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

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

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

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


31 March, 2020

Coronavirus: Why per capita deaths in Italy so vastly exceed deaths in America

A Reader writes

I was looking for a chart listing all the states in the US rated by the number of cases and number of deaths PER CAPITA. I could not find one so I made my own, using info from the excellent New York Times COVID-19 data by state and county, updated every hour. I have attached it here. Since testing is sporadic and not standardized, I don't put much value on the Cases/Million. But Deaths/Million is a very real thing. So I sorted the table by Cases/Million, in descending order.

American States are hugely safe compared with Italy. As of 29 March, 11,000 have died in Italy, or 183 per capita. Why was Italy so badly hit?  A number of reasons came together:

1).The chief cause is that they have a large elderly population.  The average age at death from Coronavirus in Italy was 80. We are talking about elderly Italians who were in frail health to start with

2). Italians tend to be keen smokers.  Heavy smokers at any age are a high risk group.  Coronavirus is mainly a lung disease and smoking damages lung capacity.

3). Italians are notorious scofflaws.  They tend to treat laws as just suggestions.  So you can imagine the low compliance with laws aimed to get them to stay at home.  "Promenading" is a common leisure activity among Italian men


Shutdown is killing the economy — and is also no good for our health

President Trump has announced that he is aiming toward Easter Sunday to start getting the economy up and running again. This has triggered heavy opposition. There is a serious debate about how much destruction to the economy we are willing to tolerate to save lives from the coronavirus. How many millions of businesses are we willing to allow to file for bankruptcy? How many millions of workers are we willing to become unemployed? This calculation is difficult to make because we do not know how many people the coronavirus will kill. It seems cold hearted, even cruel, to assess the costs versus the risks of policy actions when lives are at stake.

But guess what? Government officials have to make these decisions all the time. Most regulations are approved based on economic costs versus lives saved. If the only goal of government is to minimize deaths, then the first step would be to prohibit people from driving cars and abolish swimming pools, amusement parks, and bacon. We do not do these things because we have decided as a society that benefits for 320 million Americans of having reliable transportation outweigh deaths on the highway.

This is also why President Trump, along with governors and mayors across the country, need to acknowledge that the lockdown of the economy also carries health risks and unintended consequences. You cannot crush the economy without having a significant degree of human misery and even deaths, not counting the loss in dollars of wealth and income.

In an academic article two years ago, Taiwanese researchers showed a direct link between unemployment and suicide, a link that can linger for up to three years after unemployment has already retreated. Even a brief recession has lasting consequences. In rough terms, each 1 percent rise in unemployment leads to one additional suicide for each 100,000 people. If unemployment increases by 5 percent in the current economic shutdown, that could mean some 16,500 additional suicides. A 10 percent spike in unemployment could mean some 30,000 additional suicides.

A study by the National Survey of Drug Use and Health found the rate of drug addiction could be as much double for those who are unemployed as for those who are employed full time. Research by the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis concluded that with large increases in unemployment, the number of drug users can also rise dramatically. Yet another study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found a 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate could mean a 3 percent rise in opioid overdose deaths and more than a 6 percent rise in emergency room visits.

Among Americans between the ages of 50 and 75, a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found the unemployed are 35 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack. Robert Zoellick, the former World Bank president and the former United States trade representative, and others have noted that supply chain disruptions jeopardize the health and lives of patients facing health risks other than the coronavirus. In other words, the human toll will be very real from job losses, business bankruptcy, and so on.

There are some 20 million Americans with cancer or survived it, another 30 million with heart disease, 34 million with diabetes, and 35 million with chronic lung disease. All together, nearly one in five Americans are being treated for these ailments. What happens if they cannot get medications and treatments thanks to the economic lockdown? If just one in 1,000 of these people dies because they cannot get their medications, or because hospitals cannot take them in, that is another 75,000 deaths.

An economic shutdown is a supply chain shutdown like never before. The two of us both know people who have died from the coronavirus and the heartbreak associated with it. Americans are right to be worried. Donald Trump has likened himself to a “wartime president” fighting this invisible enemy. Being smart and reasonable about the costs and benefits of every strategy decision is critical to winning wars against all enemies.



Don't Miss the Silver Linings

As the nation awaits the flattening of the Chinese coronavirus curve, it'd be easy to come up with a laundry list of all that's going wrong. And while we're weeks or months away from knowing how this will all play out, it might help to focus on the good that's coming out of the experience.

One of the important changes brought about by our nation's response to CV19 is the deregulation in various industries, from healthcare to food distribution. Initiated by President Donald Trump and the nation's governors, these steps have unleashed innovation and made the production and delivery of a wide range of products more efficient. In fact, companies are hiring tens of thousands of workers in order to keep up with the demand for essential services.

For example, Texas not only waived size and weight restrictions of commercial vehicles but now also permits trucks that typically deliver alcohol to transport food products to grocery stores. Other states now permit restaurants to offer carryout meals without first going through a bureaucratic approval process.

"The ability to suspend these laws without fear of endangering the public opens the door to questioning their purpose," writes Charles Blain at the Foundation for Economic Education. "Many of these regulations appear to serve as no more than impediments to free exchange. If these measures exist simply to generate additional government revenue, the public should ask themselves, once the crisis has abated: should they exist at all?"

It's a great question. And the answer seems to be a resounding "No."

Another area of American life that's transforming right before our eyes is education. College students (and their parents) are beginning to realize they don't need to take on crushing debt for room and board when classes can be effectively delivered online.

For the parents of younger children, homeschooling may now be a more viable option. It allows parents to take their kids out of unsafe or underperforming government schools and provides them with more say over what and how their children learn. While this undoubtedly presents a challenge for some parents, there are unexpected rewards.

"Families are struggling to adjust to a new reality," Martha Ross writes at The Mercury News. "Parents have to play the role of teacher, a job they have no training for. They're also trying to manage their own anxiety, while their kids, generally pretty social creatures, are cut off from friends." But, Ross adds, "Parents interviewed said their families are enjoying time together."

Think about it: How many of us saw a myriad of daily activities canceled and are now sitting down to a family dinner that was once all but impossible?

And married or committed couples are also enjoying more quality time together, leading to speculation about a 2021 "baby boom."

Who would've guessed that social distancing would actually bring American families closer together?

We're also realizing that millions of office jobs can now be performed just as well from a home office. Allowing employees to telecommute reduces traffic, allows families to settle in affordable neighborhoods away from cities, and gives workers more time with their families. Sure, there are some downsides to working from home, but the option is now there for millions of Americans.

Kyle Sammin of The Federalist reminds us, "Others' jobs cannot be done from home, including many people who are still working right now: doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, and more. In between those two groups, however, are millions of office workers whose jobs can take place anywhere there is an internet connection."

Eventually, we'll get over the coronavirus curve and return to work and school, but these two institutions may never look the same. And that's a good thing for many Americans.



Little of Pelosi’s Wish List Made It Into COVID-19 Relief Bill. That’s a Relief in Itself

Among other things, Pelosi would have:

Mandated “diversity” on corporate boards and in banks.
Required airlines to disclose and reduce emissions.
Mandated that states allow voting by mail.
Increased union bargaining power.
Expanded tax credits for wind and solar power.
Prohibited universities from disclosing the citizenship status of their students.
Provided a bailout for some private pensions.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Pelosi was not going to be accused of letting a crisis go to waste.

In what is becoming a familiar theme (think of her failed attempt to control how the Senate conducted its impeachment trial), Pelosi backed down shortly after making her demands.

With the legislation now through Congress, how much of Pelosi’s wish list made it into the bill?

None of the wish-list items listed above made the cut, but there remains a lot of unnecessary and unwise spending in it.

Diversity requirements for banks and corporate boards are out, as is Pelosi’s demand for a Securities and Exchange Commission advisory group to promote corporate “diversity.”

Also out is her demand that companies taking relief funds establish and staff a minimum five-year “diversity and inclusion” program. Indeed, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” don’t appear in the legislation passed by the Senate.

The package also does not include any new carbon emissions restrictions or disclosure requirements for airlines or other industries.

Similarly missing are any of her proposals for a federal takeover of state elections.

Her attempt to give unions a handout failed, too, as did her attempt to give a handout to wind and solar power providers.

The bill does not prevent colleges and universities from disclosing their students who are illegal aliens, or provide any other shroud for illegal status.

Likewise, the private pension bailouts she demanded are nowhere to be found in the Senate bill.




Narrative buster: U.S. was more prepared for pandemic than any other country, Johns Hopkins study found (Fox News)

"We don't have evidence of that": Dr. Deborah Birx says coronavirus data doesn't match the doomsday media predictions (RealClearPolitics)

"Cognizant" of coronavirus constraints, EPA eases up on enforcement of pollution rules (Washington Examiner)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus, is experiencing "mild symptoms" (CNBC)

China supplied faulty coronavirus test kits to Spain, Czech Republic (National Review)

Iranian officials stole more than $1 billion in humanitarian funds (The Washington Free Beacon)

Twenty people are charged over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, including two aides to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Daily Mail)

Venezuela President Maduro wanted by DOJ for drug trafficking, AG William Barr announces (Fox News)

"All they want is the money": Hospitality union demands dues from members left unemployed (The Washington Free Beacon)

Bending the curve: Dow exits bear market on optimism of $2 trillion relief package (Fox Business)

Tone deaf: Planned Parenthood sues Texas after governor declares abortion nonessential (The Daily Wire)

Policy: COVID-19 is killing the case for socialized medicine (Issues & Insights)


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

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


30 March, 2020

America's Superb, Unappreciated President

A close look at what Trump has done to combat the current pandemic -- amid constant Democrat assaults

It has been a very long time since Americans last saw such a clear distinction between the considerable leadership qualities of their president, and the shameless political maneuverings of an opposition party constantly lusting for power. Let us review exactly what has happened in this country over the past two months, vis-a-vis the coronavirus pandemic.

On January 29, President Donald Trump created a White House Coronavirus Task Force to coordinate the federal government's response to the virus outbreak and to keep the American people as informed about it as possible.

At that time, you might recall, congressional Democrats were giving precisely ZERO attention to the coronavirus threat. They had not held even a single hearing — for even a single moment — about the matter. Instead, they had spent the preceding four months entirely obsessed with one agenda item: impeaching President Trump and trying to remove him from office. The Senate impeachment trial, which had commenced on January 21, was still in high gear. Since the previous September, the faces of Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and a host of other Democrats had become fixtures on every television screen in America as they salivated over the smell of political blood. They talked about nothing but impeachment, as their normal legislative duties were all but forgotten. Coronavirus was, quite literally, the last thing on any of their minds.

Two days later, on January 31, President Trump formally declared coronavirus to be a public health emergency and he implemented a ban on travel from China to the United States. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci later noted that “the very timely decision on the part of the president to shut off travel from China” had “absolutely” gone “a long way” toward limiting the number of coronavirus infections in the U.S.  “We did it early,” said Fauci, “and as it turned out, there were relatively few cases, in the big picture of things, that came in from China. Unfortunately … in European countries they didn't do that [ban travel from China], and they got hit really hard.... When the infection burden shifted from China to Europe, we did the same thing. We shut off travel from Europe, which again was another safeguard to prevent influx from without, in.” Also by Fauci's telling, the Trump administration's “coordinated response” to the crisis — dating back to “the beginning [when] we [first] recognized what this [virus] was” — had been undeniably “impressive.” “I can't imagine that, under any circumstances, anybody could be doing more,” said Fauci.

But Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden failed to recognize any value in Trump's actions. Instead, he saw a golden opportunity to inject his campaign with a bit of life by doing what he does best: branding a political opponent as an out-of-control bigot. On February 1 — just one day after Trump had announced his China travel restriction — Biden depicted the president as a racist whose heart was filled with hatred for Asian people. “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia — hysterical xenophobia — and fearmongering,” said the former vice president.

Notably, it would not be until four days later — on February 5 — that the Democrats' failed impeachment trial in the Senate would finally draw to a close. That was the same day that the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs held its very first coronavirus hearing.

In subsequent weeks, President Trump announced further travel restrictions on certain global hot spots where coronavirus was becoming increasingly widespread — namely Iran, South Korea, and eventually, all of Europe. American citizens returning from travel-restricted countries began to be routed to specific airports, where they could be properly screened and, if necessary, isolated. Eventually, in March, the president officially closed both the southern and northern borders of the United States, so as to prevent the unnecessary influx of any further coronavirus cases from Mexico or Canada.

But at that very same moment in time, a host of Democrats and their supporters suddenly became quite enamored of a talking point that had recently been floated by Communist China's foreign ministry: the notion that it was somehow “racist” for anyone to make reference to coronavirus as a phenomenon of Chinese origin. Joe Biden, true to form, latched on to the Beijing propaganda and suggested that Trump's decision to describe the pathogen as “a foreign virus” or “a Chinese virus” was evidence of the president's … yes, you guessed it, racism and xenophobia. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton jumped aboard the bandwagon as well: “The president is turning to racist rhetoric to distract from his failures to take the coronavirus seriously early on, make tests widely available, and adequately prepare the country for a period of crisis.”

In conjunction with the Trump administration's around-the-clock efforts to accelerate the development of coronavirus diagnostic capabilities, treatments, and vaccines, on February 29 the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency approval for the development of new commercial coronavirus tests. To enable this goal to be realized as quickly as possible, President Trump instructed the agency to dramatically cut the bureaucratic red tape that traditionally had stood in the way of swift action. Meanwhile, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) provided large sums of money to help accelerate the production of diagnostic tests. Trump also issued emergency orders that allowed HHS “to immediately waive provisions of applicable laws and regulations to give [all] healthcare providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients.” And on March 16, the National Institutes of Health announced the start of a clinical trial aimed at creating a coronavirus vaccine — representing one of the fastest vaccine-development launches in the history of medicine.

But alas, Joe Biden was unimpressed. “The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense,” he boasted, “to prepare for future pandemics like COVID-19” — the disease caused by the coronavirus. “Donald Trump eliminated it [the Directorate], and now we're paying the price.” Trump's “draconian cuts,” said Biden, were now costing people their lives.

Not surprisingly, Biden's very serious charge caught the media's attention on a grand scale. Too bad it was an unadulterated lie. Former National Security Council (NSC) official Tim Morrison, who was the senior director for counter-proliferation and bio-defense at the NSC when Trump's “draconian cuts” had supposedly occurred, explains that the office in question was simply combined with others in a reorganization that “left the bio-defense staff unaffected.” “What actually happened,” says the American Spectator, “was that the president streamlined the bloated NSC, reorganizing some sections to accomplish that goal. In that process, three departments with roughly the same mission were consolidated.” Morrison painstakingly laid out these facts in an op-ed published by the Washington Post, where he not only praised the president for his efforts to “finally create real accountability in the federal government’s expansive bio-defense system,” but also derided critics for having “misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented” the facts regarding Trump's action.

On March 4, HHS announced that it was going to purchase 500 million N95 respirators for the Strategic National Stockpile. A week later, President Trump signed a memorandum directing his administration to make general-use face masks available to healthcare workers. And six days after that, on March 17, the Department of Defense, in response to a request by the president, announced that it would be providing 5 million additional respirator masks as well as 2,000 specialized ventilators.

But Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg lamented that many Americans would tragically have to “pay a heavy cost” for “the president’s management incompetence.” Former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine likewise derided Trump for his “massive missteps that have led to the United States being so far behind other nations in the world” in responding to the crisis. 

On March 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) created new billing codes for coronavirus tests, so as to facilitate accurate tracking of the public health response. The following day, President Trump signed legislation securing $8.3 billion for coronavirus response efforts — money that would cover the costs of things like public lab testing, isolation and quarantine initiatives, the sanitization of public areas, and vaccine research. And a week after that, Trump officially declared a national emergency, which freed up an additional $42 billion to fund the cause.

But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer decided that the best way they could now help the American people rally their energies to fight the pandemic, would be to release a joint statement declaring that “President Trump continues to manufacture needless chaos within his administration, and it is hampering the government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.”

In an effort to be responsive to the needs of American businesses and their employees, President Trump met with executives from the banking, health insurance, pharmaceutical, airline, grocery store, and retail store industries, among others. On March 10, he urged Congress to pass a payroll tax cut. That same day, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — in fulfillment of “a top priority for President Trump and this Administration” — announced new flexibilities that would allow meal-service programs to remain active even while schools were closed due to coronavirus. And CMS, after meeting with President Trump and Vice President Pence, announced that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans could now waive co-payments for coronavirus tests and treatment.

But according to recent Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, “Trump’s incompetence” in dealing with the pandemic was akin to “a neon sign going like, ‘I stink at my job. Yeah, I am a dummy! Ok?’ by Donald Trump.”

On March 11, The Trump administration announced that health savings accounts could be used to cover coronavirus testing and treatment without co-payments. That same day, the president directed the Treasury Department to allow coronavirus-impacted individuals and businesses to defer the payment of taxes that they owed.

But in the words of former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat: “We got a guy in the White House who doesn’t know anything about patriotism, doesn’t know anything about empathy.”

On March 12, Trump instructed the Small Business Administration to make available some $50 billion in low-interest disaster loans for businesses impacted by the virus.

That was the same day that Joe Biden parroted an already-debunked Democratic talking point when he said: “By cutting our investment in global health, this administration has left us woefully unprepared for the exact crisis we now face.” Biden was referring to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), to which the United States had contributed $600 million in 2015. The Washington Free Beacon explains: “As the initial funding dwindled in early 2018, reports emerged suggesting the Trump administration would scale back GHSA operations in all but 10 countries. But the cuts never happened, and the Trump administration’s proposed 2021 budget includes an increase in the GHSA’s annual appropriation.”

Did Mr. Biden ever apologize for his premeditated, malicious lie? Don't be ridiculous. For Biden's purposes, his lie about Trump and the GHSA achieved its objective with flying colors: Many Americans who heard him articulate the falsehood will undoubtedly never find out that not a single syllable of it was true. They'll just remember the urgent-sounding tenor in Biden's voice. What more could a lifelong congenital liar ask for?

On March 12 as well, the Trump administration increased the flexibility of unemployment insurance programs, so as to allow workers impacted by the coronavirus to benefit from them.

At that point, Hillary Clinton decided that she could raise the bar of statesmanship to new heights by tweeting sarcastically: “I know this is all hard for you, @realdonaldtrump, so let me spell it out.” She then proceeded to list a series of anti-coronavirus measures that, contrary to her false implication, President Trump had already enacted. Finally, Mrs. Clinton informed Trump that he might do a better job of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic if he were to try, for a change, “giving a damn” about the American people. That same day, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell pronounced in the gravest of tones: “More people are sick in America tonight because Donald Trump is president. More people are dead and dying in America tonight because Donald Trump is president.” 

On March 13, President Trump authorized HHS to waive its existing rules and regulations so that healthcare providers could respond to the crisis with as few restrictions as possible. That same day, he directed the Energy Department to purchase — at a very favorable price — large quantities of crude oil for the National Strategic Reserve. Trump likewise directed the Education Department to waive interest payments on student loans held by the federal government. On March 14, the administration negotiated legislation to provide tax credits for businesses that chose to give paid leave to employees affected by the virus. And four days later, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would temporarily suspend foreclosures and evictions affecting families whose mortgages were insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

But according to Michael Bloomberg, President Trump had thoroughly “failed to prepare for a deadly pandemic — leaving Americans deeply unsettled” as a result.

The Trump administration has provided every state in the Union with increased flexibility to approve the establishment of coronavirus testing laboratories as well as drive-through testing sites. On March 14, it was announced that the administration was working with Google to develop a website designed to help Americans learn learn coronavirus prevention procedures, determine whether or not they needed a test, and, if so, where they could get one. Four days later, the administration launched a partnership with the Ad Council, various media networks, and a number of digital platforms to produce public service announcements about the coronavirus. In March as well, CMS dramatically expanded access to telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries, thereby enabling more patients to consult with their doctors remotely while avoiding potential exposure to the virus.

But Joe Biden, in tones that were at once somber and outraged, lamented on March 15 that the World Health Organization had “offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now,” but Trump “refused them.” Unfortunately for Mr. Biden, this latest claim was no truer than any of his other malicious lies. Kaiser Health News quotes World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Margaret Harris as follows: “No discussions occurred between WHO and CDC [Centers for Disease Control & Prevention] about WHO providing COVID-19 tests to the United States.”

On March 18, the Trump administration announced that the U.S. Navy would soon be deploying two medical ships to help support areas impacted by coronavirus. On March 19, the president signed into law a bill to not only ensure paid leave benefits to many Americans, but also to make free coronavirus testing available to anyone in need, including the uninsured. Moreover, that same bill supported nutrition programs such as the food stamp system.

But during a speech on the Senate floor that very same day, Senator Tim Kaine chastised the president for engaging in “inflammatory China-bashing” and “weeks and weeks of tweeting lies and misinformation about the virus, while the leaders of other nations were taking steps to make sure their populations could be safe.” Former basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took time to weigh in as well, condemning Trump's “failure as a leader” and depicting the president's supporters as nothing more than “cult members” who “mindlessly follow a stern dictatorial father-figure who tells them what to do and think. Like, well, Nazis.”

On March 21, the FDA announced that it had approved a rapid coronavirus test that would require no training to administer and would yield results in less than an hour. On March 22, Trump asked multiple car companies to mass produce ventilators to help combat the pandemic.

On that very same day, however, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — another Democrat who had recently sought his party's presidential nomination — accused President Trump of refusing to “lift a finger to help his hometown” (New York) deal with with the coronavirus outbreak. “I can’t be blunt enough,” said de Blasio. “If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”

In a March 22 interview, Fox News host Mark Levin said to Dr. Anthony Fauci: “There is this statement put up, [by] some in the press, [by] some in the opposition party of the president, that the president doesn't follow the science. Is the president following the science?” After replying that in the daily Coronavirus Task Force meetings “we make all of our decisions and recommendations that are based on the science,” Fauci said:

“I have never in that room had a situation where I said, scientifically, this is the right thing to do and they said, don't do it. Or [I have never said] scientifically, this is the wrong thing to do, and they did it anyway. Then we get up and we present it to the president. And he asks a lot of questions. That's his nature. He is constantly asking the question, and I never, in the multiple times that I've done that ... He has never overruled me.”

And yet, on that very same day, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait published an article titled “Trump Is Back to Waging War on Science, at the Worst Possible Moment.” The piece concludes with this stinging indictment of the president: “Public-health professionals have had nothing to offer him but facts and science. They never had a chance.”

The coordinated campaign of premeditated lies and smears that the Democrats and their media mouthpieces have been waging against President Trump ever since the word “coronavirus” first entered the American people's consciousness, has been obscene. But there is something else that also needs to be addressed. Have you noticed that even now — after the life-and-death dangers inherent in the Democrats' open-borders, catch-and-release immigration policies have been thoroughly laid bare by the current crisis — Democrats in public office have been utterly silent about those dangers? Have you noticed that they have not ventured even to speculate that perhaps President Trump's pre-coronavirus warnings about the need to regulate our nation's borders were well-founded and had absolutely nothing to do with racism?

This is because the Democrat narrative never changes in any significant way. It merely makes minor adjustments for the sake of political expediency. So because right now it would be politically inconvenient to link racism to the type of border security that is very obviously a matter of life-and-death for many Americans, the Democrats have simply found a new way of framing their tried-and-true “racism” charade. Thus have we heard one Democrat after another intone their latest mantra-of-the-moment: the notion that Trump's use of the term “China virus” is damnable proof of his “racism.”

The Democratic Party has devolved into something quite diabolical. Its very considerable energies are now spent on little more than a constant stream of frenzied efforts to cover their political foes in rhetorical bird droppings. Aside from that, the party has nothing to offer the American people.



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

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


29 March, 2020

President Trump should issue the Buy American executive order to end China’s control of our medicines

This is good patriotic stuff and there is some point in it.  But we must be careful to avoid overkill.  The writer below shows no awareness that he is advocating a big leap in the costs of most medicines. American workers will not work for Chinese wages. Medicines are costly enough without a step-change upwards.  Such a change would produce a big political  backlash

A more moderate and realistic policy would be to draw up a short list of critical (life-saving) medicines and mandate that they be obtained only from America or its allies.  Both Britain and Europe have substantial pharmaceutical industries with established production of many medicines so could help a rapid turnaround of the supply chains of many medicines.

By Bill Wilson

With all we are facing today, with all the fear and outright transformation of our entire society, it might seem odd that a group of medical organizations would sign a letter opposing American independence in the production of medicines and medical equipment.  You would think that in the crisis these groups would want to see America move toward a strong, independent position.  But you would be wrong.

The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM), a trade association for large pharmaceutical manufacturers is pushing a letter opposing an executive order proposed by President Donald Trump that would reduce or eliminate regulations that have raised the cost of manufacturing medical compounds and equipment in the United States.  His goal is to end American dependence on China for the medicines we need.

The big international corporations, of course, say the order will make it difficult for them to supply antibiotics and equipment needed now to fight the Chinese coronavirus.  Their stated reason for opposing the President is that they want to “do their part” in fighting the scourge.  But there is likely a far more sinister reason for this action.

The Chinese Communists will do just about anything to keep their stranglehold on the supply of medicines, the components to make medicines and medical equipment, This is about power — the power of the Chinese Communists to dictate terms to America and Europe.  And they are delivering this message through the serpentine voices of major corporations.

So far, the letter being circulated by the pharmaceutical giants has 40 signatures, mostly from associations funded by the pharmaceutical firms themselves   In all fairness, most of these groups need the funding from the corporations so it is no surprise that they are doing as they are told.  And, as would be expected, there are a handful of so-called “conservative” groups reciting their “free trade” mantra.  They, sadly, are so blinded by their failed religion of globalism that they cannot see the threat to America their position holds.

The move by President Trump to begin to bring the production of medicine and medical equipment back to the United States is the only honorable and right thing that could be done.  For those corporations now under the golden thumb of China to oppose this basic movement toward American sovereignty is tantamount to a renunciation of their U.S. citizenship.  They now side with the rulers of a foreign, hostile regime over that of the people of the United States.  Going forward, they should be treated as foreign agents, because that is what they are.

We can expect more pushback to efforts by President Trump and the growing legion of elected officials that see the damage done by the globalist agenda.  But understanding that these pathetic attacks are simply the end result of dictates from Beijing renders them inert.  They have no meaning or bearing.  The march to restore America, to return basic industries to our shores, to rebuild tens of thousands of communities will continue.  The tide of history cannot be ordered to not come in.



How a handful of Democratic activists created alarming, but bogus data sets to scare local and state officials into making rash, economy-killing mandates

As U.S. state and local officials halt the economy and quarantine their communities over the Wuhan virus crisis, one would hope our leaders were making such major decisions based on well-sourced data and statistical analysis. That is not the case.

A scan of statements made by media, state governors, local leaders, county judges, and more show many relying on the same source, an online mapping tool called COVID Act Now. The website says it is “built to enable political leaders to quickly make decisions in their Coronavirus response informed by best available data and modeling.”

An interactive map provides users a catastrophic forecast for each state, should they wait to implement COVID Act Now’s suggested strict measures to “flatten the curve.” But a closer look at how many of COVID Act Now’s predictions have already fallen short, and how they became a ubiquitous resource across the country overnight, suggests something more sinister.

When Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a shelter-in-place order on Dallas County Sunday, he displayed COVID Act Now graphs with predictive outcomes after three months if certain drastic measures are taken. The NBC Dallas affiliate also embedded the COVID Act Now models in their story on the mandate.

The headline of an NBC Oregon affiliate featured COVID Act Now data, and a headline blaring, “Coronavirus model sees Oregon hospitals overwhelmed by mid-April.” Both The Oregonian and The East Oregonian also published stories featuring the widely shared data predicting a “point of no return.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cited COVID Act Now when telling her state they would exceed 7 million cases in Michigan, with 1 million hospitalized and 460,000 deaths if the state did nothing.

A local CBS report in Georgia featured an Emory University professor urging Gov. Brian Kemp with the same “point of no return” language and COVID Act Now models.

The models are being shared across social media, news reports, and finding their way into officials’ daily decisions, which is concerning because COVID Act Now’s predictions have already been proven to be wildly wrong.

COVID Act Now predicted that by March 19 the state of Tennessee could expect 190 hospitalizations of patients with confirmed Wuhan virus. By March 19, they only had 15 patients hospitalized.

In New York, Covid Act Now claimed nearly 5,400 New Yorkers would’ve been hospitalized by March 19. The actual number of hospitalizations is around 750. The site also claimed nearly 13,000 New York hospitalizations by March 23. The actual number was around 2,500.

In Georgia, COVID Act Now predicted 688 hospitalizations by March 23. By that date, they had around 800 confirmed cases in the whole state, and fewer than 300 hospitalized.

In Florida, Covid Act Now predicted that by March 19, the state would face 400 hospitalizations. On March 19, Gov. Ron DeSantis said 90 people in Florida had been hospitalized.

COVID Act Now’s models in other states, including Oklahoma and Virginia, were also far off in their predictions. Jordan Schachtel, a national security writer, said COVID Act Now’s modeling comes from one team based at Imperial College London that is not only highly scrutinized, but has a track record of bad predictions.

Jessica Hamzelou at New Scientist notes the systematic errors researchers and scientists have found with the modeling COVID Act Now relies on:

Chen Shen at the New England Complex Systems Institute, a research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues argue that the Imperial team’s model is flawed, and contains ‘incorrect assumptions’. They point out that the Imperial team’s model doesn’t account for the availability of tests, or the possibility of ‘super-spreader events’ at gatherings, and has other issues.

Among other issues, COVID Act Now lists the “Known Limitations” of their model. Here are a few that seem especially alarming, considering they generate a model for each individual state:

Many of the inputs into this model (hospitalization rate, hospitalization rate) are based on early estimates that are likely to be wrong.

Demographics, populations, and hospital bed counts are outdated. Demographics for the USA as a whole are used, rather than specific to each state.

The model does not adjust for the population density, culturally-determined interaction frequency and closeness, humidity, temperature, etc in calculating R0.

This is not a node-based analysis, and thus assumes everyone spreads the disease at the same rate. In practice, there are some folks who are ‘super-spreaders,’ and others who are almost isolated.

So why is the organization or seemingly innocent online mapping tool using inaccurate algorithms to scaremonger leaders into tanking the economy? Politics, of course.

Founders of the site include Democratic Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and three Silicon Valley tech workers and Democratic activists — Zachary Rosen, Max Henderson, and Igor Kofman — who are all also donors to various Democratic campaigns and political organizations since 2016. Henderson and Kofman donated to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, while Rosen donated to the Democratic National Committee, recently resigned Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, and other Democratic candidates. Prior to building the COVID Act Now website, Kofman created an online game designed to raise $1 million for the eventual 2020 Democratic candidate and defeat President Trump. The game’s website is now defunct.

Perhaps the goal of COVID Act Now was never to provide accurate information, but to scare citizens and government officials into to implementing rash and draconian measures. The creators even admit as much with the caveat that “this model is designed to drive fast action, not predict the future.”

They generated this model under the guise of protecting communities from overrun hospitals, a trend that is not on track to happen as they predicted. Not only is the data false, and looking more incorrect with each passing day, but the website is optimized for a disinformation campaign.

A social media share button prompts users to share their models and alarming graphs on Facebook and Twitter with the auto-fill text, “This is the point of no return for intervention to prevent X’s hospital system from being overloaded by Coronavirus.”

The daunting phrase, the “point of no return,” is the same talking point being repeated by government officials justifying their shelter-in-place orders and filling local news headlines.

Democrats are not going to waste such a rich political opportunity as a global pandemic. Americans already witnessed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats attempt to take advantage of an economic recession with a pipe-dream relief bill this week. Projects like COVID Act Now are another attempt to play the same political games, but with help from unknown, behind-the-scenes Democratic activists instead.




PORK: Millions for Kennedy Center, arts included in Senate rescue package (Fox News)

GAME CHANGER? New Oxford study suggests millions of people may have already built up coronavirus immunity (The Week)

LEADERSHIP: Gallup: Trump approval up five points to 49%, his handling of COVID-19 at 60% approval (CNSNews.com)

AND LEFTISTS HATE THEM: Trump's daily briefings are getting huge ratings (The Daily Wire)

RACE BAIT: SPLC blames Trump's "racist, anti-Asian epithets" for coronavirus-related anti-Asian harassment (PJ Media)

KAVANAUGH'S ACCUSERS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Woman accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault (The Daily Wire)

A BIOLOGICAL AGENT: Coronavirus crimes can be charged as acts of terrorism, DOJ says (NBC News)

ENSURING "THAT WE'RE NOT BRINGING THE VIRUS BACK HOME": Pentagon orders halt overseas movement for U.S. military (Reuters)

"DIED WHILE IN IRANIAN CUSTODY": Family concludes former FBI agent Robert Levinson died in Iran (NBC News)

IVORY TOWER Harvard, boasting $40 billion endowment, lays off dining hall workers (The Washington Free Beacon)

PUTTING CONNECTICUT ON NOTICE: Justice Department: Don't treat trans athletes as girls (AP)

CAPITULATING — SORT OF: Pennsylvania gun shops allowed to reopen on a limited basis (NRA-ILA)

POLICY: Congress should let licensed physicians practice across state lines (City Journal)

POLICY: GOP rightly blocked Nancy Pelosi's mail-in-balloting nonsense (Washington Examiner)


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

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


27 March, 2020

Buchanan: Must we kill the economy to kill the virus?

"We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself," tweeted the president on Sunday night, adding that, after the current 15-day shutdown, "we will make a decision as to which way we want to go."

President Trump is said to be privately expressing a deepening concern at the damage the coronavirus shutdown is doing to the U.S. economy and debating whether it can be safely reopened.

Though castigated for his remark, Trump has a point.

The U.S. is rightly using extreme measures to meet the threat and control the virus that threatens the lives of millions of Americans, with the elderly sick foremost among them. And we need to do so without killing the economy upon which scores of millions of other Americans depend.

Clearly, America was unprepared for this pandemic.

And there will be time enough to assess responsibility for the lack of surgical masks, medical gowns, rubber gloves, respirators, ventilators and hospital beds.

The immediate imperative is to produce those beds and that equipment and get it delivered to doctors, nurses and hospital staff, the front-line troops in the battle to control the virus.

However, during this shutdown, all "nonessential businesses" are being closed and their workers sent home to shelter in place and to keep "social distance" from friends and neighbors to minimize the risk of spreading this easily transmissible virus.

Unfortunately, what is "nonessential" to some — bars, restaurants, hotels, stores, cruise ships, tourist sites, shops, malls — are places of employment and indispensable sources of income for millions of other Americans.

Close the businesses where these Americans work and you terminate the paychecks on which they depend to pay the rent and buy the food and medicines they and their families need to shelter and live. And if the salaries and wages on which workers depend are cut off, how are these millions of newly unemployed supposed to live?

How do those who follow the instructions of the president and governors to remain in their homes get their prescriptions filled and buy the food to feed their families?

How long can the shutdown be sustained if the necessities of life for the unemployed and unpaid begin to run out? Is it necessary to create an economic and social crisis to solve the medical crisis?

"We had to destroy the village in order to save it," was a remark attributed to a U.S. Army officer in the Vietnam War. Must we cripple or destroy the economy to rescue the American nation from the coronavirus crisis of 2020?

Then there is the matter of time. Many Americans can survive on what they have on hand for two or four weeks. Far fewer can survive without income for two or four months.

If we shut down the economy, what will we have when the medical crisis passes, be that in May, June, July, August or September?

Will all those nonessential businesses we put to sleep come back to life?

The free market system that is the legacy of Hamilton and the Founding Fathers is the world's best design for the distribution of goods and services and ensuring prosperity. And in a population where life expectancy is decades beyond what it was in the early 20th century, there are government programs to provide the necessities of life for those who can no longer access or afford them.

But businesses are needed to deliver the goods.

And if, by government command, America's free economy is partly shut down as unessential in this medical crisis, the government could be responsible for imposing the conditions that lead to social disorder.

At some point, the country is going to have to open up the supply chains and take the risks to let the market work to provide food — or people will engage in panic buying, hoarding and using any means to get what they need for themselves and their families.

Reports of folks in this heavily armed nation stocking up on guns and ammunition suggest a widespread apprehension of what may be coming.

If the medical crisis is allowed to induce an economic crisis that leads to a social crisis, the American political system, our democratic system, may itself be severely tested.

Lest we forget: In the greatest crisis in this nation's history, in which the issue was whether the American Union would be severed into two nations, Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus, shut down state legislatures, closed newspapers, jailed journalists and was prepared to arrest the chief justice. And for the dictatorial measures he took, and for waging the bloodiest war in U.S. history, against fellow Americans, Lincoln is now regarded by many as our greatest president.



Steve Hilton and the need to restart the economy

The federal government has done a terrific job of informing Americans how to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. If you don’t have the disease and you follow the feds’ guidelines, you should be able to avoid this bug. But folks need some perspective here: COVID-19 is not the plague, the Black Death. Nor is it Ebola, which seems to “dissolve” the body. This virus can, however, kill the very vulnerable: the elderly and folks with compromised immune systems. But those people should already be “sheltering in place,” quarantining themselves from the myriad other diseases out there.

Sunday night on Fox News, Steve Hilton gave a monolog urging that we quickly end the national quarantine and restart the economy. Hilton thinks we’re in danger of ruining the economy if we continue the quarantine much longer. I urge everyone to listen to his impassioned plea: Flatten the curve, not the economy. The Fox link also provides the complete text, but the video alone is at Twitter.

The thing is: some sectors of our economy, such as food production and distribution, continue to operate despite the contagion. The rest of us are smart enough that we, too, can abide by new safety protocols, and avoid the virus. Let’s get back to work, America, before the economy is grievously harmed. Let’s restart the economy no later than April 1.

And thank you, Steve Hilton, for your timely insights.



Forgive Me if I Don’t Fall Right into Line with the New Fascism

As a San Francisco resident and business owner, I’m wondering—can I trust the health judgments of leaders who let thousands live on the streets in their own filth? And if we are now getting the homeless into shelter, why couldn’t that have happened earlier? Doesn’t their health count?

All of a sudden, we are supposed to accept 24-hour curfews “for your own safety” from people who order the police to stand down when Antifa and friends beat the Hell out of taxpayers; people who refuse to enforce laws they don’t like (death penalty, bail, property crimes).

City leaders who literally give wanted alien criminals a public heads-up when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is about to conduct raids are now telling me what’s best, declaring a death penalty for businesses, no hearings or due process?! Forgive me if I don’t fall right into line with the fascism which seems awfully situational. Governor Gavin Newsom’s suggestions yesterday that older and vulnerable people take extra care and stay inside seemed reasonable. However, “progressive” city leaders then decided to seize the opportunity and throw the whole economy into a tailspin as collateral damage, but don’t worry—we’ll soon have a government-sponsored bailout for favored groups soon, funded with a tax increase crammed down the throats of the dwindling number of taxpayers. Homeless go back to the streets, illegal alien criminals get sanctuary, car break-ins continue...

Criminals continue to be released from jail or not arrested at all, and we all become more habituated, like sheep, to the loss of liberty yet again, “for our own safety.” I’m not buying it. I don’t buy it with FISA renewal, with gun-grabbing, or with this sweeping lack of process.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is tied to a corruption investigation of a federally-indicted city bureaucrat she dated. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo mocked Trump supporters assaulted by criminals while the police stood down. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff tips off wanted violent illegal aliens. These are the Bay Area rulers telling 7.1 million+ citizens—more than the population of many U.S. states—to stay indoors, shut down businesses? Great judgment, all of them.



Bandy Lee: A Psychiatric fraud

On March 11, Mike Lachance posted the article, Yale Psychiatrist Who Called Trump Mentally Unfit For Office Refuses To Offer Diagnosis on Joe Biden.

Dr. Bandy Lee thinks she’s so good at what she does she doesn’t have to meet a patient to know they’re nuts…or unfit….or who knows what. She has claimed Donald Trump is unfit for office. Really? Amazing diagnosis! And that diagnosis is based on what?

As far as I can tell, that “diagnosis” is based on nothing except her dislike for Donald Trump.  How could anyone refute that kind of medical science? Right? That’s of course if everyone is assuming psychiatry is really medical science.   Or is it a science of misrepresentation, and make it up as they go along?  She even claims he's so powerful he's brainwashed his supporters. Which makes them all unfit also.

However, the Board of Psychiatrists find fault with diagnosis without examination. It’s considered malpractice, and she's now diagnosed tens of millions of people she's never met or even heard of. Amazing!!   But Bandy has assured Democrats in Congress Trump is unfit, and she has a “duty to warn”.

Is it her "duty to warm" us about Joe Biden also?

What is her diagnosis of Joe Biden? After all, it’s clear (and I want to use the correct medical term here) Joe is in deep mental donkey doo. His mental condition is so observably bad even reporters can tell he’s lost it.  If reporters get it you know how bad it must be.

But, this psychiatric genius, who can watch Trump on television and read articles about him, can diagnosis him as unfit.  Okay, but if she has this overwhelming "duty to warn" America about the mental unfitness of politicians, why does she refuse to diagnose Biden?

Furthermore, it must be clear to the most casual observer that Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and most certainly Maxine Waters, along with a host of others in politics suffer from some sort of mental disorder or other, yet she offers no diagnosis about any of them, or their supporters.

Now, there's nothing partisan about that. Is there?




OPTIMISM: Dow posts 2,112-point (11%) gain on Tuesday — the biggest ever (Fox Business)

GOOD NEWS: Scientists say coronavirus does not undergo significant number of mutations (The Daily Wire)

"CHEAP MANUFACTURING BE DAMNED": Sentiment builds for moving U.S. companies out of China (Washington Examiner)

TRAVELERS GET A BREAK: Real ID deadline pushed back due to the coronavirus (USA Today)

POLL: Trump more trustworthy than media on coronavirus (The Washington Free Beacon

AN EXCUSE TO INFRINGE ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT? North Carolina sheriff suspends new pistol permits due to "250 percent increase in demand" (National Review)

DEATH BY WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY: Ohio abortion providers say they will defy state shutdown order (The Washington Free Beacon)

POLICY: A litany of useless laws have been exposed by the coronavirus (Foundation for Economic Education)

POLICY: Start with common ground on climate-change policy (National Review)


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

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


26 March, 2020

Identity quakes and the art of changing minds

Our beliefs are often bound up with our sense of self. That’s why giving them up can be so painful.

Recently I entered into a discussion on Facebook with an ex-student I had taught while I was a part-time lecturer at the University of Oxford. Although we fundamentally disagreed on the issues, the back and forth was cordial. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, her tone turned hostile. I was accused of endorsing views I do not hold, and associating with people I had never met. I tried to reply, but by this point had been blocked. My former student had decided I was something I was not and was no longer interested in civilised dialogue. More upsettingly, there was a clear implication that by challenging her political opinions I was posing a direct threat to her sense of self.

Such experiences have helped me to realise that, for many people, politics is not so much a belief system as a kind of identity. This is perhaps why a study in Scientific Reports in 2016 found that most people perceive challenges to their political beliefs to be personal attacks. The ideological civil war over Brexit, which has driven families and friends apart like no other recent political dispute, is the most obvious example of this phenomenon. In Carol Hanisch’s famous 1969 essay she declared that ‘the personal is political’. Now, it seems, the political is personal.

It would be tempting to put this down to the tribalism that has been fostered by social media, but in truth people have always reacted badly to the experience of having to rethink their most deeply held convictions. In his book Dominion, the historian Tom Holland notes that the paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope, who was raised a Quaker and taught that the Bible was the literal truth, was ‘so unsettled by the dinosaurs he found entombed in rock that they came to visit him in his dreams’, where they would kick and trample upon him. A similar crisis of faith befell Charles Darwin, who could not reconcile the notion of a ‘beneficent and omnipotent God’ with the brutal reproductive practices of the ichneumon wasp, which paralyses caterpillars with its sting so that its larvae can develop inside a living host. Darwin’s Christian identity was shaken by the evident cruelty of the natural world.

Such realisations are known as ‘identity quakes’, described by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay in their book How to Have Impossible Conversations as the ‘emotional reaction that follows from having one’s core values disrupted’. I am reminded of Edmund Gosse’s autobiography Father and Son (1907), in which he recounts how his father, the naturalist Philip Gosse, was forced to confront the ways in which the emerging facts of evolutionary science were contradicting his literal belief in holy scripture. His solution was elegantly expressed in his 1857 book Omphalos, in which he argued that the creator had left deliberate markings on the Earth to suggest that it was much older than it was. After all, the first trees in the Garden of Eden would have had growth rings and yet were brand new. This would account for the existence of seemingly ancient fossils, as well as Adam’s omphalos (the Greek word for ‘navel’), which was suggestive of a mother that did not exist.

There is something profoundly moving about Philip Gosse’s need to incorporate these fresh scientific discoveries into the purview of his Christian faith. This was an identity quake so seismic that it could easily have driven him to despair. Omphalos was widely ridiculed at the time, but I cannot help but sympathise with his efforts, and the sheer poeticism of his vision. For anyone who wishes to understand the emotional impact of identity quakes, Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son is a good place to start. (The Oxford World’s Classics edition is recommended, as it contains extracts from Omphalos in the appendices.)

The identity-quake phenomenon should be taken into consideration by anyone who is serious about their views and seeks to persuade others of their validity. From the late medieval period, students at Oxford and Cambridge were taught the trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric. The latter is best defined as ‘the art of persuasion’, and there is something to be said for attempting to reinstate this discipline in national school curricula. But one doesn’t need to be a rhetorician to understand that people are rarely persuaded by having their beliefs insulted, particularly when said beliefs are such an elemental feature of how they perceive their role in society.

That political affiliation has become a form of personal identity presents difficulties for those of us who still believe in the importance of discussion and debate. Leaving aside the obvious merits of decorum for its own sake, the hostile approach is always counterproductive in purely strategic terms. It is difficult to maintain respect for an interlocutor while he’s shouting and slinging mud. We argue because we value the opinions of others and seek to interrogate our own certainties. We argue because by doing so we refine our propositions and our ability to persuade. Above all, we argue because we know that there is a kernel of truth in every viewpoint. Only the most narrow-minded of us would dismiss the possibility that we might be wrong.

There’s a moment in Father and Son in which the young Edmund Gosse kneels and prays to a chair in order to test whether God would react to such flagrant idolatry. Nothing happens, and he is left questioning whether God even exists. For a child raised in the evangelical traditions of the Plymouth Brethren, this was no small matter. We all need to be willing to challenge our most treasured convictions, and to be empathetic when we challenge those of others. It isn’t easy to abandon or modify one’s belief system, especially when it has become so interlinked with notions of personal identity. Changing minds is necessary, but it is never painless.



Coronavirus Communism Comes to California

Bernie Sanders supporters learn what life under socialism is really like.

A few weeks after Californians cast their votes for Bernie Sanders, there are huge lines to buy toilet paper. Toilet paper, like dairy products and cleaning supplies, are limited to two per household.

Savvy shoppers have learned, like their counterparts in the old Soviet Union, to get what they need by bartering what they can buy. Toilet paper for antibacterial soap. Milk for wipes.

Yakov Smirnoff had spent his career joking about standing on line to buy toilet paper and discovering that the government store wasn't even selling toilet paper, but something to be bartered for it.

"If I start making jokes about a shortage of toilet paper in America, it won`t make any sense because you walk into a store and see 15 brand names of toilet paper," he had once told a newspaper.

"Yesterday I stood in line for two hours waiting for CVS truck to unload. Everyone was waiting for alcohol and toilet paper. I felt like I was back in Soviet Russia," Smirnoff, who now lives in California, tweeted.

The old Soviet anecdotes finally make sense to Americans. All it took was a little taste of the real deal.

"You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants when children are hungry in this country," Senator Bernie Sanders had once snapped.

And now there are no choices of deodorant. You take what’s on the shelf and learn to like it.

Sanders voters had wanted to live under socialism. And now they have the opportunity to learn what it’s really like. Between the curfews, the shortages, and the absolute government authority, they’re living in the type of system that Sanders and his base have admired when it was far away and safely overseas.

In 2003, Sanders, along with Rep. Conyers, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, had signed a letter of support for Hugo Chavez: the brutal Venezuelan strongman. “If Abraham Lincoln or George Washington were alive and here today, they would be on our side,” they told him.

“These days, the American dream," Sanders once wrote, "is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela."

The socialist dream in Venezuela began with toilet paper shortages, then dairy shortages, and eventually no food, medicine, or drinking water, while the Marxist regime paid its military thugs in food supplies.

A few supermarket lines are only a small taste of “democratic socialism” in action.

The coronavirus isn’t Communism, but it has created social, political, and economic conditions similar to that of Communism, with an authoritarian state, a frightened populace, and resource shortages.

There’s no better laboratory for seeing how the real thing would play out in California.

California’s Sandernistas are invariably on the wealthy and comfortable side. Bernie bumper stickers rarely show up on beat-up Chevys, but on a Tesla, on a Mercedes, or on a Beemer. You can spot Bernie lawn signs outside lavish mansions whose owners imagine that socialism is for someone else.

Someone else’s cars and mansions will be confiscated. Not theirs. Someone else won’t be able to buy basic staples. Not the Silicon Valley tech bros pouring a fortune into the Sanders campaign and its PACs.

Bernie's wealthy donors in the Inner Mission and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, and Echo Park in Los Angeles, are now discovering the lifestyle that they’ve only romanticized from a distance before as they wait on line in empty supermarkets and stare baffled at ‘Out of Stock’ messages on Amazon listings.

To paraphrase Sinclair Lewis, the poet laureate of California socialists, "When Communism comes to California, it will be wrapped in a repurposed paint fume respirator mask, wearing medical gloves, and driving a BMW with a Bernie 2020 bumper sticker while frantically grabbing rolls of toilet paper."

There are two kinds of socialism: the ideal and the real.

Ideal socialism is an entertaining set of intellectual games, castles in the sand, ivory towers in the air, where the right words and attitudes can enable the enlightened to implement heaven on earth.

Real socialism is standing on line for toilet paper.

Capitalism is the best argument for socialism. When the supermarkets are full and there are lots of good jobs, then it’s easy to imagine that the system can be improved with a lot of authoritarian planning. Why not take all those goodies and distribute them more efficiently? There’s so much of the stuff that it seems easy to redistribute it, to add a few zeroes to budgets already filled with imaginary numbers.

And socialism is the best argument against itself.

Socialists always think that they will lose their freedom to a wise ideal, only to discover that they will lose it to a grubby real of incompetent bureaucrats, frightened mobs, and armed men in the streets.

Bernie’s vague rambling plans to nationalize everything from electricity to the internet, to bring into being a nation where the government decides how much deodorant and shoes you get to have, sound great until it stops being a hip ideal and becomes the tawdry reality of waiting on line for toilet paper.

You don’t need a literacy program to realize socialism is a bad idea when you’re living through it.

California politicians have taken a break from a torrent of insane bills that proposed to ban receipts (they’re bad for the environment), ban fur, legalize eating roadkill, (if you run over a rabbit, you can eat it, but don’t you dare wear its fur), and banning separate clothes sections for little girls and boys, to ineptly tumble the state and its major cities headlong into a mismanaged response to the coronavirus.

The incompetence of California Democrats was all fun and games when it led to blowing up the homeless population while wasting billions of dollars, banning police from turning over illegal alien pedophiles to ICE, or accidentally outlawing freelance work across the entire state for the unions.

But now there are real consequences. It’s not just another bunch of zeroes or a handful of victims whose stories will never appear on any cable network except the one no respectable socialist would watch.

Millions of lives have been disrupted. And countless lives are potentially on the line.

Socialism sounds like a great idea if you imagine that the people running things are smart, moral, and competent, as socialists imagine that they are. It falls apart in the real world where people aren’t.

After voting for Bernie Sanders, Californians are discovering what it’s actually like to live in Venezuela, Cuba, or the Soviet Union, where they have no rights, there’s nothing in the stores, and nothing works.




DPA OFFICIALLY INVOKED: FEMA head says administration will use Defense Production Act to obtain 60,000 coronavirus tests (National Review)

CRACKING DOWN: Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies (The Hill)

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES: How the VA is prepared to handle rising rates of veterans with coronavirus (The Daily Signal)

ENFORCEABLE WITH FINES: The UK goes into full lockdown with the public barred from leaving home for nonessential reasons (Business Insider)

SECOND AMENDMENT SUBTERFUGE: Pennsylvania Supreme Court greenlights mandatory gun store closures (The Washington Free Beacon)

MEANWHILE IN NEW JERSEY... Gun-rights coalition sues Gov. Phil Murphy for closing gun dealers during coronavirus pandemic (The Washington Times)

22ND STATE TO BAN CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: Colorado abolishes death penalty (National Review)

COMMUNIST SYMPATHIZERS: Twitter says Beijing's coronavirus lies are just fine (The Daily Beast)

BEGINNING OF A NEW COMMERCE ERA: When coronavirus is through, our economy will look a lot different (Washington Examiner)


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

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


25 March, 2020

Trump keeps his head when everyone else is losing theirs

Huge disruptions to everyone's lives matter too

Donald Trump has indicated he wants to ease social distancing measures in the United States and “reopen” the economy within weeks, not months.

Other countries around the world are imposing ever-stricter policies in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent the United Kingdom into near total lockdown today. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern did the same yesterday. Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated intrusive measures will remain in place for “at least six months”.

At a White House briefing today, however, Mr Trump was focused on mitigating damage to the US economy. “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” he said.

The President told Americans they would get through the challenge presented by the virus. “The hardship will end. It will end soon. Normal life will return and our economy will rebound very, very strongly,” Mr Trump said.

“Our public health experts, who are terrific, are studying the variation in the disease across the country, and we will be using data to recommend new protocols to allow local economies to cautiously resume their activity at the appropriate time.

“We also have a large team working on what the next steps will be once the medical community gives a region the OK – meaning the OK to get going, to get back, let’s go to work.

“Our country wasn’t built to be shut down. This is not a country that was built for this. It was not build to be shut down. “America will again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than the three or four months that somebody was suggesting. A lot sooner.

“We’re not going to let the cure be worse than the problem.”

The United States is about halfway through a 15-day period of social distancing.

“At the end of the 15-day period, we’ll make a decision as to which way we want to go, where we want to go, the timing – essentially we’re referring to the timing of the opening. Essentially the opening of our country,” said Mr Trump.

After a short interlude, during which he promised that “vaccines are coming along very quickly” and urged Republicans and Democrats to make a deal on stimulus measures, the President returned to the subject of the economy.

“We are going to save American workers and we’re going to save them quickly. And we’re going to save our great American companies, both small and large,” he said.

“This was a medical problem. We are not going to let it turn into a long-lasting financial problem. It started out as a purely medical problem and it’s not going to go beyond that. We’re just not going to allow that to happen.

“Our country was at our strongest financial point. We’ve never had an economy like we had just a few weeks ago, and then it got hit with something that nobody could have ever thought possible. And we are fixing it. We’re fixing it quickly.

“Our country will be stronger than ever before, and we fully anticipate that, and it won’t be that long.”



The PATRIOT Act, Coronavirus, and the Politics of Fear

This week Congress has tackled two important issues that may not seem related at first: reauthorizing an expiring portion of the USA PATRIOT Act and legislating for those affected by COVID-19. But there is one common thread between them - each will have had their passage through the legislature amply lubricated by a potent dose of fear. Decisions made hastily under such pressure are often nigh impossible to reverse after the fact.

A quick review since it’s been two decades (and for those too young to remember). Just six weeks after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Congress rushed through a tremendous expansion of the government’s ability to spy on, ostensibly, terrorists. What was a controversial measure even in the fear-filled aftermath of the deadliest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor was written in secret and hotlined through both chambers of Congress with barely any chance for debate (and no chance for amendments) in only three days.

As always, the marketing of the bill obfuscated its true nature from the public. It was a simple necessity in order to keep us safe from terror, its sponsors assured Americans. And with a name like the USA PATRIOT Act, who could possibly oppose it -- you’re a patriot… aren’t you? In reality, Congress was, knowingly or not, creating a veneer of legality for a flagrantly illegal dragnet telephony data mass surveillance program that had already been activated by the NSA shortly after September 11th.

It was fortunate that some individuals had the foresight to force sunset provisions into some of the more controversial authorities like Section 215, the main part of the law that was at issue in Congress this past week. Otherwise, leadership in Congress would probably continue to ignore the litany of abuses of warrantless surveillance against innocent Americans, as revealed by whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Bill Binney, Tom Drake, and others.

Still, although sunset clauses give reformers periodic bites at the apple, nearly two decades later, most of the most dangerous authorities from the PATRIOT ACT are still on the books. Thanks only to a heroic stand led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), we’ll have another chance to change some of that in about two months, better late than never.

Turning to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the difficulty is that once again we are presented with a clear and present danger that most people will agree there is a legitimate need for the federal government to address. This time, the enemy is invisible and walks among us, bringing with it a specter of dread that seems to have people losing their minds, desperate to control the unknown, even if the best they can do is strip stores bare of toilet paper.

A lot of talk of fear, so here is mine: I fear that legitimate concern about the spread of COVID-19 will, just like 9/11, lead to further erosions of our basic liberties that will last long after the outbreak, and long after vaccines and testing have made the coronavirus’ most durable memory the memes it spawned on the internet.

For example, as The American Conservative’s Barbara Boland has reported, Israel has taken to domestic mass surveillance to address the spread of coronavirus, with the U.K. considering doing the same. The U.S. government, too, has reportedly already been in talks with the big tech companies about leveraging the location data they have for all their customers to track the disease’s spread. Thus far, fortunately, Google appears to have said “no,” but a mandate of this sort is certainly not impossible based on the government’s past history.

Same for the quarantine lockdowns already being implemented in some localities, which are certain to expand dramatically over the coming weeks. Never mind that there is serious evidence that militarized mass lockdowns are not an effective way to address epidemics. It’s one thing to mandate that infected individuals be isolated from others - that’s an unfortunate necessity to protect others from harm - it’s quite another to shut down an entire city for days or weeks. With mass testing for the disease finally becoming more widely available (no thanks to the government for that either), we ought to be able to handle the outbreak without a martial law style approach reminiscent of China.

Even some of the economic stimulus that is intended to be temporary could easily find a way to stick around. Things like mandatory paid sick leave may be necessary given the current economic shutdown, but should not be allowed to stick around once coronavirus is in the rearview mirror. The trillion-plus dollars of additional national debt, certainly, will stick around to haunt future generations regardless. Worse, the very infrastructure of crisis management created by these hasty measures can tend to stick around to help mismanage the next major panic, such as how portions of the 2008 Emergency Economic Stabilization Act are being used to facilitate this week’s bailouts.

Be mindful that our politicians, too, are timorous creatures, ever fearful that any action they take or any power they don’t grant the government might redound upon them in the form of their most dreaded of miseries – a loss in November. They will always value their employment over your liberties unless we the voters make clear that those two things aren't mutually exclusive. Left to their own devices, our elected (and unelected) overlords will create a catastrophe from a crisis and congratulate themselves for averting Armageddon.



In Walmart We Trust During Troubled Times

As we go through all of this END TIMES apocalypse fun, it’s good to look at things that aren’t oh-so awful. Our good friends at Walmart Inc. are helping us through the storm in a couple of ways.

Walmart has long been the whipping boy of liberals, derided for both its sheer capitalist success and the fact that the company serves so many rural Americans.

In short: Walmart is an effete liberal’s nightmare.

The company that the worst people in America love to hate just did a couple of things that prove them wrong.

In this most dire of economic times, when so many Americans are worried about their jobs, Walmart announced that it would be hiring 150,000 people to handle the coronavirus panic buying.

In the same announcement, the company said it would pay out almost $550 million in bonuses to hourly employees.

The Big Bad Capitalist Behemoth that has long been derided for making too much money now has the money to help people in a time of true crisis.

There is a lesson to be learned here, but we know that the people who need to learn it won’t. Just yet, anyway.

This may be the tipping point.

Before anyone gets too crazy in the comments, let me say I don’t really believe that. I’m just saying that if it ever were going to happen, this would be the thing that does it.

But it won’t.




A NEW CHAPTER: Federal Reserve pledges asset purchases with no limit to support markets (CNBC)

"WE'RE ALL UNDER QUARANTINE NOW": Gov. Andrew Cuomo orders most New Yorkers to stay inside (CNBC)

VALID UNTIL END OF APRIL: Illinois issues stay-at-home order (NBC Chicago)

VALID UNTIL APRIL 7: Massachusetts under stay-at-home order (CNBC)

APPROVED BY FDA: At-home tests now available, companies say (Fox News)

FIRST SENATOR TO CONTRACT THE VIRUS: Rand Paul tests positive (Axios)

WHO'D A THUNK IT? Five Florida college students test positive after spring break trip (Fox News)

TRADE AND COMMERCE EXEMPTED: Trump administration announces U.S., Mexico limiting nonessential travel across border (Fox News)

SILVER LININGS: Pandemic measures cut illegal border crossings by half (AP)

THE PARTY OF DOUBLE STANDARDS: Michael Bloomberg exploits campaign-finance loophole to funnel $18 million to DNC (The Washington Free Beacon)

NO WONDER BERNIE SANDERS HASN'T FOLDED: Five more states suspend Democrat primaries, sending nomination race into chaos (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: We have the technology to address climate change and still use fossil fuels (RealClearPolicy)

POLICY: It shouldn't take a crisis to deregulate healthcare (The Federalist)


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

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


24 March, 2020

Will the Coronavirus change the world for the better?

The pessimists are as usual out in force, declaring that the Chinese virus will destroy civilization as we know it.  It is refreshing therefore to hear a different view from English libertarian Sean Gabb.  He even sees the crisis as a blow against the Left and a boost for conservatives.

He has a thoroughly Trumpian respect for some trade restrictions. My background in economics still makes me idealize unrestricterd free trade but economists have always conceded that there can be rational restrictions to that and China's takeover of world manufacturing does generate some concerns.

I am afraid however that I do not see as likely the revival of England's industrial North that Sean hopes for.  The product of the North was never first quality and we are fortunate to be rid of it. British manufacturing is still strong in parts but it was prosperous as a whole only while the rest of the world took time to catch up with and surpass the advantage the British had of being the first in the field.

Chinese quality is also mostly low so far but they rule the roost because of their very competitive prices.  The prospect of the British worker accepting Chinese wages is however non-existent.  There probably are some areas however where the Chinese advantage is not great and a tariff would bring that production back home. 

Britain has long had a significant pharmaceutical industry so that would seem an early prospect for promotion and encouragement. On grounds of quality assurance a tariff to support local manufacture would seem advantageous for pharmaceutical manufacturers

Lastly, I want to endorse Sean's skepticism about the hysteria  that the Chinese virus has produced from governments.

With 217 deaths in the USA at last update, the Wuhan virus is a very minor cause of death.  It would not even be a blip in the record of the number of people who die from various illnesses every year. 

The panic over it is therefore hugely disproportionate and destructive.  The panic is clearly causing more harm than the disease.  The virus is primarily a lung disease so ensuring widespread availability of  oxygen was all that needed to be done

I have no particular knowledge of medicine or the natural sciences. However, I remember the Aids panic of the 1980s, when we were told there would be two million deaths by 1990 in this country alone. I remember the Mad Cow Disease of 1996, when we were told that a million people would turn into zombies by 2016. There have been a dozen lesser panics the details of which I presently forget. The Coronavirus may be a modern equivalent of the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. But I have reason to be sceptical. Indeed, if ignorant of medicine in any practical sense, I do know a lot about the bubonic plague pandemics of 542-4 and of 1347-51. These exploded among populations severely weakened by hunger, following downturns in global temperature. The Spanish Flu took hold because of the dislocations produced by the Great War. The human race now has never been so well-fed and so well-provided with medicine. It seems that most victims of the Coronavirus were very old or already in poor health. I do not, of course, welcome any death. But I shall need to see much higher rates of infection and many more deaths – and much and many more outside those groups presently most at risk – before I regard this as other than some collective madness.

This being said, there may be more to be said. Far above the ravening sheep in the supermarkets stands a new political establishment that cannot really be as stupid as its apocalyptic warnings make it appear on first inspection. I begin to smell a conspiracy – and a most unusual conspiracy, so far as its main victims may be the kind of people who do nicely out of the new order of things that has emerged since about 1990, and particularly since 2008.

I have read the Guidance Notes of the British Government’s Coronavirus Bill. Except the proposals go absurdly beyond the needs of the outbreak as it seems to be, it is a broadly proportionate response to the outbreak as it is said to be. I do not see the powers to close public gatherings and lock away the plainly infected as a blueprint for any more of a police state than we already have. The final Act may smuggle in provisions to outlaw cash or to censor the Internet. But I doubt it will. The other responses – shutting down all the schools, subsidising wages, deferring tax payments – are costing or losing the British State a lot of money, and none of this, so far as I can tell, is going to the usual special interest groups. Though grossly disproportionate to any reasonable view of how severe this outbreak is, the Johnson Government’s response is the opposite of the Brown Government’s response to the 2008 financial crash, which involved handing over a mountain of our tax money and the future growth of our savings and pensions to the very rich.

So what is happening? One possibility is that the outbreak is a convenient excuse for at least the British and American Governments to do in a state of emergency what they want to do, but would have trouble doing in the normal course of politics. What they may want – and this is congruent with the promises made by Mr Johnson and Mr Trump – is a deflation of the financial sector and a shortening of supply chains and a tightening of borders, all in the interests of greater security and equality for ordinary people. They have confected a panic, or gone along with an autonomous panic. This has brought on a wholly self-inflicted supply shock. The British Government in particular is taking large new financial liabilities. But this is a supply shock from which recovery should be fast and complete. The financial liabilities put money directly into the pockets of those most immediately harmed by the shock – and the ceiling of £2,500 per month on the wage subsidy will involve a progressively greater loss for those earning more than the average.

The usual suspects are asking for a delay to our full departure from the European Union. This is probably not on the agenda, as it goes against the underlying principle of the emergency measures. This includes a real tightening of border control and an encouragement of domestic manufacture. Again, ordinary people will benefit from the raising of wage rates. As a libertarian, I am not supposed to approve of anything that looks like protectionism. On the other hand, using China as a giant sweatshop is almost certainly not the outcome of any clean market process. More likely, the current pattern of world production and trade has nothing to do with Ricardian comparative advantage, but is the outcome of various hidden subsidies and prohibitions that mainly benefit the rich and well-connected. Removing these and allowing the emergence of shorter supply chains might improve the lives of ordinary people.

And improving the lives of ordinary people might be good for the cause of liberty. After 1979, the Government kicked the bottom out of the world for the working classes. Millions were thrown out of work. Millions more eventually found employment in menial and insecure jobs. One result was to end the threat of trade union militancy. Another was to remove people from some connection with scientific rationality – even the lowest industrial labour is a kind of applied science – and to leave them open to every stupid superstition and moral panic the media cared to promote. Restore something like the broad industrial economy of the past, and we might see a rebirth of liberal opinion in the old sense of the words.

As for the gathering financial collapse, the wage subsidy will protect ordinary people from the worst effects. Its most notable effect may be the liquidation of the debt and credit bubble that was blown up after 2008 and that has now become unsustainable. I doubt we shall reach the point where those glass towers that disfigure Central London are remade into flats and workshops. If that were to happen, though, it would be no cause for regret – except to those enriched by the present order of things.

And so, I do not fear the Coronavirus – not yet, at least. I moderately fear the shortages in the supermarkets. I am keenly interested in the possible emergence of an England in which the Northern working classes will be proud to be seen voting Conservative.



Coronavirus in Perspective

By Rich Kozlovich

Pandemics come and pandemics go, but how much damage do they do?  These pandemics we've experienced in recent years aren't the Black Plague, nor are they the Spanish Influenza.

So where does this pandemic stand on what I'm calling a "health crisis chart" from the CDC?

You will notice Malaria, which is eternal, is still number five on the chart.  Tuberculosis deaths worldwide must clearly justify calling it a pandemic.  Don't you think?  Why isn't it?

Because it's a lot like malaria, it's eternal, so it's not an emotion grabber.  Even though TB in the third world has developed resistance to drug treatments.

You will also notice that "seasonal flu" is number eight.  Why isn't it a pandemic?  And when I see whooping cough is number ten, I really get outraged because there's a vaccine readily available to prevent it.  The appearance of Whooping Cough in the third world is understandable for three reasons.  Cost, incompetence, and socialized medicine.  But why are we having cases of it in America?

Because irresponsible activists are scaring parents making false claims about vaccines and autism in children.  That hysteria has caused children in the United States to unnecessarily suffer and even die as a result.

Jim ONeill posted the article, The Convenient Timing of the Coronavirus saying:

"It is no secret that the Left would rather destroy the US economy than risk four more years of Trump.......... With the 2020 elections looming large, the coronavirus panic seems to be conveniently timed to damage the US economy, and distract We the People from important topics such as FISA abuse, roots of the Russia hoax, and Biden’s dealings with Burisma.

The media is, of course, adding fuel to the fire of panic with their “lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!” coverage of the virus. The silver lining here is that with coronavirus the globalist Left has jumped the shark (again), and jumped the gun (again).

Their over-the-top coverage of the coronavirus, while perhaps effective for their cause in the short term, will eventually boomerang on them (where have we seen this before?) as it becomes obvious over time that they have been crying wolf too loudly and for too long."

He notes: "There is a world of difference between taking something seriously, and panicking over it."

People are going insane storming the stores wiping out toilet paper and actually fighting over items on the shelves.  See, and you thought they only did that at Christmas time while celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace.



Despite Media Attacks, Public Rallies Behind Trump During Coronavirus Pandemic

A newly released ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that the attempts by the media and the Democratic Party to bash Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic have failed to sway voters. In fact, since the last time they polled the question, approval of Trump’s response to the pandemic has swung hugely in his favor.

According to the poll, which was conducted March 18-19th, 55 percent of voters approve of the way Trump “is handling the response to the coronavirus.” The poll shows a dramatic shift in opinion from a week earlier, when only 43 percent approved of Trump’s response to the virus.

This was not the only poll to show the public rally behind Trump during the pandemic. An Axios/Harris poll found virtually identical numbers in a survey conducted March 17-18, with 56 percent of Americans approving of Trump’s response to the pandemic, up from 51 percent in their previous poll.

In fact, the Harris poll shows Trump’s numbers have improved across the board. His overall approval went from 49 percent to 53 percent.

The survey also makes it clear that the public is not blaming Trump for the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as his approval on stimulating jobs and the economy stands at 60 percent.

Given the overwhelmingly negative coverage by the fake news media, complete with blatantly false stories, the fact that Trump’s approval in handling the pandemic is in positive territory is remarkable. One can only imagine what Trump’s numbers would be if Democrats weren’t politicizing the pandemic and he was getting fair coverage from the media.



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

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


23 March, 2020

New Index Finds Rising Tide of Economic Freedom

Governments around the world are responding to the coronavirus epidemic with a variety of measures that have the potential to curtail economic activity.

It’s vital that such actions be temporary and of as short a duration as possible.

Government restrictions and regulations have a tendency to outlast—sometimes for decades—the crises they were implemented to address.

Some will try, for their own political reasons, to use this crisis and others—real or imagined—to call for a fundamental restructuring of the American economy or the world economic system.

We need to put any such talk to rest.

The 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, released Tuesday by The Heritage Foundation, shows a world more committed to the principles of free-market capitalism than ever before.

Some 124 of the 180 countries ranked in the index managed improvements in their economic freedom scores this year. The average score in the index is at its highest level in history, and the commitment to free-market reform is stronger than ever.

The reasons so many countries have adopted U.S.-style capitalism (though some call it by other names) are clear.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union and its socialist/communist allied governments in Eastern Europe, the world economy has more than doubled in size. Poverty rates have declined by two-thirds.

The globalization of world commerce has brought unprecedented prosperity to the developed economies of North America, Europe, and Asia, and fantastic opportunities for growth to the underdeveloped countries of the world, including China and India.

Hundreds of millions of people are enjoying better lives because their governments have embraced, at least in part, the U.S. way.

The data presented in the index demonstrate conclusively that citizens of freer societies enjoy much higher levels of per-capita income than those who live where governments control most economic activity.

They enjoy longer lives and better standards of health care and education, and live in much cleaner environments.

Countries where economic freedom is growing also have higher economic growth rates, about 1 percentage point per year higher on average. That can add 10% to a country’s living standards over a decade.

The Index of Economic Freedom has a new country at the top of the list this year, Singapore. That Southeast Asian trade and finance powerhouse is the only country to be ranked economically free in every category measured by the index.

Other economies judged “free” this year include Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, and Ireland.

The U.S. comes in only at 17th place. That’s five spots lower than last year. Protectionist measures have eroded trade freedom in the U.S., and our applied tariff rates have increased by more than 50%.  That’s sure to hold back economic growth in the future, not only here, but also in countries with which we trade.

High levels of U.S. government spending and debt remain ongoing concerns.

We’re obviously going through a tough patch, and Americans’ concerns about their own health and that of our society are running high.

We count on our governments—local, state, and federal—to help us when times are tough. But we need to remember that we live in the most prosperous country in the history of the world, and the fundamental principles of economic freedom have played a vital role in making that happen.

Let’s not trifle with them now.



Politics and Fears of 'Racism' Helped Coronavirus Spread in Italy, Virus Expert Warns

While leftists in the U.S. echoed the Chinese Communist Party in branding President Trump racist for calling the coronavirus Chinese, a virus expert in Italy warned that the Italian government stalled in its response to the virus due to politics and fears of racism — and that stalling cost lives.

Regardless of political correctness, the Chinese coronavirus started in China and taking concrete action to ban Chinese travel and to isolate people coming from China has been very effective in curbing the virus's spread.

Italy's death toll overtook China's on Thursday, with more than 41,000 confirmed cases and 3,405 deaths.

Dr. Giorgio Palù, the former president of the European and Italian Society for Virology and a professor of virology and microbiology at the University of Padova, told CNN that politics and fears of racism hamstrung the Italian government's response.

The government was "lazy in the beginning... too much politics in Italy," Palù said. "There was a proposal to isolate people coming from the epicenter, coming from China. Then it became seen as racist, but they were people coming from the outbreak." This unwillingness to contain people who posed the greatest risk contributed to the devastating situation, he argued.

Yet this political correctness was not limited to Italy's national government, as Voice of Europe pointed out.

Northern Italy has been hit hardest by the outbreak, and leaders there encouraged behavior that spreads the virus. Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, urged Italians to "hug a Chinese" in early February, warning that coronavirus fears were leading to racism against Chinese people. Nardella, a member of the left-wing Democratic Party, even tweeted a video of himself hugging a Chinese man.

Northern Italy now has the most cases of coronavirus. The Governor of Lombardy recently warned citizens that they must follow the curfew strictly as hospitals will soon be overwhelmed with patients.

Left-leaning media outlets in the U.S. have parroted the line that Trump's decision to call the virus the "Chinese coronavirus" is racist, even though the president is pushing back on Chinese Communist Party propaganda blaming the U.S. for the virus.

If this Italian virologist is correct, however, these fears of racism are not just overblown but downright deadly. Bad responses to the virus, however well-intentioned, can have a tragic human cost.



COVID-19 Will Change Healthcare

Reducing regulation to ensure speedier service will help millions of Americans

When terms like “social distancing” and “self quarantine” are on the tip of every journalist’s tongue, the good news can often be hard to find.

And little did we know that an act passed in 1996 would haunt us in 2020. Back then, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was signed into law, ensuring that information shared between doctors and patients is private and secure. The HIPAA website states, “Prior to HIPAA, no generally accepted set of security standards or general requirements for protecting health information existed in the health care industry. At the same time, new technologies were evolving, and the health care industry began to move away from paper processes and rely more heavily on the use of electronic information systems.”

But the technology of 1996 is not that of today. Essentially, HIPAA prevented healthcare providers and individual doctors from taking advantage of emerging information technologies — and it required patients to be in the physical presence of their doctor in order to have important conversations about their health.

Thus, the Wuhan coronavirus has made the standard office visit not only a challenge for those suffering the symptoms but dangerous for everyone else.

As Tiana Lowe writes at The Washington Examiner, “For decades, HIPAA has strangled the healthcare system, preventing providers from communicating with patients and sharing health data with other experts” and “they are forced to use antiquated electronic medical record systems and to communicate with patients primarily in person.”

This week, all that changed.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump took the bold step of ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to waive potential HIPAA penalties, thereby clearing the way for telemedicine. Now, a patient with coronavirus symptoms can consult with a real doctor from home.

Two healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente and One Medical, are already offering this service to their patients. “Kaiser and One Medical can do this because patients aren’t paying to see their preferred physician,” writes Lowe. “They’re paying to get immediate, efficient care. You may wait weeks to see your private practice physician, who is financially incapable of circumventing the HIPAA stipulations that render telemedicine so difficult.”

As the nation’s coronavirus response continues to evolve, President Trump is getting rid of the red tape. Just yesterday during the daily coronavirus task force briefing, he announced that he’s directed FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn to “eliminate outdated rules and bureaucracy” in order to “get the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments” out to the public as soon as possible. As a result, Americans will soon be able to access Chloroquine to alleviate the symptoms of coronavirus.

Trump, in fact, has been battling the bureaucracy since he took office. In 2018, he signed right-to-try legislation that allows terminally ill patients to try promising drugs that haven’t yet received FDA approval. Taken together, these steps may set a precedent by making quality care more efficient, affordable, and accessible long after we’ve conquered coronavirus.

The coronavirus panic has pushed the stock market to the brink, forced universities to teach courses online, turned millions of Americans into telecommuters, and shuttered restaurants, malls, and transportation hubs. But the good news is out there, including that American healthcare has a brighter future.

If only it hadn’t taken a national emergency to make it so.




9/11-STYLE PREPARATIONS: Trump eyes grounding jets, halting stock trading, and ordering shelter in place (Washington Examiner)

MOST POPULOUS AND LARGEST ECONOMIC STATE SHUT DOWN: California issues "stay at home" order (NPR)

TRAVEL ALERT: State Department warns Americans against all overseas travel (AP)

"NOT OUR TRADITIONAL MEDICAL MISSION": Navy readies 1,000-bed hospital ships and Defense Health Agency prepares for civilian support role (Washington Examiner)

GOOD IDEA: Sen. Tom Cotton debuts plan to take pharmaceutical production back from China (The Washington Free Beacon)


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

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


22 March, 2020

History Shows Direct Assistance Won't Boost Consumption

The state of the economy is on everyone’s mind due to the COVID-19 and the more frequent practice of social distancing. People are staying at home due to the virus, which will have a negative impact on consumption. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the administration is “looking at sending checks to Americans immediately.” The idea is similar in approach to proposals from Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah).

The approach of direct cash-based assistance isn’t a new idea. On the surface, it may sound like a good approach. Americans get a check from the federal government based on the hope they will spend the money to boost consumption. In this instance, the direct assistance the administration appears to hopes to help some Americans meet their financial obligations, such as mortgage payments and utilities.

If the administration hopes to see an increase in consumption, however, history says that it won’t work. Not only are many people staying home in light of COVID-19, but the data show that people tended to save the money they received from the federal government rather than spend it. Some may have paid off debt, although there isn’t good data on this particular theory. A better way to boost businesses would be to provide a payroll tax holiday for an indefinite period.

In June 2001, President Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. This bill was the first of two major tax bills that President Bush signed into law during his first term. The law not only cut marginal individual income tax rates and capital gain tax rates, among other changes to the tax code, it also created a 10 percent income tax bracket on taxable incomes of $6,000 for an individual and $12,000 for a married couple filing jointly. The maximum amount an individual could receive was $300. The maximum for a married couple filing jointly was $600.

These tax rebates were sent to taxpayers in the form of a check. The hope was that the tax rebate would have a stimulative effect on consumption. But did the 2001 tax rebate have the desired result? Different studies on the effect of the tax rebate have different conclusions. Using an idea from John B. Taylor of the Hoover Institution, who looked at the effect of the 2008 tax rebate, we’ve compared disposable personal income (DPI), which is after-tax income, to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) between January 2000 and December 2002. If the tax rebates were effective, we would expect to see a significant rise in both DPI and PCE. The data shows this not to be the case.

As the chart below shows DPI did rise after the passage of the 2001 tax rebate, but personal consumption expenditures (PCE) declined briefly before jumping and then declining again and leveling off. Not shown in the chart is the PCE-to-DPI rate. In December 2000, the rate was 91.6 percent. In May 2001 and June 2001, the PCE-to-DPI rate was 91.5 percent. It declined to 90.4 percent in July 2001 and 89.3 percent and 89 percent in August and September 2001.

2001 Tax Rebates

Interestingly, the personal savings-to-DPI rate increased between July and September 2001. Prior to these three months, between January 2000 and June 2001, the rate had not exceeded 5.4 percent, which was the rate in January 2000. The personal savings-to-DPI rate increased to 5.6 percent in July 2001 and peaked at 7 percent in September 2001. The PCE-to-DPI rate increased in October and November 2001 to 92.6 percent and 92 percent before falling back to 91.6 percent in December 2001.

Personal savings declined to 3.4 percent and 4.5 percent in October and September 2001. Throughout 2002, the personal savings-to-DPI rate never dropped below 5.4 percent. The PCE-to-DPI rate didn’t rise above 91.1 percent in 2002.

One could surmise from the 2000 through 2002 data that many who received tax rebates decided to save the money rather than spend it or saved it knowing that they were receiving a check that could be spent later. Others may have paid off personal debt with the rebate. In February 2002, the White House Council of Economic Advisers released a short paper that claimed the previous year’s tax rebates “provided valuable stimulus to economic activity in the short run,” but there’s little evidence that is the case.

The Bush administration used a similar method 7 years later with similar results. In February 2008, President Bush signed the Economic Stimulus Act, which provided another round of tax rebates. Unlike the tax rebates in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, the Economic Stimulus Act provided tax rebates to taxpayers, even those with no tax liability, who earned a minimum income of $3,000. Rebates were reduced for individuals with incomes above $75,000 and married couples filing jointly with incomes above $150,000 by 5 percent of their 2007 reported adjusted gross income. There were other tax aspects to the Economic Stimulus Act for individuals with children and businesses.

In 2008, the rise in DPI was even more noticeable around mid-year, but PCE declined substantially. Of course, in this instance, the recession began in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009, which, more likely than not, explains the decline DPI and the even more substantial decline in PCE.

2008 Tax Rebates

What all these numbers demonstrate is something that fiscal conservatives have long known. Centrally planning the economic activity of millions is an effort in futility. Every time we have attempted using stimulus policies to stimulate the economy, the real-world impact has been negligible. Moreover, a direct cash infusion of the type Secretary Mnuchin has proposed would require financing billions of dollars in payments by taking on an incomprehensible amount of excess debt and all of the negative externalities that come along with it.

In short, the stimulus package that the administration has expressed support for would not only fail in its objective but would hold far-reaching consequences for our nation’s fiscal security.



In a Time of Crisis, Let's Stand Together

For quite some time, aided and abetted by a rapacious media and take-no-prisoners howlers-at-the-moon on social media, "partisanship porn" has been America's most enduring frame of reference. You're either with me or you're the enemy, the idiot, or simply beneath contempt. Thus one must be ridiculed, defriended, socially ostracized, and/or ignored. All of our differences are irreconcilable and civil war inevitable.

Except that it's not.

This writer is a conservative who finds much of the progressive agenda wrongheaded at best and detestable at worst. But an agenda is not a person and hatred, simply for hatred's sake, might be the most contemptible default position one can have — in the best of times.

In a time of national emergency, it may prove deadlier than the coronavirus that has precipitated that emergency.

One wants to point out that the Trump administration has done a lousy job reacting to the virus, while someone else wants to counter that there's a double standard regarding how well the Obama administration handled swine flu and Ebola? Point and counterpoint. Tit for tat. Nah, nah, nah, nah nah.

Toward what end, other than to stoke division in a time when unity is desperately needed?

Columnist Micheal Goodwin reminds us that even during a world war, soldiers on both sides took a respite from the baser aspects of the human condition. "Starting earlier in December and culminating on Christmas Day in 1914, many allied British and French troops on one side and Germans on the other left their trenches and greeted each other on No-Man's Land," he writes. "The sudden fraternization happened on many spots along the Western Front, with soldiers swapping souvenirs, raising toasts, singing Christmas songs and playing soccer."

He believes the same mindset should prevail in Washington, DC. "If warring European soldiers could do it a century ago, surely warring American political leaders can do it today," he asserts. "God knows our nation needs a truce."


Nonetheless, there is little doubt the partisanship that afflicts our Ruling Class will play itself out in whatever series of measures politicians attempt to implement during this crisis. Thus, conservatives will complain about possible loss of constitutional rights precipitated by mandatory shutdowns of various economic sectors, while progressives will complain about efforts viewed as sacrificing vulnerable Americans to protect the economy — all while reliably hysterical media pundits exacerbate the differences and fan the flames of panic for their own perceived advantages. Conservatives will rail against nationalization schemes, progressives against tax cuts, etc. etc., ad infinitum.

Here's an idea: In a nation beset by large philosophical differences, how about inserting a sunset clause into every measure enacted by Congress during the crisis? According to the current worst-case scenarios, we are in for a long period of hard times. Perhaps such sunset clauses could be tied to information regarding when the transmission of the virus peaks and begins to wane. At that point, any measure related to the outbreak will either have to be renewed or it will automatically expire.

A heavy lift? No doubt. But one that would certainly mitigate the paralysis that inevitably arises when one side sees the other as seeking permanent changes, using coronavirus as a pretext. Indications that bipartisanship is already occurring are a welcome sign, and such clauses would further that end.

Perhaps financial markets should be temporarily closed as well. Since panic is the current worldwide default position, and most economies are in some form of suspended animation, it seems sensible to suspend the unprecedented and potentially catastrophic gyrations of financial markets as well. Price discovery, which is the basis of the entire system, can be determined at a later time.

Americans themselves? One hopes that self-quarantining and isolation might induce reflectiveness. Perhaps we might begin to realize that most of the issues we argue about, sometimes to the point of insanity, are reflective of our ... luxury. The overwhelming majority of Americans are well fed (even to the point of obesity) and our definition of "poor" is the envy of a world where, for the overwhelming majority of people, simple survival is still a 24/7/365 effort.

And then there's perspective. "For those who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, there was nothing unusual about finding yourself threatened by contagious disease," writes self-described "80-something" columnist Clark Whelton. "Mumps, measles, chicken pox, and German measles swept through entire schools and towns; I had all four. Polio took a heavy annual toll, leaving thousands of people (mostly children) paralyzed or dead. There were no vaccines. Growing up meant running an unavoidable gauntlet of infectious disease."

In modern day America, "growing up" has become an increasingly heavier lift in an increasingly narcissistic nation. No doubt largesse, coupled with technology, has made "look at me" a national sport. But one suspects a crisis that has likely caused millions of Americans of every generation to contemplate their own mortality may ultimately engender a much-needed "were all in this together" response. At the very least, we may realize just how petty many of our disagreements are, and one hopes that in turn will engender an appreciation of each other that transcends those differences — even if it is only for the duration of the crisis.

We already know where the alternative gets us, and the reality that some people will never get it should not deter the rest of us from seeking common ground, no matter how narrow the parameters. Americans will always disagree, even vehemently, about what is right and wrong for our nation, but the wholesale elimination of mutual respect does not have to be part of the equation.

Moreover, we should be enormously thankful for the legions of unsung, everyday heroes who persevere and often risk their own well-being taking care of the ill, delivering much-needed supplies, and performing other innumerable tasks that may ultimately be the difference between civilization and anarchy. Few of their names will ever be known, but millions of Americans will owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

America persevered after Pearl Harbor and 9/11. We can do it again. And maybe, just maybe, for the first time since it was coined, there is a phrase Americans can take to heart in an entirely different context than it was first presented:

Never let a crisis go to waste.




MEDICAL SUPPLIES AT THE READY: Trump invokes Defense Production Act to buoy the manufacturing of medical supplies (The Hill)

COVID-19 BESIEGES CAPITOL HILL: Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ben McAdams are first lawmakers to announce testing positive for coronavirus (Fox News)

NO JOKE: Baltimore mayor begs residents to stop shooting each other so hospital beds can be used for coronavirus patients (CBS Baltimore)

COMMUNIST MALFEASANCE: Outbreak could have been reduced by 95% if China acted sooner (The Daily Wire)

HITTING THE BRAKES: Most automakers shut North American plants (AP)

SILVER LININGS: Gas prices could hit 99 cents in some states due to coronavirus and supplies (Fox News)

ROCKET-ATTACK RETALIATION: U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iran, seeks release of Americans (National Review)


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

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


20 March, 2020

Jeff Jacoby: When demand soars, prices should too

Price gougers are sellers who brazenly raise the price of goods in order to exploit desperate customers and profit from their misery.

Price gaugers — let's coin a phrase — are sellers who sensibly adjust the price of goods upward in response to a spike in demand, in order to minimize hoarding and accommodate as many customers as possible until fresh supplies become available.

Price gouging is immoral. Price gauging is indispensable. Yet in times of stress, officials routinely confuse them. Prudent price hikes are demonized as gouging, so merchants avoid trouble by leaving their prices unchanged. The results? Shortages, suffering, and even more stress.

If you've been to a supermarket lately, you've seen those results up close and ugly.

Last Friday I went to the store to pick up a few groceries, a weekly errand. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes weren't on my list, which was just as well, since the supermarket's entire supply was gone. Laundry bleach was on my list, and I managed to snag the last bottle on the shelf. When I went to the dairy case for the gallon of milk I get each week, I found the aisle mobbed by customers. But it wasn't only pantry staples and disinfecting products that were being hoarded. It was pretzels, sports drinks, and fresh meat, too.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, some of this consumer frenzy is understandable, especially the demand for hand sanitizer. Some of it is irrational panic buying: Nobody needs a year's supply of toilet paper. But whether or not customers have good reason for denuding the shelves at Stop & Shop, Wegman's, or CVS, sellers have an excellent reason to adjust their prices upward to account for the soaring demand: Failing to do so leaves shelves bare, and countless would-be customers are turned away empty-handed.

As soon as it became clear that the coronavirus emergency was driving consumers to load up on supplies, sellers should have been raising their prices. That would have deterred consumers from buying more than they really need, while increasing the incentive to bring more supplies to the marketplace.

But as soon as the crisis erupted, politicians immediately began signaling retailers not to raise their prices. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey urged the public to report "instances of price gouging" to her office. So did attorneys general in Texas, Kansas, New Jersey, and elsewhere. The US Justice Department warned it would go after "bad actors" who "fix prices" for health products such as face masks and respirators. Senator Ed Markey sent a letter pressing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to root out "coronavirus-based price gouging" by third-party sellers. House committee chairs, the Washington Post reports, have proposed including "anti-price-gouging measures" in the next coronavirus relief bill.

Yet what the market needs, especially in an emergency, is not more price controls, but none at all. Anti-gouging laws are misguided and "should be scrapped entirely," Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron tells me. For three reasons: First, they ensure that scarce resources are allocated "based on the arbitrary luck of who gets there first." Second, such laws "eliminate any incentive for reducing use or increasing production" — keeping prices well below what the market will bear invites shoppers to buy as much as they can while doing nothing to encourage manufacturers to ramp up production. Third, they lead to illegal black markets, with unscrupulous dealers operating under the table, taxes going unpaid, and consumers left unprotected.

None of this is to defend greed, or to minimize compassion. We can all agree that the Tennessee man who amassed a stockpile of more than 17,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in order to sell them at a steep markup is no one's idea of a good citizen, a model businessman, or a kindly soul. But the vast majority of merchants are not trying to gouge anyone — least of all their customers, whose good will they crave. Having to face would-be buyers with empty shelves is a terrible way to do business. When governments pressure sellers to keep prices artificially low, the result is to push demand artificially high. That only adds to the misery of people already in dire straits.

Better by far to let businesses use their own judgment to gauge the right price for their products. That way, fewer buyers get left in the lurch — and more of us have what we need to get through this crisis.



With Coronavirus, Leftists Angry Trump Not 'Literally Hitler'

Those who are dependent on the nanny state are inclined to blame the nanny state.

The cognitive dissonance from the anti-Trump Left regarding the federal response to the coronavirus has been fascinating to watch. It’s a simultaneous display of rhetorical contradictions and civic ignorance.

On the one hand, “progressive” Democrats have screeched for three years that President Donald Trump is “literally Hitler,” a modern-day fascist tyrant consolidating complete federal power into his own hands.

Yet today, those same leftists excoriate President Trump for … not exerting dictatorial powers to deal decisively with the COVID-19 pandemic.

These are, of course, the same people who condemned President Trump in January for shutting down travel from China — a decision they called “racist” and “xenophobic.” Can you imagine the outrage from these critics had President Trump at that same time enforced a nationwide lockdown?

“It might seem hyperbolic to compare the U.S. government to a failed state that cannot project its authority or adequately ensure the safety of its population,” The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson opines. “But for much of the past month, the White House has shown an inability to do either.”

Thompson continues, “It is, above all, a test for the state. Only the national government can oversee the response to a national outbreak by coordinating research on the nature of the disease. Only the state can ensure the national regulation and accuracy of testing. … Throughout the world, the most effective responses to the historic threat of the coronavirus have come from state governments. … But in the United States, the pandemic has devolved into a kind of grotesque caricature of American federalism.”

Yet isn’t the cause of this global pandemic rooted in the fact that the Communist Chinese government, wielding the very kind of compulsive power Thompson advocates, completely bungled handling the virus upon its discovery, and then spent precious weeks downplaying and covering up the severity of the outbreak, while refusing to allow foreign experts to assist in controlling the spread of the virus?

And if what Mr. Trump’s critics claim is true — that his handling of the situation has been riddled with incompetence — then wouldn’t giving him dictatorial power to manage the situation only make the outcome far worse? Isn’t it a very good thing, if the criticisms of Trump are true, that individual governors, mayors, business owners, churches, and citizens have the capacity to act expeditiously in their own wisdom to minimize exposure to the virus and slow its spread?

It should be noted that the primary criticism of President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was the administration having declined to use testing kits that had been quickly approved for use in other countries. In retrospect, that may have saved American lives. More than a month ago BBC News published an article investigating major flaws in the test kits being used by other countries. The BBC reported that “people are having up to six negative results before finally being diagnosed.”

What is worse? Delaying the rollout of test kits by a few weeks in order to ensure accurate results? Or sending thousands of infected people back to congregate among their families, churches, schools, and businesses, infecting countless others, all while thinking they are virus-free?

New York Times reporter Erica Green complained that Trump has “become a bystander as school superintendents, sports commissioners, college presidents, governors and business owners across the country take it upon themselves to shut down much of American life…”

Ignorance of the finer points of pandemic virology can be forgiven in an American journalist. Ignorance of the most fundamental aspects of the American form of republican government cannot.

The Constitution was specifically crafted to deny the president such a level of omnipotence. Green’s rebuke exposes the contempt for federalism she and her leftist cohorts exude.

The fact is that no president possesses the constitutional power to do what these progressive critics are demanding. And thank heaven! Do we really want the same government that couldn’t even manage a working ObamaCare website to have complete control over the response to this virus?

With no sense of irony, Thompson simultaneously demands President Trump act with absolute power in this emergency, condemns him for alleged incompetence, praises the response of the private sector, and says that the private sector should not be depended on in such a crisis.

Over the last week, numerous governors and mayors have taken a range of steps to slow the spread of the virus, from requests for voluntary “social distancing” to mandated closure of schools and businesses. They have done so based on the specific risks and needs of their states and communities. These actions have come from the ground up, demanded by local constituencies.

This is the very essence of federalism. One-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work in a nation of 330 million people scattered across 50 states. Top-down edicts are often counterproductive.

Thank heaven our Founding Fathers understood that, and thank heaven for a president today who respects it.



Alliances Emerging Out of This Crisis?

We don’t yet know the end of the coronavirus story, but we are seeing one bright spot emerge, just as we did in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

There is, once again, a sense of unity among the American people. Decent citizens are metaphorically linking arms, even as we keep our physical distance, in an effort to defeat the spread of what threatens us.

Remember the image of the entire Congress standing shoulder to shoulder on the Capitol steps as they prayed to God after the terrorist attacks? It was one of the most beautiful moments of political unity in modern history.

Democrats and Republicans are again praying together. On Sunday, the nation observed a National Day of Prayer, declared by President Trump. He said: “As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help. Luke 1:37 promises that ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible,’ and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.”

Allied in prayer as “one nation under God” is a beautiful and powerful thing to behold.

Other kinds of alliances are emerging out of this crisis too. I was as proud as I’ve ever been of our president when he addressed the nation from the Rose Garden on Friday. Flanked by medical experts, who serve the public through their governmental roles, and highly successful private business leaders, the president rolled out a plan to protect all Americans. In so doing, he showed how people benefit when industries are unleashed from the shackles of draconian government regulations and the good that can come when government works with the private sector instead of against it.

Who would have thought it possible that in a span of just a few weeks, hard-working public servants and private companies could assemble, create, and execute a plan to save our nation? Who thought it was possible to bring direct competitors like Walmart and Target into a room and persuade them to lay down their business swords for the good of the country?




"GAG AND VOTE FOR IT ANYWAY": Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate will pass House coronavirus bill without changes (The Hill)

"WE'RE GOING BIG": President Trump wants checks sent to Americans within next two weeks (The Daily Wire)

WORSE THAN 2008? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warns virus could yield 20% jobless rate without action (Bloomberg)

TAX PAYMENTS POSTPONED: Treasury and IRS to delay tax payment deadline by 90 days (CNBC)

CANNOT RISK AN OUTBREAK: U.S. to send back all asylum seekers at southern border (National Review)

RULE OF LAW: Border chief won't hand over criminal illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities (Washington Examiner)

AVERAGE OF DAILY ARRESTS DROPS BY 240: Los Angeles releases more than 600 inmates, slashes arrests to "combat coronavirus" (The Daily Wire)

FOLLOWING SUIT: Philadelphia police stop some arrests to manage jail crowding during coronavirus pandemic (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: How coronavirus could change healthcare for the better (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Governance in crisis: A guide to what the states can and can't do about coronavirus (Washington Examiner)

FOUR TIPS  for Dealing With Life Under Social Isolation — Ben Shapiro's four tips for dealing with life under quarantine.


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

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


19 March, 2020

More Regulation Yields Worse Products

What happened to the gas can? In a recent interview with American Institute researcher Jeffrey Tucker, journalist Sharyl Attkisson explores the topic of how government regulation has made things that used to work well now fail to meet muster. After relaying his experience with changes to the gas can and how poorly it pours out its contents, Tucker noted that government regulations are to blame. But it's not only the gas can that has been regulated into a state worse than before; it's a litany of devices and appliances that have been made worse by the government.

"These are the sorts of things that affect the quality of our life on a daily basis," Tucker observes. "Does your ice maker actually make ice? Does your iron work? And this is all because of these regulations. Isn't it strange how much regulations sort of secretly control all the things we use in our life? We don't even know it. And they'll never roll it back, so they never face any real pressure. So there's no way to revert it. Whereas normally, in private enterprise, if you design something that doesn't quite work right, people stop buying it and that's the end, so there's a mechanism that corrects for errors. But when government's doing it, they don't seem to have any way to fix it."

Tucker's discovery is not limited to a few inconsequential items. In fact, it's the all-too-common experience of every American. While he grants that these bureaucrats' regulations may be well intentioned, he argues, "The problem is that the bureaucrats have inordinate power and if they make a mistake, there's really nothing that can be done about it. We ended up having to spend the rest of our lives working around them and I don't think that's a good way to live. We used to have gasoline cans that worked well. And then we created this innovation that just didn't work nearly as well."

In this light, we should be crying foul when politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio call for the federal government to take over private enterprise, as he did recently over coronavirus fears. "People can get tested according to a priority structure, and it's not enough testing. It's just as simple as that," de Blasio argued after he called on the fed to take control of U.S. businesses in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued, "Here's the reality. This is a war-like situation. We're in a war-time scenario with a 'Mar-a-Lago attitude' being used by the federal government, right? ... This is a case for a nationalization, literally a nationalization, of crucial factories and industries that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need."

Calling for a fascist takeover of America's private industry is a textbook recipe for ushering in tyranny. And "helping people" is always how tyrants justify their demand for greater power. Somehow, it never works out the way they claim.



McConnell’s Pitch to Veteran Judges: Please Quit

Running out of federal court vacancies to fill, Senate Republicans have been quietly making overtures to sitting Republican-nominated judges who are eligible to retire to urge them to step aside so they can be replaced while the party still holds the Senate and the White House.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who has used his position as majority leader to build a judicial confirmation juggernaut for President Trump over the past three years, has been personally reaching out to judges to sound them out on their plans and assure them that they would have worthy successors if they gave up their seats soon, according to multiple people with knowledge of his actions.

It was not known how many judges had been contacted or which of them Mr. McConnell had spoken to directly. One of his Republican colleagues said others had also initiated outreach in an effort to heighten awareness among judges nominated by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush that making the change now would be advantageous.

The overt effort by Republicans to create vacancies reflects a realization that Mr. Trump could lose the presidency, or that Republicans could lose the Senate majority and deprive Mr. Trump of his partner on judicial confirmations even if he did gain a second term.

Mike Davis, a former nomination counsel for Senate Republicans who created the Article III Project, a conservative judicial advocacy group, said that he still expected Mr. Trump to win but that “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst.” Republicans are reminding the judges that it could be another eight years — 2029 — before they could leave under a Republican president.

Mr. Davis estimated that judges would need to decide by late summer or early fall to provide sufficient time for a nomination and confirmation.

According to a tally by the Article III Project, more than 90 judges nominated by the three previous Republican presidents are either now eligible or will become eligible this year to take what is known as senior status, a form of semiretirement that enables their slots to be filled even though they can still hear cases, hire clerks and receive full pay.

Twenty-eight of them are judges on the influential appeals courts, which have been a particular focus of the alliance between the Trump White House and Senate Republicans. One of them, Judge Thomas B. Griffith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, announced this month that he planned to retire in September, giving Mr. Trump the opportunity to make a third appointment to the powerful court in what will most likely be a contentious confirmation fight.

Mr. Trump has already placed more than 50 appeals court judges on the bench during the past three years — more than a quarter of the overall appellate bench. The aggressive Republican push has been so efficient that only one appellate seat is currently open.

Conservatives are eager to see some of the longer-tenured judges make room for younger candidates who could continue deciding cases for decades.

David Popp, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, said it should come as no surprise that the majority leader would be interested in the tenure plans of current judges.

“I’d point you back to his longrunning mantra of ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” Mr. Popp said of Mr. McConnell, who has for months made it clear that he intended to fill as many judicial slots as possible before the end of this year.

Mr. McConnell has long been intently focused on the federal courts and considers his record on installing conservative judges the hallmark of his career, along with his decision to block the 2016 Supreme Court nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland. The Courier-Journal, based in Louisville, Ky., reported that Mr. McConnell had flown there Thursday with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh for the investiture of a new U.S. District Court judge, Justin Walker, a 38-year-old former Kavanaugh clerk whom the Senate confirmed despite questions about his experience level.

Democrats have already made it clear that they intend to try to counter the successful Republican effort to place conservatives on the courts if they get the chance.



GOP congressmen introduce simple plan to save taxpayers $15B

Given their propensity for subsidizing Serbian cheese and propping up the Pakistani film industry, government bureaucrats aren’t exactly known for putting taxpayer money to good use. But even with its wasteful reputation, the federal government's mismanagement of public properties is far more shocking.

Thankfully, two Republican congressmen have a plan that could address this issue once and for all — and pass the savings on to taxpayers.

On Monday, Reps. Greg Murphy and Ted Budd introduced the “Eliminate Agency Excess Space Act.” The two North Carolina Republicans’ bill would ease restrictions and eliminate red tape, making it much easier for federal agencies to sell off unused buildings and properties. Right now, there’s an extremely cumbersome process that makes it almost impossible to do so.

This is a real problem. Right now, 3,120 federal government buildings sit vacant, while almost 8,000 are partially empty or underutilized. According to Citizens Against Government Waste, selling off these unused properties would save $15 billion over five years. Under the bill, this money is deposited in the U.S. Treasury and used to pay down the federal debt.

That’s $106 in debt relief for every U.S. taxpayer. It’s just a start, sure, but reining in government waste and paying down the more than $23 trillion national debt will require thousands of small reforms such as this.

It’s unclear whether Democrats, and notably, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will block this bill or join forces with its Republican sponsors. But eliminating obvious waste really shouldn’t be partisan or controversial.

“Nothing should be more frustrating to a taxpayer than to see their hard-earned dollars pay to lease vacant buildings that the federal government has no intention of ever using,” Budd said in a statement. “This is a prime example of what happens when federal agencies are not held accountable for failing to use basic best practices from the private sector.”

The congressman makes a good point: It’s hard to imagine a private business letting valuable property rot away unused without selling it off. Yet this sort of thing regularly happens in our government because, sadly, bureaucrats just don’t have the same kind of profit incentives forcing them to work efficiently. This is why more congressional oversight and the passage of commonsense waste-reduction legislation are both urgently needed.




"15 DAYS TO SLOW THE SPREAD": Trump rolls out tougher guidelines for Americans to follow over the next few weeks (The Daily Wire)

NOT A SPENDING STIMULUS: Trump administration to propose $850 billion tax-relief-focused stimulus (The Hill)

DISINFORMATION: Chinese bots flood Twitter to spread anti-Trump conspiracy theories (The National Pulse)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: NBC News spreads Chinese Communist propaganda amid coronavirus outbreak (Washington Examiner)

REDEMPTION: Tennessee brothers who stockpiled nearly 18,000 bottles of hand sanitizer donate stash (Fox News)

LEGAL CHALLENGE DENIED: Ohio Supreme Court allows delay to primary election (The Columbus Dispatch)

EXTRAORDINARY HEALTH-RELATED DELAY: Supreme Court postpones March oral arguments (Fox News)

"DELIVERY PROMISES ARE LONGER THAN USUAL": Amazon to hire 100,000 more workers and give raises to current staff to deal with coronavirus demands (CNBC)

POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS: International Criminal Court prepares legal war on the U.S. (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Mitt Romney's foolish stimulus proposal (Washington Examiner)

POLICY: Coronavirus shows why America must get resources from our own backyard, not China (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: COVID-19 response shows that federalism is working (National Review)


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

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


18  March, 2020

Rogue Federal Agency Makes Up Own Rules to Harass Tech Companies

In the past, when federal contractors complained about the treatment they received from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, agency officials would dare them to take it to the judge because “he works for us.”

But Google took the dare – it took a complaint about harassment by the agency over alleged employee discrimination to an administrative law judge who works for the agency. And the judge agreed Google was right.

Google said it turned over 740,000 pages of documents, at a cost of 2,300 man hours and $500,000, to address an inquiry by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs into Google’s compensation practices. When the office came back and added to its demands the names of all Google employees, the company said enough.

Google sued, and an administrative judge from the Department of Labor ruled the agency had been “overbroad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the requested information.”

Of course, it took a company with the clout and wherewithal of Google to press the case. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has the power to debar federal contractors, which prevents them from doing future business with the federal government. This can be a death sentence to many businesses, which means those of lesser means than Google – which is well north of 99 percent of every company on the planet – have no choice but to accept mistreatment and move on.

And there has been plenty of such mistreatment – an agency focus on high-dollar settlements with top companies to secure splashy headlines, frequent and systemic antagonistic behavior toward the firms it regulates, given to making extraordinary and overly broad demands for information then insisting near-impossible deadlines be met to produce it.

That the Department of Labor ruled in favor of Google is a sign the agency finally may be getting the message that its conduct is not proper or productive. Its mission is to ensure federal contractors follow federal employment law – that they do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity, nor differentiate in pay by gender or in any other discriminatory manner.

But in the final years of the Obama administration, the agency had focused on high-dollar verdicts and headlines. It fined Goldman Sachs and Dell Technologies $10 million and $7 million respectively and fined Bank of America $4.2 million. These verdicts struck such fear into American businesses that many were reluctant to talk even anonymously to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for a white paper it produced on the agency’s problems.

In the deregulatory age of President Trump, American companies ought not fear their regulators.

Perhaps sensing the climate would change when President Trump took office, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs decided to go big-time with its harassment efforts in the waning days of the Obama administration. The agency filed suits against Google, Oracle and Palantir, which provides software and data analysis to the federal government.

The suit against Oracle seeks not $1 million or $10 million but $400 million that the agency alleges the firm owes to female, Asian and African-American employees. It alleges the company systemically paid Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title and favored Asian-Americans in hiring for some technical positions.

In none of those had employees at these firms complained of discrimination. The agency is attempting to prove these firms have discriminated through statistical analysis only.



The Leftist Media Thrives on Emotions – Not Facts

If you have not noticed, Democrats and the left-wing media have seized on an opportunity – the COVID19 virus. The last three to four weeks have been filled with panic, confusion, fear, and dread with breathless reporting from mainstream media outlets. Leftist media and social media have played on citizens’ emotions solely for political profit – it is time to calm down.

Anchors and reporters have worked the public into a lather, making them believe that the government will instill a mandatory quarantine. Their reporting has led to a hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper shortage across the country– with fights breaking out at retailers. American citizens have bought into the idea that Trump is some authoritarian that is going to enforce martial law to keep citizens inside their homes.

Fear is a driver. It causes humans to do things they never thought possible such as taking the life of another through any means necessary in the protection of their own life, family member, or a friend. Being scared can make us physically more durable than ever thought possible. It can also make us mentally tougher than one could ever imagine.

Fear can also turn a human into an animal.

It is normal to get worried when talks of a flu epidemic begin in your community, and there should be a concern when we start to learn about pandemics such as the Swine Flu, or the Corona Virus. However, when the establishment media has caused many in America to act like caged beasts at Costco or Sam’s or any store that sells toilet paper, they have become irresponsible reporters. Some could argue that today’s legacy news outlets are dangerous at times.  

However, in a time where certain news outlets have such a vitriolic hatred for the president, what can you expect? American’s trust the news to bring the facts. Though, when a news media outlet hates President Trump as much as they do, they manipulate the emotions of those who trust them. The leftist news does not need many people to believe them. They only need a small percentage so they can run a loop of the panic to whip up more distress. It is a disingenuous and immoral game plan.

Facts are the enemy of emotions. The mainstream media relies more on reporting emotion than factual evidence. If a Democratic politician is speaking on a left-wing news outlet, emotions are a focal point. However, a republican with facts are dismissed on the same network many times. When Joe Biden said, at a campaign rally, “truth over facts,” he meant “emotions over facts.”

The Democratic Party is more concerned with whipping up emotions using a virus, societal class, skin color, or ethnicity than they are with improving the lives of those who support them.

The left cannot win with facts, and they know it. In the world of politics, reality matters. Voters want the entire truth. Democrats have become masters of cloaking emotional topics with untruths. They present their causes as factual, but when they are broken down with critical thinking and logic, the argument often falls apart. Unfortunately, their voters are sheep and believe them.

We must be able to mitigate emotions in certain situations. When a person becomes emotional around the wrong people with bad intentions, they are much easier to manipulate. We see this now with the COVID-19 panic. 24-hour news network anchors speak with “experts” and “pundits” talking about the dangers, which are real, but they ignore the recovery rate.

Establishment news outlets are using emotions in an attempt to damage Trump and make this his “Katrina.” They do not care about the violence that has ensued over toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Left-wing news only cares that Trump does not get reelected in November. They are refusing facts and asserting fear.

Yes, the COVID19 virus is a threat. So far, we have seen it is most dangerous to the elderly or those with underlying respiratory problems. However, the news has hit a new low in terms of immoral reporting of fearmongering, helping their friends, the democrats.  Facts matter more than emotions, and that rule applies here. We see violence, food/supply shortages, and stocks plummet. The left does not care about America, only their political aspirations.

Emotions do not change facts, only an individual’s actions.



Please, Not 'Shovel-Ready' Projects Again!

It was just a little over 10 years ago, at the height of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said one of the dumbest things in modern times. The best way to stimulate the economy, she declared, was with "unemployment insurance and food stamps." Right. Paying people not to work will get more people to work.

Now here we go again. In the throes of the COVID-19 financial crisis, Pelosi is still spreading her economic pixie dust. Maybe it is just an inviolable rule of politics that politicians never seem to learn from their past mistakes.

The economy is now partially paralyzed from fear of the virus, so Republicans and Democrats want to do something to juice the economy. President Donald Trump's big idea is to cut taxes.

This may not do much to suspend the fear and gridlock that has gripped the economy, but it can incentivize more work (by allowing every worker to keep more of their own money) and can accelerate spending at a time when demand has fallen off the cliff.

Economists can debate back and forth about how well a tax cut will work to avert an economic calamity, but it can't hurt. What is for sure is that this plan is far more likely to succeed than what Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues want. They favor paid leave for workers who don't come to work (which incentivizes nonwork), unemployment insurance, Medicaid expansion, bailouts for hard-hit industries and so on.

History teaches us that these kinds of so-called stimulus plans always fail. The mother of all government spending plans was the failed $830 billion fiscal stimulus during Barack Obama's first months in office. Obama's first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, explained the rationale in early 2009 by stating: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

Time magazine put Obama on its cover with a cigar and a top hat, looking like a dapper Franklin Roosevelt circa 1932. It was fitting because Obama had in mind a supersized New Deal. The promises were alluring. Obama told us that the money would be spent quickly on vital "shovel-ready projects." Soon after it passed, Vice President Joe Biden famously predicted that 2009 would bring "the summer of recovery" -- which never happened because the unemployment rate continued to rise.

The giveaway was always less about resuscitating the economy and more about spreading hundreds of billions of dollars to left-wing interest groups. There would be money for the National Endowment for the Arts (how does that stimulate the economy?), Head Start, unemployment insurance and food stamps for illegal immigrants, renewable energy subsidies, high-speed rail, Cash for Clunkers and Medicaid expansion. The whiz kid economists in the Obama administration predicted a 2009 growth rate north of 4.5%. It barely got to 2%.

By the Obama administration's numbers, every year from 2009 to 2011, unemployment came in much higher than Obama's team predicted it would have if we had done nothing. Many of the shovel-ready projects, such as the $535 million that went to the now-bankrupt solar company Solyndra, turned out to be lemons or scams.

The stimulus didn't work because it ignored the very nature of government activity, which is the feds can only give money to Peter by taking money from Paul. With a tax cut, instead of making money from Peter, it lets Peter keep it.

Harvard economist Robert Barro explained during the Great Recession why the spending spigot didn't grow flowers: "Every time heightened fiscal deficits fail, the policy advice is to choose still larger deficits," he concluded. "The results from following this policy advice are persistently lower growth and an exploding ratio of public debt to GDP."

Obama and his aides are now trying to rewrite history to persuade the public that the Recovery Act of 2009 was a grand success. Obama recently tweeted that his policies set the table for the Trump boom of the last three years. In reality, in the Obama years, the bar on growth and wages was so low that it was easy for Trump to hurdle over it.

The most famous "stimulus" failure was FDR's New Deal of the 1930s. It more than doubled government spending as a share of GDP but never got the unemployment rate down below 10% in the entire decade of the 1930s, as Amity Shlaes documented in her book about the Great Depression, "The Forgotten Man."

Trump understandably wants to act, and quickly. But he would be wise to avoid cutting a deal with Pelosi that forces him to waste taxpayer money or puts additional mandates on employers already getting crunched by the effects of the coronavirus. In this case, the palliatives could delay or impede a big economic snapback. In 2009, at the end of the day, all we got from the Obama stimulus was nearly $1 trillion of added debt and millions more people enrolled in welfare programs. Washington, aka "the swamp," got rich from the largesse, but not so much the rest of the country.

Picking winners and losers among industries such as airlines and energy companies (an idea that both parties appear to like) is inequitable because just about every sector is getting hammered. Who chooses who gets a new lease on life and who doesn't? The best solution to averting bankruptcies in an uncontrollable event like this is for the Federal Reserve to open its discount window for low-interest loans to distressed companies with collateral but little revenue stream thanks to the virus.

There are so many uncertainties about where the coronavirus is taking our economy and for how long, but the one thing we do know for sure is that the government can't spend and regulate our economy or our country back to health.



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

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


17 March, 2020

Triggered Leftists Shout 'Separation of Church and State!' as Trump Calls for Prayer

The only thing worse than the WuFlu to people suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome is Trump himself and literally anything he does. On Friday, Trump announced that Sunday would be a National Day of Prayer

"It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these."

It did not take long for the unhinged responses to come flowing in, mocking him for asking Americans to pray even though a majority of Americans say they do pray and that they believe it helps them feel more peaceful. I don't know about you but I think the army of Karens buying all the toilet paper could really use some peace right about now. Encouraging people to be peaceful and introspective and grateful is something that really pisses off the internet for some reason.

This one is my favorite. "This goes against EVERYTHING the founding fathers stood for," exclaimed an angry woman on Twitter.

I wonder if she's ever heard of John Adams who said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Then there was that other founder named George Washington who in his Circular to the States in 1783 boldly prayed a prayer we should repeat this weekend,

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

But knowing our nation was built by deeply religious men would require reading books instead of watching the Kardashians religiously. Let us go forward this weekend with the prayers of George Washington on our lips that we will love one another and rediscover a brotherly affection for these morons we have to live with and that we will suffer them with patience and shower them with kindness even though they've hoarded all the toilet paper.



A twisted view of victimhood

The decision by the International Criminal Court to pursue the US for war crimes has been welcomed by terrorists, lawyers and human rights groups. It is a victory for victims, we are told. And indeed, the Bush-era war on terror had some victims.

During its hunt for the terrorists who killed 2977 women, children and men in the September 11 attacks in 2001, there were some wrongful arrests and cases of cruelty, as well the use of brutal interrogation techniques. The ICC probe seeks justice for those allegedly mistreated by US forces. Its victims include terrorist suspects.

The ICC was created to bring justice to victims of genocide and war crimes by holding perpetrators to account. Its pursuit of the US is not for genocide, ethnic cleansing or a planned program of terrorism. It acknowledges: “With respect to the US armed forces, the alleged crimes appear to have been inflicted on a relatively small percentage of all persons detained [and] during a limited time period.” One might venture to say a very small percentage: 54 of about 10,000 people detained claim mistreatment by US forces and 24 claim mistreatment by the CIA.

Al-Qa’ida accused the US of war crimes long before the ICC toyed with the idea. In a 2002 letter, it wrote: “You (US) are after those who are named as war criminals, but you overlook your friends, the real war criminals. History will never forget the war crimes you committed against the Muslims … your recent crimes in Afghanistan … you killed and tortured through your agents all over the world. Your fighter planes are still flying the Afghani skies … Guantanamo Bay is a ­historical scandal for America.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the investigation mounted by ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda as “a truly breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body”.

In a 2011 interview with Al Arabiya, Bensouda described the US killing of terrorist thugs Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki as “crimes against humanity”. She said the ICC was noble because it brings justice to victims. In response to a question about whether her religion played a role in her job, Bensouda replied: “Absolutely, definitely. Islam … is a ­religion of peace.”

Lawyers representing men held in US detention welcomed news that Bensouda was to proceed with the ICC investigation. A lawyer with the Centre for Constitutional Rights, Kate Gallagher, wrote: “TOTAL WIN!!! The ICC … investigation into war crimes & crimes against humanity in Afghanistan including into CIA/US torture … Bush-era global torture program FINALLY under criminal investigation!”

The ICC is also investigating the Taliban and Afghanistan security forces. The Taliban and affiliates are considered responsible for 17,700 civilian deaths from 2009 to 2016.

The focus of the probe is the early 2000s when the US was engaged in the war on Islamist terror. The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the governing Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden or expel al-Qa’ida. It arrested and interrogated suspected militants believed to possess actionable intelligence about terrorist networks and planned attacks. It sought to capture key figures of jihadi networks to prevent future strikes against the US and its allies.

The US military and government investigated some of the worst reported cases of abuse. The images of mistreatment at Abu Ghraib shocked the world. The military took action against offending personnel, but some believe it was not enough.

The subsequent 2014 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study of the CIA detention and interrogation program described the use of extraordinary techniques in some detention facilities. It was chaired by Democrat Dianne Feinstein and depicted the CIA as a law unto itself. The report was cited extensively in the ICC prosecutor’s argument to investigate the US for mistreatment, torture and war crimes.

The Senate committee found a relatively small number of detainees was subjected to extreme interrogation techniques. For example, al-Qa’ida suspect Abu Zabaydah was subjected to sensory deprivation after the CIA failed to extract actionable intelligence about future planned attacks on the US through the use of conventional methods. It was later concluded that the prisoner did not possess such information.

The Senate committee also found that among thousands of detainees, there were about 26 wrongfully detained. In some cases, mistaken identity was the problem. While the CIA has been portrayed as reckless for such cases, it should be noted that terrorists use multiple aliases to evade detection and capture. It conceded that in a small number of cases the agency moved too slowly to release the wrongfully detained. It also conceded its error in the wrongful detention of Khalid al-Masri in 2003. In more recent years, al-Masri has served time for violent offences.

The CIA said half of its intelligence reports on al-Qa’ida came from detainee reports. Interrogation prevented major loss of life by providing intelligence that enabled the US to thwart planned attacks in a number of countries.

The use of waterboarding has been especially controversial. The technique is euphemistically described as enhanced interrogation, but is simulated drowning. The late Christopher Hitchens — no friend of jihad — decided to explore the question of whether waterboarding was torture. He had heard that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the reputed mastermind of the World Trade Centre horror, lasted a full two minutes before waterboarding broke him. Hitchens lasted the time between exhaling and inhaling once.

Waterboarding is torture as sure as terrorists are liars. Why we are expected to believe terrorists who plotted to bomb the US out of existence and drive Jews into the sea are victims is something of a mystery. The men who masterminded the slaughter of 2977 innocent people are not victims. Their victims are the victims.



What We Lose by the Closing of Community Department Stores

Five years ago, the sad goodbye to an icon began when Macy’s decided to close its flagship location in downtown Pittsburgh. The void, alas, still remains.

For most of that building’s storied 110-plus-year-old life, until Macy’s took it 15 years ago, it was Kaufmann’s department store: a place where parents, whether they were working-class or well-to-do, took their babies to get fitted for their first pair of shoes; or purchased their communion dress, prom dress, wedding gown, back-to-school clothes; or bought them the sheets, furniture, toasters, pots, and pans they needed to start their adult lives.

It was also where young and old, rich or poor, went to the Adoria Beauty Salon to have their hair styled for the very first time. Or where they went to have their first special lunch with their parents or grandparents at Tic Toc restaurant. And maybe even where they have their first job.

It was 1.2 million square feet of community, where people came together no matter their age or where they were from to experience dozens of rites of passage.

Pittsburgh wasn’t the only place to have this experience; there was Higbee’s in Cleveland and Hudson’s on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, the latter of which was very similar to Kaufmann’s, where any working-class child could walk along its marble floors; gaze up at the sparkling chandeliers; absorb the smells and sounds of the flower shops or candy shops; and drink from the ornate water fountains.

Despite the affluent adornments, Kaufmann’s was everyone’s department store, a place to inspire and aspire.

Your mother may have bought your clothes in the bargain basement, but as your family browsed the multiple floors and ascended on the escalators, you could imagine shopping one day for one of those sharply tailored suits to wear to work in one of the surrounding downtown office towers.

The absence of these stores from the core of our cities isn’t just about the loss of retail square footage. That is what mayors and politicians always get wrong when people bristle at the loss.

What hurts most is the loss of community and touchstones that brought people from a variety of backgrounds, races, religions, education levels, and income levels. We mourn the fact that we have not replaced them with a new attachment to community.

A 2018 Pew survey showed that roughly 4 in 10 adults “say they are not too or not at all attached to their local community.”

This is a sharp veer away from that thing about us that awed French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1800s, who observed with respect our robust habit of forever joining and forming communities, and how we have benefited from them.

As social media becomes a replacement for connection, online communities have proved to be a very weak link to the physical communities that made America stand out for its willingness to shed social barriers and congregate.

That is what places such as Kaufmann’s and Higbee’s and Hudson’s did, explained Ron Fournier, a native Detroiter, former newsman, and current communications expert who returned to help bring his community back together several years ago.

“When Detroit was a lively, thriving brewing city 50 years ago, Hudson’s was the very center of that excitement,” he said.

For my mother’s generation as well as myself, you could go downtown and do your shopping, usually on a bus, and you would walk into this gorgeous ornate building, unlike anything you would see in your neighborhood, and you would be surrounded by luxury and nice things you couldn’t afford, but you could aspire to.

It is in our very core to want to be around other human beings, said Fournier: “Technology is pushing us apart, it is allowing us to be disconnected from one another. But there is a pull in our DNA to gather and be around each other.”

We Americans have always balanced this equilibrium of where we work, where we live, and where we congregate. Community centers, churches, and fraternal organizations have always filled that last pillar, yet that last pillar has weakened substantially as we have changed how we shop (our phones) and socialize (our phones) and pray (we don’t, at least not as much as we used to).

The need for affiliation cannot be fully satisfied by work; human contrast and contact are needed to bring us together.

When Kaufmann’s/Macy’s closed in 2015, it allowed people to come into its once-glamorous 13 floors and purchase the sewing machines the seamstresses used to tailor the clothes, the mannequins that boasted the newest fashions, the paintings that hung on the walls, and the fixtures in the restaurant.

People came from all around to buy a part of their life they could never get back, and the outpouring of grief and loss was everywhere as people tried to buy a piece of something they lost.

They knew more than any politician or developer that whatever came next would never fill the void of community.



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

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


16  March, 2020

The 'Big Lie' About Fox News

Bruce Hendry

You have probably heard that we all listen to the news that we want to hear and that because of that our respective opinions get hardened because we never hear an opposing view. There is some truth to that but it applies a lot more to leftwing media outlets than it does to the conservative ones. It’s an asymmetrical argument, and here is the reason why: Conservatives are bombarded every day with the liberal point of view if they go to the movies, if they watch network television or listen to Public Radio or Public Television, even Sesame Street. If they view any of the major news channels or read almost any newspaper, such as the Minneapolis StarTribune, the New York Times, the Washington Post, or even magazines like Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time and National Geographic, they are getting the Left’s view of the world.

The Fox News channel, a major source of news for conservatives, also features liberal points of view. It does so by featuring liberal anchors like Juan Williams and Chris Wallace, liberal and leftwing guests, liberal regulars like Democrat strategists Jessica Tarlov, Donna Brazile, Leslie Marshall and Mary Ann Marsh. It also gives respectful platforms to radicals and Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it replays clips from what has been broadcast on liberal channels.

In addition to being bombarded by liberal television, newspapers, magazines and movies, conservatives get a big dose of liberal thinking on Fox News. For example, The Tucker Carlson Show is on for an hour, five days a week, and Tucker has mostly liberal guests. Nothing, to my knowledge, occurs like that on any of the liberal channels.

I started watching Fox News two years ago when a liberal friend told me that Fox News is the channel for fake news. I’m a curious guy and so I wanted to find out what fake news is all about and so I started watching Fox. In three years, I haven’t seen a single fake news article on Fox. All I have found is the actual news, something that I wasn’t getting, although I didn’t know it at the time, on NBC. Real news reported on Fox that the liberals don’t like is labeled “fake news.”

I now have learned firsthand about how MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS shape the news in favor of the Left and present the absolute worst view of anything conservative. Omission bias is the number one tool of the leftwing press; it leaves out anything that looks good for President Trump or conservatives, and leaves out anything that looks bad for the Left. It’s actually disgusting and unless you take the effort to watch both liberal and conservative channels, you won’t see it.

The reason that the comparison of news inputs is asymmetrical is because liberals have no opportunity to consistently hear a conservative view unless they make an effort to do so, and very few make that effort.

Even on Facebook, Twitter and Google, anything that smacks of a conservative point of view is scrubbed from their sites and labeled “hate speech.” To give just one small personal example: Candace Owens, a young black conservative, was giving a talk to 450 conservatives at a luncheon I attended. Her talk was being broadcast by one of the attendees to his Twitter group and was taken off the air by Twitter, mid-speech.

Dennis Prager’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have been shut down, along with their platforms, because the Left accuses him of spreading “hate speech.” I listen to Prager on occasion and find that he is a mainline, effective, conservative, religiously-focused speaker. His sin is that he is effective in explaining the conservative view, not that he uses “hate speech.” Liberals can’t tolerate an effective conservative and feel compelled to silence him, as they obstruct and shut down conservative speakers who try to speak on college campuses today.

Democrats say that “hate speech” should be prohibited and is exempted from the First Amendment, which allows free speech to everyone. Sounds good except that Democrats get to decide what “hate speech” is. It turns out that hate speech is almost anything that conservatives say or believe. Saying that “hate speech” is exempt from the protection of the First Amendment is another way to stifle free speech.

David Horowitz, a well known former liberal and now conservative writer, was denied the use of Visa and Master Card for donations to his conservative think tank because of his “hate speech”. Horowitz is a particularly hated conservative writer because he was once a very vocal leftist who raised money for the Black Panthers. He reasoned his way out of his Marxist philosophy and realized that, if successful, progressives would take our country in a bad direction. He changed his emotional progressive views to a reasoned conservative perspective. Liberals consider him a traitor for switching sides and he has personally suffered enormously for that defection. His book Radical Son details his painful journey from the Left to the Right. This is an amazing book that everybody would enjoy reading. I have read it twice.

It turns out that my liberal friends who think that Fox News is fake news don’t actually watch Fox News on a regular basis. One liberal friend claimed to watch Fox News, but upon further discussion I found out that he counted watching Fox Sports as watching Fox News. My liberal friends may have watched Fox once or twice just to say that they did it, but they get most of their opinions on Fox News from other liberals, who don’t watch Fox either.

The Liberal view on Fox News is a perfect example of many things that is disturbing about the liberal Left, like trying to silence those whose views don’t conform to the liberal agenda. The liberal uniform opinion about Fox News is a perfect example of liberal Group Think. Another example is the “Big Lie” about Fox News being fake news. If you tell a lie over and over again, it becomes the truth. In addition to all of that, conservatives everywhere, on campus, or in the school board meetings, or in the neighborhood, are shouted down and not heard by liberals or even other conservatives. By contrast, conservatives are bombarded throughout the day with liberal thought through the media and there aren’t any conservatives shouting them down or trying to stop them from expressing themselves.

If you only read Time magazine, and other East Coast magazines and read the New York Times and the Minneapolis Tribune, and if you only listen to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC, you would have a completely distorted view of what’s going on in America. This is the unfortunate truth for many, maybe even most Americans who call themselves liberal or progressive. Not only is this truth sad, but it is dangerous for the long term outlook of our Republic.



The Bidens’ Long History of Aid and Comfort to Our Communist Enemies with Actions—Not Just Words

"What I said is what Barack Obama said, in terms of Cuba, that Cuba made progress on education." -Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden at South Carolina's Democratic debate, Feb. 25, 2020.

"He (Obama) did not in any way suggest that there was anything positive about the Cuban government!…” -Joe Biden angrily responded to Sanders.

How’s that again, Joe? Because: "Cuba has an extraordinary resource -- a system of education which values every boy and every girl.” -Barack Obama, Havana, March 22, 2016.

More idiotically (or alarmingly) during the same speech Obama also hailed Cuba’s famous “doctor diplomacy” (i.e. Human Trafficking using slave doctors) “No one should deny the service that thousands of Cuban doctors have delivered for the poor and suffering."

But didn’t Bernie--during that 60 Minutes interview-- double-down on his Cuba praise, comes the response?

Sure, but again he was only aping Obama, who at a town hall meeting in Argentina two days after this Cuba visit himself “doubled-down” on his Cuba praise: “You (the Castro-regime) have made great progress in educating young people.  Every child in Cuba gets a basic education -- that's a huge improvement from where it was.  Medical care -- the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That's a huge achievement.  They should be congratulated.”

As your humble servant has often pointed out here at Townhall, hailing Castroite Cuba’s healthcare and education is not exactly newsworthy for a prominent Democrat, and certainly didn’t start with Bernie Sanders—or Barack Obama. In fact, it’s more of a rote recitation that rolls off some Democrat tongues more effortlessly –and probably more gratifyingly – than the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.

Interestingly, Bernie started using that very defense only after it was pointed out here at Townhall, in an article quoting Obama, among many other Democrats. 

In case Bernie plans to stay in the race, and his staffers need more debate ammo, next time you might mention that Joe’s wife, Jill Biden herself, (while in Cuba making a tourism commercial to boost the income of the terror-sponsoring Castro regime) dutifully recited the Democrat Cuban healthcare and education mantra. Or so she was quoted by the KGB-trained communist apparatchiks she was partnering with in Stalinist Cuba. To wit:

“Jill Biden in Cuba to study Cuba’s achievements in health and education," read a headline in Stalinist Cuba’s media, Oct. 6, 2016.

More interestingly, during Jill Biden’s co-production with communist apparatchiks of her Potemkin tourism commercial to boost the income of Castro’s military and secret police who majority own Cuba’s tourism industry —during this apparently gratifying endeavor, Biden’s frequent escort was a Cuban lady named Josefina Vidal.

The KGB-trained Vidal was expelled from the U.S. in Oct. 2003 for her suspected operational links to Cuban spy Ana Belen Montes, responsible for the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Department of Defense in recent history. Montes was known as “Castro’s Queen Jewell” by the intelligence community and was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Today Montes serves a 25-year sentence in federal prison. Only a plea bargain saved her from frying like the Rosenbergs. If Jill Biden suspected Vidal’s background, she gave no indication.

While Joe Biden served as U.S. vice president, President Obama, employing executive order after executive order, whittled down the (so-called) Cuba embargo and opened a U.S. economic lifeline to the terror-sponsoring Castro regime to a point where the cash-flow from the U.S. to Cuba (mostly in remittances and the tourism spending Jill Biden so graciously boosted) exceeded what the Soviets used to send Cuba at the height of their Castro-sponsorship. No small “achievement.”

As a result—and in a thundering refutation of the liberal/libertarian/Castroite propaganda line that an avalanche of U.S. tourists and their dollars would magically convert Cuba’s Stalinist rulers into Rotarians and their fiefdom into a Caribbean Switzerland—during this Obama/Biden-engineered deluge of U.S. dollars, Castroite repression increased both in Cuba and in their Venezuelan colony.     

And speaking of Cuba’s colonies. When President Reagan was fighting tooth and nail to arm the anti-communist Nicaraguan Contras in their desperate fight against the Soviet/Cuban colonization of their homeland, Senator Joe Biden was just as desperately fighting against the anti-communist freedom-fighters. 

Three different times (in 1984, 1986, 1987) Senator Joe Biden voted and lobbied AGAINST Reagan’s attempts to help the anti-communist Nicaraguan Contras, who were being helped by many Bay-of-Pigs affiliated Cuban American heroes including (Che Guevara captor) Felix Rodriguez as volunteers. Years earlier Biden had distinguished himself by voting and lobbying AGAINST helping the anti-communist South Vietnamese against their Soviet-lavished mass-murdering enemies.



Joe Biden Lands Endorsement Of The Nation’s Largest Teachers Union

America's reliably Leftist teachers again

The National Education Association threw its weight behind former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday night, handing him another big endorsement from organized labor.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the powerful teachers union, called Biden a “tireless advocate for public education” and “the partner that students and educators need now in the White House” in a statement announcing the union’s support.

“With so much at stake in this election, educators are determined to use their voice to propel Joe Biden to the White House,” Eskelsen Garcia said.

The NEA’s board of directors backed Biden in a Saturday evening vote, the union said, choosing him over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination.

With more than 3 million members nationwide, the NEA is the country’s largest labor union, and its endorsement comes just days before another crucial round of primaries on Tuesday.

The union cited Biden’s engagement on education issues, including the “comprehensive plans” he released for K-12 and higher education, as the main reasons he won its endorsement.

The NEA, which endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, has been among the most vocal critics of President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whom the union has called “the least qualified secretary of education in history.”



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

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


15 March, 2020

Screw It America, I'm Beer Blogging

I Hate You, Coronavirus.  The coronavirus finally broke me a little bit on Thursday. I am forever grateful that I have you, my dear readers, to talk me off of the ledge from all of this madness.

A few days ago I wrote that I might just turn this into a beer blog if the news kept being about nothing but THE PLAGUE. I was mostly, but not entirely, joking.

I woke up Thursday to a series of texts that ended up canceling the trip I had scheduled to see my daughter and our family in Michigan.

An hour or so later, the NCAA issued a statement that canceled all Division I winter and spring championships, thus ending my child’s collegiate athletic career.

She is heartbroken, which makes me hate the panic-mongers even more.

As you are all aware, I have been writing about being personally responsible while dealing with this coronavirus scare. I’m still in a self-induced quarantine because I may have been exposed to someone who had the virus two weeks ago. I’m all for being cautious.

Canceling everything on Earth isn’t being cautious, it’s insane.

There is no end game to any of the cancelation madness. If there were, it would all make more sense. Put some metrics in place that would trigger the end of the postponements and cancellations. What we’ve seen in the last two days is all-out panic, which is never useful.

By the time Monday’s briefing rolls around there is a real possibility that most the public school districts in America will have canceled classes for an indefinite period of time. This is madness.

Give us some parameters. Give us an end game. Let us know when the STAY AWAY FROM EVERYONE is supposed to stop.

That’s all we want.

Have a great weekend, my friends.



Unhappy Birthday: ObamaCare Turns 10

Back in 2010, Barack Obama boasted about his new healthcare plan, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

It all sounded too good to be true … because it was a BIG lie. And yet Obama and his fellow Democrats kept repeating that lie, along with the fiction that a massive government takeover of healthcare would somehow reduce the federal deficit.

In fact, ObamaCare’s bureaucracy is now eating up a higher percentage of national spending on health, premiums have skyrocketed (including those for employer-provided coverage), deductibles have increased, and patients have little say over which doctors they can see.

As Chris Talgo writes in The Hill, “Sadly, since Obamacare’s inception one decade ago, the vast majority of Americans are not better off in terms of their health insurance costs and health care access. Obamacare has failed miserably because it lacks free-market principles and is a one-size-fits all, centrally planned boondoggle.” Talgo adds, “In the next decade, and for decades to come, the American health care system would function much more optimally if patients, not bureaucrats, were allowed to take control of their health care decisions.”

It’s no wonder that more Americans than ever before are without health insurance.

Even the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services assert that despite ObamaCare’s promises to provide affordable health insurance, the law failed to control costs. As a result, “These data show how Obamacare created an entirely new class of uninsured individuals, among those with middle to higher incomes who don’t qualify for government subsidies and can’t afford coverage because of skyrocketing premiums.”

And what about those tired complaints from Democrats that ObamaCare would’ve been just fine had it not been for Republican interference, and that it’s President Donald Trump’s fault for tinkering with an engine that was running smoothly?

Actually, the ObamaCare engine wouldn’t start from day one — because it was nothing more than a bunch of bad parts thrown together under the hood of a shiny car.

The editors at Issues & Insight write, “None of Obamacare’s failings can be blamed on Republican attempts to sabotage the law. Double-digit premiums were the norm long before President Donald Trump entered the White House. Most of the heavily subsidized non-profit ‘co-op’ plans — which were supposed to keep premiums in check — had already failed. The Republicans’ repeal of the individual mandate had no impact on enrollment. Nor did expanding ‘short-term’ insurance plans that bypass Obamacare’s massive and costly regulatory regime.”

After such an epic failure, we might rightly expect Democrats to hang their collective heads in shame. After all, every single aspect of ObamaCare turned out to be the opposite of what they promised. But Democrats have no shame.

And let’s be honest: ObamaCare was never really supposed to do anything other than begin the fundamental transformation of the world’s best healthcare system into a fully socialized one.

That’s why presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden is today spouting the same old lies. On the campaign trail this year, the former vice president promised, “If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it. If in fact you have private insurance, you can keep it.”

What’s the old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Indeed, shame on all of us if we buy into the Democrats’ BIG lie once again.



Blinded by Hate

Everyone on the Left seems so angry about everything all the time

It has been interesting watching the primaries and caucuses of the Democrat Party. It’s come down to two old angry white men.

Bernie Sanders seems to be mad all the time, waving his hands and yelling about how evil the country is. So, to save it, he’s going to tear it all down and start over.

Joe Biden is pretty angry too, which is surprising because just two weeks ago they were preparing his campaign’s obituary. None the less, he seems to go ballistic whenever someone asks a question he doesn’t want to hear. Whether it’s a young woman, senior citizen, or construction worker, Joe flies off the handle and resorts to name-calling. I’m not a politician (thank you Jesus!) but that doesn’t seem like the best way to win over voters.

Everyone seems angry! Nancy Pelosi is angry because Donald Trump is president and, she says, civilization as we know it is in great peril! And here I thought global warming would destroy us. Adam Schiff never stopped being angry since the entire impeachment scam began. That’s probably why he told us in the Senate chamber we couldn’t trust voters to vote the way he wants, so Trump needed to be impeached.

Chuck Schumer stood outside the Supreme Court threatening two Supreme Court justices with violence if they vote the wrong way. You can slice and dice his words to try and defend him, but it was a threat. Fortunately, he’s a Democrat and there will be no consequences, just as Pelosi faced none after tearing up the State of the Union speech. Both are violations of written laws.

During the same rally outside the Supreme Court, activists ranted like lunatics about women having the right to choose what they do to their bodies. No mention was made of the really innocent victims — the preborn children.

What’s interesting is the case before the justices had nothing to do with eliminating abortion. It’s about doctors having access to a hospital in the event the abortion procedure goes badly. (I mean, worse than usual.) Aren’t progressives all about saving the woman’s life? Yet, they were all unhinged, screaming and yelling and waving signs saying abortion is a Catholic value. Who thought up that one?

The coronavirus is giving the Left more ammunition to attack the president. Trump is racist and xenophobic for stopping flights from China. However, in retrospect, it turns out to have been the right decision. A young Hispanic woman on the Denver City Council encouraged people with the virus to go to Trump rallies. No comment from the media.

These are just a few of the outrageous things happening in our country, fueled by the Left’s rage and anger at losing the 2016 election. The network talkingheads have spewed hate, fake news and garbage day after day after day for over three years now.

What are leftists offering Americans as a vision of the future if they are elected? There are no plans to make this country a place where we can live and thrive together. Hate, greed, and envy are not a winning message for normal voters in this country. You’ve overplayed your hand, Democrats. We know who you really are!



Watch Why People Are 'Fleeing California' – It Ain't Pretty

Yes, those lumps of clothes really are people sleeping on the streets. Cable car rides are often ruined by the unmistakable whiff of sun-soaked urine. Small business owners – which employ 40% of the workforce – are held down by masochistic regulators. And people are getting the hell out of California.

They're fleeing. A new Prager University video called "Fleeing California"  – which will probably be censored by one of the tech giants in 3...2...1 –  highlights the lowlights of California and explains why so many are heading for Texas.

Besides pointing out that California's Leftist 'progressive' politics have created this current quality-of-life calamity, the educational nonprofit, headed by radio host and public intellectual Dennis Prager, points out a litany of reasons why middle-class Americans, fledgling business owners, and others simply can't make a go of it in the Golden State.

Roughly 30% of all people on public assistance are in the state of California.

About 20% are below the poverty line.

To get a median priced apartment a person/s would have to make $48 an hour.

The state is home to now up to 49% of the nation's homeless.

Regulator compliance costs $135,000 per business at the cost of 3.8 million jobs.

Those are the low-lights. The good news is that people are seeking freedom, according to Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is interviewed in the 14-minute video.

The problem for the people currently living in Texas and Tennessee, another hot spot for fleeing Californians, is that they'll bring their Golden State sensibilities with them. Then where will people flee?




NOT A CHECK: Federal Reserve to inject $1.5 trillion into markets to offset economic impact of coronavirus (National Review)

COMMUNIST DISINFORMATION: China government spokesman says U.S. military may have brought virus to China (Reuters)

A RELUCTANT DECISION: NRA cancels annual meeting (The Washington Free Beacon)

PRIME MINISTER IN ISOLATION FOR TWO WEEKS: Justin Trudeau's wife tests positive for new coronavirus (AP)

RETALIATION: U.S. launches strikes in Iraq against Iranian-backed militias after attack that killed coalition troops (The Washington Post)

OH, BY THE WAY: Buried from Trump Tower meeting: translator telling FBI "no collusion" (RealClearInvestigations)

SEVEN MONTHS TOO LATE: 1619 Project leader admits she got it wrong (Washington Examiner)

BORROWING DENIED: Had enough? Taxed-enough-already Californians turn down higher taxes, debt (AP)

PRECAUTIONS: President Trump announces 30-day ban on travel from Europe over coronavirus threat (National Review)

FOR THE RECORD: Ilhan Omar reveals she married the man she denied having affair with (The Daily Wire)


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

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


13 March, 2020

Joe Biden Appears to Forget What Office He's Running for (Again) During Victory Speech

In a choice between senility or socialism, Democrat primary voters appear to be falling in line behind the former. I guess that's a good thing. But, questions about Joe Biden cognitive decline have been raised for a long time now, and it's hard to understand how the Democratic Party settled on Crazy Joe as their safe choice for runnig against Donald Trump.

In the past few weeks alone, we've seen Joe Biden forget where he is, what he's running for, who his wife and sister are, Barack Obama's name, and the words to the Declaration of Independence. The gaffes just keep piling up.

Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume believes that Biden is  "is losing his memory and is getting senile," and he is certainly not alone in that assessment.

On Tuesday night, Biden won big once again, but there was a moment during his victory speech that was concerning.

“These are all people been working like the devil to try to get us elected as the, uh…so I want to thank you,” he said. Did Biden forget what office he's running for... again? It sure looks that way.

Joe Biden: "These are all people been working like the devil to try to get us elected as the, uh, so I want to thank you" Did Biden again forget which office he is running for???

Last month he told a group of people that he was running for the U.S. Senate

How does one watch this and not be concerned? Especially when you consider the other recent gaffes that call into question Biden's cognitive health.

Worse yet, there was a another moment when Biden appeared to slur his speech while saying "education."

This is the guy Democrats are likely gonna have run against President Trump. Good luck with that.



'Moderate' Joe Biden has moved way to the left

by Jeff Jacoby

FOR MUCH of the past year, the broad storyline of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign has been that Democrats are united in a fierce determination to oust President Trump, but divided over how best to do so. To the "progressive" camp, the Trump presidency represents a crisis that can be halted and reversed only with the boldest, most sweeping changes in US policy. The "moderate" camp, by contrast, believes that the only way to beat Trump is with a candidate who can appeal to more than just hardcore Democrats — who can reach independents and even some centrist Republicans with a program that eschews radical excess, appeals to the sober mainstream, and holds out the promise, in a famous phrase from American presidential history, of a return to normalcy.

The nomination battle has effectively come down to a two-man race: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders occupies the progressive lane, and former Vice President Joe Biden is running in the moderate lane. No one doubts Sanders's leftist credentials. But is Biden really a moderate?

To hear some leftists tell it, Biden is not only moderate, but intolerably so. When, at one progressive conference, he was described as seeking "middle ground" on climate policy, Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was contemptuous: "I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act come back today and say we need a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives."

Biden may seem hopelessly accommodationist to those on the Democratic Party's leftmost fringe. But in reality, he is running on a platform far more progressive — i.e., far less moderate — than any Democratic presidential nominee in history.

One of Biden's foremost selling points is the eight years he spent as vice president in the last Democratic administration. In St. Louis over the weekend, he spooneristically proclaimed himself an "O'Biden-Bama Democrat." If Biden wins the nomination, he can count on robust support from Obama, perhaps the most beloved figure within the Democratic Party today.

Yet on issue after issue, Biden has veered sharply from Obama's path.

On health insurance, for example, Obama rejected a public option as part of the Affordable Care Act and repeatedly stressed the importance of maintaining private coverage. But Biden favors a public option open to everyone, including the majority of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage.

Biden supports government-funded health care even for unauthoritzed immigrants, something Obama never came close to proposing. He supports a sharp increase in US refugee admissions, and a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants. When Obama ran for the White House in 2008, by contrast, it was as an enforcement-first hardliner. He cracked down so hard on those who crossed the border illegally, he was known for much of his presidency as the "deporter-in-chief."

No Democratic presidential nominee ever endorsed anything like the radical Green New Deal, with its price tag in the tens of trillions of dollars and its goal of eliminating the use of all fossil fuels. But Biden does. No Democratic nominee ever called for a national minimum wage of $15 an hour. But Biden does. The former vice president has moved emphatically leftward on abortion, on the death penalty, on free trade. By any understanding of "moderate" as that term was used when Obama or Bill Clinton was president, Biden is no moderate.

What Biden is today is what he has always been: a liberal Democrat. But as his party has shifted left in a hyperpolarized era, Biden has shifted with it. Many of the positions he takes that are described as centrist today, observed Axios in January, "would have been liberal dreams during the Bill Clinton years and still out of reach in the Obama era." On policy, Biden is a moderate primarily in the sense that he embraces positions that most Democrats no longer fight over.

All of which means that even if Biden wins the Democratic nomination, progressive Democrats will have reason to rejoice. Their party's standard-bearer will be someone whose platform skews further to the left than any major party platform in US history. Sanders may not end up on the November ballot, but it will unmistakably reflect his influence. For he and his band of progressives have pushed their party to the left with such success that even the "moderate" in the race would be the most liberal Democrat ever nominated for president.



Supreme Court Allows Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program to Stay in Place

The nation’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that the White House’s "Remain in Mexico" program, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, can remain effective for the entire southern border while a legal challenge continues on. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Supreme Court delivered a win for the Trump administration’s immigration agenda, blocking a federal court injunction that would have limited a program that requires asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico.

The nation’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that the White House’s “Remain in Mexico” program, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, can remain effective for the entire southern border while a legal challenge continues on. The decision allows the administration to continue fully implementing an initiative that, it contends, has monumentally helped control the border crisis.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in March declared that it would block the Migrant Protection Protocols in Arizona and California—two states within its jurisdiction—on March 12 unless the Supreme Court weighed in.

The Supreme Court justices did intervene with just one day left, granting the administration’s application for a stay.

The White House immediately celebrated the ruling.

“We are gratified that the Supreme Court granted a stay, which prevents a district court injunction from impairing the security of our borders and the integrity of our immigration system,” a Department of Justice spokesperson said Wednesday.

“The Migrant Protection Protocols, implemented pursuant to express authority granted by Congress decades ago, have been critical to restoring the government’s ability to manage the Southwest border and to work cooperatively with the Mexican government to address illegal immigration,” the spokesperson continued.

Remain in Mexico, which was launched in January 2019, has become President Donald Trump’s most effective tool at controlling the U.S immigration crisis. The program requires most non-Mexican nationals who claim asylum at the U.S. southern border to wait in Mexico for the entirety of their court proceedings.

Since its inception, Migrant Protection Protocols has sent around 60,000 asylum-seekers across the border to wait in Mexico, mostly eliminating the possibility for them to be released into the interior of the U.S.

The decision on Wednesday marks the latest back-and-forth between the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals—which has proven hostile to Trump’s immigration agenda—blocked the Remain in Mexico program for the entire southern border in February. However, the court immediately suspended that order after the Trump administration filed an emergency motion requesting a stay.

The appeals court then declared this month it would block it in Arizona and California, but the nation’s highest court—once again—put a stop to that order Wednesday.

However, the legality of the program itself has not been ruled on by the Supreme Court. The order on Wednesday simply allows it to remain in place as the legal challenge against it runs through the court system.



British Budget 2020 summary

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of policies to support business, bolster the NHS and prepare for Britain's long-term future

Addressing the coronavirus crisis, he said that this British parliament had a great tradition of rising above party in times of peril: he was sure that the House and the country were ready to act “in the national interest”. We would, he said, get through this together. The British people were worried but not daunted. This was well said and all the more effective for being obviously true.

Then he got to the substance of the Government’s plan for coping with the economic effects of the pestilence – even while making it clear that this was not going to be an excuse for putting all the Government’s election promises on indefinite hold. This was clever too. A plague Budget would have looked like an excuse for a cop-out on the difficult future and it would have added to the alarming sense of national emergency.

So first there were the measures to mitigate the damage of the virus and the Government’s own advice to stay at home. These were serious. The first priority had to be the protection of small businesses which were most likely to go under. The immediate problems for them were the new Government edict that they must pay statutory sick pay from the first day of  any enforced absence by staff. The cost of that, he announced, would be directly met by the Government: the Treasury would refund employers 14 days of sick pay for their self-isolating staff. For the self-employed and those in the gig economy whose livelihoods would simply vanish if they were forced to stay at home, there was help too.

The minimum income base for Universal Credit would be suspended and payment of the benefit would be accelerated. There was an even more stupendous development for the owners of small high street businesses whose business rates would be suspended for the duration of the present emergency. There would also be loans – a new Business Interruption Loan Scheme – for those damaged by loss of customer demand. Between them, these measures could save a good many small enterprises and family firms.

Of course there was to be more money for the NHS and for research into the virus itself. But perhaps of more immediate effect for the availability of treatment to patients was the reform of the pensions tax taper. By increasing the threshold, the Chancellor said, he would be taking 98 per cent of consultants and GPs out of the taper altogether. This should have a quite miraculous effect on the imminent retirement plans of so many senior doctors and thus provide a significant improvement in the staffing levels of primary care services.




FOR THE RECORD: Here's why coronavirus stats are fake news (CNSNews.com)

VULNERABLE OLD MEN: Next Democrat debate to be held without an audience (CBS News)

ACRIMONY: Saudi Arabia throws down gauntlet to Russia, raises crude oil supply to record high (The Daily Wire)

SEEMS LEGIT: Hunter Biden to skip deposition in paternity case, citing coronavirus and pregnant wife (Washington Examiner)

"A REAL LEADER": President Trump endorses Tommy Tuberville over Jeff Sessions in Alabama Senate runoff (National Review)

POLICY: ObamaCare at 10: A massive failure (Issues & Insights)

POLICY: Why social-justice investing is a load of politicized hypocrisy (The Federalist)


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

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


12 March, 2020

Paul Krugman Is Selling Snake Oil

Arguing with Zombies is the title of a new book by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Although the “book” is actually a collection of his newspaper columns, the title gives us real insight into the thinking behind those columns.

Who are the Zombies? And why argue with them?

Zombies are economists who believe that every tax cut pays for itself with increased revenue. They believe that social insurance has created an army of welfare addicts who would rather live off the dole than support themselves. They hate the poor. They are closet racists. They do the bidding of billionaire puppet masters who pay their salaries and fund their research. Their goal in life is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Where do you find these zombies? You can’t. They don’t exist. Like the creatures of fiction, they are the product of a vivid imagination. Krugman delights in creating straw men. He verbally beats them about the head and shoulders and then walks away thinking he has won the Golden Gloves.

But wait a minute. Aren’t there serious public policy issues over which economists disagree? Isn’t Krugman outside the mainstream on many of them? And on some issues, hasn’t Krugman’s been embarrassingly wrong?

The answers are: yes, yes and yes. But you won’t learn about any of that by reading Krugman’s columns. Or by reading his book.

What you will learn is that Krugman hates Republicans and hates economists who advise them. His specialty in trade is the argument ad hominem. He doesn’t just disagree with people; he psychoanalyses them. He attacks their character, their motives, their honesty and their morality.

But why attack Republicans? If we accept Krugman at his word, he cares about income inequality, racism and the lack of progress for people at the bottom of the income ladder. Republican politicians have very little control over any of that.

In virtually every large city in the country, minority families are all too often forced to send their children to the worst schools. They live in the worst housing. They endure the worst environmental hazards. And in virtually every case, these cities are being run by Democrats!

Of the two parties, Democrats are far more hostile to the science of economics than Republicans. The fact that so many Democrats are socialists shows how little regard they have for anything economists think.

The typical delegate to the Democratic National Convention thinks that if a price is too low, government should raise it and nothing bad will happen. If a price is too high, government should lower it and nothing bad will happen. With the right minimum wage, everyone would be upper-middle class. With the right rent control, everyone would be living in luxury housing.

As the saying goes, if you want to save souls, you need to go where the sinners are. But Krugman isn’t into saving souls. Like a fire and brimstone preacher, he’s into consigning the righteous to eternal damnation for minor peccadillos.

Although the Times bills Krugman as a Nobel Prize winner, what you get from a typical Krugman column is not economics. It’s propaganda. All too often, he highlights some facts and suppresses others – arriving at an analysis that no real economist would consider fair-minded. For example:

Reading Krugman on the Republican tax reform, you would never know that the Obama administration also favored a large cut in the corporate income tax; or that the purpose was to encourage capital to stay in this country rather than go abroad; or that since the tax bill was passed $1 trillion has been repatriated back to this country by U.S. firms.

Reading Krugman on corporate taxation, you would never know that both theory and evidence suggest that workers, rather than rich people, bear the burden of the income tax and that corporate taxes actually suppress worker wages both in this country and abroad.

Reading Krugman on Social Security and Medicare reform, you would never know that the U.S. government has an unfunded liability of $239 trillion – a figure that is more than ten times the size of our economy – or that 19 Nobel Prize winners have signed a petition asking the federal government to accurately account for this debt.

 Reading Krugman on income inequality, you would never know that OECD statistics show that the United States has the most progressive tax system in the world or that tax reform made the tax code even more progressive than it was.

 Reading Krugman on the minimum wage you would never know that the original purpose of this Progressive Era reform was to keep white Aryan males from having to compete with blacks, women and immigrants in the labor market.

Withholding material facts that readers have every right to know about is intellectual dishonesty. lf we were in a court of law it would be called fraud.

Here are a few more things you won’t learn from Krugman’s new book.

Paul Krugman is an unreconstructed Keynesian. He believes that federal government deficits have a strong impact on the economy but that monetary policy is weak and ineffective. In 2013, Krugman announced that Keynesianism and monetarism were being put to the test. If Keynesianism was correct, an increase in the payroll tax and restrained federal spending should have slowed the economy down that year. But if monetarism was correct, monetary expansion should have kept the economy right on humming.

The monetarists (especially the market monetarists) won that contest in spades.

Also, in 2013, we had another disastrous test of Krugman’s view of the world. That’s when North Carolina reduced benefits for the unemployed. Although Krugman’s  textbook says that unemployment (UI) benefits reduce employment by giving people incentives not to work, in the New York Times he advanced a weird Keynesian argument that UI benefits actually increase employment. When the unemployed spend their benefits they stimulate the economy, he wrote. Based on that analysis, he claimed that North Carolina was conducting a “war on the unemployed.”

It didn’t take long for these predictions to be completely discredited. Following the cut in UI benefits, more North Carolinians went back to work.

Although there are so many examples to choose from, I nominate the following candidate for Krugman economics at its worst.

Krugman has said over and over again, in column after column, that the Republican tax reform is a failure because companies are using their tax cut gains to buy back stock rather than to create jobs.

This error in reasoning would get an “F” in a freshman economics class and would probably get you kicked out of graduate school if you made it that far.

When companies buy back their own stock, the money doesn’t disappear. It goes out of one pocket and into another. In the new pocket it’s just as available to create jobs as it was before. When new funds enter the capital market they tend to find their way to the companies that have the best prospects for investment and job creation.

That’s the way it should be.

Finally, if you are thinking that Krugman has never met a Republican, you might be inclined to cut him some slack.

But it turns out Krugman actually worked in the White House during the Reagan administration. That means he knows the tax cuts weren’t devised by economists whose motivation was to make the rich richer. He knows his fellow economic advisors to the president weren’t puppets, doing the bidding of billionaires. He knows they weren’t closet racists. He knows they didn’t hate the poor. He knows . . . . well . . . he knows it all.



Three Reasons Joe Biden Will Never Be President

Joe Biden was sworn into the United States Senate on Jan. 3, 1973. He remained in the Senate until Jan. 15, 2009 -- a span of 36 years. If history is any guide, that alone is a disqualifier in Biden's quest for the White House.

What does 36 years in the Senate say about a politician? It says he is a senator -- not a president.

So the first reason Biden will not become president is that no one who served 36 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 30 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 25 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 20 years in the Senate has ever become president. No one who served 15 years in the Senate has ever become president.

It's not for lack of trying. Bob Dole, who was sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3, 1969, ran for president 27 years later, in 1996. He quit the Senate during the campaign to show his determination to become president. But his long years in the chamber, plus his age -- he was 73 at the time and the subject of endless suggestions that he was too old to be president -- were a deal-killer for voters.

Others tried, too. In 2008, John McCain ran for president after 21 years in the Senate. It didn't work. In 2004, John Kerry ran for president after 19 years in the Senate. That didn't work, either.

A long career in the Senate is simply not a foundation for a successful run for the White House. The most recent political figure to realize that was Barack Obama, who was sworn into the Senate in 2005 and two years later was running for the presidency -- and to get out of the Senate.

OK, put aside the Senate, Biden's supporters would say. What about his eight years as vice president? Certainly that could be the basis for a successful presidential run. But the second reason Biden will not become president is that the record of vice presidents on that score is not encouraging.

Fourteen vice presidents have become president. Of those, eight became president upon the death of the president. Of that group, some were later elected to the White House, but they were running for the office as the sitting president.

Others, like George H.W. Bush, became president by succeeding the president they served. They won the presidency as the sitting vice president. When Bush did that, in 1988, it had not been done since 1836. It has not been done since.

In any event, that is not Biden's situation. He served eight years as vice president, but did not run to succeed President Obama. Now, he is running as a private citizen.

Only one president has gone from the vice presidency to private life and then to the presidency. Richard Nixon served as vice president in the 1950s, narrowly lost the 1960 presidential election, and then came back to win the presidency in 1968. That is Biden's hope -- that a vice president can leave office and then, after a period outside government, return to win the White House.

Perhaps. But Nixon, who spent less than three years in the Senate, became vice president a few days after turning 40, and was sworn in as president at 56 -- more than two decades younger than Biden, who will be 78 on Inauguration Day 2021.

Finally, the third reason Biden will not be president is the "14-Year Rule." The idea of former George W. Bush speechwriter John McConnell, and popularized by writer Jonathan Rauch, it basically says that politicians have a strict sell-by date. "No one gets elected president who needs longer than 14 years to get from his or her first gubernatorial or Senate victory to either the presidency or the vice presidency," Rauch wrote. That has been true for a century.

Biden didn't even get close. It took him 36 years to get from his first Senate victory to the vice presidency. If he wins the presidency now, it would be 47 years from that first Senate swearing-in until Inauguration Day.

Of course, it's possible the 14-Year Rule, the Too Long in the Senate Rule, and the How Vice Presidents Become President Rule might all be wrong in Biden's case. If so, he can frame this headline and hang it somewhere in the White House. But don't bet on it.



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

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


11 March, 2020

Dems' dilemma: What to do with Joe?

A conservative political pundit believes many in the Democratic Party are deeply concerned about Joe Biden's fitness to be president and may take an extraordinary step if he's nominated.

A resurgent Biden scored victories from Texas to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday, revitalizing a presidential bid that was teetering on the edge of disaster just days earlier. The Associated Press reports that his victories were powered by Democratic voters who broke his way just days before casting their ballots, resulting in "a wave of late momentum that scrambled the race in a matter of hours."

'Just sad' to listen to Biden

It's no secret that the former vice president has been described as a "gaff machine" over the years. But in recent weeks on the campaign trail, Biden has perhaps brought it to new level – referring to "Super Thursday" instead of "Super Tuesday," stating that 150 million Americans have been killed by "gun violence" since 2007, describing himself as "a candidate for the United States Senate," and bungling an opportunity to recite the preamble to the Declaration of Independence by referring to the "Creator" as "the thing."

Sandy Rios is director of governmental affairs at American Family Association. During a recent appearance on American Family Radio, she presented a possible scenario for a Biden candidacy moving forward.

Sandy Rios"Many people believe – and I'm one of them – that if they can just manipulate things so that Joe wins the nomination … and if they prevent Bernie Sanders from getting it, they will appoint someone like Hillary Clinton as his vice president," she offered. "And then Joe will be sort of pulled aside and he won't really be running things."

She's convinced Biden doesn't have the capacity to meet the rigors of the office. "I think it's pretty obvious that he is not capable anymore – there are just too many mistakes. It's hard to listen to … it's not even funny anymore, it's just sad."

Rios adds: "Honestly, I am not sure what the [Democratic] establishment is going to do about Joe Biden, given his inability to articulate [and] to remember. His stumbling and bumbling are going to become even more apparent on the campaign trail."



Fighting Regulatory Dark Matter

If you’ve spent enough time in a public school or listening to cable news, you are probably convinced to some extent that regulations exist to protect the American citizenry, whether physically or financially. However, if you’ve been paying attention to reality, you will recognize that it is quite the opposite. The regulatory state has been weaponized against everyday Americans.

Thankfully, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under the leadership of Acting Administrator Russ Vought, is seeking to curb the bureaucratic bullying that happens all too often across the country.

They are seeking to codify two executive orders by the Trump administration that promote transparency. It would limit the use of so-called “guidance documents” in bringing enforcement actions against American citizens. It would also ensure that victims of bureaucratic bullying are given the opportunity to see said documents, be warned beforehand, and have greater standing to challenge any action brought against them.

This is not a result of paranoia about the vast power of the state. This is happening to working men, women, and families across the country to this day.

Andy Johnson owns a small farm in Wyoming with his family. He wanted to build a pond for his four daughters’ horses to drink and graze on their land. Andy and his wife Katie worked with Wyoming engineers to dig out this pond, fill it with filtered water, and create a habitat for various wildlife.

This all seems like a rather idyllic picture of the quintessential American dream. That was, until two years later, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came knocking on their door. They notified the Johnsons that they were in violation of the Clean Water Act - despite clear documentation from the state of Wyoming indicating that they weren’t. The EPA, with its arsenal and all, assured the Johnsons they would be fined $16 million if they did not comply and destroy the pond.

Sadly, the Johnsons do not find themselves alone in this predicament. As documented by Conservative Partnership Institute’s Rachel Bovard, there are a number of similar cases all over America:

In 2007, Mike and Chantell Sackett were threatened by the EPA with $75,000 a day in fines for trying to build a house on their own property, across the road and 500 feet away from Priest Lake in Idaho.

Charles Johnson, a Massachusetts cranberry farmer, spent millions of dollars fighting the agency for 22 years for the right to farm his own land. He finally settled in 2012, at the age of 80.

Kevin Lunny lost his family’s oyster company in California when the Department of the Interior granted itself limitless discretion to reissue the required permit and argued that Lunny didn’t have the right to sue.

In Alaska, the Army Corps of Engineers denied Richard Schok the ability to expand his pipe fabrication business when they claimed that permafrost — the subsurface layer of soil that remains frozen throughout the year — was actually a wetland.

There are real victims and real consequences to this bureaucratic bullying. Lifelong unelected bureaucrats are setting traps for the American people and not even giving them the chance to comply or fight back. This is not about protecting anyone or anything.

For too long the federal regulatory state has been giving too much leeway to operate as it pleases anyway. The Trump administration is fighting back and giving the public an opportunity to talk about how this issue can be resolved. OMB has a public comment period open until March 22nd for the public to make their voices heard.

It is time to significantly roll back the regulatory state and put more power and freedom in the hands of everyday Americans. Families trying to find a better way to water their horses are not criminals. It’s time to give folks like them the upper hand.



The Politics of a 'Fear Pandemic'

Democrats are hoping that the COVID-19 threat will be Trump's "Hurricane Katrina."

Democrat Party leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are in a quandary. They have to decide which of the headline tragedies today make for better political fodder — do they keep feeding the coronavirus fears, or do they put that on pause and politicize the Milwaukee murders in order to advance their gun-confiscation agenda?

Yes, their political modus operandi is just that causticly crass.

It follows the model perfected by Barack Obama and his then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who openly declared, “You don’t ever want a good crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And that is exactly what they did in 2008, when Obama used a pandemic of financial fear as his ticket to the presidency. At the time, even Bill Clinton admitted that the Democrats were responsible for that crisis because they resisted “efforts by Republicans in the Congress … to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” Clinton himself had loosened up those standards 10 years earlier, with disastrous financial consequences but fortuitous political consequences.

My point is not to relitigate how the Democrats used that “fear pandemic” to ensure Obama’s election but to say they are experts at converting tragedy into political triumph. Their current “Hate Trump” platform is constructed on their perennial political foundation of fear, anger, and division.

At this point in the 2020 election cycle, Democrats are scrambling for any “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before” to enable them defeat Donald Trump, especially if they can’t dispense with Bernie Sanders frontrunner status. COVID-19, the scientific term for coronavirus, is providing them an election-year crisis that they won’t let go to waste, especially if it becomes a significant domestic health threat. They see the potential to convert coronavirus into Trump’s “Hurricane Katrina.”

In January, I wrote a comprehensive analysis, “The Flu and You,” putting the potential for a COVID-19 flu pandemic into perspective and offering helpful links on preparedness and response. At that time, the Trump administration was taking significant steps to prevent a viral spread in the U.S.

Monday of this week, reflecting concern about the economic impact of coronavirus, there was a 3.5% equities-market selloff — a bellwether indicator of economic concerns. For the record, there are other factors – equities are likely due a 10-15% correction, and the possibility that Bernie Sanders could somehow win the 2020 presidential election is cause for a lot of concern among businesses and consumers. Responding to the selloff, Nate Jackson provided an update on COVID-19, noting how Schumer and Pelosi had their coronavirus crisis/fear machine at full throttle. Pelosi claims the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion in funding was “long overdue and completely inadequate.” Schumer declared that Trump is “asleep at the wheel.”

On Tuesday, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), promoted a panic narrative that ran contrary to the Trump administration’s measured concern and effort to encourage calm. Messonnier, who is the sister of former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (one of the coup co-conspirators), told Leftmedia reporters that the pandemic potential is “bad” and the “disruption to everyday life may be severe.” She declared, “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen.”

Let me be clear: Messonnier could be right. COVID-19 is estimated to be much more lethal than the .1% fatality rate of typical flu bugs, which have killed more than 60,000 Americans in a single year.

But her comments were irresponsible and played right into the Demos’ panic narrative — and another market selloff of 3.2%. The selloff continued into Wednesday and is not over. By undermining consumer and business confidence, and thus the equities markets, Democrats are playing politics with the wealth and job stability of all working Americans and their families. Democrats are quietly high-fiving each other in Capitol Hill cloakrooms, knowing that what is bad for America workers is bad for Trump’s reelection prospects.

Messonnier’s dire warnings necessitated an executive press conference Wednesday evening with President Trump and his key administration officials.

Trump announced the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence and HHS Secretary Alex Azar to head the White House coronavirus-containment task force. Trump assured the public, “Whatever happens, we’re totally prepared,” adding the infection rates in the U.S. “may get a little bigger, [or] it may not get bigger at all. … Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” Of note regarding the “reliability” of reports from China’s communist regime that they are containing the epidemic, Trump said: “If you can count on the reports coming out of China, the spread has gone down.”

Asked if he thought threat had been politically “weaponized” by the CDC and Messonnier, he responded: “No, I don’t think the CDC is at all. … They’re professional. I think they’re beyond that. They want this to go away, they want to do it with as little disruption, and they don’t want to lose life.”

Secretary Azar reiterated Trump’s confidence, but was clear that the threat could shift quickly: “The immediate risk to the American public has been and continues to be low. At the same time, what every one of our experts and leaders have been saying for more than a month now remains true. The degree of risk has the potential to change quickly and we can expect to see more cases in the United States.”

The CDC’s Deputy Director, Dr. Anne Schuchat, added, “We do expect more cases [and] now is the time for businesses, health care systems, universities, and schools to look at their pandemic preparedness plans, dust them off, and make sure that they’re ready.”

For his part, Mike Pence outlined the administration’s response thus far and plans moving forward: “[President Trump] declared a public health emergency. He suspended travel to the United States from China. He initiated quarantine efforts for American citizens returning, and he established the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has literally met every single day. President Trump has directed me to lead a whole of government approach to address the coronavirus in this country. And I promise you: We will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to protect the American people… We’re all in this together. This is not the time for partisanship. This president will always put the health and safety of America first.”

As I noted in my COVID-19 analysis last month, for the most current information on the viral threat in the U.S., visit the CDC’s page, “What You Should Know,” which provides updates, preventive measures, travel advice, etc. You can review the CDC’s national pandemic-response plan and basic citizen flu-prevention measures.

And finally, as I noted in “The REAL Pandemic Threat” back in 2006, “Clearly, there are significant pandemic threats posed by viral infections that mutate into much more contagious forms and can spread regionally, nationally, and internationally, causing significant loss of life. The primary defense against such contagions is the capacity to shelter in place. What originates in China or Africa one week can be in your suburb the next.”

For that reason, we developed a comprehensive resource page on Disaster Preparedness Planning, including a Two-Step Individual Readiness Plan and a section on how to shelter in place. We encourage you to visit each of these pages, because national preparedness begins with individual preparedness, and individual preparedness is the firewall against a “fear pandemic.”

Update Elizabeth Warren, a master at politicizing everything, is demanding that funding for the border wall be diverted to combat COVID-19 nationally. But the fact is, our porous southern border is a signifiant entry point for the virus, particularly if there is an outbreak in Central America, sending caravans of “pandemic refugees” north. But more to the point, recently there has been a significant increase of Chinese nationals crossing our the southern border.




VIGILANCE: Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar self-quarantine after exposure to coronavirus patient at CPAC (National Review)

DEPOSE NO MORE: Kamala Harris's ironic endorsement of Joe Biden (Washington Examiner)

"THE RELATIONSHIP IS A VERY GOOD ONE": Trump announces Mark Meadows to replace Mick Mulvaney as White House chief of staff (Fox News)

2020 VISION: Record GOP voting enthusiasm breaks pattern, topping Democrats (Washington Examiner)

"DONE OUR DUTY"? Christopher Steele refuses to cooperate with John Durham review (Washington Examiner)

NINTH CIRCUS: "Remain in Mexico" program blocked by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California and Arizona (The Daily Caller)

WHO'D A THUNK IT? Major crimes in New York City unexpectedly surge after bail-reform law (Hot Air)


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

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


10 March, 2020

Museum Director on Super Tuesday: 'I Hope Every Single One ... That Votes Republican Dies Today'

That Leftist hatred is both deep and wide

As Texans headed to the polls on Super Tuesday, a museum director posted a message on Facebook expressing the hope that every person voting Republican would die that day. This threat comes amid a spate of politically-motivated violence, including a truck driver attempting to run down Republicans registering voters, a man sucker-punching a boy at a voting booth, and a man threatening Trump supporters with a cane sword.

"I hope every single one of you pieces of sh*t that votes republican, dies today," Melonnie Hicks, director of the Pioneer City Museum in Sweetwater, Texas, posted on Facebook.

The museum's board of directors will hold an emergency meeting after the horrifying statement, KTAB-TV/Big Country Homepage reported. Hicks reportedly apologized but has since deleted both the original post and the apology follow-up post.

Even so, screenshots of the Facebook post have gone viral on social media.

It remains unknown if Hicks is still the director of the museum. The museum has refused to respond to multiple requests for comment from KTAB-TV. The Pioneer City County Museum even took down its Facebook page, and its latest Tweet came last month.

The museum's board of directors will hold an emergency meeting at the Sweetwater Police Department at 5:30 p.m. on Friday to discuss the issue.

Sweetwater City Manager David Vela told KTAB-TV he believes Hicks' Facebook message is reprehensible, especially for a city leader. The city funds a portion of the museum's building.



Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, wall construction credited with halting illegal immigration

During the 2016 campaign, President Trump ran on cracking down on illegal immigration. After years of border security being largely ignored, Trump made it a central issue. After three years in office, it is clear that he is getting results.

So far, over 120 miles of border wall have been built, and hundreds of more miles of wall are expected to be built this year.  Just last week, Mark Morgan, who leads US Customs and Border Protection, told Congress that one section of border wall had reduced the number of illegal border crossings there by more than 80 percent.

In addition, the administration’s Remain in Mexico policy that keeps asylum claimants in Mexico pending hearings is credited with slowing down migration as illegal border crossings continue to drop. This policy requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their immigration court dates; previously, asylum seekers were allowed to wait in the U.S., but many simply disappeared and never reappeared for their court dates.

Thanks to the new policy, in January, the most recent month for which we have official numbers, the number of people apprehended or found to be inadmissible on the Southern border fell to 36,679. In May of last year, that number peaked at 144,116, but it has been declining ever since.

Americans for Limited Government’s Frank McCaffrey has reported from respite centers, bus stops and businesses along migrant routes on both the U.S. and Mexican sides of the border attesting that migrant traffic has slowed as the Remain in Mexico policy took effect.

The two policies, the wall and Remain in Mexico, are the heart of the administration’s success in combating illegal immigration but remain in constant legal wrangling thanks to lawsuits by left-wing organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and others who are suing to stop the wall and the successful Remain in Mexico policy.

Late last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on the Remain in Mexico policy before staying the injunction allowing enforcement to continue. But should the Ninth Circuit overturn the policy, the Supreme Court will likely end up ruling on this case, too. Previously, it has reversed rulings preventing the wall from being constructed using reprogrammed military construction funds, another case sure to come up again.

In the meantime, the Trump administration not only is Trump working to discourage illegal immigration, he is also hiring more immigration judges to deal with the backlog of immigration cases. Immigration judges matter because they decide issues such as whether immigrants should be deported and whether asylum seekers are granted asylum. At last report, there were 466 immigration judges, which is the most since at least 2010. By comparison, there were 289 immigration judges in FY 2016.

Nor do Trump’s efforts to fight illegal immigration stop at our borders. He has also struck deals with El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico to reduce the number of people arriving at our border. Mexico has been particularly helpful deploying troops to its border to halt the massive caravans of migrants that have strained our immigration system in recent years.

As the old saying goes, charity begins at home. No doubt many of the people seeking asylum do have rough lives in their home countries, but asylum should be limited to those fleeing repressive regimes, not extended to those just looking for a better job or a better neighborhood. As it is, in many parts of our country, we do not have an adequate supply of housing for American citizens; our public schools, too often, struggle to turn out graduates who are functionally literate; and our national debt continues to grow. So we cannot afford to just roll out the welcome mat for anyone who shows up at the border. Every year, we give billions of dollars in foreign aid, but we must not forget that the primary job of the American government is to look out for the interests of the American people. And finally we have a President who is doing just that. It’s about time.



Ted Cruz Slams Dems: ‘Party of the Rich’ Who ‘Sip Their Lattes, Look Down on Working Class Americans’

Senator Ted Cruz slammed the Democratic Party during his appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday, accusing them of being the party of everything they claim they don’t represent.

"Today the Democrats are the party of the rich. Today, the Democrats are the party of Hollywood celebrities and Silicon Valley billionaires and Wall Street titans. They sip their lattes and they look down on working-class Americans.

“And, on the other hand, working men and women, the working men and women here, union members – blue-collar union members used to form the heart of the Democratic Party. FDR Democrats, who became Reagan Democrats. And, right now today, they’re Trump Democrats.”

The Democratic Party has two billionaires running for president, and the rest, save for Pete Buttigieg, are millionaires.



White House Talks Up Economic, Environmental Renewal to Replace Urban Blight

Entrepreneurs have been unleashed inside blighted communities to bring economic opportunity where it is needed most, thanks to President Donald Trump’s deregulation and revitalization initiatives, administration officials said Friday.

Scott Turner, executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, discussed such progress with Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, during a conference of conservative activists near Washington.

Turner, a former pro football player, told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that opportunity zones created during the Trump administration are bringing “stakeholders” back into “stressed communities” for the first time in decades.

“Poverty has no color, poverty has no party,” Turner said. “Poverty affects all of us and when you’re in poverty, you don’t care about party.”

A total of 8,764 opportunity zones have been identified in economically depressed areas throughout the country, according to government figures. Opportunity zones, created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Trump signed into law in December 2017, give investors tax benefits in exchange for providing capital in such neighborhoods.

The zones have both an economic and social impact, Turner said, in places where 35 million Americans live.

“Opportunity zones are bringing long-term sustainability,” he said. “Our vision is for generational impact on our country. Conversations are changing around the table with families, and when conversations change, this brings generational change.”

Laurence Jones, a Fox News Channel contributor and talk radio host, moderated the exchange on the CPAC stage.

Jones asked Wheeler, the EPA administrator, to comment on the Trump administration’s progress in providing regulatory relief to economically stagnant areas.

“We had a lot of regulations stopping opportunity throughout the country,” Wheeler said. “President Trump cares about the forgotten Americans. We have invested in cleanup efforts at brownfield sites, and when we clean up these then the private sector comes in. We have also taken out 51 regulations, saving the American people $6.5 billion.”

The EPA’s Brownfields Program offers grants and other assistance to communities that want to clean up and restore contaminated areas.

“We don’t want blighted blocks and blighted city buildings,” Wheeler said. “We want to make sure environmental standards are met and these [sites] are being redeveloped and repurposed.”

Wheeler also discussed a new program under the Clean Air Act that works to the benefit of communities that have had difficulty coming into compliance with EPA standards.

“We moved 38 communities from nonobtainment [of environmental standards] to obtainment,” he said. “We are lifting regulations so they can attract new business.”

The environment “is cleaner today than it has ever been,” the EPA chief said.

Air pollution, for instance, is 74% lower than in 1970, he said.

Turner credited Wheeler and Trump for progress on both environmental and economic fronts.

“People need to understand this is a business-minded administration and business-minded EPA leader,” Turner said. “He’s clearing the way for businesses to come into areas where they haven’t been.”

Jones said he has crisscrossed the country to inform minority communities that “the calvary is coming” under the Trump administration, offering new opportunities so local residents can achieve their potential.

Wheeler also took the opportunity to highlight the Trump administration’s efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the EPA’s regulatory practices, saying:

EPA guidance documents will be available to the public for the first time. We are also bringing transparency to science, which is something the media beats me up for. But if we use a scientific study to justify a regulation, that has to be made available to the public. The American public needs to see what their tax dollars are buying.

CPAC, the largest annual national gathering of conservative activists, runs Thursday through Saturday at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside Washington.



Snopes Amateurs Take on The Patriot Post

The self-proclaimed “fact checker” website Snopes has long been known among conservatives as a biased leftist rag. Yet the site still enjoys some measure of authoritativeness that greatly exceeds its professionalism.

It wasn’t long ago that Snopes was embroiled in a kerfuffle over its multiple “fact checks” of the satirical Babylon Bee. That was utterly laughable, and yet Snopes doubled down.

Well, we recently discovered that Snopes has done equally credible (which is to say not at all credible) “fact checks” on your humble Patriot Post team. Sort of.

“Patriot Post” has been tagged four times by the site, and not one of the four is even remotely accurate. One story debunks an article from another website that Snopes says was also published by “the equally unreliable PatriotPost.us.” Snopes flags three other stories it claims “originated solely with the Patriot Post, which is part of a network of fake news sites that deal in political clickbait trolling and falsely label themselves as ‘satire.’”

If you read further, however, Snopes sort of clarifies that the actual offending site is “PotatriotPost.com,” a seemingly now-defunct satirical website aimed and making fun of conservative sites like ours. Its header said “Patriot Post,” but the amateurs at Snopes made no effort to distinguish this cut-rate satire site from our legitimate enterprise by the same name.

The one story we found that actually did have to do with our content fared no better.

In August last year, we published a meme riffing on the popular and mostly in-jest conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide. It was clearly labeled “PatriotParody.US,” and we have never seriously written anything claiming the Clintons had something to do with Epstein’s demise. Yet in order to “fact check” our humor meme, Snopes (or its source) deliberately cropped the part of the image that made this clear, and then the site used an incorrect link to our site to locate the original meme.

Snopes does conclude, “Although the meme may have circulated online without this context, it originated on a page labeled ‘humor’ and thus should not be viewed as a statement of fact.” It’s rating: “Labeled Satire.” Well that’s a relief.

We don’t point this out to complain that Snopes was unfair to us. We do, however, expect a purportedly reputable fact checker to go through the rigors of actually getting it right when debunking fake news. Instead, Snopes published falsehoods about our website because its primary mission is advancing leftist propaganda.



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

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


9 March, 2020

'Berning' Down America

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” —Ronald Reagan

“In many US states, a single high-school history class is the only civics instruction that future voters ever receive. Eight states don’t even make the study of American history a graduation requirement.” —from a column, “Public schools are teaching our children to hate America,” by Mary Kay Linge

Bernie Sanders is what you get when orchestrated ignorance, a cultivated contempt for America, and “an everyone gets a trophy just for showing up” sense of self-entitlement reaches critical mass. On Monday night, the leading Democrat candidate for president released a plan calling for a cornucopia of big-government “solutions” to the nation’s problems that demonstrates exactly that. It is a paean to the idea that there are sufficient numbers of intellectually challenged Americans who believe that massive giveaways are “free” or can be paid for by extracting large sums of money from “greedy” fellow Americans who have “more than their fair share.”

Why did Sanders release the plan? Perhaps it’s because he is as ignorant as many of his followers. Asked how he’d pay for his program, Sanders insists he “can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime.” Tuesday’s chaotic debate proved no better, as Sanders had difficulty answering a number of other questions as well.

Yet who’s kidding whom? For legions of “Bernie Bros,” who see the 78-year-old socialist/Marxist as more of a televangelist than a presidential candidate, details are largely irrelevant.

Even more irrelevant? These same followers — who support a plan that envisions raising money by precipitating lawsuits against the fossil-fuel industry, eviscerating the military, massively expanding the power of the IRS, and simply seizing wealth for the sake of “social justice” — somehow presume that behavior is static. In short, they think no matter how much money one extracts from the private sector, people will continue to work, take risks, create new businesses, and live their lives as if nothing has changed.

It doesn’t get more ignorant than that, yet that ignorance is hardly surprising. “Feel the Bern” is a triumph of emotionalism over intellectual curiosity.

And no one champions that useful-idiot dynamic more than Sanders himself. Sanders remains an apologist for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet. “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who had played a 1985 clip of Sanders extolling Castro’s virtues. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did?” Sanders continued. “He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

For older Americans, idiotic tradeoffs have a familiar ring, akin to the apologist assertions that murderous dictators like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were not all bad, because Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler restored the pride of a German populace devastated by WWI. In that vein, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had the perfect response to Sanders’s assertion: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write.”

Sanders’s affection for totalitarian societies isn’t limited to Cuba. The man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union also praised it for providing a “whole variety of programs for the young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country.” He added, “We went to a theater in Yaroslavl which was absolutely beautiful — had three separate stages.”

Columnist Katya Sedgwick, who grew up in the then-Soviet Socialist State of Ukraine, gave the proper context to such an assertion. “My generation of Soviets came of age knowing that the USSR was built on tyranny and lies,” she writes. “We are the most cynical generation in Russian history. Once the country crumbled, our lives spun out of control. As a result, Russian speakers my age suffered through high rates of substance abuse, low life expectancies, and through-the-floor birth rates. On the plus side, we grew up with gaudy chandeliers in public places.”

The same kind of cynicism is the life blood of Sanders’s campaign. Columnist Jake Novak illuminates a number of factors that drive it, all of which involve the alienation of younger Americans, besieged by student debt, even as they underwrite Social Security and Medicare skewed toward older Americans, and remain largely ignored by the establishment members of both parties.

Novak also explains that Democrats have brought Sanders’s popularity down upon themselves, courtesy of their assertions that President Trump is a white supremacist and an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Think about it: if you really believe the president is a traitor and supporting violent plots against non-white Americans, is this really the time to support mainstream Democrat or Republican candidates?” he writes. “Sanders may be a career politician, but he’s never been a mainstream politician. His persona and political brand fits much better into the current Democratic narrative that we’re living in desperate times.”

Desperation is an emotion, and there is little doubt that emotionalism has transcended intellectual rigor in modern-day America. We are a nation where absurd concepts such as “triggering,” “microaggressions,” “intersectionalism,"and "my truth” have supplanted logic and reason as the common currency of younger generations so cynical, many believe the entire planet has only a dozen years left until climate apocalypse ends humanity itself.

Thus an entire reordering of society, a.k.a. “fundamental transformation” — with retribution as a possible part of the “social justice” mix — is the only way forward.

The searing irony is impossible to ignore. “Democrats have for decades (since JFK) admired godless socialism,” columnist Kevin McCullough explains, even as he further notes that the party “lied about what it all means — especially during election cycles — knowing that middle of the road Americans wouldn’t quite be able to stomach it.”

Enter Sanders, who has unmasked the subterfuge to the utter horror of establishment Democrats and their mainstream-media allies, who are appalled by Sanders’s honesty.

Why? By any reasonable standard, every Democrat still in the presidential race is a radical leftist in a party that has reached “peak progressivism,” as Victor Davis Hanson puts it. Thus it’s hardly surprising that a genuine socialist/Marxist would resonate more than his less honest competitors.

Yet Sanders represents something else as well. For decades, this nation has done a terrible job passing American exceptionalism down to the next generation, and at some point that failure reaches critical mass.

Can Sanders win the nomination? If Sanders maintains his front-runner status, Democrats will likely engender chaos — maybe even a brokered convention — in trying to prevent it. If Sanders still prevails? The 2020 election will be all about revolution or repudiation.

Here’s hoping for repudiation — on a massive scale. A constitutional republic is a terrible thing to waste.



What Bernie Sanders Isn’t Telling You About Canadian Health Care

All Americans, regardless of political party, want access to timely, high-quality health care. The question is how to get there. Do we harness the power and innovation of the private sector, or do we hand it to the government and hope for the best?

Canada has chosen the latter route, and at one of the most recent debates among Democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders once again touted its government-run health care system as a model for America.

Alas, Sanders’ sanitized version of Canadian health care doesn’t remotely fit the facts.

No more out-of-pocket expenses? In reality, Canadians’ out-of-pocket health costs are nearly identical to what Americans pay—a difference of roughly $15 per month. In return, Canadians pay up to 50% more in taxes than Americans, with government health costs alone accounting for $9,000 in additional taxes per year. This comes to roughly $50 in additional taxes per dollar saved in out-of-pocket costs.

Keep in mind these are only the beginning of the financial hits from “Medicare for All.” Canada’s public system does not cover many large health costs, from pharmaceuticals to nursing homes to dental and vision.

As a result, public health spending in Canada accounts for only 70% of total health spending. In contrast, Medicare for All proposals promise 100% coverage. This suggests the financial burdens on Americans, and distortions to care, would be far greater than what Canadians already suffer.

Canada’s limited coverage may surprise Americans, but the key is understanding what “universal” means in “universal care.”

Universal systems mean everybody is forced to join the public system. It emphatically does not mean everything is free. Indeed, out-of-pocket costs are actually significantly higher in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway than they are in America.

More serious than the financial burdens is what happens to quality of care in a government-run system.

Canada’s total health costs are about one-third cheaper than the U.S. as a percent of gross domestic product, but this is achieved by undesirable cost-control practices. For example, care is ruthlessly rationed, with waiting lists running into months or years.

The system also cuts corners by using older and cheaper drugs and skimping on modern equipment. Canada today has fewer MRI units per capita than Turkey or Latvia. Moreover, underinvestment in facilities and staff has reached the point where Canadians are being treated in hospital hallways.

Predictably, Canada’s emergency rooms are packed. In the province of Quebec, wait times average over four hours, leading many patients to just give up, go home, and hope for the best.

Seeing a specialist can take a shockingly long time. One doctor in Ontario called in a referral for a neurologist and was told there was a four-and-a-half year waiting list.

A 16-year-old boy in British Columbia waited three years for an urgent surgery, during which his condition worsened and he was left paraplegic. One Montreal man finally got the call for his long-delayed urgent surgery—but it came two months after he had died.

Canadians have found a way to escape the rationing, the long waits, and substandard equipment. They go to the U.S.

Every year, more than 50,000 Canadians fly to get their surgeries here because they can get high-quality care and fast treatment at a reasonable price. They willingly pay cash for care that, for the vast majority of Americans, is covered by insurance, private or public.

Far from being a model of government-run health care, Canada serves as a warning of the unintended consequences of socialized medicine: high taxes, long waits, staff shortages, and substandard drugs and equipment. Those suffering the most are the poor, who cannot afford to fly abroad for timely treatment.

Far from the feel-good rhetoric, socialized medicine in Canada has proved a bait-and-switch that has never lived up to the promise.

In Washington today, there are very sound proposals on the table to reduce U.S. health care costs. They include reforms to assure price transparency, increase competition, and repeal price-hiking mandates. That is the best way forward.

Canada’s system of socialized medicine has created high taxes and suffering patients. That’s not what Americans want or deserve.



The Endless Stalemate Ends  -- or does it?

The news that a peace agreement has been reached with the Taliban after 18 years of war has drawn some criticism of President Donald Trump from Patriots concerned about national security. We in our humble shop agree with Rep. Liz Cheney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton that this deal comes with risks.

That said, we also have long thought that Afghanistan had reached a point where there were no good options. As we also have noted, there was no clear idea of what victory looked like and how it would be achieved. Thus, the war effort became a mess that was largely passed off to Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Even under George W. Bush, who was serious about winning, America pulled punches that should have been allowed to go full-force. Dalton Fury revealed in 2008 that requests to use modern GATOR mines were rejected during the Battle of Tora Bora. These mines would have self-destructed or gone inert within 40 days. But micromanaging from Washington allowed Osama bin Laden to make it into Pakistan, where he hid out for nearly a decade.

The betrayal of Patriots who served — like James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who played crucial roles in getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to spill his guts — also raised questions about how serious those in Washington were about winning.

Yet we were supposed to let SOCOM send its highly trained operatives on numerous deployments to that region with no clue about how to win or what winning looked like? How numerous were those deployments? Here is one indicator: The first military casualty during President Trump's administration had been sent on 12 deployments.

We should not dismiss what was achieved: Afghanistan has a freely elected government. We have killed or captured a lot of the senior leadership of al-Qaida. We have not seen anything like another 9/11. We have trained an Afghan military that is capable of defending that country. We should be proud of what our troops, including those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, accomplished.

But we should also keep some things in mind. We have lessons to learn from this war. We should, as a country, resolve that when we do ask our troops to fight and risk being maimed or killed, they be allowed to win.

Whether this peace agreement will hold is an open question. Could the Taliban merely be using this as a chance to re-arm and gain strength to go after the Afghan government? We can't rule that out. If that should happen, then the Taliban must pay a fearsome price for breaking the deal.



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

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


8 March, 2020

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

(The more things change the more they are the same thing)

For my recent stay in hospital, I took along a famous book to read -- "Dr Zhivago" by Boris Pasternak. I had read in when it first come out in 1957 but had forgotten the story totally so it should have been new to me. It was but I somehow could not get interested in it for long.  It was a good yarn but I just could not concentrate on it for long.

The book is about pre-revolutionary Russia (c. 1905) so the political scenes were of interest to me.  I did gather that they were realistic. One passage which told me that revolutionary politics  had not changed much was a description of the conversation of two Leftists of the day. Their remarks were described (on p. 49 of the first edition) as: "So imbued with contempt for everything in the world that they could quite safely have been replaced by a growling noise".  The politics of hate were alive and well back there too: "contempt for everything in the world".  Quite reminiscent of current Leftist remarks about Mr Trump.  CNN on Trump is mostly a just a growling noise


‘Flood the streets’: ICE targets sanctuary cities with increased surveillance

Intensifying its enforcement in sanctuary cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has begun 24-hour surveillance operations around the homes and workplaces of immigrants living in the country illegally. The agency plans to deploy hundreds of additional officers in unmarked cars in the coming weeks to increase arrests in cities where local law enforcement agencies do not cooperate with federal enforcement.

ICE leadership has requested at least 500 special agents who normally conduct long-term investigations into dangerous criminals and traffickers to join the enhanced arrest campaign rolling out in sanctuary cities, according to an internal e-mail reviewed by The New York Times.

The request follows an earlier decision, made public last month, to deploy elite tactical BORTAC agents — immigration SWAT teams that are normally assigned to risky border smuggling, rescue, and intelligence operations — to help arrest and deport immigrants in sanctuary cities.

The expanded surveillance operations and added manpower are the latest intensification in a conflict between the Trump administration and cities that refuse to help with deportations, including Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Newark. The effort began last month and will run through Dec. 31, according to the internal e-mail, which called the initiative Operation Palladium.

The latest directive is simple: Arrest as many immigrants living in the country illegally as possible, and “flood the streets,” as one official involved said his bosses had put it.

Local leaders in those communities often argue that doing so could make their cities less safe by discouraging people from cooperating with the police.

Because immigration law violations are civil infractions rather than criminal ones, the officers deployed in the expanded ICE operations cannot, in most cases, obtain warrants to forcibly enter places where their subjects are hiding.

Instead, ICE officers are embarking on the aggressive surveillance campaign, which involves closely watching some individuals for more than 12 hours a day in the hopes of arresting them outside their homes or workplaces.

To achieve their goal, officers assigned to the latest operations are working longer hours, and for longer stretches of time, often 10 days in a row rather than the usual five.

“It should be really no surprise; it’s exactly what we said we would do,” said Henry Lucero, the top government official overseeing the division of ICE that conducts street arrests. He added: “If there’s no cooperation, that’s not going to stop ICE from doing its job. We are still going to try to protect the public as much as we can by arresting and removing criminal aliens from the communities before they can get another crime or make another victim.”



Donald Trump says federal government will start 'withholding funds' from sanctuary cities after winning court case on stopping extra funding

President Donald Trump on Thursday said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The Republican president, who is seeking re-election in the Nov. 3 election, has taken a hardline stance toward legal and illegal immigration. His battle against Democratic-led 'sanctuary' jurisdictions focuses on laws and policies that limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

Cities and states that oppose such cooperation say it can discourage immigrants from coming forward to report crimes to law enforcement because of fears about their immigration status.

Since the beginning of his administration Trump has tried to slash specific law enforcement grants to places that don't comply with ICE requests for information, but his efforts have been challenged in court.

On Feb. 26, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in favor of the administration and said the funding cuts were valid. But three other federal appeals courts have ruled against blocking such funds, setting up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Trump in a tweet said it would move forward with the cuts.

'As per recent Federal Court ruling, the Federal Government will be withholding funds from Sanctuary Cities. They should change their status and go non-Sanctuary. Do not protect criminals!' Trump tweeted on Thursday, although he gave no other details.

One such 'sanctuary' policy opposed by the administration is a refusal by local jails to hold immigrants in the country illegally in detention beyond their scheduled release times so ICE officials can pick them up and process them for deportation.

Some officials in non-cooperative jurisdictions argue the requests are voluntary and honoring such 'detainer' requests means holding people without a constitutionally valid reason.

The 2nd Circuit overturned a lower court ruling directing the release of federal funds to New York City and the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

Three federal appeals courts in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco have upheld injunctions barring enforcement of at least some of the administration's conditions on the funds.

In addition to the funding threats, the administration is now opening up new fronts in the battle against the cities, filing lawsuits and issuing subpoenas in what Attorney General William Barr called part of a 'significant escalation' in the fight against uncooperative jurisdictions.



Uh Oh, Trump Says What We're All Thinking: There's Something Wrong With Joe Biden

At a Fox News Town Hall on Thursday evening, President Trump openly suggested that there's something fishy going on with Joe Biden. According to Trump, Biden's many gaffes could be a sign that he's simply not mentally competent.

Super Tuesday, Trump said, came as a surprise to him. He was sure that Bernie was going to win, not only because the polls showed him in the least, but also because Biden is clearly having some mental issues. "We have this crazy thing that happened on Tuesday," Trump explained, "which [Biden] felt was Thursday. But he also said 150 million people were killed with guns, and that he was running for the U.S. Senate."

"There's something going on there," the president concluded.

The leftwing media are constantly giving Confused Joe a pass -- even when he confused his wife with his sister -- but Trump isn't going to do the same. Oh no, if Biden becomes the Democrats' nominee, he will be hammered time and again on his mental fitness. And rightly so, of course. It's obvious to anyone paying attention to this race that Biden has some very serious mental issues. This isn't about "gaffes anymore." It's about Joe not being "all there."

Trump has to go after Biden on this. This isn't about scoring some cheap, easy points, but about warning Americans that they may end up with a president who simply isn't competent.

With all the things going on in America and the rest of the world, that's too big of a risk to take. We're battling this new coronavirus COVID-19 while Iran is stockpiling nuclear material. The most powerful country on earth needs a competent leader, not some old guy who should be spending time with his grandkids while his own children keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't cause any accidents.



Betraying the Alamo

RINO George P. Bush wants to whitewash a bloody battle and make it politically correct

"Remember the Alamo!" might become a divisive political slogan as Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has accused his fellow Republican, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, of leading the Alamo restoration project "badly off track." His remarks came one day before the 184th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, a military defeat that energized the Texas revolution against Mexico and helped America's second-most populous state enter the Union.

"Nothing defines the independent and the courageous spirit of Texas more than our iconic Alamo and, like most Texans, I treasure it. The history of the Alamo is a personal passion of mine. I do not intend to sit quietly and see this project fail," Patrick said in a statement slamming Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and grandson of President George H. W. Bush. "The job of oversight for this project is the responsibility of the General Land Office headed by Commissioner George P. Bush. It is evident to me that both the design, planning, and execution of the project is badly off track."

Bush has long received criticism over the General Land Office and the City of San Antonio's plan to "reimagine" the site of the Alamo. Texans are incensed over the plan to relocate the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument commissioned on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo that serves as a tombstone for the men who gave their lives in the fight for Texas independence in the historic siege (February 23-March 6, 1836).

On Tuesday, Republican voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition on the GOP primary ballot stating, "Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site." Nearly 98 percent of Republican voters supported it.

Patrick slammed Bush over the Cenotaph relocation and the look and design of new buildings on the site.

"The latest [design] looks like a massive urban park with hundreds of trees—more like Central Park in New York City than Alamo Plaza," the lieutenant governor said. "We have wasted significant public dollars on designs which most Texans would immediately reject." He called on Bush to release all proposed architectural designs and threatened to move the project to another entity in the absence of significant change.

"If the General Land Office cannot handle this important job, and to date it does not appear it can, I will recommend we identify another entity to provide oversight," Patrick warned.

Late Thursday, Bush spokeswoman Karina Erickson said the land commissioner welcomes Patrick's suggestions, the Dallas Morning News reported.

"Lt. Governor Patrick brings up many great ideas -- ideas that are already incorporated in the Alamo Plan, including the intent to restore the Alamo Church and Battleground to the 1836 time period," Erickson said.

Patrick demanded that the restoration effort should include a "world-class visitor center" focused on the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, "not the 200-year history of early Spanish settlement in Texas," which is covered by San Antonio's Mission Trail. Erickson insisted that a focus on the battle will be the focal point of the restoration.

The Texas legislature approved funds for preserving the Alamo and rebuilding the plaza in 2015. Lawmakers intended for Texans and others to be able to "see the battlefield as it was" in 1836, Patrick insisted.

A recent records request exposed another controversy. Members of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association condemned digging in a graveyard.

Yet the political battle may trace back to Bush's decision to spread rumors that he may challenge Patrick in the 2022 lieutenant governor race. Lieutenant governor is the most powerful position in the Texas government when the legislature is in session because it controls the state Senate's agenda. While the legislature is not scheduled to meet again until January 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) may call the legislature into a special session to deal with this issue, which would humiliate Bush.

In October, Bush's senior advisor, J. R. Hernandez, insisted that the land commissioner remains focused on his job, attempting to dispel rumors of a planned run against Patrick. "Over the last few months, several activists and donors have asked Commissioner Bush to consider higher office in Texas," Hernandez admitted. "At this time he is 100% focused on doing his job as land commissioner. While he wouldn’t challenge current Governor Abbott or Lieutenant Governor Patrick, if an opening presents itself he would absolutely consider serving Texans in a higher role. When that moment arises, he’s ready."

Political fireworks may be coming to Texas, and "Remember the Alamo!" may be a political rallying cry against Bush.




RELENTLESS: Economy defied early coronavirus fears in February with 273,000 new jobs, unemployment at 3.5% (Washington Examiner)

"THE APPEARANCE IS NOT GOOD": Romney could block Republican subpoena attempt aimed at the Bidens (Fox News)

POLICY VIOLATION: Facebook removes Trump campaign ads over census confusion (Politico)

FOR THE RECORD: More than 300 illegal aliens from China have been caught at the U.S. border since coronavirus outbreak (MRCTV)

LIKELY ISLAMIST TERRORISM: Explosion near U.S. embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, prompts emergency response (Fox News)

EMBEZZLING AND RACKETEERING: Ex-UAW president Gary Jones charged in corruption probe (Detroit Free Press)


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

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


March 6, 2020

I am now out of hospital after cancer surgery and appear to be back to normal.  No pain. Today is one of my normal posting days so I have posted pretty much as usual.  Tomorrow is my Sabbath, however, so I will not be posting then -- JR

The delusional Left
It’s always important to keep things in proper perspective. That is particularly important as the nation grapples with the fallout from the novel coronavirus, which has infected 100 Americans and killed six people. Sadly, more people died Monday night from the tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee.

But just so you know, the yearly flu has already infected at least 32 million Americans and caused 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths.

The left’s delusional reaction to the coronavirus is more of a public threat than the virus itself. Seriously, friends, let’s just look at how the left has responded to this crisis.

When President Trump imposed travel restrictions on China, the left accused him of xenophobia. Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx, one of the nation’s top medical experts, said that the travel restrictions “bought us time and space” to combat the virus.

When the president created the Coronavirus Task Force, the left complained that it was “too white” and “too male.”

The left accused the president of muzzling medical experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters over the weekend, “I’ve never been muzzled and I’ve been doing this since Reagan.”

The left accused the president of calling the coronavirus a “hoax.” Even liberal fact checkers have rejected that accusation as false.

The left accused the president of gutting the budgets of vital health-related agencies. That too was false.

The left even mocked the administration for praying, which is what decent people do.

Once again, it’s obvious that the left views everything — yes, even a virus — through a warped, ideological lens. Just think about that for a moment.

If there’s a potentially dangerous virus spreading around the world, the left would refuse to secure the borders. It would demand that experience and expertise take a back seat to racial quotas. It would lie about basic facts and mock people for seeking God’s wisdom and mercy.

Is that really the kind of government we want? Just something to remember in November.

By the way, a recent Gallup survey found that 77% of Americans are confident in the government’s ability to address the coronavirus situation. That confidence level is significantly higher than previous outbreaks involving the bird flu, the swine flu, and Ebola.



Biden Tries to Quote Declaration of Independence: 'You Know, the Thing...'

Despite his victory in the South Carolina primary, Crazy Joe Biden has been having a rough few weeks. Most notably forgetting what office he’s running for and getting caught in a lie about being arrested in South Africa. True to form, he made himself look foolish again on Monday when he was quoting—or attempting to quote—the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident,” he said, somewhat slurring his speech while campaigning in Texas. “All men and women created by the—you know, you know, the thing."

You know “the thing”? I suppose if Ilan Omar can say 9/11 was “some people did something” it’s not all that shocking that Biden would refer to such an important historical document as “the thing.”

Or did Biden just forget which document he was attempting to quote?

That wouldn’t be surprising either. Biden seems to forget a lot of things these days. But it seems hard to imagine how he could forget one of the most quoted sentences in history.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

It shouldn’t be that hard to remember, Joe. You’ve probably heard it your entire life.

Imagine if Trump had made the same mistake. The media would be all over him. Think the media will call him out for flubbing such a well-known line of such a pivotal document in our nation's history? No wonder Trump wants to run against him.



Rep Mark Meadows Just Blew Up the Trump-Russia Scam With One Comment About Super Tuesday

Congressional Democrats have been selling the exhaustively debunked theory about Donald Trump being a Russian secret agent and using Russian President Vladimir Putin's help to win office in 2016.

Two investigations so far have shown that there was no Russian collusion with Trump. The Mueller investigation indictments showed that, to the extent there was interference in the 2016 election, it involved Russian troll farms buying about $100,000 in Facebook ads and setting up Facebook accounts to sow discord among U.S. voters.

Congressman Mark Meadows, an expert on the evidence in the collusion allegations, watched Super Tuesday's contests with more than a little interest. And when Mike Bloomberg got out of the presidential race, Meadows had this bracing take:

"Michael Bloomberg could barely win a delegate in a primary with $500+ million—but if you ask Washington Democrats, a few Russian trolls spending 100K on Facebook ads swung the entire 2016 election. Got it. #CollusionHoax"

The AP reports that Bloomberg ended the contest with 51 delegates. A quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that Bloomberg spent $9,803,921.57  per delegate. The Daily Caller also found that Bloomberg had paid Democratic "superdelegates" $149,000 to give him their vote if the convention went to a second vote.

Money talks but it can't get you over the finish line.



More Hate
As I noted earlier this week, the left has nothing to offer on the coronavirus debate but hate and vitriol. The Trump administration is calling the shots, not Chuck Schumer, not Nancy Pelosi, not The New York Times.

Of course, that’s not stopping the left from carping, complaining, and offering unsolicited advice. But its progressive prescriptions are absurd. For example:

CNN complained about the racial makeup of the administration’s coronavirus task force. Just more evidence of how far the “woke” left has strayed from Martin Luther King’s dream that we should judge people not based on the color of their skin but on their abilities and the content of their character.

MSNBC is fretting about xenophobia. The left-wing media outlet Vox lectured us on “the history of racism and ‘cleanliness.’”

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd suggested that Trump is to blame for the coronavirus panic, saying, “You reap what you sow.” In Todd’s twisted mind, there is panic because no one trusts the government to handle the crisis because Trump has attacked and undermined our vital institutions. Again, this is total nonsense. The Deep State has been doing its best to attack and undermine Trump since before he was elected.

Meanwhile, the left can barely contain its glee over the fear currently roiling the financial markets. It’s not surprising. It doesn’t have much to run on.

Its radical policies — open borders, abortion on demand, free healthcare for illegal aliens, and much more — are tremendously unpopular.

Its candidates are not compelling.

Its convention could turn into a civil war.

But it’s just giddy about coronavirus!

By the way, Democrats have repeatedly complained in recent days that Trump cut the budgets of critical health-related agencies. This charge came up several times during the South Carolina Democrat debate. The only problem is that it is false.

An Associated Press fact check found that while Trump’s budgets have proposed certain cuts, Congress ignored them and actually increased funding. “The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren’t suffering from budget cuts that never took effect.”

The Associated Press also rejected Chuck Todd’s claims that Trump has undermined the government’s response, writing:

The public health system has a playbook to follow for pandemic preparation — regardless of who’s president… Those plans were put into place in anticipation of another flu pandemic, but are designed to work for any respiratory-borne disease.



Liz Warren Is Finished After Her HUMILIATING Loss in Massachusetts

Great news!  I loathed that female Hitler

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Not to be confused with Pocahontas) arguably should end her presidential campaign after an embarrassing third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts.

As of 11 p.m. Eastern, former Vice President Joe Biden had won the state with 33 percent of the vote, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (S-USSR) behind him at 27 percent. Warren trailed at 22 percent, almost 100,000 votes behind Biden.

Not only did Warren lose her own state but she took third place, behind both the ostensible moderate Biden and the socialist Bernie Sanders.




SCANDAL REOPENS: Federal judge orders Hillary Clinton to give sworn deposition for first time in server scandal (The Daily Wire)

NOT BACKING DOWN: Senate Republicans plan first subpoena in Burisma-Biden probe (The Washington Post)

ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS: Dow roars back from coronavirus sell-off with biggest gain since 2009, surges 5.1% (CNBC)

THIRD ELECTION IN UNDER A YEAR: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defeats Benny Gantz, but is still short a majority (The Jerusalem Post)

TIT FOR TAT: U.S. places new restrictions on Chinese journalists following China's expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters (Axois)

OBSTRUCTING AN EFFECTIVE POLICY: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocks Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy (Fox News)

ADMIN TO APPEAL: A federal judge has ruled that Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency and therefore lacks authority to give asylum seekers less time to prepare for initial screening interviews (ABC News)

DNI NOMINEE: Trump picks John Ratcliffe to lead intelligence community (CBS News)

ROUND 3: Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act (The Washington Post)

"NOW WE'RE COMING AFTER THEM": Trump goes nuclear on Democrats at CPAC (The Daily Wire)

NO AUTHORITY: House Democrats lose appeal to force White House counsel Don McGahn testimony (Axios)

TAWDRY BEHAVIOR: MSNBC political pundit Chris Matthews absent from air amid sexual-harassment allegations (The Hill)

POLICY: The European welfare state is small compared to what Bernie Sanders is proposing (Foundation for Economic Education)

IDENTITY-THEFT RULING: U.S. Supreme Court gives states latitude to prosecute illegal immigrants (Reuters)

FAKE NEWS MEDIA, PART I: Trump campaign sues The Washington Post for "false, defamatory statements" vis-à-vis Russia (The Daily Wire)

FAKE NEWS MEDIA, PART II: Rep. Devin Nunes sues The Washington Post for Russia-themed "hit piece" (The Daily Wire)

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will drop limits on virus testing (The New York Times)

FOR THE RECORD: Iran triples its uranium stockpile. IAEA chief realizes Trump's suspicion of Iran may be correct. (The Daily Wire)

SHOWDOWN WITH TUBERVILLE: Jeff Sessions forced into runoff in Alabama Senate primary (The Federalist)


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

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


March 2, 2020

Note:  I am going into hospital for some minor cancer surgery later today.  I cannot say at this stage when I will be blogging again but soon, I hope -- JR

Forget Castro, Dem Candidates Are the Authoritarians to Worry About

With his latest wave of accolades heaped upon homicidal communist dictator Fidel Castro, Bernie Sanders equivocated his praise for Cuba’s “literacy programs” with the reminder that he "happens to believe in democracy, not authoritarianism."

Does he though?

For that matter, do any of the final Democrat candidates for the presidential nomination?

“I believe in Democracy, not authoritarianism” is a strange phrase as it presupposes that democracy is an antonym to authoritarianism. It isn’t, really. Tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorship, monarchy, those are contradictory systems to democracy.

Democracy is a system of choosing representatives or other elected leaders. Authoritarianism is a system of policies and government programs that could very well be instituted by a democratically-elected political body or leader. And when one examines the policies championed by Sanders and his colleagues on the Democratic presidential ballot, it’s hard to escape their authoritarian tendencies.

Authoritarianism is when an entity or government in authority restricts the liberties and freedoms of individuals under their power and control to enforce a policy or rule.

When every Democrat on this week’s debate stage advocated for restrictions on Americans’ Second Amendment rights with regard to the types of guns they would allow an individual to keep and bear, they exhibited their authoritarian instinct. “We know better what type of firearm the people can be trusted with so we will prohibit them from owning those guns we determine they should not own.” Authoritarianism.

When most of the Democrats plan to institute government control over the medical profession by forcing every American to comply with their dictates regarding doctors, hospitals and procedures, all the while prohibiting individuals from choosing, keeping and paying for their own personal health care, it’s authoritarianism.

Even former Republican billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who attempts to push back on Sanders’ propensity for Marxist economic solutions, has a disturbing track record of authoritarianism against the formerly freedom-loving people of New York.

You want a 64 oz. Big Gulp? Fuggetaboutit! You can only have the size soda Mayor Mike decides you can have. He knows best.

You’re 92-years-old and you want treatment for cancer? Fuggetaboutit! It’s a waste of resources to save the life of an old fogie like you. Mayor Mike knows best.

Want to smoke a cigarette? Vape? Add salt to your food? Fuggetaboutit! That’s the new, New York molded in the “Mayor Mike knows best” vision.

Every one of the candidates for the Democrat’s presidential nomination embraces the “Green New Deal” in one form or another. Under the guise of “saving the planet,” the party demands that we reduce greenhouse gases that, we are told, contribute to global warming.

Regardless of your position on the science behind such a policy, make no mistake: the Democrats’ solutions to reducing CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere are wrapped up in one giant, authoritarian package.

Controls and restrictions (if not outright prohibitions) for oil and gas industry, agriculture, transportation, home building, commercial development, mass transit and more. Stop eating so much red meat. Stop driving certain types of vehicles. Stop driving vehicles completely. Stop flying planes. Stop running the air conditioner. Stop turning on lights.

It all adds up to authoritarianism. The government, run by Bloomberg or Sanders or Warren or any of them, knows best and they’ll tell you what you can and can’t do. And if you defy them, you will be punished. And every single one of their major policy ideas has one, common characteristic: they restrict individual choice, freedom, and self-determination of American citizens in deference to the State’s demand for compliance and adherence to its policies.

It’s all for the greater good. After all, like Cuba, they also have a great literacy program for you so what are you complaining about? They’ll have your kids in a government-run school from infancy, according to Sanders’ newest scheme, and they’ll learn exactly what the State decides they should learn.



Socialized Medicine Killed Princess Diana, Surgeon Tells CPAC

Sounds like a myth but he makes the case

Congressman Steve Scalise introduced a panel discussion called  “Prescription for Failure: The Ills of Socialized Medicine" at CPAC on Thursday. He established what was at stake in 2020: “2020 will be a contrast election,” he said, between Trump’s freedom agenda or socialism.

“You don’t want socialism, you surely don’t want socialized medicine,” he said. “Tens of thousands of Canadians come to America for life-saving treatment. Do you see Americans going to Canada for life-saving treatment?” he asked rhetorically.

“Healthcare is only one example of what’s at stake in this election,” he said, before concluding that individual freedom will win out in 2020 and predicted that Republicans will keep the Senate and win back the House.

Author Dr. David Schneider, an orthopedic surgeon from Colorado, explained how with socialized medicine, wait times for care “are disastrous.” In Canada, the wait time to see a specialist is two years, and then another two years to get the procedure.

“People in this country would go crazy if you were told you had to wait four months,” he said.

Then he explained how Princess Diana would be alive today, if not for socialized medicine. “Princess Diana was in the car accident in France,” he explained. “They actually don’t have any trauma specialists in France.”

“For the first hour after that accident, she was still in that tunnel,” he continued. “And after an hour, they took her to a nearby hospital and she was alive for another three hours and they couldn’t control the bleeding from her pulmonary artery.”

Schneider explained that “there were no trauma-trained people there.”

He continued, “I really believe, knowing what I know about her care and comparing it to what Congressman Scalise had, Princess Diana would have lived had that accident happened here in America.”

Peter Pitts of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, moderated the discussion, and explain the ills of the socialized healthcare system that the Democratic Party is advocating for right now. “Price controls equal choice controls,” he said. “Socialized medicine stifles competition, stifles innovations,” he said, noting that there are two vaccines being developed for the coronavirus right here in the United States.

Barbara Kolm of the Austrian Economics Center, spoke about the problems with European socialized medicine so often cited by Democrats in the United States. “Don’t fall into the trap,” she warned. She explained that in Europe, two-thirds of tax dollars are spent on welfare and healthcare, leaving everything else to be divided amongst the remainder. In Europe, you are “forced to take whatever you get, unless you’re able to afford private insurance.”

“There is no free lunch with healthcare,” she added.

Marc Palazzo, of the Coalition Against Socialized Medicine, also spoke and explained how America provides most of the medical research and development for the world. “That will stop with socialized medicine,” he warned.

“All the Democratic candidates want to get to single-payer medicine eventually,” the crowd was warned, but Bernie Sanders just wants it faster than the rest. So, the main takeaway from the event was not to be fooled. The Democrats want to destroy our system of healthcare, which is by no means perfect, in favor of a system that has failed to provide the quality and access to healthcare we enjoy here in America.



The Far-Left is working to take over local community organizations
Why are wealthy left-wing donors across the country, the abortion industry and national gun-control groups more interested in your local school board and city council races than most of the people who live in your own town?

Because they’re funding efforts to ensure their far-left agenda pervades our entire society — from getting their abortion curricula into our schools to changing our election laws — and they want to make sure that no city, no town is left to stand against them.

National left-wing organizations are collecting and funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to flip local city councils, school boards and county prosecutors’ offices to the left. They are flooding small elections with big money, and it’s giving them unprecedented influence over our local affairs and greater access to our children.

We’re witnessing the election of leftist local prosecutors who are refusing to prosecute whole classes of crimes. Rather than working with their state legislatures or city councils to reform the criminal justice system the right way, they are choosing to ignore the laws they took oaths to uphold and are single-handedly nullifying laws they don’t like.

Prosecutors who promise leniency have won races across the country, including in Philadelphia and Chicago, cities with two of the highest crime rates in the nation. Their campaigns have been supported by wealthy out-of-state billionaires, one of whom spent millions just last November backing candidates in several Virginia counties.

It’s not only prosecutors’ offices, though. In one example, community organizers from national organizations descended on one county in Tennessee to take over the school board and county commission. They ran left-wing candidates for the school board and gained control of the school curriculum. Newsweek reported on one teacher training session that included a talk on “white privilege” that asserted, “Even when minorities express or practice prejudice against whites, they are not racists.”

National abortion groups have donated millions to elect state and local candidates who vow to weaken abortion laws and give the abortion industry access to our schools. Those groups use their influence to get officials to adopt their sex education curriculum in local schools. One group has even created high school “clubs” where it trains students in abortion activism.

Another part of the takeover agenda is gun control. In last fall’s Virginia elections, one anti-Second Amendment group spent $2.5 million to elect gun-control advocates to the Virginia General Assembly. It was the largest out-of-state spender in Virginia’s elections, and its candidates have helped push the unprecedented gun-control legislation we’re now seeing.

These far-left groups aren’t going to stop, and they have the money and the people on the ground to insert themselves in communities across the country. Fighting them is going to require local citizens working together, and national organizations like The Heritage Foundation and others working to expose them.

We’ve all heard the story when, as he was leaving the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked whether America had ended up with a republic or a monarchy. He replied, “A republic — if you can keep it.” The same character and sacrifice that were required to found this republic are now desperately needed to keep her.

Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the cause of a free nation. We must do the same. Fortunately, we don’t have to die for this cause, but we do have to give our lives in the sense that we must dedicate our time and a portion of our treasure to defending this nation — community by community — against those who would destroy it from within.

That means calling and writing your elected officials about proposed legislation, attending city council and school board meetings to prevent them from adopting these agendas, and volunteering for and giving money to candidates who will forward limited government, free market principles and traditional American values. Then we must multiply our voices by getting 10 of our like-minded friends registered to vote and to turn out on Election Day.

Conservatives must do more than complain. We must be willing to stand up and fight. We must engage in the battle, otherwise, we will cede the battlefield and, ultimately, our country.

I don’t want to leave my children and my grandchildren an America that’s less free than the one I inherited. Protecting our hard-fought American way of life is one of the greatest gifts we can pass on to the next generation.



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

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


1 March, 2020

Death by a Thousand Progressives

Leftists are destroying our great country one attack at a time, and we have to stop them.

Pete Buttigieg is encouraging a nine-year-old boy to “come out the closet” on the stage of a presidential campaign. Hip Hop rapper YG targeted a conservative young man and threw him out of his concert because he would not say, “F— Donald Trump!” Two young Trump supporters were run off the road by a car because of their Trump flags on their bikes. To top it off liberal style, there are rumors that the tarnished Hillary Clinton is being courted as a VP candidate for Bloomberg. Sigh.

If America is to be destroyed it will not explode from outside, but implode from the inside. Hence the phrase “death by a thousand progressives.” America as we know it is being threatened by communism, socialism, and Marxism during this election year. Over a century ago, President Abraham Lincoln had this to say about the potential downfall of America:

At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

Death of a free nation by suicide? This indeed holds true over 150 years later. America is the freest nation in the world. This nation began with the Constitution setting it apart from the rest of the world. Our forefathers put a vision to flight that progressives are trying to willfully crash. The tolerant are really intolerant. The gender benders are actually confused with too much time on their hands. The party “for the people” is actually the party that wants to lord over the people.

Where do we go from here? Grab your first time voters in your family and explain to them what is at stake in America 2020. Tell your nieces and nephews how this great nation became great. Start a conversation with the youth who are leaders at your local church and have a dialogue how faith affects politics. The next generation is watching how we respond to these “progressive” suicide attacks on our great nation. Be humble, yet firm. Show courage in the face of fear.



Sanders loves dictators
This week, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the socialist Democratic presidential front-runner, made waves when he merely reiterated his lifelong warmth toward the viciously evil Cuban communist regime. Brushing off the human rights violations of Fidel Castro — a man whose revolution ended with the murder or imprisonment of tens of thousands of his countrymen, and decades of impoverishment and repression for millions — Sanders explained: “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. … When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing, even though Fidel Castro did it?”

But, of course, Sanders hasn’t merely praised Castro’s literacy programs (which, by the way, were propagandistic exploits. Cuba had an 80% literacy rate before Castro’s coup). Back in the 1980s, Sanders explained that he was “physically nauseated” by former President John F. Kennedy’s “hatred for the Cuban revolution.” In 1989, Sanders stated after visiting Cuba: “I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people.” He said that the Cuban people “had an almost religious affection” for Castro.

As it turns out, there is hardly a single communist regime of the past half-century for which Sanders has not expressed some level of moral support. This week, Sanders went out of his way to praise China, explaining: “It’s is an authoritarian country. … But can anyone deny — I mean, the facts are clear — that they have taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history?” Naturally, Sanders neglects to mention that China’s embrace of free trade and profit margin in the 1990s was responsible for that rise from poverty. That would cut against his socialist worldview.

Then there’s the Nicaraguan communist regime of Daniel Ortega, which murdered thousands. Sanders celebrated the Sandinista revolution in the 1980s (he attended a rally at which protesters chanted, “the Yankee will die”), visited Nicaragua and returned to tut-tut Ortega’s human rights abuses by citing Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus. It’s no wonder Ortega has endorsed Sanders for the presidency.

Or how about the Venezuelan regime? Sanders refused to call socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro a dictator as late as last year, and refused to call opposition Juan Guaido the legitimate leader of the country. The Sanders Senate website carried an editorial for years that favorably compared the regime of Hugo Chavez with the poverty record of the United States.

And, of course, there’s Sanders’ long record of propagandizing on behalf of the Soviet regime. Not only did Sanders visit the Soviet Union for a honeymoon/business trip with his new wife in 1988; he returned and declared that Moscow had “the most effective mass transit system” he had ever seen. He then celebrated that the Soviets were moving “forward into some of the early visions of their revolution, what their revolution was about in 1917.”

Sanders isn’t a European social democrat, warm toward Denmark and Norway. He’s a lifelong communist — a man who declared himself fully on board with the nationalization of nearly every major American industry in the 1970s — and an advocate for anti-Americanism abroad. The fact that it has taken until the verge of his nomination as the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee for members of the media and fellow Democrats to take note of this rather important truth demonstrates that the left’s gatekeeping function has been irrevocably broken.



Paterson, N.J., Gets Muslim Police Chief and Islamic Call to Prayer Over Loudspeakers

The next Democratic debate isn’t in Paterson, New Jersey, but it should be: that unlikely city is blazing new trails in multiculturalism and diversity. On Wednesday, the City Council voted unanimously (with two members not voting) to grant preliminary approval to the Islamic call to prayer being broadcast over loudspeakers in the city. This followed the swearing-in earlier this month, on the Qur’an, of course, of Paterson’s new police chief, Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora, the first Muslim police chief in an American city.

Celebrate diversity, right? Sure. The problem is that it is by no means certain that this diversity will celebrate us. The Paterson noise ordinance says: “The city shall permit ‘Adhan’, call to prayer’, ‘church bells’ and other reasonable means of announcing religious meetings to be amplified between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. for duration not to exceed five minutes.”

So the Islamic call to prayer is just like church bells. Sure, and informed, devout Muslims are just Methodists with hats and beards. Reality, however, is not so rosy. The Islamic call to prayer, now to be sounded three times a day in Paterson, New Jersey (there are five daily prayers, but two of them fall outside the 6AM-10PM parameters of the ordinance), declares:

Allah is greater (Allahu akbar, four times)

I testify that there is no God but Allah (Ashhadu anna la ila ill Allah) (twice)

I testify that Mohammed is Allah’s Prophet (Ashhadu anna Muhammadan rasul Allah) (twice)

Come to prayer (Hayya alas salah, twice)

Come to success (Hayya alal falah, twice)

Allah is greater (Allahu akbar) (twice)

There is no God but Allah (La ilah ill Allah) (once)

Besides being screamed out by Islamic jihad terrorists all over the world (9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta said it “strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers"), “Allahu akbar” is a clear demonstration of supremacism. It is often mistranslated in the Western media as “God is great,” but its actual meaning is “Allah is greater,” meaning Allah Is Greater Than Your God or Government. It is an aggressive declaration that Allah and Islam are dominant over every other form of government, religion, law, or ethic, which is why Islamic jihadists in the midst of killing infidels so often shout it.

Georgetown Hosts Prof Who Says War on Terror Is 'Manifestation of Islamophobia'
That ain’t exactly an exact analogy to church bells.

Baycora’s swearing-in on the Qur’an presents a similar problem. Whenever this kind of thing comes up, there is no discussion of what the Qur’an actually says. It calls for warfare against (2:191, 4:89, 8:39, 9:5, 9:73, 47:4, etc.) and subjugation of unbelievers (9:29), second-class status for women (4:3, 4:34), hatred of Jews (5:59-60, 5:82, etc.), and more. Americans generally assume that every book that some group of people somewhere in the world thinks of as a holy book teaches love and magnanimity, generosity, tolerance, and peace.

Anyone who has read the Qur’an carefully knows that it doesn’t. So a case can be made that this was not the best course of action for Paterson officials to take. At the very least, a public discussion should take place.

That such a public discussion will take place, however, is about as likely as Bernie apologizing for his entire political career and endorsing Trump. Anyone who raises any question about the wisdom of any of this is immediately denounced as a racist, bigoted “Islamophobe.” In that vein, after the broadcasting of the call to prayer was approved, Paterson Council President Maritza Davila lamented: “The amount of things I saw on social media was so sad. It truly was disheartening.”

Something is indeed disheartening here, but that isn’t necessarily it. The idea that one cannot even raise questions about the wisdom of oath-taking on the Qur’an or the broadcasting of the Islamic call to prayer over loudspeakers, and that anyone who does so has thereby incriminated himself as a “hatemonger,” is in line with the left’s sinister and increasingly open authoritarianism. It is not, however, remotely in line with the American principle of free inquiry. If it’s so fond of messages amplified over loudspeakers, Paterson would have been better advised to start broadcasting the text of the First Amendment in the long run.

Of course, many would say that to oppose the amending of the Paterson noise ordinance and the swearing-in of public officials on the Qur’an is itself an infringement of the freedom of religion. It isn’t in either case. There is no Islamic command that the call to prayer be sounded over loudspeakers, which didn’t exist in Muhammad’s day, and the idea that any book would do for a swearing-in has already been made a mockery when St. Louis County Councilwoman Kelli Dunaway was sworn in on a Dr. Seuss book.

Ultimately, free and open discussion of the questions raised by the recent developments in Paterson won’t happen now, but it will not and cannot be foreclosed forever. Eventually, these questions will become absolutely unavoidable.




CLOSING IN: Bernie Sanders the favorite to win all Super Tuesday states except Alabama (Bongino.com)

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: Cuba's Communist Party newspaper gives Sanders a glowing review (MRCTV)

SCOTUS REVIEW LIKELY: Court hands Trump win in sanctuary-city fight, says administration can deny grant money (Fox News)

FRANKLY, RULE OF LAW — NOT REFORMS — IS THE ISSUE: Republicans break with Attorney General William Barr on FISA renewal, urge reforms before reauthorization (National Review)

SUSPICIOUS BACK-TO-BACK REFINERY FIRES: Cause of Los Angeles-area refinery fire under investigation (AP) | Fire erupts at ExxonMobil refinery in Louisiana (USA Today)

SYMBOLISM: House passes anti-lynching bill after 120 years of failure (The New York Times)

POLICY: Trump's India statecraft is forward-thinking and necessary (Washington Examiner)

MARKET TURBULENCE PERSISTS: After plummeting 1,200 points Thursday, Dow tumbles 900 points early Friday as worst week since the financial crisis continues (CNBC)

TASK-FORCE RECRUIT: White House names AIDS expert Debbie Birx to help lead coronavirus response (NPR)

GOOD NEWS: Israel makes "exciting breakthrough" in race for coronavirus vaccine (The Daily Wire)

INTRAPARTY TURMOIL: Democrat superdelegates say they're willing to prevent Bernie Sanders from becoming the nominee (The Daily Caller)

"THEY NEED TO INVESTIGATE THIS": Joe Biden under probe in Ukraine for alleged link to top prosecutor's 2016 ouster (Fox News)

TRYING TO THREAD A NEEDLE: Venezuelans seeking asylum present unique challenge to Trump administration (The Washington Post)

FOR THE RECORD: Hillary Clinton took more cash from Harvey Weinstein than any other Democrat (New York Post)

HEADS TO INFANTICIDE-SUPPORTING GOVERNOR: Virginia legislature passes bill rolling back abortion restrictions (National Review)

DEPRAVITY: Viral TikTok shows teenage girls giggling while one gets an abortion (The Federalist)

POLICY: The direct-primary-care solution for America's healthcare woes (National Review)

POLICY: The Great Recession recovery wasn't powered by Obama; it was oil and gas (Washington Examiner)


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

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



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

Envy was once considered to be one of the seven deadly sins before it became one of the most admired virtues under its new name, 'social justice.’ - Thomas Sowell

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

The Left Doesn't Like Christmas because Christmas is just too happy for them

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Who is this Leftist? Take his description of his political program: A "declaration of war against the order of things which exist, against the state of things which exist, in a word, against the structure of the world which presently exists". You could hardly get a more change-oriented or revolutionary programme than that. So whose programme was it? Marx? Lenin? Stalin? Trotsky? Mao? No. It was how Hitler described his programme towards the end of "Mein Kampf". And the Left pretend that Hitler was some sort of conservative! Perhaps it not labouring the point also to ask who it was that described his movement as having a 'revolutionary creative will' which had 'no fixed aim, _ no permanency, only eternal change'. It could very easily have been Trotsky or Mao but it was in fact Hitler (O'Sullivan, 1983. p. 138). Clearly, Nazism was nothing more nor less than a racist form of Leftism (rather extreme Leftism at that) and to label it as "Rightist" or anything else is to deny reality.

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Leftist principles are as solid as foam rubber. When they say that there is no such thing as right and wrong they really mean it.

There is no dealing with the Left. Their word is no good. You cannot make a deal with someone who thinks lying and stealing are mere tactics, which the Marxists actually brag about

Montesquieu knew Leftists well: "There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice."

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The current Leftist mantra

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
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"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
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Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
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Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
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Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
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basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)