immigrant aliens. It could simply stop abiding by a broad policy never required by the Constitution in the first place.

Context and Legislative History:

In the 1857 case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, the Supreme Court held that the U.S.-born descendants of African slaves were not and could never become citizens. In short, black people were simply Africans, not African-Americans, and relegated to the status of perpetual aliens in the nation where they were forced to live and die.

This holding created a previously nonexistent permanent barrier to citizenship based on a person’s race or national origin. It also left the freed slaves essentially stateless—they logically owed allegiance to no sovereign except the United States government, but were nonetheless permanent aliens.

After the Civil War, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 as a direct attempt to override the Dred Scott decision and statutorily expand citizenship to the freed slaves.

That act defined the parameters of birthright citizenship for the first time in U.S. history—“[A]ll persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Congress drafted and passed the 14th Amendment primarily to strengthen the protections of the Civil Rights Act by writing them into the Constitution itself. Under the 14th Amendment, citizenship belongs to “all persons born … in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

Some advocates of universal birthright citizenship argue that because the 14th Amendment’s definition of citizenship differs from that of the Civil Rights Act, Congress meant to override the Civil Rights Act and adopt the English common law’s jus soli—that is, the principle of citizenship by virtue of birth within a country’s geographical boundaries alone.

The legislative history strongly undercuts this argument. The 14th Amendment did not override or counteract the Civil Rights Act. On the contrary, the two definitions existed side by side for the next 70 years, and both courts and legal scholars roundly understood them as complementary.

The change in language was exclusively the result of disagreements over how best to exclude tribally-affiliated Native Americans from birthright citizenship, and in no way reflected a desire by Congress to fundamentally change the principles of citizenship initially laid out in the Civil Rights Act.

This is important because it means that the two definitions of birthright citizenship logically work together and inform each other. In other words, a person who is “subject to a foreign power” is also not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” and vice versa.

The legislative history of both the Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment shows quite clearly that, while Congress sought to expand birthright citizenship to include the freed slaves, it also sought to exclude broad categories of individuals who maintained only a qualified or limited allegiance to the nation.

As several congressmen put it, birthright citizenship was reserved for those who, like the freed slaves, were subject to “the complete jurisdiction of the United States.”

To be “subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States” simultaneously meant that a person was not meaningfully subject to a foreign power such that his or her allegiance to the United States was divided or qualified.

Notably, even modern advocates of universal birthright citizenship agree that at least some individuals were excluded from citizenship because they owed only a qualified allegiance, despite having been born “in the United States.”

For example, few people seriously argue that the Citizenship Clause applied to Native Americans who were born subject to their tribal governments. Even though they were born “in the United States,” their allegiance was divided between the United States and their tribal governments, which were considered “quasi-foreign nations.”

The same legislative history that so clearly excludes tribal Indians from birthright citizenship also makes clear that the Citizenship Clause does not cover the U.S.-born children of other individuals who owe only a minimal, qualified, or temporary allegiance to the United States.

This explicitly meant the exclusion of “temporary sojourners,” who owe the United States a “sort of allegiance,” but who remain meaningfully subject to a foreign power.

While the concept of “illegal immigration” did not exist at the time of the 14th Amendment’s passage, the same principles would disqualify individuals who are illegally present in the United States.

What About Wong Kim Ark?

Despite claims by advocates of universal birthright citizenship that the Supreme Court has already held universal birthright citizenship to be “the law of the land,” the reality is far different.

It is true that, in 1898, the Supreme Court held in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that the U.S.-born child of lawfully present and permanently domiciled Chinese immigrants was a U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment.

At its core, Wong Kim Ark was about the government’s attempt to circumvent the 14th Amendment and keep Chinese immigrants and their children from ever becoming citizens, by any means, just because they were Chinese.

At the time, federal law barred Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens, and they were, according to treaty obligations with China, perpetual Chinese subjects.

Much like the freed slaves, Chinese immigrants were prohibited from subjecting themselves to the complete jurisdiction of the United States because of their race, and were relegated to permanent alienage in a country where they would live and die.

This type of race-based discrimination in citizenship was precisely what the 14th Amendment was intended to prohibit, and the Supreme Court rightly recognized the system for the unconstitutional travesty it truly was.

While the opinion can also be read as affirmatively adopting jus soli as the “law of the land,” it can just as easily be read as adopting only a flexible, “Americanized” jus soli limited to the factors of lawful presence and permanent domicile.

This second interpretation renders the holding consistent with the original meaning of the 14th Amendment. It is also precisely what many legal commentators at the time thought the Supreme Court meant, too.

In short, Wong Kim Ark only deviates from the original meaning of the 14th Amendment if one chooses to read it acting under the assumption that the Supreme Court intended to upend decades of precedent and judicially supersede the clear intent of Congress. That assumption is unnecessary, illogical, and dangerous.

What This Means Today

What this means in practice is that the original meaning of the 14th Amendment’s Citizenship Clause has not necessarily been rendered moot by the Supreme Court. The United States government may today treat all U.S.-born children as citizens, but not because the Constitution requires it—or even because the Supreme Court judicially mandated it.

Ultimately, the government may cease to treat the U.S.-born children of illegal and non-immigrant aliens as citizens without first amending the Constitution.

They are not subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States because they do not meet the requirements of lawful permanent residency envisioned by Congress or laid out by the Supreme Court in Wong Kim Ark. Moreover, their failure to meet these requirements is not the result of race-based prohibitions.

The U.S.-born children of immigrant aliens (also known as lawful permanent residents) are, however, citizens by birth, and rightfully so—their parents are subject to many of the same rights and duties as American citizens, and have taken meaningful preliminary steps toward U.S. citizenship.

These are precisely the “lawfully present and permanently domiciled” individuals whose citizenship has never been questioned under the 14th Amendment.

Embracing the original meaning of the Citizenship Clause is not about racial prejudice or disdain for immigrants in general.

On the contrary, such a move recognizes that American citizenship is reserved for all those who, regardless of race or former allegiances, have taken meaningful steps toward solidifying permanent bonds with the American people, and have taken up the duties and responsibilities inherent to those bonds.

This is something both citizens and would-be citizens alike should celebrate.



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, 2019

Trump backs No Deal Brexit ahead of state visit to Britain, says Farage should mastermind exit negotiations with Brussels and vows to secure a UK-US trade deal after Britain leaves EU

People seem to forget that Trump is half British, so that surely gives him a good warrant to make comments about British politics.  It also tells us that his offer of a trade-deal with a post-exit Britain is a real one that he would get right behind -- to Britain's benefit.  There are many ways in which trade with America would suit Britain better than trade with the EU

Donald Trump has sensationally urged the British government to involve Nigel Farage in Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The President hailed the Brexit Party leader as a 'very smart person' who could have bolstered Theresa May's botched deal that she failed to push through Parliament.

On the eve of his state visit to the UK, his criticism of the Prime Minister's decision to omit Mr Farage from talks with Brussels will likely put noses out of joint in Downing Street.

'I like Nigel a lot. He has a lot to offer. He is a very smart person. They won't bring him in,' he told the Sunday Times.  'Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet.' 

Mr Farage struck up a friendship with Mr Trump in 2016 when he endorsed his Presidential campaign and spoke at one of his Mississippi rallies. 

And Mr Trump - a former businessman who prides himself on his ability to strike deals - said that if he were tasked with leading negotiations he would 'walk away' if he could not broker the agreement he wanted.

He also suggested that if Mrs May had brought Mr Farage to the table earlier she may have been able to take a withdrawal agreement back to the Commons which MPs could swallow.

His branding of Mr Farage's exclusion as a 'mistake' by the Prime Minister comes a day after revelations he waded into the Tory leadership contest by seemingly backing Boris Johnson.

And tonight, it emerged ministers and courtiers fear President Trump could embarrass the Queen by publicly backing Brexit in front of her at a Buckingham Palace banquet tomorrow.

Officials involved in the planning of the controversial State visit are braced for Mr Trump to use his banquet address to heap praise on the UK's decision to quit the EU, despite the Royal Family's scrupulous attempts to remain above the political fray.

Palace sources last night insisted the Queen would be 'more than capable' of dealing with such controversy and Foreign Office insiders said they had not broached the subject with Washington.

A Whitehall source said: 'We've learnt that asking them to steer the President off a subject tends to have the opposite effect.'

And a Palace insider added: 'We are not in the business of telling a foreign leader what they can and cannot say for political reasons.'

However, such an intervention by Mr Trump would cause fury, given the lengths to which the Palace has gone to distance the Queen from the divisive debate about Britain's relationship with the EU.

When one newspaper accused the Queen of supporting Brexit in 2016, the Palace made a furious and unprecedented complaint to the Press regulator.

Comments about Brexit would mark a second breach of protocol by the President following his unusual endorsement of Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister – before Theresa May has officially resigned.

And after his diplomatic gaffe of backing the current Tory leadership frontrunner, Mr Trump is poised to anger Downing Street further by meeting Brexit Party boss Nigel Farage.

Mr Trump last week described him as a 'friend' and it is thought the pair could be guests at a dinner hosted by the President on Tuesday evening at the official London residence of the US Ambassador. Spokesmen for both men said last night they had yet to receive such an invitation.

In a separate development, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was forced to deny that he had pleaded with Mr Trump to endorse his bid for No 10, after the President said in an interview that some of Mr Johnson's leadership rivals had sought his blessing.

A Foreign Office source said that while it was true that Mr Hunt was in regular contact with Mr Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, it was 'categorically untrue' that he had sought an endorsement.

Jeremy Corbyn condemned Mr Trump's intervention in the leadership contest. 'President Trump's attempt to decide who will be Britain's next Prime Minister is an entirely unacceptable interference in our country's democracy,' said the Labour leader, who has snubbed an invite to tomorrow's State banquet.

Mr Trump responded to the Labour leader's decision by saying Mr Corbyn was 'making a mistake' in not attending because as a potential future Prime Minister 'he would want to get along with the United States'.

Commons Speaker John Bercow is also boycotting the banquet.

The Government last night pleaded with the public to welcome Mr Trump to London, arguing that 'the special relationship is generational, not one person'.

Home Office Minister Ben Wallace said: 'The relationships are daily and long-developed relationships. You don't unpick that. The special relationship is not Presidents and Prime Ministers.'

The US president also praised hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson, and it looks as if he will meet with the Foreign Secretary during his visit

Last night, President Trump's intervention sparked calls for the Queen to scrap tomorrow's banquet, to punish him.

Liberal Democrat MP Sir Ed Davey, a former Cabinet Minister now bidding to replace Sir Vince Cable as his party's leader, said: 'The Queen would be perfectly entitled to cancel Trump's dinner, given he's insulted the Duchess of Sussex and interfered in the selection of our next Prime Minister at a time of national crisis. 'We don't need friends like that.'

Sir Ed was referring to interview comments Mr Trump made describing the American-born Duchess of Sussex as 'nasty' over comments she made in 2016 threatening to move to Canada if he became President.

President Trump and his family will be wined and dined by the Queen and other Royals tomorrow night, along with 170 guests picked for their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the US, in the opulent Buckingham Palace Ballroom

President Trump will be accompanied by First Lady Melania and four of his five children – Donald Jnr, Eric, Ivanka and Tiffany.



Electoral College Opponents Attempt to Have It Both Ways

Electoral College foes have been trying to get their way in Nevada for a decade. Have they finally succeeded?

Nevada’s state Senate approved National Popular Vote legislation on Tuesday. The measure is now awaiting approval from Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat.

The governor’s signature will add Nevada to a growing movement to ditch the Electoral College. Worse, Maine and Oregon could be close behind: National Popular Vote’s plan has already been approved by both states’ senates.

After years of stagnating, National Popular Vote has obtained support from four states in just one short year—or five states, if you count Nevada.

If Hillary Clinton had won the Electoral College in 2016, would this be happening? So far, National Popular Vote has been approved by blue states—and only blue states. Many Democratic state senators seem driven by Clinton’s loss: Democrats couldn’t win the Electoral College. Now the system must go.

Straightforward change has proven difficult, so they resort to dishonest tricks: In Minnesota, National Popular Vote’s compact was hidden in an elections omnibus bill. That didn’t work, so it was hidden, again, in an appropriations bill.

In many states, committee hearings are scheduled at the last minute, making it difficult for Electoral College defenders to testify. In Maine, National Popular Vote supporters resurrected a bill, despite the “ought not to pass” vote it earned in a legislative committee. Other state legislators and journalists have been invited to junkets in Hawaii, Aruba, or Key West, Florida.

Somehow, Electoral College defenders are never invited to these “educational” sessions. In fact, the fight over America’s presidential election process is beginning to more closely resemble kindergartners bickering on a playground—and the process has about as much integrity.

“That’s not faaaaiiir! I don’t like those rules. I’m better than you. I’m taking my ball and going home.”

Even the structure of the National Popular Vote legislation is dishonest.

The Constitution provides that America’s state-by-state presidential election system cannot be changed without the consent of three-quarters of the states (38).

Nevertheless, National Popular Vote seeks an end run around this process. It wants states to sign a simple interstate compact instead.

By the terms of that agreement, states agree to give their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the outcome within a state’s borders. The compact goes into effect when states holding 270 electors (enough to win the presidency) have signed on.

To date, 14 states plus the District of Columbia have agreed to the compact’s terms. Taken together, these states hold 189 electors. Nevada adds six more, bringing the total to 195—just 75 electors short of 270. If Maine (four electors) and Oregon (seven electors) join the cause in the next few weeks, National Popular Vote will be only 64 electors short of its goal.

National Popular Vote’s compact would radically change the presidential election system, even as it pretends to leave America’s current state-based Electoral College untouched.

National Popular Vote must be laughing all the way to the bank. It relies on the state-based aspects of the system when convenient, but then switches to reliance on a national tally when that’s convenient.

Consider what is happening on another front: California legislators are working to prevent President Donald Trump from appearing on their state ballot in 2020.

Assuming Trump is the Republican nominee, how could he possibly win the national popular vote when he will be unable to win even a single vote from the largest state in the Union? With the National Popular Vote Compact in effect, the election will be over before it begins.

California is entitled to omit candidates from its own ballot in America’s state-by-state election process. Indeed, many presidential candidates have been omitted from state ballots in the past, including Abraham Lincoln, Harry S. Truman, and Grover Cleveland. But it’s dishonest, at best, to seize the rights of state sovereignty for one purpose but then to pretend that a national tally can work for another.

Don’t worry. Red states such as Texas are likely to omit the Democratic candidate from their own ballots in self-defense.

And so the race to the bottom begins.

Everything I need to know, I learned in kindergarten. One important rule? You don’t change the rules of the game just because you lost. Instead, you work on your weaknesses, improving so you can win next time.



The Left's battle against 'inequality'

The fallback race card.

In his book "Discrimination and Disparities," economist Thomas Sowell notes that a disproportionate percentage of first-born siblings become National Merit scholars compared to siblings born later, presumably because the first-born starts life with no sibling competition for parental attention. This, says Sowell, illustrates the absurdities of expecting equal results when equal results do not even occur within the same family among siblings raised under the same roof with the same parents.

When I was growing up in South Central Los Angeles, one of my closest friends was "Paul." We met in the second grade and attended the same elementary school, middle school and high school. Not only did we take many of the same courses with the same teachers, our houses were identical.

When I first invited Paul to my home, about a half-mile from his, he was astonished. "Whoever built your house," he said, "built mine, too." He was right. When I visited his house, I found that the only difference was that my house had one tiny additional window that his did not. Same schools. Same teacher. Same neighborhood. Same house design.

Paul was a gifted athlete. Name the sport, he excelled. He was a starting pitcher for the baseball team, the starting shooting guard for the basketball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. He picked up a tennis racquet, hit balls against a backboard for a few weeks and then made the tennis team.

His parents were divorced, making Paul was one of the few kids in the neighborhood at that time to come from what my parents called a "broken home." Paul saw his dad infrequently. He rarely spoke about him. When he did, it was not positive.

Paul had a problem with anger. For the smallest offense, he could tell someone off, friend or foe, sometimes even his basketball coach. One time, after Paul came late to practice again, his basketball coach threatened to bench him the following game. Paul barked back, "Either I play or we lose." He played. They won.

When the coaches from major colleges came to see Paul play basketball, his best sport, they were impressed. But then they asked the high school coach about Paul's character, whether he was "coachable." Paul's coach, concerned about maintaining his reputation with college coaches, told the truth. Paul, he said, was a "coach killer." Bye-bye, Notre Dame. Bye-bye, Duke. Bye-bye, UCLA.

Paul ended up going to a small local college, not known for basketball. Did he double down, get better in hopes of transferring to a powerhouse basketball school? Hardly. Paul sulked, blamed racism and spent his first year of college playing basketball halfheartedly — that is, when he wasn't smoking dope and opining on "the oppression of the black man in America."

I went off to college in the East. When I returned during the summer, I visited Paul, who by then had changed his name to "Jamal" to distance himself from the "slave" religion of Christianity. When I informed him that Arab slavers took more blacks out of Africa and transported them to the Middle East and to South America than Europeans slavers took out of Africa and transported to North America, he told me to stop reading "the white man's history." He insisted "racism" had wrecked his basketball career, a career he argued that, but for the racism he encountered, was destined for the NBA. "Paul," I said, "you and I lived in the same neighborhood, in houses designed by the same builder, went to the same schools, took the same classes, had the same teachers. Why didn't 'racism' stop me?"

When I was in law school in Michigan, I visited my aunt who lived in a suburb of Detroit. During one visit, a friend of hers stopped by. He was a black man, about 40 years old. He sat near my aunt and me as we discussed my law school classes. Suddenly, the man began to cry. I could not imagine what I'd said that could've caused such a reaction. "Sorry," I said, "did I say something to offend you?" He gathered himself. "No," he said. "I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer. But I got sidetracked with 'jackassery,' hung around with a bunch of knuckleheads and just wasted my time."

It doesn't have to be like this. My father always told my brothers and me the following: "Hard work wins." "You get out of life what you put into it." "You cannot control the outcome, but you are 100% in control of the effort." And "before you complain about what somebody did to you, go to the nearest mirror and say to yourself, 'What could I have done to change the outcome?'"

And finally, my dad said: "No matter how good you are, bad things will happen. How you respond to those bad things will tell your mother and me whether or not we raised a man."



China not as great a threat on rare earths as they’d like you to think

“Don’t say we didn’t warn you!”  That was a People’s Daily commentary threatening that China will cut the U.S. off from rare earth minerals used to make high tech components for computers, smart phones and military weapons systems.

The People’s Daily is an official newspaper for Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the largest newspaper group in the nation, and the threat comes as U.S. and Chinese trade officials attempt to find a way forward from their current impasse in negotiations.

The commentary was headlined “United States, don’t underestimate China’s ability to strike back” and spoke of America’s “uncomfortable” reliance on rare earth minerals from China.

That part is at least true. We do rely on rare earths from China (and elsewhere). The U.S. consumed about 9,500 metric tons of rare earths in 2018, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and we are 100 percent reliant on imports of rare earth metals.

Most of it, 80 percent, does come from China.

But left out of the analysis is that China has been losing global market share since its high-water mark of 95 percent of global production in 2010, down to 80 percent global market share now, mostly thanks to Australia ramping up production, which is now the number two producer in the world at 20,000 metric tons in 2018. Australia also has all of the elements we would be looking for, according to Geoscience Australia.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “The estimated value of rare-earth compounds and metals imported by the United States in 2018 was $160 million, an increase from $137 million in 2017.”

These numbers do not account for rare earths used in manufacturing in China and then exported. But what’s China going to do, stop making computers and exporting them?

With all of that context, it does not seem like China blocking exports of rare earths may be much of a threat. Certainly not worthy of the hysteria we’re seeing.

What the U.S. has lacked is a domestic source. But that is changing. We have about 1.4 million metric tons of reserves in the U.S., and after years of not mining rare earths, in 2018 the U.S. ramped up production to 15,000 tons of compounds according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Barrett reports the Mountain Pass site has reopened in California’s San Bernardino County, and is currently exporting to China for processing but, as Barrett happily notes, MP Minerals, the company that owns it, “says it will re-open the mothballed processing facilities at Mountain Pass next year so that the mine can extract rare earth metals 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)


2 June, 2019

Barr: Trump Isn't the One 'Shredding Our Institutions'

Attorney General William Barr, in a lengthy interview with CBS's Jan Crawford, said he doesn't regret taking the job, even though he knew it would make him a target for President Trump's political opponents.

"I love the Department of Justice. I love the FBI. I think it's important that we not, in this period of intense partisan feeling, do not destroy our institutions.

I think one of the ironies today is that people are saying it's President Trump that's shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that.

From my perspective, the idea of resisting a democratically elected president and basically throwing everything at him, and you know, is really changing the norms, on the grounds that we have to stop this president. That's where the shredding of our norms and our institutions is occurring."

Barr said he expected to find himself surrounded by controversy, and that's one of the reasons he took the job, because at this point in his career, "it doesn't make any difference."

"I realize we live in a crazy, hyper-partisan period of time, and I knew that it would only be a matter of time if I was behaving responsibly and calling them as I see them that I'd be attacked.

Because nowadays people don't care about the merits or the substance. They only care about who it helps...whether my side benefits or the other side benefits. Everything is gauged by politics. And as I say, that's antithetical to the way the Department runs.

And any attorney general in this period is going to end up losing a lot of political capital, and I realized that. And that's one of the reasons that I ultimately was persuaded that maybe I should take it on. Because I think at my stage in life, it doesn't make any difference. I'm at the end of my career."

Crawford asked Barr how he could exonerate the president when Special Counsel Robert Mueller said he couldn't:

"Well, I think Bob said that he was not going to engage in the analysis. He was not going to make the determination one way or the other.

"We analyzed the law and the facts, and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that, both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction....In other words, we didn't agree with the legal analysis -- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. It did not reflect the views of the Department. It was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers, and so we applied what we thought was the right law."



Saudi King:'We Demand the International Community...Use All Means to Stop the Iranian Regime'

Saudi King Salman on Thursday demanded that the international community “use all means” to counter Iranian threats to maritime navigation and terror sponsorship, charging that the absence of a “firm” response up to now has encouraged an escalation in malign behavior.

Addressing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) counterparts in Mecca, Salman accused Iran of responsibility for the sabotage of four oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, as well as drone attacks on key oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Iranian threats to maritime navigation ‘jeopardize world oil supplies,” he said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, heading for a European visit where Iran will be on the agenda, told reporters flying with him that the recent incidents “were efforts by the Iranians to raise the price of crude oil throughout the world.”

The official Saudi Press Agency quoted Salman as telling GCC leaders their nations must work seriously to preserve security in the light of “the recent criminal acts targeting one of the world’s most important trade routes through sabotage act against four commercial carriers close to the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates in addition to targeting two oil pumping stations and a number of vital installations in the kingdom.”

He argued that a “lack of a deterrent and firm stance to confront the subversive activities of the Iranian regime in the region has led the Iranian regime to continue and escalate these activities as we see today.”

“We demand the international community to shoulder its responsibilities towards the threat posed by Iranian practices to the international peace and security, use all means to stop the Iranian regime from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, sponsoring terrorist activities in the region and the world, and threatening the freedom of maritime navigation in the international straits.”

Saudi Arabia on Thursday night opened two of three major “emergency” summits it is hosting this week, with a strong focus on Iran.

The summit of the six-member GCC (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain) was followed by an Arab League summit, while an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit was taking place on Friday.

‘If American citizens or facilities are threatened or attacked …’

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are Iran’s major rivals in the region, and in the former in particular there have been calls for stronger action to be taken against the regime in Tehran following the recent incidents.

Earlier this month a newspaper close to the government in Riyadh published a front page editorial calling for “surgical strikes” against the regime.

During a visit to the UAE Wednesday, National Security Advisor John Bolton characterized the U.S. response to the Iranian aggression as measured – and evidently effective, noting that there had been no further incidents since the first “three attacks.”

The “three attacks” referred to were the sabotage of the oil tankers on May 12 – which Bolton attributed to “naval mines, almost certainly from Iran” – the drone attacks on the Saudi oil infrastructure on May 14, and the firing of a rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on May 19.

“I think there is no doubt in anybody’s mind in Washington who is responsible for this,” Bolton said. “And I think it’s important that the leadership in Iran know that we know.”

Before the three incidents occurred the Trump administration, citing “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” sped up the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and sent strategic bombers to the region to send a message to Iran.

Following the attacks, President Trump approved a request from U.S. Central Command for 1,500 additional U.S. troops to be sent to the region for force protection, including some 600 already deployed to man a Patriot missile defense battery.

Asked Wednesday how the U.S. will respond to attacks targeting its regional allies, Bolton said that the U.S. was “trying to be prudent and responsible.”

“We gathered evidence about the nature of the attacks on the tankers and the attack on the Saudi pipeline. We have sent additional forces into the region to act as a deterrent, which – knock on wood – has been successful since the round of three attacks that I mentioned earlier.”

“The point is to make it very clear to Iran and its surrogates that these kinds of actions risk a very strong response from the United States,” Bolton added.

During a visit to London on Thursday, Bolton said again he did not think anyone who knows the region had any doubt who was responsible for the attacks.

The countries whose tankers were targeted – Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway – could soon make public the result of their investigations, he told Sky News.

Asked what it would take for the U.S. to take action against Iran – since it hadn’t after the allies were targeted – Bolton said, “We’ve made it particularly clear that if American citizens or facilities are threatened or attacked, that there will be a very strong response.”

The Iranian regime has denied responsibility for the attacks, and a foreign ministry spokesman called Bolton’s allegation about naval mines “ridiculous.”



What's More Expensive: Tariffs or Illegals?

The president says he will raise tariffs on Mexico until the flow of migrants stops.    

How much does illegal immigration cost American taxpayers every year? Some estimates put that total conservatively at $116 billion annually for housing, education, healthcare, etc. And with the humanitarian crisis on our border exploding, as a growing number of Central and South American migrant caravans cross through Mexico on their way to the U.S. southern border, the costs are increasing exponentially.

President Donald Trump upped the pressure on the Mexican government to stop the flow of migrants by announcing a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico.

The president explained: “For decades, the United States has suffered the severe and dangerous consequences of illegal immigration. Sadly, Mexico has allowed this situation to go on for many years… From a safety, national security, military, economic, and humanitarian standpoint, we cannot allow this grave disaster to continue. The current state of affairs is profoundly unfair to the American taxpayer, who bears the extraordinary financial cost imposed by large-scale illegal migration.

Even worse is the terrible and preventable loss of human life. Mexico must step up and help solve this problem… my highest duty is the defense of the country and its citizens. A nation without borders is not a nation at all. I will not stand by and allow our sovereignty to be eroded, our laws to be trampled, or our borders to be disrespected anymore.”

Trump further noted the toll of illegal immigration on Americans, stating: “Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos. It must end NOW! … Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.”

Trump said the tariff would remain “until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP.” The tariffs are set to begin on June 10. Trump added, “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied … at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”

The president is exactly right in his criticisms. And we’d argue that concerns about the cost of new tariffs are significantly outweighed by the annual cost of illegal immigration. In fact, were the flow of illegals through Mexico into the U.S. to stop, it would present significant savings for taxpayers.

Mexico’s socialist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (nicknamed AMLO), a disciple of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chávez, responded to Trump with this collectivist claptrap: “‘America First’ is a fallacy because until the end of times, even beyond national borders, justice and universal fraternity will prevail. … Social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures.” We’ll see.

However, there actually are questions as to how effectively the Mexican government can act to stop the flow of illegals, as human trafficking has become a lucrative industry of the powerful drug cartels. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Trump has been repeatedly hindered in his efforts to secure the southern border by the Democrat cartel of politicians, activist judges, and Leftmedia fake news. Trump’s latest action is a new tactic to get around the Democrats’ roadblock.



The True Life Story Hollywood Won't Tell

Hollywood hypocrites threaten Georgia while abetting human-rights abusers.  

Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the nation’s latest pro-life bill Thursday. Like other measures around the country, the bill, authored by Democrat Sen. John Milkovich of Shreveport, bans abortion once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, which usually happens at about six weeks’ gestation. Beyond the bipartisan nature of Louisiana’s effort to protect life, however, is Edwards’ incredible personal pro-life story.

Edwards and his wife Donna faced an excruciating choice 28 years ago. CatholicPhilly reported in 2016, “Doctors informed the couple their baby would have spina bifida and strongly advised an abortion, to the point of taking Donna to see a clinic that treated spina bifida children, some seriously impaired and others less so. At the time there was no way to determine what effects it would have on a particular child.”

Donna said, “I was devastated — but, John Bel never flinched. He said, ‘No, no; we’re going to love this baby no matter what.’ And, at that moment, I watched the boy I fell in love with become the man I’m still in love with today.”

“It was our belief that God has a purpose in everything and we would have this child,” Edwards added. “I credit Donna. She is a very courageous person. … I cannot imagine what our life would be without [our daughter].”

That is exactly the kind of engaging, emotional story of love and sacrifice that would make for a fantastic Hollywood movie.

Unfortunately, Hollywood hypocrites are too busy attacking Georgia for its pro-life legislation. Georgia has become a hub for filming movies and TV shows, with productions made there by industry titans like Disney (“Avengers: Endgame”) and Netflix (“Stranger Things”). But, along with those two companies, WarnerMedia, CBS, Showtime, NBCUniversal, AMC Networks, Sony Pictures, STX, and Viacom are all now threatening to boycott the state for protecting life.

Why is that hypocritical? While Disney is heavily marketed to children, the company partners with and does a great deal of business in China, where abortions are not always by choice, and where the communist government abuses human rights and imprisons people for their political and religious beliefs. Netflix is no better, producing series in Egypt and Jordan, where abortion is illegal and punishable due to laws far stricter than Georgia’s. Yet numerous famous people had the gall to write to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp saying they would “do everything in our power to move our industry to a safer state for women.” Just don’t tell Harvey Weinstein where those women are.

We’d say Hollywood’s craven display is all about the almighty dollar, except it’s hard to see how it’s profitable for these production companies to tell half of their American audiences that they’re “deplorable.” In reality, this is nothing more than the Hollywood hive mind at work. “I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard,” opined Disney CEO Bob Iger. It’s a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where the only people they care to please are themselves.



Trump the Disruptor

When people complain about the president's "style," try to remember his accomplishments

Everyone has an opinion about President Donald Trump, especially the younger crowd. Primarily, they dislike him because of what they hear from the media. They may be short on facts, but they certainly know how they “feel” about him. I recently saw where a Democrat congressman who is pushing for impeachment proceedings said, “Trump is raping the country!” No hype there. I’m sure we can have a reasonable conversation regarding his claim.

Most of the dislike of President Trump seems to focus around his style on social media — caustic, blunt, in your face, hit me and I’ll hit you back, along with other descriptions that would take too much time to list. But I think it might be a good time to pause, take a deep breath, and look at some facts.

I have to admit, there are many times I wished the president would just stop tweeting. But then I realize, when he hits back at those who are slandering him daily with wall-to-wall coverage of accusations, innuendos, and flat out phony stories, he gives it right back to them. And it’s driving them crazy.

For those of you who get upset because Trump does not act presidential, let me ask you a question. What did the last, say, three or four presidents actually do for our country? Did they stop the problem of illegal immigration? Did they stop making bad trade deals with other countries? Some I appreciated; others I had no respect for. But I prayed for them all.

We need to realize there will never be a perfect president because there is no such thing as a perfect person. There has only been ONE perfect person and He lived 2,000 years ago. Most Americans have set unrealistic expectations for what we expect our president to “be.” We should be more focused on what the president actually DOES!

President Trump has kept more campaign promises than any politician in recent history. We have historic unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanics, and women. Deregulation has allowed many businesses to rise to levels not seen for decades. There are so many good indicators of what has happened in our country since President Trump took office. When all these people complain about his “style,” I see his accomplishments.

We expect our presidents to act with decorum and style. What has that accomplished over the past 20-plus years? Trump just does it, and when the Left goes crazy, he simply throws Twitter gasoline on their phony indignation. I may not like his style, but I really do like his results. Maybe that’s why we “deplorables” voted for him. We got tired of talk and wanted some results.

In closing, let me give you something to chew on. In the New Testament, there is a very interesting passage in light of current events. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, made this statement: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (I Corinthians 1:27). If that doesn’t sound like the 2016 election results, I don’t know what does.

President Trump has been a disruptor to the status quo. He drives liberals absolutely crazy (some didn’t have that far to drive…) but he is getting things done. I believe God put Trump where he is today to shake things up a bit. King Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus the Persian ruler were not “godly people,” but God used them just the same.

Something to think about?



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

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


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Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive Leftism in government can be

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

The fundamental aim of all Leftist policy is to disrupt the lives of their fellow citizens -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- as much as possible

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

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

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)