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

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

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31 March, 2016

Why a Stanford grad joined the Trump revolt

Trump's reversal of GOP's anti-American free trade and immigration policies is drawing voters

Charlotte Allen

I went to Stanford, and I voted for Donald Trump. So did my husband. He went to Yale.

And so we spent more than three hours standing in line in Washington, D.C., to vote in the Republican presidential caucus on March 12. We suspected that this would be time spent quixotically, as Washington is the bull's-eye of the anti-Trump GOP political and intellectual establishment. Sure enough, establishment favorite Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida won the majority of the delegates, and Trump finished a poor third. Even so, we wanted to be part of the nationwide rebellion against the establishment that has resulted in Trump’s becoming the clear GOP front-runner practically everywhere else in America. And we weren’t alone. Trump is actually enjoying surprisingly strong support among highly educated people like us — and for good reason.

The common wisdom is that the majority of Trump’s supporters are barely literate knuckle-draggers. They’re “low-information,” in the words of Trump’s leading GOP rival nationwide, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. And it’s true that the largest education-level cohort among the Republicans who have consistently given Trump a double-digit lead in the primaries consists of people with high-school educations or less.

But in Massachusetts, home of Harvard and MIT and ranked as the No. 1 statefor residents possessing at least a bachelor’s degree, a CNN exit poll for the March 1 GOP primary showed Trump winning over 46% of voters with college degrees and even edging out Ohio “moderate” Gov. John Kasich (29% to 28%) among voters with postgraduate sheepskins. Exit polls in other states show similar results

For nearly 25 years — since President George H.W. Bush lost his bid for a second term in 1992 — the Republican Party has been unable to field a presidential candidate who could excite enough of its own party members to the ballot box so as to win a majority of the popular vote. (In the lone exception, George W. Bush squeaked by with 50.7% in 2004 in a patriotic surge after 9/11.) The main reason: the GOP establishment’s suicidally inexplicable but intractable commitment to “comprehensive immigration reform” (amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants and continued mass migration) and so-called free trade.

Voters of both political parties cite the U.S. economy, faltering since 2008, as one of their top concerns. And Republican voters can see perfectly well that it makes no sense to import around 400,000 illegal immigrants annually, the vast majority of them unskilled, into a labor market where, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the real unemployment rate is close to 10% if you count people who have given up looking for work because they can’t find it, or who are working part-time because they need the money but would prefer to work full-time. Furthermore, only the most Pollyanna-ish of economists would argue that unlimited immigration in a weak economy doesn’t depress wages.

Free trade is an elegant concept in the 18th century pages of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. The Portuguese export wine to Britain, and the British export woolen goods to Portugal — a win-win situation, your Econ 101 professor would say. In the real world of the 21st century, “free trade” means 25 years’ worth of treaties and arrangements in which the U.S. hews to the Smith playbook while China, for example, puts its thumb onto the scales via rock-bottom wages, allegedly ignored labor violations, poison-level air and water pollution and a manipulated currency. And free trade hasn’t exactly delivered Smith’s promised export benefits to the U.S. We currently run an almost $366 billion trade deficit with China alone and a $484.1 billion trade deficit worldwide.



Supreme Hypocrisy

Thomas Sowell

If there is one thing that is bipartisan in Washington, it is brazen hypocrisy.

Currently there is much indignation being expressed by Democrats because the Republican-controlled Senate refuses to hold confirmation hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Democrats complain, and the media echo their complaint, that it is the Senate’s duty to provide “advice and consent” on the President’s appointment of various federal officials. Therefore, according to this claim, the Senate is neglecting its Constitutional duty by refusing even to hold hearings to determine whether the nominee is qualified, and then vote accordingly.

First of all, the “advice and consent” provision of the Constitution is a restriction on the President’s power, not an imposition of a duty on the Senate. It says nothing about the Senate’s having a duty to hold hearings, or vote, on any Presidential nominee, whether for the Supreme Court or for any other federal institution. The power to consent is the power to refuse to consent, and for many years no hearings were held, whether the Senate consented or did not consent.

Nor have Democrats hesitated, when they controlled the Senate, to refuse to hold hearings or to vote when a lame-duck President nominated someone for some position requiring Senate confirmation during a Presidential election year.

When the shoe was on the other foot, the Republicans made the same arguments as the Democrats are making today, and the Democrats made the same arguments as the Republicans are now making.

The obvious reason, in both cases, is that the party controlling the Senate wants to save the appointment for their own candidate for the Presidency to make after winning the upcoming election. The rest is political hypocrisy on both sides.

None of this is new. It was already well-known 40 years ago, when President Gerald Ford nominated me to become one of the commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission during the 1976 Presidential election year.

After months passed without any hearings being held, I went to see the chief legislative aide of the committee that was responsible for confirming or denying. When the two of us were alone, he said to me, quite frankly, “We’ve gone over your record with a fine tooth comb and can find nothing to object to. So we are simply not going to hold hearings at all.”

“If this were not an election year,” he said, “your nomination would have sailed right through. But we think our man is going to win the Presidential election this year, and we want him to nominate someone in tune with our thinking.”

Various Democrats who are currently denouncing the Republican Senate, including Vice President Biden, have used very similar arguments against letting lame-duck Republican Presidents appoint Supreme Court justices.

Last week, the New York Times ran a front-page “news” story about something Chief Justice John Roberts had said, more than a month ago, prior to the death of Justice Scalia, under the headline “Stern Rebuke For Senators.”

Since Justice Scalia was still alive then, and there was no Supreme Court vacancy to fill at the time, Chief Justice Roberts' remarks had nothing to do with the current controversy. Nor were these remarks news after such a long lapse of time. But this was part of a pattern of the New York Times' disguising editorials as front-page news stories.

In short, the political hypocrisy was matched by journalistic hypocrisy. Indeed, there was more than a little judicial hypocrisy in Chief Justice Roberts' complaint that Senate confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominees do not confine themselves to the nominees' judicial qualifications, rather than their conservative or liberal orientations.

If judges confined themselves to acting like judges, instead of legislating from the bench, creating new “rights” out of thin air that are nowhere to be found in the Constitution, maybe Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees would not be such bitter and ugly ideological battles.

Chief Justice Roberts himself practically repealed the 10th Amendment’s limitation on federal power when he wrote the decision that the government could order us all to buy ObamaCare insurance policies. When judges act like whores, they can hardly expect to be treated like nuns.

Politicians, journalists and judges should all spare us pious hypocrisy.



Confirmed: Brussels Terror Suspect Was "Migrant Activist"?

It is truly amazing how tone deaf Barack Obama is. After going to a baseball game with communists and terrorists instead of tending to an international terror attack, now Barack Obama has announced that logic be damned, he is going to bring more Middle Eastern refugees into the country than ever before.

One of the alleged Brussels terrorists was literally a prominent migrant activist. By day, Faycal Cheffou advocated for open borders and bringing in more refugees. By night, he was apparently building bombs to kill the very people who welcomed them in.

The problem is obvious: the West is bringing in “refugees” and migrants who are literally hell-bent on killing people.

It is just like what is happening at our Southern border. Everyone who crosses our border isn’t a hardened criminal. But enough of them are that we must lock it down. The same applies to Barack Obama’s refugee plans.

Here’s the problem: the votes aren’t there to stop Obama from bringing refugees here. Congress tried pushing through the American SAFE Act late last year. This bill would have cut off refugee funding until the Obama administration ran full background checks on them.

Democrats shot it down. They aren’t even willing to pause the program to keep us safe, there is no way they would shut it down entirely. But we can force them to change it.

Earlier this month, both Congress and the Obama administration declared that ISIS is committing Genocide against Syrian Christians and religious minorities. We can use this to make sure that Barack Obama can’t bring any more terrorists here!

Don’t let Obama bring ISIS terrorists here as refugees! Force Congress to pass the Religious Persecution Relief Act before it’s too late!

Australia, for example, is now going to be minimizing the number of Sunni men that it accepts as refugees and prioritize Syrian Christians for admittance.

It really is common sense. If the goal was to keep Americans safe, then whatever refugee program we have should prioritize bringing in people who don’t want to kill us.

But that is not the goal. Barack Obama’s goal is to bring as many refugees here as possible regardless of the consequences. This is fatal political correctness.

Efforts to defund Obama’s refugee program have failed. The votes weren’t there. But is we can force Congress to pass the Religious Persecution Relief Act of 2016. This would force the Obama administration to prioritize Syrian Christians and minorities for admittance into the US as refugees.

We’re already hearing that the Brussels attack was simply a test-run for much larger attacks in Europe and even in the United States.

Right now, as you read this, there are terrorists posing as refugees trying to get into the United States. They are interviewing and hiding their true intentions from US immigration officials and Obama is more than happy to let them in.

The Religious Persecution Relief Act of 2016 won’t fix all of our problems, but it will ensure that Barack Obama only brings into the country people who are truly grateful to be here.

There were migrants involved in the Paris attacks. Migrants were involved in the Brussels attacks.

How much longer are we going to pretend that Obama isn’t bringing the same violence here?



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


30 March, 2016

Islam needs a Reformation, unlikely though that is

What may be a surprise, especially to those who haven’t completely read the Old Testament, is that the Bible is every bit as violent as the Koran. There are thirty six (36!!) different offenses in the Bible which qualify for capital punishment. Here are a few of them; — cursing parents, working on the Sabbath, premarital Sex (girls only), disobedience (boys only), worshipping any god but Yahweh, witches, loose daughters of clergy, girls who are raped within the city limits, blasphemers, anyone who proselytizes Yahweh worshipers to a different religion, men who lie with men, adulterers, men who lie with beasts.

(References: Leviticus 20:9 — Exodus 31:15 — Deuteronomy 22:20 — Deuteronomy 21:18 — Deuteronomy 17:2-5 — Exodus 22: 18 — Leviticus 21:9 — Deuteronomy 22:23-25 — Leviticus 24:16 — Deuteronomy 12:6 — Leviticus 20:13 — Leviticus 20: 10-12 — Leviticus 20:15)

It’s in the Bible. God’s word! These are commandments, NOT suggestions. So, in the last two thousand years how many children who have cursed their parents has Christianity put to death? I believe the correct answer is …. zero. In America, Christianity has killed people for only one of the above offenses; about 20 people were executed for witchcraft in Salem, MA., and that was about 325 years ago.

The most logical question to ask is, “Why aren’t Christians faithfully obeying God’s commandments in the same manner and fervor as Muslims obey the Koran? Are we less faithful?” The answer to that can be found in The Reformation.


My intent is not to turn this into a doctrinal essay so, I’ll keep this brief … a view from 50,000 feet. None of what follows is a criticism of Catholicism. Rather, it is an indictment of human nature when fallible and weak humans are given unlimited power. 

In the 1,500 years prior to the Reformation there was but one church – the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). How, what, when, and where to worship and believe was determined entirely by a small group of elite leaders, culminating with the Pope. Popes eventually became as powerful, if not more powerful, than kings. Corruption became the norm. They lived in splendor, and the people in squalor.

And then one day, along came Martin Luther – and he changed everything. Albeit, not without much violence and bloodshed — for those in power never ever give up their place in the universe without first inflicting even more pain and horror than ever before on the poor souls under their thumb. Reformation and suffering work in tandem.

At the heart of the Reformation was the desire to answer four basic questions;

—- 1) How is a person saved?

—- 2) Where does religious authority lie?

—- 3) What is the church?

—- 4) What is the essence of Christian living?

The answers to those questions — which changed everything by uprooting the monolithic power of the RCC — is summed up in the 5 “Sola” declarations;

 —-1) “Sola Scriptura” (Scripture Alone) —- Affirms that the Bible alone is the sole authority for all matters of faith and practice.

—-2) “Sola Gratia” (Salvation by Grace Alone) —- Affirms that salvation from God’s wrath is by God’s grace alone. Grace is the sole efficient cause of salvation which raises us up from spiritual death to spiritual life.

—-3) “Sola Fide” (Salvation by Faith Alone) —- Affirms justification is by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. Nothing man can do on his own will save him.

—- 4) “Solus Christus” (In Christ Alone) —- Affirms that salvation is found in Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our reconciliation to God the Father.

—- 5) “Soli Deo Gloria” (For the Glory of God Alone) —- Affirms that salvation is of God and has been accomplished by God for His glory alone.


Ok, great! So, what does this all mean? I’ll tell you. Hold tight and read carefully for comprehension because this is extremely important.

1)— The Reformation laid down once and for all the right and obligation of the individual conscience, and the right to follow the dictates of that individual conscience. Do you grasp what this means? In one word ….. Liberty! We in the West talk a good talk about “liberty”, but too few realize and understand that they owe their liberty to this event.

2)— Individual conscience allowed believers to reconsider how the Word of God was received, and its effectual operation in their lives. For the first time in hundreds of centuries people of faith could read for themselves how God chose to reveal himself in the written Word which, according to 2 Timothy 3:16 is as follows; — “All Scripture is INSPIRED by God ..”.   No longer did they have to believe that every single word of the Bible was dictated by God (as Islam believes about the Koran) which only an elite clergy could interpret.

3)— By understanding that Scripture was inspired, and not dictated, this allowed believers to “re-interpret” Bible verses and even entire passages without fear that they were altering God’s Word

 4)— The ability to “re-interpret” Scripture without fear of being banned as a heretic led to an avalanche of scholarly work. New ideas, previously suppressed by the brute authority of the RCC, now flourished in vast abundance. Human brains, previously dormant for 1,500 years, were once again put to use. (See “Special Note” below.)

 5)— One of the very most important of these (many) new ideas was that God works differently in different eras. God is not like a rigid stone but, rather, has a heart of flesh. So, while the death penalty for many sins may have been sufficient and necessary at one time during the Age of Law, that same death penalty was totally unnecessary in the Age of Grace. 

 THAT, dear friends, is why Christians no longer kill adulterers. And, as  the lack of all of the above is why Islam still does.



1,000 words

This picture may suggest the reason why Russia is not overrun and is rarely the victim of ISIS attacks. I'm sure that the ladies  are lovely but this is a War between Freedom and Slavery, Life and Death. I guess they missed that meeting?


The neurotic generation

There is something worse than ignorance, and that is unwarranted fear.

A new study concludes that Millennials should be renamed the “anxious generation.” This is matched by my experience as a teacher of two decades. Even in this short time I’ve noticed students in the past few years have tended to be more neurotic, and emotionally delicate, than any I’ve ever encountered.

When people get heated about imaginary threats — when they constantly cry wolf — that not only gets trying, it generates stress and anxiety. When the tenth fire alarm drill blares in one day but everything is obviously fine, in fact better than ever, it becomes galling and one simply ignores the alarm.

Those who think each fire alarm might be real are in genuine emotional distress.

In 1978 Jim Jones convinced over 900 members of his socialist People’s Temple to commit mass suicide in the jungle of Guyana. Jones’s idealism was a large part of what made him so lethal. He really believed his propaganda. It was regular for Jones to play his emergency recording at the Temple compound, “White Night! White Night! Get to the pavilion! Run! Your lives are in danger!”

The People’s Temple teaches us something about the danger of being in a constant state of tension, afraid that the end of the world may come at any moment.

While many nations now enjoy prosperity unprecedented in history, for many people in those nations the early twenty-first century brings with it freezing despair and lack of confidence that this prosperity can continue much longer. Increasingly these days there have been louder cries that societal collapse is coming.

According to Gallup polls Americans are pessimistic about the future. A Pew survey of 47 nations found a general increase in the percentage of people citing pollution and environmental problems as a top global threat.

Given the overwhelming media prevalence of what Bjørn Lomborg calls ‘The Litany,’ maybe it should not be surprising that people are anxious.

“We are all familiar,” says Lomborg, “with the litany of our ever-deteriorating environment. It is the doomsday message endlessly repeated by the media, as when Time magazine tells us that ‘everyone knows the planet is in bad shape.’ We have heard the litany so often that yet another repetition is, well, almost reassuring.”

At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference President Obama offered his version of the Litany: “a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it. Submerged countries. Abandoned cities. Fields that no longer grow. Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.”

It is hard to think beyond the clanging and relentless deluge of fire alarms from important people.

As perception of danger increases people will worry more, leading to more enthusiasm for reporting the concern, and so to more fear. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 13 percent of the population are on antidepressants and the number is climbing.

It is difficult enough to question, let alone resist, an idea taught to the exclusion of others from kindergarten through university, printed in newspapers and magazines, and seen and heard multiple times each day on television and radio.

Young people are particularly at risk from this epidemic of fear. They are the first generation raised from cradle to grave on a constant diet of global warming fears.

And they are afraid. Very afraid.

A recent study finds millennials are more anxious and depressed than any generation since measurements began in the 1930s. They are being force fed lies. And so we find in the first quarter of the twenty-first century we live in a world where many people find it difficult to disentangle reality from fantasy. Could constant cries of environmental disaster blasted into their ears play a role?

Bear in mind that net warming anomaly the alarmists claim causes these upheavals amounts to a minuscule 0.6–0.8 °C in 100 years. Never mind that the very best climate models simulate two to three times observed warming and that none predicted that for about 20 years there’s been no warming trend apparent in NASA’s satellite records, the most reliable because the least contaminated and least “adjusted.”

“How extraordinary!” said the political scientist Aaron Wildavsky, “The richest, longest lived, best-protected, most resourceful civilization, with the highest degree of insight into its own technology, is on the way to becoming the most frightened.”

We seem to have arrived.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


29 March, 2016

Why Hillary Clinton Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump:  A Leftist view

I am putting up the excerpt below primarily as entertainment.  It is by John Pilger, the Dr. Goebbels of the extreme Left.  He routinely lies, fabricates and distorts until he has turned reality on its head.  But there is an element of truth in what he says at times so I thought his very "alternative" Leftist view was worth some airing.  He does have a point in that, as Pat Buchanan often reminds us, American conservatism is traditionally isolationist.  America's wars have mostly been initiated by Democrat presidents.   The original article is very long-winded in the usual Leftist way but I think my condensation conveys the essence of it

How many people are aware that a world war has begun? At present, it is a war of propaganda, of lies and distraction, but this can change instantaneously with the first mistaken order, the first missile.

In 2009, President Obama stood before an adoring crowd in the centre of Prague, in the heart of Europe. He pledged himself to make “the world free from nuclear weapons”. People cheered and some cried. A torrent of platitudes flowed from the media. Obama was subsequently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was all fake. He was lying.

The Obama administration has built more nuclear weapons, more nuclear warheads, more nuclear delivery systems, more nuclear factories. Nuclear warhead spending alone rose higher under Obama than under any American president. The cost over thirty years is more than $1 trillion.

A mini nuclear bomb is planned. It is known as the B61 Model 12. There has never been anything like it. General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said, “Going smaller [makes using this nuclear]weapon more thinkable.”

In the last eighteen months, the greatest build-up of military forces since World War Two – led by the United States – is taking place along Russia’s western frontier. Not since Hitler invaded the Soviet Union have foreign troops presented such a demonstrable threat to Russia....

In the circus known as the American presidential campaign, Donald Trump is being presented as a lunatic, a fascist. He is certainly odious; but he is also a media hate figure. That alone should arouse our scepticism.

Trump’s views on migration are grotesque, but no more grotesque than those of David Cameron. It is not Trump who is the Great Deporter from the United States, but the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.

According to one prodigious liberal commentator, Trump is “unleashing the dark forces of violence” in the United States. Unleashing them?

This is the country where toddlers shoot their mothers and the police wage a murderous war against black Americans. This is the country that has attacked and sought to overthrow more than 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed from Asia to the Middle East, causing the deaths and dispossession of millions of people.

No country can equal this systemic record of violence. Most of America’s wars (almost all of them against defenceless countries) have been launched not by Republican presidents but by liberal Democrats: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.

In 1947, a series of National Security Council directives described the paramount aim of American foreign policy as “a world substantially made over in [America’s] own image”. The ideology was messianic Americanism. We were all Americans. Or else. Heretics would be converted, subverted, bribed, smeared or crushed.

Donald Trump is a symptom of this, but he is also a maverick. He says the invasion of Iraq was a crime; he doesn’t want to go to war with Russia and China. The danger to the rest of us is not Trump, but Hillary Clinton. She is no maverick. She embodies the resilience and violence of a system whose vaunted “exceptionalism” is totalitarian with an occasional liberal face.

As presidential election day draws near, Clinton will be hailed as the first female president, regardless of her crimes and lies – just as Barack Obama was lauded as the first black president and liberals swallowed his nonsense about “hope”. And the drool goes on.

Described by the Guardian columnist Owen Jones as “funny, charming, with a coolness that eludes practically every other politician”, Obama the other day sent drones to slaughter 150 people in Somalia. He kills people usually on Tuesdays, according to the New York Times, when he is handed a list of candidates for death by drone. So cool.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran with nuclear weapons. As Secretary of State under Obama, she participated in the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras. Her contribution to the destruction of Libya in 2011 was almost gleeful. When the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, was publicly sodomised with a knife – a murder made possible by American logistics – Clinton gloated over his death: “We came, we saw, he died.”

One of Clinton’s closest allies is Madeleine Albright, the former Secretary of State, who has attacked young women for not supporting “Hillary”. This is the same Madeleine Albright who infamously celebrated on TV the death of half a million Iraqi children as “worth it”.

Among Clinton’s biggest backers are the Israel lobby and the arms companies that fuel the violence in the Middle East. She and her husband have received a fortune from Wall Street. And yet, she is about to be ordained the women’s candidate, to see off the evil Trump, the official demon. Her supporters include distinguished feminists: the likes of Gloria Steinem in the US and Anne Summers in Australia.

A generation ago, a post-modern cult now known as “identity politics” stopped many intelligent, liberal-minded people examining the causes and individuals they supported – such as the fakery of Obama and Clinton; such as bogus progressive movements like Syriza in Greece, which betrayed the people of that country and allied with their enemies.

In the US, Bernie Sanders has promised to support Clinton if or when she’s nominated. He, too, has voted for America’s use of violence against countries when he thinks it’s “right”. He says Obama has done “a great job”.



Is Detente between Trump and the GOP Establishment on the Horizon?


That Donald Trump and the GOP establishment have not been getting along may be the understatement of the year. George Will -- a respected writer and intellectual leader of that establishment -- is one of the many suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome who often misconstrue or seem to almost deliberately misrepresent what Trump is saying. In return, Trump has not always been very nice to them.

Regarding the current Supreme Court vacancy, Will said on this weekend's Fox News Sunday: "If Trump is president, we'll have to guess who will be the nominee."

He said substantially the same thing in a recent column ("Do Republicans really think Donald Trump will make a good Supreme Court choice?"). Will asked the question partly in support of his contention Republicans should abjure the "Biden rule" and hold hearings on the nomination of Merrick Garland and partly from his undisguised contempt for Donald Trump.

But in so doing Will has indeed "misrepresented" Trump, who not only has spoken of his ideal nominee on several occasions as the "reincarnation" of Antonin Scalia, but has even specified the names of real potential nominees, something candidates rarely do this far before nomination.

The two possible SCOTUS nominees mentioned by Trump (as someone as well-informed as Will must have known) are William H Pryor, Jr. and Diane S. Sykes, both U.S. Court of Appeals judges (different circuits), both George W. Bush appointments, and both conservatives. Pryor is known for his opposition to Roe v. Wade. Sykes -- who was already short-listed for the Supreme Court by Bush -- is a defender of the Second Amendment known for granting a preliminary injunction against Chicago's ban on firing ranges.

If Will has an objection to either of these people, I am not aware of it. To his credit, Trump mentioned their names as suggestions, cognizant, as he should have been, that actual nominations were premature at this point. He wanted to give the public an idea of his thinking, which in many cases apparently fell on deaf ears.

Will and others are suffering from such acute Trump Derangement Syndrome that they don't allow themselves to acknowledge the obvious -- most of Trump's views, his current ones anyway, fall well within the conservative mainstream. To admit this would be fatal to the #NeverTrump cause. It also would mean, let's be honest, a loss of power for them. A whole network from pundits to lobbyists, a whole Beltway lifestyle, is at risk even more with Trump than it is with Ted Cruz.

This is a very real problem, which in truth deserves some sympathy. These people have devoted their entire lives to the governing of this country in good conscience, some of them anyway. Many feel under assault -- and to a great degree they are. But we don't need a "revolution," peaceful or otherwise, as Bernie Sanders is suggesting.  We just need a thorough housecleaning and retrofitting. (Spring cleaning, not "Democracy Spring.") A lot of cobwebs and rust have set in. Far too much of our government runs by habit and, as everyone knows, it has grown way too big. Our military is in decline. But not everybody has to be thrown out. Trump is not and should not be Robespierre.Trump and George Will should be talking, not fighting. They both have much to learn from each other.



Court Slaps Down IRS for Stonewalling Investigation

It's been nearly three years since the story of the IRS targeting and harassing conservative nonprofit organizations broke, but the investigation into what actually happened is ongoing and resulted in an important court ruling this week. One reason the task of finding out who knew what has taken so long is that the IRS has been resolutely uncooperative with the investigation, from the claims that documents had been lost or destroyed, to outright refusals to provide relevant evidence.

Tuesday, a federal court called shenanigans on the agency's tactics, ordering the IRS to turn over spreadsheets indicating which groups were targeted. Judge Raymond Kethledge gave agency administrators a tongue lashing, arguing that the accusation of targeting of specific groups for political purposes are "among the most serious allegations a federal court can address."

Executive Director of FreedomWorks Foundation Curt Levey, who heads the organization’s regulatory reform project, commented, "It's refreshing to see the courts confirm what we have long known to be true: that the IRS has been actively obstructing this investigation from the beginning. The IRS is just another example of what happens when federal agencies, run by unelected bureaucrats, are given too much power. The lack of accountability inevitably leads to abuses by bureaucrats who come to believe they are above the law. The solution is to restore the constitutional separation of powers, under which agencies would be limited to faithfully executing the law.”

The lack of transparency and corrective action at the IRS is one of the main drivers behind FreedomWorks' campaign to impeach Commissioner John Koskinen, who took over the agency shortly after the targeting scandal emerged and has failed to do anything to uncover the truth or correct the problems. According to the Government Accountability Office, Koskinen failed to implement needed reforms to prevent targeting, and indeed, may still be continuing the practice of targeting conservative groups to this day. The GAO report states: “The control deficiencies increase the risk of selecting organizations for audit in an unfair manner — for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.” The congressional effort to impeach Koskinen is being led by House Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Ron DeSantis (R-FL)

The federal ruling confirming the corruption of the IRS highlights the need to reduce the power of the agency through fundamental tax reform. The scope of the IRS's power has far exceeded its basic function of revenue collection, as evidenced by the agency’s ability to persecute Americans based on their political or religious beliefs. Recently, the agency was also given extended authority over Americans' health care choices, having been put in charge of implementing various ObamaCare taxes and penalties. Deleting the federal tax code and replacing it with a simple flat tax would automatically eliminate a great deal of bureaucracy, opportunity for abuse, and by extension, corruption.

Until then, we intend to continue holding the IRS's feet to the fire to demand transparency and accountability for its misdeeds.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news about black crime, Trump and Christianity


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


28 March, 2016

Will the Left try to sabotage Trump?

The one glimmer of hope for those who hope to stop the real estate mogul is that with Rubio out, the battle for the nomination becomes a much clearer fight with Cruz. One which the Texan has been hoping to set up since the SEC Super Tuesday primaries.

But it is Trump with the momentum, and the luxury to turn his sights to the general election while Cruz, will need to claw for every delegate. Still this is a two-man race between Trump and Cruz now.

However, there is one major wild card in the race and that is the Bernie Sanders supported efforts to disrupt the GOP nomination process by placing trained protesters into rallies and seeking to paint the Republican candidates in a negative light as the socialists attempt to provoke responses for the ready television cameras.

Trained on the streets for years, funded by George Soros amongst others, and encouraged by President Barack Obama and Sanders himself, these street activists will attempt to define the Republican candidates as intolerant while seeking to intimidate and shut down their opponent's free speech rights. The pernicious goal of this odd stew of 60s radicals, millennial hipsters, student dead enders, Black Lives Matter anti-police activists, La Raza open borders advocates and Muslims is to disrupt the political process.

Encouraged by the dangerous and false meme that anyone who opposes unfettered illegal immigration is a racist, and anyone who points out that letting tens of thousands of Muslims from Middle Eastern countries that don't like America is not wise in this time of terrorism gone wild is a religious bigot, this unstable motley crew has all the earmarks of being 21st century brown shirts. All the while justifying their intolerance with the same end justifies the means mental gymnastics that has fueled every fascist or communist regime in history.

Ultimately, no matter who is the GOP nominee, it is important that everyone from the disparate wings of the party join together around the eventual winner to push back the tide of hate coming from the professional left. In 2016, we are seeing the fruits of President Obama's seven years of using the government to attack his political opponents, and of a Justice Department that labels stopping voter fraud racism. 

With the Supreme Court in the balance, and our nation's very future at stake, the gulf that separates some Republicans from their eventual nominee is like an unnamed stream when compared to the Mississippi River like divide between any of the Republicans and either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

As the primary campaign becomes a mano y mano affair between Trump and Cruz, voters need to remember that stopping Hillary from getting the presidency is job one, and no matter the flaws, any of the Republican candidates would be immeasurably better stewards of our nation's course.

So even as the GOP struggles toward finalizing their nominee, remember that no matter the emotions now, it would be the height of petulance to fail to join together to beat Clinton.



Even with their famous health insurance (Romneycare), Mass. residents often can’t afford care

Nearly all Massachusetts adults have health insurance, but being insured is no guarantee patients can afford health care or even find someone to provide it, according to a survey released Wednesday.

Despite the state’s landmark health care overhaul, the report found, cost and access remain problems for a significant share of residents.

The 2006 law, which became the model for the federal Affordable Care Act, quickly succeeded at its main goal: ensuring coverage for nearly all residents. But the survey by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation shows access remains a concern, especially for those with low incomes or health problems.

More than one-third of adults younger than 65 reported going without needed health care despite having insurance. Nearly half had trouble getting access to a health-care professional. One-fifth struggled to pay family medical bills or medical debts from previous years.

The foundation, which has conducted the survey almost every year since 2006, has repeatedly identified these problems. Their persistence echoes difficulties seen nationwide, as medical costs continue to rise and insurance policies require consumers to pay a greater share in deductibles and copays.

Those out-of-pocket costs represent "a new health care agenda," said Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit focusing on national health issues. "It’s not just accessing care, but assuring that people can afford the care they now have access to.

"What we see in survey after survey we do — a significant percentage of people that have coverage also have medical bills that are a real burden for them," he said. "Those medical bills ripple through the family budget."

Audrey Shelto, Blue Cross foundation president, emphasized that people with insurance have better access to care than those who don’t.  "But," she said, "the affordability issues are clearly still haunting us both in terms of how it impacts individuals and in terms of the overall system."

The architects of the law deliberately focused on coverage rather than costs, in order to get it passed, she said. In 2012, the state adopted a sweeping law intended to control costs, but Shelto said the law hasn’t yet had much effect.

"It’s going to take more time," she said. "The issues around affordability are much more complex than access and coverage."

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of the advocacy group Health Care for All, praised the foundation for shining a light on these shortcomings. "The report points to barriers to care that we need to pay attention to," she said.

The telephone survey, conducted Sept. 8 to Nov. 8 by the Urban Institute, questioned a random sample of 2,014 people ages 19 to 64. Nearly 96 percent said they had health insurance at that time, up from 86 percent in 2006 and better than the 2015 national rate of 87 percent.

Just over 37 percent of adults who were insured the full year reported going without needed health care — including doctor’s visits, tests, screenings, medications, and dental care. Among people with low incomes, more than 50 percent reported unmet health care needs. In a question asked for the first time, the survey found that a quarter of adults do not have dental insurance.

The proportion of people who had problems paying medical bills has declined slightly since 2006. Still, 43 percent said that in 2015, health care costs had caused problems for them and their families, including 19 percent who went without needed care as a result. The problem was more severe among low- and moderate-income adults and people with health problems.

"If you have low income, it’s harder to find providers who accept your type of coverage," Shelto said. "If you have a chronic condition, the array of services you need are much more complex and numerous." Additionally, low-income people are more likely to have difficulties finding child care and transportation.

Low-income people are often eligible for MassHealth, which in most cases does not have copays and deductibles. But many low-income people receive insurance through an employer, said Brian Rosman, research director at Health Care for All, and may not be aware they’re eligible for premium subsidies through MassHealth, the state Medicaid program. But help with premiums still doesn’t solve the problem of high deductibles and copays.

The survey also pointed to problems accessing care. Among adults who had insurance for the entire previous year, 47 percent said they’d had trouble getting in to see a health care professional, because they could not find a provider who accepted their insurance or was accepting new patients, or because they couldn’t get an appointment as soon as needed. This problem has worsened over time.

Nearly 86 percent said they had a place where they usually go for care. Even so, one-third of respondents reported visiting a hospital emergency department at least once in the previous year — half for a condition that was not an emergency.

Why are people having trouble getting medical appointments in a state teeming with physicians?

Dr. Dennis M. Dimitri, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said many doctors don’t work full time at patient care, instead pursuing research and teaching. Additionally, the problem varies by region, with doctor shortages in Western and Southeastern Massachusetts and on Cape Cod.

Another issue is the shortage, nationally and locally, of primary care doctors, who are the entry point to health care. Doctors with huge medical school debts often prefer higher-paying specialties, and general practice is sometimes regarded as "thankless and unglamorous," said Dimitri, who is a family practice doctor.

Massachusetts also loses out because the state’s five family practice residency programs have slots for only about 50 new doctors-in-training each year.



“Trudeau has chosen sides. He sides with Islam”

Ezra Levant

Almost alone in the western world, Justin Trudeau and his Liberals are not only unconcerned about Islamic terrorism, they’re dismantling what protections Canada already has. It’s nuts.

In Europe, some people are waking up. As Daniel Pipes told us the other day, anti-Islam parties are on the rise. Meanwhile, the central issue in the U.S. Republican primaries is border control.

But Trudeau is starving our counter-terrorism agencies of funding, cutting our military and relaxing anti-terrorism laws.

(It's not just Trudeau. Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan wouldn’t even make a statement after the Brussels attack, saying he was too busy getting pizza for his kids...)

And then there’s the Muslim migrants: 50,000 a year for four years, coming from the most sexist, anti-Semitic, violent places in the world, and Trudeau doesn’t care, because he’s on their side. He told us that himself.

You can’t do this for long without a taste of Brussels coming to Canada.



One photo can tell a lot

There’s a particular photo that went around the world. That of the little boy lying dead on the beach.

It is true that the photo is very sad and makes you reflect on the distress of these people fleeing their country at the risk of their lives.

Above, a photo showing some people walking to reach the final objective, to live in a European country.

Even if this photo is making it around the world, only 1% of the people will notice the truth.

On the photo,  there are 7 men and 1 woman. Up to this point – nothing special.

But in observing a bit closer, you will notice that the woman is in bare feet, accompanied by 3 children, and of the 3, she is carrying 2.

There is the problem, none of the men are helping her, because in their culture the woman represents nothing.  She is only good to be a slave to the men.

Do you really believe that these particular individuals could integrate  into our societies and countries and respect our customs, traditions and values????


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


27 March, 2016

Do we need a civilizational regress to deal with militant Islam?

"At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for our feith at Tramissene"

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote that about 600 years ago in the English of his day.  Even then the enemy was Muslim.  Tramissene was a Moorish kingdom in North Africa

The modern Western world, however, is in no mood to fight for its faith, mainly because it doesn't have one, or, more precisely, it has a multiplicity of faiths, including Leftism.  But we are surely keen to fight to ensure the safety of ourselves and our families.  But the recent atrocities in Brussels suggest that we are losing the fight.  Any of us could get struck down at any time by Islamic hate.

And the reason we are losing is clear.  We have only recently gained peace and civility in the Western world and we want to hang on to that.  If a group of people attack us, we no longer strike back in kind but attempt to deal with the harassment using police methods only.  We have reached the highest level of civilization the world has ever seen and we don't want to depart from the high levels of civility and tolerance that go with that.

But from the Vikings to Nazi Germany to the Bosnian Serbs our ancestors and relatives have been just as bloodthirsty as ISIS.  Take a look at the guy below.  He could be the grandfather of any of us, could he not?

He is Radovan Karadzic, former leader of the Bosnian Serbs who in the '90s committed atrocities just as bad as any done by ISIS.  And his Slavic genes are undoubtedly widespread in America.  And his wobbly Christianity is familiar enough too.  There is a lot of wobbly Christianity in America.

So there is no doubt that it would take only a small civilizational regress for us to be as merciless to the Muslims as they are to us.  And once we decided to abandon our present peaceful ways, it would take very little to squash Muslim aggression for a very long time.  A nuclear device detonated over Raqqa or Mecca or both would probably be enough to convince Muslims to pull their heads in.  And if not, there are plenty of other Muslim cities .....  The main reason we do not do that is that innocent, non-combatant people would die in such blasts.  But the Jihadis show absolute disregard for our innocent men, women and children so they certainly provoke tit for tat.

Our attachment to the high level of peace and civilization that we have only recently attained is strong -- as is shown by the huge amount of Muslim aggression that we have so far tolerated.  But I think that our tolerance is not limitless so we may have to take a temporary step down to an earlier level of civilization to deal with the Muslim menace effectively.  Winston Churchill killed tens of thousands of German non-combatant men, women and children in his fire bombings of Dresden and Hamburg -- and the deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were mostly civilian.  So the step back would be only a small one -- and hopefully very temporary.

A SMALL CLARIFICATION: A good Serbian friend, Rich Kozlovich, was disturbed that I was disrespecting Serbs above.  My intention was quite different.  I see Karadzic as just a normal European person in a particular situation, not unlike President Truman, who burnt hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians to death with nuclear weapons.  I should have mentioned that it was Muslims whom the Serbs were savaging.  And in what they did to the Muslims they were only doing what Muslims had in the past done to them.  What the Muslims did in the past can, I think, be readily deduced from what they are doing in Syria right now.


Australian refugee intake will minimise single Sunni men, favour Christians

Is Australia the only country in the world with a sane refugee policy?

Australia will minimise its intake of single Sunni men as it vets the 12,000 Syrian refugees the government has pledged to take from Syria, prioritising instead Christian family groups who can never return home.

Mr Dutton also drew a connection between Australia’s migration program and homegrown extremists, many of whom have been second-generation Lebanese or Afghan migrants.

“We have a problem in this country with second or third-­generation new Australians and people that are radicalising online, people who believe that they owe some ­allegiance to another part of the world.’’

Mr Dutton said so far fewer than 100 of the 12,000 refugees Australia had pledged to take from war-ravaged Syria or northern Iraq had arrived in the country.

The government has said it would prioritise persecuted min­orities in choosing the 12,000, widely understood to be code for non-­Islamic migrants.

Christian groups, such as Yaz­idis, who have been massacred and enslaved by Islamic State in northern Iraq, will be given preference, partly because — unlike Sunni groups — they will never be able to return to their homes.

Authorities will largely pass over refugees from high-risk groups, such as single Sunni men.

The government has pledged to vet the 12,000 new migrants, subjecting them to biometric checks as well as checking their bona fides with Australia’s intelligence partners.



Rush Comes to Trump’s Defense With 1 Brutal Question That Leaves GOP Speechless

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh presented his listeners with a question that should leave the GOP in Washington ashamed.

In his radio program on Monday, Limbaugh pointed out that while the GOP announced a “100-day plan” to take out GOP front-runner Donald Trump, they have yet to come up with a 100-day plan to take out Democrat rival Hillary Clinton.

Limbaugh referenced an article in The New York Times that reported that the Republican establishment “adamantly” opposed Trump and was preparing a 100-day-plan to deny him the nomination, should it come down to that.

“Where was the GOP’s 100-day plan to take out Obama? Anybody remember that plan? Where’s the GOP’s 100-day plan to take out Hillary Clinton? Anybody heard of that plan?” he asked.

Limbaugh attempted to address this conundrum by saying that Trump winning the nomination, much less the presidency, would upset the current “club” mentality among Washington politicians — a club in which, regardless of what side of the aisle they’re on, they are taken care of.

“They’ve got each other’s back,” Limbaugh said. “Behind the scenes all there is is scheming that is designed to protect what they’ve got.  That’s more important than the party winning elections.”

While stopping Trump might ensure a Clinton victory, Limbaugh said the establishment in Washington was fine with that because it “maintains the existing order” —  an order that “is not based on winning elections,” he told listeners.

Limbaugh went on to say that what the GOP was trying to do to Trump proves that the party wasn’t interested in winning the presidency. They were more concerned with securing their jobs and positions than listening to voters.

An outsider like Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz presents too much of a risk to the status quo and, according to Limbaugh, that’s a risk they simply cannot take. However, it’s that very status quo that has voters so fired up.



Washington Post: “The horror in Brussels is a rebuke to Trump’s foreign policy”

The mainstream media gets more absurd by the day. When did Donald Trump become President? The policies he is advocating are not now being implemented, so there is no conceivable way that the Brussels jihad massacre can be blamed upon them, or taken as any indication that they would not be effective (which is not necessarily to say that they would be). After all, there is actually another fellow who is President of the United States right now; if the Brussels jihad massacre is a rebuke to anyone’s foreign policy, it is his and his alone. But the Washington Post, like the rest of the mainstream media, will never have the slightest negative word to say about the current occupant of the Oval Office, no matter how much he downplays the jihad threat and enables jihadis.



Government bloat

One sentence that tells readers “everything” they need to know about the failure of big government: And it’s not even the full sentence, just the bolded portion in this excerpt from a BuzzFeed story about how Belgium is trying to deal with terrorism.

    "One Belgian counterterrorism official told BuzzFeed News last week that due to the small size of the Belgian government and the huge numbers of open investigations…virtually every police detective and military intelligence officer in the country was focused on international jihadi investigations. …the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said. “It’s literally an impossible situation.”

When I read that sentence, my jaw dropped to the floor. Belgium has one of the biggest and most bloated governments in the world.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Go to the OECD’s collection of data and click on Table 25 and you’ll see that the public sector in Belgium consumes almost 54 percent of the nation’s economy. That’s bigger even than the size of government in Sweden and Italy.

So the notion that fighting terrorism is hampered by the “small size of the Belgian government” is utterly absurd.

The real problem is that politicians and bureaucrats have become so focused on redistributing money to various interest groups that there’s not enough attention given to fulfilling the few legitimate functions of government. Not just in Belgium, but all over the world. Here’s what I wrote on this issue back in 2012.

    "…today’s bloated welfare state interferes with and undermines the government’s ability to competently fulfill its legitimate responsibilities. Imagine, for instance, if we had the kind of limited federal government envisioned by the Founding Fathers and the “best and brightest” people in government – instead of being dispersed across a vast bureaucracy – were concentrated on protecting the national security of the American people. In that hypothetical world, I’m guessing something like the 9-11 attacks would be far less likely".

What I said about America back then is even more true about Belgium today. Big governments are clumsy and ineffective, and bigger governments are even more incompetent. There’s even scholarly research confirming that larger public sectors are associated with higher levels of inefficiency.

And the same point has been made by folks such as Mark Steyn and Robert Samuelson (though David Brooks inexplicably reaches the opposite conclusion).

The good news is that the American people have an instinctive understanding of the problem. When asked to describe the federal government, you’ll notice that “effective” and “efficient” are not the words people choose.

P.S. On a related note, I argued in a column from 2014 that the federal government should be much smaller so it could more effectively focus on genuine threats such as the Ebola virus.

P.S. It’s worth pointing out that Israel, which faces far greater security challenges than Belgium, manages to do a better job with a government that is not nearly as large.


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


25 March, 2016

What country music can tell us about Trump’s rural appeal

There's some good country music but I have just been listening to "Als geblueht der Kirschenbaum", sung by soprano Martina Serafin and written by  Carl Zeller around 100 years ago.  So amazing that such a wonderful song is now so little known.  Anyway, back to country music and country thinking:

Like just about everyone with a background in economics, I favour free trade.  It creates jobs as well as destroying them and it makes prices cheaper for everyone.  And Trump has a degree in economics. So one would expect him to support the Trans Pacific trade agreement. 

But on the other hand his base don't like such deals.  They see only that it loses Americans jobs.  So which way will Trump go?  I am fairly sure that he will scrap the TPP.  It's the only way for him to go politically and the TPP has fairly slender benefits for America anyhow.  It only frees up trade slightly. It mostly benefits the fat cats and cronies of Washington DC and Wall St. So scrapping the TPP will be a splendid bit of tokenism.  It will cost little but will confer great political credibility

Pundits in Washington are befuddled. Three weeks after the SEC primary and after the last southern votes were cast last week, they wonder: how did a brash New Yorker win the south? Save for Cruz winning Texas, most of the former Confederacy voted for Donald Trump. Rural America beyond the south is largely trending the same way.

More remarkable still is that Michigan, Illinois and even Massachusetts agree with their southern brethren. How often does the industrial north agree with the south in a Republican primary? These areas, north and south, have been fertile ground for an uprising because both are feeling the pain from bad economic policies; Mr. Trump did not plant the seeds of populism, but he is enjoying the harvest.

These places, particularly the south, have always had a populist streak, and country music has reflected it. From Merle Haggard merle haggardsinging about being laid off from the factory in 1973 in “If we make it through December” to its culmination in Celebrity Apprentice winner John Rich’s “Shutting Detroit Down” in 2009, rural America is not friendly to the globalization that it perceives is shipping jobs overseas. In the recent ALG-Pat Caddell poll, 59 percent of Republicans answered agreed that “Over the last two decades the free trade agreements signed by the United States with other countries were more a benefit to foreign countries.”

The chorus of Rich’s song captured the anger well:  “Because in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down, while the boss man takes his bonus paid jets on out of town. D.C.’s bailing out them bankers as the farmers auction ground. Yeah while they’re living up on Wall Street in that New York City town, here in the real world they’re shuttin’ Detroit down.” Does that sound like someone who would support the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact? After the bailouts and economic stagnation, is it any wonder rural America no longer trusts the government to negotiate on their behalf?

Rural America is still hurting, and globalization doesn’t have many rural fans. Why would it? According to the USDA, while rural unemployment has more or less correlated with metro unemployment, rural poverty is more prevalent than in metropolitan areas.  Ostensibly, this indicates that the rural American is having a harder time bouncing back than his urban counterpart. Why would they to chance losing more jobs to a bad trade deal?

Compare the above U.S. Department of Agriculture map with county breakdowns in the GOP primary contest, and you’ll see that Donald Trump has done well in most of the states that have purple spots. The process of transitioning from post-agrarian to industrial and then to post-industrial has been an ugly one for rural America, and particularly the south.

If there is a place where the rural south and industrial north converge, it’s Missouri, one of the last true Border States; it is a sort of microcosm of Trump’s support base. On the map, you see the southern half of the state, largely removed from Kansas City and St. Louis, has more in common with Arkansas than it does with the northern half of the state.

In Missouri, the population centers tended to go for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), including Kansas City, Springfield, Jefferson City, Columbia, Cape Girardeau and little Hannibal. Rural Missouri and St. Louis, which according to the St. Louis Fed was hit hard during the recession and lost a congressional district in the recent census, went to Donald Trump. Generally speaking, the western part of the state voted like Kansas, the eastern part like Illinois and the southern part like Arkansas; the former who voted for Cruz, the latter two who voted for Trump.

Even in the 1990’s and 2000’s when the nation had a better economy, this strain could be felt. It was expressed in songs like Alan Jackson’s “Little man” and Travis Tritt’s “Country ain’t country no more”. Both songs talk about the decline of small towns and farms, and drip with contempt about the new south’s developing their communities out of existence. This sort of “sentimental shame” as Merle Haggard called it, fuels the desire to hold on to what they have, and restore what they’ve lost.

Rural Americans have never liked the convoluted trade deals their politicians vote for; when they were polled about it in the recent ALG-Caddell poll, 72 percent, including 76 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement “The same political elite who have been rigging the political process in Washington are the same ones that have been rigging trade deals that hurt Americans, but benefit themselves.”

Instead, they are opting for the candidate that never held elected office, because they’ve had it with the insiders who rig trade deals against them. That sentiment isn’t just held in the south, but all over the nation.

Country music itself has changed. Many of the songs that now come out of Nashville are dirt road anthems that tend to be apolitical. On occasion, when country singers do engage in social commentary, the frustration with the economic status quo comes out. Listen close enough, and you can hear people who are tired of losing ground, and are fighting to preserve their way of life.



Hillary, Bernie, and the Fixed-Pie Fallacy

Both candidates argue for higher tax rates on evil rich people, as well as sinister corporations, ostensibly because bigger government will make America more equal. 

For those who care about the real world, however, this isn't such a good idea. Larry Lindsey, a former Governor at the Federal Reserve, writes in the Wall Street Journal that leftist policies actually cause inequality.

"...when you look at performance and not rhetoric, the administrations of political progressives have made the distribution of income more unequal than their adversaries, who supposedly favor the wealthy.... inequality rose more under Bill Clinton than under Ronald Reagan. And it wasn't even close. While the inequality increase as measured by the Gini index was only slightly more during Clinton's two terms, the Theil index and mean log deviation increased two and three times as much, respectively.

Barack Obama's administration follows this pattern. The Gini index rose more than three times as much under Mr. Obama than under Mr. Bush. The Theil index increased sharply during the Obama administration, while it fell slightly under Bush 43"

Larry explains what drove these results.

"And two big factors are easy-money monetary policies that artificially push up the value of financial assets (thus helping the rich) and redistribution policies that make dependency more attractive than work (thus hurting the poor)

Democratic presidents presided over bubble economies fueled by easy monetary policy. There is no better way to make the rich richer than to run policies that push up the price of financial assets. Cheap money is a boon to those who have access to it.

* Transfer payments under Mr. Obama increased by $560 billion. By contrast private-sector wages and salaries grew by $1.1 trillion. So for every $2 in extra wages, about $1 was paid out in extra transfer payments-lowering the relative reward to work.

* the effective tax rate on the extra earnings-including lost government benefits such as food stamps, the earned-income tax credit, and medical support payments-is between 50% and 80%. This phaseout of the ever increasing array of benefits has created a "working-class trap" instead of a "poverty trap" that is increasing inequality and keeping the income of these households lower than they might otherwise be"

I especially like Larry's conclusion.  He points out that statist policies have a long history of failure. The only real beneficiaries are members of the parasite class in Washington.

None of this should really be surprising. If the socialist ideal of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" worked in practice, the Berlin Wall might still be standing.

Redistribution through the political process is not costless-even in a perfect world there would be a large bureaucracy to feed.

Special-interest elites also emerge when so much money is being moved around. They take their cut, introducing even more inefficiency into the system... voters who think the progressives running today are going to reduce inequality are falling into the same trap as people entering fifth or sixth marriages-the triumph of hope over experience.

So why do our friends on the left have such an anti-empirical approach to the issue of inequality? Instead of fixating on inequality, why don't they focus on policies that will actually help poor people?

Some of them probably don't care. They simply view class warfare as a way of creating resentment and getting votes.

But many leftists are doubtlessly sincere and genuinely want to help the less fortunate.

The problem is that they suffer from the fixed-pie fallacy. My Cato Institute colleague Chelsea German explains this fundamentally flawed understanding of the world.

"The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer." Senator Bernie Sanders first said those words in 1974 and has been repeating them ever since. .A simple logical error underlies Sanders' belief. If we assume that wealth is a fixed pie, then the more slices the rich get, the fewer are left over for the poor. In other words, people can only better themselves at the expense of others. In the world of the fixed pie, if we observe the rich becoming richer, then it must be because other people are becoming poorer. Fortunately, in the real world, the pie is not fixed. US GDP is growing, and it's growing faster than the population"


And it's not just the U.S. data on how all income classes are climbing over time. Check out the "hockey stick" showing how the entire world is becoming richer.

Last but not least, Kyle Smith also addresses the topic of inequality in his New York Post column. He starts by explaining there isn't a problem.

"...there is no inequality crisis... The US is only 42nd (out of 117 countries measured) in income inequality, according to the World Bank. We're only 16th when it comes to the wealth held by the top 1%.

He then makes a far more important point, which is that it's good to have an economy and a society where people can become rich by providing goods and services that the rest of us value.

"Inequality is to some extent a residual effect of success: If there weren't any billionaires or millionaires, inequality would be vastly diminished. America attracts and breeds success so brilliantly that we nearly beat the rest of the world combined in some respects: 42% of the world's millionaires are Americans, and 49% of those with $50 million or more in assets. The American tendency to respect, and expect, success runs counter to the progressive plan to tax it away."

He basically reaches the same conclusion as Larry Lindsey. In other words the left's favorite policies help Washington insiders and hurt poor people.

"A cap on incomes above, say, $100,000 would massively increase both equality and poverty as millions of middle-class people whose jobs depend on the rich in one way or another found themselves unemployed.

People tend to suspect, rightly, that government intervention in the name of fighting inequality will lead to exactly what's happened in the Obama era: more inequality, with bureaucrats and their cronies standing to gain"

The President isn't the only leftist to have this spite-driven mentality.



Pretty boy is going to be a big problem for Canada

His brain is scrambled.  I wonder what he is on?

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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


24 March, 2016

Philosophers on U.S. Presidential Politics

Below is a blurb from a publisher of philosophy books.  Philosophers are overwhelmingly Leftist.  What it reports is an amusing example of how Leftists live in a little self-created bubble that has no connection with reality.  According to the authors, conservatives "place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power".  Whaat!  No conservative would recognize that description of himself.  It's just a fantasy dreamt up to justifty Leftism.  Leftists can't handle reality so construct straw men to burn.  They are damaged people.

But they get some things right.  I and many other conservatives would agree that Trump "strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals".

And there is some truth in their statement that Trump "has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners".  The spineless nature of the GOP establishment has indeed brought us to that. 

But it is very one-eyed in completely ignoring what Trump actually says.  Their closed minds probably make it impossible for them even to hear what he says. Trump opposes illegal immigration when everybody else seems to have given up on that.  Americans don't want their country messed up by throngs of troublesome immigrants and Trump alone speaks for such concerned Americans

Routledge authors, Robert Talisse, Scott Aikin, and Jason Brennan provide a philosophical insight on the state of the Republican Party, and the establishment of the Trump brand.

With the U.S. presidential race imminent, Routledge authors have been weighing in on the state of U.S. politics over on the Daily Nous, as possibly the most principled, and possibly the least principled politicians in the U.S. are currently going head to head for the American presidency.

Robert Talisse (author of Engaging Political Philosophy, and co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should) and Scott Aikin (co-author of Why We Argue and Why We Should), have weighed in on the debate with an exploration of the trouble with political conservatism in America today, and how such concerns have presented a challenge to the Republican Party.

According to Talisse and Aikin, the central ideas of political conservatism are becoming increasingly unpopular, as they place high regard upon insatiable appetites for luxury, excess, spectacle, and power, all of which are social forces that dissolve tradition and foster divisions. Such unpopularity has therefore led the Republican Party to build a political coalition among people who ultimately have little in common, which requires a strategy by which divisions are overshadowed by some unifying purpose.

Comparatively, Jason Brennan (author of Why Not Capitalism? and co-author of Markets without Limits) adds that democracy works because it doesn’t work. Brennan qualifies this by explaining that Trump has become a populist candidate in the presidential race as he has played to misinformation, anger, and prejudice, as the mean, median, and modal amounts of basic political knowledge among voters is generally quite low. Therefore, Trump is doing well because democracy is working, because there has been a break down in various checks parties place on voter ignorance.

Moreover, he is rising as the likely Republican nominee despite widespread opposition, because he strongly appeals to disaffected, middle-of-the-road Americans who have become divided from traditional conservative politics due to the unpopularity of such ideals, of which Talisse and Aikin speak of.

In this way, Trump has consequently become the manufactured unifying purpose that is needed to overshadow the divisions that have arisen. He has demonstrated that in order to get the support of voters who identify with the Republican Party, would-be candidates must vilify ideas and instead communicate solely in one-liners - all this in the service of selling what is promoted as a brand. As, Talisse and Aikin remark that conservatism was supposed to be the idea that values were more than brands, but branding is now all the Republican Party has at its core as a political faction.

For more information, visit Daily Nous for the full debate.


The man who encouraged mass migration to Britain has a rethink

Tony Blair says 'flabby liberalism' is helping terrorists because elite feel too 'guilty' to take on the extremists.  Since he himself could be seen as a flabbly liberal, perhaps this has significance

Tony Blair has warned that ‘flabby liberalism’ is helping terrorists because Britain’s elite feel too ‘guilty’ to tackle the spread of extremism.  The former Labour prime minister said many in politics are now ‘unwilling to take people on’, fearing that they will be seen as intolerant of other cultures.

Speaking ahead of today’s terror atrocities in Brussels, he branded such an approach ‘ridiculous’ and said it had left our country’s liberal values vulnerable to abuse.

Mr Blair urged the establishment to ‘defeat violence’ by ‘attacking extremist thinking’ in schools and wider society. And he said there needs to be a tougher centre ground approach to migration and the refugee crisis, which for many politicians is a still a toxic issue.

He told the BBC: ‘We're in a situation where we have to fight back.  ‘The centre has become flabby and unwilling to take people on. We concede far too much.  ‘There's this idea that you're part of an elite if you think in terms of respectful tolerance towards other people. It's ridiculous.’

He added that too often moderate voices are defensive about arguing their case, fuelling a culture of extremism in religion and politics.  ‘One of the problems with the West is that it constantly can be made to feel guilty about itself - and I'm not saying there aren't things we should feel guilty about,’ he said.  ‘But you know, we shouldn't let people intimidate us into thinking there are certain values we shouldn't be standing up for.

‘I'm a supporter of multiculturalism. But there's been a long period of time when we've allowed the concept of multiculturalism to be abused.’ As an example, he said that if people were asserting the equality and fair treatment of women that they should not be made to feel ‘somehow we're being culturally insensitive’.  ‘We have to be clear no one has the right to abrogate those basic human rights.’

On the challenge of migration and refugees, he said that in an ‘era of anxiety’, a lack of a coherent mainstream response, has opened the door to more extreme arguments.  A lack of action from moderates often prompts people to turn to the hard right, he warned.  ‘If you don't give a solution, and you leave people with a choice between what I would call a bit of flabby liberalism and the hardline, they'll take the hardline I'm afraid.’

He called for a more assertive policy of ‘muscular centrism’.

And in apparent reference to the Trojan Horse scandal, in which hardliners tried to impose an Islamic agenda on state schools, he said tackling extremism begins in the classroom.

Mr Blair said: ‘The truth is this extremism is being incubated in school systems, formal and informal, which are teaching children a narrow minded and often hateful view of those who are different.

‘What people need to understand is that this culture of hate is taught.  ‘They are taught a culture of hate and they can be untaught it.  ‘This extremist thinking is what you have to attack, if you don't attack the ideology you'll never defeat the violence.’

Mr Blair also challenged the idea that promoting values of tolerance was a form of Western cultural interference. ‘The West has just got to get over this,’ he said. ‘There are many other people in the region who do not regard the notion of peaceful co-existence as a Western value, they see it as a sensible human value, a global value.’



Amid the repeated ISIS attacks, Trump is the one who is being responsible

DONALD Trump has reacted to the explosions that rocked Brussels by describing it as a “disaster city” and warning that “this is just the beginning”.

Speaking on NBC’s TODAY, Trump said: “Belgium is no longer Belgium. Belgium is not the Belgium you and I knew from 20 years ago, which was one of the most beautiful and safest cities in the world.

“Belgium is a horror show right now. Terrible things are happening. People are leaving. People are afraid. This all happened because, frankly, there’s no assimilation.”

Belgium is a country, not a city, but we’ll put that aside. Trump wasted no time in saying the terror attacks were more evidence that governments needed to crack down on extremists with any means possible — even using waterboarding — and that immigration policies had failed.

“I would close up our borders,” he told Fox News. “We are taking in people without real documentation. We don’t know where they’re from or who they are.  We have to be very, very vigilant with who we let into this country,” Trump continued.

“Brussels is a great example. Brussels was an absolutely crime-free city, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And now you look at it and it’s just a disaster.”

Trump, who has made immigration and security issues central to his 2016 presidential bid,reiterated his call for the US to bring back waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists.  "I would use waterboarding,” he said on ABC’s Good Morning America.

“And I would try to expand the laws to go beyond waterboarding.”



Is This The Key to GOP Victory?

Republican leaders who don’t think Donald Trump will fare well in the general election might examine the updated primary turnout statistics as a prediction clue.  Largely due to Trump’s candidacy, in 15 of the 19 states that have so far held primaries in conjunction with Democratic contests, more people have chosen to vote on the Republican side, and in record numbers.

Turning the clock back to 2008, it was possible to see the burgeoning support base for then-candidate Barack Obama based upon his success in Democratic primaries.  His advantage was largely tied to him exciting new people and motivating them to vote.

Eight years ago, confining our analysis only to the 19 states that have held 2016 primaries in which both parties have held electoral events, 60.5% of the people from those elections chose to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary.  Using this strong backing as a launching pad into the general election, then-Senator Obama went forward to win a convincing general election victory, capturing 53% of the national popular vote compared to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s (R) 46 percent.

So far, the numbers in the 2016 primaries are strikingly similar, yet to the benefit of the opposing party.  The most glaring factor is the turnout trend’s total about face.  Using the same 19 states that have already held primary elections, an even 57% have chosen to participate in a Republican primary this year, almost the exact inverse of what occurred eight years ago.

A factor that should worry both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I/D-VT) is that Democratic turnout was higher in 2008 than 2016 in all of these states but Michigan.

The 2008 Wolverine State vote was badly skewed, however.  Then-Sens. Barack Obama and John Edwards were not on the state’s primary ballot.  Because the Michigan Democratic Party had broken national committee rules by moving its primary, the Democratic National Committee leadership penalized their affiliate half of its delegate allotment.  In protest of Michigan’s actions, neither Obama nor Edwards entered the state primary.  Therefore, these major candidates’ absence from the Michigan campaign obviously depressed turnout to an unusual degree.

Does the increased voter participation number signal a Republican general election victory?  Obviously, it is too early to tell but the fact that GOP turnout is up in every state over 2012, and substantially so in some places – 286% increase in Virginia, 169% in Arkansas, 96% in Texas, 92% in Ohio, and more than double in North Carolina, for example – is clearly a good sign for the challenging party.  Conversely, as a sampling carrying negative overtones, over one million less people voted in the Ohio Democratic primary this week than when comparing to ’08.

Whether or not the possibility of a divisive brokered convention tampers these positive Republican grassroots trends remain to be seen, but the participation factor at this point in time likely signals a much stronger GOP general election performance than for the past two election cycles.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


23 March, 2016

Hate unlimited from Trump opponents

A PROTESTER who slapped a police horse in the face at a Donald Trump rally has been charged with abuse of a police service animal.

Police had been searching for the woman who hit the horse at a Trump rally in Kansas City on March 12, The Kansas Daily Star reports. April J. Foster, 29, was arrested on Friday following a tip-off from the public, who recognised her from a picture of the incident taken by a photographer for the paper.

The horse, named Dan, was hit while officers attempted to control protesters outside a Trump rally in downtown Kansas City.

According to the police report, Foster had first screamed in the horse’s face to scare him, and when that did not work, she hit the horse with her open hand. After slapping the horse, she ran back into the gathering of around 200 protesters, and police were unable to find her due to the size of the crowd.

Foster, who lists “animal welfare” under “causes April cares about” on her LinkedIn profile, was released on a $US500 bond and will appear in court on May 4.

It comes after Arizona police officer Brandon Tatum described protesters at a Trump rally in Tucson as “the most hateful, evil people I’ve ever seen”.

In a video, which went viral on Facebook, the officer explained how he had attended the rally to find out more about Donald Trump’s policies for himself.

He said he was shocked by the behaviour of the protesters and feared he would “have to punch a couple of people in self-defence”. “These people were acting so outrageous,” he said.

“I could not believe what I saw. You were just thinking that somebody was going to lose their temper and there was going to be a full brawl.”

The Arizona rally made headlines after one protester was punched in the face by a black Trump supporter, but Officer Tatum said the protester had instigated the fight by spitting on or verbally assaulting an attendee.

According to a YouGov poll, the 68 per cent of Americans blame the “mainstream media” for the recent violence at Trump campaign events. Trump has condemned the protesters, who he describes as “professional agitators”.



The Donald loves Israel

Donald Trump, staking out a pro-Israel position that had nary a mention of neutrality, earned an enthusiastic response to his speech at AIPAC’s annual conference.

The real estate billionaire and front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, speaking Monday to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, softened two positions that have created unease among pro-Israel activists — his insistence on remaining “neutral” in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace and his refusal to commit to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

On Jerusalem, Trump vowed to move the American embassy to the city, “the eternal capital of the Jewish people.” And he said the Palestinians must accept as a given the closeness of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely unbreakable,” Trump said. “They must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will exist forever as a Jewish state.”

Trump opponents who had said they would protest the speech because of his broadsides against minorities and his sanctioning of political violence were not visible during his speech, which earned repeated standing ovations.

Trump delivered broadsides against his likely rival in the general election, Hillary Clinton, calling her a “total disaster” and blaming her for last year’s Iran nuclear deal.

The line earned laughter and applause, although Clinton’s speech, earlier in the day, was well received.

His rhetorical flourishes at the United Nations’ expense were crowd pleasers too.  “The United Nations is not a friend of democracy. It’s not a friend to freedom. It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as all know, it has its home. And it surely isn’t a friend to Israel,” he said.

Trump’s biggest applause line was when he began a sentence, “With President Obama, in his final year – yay!”

AIPAC led opposition last year to the Iran nuclear deal and clashed repeatedly with the Obama administration in its unsuccessful bid to get Congress to nix the deal.

In her speech, Clinton earned applause for decrying Trump’s insults during his campaign against Mexicans, Muslims and others.

Trump, in his AIPAC speech, notably avoided some of the generalizations he has used to describe ethnic and religious groups.



Voters Deliver Subtle Message: Die, Donor Scum

by Ann Coulter

To the extent it's still standing after yesterday, the Stop Trump movement is comforting itself with the world's biggest lie: that John Kasich is the embodiment of the Republican Party, while Donald Trump is the bastard stepchild.

It's exactly the opposite.

It is no longer a question of what the party wants. The voters - remember them? - keep showering Trump and Cruz with Ceausescu-like percentages. The combined vote for Trump and Cruz is a ringing chorus of what this party wants: a wall, deportation, less immigration and no job-killing trade deals.

In other words, what the party wants is the diametric opposite of what the donor and consultant class wants. One would have to search the history books to find a party establishment so emphatically rejected by the voters as today's Republican Party has been.

Trump and Cruz don't agree on everything - Cruz is more interventionist on foreign policy, and Trump is more aggressive on bringing manufacturing home. But there's not much daylight between them on the crucial issue of whether to dissolve America's borders. By now, they both say build a wall, reduce immigration and protect American jobs.

In other words, Trump and Cruz have totally rejected the Bush/Ryan/Rubio/Fox News/WSJ/RNC establishment position on immigration.

After Mitt Romney lost an election he should have won in 2012, the Republican National Committee convened a group of experts to determine what went wrong, producing what it called an "autopsy." It was an autopsy because, you see, the party was dead. And the people who did the autopsy were the ones who killed it.

Have you ever heard of an autopsy being performed by the murderers?

The murderers' main recommendation was that Republicans "embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform" - i.e., amnesty. "If we do not," the autopsy continued, "our party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."

God forbid the party respond to its core constituencies! Instead, the report bristled with advice on winning the Hispanic vote. The GOP was supposed to run Hispanic candidates, hire Hispanic spokesmen, demand yet more Hispanic immigration and correct its "tone."

It looked like our report got mixed up with the Democratic National Committee's report in the copier room. At least it was printed in English.

They put all this in their computer and out spit the perfect solution: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL.  Like all ideas developed by focus groups ("New Coke"), how could it possibly fail?

"On issues like immigration," the report instructed, "the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community." How'd they like the front-runner's announcement speech about Mexican rapists and drug dealers? Off-message?

But Trump immediately leapt to the top of the polls and never stopped soaring. Only Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was smart enough - or hated the Republican establishment enough - to adopt Trump's pro-American immigration policies. Now the only question for voters is, which one is more electable: a Holy Roller preacher, or a brash alpha male billionaire?

They've crushed the rest of the field - winning large majorities of Hispanics along the way, incidentally. Between them, Trump and Cruz have won 77 percent of the delegates (1,067). The donor-approved, mass immigration advocates, John Kasich and the (late, lamented) Marco Rubio, have 23 percent (313).

Rubio was the apotheosis of the Republican leadership's proposal for national suicide - or the "Growth and Opportunity Project," as the autopsy was officially titled. He was handpicked for the presidency six years ago.

He got to Washington and promptly set about pushing an amnesty bill faster than you could say, "My dad was a bartender." In the darkest days of the nation's history, Rubio's bill actually passed the U.S. Senate. (One of the many hints that voters don't want amnesty was that the bill was blocked in the House, not by any major media opposition - despite media cheerleading, in fact - but by the people, rising up in a blind rage.)

But still, Rubio was the golden boy among GOP consultants, donors and their hired help, elected Republicans. He had unlimited money, resources, establishment support, conservative media cheerleaders and his own cable news channel.

His presidential bid was supported by 14 Republican governors, 22 Republican senators and more than two dozen Republican representatives, Washington think tanks, lobbyists, the Chamber of Commerce, Chipotle and Taco Bell. Time magazine put him on its cover as "Republican Savior."

And on Tuesday, he lost his own state in a landslide. Rubio lost every single county in Florida to Trump but one. He went 1 for 66 in a state where he is not only a U.S. senator, but also a former house speaker. He outspent Trump by about 500 percent and still lost his home state by 20 points.

Never was there a more perfectly kicked field goal - with Rubio as the pigskin. He was hiked and kicked right through the goalposts.

Gov. John Kasich is as awful on immigration as Rubio, but he's so boring, no one can ever remember anything he says. He opposes deporting illegal aliens because that's not "the kind of values that we believe in." ("We" being "the Democratic Party.") He bleats that illegals are "made in the image of the Lord," which would require America to admit everyone in the world - provided they can pass the rigorous background check of being human.

On Tuesday night, Kasich barely won his own state, making him 1 for 29 in GOP primaries. The one and only primary he's won is in the state where he's the sitting governor. He was endorsed by his opponent, Marco Rubio. He's campaigned almost nowhere else.

And yet Kasich came in less than 10 points ahead of a New York real estate developer - half of Trump's margin of victory over Rubio in Rubio's home state. Adjusting for the home state advantage, that's a humiliating defeat.

How many more GOP stars will die for mass immigration? So far, there's Eric Cantor, Nikki Haley, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC, Ben Sasse, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Fox News - 14 governors, 22 senators and two dozen representatives.

With increasing desperation, the media claim that 63 percent of voters don't want Trump based on votes cast for any other candidate in a 12-man race. What the delegate count shows is a resounding rejection of the immigration policies being pushed by the party leadership.

The establishment laughed at us. They wanted our votes, but then ignored us. They lied to us about opposing amnesty while repeatedly conspiring to pass it.

Now we're going into the presidential election with our 80 percent thunderous will of the people against immigration. I'm not sure someone who is more preacher than president is the most electable expression of that will, but whether Trump or Cruz, make no mistake about what the will is.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


22 March, 2016

Can A Catholic In Good Conscience Vote For Trump?

The titular question has been posed oft of late, most recently by the Catholic News Agency in their coverage of “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” made by the big cheeses in American Catholic life. These were the real gorgonzola guys, not like us processed-cheese-food bloggers.

Anyway, regular readers know that I possess no great love of (popular) presidential elections, but the skew in the coverage of The Donald by (dare I say) establishment Catholics is of some interest. These folks aren’t happy, and they’re spending a lot of time telling the world of their distress. Now if all their pleas were solely meant to (say) tout Cruz over Trump, then that’s a terrific idea, dandy fine politics-as-usual, actions really not worth commenting on.

But there seems more to it than that.

Did you notice none of these prominent individuals or organizations have written similar cri de coeur warning an unsuspecting populace against Hillary? There are even hints some leaders would prefer or advocate Hillary over Trump, which is very odd indeed.

Here are the main complaints against Trump. (See the others here.)

[T]here is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.

On the assumption Trump is the Republican nominee, it is of interest to compare Trump and Hillary on these and other charges.

Trump says he’s anti-abortion, yet he may be lying and his support for anti-abortion legislation might be weak. Hillary is for government-subsidized abortion on demand for any who asks for any reason. Winner: at the worst there is no difference between the pair; but there is at least some chance Trump will act on his words.

Trump is vulgar, abusive, and overreacts to criticism with petulance. Hillary dismisses criticism or habitually and outrageously lies in response; she also barks like a dog and accuses her enemies of engaging in vast conspiracies. The comparison is slightly in Trump’s favor.

Trump promises to use torture (waterboarding or worse) on the nation’s enemies; there is some small chance, as with many of Trump’s campaign rantings, that this is bluster. Hillary hasn’t been asked, but there is very little doubt she would do the same as Trump, only she wouldn’t boast about it. Winner: dismal records for both; the comparison is a wash.

Trump has consistently and for many years said he is against gmarriage (four years ago, when it was important, he gave an interview with Bill O’Reilly stating his opposition), though lately he softened his stance; one of his casinos had a strip club. Hillary is solidly for gmarriage, and for everything else in the great sexual rebellion. Winner: Trump.

Trump at least claims to be for religious liberty, but all we have is his word for it. Hillary is manifestly against traditional Christianity (as above); indeed, she has chosen government over religious liberty every time. Which of the two will be for “doctor”-assisted “suicide”? Winner: Trump by a length.

It’s unclear how much Trump would cause government to increase, but he has at least pledged to shrink part of it. Hillary promised the opposite: with her, look for accelerated growth of government with increasing intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Trump’s slightly ahead on this one.

Trump has given several indications he is less empire-driven than recent presidents. Hillary advocated the botched war with Libya while Secretary of State and she supported Iraq war while Senator; she would be highly interventionist; with her, there will be war. Winner: Trump at a canter.

Countries like China publicize their concerns that Trump is serious about, for instance, Chinese currency manipulation. Hillary announced several world leaders wanted to endorse her, but she asked them to keep it hush-hush. Winner: Trump easily.

Trump would eject illegal immigrants, build a border wall, and restrict immigration of Muslims; and there is good reason to think he means it; he has been called a “racist”. Hillary would, for discreditable reasons, grant amnesty to the millions who broke the law to make their way here; in future, she might even disfavor Christians over non-Christians; she panders to all grievance groups. Winner: It’s distressing to have to point out Muslims aren’t a race, neither Latinos; also, the term “racist” is asinine; also many Catholic organizations rake in piles of cash for “servicing” illegal aliens and are anxious the money not stop flowing: Trump rises to the top here.

Trump says he would eliminate the inheritance tax, and reduce the tax and regulatory burden on all native companies; yet his enemy here is the bureaucracy and those who oppose new tariffs. Hillary would advocate greater taxes and regulation; cronyism would surely soar to unprecedented levels under her. Winner: It’s not even close, though Trump would not be allowed to keep many promises; government would grow under him.

Trump has used crass language to describe some women; but it’s forgotten he’s also crass describing men. Hillary facilitated her rapist-husband by calling his victims “bimbos”, etc. etc., etc. Winner: Any answer besides Trump is “sexist” (another asinine word).

Trump would not nominate for SCOTUS a grievance or activist judge. Hillary would. Winner: Do you have to ask?

Trump’s grasp of Christianity is weak. Hillary’s also. Winner: A tie.

Trump lies. Hillary lies on steroids (if that’s the metaphor I want). Winner: Trump by any ? > 0.

Given that Trump is in the New York real estate business, he’s probably broken many laws; his business practices are not infrequently questionable. Hillary: Whitewater, travelgate, cattle futures, FBI Filegate, Chinese funding scam, Clinton Pardons March Rich et al., Benghazi, secret emails, and on and on and on and on some more. Winner: Trump, but he can’t be proud of the victory.



Washington’s despotic lawlessness

We’ve had a “try and stop me” president. Now we need one who will invalidate those actions

Paul Driessen

Washington is out of control. Legislators, judges and unelected bureaucrats want to control our lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no accountability even for major errors, calculated deception, or deliberate, often illegal assaults on our liberties and on citizens who resist the advancing Leviathan.

These themes animate Republican and conservative politics because they are happening – regularly.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is renowned for its annual Ten Thousand Commandments reports on federal rules. A scary but mesmerizing new analysis now maps how the Washington bureaucracy lawlessly imposes agendas that all too frequently contravene or disregard what We the People support, what is best for the nation, and even what Congress has enacted or refused to encode in legislation.

The studies’ author, CEI policy vice president Clyde Wayne Crews, analogizes the situation to the “dark matter” and “dark energy” that astrophysicists say makes up some 95% of the universe: the portion that we cannot observe directly, as opposed to the sun, moon, planets, stars, galaxies and gas clouds we can see.

“Regulatory dark matter,” he concludes, forms an equal proportion of all the rules and edicts that govern our lives. But it is “hard to detect, much less measure.” Indeed, his “map” is akin to early explorers’ depictions of North America – incomplete, but the best cartography possible with information currently available.

No one even knows how many Executive Branch agencies there are – estimates range from 60 to 438 – much less how many new rules they implement and impose each year. Officially, Crews says, they issued a staggering 3,554 new rules in 2014, while President Obama signed “only” 226 new laws enacted by Congress. Worse, of the 53,838 (!) formal final regulations included in the Federal Register from 2001 through 2014, only 160 (0.3%) received a “cost-benefit” analysis; we have no idea how the rest affect us.

Infinitely worse, this tip of the iceberg does not include tens of thousands of decrees issued in the form of:

* notices, bulletins, proclamations, circulars, guidance memos, and new or revised interpretations, policy statements and procedures;

* investigations, inquiries, warning letters, negotiated settlements to legal actions (often involving collusion between agencies and activist groups), explicit or veiled threats of legal action, armed agents raiding homes and businesses, or adverse publicity, coordinated with activists and the media; as well as

* blog posts, news releases, and emails or telephone calls to citizens or company employees.

All these actions have the force and effect of law. But few or none are covered by Administrative Procedures Act “public notice and comment” requirements, so they often escape scrutiny by courts, watchdogs and Congress. Many are supported only by “homogenized,” manipulated data; elaborate, imaginative or imaginary regulatory benefits; cavalier dismissal of costs; and no mention of benefits from the activity, chemical, energy source, industry or jobs being regulated, sometimes into oblivion.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan assumes that shutting down America’s coal-fired power plants – a tiny fraction of such facilities worldwide – can somehow stop climate change that is actually governed by numerous powerful natural forces over which humans have absolutely no control. The plan also assumes any global warming will be dangerous and ignores the many thousands who will be rendered jobless.

A “social cost of carbon” scheme concocted by a multitude of federal agencies makes the same faulty assumptions. It then hypothesizes every imaginable and illusory “cost” of carbon dioxide emissions – to forests, agriculture, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. But it completely ignores every one of the obvious and enormous benefits of using fossil fuels … and of CO2’s immense fertilizing effects on forest and crop growth.

President Obama imposed both of these programs because Congress refused to enact almost 700 different cap-tax-and-trade and other climate bills. Rather than working with Congress to achieve at least some of what he wanted, Mr. Obama simply had his agencies issue decrees, as another way to “skin a cat.”

Where Congress has enacted legislation that the president dislikes – on illegal immigration or the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate, for example – he simply tells his agencies not to enforce the “offensive” provisions. Meanwhile, Endangered Species Act rules are enforced with an iron fist against ranching, oil and mining operations, but ignored in the case of wind turbines and solar installations.

Under collusive sue-and-settle lawsuits, parties impacted by decisions never have an opportunity to speak or present evidence, or even be notified that a suit has been filed or adjudicated, until it is too late.

The entire system allows unelected, unaccountable government officials to decide winners and losers, and reward cronies and allies with taxpayer-funded grants and subsidies, while punishing critics and enemies.  “Progressive” judges defer to “agency discretion” and give bureaucrats free rein to do as they please, even when the rules, decisions and decrees do not comply with legal, constitutional or scientific requirements.

No citizen, small business or even large corporation can possibly even know all these edicts exist, much less understand or comply with them. Moreover, at least 4,500 carry criminal penalties, many regardless of any intent to violate a rule or commit a crime – and “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

Astrophysics explains the consequences. A black hole in the cosmos has squeezed so much matter into a small space that the unfathomable pull of gravity prevents even light from getting out.

The Washington, DC regulatory black hole exerts such centralized gravitational force that federalism, states’ rights, state and local laws and customs, and personal liberties increasingly cease to matter.

The federal Goliath now costs US families, businesses, hospitals and organizations over $1.9 trillion a year! That is twice the entire federal budget in 1981. It’s equal to the entire budget in 1986, nearly half the incomprehensible Obama budget for FY-2017, more than the budgets of all other countries except China.

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they [resist] every kind of improvement,” economist and political analyst Ludwig von Mises observed 72 years ago. “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.”

America’s “soft despotism” is light years from the atrocities and gulags of its infamous predecessors. But it is highly effective nonetheless. The same agencies write, impose, enforce and adjudicate the rules, and impose punishment for infractions. They work tirelessly and imperiously to “fundamentally transform” our nation’s legal, energy, economic and social systems – and keep our fossil fuels “in the ground.”

They impose edicts that would never be supported by the People or enacted by Congress, and that they rarely if ever apply to themselves. They lavish billions on allies, while denying funding and legitimacy to critics, siccing IRS dogs on opposition groups, and threatening civil and criminal “racketeering” actions against anyone who “denies” the alleged “reality” of dangerous manmade climate change.

They seek to ban fossil fuels, biotech crops and insecticides – even from Third World families suffering from abject poverty, rampant malnutrition and disease, and a near total absence of electricity. They do all they can to silence and punish alternative views, and even the notion that there can be alternative views.

For seven years, our “Try and stop me” president and administration have used and abused their powers to impose their agenda. What we need now is a “Try and make me” president, who will refuse to enforce their edicts. Who will use his pen, phone and power to review them, root out any fraud and abuse behind them, and defund and bury them. Who will work with Congress to restore the rule of law and our Constitution, economic growth, and the role of personal liberties, opportunities and responsibilities.

Via email


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


21 March, 2016


The “Big Lie” has been around for over fifty years

“Except for Adolf Hitler's extermination of the Jewish people, the American bombardment of defenseless peasants in Indochina is the most barbaric act of modern times.”

That quote didn’t come from some Soviet hack coughing up copy for Moscow, but from Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. (Some years later, McGovern would compare the Communist massacres in Cambodia to the Holocaust and call for some of that barbaric military intervention.)

Vice President Hubert Humphrey also brought out Hitler when running against Nixon, declaring, “If the British had not fought in 1940, Hitler would have been in London and if Democrats do not fight in 1968, Nixon will be in the White House.”  Chicago Mayor Daley had accused Nixon of “Hitler type” tactics.

McGovern had set a record for comparing Nixon to Hitler, which made him very popular with the left, but he hadn’t originated it. Comparing any Republican presidential candidate to Hitler had been a standard Democratic political tactic for some time no matter how inappropriate it might be.

Before McGovern was comparing Nixon to Hitler, he was comparing Barry Goldwater to Hitler. Goldwater had a Jewish father and a distaste for Socialism, which would have made him unwelcome in the ranks of the racially and politically pure National Socialists, but that didn’t stop the Hitler accusations from being hurled by the Democratic party and its political allies in the press.

Governor Pat Brown of California said, “Goldwater's acceptance speech had the stench of fascism. All we needed to hear was Heil Hitler.” Mayor Jack Shelley of San Francisco claimed that Goldwater strategists got all their ideas from Mein Kampf.

Even though Goldwater had been an early NAACP member, NAACP leader Roy Wilkins warned, "Those who say that the doctrine of ultra-conservatism offers no menace should remember that a man come out of the beer halls of Munich and rallied the forces of rightism in Germany. All the same elements are there in San Francisco now."

The NAACP accused Goldwater of appealing to “fear and bigotry”. Martin Luther King said, “We see danger signs of Hitlerism in the candidacy of Mr. Goldwater.”

Union leaders launched a national campaign to denounce Goldwater as Hitler II. "I have drawn a parallel between Goldwater and Hitler and I make no apology for drawing that parallel," George Meany of the AFL-CIO declared. While Goldwater wasn’t Hitler, the CIO part of the AFL-CIO had strong Communist influences and after the Hitler-Stalin pact, some unions within it staged strikes to sabotage production and prevent aid from reaching the Allies who were fighting Hitler. Not only was Goldwater not Hitler, but some of the organizations represented by Meany had aided Hitler when Stalin told them to.

Accusing Republicans of being Hitler for assorted petty reasons dates back to the time when Hitler was still around. FDR accused Republican candidate Wendell Willkie of using “Hitler tactics” by repeating his slogans frequently. But it was the frequent associations of Republicans and Hitler by Democrats that was the true Big Lie. Its only purpose was a senseless association through the repetition of ridiculous and baseless accusations that every single Republican was just Hitler in a better suit.

Typical of this tactic was Senator Tom Lantos ranting, “If you overlook your involvement in the KKK, or the Nazi party, or the Republican Party, you are lying.” The issue at hand had nothing to do with Nazism. It was about Clinton’s Secretary of Agriculture taking bribes. The goal was to associate Republicans with Nazism by classing the two together as frequently as possible regardless of relevance, decency or truth.

In the Iran-Contra trial, Oliver North was accused of “following Adolf Hitler’s official strategy”. What did one have to do with the other? Nothing. But this sort of lazy accusation had become typical and routine. William Shirer, who had also compared Nixon’s bombing of Hanoi to the Holocaust and called Nixon an “apt pupil” of Hitler (Pentagon spokesman Jerry Friedheim was Goebbels), compared Reagan to Hitler for intervening in Grenada. Then Shirer compared Bush I to Hitler for trying to outlaw flag burning.

By the Reagan years, the left had achieved a banality of Hitler analogies. Everything Reagan did was just like Hitler. All of Reagan’s associates were just like Hitler. It was Hitlers all the way down.

President George W. Bush inherited this banality of Hitlers. To left-wing Truthers, open and covert, 9/11 was the Reichstag fire, the Patriot Act was the beginning of a national dictatorship and Bush was a dictator. As Kurt Vonnegut quipped, “The only difference between Bush and Hitler is that Hitler was elected.” Hitler wasn’t elected, Bush was, but you can’t expect a left-wing loudmouth to know history.

Congressman Charles Rangel compared the Iraq War to the Holocaust. “This is just as bad as the 6 million Jews being killed." (Rangel had also claimed that the Contract with America was worse than Hitler.) Senator Durbin compared Gitmo to Nazi concentration camps. Senator John Glenn compared Republican arguments to Nazi propaganda. “It’s the old Hitler business… if you hear something repeated, repeated, you start to believe it.” Like repeatedly accusing Republicans of Nazism.

Congressman Keith Ellison, a former Nation of Islam supporter who had defended its anti-Semitism, compared the September 11 to the Reichstag fire while hinting at 9/11 Trutherism.  Al Gore claimed that “The administration works closely with a network of rapid-response digital Brown Shirts”.

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, a former Klansman, compared Bush to Hitler stooge Herman Goering. Byrd, who had filibustered the Civil Rights Act, also compared efforts to block Democratic filibusters to Nazi Germany. The “nuclear option” that Byrd was denouncing became a reality under Obama and Reid, but by then using it did not make Senators Democrats into the successors of Nazi Germany.

To most people, Nazi analogies summon up images of the Holocaust and a ruthless dictatorship. To the left however, any populist reaction against their rule is Nazism.  In their world, there is a battle between progressive and reactionary forces. Any movement that dares to run for office by challenging progressive policies is reactionary, fascist and the second coming of the Third Reich. Republican victories are lazily attributed by liberal hacks to mindless public anger being exploited by right-wing demagogues.

And so the only thing we can truly be certain of is that any Republican nominee will be Hitler. It doesn’t matter what he believes. It doesn’t matter if Democrats considered him a moderate 5 minutes ago. Accusations of Nazism remain the default argument for a Democratic Party turned far to the left.

Republicans aren’t progressive. Therefore they’re Hitler. It’s really that simple.

Optimists thought that the Democrats had reached “Peak Hitler” under Bush. But for the left there is no Peak Hitler. The same tired line of attack has been trotted out for fifty years. It will go on limping around the liberal corral for another fifty years or a hundred years. The Big Lie will continue being repeated to indoctrinate each new politically active progressive with the conviction that anyone to the right is Hitler and that every election is a brand new battle to stop Hitler 2.0 from taking over America.

Goldwater was Hitler. Nixon was Hitler. Reagan was Hitler. Bush was Hitler. None of the latter three men declared the Fourth Reich, made themselves dictators for life and ran concentration camps. But the Big Lie retroactively rewrites the past by claiming that last decade’s Hitler was a decent moderate while the latest Republican Hitler is a terrifying monster. Goldwater, Nixon and Reagan were all resurrected as moderate contrasts to each other and then to Bush. The process of recreating Bush as a moderate has already begun. And so each Republican makes the electoral journey from Hitler to a political moderate whom a latter generation of liberals mourns while complaining that this latest Republican really is Hitler.



GOP Should Use Trump, Not Abuse Trump

Maybe it's because I'm a latecomer to Republicanism, having first pulled the R lever in 2003 for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California recall election, but I'm confused.  I thought one of the first duties, if not the first duty, of a political party was to win.  If you don't win, everything else, every policy, every theory, every idea, is air.

That was until I joined the GOP.  I had read about the Spanish Inquisition and the Black Death, but now  I know what real bloodletting is about.  The attacks on Donald Trump by his fellow Republicans have been, to put it bluntly, waaaay out of proportion.  If -- as Trump himself said in his press conference Tuesday after winning handily in Mississippi and Michigan -- Mitt Romney had attacked Obama with half the vitriol he has attacked Donald Trump with, Romney would be president today.

And then there's the conservative punditocracy, so many of whom seem to be suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome -- or perhaps it's Trump Envy (for which I wouldn't blame them).

But I ask -- as someone who would gladly vote for any Republican candidate still running and probably any of the thirteen who dropped out -- what exactly do they find so terrible about Donald Trump? Yes, Lord knows, he can be embarrassing (though I suspect we will be seeing less of that) and maybe he isn't the most conservative of conservatives (wasn't John Roberts supposed to be that?), but he is clearly one of the more politically shrewd candidates to come along in a while -- and not just for a non-politician.  Just the way he is turning post-primary victory speeches into quasi-press conferences, monopolizing the media, reinvents the game. And he is expanding the Republican vote.

What most surprises me, however, is the approach taken to Trump by his enemies, those known under the rubric #NeverTrump and those better heeled who have blown millions on nauseating and evidently useless attack ads painting Donald as Mussolini with a bad haircut. For a group of smart people, in some cases very smart, they seem to have skipped Psychology 101 in college, making them curiously oblivious to the blowback from their assaults. Or maybe, more simply, they have forgotten what we all learned  in the school yard in the second grade -- if you can't lick em, join 'em. (Personally, I find it hard to resist someone who finally spoke a truth at that press conference that the media seems deliberately to have ignored all year: "I don't think there is such a thing as an establishment."  There isn't -- and who would want one?)

The best approach to someone like Trump, who is at heart a business pragmatist without rigid  ideological convictions (convictions that would make it extremely difficult for a businessman to function), is to love him to death. That way you bring him over to your side, politically and ideologically.  It should be obvious, like Willy Loman, Donald only wants to be "well-liked." He doesn't even make a secret of it. He wants to make a deal and fairly invites co-optation.

Trump himself, in that press conference or whatever you want to call it (press-infomercial?), extended an olive branch of sorts to his opposition in the Republican Party at large.  They should take him up on it -- at the same time urging him to reciprocate and keep it up on his end.  Start a mutual admiration society.

Now I realize Ted Cruz, victor in Idaho, is still in the game -- quite legitimately.  And, as I have noted, I would pleased to vote for him if he wins.  But the Trump Derangement Syndrome has got to go. Ix-nay on the anger-ay.  We are headed to an epochal  general election and November is closer than it seems. Close your eyes and it's here. The time to start dialing down the internecine warfare is now. After all, Trump won Hawaii.



Sarah supports The Donald

Sarah Palin calls protests at Trump rallies 'punk-ass little thuggery' as she campaigned with The Donald in Florida

Sarah Palin said protesters at Donald Trump's rallies were committing 'punk-ass little thuggery' as she campaigned with him in Florida.

'We don't have time for all that petty, punk-ass little thuggery stuff that's been going on with these quote-unquote "protesters" who are doing nothing but wasting your time and trying to take away your First Amendment rights, your rights to assemble peacefully,' she told the crowd in Tampa on Monday.

'And the media being on the thugs' side - what the heck are you guys thinking, media? It doesn't make sense,' she added as the crowd booed.

Palin, who endorsed Trump in January, spoke at his town hall in Tampa on Monday afternoon before catching a flight back to Alaska to be with her husband Todd, 51, who got in a serious snowmobile accident the night before.

At the rally, Palin thanked Trump's supporters for their prayers for her husband, before launching into a pitch for the Republican front-runner.

'Thank you guys for your prayers for my husband who is recovering in ICU right now after a little wreck on a snow machine - big wreck,' Palin said.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news about IQ, immigrants and education


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)



20 March, 2016

Why Putin's sudden pullout from Syria?

There are several reasons offered here but nobody but Putin himself really knows. 

It seems to me that the biggest mystery was its suddenness.  None of the proffered explanations really explain that.  I think it can be explained from a military perspective, however.  But to offer that explanation, I have to expound the concept of an  "industrial base".  And I think I can do that best by going back to WWII.  I think the concept explains the outcome of WWII, in fact.

When WWII started, Britain was a major industrial power.  Its innumerable factories churned out goods that were exported around the world.  The days when Britain was the workshop of the world were gone but it was still a pretty big workshop.  And of particular relevance, it manufactured and exported lots of motor vehicles.  It still does but the nameplates on them these days are Nissan, Honda and Toyota, not Austin, Morris and Leyland.

And the aircraft of the day and the motor vehicles of the day had a lot in common.  They both used piston engines, for instance.  So when the war broke out the production of civilian motor vehicles was stopped and the factories were converted to make military aircraft.  And the resultant productivity from all those factories was huge. 

The experienced fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe sat in planes armed with cannon while the Hurricanes and Spitfires of the RAF were armed with machine guns only.  Aircraft of the day could take quite a lot of damage from machine guns and still keep flying.  But a cannon hit was mostly curtains.  So the Luftwaffe pilots in their ME 109s made mincemeat of the poorly trained pilots of the RAF.  The kill ratio was vastly in favour of the Luftwaffe.

Yet whenever a fleet of German bombers came over Britain with their Messerschmitt escorts, a flight of RAF fighters rose up to oppose them.  How come?  How come there were any RAF planes still flying after so many had been shot down?  The answer:  Britain's industrial base.  Britain could build fighter aircraft as fast as the Luftwaffe could shoot them down. 

The bombers still mostly got through -- witness the devastation of places like Coventry and London -- but there were of course some losses and it became clear to the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht that they could use their planes to better effect elsewhere -- particularly in Russia, where it was in fact something of a turkey shoot for the Luftwaffe.  So they ceased their campaign against Britain.

Mr Putin is not in anything like the WWII British position. Russia has quite a small industrial base.  It is still mainly a primary-producing country.  The Soviets knew that of course so over many years they laboriously built up an economy within an economy. They built up a vast complex of factories and maintenance facilities that was permanently devoted to military production and maintenance.  So they could afford a war.  They could to some extent replace losses in battle.

Even so, however, they did not rely on that.  One of the interesting things revealed when West Germany took over East Germany was the very large stocks of all military materials that the East had built up.  They had in stock as much as ten times as many bullets, shells etc as the West did.  They were not confident that they could produce enough in a war to keep the troops supplied.  And since their military was closely integrated with Russia's, there is little doubt that Russia had adopted similar measures.

But when Gorbachev became President of the Soviet Union he was horrified by how much the military establishment was draining out of the overall Soviet economy -- and it seems likely that he immediately started to put the brakes on the military economy.  And when he fell in 1991,  the military economy was virtually abandoned.  Not only were Russia's ships, submarines and aircraft left to rust but the factories that produced them and the facilities used to maintain them were also left to rust.

So when Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin came to power in 2000, that decay had largely neutered Russia's armed forces.  And a lot of the decay remains unremedied to this day.  Most of the navy is still rusting in port and when Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov puts to sea it has to be accompanied by tugs in case it breaks down.

But Putin has slowly renovated enough of his forces to support limited interventions -- as in Georgia and Syria. But with the loss of the Soviet war economy he is up against Russia's limited industrial base.  He has used up a lot of the bombs and missiles that he had stockpiled and reached a point beyond which he dare not go.  He cannot soon replace the bombs and missiles he has used so runs the risk of Russia being unable to defend itself if he runs his stocks down any further.  He has hit a red line in his stocks of war materiel.  And when he saw that such a point had been reached, he immediately pulled the plug on his war in Syria.

So I think the suddenness of the pullout was motivated by a sudden realization of how far he had run down his stocks of war materiel.  I was actually waiting for that to happen because it was clear that Russia was using up a lot of bombs and missiles  that it could not rapidly replace.

UPDATE:  Two more thoughts about industrial bases. 

With the vast U.S. industrial base and large population, both Germany and Japan were doomed as soon as the U.S. entered WWII.  That was most vivid when the allies started bombing Germany.  The heavily armed ME110 night-fighters and the skilled German anti-aircraft gunners were very good at knocking allied bombers down.  The average life of a bomber was about 4 sorties. An uncle of mine died in one.  But great waves of bombers just kept coming.  Civilian motor vehicle production had been converted into military aircraft production in the USA too.  Japan's Admiral Yamamoto actually foresaw that Japan could not compete with America's industrial base and large population when he opposed the strike on Pearl Harbour.

In the 21st century the world once again has a country that is the workshop of the world:  China. So combine that huge industrial base with China's almost limitless manpower and it becomes clear that China could not now be opposed in a conventional war.  The war would have to go nuclear almost immediately.


Australians come out in support of Donald Trump

Online polls are not very reliable but Australians are much less puritanical and uptight than are Americans so it seems possible that Trump has broader support in Australia than he has in America

AUSTRALIANS have come out in force to defend billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump and have even called for a like-minded personality to lead our country after warnings that a Trump White House would be bad news for Australia.

An online poll on The Daily Telegraph showed a surprising 71 per cent of respondents answered ‘No (Donald Trump is da man!)’ when asked ‘Are you worried about Trump becoming US President?’  There were more than 32,000 votes cast in the poll.

It came after a number of analysts and commentators suggested a Trump win in the November US presidential election would be dire for Australia.

"The words ‘President Trump’ should give Australians pause," Lowy Institute executive director Dr Michael Fullilove told The Daily Telegraph.  "Mr Trump reflects few of the values that have made America great. And judging from his speeches, he fails to see the advantages that flow to his country from being at the centre of the global liberal order."

His sentiments were echoed by Associate Professor Brendon O’Connor from Sydney University’s US Studies Centre who said Trump’s isolationist views were ‘an absolute disaster’.

But the comments from readers came thick and fast and overwhelmingly supported the billionaire. Some Aussie supporters even called for a personality like him to lead the country.

The story struck a chord with US readers and was picked up by a major news aggregator so many were supportive comments were from Americans, but there was no shortage of love from Aussies.

The story saw more than 800 comments posted



Is the Communist Party of China still communist?

Comments below by a Western man who has been in China for many years.  He arrived there in the days of Mao.  He is an old friend of mine.  He says that envy is still strong in China but all Chinese have learnt the hard way that Communism is not the way

I assure you there is not a single person in China that believes in communism. Not even the leaders. Especially the leaders.

Chinese universally are driven by one imperative, to advance the interests of their family. They will give their lives for that if nothing else. Ok a few say they miss the old days.  But what they miss is not the poverty, but the lack of a rich class.

People can stand poverty so long as it is equally shared. But they cannot stand wealth if it is not equally shared. Chinese suffer from the "red eye disease". When land reform came and they we encouraged to give the old landlord a bit of a beating, 100,000's of thousands were beaten to death. Their sin? Being rich without working for it.

Now over 80% of Chinese "own" their own land and house/apartment. You can beat to death a few hundred thousand, but who would be foolish enough to try and expropriate 80% of the population?  Even the US destroyed its economy by driving for home ownership over 65%.

You can indulge your idealist dreams of communism, but don't expect support from anyone in China.



A man who knows


Why Ireland's Economy Grew by 8% in 2015

March 17 was St. Patrick's Day, so it's worth taking a look at the state of the Irish economy to see how impressively the Celtic Tiger has made its roaring comeback.

According to the recently published 2016 Index of Economic Freedom, a handy cross-country annual analysis of economic policies by The Heritage Foundation, Ireland is the world's eighth freest economy.

The Irish economy has made impressive progress over the past three years. Undertaking politically difficult reform measures, including sharp cuts in public-sector wages and restructuring of the banking sector, Ireland has regained its fiscal health and become the first country to exit a European Union bailout.

The Irish economy had gone through acute and painful contractions during the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recession. The Celtic Tiger almost went bankrupt.

Credit for the notable turn-around and ongoing recovery goes to the conscientious policy choices the Irish government has made in downsizing a bloated public sector, reducing the budget deficit, regaining fiscal health, and firmly adhering to polices to promote economic freedom and entrepreneurial competitiveness.

As documented in the index, Ireland has maintained an unusually open economy, buttressed by institutional strengths such as strong protection of property rights, efficient business regulations and competitive tax rates. Given all that, the government's fiscal restraint has been just what was needed to unleash faster growth.

Even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has joined in the praise, saying in a recent report that the Irish recovery remains strong and the economy is "starting to fire on all cylinders." In an IMF conference entitled "Ireland-Lessons from Its Recovery from the Bank-Sovereign Loop," a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank remarked that "the Irish economy has been an outstanding success over the last years and months." The official warned against complacency but lauded the flexibility that has become the key component in Ireland's economic rebound.

No wonder that Ireland's economy grew by 7.8 percent in 2015, making Ireland the fastest-growing economy in the European Union for the second successive year. Time to give a toast to Ireland, indeed.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


18 March, 2016

Is Barack Obama a nice person when there isn't a camera around?

This question was asked on Quora and received generally favorable answers.  The answer below is fairly typical.  One cynical reply, however, is that when you are in the public eye, you HAVE TO behave well.  Contrary to that, there are quite a few stories of obnoxious private behavior about Hillary.  The media protect her, however

Jason Wells

During my tenure with the U.S. Secret Service, I was part of (then) Senator Barack Obama's protection detail from March 2007 until November 2008, on his election night.  I was chosen as part of a "round robin" detail where agents were selected at random from their field offices to spend time with a candidate on the campaign trail to keep him safe.  This protection detail is known as C.N.O.S. (Campaign Nominee Operation Section) and is basically the rotation that the U.S. Secret Service goes through during the Election season.  Sen. Obama was given protection unusually early due to the volume of threats that he was receiving.  The rotation consisted of being out on the road with him 24/7 for three week intervals, home for six weeks, and then back out again.  It was like this for 18 months.

I made it a point to remain unbiased in my political opinions when asked about Mr. Obama while on this assignment.  I also tend to judge others by how they treat me rather than how they expect to be treated.  I will say that, personally, I have differed on many of President Obama's stances in politics.  I do not support much of his political agenda.

With that stated.... Senator Obama, Mrs. Obama and their two daughters were always extremely cordial and appreciative for everything that we provided them.  They were engaging with us, asking us about our families and making sure that we were provided for.  On numerous occasions, Mr. Obama would ask me how my wife was doing (she was pregnant with our first child), and wished her the best.  I never, never saw him belittle another person, I never witnessed him do anything behind his wife's back.....

For all of my political differences with Barack Obama, I will be the first to say that he is a very decent man.

Please note, that was prior to his time in the Oval Office.  I have not interacted with him since then, but everyone who I worked with who was affiliated with him said that he had not changed.



Who is Obama really?
The email below has been doing the rounds since 2010 and surely has some interest.  It is curious that Snopes has addressed only one part of it:  Whether Obama did attend Columbia in his student days.  He clearly did.  Even one of my correspondents remembers him.  But there are many other points below.  We may get the answer when there is a President Trump

In a country where  we take notice of many, many facets of our  public figures' lives,  doesn't seem odd that there's so little we know  about our current  president, Barack Obama.
For example, we  know that Andrew Jackson 's wife smoked a corn cob pipe and was accused of adultery; Abe Lincoln never  went to school; Jack Kennedy wore a back brace; Harry  Truman played the piano.

As Americans, we  enjoy knowing details about our newsmakers, but none of us know one single humanizing fact about the  history of our own president.
We are all aware  of the lack of uncontestable birth records for  Obama; that document  managing has been spectacularly  successful.
There are however,  several additional oddities in Obama's history  that appear to be as  well managed as the birthing issue. There have been two Obama birth certificates produced and each is different and neither was produced by Obama.  Thereby keeping him clear of any later illegalities.    

One other  interesting thing...    There are no birth certificates of his daughters that can be found  ?
It's interesting  that no one who ever dated him has shown up.  The charisma that  caused women to be drawn to him so strongly during  his campaign,  certainly would in the normal course of events,   lead  some lady to come forward,  if only to garner some attention for herself.    We  all know about JFK's  magnetism, that McCain was no monk and quite a  few details about  Palin's courtship and even her athletic prowess,   Joe Biden's aneurisms  are no secret;  look at Cheney and Clinton, we all  know about their heart  problems. Certainly Wild Bill Clinton's  exploits before and during  his White House years, were well known.  That's  why it's so odd that  not one lady has stepped up and said, "He was  soooo shy..." or "What a  great dancer..."
It's virtually  impossible to know anything about this  fellow.
Who was the best  man at his wedding?      Start there.  Then check  groomsmen.
Then get the  footage of the graduation ceremony.     Has anyone talked  to the professors?   It  is odd that no one is bragging that they knew him or taught him or  lived with him.
When did he meet  Michele, and how?        Are there photos there?  Every president gives to  the public all their photos, etc. for their  library,  etc.    What has he  released?      And who in hell voted for him to be the  most popular man in  2010?        Doesn't this make you wonder?
Ever wonder why no  one ever came forward from President Obama's  past saying they knew  him, attended school with him, was his friend,  etc??

Not one person has  ever come forward from his past.  It certainly is  very, very strange...
This should be a  cause for great concern.    To those who voted for  him, you may have  elected an unqualified, inexperienced shadow man
As insignificant  as each of us might be, someone with whom we went  to school will  remember our name or face; someone will remember we  were the clown or the dork  or the brain or the quiet one or the bully or  something about  us.

George  Stephanopoulos of ABC News said the same thing during  the 2008 campaign.        He  questions why no one has acknowledged the president  was in their classroom or  ate in the same cafeteria or made impromptu  speeches on campus.    Stephanopoulos also was a classmate of Obama at  Columbia -- the class of 1984.  He says he never had a single class with  him.       
He is such a great  orator; why doesn't anyone in Obama's college  class remember him? Why  won't he allow Columbia to release his  records?
Nobody remembers  Obama at Columbia   University ...
Looking for  evidence of Obama's past,    Fox News contacted 400  Columbia University   students from the period when Obama claims to have  been there... but none  remembered him.       
Wayne Allyn Root  was, like Obama, a political science major at  Columbia who also graduated  in 1983.       In 2008, Root says of Obama, "I don't know  a  single person at  Columbia that knew him, and they all know me. I  don't have a classmate  who ever knew Barack Obama at Columbia ,  ever."
Nobody recalls  him. Root adds that he was also, like Obama, Class of  '83 Political Science,  and says, "You don't get more exact or closer  than that. Never met  him in my life, don't know anyone who ever met him.     At   the class reunion,  our 20th reunion five years ago, who was asked to  be the speaker of the  class?      Me.     No one ever heard of Barack!     And  five  years ago, nobody  even knew who he was. The guy who writes the  class   notes, who's kind  of the, as we say in New   York, 'the  macha' who knows everybody, has yet  to find a person, a human who ever met  him."
Obama's photograph  does not appear in the school's yearbook   and  Obama consistently  declines requests to talk about his years at Columbia, provide school  records, or provide the name of any former classmates  or friends while at  Columbia .

Some other  interesting questions:
Why was Obama's  law license inactivated in 2002?  It is said there  is no record of him ever taking the Bar  exam.
Why was Michelle's  law license inactivated by court order?  We understand that  was forced to avoid fraud charges.
The Social  Security number he uses now originated in Connecticut   where he is  reported  to have never lived.     And was originally registered to  another man  (Thomas Louis  Wood) from Connecticut , who died in Hawaii while on  vacation there.   As we all know  Social Security Numbers are only issued 'once, they  are not reused'

No wonder all his  records are sealed...       
 Somewhere, someone had  to know him in  school ... before he   reorganized   Chicago & burst  upon the Scene at the 2004 Democratic  Convention.

Clint Eastwood     said his Republican National Convention speech achieved exactly what he wanted it to. He then proceeded to label President Barack Obama a "hoax."...."President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,"

The larger question is, who orchestrated this hoax?   There has to be a sizable organization behind this.  Bill Ayers?


Trump Is Not A Liberal or Conservative, He’s A Pragmatist

Trump is a pragmatist. He sees a problem and understands it must be fixed. He doesn't see the problem as liberal or conservative, he sees it only as a problem. That is a quality that should be admired and applauded, not condemned. But I get ahead of myself.

Viewing problems from a liberal perspective has resulted in the creation of more problems, more entitlement programs, more victims, more government, more political correctness, and more attacks on the working class in all economic strata.

Viewing things according to the so-called Republican conservative perspective has brought continued spending, globalism to the detriment of American interests and wellbeing, denial of what the real problems are, weak, ineffective, milquetoast, leadership that amounts to Barney Fife Deputy Sheriff, appeasement oriented and afraid of its own shadow. In brief, it has brought liberal ideology with a pachyderm as a mascot juxtaposed to the ass of the Democrat Party.

Immigration isn't a Republican problem – it isn't a liberal problem – it is a problem that threatens the very fabric and infrastructure of America. It demands a pragmatic approach not an approach that is intended to appease one group or another.

The impending collapse of the economy isn't a liberal or
conservative problem, it is an American problem. That said, until it is viewed as a problem that demands a common sense approach to resolution, it will never be fixed because the Democrats and Republicans know only one way to fix things and the longevity of their impracticality has proven to have no lasting effect. 

Successful businessmen like Donald Trump find ways to make things work, they do not promise to accommodate.

Trump uniquely understands that China’s manipulation of currency is not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. It is a problem that threatens our financial stability and he understands the proper balance needed to fix it. Here again successful businessmen like Trump who have weathered the changing tides of economic reality understand what is necessary to make business work and they, unlike both sides of the political aisle, know that if something doesn't work, you don't continue trying to make it work hoping that at some point it will.

As a pragmatist Donald Trump hasn't made wild pie-in-the-sky promises of a cell phone in every pocket, free college tuition, and a $15 hour minimum wage for working the drive-through at a Carl’s Hamburgers.

I argue that America needs pragmatists because pragmatists see a problem and find ways to fix them. They do not see a problem and compound it by creating more problems.

You may not like Donald Trump, but I suspect that the reason people do not like him is because:

(1) he is antithetical to the “good old boy” method of brokering backroom deals that fatten the coffers of politicians;

(2) they are unaccustomed to hearing a candidate speak who is unencumbered by the financial shackles of those who own them vis-a`-vis donations;

(3) he is someone who is free of idiomatic political ideology; and

(4) he is someone who understands that it takes more than hollow promises and political correctness to make America great again.

I submit that a pragmatist might be just what America needs right now. And as I said earlier, a pragmatist sees a problem and understands that the solution to fix same is not about a party, but a willingness and boldness to get it done.

People are quick to confuse and despise confidence as arrogance, but that is common amongst those who have never accomplished anything in their lives, and who have always played it safe not willing to risk failure.


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


17 March, 2016

The Left May Well Get Trump Nominated

Dennis Prager

This past Friday, a left-wing mob shut down a Donald Trump rally in Chicago. Most Americans viewing what happened saw it for what it was — another left-wing assault on the speech of those with whom they differ and on traditional American civility.

Not surprisingly, the media reporting has concentrated overwhelmingly on Trump for incendiary and inexcusable comments he has made at some of his other rallies that were disrupted by protesters. For example, he offered to pay any legal bills incurred by a man in the audience who sucker-punched a protester as he was being led out of a Trump rally.

Many have also noted the alleged assault by Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was accused of trying to grab Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields' arm. (I say “alleged” because I have watched the video of the alleged incident four times but could not ascertain what actually took place.)

For the record, I have been relentless in my criticisms of Donald Trump, both in print and on my radio show, preferring any other Republican candidate. Based on his past, I have not had any reason to trust him as a conservative or as a Republican, and he has exhibited serious character flaws.

Nevertheless, truth must trump opposition to Trump.

And the truth is that the left-wing attack on Trump’s Chicago rally had little, if anything, to do with what the incendiary comments Donald Trump has made about attacking protestors at his events. Leftist mobs attack and shut down events with which they differ as a matter of course. They do so regularly on American college campuses, where conservative speakers — on the rare occasion they are invited — are routinely shouted down by left-wing students (and sometimes faculty) or simply disinvited as a result of leftist pressure on the college administration.

A couple of weeks ago conservative writer and speaker Ben Shapiro was disinvited from California State University, Los Angeles. When he nevertheless showed up, 150 left-wing demonstrators blocked the entrance to the theater in which he was speaking, and sounded a fire alarm to further disrupt his speech.

In just the last year, left-wing students have violently taken over presidents' or deans' offices at Princeton, Virginia Commonwealth University, Dartmouth, Providence College, Harvard, Lewis & Clark College, Temple University and many others. Conservative speakers have either been disinvited or shouted down at Brandeis University, Brown University, the University of Michigan and myriad other campuses.

And leftists shout down virtually every pro-Israel speaker, including the Israeli ambassador to the United States, at every university to which they are invited to speak.

Yet the mainstream media simply ignore this left-wing thuggery — while reporting that the shutting down of a pro-Trump rally is all Trump’s fault for his comments encouraging roughing up protestors at his events.

That the left shuts down people with whom it differs is a rule in every leftist society. The left — not classical liberals, I hasten to note — is totalitarian by nature. In the 20th century, the century of totalitarianism, virtually every totalitarian regime in the world was a leftist regime. And the contemporary American university — run entirely by the left — is becoming a totalitarian state, where only left-wing ideas are tolerated.

Tens of millions of Americans look at what the left is doing to universities, and what it has done to the news and entertainment media, and see its contempt for the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. They see Donald Trump attacked by this left, and immediately assume that only Trump will take on, in the title words of Jonah Goldberg’s modern classic, “Liberal Fascism.”

And if these millions had any doubt that Trump alone will confront left-wing fascism, Trump’s opponents seemed to provide proof. Like the mainstream media, the three remaining Republican candidates for president — John Kasich, the most and Marco Rubio the least — blamed Trump for the left-wing hooligans more than they blamed the left. It is possible that in doing so Senators Cruz and Rubio and Governor Kasich effectively ended their campaigns and ensured the nomination of Trump as the Republican candidate for president. The combination of left-wing violence and the use of it by the other GOP candidates to wound Trump rather than label the left as the mortal threat to liberty that it is may clinch Trump’s nomination.

And if the left continues to violently disrupt Trump rallies, they — along with the total absence of condemnation by the Democratic Party and its presidential candidate — may well ensure that Donald Trump is elected president. Between the play-Fascism of Trump and the real Fascism of the left, most Americans will know which one to fear most.



Why socialists need capitalism: best explanation so far

By Oleg Atbashian

Have you heard of the shocking and terrifying diaper gap that is now dividing this nation? It is said to be so dire that the White House is urging immediate government assistance to buy baby diapers. Philosophically, this puts disposable plastic consumer products in the category of inalienable rights guaranteed by the government: among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Diapers.

When I lived in the USSR, our Soviet Constitution also guaranteed that our basic needs be provided to us by the caring socialist government. As a result, most basic items were in shortage, let alone such luxury items as coffee or toilet paper. Needless to say, we never even heard of disposable diapers. For our three children, we used pieces of cloth which we washed regularly. We didn't complain or feel disadvantaged because -- I repeat -- we had no idea there was such a thing as disposable diapers. Those only existed in the decadent West, where greedy corporations created such a product to boost their capitalist profits. But we were blocked from this information by the Iron Curtain, and what we didn't know couldn't hurt us.

Now I live in America, where the decadent capitalist diapers are about to become a basic "human right" guaranteed by the federal government.

About twenty years ago no one used cell phones because they hadn't yet been created by greedy capitalist corporations, who have since covered the planet with a network of cellular towers. Now free cell phones -- known as Obamaphones -- have become a "human right" guaranteed by the government.

Internet service didn't exist either, until greedy capitalist corporations surrounded the world with cables and satellites. Now Internet service has become a "human right" provided by the U.S. government to the needy.

Condoms, birth control pills, and other modern contraceptives also didn't exist until they were invented, researched, and mass-produced by greedy capitalist corporations. Now they have become a basic "human right" guaranteed and provided by the government.

Vaccines for Ebola and other exotic diseases didn't exist until they were developed by greedy capitalist corporations and almost immediately declared a "human right" for anyone in the Third World.

Healthcare with all its modern diagnostic equipment, appliances, treatments, and a vast array of pharmaceuticals, from Tylenol to Viagra, also didn't exist until greedy capitalist corporations...

And so on and so forth.

Capitalism just keeps churning out all these new products, which our increasingly socialist government then declares "human rights" and taxes these very producers in order to provide their products to the people for free.

Some call it harmonious coexistence, but there's a catch. The more the socialist government expands its functions by guaranteeing an ever expanding number of "human rights," the more it needs to tax capitalist producers, which undercuts their ability to develop, manufacture, and market new products. Once they reach a tipping point when capitalism is no longer viable, this will also end the propagation of "human rights" in the form of new goods and services.

Socialism conserves the stage in which the society existed at the time it was overtaken. Cubans still drive American cars from the 1950s, North Koreans still dress in the fashions of the same bygone era, and in the USSR I grew up in a government-owned house that was taken from the rich and given to the needy in 1920s and remained without indoor plumbing or running water and with ancient electrical wiring until it was condemned and demolished in 1986.

A planned economy is mostly focused ?n providing the basic needs that have already been declared "human rights," and even then it struggles to keep up with the demand. The USSR had smart inventors and brilliant scientists, but the first personal computer was built in a Californian garage and not in a Siberian one -- because America had free enterprise and the USSR didn't. In the absence of free markets and competition, innovation becomes an almost insurmountable task. There is no time nor money for new products and services; that way it's also easier for the government to run the economy. And when the people don't know what they are missing, there's no reason to be unhappy.

That, however, works best when the rest of the world no longer has competing capitalist economies and no nation lives better than the rest. For example, if it weren't for capitalist America and Western Europe with their never ending innovation and higher living standards, it would have been a lot easier for Soviet citizens to remain content with their socialist government and thus the USSR would probably still exist.

But wouldn't it be great if the entire world lived like one socialist village -- even if it conserved some ancient technology -- and people wouldn't be missing any consumer products they knew nothing about anyway? Absolutely not -- and for a reason that is allegedly dear to every socialist in the West: environmental protection. Centrally planned economies of the Eastern Bloc, China, and other socialist states inevitably became some of the world's worst polluters.

On the one hand they were stuck with outdated technologies, and on the other they had no budgets for cleanup. Their grimy and polluting state-run factories had to meet their production quotas at any cost, for the glory of the Motherland -- even if it meant the destruction of the Motherland's environment and endangering the health of workers and local residents. Complaining to the state about the actions of the state would be pointless and often more dangerous than breathing bad air and drinking polluted water.

Having the entire world adhering to this model would have resulted in an environmental apocalypse and there would be no Greenpeace to bemoan it because that would mean economic sabotage and the activists would by default become enemies of the state.

Whatever innovations the Soviet planned economy introduced came from the West. The Soviet planners also learned from the West about the real cost of things in the modern world, since their own pricing mechanisms had been removed decades ago with the elimination of free markets.

Thus, socialists are better off with capitalism to invent new products that will be later declared "human rights," allowing expansion of government functions to new areas, as well as to generate wealth that pays for socialist programs. Likewise, socialists are better off having the rich to subsidize the creation and mass production of new goods and services, and later to pay taxes so that the government can provide these goods and services to others for free.

This leads us to the following conclusions, which socialists can't refute because it correlates with their own logic:

The longer socialists wait to take over the power, the more technologically advanced society they will get to conserve.
It is more beneficial for the people of all classes, including socialists, to delay the socialist revolution indefinitely.
To delay the socialist takeover is also better for the environment because only capitalism has the power of innovation and the resources to create less polluting technologies, materials, and alternative energy sources. To impose socialism right away would mean to put the planet at risk of never resolving the environmental problems we face today.
Since capitalism generates goods and services that socialists later designate as "human rights," it is also in the interest of human rights to keep capitalism around indefinitely.

Socialists often describe the world as if it has always been as it exists today, leaving out the dimension of time. But time is a major factor because the world has never been static -- and that includes nations, cultures, ethnicities, technologies, sciences, and popular perceptions, such as human rights. The main question that needs to be answered, therefore, is not as much who, where, and how -- but "when?"

For example, switching to socialism directly from feudalism would have conserved the society at an early stage, without the host of various "human rights" that were unheard of at the time. According to Marx, humanity needed to go through the stage of capitalism in order to develop the necessary wealth, technologies, and educated populations before the socialists could take over.

But how do we know when the time is right for such a takeover? According to Marx and Lenin, a revolutionary situation exists when the upper classes no longer can, and the lower classes no longer want, to preserve the system, plus there exists a strong revolutionary party that can organize the masses.

Such a party, or rather a conglomerate of radical leftist movements, already exists -- and it has been flexing its muscles in Ferguson, Baltimore, and most recently in Chicago, disrupting capitalist Donald Trump's voter rally. But the first two preconditions for a socialist revolution in America simply do not exist because this country has never had natural static classes, such as the capitalist oppressors ruling over the oppressed workers and peasants. American society has always been dynamic, with unprecedented rates of upward mobility.

Socialists have been trying to update the Marxist formula by redefining "capitalist oppressors" as "hetero-normative patriarchy" and "oppressed workers and peasants" as "sexual, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities," but all their efforts to artificially polarize and destabilize the system have failed to create a revolutionary situation, despite all the tangible damage they have done to the country and to the minds of the growing generation.

Showing the lack of delayed gratification, socialists chant, "When do we want it? Now!" But if they had taken over, for instance, in the 1960s, Americans would have never been able to enjoy such "human rights" as free Internet, free cell phones, or free disposable diapers. Americans would be living today the way we lived in the USSR around the 1980s. There would be no affordable personal computers, tablets, eBooks, iTunes, Google, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter.

Now that all these capitalist wonders exist, is it finally time? What if we miss the next life-changing technological development that will happen in a year or two? What if it will be a new cheap and clean energy source that will make fossil fuels obsolete? What if it will become a new "human right" that will make all the previous "human rights" pale in comparison?



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


16 March, 2016

The genetics of politics

For many years now I have been pointing to the extensive research findings that show a large genetic influence on one's political orientation.  Exactly how that works in detail at the genetic level is however speculative.  I have suggested that a parsimonious account of the matter might be that Leftists are born miserable and that they blame their miserableness not on themselves but on all the "wrongness" in society.

So a relatively recent research paper from some distinguished behavior geneticists is of some interest.  It is "Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies" and can be accessed  here or here. I reproduce a paragraph from the beginning of their "Discussion" section:

"In the first stage of our analysis we demonstrated that there are several substantively significant relationships between the personality traits and political ideology dimensions. Most notably, P is substantially correlated with conservative military and social attitudes, while Social Desirability is related to liberal social attitudes, and Neuroticism is related to liberal economic attitudes

That's not bad as a confirmation of my theory.  The P scale is designed to measure tough-mindedness and tough-minded people would be unlikely to succumb readily to misery.  So conservatives  are indeed tough-minded.

The Social Desirability scale is designed to measure approval seeking.  And Leftists are certainly approval seekers.  For some, approval seeking seems to be the main motive for being Leftist.  Leftists are constantly portraying themselves as all  heart and wishing only for the good of others -- pretty powerful as approval seeking.

The correlation with neuroticism is interesting.  The usual finding is that neuroticism is not politically polarized.  But the researchers above added a refinement.  They measured economic attitudes separately from other political attitudes.  And they found that people who are careless about the effects of economic policies -- which liberals are -- score highly on neuroticism. 

So neuroticisn -- which consists of anxiety and excessive concern with one's own feelings -- leads to support for letting the government take control of everything.  Neurotics are so obsessive about their own feelings that they don't have the energy to think through the effects of economic policies and so prefer to leave it all to the government.  And neurotics are certainly miserable so all three findings above could be seen as support for my theory.

The authors of the article then go on to look at their data in more depth and in particular seek to trace the causal path behind the above correlations.  I have however never accepted that path analysis or any other statistical method can establish cause. I recently discussed that at some length in my comments on the causal claims  of Adolf Stips.  In brief, I take the mainstream view in analytical philosophy that the essential minimum that is needed to demonstrate cause is a demonstration of invariant temporal precedence and constant conjunction.  And no model can demonstrate that.

But a further paragraph was interesting:

"These analyses provide the backdrop for the more pivotal third and fourth sets of analyses: the examination of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes. These analyses show that the majority of covariance between personality and attitudes was due to shared genetic variance while the relationship between the idiosyncratic environmental components of politics and personality was notably smaller.  Furthermore, the majority of genetic influence on attitudes was not explained by the genetic influence on personality traits. In total, the Cholesky analyses validate the possibility of an alternative relationship between personality traits and political attitudes, whereby a latent common genetic factor drives the development of both personality traits and political attitudes."

So genetics lie behind both personality and political attitudes but the relationships are complex and still not clear.  Complexity is of course routinely encountered in studies of behaviour genetics -- JR


Why are "clerks" treasonous?

Economic historian Martin Hutchinson looks at why the intelligentsia are mostly Leftist and suggests an economic solution to reining them in

Julien Benda’s “La Trahison des clercs” was an immensely influential book when it was published in 1927, and its central idea has passed into our language – that intellectuals are irrational about the society around them, and tend to follow destructive political ideas. In Benda’s book, the destructive ideas were those of interwar fascism, now they are much more likely to be of the extreme left, but the tendency remains. Since this tendency seems to be getting worse, it’s worth examining why it should be the case, and what should be done about it.

Intellectuals were not always treasonous and attracted to extreme political positions. In the seventeenth century, John Milton and John Bunyan were Cromwellians – leftists, though not extreme ones – but Andrew Marvell was middle of the road, Isaac Newton was a conservative Whig, and John Dryden, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Peter Heylyn and the Cavalier poets were right of center. In the following century, Alexander Pope and Samuel Johnson were Tories, well to the right of the predominant Whig ideology.

This changed around the turn of the nineteenth century. Hardly anybody read Mary Wollstonecraft (1757-1797) until at least 150 years after her death, but fashionable Romantic poets such as George, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley made infantile leftism fashionable even as more conservative writers like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas Southey, Walter Scott and Jane Austen were also flourishing. Later in the nineteenth century, Charles Dickens criticized the society of his time from a position far to the left of the consensus – and made an immense amount of money doing so.

The intellectuals grew more treasonous in the early twentieth century, with the Bloomsbury Group, who gloried in their treason. While the unproductive and ineffably tedious writers in that group have had less influence than they thought they would – who now reads E.M. Forster? – it also included one economist, John Maynard Keynes, attracted to the group because of its unconventional sexual antics and disdain for business, who has remained excessively influential.

Seventy years after his death, the IMF, set up under his aegis to remake the world economy, is still advocating Keynesian “stimulus” as the solution to the world’s economic problems, proposing global government money-wasting to address an unexpected decline in Chinese exports, even as most countries are struggling with record budget deficits and debts. Another acolyte Mark Carney, surely as Governor of the Bank of England the epitome of a Worthless Canadian Initiative, is still pushing the remedies of monetary and fiscal stimulus and continued membership of the rotting European Union, proving Keynes accurate at least in predicting that practical men, would continue to be “the slaves of some defunct economist.”

Nevertheless, in U.S. academia at least, the treason of intellectuals appears to have got worse in recent years. The “political correctness” epidemic attempts to stifle dissent to the hard-left campus orthodoxy, while the balance that was apparent among college faculties 40 or 50 years ago appears to have disappeared. Stories like the attempt at Western Washington University to ban the word “history” altogether because of its sexism are only the media tip of a very large and unpleasant iceberg.

There is thus a question to be answered here. Why are society’s incentives producing treasonous clerks, when in the seventeenth century they produced mostly loyal ones? What in modern society causes intellectuals, almost all of whom make very nice livings, to espouse economic and political beliefs that are antagonistic to their fellow educated professionals, and would if implemented destroy or at least severely damage the society they live in?

It is always worth looking first at market incentives; one can quite agree with intellectuals that they do not always form the principal motivation, while recognizing that even philosophers have to eat and most care deeply about how well they eat.

In the seventeenth century, intellectuals had two potential sources of support: the Anglican Church (of which Oxford and Cambridge were effectively offshoots) and rich patrons who funded intellectual activity because it interested them (as it did Charles II) or more often because it gave them social status. There was effectively no market for intellectual products – Milton sold the rights to Paradise Lost for a mere £10 – less than $5,000 in today’s money — and lived on the remnants of his father’s City fortune and his own earnings as a Commonwealth bureaucrat. Thus intellectuals had to please their bishop or their patron, both of whom were generally likely to support the established order. There were openings for dissent – John Locke wrote under the patronage of the radical Whig Earls of Shaftesbury– but there was no incentive to move outside the broad consensus of contemporary politics.

By the early 19th Century, it had become possible to support oneself through writing for publication – Johnson did it, though late in life he also got a £300 annual pension from George III. Conversely, the Church was no longer the conventional employer of intellectuals, although some remained in Holy Orders through the nineteenth century.

This had two effects. One was the obvious one that there was no longer any need to curry favor with the establishment. If you could find enough radical readers, or readers who would be attracted by an anti-establishment literary approach, there was nothing to stop you moving in that direction.

The other effect was more pernicious. Really successful authors like Dickens made very large amounts of money by catering to lowest common denominator taste, in Dickens’ time attracted by cloying sentimentality and hostility to the new forces that were changing society so rapidly. Intellectuals who lacked Dickens’ common touch discovered they could make only modest livings from their writing, but the rapidly expanding university system, no longer so closely linked to the Church, offered them an alternative route to middle class comfort. Thus they began to despise popular success, and devised an elite culture in literature, academic research, music and art that deliberately shut out the hoi polloi. The hoi polloi over the course of the twentieth century developed a popular culture that owed little if anything to intellectual high culture.

In the early nineteenth century Jane Austen, Walter Scott and Gioachino Rossini wrote and composed for the entire literate world at an extraordinarily high level, while supporting the conservative social and political order of their day (Rossini wrote Il Viaggio a Reims, one of his best operas, for the coronation of the absolutist Charles X.) Today there is little or no high culture that can be appreciated by those not wedded to the dominant intellectual leftism and hatred of our society, while popular culture is, to say the least, not of a Jane Austen/Rossini quality.

At this stage, most intellectuals have no chance of making more than a modest living by selling their intellectual product to the public. However, they have reliable sources of income from the universities and from government and foundation grants, themselves filtered through committees whose political orientation is strongly leftwards. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, campuses had a certain element of political diversity; today they are leftist monocultures, and are attempting to censor out inappropriate thought by the students as well as the faculty. The result is that every incentive for the young academic is to follow the prevailing academic ideology, far to the left though it is of the prevailing ideology in society as a whole. Not only are the colleges producing a treasonous clerisy, they are rapidly eliminating all among the clerisy who are not treasonous.

The principal solution to this problem is to eliminate the “non-profit” economic category. Colleges are providing a service – education – primarily in the private sector, and should be managed as profit-making enterprises, albeit of the long-term-oriented German/Japanese kind. The state gains a benefit from the colleges providing an effective education to the best and brightest. However, while at present it subsidizes the colleges by allowing them into a tax-favored “non-profit” sector, where the profit motive is suspect and cost control even more so, it would be more efficient for the state to provide an honorarium to the college in return for the education that college provides – which honorarium would naturally be greater for high-quality degrees in STEM subjects and would not be paid for students who did not graduate. Then the non-profit tax subsidies could be abolished (to the great benefit of the U.S. budget) and colleges could be left to provide their education on a profit-seeking basis.

Of course, if all colleges were for-profit, some of them would become scams, but over time the non-scams would profit by their superior reputation, as in any marketplace. Harvard would squeal at being turned into Trump University, but given Harvard’s intellectual output, Trump University has done very much less damage. Indeed, the pedagogic quality of some of Trump University’s courses, designed by the cognitive scientist Roger Schank, was surprisingly high; they were well suited to give the modest, highly practical required education to their target market.

This would force intellectuals into working for a living, producing enough valuable intellectual output that their profit-seeking employer continued to pay them. The screams of rage from the current clerisy if this were to be implemented would themselves be evidence of the need for it and the benefits from implementing it. Over time, the worst intellectual scamsters would be weeded out, while the remainder would find themselves competing in a marketplace, the best avenue to utility and happiness for any individual.

Treason, even of the clerisy, can be weeded out. All it takes is the political will to cut through the “non-profit” mythology and allow the disinfectant of the free market to operate.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news from Britain about various themes


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


15 March, 2016

Leftist projection and inability to learn

The concept of "authoritarianism" as an explanation for conservatism has been like catnip to Leftist psychologists.  They cannot leave it alone.  It first arose among a group of Jewish Marxists in the late 1940s and was published in a 1950 book called "The authoritaian personality" under the lead authorship of a prominent Marxist theoretician, Theodor Wiesengrund, who usually used as his surname the stage name of his Spanish dancer mother -- Adorno. 

The theory underlying it failed in all sorts of ways so it fell out of favour after the '60s, though it still got an occasional mention. For more on the Adorno work see here

In the first half of his first book in 1981, "Bob" Altemeyer gave a comprehensive summary of the problems with the Adorno theory and submitted that it had to be discarded.  He then went on to put forward a slightly different theory and measuring instrument of his own that rebooted the concept of authoritarianism as an explanation of conservative thinking. 

That theory and its accompanying measuring instrument (the RWA scale) also soon ran aground, however.  Altemeyer himself admitted that scores on the RWA scale were just about as high among Leftist voters as Rightist voters -- which rather ruined it as an explanation of conservatism.  The death knell came when it was revealed that the highest scorers on the RWA scale were in fact former Russian Communists!  Right wing Communists??  For more on Altemeyer's confusions see here. Or more concisely here

So the RWA scale lost most of its interest after that, though it is still cautiously used on some occasions -- e.g here.

But, as I mentioned yesterday, Leftist psychologists did not give up.  A group of them including Karen Stenner, Stanley Feldman, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler revived the old ideas and invented a new questionnaire to measure the concept.  And reading their "new" theory is like a trip back into the 1940's.  Conservatives are still said to be sad souls who live in a state of constant and unreasonable  fear.

The amusing thing is that there is some reality behind their theory.  The key word is "unreasonable".  How much fear is "unreasonable"?  Is all fear "unreasonable"?  Obviously not.  Fear is an important survival mechanism.  We would all be eaten by lions etc. without it.  And conservatives do fear the probable results of the hare-brained schemes put forward by Leftists.  Conservatives are nothing if not cautious but to the superficial thinkers of the Left, that caution seems like fear.  So from a conservative viewpoint Leftists are not fearful enough.  They do not fear the "unforeseen" and adverse side effects that invariably accompany any implementation of their schemes.

So, despite the laughable psychometric characteristics of their new measuring instrument, which I set out yesterday, they have in fact achieved some grasp of reality.  They have just not grasped that caution can be a good thing and have not thought deeply enough about the distinction, if any, between caution and fear.  So all their writings amount to little more than an adverse value judgment of things that are in fact probably desirable.

So why all the mental muddle from them?  Why does the old "authoritarianism" catnip keep them coming back to that dubious concept?  Why have they not learnt from its past failures?  Easy:  It's all Freudian projection.  They see their own faults in conservatives.  The people who REALLY ARE authoritarian are Leftists themselves.  Communist regimes are ALWAYS authoritarian and in democracies the constant advocates of more and more government control over everything are the Left.  The Left are the big government advocates, not conservatives.  What could be more authoritarian than Obama's aim to "fundamentally transform" America? It is the Left who trust in big brother while conservatives just want to be left alone.

But somehow Leftist psychologists are blind to all that.  They appear to know nothing about the currents of day-to-day politics.  They are the sad souls who are so out of touch with reality as to be pitiable.

UPDATE:  Much fun.  I sent a heads-up email to the four recent writers I mentioned above (Karen Stenner, Stanley Feldman, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler) -- and I was copied in to the resultant emails between them.  And two of them said the same thing: How amusing it was to be described as Jewish Marxists.  I of course said no such thing.  I referred only to Adorno and his associates as Jewish Marxists -- since Adorno was a prominent Marxist theoretician and his book was sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. The AJC in fact hold the copyright to the book. So I had an encounter with typical Leftist dishonesty

So what we have is a classic example of Freudian avoidance/denial.  The authors above could not handle anything actually in the article so invented something not in the article to comment about.  It is such a classical example of a defence mechanism that it could well be used as a classroom example in a clinical course.

The same defence is behind the constant Leftist attempts to shut conservatives up.  Leftists just cannot handle the facts that conservatives constantly put to them so need to shut them out.  Leftists really are a sad lot.  It must be very uncomfortable to be so needy.


Obama Administration and UN Announce Global Police Force to Fight ‘Extremism’ In U.S.

A Fascist takeover?  A new group of Brownshirts?  So far it is just some sort of communication network with no police powers of its own.  But the cities in the network  DO have police powers so armed enforcement of its policies is still a lively possibility

On Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced at the United Nations that her office would be working in several American cities to form what she called the Strong Cities Network (SCN), a law enforcement initiative that would encompass the globe.

This amounts to nothing less than the overriding of American laws, up to and including the United States Constitution, in favor of United Nations laws that would henceforth be implemented in the United States itself – without any consultation of Congress at all.

The United Nations is a sharia-compliant world body, and Obama, speaking there just days ago, insisted that “violent extremism” is not exclusive to Islam (which it is). Obama is redefining jihad terror to include everyone but the jihadists. So will the UN, driven largely by the sharia-enforcing Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the pro-Islamic post-American President Obama, use a “global police force” to crush counter-jihad forces?

After all, with Obama knowingly aiding al-Qaeda forces in Syria, how likely is it that he will use his “global police force” against actual Islamic jihadists? I suspect that instead, this global police force will be used to impose the blasphemy laws under the sharia (Islamic law), and to silence all criticism of Islam for the President who proclaimed that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

So if the local and municipal effort to counter the euphemistic and disingenuous “violent extremism” is inadequate and hasn’t developed “systematic efforts are in place to share experiences, pool resources and build a community of cities to inspire local action on a global scale,” the feds – and the UN – have to step in. Thus the groundwork is being laid for federal and international interference down to the local level. “The Strong Cities Network,” Lynch declared, “will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration” – i.e., local dependence on federal and international authorities.

Remember, the DoJ presser says that the SCN will “address violent extremism in all its forms.” It also says that it will aid initiatives that are working toward “building social cohesion and resilience to violent extremism.” “Building social cohesion” is a euphemism for keeping peace between non-Muslim and Muslim communities – mostly by making sure that non-Muslims don’t complain too loudly about, much less work against, rapidly expanding Muslim populations and the Islamization of their communities.



To dismiss Trump as a bigoted buffoon is a 'YUGE' mistake... he's an elite-bashing hit with the workers

A view of Trump below from a British political guru, Steve Hilton

In all the years I worked for David Cameron, through all the party conferences, press briefings and campaign events, I don’t recall him asking me to put raw steaks on stage, accompanied by bottles of wine branded with his name.

But that bizarre spectacle took place this week in the US Presidential race, as Donald Trump hit back in the most direct possible way at those who had described some of his businesses as flops. With the great showman centre stage, talking about (and pointing to) his Trump Steaks, Trump Wine, Trump Water, Trump Magazine… it was like watching a shopping channel rather than a bid for the most powerful job in the world.

With performances like this you can see why so many people belittle Trump as a ‘joke’, a ‘buffoon’, or a ‘clown’. He’s an easy target for mockery: just watch some of the brilliant YouTube videos of Trump with a posh accent, or a cockney accent, made by the actor and voice artist Peter Serafinowicz.

But simply to dismiss Trump as a reality show entertainer with nothing of consequence to say would be to make a big mistake – sorry, a ‘YUGE’ mistake, as ‘the Donald’ himself would put it.

There were disturbing scenes of violence between Trump supporters and opponents in Chicago on Friday, causing the cancellation of a Trump rally; there’s no doubting he is a divisive figure. But he is also one who makes a real connection.

He is a much more serious, interesting and historically important political figure than his detractors allow. Trump is challenging not just some of the basic tenets of Republican ideas, but those of the Democrats too. The truth is, we live in a world that is run by bankers, bureaucrats and accountants. For decades, they have pushed a technocratic agenda that has been implemented by politicians of both Left and Right.

This agenda favours big business over small, fetishises globalisation, and is relaxed about immigration – regardless of the consequences for working people. As factories close, jobs disappear and wages fall, the response from the elite has been callous and inhuman: ‘This is the world we live in: suck it up and get with the programme.’

Well, people have had enough of being dismissed and patronised by the elite – who, by the way, do very nicely out of this technocratic agenda. Big businesses use their market dominance and unfair access to the levers of power to rip off consumers, exploit workers, and keep entrepreneurial competitors from challenging them. Globalisation is undoubtedly a force for good and has helped poor people in poor countries get richer. But the biggest rewards have gone to the already rich in the wealthiest parts of the world. And uncontrolled immigration gives them cheap labour for their businesses – not to mention an endless supply of nannies, housekeepers and gardeners.

Until Trump, no mainstream US politician had spoken up for working people in these terms. No one had challenged the technocratic agenda of the bankers, the bureaucrats and the accountants. That’s why so many people support Trump; and why he is politically important.

Of course, I understand that Trump’s rhetoric sometimes causes real offence. But he’s not a bigot or a racist or a madman: he’s just a political amateur who says the first thing that comes into his head. After years of slick, calculating, machine politicians, Trump’s rough and ready authenticity has real appeal.

This is not to say that I think he would make a good President, or that I’m supporting him – I’m not. But he has shone a spotlight on some of the biggest defects of American democracy, and his role in bringing about much-needed change could be more significant than that of his patronising and increasingly hysterical critics. That includes the most pernicious issue: money in politics. Britain has no reason to be complacent about corruption, whether it’s the revolving door between Westminster and Whitehall and the boardrooms of big businesses and their shadowy advisory firms; or the way trade union money on the Left or the financial sector on the Right dominate party fundraising.

But what goes on in America makes British corruption look like a picnic. In the US, wealthy individuals and corporations literally buy the political outcomes they want. A recent analysis showed that in a new law designed to regulate the banks, 70 lines out of 85 were actually written by banking giant Citigroup.

The measure was introduced by Congressman Kevin Yoder, who receives more money in campaign donations from the financial sector than any other member of Congress. The United States today is not in any meaningful sense of the word a democracy; it is a donocracy.

Traditionally, it has been Left-wing activists who decry the role of money in politics – although that hasn’t stopped Left-wing candidates such as Hillary Clinton from hoovering up corporate cash. But it’s refreshing – and significant – to see a Republican presidential candidate sound the alarm on America’s corrupt campaign financing system.

From the start of his run for president, Trump has attacked the devastating real world impact of dodgy donations. Why are drug prices so high, costing the American taxpayer billions in subsidies? Because, as Trump points out, the pharmaceutical companies ‘take care of’ the politicians who set the rules.

Why is there so much waste in defence procurement, with billions spent on equipment that military leaders don’t want and can’t use? Because the massive defence contractors, in Trump’s vivid phrase, are ‘bloodsuckers’ on government – along with the oil companies, the health insurance companies and other moneyed interests with an inside track.

When Trump describes traditional, establishment politicians such as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton as ‘puppets’ who are completely controlled by their donors, it strikes a chord – and, coming from a Republican, could just hasten the end of (or at least the moderation of) this corruption more than any number of worthy pamphlets from left-of-centre pressure groups.

In the end, Trump may not get to put his name on the White House as easily as he has on his buildings around the world – or his steaks, wine and private jet. But he has already made a powerful contribution to the political debate, and we should all be grateful to him for that.



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

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


14 March, 2016

Trump’s voters aren’t authoritarians, new research says. So what are they?

By Eric Oliver (professor of political science at the University of Chicago) and  Wendy Rahn (professor of political science at the University of Minnesota)

I have commented recently on some pseudo-scientific research that claimed that Trump supporters are "authoritarian". The research relied on a measure of authoritarianism mostly attributed to  Karen Stenner.  I think I showed satisfactorily that the research concerned was absolute rubbish on several grounds -- but it has nonetheless got some press. 

I am pleased to say therefore that I am not the only one to see that research as flawed.  The methodologically more cautious research below comes to very different conclusions.  Using a "Populism" questionnaire, they show that Trump supporters are the OPPOSITE of what the previous writers claim.  Far from being pro-authority, they are ANTI-authority.  They are  incipient libertarians.

I pointed out in my previous comments that this could happen.  The previous researchers used "forced choice" questions in their research and I have previously shown that doing that can lead to clearly wrong results -- results that are opposite to what more straightforward research reveals.  So that has now been confirmed as applicable in Trump research.

Perhaps because the latest researchers are political scientists, not psychologists,  they accept at face value the Stenner scale of alleged authoritarianism and use it in addition to their own "Populism" scale.  But they miss one important point:  The alleged scale of authoritarianism by Stenner probably isn't.  For a start, its internal reliability is disastrously low.  Where a coefficient alpha of .70 is normally required in a research instrument, the Stenner scale has shown alphas of less than .30.  In normal psychometric practice, that indicates that a scale does not measure ANYTHING.

I published long ago a perfectly straightforward scale of attitude to authority that WAS internally consistent and valid so there is no good reason to rely on the badly flawed Stenner insrument.  And there is also of course the Rigby & Rump (1979) instrument.

The Stenner scale is an inventory of child-rearing attitudes.  Whether such attitudes offer any substantial prediction of pro-authority attitudes is unknown.  I have been able to find no such evidence.  Leftists (Adorno, Lakoff etc.) have been asserting since the 1940s that certain child-rearing practices lead to authoritarianism but the evidence has not been kind to that claim. For instance:

1). Rigby & Rump (1981) found that respect for one's parents generalized to respect for other authorities only in early adolescence.  By late adolescence, the relationship had vanished entirely.  Since it is a central claim of both Lakoff and Adorno et al (1950) that a  generally pro-authority attitude is the outcome of parents insisting on respect for their own authority via  heavy discipline, this seems rather an important disconfirmatory finding, does it not?

2).  Elms & Milgram (1966.  See their "Results" section) found that it was rebellious rather than submissive children who came from strict parenting;  

3). Baumrind (1983) found that children who had experienced firm parental control developed with better competencies than did children who had experienced less parental control; 

4). Di Maria & Di Nuovo (1986) found that authoritative training and parental behaviour had very little influence in determining the dogmatic attitudes of children;

5).  Braungart & Braungart (1979) found that attitudes were most regimented in far-Left political groups;

6). Eisenberg-Berg & Mussen (1980) found that it was Leftists rather than conservatives who reported more conflict with their parents 

7). Sidanius, Ekehammar & Brewer (1986) found that racism was unrelated to type of upbringing.

8).  Johnson, Hogan, Londerman, Callens and Rogolsky (1981), in a study of college students, found that ratings of "father" and "mother" loaded on a factor different from that loading "police" and "government". 

9).  Lapsley, Harwell, Olson, Flannery and Quintana (1984) reported some correlation between ratings of "father" and ratings of "police" and "government" but no prediction at all from ratings of "mother". 
10). Rigby et al (1987) were in the Lakoff camp in that they wanted to believe that attitude to authority generalized from parents to the world at large but from their Table 5 we can calculate that the average correlation between rebellion/submission to parents and attitudes to the Police and the law was less than .20.  That is negligible.

11). The twin studies  (Martin & Jardine, 1986; Eaves, Martin, Heath, Schieken, Silberg &  Corey, 1977; Eaves,  Martin,  Meyer & Corey, 1999; Bouchard, Segal,  Tellegen,  McGue, Keyes,  &  Krueger, 2003), show that the attitudes and personality of children are formed almost entirely by genetics, not by their childhood treatment.  Your Left/Right orientation is strongly genetically determined but little influenced  by your family environment.  The most striking of these findings is  the one by Eaves et al (1999)  showing that conservatism/Leftism is even more strongly genetically inherited than how tall you are.  But hard science like that will no doubt be totally lost on Leftists

12). Ray (1983) points out that the most widely used measure of authoritarian attitudes is just as prone  to generating high scores among Leftist voters as Rightist voters.

13).  Ray & Lovejoy (1990) and Lindgren (2003) have reported survey results showing that there is no such thing as a generalized attitude to authority anyway.  Conservatives might respect some authoritative institutions (such as the Army) but just try asking most U.S. conservatives at the moment what they think of the U.S. Supreme Court!

14). Ray & Najman (1987) showed in a general population survey that there was no overall relationhip between psychological disturbance and political orientation.

15. Krout (1937) showed that young Leftists saw their parents -- including mothers --as not favouring them and as having often nagged and ridiculed them.  And in consequence they did not want to be like their parents and seemed to have had very unhappy childhoods in general.

16. Peterson (1990) also found that it is conservatives who report the happiest childhoods.

Detailed citations for the above references are given here

So I would be most surprised if the childrearing attitude questions used in the Trump research did in fact have much to do with attitude to authority.

If the questions concerned tell us anything, they would appear to index old-fashioned values so the high scores on "authoritarianism" among Cruz supporters probably signify at most that Cruz supporters have more old-fashioned views about child-rearing. That could be due in part to the Hispanic element in support for Cruz.  Some polls have shown him getting around a third of the Latino vote

Rigby, K. & Rump, E.E. (1979) The generality of attitude to authority Human Relations 32, 469-487.

Watch out, the authoritarians are coming!

That’s been the alarm, after recent reports that scoring high in authoritarianism was the strongest predictor that someone would support Donald Trump. “Authoritarian” has some strongly negative connotations. So it’s no wonder that anti-Trump pundits from Nicholas Frankovich to David Brooks have been quick to repeat this finding. What better way to equate Trump with Hitler?

But in our research, we find no evidence that Trump supporters are any more “authoritarian” (at least by common measures) than those who like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) or even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Instead, Trump’s supporters are distinctive in another way: They are true populists.

What’s the difference between authoritarians and populists?

Authoritarianism and populism are easy to conflate, but they actually refer to very distinct tendencies.

Authoritarianism, as understood by political psychologists, refers to a set of personality traits that seek order, clarity and stability. Authoritarians have little tolerance for deviance. They’re highly obedient to strong leaders. They scapegoat outsiders and demand conformity to traditional norms.

Populism, on the other hand, is a type of political rhetoric that casts a virtuous “people” against nefarious elites and strident outsiders. Scholars measure populism in a variety of ways, but we focus on three central elements:

Belief that a few elites have absconded with the rightful sovereignty of the people;

Deep mistrust of any group that claims expertise;

Strong nationalist identity

Of course, authoritarians and populists can overlap and share dark tendencies toward nativism, racism and conspiracism. But they do have profoundly different perceptions of authority. Populists see themselves in opposition to elites of all kinds. Authoritarians see themselves as aligned with those in charge. This difference sets the candidates’ supporters apart.

This is evident in a national online survey of 1,044 adult citizens we conducted in the Friday through Thursday spanning Super Tuesday. For this analysis, we utilize four scales.

* Authoritarianism. As others have, we gauge this with a battery of items measuring preferences on child-rearing (such as whether it is better for children to have independence or respect for elders, curiosity or good manners, obedience or self-reliance).

* Anti-elitism. What separates populists from authoritarians is their alienation from political elites. We measure this with statements like “It doesn’t really matter who you vote for because the rich control both political parties,” “Politics usually boils down to a struggle between the people and the powerful” and “The system is stacked against people like me.”

* Mistrust of experts. Populists often fear not just political elites and billionaires, but anyone who claims expertise. We measure this with questions like “I’d rather put my trust in the wisdom of ordinary people than the opinions of experts and intellectuals” or “Ordinary people are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves what’s true and what’s not.”

* American identity. Populists identify themselves as part of “the people,” a noble group that needs protecting. We measure this with questions like “I consider myself to be different than ordinary Americans” or “How important is being an American to your sense of self?”

In the figure, we depict the average factor scores for each of these scales by the candidate  respondents chose. The scales are constructed to be similar in range with the average score set to zero.

Two big points immediately leap out.

1. Trump voters are no more authoritarian than supporters of Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.

In fact, they score slightly lower on these scales than Cruz’s voters. Why? Partly, this is because scales measuring child-rearing correlate very highly with fundamentalist Christian beliefs. By these measures, most Republicans look like “authoritarians” because so many are conservative Christians who advocate strict child-rearing practices. This is also why Bernie Sanders’s supporters are so much less authoritarian than Hillary Clinton’s — “Berners” are much less religious than other Democrats.

2. What really differentiates Trump’s voters from the other Republicans is the populism.

Trump voters are the only ones to score consistently high on all three populist dimensions. Cruz and Rubio’s supporters, for example, don’t express high feelings of anti-elitism. In fact, on this scale, they are strongly anti-populist, identifying with authority rather than rejecting it.

Trump supporters share anti-elitism with only one other group: Sanders’s voters.

But where Trump is a populist, we would argue that Sanders is not. Despite the fact that Sanders often gets called a populist, his voters do not conform to the populist stereotype. They generally trust experts and do not identify strongly as Americans. A better way to describe them would be cosmopolitan socialists. They see the system as corrupted by economic elites. But they don’t trust ordinary Americans and show only light attachment to Americanism as an identity.

What does all this mean?

Granted, we don’t have a lot of other measures of authoritarianism, such as an attraction to strong leaders or intolerance of ambiguity. It may be that Trump’s supporters are more swayed by these traits than other Republicans.

But by the most commonly accepted measures, the voters who look most authoritarian are not those following Trump but those following Cruz. Not only do they score highest on the authoritarian scales, they also have that combination of populist elements correlated most strongly with authoritarianism. They are mistrustful of intellectuals and experts, highly nationalistic, yet strongly aligned with political and economic elites.

In other words, if the establishment is really afraid of authoritarianism, they should worry more about Cruz than Trump.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


13 March, 2016

Has radicalism become fashionable?

The Australian Leftist writer, John Preston, below says that centrism is no longer the way to win elections.  He makes a reasonable case for radicalism instead -- but I think he is wrong.  I will say why at the foot of the article

The popularity of Corbyn and Sanders in the UK and US and the elections of Trudeau in Canada and Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza Party in Greece, and even the success of the Scottish National Party in the recent UK, would appear to offer an alternative theory.

What appealed to UK Labor and the progressives amongst Canada’s voters, and is appealing to Democrats in the US, is strong leadership coupled with high idealism backed up with deliberately progressive rhetoric, if not actual policy.

The diminutive member for Islington North, Jeremy Bernard Corbyn, was universally written off by the UK Tories, the centrist Labour movement and the British press as being much too strongly rooted in his social-democratic roots to become a credible leader of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.

Corbyn’s philosophy is firmly based around poverty and social inequality. He advocates the re-nationalization of the railways and public utilities and has championed unilateral nuclear disarmament, free university tuition and an unashamedly green agenda of significantly increased renewable energy targets and the phasing out of the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels.

An unabashed “socialist” in the traditional sense, Corbyn barely gained sufficient nominations from Labour MPs to secure a spot on the leadership ballot, but then rapidly rose to lead the polling for the leadership of the Party for the duration of the campaign and went on to achieve a resounding – some would say ‘landslide’ – victory securing nearly 60 per cent of first round voting.

After announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential Nomination in April 2015, Bernie Sanders has made consistent and occasionally remarkable in-roads into an apparently unassailable lead by US political royal and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

While at least as unlikely a candidate as his UK counterpart, the rise and rise of this self-confessed socialist, peace campaigner, former conscientious objector and avid critic of the moneyed classes in a notoriously pro-capitalist and conservative United States is remarkable.

In a February 2016 Huffington Post poll, Sanders’ is polling at 36.8 per cent in an aggregated poll of 29 polling organisations monitoring the 2016 National Democratic Primary. To be polling at nearly 37 per cent against an establishment candidate like Clinton (who is, admittedly, at 50.2 per cent) is nothing short of astonishing.

The net effect for Clinton has been a refocusing of her social justice rhetoric, with an increased emphasis on the very same policy positions that Sanders has been espousing. Following the struck match result in Iowa and the apparent 60 per cent to 40 per cent victory to Sanders in the New Hampshire Primary, income inequality and the minimum wage will inevitably feature in Clinton’s stump speeches in the lead up to the South Carolina primary, notwithstanding that she currently holds a pretty comfortable 63.2 per cent to 33.3 per cent lead according to the polls.

Justin Trudeau’s recent victory in Canada’s general elections delivered the largest-ever numerical increase in seats recorded for the Canadian Parliament. Trudeau took the Liberal Party of Canada from a lack-lustre third-position with 36 seats to a victory that saw the party secure nearly 40 per cent of the popular vote and 184 seats in a commanding mandate to form a comfortable majority government.

In the aftermath of the Paris tragedies of November 2015, Trudeau’s commentary was scrupulously measured and cautious, in stark contrast to comments by Hollande in France, Cameron in the UK or the more aggressive protagonists among Australia’s conservative political and media.

The 50/50 split by gender, reinforced by a multi-ethnic and multi-faith cabinet has led the 29th Canadian ministry to be dubbed one of the most diverse of any western democracy. Right out of the blocks, Trudeau’s ministry has begun work on shifting the taxation burden away from the middle class towards the rich, and significantly increasing the Syrian refugee intake to 25,000.

When questioned on the make-up of his cabinet, and in particular why there were 50 per cent women, Trudeau’s now famous reply was “because it’s 2015” – a statement clearly tilting at his progressive agenda.

While arguably more center-left than his UK and US brethren, Trudeau is a self-declared feminist, is resolutely pro-choice on abortion, supports the legalization of marijuana and is a champion of religious freedom.

Perhaps more pointedly, Trudeau’s foreign policy agenda revolves around peacekeeping, humanitarian aid and the reduction of Canadian troops in foreign (particularly Middle-Eastern) conflicts.

Trudeau is, by any measure, a long way from the hardline conservatism of his predecessor, Stephen Harper, and has been pejoratively labeled as: shaggy-haired; gaffe-prone; subject to depthless impetuosity; and, above all, a democratic-socialist in the bleeding-heart liberal mold.

The outstanding success of the Scottish National Party in the recent UK general elections (notwithstanding the re-election of a conservative government) has made the SNP the third-largest political party by membership and overall representation in the UK House of Commons.

The party’s success as a social democratic party is built on much the same basis as Trudeau’s Liberals in Canada and Corbyn’s platform with UK Labour – the environment, social justice, progressive taxation, affordable social housing and an intriguing anti-nuclear stance (Scotland has four nuclear power stations and two nuclear-capable military bases (Clyde and Neptune) which provide significant employment opportunities for Scottish workers).

A potential (although not predicted) coalition of SNP and UK Labour would cause significant headaches for the UK’s Tories at the next UK general elections in May 2020.

In Greece, Tsipras’ Syriza party has had a more checkered but nonetheless revealing history. In reaction to crippling austerity measurements that Syriza claim were being imposed by Germany, Tsipras came to power with a modest 36 per cent of the vote.

In the snap election of September 2015, Syriza was returned on much the same margin despite the failure of Tsipras’ coalition government to achieve the progressive policy outcomes that it had originally sought a mandate for.

On the other side of the political divide, the inexplicable rise of real estate tycoon and reality television personality, Donald Trump, as the front-runner for the Republican (GOP) Presidential Nominations also challenges the centrism theory.

Trump (on 35.5 per cent) is comfortably ahead of his nearest rival, Ted Cruz (18.5 per cent), and is well ahead of the rest of the most ultra-conservative cadre of GOP candidates in United States history.

The increasing momentum of social-democratic movements and their counter-weights around the world makes a considered study of mass-appeal politics and policy in the Australian context a worthwhile exercise.

The rise and rise of Corbyn and Sanders from the left and Trump et al. from the right, suggests that more extreme policy, coupled with decisive leadership and populist policy is at least as likely a recipe for electoral success as the centrist line.

For the Australian Labor Party, rather than shying away from a progressive social democratic platform and strong, idealistic leadership, the strategists at Labor’s National Secretariat may need to offer an alternative to Dyrenfurth’s ‘more vanilla’ centrist mantra and give the electorate a real alternative to garner success at the ballot box in 2016.


As perhaps befits a conservative, I am more cynical than the writer above.  I believe that policy plays a secondary role in any election.  People elect a person, not a platform.  An attractive personality, like the Gipper, will win every time. And Tsipras (Greece) and Trudeau (Canada) are clearly attractive personalities.  Even Sanders is, in his way.  He at least conveys sincerity.  British Leftist, Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, is not an attractive personality and his popularity ratings are making the Conservative party very happy

And Trump most definitely fits the mould of a popular personality.  He has very little in the way of firm policies at all.  But what he says and the way he says it sounds good and cheering to a lot of people. People do like a strong leader and Trump oozes strength and confidence.  Tsipras and Trudeau also convey great confidence and self-assurance. And what did Mitt Romney convey?  Nothing.

And the rising star in Britain's Conservative party -- Boris Johnson, said in some polls to be the most popular man in England -- is nothing if not self-confident and is an attractive and cheerful personality generally.  So if Britain votes to leave the EU, he will most likely become Prime Minister overnight. Johnson is heading the "leave" vote while the present PM wants  Britain to stay in the EU.

The House of Commons has the power to change Prime Ministers at any time.  I am betting that a lot of Americans wish that Congress could toss Obama out.  In Britain, Parliament can do exactly that sort of thing. The supremacy of Parliament is a pretty good idea.  Britons fought a civil war to enshrine it.

Policies do matter but they are secondary in winning elections


No, BO, You Caused the Rise of Trump

Barack Obama held a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday where, standing in front of a Canadian flag, he denied that he caused the rise of Donald Trump. “What I’m not going to do is to validate some notion that the Republican crack-up that’s been taking place is a consequence of actions that I’ve taken,” Obama said. “And what’s interesting … there are thoughtful conservatives who are troubled by this, who are troubled by the direction of their party. I think it is very important for them to reflect on what it is about the politics they’ve engaged in that allows the circus we’ve been seeing to transpire, and to do some introspection. Because, ultimately, I want an effective Republican Party.”

Sure he does.

As I wrote just two weeks ago in The Trump Freight Train, despite his decidedly liberal “New York values” and the fact that his brilliantly timed and superbly calculated rhetoric is mostly fragrance and not substance, Trump’s appeal is sustained because that rhetoric affirms a broad spectrum of anger — anger that has been seeded by Obama’s unprecedented executive arrogance, and the failure of Republicans to counter his populist policies. So confused are some Republicans that they no longer can distinguish between “conservative” and “establishment” candidates.

Seven years of Obama’s repressive regime has fomented despair, delusion and division among the ranks of Republican voters – so much so that some are willing to take leave of their senses and join a cultish movement with a self-promoting charlatan as its head. History is replete with examples of such movements, and the tragic result – the suppression of Liberty. Most conservatives, many moderates and even some centrist Democrats are exhausted, and consequently, some will settle for anything other than what they perceive to be “status quo.”

The Obama effect was plain in 2010, giving rise to the most authentic grassroots movement in generations – the Tea Party. As a result, Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, retaking control in the biggest shift since 1948. They gained six seats in the Senate and the gains were wide and deep nationwide, as Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislative races, an all-time record. That gave Republicans control of a majority of state legislatures and 29 governorships. But, regrettably, establishment Republican leaders in the House excluded the new conservatives from leadership positions.

The fact is, Obama caused Donald Trump, and Obama, ever the political strategist, is using this opportunity to embarrass the Republican Party, hoping to shore up the general election for Hillary Clinton.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


11 March, 2016

Poll: Why Voters Flock to Donald Trump

It is perfectly reasonable that a successful businessman should be seen as best able to deal with jobs and the economy but that may be only the politically correct answer that Trump voters give to pollsters rather than the most basic reason.  Mitt Romney was a rich businessman too -- but he enthused just about nobody

A new poll shows conservatives and independent voters believe Donald Trump is the best-suited Republican candidate to deal with jobs and the economy, and that this factor is a big reason for Trump's wide support.

A net 64 percent of respondents in a national poll said Trump would be best on jobs and economy, according to a Gallup poll conducted Feb. 26-28. Trump received nearly four times more support than runner-up Sen. Marco Rubio, who scored 17 percent on the same issue.

Trump, who is ranked first in the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings, swept the six-category poll, and took first place by a landslide on five of the issues. The GOP front-runner had 61 percent of voters' support on handling the federal budget deficit, nearly four times Rubio's 16 percent second place finish.

"These strengths appear to be at the core of his support, tying in with the persistent economic anxiety Republicans express on a host of Gallup measures, such as confidence in the economy and their own economic progress," Gallup poll experts Frank Newport and Lydia Saad concluded.



What This Washington Post Columnist Got Wrong in Analysis of Conservatives

Beware of friendly progressives like E. J. Dionne, Jr., who come bearing beguiling gifts like how conservatism can get back on the right track.

In his new book, “Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond,” Dionne, a featured columnist of the always helpful Washington Post, argues that because elected conservatives broke their promises to voters to slash federal spending, spark an economic boom, put social issues at the top of the agenda, and restore tattered American prestige around the world, the American public has gone looking for political alternatives and found them in outspoken outliers.

The solution, suggests Dionne, is for conservatives to stop making promises they cannot keep—like shrinking government to its pre-New Deal size—and reclaim the “moderate” conservatism of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. That is the only sensible solution, says Dionne, because after nearly 80 years of the New Deal and its successors, the voters have come to accept and expect a government that gives them Social Security, health care, food stamps, housing allowances, and all the other accoutrements of the modern welfare state. To hew to a rigid Bill Buckley/Barry Goldwater ideology, he argues, is to consign your political movement to defeat and oblivion.

Dionne’s political diagnosis is accurate—conservative leaders in Washington have constantly let the voters down and hard—but his recommended cure would be disastrous for it would require conservatives to abandon the unquestioned political success of President Ronald Reagan and to a lesser extent that of Speaker Newt Gingrich. Let’s not forget the historic welfare reform of 1996, passed twice over President Bill Clinton’s veto.

It would require conservatives to agree with progressives that the eight years of the Reagan presidency were a decade of greed rather than an unprecedented period of economic prosperity that benefitted all Americans, including African-Americans. It is a little-known fact that during the Eighties, black unemployment dropped 9 percentage points, black household income went up 84 percent, and the number of black-owned businesses increased 40 percent.

Dionne warns that the Republicans “must do more than offer a few tax credits and speak warmly about civil society.” It is obvious he has not read House Speaker Paul Ryan’s pro-growth agenda based on free enterprise and government by consent. Nor has he consulted the Heritage Foundation’s Solutions 2016, with its 111 recommendations on everything from Obamacare (repeal it), education (exit the Common Core standards and tests) and energy (reform the process for new nuclear reactor plants) to jobs (repeal the Davis-Bacon Act).

He accuses Reagan of legerdemain and rhetorical tricks to change the political debate without changing the structure of American government. But that is precisely the point. Reagan did not want to change our form of government, he wanted to restore our government to its original form in which “we the people” govern and the checks and balances carefully constructed by the Founders prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power.

Contrary to Dionne’s advice, conservatives understand that the way to win the electoral debate is to take a strong forward position and stick with it just as Reagan did with his 1981 tax cuts that triggered 90 months of economic growth and his Strategic Defense Initiative which forced the Soviets to abandon the arms race and agree to end the cold war at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield.

Dionne is correct that President Eisenhower presided over a period of comparative peace and prosperity in the 1950s, but his “modern” Republicanism was rejected as “a dime store New Deal” by Barry Goldwater, a prime maker of the conservative movement. What Reagan said in his first inaugural address still applies: “In this crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

Contrary to Dionne’s counsel, American conservatism does not need warmed-over Republicanism from the Fifties to get back on track but principled leadership committed to real health care solutions, meaningful spending cuts, tax reform that spurs economic growth and creates jobs, a strong national defense, energy independence, commonsense immigration reform, protection of human life from conception to natural death, and preservation of the traditional family.

That is a sure cure for conservatism’s ills and for an America anchored in family, faith, work and community.



Wisconsin is Proof Positive That Conservative Solutions Work

Scott Walker may have washed out of the presidential election early, but his conservative agenda is saving the state of Wisconsin billions. As Townhall notes:

    "Republican Gov. Scott Walker found himself fighting for his political life when he proposed necessary reforms to Wisconsin’s labor unions in 2011. It prompted liberal forces in his state to mount a recall effort to remove him from office; they failed. Then, they failed to boot him during his 2014 re-election bid. Act 10 is, for all intents and purposes, here to stay–and it’s saved the taxpayers billions of dollars (via Watchdog):

    …[D]espite all the dire predictions, Act 10 has proved a smashing success for Wisconsin taxpayers, according to a new analysis by the MacIver Institute.

    The Madison-based free-market think tank’s report estimates taxpayers have saved $5.24 billion over the past five years, thanks to the law.

    The analysis found that the state has saved $3.36 billion by requiring government employees to contribute to their government-backed pensions, and another $404.8 million by opening up employees’ health insurance to competitive bidding, among other cost controls. The savings have been widespread, across state and local governments.

    Milwaukee Public Schools, for instance, saved a whopping $1.3 billion in long-term pension liabilities, according to the MacIver report. The University of Wisconsin System saved $527 million in retirement costs, the study found. And Medford School District recently realized an 11 percent decrease in the cost of its health insurance plan by opening it to competitive bidding.

    The savings due to Act 10 breaks down to $2,291 for every household in Wisconsin, according to the analysis"

Reforms like Walker's aren't easy, and as the piece notes, they nearly cost them his job. But they provide a template for any committed conservative who's ready to set to the task of taking on the public sector unions that are bankrupting this country.



Minimum Wage Hikes Hose Canadians, Too, Eh?

It’s not just American economists who are waving red flags when it comes to raising the minimum wage. The Canadian-based Fraser Institute recently published a study — “Raising the Minimum Wage: Misguided Policy, Unintended Consequences” — that analyzes the negative regulatory effect of minimum wage increases for Canadians. The executive summary states:

    There is an enormous body of empirical research examining the effects of the minimum wage. Canadian studies are considered of higher quality than US studies because (among other reasons) there is a wider variability in the provincial Canadian minimum-wage variable. The Canadian literature generally finds that a 10% increase in the minimum wage reduces employment among teens and young adults (ages 15 to 24) by 3% to 6%. By making it harder for low-skilled workers to obtain an entry-level position, the minimum wage may perversely hinder the development of human capital and harm the long-term career prospects of the very people it ostensibly helps. Indeed, Canadian researchers have found that hiking the minimum wage has no statistically significant impact on poverty and in some cases can increase it.

Democrats often say that America needs to more emulate other countries, particularly Canada, Australia and Great Britain, because their Big Government boondoggles work. But no matter which country you analyze, the end result — whether we’re talking about government-run health care, generous benefits and entitlements or gun registration — is always the same: failure. Moreover, Democrats never mention the numerous studies like the Fraser Institute’s that completely refute their Socialist make-believe. It seems the only thing to them worth emulating is the rhetoric — not the evidence.



Broken ObamaCare Co-Ops Cheat the System

During his weekly address on June 27, 2015, Barack Obama responded to a favorable Supreme Court ruling from two days earlier on the legality of ObamaCare subsidies by boasting, “This law is working exactly as it’s supposed to — and in some ways, better than we expected it to. … [I]t is time to stop refighting battles that have been settled again and again. It’s time to move on.” If only we could. The reason we can’t (aside from the Supreme Court getting it wrong twice) is because the law is not working, no matter how you spin it. Not only is enrollment tanking, but a new poll shows that very few people are seeing any benefits, and already 12 of the nearly two dozen ObamaCare co-ops have imploded. As for the rest? They, too, are on shaky ground.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services unloaded a bombshell on Congress last week by revealing that eight more co-ops may soon be headed for closure. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The agency’s chief operating officer, Dr. Mandy Cohen, told the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that the 11 co-ops that remain are ‘being monitored closely,’ and that eight have a corrective action plan in place and are under enhanced oversight. Cohen explained that a co-op is put on a corrective action plan when the agency identifies issues with its finances, operations, compliance, or management processes.” If history is any indication, they won’t last long.

The news gets worse. A separate Free Beacon story published Tuesday says, “Co-ops created under Obamacare reported net assets despite losing millions because they used an accounting trick approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. … In July 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services amended its agreement with co-ops, allowing them to list $2.4 billion in loans they received from taxpayers as assets.” So not only are co-ops closing left and right, but the federal government allowed them to cheat the system, all while CEOs pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this was happening in the private sector, would Obama claim the system “is working exactly as it’s supposed to — and in some ways, better than we expected it to”?



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


10 March, 2016


Trump seems to have generated at least as much criticism from Republicans as Democrats, so there is a feeling that a newly-elected Congress will be as obstructive to Trump as they were to Obama.  I don't believe it.  I think Trump will win big and have significant coat-tails -- i.e a lot of Congressmen  will have wins as a result of the Trump GOP brand.  Some will win who would not have won without Trump.  And that will percolate.  GOP congressmen will see Trump as being owed.  He will of course have to compromise with Congress, as all Presidents do, but that should work well to lead to well-considered legislation.


Donald Trump ‘near certain’ to defeat either Democrat in November, says forecaster

THE science is settled: Trump can’t be stumped. The controversial billionaire has an 87 per cent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in November, and a 99 per cent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders.

That’s according to the Primary Model, a statistical analysis model developed by Stony Brook University political science professor Helmut Norpoth, which has correctly predicted the last five US elections since it was introduced in 1996.

It comes as voters in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi have their say in the US presidential nominating race, with Trump picking up the latter two states.

The Primary Model relies on the presidential primaries and the election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election, and Professor Norpoth says early primaries are a leading indicator of electoral victory.

Trump won the Republican primaries in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, while Clinton and Sanders split the Democratic primaries in those states.

“What favours the GOP in 2016 as well, no matter if Trump is the nominee or any other Republican, is a cycle of presidential elections,” he wrote on The Huffington Post.

“After two terms of Democrat Barack Obama in the White House the electoral pendulum is poised to swing to the GOP this year. This cycle, which is illustrated with elections since 1960, goes back a long way to 1828.”

Professor Norpoth says in a match-up between Trump and either Democratic contender, the Primary Model predicts Trump would defeat Clinton by 52.5 per cent to 47.5 per cent of the two-party vote. Against Sanders, Trump would take 57.7 per cent versus 42.3 per cent.

Importantly, Professor Norpoth says that result even factors in Trump’s outrageous comments.

“Winning early primaries is a sign that a candidate has a favourable image,” he wrote in a recent question-and-answer session on reddit. “Whatever past gaffes or scandals might affect a candidate have been absorbed into that image by then.”

Trump was accused of dragging the presidential race into the gutter last week with a reference to his penis size, after rival candidate Marco Rubio made a suggestive comment about Trump having “small hands” at a rally.

“Trump has held pretty steady in the 30s,” Professor Norpoth says. “He does not seem to slip in approval for any stupid, silly, outrageous and offensive remarks. That alone is a new thing.”

This all assumes Trump, who has been hit with an onslaught of attacks from both rivals and the Republican establishment, wins the nomination.

Over the weekend, a secretive meeting of billionaires, tech CEOs and high-ranking Republicans — which included Apple’s Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla’s Elon Musk — put their heads together to work out a plan to defeat the real estate mogul.

And in an unprecedented attack last week, former Republican candidate Mitt Romney blasted Trump as a “fraud”. However, a new poll suggests that attack may have actually helped Trump, finding 31 per cent of Republican voters are more likely to vote for him because of Romney’s speech.

Professor Norpoth says he can’t predict the outcome of nomination contest. “But ask yourself, who has not got the nomination in at least the last 60 years who racked as many wins in the primaries as Trump? I can’t think of any,” he said.

In January 2012, Professor Norpoth predicted Barack Obama would defeat Mitt Romney with 88 per cent certainty, and around the same time in 2004 that George W. Bush would be re-elected with more than 95 per cent certainty.

The model pulls in data from every presidential election going back until 1912 — the year the primary system was introduced — to estimate the weight of primary performance.

“That year the candidate who won his party’s primary vote, Woodrow Wilson, went on to defeat the candidate who lost his party’s primary vote, William Howard Taft,” Professor Norpoth writes.

“As a rule, the candidate with the better primary performance, as compared to his or her strongest rival, beats the candidate with the weaker primary performance.”

Applied retroactively, the Primary Model has correctly picked the winner in every presidential election going back to 1912 except for 1960, when John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon.

Professor Norpoth remains cautious, however. “I agree with Mark Twain,” he wrote. “Prophecy is good business, but it is full of risks.”



Michael Needham was stoking fear in Republicans long before Donald Trump

Before Donald Trump began terrorizing the Republican establishment, there was Michael Needham.

The 35-year-old conservative prodigy has spent six years instilling panic in Washington Republicans as head of Heritage Action for America. But instead of pitching himself as the solution to D.C.’s problems, Needham conducts his own slash-and-burn campaign to rid Congress of policies and players he sees as insufficiently conservative — many of them fellow Republicans.

His strategy at Heritage Action is deceptively simple: identify votes that should be important to the conservative base, then grade lawmakers on where they stand. The result has been chaos and gridlock on Capitol Hill, as Republicans rush to side with Heritage Action and avoid the friendly fire of the 1.9 million grassroots conservatives in its network.

Needham, a native New Yorker who has never worked on Capitol Hill, is unapologetic about leading one of Washington’s most feared advocacy groups.

“The anger [from voters] comes from a place that is profoundly right,” Needham said in an interview, referring to Trump’s political success. “I think we [Heritage Action] have landed exactly where the mood of the electorate is. I think that is why politicians are channeling our message. A Trump election or nomination is a complete vindication that Washington needs to change.”

Washington Republicans might panic at the thought of a Trump presidency, but Needham says he does not. He believes that underneath the bluster, the businessman is malleable on specifics — specifics that Needham and his team could provide.

“A President Trump who tries to find policies that address the themes he’s been addressing would be a fantastic opportunity for us to shape the policy agenda,” he said.

Needham has been channeling Trump-style anger at the nation’s capital and his own party since 2010, when he founded Heritage Action, an independent sister organization of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation. His group isn’t endorsing in the presidential race, but it is known for its close ties to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who shows a similar dedication to breaking Washington from the inside.

Though Heritage Action has failed to achieve some of its larger goals, such as stopping ObamaCare, Needham’s work has had a profound impact on how business is conducted in Washington. The fact that legislative brinkmanship is now routine is no accident: the near-misses on funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and approving must-pass bills are all but ordained in the Heritage Action playbook as ways of extracting policy concessions.

At the moment, Heritage Action is pressuring Senate Republicans to block President Obama’s eventual Supreme Court nominee and House Republicans to lower federal spending targets in their next budget. Both battles will help determine the group’s influence in the final year of Obama’s presidency, and set the temperature of Heritage Action’s relationship with new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

 More HERE 


The Seen and Unseen

By Walter E. Williams

Claude Frederic Bastiat (1801-50) -- a French classical liberal theorist, political economist and member of the French National Assembly -- wrote an influential essay titled "That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen." Bastiat argued that when making laws or economic decisions, it is imperative that we examine not only what is seen but what is unseen. In other words, examine the whole picture.
Americans who support tariffs on foreign goods could benefit immensely from Bastiat's admonition. A concrete example was the Bush administration's 8 to 30 percent tariffs in 2002 on several types of imported steel. They were levied in an effort to protect jobs in the ailing U.S. steel industry.

Those tariffs caused the domestic price for some steel products, such as hot-rolled steel, to rise by as much as 40 percent. The clear beneficiaries of the steel tariffs were steel industry executives and stockholders and the 1,700 or so steelworkers whose jobs were saved. But there is no such thing as a free lunch or a something-for-nothing machine. Whenever there is a benefit of doing something, there is a guaranteed cost.
A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, predicted that saving those 1,700 jobs in the steel industry would cost American consumers $800,000 per job, in the form of higher prices. That's just the monetary side of the picture. According to a study commissioned by the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, steel-using industries -- such as the U.S. auto industry, its suppliers, heavy construction equipment manufacturers and others -- were harmed by higher steel prices.

It is estimated that the steel tariffs caused at least 4,500 job losses in no fewer than 16 states, with over 19,000 jobs lost in California, 16,000 in Texas and about 10,000 each in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. In other words, industries that use steel were forced to pay higher prices, causing them to have to raise prices on what they produced. As a result, they became less competitive in both domestic and international markets and thus had to lay off workers.
Tariff policy beneficiaries are always seen, but its victims are mostly unseen. Politicians love this. The reason is simple. The beneficiaries know for whom to cast their ballots and to whom to give campaign contributions. Most often, the victims do not know whom to blame for their calamity.
Here's my question to those who want to use tariffs to fight cheap imports in the name of saving jobs: Seeing as back in 2002, the typical hourly wage of a steelworker ranged between $15 and $20, in addition to fringe benefits -- so we might be talking about an annual wage package averaging $50,000 to $55,000 -- how much sense did it make for American consumers to have to pay $800,000 in higher prices, not to mention lost employment in steel-using industries, to save each job?

It would have been cheaper to tax ourselves and give each of those 1,700 steelworkers a $100,000 annual check. Doing so would have been far less costly to Americans than the steel tariffs, but it would have been politically impossible. Why? The cost of protecting those steel jobs would have been apparent and hence repulsive to most Americans. Tariffs conceal such costs.
When Congress creates a special privilege for some Americans, it must of necessity come at the expense of other Americans. Then Americans who are harmed, such as the steel-using auto industry, descend on Congress asking for some kind of relief for themselves. It all reminds me of a passage in a Negro spiritual play written by Marcus Cook Connelly, titled "The Green Pastures," wherein God laments to the angel Gabriel, "Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo' or five mo' to ketch up wid it."

"I think Congress ought to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle-making up to God.



Socialism in action


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


9 March, 2016

Hatred of Truth as Freudian denial

The following essay is by psychohistorian Richard Koeingsberg.  Psychohistorians are particularly interested in the Hitler episode and rightly see Nazism as a pursuit of the old Leftist dream of an ideal, Edenic society.  Greenies are the chief modern-day exponents of that.  What Koenigsberg says below is very relevant to the furious hatred that conservatives often encounter from Leftists these days

At the 1997 Annual Holocaust Conference, I attended a lecture by Dr. John Weiss on “The Ideology of Death” (he had just published Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany).
In the course of the discussion, he mentioned “the hated Goldhagen.” Apparently, the audience understood what he meant—because a substantial conversation ensued about “the hated Goldhagen.”

I wondered what this was about. I’d attended over 100 conferences by then and many presentations—and had never heard academics speak like this. Indeed, the reigning ideology of the time was “Everyone is entitled to his (or her) own discourse.”

Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners was published in 1996. Apparently, the book generated enormous controversy among academics in the United States as well as Germany. The book became a best-seller.

What was all the fuss about?

I read the book—all 656 pages. It’s the richest, most dynamic book I’ve ever read on the Holocaust—and I’ve read quite a few.

Apparently, people took issue with Goldhagen’s claim that there was a uniquely German anti-Semitism, and that many Germans killed willfully—responding to their hatred of Jews.

I won’t address the substance of Goldhagen’s arguments here. Rather, I’d like to discuss the issue of hatred—why someone might be “hated” for putting forth certain propositions or theories.

Of course, we’ve seen this occur many times. Freud was hated and condemned for his theory of sexuality: his discovery that sexual desire plays a profound role in shaping our lives.

Similarly, people did not take kindly to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution—showing how human beings have descended from “lower” forms of animal life. Darwin’s ideas, like those of Freud, generated disagreement that took the form of anger, even rage.

It’s not difficult to understand that the theories of Freud and Darwin generated hostility because many people found their ideas disturbing, or painful. People become angry when confronted with truths they find unpleasant. Anger or hatred serves in the name of pushing away—disavowing—certain ideas. Hatred is a form of denial.

This dynamic of hatred as denial is no less operative today than it was a century ago. Each culture (including each academic culture) embraces certain beliefs as if they are absolutes—and reacts violently to ideas that contradict their world view.

Can everyone be wrong? Can entire cultures embrace ideas that have no foundation in reality? Can many ideas that society puts forth turn out to be nonsense? I have found this to be the case.

I often ask people: “How many Jews do you think were in Germany in 1933—out of a population of 65 million?” I get answers of 5 million, 10 million, even 20 or 30 million. The correct answer is: there were approximately 500,000 Jews in Germany in 1933, half of 1%.

I no longer find it fruitful to debate the point that Jews were killed for no reason at all. People have difficulty with this idea. They insist there must have been some reason that the Nazis acted as they did.

There weren’t any reasons. Hitler and the many Germans were embroiled in a shared fantasy. Entire societies can be wrong. Many cultural ideas—that people fervently believe are true—turn out to have no foundation in reality.

On the surface, people challenged Goldhagen because they believed his theories were “wrong;” not supported by the evidence; or because they felt his scholarship was suspect. But why would someone be “hated” for a theory that was incorrect?

At the Holocaust conference, Goldhagen was invited to give the keynote address, “The Holocaust in the Context of the 20th Century.” I arrived early to set up the Library of Social Science Book Exhibit. Enjoying the sights of the Millersville campus, I spotted conference director Jack Fischel walking with someone at a distance. Perhaps he was taking Goldhagen out to lunch?

Ah, I reflected, that couldn’t. The person walking with Jack was a slight, unimposing young man. Could this be “the hated Goldhagen?” Based on the way people spoke about him, I imagined Goldhagen as having a commanding, threatening presence.

Daniel Goldhagen

The young man walking with Jack Fischel indeed was Daniel Goldhagen. I met him later when he came to check out the books in the exhibit room. He was a warm, gentle person. Nothing whatsoever to “hate.”

We began rapping. I explained to him why I thought many people were disturbed by his theories. I gave him a copy of Hitler’s Ideology (no charge). We were having a great conversation.

But then Jack Fischel was at the door. The lecture was about to begin (down the hall from the exhibit room). Goldhagen couldn’t tear himself away. Fischel called his name several times; finally, he departed. Time to go back to work, do his job, earn his fee.



Lakoff rides again

Some Leftists have wheeled George Lakoff out to explain the rise of The Donald.  An excerpt from his latest essay below.  All his theories are just conventional Leftist pap, with no correspondence to reality.  But I have dealt with his theories pretty thoroughly long ago so am disinclined to re-run any of that.  There is also an amusing takedown of Lakoff here

In a world governed by personal responsibility and discipline, those who win deserve to win. Why does Donald Trump publicly insult other candidates and political leaders mercilessly? Quite simply, because he knows he can win an onstage TV insult game. In strict conservative eyes, that makes him a formidable winning candidate who deserves to be a winning candidate. Electoral competition is seen as a battle. Insults that stick are seen as victories — deserved victories.

Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, Our Country above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.

We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy

Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. And thus your moral worldview defines for you what the world should be like. When it isn’t that way, one can become frustrated and angry.

There is a certain amount of wiggle room in the strict father worldview and there are important variations. A major split is among (1) white Evangelical Christians, (2) laissez-fair free market conservatives, and (3) pragmatic conservatives who are not bound by evangelical beliefs.

Those whites who have a strict father personal worldview and who are religious tend toward Evangelical Christianity, since God, in Evangelical Christianity, is the Ultimate Strict Father: You follow His commandments and you go to heaven; you defy His commandments and you burn in hell for all eternity. If you are a sinner and want to go to heaven, you can be ‘born again” by declaring your fealty by choosing His son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior.

Such a version of religion is natural for those with strict father morality. Evangelical Christians join the church because they are conservative; they are not conservative because they happen to be in an evangelical church, though they may grow up with both together.

Evangelical Christianity is centered around family life. Hence, there are organizations like Focus on the Family and constant reference to “family values,” which are to take to be evangelical strict father values. In strict father morality, it is the father who controls sexuality and reproduction. Where the church has political control, there are laws that require parental and spousal notification in the case of proposed abortions.

Evangelicals are highly organized politically and exert control over a great many local political races. Thus Republican candidates mostly have to go along with the evangelicals if they want to be nominated and win local elections.



Trump and the workers

Democrats are terrified of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump- and with good reason. Some polls suggest that he may peel off 20 percent of likely Democratic voters.  Now, it appears that they're starting to take the threat seriously. As Newsmax notes:

    Democrats are getting nervous a general election battle with Donald Trump] at the top of the GOP ticket won't be so easy – worried that his populist appeal could chip away support from the party's stalwart base of working-class voters.

    "For us to take him lightly would be the worst mistake in the world," Connecticut Rep. John Larson, a former head of the House Democratic Caucus, tells The Hill.

    "I've been saying for months that we should never take Trump lightly and that I do think he has appeal, to independents and blue-collar Democrats especially… He comes along and says, 'I'm a deal maker, I'm about getting the deal done.' And they're so fed up of seeing nothing getting done and want to see him [act] on the issues that strike to the core of their feelings."

    It's a far different perspective than has was voiced just weeks ago by Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden, who said in January either Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the November ballot would be "a gift from the Lord."

Democrats are right to be afraid. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, working class voters will have to choose between Donald Trump, a candidate committed to bringing back American jobs, and Hillary Clinton, a candidate who gives six figure speeches at Goldman Sachs. As Bernie Sanders continues to highlight Hillary's high roller hypocrisy, this choice becomes easier and easier.



Numbskull Sanders:  White people ‘don’t know what it’s like to be poor’

No poor whites in his privileged Jewish bubble, I suppose

What’s a Democratic debate without a healthy dose of pandering? During Sunday night’s debate in Michigan, moderator Don Lemon asked the candidates about their “racial blindspots,” and socialist Bernie Sanders promptly declared that white people “don’t know what it’s like to be poor”:

    “When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.

    “You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street, or dragged out of a car.”

On the contrary, I think a fair amount of women of all colors know exactly what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street. Furthermore, the 19 million white Americans living at or below the poverty line would definitely disagree with Sanders’ assessment.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


8 March, 2016

Is Trump like Hitler?

People such as comedian Louis C.K. and Glenn Beck have asserted that Trump is like Hitler  but have offered only an emotional rave in support of that opinion -- with no detailed analysis.

But hysterical claims that Trump=Hitler should remind us all that Leftists also repeatedly said Bush=Hitler.  He wasn't, was he?  I have made a particular study of the Nazi period so I have been looking for a reasoned rather than rage-filled account of the comparison.  I have finally found one: An essay by Professor Noah Riseman, a far-Left American Jew who doesn't know the difference between "rein" and "reign".  See his essay below.

In looking at the essay I will first mention something Noah has got right.  Weimar (pre-Hitler) Germany was a very decadent time with perversions of all sorts rife and a general loss of behaviour standards.  In Noah's words it was "progressive". America today, with its glorification of homosexuality etc. does seem very reminiscent of Weimar Germany. Noah and I agree on that. So it is reasonable to ask if America too will create a Hitler for itself.

And it is understandable that a Jew should be nervous at any semblance of Nazism.  But Noah has very selective vision, in the best Leftist style.  For a start, he realizes that there is a big  hole in his story but makes only a rambling attempt to cover it:  The different electoral systems.

Germany had, and still has, an electoral system (proportional representation) that facilitates the rise of minor parties.  And Hitler used that to bypass the traditional parties of the Left and Right.  The American system is the opposite of that.  It  effectively keeps power in the hands of the two major parties -- the center-Left Democrats and the center-right Republicans.  Under the American system it is most unlikely that Hitler would have risen to power.  So there is a clear structural reason not to compare the present USA with prewar Germany.

With no apparent knowledge of history, Noah also says that "Republican control of the House of Representatives seems all but assured for the foreseeable future".  Up until very recently the Democrats controlled both houses so what has changed?  Noah does not say.  If my electoral history is correct, Democrats have been in control of Congress more often than the Republicans over the last 100 years.  But be that as it may, the American system is clearly good at rotating control of Congress.  Noah is making bricks without straw.

Noah's ignorance also shows in his comments about a Sanders presidency.  He seems to think that Sanders could put his ideas into practice.  To do so would however require a compliant Congress and that would be most unlikely.  A President's job is to enforce the law, not create it.  Obama forgot that and found Obamacare to be the only thing he could actually get through.  His wishes about immigration and global warming were blocked by Congress.  He had to skirt the law via EPA regulations and by refusing to enforce immigration law to get his way to some extent.  Sanders' ambitions are much larger however so he too would be left scratching at the margins of the system.

The only substantial points in the screed below are the ones I have highlighted. Let's look at the points involved:

* Torture: It seems reasonably clear that most, if not all,  administrations have used some form of it on particularly dangerous captives and Trump has said that he will stay within the law in the matter.

* Free speech:  All that Trump has proposed is to widen libel law to encompass political lies.  It should have been done long ago.

* International relations:  It seems likely that Trump will indeed be more assertive with other countries, Iran in particular.  Obama's spinelessness with the mullahs is very dangerous to America's safety.  Iranians have been chanting "Death to America" for decades.  If they get nukes they may well try it on.  For their own safety, Americans should vote for The Donald.

* Muslims:  Trump has NOT "demonized", Muslims despite undoubted temptations to do so.  He has simply proposed a temporary halt to Muslim immigration.

* Latinos:  Trump has NOT "demonized" Latinos.  He has undertaken to stop illegal immigration.  Given the high rate of crime among illegals and their offspring, that would be highly desirable.

Now for the things that Noah leaves out:

Trump's speeches are essentially rambles.  There is very little of the policy wonk in him.  Hitler, by contrast kept on message. He had three major themes: The wickedness of the Jews, a promise of equal rights and the promise that he would be a candidate of peace. 

In his electoral promises Hitler was a peacenik.  That he did not fulfil that is of course another matter.  But promises of peace helped get him into power.  Trump is no peacenik and is a demonstrable friend of Jews.  See here

And Hitler's promise of equality is mainstream Leftism.  Trump has made no such promises.  Below is one of Hitler's election posters from the 1930s in which he offers himself as standing for peace and equal rights.

And finally, there is the matter of style.  Trump's rallies are undoubtedly rambunctious but American political rallies have always been high spirited and lively.  Hitler's rallies and speeches were very different.  As anybody who has seen Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" knows, the rallies were very disciplined, most unlike the rambunctious American performances.  And Hitler's speeches were unique too.  He would start out very quietly and calmly and would gradually accelerate to impassioned shouting.  It had none of the Trump jollity

And the origins of Hitler and Trump could hardly be more different:  The impoverished artist versus the rich businessman

So Noah simply does not know what he is talking about

The more I watch the 2016 election, the more I see parallels to Weimar Germany of the late 1920s and early 1930s. This was a society that was culturally and socially progressive, with Berlin in particular a hotspot for new liberal attitudes towards gender and sexuality.

It was also a period of economic hardship, political gridlock and fragmentation. The economic crisis after the First World War and Treaty of Versailles left many Germans disenchanted with capitalism and the international order.

Throughout Weimar Germany’s entire existence from 1919-33, there were tensions between left and right which erupted in parliamentary debates and in violence on the streets.

The extreme left – in the form of communism and anarchism – became one popular alternative to liberal capitalism. By the late 1920s, the other alternative that promised to make Germany great again was the extreme right fascist movement of the National Socialist Party (Nazis).

By the early 1930s, democracy was clearly broken (if it ever was working in Weimar Germany). Historians and political scientists have written extensively about why the Weimar Republic was so dysfunctional, including a flawed electoral system, the international impositions of the Treaty of Versailles and – what I find most intriguing – the notion that democracy has inbuilt logic designed to destroy itself (read Theorising Democide).

By the early 1930s, there were no working coalitions, political parties would not compromise and the political system reached crisis proportions. In the end it was the Nazis rather than the communists who came to power through the very political system they despised. They only won 33 per cent of the votes in the November 1932 election (incidentally, 2 million fewer voters than they had four months earlier). Whilst not a majority, the Nazis did have a plurality in the German Reichstag.

In January 1933 the president appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in the hopes that he would stabilise the situation and perhaps even reign in the Nazi Party. A few months later the Reichstag passed the Enabling Law, abolishing democracy and ushering in the Third Reich. I do not need to recap how that worked out.

I look at the United States in 2016 and am struck – indeed frightened – by the parallels to Germany circa 1932. While the causes of the present crisis are different, there are a lot of similar symptoms.

Again, there has just been a major economic recession. Whilst the US economy is improving, people are still angry – and rightfully so – because those who caused the economic crisis have gotten away with it and the political establishment has allowed that to happen.

The political system is not working at all. Congress is so polarised that nothing gets done, compromise has become a dirty word and politicians are willing to let the government shut down just to score points and get their way.

In Weimar Germany one reason for the political fragmentation was because *the electoral system allowed parties with minute percentages of the vote to win seats in the Reichstag*. In the US, political parties controlling the state legislatures have gerrymandered districts so much that now there are only a handful of marginal districts.

Instead, Republicans are fighting Republicans and Democrats are fighting Democrats to win primaries which may as well be the general elections in most electorates.

A serious consequence of the gerrymander is that Republican candidates for Congress often appeal to the hard-right fringe to win elections. Democrats are just as guilty at gerrymandering, except they have not been nearly as effective in most states, meaning that *Republican control of the House of Representatives seems all but assured for the foreseeable future*.

Like in Weimar Germany, a significant proportion of the population is looking for alternatives to the political mainstream. Popular movements on the political fringes, left and right, have manifested in the respective forms of presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (not to mention Ted Cruz and the entire Tea Party).

I openly admit to being a Sanders fan, and many of his cause celebres (i.e. universal healthcare) are common sense in other developed countries. But in the United States, a self-proclaimed socialist who advocates a revolutionary overhaul of American capitalism is someone from the left fringe.

*A Bernie Sanders presidency* would send shockwaves through the American political system, but it would not mean the end of democracy. Bernie Sanders wants change, but he still believes in the core tenets of the Bill of Rights and the principles of civil rights.

In fact, he would expand the notion of rights to include economic rights. Notwithstanding a groundswell of support especially from young voters, a Sanders nomination for the Democratic Party seems unlikely given the delegate maths.

A Trump candidacy and presidency, however, is becoming ever more plausible, and this truly frightens me. Trump is the culmination of over 30 years of Republicans convincing many Americans that government is the enemy, or what conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks calls 30 years of antipolitics.

As former liberal Congressman Barney Frank argues, in power Republicans have dismantled government programs and regulations in a self-fulfilling prophecy that reinforces the perception of government’s ineffectiveness. Now, to the horror of the Republican establishment, Donald Trump has seized their message and is channelling it with gusto, but with his own warped, authoritarian tinge.

Donald Trump openly talks about implementing torture, undermining freedom of speech and the press and behaving belligerently with other nation-states. What worries me the most is that he scapegoats and demonises Muslims and Latino immigrants with alarming comparisons to Hitler’s rhetoric about Jews

Trump’s populist-nationalism may not mesh with traditional Republican conservatism, but it ticks many of the boxes for fascism.

Until last week I really believed that Trump would never be president. Now I do not know anymore, and it terrifies me. If we look at the outcomes of the Republican primaries, caucuses and polls, it is clear that Trump has a hard-core base of between 30 to 40 per cent of Republican voters.

That is not a majority of Republican voters or even a majority of Americans. But in a broken, fragmented system, that may be enough support to be elected president.

Would a Trump presidency turn America into a fascist state? I like to think that the constitutional system has enough checks and balances not to let that happen. I like to think that Congress would never pass enabling legislation to force Muslims to wear badges or to force the deportation of millions of Latino families. I like to think that the Supreme Court would exercise judicial review and that the executive branch would respect any rulings from the court.

But I just do not know any more. And even if Trump does not become president, I still cannot help but think that Weimar America will never be the same again.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news from Britain about current idiocies


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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


7 March, 2016

Who made Trump the frontrunner?

There seems to be an emerging agreement that America's Leftist hegemony did.  Obama and the Democrats did -- along with their sycophants in the media, the bureaucracy and the education system.  They have foisted on America so many weird forms of correctness that the ordinary American has been left completely out of it: 

Homosexuals are glorious; Men who feel they are women should be allowed to use women's restrooms; Fighting global warming is the main job of the armed forces;  Only Muslims are allowed to pray in public; Christians must betray their faith in the service of homosexuals; little kids must be given lessons about sex; Women should be put into frontline combat as Marines; you must not say anything negative about Muslims or illegal immigrants or blacks etc etc.

All of these positions go against the grain for normal people but it is they who are told they are wrong, not the Leftist establishment.  And if you express your honest opinion you run the risk of losing your job.

And the GOP have been no help.  They just fall in line behind the Democrats on most issues. They agree that you must not say anything negative about Muslims or illegal immigrants or blacks etc etc.  The GOP have been bullied into submission by Leftist shrillness.

Whether Trump has good policies or bad on various things hardly matters compared to the chance he gives of escaping from the Leftist mental straitjacket. His "incorrectness" is his main appeal

And note that his degree is in economics so he is unlikely to do anything foolish with the economy, which would be a welcome change -- JR


A British commentary on the rise of The Donald

Trump’s gains come after he has gone out of his way to alienate the Republican establishment – he has insulted them, pilloried their most recent president (George W Bush), and overturned their orthodoxies on a range of issues. His wins have also overcome extraordinary opposition from the elites of the party. In recent weeks, Trump has been called a racist demagogue and been attacked for not distancing himself from former Klansman David Duke. More and more Republican politicians have announced they won’t vote for him in November, if he is the nominee.

Of course, the contest is not over. Trump’s rivals  did well enough to stay in the race. But Trump is clearly the frontrunner now.

If this was any other candidate, the Republican leadership would say now is the time to unite behind him. And any candidate that excited so many to vote – turnout for the Republican primaries on Super Tuesday was up to 8.3million, versus five million in 2008 – would be hailed as the leader of a movement, like Obama was eight years ago. But instead, the Republican establishment for the most part is recoiling in horror – and appears clueless as to how to stop him. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a last-minute and chaotic attempt to block Trump’s rise. This will become more panicked and desperate.

The GOP leadership’s strategy of coalescing around a single candidate who could go head-to-head with Trump looks very unlikely. Republican rivals to Trump remained divided, and it’s hard to see how Cruz, Rubio or Kasich have any kind of path to become that clear favourite. The party hierarchy now seems set to adopt their version of Hail Mary: try, somehow, to just scrape together enough votes to stop Trump from obtaining a majority before the party convention in Cleveland in July. Then, at the convention, hope that they can cobble together support for a non-Trump candidate (or maybe a combined ticket of say Cruz and Rubio).

Let’s leave aside how, if such a cunning plan ever came to pass, it would mean denying the nomination to the candidate with the highest vote total. The most striking thing is how the establishment’s contingency plans all lack a key component: leaders who can make it happen. We now hear party donors and other elites saying they want to rally around Rubio, their favoured son, in Florida. But while there may be a Republican establishment in name in Florida and elsewhere, it’s in name only. In reality, there is not a coherent group with wide influence in that state, nor do the senior party people there have any loyalty to Rubio, even though he has served as senator for the state.

Likewise, you hear talk of stopping Trump at a ‘brokered’ convention. But the convention cannot be brokered without brokers – party elders or fixers who can knock heads together and force compromise. The ‘party bosses’ no longer exist.

The ineffectiveness of the Republican establishment – or indeed the absence of a true establishment - has been a major part of this contest. As a recent investigation by the New York Times found, ‘The party has been gripped by a nearly incapacitating leadership vacuum and a paralytic sense of indecision and despair’.

From the start, the Republican leadership underestimated Trump – because they overestimated the strength of their own candidates, and the popularity of their own messages. They assumed that, if they found Trump beyond the pale, then certainly their party’s voters must feel the same. They couldn’t imagine that a populist, anti-establishment campaign – a campaign against them – could succeed. Time and again, the party elites have proved to be out of touch. One reporter in New Hampshire interviewed GOP officials and found that they didn’t personally know anyone who supported Trump. ‘I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters’, said a leading Republican. And yet Trump won big in New Hampshire.

To the extent that the Republican establishment has cohered, it has shown poor judgement in selecting candidates to get behind. First the big money flocked to Jeb Bush (or Jeb!), who was as exciting as a wet noodle. More recently they have moved to support Marco Rubio, who is supposed to be the future of the party. After mis-steps, including a disastrous debate performance, Rubio took the advice of the party’s so-called thinkers and decided to throw insults at Trump. Rubio insinuated that Trump urinated on himself at the last debate, and joked about Trump’s penis size. That’s what the Republicans’ best and brightest has to offer.

The Republican establishment’s ineptitude has proved wrong the view that a big money cabal secretly pulls the strings in American politics (a view popularised by Bernie Sanders, among others). Money hasn’t won the day (ask Jeb Bush), nor have endorsements from prominent politicians mattered very much. The party officials and activists, conservative media (including Fox News) and Republican think tanks – all have been shown to have no power.  

We’re witnessing a hostile takeover of the Republican party. Trump is winning with policies that are either at odds with the leadership (like on healthcare) or more extreme versions of current views (as with immigration). And he has done so by mobilising people - mainly working-class, without a college education – who in the past tended to stay home rather than vote. These are voters who have either been ignored or treated with contempt by the party’s leaders. Trump’s takeover has revealed the Republican party for the empty shell it has become.

This is not just a case of party leaders being flummoxed by an unconventional candidate. The weaknesses of the Republican party are more fundamental, and have been evident for some time. While both right and left got excited about the Tea Party, it is less recognised how small in number, and – more importantly – out of the establishment’s control, these ‘movement’ conservatives are. It is striking how the Republican party is lacking in groups and institutions that can mediate between the leaders/donors and the voters. In this respect, the Republicans are in a worse state than the Democrats, whose elites have successfully rallied around Hillary Clinton (who also advanced towards her party’s nomination on Super Tuesday). Even though few within the Democratic Party are genuinely excited about Hillary, the party does have a wide array of interest groups, like public-sector unions and Planned Parenthood, who will work for them, knock on doors, and so on.

One reason why the Republican establishment is failing is that they have not properly understood Trump’s supporters. It is not the case – as both pundits and party representatives seem to think – that Trump supporters are angry. Just look at Trump’s huge events, which are festive and joking. Labelling Trump supporters ‘angry’ is a way to dismiss them as emotional and irrational. Moreover, it’s not the case that Trump’s fans hate the Republican establishment. They are better described as indifferent towards it – they have zero loyalty, because that establishment thinks they are nothings.

For the Republican establishment, that verdict from the masses is perhaps worse than outright opposition.



An Australian commentary on the rise of The Donald

By financial journalist Robert Gottliebsen

Don’t be shocked by the fact that Donald Trump is now the front runner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America.

Instead, understand the forces that have led to his rise and be aware that those same forces are building up here in Australia. In a few years, those forces could well cause either of our major political parties to take a radical turn away from the conventional approach to government.

The business community needs to understand that many of the basic assumptions now being embraced, such as globalisation, free-trade agreements, migration and bad behaviour on sharemarkets (start with shorting and legal insider trading), are now being challenged.

The main force driving support for Trump is that the US middle class is being hollowed out and salaries are not rising. Even worse many are losing their jobs and are being forced to take a salary cut to earn an income. And if the middle class is struggling, it makes it even tougher for low-income people.

At the same time, the whole population is watching appalling behaviour on Wall Street and believes that technology, globalisation and free-trade agreements are pushing the profit share of the US economy higher and higher. If you let that happen in a democracy, then expect a voter backlash. In the US it was simply a question of when and whether the backlash would come from the right or the left.

I have always believed that unless the current US hollowing out of the middle class was addressed, the voter backlash would radically change the presidency in either 2020 or 2024 and could usher in an era of US isolationism.

That still might be right, but we are watching Donald Trump brilliantly handle these issues blaming free trade and migration for destroying the American dream. Trump promises to make America great again.

Remember we are talking politics not whether Trump is right or wrong, so saying Trump is wrong or can’t achieve his goals is irrelevant. This is a sales pitch.

Just as importantly, Trump has isolated another force that may be just as powerful around the world — ordinary people both in the US, Australia and many other places are sick and tired of the political correctness that has infiltrated so many of government bodies and the media. When incomes and jobs were booming it was tolerated. Trump is probably the most ‘politically incorrect’ political aspirant the world has seen since Ronald Reagan.

He has therefore become a folk hero among a lot of people. That does not mean he will win. The Democrats’ Hillary Clinton is a conventional candidate and she is hot favourite to secure the presidency. However, she is already being drawn to the Trump line on issues like the abuses on Wall Street.

Fascinatingly, the Democrats number two candidate, like Trump, has pitched his campaign to appeal to those in the American middle and lower income levels who are being hit.

But whereas Trump’s remedies come from the right, Bernie Sanders remedies come from the hard left.

In the UK, the Labour Party is being led by the hard left, while in Germany the opposition against migration is coming from the hard right. These events are a perfectly predictable response to what is happening in those communities.

In Australia, both our major parties pursue conventional policies and are united on the refugee issue, although there are internal differences within both parties.

But if by 2019 there is still an Australian income recession and the free-trade agreements have not delivered benefits to the middle- and lower-income levels, then the party that loses the 2016 election might well embrace radical polices, either to the left or right. And the Greens have an eye to the gap.

The problem for the US, Australia and all developed countries is that technology is going to replace vast swathes of middle class jobs. Much of Australia’s posterity has come from migration but if we see the current income recession drag on, then Trump- or Sanders-type policies will become popular.

The Business Council is trying to get the government to lower company tax — an incredibly dangerous political move given the income recession and the fact that Australian corporate tax rates after franking credits are not way out of line. What would have been far more sensible for the Business Council in the current environment would have been to advocate allowing companies to start new ventures that are taxed at a lower rate but not to have the benefits of franking credits for the profits of those ventures.

And we are seeing private health premiums rise, which hits the middle class, because governments are simply lazy or incompetent and will not tackle the duplication and waste in the system.

The rise of Trump is an alert to everyone.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


6 March, 2016

Trump Taps Something That's Long Been Ignored

If Super Tuesday proved anything, it’s that a large number of American voters will, indeed, pull the lever for Donald Trump — and for valid reasons.  It’s clear Trump has found a trigger point among many voters. And he’s hitting it with incredible consistency.

“My market is the people in the country who want to see America be great again,” Trump explained. “It’s very simple. That’s a lot of people. That’s not broken down by age, or race or anything.”

While it’s all too easy to judge Trump supporters by the candidate they follow, Trumpmania’s real appeal goes much deeper than political theater — and it’s worth understanding.

As much as we despise politics via class stratification, that’s where we must begin. For it’s working-class Americans — blue-collar, lacking political power and without friends in high places — who believe they have at last found an ally, an advocate, a voice in the man who proudly claimed to “love the poorly educated.”

In an astute explanation of “Trump’s America,” Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute writes of “the emergence of a new upper class and a new lower class and … the plight of the working class caught in between.” Populating the new upper class are the elites — politicians, professors, cultural icons, business moguls. They shape policy, wield power, and are heard simply by nature of their status.

The new lower class includes those “who have dropped out of some of the most basic institutions of American civic culture, especially work and marriage.” Meanwhile, the working class is left in the middle. “Trumpism,” Murray writes, “is the voice of a beleaguered working class.” And “the central truth of Trumpism as a phenomenon is that the entire American working class has legitimate reasons to be angry at the ruling class.”

We’ve noted that he is the ace of anger affirmation before.

And indeed, it’s the so-called working class — not the ruling class — that has borne the impact of the exportation of millions of manufacturing jobs and the influx of illegal aliens who now hold many working class jobs.

Peggy Noonan describes it as the rift between the “protected” and “unprotected.” She writes, “The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back.”

And if today’s “protected” make up the “ruling class” — those who create the world in which the rest of us live — is it any wonder the “unprotected” have grown disillusioned?

As Claremont Institute Fellow Angelo Codevilla writes, “Ordinary Americans have endured being insulted by the ruling class’s favorite epithets — racist, sexist, etc., and, above all, stupid…. No wonder, then, that millions of Americans lose respect for a ruling class that disrespects them, that they identify with whomever promises some kind of turnabout against that class, and that they care less and less for the integrity of institutions that fail to protect them.”

A look at who actually supported Trump on Super Tuesday bears this out. Residents of economically distressed communities were more likely to vote for Trump than voters in prosperous areas.

Need more convincing? Just listen to what a recent caller told Rush Limbaugh: “It’s kind of like a few callers ago said that us guys are low-informed voters. I mean, just ‘cause we didn’t march out of somewhere with a Harvard degree or whatever, I guess we’re not qualified to vote for the president of the United States. I feel like that’s the whole thing. It’s like we’re not important, yet here we’ve been carrying the country on our back with taxes for years and years and we get no appreciation whatsoever.”

We in our humble shop are hearing the same. A reader recently wrote, “The Patriot Post needs to quit bashing the best chance of defeating Hillary: Donald Trump. Support the guy who’s winning over the American People.”

Another says, “I am tired of the elite running my country into the ground. I served a career defending what used to be the USA, only to see the socialist and RINOs take and trash her.”

It’s for this reason Trump boasts, “I’ve brought in millions and millions of people into the Republican party.” That’s true, but with big caveats. As we’ve also argued, Trump’s supporters are right to be tired of the elite., and they’re asking the right questions.

No matter what we think though, the fact is Trump supporters aren’t necessarily voting for Trump because he’s someone important. Trump supporters are voting for Trump because he says they’re someone important. And they’ve been missing that for far too long.



Donald Trump: Defender of the Faith

Charles Krauthammer

What happened to the evangelicals? They were supposed to be the bedrock of the Ted Cruz candidacy. Yet on Super Tuesday he lost them to Donald Trump.

Cruz still did make a reasonably good showing, winning Alaska, Oklahoma and Texas, the latter by an impressive 17 points. But he didn’t have the great night he needed to put away Marco Rubio and emerge as Trump’s one remaining challenger.

Cruz had done all the groundwork to win evangelicals and sweep the South by putting together strong alliances with local pastors and leaders. And yet, outside Oklahoma and Texas, he lost them to Trump by stunning margins — by 21 points in Alabama, 13 in Georgia, 14 in Tennessee, 16 in Virginia and 36 in, of all places, Massachusetts.

How could this have happened? A more scripturally, spiritually flawed man than Trump would be hard to find. As several anti-Trump evangelical voices have argued, Christian witness cannot possibly support a thrice-married man with such an impressive list of sins, featuring especially spectacular displays of the seven deadlys.

These theological arguments are both eloquent and impassioned but, in this season of fear and anxiety, beside the point. This time around, evangelicals are not looking for someone like them. They’re looking for someone who will protect them.

They’ve tried backing exemplary Scripture-quoting Christians — without result. After Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and considerations of Cruz himself, they are increasingly reluctant to support like-minded candidates who are nonetheless incapable of advancing their cause in a hostile political arena so dominated by secularism.

They have no illusions about Trump. They have no expectations of religious uplift. What he offers them is not spirit but “muscle” (to borrow a word from the notorious former Professor Melissa Click of the University of Missouri).

The transaction was illuminated by Trump’s January speech at Liberty University. His earlier halfhearted attempts to pose as a fellow evangelical were amusing and entirely unconvincing. At Liberty, he made another such I’m-one-of-you gesture by citing a biblical verse in “Two Corinthians,” thereby betraying a risible lack of familiarity with biblical language and usage.

Yet elsewhere in the speech, he described how Christians abroad are being massacred and Christians here at home are under cultural and political siege. He pledged: “We’re going to protect Christianity.”

Interesting locution. Not just Christians, but Christianity itself. What Trump promises is to stand outside the churchyard gates and protect the faithful inside. He’s the Roman centurion standing between them and both barbarians abroad and aggressive secularists at home.

The message is clear: I may not be one of you. I can’t recite or even correctly cite Scripture. But I will patrol the borders of Christendom on your behalf. After all, who do you want out there — a choir boy or a tough guy with a loaded gun and a kick-ass demeanor?

Evangelicals answered resoundingly. They went for Trump in a rout.

The essence of Trump’s appeal everywhere, far beyond evangelicals, is precisely the same: “I’m tough, I will protect you.” That’s why he remains so bulletproof. His lack of policy, the contradictory nature of his pronouncements that pass as policy — especially their capricious eruption and summary abandonment — have turned out to be an irrelevance.

Who cares? His support has nothing to do with actual prescriptions. Tuesday night, the immigration issue ranked low among Republican voters' concerns. Only about 10 percent deemed it their No. 1 issue. The political success of Trump’s draconian immigration stance lies not in the policy but in the attitude — a not-going-to-take-it-anymore defiance.

That’s the reason none of the rhetorical outrages that would have destroyed another candidacy have even left a mark on Trump. He mocks John McCain’s heroism, insults Carly Fiorina’s looks, fawns over Vladimir Putin — nothing. If anything, he gains support for fearless “telling it like it is” candor.

This is a man who three times last Sunday refused to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. No other candidate could survive that. Trump not only survives, he thrives. Two days later, he wins seven out of 11 Super Tuesday states and ascends to the threshold of presumptive nominee.

Which is why the only possible way to stop Trump is a full-scale, open-the-bomb-bay-doors attack on the very core of his appeal: his persona of the tough guy you can trust to protect you.

It may be too late. But everything else will simply bounce off the Teflon.



Gov. Scott Walker on How Obama Helped Conservative Movement Thrive

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said Thursday that President Barack Obama has helped the conservative movement expand during the past seven years.

Since Obama took office in 2009, Walker noted, the number of Democratic governors across the United States has fallen from 28 to 18.

“The only nice thing I can say about this president is he’s been an incredible recruiter for conservative candidates,” Walker said during the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, at Maryland’s National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

He cited Matt Bevin’s unlikely win in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race in November as evidence that the grassroots conservative movement has gained momentum under the Obama administration.

Bevin’s defeat of Jack Conway, Kentucky’s former Democratic attorney general, made him the state’s third Republican governor since World War II and one of 31 GOP governors who currently hold office across the United States.

“The reason why we see that kind of change is because Americans are looking for leadership that counters the failed policies of Barack Obama,” Walker said.

Republicans also have seen their party grow in state legislatures. Since 2009, Walker said, roughly 1,000 new GOP lawmakers have been elected to state legislatures throughout the nation.

Walker noted that 27 state legislatures were controlled entirely by Democrats when Obama took office, and eight were evenly split between the parties.

Today, Democrats control 11 state legislatures. Eight remain split.

“The conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America,” Walker said. “Why? Because our policies are working.”

The Wisconsin governor pointed to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s success in bringing the unemployment rate down to the lowest it has been since March 2011. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, has added 30,000 state residents to the workforce who previously were on welfare.

“Positive, commonsense, conservative reforms work on economic policy, they work on fiscal policy, they work on social policy,” Walker said.

Running through Saturday, CPAC offers conservatives across the country an opportunity to gather with fellow activists and leaders for speeches, panels, exhibits, and other activities at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside Washington, D.C.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


4 March, 2016

The Left are amusing: The "authoritarianism" explanation for Trump support

On Feb 25 I put up some comments on the accusation that Trump supporters are "authoritarian".  The article I critiqued was based on some research by a PR man named Matthew MacWilliams. 

The claim is that "authoritarians" are fear-motivated and that Trump panders to those fears.  That authoritarians are fear motivated is a claim that goes back a long way.  Erich Fromm asserted it in the '50s and various subsequent authors have made feeble attempts to prove it, e.g. Sales, S. (1973). Careful researchers would use a measure of fear motivation and a measure of authoritarianism and try to show that the two were correlated.  But MacWilliams and his gurus skipped that awkward step as far as I can see.  They just defined authoritarianism in their own way and noted that it showed correlations with some fears.  That their measure of authoritarianism was in fact a measure of anything authority-related was not shown.  As far as I can see it at most measures old-fashioned thinking. But even the academic work that MacWilliams relies on -- work by Feldman & Stenner (1997) -- concedes that there is no direct relationship between authoritarianism and threat/fear.

And the research made elementary mistakes -- indicating a profound ignorance of the precautions that psychometricians normally take when doing survey research.  Recently, however, a new and much expanded article based on the MacWilliams research has emerged -- under the title "The rise of American authoritarianism", written by Amanda Taub.

I think my previous comments were sufficient to show that the work is a lot of hokum but maybe I can add a few more comments.

I might initially expand my comments about the naive nature of the questions they used to assess authoritarianism. They were "forced-choice" questions.  A typical question was

"Please tell me which one you think is more important for a child to have: to be considerate or to be well-behaved?". 

The option you chose was supposed to indicate whether you are authoritarian or not.  But what if you thought that BOTH attributes are important?  What if you wanted a kid who was BOTH considerate AND well-behaved?  The form of the question prevents you from saying that.  So the answers given might not well represent what the person actually thinks. 

So is that naive form of question construction actually misleading?  It is. If the people don't like the choices they are offered, what is likely to happen is that a "Donkey vote" effect will result: If the choices in a forced-choice scale are labelled "a" and "b", the Donkey voter will, at the extreme, simply tick all the "a"s.  And I showed in my own survey research years ago that forced choice questions can push the results in a direction more or less opposite to what occurs with more straightforward questions

I think that alone invalidates their conclusions but "Wait! There's more"! -- as the steak-knife salesman said.

The "authoritarianism" researchers say that Trump appeals to "authoritarians" as defined by them and that Trump is the ideal candidate for authoritarians. So virtually all authoritarians should support him, it would seem.   So I was amused to read this about their research findings: 

"Trump has ...  a full 52 percent support among very high authoritarians."

What a laugh!  Even high authoritarians split roughly 50/50 in support for Trump.  Nearly half of these sad people DON'T support Trump.  Where does that leave Trump as the ideal candidate for authoritarians?  As is common in Leftist researchers, they can't even read their own data.  They conclude what they want to conclude, regardless of their actual findings.  Keeping reality out is an essential skill for Leftists.

So they have a lovely theory but it happens to be wrong.  So they might have to accept that there really is something rotten in the state of American politics, and Donald Trump is bringing that to the fore.  The fault may lie with the political establishment, not with the personal inadequacies of Trump supporters.


Sales, S. (1973) "Threat as a factor in authoritarianism".  J.  Personality & Social Psychology, 28, 44-57.


Forget Trump... what's the U.S. done to deserve Hillary?

By outspoken British columnist Richard Littlejohn

After Super Tuesday, the nightmare scenario has moved a step closer to reality. America is on the brink of electing a polarising president with a long history of dishonesty, scandals and shady finances.

No, not Donald Trump. While the Republican front-runner was once again dominating the media coverage of the primaries, Hillary Clinton effectively sewed up the Democratic nomination.

Her sole challenger, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, is still in the race, but Hillary is now unstoppable. She was nailed on for the nomination before a single vote was cast.

Nobody of substance was prepared to stand against her. They were all terrified of the wrath of the Clinton attack machine, which has left a trail of bodies in its wake over three decades.

Nevertheless, her preordained progression towards the White House masks a distinct lack of enthusiasm on the part of the electorate.

Turn-out in the Democratic primaries has been well down, compared with the wave of excitement generated by the Barack Obama bandwagon eight years ago.

His optimistic ‘Yes We Can’ has been replaced by Hillary’s implied ‘It’s My Turn’. In a direct inversion of John F. Kennedy’s dictum, Mrs Clinton asks not what she can do for her country, but what it can do for her.

Hillary’s sense of entitlement dwarfs even that of our own Cherie Blair, who still bristles privately that she had to play a supporting role to her husband.

But while the Wicked Witch has settled for a pot of gold and a vast property empire, Hillary has unfinished political business.

Not that the Clintons are short of a shilling. When Bill left office in 2001, Hillary complained that they were flat broke. Yet 15 years later, they are reported to be worth in the region of $110 million (about £80 million).

Hillary is said to account for more than a third of that money. Which is why it was absurd to hear her condemning the wealthy and powerful at her victory rally on Tuesday night.

Wealth and power are what the Clintons live and breathe. Through their charitable foundation, which allows them to lord it like potentates, they have taken tens of millions of dollars from dubious foreign donors. Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of the foundation’s income has actually gone to charity.

Equally insulting this week was Mrs Clinton claiming to champion those who are struggling to ‘put a little away for their retirement’.

There’s little chance of Hillary having to choose between heating and eating in her old age.

You won’t find the former First Lady spooning cat food out of the tin, in front of one bar of an electric fire, at her home in upstate New York, while Bill wraps himself in a moth-eaten blanket and watches a scratchy video of Debbie Does Dallas.

This is a woman who, while railing against the bankers, has made a fortune from financial institutions. She was paid $675,000 by Goldman Sachs for three speeches.

When asked why she accepted so much money, she replied: ‘That’s what they offered.’

In other words, it would be rude not to. Her answer recalled that of the notorious American bank robber Slick Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks, he replied: ‘That’s where the money is.’

Coincidentally, Hillary’s husband is also known as Slick Willie, not because he robs banks, but because he has made a career out of extricating himself from sticky situations.

Bill has been involved in a series of ‘bimbo eruptions’, most notably the Monica Lewinsky affair, which led to impeachment proceedings being brought against him. He came dangerously close to being kicked out of office for lying.

Throughout, Hillary stood by her man. One of Bill’s many conquests, Gennifer Flowers — who was his mistress for 12 years — recently came out of the woodwork to condemn Hillary for condoning his behaviour and hinted that there was more dirt to come.

Women who cross the Clintons have to endure a torrent of ordure poured from a great height. Lewinsky’s life was blighted for ever.

I recently met a ferociously bright, thirtysomething professor of U.S. politics at Cambridge.

She told me that while young American women would love to see a female president, they couldn’t abide Hillary — whom they accuse of being complicit in her husband’s crimes against the sisterhood.

Twice-divorced Trump is also frequently accused of mistreating women. If he wins the Republican nomination, reports suggest that we will witness the exquisite irony of Bill Clinton leading the attack on Trump’s suitability to be President.

It will be interesting to see how Trump responds to being called a misogynist by Slick Willie, who these days resembles a redneck roué in a Reno casino.

The Clintons have been mired in scandal, as far back as the Whitewater Controversy, which revolved around dodgy land deals in Arkansas, when Bill was governor.

After he became President, Hillary was accused of lying to an official inquiry into the sacking of several White House staff who were replaced by Clinton cronies.

Now Mrs Clinton is being investigated by the FBI for illegally using her own private email server to send and receive classified correspondence in connection with her position as Secretary of State, the American equivalent of Foreign Secretary, and deleting 30,000 messages she described as ‘personal’.

U.S. government officials have been sacked and prosecuted for less.

Mrs Clinton makes great play of her ‘experience’, but her record in office is dismal.

She was Secretary of State for four years until 2013. On her watch, the world became a more dangerous place.

Having once said she’d nuke Iran to protect Israel, she then supported the deal to bring the mad mullahs back into the fold, by lifting sanctions and allowing them to develop a ‘peaceful’ nuclear programme.

She lied about coming under sniper fire while on a visit to Bosnia.

Worst of all, she refused a request to send military reinforcements to protect the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

The result was an attack by jihadists on September 11, 2012, in which the U.S. ambassador was murdered.

Clinton has never accepted responsibility.

No wonder between 50 and 65 per cent of voters regularly say she is ‘dishonest and untrustworthy’.

While her husband has a roguish charm and a fierce intellect, Hillary is just plain weird.

She looks like a Botoxed beaver and has a voice like a blowtorch. She’s a grown-up version of Labour’s Yvette Cooper.

She claims to speak for the common people, but has been part of the self-serving elite for the past quarter of a century, a fully paid-off member of the insidious alliance between Washington and big business.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


3 March, 2016

It's Trump

A lot of Trump's positions clash with orthodox GOP policies but most GOP politicans are overlooking that Trump is obviously offering the public what they want.  It may therefore  be the orthodox positions that have to change.  Since most of those positions are designed to fit in within the straitjacket of Leftist political correctness, that could be a really good thing.

Trump seems likely to break the grip that Leftist  thinking has on American politics.  The GOP establishment have certainly shown no willingness or ability to break out from the Leftist mental straitjacket  -- which is why Trump has appeal.

Some of Trump's policies seem economically destructive to informed people but they are overlooking that his degree is in  economics.  Whatever he does is therefore likely to be tokenism rather than anything seriously destructive economically.  Those of us who have qualifications in economics understand its instructive power.

The Gipper was derided as a fool too and his degree was in economics also.  And he broke out of the straitjacket of conventional thinking in his time.  Rather than appease the Soviets he said:  "I've got another idea:  We win, they lose".  And that was greeted with gasps of incredulity too.  But it came about

Donald Trump, leading a seismic transformation of the modern Republican Party, leapt closer to securing its presidential nomination with a near sweep of Super Tuesday states, scoring strong wins across the conservative Deep South, in liberal parts of New England, and almost everywhere in between.

With states that hold a quarter of the US population voting, Trump won among almost every demographic, robbing his rivals of room to claim victory and putting him into a commanding position that has flabbergasted the party establishment.

Just after the polls closed, Trump was declared the winner in Massachusetts, winning support from working-class voters around the state. He also won Vermont.

“We have expanded the Republican Party,” Trump said from Palm Beach, Fla. “I’m a unifier. I know people are going to find that hard to believe. But I am a unifier.”

Senator Ted Cruz claimed his home state of Texas as well as Oklahoma, allowing Cruz to argue that he is the GOP’s best alternative to Trump. Senator Marco Rubio, despite a flood of establishment endorsements and cash, notched his lone victory in the Minnesota caucus, helping Cruz prevent Trump from making a clean sweep of all 11 states that voted Tuesday.

Anger at Washington and a yearning for a leader to shake things up continued to fuel Trump’s extraordinary popularity. Exit polls showed that Southern Republicans were more likely to say they were “angry” with the government. Voters in nearly all states said they wanted an outsider in the Oval Office.

The Republican Party establishment has been flummoxed by Trump for months — with increasing alarm about his anti-immigrant and divisive rhetoric — but only recently has mobilized against him.

Top Republican congressional leaders Tuesday took a dramatic step to distance themselves from Trump, denouncing some of his comments when he declined over the weekend to immediately denounce the endorsement of David Duke, the former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

“If a person wants to be the nominee of the Republican Party, there can be no evasion and no games,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters on Capitol Hill. “They must reject any group or cause that is built on bigotry. This party does not prey on people’s prejudices. We appeal to their highest ideals. This is the party of Lincoln.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell was equally forceful, saying, “Senate Republicans condemn David Duke, the KKK, and his racism.”

“There has been a lot of talk in the last 24 hours about one of our presidential candidates and his seeming ambivalence about David Duke and the KKK, so let me make it perfectly clear,” he said. “That is not the view of Republicans who have been elected to the United States Senate, and I condemn his views in the most forceful way.”

The Republican leader found himself straddling a difficult line between trying to avoid lasting damage from his party but also not dismiss the candidate who is winning overwhelmingly in state after state.

“If I’m going to win all these states tonight,” Trump said, “it’s awfully hard to say this is not the person we want to lead the party.”

Trump said he didn’t know Ryan very well. “I’m sure I’ll get along with him,” he said. “And if I don’t? He’ll have to pay a big price.”

With 595 delegates at stake across 11 states — and record turnouts in many of them — Trump was in a position to take a dominant role in the nomination contest. Although the delegates Tuesday will be awarded proportionally, Trump is likely to win a large share of them.

“Maybe the establishment needs to get out, too,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Tuesday morning. “When you see what’s going on. They’ve lost two elections in a row. Big ones. The last one with Mitt Romney should have been easy.”

Trump also said Rubio should drop out of the race.

“I think he has to get out,” Trump said. “He hasn’t won anything, and Ted Cruz very rightly points out Marco has not won.”

According to CNN exit polls, voters who described themselves as “angry” turned out in Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, whereas Republicans in Northern states reported being “dissatisfied” with the government but not angry. Voters in nearly all states — with the exception of Texas and Vermont — said they were looking for an outsider candidate.



Inspector General: 4 of 11 Forward Bases at Border ‘Not Operational’

A new report from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (IG) shows that 4 of 11 Forward Operating Bases of the Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) along the southwest border are "not operational"; at several other bases the security cameras do not work, the security gates do not meet standards, and providing safe drinking water for the officers is a recurring problem.

The report, Conditions at CBP's Forward Operating Bases Along the Southwest Border, also found other problems, including an access road that is "treacherous" and a "safety concern"; air-conditioning that does not work properly; expired fire extinguishers; irregular inspections; and in nearly all these instances, despite numerous work orders, repairs that have not been made over the course of many years.

The inspector general review states that the IG's office visited the Forward Operating Bases in 2015, and its report was prepared for the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and released on Feb. 8, 2016.

A Forward Operating Base, or FOB, is a permanent station "established in forward or remote locations to sustain Border Patrol operations," reads the report, primarily in areas where there is a high degree of illegal alien crossings and drug running. A FOB is indispensable to Border Patrol intelligence, deterrence, and rapid response.

There are 4 FOBs on the U.S.-Canadian border and 11 FOBs at the U.S. Mexico border. The IG's office looked at the FOBs on the U.S.-Mexico border.

At the time of the IG's review,  3 of the 11 FOBs "on the southwest border were not operational." So the IG visited 7 FOBs in the El Paso, Rio Grande Valley, and Tucson Sectors. Six of the FOBs -- 3 in El Paso Sector, 3 in Tucson sector -- were operational; 1 FOB in the Rio Grande Valley was not operational.

For a FOB, several Border Patrol agents are assigned to work and live there, usually in 7-day stints, an 8-hour shift each day. The FOB is required to have bedrooms, showers and restrooms, a kitchen, a common area with TV, and a fitness room.

At one FOB, the IG found the facility had "experienced recurring issues with the air conditioning," in a region where the temperature sometime measured in the 100s. At least 10 work orders had been submitted between 2012 and 2014 to fix the A/C problems.The IG report discovered "security issues" at all 6 FOBs, as well as inadequate documentation of maintenance and repairs at the stations.

Another FOB did "not have a functioning closed circuit television (CCTV) security camera system," even though it is mandated under CBP rules as defined in the Office of Internal Affairs (IA) handbook.

As the handbook states, "all facilities are to have a functioning CCTV system of cameras, recorders, switches, keyboards, and monitors that record security videos and allow agents on guard duty to monitor the grounds and perimeter of the facility," reads the IG report.

"If agents cannot perform this task," states the report, "the FOB is more vulnerable to a security breach."

The Tucson Sector requested in January 13 that the security camera system be repaired.  Another work order was submitted 19 months later, in August 2014, because the cameras "were still inoperable," said the IG.

The repair was than marked closed in October 2014, but as the IG found, as of its April 2015 visit, "the security cameras had not been fixed."

At a FOB [name redacted], the security cameras stored recordings "on a network video recorder rather than digital video recorder," which is not in compliance CBP standards.For the six FOBs visited by the IG, "four had one or more" security cameras "that were inoperable." All but two of the cameras at one FOB have been "inoperable since August 2014, when they were struck by lightning," said the report.

The IG report noted, "Because of their proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, it is essential that FOBs are equipped with proper, functioning surveillance equipment to maintain awareness and monitor the FOB grounds and perimeter."

The CBP IA handbook requires the FOBs to have an 8-foot high, chain link perimeter fence and an electronic gate. For the FOBs at the southwest border, they have the fences. But only 4 bases have electronic gates, the other 2 are manual gates. During the IG's visit, one of the manual gates was unlocked and open, as was one of the electronic gates.

At one of the FOB's [name redacted] with a manual gate, 10 CBP employees told the IG that "the manual gate is repeatedly left open."

"The practice of leaving the gate open increases the likelihood of someone gaining unauthorized access to the FOB," said the IG. "In 2011, Tucson Sector requested funds from CBP to upgrade the manual gate. To date, the gate had not been upgraded to an electronic access gate."

At another base, the access road is "unsafe and deteriorating," said the IG. "Large portions of the road have washed away completely; other parts are impassable because of craters in the road."

The DHS's Office of Inspector General conducted its inspection of the FOBs in 2015. The IG also visited and conducted interviews at three Border Patrol sector headquarters and six Border Patrol stations.



Moral Hazard in Flint, Michigan

If we bail out Flint, we'll have to bail out everyone else

The city of Flint, Michigan is, in short, a mess. The city is broke, and because of corrosive water from the Flint River, the water supply has become tainted with lead and other toxins. In response to the crisis, Democrats in the Senate are proposing an $850 million rider to an energy bill that would provide aid to Flint and other cities in cleaning up their water supplies.

Let’s be honest, this is a hard thing for a lawmaker to vote against. The optics of voting against cleaning up polluted water can be deadly, especially in an election year. But good optics and good policy are often different, and what the Democrats are proposing is terrible policy for a number of reasons.

There’s a term economists use called “moral hazard.” It describes a situation in which failure is made less costly, with the result that people are more willing to fail. By signaling that the federal government is willing to intervene in local crises to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, mayors, governors, and state legislators have less incentive to make sure their policies are good ones. If something goes wrong, the federal net will be there to catch them. The result of this will be a lot more cities like Flint in the future.

Such a move in Flint would set a poor precedent. If the Senate bails out a single ailing city, they will soon have to beat back an army of cities insisting that their own situations merit a similar bailout. There will be no end to the flood of money that will have to flow from Congress to the states, because failure to comply will be seen as uncompassionate, or worse in the case of cities with high minority populations, racist.

As the national debt continues to soar past $19 trillion with no end in sight, the last thing we need is to start shelling out for every mismanaged city in the country. Problems like the ones experienced in Flint were created at local level, and they ultimately have to be solved at the local level or state level. Otherwise, we might as well abandon all pretense of federalism.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


2 March, 2016

How The Good Guys Win

History is filled with pitfalls and terrible occurrences. For most of human history, the early world consisted of nothing but war, theft, slavery, and obedience to a state which ruled through fear. While those of us living in the US live so comfortably, that not even kings from a different era could compare to even our lowest standard of living, there are many people throughout the world that still live in an environment where something is absent- liberty.

Since WWI, the United States has rocked back and forth between waves of socialism followed by waves of freedom, continually fighting a war of ideas waged before our eyes without some even noticing. With the amount of negativity seen on the mainstream media and throughout the internet, it's easy for people to become boxed in a frame of mind clouded in doubt, depression, and an absence of faith. I'm not going to tell you to look for silver linings, the upside to things, or say that storms bring better weather afterwards. What I want to tell you is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

In the end of all things, the good guys always win.

Philosopher and writer Ayn Rand once wrote, "Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it's yours.” While Rand pushed individuals to continually fight against the challenges and obstacles they faced, it's understandable that each and every one of us can be beaten down.

It's easy to be beaten down in your private life, but to encounter personal struggle and then to see the world around you spiral out of control can be heartbreaking. The current trends we see in our government are haunting, as we witness men and women swearing to uphold the US Constitution as they place their hand on a Bible, and then go draft legislation that encumbers the most important tenant of a civil society- the individual. It seems everyday the principles of liberty are being treaded upon by a government that sees itself as the caretaker of your wellbeing, instead of being the caretaker of your ability to have opportunities.

Consider a caged bird- if it has lived it's entire life in a cage given the promise that without the cage it would be harmed, how is the bird to ever fly if for an instance the cage is opened? Simple sayings carry larger answers though. Sometimes, as much as we feel bogged down pushing for ideas and solutions that fall on deaf ears, the most vital decision we can make is to wait to take action when the opportunity shows itself.

During a speech on behalf of 1964 Republican Barry Goldwater, a young Ronald Reagan once said the following :

    "You and I are increasingly told we have to choose between left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as left or right. There's only up or down: Up old man's dream--old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course... You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We'll preserve for our children this, the last hope of man on Earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness... He has the faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny."

The ways you can effect change in your community can be small, but still carry a large impact. The hard part is determining whether or not you want to continue hearing convenient lies or an inconvenient truth.

Part of the inconvenient truth many don't want to hear is that you weren't born to simply work, pay taxes, and die. There is nothing wrong with passing through this world a quiet, normal life, but what is important is the decisions you made and how you carved the world around you.

This election cycle is not another chance to play two parties against each other, or see which individual candidate you'd rather have a beer with; what is important is whether or not in your heart of hearts you made choices that advanced the message of free markets, individual freedom, peace, and prosperity. No one ever died wishing they had done less in life.



Bureaucratic Bloat Endures

California Senate boss Kevin De Leon was recently asked to approve a new chief for the state’s Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation. The startled senator replied that he “never heard of this department in my entire life until Rules Committee.” He may since have learned that this bureau, apparently a licensing body, has an eleven-member advisory council. The Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation is part of the state Department of Consumer Affairs, and there has plenty of company. CDE director Awet Kidane, “oversees the nearly 40 regulatory entities and other divisions within the Department.” These include the Acupuncture Board, the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, the Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Structural Pest Control Board, the Telephone Medical Advice Services Bureau, and many others.

Boards and commissions also abound outside of the state Department of Consumer Affairs. Consider, for example, the state’s Sea Urchin Commission. Besides its five commissioners, this bureaucratic body includes members “representing government entities which are significant to the sea urchin fishery.” Consider also the California Cut Flower Commission, which boasts a board of eight commissioners.

Taxpayers might recall that Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to “blow up the boxes,” the maze of boards and commissions that often serve as soft landing spots for washed-up politicians. The boards and commissions managed to survive. Like Senator De Leon, taxpayers may not have heard of these bodies and may harbor doubts about their utility. On the other hand, taxpayers may be certain that they are paying the bills.



NY Democrats like Trump?

Republicans have not been competitive in New York for quite some time. In 2004, only three years after 9/11, eventual loser John Kerry beat George W. Bush by 18 points. In his two terms, Barack Obama easily eclipsed 60 percent of the vote, notably pounding Mitt Romney in the Empire State by over 30 points. In any election, New York represents a reliable 29 electoral votes for Democrats.

Well, in any other election. Enter Trump:

    "Confidential polling data shows Hillary Clinton could lose the presidential election in heavily Democratic New York to Donald Trump as the GOP front-runner’s support grows to the point of being “surprisingly strong,” The Post has learned.

    The poll results, from Democratic and Republican legislative races, have surprised many leading Dems, virtually all of whom have endorsed Clinton, while confounding and energizing GOP leaders, many of whom until recently have been opposed to Trump.

    “There are some Democrats who think that Hillary can be taken if Trump mounts a strong campaign,’’ one of the state’s most prominent Democrats said.

    Most of the polling didn’t address the possibility that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg would run as an independent, but some of it did — and found the former mayor took “significant’’ votes away from Clinton in heavily Democratic New York City and the surrounding suburbs, a source familiar with the data said.

    The new polls, a second source said, showed Trump’s support, even without Bloomberg in the race, was “surprisingly strong’’ in Westchester and on Long Island, the key suburbs often viewed as crucial swing bellwethers on how statewide elections will turn out."

This is absolutely critical. If Hillary loses New York, it's a sure sign that Trump is resonating with Democrats to such a degree that this election might be a landslide.



Who Speaks for the American mainstream?

If there’s one thing the current election cycle has made clear, it’s the reality that millions of Americans feel utterly disenfranchised. Their anger and frustration are driven by the daunting realization that neither political party represents their interests. This despicable status quo begs the simplest question, one every candidate running for elective office in 2016 should be forced to answer: Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where there is a clear understanding of right and wrong, not one dominated by the “anything goes” cultural sewage churned out on a regular basis by Hollywood and the mainstream media. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation that puts Americans first — one with definable, enforceable borders and one where Rule of Law is paramount — not one that gratifies the desires of millions of illegals and their cadre of elitist supporters aiming to fundamentally transform our national character, using cheap votes and cheap labor to do so. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where we no longer cater to the lowest common denominator of human behavior to accommodate “root causes,” the “soft bigotry of low expectations,” or a multiculturalist mishmash that excuses misogyny, anti-Semitism, and racism under the rubric of “celebrating our differences.” Who speaks for us?

We want to live a nation with an educational system that teaches children how to think, not what to think. A system where ideological indoctrination social promotion, grade inflation, worthless diplomas, “creative” math, and the generalized dumbing-down of vulnerable children is tossed on the ash heap of history. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where merit and excellence matter, not one where millions of “snowflakes” have been cushioned by trigger warnings, micro-aggressions, speech codes and helicopter parents who believe everyone should get a trophy just for showing up. A nation where the content of one’s character is far more important than the color of one’s skin, one’s gender, one’s sexual orientation, or one’s membership in a particular grievance group. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where the Constitution is defended for what it actually says, not what some people would like it to mean because a “living” interpretation of the document accommodates their agenda, political correctness or the latest trend. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where we don’t burden our children and grandchildren with unconscionable levels of debt that will destroy their standard of living, one where able-bodied people are expected to work for a living, and one where the free-market capitalism that rewards ambition, risk-taking and talent isn’t subsumed by a government-controlled crony-capitalist oligarchy that stifles competition and picks winners and losers. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation with the strongest military in the world, not one debased by social engineering. A military that only sends men and women into harm’s way when our national security is threatened, and one that utterly rejects such nonsense as “winning hearts and minds,” restrictive and dangerous Rules of Engagement, and politically correct warfare that elevates concerns for collateral damage above the lives of American soldiers. A military with only one objective in mind when it becomes necessary to put the nation’s blood and treasure at risk: unambiguous victory. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where states' rights are once again paramount, where 50 separate constituencies would be given maximum freedom to innovate, to compete, and do anything else to improve the lives of their citizens without the interfering heavy hand of the District of Columbia. A nation where people intuitively understand government operates best from the local level outwards, not the federal level inward. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where we treat our allies like the friends they are, and our enemies with the suspicion they have earned. A nation where foreign policy is grounded in reality, not faculty-lounge-inspired wishful thinking. A nation that will no longer send foreign aid to people who hate us, based on the dubious assertion we can buy their loyalty and admiration. Who speaks for us?

We want to live in a nation where we celebrate our exceptionalism, not identify only by our shortcomings. Those who insist otherwise should be asked to explain why people all over the world are beating a path to our shores. Who speaks for us?

As the opening of the Constitution states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

“We the people” is us, not a bunch of self-interested politicians and their well connected benefactors. A “more perfect” union is an aspiration. We must not allow our pursuit of that perfection to be the enemy of our goodness. Same goes for establishing justice and insuring domestic tranquility.

As for the next two items, it’s important to note the critical distinction between providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare. It is the government’s constitutionally mandated duty to provide protection for the nation. It is not the government’s duty to provide for the peoples' welfare, but rather to promote the conditions that allow a free people to provide for their own welfare, that of their families and those Americans who are truly in need.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


1 March, 2016

Stop saying Donald Trump can’t win. He can, and he may

It’s been a media mantra since Donald Trump began campaigning last summer: He can’t possibly become president.  It’s time that everyone realized that yes, he can.

Surveys show the billionaire New York businessman and TV personality has extremely high negatives — but so does likely Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. And unlike Clinton, Trump can run as an anti-establishment candidate at a time when anti-establishment feeling is intense, gaining strength and bringing new voters to the polls.

We are mortified at what might happen if Trump rides this anger into the White House. Why? His casual cruelty, dishonesty and belligerence, his awful remarks about Mexicans and women, his ignorance about military and foreign policy issues, his open admiration for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin — all this and more make him unfit for a position of immense power and consequence.

But these extreme shortcomings are ignored by millions of Americans who believe that Trump grasps their problems and fears in ways the nation’s leaders do not. These Americans see an economy and a tax system that increasingly seem to help only the wealthiest acquire more wealth. They see decades of middle-class wage stagnation as something Washington blithely accepts. They look at the immigration chaos in Europe and the Middle East and wonder why the elites of both parties are so intent on bringing more people to a country that doesn’t have enough good jobs or money to help those already here. They consider our foreign policy under both Republican and Democratic presidents and doubt it’s made us safer.

Americans with some or all of these views are attracted to both Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist who has done far better against Clinton in the Democratic nomination race than anyone expected. They see Trump and Sanders attacked by the media and the conventional politicians of both parties — and that makes them even more attractive.

But of the two, Trump is not going away. Given how popular he is even in the home states of GOP rivals Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, it is hard to believe he will not win the Republican nomination. And the old conventional wisdom about this leading to a Clinton general election landslide seems shakier all the time. The former secretary of state, New York senator and first lady is a symbol of the political establishment at a time when many voters will see that as a negative.

Trump knows this, as reflected by his gleeful assaults on Jeb Bush, the embodiment of the GOP establishment. He’s crude and vulgar, but he’s not stupid. If he tones down his act just a bit; if he picks a reassuring running mate; if there are other terrorist attacks like those in late 2015 in Paris and San Bernardino — Trump just might be the favorite to win in November. There are signs mainstream Republicans are figuring this out. On Thursday, Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine became among the first members of Congress to endorse him.

We hope that Trump self-destructs. But even if that happens, the Trump phenomenon and the Sanders near-phenomenon should make it clear to prominent politicians, their patrons and their parties that they need to respond to America’s mass alienation and disaffection with specific policies, not patronizing rhetoric. A populist fire is burning. Without the right response, it could become a political and cultural inferno.



Weimar America

By Victor Davis Hanson

2016 is a pivotal year in which accustomed referents of a stable West are now disappearing. We seem to be living in a chaotic age, akin to the mid-1930s, of cynicism and skepticism. Government, religion, and popular culture are corrupt and irrelevant—and the world order of the last 70 years has all but collapsed.

Neither the president nor his would-be successors talk much about the fact that we are now nearing $20 trillion in debt—in an ossified economy of near-zero interest rates, little if any GDP growth, and record numbers of able-bodied but non-working adults. (The most frequent complaint I hear in my hometown is that the government lags behind in their cost-of-living raises in Social Security disability payments.)

No one can figure out how and why America’s youth have borrowed a collective $1 trillion for college tuition, and yet received so little education and skills in the bargain. Today’s campuses have become as foreign to American traditions of tolerance and free expression as what followed the Weimar Republic. To appreciate cry-bully censorship, visit a campus “free-speech” area. To witness segregation, walk into a college “safe space.” To hear unapologetic anti-Semitism, attend a university lecture. To learn of the absence of due process, read of a campus hearing on alleged sexual assault. To see a brown shirt in action, watch faculty call for muscle at a campus demonstration. To relearn the mentality of a Chamberlain or Daladier, listen to the contextualizations of a college president. And to talk to an uneducated person, approach a recent college graduate.

If all that is confusing, factor in the Trimalchio banquet of campus rock-climbing walls, students glued to their iPhone 6s, $200 sneakers, latte bars, late-model foreign cars in the parking lot, and yoga classes. Affluence, arrogance, and ignorance are quite a trifecta.

Bernie Sanders—a proud Eugene Debs-like socialist whose campaign in normal times would have been the stuff of caricature—is now running neck and neck with Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination. He rails like an Old Testament prophet at Wall Street, often oblivious that Wall Street’s totem stands a mere three feet away on the debating stage.

Obama may have wrecked his party by losing the Congress and most of the state legislatures, but he certainly has moved it to the hard community-organizing left. Sanders has little appreciation that he is an artifact of free-market capitalism, which alone has created enough bounty for such a demagogue to call for massive redistribution—in a way impossible for socialists any longer in exhausted Cuba, Greece, Venezuela, or any other command-economy paradise. Where does Sanders think his statism has worked—China, North Korea, Bolivia, Cuba, or the ossified European Union?

Bill Clinton on the stump has reminded us that there need not be any dignity to the post-presidency He offers a blueprint to becoming fabulously wealthy by monetizing a mere eight years in office with lifetime quid pro quos and Putin-like leverage. He has managed to make the sanctimonious scold Jimmy Carter seem reverential in comparison. The mystery of Hillary Clinton is not that she should be indicted on charges that are routinely filed against lesser miscreant bureaucrats, but that her entire corrupt career has always somehow been exempt, from cattle speculation to withholding subpoenaed evidence.

Mrs. Clinton is now like a tottering third-world caudillo—she can’t really continue on in politics and she can’t quit trying if she wants to stay out of jail. Her possible indictment depends entirely on her political viability and utility. She and the once disbarred Bill Clinton might appear like tired, tragic dinosaurs, bewildered that politics have left them behind in their late sixties—were it not for these aging egoists’ routine petulance and sense of entitlement.

Donald Trump is probably not a serious student of the European 1930s, but in brilliant fashion he has sized up the public’s worries over a Potemkin economy, exhaustion with wars, and namby-pamby leadership. His own remedy is 1930s to the core: nationalism, crude bombast, mytho-history, and sloganeering without much detail. Trump’s trajectory is predicated on the premise that a jaded public cares more about emotion than logic, and how a leader speaks rather than what he says.

In European 1930s street-brawling fashion, no one knows quite whether Trump is a 1990s Clinton Democrat, a 1980s Reagan Republican, or a Perotist misfit. He has thrown a ball and chain through the pretentious glass of American campaigning. Trump excites voters because he can profane, smear, interrupt, and fabricate—on the premise that as a performance artist he reifies what they think but don’t dare say about a corrupt political class and its warped, politically correct values. Trump reminds Americans what deterrence is: the supposedly courageous media, the so-called truth-to-power leftists, and the sober and judicious careerist politicians are all terrified how he might reply or react to their criticism. None of them want to spend 2-3 days trading smears with Donald Trump.

The president has a strange tic: the more he lectures about either the peaceful tendencies or impotence of an Iran or ISIS, or the more he explains how an aggressive Russia or China is stupidly not acting in their own interests, the more we know that the world is becoming ever more dangerous to the United States. He peddles mythologies about Cuba’s Castro, Iran’s aspirations, non-Islamic jihadism, and hands-up, don’t-shoot racializing, on the premise that even as all else has failed him, he wins exemption from reasoned cross-examination due to his “transformative” and iconic status.

Israel is now a neutral at best—a sort of forgotten Byzantine outpost in a dangerous neighborhood, forsaken by the medieval West. China brazenly has established the principle that a superpower can create territory ex nihilo—along with territorial jurisdiction anywhere it wishes. The only brake on Putin’s Russia is his own energy level and whether he believes that routinely taking advantage of Obama’s United States is getting boring. ISIS did not wait for its full-fledged caliphate to start slaughtering its ideological and religious enemies, given that it assumes a corrupt world has no worries about its genocide and religious cleansing. It is baffled only because after raping, beheading, dismembering, strangling, smashing, drowning, and incinerating, it still cannot win the attention of the West—and is running out of methods to torture and slay the innocent.

Not since Pius XII has a pope proved as mysterious and exasperating as Francis. He seems not to have transcended the parochial time and space of Peronist Argentina. The well-meaning and kindly pope acts as if he is unworried about the historical wages of leftwing authoritarianism and government-mandated redistribution. Why would a pontiff, protected by medieval walls and Vatican territorial security, blast U.S. immigration policy toward Mexican illegal immigrants?

Since Obama’s reelection, the southern border has been wide open, in naked efforts to recalibrate American electoral demography. The U.S. has taken in more immigrants, legal and illegal, than has any other country—the only impediment for entry is being educated, skilled, with resources, and insisting on legality. The U.S. last year allowed nearly $80 billion to be sent in annual remittances to Mexico and Latin America, mostly from those here illegally. Certainly, Mexico, in a most un-Christian fashion, has built walls on its own southern border to prevent unlawful entry, published comic-book manuals to instruct its emigrants how to violate U.S. immigration law, and written into its own constitution repulsive racial prerequisites for emigrating to Mexico—all to the apparent ignorance of the otherwise intrusively editorializing pope. Mexico’s own obsession with exporting its indigenous people to the U.S. is predicated on historic Mexican racism, always emanating from grandees in Mexico City.

Popular culture has become a 1930s collective Berlin cabaret. Apple—whose iPhones cause more fatal distractions than driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs—refuses to help the FBI to open one phone of a dead Islamic terrorist. It protects the last calls of a mass murderer as if the logs were records of Apple’s $180 billion stashed in offshore investment schemes.

To walk on an upscale bike path today is to see more pets than toddlers in baby carriages (I counted yesterday). Swerving semis on the freeway used to mean high blood alcohol levels, now they reflect text messaging. Is there some rule that demands that only movie stars, investment bankers, and tech moguls, who live in houses of more than 5,000 square feet or fly on private jets, have earned the right to lecture hoi polloi on their bad habits that lead to global warming? Is barbecuing a steak worse than burning up 5 gallons of aviation fuel a minute?

Segregation, not integration and assimilation, is the new trajectory of racial relations. “White privilege” is said to be such an insidious aid to career success that careerist whites like Elizabeth Warren, Ward Churchill, Shaun King, and Rachel Dolezal will do almost anything to insist that they are really non-white. The president of the United States invited a rapper for a White House visit. The rapper's latest album cover shows a dead white judge lying at the feet of celebratory African-American men, with fists of money and champagne held in triumph—in front of the White House. Reality imitates art. Could the president give another Cairo speech about such symbolism?

The half-time Super Bowl spectacle was Petronian to the core. Beyoncé, in apparent reaction to heightened racial tensions over the absence of a black Oscar nominee, performed an incoherent tribute to the Black Panthers, with an non-integrated retinue, damning the police and canonizing a fallen felon with a long history of violent criminal offenses. In the age where “cultural appropriation” is damned, a multimillionaire, decked out in dyed blond hair and bullet-stuffed bandoleers, is messaging to an apparently new segregated racial universe—perhaps in tune with the periodic racialist outbursts of the multimillionaire Kanye West. If in the past, jazz, soul and Motown offered a positive corrective to crude, heavy metal white American music, today rappers vie to trump the raunchiness of Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Madonna. Certainly to watch the Super Bowl, Oscar, or Grammy festivities is to receive a pop sermon from mansion-residing multimillionaires about just how unfair are the race, class, and gender biases of the world in which they somehow made fortunes. In Weimar America, that Will Smith has a 25,000 square-foot mansion, but not a 2016 Oscar nomination, is proof of endemic racism and deprivation.

I wish all this could end well. But history’s corrective to 1930s chaos was a different—and deadlier—sort of chaos. And so ours may well be too.



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 A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

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.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

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

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

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"

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.

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

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

"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 theories fail badly.

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 prominent 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.

"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

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.


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.

Two examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out


The Bible is an Israeli book

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.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"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.
IQ 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)

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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

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basic home page
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