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

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

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31 May, 2016

Is Trump just another Fascist?

I have commented on this accusation before but the article below originates from the NYT so I probably should offer a few more comments.

For a start, Trump is if anything philo-semitic rathrer than antisemitic.  That's not strictly relevant as Mussolini was not antisemitic either -- until Hitler pushed him into it.  But in the popular mind Fascism and antisemitism are strongly associated.  When Donald opened his club in Palm Beach called Mar-a-Lago, he insisted on accepting Jews and blacks even though other clubs in Palm Beach to this day discriminate against blacks and Jews.  And his recent speech at AIPAC was warmly pro-Israel.

But picking at little bits that Trump has said here and there miss the main game entirely.  Fascism was LEFTIST and Trump sure is not that.  There has NEVER been a Fascist type regime emanating from  conservatives.  Some past conservative regimes have in fact been remarkably libertarian -- the 19th century's Lord Salisbury, for instance

And the various Latin American dictators of C20 were Bolivarists, not conservatives. And Bolivar had little time for democracy.  The keenest modern-day Bolivarists rule Venezuela. Enough said about that, I think.

You would have to go back to Oliver Cromwell to find a dictator with any sort of conservative identity and Cromwell was not much of a dictator.  He was invited to his role by his fellow Puritan leaders, who saw the need for strong leadership in turbulent times. Cromwell was certainly hard on his Irish opponents but they largely brought that down on their own heads.  There was no Geneva convention at that time.

Leftists moan about Pinochet but he rose to power in response to a desperate plea from the Chilean parliament after a Marxist president had burnt the electoral rolls.  That Pinochet  subsequently used Leftist methods to round up Leftist opponents of his rule was simply a case of him giving the Left a long overdue taste of their own vicious medicine.  And Pinochet was not in fact conservative.  He was originally appointed to the army leadership precisely because he was seen as non-political.  He was just a General doing a job to which he had been invited.  And he retired from that job voluntarily.

Outside of Africa, ALL the vicious regimes of C20 were Leftist -- whether Communists or Fascists.  So the fact that  Trump is not a Leftist GUARANTEES that he is not a Fascist

Former governor William F. Weld of Massachusetts has equated Donald Trump’s immigration plan with Kristallnacht, the night of horror in 1938 when rampaging Nazis smashed Jewish homes and businesses in Germany and killed scores of Jews.

It was a provocative analogy, but it was not a lonely one.

Trump’s campaign has engendered impassioned debate about the nature of his appeal and warnings from critics on the left and the right about the potential rise of fascism in the United States. More strident opponents have likened Trump to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

To supporters, such comparisons are deeply unfair smear tactics used to tar conservatives and scare voters. For a bipartisan establishment whose foundation has been shaken by Trump’s ascendance, these backers say, it is easier to delegitimize his support than to acknowledge widespread popular anger at the failure of both parties to confront the nation’s challenges.

But the discussion comes as questions are surfacing around the globe about a revival of fascism, generally defined as a governmental system that asserts complete power and emphasizes aggressive nationalism and often racism.

In such places as Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan employ strongman tactics. In Austria, a nationalist candidate came within three-tenths of a percentage point of becoming the first far-right head of state elected in Europe since World War II.

In Hungary, an authoritarian government has clamped down on the news media and erected razor wire fences to keep out migrants. There are worries that Poland could follow suit. Traditional parties in France, Germany, Greece, and elsewhere have been challenged by nationalist movements amid economic struggles and waves of migrants.

In Israel, fascism analogies by a former prime minister and a top general have again inflamed the long-running debate about the occupation of Palestinian territories.

“The crash of 2008 showed how globalization creates losers as well as winners,” said Mark Leonard, the director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “In many countries, middle-class wages are stagnant and politics has become a battle over a shrinking pie. Populists have replaced contests between left and right with a struggle between cosmopolitan elites and angry nativists.”

That dislocation may not lead to a repeat of Europe in the 1930s, but it has fueled a debate about global political trends.

“On a world level, the situation that affects many countries is economic stagnation and the arrival of immigrants,” said Robert Paxton, a professor emeritus at Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars of fascism. “That’s a one-two punch that democratic governments are having enormous trouble in meeting.”

Americans are used to the idea that other countries may be vulnerable to such movements, but while such figures as Father Charles Coughlin, the demagogic radio broadcaster, enjoyed wide followings in the 1930s, neither major party has ever nominated anyone quite like Trump.

“This could be one of those moments that’s quite dangerous, and we’ll look back and wonder why we treated it as ho-hum at a time when we could have stopped it,” said Robert Kagan, a scholar at the Brookings Institution known for hawkish internationalism.

Kagan sounded the alarm this month with a Washington Post op-ed article, “This Is How Fascism Comes to America,” that gained attention. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from conservative Republicans,” he said. “There are a lot of people who agree with this.”

Trump has provided plenty of ammunition for critics. He was slow to denounce the white supremacist David Duke and talked approvingly of beating up protesters. He has praised Putin and promised to be friends.

He would not condemn supporters who launched anti-Semitic blasts at journalists. At one point, Trump retweeted a Mussolini quote: “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

Asked by Chuck Todd on the NBC program “Meet the Press” about the retweet, Trump brushed off the quote’s origin. “I know who said it,” he said. “But what difference does it make whether it’s Mussolini or somebody else?”

“Do you want to be associated with a fascist?” Todd asked.

“No,” Trump answered, “I want to be associated with interesting quotes.”

Trump’s allies dismiss the criticism as politically motivated and historically suspect. The former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich, who has said he would consider being Trump’s running mate, said in an interview that he was “deeply offended” by what he called “utterly ignorant” comparisons.

“Trump does not have a political structure in the sense that the fascists did,” said Gingrich, a onetime college professor who earned his doctorate in modern European history. “He doesn’t have the sort of ideology that they did. He has nobody who resembles the brownshirts. This is all just garbage.”



Genetics is the overwhelming influence on what sort of person we are

Leftists hate genetics because it stands in the way of their Fascist desire to "mould" us in some way suitable to their fantasies.  But the more advances there are in genetics, the more we see the impossibility of their dream.  Their fantasied Eden is just not possible.  Our genetic inheritance is a rock in the way of change. We are what we are and everybody just has to deal with that.  The study below is the latest advance.  It both combines a huge amount of  data and shows surprisingly high levels of inheritance for a huge range of human traits.  Hans Eysenck, a prolific writer on genetics, once said to me in an off-the-cuff remark: "It's ALL genetic".  That is very close to being so

Meta-analysis of the heritability of human traits based on fifty years of twin studies

Tinca J C Polderman et al.


Despite a century of research on complex traits in humans, the relative importance and specific nature of the influences of genes and environment on human traits remain controversial. We report a meta-analysis of twin correlations and reported variance components for 17,804 traits from 2,748 publications including 14,558,903 partly dependent twin pairs, virtually all published twin studies of complex traits. Estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%. For a majority (69%) of traits, the observed twin correlations are consistent with a simple and parsimonious model where twin resemblance is solely due to additive genetic variation. The data are inconsistent with substantial influences from shared environment or non-additive genetic variation. This study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the causes of individual differences in human traits thus far and will guide future gene-mapping efforts. All the results can be visualized using the MaTCH webtool.



Overtime Regulations to Hurt Employees, Small Businesses

The Department of Labor's overtime rule hurts American workers

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced revisions to the proposed rules interpreting the Fair Labor Standard Act’s regulations on the overtime compensation pay of white-collar, salaried workers. Currently, salaried employees making more than $23,660 annually are exempt from the DOL requirement that employers pay time-and-a-half for each hour over 40 hours weekly. The final rule, with several key changes to the proposed rule, will extend over-time pay protections to over 40 million American workers.

The most significant change to the DOL final rule is that it extends overtime pay benefits to all workers to $47,476 – roughly double the current annual salary ceiling. It also increases the minimum salary required for a “highly compensated employee” exemption to the rule. This amount was increased from $100,000 to $134,004.

Additionally, these salary levels will be subject to an automatic increase every three years.

The logic behind this rule is that if employers are forced to pay their current workers for the overtime they are already working, the regulation will produce one of two outcomes: 1.) the extra compensation will go straight into the pockets of salaried workers, or, 2.) companies will instead decide to hire more workers, thus creating new jobs.

However, in application, the Department of Labor’s justifications fall short, as many companies will adjust employee hours or lower their salaries.

Business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce predict that these rules will have a crippling effect on small businesses and salaried workers.

By forcing businesses to compensate millions of workers for overtime hours, the Department of Labor is hurting the employees it is designed to help. Many salaried employees will not see additional pay as employers will arrange work schedules so that fewer employees work less than 40 hours.

Employees will also be pressured to work overtime hours “off the books” without receiving additional overtime pay. This could specifically affect positions that provide labor-intensive research or any other job that does not function on a predictable 8-hours-a-day schedule.

Those working more than 40 hours per week may be laid off or may have fewer opportunities for advancement. Advancement opportunities will also be cut short for hourly employees, as those hoping to work toward a salaried position will have to wait a great deal longer. The Department of Labor is not only crippling the finances of our small businesses, but is also undermining the efficacy of the American workforce.

Overtime pay regulations have been studied before, and the results are less-than-promising. A 1991 University of Texas study by economist Stephen Trejo found that downward pay adjustments occurred to offset increased overtime pay. A 2003 study by Trejo also found that overtime pay regulations do not reduce average work hours.

The Department of Labor overtime-pay mandate will have far-reaching impact on millions of American workers and small businesses. Congress should reject this poorly-analyzed attempt at regulatory overreach.



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

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


30 May, 2016

Leftist thinking and the Violence in New Mexico

The explanation of Leftism below by Douglas Goode is very similar to my own but I look further back into what makes Lreftists such arrogant monsters

For a number of years I have summarized the difference between American conservatives and American liberals as follows:  Conservatives derive their ideology from facts; liberals fabricate their facts from their ideology.  But it wasn’t until I began reading Thomas Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society that I realized my pithy summation simply didn’t go far enough.  It only dealt with the symptoms, not the cause; its pith summarized only the what, but not the why.  And because of this, however pithy, clever, or even accurate my summation was, merely stating it to an individual of the Left-leaning persuasion was probably not going to help him or her abandon his or her allegiance to Leftist ideology.  Whatever its wisdom, it was flat-out insufficient to the task of helping a Left-leaning/collectivist individual see the inherent fatal flaw of his or her world view.  At best, its pithy wisdom merely generated a hearty chuckle from fellow conservatives and individualists.

In chapter 4 of Sowell’s Intellectuals and Society he discusses why Left-leaning individuals are so consummately skilled at cherry-picking (or even fabricating facts) to prop up their world view.  (If you can, obtain a copy of his book: pour over it; make notes in the margins and otherwise mark it up; make your copy decidedly your own.  Sowell conveys a great deal of meaty content in clear, concise, and easy-to-understand prose.  His book is about intellectuals, but is not written for them.  Instead, it is written for everyone.)  In chapter 4 he demonstrates that the why is due to what he calls the “vision of the anointed.” He convincingly articulates that this vision is held and believed by intellectuals (and their hangers-on, their fellow travelers, who may not properly be classified as intellectuals themselves).

He compares and contrasts this “vision of the anointed” with the “constrained vision” or “tragic vision” which conservatives (as well as other ordinary people) hold.  The “constrained” or “tragic” vision is characterized by a far more sober review of history and assessment of the human condition.  No, it’s not that conservatives, individualists, and ordinary people have a dark or negative world view of history or of their fellow man.  Instead, they just don’t suffer from well-intended and/or pleasing fantasies.  They have hopes for a better world, certainly, but hopes that are grounded by, or tethered to, a far more realistic point of view.  For in spite of whatever well-intended hopes and wishes conservatives and individuals have for a better world, these hopes and wishes are constrained by the tragic and unavoidable realities of the human condition.

But those who have the vision of the anointed believe with almost a religious fervor that they can implement the ideas formulated by intellectuals in order to make human society better.  They see the tragic circumstances of wars, poverty, and numerous other examples of human misery merely as problems for which intellectuals can formulate solutions.  Problems which will be eradicated if we just get out of the way of all the (self-professed) smart people; problems that can be eliminated if we just spend enough of other people’s money.  (Margaret Thatcher’s warning falls on deaf ears.)  In short, if all of us conservative rubes would just let the smart Progressives call the shots and run the show, why, we’ll end up with a better world.  “A Future We Can Believe In.”  In a word, Utopia.

Those individuals who have the constrained vision or the tragic vision see the many instances of human misery as unavoidable aspects of the human condition.  Again, whatever well-intended hopes and wishes they have for a better world, these hopes and wishes are constrained by the tragic realities of the human condition.  When they can they work to mitigate and minimize those numerous instances of human misery and suffering.  (This is why conservatives are far more generous with their time, their money, and their treasure than liberals.  Conservatives are far more generous than liberals.) But they understand and comprehend that no number of acts of charity, no amount of wishful thinking, and no liberal amount of government spending will ever be enough to eliminate human suffering completely.  Thomas Sowell writes, “In the tragic vision, barbarism is always waiting in the wings and civilization is simply ‘a thin crust over a volcano.’”  He continues, “It [the tragic vision] is a vision of trade-offs, rather than solutions, and a vision of wisdom distilled from the experiences of the many rather than the brilliance of a few.” (Intellectuals and Society, pg.78)

Further, those grounded in the constrained vision realize that the poking and prodding and modifying the thin crust of Civilization carries a terrible cost.  That when we allow the self-professed best and brightest have their way, when we allow them to ignore the distilled wisdom of millions upon millions of individuals (whether in the ages gone by, or in the present), when we allow those relative few afflicted with the vision of the anointed to impose their solutions upon those millions, a great deal of unintended suffering and tragedy naturally and unavoidably follows.  When you abrade the fabric of a Civil Society too much, it frays.  When you persist at abrading it in spite of the blaring claxons sounding warning after warning, it completely unravels.  No matter how pure your motives.  No matter how thoroughly you’ve convinced yourself that just the right tweaks and government “investments” will make things all better.

Sadly, those afflicted with the vision of the anointed do not see this.  Despite the historical record, despite failure after failure of socialism, communism, or any other collectivist vision, they cling to their ideological fantasies with an almost unflinching iron-clad grip.  They have to.  Their entire egos are invested in it.  For this is another aspect of the vision of the anointed.  They see their vision not as one among several:  they see their vision as the only legitimate one.  Worse, they see themselves as part of an inner-circle, if you will.  They see themselves as the anointed.  Thus, they believe that they are due and deserve special deference and laud.  Worse, they see all of us who do not share their self-professed enlightened point of view as not just wrong but downright evil.

Is it any wonder, then, that when you challenge their pleasing fantasies, you’re not just “damaging their calm,” you are utterly decimating their chosen and cherished fantasy world?  Worse, because they have invested their very egos into their fabricated fantasy, and see you or see me as evil, they cannot debate in the arena of ideas and agree to disagree when A Conflict of Visions manifests.  In their erudite eyes, views different from theirs must be illegitimate: in short those views must be destroyed, not tolerated.

So they are going to be terribly tempted to fight tooth and nail.  When they can no longer resist that temptation they quickly resort to violence.  Our challenges to their chosen and cherished fantasies are a towering threat to their entire being.  In their eyes, their very lives and livelihoods are at stake.  What we saw in New Mexico is repeated over and over again where Left-leaning malcontents gather to protest and abandon all self-restraint.  The thin, civilized crust containing the volcano’s raging fire is insufficient for the task.  Mr. Trump and his supporters serve as just the current focus for this volcanic rage.  He, and they, are not the first; he, and they, will not be the last.



Hillary as a monster from the Id

Please don't put the powers of the Presidency into the hands of a hostile and vindictive b*tch

American elections had, since the abandonment of the bipartisan "containment" [of the Soviets] consensus in 1972, been fought largely on ideological grounds: McGovern vs. Nixon, Carter vs. Reagan, Clinton vs. Bush I, Gore vs. Bush II, even Obama vs. McCain/Romney. The genius of Obama and his team was to present the most ideological candidate since Reagan as the smiling African-American liberals wished lived next door, and so the extremity of his anti-American agenda was masked by the smile and the shoeshine.

We now arrive at what -- at this moment, anyway -- is likely to be the 2016 choice. Obama, like Bush II, did not provide for a plausible successor, and the GOP, against its usual dynastic practice, chose not to hand the baton to multiple-loser Mitt Romney. Instead, the Democrats will likely nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, a woman of no accomplishment, but whose scary mug has been thrust into American faces since the campaign of 1992, and just won't go away. In a just world, of course, she would have been long ago indicted on any of her multiple scandals, but -- with the evidence of the Clintons, cockroaches and the Kardashians before us -- we do not live in a just world.

Mrs. Clinton is a hard-core Alinskyite -- she wrote her senior thesis on this devil while at Wellesley -- as is Obama. There is no question she is to the left of her husband, Bubba, whose sexual and financial appetites were always first and foremost in his mind. But her weakness is the same as her husband's: an unceasing, voracious appetite for money:

“Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?
Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.

So what would Washington and Jefferson make of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”

Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.

No wonder Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary.”

Even more than her beloved helpmeet, Mrs. Clinton has perfected the Leftist art of living high on the hog while at the same time mouthing (insincere) platitudes about her love for the masses. Pick your forbear: Lady Macbeth, Eva Peron or any of the currently interchangeable female dictators in South America.

It's not just those of us on the Right who despise the Clintons. My good friend, Les Leopold, comes at the Clintons from the Left:

The Democratic Party must nominate the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump. If Bernie wins California, Hillary is not the best candidate.

Oh, I hear the groans aplenty. Hillary won the most votes. Hillary has the most delegates. Bernie can’t possibly win against the Republican attack machine. Katha Pollitt in The Nation colorfully expresses the position heard often from progressive Hillary supporters:

“I just don’t believe Americans are ready for a 74-year-old self-described socialist with a long far-left CV who would raise their taxes by quite a lot. By the time the Republicans got finished with him, he’d be the love child of Rosa Luxemburg and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then it’s hello, President Trump.”
But if Hillary loses California, what does that say about her ability to win in the fall? It would mean that she has alienated most white voters. It would mean she again has lost the vast majority of independents, a crucial category. It would mean she couldn’t win dog catcher among those under 30. And most importantly it would mean that she could lose to Trump.

Precisely. The Left wants to make this a starkly ideological election: Sanders the communist vs. Trump the capitalist. A rogue L'il Orphan Annie vs. Daddy Warbucks! The poor Lithuanian peasant heroes of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle vs. the meatpacking overlords. Sanders would make it so. And, frankly, that would be the best thing for the country: let's have it out, and let's have it out now.

But it won't happen. Even should the FBI recommend Hillary's prosecution on multiple grounds, it's unlikely that the Obama "justice department" would prosecute. After all, right now Barry has it both ways: he can make Hillary dance to his tune or send her to slam, and there's not a damn thing she can do about it. Real Chicago Mob stuff; and it's at times like this that we should remember that Saul Alinksy himself once worked with Al Capone.

Further Sanders-for-real vs. Sanders-the-makebelieve-candidate would be handily destroyed by the GOP, even with the entire press corps rooting for him. Pictures of life in Venezuela right now would be all that it takes. Still, in my heart, I'm rooting for Sanders, one of the most implausible American presidential candidates of all time. Having Sanders on the ballot would finally force the Democrats out from behind their masks and reveal them for what they truly are: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party, and one dedicated to feasting off the corpse of the American experiment while professing fealty to it. The reason they've rigged the game for Hillary is that they don't want Sanders blowing their cover.

Despicable is too nice a word for them.

It's easy to understand, and respect, the opposition of the #neverTrump brigade. Trump is not a "movement conservative" (although I highly doubt that many in the kiddkie korps of kommentators even understand what that means), nor does he pretend to be one. Having watched him since 1981, when I first arrived in Manhattan to work for Time magazine, he appears to have only his own ego as his guiding star; in this, he is not unlike the Clintons.

On the other hand, if the thought of Hillary Clinton -- whose Id rages even more furiously than Trump's -- as president doesn't terrify you, I suggest checking yourself for a pulse. Mrs. Clinton, filled with hatred and a lust for vengeance that would put Hagen to shame, would rampage through the American government like none other, Obama himself included. Obama, after all, only hates America as founded, and wished to "fundamentally transform" the country according to his second-hand socialist whims. His revenge was learned, generic; he will be thrilled to have the sucker taxpayers keep him in style for the rest of his life, and then some.

But with Hillary, this time it's personal. All the rejection (from her husband, and from the voters) is about to go critical, and the explosion will be something to behold -- from far away, which is where I plan to be. It's your vote, and it counts as much as anyone else's. But this year, it's not about ideology. It's about us.



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

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


29 May, 2016

In defence of Trump's trade policies

The orthodox view among economists is that restrictions on trade impoverish a country. And politicians on both sides of the aisle have absorbed that. So with his promise to "bring the jobs back home", Trump flies in the face of a very strong consensus. 

So what will happen? Will Trump increase prices for all Americans?  Do his ideas have no real benefit at all?  The article below considers that and puts up various arguments as to why The Donald is not so silly.  We must remember that Trump is trained as an economist so we can be certain that he will not damage America inadvertently.  He knows the downside of what he proposes.

Economists do acknowledge certain exceptions to the argument for free trade -- the so-called "Australian" case, for instance. And the real world does have a way of upsetting all theories and predictions.  That 19th century America thrived mightily behind high tariff walls is always an embarrassing case, for instance.  So the arguments put forward below are along those lines:  That reality is different.

As a former High School economics teacher myself, I am still rather attached to the consensus view but concede the possibilities mentioned below.  My own view is that Trump will raise tariffs slightly on social grounds.  He thinks that America can afford to pay a small price to avoid social and economic disruption.  And that is a perfectly sensible argument.  Social stability is not guaranteed and may have a price.

And the big costs that Americans bear are from the huge weight of regulations that burden almost all economic activity.  Trump has pledged a heavy attack on such regulations so any price increases due to higher tariffs could be more than outweighed by cuts in regulations.  In other words, reduced regulation could cut prices by a lot more than increased tariffs raise them.  American living standards should resume their long-stalled rise under Trump

THE STRONG DOLLAR AND THE DANGERS of a globalized economy have combined in recent months to favor American manufacturers who sell their products domestically rather than internationally, according to the Wall Street Journal (May 23): "Global industrial giants are struggling under the weight of a strong dollar, reeling commodity markets and weak demand in emerging and advanced economies alike, from Brazil to Europe to China. But domestically oriented U.S. manufacturers are faring better, with steadier business buoyed by the relatively brighter auto, housing and job markets."

As became clear in 2008 (if it wasn't already clear before), interconnectedness in financial markets is a significant part of systemic risk, even though in some cases it ameliorates risk. Global connection within a market, connection across markets and the financialization of all markets bring both opportunity and risk. When sectors of the American economy are heavily connected, whether at the point of manufacture or at the point of sale, with far-flung parts of the globe, every part of their manufacturing and sale process is also made more fragile. It is not always a boon to "antifragility," as the book had it some years ago.

The companies that have weathered the recent turmoil in emerging markets and Europe have been those able to sell their goods domestically regardless of the vagaries of overseas market conditions. The strong dollar has weighed on exporters, but much less so on domestic firms selling their goods locally.

Such news doubtless comes as a shock to those knowing conservatives who knew all along and still know that globalization is the future and get on with it and let's build the future. It's a perplexing stance, in response to which Peter Thiel sensibly noted (in this week's Conversations with Bill Kristol) that the lead stages of globalization are already behind us. Yet the conservative horror at Trump's trade proposals pretends that globalization is all in the future. The Journal's simple report is no longer common sense. Why not?

IT DOES NOT REQUIRE "PRINCIPLES" to recognize that firsthand knowledge of one's countrymen often puts one at a market advantage over those who are from abroad. In making this observation, our purpose is not to argue that trade should only be domestic, or that exporters of products genuinely needed at a foreign market are at a permanent disadvantage. Coffee-growers in Latin America have to export their product to American roasteries, and individual coffee plantations are at no market disadvantage compared to selling on their home markets since in many cases a foreign market is required to move product.

Trading on one's strengths fully comports with the Greatness Agenda outlined by JAG. The Principled crowd for whom free trade is a Principle, however, wrongly assume that the global direction of free trade in many market sectors means that domestically focused manufacturing is increasingly unnecessary or even undesirable. They also wrongly point to the overall glossiness of American manufacturing statistics to excuse the decline in manufacturing employment, as though it doesn't matter if anyone works so long as we've got the things. The problem with elevating free trade into a principle of Principled Conservatism is not that protectionism is the proper opposing principle, but that the application of domestic principles to foreign trade inappropriately hamstrings American policy-makers.

Several years ago, the Harvard Business Review had to remind its readers that the advantages of domestic manufacturing would not necessarily show up in traditional discounted cash flow models designed to compare the costs of locating a plant at home or abroad. "The trouble with this approach," they wrote, "is that DCF typically undervalues flexibility. As a result, companies may end up with supply chains that are lean and low cost as long as everything goes according to plan—but horribly expensive if the unexpected occurs."

Domestic manufacturing has other benefits, as well. Nicholas Ventura, the founder of a small clothing company, employs six hundred people in textile manufacturing across a sixteen-block radius in Los Angeles. By focusing on manufacturing domestically, he wrote in the Washington Post, business owners can avoid the "extreme cost-saving minimums" required for overseas production. "The speed of domestic supply chains," he also noted, "is leaps and bounds quicker than that of overseas supply chains." Similarly, "Forecasting trends in the marketplace is more forgiving with a quick supply chain."

All these points are intuitively obvious, yet they're overlooked when the cultural consensus regarding global capitalism points would-be manufacturers to look abroad. Even if Trump's call to "Make America Great Again" serves no other purpose, it assists however modestly in reorienting potential capital investment domestically. We harbor no illusions about the difficulty in doing so, not least from the pressure brought upon companies as they seek to finance their expanded operations.

The drive toward outsourcing manufacturing, geographically separating design and manufacture, separating production from market, and even separating each part of the manufacturing process are all aspects of culture and not simply market operations. Changes to American trade policy must be preceded by a cultural transformation toward identifying a link between economic production generally and national greatness. The attempts to minimize the phenomenon of Trumpism, to explain it away or to lob cheap (foreign-produced?) insults at its messenger overlook the importance of that simple change.

FORGOTTEN IN THE DISPUTES over Trumpian trade policy is the fact that in the United States, domestic trade is free trade—free across the borders of American states. The drive for free trade within the U.S. was a constituent part of the nation itself and not merely its constitutional settlement. That constitutional permission of trade across state lines formed the American commercial psyche and so formed the nation itself.

Foreign trade, however admirable and important it may be in particular market sectors, does not "form" the nation in the same way. The classical philosophers were regularly concerned about port cities, where citizens could consume foreign ideas and foreign sailors could consume, well, ladies of the night. Plus ça change ...

What distinguishes domestic trade and foreign trade is that foreign affairs are not subject to the same principles which operate in domestic context. Appealing to the "principle" of free trade as a part of the "principles" of Principled Conservatism™ confuses the relationship between conservatism and the American republic as well as the role of "principles" in domestic politics and foreign affairs. The point of the principles of conservatism (at this point, what difference does it make?), is to identify the ways to conserve the American polity. For ourselves, we are neither carte blanche in favor of free trade nor committed to a system such as Fichte's Closed Commercial State. (The matter of the closed commercial state is an important one, however, from the standpoint of identifying the tension between the political forms necessary to achieve domestic goals and those necessary to act effectively in matters of foreign affairs.)

This difference is found in other aspects of American constitutional practice, as well. One cannot say that "liberty of speech" is good such that the American government is equally obligated to protect the liberty of speech of its citizens and that of resident aliens, guest workers, travelers and the like. Similarly, the evident goodness of trade tells us, on its own, not a single thing at all about what our attitude toward Chinese steel dumping should be at a particular moment. (Much to the Cato Institute's chagrin, Reagan violated the principles of free trade on numerous occasions. George W. Bush did, too!) Similarly still, the goodness of living under a representative democratic government in itself tells us nothing about whether to allow some particular immigrant to apply for U.S. citizenship. A sovereign state has the right to close its borders to any group or to open them to any group.

None of these "nothings" tells us that these things are forbidden, either. We may well establish a mutual abolition of tariffs on certain goods with a certain country at a certain time. We may well admit high-skilled workers from European countries, or even Canada, to come to the U.S. and apply for citizenship. Our evaluation of those matters is one of prudence in the interest of American greatness.

Though we disagree with their analysis on other respects, conservatives who link trade policy to foreign policy are at least on the right track. Williamson's argument that "Free men do not have to beg the prince's permission to buy from or sell to whom they choose" is simple obscurantism.

Those who treat free trade as an absolute principle often seem to imagine that America is a very small state with limited national resources, almost entirely dependent on foreign trade to leverage its handful of industries in favor of purchasing basic goods from abroad. Yet the forty-eight contiguous states (and the additional far-flung pair) were gathered in time across a continent rich in natural resources, harboring a variety of climates, and filled with people with a knack for commercial ingenuity. America's commercial ingenuity is part of the strength that it can use for the purposes of preserving and extending national greatness.

A sly comment in National Review's most recent paean to free trade agreements admits that it would be "almost certainly impossible" for the U.S. to pursue protectionist policies even if it wanted to. The reason why is telling. "U.S. manufacturers," writes Scott Lincicome, "have evolved over decades to become integral links in a breathtakingly complex global value chain—whereby producers across continents cooperate to produce a single product based on their respective comparative advantages—that could not be severed without crippling both them and the global economy." The complexity of global manufacturing chains is part of the reality that Lincicome's glossy statistics overlook. Comparative advantages are becoming ever more fungible and easily replaced. Simply occupying a little spot in the global supply chain may not be enough to keep American manufacturers in the supply chain. When the whole supply chain is located domestically (and again, we are not elevating that as a Principle), the matter is different.

How the principle of American greatness became lost and regarded as the antithesis of a principle by Principled Conservatives is the story of conservatism's decline. "There shall be free trade on the part of the United States" is not a Principle but the abdication of political judgment in matters pertaining to American strength. When the Wall Street Journal has to call everyone's attention to the comparative advantage of domestic manufacturing itself, maybe our Principled friends will start to think of ways to shore it up.



Trump Just Announced His Pick for Attorney General – Hillary’s Worst Nightmare!

Donald Trump has made yet another announcement that will dismay Democrats across the country, and that is his choice for Attorney General. Trump tweeted that his pick for Attorney General is South Carolina conservative Rep. Trey Gowdy, who currently chairs the U.S. House of Representative’s Select Committee on Benghazi.

Gowdy has been a constant thorn in the Obama administration’s side, and has exposed the White House’s incompetence on everything from amnesty to IRS abuses to the illegal deletion of Clinton’s emails.

Trump’s tweet read, “@HillaryClinton’s toast. Dems had better get the”B Team” off the bench. @TGowdySC for Attorney General under President Trump.” This tweet came right on the heels of an announcement that Trump would want Sarah Palin on his Cabinet.

Trump is looking to build a team of influential conservative leaders who have fought against the liberals. He and Gowdy share the same no-nonsense style.



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

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


27 May, 2016

Donald Trump is the Republican candidate.  We need to get to know him

* Donald John Trump, was born June 14, 1946.

* He will be 70 years old on election day.

* From the Internet, he is 6'2" or 6'3' and weighs between 195 and 200 lbs.

* He has a full head of blond/brown hair (which is long and elaborately combed) and blue eyes.

* The Internet tells us he wears a size 12 shoe.

* Donald Trump was born the fourth of five children who were born over eleven years.

* The oldest, Mary Ann, was born in 1937 and is currently a Federal Judge.

* His older brother, Fred Jr, died in early adulthood as a result of complications from alcoholism.

* He has another older sister, Elizabeth and a younger brother, Robert.

* Donald Trump has been married three times.

* Trump's first wife, Ivana, was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and a divorcee who has been married 4 times in her life. She is a life long avid skier and worked in design at the Trump Organization.

* Marla Maples, Trump's second wife is an actress and model

* Trump's third wife, Melania is an immigrant from Slovenia (born in Yugoslavia) and has been a super model.

* Two of Trump's children, Donald Jr and Ivanka, have gone to Penn. Son Eric, went to Georgetown.

* Donald Trump tells us that he is Presbyterian.

* Donald Trump does not appear to have had any interest in occults, mysticism or exotic mythologies.

* Donald Trump's oldest daughter, Ivanka, and her three children are Jewish.

* Trump's oldest daughter, Ivanka, is married to Jared Kushner who is, among other things, a newspaper publisher. The Kushner family is very successful in New York City area real estate.

* Donald's grandmother, mother, first wife, and third wife are all immigrants.
* Donald Trump was born and raised in Queens NY

* Though his family was very wealthy, Trump's boyhood home in the Jamaica Estates section of Queens was not a grand mansion. The Trump home was a larger version of the homes Fred Trump was building for his tenants.

* There are no indications that the Trump family lived among the wealthy elites on vacations or country clubs.

* Queens is the largest of New York's five boroughs and the most  ethnically diverse.

* Trump attended a local private day school, the Kew Forrest School, in Queens until about 8th grade.

* His secondary schooling was at New York Military Academy which is about 60 miles north of NYC in Cornwall on the Hudson. He was the class of 1964.

* Trump was never a "Preppie".

* Trump never embraced any aspect of the "Hippie" movement of the time.

* Trump was a very good high school athlete - football, soccer, and especially baseball. He had potential to become a professional baseball player.

* Even in high school - Trump liked women and women liked him

* Trump was generally popular in high school.

* Trump's boarding school room mate liked him.

* He attended Fordham University in NYC for two years and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

* At that time, the Wharton School offered a rare program for Real Estate Business.

* Though he was of age, Donald Trump did not serve in Vietnam.

* He was not drafted due to bone spurs in his heels (4F) and also student deferments.

* Ultimately, in the draft lottery, he drew a high number.

* By all we know, Donald Trump does not smoke, drink or use recreational drugs. He'll be the first President in more than 25 years who hasn't smoked weed.

* BTW: Trump's children don't smoke or drink

* Trump makes it well known that he enjoys sexual interaction with women.

* I am unaware that Donald Trump is a recreational gambler.

* His doctor publicly announced Donald to be in excellent health.

I think that to really know Donald Trump, you must know his family background.

The Trump family story is a very American story.

Trump family history - concise version.

* Donald Trump's grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Alsace  (Kallstadt, Germany) which throughout history has been alternately French and German. The Trumps are German, originally speaking the same German dialect as the Amish of Lancaster County, PA.

* His maternal grandparents lived in Scotland.

* Freiderich (Drumph) Trump made a small but respectable fortune in the late 19th Century in the mining boom towns of the American Northwest.

* He returned to Germany to marry his childhood neighbor, Elizabeth Christ.

* The newly married Trumps resettled in the Borough of Queens NY

* Freidrich was establishing a Real Estate business in Queens when he died suddenly at age 49 (1918).

* In 1920, at the age of 15, Fred Trump (Freiderich's son and Donald's father), started a business partnership with his widowed mother called Elizabeth Trump & Son.

* This business was built upon the real estate holdings that his  father,Frederich, had amassed (worth about $500,000.00 in today's dollars). This is the original "seed money" of the current Trump  Organization.

* Elizabeth & Fred remained close business partners her entire life (she died in 1966).

* In 1936 Fred Trump (age 31) married Mary Ann MacLeod (age 24) of Stornaway Scotland.

* During the depression, Fred Trump built and successfully operated a supermarket (a new concept at the time) which was sold to King Kullen Co. and operates this day.

* Fred Trump made a lot of money building housing for the military during WWII.

* Fred Trump was investigated by the Justice Department for making "excessive profits" from government contracts.

* All (or nearly all) of the building of Elizabeth Trump & Son's non government building was residential property in Queens.

* Fred Trump died in 1999 (age 94) - beloved and worth between $250 million and $300 million. His wife died a year later.

"The Donald's" career

Donald Trump is the greatest career achiever of the "baby boomer" generation.

Donald Trump has reached the zenith in his careers as book author, TV entertainer, sports entertainer, Real Estate developer, and currently politician.
* Donald Trump has authored more than 18 books. At least one of them, The Art of the Deal was a top seller.

* Donald says that the Holy Bible is his favorite book. The Art of the Deal is his 2nd favorite book. And The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale is his third favorite book.

* He likes golf. Donald Trump has developed more than 11 golf courses which bear his name.

* Donald Trump has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award

* Donald Trump has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

* Donald Trump has been inducted to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

* Donald Trump has appeared in more than a dozen movies such as Home Alone 2, Zoolander, and Little Rascals

* Donald Trump has been a guest actor in more than 6 TV shows such as Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Days of Our Lives, Sex and the City, and others.

* Trump has been the Executive Producer of 7 TV shows.

* Trump has been the guest host of 5 TV shows such as Extra, Larry King Live, and Saturday Night Live and more.

* Donald Trump has been co producer of the longest running reality TV show.

* Donald Trump performed in several WWE wrestling shows.

* Donald performed in Wrestlemania 23 which set attendance records and revenue records up til that time.

* In his first candidacy for public office, Donald Trump received the most popular votes for the President of the United States out of a field of experienced and successful politicians. And in most cases, he achieved this with less money than any of his opponents.

Keeping in mind that 90% of start up businesses fail, Trump's record of enterprise is nothing short of amazing.

Donald Trump has enjoyed success in at least 11 very different  enterprises: Professional football, Ice Skating rinks, Fragrance, Ice, Steaks, Wines, Model management, Airline, blenders, Men's wear, Bicycle races, world class beauty contests, and many others. In some of these, such as model management, his firm has risen to the top of that particular industry.

* There are 31 buildings that bear his name.

* The largest private real estate development in New York is Trump Riverside. Drive down the Henry Hudson Blvd. - you can't miss them.

* There are at least 12 Trump Towers

* There are at least 6 Trump Plazas.

* There are at least 11 Trump Golf Course developments

* And much, much, more in real estate.

* Trump Entertainment, casinos and resorts was recently sold to Carl Ichan.

* Donald Trump's personal managing of the Wollman Ice Skating Rink project in the early 1980's is the quintessential case study for MBA students in Wharton, Harvard, and other business schools. His performance there was phenomenal.

* Donald Trump's privately held businesses have employed more than 200,000 people.

* In the casino business in Atlantic City, Trump had to do business with known mobsters - and he stayed "clean" and alive.

* Aside from his personal investments, Donald Trump has never been a Wall Street "player".

The Political Trump:

About 1967 - 1987 - Democrat (he was a supporter of Ronald Reagan)

1987 - 1999 - Republican

1999 - 2001 - Reform Party (he supported Ross Perot)

2001 - 2009 - Democrat

2009 - 2011 - Republican

2011 - 2012 - Independent

2012 - Present - Republican

Donald Trump was openly supportive of Mitt Romney's candidacy.

Donald Trump does not seem to hold political party organizations in high regard.

For the most part, his political involvement has been for practical reasons.

Donald Trump does not appear to be held to political ideology.

Some of my take aways:

* Trump has an extraordinarily energetic central nervous system much like Teddy Roosevelt but more targeted to industry and enterprise.

* Trump's presidency will be very energetic, transparent, and communicative.

* Trump will be a very hard working President.

* His interaction with his older brother (who everybody loved) tells me that he thinks that everybody is like him - or wants to be - or should be.

* His relationship with his older brother was a hard lesson in tolerance for him.

* Trump is the Babe Ruth of career achievements.

* He is dumb like a fox. When you think he just said something stupid - he didn't. It's just that you were not his target audience.

* Trump knows the people - the folk.

* His son, Donald Jr. is right. Trump is a "Blue Collar Billionaire".

* More than anything, his TV show, The Apprentice, was his passion. He  wants all Americans to have confidence (like he does) to venture.

* Donald Trump is attracted to and marries smart, high achieving women.

* The highest levels of a Trump Administration is certain to have many women - and they will be bright and assertive.

* Donald Trump's children are very important to him. And it shows.

Author unknown


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

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


26 May, 2016

Fascist behavior from the American Left

Very similar to Hitler's brownshirts

PROTESTS outside a Donald Trump rally in New Mexico turned violent Tuesday night as demonstrators threw burning T-shirts, plastic bottles and other items at police officers, overturned trash cans and knocked down barricades.

Police responded by firing pepper spray and smoke grenades into the crowd outside the Albuquerque Convention Center.

During the rally, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was interrupted repeatedly by protesters, who shouted, held up banners and resisted removal by security officers.

The banners included the messages “Trump is Fascist” and “We’ve heard enough.”

At one point, a female protester was physically dragged from the stands by security.

Other protesters scuffled with security as they resisted removal from the convention centre, which was packed with thousands of loud and cheering Trump supporters.

Trump responded with his usual bluster, instructing security to remove the protesters and mocking their actions by telling them to “Go home to mommy.”

He responded to one demonstrator by asking, “How old is this kid?”  Then he provided his own answer: “Still wearing diapers.”

Trump’s supporters responded with chants of “Build that wall!”

The altercations left glass at the entrance of the convention centre smashed.

During the rally, protesters outside overran barricades and clashed with police in riot gear.

They also burned T-shirts and other items labelled with Trump’s catchphrase, “Make America Great Again.”

Tuesday marked Trump’s first stop in New Mexico, the nation’s most Hispanic state.

Governor Susana Martinez, head of the Republican Governors Association and the nation’s only Latina governor, has harshly criticised his remarks on immigrants and has attacked his proposal to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. The governor did not attend the rally and has yet to make an endorsement.

Trump read off a series of negative statistics about the state, including an increase in the number of people on food stamps.

“We have to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job, OK?” he said, adding: “Hey, maybe I’ll run for governor of New Mexico. I’ll get this place going.”

The governor’s office fired back, saying Martinez has fought for welfare reform. “The potshots weren’t about policy, they were about politics,” said spokesman Michael Lonergan. “And the Governor will not be bullied into supporting a candidate until she is convinced that candidate will fight for New Mexicans, and she did not hear that today.”

Trump supporters at the rally said they appreciated his stance on boosting border security and stemming the flow of people crossing the border illegally, but some said they were frightened by the violent protests outside.

Albuquerque lawyer Doug Antoon said rocks were flying through the convention centre windows as he was leaving Tuesday night. Glass was breaking and landing near his feet.

“This was not a protest, this was a riot. These are hate groups,” he said of the demonstrators.



The filmmakers hoping to take down Hillary Clinton

“DONALD Trump will win in a landslide,” producer of the explosive documentary Clinton Cash, Steven K Bannon, declares to news.com.au.  “It’s going to be a win of Reagan proportions.”

The controversial film, based on the best-selling book by Peter Schweizer, investigates how the Clintons managed to reconfigure their finances, from being “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 to amassing in excess of $US150 million with $US2 billion in donations to their foundation in only a few years.

The film was recently screened at the Cannes Film Festival to an audience of journalists and theatre distributors glued to their seats.

“What I find shocking is that there’s this thought process that Hillary Clinton is going to be president of the United States, and to even think of Donald Trump is a joke,” Bannon says.

“Journalists think it’s inconceivable that she is not going to be president of the United States. Then they see the film and the first reaction you get is, ‘How come nobody knows this stuff? How come it’s not out in the popular press?’”

The film chronicles the years in which the Clintons and their foundation amassed money and where they got it from, including fees paid to Bill Clinton for speeches while his wife was secretary of state. This includes $US1.4 million he received for two speeches in Nigeria in 2011 and 2012, during the time the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, was under fire for his human rights record.

Peter Schweizer, author of the book of the same name, says: “The political leaders who enriched them and how they have been enriched affects the decisions they make. We should care who is putting money in the pockets of politicians. If you are a cabinet officer in the United States you should not have a foundation that is taking money from foreign governments and foreign entities. We need to have those reforms or this is going to become widespread.”

Bannon is the executive chairman of the politically conservative Breitbart news site and he’s honest about wanting to take the Clintons down.  “Trump is a product of a seething populism and nationalism that is the driving political force,” he says animatedly.

“We were the first guys to give Trump an interview three years ago in May of 2013. The mainstream just laughed at him but I’m a filmmaker and I watch the audience. They were leaning into what Trump said when he talked about making America great again, getting jobs back and stopping immigration.

“I don’t like to prognosticate but I was the very first guy three years ago that said Trump will be the Republican nominee and was mocked and ridiculed.”

Bannon is sipping his morning coffee on the sun-dappled patio of Cannes’ iconic Carlton Hotel, perched on the Mediterranean Sea where the likes of George Clooney, Blake Lively, Justin Timberlake and an endless array of models are milling about.

“George Clooney, who is a moron, came here to Cannes and gave a press conference saying, ‘Under no circumstances will Trump ever be president. Hillary Clinton will be the next president.’ Well, we can’t wait to make George Clooney eat his words. He has a false patina of intellectualism and this is what a hypocrite he is; he talks all this trash about money and politics and global warming but lives up in Italy at the villa [on Lake Como] and flies around in a jet,” he says.

Taking a decidedly no-holds-barred approach, Bannon says of the Clintons, “They are trailer trash. They are grifters.”

And on the age-old question, the subject of many a classic country music anthem, why did Hillary stand by her man? “Because she is possibly about to become the most powerful person in the world, and possibly the first female president of the most powerful nation in the history of the earth,” Bannon says.

Though the documentary is largely seen as a tool for the Republicans during this historic election year, Clinton Cash has also proved to be an aid for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders.

“It’s a great weapon for Sanders. The polling shows Hillary Clinton’s biggest weakness is not her competence as Secretary of State, as a senator or her stand on women’s issues, it’s that people don’t trust her,” he says, leaning in.

“Particularly when it comes to money. Sixty-five per cent think she’s dishonest, but Bernie hasn’t used that and I think one of the reasons is quite simple: these people roll very hard. The Clintons play smash mouth,” he says. “They will come at you.”



"Never Trump" does not own conservatism

"He's a mere celebrity whose ignorance will destroy the Republican Party and if, God forbid, elected president, he will start World War III"

But enough about what the Washington Establishment said about Ronald Reagan. That was 40 years ago when he challenged President Ford. Let's talk about now and how the Washington Establishment continues to brush Trump off as a mere celebrity whose ignorance will destroy the Republican Party and if, God forbid, elected president, he will start World War III.

My take is that if a person does not want to vote for Trump, fine. I respect that. If you want to leave the party as a matter of principle, I am OK with that.

However, the Never Trump crowd is another kettle of fish that need to be fried. If you write for the oldest conservative magazine in Washington (National Review) yes, you are are part of the Washington Establishment. That is how it works. If you are a Fox News contributor based in the nation's capital, you are are part of the Washington Establishment. Ditto the Weekly Standard. Ditto a host of think tankers. Stop pretending you are some sort of renegade. You live in the American Versailles. You are part of it.

There is nothing wrong with the Washington Establishment except a $19 trillion national debt, a string of wars, the rise of the Islamic State, the tanking of the economy, borders that are unprotected, and free trade agreements that have forced Wal-Mart to quit its "Buy American" policy.

For all their malarkey about the free market and capitalism, few in the Washington Establishment live in that world. They get huge salaries from tax-exempt corporations that survive on tax-exempt donations.

Their ignorance of how capitalism works showed this year. In the marketplace of ideas, they lost. For all their huffing and puffing, they could not  blow Trump down because his ideas trumped his personality. Got that? The only Cult Of Personality is that of Cruz who frankly is another empty suit, only he comes with a Bible.

His promise of running a constitutional government is laughable. We already do. Congress writes laws, the president carries them out, and the Court decides whether the laws pass constitutional muster. Yes, the Roberts Court upheld Obamacare, but it also struck down DC's gun law and McCain-Feingold. You may disagree with the Court but that does not make the rulings unconstitutional.

Nor does opposition to Trump make you more conservative than me.

Free trade?

Patrick Buchanan pointed out that from Lincoln to Coolidge (and of course, Hoover) Republicans and conservatives stood for protective tariffs.

From Buchanan:

During his presidency, Congress passed and Abe signed 10 tariff bills. Lincoln inaugurated the Republican Party tradition of economic nationalism.

Vermont’s Justin Morrill, who shepherded GOP tariff bills through Congress from 1860 to 1898, declared, “I am for ruling America, for the benefit, first, of Americans, and for the ‘rest of mankind’ afterwards.”

In 1890, Republicans enacted the McKinley Tariff that bore the name of that chairman of ways and means and future president.
“Open competition between high-paid American labor and poorly paid European labor,” warned Cong. William McKinley, “will either drive out of existence American industry or lower American wages.”

To paraphrase Archie Bunker, mister, we could use a man like Bill McKinley again. The economy thrived.

And the reality is that Reagan was less free trade than Trump is. Reagan slapped tariffs on Japan like it was nobody's business to protect Harley Davidson and others.

Trump is about reaching out. Never Trump is about crawling into a shell. So be it. But that is not a high road they are on.



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

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


25 May, 2016

Why WWI?

The bloodshed and folly of WWI is still horrifying to this day.  It seems that the world went mad at that time. And it happened amid the world's most civilized nations.  ISIS are amateurs compared to the combatants of WWI.

One can detail the processes that led up to it -- and I have done that -- but in retrospect the forces at work do seem insufficient by themselves to explain a vast horror. So the thoughts below by an historian are very relevant.  I will add some further comments at the foot of them:

Jay Murray Winter is the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale University, where he focuses his research on World War I and its impact on the 20th century.

Reflecting on the causes of the First World War, Jay Winter concludes his six-part video series, The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century (1996), as follows:

"The war solved no problems. Its effects, both immediate and indirect, were either negative or disastrous. Morally subversive, economically destructive, socially degrading, confused in its course, futile in its result, it is the outstanding example in European history of meaningless conflict"

Summing up his conclusions more recently, he states:

"1938 is a long way from now, but it’s still a puzzle. What was it for? Why? Why all this bloodshed? Why the carnage? Why the violence? Why the cruelty? I can’t pretend to have an answer, but I know it’s a question that we still have to resolve"

After 50 years of research and writing, this great historian cannot tell us why the First World War occurred.

Yet the reason for the war is staring us in the face. The bloodshed contained its own meaning. One does not have to look beyond what it was. Observing the daily carnage in France in 1916, P. H. Pearse—founder of the Irish revolutionary movement—told us everything we need to know (in Kamenka, 1976):

"The last sixteenth months have been the most glorious in the history of Europe. Heroism has come back to the earth. It is good for the world that such things should be done. The old heart of the earth needed to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. Such august homage was never before offered to God as this, the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country"

The First World War occurred so that the earth could be “warmed with the red wine of the battlefield”. It was a form of “august homage” —millions of lives given “for love of country”.

The First World War was a gigantic demonstration of devotion—abject submission— to the nation-state. Societies from throughout the world offered up their young men upon the sacrificial block. They fed the hungry, humungous god, the nation which, like the god of the Aztecs, comes into being —continues to exist— to the extent that it feeds on the body and blood of sacrificial victims.


The above article, apparently written by psychohistorian Richard Koenigsberg, does take us  back rather vividly to the times concerned and does provide a deeper level of explanation for the events concerned.  All explanations open up further questions, however, so we have to ask WHY the bloodlust of that time?  WHY did people see war and sacrifice as glorious?

The answer lies rather clearly in history -- in particular the history that Leftists want us to to forget or never to be told.    There have always been Leftists -- people who are angry at the society in which they live -- but their doctrines have changed greatly over time.  And it so happens that both world wars happened in the "progressive" era -- a time from the late 19th century to the end of WWII -- in which "progressive" thought swept all before it.  Progressivism was culturally dominant.  The dominant thinking of that quite long period was progressive.  It was only the election of Ike in 1953 to the Presidency that called a partial halt to that dominance.

So if we want to understand the strange thinking that Koenigsberg has detailed above, we have to look at the Progressives and what they believed. They had the basic Leftist inclination to tear down the status quo and upset existing systems that one expects of them -- and there is of course nothing so upsetting to existing life as a war. Additionally, a war can be used to justify big power grabs that would not be countenanced by the population during peacetime. And in WWI President Wilson did exactly that sort of grab.

So it was to satiate their desire for destruction and change that the Progressive doctrine included the ghastly thinking that Koenigsberg details.  And there was no-one so representastive of that thinking than Teddy Roosevelt and his battleships.  He too thought war was glorious and a purification of the human spirit.  Hitler thought that too but Roosevelt much preceded him.  Hitler did, after all, grow up in the Progressive era and got most of his ideas from them: racism, eugenics and the virtue of war.

Leftists of today say roughly the opposite of all those things but that is just a matter of convenience.  After the defeat of Hitler, his doctrines fell into disrepute so Leftists turned on a dime and pretended that his doctrines had never been theirs.  But they were.  So it was the bloodlust that Leftists have always exhibited -- from the French Revolution on -- that underlay the terrible deeds of WWI -- JR


Once again:  Obamacare REDUCES the availability of health care

Mountainous deductibles and now this

An Obama administration proposal to reduce Medicare payments for many prescription drugs has run into sharp bipartisan criticism, suggesting that it is easier to diagnose the problem of high prices than to treat it.

Patients’ advocates have joined doctors and drug companies in warning that the federal plan could jeopardize access to important medications. Every member of the Senate Finance Committee — 14 Republicans and 12 Democrats — and more than 300 House members have expressed concern.

In a letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society said the proposal “does not protect cancer patients’ access to the lifesaving drugs needed to treat their disease.”

The plan “focuses more on the potential for cost savings” than on how to preserve and enhance the quality of care, it said.

The administration says Medicare’s current payment formula rewards doctors for prescribing expensive drugs. Burwell has proposed a five-year nationwide test to encourage doctors to prescribe less expensive therapies under Part B of Medicare.

In its proposal, the administration said “we intend to achieve savings” but did not estimate the amount.

The first phase of the new “payment model” could begin as early Aug. 1. In the second phase, which could start as soon as January 2017, Medicare would link payment to a drug’s value.

The government might, for example, pay more for drugs that it deemed more effective in treating or preventing a particular condition. Or it might pay the same amount for drugs that it judged to be “therapeutically similar.”

These drugs — to treat various types of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, and other conditions — are typically administered in doctors’ offices or hospital clinics. They include drug products that are made from human or animal cells, as well as treatments that mobilize the body’s immune system to fight cancer and other diseases.

Medicare typically pays 80 percent of the cost, and beneficiaries are responsible for the other 20 percent, meaning that they have to pay thousands of dollars a year for some drugs and drug combinations.

Whatever the merits of the proposal, the administration has to date been outmaneuvered on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers say President Obama should withdraw the proposal, a step that appears unlikely at the moment. Many Democrats, alarmed at high drug prices, said the administration was making a worthy effort but should not move ahead without doing more to protect beneficiaries.

Representative Lois Capps, a California Democrat and a nurse, said she was concerned about several aspects of the plan. She listed “the nationwide scope of the project, the possible impact on small medical practices in underserved areas, and the potential shifting of patients from provider offices to expensive hospital settings.”

Two dozen House Democrats, including black and Hispanic lawmakers representing large numbers of poor people, said the proposal could disrupt care for their constituents. Doctors practicing in small groups and rural health care providers have less purchasing power, often must pay higher prices for drugs, and will be unable to absorb the “reimbursement cuts,” the lawmakers said.

Another 60 House Democrats, including some of the most liberal members of Congress, signed a separate letter listing even more questions and concerns.

It is not surprising that drugmakers like Amgen, Genentech, and Merck have asked the administration to withdraw its proposal. But some of their concerns seem to resonate with patients desperate for new treatments and cures.

Bari Talente, executive vice president of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said her group opposed the administration’s plan in its current form. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group for patients, said the proposal “could limit access to long-acting injectable antipsychotic medications” used to treat schizophrenia and other disorders.

In a letter to Medicare officials, Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, said, “This experiment puts the care of patients at unnecessary risk.”



More news from government healthcare: The British experience

Heartless NHS staff ate the food a wife brought into hospital for her cancer-stricken husband, she claims.

Jennifer Sanders, who is suing the hospital over its treatment of her late husband Freddie, also says staff took away his dignity by being rude and not washing him promptly during his 38 days there.

The retired florist said: ‘My Jack Russell dog Riley-Boy was recently treated at a veterinary hospital and he received better care than Freddie.

'I’ve often thought to myself if I put my Freddie in there, instead of that hospital, would he still be here now. His food was taken from a fridge when he was on that ward.

‘I’d bought him Marks & Spencer carrot cake, jelly terrine, vanilla custard, and some Cornish clotted cream and made him up a bowl, trying to encourage him to eat.

‘When I went to get it the following day there was nothing left, except an empty carrot cake wrapper at the bottom of the fridge, the cream and jelly had gone and there was just a tiny blob of custard left.’

Mrs Sanders, 69, added: ‘He was lying there like a bag of bones, he lost nearly eight kilograms over the period of a month from when he had been admitted, yet someone helped themselves.’

Mr Sanders, 66, already had prostate cancer and diabetes when he was admitted to Whipps Cross Hospital, East London, with a severe cough on Boxing Day 2013.

And his widow believes the former council worker was prescribed the wrong medication during his stay, contributing to his eventual death by being given laxatives even though he already had diarrhoea.

Mr Sanders eventually died in November 2014 and his family has now launched legal action against Whipps Cross Hospital.

Mrs Sanders, who now lives in Wickham Market, Suffolk, said: ‘How could a doctor walk past a man’s bed for 38 days when he was in such a state and not notice he shouldn’t have been prescribed a laxative.

'The care he received left me so distraught I considered giving him and myself an overdose of tablets, just so he didn’t have to endure it any more. ‘I love him and I’ve been his wife for 45 years yet I wanted to kill him out of compassion because of what happened there.

‘There were failings in his care – they let him lie crying, covered in his own mess – he lost his dignity and he deserved better than that.’

The case is one of 93 to be highlighted by the Health Service Ombudsman in its latest report into NHS failings.



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

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


24 May, 2016

The only living Trump supporter in Silicon Valley

The most interesting discovery of the week was not that IBM, Citigroup and Microsoft were unwittingly running ads on (and therefore providing funds to) an Indonesian jihadi website – though they were – but that Peter Thiel is supporting Donald Trump in his bid to become the next president of the United States.

“Peter who?” I hear you say. Mr Thiel is not exactly a household name in these parts, but in Silicon Valley he’s a big cheese, as a co-founder of PayPal and the first investor in Facebook. He is therefore rich beyond the dreams of avarice. But he is also: a philosophy graduate; a lawyer; a former bond trader; a hedge-fund manager; a venture capitalist; a philanthropist; a far-out libertarian; and an entertaining author. So what is a guy like that doing supporting Trump?

One answer might be that he’s as much of an irritant to the Silicon Valley crowd as Trump is to the Republican establishment. Although the Valley’s tech titans like to portray themselves as non-statist disruptors, in fact most of them are – politically speaking – Democratic party supporters, albeit of an unusual kind. They may detest trade unions, for example, but they’re very keen on immigration – so long as the immigrants have PhDs from elite Indian or Chinese universities. And they’re not opposed to big government, so long as it’s “smart”, whatever that means.

Peter Thiel doesn’t fit this template at all. In 2009, he published an intriguing essay entitled The Education  of a Libertarian. “I remain committed to the faith of my teenage years”, it began: “to authentic human freedom as a precondition for the highest good. I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual. For all these reasons, I still call myself ‘libertarian’.” But, he confessed, “over the last two decades, I have changed radically on the question of how to achieve these goals. Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

So what changed his mind? Answer: the 2008 banking collapse, which Thiel describes as “a financial crisis caused by too much debt and leverage, facilitated by a government that insured against all sorts of moral hazards – and we know that the response to this crisis involves way more debt and leverage, and way more government. Those who have argued for free markets have been screaming into a hurricane. The events of recent months shatter any remaining hopes of politically minded libertarians. For those of us who are libertarian in 2009, our education culminates with the knowledge that the broader education of the body politic has become a fool’s errand.”

The emerging theme is that democratic politics is irretrievably broken. “In our time,” Thiel says, “the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms – from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called ‘social democracy’. The critical question then becomes one of means, of how to escape not via politics but beyond it.”

In 2009 Thiel could only see three possible escape routes. The first was cyberspace: “By starting a new internet business,” he wrote, “an entrepreneur may create a new world. The hope of the internet is that these new worlds will impact and force change on the existing social and political order.” The second was – wait for it – outer space: “Because the vast reaches of outer space represent a limitless frontier, they also represent a limitless possibility for escape from world politics.” And finally there was what Thiel called “seasteading” – floating islands in international waters run as libertarian paradises, presumably with free copies of Ayn Rand’s books on every bedside table.

Sadly, none of these ideas has – as yet – borne much fruit. The internet has been captured by governments and huge corporations. Colonising Mars and escaping to other galaxies is a proposition only for Hollywood and the Starship Enterprise. And seasteading, though technically less impracticable, remains the fantasy of dreamers and flakes of Cadbury proportions.

Faced with these cruel disappointments, what is a billionaire fantasist to do? Why, hitch his wagon to that of another billionaire fantasist, of course. And Trump and Thiel have more in common than perhaps they realise. In his 2009 essay, for example, Thiel wrote: “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women – two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians – have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” Trump is hoping to turn that oxymoron into a reality.



Pittsburgh Insurer Highmark Going to Court in desperate bid  to recover its Obamacare losses

Health insurers have not had much to cheer about lately, when it comes to Obamacare. They have been losing money on exchanges, and there is little hope that will change. So, a large health plan in Pittsburgh has asked judges to give it Obamacare money the Administration promised, but Congress declined to appropriate.

As reported by Wes Venteicher and Brian Bowling of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Highmark lost $260 million on Obamacare exchanges in 2014, and claims it is owed $223 million by taxpayers. Unfortunately, it received only about $27 million. And things are getting worse. To date, Highmark has lost $773 million on Obamacare exchanges.

It is not that Highmark has been singled out by anybody. On the contrary, the Administration announced last year it was only going to pay about 13 cents on the dollar for all insurers’ exchange losses, via Obamacare’s “risk corridors.” This was not the Administration’s preferred course of action. The Administration wanted to pay insurers one hundred cents on the dollar, which it had promised them.

However, it could only pay out monies it had collected from insurers which had profited more on exchanges than expected. Because both the Administration and most insurers badly miscalculated the risk in Obamacare’s exchanges, there were very few winning insurers, and the revenue a fraction of what was expected.

No problem: Taxpayers would cover the rest – or so the Administration and insurers initially claimed. I was among those analysts who recognized Congress needed to appropriate funds to cover the losses. And Congress was not inclined to do so. As a consequence of having dragged Obamacare over the legislative line in 2010, health insurers lost any sympathy from Republican politicians, who now control both chambers in Congress.

No industry which relies on government revenue, which health insurers increasingly do, can afford to be in that position for long. Government-dependent businesses go to great lengths to flatter politicians of both parties in pursuit of so-called bipartisan solutions. When they win, they win big. One recent example is the Medicare “doc fix” of April 2015, through which a broad coalition of health industry lobbyists managed to get near-unanimous Congressional consent for a budget-busting bill that significantly increases the federal government’s control of the practice of medicine.

Health insurance executives likely look back with some regret at their decision to go all-in on Obamacare in 2010 without any Republican support. Once the GOP took over the Congressional majority, its members attacked a number of suspect Obamacare cashflows that were being paid out to insurers, apparently in violation of the law. It was a remarkable development: Republican politicians who opposed the law were demanding it be executed as written, while the Administration and its insurer allies were demanding it be bent, folded, and mutilated to guarantee revenues to insurers in accord with their business plans.

Insurers had a small win last December, when they got a one year delay in a fee levied on employer-based policies, which funds Obamacare.  It can reasonably be expected that the fee will be kicked down the road again this December, and next December, et cetera, as Obamacare becomes just another unfunded liability.

However, insurers also suffered a major loss when a federal judge decided just a few days ago that the Administration was illegally paying insurers from another pot of Obamacare money, so-called cost-sharing reductions. These are subsidies to insurers which enroll Obamacare beneficiaries whose incomes are so low they cannot afford Obamacare’s high deductibles and co-pays, despite tax credits that reduce their premiums. Insurers receive subsidies to reduce these beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket payments.

However, Congress has not appropriated funds to pay out these subsidies, so the Administration cannot pay them, according to the DC Federal District Court. In the wake of this freshly issued judgment, Highmark’s decision to ask a judge to give it taxpayer dollars not appropriated by a Congress which seeks to repeal Obamacare is a real swing for the fences.

On the other hand, taxpayers can be relieved that only Highmark, one other insurer in Oregon, and the Iowa Insurance Commissioner (on behalf of a failed co-operative health plan) have decided to go for a judicial bailout. The rest of America’s health insurers are in the same boat, not having received as much taxpayer money as the Administration promised. Almost all of them have accepted that fact, and moved on from their failed attempts to wring more money out of Congress to prop up Obamacare.

Investors’ Note: UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), Aetna (NYSE:AET), Anthem (NYSE:ANTM), are among the insurers affected by Congress’ declining to appropriate moneys to subsidize insurers via the Affordable Care Act.



Class war is making the deficit even worse

This article is about the British situation but the American situation is very similar

There are two very different ways to look at the world. The first is to obsess about inequality, including its psychological impact, and worry endlessly about the fact that some people are doing better than others. The second is to concentrate not on differences but absolutes, and to call for policies that ensure that as many people as possible can earn as much as possible.

For proponents of the first approach, reducing the number of rich people, and cutting their income, is an easy way to make progress. They want the gap between the worse-off and the better-off to shrink, and chopping down the tall poppies can achieve that very quickly. Advocates of the second approach would rather try to make sure that everybody, regardless of their income, can earn more, while helping those who cannot look after themselves.

The first group would prefer the rich to lose 5pc of their incomes even if the poor saw theirs stagnate, or in extremis fall slightly; my camp just wants everybody to have a pay rise, even if that means that the rich are getting richer more quickly. We worry hugely when the poor and middle classes don’t get pay rises, as has been the case at least in part in the US in recent years, but don’t see that as a reason to clobber those who are still enjoying rising wages.

This approach is not just better for the worse-off but also hugely superior for the public finances, as the latest figures on tax payments from HMRC demonstrate. A record 391,000 people earned more than £150,000 in salaries, wages, bonuses and dividends in 2015-16; 347,000 of these paid at least some tax at the 45p top rate (the remainder made use of legitimate tax reliefs). These additional rate taxpayers – approximately equivalent to the top 1pc of income earners – handed over an eye-watering £50.1bn in income tax to HMRC, a sum hugely disproportionate to their earnings as a result of the UK’s progressive tax system.

By contrast, millions of people paid no income tax at all, thanks to the Chancellor’s (sensible) policy of massively increasing the personal allowance. This is good news: it makes no sense to give those on low incomes benefits while simultaneously taxing them. It’s inefficient.

Roughly 19.4m people earned less than £30,000 but more than the personal allowance of £10,600; they paid £30.46bn in income tax. The total amount of income tax collected from the 24.6m basic rate income taxpayers came to £55bn, only just higher than the contribution from the 347,000 highest earners.

Compare that to the 16,000 taxpayers who earned at least £1m last year: they handed over £15.75bn to HMRC, around 40pc of their income. Those on high pay are incredibly useful to the taxman. The 5,000 who earn £2m or more hand over an average of £1.88m each per year in income tax alone.

The answer to the UK’s fiscal problems should therefore be clear: we need those on lower incomes to earn more; and we need a lot more rich people. Imagine if we were able to attract another 16,000 people on £1m or more: at a stroke, that would increase HMRC’s revenues by another £15.75bn, dramatically reducing the deficit. These people would employ staff, invest and boost the economy

in other ways, contributing further to the Exchequer. So why has the Government deliberately put in place policies to chase so many of these people away? Squeezing them may well have reduced the potential tax take from this group, rather than increasing it as planned.

Britain also needs better productivity to allow those stuck on low incomes to make more; and it needs even more upper middle-class jobs. The 4.6m people who earn enough to pay the 40p tax rate contributed £66.2bn in income tax, a massive chunk of the total. The more people earn, the more tax they pay, and the better the state of the public finances.

So forget about inequality. The real challenge is the lack of opportunity facing millions on the lower rungs of the labour market, the sluggish pay rises enjoyed by the middle and the fact that we no longer like hosting top-earners in this country. Simple, really.



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

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


23 May, 2016

Trump's problem with women

Ann Coulter at her mocking best:

The New York Times' front-page article last Saturday on Donald J. Trump's dealings with women forced me into a weekend of self-examination. As much as I support Trump, this isn't a cult of personality. He's not Mao, Kim Jong-un or L. Ron Hubbard. We can like our candidates, but still acknowledge their flaws. No one's perfect.

I admit there are some things about Trump that give me pause. I'm sure these will come out eventually, so I'm just going to list them.

First -- and this is corroborated by five contemporaneous witnesses -- in 1978, Trump violently raped Juanita Broaddrick in a Little Rock, Arkansas, hotel room, then, as he was leaving, looked at her bloody lip and said, "Better put some ice on that" -- oh wait, I'm terribly sorry. Did I say Trump? I didn't mean Trump, I meant Bill Clinton.

Hang on -- here we go! Knowing full well about Bill Clinton's proclivity to sexually assault women, about three weeks after that rape, Trump cornered Broaddrick at a party and said, pointedly, "I just want you to know how much Bill and I appreciate the things you do for him. Do you understand? Everything you do."

No! My mistake! That wasn't Trump either. That was Hillary Clinton. ... But this next one I'm sure was Trump.

In the early 1990s, Trump invited a young female staffer to his hotel room at the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, dropped his pants and said, "Kiss it" -- WAIT A SECOND!

I don't know how this keeps happening. That was Bill Clinton. Please bear with me -- it's late at night and my notes are jumbled.

As CEO of an organization, Trump had a female employee, just months out of her teens, perform oral sex on him while he made business calls. That girl's name was Monica Lewin-- No! Wrong again! That was Bill Clinton, too! Please don't stop reading. Let me find my Trump notes ...

What I meant was that Trump was the one who later smeared that girl as a delusional stalker. She may have volunteered for the sex -- at around age 20 -- but Monica Lewinsky didn't volunteer to be slandered! And yet this fiend, this user-of-women, this retrograde misogynist, Donald Trump, deployed his journalist friends, like Sidney Blumenthal, to spread rumors that Monica was a stalker, trying to blackmail the president.

Oh, boy -- this is embarrassing. This must seem very sloppy. That wasn't Trump either; it was Hillary Clinton.

There must be something here that was Trump ... Here! I have one.

When an attractive woman desperately in need of a job came to Trump's office in 1993, instead of helping, he lunged at her, kissed her on the mouth, grabbed her breast and put her hand on his genitals. He later told a mistress that the claim was absurd because the woman, Kathleen Willey, had such small breasts.

Uh-oh -- you're not going to believe this, but -- yep, that was Bill Clinton.

This one, I'm sure was Trump. In January 1992, Trump went on "60 Minutes" to slime nightclub singer Gennifer Flowers, knowing full well she was telling the truth. He implied she belonged in a loony bin, telling millions of viewers "every time she called, distraught ... she said sort of wacky things."

Dammit! I don't know how this keeps happening. That wasn't Trump! That was Hillary, smearing one of her husband's sexual conquests.

Let's just go back to the Times' story, based on months of investigation and interviews with hundreds of women. I'll give it to you straight: When Trump was at the New York Military Academy as a teenager, one person who knew him said -- and this is corroborated by two other witnesses: "Donald was extremely sensitive to whether or not the women he invited to campus were pretty."

I almost threw up reading that. I am physically ill.



Graduates face a big challenge

When they go into the Real World, college and high school grads will actually have to THINK

Paul Driessen

As they don caps and gowns, endure commencement speeches and take their diplomas, many high school and college graduates face bleak prospects in an economy that grew a dismal 0.5% the first quarter.

The United States added a meager 160,000 new non-farm jobs in April, a paltry 4,000 of them in manufacturing. First quarter 2016 averaged just 203,000 jobs per month. The labor force participation rate remains stuck at an abysmal 63% – meaning 93 million working age Americans are still unemployed.

Many who are working hold multiple jobs to make ends meet, while others are toiling at temporary, part-time or “gig” jobs, at lower pay, with few benefits and little job security.

They and the graduates may be hoping that Donald Trump will “Make America great again,” Hillary Clinton will “revitalize” our ailing economy, or Bernie Sanders will “invest” trillions of tax dollars to train and employ millions of young Americans in a 100% clean energy economy.

Like the candidates, they may be blaming our economic woes on China, climate change, Wall Street, the one percent, Mexico, inadequate supervision of greedy capitalist corporations, unpatriotic companies fleeing to foreign shores, or insufficient tax revenues to support essential government programs.

All are appealing excuses, but the real answer is much closer to home and involves multiple self-inflicted wounds. Most legislators and regulators are loath to admit any responsibility for our economic woes, and most graduates will find it hard to analyze the problem. However, the analytical process is essential.

The difficulty for students and graduates is that most were not taught how to think. Their teachers too often present mostly liberal-socialist ideology as unassailable fact, discourage or prohibit discussion and debate, and shelter sensitive snowflakes via speech codes, safe zones and bans on verbal microagression.

While raking in millions of taxpayer dollars for climate research, a cabal of RICO-20 university professors has gone even further. It has asked US and state attorneys general to launch racketeering prosecutions of anyone who disagrees with alarmist views on “dangerous manmade global warming.”

World-renowned physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s admonition has been largely discarded in the halls of academia. “I would rather have questions that can’t be answered,” he said, “than answers that can’t be questioned.” Sadly, answers that none dare question now dominate classroom life.

And so, as you and graduates in your family or circle of friends leave those institutions of rote learning, and go into the Real World, you will have to undertake your greatest challenge: learning to think.

Examining, questioning, discussing and challenging hypotheses, assertions and accepted “facts” are always absolutely essential for scientific, technological and societal progress. In this election year, it behooves us all to demand details from candidates, honestly assess whether their proposals will improve or worsen our economic situation, insist on and participate in rigorous debates, and cast informed votes.

As you try to understand why our economy has been so anemic, why so few jobs are being created, and why one in three young American voters supports socialism as better than free enterprise – here are just a few realities to ponder.

God gave Moses Ten Commandments. The federal government has given us tens of thousands of commandments, enforced by millions of nameless, unelected bureaucrats who have nearly unfettered discretion to interpret and administer their rules. Complying with them costs American families and businesses $1.9 trillion per year. That’s more than the entire Russian economy, more than the IRS collected in corporate and personal taxes in 2015, and $15,000 in hidden costs for every family.

The Obama Administration has been publishing 80,000 pages of new regulations per year – and is preparing to unleash 3,000 more rules before it leaves office. Small businesses are hurt most, as they cannot possibly read, comprehend and comply with this regulatory tsunami. They thus live in fear that any unknown or inadvertent violation will result in massive fines or even jail time. Indeed, more than 4,500 federal rules carry criminal penalties, and lack of knowledge or intent is no defense.

Coupled with the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world, new hourly wage and overtime rules, and mountains of state and local regulations, these federal edicts dramatically impair hiring and growth.

This unintended job and economic destruction has shrunk middle class family incomes by more than $1,000 per year during the Obama era, sent 3 million more families into poverty, and added over 600,000 black Americans to the overall poverty number. The intentional damage is even more insidious.

The Obama EPA’s war on fossil fuels has contributed greatly to the loss of nearly 50,000 coal industry jobs since 2008. Mrs. Clinton has made it clear that she will “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” if she is elected. Like Senator Sanders, she also wants to eliminate most US oil and natural gas production – while ignoring the fact that fossil fuels still provide 82% of all US energy.

That would mean vastly more land-intensive, heavily subsidized wind, solar and biofuel substitutes. It would send electricity and motor fuel prices skyrocketing to levels now found in California and New York, or even in Britain and Germany: double, triple or quadruple what most Americans now pay.

For hospitals, factories, school districts and other major energy users, that would bring thousands to millions of dollars per year in higher costs – and thus countless more lost jobs and closed doors.

President Obama, Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Sanders, most Democrats and even some Republicans justify these self-inflicted wounds by saying they are necessary to prevent catastrophic global warming and climate change. But even if plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide is a primary culprit – and thousands of scientists say it is not – even shutting down all US fossil fuel use would bring no benefits, amid tremendous pain.

China alone accounts for 80% of the entire world’s increase in coal consumption so far this century. It now consumes as much coal as the rest of the world combined. The 155 new coal-fired power plants it is currently planning to build will burn twice as much coal as all of Germany’s existing plants do. Coal generates 67% of China’s electricity, oil and natural gas 23%, hydro 10%, and wind and solar combined only 2 percent. Nearly a billion Chinese still exist on less than $5 per day, and the Middle Kingdom will be burning fossil fuels for decades to improve their living standards.

India, Indonesia, the rest of Asia, all of Africa and much of Latin America are in the same situation. All are burning coal, oil and natural gas to lift billions out of abject poverty – and will continue doing so.

America’s political classes always protect themselves. It is poor, minority, middle-class and blue-collar families that will suffer – along with most of you graduates – from these all pain/no gain climate policies.

Politicians always like to show they care, by giving other people’s money to worthy causes, their favorite voting blocs and their campaign contributors. They are far less charitable with their own money. Joe and Jill Biden raked in $333,182 in 2009 – and gave just $4,820 to charity; during the previous decade, they averaged $369 annually. Between 2007 and 2014, the Clintons “earned” $139 million; they gave $14,959,450 to charity – but 98.7% of that went to the scandal-ridden Clinton Family Foundation.

Socialist and anti-energy policies boil down to strangling jobs and wealth creation … making the economic pie smaller and smaller … taking money from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to “less fortunate” people who aren’t working but will likely vote for politicians who promise them “free stuff” … and ensuring “more equitable sharing” of ever greater scarcity, poverty and misery (for non-ruling elites).

As to telling poor countries to stop using fossil fuels, it is an unconscionable crime against humanity to impose policies that pretend to protect Earth’s poor, malnourished and energy-deprived masses from hypothetical climate chaos – by perpetuating poverty, malnutrition and disease that kill millions of them every year, right now.

Think about all of this as you take your diploma, evaluate candidates, and head to the polls.

Via email

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

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


22 May, 2016

The Shameless New York Times Slimes Trump

The New York Times proclaimed the results of its six-week "investigation" of Donald Trump's behavior with women on the front page of the Sunday paper. It discovered that Trump is kind of sleazy around women. The Times wants us to know this right now — as opposed to six months ago — when it's clear he will be the Republican nominee running against Hillary Clinton.

No Republican is surprised. The New York Times' shameless partisanship knows no bounds.

When Juanita Broaddrick accused President Bill Clinton of sexual assault in February 1999, the Times was not impressed. It never found her story worth publicizing. Times reporters were first told about Broaddrick's allegation near the end of the 1992 presidential campaign, but they regarded it as partisan "toxic waste."

After former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey accused Clinton of sexually harassing her in the Oval Office, columnist Frank Rich criticized her in a column titled "The Liars' Club."

This is the paper where feminist columnist Anna Quindlen dismissed Paula Jones' sexual harassment case compared to Anita Hill's. She said there was "no reason to let right-wing activists, no friends to either the President, women, or the issue of sexual harassment, shame us into foolish lock step."

This is the paper that published columns written by Hill and journalist Gloria Steinem during the Lewinsky scandal, in which they shredded feminism in defense of President Clinton.

As for toxic waste, this is the paper that proudly put columnist Maureen Dowd on the front page on April 7, 1991, as she slimed President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan when discussing biographer Kitty Kelley's uber-sleazy and uber-unsubstantiated tabloid tales. "The new biography also offers sensational claims that the Reagans practiced a morality very different from what they preached. ...that both the Reagans had extramarital affairs, and that Mrs. Reagan had a long-term affair with Frank Sinatra."

Proof? Who needs proof? The fact that Bantam Books was able to publish Kelley's book without being sued was all the proof this rag required.

Now Trump is being accused of behavior much less severe than that of Clinton with Jones, or Willey or Broaddrick. Keep all the Clinton-defending in mind.

On May 14, Times reporters Michael Barbaro and Megan Twohey sneered in print: "Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed."

They began with an account from model Rowanne Brewer Lane, where she described how Trump asked her to put on a swimsuit at a Mar-a-Lago party in 1990. Barbaro and Twohey reacted: "But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters."

The story quickly blew up in their faces. Brewer Lane appeared on Fox News and CNN, trashing the Times' account as a manipulation of her words. She told them Trump was a gentleman (not "debasing") and that she had told the Times she didn't want her story to be a hit piece. CNN told the Times reporters, "Rowanne has asked for an apology. What do you say?" Barbaro refused to give any ground: "I think we really stand by our story. We believe we quoted her fairly and accurately, and that the story really speaks for itself."

Yes, it does.

It's safe to say that Trump is no one's idea of Mr. Manners. His rudeness toward women was summarized by Fox's Megyn Kelly at the first GOP debate. And the way Trump treated her afterward underlined it. But The New York Times now has no right whatsoever to pass judgment on presidential candidates and their treatment of women.



The mole-hill hunters


More regulation vandalism

Many businesses operate under very thin profit margins.  So  this typically dumb Leftist attempt to force them to pay their workers more must have bad consequences.  It's most likely effect is to increase unemployment as businesses can no longer make ends meet and thus have to close

The government’s new rules requiring overtime pay for millions of workers have small business owners facing some hard choices.

The regulations being issued by the Labor Department Wednesday would double to $913 a week from $455 the threshold under which salaried workers must be paid overtime. In terms of annual pay, the threshold rises to $47,476 from $23,660. The rules take effect Dec. 1.

Many businesses like restaurants, retailers, landscapers and moving companies will have to transition staffers, many of whom are low-level managers, to hourly pay and limit the number of hours these employees work. That can increase the workload for other staffers, have everyone scrambling to get work done in fewer hours and hurt morale. Some owners say they’ll have to limit hiring, cut services or other costs. Others are turning to technology to try to get work done in less time. And some say they’ll give staffers a raise to get them out of overtime territory.

The new rules, which will be revised every three years, aim to increase pay for an estimated 4.2 million workers, including many who work 45, 50 or more hours in a week without extra pay. Businesses have been on notice about higher overtime costs since last summer, when the government issued proposed regulations. Companies are on the hook not just for time and a-half, but also for higher Social Security and Medicare taxes employers must pay on all of a staffer’s compensation. The rules don’t cover many employees who are office workers, computer programmers or professionals.

Small businesses lack the large revenue streams and credit lines of bigger companies, so they may struggle to afford the additional overtime costs, particularly those already facing higher minimum wages or increased health care costs.

Some owners will decide that it makes sense to give staffers whose pay is close to the $47,476 threshold a raise rather than face an uncertain overtime bill going forward, says Jonathan Sigel, a labor attorney with the law firm Mirick O’Connell in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Money isn’t the only issue. Managers used to staying at work until a task is done may feel demoralized when forced to leave work unfinished, says Midge Seltzer, president of Engage PEO, a human resources provider based in Hollywood, Florida.

“Most of the workplace consists of conscientious employees. It’s going to be difficult for them to just throw their hands up and say, ‘I’m done,’” she says.

Whether staffers will earn more or less under the regulations depends on the hourly wage each company sets. Many companies who expect to pay more are already looking at their budgets for other expenses that can be reduced or eliminated.


Getting Back to First Principles

Americans still enjoy freedom of religion. But these days, they’re expected to leave their faith in the pew or at home – not allow it to influence their behavior in the public square.

The founding fathers didn’t take that view. "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports,” George Washington said. “In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness.”

Yet many do, in fact, work very actively to undermine these pillars. That’s why I was honored to join the Ethics and Public Policy Center recently at its 40th anniversary event. EPPC’s motto is “defending American ideals since 1976.” But what really makes its contributions so invaluable is that it’s defending ideals that date back two centuries before that.

“We take great pride in the fact that people with differing viewpoints can come to the table and be a part of a larger conversation about these very important and very urgent issues,” according to EPPC Vice President Michael Cromartie. At a time when those who take their faith seriously can feel highly marginalized, EPPC is a necessary advocate.

I’m not just talking about cultural issues, where the role of faith seems more obvious. I’m referring to the whole gamut of issues. As EPPC President Ed Whelan has noted, the Center was founded at the height of the Cold War “to counter the myth of moral equivalence” between the East and the West.

Beyond the missile counts and competing proxy battles in far-flung hotspots lay the oft-overlooked fact that the Soviet Union was based on a godless, morally bankrupt system. The intellectual contributions of EPPC helped Cold War generals such as Ronald Reagan break through the malaise of détente, and achieve what EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel calls “the successful endgame of the Cold War – the victory of freedom over Communism.”

Besides foreign policy, there is a wide range of other important issues to be addressed – and EPPC scholars are there. From stem-cell research and Medicare spending to judicial activism and entitlement reform, they provide legislative testimony, hard-hitting op-eds, and timely reports that flout the superficial analysis so common in our sound-bite culture.

And all from an organization that employs fewer than two dozen people. No wonder Weekly Standard co-founder Fred Barnes has said the Center “punches above its weight.”

The goal, as House Speaker Paul Ryan said in his keynote speech at the EPPC event, is to take what we’ve learned from the great thinkers of the past and apply it to the moment. To the issues at hand. We shouldn’t simply react – we should be making informed decisions that adhere to a clearly defined standard.

Because as much as we’re involved in policy-related, day-to-day issues, we always need to go back to first principles. The team at the EPPC – which includes James Capretta, Mona Charen, Pete Wehner, Stanley Kurtz and so many others – is absolutely central to what is really involved in leading the conservative movement. They put the daily news cycle into a larger context.

Perhaps more importantly, they highlight the need for civil society. You’d never know it from the shouting heads on the cable-news stations and on the op-ed pages, but not everything has to be about politics. EPPC knows that.

President Reagan once honored EPPC “for its singular contribution in clarifying and reinforcing the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the momentous problems that confront the United States.” Here’s hoping its next 40 years is even more productive.


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

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


20 May, 2016

Some Sanders fans would rather back Trump than Clinton

Hillary Clinton has tagged Donald Trump as “divisive” and “unpredictable.” But those words could just as easily describe the state of the Democratic race these days.

A Nevada state party convention in Las Vegas Saturday devolved into chair-throwing, shouting, and death threats lobbed at a top party official. The Nevada Democratic Party hit back with accusations that disruptive Bernie Sanders supporters have a penchant for “actual violence” and blamed the Sanders campaign for letting the event get out of hand. On Twitter and other social media sites, vitriol from supporters on both sides ratcheted higher, and many Sanders backers say they will shun Clinton come November.

Every presidential primary creates divisions, but the hostility among Democrats in 2016 sounds like combatants digging in for battle rather than contemplating how to join forces to defeat their common enemy.

Sanders forces are increasingly bitter that the Vermont senator is still winning races but can’t catch up to Clinton, who has an advantage among party leaders and “superdelegates.” Clinton backers, meanwhile, are growing impatient with Sanders’ insistence on staying in the race despite the long odds against him. The conflict has some Democratic insiders worried that their party won’t be able to unite behind Clinton.

Sanders supporters are embracing social media hashtags such as #BernieOrBust and #DropOutHillary. Many say they will write in Sanders on their ballots in November, vote for a third-party candidate, or abstain from voting altogether. Trump gleefully is stoking the anger, repeatedly saying that Sanders is getting a raw deal from a “rigged” Democratic nominating process.

Counting only pledged delegates, Bernie Sanders needs about 105 percent of the remaining delegates for the nomination.

At least some Sanders backers say they’d prefer the former reality TV star to the former secretary of state.

“I definitely will vote for Trump,” said George Massey, a Sanders supporter from New Brunswick, N.J. “I get that Trump is a blowhard, I understand that he just says whatever comes to mind that day, and you can’t believe everything that he says. But Hillary has proven that she can’t be trusted. Trump is a roll of the dice. I would prefer to roll the dice.”

“It saddens me. It really, deeply saddens me,” said Patty Maher of Ypsilanti, Mich., a lifelong Democrat from a family of lifelong Democrats who has always voted for her party’s nominee. But this year, if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Maher will write in Sanders’ name. “I’m just done with the Clintons completely.”

The conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is that, in the end, the 2016 race will play out like the one in 2008. That contest, too, was a bitter, bruising primary fight, and Clinton stayed in until the very end. So-called “PUMAs” — for “party unity, my ass” — vowed they’d never vote for her rival Barack Obama. But in the end, the New York Democrat encouraged her followers to back Obama – and for the most part, they did.

But there are signs that the rift that’s developed in this topsy-turvy campaign may be deeper than 2008. A March Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed one-third of Sanders voters couldn’t see themselves getting behind Clinton. Exit polls from the West Virginia primary earlier this month indicated close to half of Sanders supporters in that state would vote for Trump in a general election matchup with Clinton.

Diehard Sanders supporters are drawing up plans to mobilize in the streets of Philadelphia, where Democrats will hold their nominating convention this summer. Currently, five of the nine groups that have filed for protest permits during the convention are pro-Sanders organizations, according to city records sent to the Globe, carrying titles such as “March on the DNC 2016” and “March for Bernie.”

“The only way that Sanders supporters are going to get in line is with the active encouragement of Senator Sanders and his top staff, and to date I haven’t seen that,” said Jim Manley, a consultant and former spokesman for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the state’s most powerful politician and Senate minority leader.

Sanders did little Tuesday to comfort party leaders looking for an easy turn toward unity. His response to the Nevada brouhaha carried a defiant tone. He critiqued the Democratic establishment broadly and the Nevada state party’s handling of the convention more specifically. “The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change . . . or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions, and be a party with limited participation and limited energy,” Sanders said.

Turning to the criticisms directed at his campaign, including claims by the Nevada Democratic Party that Sanders supporters have a penchant for violence, Sanders retorted: “That is nonsense,” adding that “[i]t goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.”

In interviews, Sanders supporters listed several reasons why they can’t bring themselves to get behind Clinton: her past support of trade deals they feel have decimated the working and middle class, her hawkish foreign policy positions, her use of a private e-mail server while she was secretary of state, and the hundreds of millions in corporate money she has taken as a candidate.

Many Democrats remain hopeful that the healing will begin as soon as Sanders bows out of the race. Sanders has said he will support Clinton if she is the nominee.

”People right now, they’re very intense and passionate about their commitments. Once the dust settles a bit, they’re going to start thinking about Donald Trump as president, and I think that’s going to be a very powerful push toward voting for Hillary,” said Col Owens, a Democratic Party official in Kenton County, Ky., and a Clinton supporter.

These optimistic Democrats also point to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is widely expected to endorse Clinton as soon as Sanders concedes. She would play a pivotal role shepherding Sanders voters, who share her progressive views, to the Clinton fold.

And the cold hard math of the matter is Clinton has won more states — clocking victories in 23 to the 19 Sanders has won before Tuesday’s votes. Overall, Clinton has earned more than 12.5 million votes versus less than 9.5 million for Sanders, according to a tally by Real Clear Politics. Some polling supports the Democratic talking point that Trump will help unite Democrats as well: A CNN poll earlier this month found that Sanders supporters favored Clinton over Trump 86-to-10.

“I’ve been saying for awhile that Bernie is the first presidential candidate that I actually felt wasn’t the lesser of two evils since I’ve been voting,” said Patrick Flanary of Louisville, Ky., who voted for Sanders in Tuesday’s primary. “Nonetheless, I do feel that if in a general election it’s Trump versus Hillary, I will definitely vote for Hillary because I think Trump doesn’t stand for anything I stand for.”



Trump Takes on Wacky Warren

Liberals everywhere are totally freaked out about Donald Trump's presidential nomination. Since liberals first instinct is to find an authority figure to explain it all to them, they've sought out nutty Senator Elizabeth Warren. who's taken to bashing Donald Trump. Trump, an avid user of social media, is probably as sick and tired of seeing Elizabeth Warren on his Facebook feed as the rest of us, so this week he fired back:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is not reining in his attacks against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). When New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd asked Trump if “he had been chided by any Republicans” for his Twitter war with the Democratic senator, the presumptive nominee said, “You mean Pocahontas?” Trump earlier this week fired off insults on Twitter, calling the senator “Goofy Elizabeth Warren.”

In March, Trump attacked Warren for saying she was part Native American while a professor at Harvard.

“You mean the Indian?” Trump said then when asked about Warren. 
Trump's response is indicative of a new way of doing things on the right. For better or worse, he's not interested in winning rigged policy fights with people who, for decades, accused Republicans of things like 1) throwing grandparents out in the cold 2) hating the poor, and 3) wanting children to starve. In the past, Republicans offered the sort of tepid, lukewarm responses that lent credibility to those notions. In writing Warren off as "Pocahontas," Trump is treating her ideology with the total lack of respect it deserves.



Trump's Secret? Religion

The relationship between crowd and leader  tells us a lot about the charisma of the leader, which is reflected in the enthusiasm of the crowd, and the way that enthusiasm is—or isn’t—expressed by the crowd. The dynamic give-and-take between charismatic leader and enthusiastic crowd had its first modern incarnation in the city of Fiume (now Rijeka) on the Adriatic coast after the First World War.  The city was taken over by a ragtag army following Italy’s greatest war hero, the decadent poet-warrior Gabriele D’Annunzio. I wrote a book about the 18 months when Fiume held out against pretty much the rest of the world.  D’Annunzio’s exchanges with the crowd were clearly based on Catholic rituals, reminding us that political ritual owes a lot to religion.  That remains true today.

I think Rush is right when he tells his listeners that Trump’s popularity has little to do with political issues. Yes, immigration is an important theme, but the main thing about Trump is himself.  He excites a lot of people, there’s a sort of magic at work at his rallies, and his followers are wild about him.  He’s the only candidate who is really charismatic; nobody goes to a Hillary or Bernie rally because they expect to be thrilled and inspired.

Which leaves me with two strong convictions about this election.

First, Trump’s incoherence on issue after issue matters less than it would for the others.  His crowd wants him, not necessarily his platform.  They want the anti-pol.  His chances of success depend on his ability to retain the magic he’s shown to date.

Second, although I’m talking about an intensely emotional and in many ways irrational phenomenon, it is driven by real and very rational contempt for the current ruling class.

Yes it’s funny that a man who doesn’t much care about religion is in large part a religious leader, but it’s quite a common historical phenomenon.  And sometimes such leaders are triumphant.



How Wendy's is Handling the Raise in the Minimum Wage

Fast-food workers have engaged in the #FightFor15 for quite a while now, but one chain has a different way of ensuring that labor costs remain low without having to raise the cost of a product. Wendy's plans on installing self-service kiosks at over 6,000 locations to replace cashiers. This is in response to laws mandating higher wages.

Wendy’s (WEN) said that self-service ordering kiosks will be made available across its 6,000-plus restaurants in the second half of the year as minimum wage hikes and a tight labor market push up wages.

It will be up to franchisees whether to deploy the labor-saving technology, but Wendy’s President Todd Penegor did note that some franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes.

McDonald’s (MCD) has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.

Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”

Yikes. Kiosks, of course, do the job of a human at the cost of $0 per hour.


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

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


19 May, 2016

The poor have more heart attacks

That the poverty is a strong correlate of worse health tends to be ignored in the medical literature so a strong study pointing it out is worth noting. It is more support for the idea that there is a general syndrome of biological fitness

Geographic Variation in Trends and Disparities in Acute Myocardial Infarction Hospitalization and Mortality by Income Levels, 1999-2013

Erica S. Spatz et al.


Importance:  During the past decade, the incidence and mortality associated with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in the United States have decreased substantially. However, it is unknown whether these improvements were consistent across communities of different economic status and geographic regions since efforts to improve cardiovascular disease prevention and management may have had variable impact.

Objective:  To determine whether trends in US county-level, risk-standardized AMI hospitalization and mortality rates varied by county-based median income level.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  In this observational study, county-level risk-standardized (age, sex, and race) hospitalization and 1-year mortality rates for AMI from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2013, were measured for Medicare beneficiaries 65 years or older. Data analysis was performed from June 2 through December 1, 2015. Counties were stratified by median income percentile using 1999 US Census Bureau data adjusted for inflation: low- (<25th average-="" high-="" or="" th-75th="">75th) income groups.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  The effect of income on the slope of AMI hospitalizations and mortality, measured as differences in the rate of change in AMI hospitalizations and mortality by county income and by the 4 US geographic regions, and a possible lag effect among low-income counties.

Results:  In the 15-year study period, AMI risk-standardized hospitalization and mortality rates decreased significantly for all 3 county income groups. Mean hospitalization rates were significantly higher among low-income counties compared with high-income counties in 1999 (1353 vs 1123 per 100?000 person-years, respectively) and in 2013 (853 vs 648 per 100?000 person-years, respectively). One-year mortality rates after hospitalization for AMI were similar across county income groups, decreasing from 1999 (31.5%, 31.4%, and 31.1%, for high-, average-, and low-income counties, respectively) to 2013 (26.2%, 26.1%, and 25.4%, respectively). Income was associated with county-level, risk-standardized AMI hospitalization rates but not mortality rates. Increasing 1 interquartile range of median county consumer price index–adjusted income ($12?000) was associated with a decline in 46 and 37 hospitalizations per 100?000 person-years for 1999 and 2013, respectively; interaction between income and time was 0.56. The rate of decline in AMI hospitalizations was similar for all county income groups; however, low-income counties lagged behind high-income counties by 4.3 (95% CI, 3.1-5.9) years. There were no significant differences in trends across geographic regions.

Conclusions and Relevance:  Hospitalization and mortality rates of AMI declined among counties of all income levels, although hospitalization rates among low-income counties lag behind those of the higher income groups. These findings lend support for a more targeted, community-based approach to AMI prevention.

JAMA Cardiol. Published online May 11, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2016.0382


Vermont college to close due to ‘crushing’ debt incurred by Bernie Sanders’s wife

If you want a sneak peak into what the U.S. economy would look like under a Bernie Sanders presidency, look no further than Vermont’s Burlington College. Sanders’s wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, was president of the private liberal arts school from 2004 to 2011. She must’ve not been very good at her job, though, because the college announced Monday that it will close May 27 due to “the crushing weight of the debt” incurred under Ms. Sanders’s presidency:

At the end of 2010, Ms. Sanders took out $10 million in loans on behalf of Burlington College to purchase a 32-acre swathe of land from the Roman Catholic diocese, which put the land up for sale to help cover the costs of a $17 million sexual-abuse settlement.

As Heat Street reported last month, the college almost immediately fell short on its financial obligations as fundraising pledges and commitments Ms. Sanders cited in the loan agreements never materialized.

Less than a year after leading Burlington College into massive debt, Ms. Sanders resigned, taking with her a $200,000 severance package. By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency.

A Burlington College news release issued this morning called these financial hurdles “insurmountable at this time.”

And if displacing hundreds of college students (the very demographic for which Bernie has claimed to be a champion) and shuttering an institution of higher education isn’t enough, Catholics in Vermont want to investigate Ms. Sanders for fraud:

Catholic parishioners in Vermont have called for an investigation into whether Ms. Sanders committed federal bank fraud by deliberately misrepresenting the amount that the college had secured in fundraising pledges as she sought financing for the land purchase.

As Ms. Sanders pursued financing for the land acquisition, she repeatedly said that Burlington College had received more than $2 million in fundraising commitments and pledges, according to numerous records.

But in fiscal year 2011, Burlington College raised only $279,000—though the college had earlier claimed to have secured $1.2 million in confirmed pledges.

Apparently Bernie isn’t the only Sanders who thinks other people’s money grows on trees.



Clueless Republicans Don't Realize It's the Democrats Who Have the Problem


I'm a bit perplexed with the continued resistance of so many of my right-wing brothers and sisters to Donald Trump. If it's just his brash style and vulgar taste, his preference for glittery gold over brushed nickel or flat black for his bathroom fixtures, I could understand it. I'm a flat black guy myself. But it's so much more than that.

The latest "betrayal" is that Trump admitted his tax plan was negotiable  Imagine that—a tax plan being negotiated between the administration and Congress! Never heard of that before.... oh, wait.

Never mind that the Trump plan, even negotiated, would be considerably lower than just about any on offer and well within the parameters of conventional GOP proposals.  (Now be honest—who would you rather have negotiating for you, Donald Trump or Paul Ryan? Who do you think would get a better result?) Nevertheless The Donald, in the opinion of the cognoscenti, once more has shown himself to be a feckless character not worthy of support—and the Republican gulf widens.

Or so we're supposed to believe, even though he has the nomination completely nailed down, signed, sealed and delivered, everything but set in bronze.

Meanwhile,  to almost everyone's surprise, the Democrats are still fighting, their internal enmity growing as Comrade Bernie wins primary after primary, sometimes by large majorities, and Lady Hillary clings to her super delegates like a three-year-old to a blanket. What happens if she loses California? According to West Virginia exit polls, a full third of Democratic primary voters are ready to defect to Trump. In the latest poll of swing states, Donald is already ahead of Clinton in Ohio and neck-and-neck in Florida and Pennsylvania. And the big show is just getting started.

It is the Democrats, not the Republicans, that have the problem, but you wouldn't know it if you watched, say, The Kelly File or had your Internet perpetually wired to National Review or The Weekly Standard, where the writing is as elegant as the thinking, these days, is often fuzzy. The Democrats are fighting a real war of ideas, disreputable though those ideas may be, while the Republicans fight a status war among themselves, a battle over control, not, except in the margins, over ideology.

Am I wrong? Remind me again where Trump, at least currently, is not a conservative? Taxes, check. Deficit, check. Immigration, check. Sanctuary cities, check. Strong defense, check.  Supreme Court, check. Veterans, check. Common core, check. Iran deal, check. Israel, check. Healthcare, check. Pro-life, check.... Oh, yes, Planned Parenthood.  He thinks the part of that operation that treats cervical cancer is okay. What a sin.

But...but...but... he has those whacky ideas on NATO and nuclear weapons and trade.

Are they so whacky? Other nations maybe should pay the part of NATO they contracted to. And the Japanese and South Koreans themselves have been talking about building nukes.  Wouldn't you after eight years of Obama? And then trade, who would doubt it could have been negotiated better, considering how our foreign policy deals have been negotiated?

And of course there's the matter of Muslim immigration. He wants that restricted for now. So do most Americans, according to polls. Again, this is the opening point of a negotiation. Who knows where it will end? But no one, other than the extreme left, would like to see the Syrian refugees pouring in. Trump will have the public on his side in preventing it.

As I said, the real problem is with the Democrats.  They are the ones in true disarray and are likely to remain so through their convention. This is a huge gift to the Republicans if they can only suck it up, shelve their egos, get together and take advantage of it. It doesn't matter whether you are a neocon, a social con, a libertarian, a financial con or just a plain con. Ideology is so last year. (Well not completely, but it doesn't have to be on the front burner all the time, does it?) Just do it.



More Leftist authoritarianism

Smokers in California from 18 to 20 years old have only three and a half weeks until the state’s new tobacco restrictions kick in. Come June 9—two days after the California primary election—tobacco consumption for the under 21 crowd will be verboten.

Young adults will still be able to make many life-or-death decisions, but they won’t be able to light up legally unless they are in the military. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all will abstain from indulging in tobacco: Many will have access to smokes and chew via the underground market that is sure to emerge. For evidence, observe how black markets arose in New York in response to the Empire State’s tax on cigarettes.

“New York’s experience is instructive,” write Independent Institute Senior Fellow William F. Shughart II and Strata Policy Analyst Josh T. Smith. “Largely because of the titanic tax that it places on cigarettes, almost 60 percent of the cigarettes sold in New York are smuggled into the state, according to the Tax Foundation.”

While experience with other prohibitions (and exorbitant tax hikes) offers strong reasons to oppose California’s new tobacco law, the moral case against it is even stronger. “It is absurd to claim that 18-year-olds are too young to buy a pack of cigarettes, but are mature enough to consent to sex, marry, or vote,” Shughart and Smith write. “It is a double standard that threatens the protection of all personal choices, even the ones still considered sacrosanct.... Lawmakers should let adults be adults and allow them to make their own decisions because they are worthy of our respect as equal, autonomous human beings.”



America's slide downhill?

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

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


18 May, 2016

China and the East China Sea

There has been much heartburn lately over China's island building in the East China Sea.  Just about everyone disapproves.  I do not.  I realize that in saying so I am rather like the editor of the Skibbereen Eagle, when he warned the Tsar, but what I think will happen generally does happen so what I have to say on the matter may be a harbinger of things to come nonetheless.

For a start, I think island building is a good thing in general.  The climate of the area is a pleasant one and recovering land from the sea expands the human habitat.  The Dutch would of course agree with that, though Greenies would automatically talk of endangered marine creatures. And China has an enormous population so needs all the living space it can find.  So I hope that in due course there the facilities there will be greater  than the merely military.  Could there even be a tourist industry there one day?  Stranger things have happened

Living space is of course not the motive of the island building concerned.  The motive is a combination of military considerations and resource hunger.  China has a huge need for resources, energy sources in particular, so the prospect of oil reserves in the general area is hugely motivating. And it could  be argued that China deserves those resources in the light of its huge poplulation and that less populous nations have a lesser claim on them.  That is of course a socialist argument but China is officially a socialist country and we live in a socialist world.

And the military argument is orthodox. Many nations have sought and supported buffer states and the worldwide network of military bases maintained by the USA puts it in no position  to claim that China should not maintain bases at a distance from the homeland.

But in the end, the argument is over. China has clearly lost patience with the dithering and debate about ownership of the places concerned and has decided to settle the argument in its own favour in the traditional way, by conquest. And it has stated that it will defend its new bases so the message is basically "Up yours".  The world would do well to accept the new status quo.  It's not going to change. You don't argue with China


How Trump Could Destroy Hillary Clinton In The Debates

Every once in a while, someone out there says something that a fellow writer has been mulling on for months, but couldn’t find a way to express. This is both frustrating (it was my idea!) and reassuring (it confirms what you’ve been thinking).

This happened to me recently when I was listening to The Tom Woods Show, and Michael Malice described what might happen when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton.

Despite demographic trends, I have sensed that Trump had a shot to defeat her. But I have struggled to find a way to explain how “magic” can beat “math.” Well, one way this could happen would be for there to be a big moment. This could come in the form of some sort of disaster (like a terrorist attack, God forbid), or it could simply come in the form of a knockout punch. (Trump is unlikely to win if the fight goes the distance and relies on the judges’ scorecard, but I could imagine Hillary choking, and Trump triumphing.)

Michael Malice provides us with one hypothetical example of how this might occur during one of the presidential debates.

This is a partial transcript of his conversation with Tom Woods:

"[Hillary’s] going to come in with her little smarmy smirk and have some kind of joke about Trump, and he’s going to improv some devastating one-liner… As soon as Trump hits her back, she’s not going to have a comeback on her feet. And she’s going to look weak and pathetic.

He’s going to dare her to say ‘I dare you to say Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorism,’ and she’ll either obey him and look weak, or refuse and look cowardly.

And — this is the one — I’m predicting this one right now: If she has one of her coughing fits on stage, he is going to attack her rapid fire. And she’s literally going to be unable to speak. And he’s going to say things like, ‘Look, she’s dying in front of us.’ ‘Look, I like grammas, but they should be in a home, not the president.’ ‘She’s weak. She’s pathetic.’ … And he’s like: ‘Let’s take a break, cause she needs a breather. This woman is not well.’

That will be the moment that destroys her campaign. He’s going to eat her alive in those debates. And, as you know, most people in the middle don’t care about ideology. They just respond like dogs to a visceral way towards strength…and in those debates, he is going to have her in the palm of his hand. There’s nothing she will be able to do"

Sadly, I buy Malice’s theory that most voters are lemmings who will follow the Alpha dog. Hell, some of Trump’s supporters have taken to calling him “daddy.” What is more, Trump is a dangerous fighter, partly because he’s willing to say and do things that most of us would never think of.

Few of us would pounce on a woman while she’s coughing, and there are really two reasons for this. First, it’s unkind and unchivalrous. But second, we also think it would be bad politics — that it would backfire and make us look “mean.”

Trump is unencumbered by the former concerns — and, in terms of the latter — seems to have proven that chivalry went out with the knights.

Based on observation (the way he dispatched of opponents ranging from Jeb Bush to Marco Rubio ?to Ted Cruz ? — not to mention the way he has attacked women ranging from Megyn Kelly to Carly Fiorina), Trump is ready, willing, and able to do this.

Let’s see if he gets his shot at a knockout punch.



Obama’s Gift of Immunity to Trump


It is now old wisdom that Barack Obama created Trump—as in the idea of a national pushback to Obama’s out-of-the-mainstream agendas and the unconstitutional way in which he pursued them. Forgotten is the insulation that Obama has also provided for the excesses of Trump as a candidate and, especially, if he were to be president.

Last week, in sober and judicious tones Obama all but warned Americans that they cannot seriously support Trump, who, he implied, is little more than a reality-TV conman. But such admonitions come from a president whose chief foreign policy advisor, a failed fiction writer and D.C. insider, just bragged how he deceived the media and Washington’s insider world by feeding amateurish journalists misleading talking points. Is it serious or in the spirit of reality TV for a president to invite to the White House a rapper whose court-ordered ankle monitor goes off in a presidential ceremony, or to give an exclusive interview with YouTube personality GloZell, noted for her selfies of eating breakfast cereal floating about her in a bathtub? Obama has lectured the media that they have to vent Trump, this from a candidate who never released his medical or college records, whose speech in praise of Rashid Khalidi was suppressed by the media, and whose entire memoir was only belatedly found out to be impressionistic fiction. Obama lowered the bar and Trump skipped over it.

Can Trump mislead much more than did Obama, who assured Americans that they would never lose their doctor or health plan but rather save money and have better care, and that pulling peacekeepers from Iraq would ensure a stable and self-reliant country? Obama, remember, also bragged abroad that he had all but closed Guantanamo within a year and would stop the Bush habit of piling up more debt? After Ben Rhodes and Jonathan Gruber, what exactly are the presidential standards on veracity that we must hold Trump to?

Can Trump act any less constitutionally than has Obama? Will he scan existing law, and order his attorney general to enforce some statutes but ignore others? Will he boast that “I won” and thus has a pen and a phone to sign treaties with foreign countries without Senate ratification?  Will Trump, in Obama fashion, threaten to cut off federal funds to cities that believe in biologically identified male/female restrooms, while encouraging other cities to defy federal immigration law? Sanctuary cities in California, but not in North Carolina? Are we back to 1860 and state nullification of federal law if and when the president wishes it?

How can the media fault Trump as uniquely dense for lacking even basic familiarity with geography or foreign affairs, when they shrugged after the current president of the United States variously believed there are 57 states, there is an Austrian-speaking Austria, and the Maldives islands are the Falklands? When a president declares that Hawaii is in Asia, certainly the media cannot be surprised that Trump is not embarrassed about being clueless about the nuclear triad.

Trump is certainly vicious, but after 2009 viciousness is no longer a mortal sin in presidential politics. If it were, Obama would have been through for his thuggish language, after advising supporters to “get in their faces,” take “a gun to a knife fight” and “punish our enemies.” Trump often ridicules the helpless. But he if stoops to make fun of the Special Olympics or jokes about vaporizing people with Predator drones, what will the New York Times or NPR do? Obama ridiculed the wealthy, who did not build their own businesses, or did not know when to stop profiting, or were clueless about the point at which they had made enough money or needed their money spread around. But then again, Obama made fun of the lower middle classes as well, who clung to their religion and guns and were stereotyped as xenophobes and nativists.

Trump can be polarizing on matters of race, but here again by what standard—when the president and his team have established new lows of racial discourse? Does Trump comment on ongoing criminal cases by suggesting one of the involved might look like one of his possible white offspring? Did Trump smear illegal aliens further by suggesting that they were “typical Mexican persons”? Would he appoint an attorney general who might refer to whites as “my people” and accuse the country of being a “nation of cowards”? Would Trump stoop to wink and nod about shared white racial solidarity with a redneck comedian who shouted out to a President Trump, “Yo, Donny, you did it, my cracker, you did it”? After Obama, there are no rules about racial discourse—and no media sensitivity to racially coarse and offensive language.

Trump, as the media has shown, is certainly a crude narcissist. But will he learn to boast as a smooth egoist that he can lower the seas and cool the planet? Does he insist that he is a better political handler and speechwriter than his handlers and speechwriters? Does he claim that he will be the fourth best president in U.S. history—albeit in an outer-borough accent rather than in an Ivy League mellifluous patois?  “I,”“me” “mine” and “my” are now the normal baggage of a presidential speech.

As for the supposed fanatical Trumpsters, have they gone berserk with wild praise of Trump in near divine terms? Has a Laura Ingraham or Charles Hurt, or any other columnist, historian, talk show host, or journalist said that Trump’s neat pant crease presages that he will be a great president or that Trump makes his leg tingle, or confessed that Trump is a god, or assured that Trump would be the smartest president in the history of the office? So far, I have not read any such embarrassment in the Washington Times or American Conservative. After Obama, biased deification of a presidential candidate is old hat.

Trump certainly has wacky ideas. But will he promise to ensure that the coal industry goes out of business, or electric rates will skyrocket, or will his energy czar hope that our gas prices reach European levels? Does he plan to double the national debt in eight years or dismantle the existing health care system? Will Trump praise and subsidize a failing coal company as iconic of the country’s future in the manner that Obama coronated the soon-to-be-bankrupt Solyndra? Will he brag that setting and then ignoring red lines for Syria were among his greatest foreign policy moments?

The point is not to whitewash Trump’s crudity and outlandishness, but to explain why it so far has not eliminated him as a candidate.  Obama’s outright destruction of presidential protocols created candidate Trump. The media, which in Faustian fashion mortgaged its soul to empower Obama, has now lost all credibility as a legitimate critic and arbiter of the dangers of narcissism, half-educated pop knowledge, polarizing politics, and demonization of one’s critics.

Sadly, nearly every gross thing Trump says or does has had an antecedent in the Obama administration. "Hope and Change" begat "Make America Great," in a tit-for-tat way that Trump’s likely garish convention props will mimic Obama’s Styrofoam Greek columns. After Obama dismissed ISIS as jayvees by invoking Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, we should not be too outraged that Trump cited an endorsement from Mike Tyson.

Yikes: Trump Plans to Run America Like He Ran His Casinos
There may be reasons to vote against Trump, but at least spare us the outrage that he is somehow uniquely demagogic, crude, or ill-informed in a manner that we have not seen over the last eight years from Trump’s greatest enabler.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about immigration


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

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


17 May, 2016

Statin side-effects at last being taken seriously

The methodology seems very weak but at least an awareness of the issue is evident

Researchers have launched a new £1million trial to assess whether controversial heart drug statins cause severe muscle pain.

The Government is set to fund the trial which comes after doctors have been overestimating the risk of heart attacks and strokes for some patients.

Research uncovered by the Sunday Express also found doctors had been prescribing the drugs to patients who do not need them. 

Those eligible to take the drugs - which are the most commonly prescribed treatment in the UK - has increased to around one in four adults, which equates to 12 million people.

The groundbreaking study, which received a grant from the National Institute of Health Research, will assess the risk of muscle pain and has been backed by health experts.

Professor Jane Armitage, an expert in public health medicine at the University of Oxford, is a key researcher for the trial.  Professor Armitage told the Sunday Express: 'The evidence suggests statins are safe and undoubtedly reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.'  The British Heart Foundation also believes statins are safe.

But cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra said: 'I have no doubt millions of people taking statins in the UK will not benefit but are being put at risk of unnecessary harm.'

The new trial will involve 200 patients who have stopped or want to stop using statins due to muscle pain or fatigue.

It will investigate whether muscle issues are more common in those using the statins than those taking a dummy drug.

Concerns about statins were raised earlier this year by the Queen's former doctor, Sir Richard Thompson, who called for an independent inquiry.



Out of the spotlight, some say there is a softer side of Trump

Andrea Lake, who appeared on Season Five of “The Apprentice,” had every reason not to like Donald Trump. He was a bully, she thought. Too brash. His bankruptcies bothered her, and the way he lied about them bothered her more.

But then she met him. Over the course of a lunch in Manhattan, with other contestants on the show, she came to a shuddering realization: She liked the guy. “He was super charming,” she said. “He was legitimately funny and quick-witted.”

The man who would scream “You’re fired!” in front of the TV cameras would later call some of those same losing contestants on their cellphones to follow up. After firing one contestant on his reality show in Season Six, he even offered her a job in real life.

Interviews with former business colleagues, campaign rivals, and others who have known Trump up close say there is a jarring juxtaposition between the Trump they know and the Trump they see these days on TV.

Trump the presidential candidate is omnipresent, constantly invading TV screens or appearing on stage at big rallies, and it’s hard to see how that arena-sized personality can possibly fit into a meeting room or make small talk with regular folks. It raises the question about who the real Trump is — and how much of his stage persona is a schtick. Also to wonder at is how he manages to condense that outsized personality into someone that many people who’ve met with him describe almost universally as charming — though not the slightest self-effacing. Even in private, he remains his own greatest fan.

While Trump is now the star of a political reality show that has Americans transfixed — or, in some cases, horrified — behind the curtain, he can seem quite a different man. At times, surely, and especially in the company of women, his behavior and remarks can discomfit or offend. He is well known for his blunt comments about women’s bodies, their beauty or the want of it, and was, during his playboy years in the 1990s, no stranger to allegations of unwanted advances.

Still, as Trump begins trying to unite a fractious Republican Party, he is performing some head-spinning shifts, employing the powerful charm many describe to win over today those he insulted yesterday.

Trump — who has called Senator Lindsey Graham a “nut job,” “disgrace,” and “one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen” — was suddenly on the other end of the line last week, in a private conversation with the South Carolina Republican.

“He told a few jokes,” said Graham, who has tossed some choice verbal bombs of his own Trump’s way. “Of all the people running, he’s the guy you’d want to go to dinner with.”

Representative Chris Collins of New York, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, predicted some of his skeptical colleagues would rally to the real estate mogul once they had the opportunity to meet him one on one. “People will see the Donald Trump I know, not necessarily the one you see in the rallies,” Collins said.  “One on one, Mr. Trump is a listener, not a talker. When he’s got a group of people, he wants to know what’s going on in other people’s districts. . . . He’s a very thoughtful listener, one on one.”

Trump is a man whose public persona can seem like a caricature of himself, and at times it seems like the entire country is privy to his internal monologue — a stream of half thoughts, boasts, unabashed contradiction, and smartly targeted promises. His life has been lived in the tabloids, and he has played up aspects of his life that most people try to downplay, from his antics in the bedroom to the mountain of money in his bank account.

But in private gatherings, he usually doesn’t come on in all caps; he massages the conversation. “He’s methodical. Not extraordinarily aggressive,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who has gotten to know Trump over the years. “He’s good at understanding that getting close to people personally is always good first before you go in for the chess move.”

Trump, as he is for those who approach him after rallies, can be intimidating to people meeting him for the first time. He’s the guy that most know as a celebrity. He’s the one who, if TV ratings are to be believed, we can’t seem to stop looking at.

Trump seems aware of his oversized public persona and works to make sure people aren’t intimidated by the version of him they see on television. Conversations with him don’t feel rushed. When he is approached for photos, he’ll pose for several, asking, “Do you have what you need?”

“He has a commanding presence. When he enters the room, you know Donald has entered the room. He’s magnetic,” said Chelsea Cooley, who won the Miss USA pageant in 2005 and later went to Trump for advice for her business.  “He can walk into the room and not say anything, but it’s palpable,” she added. “That is true confidence. His sheer presence is absolutely powerful.”

But quickly, she and others said, he attempts to put those around him at ease. He’s not one for small talk, but he’ll ask about family members. He repeatedly uses the names of the people he’s speaking with and makes his guests feel as if they are close friends, even when meeting him for the first time. It is, surprisingly to some Trump watchers, typically an insult-free space.

“You can’t become a multibillionaire by giving heads of other corporations unfavorable monikers,” said Hogan Gidley, a longtime Republican consultant. “You’ve got to have some savvy, some charm, some ability to be that successful.”

Gidley has met Trump several times. In their first encounter, Trump complimented him profusely, saying “Hogan! That’s a good name, a strong name. I like that very much.”  “He didn’t look past me, he didn’t look around the room,” he said. “He looked directly at me.”

A key element of Trump’s charm appears to be his ability to adapt to his audience.

When he ran into former presidential contender Mike Huckabee at a hotel in Iowa, he blew him an air kiss and said, “I love you, Mike!” When talking with beauty queens, he would speak in softer tones spliced with “sweetie” (an old-fashioned sort of endearment that is sometimes seen as sexist). When talking with contractors and officials in Atlantic City, he was far more coarse, dropping expletives with natural gusto.

“We called him our Teamster Friend,” said Edward Kline, a former state legislator who represented Atlantic City and is now backing Trump’s campaign. “Because he’d talk like a Teamster. He’s a little tough, and the language he would use, it was like you were talking with a Teamster. But you were dealing with Donald Trump.”

Throughout the Republican presidential campaign, he has tapped into an angry, fed-up slice of the electorate. Violent outbursts have occurred at some of his rallies. He is best known for proposing a wall along the border with Mexico, and insulting essentially all Latinos and Muslims, which makes it hard to imagine him building any bridges.

But when he wants to, it seems he can. The Trump who yells at protesters, requesting that police officers remove them from the room, is not the same Trump that those who have been in more intimate settings with him know. There is a diplomatic side to him that rarely comes across at the podium.

“I cringe sometimes,” says Tyana Alvarado, a former contestant from “The Apprentice” who, as a Hispanic and a woman, fits two of the groups that Trump has often insulted.

“I just feel like I know a different side of him and I need to protect him,” she said. “Sometimes the things he says it’s like, ‘God, you’re making it hard for me to protect you.’ But that’s not the Trump that I know.”

Trump makes a remarkable shift as soon as he gets in front of a camera, say those who’ve seen him both on and off screen.

“It’s almost like multiple personalities,” said Liza Wisner, a former contestant on “The Apprentice.” “I think he actually is genuine. But then he gets before the camera, and he puts on this act.”

Shortly after she was fired, coming in third place on Season 10, Trump invited Wisner to an 18-hole outing at one of his golf courses. He drove the golf cart around for several hours, munching on a sandwich and grabbing drinks from an ice chest.

“I think he knows what he’s doing. I truly believe this is part of his whole scheme to getting elected,” Wisner, who is turned off by his campaign but isn’t yet sure if she’ll vote for him. “There are moments I don’t believe we are where we are right now, considering a USA with Donald Trump as president. But anybody who ever meets him in person cannot say they didn’t enjoy meeting him.”

During the Republican primary campaign, most voters saw Trump only from a distance.  Juliana Bergeron, a Republican national committeewoman from New Hampshire, met Trump with a small group a few months back, in Keene, N.H.

In front of a group of more than a dozen locals, he came across as warm. He was likable. And funny. Nothing like how he would present himself later that day at a rally with 4,000 supporters. And some people left with a feeling they didn’t imagine they’d have: They planned to vote for him.

“He was very pleasant. Not as loud. He took time with each person individually,” Bergeron said. “I just would suspect if you and I were privy to his business meetings, they are not at all like what we see of him on CNN.”

Lake, “The Apprentice” contestant who was prepared to dislike Trump when she first met him, says she despises his politics and thinks he would be a terrible president.  She cannot imagine why anyone would vote for him. But she would be happy, thrilled even, to have him over to her house.

“If you met him, even if you think you don’t like him, you would invite him into your home for dinner,” she said. “He’s charming, one on one. He would win you over. He just would.”




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

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


16 May, 2016

How different are Jehovah's Witness beliefs?

To start at the end:  Not very different at all.

Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, was originally a Presbyterian and quite a lot of JW doctrines are held in common with traditional Presbyterians.  Like a lot of strict Presbyterians, particularly in Scotland, the JWs don't like drinking or smoking and are dubious about dancing.  Both denominations believe that the Bible is the word of God and that salvation is needed to get God's reward in the afterlife.  And the hymns that JWs sing are just slightly re-worded versions of generally popular hymns.

Perhaps the best known doctrine of the JWs is that we live in the "end times":  That Armageddon, the end of the secular world, is around the corner.  And that is actually a common belief among a variety of Protestant groups, though usually a belief by a particular congregation rather than by the whole of a denomination.  Matthew 24 makes it pretty clear that Jesus too believed that the end was nigh, and the apostle Paul clearly did (1 Corinthians 15:51), so it is hardly surprising that some Christians still do. 

And their pacifism is also shared by a variety of other Christians -- such as the Quakers.  After reading Matthew 5:39 I was once a pacifist myself.

Their rejection of blood transfusions is a little peculiar but it should be noted that both Jews and Muslims are superstitious about blood and take great care not to eat any.  JWs think likewise but add that it is inconsistent to avoid taking blood into your body via your mouth and then take it in by other means.  So their sensitivity there is just a refinement of a prohibition followed by over a billion people.

And here's the kicker about that:  There was a study of survival after heart surgery that took a particular interest in survival by JWs.  Apparently transfusions are common during  heart surgery so they expected a greater mortality among JWs after they had refused transfusions.  The study found that about a third of non-JWs died but NO JWs did.  Tranfusions cause stresses of their own.  Use of transfusions has declined markedly since then.  So JWs did have the last laugh.  God's wisdom?  They think so.

JWs also reject the messy doctrine of the Holy Trinity but they are not entirely alone in that.  As the name implies, Unitarians do too -- if there are any of those left.  Christadelphians also reject the Trinity doctrine.  But it is a major break from Chistianity generally.  Even Seventh day Adventists accept the Trinity.  It should be noted that the doctrine of the Trinity was introduced by Athanasius in the fourth century as a theological compromise. Even the word "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible.

JWs also reject Christmas and Easter as being pagan celebrations but that is widely acknowledged among more scholarly Christians.

But the biggest break from other denominations is the JW belief that the soul is not immortal.  Since there are quite a lot of places in the Bible where the soul is said to die, it is not a surprising belief but the doctrine of the immortal soul is apparently too ego-pleasing for anyone else to give up.  Since  the favorite scripture of most Protestants -- John 3:16 -- says you don't automatically get immortality -- you can perish -- it is a real wonder that the belief in an immortal soul is so widespread.  Ego trumps scripture.

It should be noted, however, that the original Jewish teaching was that eternal life for the righteous was attained by resurrection at the second coming of the Messiah. Popping off to heaven when you die was ignored as a pagan teaching.  Jews believe all sorts of things these days but most would, I think, be comfortable enough with JW teaching on the prospect of an afterlife. As the Jewish Encyclopedia says: 

"The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture"

So JW's have at least some Jews on their side in the matter.  Their view of the afterlife could be said to be Jewish.

On church government JWs departed early on from Presbyterian practice.  Pastor Russell was originally elected but that seems to have just faded out. JWs are governed by a central government, a theocracy, unlike the democratic Presbyterian practice.  JWs are governed much as Roman Catholics are -- but their "pope" (Don Alden Adams) keeps a low profile these days.

The best-known difference of JWs is their practice of doorstep preaching but the Mormons do that too. 

The overall zeal of JWs  is striking.  Hitler gassed a lot of them for refusing to bow the knee to him. But such zeal has much precedent among other Christians.  Can you believe that at one stage even the Church of England had bishops being burnt at the stake for their faith?

So there is no major point of JW doctrine that is not held in common with some other Christians or Jews.  Like all other denominations, JW beliefs are a particular pick-and-mix of common beliefs.  It is probably true, however, that the particular pick-and-mix chosen by JWs is closer to first century Christianity than is the doctrine-set of any other denomination.


Mega Mogul Backs Trump

Big time GOP donor Sheldon Adelson has announced that he will be backing Donald Trump in the general election, in what will be a huge fundraising boom for the New York billionaire:

"Like the Derby, the race for the Republican nomination started from a wide gate — some entries with better post positions, others with more backing. We had candidates with such perceived advantages as wide name identification, large campaign war chests, supposed geographic benefits and other assets they hoped would tip the race in their direction.

Ultimately, each candidate had to convince the party’s primary voters across the country that he or she deserved to be the nominee.

One candidate has won that race, and now Republicans must join together to make sure he wins the next one.

While the primary cycle still has some important elections ahead, it is clear that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.

I am endorsing Trump’s bid for president and strongly encourage my fellow Republicans — especially our Republican elected officials, party loyalists and operatives, and those who provide important financial backing — to do the same.

The alternative to Trump being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president is frightening"

This is a major boost for Trump, who, despite being a billionaire, likely faces a major fundraising deficit against Hillary Clinton.



Jeffrey D. Sachs  is disturbed by how much the elite get away with:

He's right.  He is one of the saner Greenies and has been a leading economic reformer -- advising backward nations on how to transition to capitalism

THE PANAMA PAPERS opened yet another window on the global system of financial corruption, showing how political leaders and businesses use shell companies in secrecy havens like the British Virgin Islands and many US states to evade taxes and hide corruption and other crimes. Yet the system of corruption depends on another factor beyond secrecy, one that is perhaps even more important: impunity. Impunity means that the rich and powerful escape from punishment even when their malfeasance is in full view.

Impunity is epidemic in America. The rich and powerful get away with their heists in broad daylight. When a politician like Bernie Sanders calls out the corruption, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal double down with their mockery over such a foolish “dreamer.” The Journal recently opposed the corruption sentence of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell for taking large gifts and bestowing official favors — because everybody does it. And one of its columnists praised Panama for facilitating the ability of wealthy individuals to hide their income from “predatory governments” trying to collect taxes. No kidding.

Our major institutions, the ones that should know better, are often gross enablers of impunity. Consider my alma mater, Harvard University, and its recent nuptial with hedge-fund manager John Paulson. Paulson was the coconspirator with Goldman Sachs of one of the most notorious scams of the recent financial bubble.

Paulson and Goldman constructed and marketed a portfolio of toxic assets to sell to unwitting investors so that Paulson could bet against the portfolio. Goldman and Paulson thereby turned the sucker investors’ quick $1 billion loss into an equivalent $1 billion gain for Paulson, with Goldman collecting on fees. The SEC fined Goldman but left Paulson untouched. As one disillusioned SEC investigator put it: The SEC is “an agency that polices the broken windows on the street level and rarely goes to the penthouse floors.” Yet Harvard was delighted last year to take $400 million of Paulson’s ill-gotten gains, leave Paulson with the rest, name its engineering school after Paulson, and declare Paulson to be “the epitome of a visionary leader.”

Impunity. Paulson remains a much-celebrated figure on Wall Street. He has many kindred spirits, such as his partner in crime, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who has described himself as just a banker “doing God’s work.” Or consider JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, whose bank has paid well over $30 billion in fines while Dimon remains CEO with a $27 million salary for 2015. The hedge-fund industry itself is a case study of impunity. With few exceptions, it is domiciled in tax and secrecy havens, enjoys crass tax breaks brokered by cronies in Congress (such as Wall Street Senator Chuck Schumer), and pays itself billion-dollar-plus paychecks even while leaving investors with below-market returns or outright losses over the years.

The recourse to cheating within the financial industry now seems to be deeply ingrained, part of the corporate culture, and enabled by the prevailing impunity. An ingenious scientific study published in December 2014 showed the rot. Employees of a major international bank were divided into a control group and a treatment group. All subjects were asked to flip a coin 10 times and report truthfully on the number of heads, with more heads resulting in a bigger monetary prize. The treatment group was subtlety reminded they were bankers, while the control group was not. Simply reminding them that they were professional bankers was enough to induce the employees to cheat by exaggerating the number of heads they flipped.

Impunity is of course not limited to banking. Consider the poster-child of impunity in Big Pharma, Gilead Sciences. Gilead brazenly bought the patents on a life-saving cure for Hepatitis C and then gouged patients and taxpayers by charging $1,000 per pill — for a drug that costs $1 per pill to manufacture. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are unable to afford treatment, and many are dying, while Gilead earns far more in profits each year than it paid for the patents. Gilead adds to this deadly effrontery by booking its profits in an offshore tax haven.

Or consider another tech company in the health sector, Theranos, led by Elizabeth Holmes, until recently much lionized on Wall Street. Holmes, it now seems, may have been lying about Theranos’s supposed high-tech blood-testing technology and reporting faulty blood test results to boot. Yet when confronted with these serious concerns, Theranos board member and famed lawyer David Boies expressed his view that the board has “complete confidence in Elizabeth Holmes as a founder of the company, as a scientist, and as an administrator.” It seems not to have dawned on Boies and the board to call for an urgent, impartial, and complete investigation of the serious allegations swirling around the company.

Impunity is not an accidental or incidental defect of American society. It is a system foisted on us by the rich and powerful, and it continues to work its magic. It has enabled Hillary Clinton to come within reach of the presidential nomination without releasing the transcripts of her highly paid speeches to Wall Street banks. The Clintons long ago perfected the art of impunity, becoming rich and powerful by blurring the lines between their campaign fund-raising, public policies in office, Clinton Foundation work, big-money speeches, and off-the-record favors for foreign governments.

This week British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted an Anti-Corruption Summit in London in the wake of the Panama Papers. He was speaking accurately when he was caught on an open microphone telling the Queen that leaders of two “fantastically corrupt countries,” Nigeria and Afghanistan, would be at the summit. Nigeria’s new president, Muhammadu Buhari, himself a corruption-fighter, concurred with Cameron’s assessment, but called on the UK to return the money stolen by Nigeria’s former leaders and deposited in British and other Western banks. He might well have added the historic role, for more than a half century, of Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria’s oil-sector corruption.

Buhari is, in fact, making a much larger point. While there is enough top-level political corruption to go around — from Afghanistan and Nigeria to Malaysia, Brazil, South African, FIFA, and many more places — the channels of corruption and secrecy havens are largely owned and operated by the big boys — the United States and the UK — and depend absolutely on the gross impunity that prevails at the highest reaches of power and finance in the United States.



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

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


14 May, 2016

Bernie's secret weapon


Trump placates Ryan

The Republican Party lurched back toward unity Thursday after Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the party’s top leader on Capitol Hill, concluded a closely watched summit with soothing statements that the GOP can, after all, get along.

Well, eventually.

“I was very encouraged with what I heard from Donald Trump today,” Ryan said after the meeting. “We are now planting the seeds to get ourselves united. . . . This is a process. It takes a little time. You don’t pull it together in 45 minutes.”

The Trump-Ryan confab was convened after Ryan took the extraordinary step last week of announcing that he wasn’t yet ready to support Trump as his party’s nominee. The pair met early Thursday along with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, followed immediately afterward by a larger meeting with Ryan and other members of House GOP leadership. Trump then met with Senate Republican leaders.

In the wake of these meetings — covered breathlessly all day, with cameras focused on Trump’s car, or his idling airplane — the sounds of harmony rippled across Capitol Hill.

“He was terrific. I was really quite impressed,” said Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. “I totally endorse him.”

“He’s actually a pretty affable guy in a small group setting. Obviously much different than the public demeanor,” said Senate majority whip John Cornyn.

“The meeting was great,” Priebus tweeted. “It was a very positive step toward party unity.”

But the sunny sentiments belie a continued tension at the heart of the GOP. Even the feel-good statements that emerged from Trump’s series of meetings couldn’t ignore the real differences on policy and tone that persist after a bruising primary fight that produced a very unconventional candidate at the top of the GOP ticket.

“While I may disagree with the rhetoric Mr. Trump uses and some policy positions, he is the better option than Hillary Clinton in the White House,” Representative Greg Walden, the Oregon Republican who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement. “That’s why all along I’ve said I intend to support the GOP nominee.”

Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate from Pennsylvania, said many members of his caucus — including those supporting Trump — still harbor concerns about their presumptive nominee. Trump “has to convince many Americans, including myself, that he’s ready to lead this great nation,” said Dent, who does not yet support Trump.



America is transitioning to an amoral State where Might is Right

America is witnessing the transition from a Judeo-Christian based culture and government where rights are conferred by God and just government is instituted to secure those rights, to a government and society which rejects this notion, preferring to merely have privileges allowed by government — which can be transferred or rescinded on a whim.

We now have become a society that wishes to be kept safe from alternative points of view, which wants to remove religious symbols from non-believer’s eyesight, and where chalked letters T-R-U-M-P cause entire college campuses to go into therapy.

The post-modern governance is best summed up by two separate incidents involving Harvard Law School.

The first revolves around a Harvard Professor, Mark Tushnet, who is advocating that Christians, traditionalists and constitutionalists, the presumed losers in the culture war be treated like the Nazis in post-World War II Germany, writing, “The culture wars are over; they lost, we won… My own judgment is that taking a hard line (‘You lost, live with it’) is better than trying to accommodate the losers, who — remember — defended, and are defending, positions that liberals regard as having no normative pull at all… [T]aking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.”

In short, might makes right. This astounding piece effectively eviscerates any notion of minority rights in our culture in this new post-modern America, even though it is this very constitutional protection that allowed the atheist, non-traditionalist movement to grow unshackled.

Of course the First Amendment freedom of religious expression is not even a relevant point when it comes to imposing the will of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender community on the church and other Bible believers. It’s not enough to agree to disagree. In Tushnet’s view, those who follow Biblical teachings should actually be compelled to abandon God in order to be part of the public place, no longer free to express or even conduct themselves according to their religious beliefs — just as the Nazi party was banned in Germany after 1945.

It is this imposition of the left’s cultural values on the entire nation that threatens the very heart of constitutional protections of rights. We’re no longer allowed to disagree.

Anyone familiar with various cases around the nation where Christian businesses have been forced by state governments to either go out of business or cater to gay marriage mandates can see where this leads.  Might makes right in the brave new world that Thrasymachus argued for, and little things like the Bill of Rights are not even speed bumps in the way of the new governing class.

Either join their revolution willingly, or the state will ensure compliance as mandatory.  Even though the Bill of Rights was constructed to stop those who would impose their will via government upon others. So much for the Enlightenment.

The second involves the Harvard Law School crest which has come under attack because it is the crest of the family that founded the law school in 1817 – a family of wealthy Massachusetts slave holders.  After some Harvard law students protested the shield of the school they chose to attend, Harvard Law School has decided to wipe it away along with the history – good and bad – that it represents.

The irony is the former crest of Harvard Law School contains a single word – veritas – the Latin word for truth.  A tidy metaphor for the new age in America where truth must be erased at all costs to avoid hurting feelings.  But also truth is the exact word that Jesus used to describe himself in front of Pontius Pilate and that Pilate scoffed at saying, “Que es veritas” or what is truth?

Thrasymachus was right. That is, once the restraints on government are let loose, the powerful will seek to impose their will on the rest of us. And America’s Ivy League philosopher kings know it, which is why they are hell-bent on imposing their new morality that doesn’t have room for dissent or discussion.  And it is why we need a Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the primacy of the rule of law — to stop them.



Obama to Successful Blacks: 'You Didn't Build That'

Out of the myriad lectures commencement speeches Barack Obama has given, perhaps none was as disheartening as the one he gave Saturday at Howard University. The message was twofold: Obama’s presidency failed to bring racial healing, and when it comes to blacks who are living successful lives, it’s not really because of hard work so much as it is luck (i.e., they didn’t build that).

We begin with racial discord, of which Obama is washing his hands. “No, my election did not create a post-racial society,” he said. “I don’t know who was propagating that notion. That was not mine.” Uh, yeah it was.

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh responds, “There are … white people who voted for Obama hoping to end [racial discord]. They think it’s tearing the country apart. … Nobody thought that meant more welfare or more benefits or more dependence, but that actual, quality standard of living improvements would take place. And there haven’t been any, at large.”

Next, recall Obama’s assertion four years ago: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Now see if you if you can find a resemblance to Saturday’s second damning remark:

“[W]e have to not only question the world as it is, and stand up for those African-Americans who haven’t been so lucky — because, yes, you’ve worked hard, but you’ve also been lucky. That’s a pet peeve of mine: People who have been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky.”

Hot Air’s Larry O'Conner says, “No, it’s more than a pet peeve of his, it’s an ideology.” Furthermore, Limbaugh opines: “That’s a hell of an inspirational message. I’d be really motivated. Okay, so I’ve spent four years or however many years here in this university trying to equip myself for success, and now I’m told that’s not a factor. I gotta go out and learn luck. Where do I go to study luck? Where do I go to get my degree in luck? And the unspoken message is: If you’re black, you aren’t gonna have it, ‘cause the people in charge of luck aren’t gonna pass it out to you.”

Besides, what does all that talk about luck say about Obama’s ascendance to the White House?

There’s a meme traversing social media depicting George W. Bush with a caption, “Miss me yet?” When it comes to Barack Obama, many blacks will still be answering: No.



ObamaCare's Retreat From Affordability

Insurance providers UnitedHealth and Humana are admitting what most conservatives have realized for over a half-decade: The ObamaCare system is too bloated and regulation-heavy. Eventually, it will fail. United announced it was leaving most of the ObamaCare exchanges, and Humana said it will consider leaving too, for the two companies have been losing money. But the fact that health insurance companies don’t want to play in a system where consumers are forced to buy their product is a good sign to the Washington Post editorial board. “United’s selective exit from ACA marketplaces appears to reflect two positive features of the law,” the board opined. “First, Obamacare was meant to spur competition among insurance companies, thus constraining premiums … Second, the law has curtailed many of the ways that insurers used to contain their costs, such as refusing to cover certain people or certain treatments, or jacking up premiums for older customers.”

This is hardly free market competition we’re talking about here. But as market forces demand: Insurers must contain their costs. The next grand exodus by the insurance companies from the ObamaCare exchanges might be the bronze-level plans. A Virginian subsidiary of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield is considering upgrading all its bronze plans to silver plans next year. Apparently the entry-level plans that cost-concerned Americans who are young and healthy take are eating away at health companies' bottom line. What happens to the exchanges when those young ‘n’ healthy — the folks that were supposed to keep this whole health system afloat — decide to pay extra in taxes than buy into a rigged system with ever-increasing premiums? It’s just one more step toward the tipping point of failure.



How This Gun Free City Celebrated Mother's Day

Chicago’s gang violence is usually quite bloody during summer weekends, but this year’s Mother’s Day weekend was particularly bloody with 43 wounded and nine killed between Friday afternoon and Sunday night.

In fact, the Mother’s Day holiday brought five fatalities, the last of which came at 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. Eleven others were wounded on Sunday.

Saturday was also a dangerous day to live in Chicago, as three were killed and 21 more wounded by the gunfire traded between the city’s constantly warring gangs.

Friday was no light day, either. While one died, eleven more were shot.



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

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


13 May, 2016

Liberal in name only

Leftists have become the authoritarians they used to condemn

Do you support free speech, individual liberties and protections for private property? You must be a liberal.

Did that last sentence cause you to do a double take? I’m not surprised.

I’ve been reading a new book, “The Closing of the Liberal Mind,” and it shows that much of what passes for liberalism today is, historically speaking, anything but. Moreover, many who call themselves conservative today would have been considered “liberal” if they lived in the time of the Founding Fathers.

This distinction isn’t mere semantics, however. The shift I’m describing goes right to the heart of the political and culture wars that rage around us today. Author Kim Holmes demonstrates why the authoritarian stance adopted by many liberals today — as exemplified by speech codes, trigger warnings, boycotts and shaming rituals — is in fact more accurately described as illiberalism.

You don’t have to go back to the days of the Enlightenment, John Locke and the French Revolution (as Mr. Holmes, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state, does in his commendably thorough book) to see this trend at work. Consider the following quote from a famous politician. See if you can guess who said it and when:

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say, ‘We are Americans, and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration’.”

John McCain talking about President Obama? Nope. That’s Hillary Clinton. She said it in 2003, in reference to the George W. Bush administration.

But as they say, that was then, and this is now. Apparently it’s patriotic to express your opposition to President Bush, but if you utter a word against President Obama, you’re a lying, racist bigot. And if you deny it? Well, that’s just what we would expect a bigot like you to say.

And so most of today’s liberals (or “postmodern leftists,” to use Mr. Holmes’ preferred term) are not championing the right to offer opposing views, as their intellectual forebears would have done. They’re suppressing them.

This campaign to stamp out dissent takes many forms. We see it in Internal Revenue Service witch hunts against conservative groups. On college campuses with administrators meekly bowing to angry demands that politically incorrect speakers be banned. In the push from state attorneys general to investigate groups that question climate change.

Ask Lennart Bengtsson. In 2014, this well-respected Swedish meteorologist working in the United Kingdom joined a group called the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which questions some of the climate change community’s findings. Mr. Bengtsson did so simply because he was concerned that some of the computer-model predictions didn’t match up with actual scientific observations over time.

Big mistake. “Within a matter of days, he found himself in deep trouble,” Mr. Holmes writes. “As happened to other scientists who question any aspect of the global-warming ‘consensus,’ Bengtsson was hounded by colleagues to the point that he felt forced to resign from the think tank.”

Mr. Bengtsson cited concerns for his “health and safety,” saying the pressure made “normal work” virtually impossible, and warned: “It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy.”

That’s how far today’s “liberals” have fallen. They’ve become the very thing they once denounced.

And so we wind up in a culture that punishes young children severely for first-time, minor infractions under “zero tolerance” policies. One with so many thousands of federal laws that we prosecute adults for committing crimes that they didn’t even know were crimes.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Unless we all, liberal and conservative, find some way to recover this classically American outlook, the climate of intolerance will only grow more stifling. How far do we dare push it?



What They Still Don't Realize About Trump Voters

As the smoke clears from the wreckage of Indiana, which brought down both Ted Cruz as well as John Kasich, we now know that the pundits and analysts who predicted Trump’s demise on so many occasions were wrong. We also know that Trump, who once remarked that some thought he could shoot someone in Times Square in broad daylight without losing supporters, appears to have been right about himself.

Some 40% of those voting in Republican caucuses and primaries this year have voted for Trump. In what he has constantly derided as the Republicans’ “rigged system,” that sufficed to garner enough delegates to clear out the competition.

Who are these Trump voters? Why was the accumulated conventional wisdom so wrong about Trump and his political chances at every turn?

Victor Davis Hanson, writing in National Review, posts a lyrical description of the Trump constituency in the attempt to explain why so many of us have been baffled:

"[Trump] is a postmodern creation, for whom traditional and time-tested rules do not apply. He is neither brilliant nor unhinged, neither ecumenical nor just a polarizer, not a wrecker and not a savior of the Republican party, but something else altogether. He does not defy conventional wisdom. There simply is no convention and no wisdom applicable to Donald J. Trump. For years postmodernists have lectured us that there is no truth, no absolutes, no timeless protocols worthy of reverence; Trump is their Nemesis, who reifies their theories that truth is simply a narrative whose veracity is established by the degree of power and persuasion behind it.

His supporters want a reckoning with a system that has not so much failed as infuriated them. What drives their loyalty to Trump -- if not the person, at least the idea of Trump -- is a sort of nihilism. As a close friend put it to me this week, “I don’t care whether Trump wins or not, I just want him to f*** things up as long as he can.”

This rage has been a long time building.

It first began to manifest with the rise of the Tea Party movement in the wake of the underhanded process used to pass Obamacare before Scott Brown, explicitly elected in Massachusetts to frustrate its passage, could take his Senate seat. Obamacare’s passage fueled the massive Republican legislative landslide of 2010, when the party regained control of the House of Representatives.

The frustration of Romney’s failure in 2012 added to it, fueling a second landslide of 2014 that strengthened the Republican hold on the House and gave them control of the Senate.

That campaign was characterized by a tremendous amount of over-promising by the candidates regarding what could happen once the Senate was taken back. This created expectations which anyone who had ever taken a high school civics course and paid attention could have known were unrealistic. Obama was still in the White House, and the GOP lacked a veto-proof majority in either chamber.

Those frustrated expectations poured gasoline on the rage already existing. National talk radio and prominent writers castigated the slightest disagreements over political tactics, calling the dissenters “RINOs” and “sell-outs,” casting them into the darkness.

Trump supporters looked for someone who would express their rage and frustration, which generated attitudes Hanson described as follows:

On race, Trump supporters are tired of hearing that black lives matter, while no one mentions that all lives matter. They are sick of seeing protestors wave the flag of the country they do not wish illegal aliens to be sent back to and trash the country they under no circumstances want them to leave. They don’t like getting a letter from an IRS that employs Lois Lerner -- a letter that would be ignored with impunity by those who are here illegally or who run the Clinton Foundation.

They are tired of wealthy minorities claiming they are perpetual victims of ill-treatment at the hands of people who are less well off than they. They don’t like hearing from elites that huge trade deficits have little to do with loss of jobs or that cheating by our trade partners is just a passing glitch in free trade. They cannot stand lectures from those who make more money in an hour than they do in a year about their own bad habits or slothfulness.

They don’t know what the on-screen savants mean by a leg-tingle or a perfectly pressed pant leg or a first-class temperament or a president as god -- and they don’t care to find out. They do not hate political correctness so much as one-sided political correctness, which gives a pass to some to say things that would get others fired or ruined. They don’t want to be lectured that their own plight is part of a larger, healthy creative destruction or a leaner, meaner competitiveness or an overdue restructuring -- by those who are never destroyed, rendered noncompetitive, or restructured.

And they don’t like to be talked down to by the experts who ran up $10 trillion in debt, ruined the health-care system, dismantled the military, and screwed up the Secret Service, the IRS, NASA, and the VA.

Trump is their megaphone, not their solution. The Trump supporters have seen plenty of politicians with important agendas, but few with the zeal to push them through; at this late date, they would apparently prefer zeal without agendas to agendas without zeal.

Hanson is correct in his analysis, but there is something missing, because the very same frustrations mentioned above are also shared by Rubio or Cruz supporters, who together represent at least as large a percentage of the Republican electorate this year as the Trump voters do. What, then, is the difference between Trump’s 40% and the “anyone but Trump” 40%?

The answer lies in two places.

The cumulative train wreck of eight years of Obama has left Republican voters in general in what may be called a “---structive” mood, but prefixes are decisive: While the typical supporter of the more qualified candidates were in a constructive mood -- seeking to build momentum and the legislative muscle to change things for the better (as had happened in Wisconsin following the “red tide” of 2010) -- the typical Trump supporter has a nihilistically destructive attitude, what Hanson’s friend described as the desire “to f**k things up as long as he can.” Tear everything down; burn, baby, burn.

The second attitude is something that most of the pundits have yet to come to terms with. Contrary to the views of Eric Cantor, we didn’t underestimate Trump. We overestimated many of our fellow voters, who never attended that civics class (or failed to pay attention), who don’t understand how the system works, and who increasingly inhabit a world of 30-second soundbites (at most) and 140-character Twitter slogans. Who can rattle off statistics for their sports teams, but can’t be bothered to know who represents them in Congress, let alone their state legislature or any of their voting records or positions.

We have as many “low information voters,” as Limbaugh famously calls them, as the Democrats do, and they have voted: To hell with the Constitution! Tear the whole thing down! Burn, baby, burn!



Will Reagan's Top Advisor Push Trump Over the Top?

As Trump celebrated his win in Tuesday's Indiana primary, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said their team is putting together a fundraising plan for a general election campaign against probable Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as downballot races for Congress. "Donald Trump is going to raise money for the Republican National Committee," Lewandowski said.

His allies also are gearing up to raise unlimited sums on his behalf.

For instance, Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican operative who oversaw Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign, recently signed on as lead strategist for Great America PAC, a pro-Trump super PAC. Eric Beach, the super PAC’s co-chairman and a veteran of Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaigns, said the committee plans “to be the weapon of choice for the nominee in the general election” and soon will announce a “finance advisory team that will be second to none.”

Trump, who disavowed super PACs during the primary, appears to be softening his stance. “I know that people maybe like me and they form a super PAC, but I have nothing to do with it,” Trump said Wednesday night on NBC Nightly News. “As you know, I'm not allowed to have anything to do with it. So we'll see what happens.”



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

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


12 May, 2016

Does RACISM explain the rise of Donald Trump?

An amusing lack of thought below.   The study concerned is methodologically weak (many more females than males;  no representative sampling etc.) but I believe its conclusions are mostly right.  Support for Trump IS mediated by racism:  Leftist racism.

Mainstream  whites are discriminated against all the time by America's elites.  "Affirmative action" is nothing if not racist.  Leftist are the racists, not conservatives. And American whites don't like being discriminated against any more than blacks do.  It's only the brain-dead Left who think that the cure for discrimination is more discrimination. 

And whites know that all sorts of minorities are privileged over them:  Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals, the sexually confused, Greenies, welfare parasites etc.  So when reminded about the discrimination that they suffer, they become more favourable to those who are against favoritism:  The Donald and the Tea Party.  And that is exactly what the researchers found. 

Being Leftists, the researchers seem to think that they have discredited Tea Party and Trump supporters in some way.  They fail to see that mainstream whites have real grievances and that the Left is to blame for those grievances.  White males in particular are both badly treated by government and often mocked,  condemned and even demonized.  The researchers seem to think that they should not be aware of all that.  Trumpism is protest -- protest  by ordinary decent people, nothing more.  It is the Left who are responsible for the rise of  Trump

Many white Americans now believe that their hierarchical standing is being threatened by minority groups, leading them to support political forces that would help ‘restore the status of whiteness,’ a new study claims.

Through a series of online experiments, a Stanford University sociologist found that heightened levels of racial resentment were tied to greater support for the Tea Party in white participants.

The study suggests that the perceived ‘decline of whiteness’ prompts some to align with platforms that condemn minority groups – and they say this mindset may be at play in the rise of Donald Trump.

According to Stanford professor of sociology Robb Willer, this trend began with the election of President Obama in 2008 and grew through the Great Recession, along with the rising political influence of minorities in America.

The team, which also included Matthew Feinberg of the University of Toronto and Rachel Wetts of the University of California, Berkeley, conducted five survey-based online experiments involving 1,329 participants.

In the first, white participants were shown altered photos of President Obama.

Those who viewed an artificially darkened picture of Obama were more likely to express their support for the Tea Party, at 22 percent, compared with those who were shown a lightened photo, at just 12 percent.

In another set of studies, white participants were either told that white share of the total U.S. population was decreasing, or that whites’ average income was declining in comparison to other ethnic groups.

Both groups showed greater support for the Tea Party, which the researchers say is partly explained by increased racial resentment.

This was also seen when the researchers emphasized the declining portion of whites in America.

In the last experiment, the researchers found that the participants reported stronger support for the Tea Party when they emphasized aspects of the platform that could have racial implications, including opposition to immigration and welfare, over libertarian ones, like government spending.

The researchers say this is the first study to demonstrate the link between Tea Party support and racial resentment.


Since the election of President Obama in 2008, followed by the Great Recession and the rising political influence of minorities in America, some white Americans feel their ‘racial standing’ is threatened, the researchers say.

‘Together these factors could be viewed as a collective threat to the status of whiteness in the U.S., which provided fertile ground for the rise of a social movement that promoted a return to the way things used to be in America, including a set of policies that could restore whites’ position on top in the racial status hierarchy,’ Willer said.

The study suggests that this perceived ‘decline of whiteness’ prompts some to align with platforms that condemn minority groups, including the Tea Party and likely even Donald Trump.

These groups advocate restrictions on immigration, opposition to Obama, militant positions toward Muslim nations, and other policies which the researchers say would help to 'restore the standing of whites in America.'

‘Past work finds that economic downturns can exacerbate racial resentment by giving whites the sense that they have a shrinking piece of a shrinking pie,’ Willer said.

This, combined with the election of a non-white president and other factors in recent years, are leading some white Americans to feel more ‘threatened,’ the researcher explains.

‘Together these factors could be viewed as a collective threat to the status of whiteness in the U.S., which provided fertile ground for the rise of a social movement that promoted a return to the way things used to be in America, including a set of policies that could restore whites’ position on top in the racial status hierarchy,’ Willer said.

And, the findings don’t just apply to the Tea Party; the researcher explains that the growing trend is likely playing a role in the growing support for Donald Trump as a presidential candidate.

‘Donald Trump’s candidacy pulls support from much of the same base that the Tea Party did and has,' Willer said.

'And there is good reason to think that many of the same psychological forces propelling Tea Party support also propel support for Trump’s candidacy. Indeed, Trump’s statements probably go further in criticizing minority groups than the Tea Party did.'

‘What was largely implicit in the case of the Tea Party has become more explicit in the case of Trump’s candidacy’ Willer said.

According to Willer, the findings suggest the ‘threats’ to racial status have caused some to turn to support for the Tea Party, and likely Trump, based on their advocacy of certain policies, including restrictions on immigration, opposition to Obama, militant positions toward Muslim nations.

The researcher says these policies would help to 'restore the standing of whites in America.'



GOP Establishment wails that Trump isn’t a conservative. Have they looked in the mirror recently?


Donald Trump is going to troll his way to victory

IN INTERNET parlance, a troll is a malevolent mischief-maker, a commenter who says something politically incorrect, then sits back and enjoys the resulting furore — sometimes even fanning the flames under multiple contradictory identities.

In politics, the master troll is Donald Trump.

During the recent GOP nominating process, he gave the media the vapours by criticising John McCain’s war record, and promising to ban all Muslims from the US and build a giant fence across the Mexican border. Each time, bien-pensant society (largely consisting of leftist politicians and fellow-travelling journalists) assured their increasingly nervous followers that this time the troll had gone too far, that Trump was finished.

Instead, he only got stronger. Why? The public was tired of politics as usual, sick of polite society. In the internet age, they loved the troll.

Last week, The Donald set off another tempest in a piñata when he posted a Cinco de Mayo tweet of himself sitting at his desk about to dine on a taco bowl from the Trump Grill. What really frosted his critics was his line: “I love Hispanics!”

It was classic Trump, being simultaneously innocuous (what was he going to say — “I hate Hispanics”?); funny (is he serious?); and sure to get plenty of attention. Once again, there was the master troll, on every news show and political web site in the country. “Dumb and condescending and racist,” groused Gawker.

Meanwhile, his fans just laugh and sit back to await the next outrage. Trump has disrupted the conventional wisdom of politics, where every speech is focus-grouped into blandness. Some think he says whatever pops into his head, but it’s more likely that he often makes statements just to be mischievous, in order to discomfit and disrupt his enemies.

Whatever he says doesn’t have to be particularly consistent, it just has to get the goats of the right people, to keep everyone focused on him, not on Hillary Clinton. Heck, even Hillary isn’t focused on Hillary.

What does this mean for his chances of being elected?

Well, the people who hate Trump aren’t going to stop if he no longer says outrageous things. The people who love Trump aren’t going to stop backing him. Those who haven’t made up their minds will, I suspect, not take everything Trump says seriously. But they may be amused, especially when compared to Hillary Clinton’s scandals. Setting up your email server to hide your correspondence from the public while the Romanians hack into it sounds a bit worse than tucking into a taco bowl.

The only worry Trump should have is if he fails to follow through on his promises. If his fans find out he’s trolling them, it really will end him.

Politics today, as Trump understands, is largely a narrative-driven reality show with good guys and bad guys.

His campaign is a gamble that the good guys — the scorned white working class, economically struggling inner-city blacks to whom Obama and the Democrats have consistently given the back of their hand, patriotic Americans in general — vastly outnumber the bad guys moving jobs overseas, racking up debt, allowing immigrants to flood in unchecked.

And if you don’t believe that, just ask Barack Obama, whose juvenile foreign-policy guru, Ben Rhodes, recently confessed that the White House shamelessly manipulated its own useful idiots of the press and others (“the Blob,” he called it) in order to foist its disgraceful Iran deal upon a trusting but duped public.

But I suspect the liberal politician attitude toward “shaping narratives” will be a typical one — it’s only right when we do it.



More Welfare Going to Illegals Than U.S. Citizens

The average American household receives $4,431 a year in federal welfare, including food stamps and cash. That’s plenty of evidence for Barack Obama’s poor economic record, but it gets worse. Illegal immigrants take in an average $5,692 from the federal government a year. Who are the people paying taxes? The numbers were crunched by the Center for Immigration Studies, which last year also discovered that 51% of immigrant households take in some sort of federal aid compared to 30% of native households.

“It is difficult to imagine sitting down to craft an immigration policy that will benefit the American people and coming up with one in which immigrants consume more welfare than natives,” wrote Jason Richwine, the analyst who crunched the numbers. “It’s a strong indication that current policy is not working.” Immigrants — both legal and otherwise — take in more welfare because they often have more children and attained less education than people born here in the United States. America may be the land of opportunity, but it should present its opportunity through work and enterprise, not creating a whole class of people dependent on the government.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about The Donald


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

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


11 May, 2016

Socialized medicine at work in Britain

More than 33,000 people died needlessly over ten years because of poor care after a heart attack, a major study has found.

Nine out of ten patients do not receive the correct treatment after an attack, it revealed. Shockingly, the researchers warned that the true number of needless deaths could be twice as high as their estimate.

Doctors last night said the findings were ‘unacceptable’ and needed urgent attention across the NHS.

The failure to stick to international treatment guidelines contributes to a quarter of heart attack deaths in England and Wales, which experts say could be easily avoided.

The researchers estimate that one patient dies needlessly every month in every hospital in England and Wales because of poor care – including failing to give patients certain drugs and not ordering crucial scans.

Someone suffers a heart attack every three minutes in the UK, with nearly 200 people of working age dying every week. Treatment has improved rapidly in recent years, with the development of 24/7 acute cardiac units meaning patients are fast-tracked to expert teams.

But the new study reveals the treatment of patients after an attack is falling woefully short.

The researchers analysed 390,000 cases of the most common type of heart attack – called a non-ST elevation heart attack or NSTEMI – in 247 hospitals in England and Wales between 2003 and 2013.

For each case they checked whether the patient had been given 13 treatments – including scans, drugs and medical advice – recommended in international guidelines. They found that in 87 per cent of cases, patients did not receive at least one of the interventions.

Doctors often failed to give patients anti-cholesterol statin drugs or anti-clotting drugs, which are proven to drastically reduce the risk of a repeat attack.

They missed out crucial scans, which can pick up further hidden problems, and they neglected to advise patients about the best way to change their lifestyle, including how to improve their diet and stop smoking.

The researchers from the University of Leeds and University College London wrote in the European Heart Journal: ‘We found that if all patients during the study period had received the investigations and treatments for which they were eligible... around 33,000 deaths may have been prevented.

‘This equates to over a quarter of all NSTEMI deaths, or about one avoidable death per month per hospital over the last decade.’

The team used data from the Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project (MINAP) and said: ‘We speculate that MINAP captures less than half of all NSTEMI in England and Wales. Consequently, the number of preventable deaths that we report will be underestimated.’

They concluded: ‘We clearly show that, across a modern healthcare system such as in the UK, there are substantial opportunities to improve outcomes through relatively simple measures.’

Study leader Dr Chris Gale, of the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, said: ‘What we’ve highlighted here is the unacceptable deficit in the care being given to people after they’ve had an NSTEMI heart attack.

‘The good news is that now we’ve identified the problem, we can certainly fix it. Simple interventions, such as prescribing statins, are being missed and this is resulting in loss of life.’

Professor Peter Weissberg, of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said: ‘This study shows that many people in the UK are receiving sub-optimal care after a heart attack and that lives are being lost as a consequence. Hospitals need to apply the lessons learnt from this research.’

Professor Huon Gray, NHS England’s national clinical director for heart disease, said: ‘Immediate and long-term survival rates after a heart attack are improving thanks to advances in treatment and aftercare, but this study shows there are opportunities to improve outcomes further.’

He added: ‘National and international guidelines are clear, and these findings should act as a reminder to providers and commissioners of care that best practice should always be followed.’



Why Trump Resonates

While there is considerable and expected animus directed at presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump from the Left, there might be as much, if not more, invective coming from the Right. Columnist George Will is infuriated by the extensive damage Trump has inflicted on the GOP, warning that the collaborationists who support him “will render themselves ineligible to participate in the party’s reconstruction.” Charles Krauthammer also speaks to the “ideological realignment” of the party. They are two members of a conservative army appalled by Trump’s rise among a voter base they believe has allowed anger to overcome ideology. Yet their angst is largely based on the conventional wisdom regarding the ostensible differences between conservative vs. liberal, or Democrat vs. Republican. What if the conventional wisdom no longer applies?

“Any true understanding of this election requires an appreciation of the one huge political fault line that is driving America into a period of serious political tremors, certain to jolt the political Richter scale,” writes a very insightful Robert W. Merry. “It is nationalists vs. globalists.”

Merry goes on to explain how the globalists “captured” American society by taking over elitist institutions that included the media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks, NGOs, and charitable foundations. In the process of doing so, the elites who ran these institutions began to believe they were the ultimate arbiters of proper thinking. In turn, Merry explains that worldview led to a “quantum expansion of social and political arrogance on the part of these high-flyers.”

Enter Trump, who galvanized an American public furious with the elitist idea that national sovereignty has outlived its usefulness in a rapidly “shrinking” world.

Nowhere have the elites made this plainer than their failure to enforce immigration law. America is on the verge of yet another surge at our southern border. Through the first six months of FY2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported a 78% increase from the 15,616 illegals apprehended last year, and only slightly less than the record-setting surge of illegals apprehended in 2014. Illegals the Obama administration purposely dispersed throughout the nation to await immigration hearings, even as the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review remains fully aware that between between July 2014 and January 2016, a whopping 88% of removal orders were issued “in absentia,” because illegals failed to show up for those hearings.

No matter how loud the public clamors for border control and a crackdown on visa overstays (less than 1% of visa overstayers were deported in 2015), Rule of Law is routinely ignored. Moreover, globalists are not content to allow America to wither from de facto invasion. They also insist legal immigration must be ramped up to accommodate their employment needs, even though many of those who demand such accommodation have been laying off American workers and replacing them with foreign counterparts willing to work for lower wages. This, despite the reality that wages have already been stagnant for decades.

On foreign policy, Merry explains that globalists are animated by humanitarian impulses where the “rights and well-being of the world’s people supersede the rights and well-being of the American populace.” Trump-supporting nationalists want America to remain strong, and any military intervention to be based national security interests only.

Yet discontent with foreign policy pales in comparison to the animus driven by free trade. Rightly or wrongly (a lot wrongly) many Americans who flock to Trump are convinced free trade has hollowed out the nation’s industrial base. And while the protectionist impulses of these Americans are economically problematic, they are driven by two factors. First, there are towns and cities in America that have been decimated by globalization, and no amount of talk about the overall benefits to the nation will resonate with those directly harmed.

Yet the most important element of Trump’s appeal has nothing to do with political ideology at all. The Donald has taken a wrecking ball to the elite-driven political correctness that routinely ridicules and marginalizes ordinary Americans. And despite his multitudinous faults and foibles, Trump embodies the one thing most Republican politicians avoid like Ebola: a take-no-prisoners willingness to employ the very same street-fighter tactics Democrats and their media allies have successfully used for decades.

Krauthammer, et al, rightly rue the loss of dignity Trump represents. But a conservative electorate tired of milquetoast, GOP politicians willing to lose — as long as they do it nobly? Not so much. Thus they gravitate to a so-called Alpha Male they perceive as willing to defend American interests above all.

By contrast, Merry writes that Hillary Clinton “is the personification of the globalist elite … totally in sync with the underlying sensibilities of political correctness, a practitioner of identity politics, which lies at the heart of the assault on the national heritage.” He notes that nothing reflects this better than “the Clinton Foundation, a brilliant program to chase masses of money from across borders to fund the underpinnings of an ongoing political machine.”

Thus, be it by accident or design, Trump may signify the emergence of a new paradigm. “Make America Great Again” is hardly a cutting edge slogan (he “borrowed” it from Ronald Reagan), but it certainly resonates among millions of Americans who see Trump as their last chance to preserve national sovereignty, even if that preservation requires a level of ideological compromise that gives GOP/conservative gatekeepers fits. The very same gatekeepers who whine about the demise of conservatism and the GOP, while they apparently fail to see the steady march towards globalism will lead to the virtual extinction of both.

For those who still believe in the nation-state, Trump may prove ultimately disappointing. Clinton already has. But she and her globalist allies — as well as many disappointed conservative scolds — may be surprised when they discover that in 2016, millions of Americans' political ideology can be reduced to five words: I want my country back.



Trump Celebrity Endorsement Nobody Was Expecting

Rapper Azaelia Banks, who recently engaged with a vicious war of words on social media with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has announced she's supporting Donald Trump:

The outspoken rapper says Hillary “talks to black people as if we’re children or pets.”

The singer defended her support for the “asshole” GOP candidate and said of Hillary Clinton: She “talks to black people as if we’re children or pets.”

Donald Trump can add another member of Hollywood to his list of supporters.

On Saturday afternoon, singer Azealia Banks expressed her support for the GOP candidate in a spree of tweets, kicking off the conversation with, “I REALLY want Donald Trump to win the election.”

She told her Twitter followers that her predictions about the presidential race were true: “I told you guys Bernie Sanders didn’t have the clout. i told you all he wasn’t going to be the nominee.”

In her series of tweets, Banks defended Trump and his outspoken opinions. “Trump is an asshole but he’s not been groomed and programmed on some mkultra tip to DO & SAY what the establishment wants him to,” she began and added, “Trump just wants the U.S to be lavish … for all of us. I can f— with that.”
Key for Hillary is maintaining the illusion that she cares about black people. If Trump can peel away African American support from the presumptive Democratic nominee, she's toast.



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

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


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

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


10 May, 2016

The most dangerous hobby

The rise of the Donald has got the Left scratching their heads. They need some explanation that will save them from admitting that a lot of what he says is right.  Out of that has come the essay below by academic Eitan D. Hersh.  He provides the explanation that Trump supporters are "hobbyists".

I think Hersh does have a point in general and I think that "hobbyism" may well be part of the explanation for Trump support -- but I see the enthusiasm for Trump as too great to be explained fully that way.  I think a lot of Americans really are fed up with a GOP that repeatedly kow-tows to Leftist thinking, with all its double standards and lack of reality contact.

The way both sides of politics describe Islam as a "religion of peace" is truly astonishing.  What do Muslims have to do in the name of their religion for it to be described as a religion of hate? And The Donald is the only one who has said anything negative about Muslims.

But I do think that the Obamamania of 2008 was a prize example of the "hobbyism" that Hersh describes

Something troubling has emerged on the American scene: Political activity has become a hobby. Voting, petitioning, partisan cheering, donating, watching infotainment news: The chief purpose for participating in politics seems to be self-gratification.

We are accustomed to thinking about participation in politics as motivated by civic duty or self-interest, not gratification. That has changed due to a combination of factors related to the nature of free time, the openness of the political process to mass participation, and a recent period of relative peace.

For Americans who are far enough removed from military service, economic hardship, and discrimination, political stakes can seem pretty low, especially in the quarter-century since the end of the Cold War when foreign threats seem less immediate. And so politics has become an erudite way to spend leisure time. But unlike softball or beekeeping, the stakes are actually high.

Donald Trump’s surprising rise sheds light on the perils of political hobbyism. It is clear that far too many people have been treating a high-stakes affair like a low-stakes one. That’s why they never saw Trump coming. When politics is treated like an unserious game, unserious candidates emerge.

TO UNDERSTAND POLITICAL hobbyism, consider three important forms of political participation: campaign contributing, activism, and voting. Today, all three activities are dominated by hobbyists.

Wealthy donors are pouring money into politics. Why? Our reflexive answer is so they can get something in return, like tax breaks or government contracts. But when political scientists study campaign finance, they mostly do not see self-interested donors. Most donations come from individuals, not corporate PACs. Most of these individuals (97 percent) give to only one party, which is not a savvy investment model for self-serving contributors. And donation patterns suggest that donors are less motivated by ideology than by pure partisanship.

So what are donors buying? Not policy, but time with their celebrity crushes. Donors want to attend cocktail parties, pose in photographs, and golf with candidates. They want to socialize with other donors. They want the candidates to solicit their advice. They want to be friends with their favored politicians.

Would a wealthy person really contribute thousands of dollars just for self-gratification? Yes, actually, the rich spend money to gratify themselves in ways that seem unfathomable to the rest of us. Politics is just one of those ways.

Here’s an example: Journalist Matea Gold recently noticed that wealthy donors have been traveling around the country to attend the presidential debates in person. The political parties were saving them seats. Why are donors traveling to watch the debates live? Because they are groupies. Republican donor Foster Friess told Gold, “It’s the same thing as going to a football game. If you’re in the crowd, you can hear the cheers, unfiltered by microphones. The chemistry is so much more exciting.’’ For the avid and wealthy hobbyist, a few thousand dollars is a small price to pay for a good show.

NEXT, CONSIDER ACTIVISM, a form of participation open to nonwealthy hobbyists. When a presidential campaign season is in high gear, millions of people engage. During the 2008 presidential contest, for instance, more than 13 million Obama supporters provided the campaign with their e-mail addresses, more than 3 million donated, and more than 2 million volunteered.

Obama’s campaign organization hoped it could channel this grass-roots energy into policy advocacy. Thus, the campaign morphed into Organizing for America, a group positioned to push the administration’s policy agenda through grass-roots mobilization.

It didn’t work.

The problem is that policy advocacy is much less fun than campaigning. Campaigning involves competition. Policy involves compromise.

In 2009, when Organizing for America began mobilizing support for its first big issue, the Affordable Care Act, only a fraction of campaign supporters took action. The organization tried to get supporters to town hall meetings where conservatives were a dominant presence. But the millions of campaign enthusiasts largely disengaged, even in the first year of Obama’s administration and even on his signature issue.

The demise of Organizing for America (and its reboot after the 2012 election, Organizing for Action) is hardly surprising. For most hobbyists, governing is simply less gratifying than campaigning. Measured by Google searches, almost nobody is interested in “Organizing for America’’ or “Organizing for Action” anymore, and they haven’t been for a while. Organizing for Obama? Fun. Organizing for Action? Meh.

Consider another example of hobbyist activism: online petitions, like those sent to the White House. Over 1,800 petitions (signed by 13 million individuals) were submitted in the first 20 months of the White House’s online petition program, which launched in 2011. Only 5 percent of these petitions addressed issues like health care, public education, taxation, paid parental leave — big issues that social scientists call redistributive. Most petitions either focused on minor issues (Recognize diaphragmatic hernia awareness day!) or addressed broad issues that were not directly related to economic well-being. Even when liberal groups like MoveOn.org and CREDO solicit petitions from their progressive base, economic issues are not particularly popular among petitioners. The most popular political petition that CREDO has ever circulated demanded funding for NPR.

Despite their enormous potential, online petitions are primarily tools for hobbyists. To hobbyists, large-scale economic issues are complicated and tiresome. And, frankly, these issues may not be a priority for hobbyists, whose lives are reasonably comfortable. They’d rather focus on issues that are gratifying and simple, or else just wait for the next exhilarating campaign season to begin.....

For citizens who are socially and financially comfortable, the risks seem low. They have a safety net. They do not fear military conscription. Their lives are stable. And so they do not approach politics with the solemnity appropriate for a high-stakes undertaking. Acting as if the stakes are low when they are high can be exceedingly dangerous.

More HERE 


The Nihilism of Sanctuary Cities


There are an estimated 300 or so jurisdictions -- entire states, counties, cities, and municipalities -- that since the early 1980s have enacted “sanctuary city” laws, forbidding full enforcement of federal immigration law within their jurisdictions.

Most of these entities are controlled by Democrats in general and liberals in particular. Sanctuary officials feel that federal enforcement of the southern border is either unnecessary or immoral, and thus they have decided that there is no real crime in entering and residing in the United States unlawfully. While the majority of illegal aliens are no doubt law-abiding and have avoided public dependence, the pool of unlawful immigrants is so large at over 11 million that even small percentages of lawbreakers can translate into hundreds of thousands of criminal aliens.

The liberal Migration Policy Institute conceded that there are over 800,000 illegal aliens with criminal records, nearly 700,000 of them with felony arrest records.

Those numbers, of course, reflect only those who have been arrested and faced trial, not the unknown number who have committed crimes without being apprehended or charged. In some sanctuary cities, lawlessness among undocumented immigrants has reached epidemic proportions.

Sanctuary cities are on record as having released over 10,000 known criminal aliens into the general population whom Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were attempting to deport. In addition, hundreds of thousands of criminals are currently protected from deportation as they await trials and sentences. Among them, most infamously, is Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, a seven-time convicted felon and five-time deported illegal alien who was not turned over to ICE by the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department that held him in custody on a drug charge. He was instead released just weeks before he murdered Kate Steinle.

The apparent principle of sanctuary cities is akin to roulette. The odds suggest that most illegal aliens detained by officials are not career felons and thus supposedly need not be turned over to ICE for deportation. On the chance that some of their 10,000 released criminals will go on to commit further crimes in the manner of Juan Lopez-Sanchez, officials then shrug that the public outcry will be episodic and quickly die down, or will at least not pose political problems as great as would come from deporting aliens.

Yet the idea of a sanctuary city is Confederate to the core, reminiscent of antebellum Southern states picking and choosing which federal statutes they would abide by or reject. Even before the Civil War, the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33 pitted South Carolina against a fellow southerner, President Andrew Jackson, as the state declared that federal tariff laws were not applicable within its confines. Jackson understood the threat to the union, and promised to send in federal troops before South Carolina backed down.

Sanctuary cities are careful to employ euphemisms rather than explicit references to illegal immigration. But not labeling San Francisco as an “illegal alien sanctuary” or even an “immigration sanctuary” only institutionalizes the idea of any city becoming a “sanctuary” from any federal law it finds convent. If sanctuary cities continue to flaunt federal immigration laws and if the federal government does not cut off federally earmarked funds to such offenders -- or if ICE does not, in Jacksonian style, threaten to use force to arrest and deport illegal aliens -- then the concept will spread, and spread well beyond matters of immigration law.

Much of the rural West opposes the Endangered Species Act. Can Wyoming declare that federally protected rats and bugs are not protected inside its state borders, when such pests obstruct construction of dams or highways? Many conservatives oppose federal restrictions on gun sales. Could Oklahoma City declare hand-gun purchases within its city-limits free of federal firearms statutes? Perhaps Little Rock could ignore a Supreme Court ruling and announce that gay marriage is not legal within its jurisdiction. On what rationale would liberals in California object to such nullifications -- that neither state nor city had the right to ignore a federal law or to obstruct the law enforcement duties of federal officials?

As a remedy to such reactionary nullification of liberal federal laws, would San Francisco or Los Angeles advocate cutting off federal funds, sending in federal agents, or nationalizing the local or state police? All of these are proven remedies from when recalcitrant southern states refused to abide by federal integration and civil rights laws in the 1960s.

What if the border between California and Nevada was nullified?

The theory of sanctuary cities is entirely hypocritical and self-serving. The idea of sanctuary from immigration law is predicated ultimately on the belief that there are or should be no national borders and thus no legal right to prosecute those who ignore them. But if California is a sanctuary state and Nevada is not, how is that distinction articulated and maintained?

Obviously California believes it has a clearly demarcated border with Nevada and that such a line is a good thing, allowing the Golden State a quite different approach to politics, economics, culture, and society within its own confines. Furthermore, if an illegal alien were speeding over Interstate 80 and crossed the state border into California, the state would object if any non-state law enforcement agent likewise crossed that line to turn him over to ICE for deportation. In other words, a sanctuary city or state is predicated on its ability to create borders not only to establish enforceable jurisdiction, but also as a reification of difference. Sanctuary cities, then, would insist that they have a right to create and enforce borders, and to create unique places within them that differ from other cities.

Nullification now thrives because our “pen and phone” president has decided to suspend federal immigration law enforcement in the manner that -- on over 20 occasions before his reelection -- he had warned was unconstitutional. But Obama has also ensured the next Republican president that he will have ample liberal precedent to create or neglect laws as his ideological whims dictate. Donald Trump, were he to be elected, might have a very different idea of what qualifies as a sanctuary city or what executive orders are needed to see through agenda with dispatch.

Forget about principles, because there are no consistent principles: sanctuary cities would never allow their precedents to apply to other jurisdictions that did not share their own liberal pieties. They believe federal law is omnipotent for everyone other than their own exalted classes, and they believe that borders, jurisdiction, and the sovereignty of laws are a good thing -- but only to the degree that they enhance their own utopian worldview.

The intellectual pedigree of sanctuary cities is not 1960s one-world ecumenicalism, but 1850s Confederate nullification. Their logical consequence is not a wide-open transnational continent, but utter disunion among the states and a second confederate attempt at destroying the primacy of the federal government.

Their politics are not exalted, but parochial, tribal, and demographic: sanctuary cities are predicated on the emergence of a large and politically potent Latino liberal demographic. Otherwise San Francisco or Los Angeles would be willing to turn over to ICE, for example, a lone Serbian illegal alien who had disrupted an environmental rally, or an Australian who overstayed his visa and began participating in "Trump for President" rallies. If thousands of Hungarian atheists were apprehended for committing crimes in Los Angeles, the Catholic archdiocese would stay mum about their deportation.

Nullification, neo-Confederate, tribal, and cynical are the proper epithets for such cities, which are best summed up as “cities of nihilism.”



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

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


9 May, 2016

The Boston Globe calls Trump a Nazi

But, being The Boston Globe, they did it subtly. No tabloid journalism for their writer.  He called Trump an exponent of the "Fuehrerprinzip" (leadership principle). He even spelled it out in German.  The "Fuehrerprinzip"  was of course promoted by Hitler.  That Hitler's rallies and Trump's rallies could hardly be more different doesn't count, of course

Although various grandees of the Republican Party have greeted Donald Trump’s clinching of their party’s presidential nomination by declaring they will not vote for him, Trump is still able to boast that Russian President Vladimir Putin called the casino magnate "a really brilliant and talented person." Purring like a petted kitten, Trump welcomed Putin’s praise as "a great honor" and remarked that the boss of all Russian bosses is "running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country."

Until some new whistle blower from the NSA posts a Putin-Trump dialogue online, we can only imagine what a chat between these two exponents of the leadership principle (in German, der Fuehrerprinzip) might be like. It could go something like this:



Trump Gets An Establishment Endorsement

Former Vice President Dick Cheney will support Donald Trump, he told CNN Friday, an important move as the presumptive Republican nominee is encountering intense resistance from senior members of his own party.Cheney told CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel that he has always supported the GOP nominee and will do so this year as well.  The announcement makes Cheney one of the few Republican Party elders to announce their support of Trump and comes a day after House Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN he is "just not ready" to back Trump.

To date, Cheney is the senior most American official to endorse Trump.



Australia has a "Trump" too

Australia has a Federal Election in July and the leader of the conservative side (Malcolm Turnbull) is like Trump in not being a traditional conservative.  He favors homosexual marriage, for instance.  But let Australian columnist Miranda Devine tell the tale:

Never-Trumpers are the emotional doppelgangers of our own Never-Turnbull crowd

NOW that Donald Trump looks set to take the Republican presidential nomination, a hardcore group of angry conservatives have decided they’d rather blow up the party and vote for Hillary Clinton than adjust to the reality of the candidate they have.

Watching the tantrum of America’s Never-Trump zealots since he scooped the primary pool in Indiana last week, you can’t help but notice parallels to our own conservative ragers.

They would rather vote for the devil incarnate than accept the only conservative choice available. It’s the spoiled brat tantrum of the smugly entitled. That’s MY party, they say, whether Republican or Liberal. You can’t change it without my permission. Whaaaaaa! Foot stamp.

They seem not to understand that sometimes in life you have to choose the lesser of two evils, that things don’t always go your way.

Like those who rail against Trump as a phony conservative, those who attack Turnbull as a closet leftie who has hijacked their party are "making the perfect the enemy of the good”.

It is true that the candidates couldn’t be more different in style and temperament: one is decisive and a populist showman, while the other is a ditherer and uninspiring elitist. But both Trump and Turnbull are political outsiders, shrewd and ruthless enough to have amassed personal fortunes and plenty of enemies.

They feel no need to do politics the usual way and don’t care that they are reviled by their party ­establishments.

The psychological similarities of their spitting-chips detractors go further.

These conservative intransigents are behaving in a most ­unconservative manner, casting aside prudence and caution to ­indulge their self-righteous anger and signal their virtue.

They say they are placing conservative principles ahead of the party. But their rage is all about them, and their fear of irrelevance. The problem is that the "Nevers” don’t have a plan, other than urging people not to vote.

They think that if Clinton/­Shorten win office that an ideologically pure conservative party will magically arise like a phoenix from the ashes.

Typical of the "Nevers” is the Washington Post’s conservative columnist George Will: "If Trump is nominated, Republicans working to purge him and his manner from public life will reap the considerable satisfaction of preserving the identity of their 162-year-old party while working to see that they forgo only four years of the enjoyment of executive power.”

They imagine that wrecking their party’s chance to win the next election will lead to a brief ­period in the wilderness from which a party of conservative ­purity will emerge.

But there is no guarantee that handing power to the Democrats/Labor will result in anything good or even brief, and they risk their conservative principles being excluded from any process of party ­renewal, were it to occur.

It’s ­obvious that Trump and Turnbull are not the most desirable candidates for conservatives (although Trump’s skewering of political correctness is worthwhile).

But they are both streets ahead of the alternative.

In the Trump-Clinton contest, you can boil down the choice for conservatives to one issue: who would you prefer to choose the next Supreme Court justice?

In the Turnbull-Shorten contest, the starkest choice is border security. Who do you trust to keep control of our borders: the party that delivered 50,000 illegal boat arrivals and 1100 drowned asylum-seekers, or the one which stopped the boats?

But the Nevers refuse to rally around the least worst option, ­preferring to live in denial.

If Turnbull/Trump lose, the Nevers will own every decision of Clinton/Shorten and conservatives will not let them ­forget it.

Even after Trump swept last week’s Indiana primary, giving him a total of more than 10 million votes, on track to the highest popular vote of any presidential candidate in Republican history, the Never Trumpers wouldn’t give up.

Like the Never Turnbulls, they try to make a virtue out of delusion.

"WHY WOULD AMERICANS EVER SETTLE FOR A CHOICE LIKE THIS?” tweeted neo-conservative Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard.

"For too many Americans, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump feels like a choice between being shot in the head, and being shot in the head”, said political blogger Liz Mair, founder of Never Trump group Make America Awesome.

But for all their noise, their petition asking conservatives to vow never to vote for Trump has barely managed 30,000 signatures.

Mitt Romney, the failed 2012 Republican presidential nominee and one of the most vocal Trump haters, summed up the situation by saying: "I wish we had better ­choices, and I keep hoping that somehow things will get better, and I just don’t see an easy ­answer from where we are.”

That’s all the Nevers have. Wishing, hoping, praying for a miracle, while reality keeps slapping them in the face.



20 Quotes From Ancient Greek Philosophers That Liberals Still Don’t Understand

Two thousand years ago, there may not have been liberals as we think of them today, but some of the dumb ideas that underpin the whole ideology were floating around. Fortunately, in Greece some of the greatest minds in human history were there to set people straight. There are an awful lot of liberals who could benefit from reading these more than 2,000 year-old words of wisdom.

1) "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits." -- Plutarch

2) "When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger." -- Epictetus

3) "The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

4) "Justice means minding one's own business and not meddling with other men's concerns." -- Plato

5) "Toil is no source of shame; idleness is shame." -- Hesiod

6) "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." -- Plato

7) "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop

8) "The most virtuous are those who content themselves with being virtuous without seeking to appear so." -- Plato

9) "When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income." -- Plato
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10) "Our object in the construction of the state is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class." -- Plato

11) "Knowledge becomes evil if the aim be not virtuous." -- Plato

12) "This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector." -- Plato

13) "Those who have virtue always in their mouths, and neglect it in practice, are like a harp, which emits a sound pleasing to others, while itself is insensible of the music." -- Diogenes

14) "We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time." -- Aristotle

15) "We regard wealth as something to be properly used, rather than as something to boast about. As for poverty, no one need be ashamed to admit it: the real shame is in not taking practical measures to escape from it." -- Pericles

16) "Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms." -- Aristotle

17) "Only the dead have seen the end of war." -- Plato

18) "The curse of me and my nation is that we always think things can be bettered by immediate action of some sort, any sort rather than no sort." -- Plato

19) "Society is well governed when its people obey the magistrates, and the magistrates obey the law." -- Solon

20) "A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true." -- Socrates



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

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


8 May, 2016

Will Hitler be forever with us?

He will, as long as it suits the Left.  They use the evils he did in the name of racial differences to discredit all mention of race.  They think, rightly, that if they accuse someone of racism, people will think of Hitler's monstrous deeds and become very wary of the accused person.  So they need to keep memory of Hitler alive.  And they use the schools to do just that, leaving out all the inconvenient bits, of course.

So for better or worse we are stuck with old Adolf.  That being so, it pays us to know as much as we can about him and to tell everyone in politics as much as we can about him.  If it becomes widely known that he was in fact a fairly conventional Leftist of his day, all memory of him will suddenly be forgotten.  Which is a reason why WE should not let his memory die.

So about ten years ago, Michael Miller of North Carolina put together a library of information about Hitler, focusing on  things that Leftists "forget" about.  And he used my essay on Hitler to show that Hitler was a Leftist.  But he asks other questions too:  What was Hitler's attitude to abortion, to animal rights, and smoking etc.

Michael used a free hosting service offered by Lycos to put his material up.  And, after a while, when he bowed out, I took on the job of maintaining the site. Recently however the site has disappeared. Someone at Lycos obviously decided that they would -- in typical Leftist fashion -- do a bit of censorship and delete it.

But I am a cautious old conservative type so I had all the files backed up onto not one but two hard disks.  So I have been able to re-post everything.  Reposting did require a lot of alterations to links so it was a bit of work but I think everything now works again.  If there is anything missing I would be obliged to hear about it.  The new home is here


Immigration: The Central Issue Of The Presidential Campaign

"The Chance Of A Political Lifetime For Real Reform”

Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, immigration will take its place as the central issue of the coming presidential campaign.

Immigration has been the backbone of Trump’s campaign since the day he announced his candidacy last June. Emphasis on the issue brought Trump face-to-face with grassroots outrage over unrestrained immigration that has touched nearly every state and community in America. Immigration is not only an economic issue; it is a national security issue as well.

What is more, immigration was the foundation of Trump’s attack on the failings of establishment Washington. He deftly mined the issue in every campaign rally and media interview. He would tolerate nothing less than legal immigration. He would build a wall to stem the flow of illegal entry into the United States. He would enforce a moratorium on the entry and settlement of Middle Eastern refugees.

Now Trump will take the issue into the general election in a relentless assault on Hillary Clinton and the policies of the Obama administration. His effort could be decisive in November.

In a comprehensive examination of the issue and what it means in the coming presidential campaign, Stanley Renshon of the Center For Immigration Studies writes that 2016 provides what he says is "the chance of a political lifetime for real reform.” He begins by writing that legal and illegal immigration now averages over one million people every year and has been the accepted norm in recent decades.

"That norm was enforced by a consensus of establishment political and civic leaders from both parties and their allies” Renshon writes. "Alternative views were suppressed or shamed. And the preferences of ordinary Americans, about immigration policies, and much else, were generally ignored. As a result, a growing level of public resentment and anger has developed, with Americans seething at what they feel is the incompetence, arrogance, and clubby insularity of Washington ‘elites’. And they have acted on those feelings in the last several midterm elections, transforming the makeup of their state governments and the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Renshon points out that President Obama has made it worse. He abandoned his promise of hope and change and "governed instead in accord with his leftist vision of transformation,” assuring that he will leave office as what Renshon calls modern history’s most divisive president.

"His legacy will be of having governed by executive fiat, including in the critical area of immigration. There, he issued a massive executive amnesty and changed immigration enforcement rules so that millions of illegal aliens are essentially free from any expectation that they will suffer consequences for having broken American immigration laws.”

Now the public wants something different and will be looking to the next president. Renshon asks the key question: "Will They Get It?”

Following are excerpts from the first installment of Renshon’s study titled Immigration in the Presidential Campaign-Part 1:

*The 2016 presidential election represents a once-in-a-political-lifetime opportunity to rethink America’s deeply flawed immigration system and help rescue it from the erroneous "conventional wisdom” that has dominated the immigration debate for decades. And in so doing, it may begin to help resolve America’s real immigration crisis — a system that does not serve national interests, but one that poisons public trust.

*Immigration policy is rarely at the top of public concerns, especially with a major economic downturn and molasses paced-recovery now in its eighth year and counting. Add to that the renewed concern about terrorist attacks, and it is surprising that immigration has moved to be a top-tier issue in the 2016 public campaign debate. Yet it has.

*A Pew poll on the public’s priorities found that immigration was mentioned by 51 percent as a "top priority”, up 11 points since 2013, especially among Republicans. An AP/NORC poll also found that immigration was a top-tier concern for those polled, and 83 percent of those polled said that a "great deal” or "a lot” of effort should be expended in trying to solve the issue, although they were skeptical it would be done.

*Immigration has become a top-tier issue for a variety of reasons. Its prominence owes much to Donald Trump’s loud, blunt, and continuous assault on political correctness. His challenges to the two-decade-long pseudo-consensus favoring "comprehensive immigration reform” opened a long-suppressed flood of public doubt and dissatisfaction about what Americans have been consistently told they must think about immigration, among other important policy issues.

*Unprecedented numbers of legal immigrants, unprecedented numbers of illegal aliens, immigrant population increases of 715 percent that have been projected from 1970 to 2060, and sharp political challenges to the very idea of a primary American national identity have increasingly worried many Americans. So has decreased public commitment to the very basic idea that assimilation to that primary American identity is a central and absolutely necessary underpinning of the country’s openness to substantial immigration.



Trump Says He'll Choose 'Wonderful, Conservative, Good, Solid, Brilliant Judges'

Never-Trumps should think about the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican Donald Trump told Fox News Thursday night. He said he will appoint "wonderful, conservative, good, solid, brilliant judges," whose names he hopes to "lay out" before the Republican National Convention.

But if his critics decide to split the Republican vote by running an independent candidate, "now you have four to five Supreme Court justices that will be picked by Hillary Clinton," Trump said.

"The worst thing that can happen -- because I'm going to win. I'm going to win. And I'm going to put wonderful, conservative, good, solid brilliant judges in the form of (the late Justice Antonin) Scalia -- I'm  going to actually lay them out.

"I'm going to discuss people. I'm going to--actually I've met with Heritage and a couple of groups.

"I'm going to actually lay them out...I think before the convention, yeah, I want to, put up 10, 12, 15 names that's the type of people that we'd like. I would like to do that." Trump said he would choose the finalists from that list. "These are conservative judges, would be great judges."



Oklahoma and Georgia Governors Sign Conservative Justice Reform Bills into Law

This past Wednesday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a package of justice reform bills into law, making the Sooner State the latest conservative state to adopt these "smart-on-crime” policies. That same day, Gov. Nathan Deal, on the other side of the country in Georgia, signed a smaller justice reform package into law, expanding on the state’s already impressive portfolio of justice reform initiatives. With the simultaneous adoption of these justice reform measures into law, conservative states like Oklahoma and Georgia are the pioneers in effective justice reform.

The Oklahoma justice reform package is a group of four bills that primarily deals with limiting the harsh punitive measures taken against non-violent offenders. These new laws would give district attorneys and courts more leeway when dealing with people charged with drug possession, allowing them to classify the charges as misdemeanors and opening up the possibilities for alternate forms of treatment rather than jail time. One such law, HB 2479, reforms the state’s three-strike felony policy for drug-related felonies, lowering the mandatory minimum sentences for people charged with felonies for the first, second, and third time. Gov. Fallin had been extremely supportive of these measures since the beginning of the legislative session, mentioning such justice reform efforts in her State of the State speech.

Across the country, Georgia had first begun implementing justice reform in 2011. Oklahoma actually passed a number of their new initiatives off of Georgia’s example, such as the creation of drug courts. Therefore, the bill that Gov. Deal signed into law on Wednesday, SB 367, is continuing along the trend of expanding the justice reform agenda.

The bill protects the rights of non-violent first time offenders by giving them the opportunity to shield their criminal record from their offense. State licensing boards will also be limited in requiring people with criminal histories to disclose that information on job forms, giving these former inmates a chance to rejoin society and be productive. The bill makes a number of other structural changes, such as creating more charter schools within prisons, allowing former prisoners to keep their driver’s license, and giving non-violent offenders, who have served extremely long sentences, a chance at eligibility for parole.

Both Govs. Mary Fallin and Nathan Deal have been stalwart advocates of criminal justice reform, and these reforms are yielding success. At the signing of the bill, Gov. Deal mentioned how, in 2011, Georgia’s prison population could have expanded to 60,000 inmates if reform weren’t enacted. Now, five years later, the Georgia prison population is 53,800, more than a 10 percent decrease from earlier projections. While much work remains necessary across the country, Oklahoma and Georgia have both made excellent progress in reforming and enacting a successful and effective criminal justice system



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

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


6 May, 2016

Will Trump hatred Confirm Obama's Radical Supreme Court Nominee!

Major Conservative organizations and media outlets are right now beginning their push to force Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

Their argument: They believe Garland is a better nominee than anyone Trump or Clinton/Sanders would nominate to fill Justice Scalia’s seat.

Let me set this argument straight.

Over his career, Merrick Garland had four chances to vote against the 2nd Amendment and he took every single one of them.

In 2000, Merrick Garland voted to reinterpret the law and allow the Federal government to keep a database of American gun owners. The law explicitly states that no registry can be maintained, but Garland voted to allow the database as long as it was called an "audit log” and not a registry…

In 2005, Garland voted against rehearing Seegars v. Gonzales, meaning that he believes the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right to keep and bear arms.

That same year, another panel of judges reached a different decision and determined that Americans do have the right to own a firearm. Garland tried desperately to rehear and overturn that ruling. He failed and that case would go on to be reaffirmed by the Supreme Court with Scalia's Heller decision.

In 2012, Merrick Garland voted to give the government the power to prosecute someone for possessing an automatic weapon even if the defendant had no idea the firearm was fully-automatic.

The only reason that you and I are allowed to purchase, own, and carry firearms is the fact that Justice Scalia wrote the 5-4 Heller opinion affirming that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right.

If Merrick Garland is confirmed, he will undo this ruling and dismantle the Second Amendment. That is a fact!

I understand that emotions are high right now. Whether you supported Trump or Cruz or Kasich, it’s going to take time to create party unity.

That’s not what this emails is about, though. This email is about stopping the powers-that-be from making a terrible error.

Nothing has changed from yesterday. Confirming Merrick Garland would be a grave mistake. It would mean the end of the 2nd Amendment and, most likely, a rewriting of the 1st Amendment as well to give Government control over our political speech.

This can’t be allowed to happen, folks.

Whether you are planning on voting for Trump or not, nothing has changed to make Merrick Garland palatable.

Up until now, we have been able to stop this nomination from going through by holding Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley’s feet to the fire. They alone have the power to move this nomination forward and with your help, we’ve bombarded them with hundreds of thousands of faxes saying "Don’t You Dare!”

But over the past few weeks, the Democrats found a chink in the armor. They have discovered a parliamentary maneuver to bypass the GOP leadership entirely. Harry Reid is about to file a Motion to Discharge.

Like a Discharge Petition in the House of Representatives, this is a parliamentary maneuver that can bypass regular order and force a vote on Obama’s nominee.

Once this vote is held, it will take just a handful of RINOs to vote with the Democrats to push the nominee through.

We have identified at least 16 Republican Senators who are open to voting for Obama’s nominee.  That number will grow now that conservatives are pressuring them to hold a vote.

Don’t let Congress surrender to Obama’s anti-gun nominee! FaxBlast and force Congress to shoot down any attempt to confirm Obama’s radical Supreme Court nominee!

This is not a joke. It’s not an exaggeration. Democrats are forcing a vote and there is more than enough RINO support to get Obama’s nominee onto the bench.

If that happens, we will see the Supreme Court overturn every conservative 5-4 decision from the past decade.

Overturning Heller and giving the government the power to abolish your individual right to own and carry a gun;

Overturning Citizens United and giving the government the power to punish you for speaking out politically during an election year;

Overturning Burwell v Hobby Lobby and giving the Federal government the power to force business owners to violate their religious conscience.

The list goes on and on and on…

Don’t let Republicans cave on this. FaxBlast and demand that they hold the line and stop the RINOs from giving in to Obama’s radical anti-gun Supreme Court nominee!



Quit whining about Trump

Many Republicans are bemoaning the populist ascendancy of front-runner Donald Trump as if it were the end to the republic itself; that we are somehow entering a new age which is the equivalent of the runaway mobs with their guillotines during the French Revolution. Surely tyranny will follow.

What a bunch of nonsense.

Here is a clue for those just waking up to the political phenomena that we are witnessing: Don't blame Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) or even Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.). Blame those in the Washington political establishment who refused to stand up to President Obama's destroying what remained of the rule of law under the Constitution. Blame those who accepted the premise that allowing the federalization of our nation's schools (at all levels) was acceptable and could be managed.

We are in post-constitutional government. This is not a good thing, but it is objectively true. Congress has ceded all of its authority to the executive branch. The Supreme Court has ruled in King v. Burwell, with a GOP nominee agreeing, that the actual words in legislation don't matter, and can be reinterpreted however the executive branch decides suits its purpose. The GOP in Congress continues to give lip service to things like executive amnesty and concern about the borders while funding Obama's every move. The GOP in Congress pretends to want to stand up to Iran while giving Obama's Iran deal an OK through the original Corker bill.

Congress, the branch of the government that was supposed to be the closest the people, is on life support for all intents and purposes — and has been for years. And with it, the consent of the governed has effectively been eviscerated.

After the disappointments of the 2010 and 2014 Republican congressional landslides, the people understand this, and that is why they are now flocking to a Trump whom they see as their last, best hope of staving off the forces of darkness that are destroying the nation. They don't care about the Constitution per se; we have allowed Americans to graduate from high school without having any appreciation for its genius. They don't care about free-market theories; they have seen their jobs outsourced with big corporations and big government rigging the system against them. And they don't care about speeches at the border; they want someone whom they believe has the strength to tell everyone to go pound sand and send the illegal immigrants back to wherever they came from.

The appeal of Trump is an expression of democracy and representative government, not a rejection or end to it. He is representing his supporters by offering them a voice they have lacked — and he's doing a better job at it than any of his competitors.

The fact that Trump has no identifiable ideology beyond doing what is in America's best interest, as he sees it, is a refreshing change from the politicians offered since President Reagan, and that is why so many people gravitate to him.

I voted for Cruz. But I certainly am sentient enough to understand why the American people have had enough of the business as usual, and have gone with someone who scares the enemies of this country so much that they are already violently protesting him.

And into this mix, we have the GOP Congress blithely proceeding as if nothing has changed, studiously avoiding anything resembling a fight for the future of the nation in the hopes that their meek acquiescence will be rewarded because the other guys are nuts.

Any questions why Trump is swamping everyone in the Republican primaries? If GOP politicians are looking for someone to blame, they merely need to look in the mirror to find their quarry. It was their own failure to properly represent their own constituents that created a rich environment for an outsider like Trump to succeed.

The emergence of Trump is not the end of democracy; it is affirmation that, in fact, democracy in America — if not the constitutional rule of law — is alive and well. Stop whining.



Don't Underestimate Trump's Support

Such is the state of discontent among voters that Trump is now all but the presumptive Republican nominee after trouncing Ted Cruz in Indiana Tuesday. Cruz and John Kasich quit the race, leaving Trump with no opposition and about 200 more delegates to win. That says a lot about the failed establishment and the state of our country after eight years of Barack Obama.

So, in one of the great ironies of our generation, a billionaire casino mogul and narcissistic philanderer will now head the party of social conservatism. And yet the lesson is clear: Don’t underestimate Trump’s support in the general election.

Some in the commentariat are understandably angry that voters rejected principled conservatism in favor of a crass blowhard they believe will simply blow up Washington. For the record, writes National Review’s Kevin Williamson, "Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this. Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it.”

Williamson isn’t wrong and he’s far from alone among conservative thinkers and writers, but bitterness isn’t helpful, even if Trump supporters can be extraordinarily nasty in chastising us nonbelievers. Bitterness won’t convert a single Trump supporter, nor, arguably, at this point should it. With the primary battle now effectively behind us, the focus turns to the general election and Hillary Clinton. (Or Joe Biden — more on that from Mark Alexander later today.) Like it or not, either a Democrat or a Republican will be our next president.

The more charitable way to view this election cycle is that Trump established unshakeable support from those who looked at the crowded field of more standard Republicans and essentially said:

Why would we want more of the same? We lost with moderate squishes like Dole, McCain and Romney, and Bush was a disaster, so why not try something completely different? Instead of rebuilding the rest of the world — or apologizing to it — why not make America great again?
Trump benefited from three primary factors that we’ve outlined before: The Obama effect, the large fratricidal field of contenders (who spent most of their resources attacking not Trump but each other), and unceasing Leftmedia attention. Mainly, Trump’s supporters (like the rest of us) are just tired of watching yahoos in Washington trash our country.

Having warned against underestimating Trump’s chances in the general election, he faces a daunting task. He trails badly in the polls, and is even more widely disliked than Clinton (no small feat). As of today, the RealClearPolitics average shows Clinton up by 6.5%. And the same Leftmedia that propelled him to the nomination will now eviscerate him in service to the Democrat National Committee, possibly driving his poll numbers even lower.

More important than national polls, however, there’s this little thing the Founders created called the Electoral College. To reach the White House, a candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes. Unfortunately for Republicans, the current map gives a distinct advantage to Democrats.

Assuming Clinton wins Florida given her large lead in the polls there, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza breaks down the math: "If Clinton wins the 19 states (and D.C.) that every Democratic nominee has won from 1992 to 2012, she has 242 electoral votes. Add Florida’s 29 and you get 271. Game over.”

For Republicans, the math isn’t so good. Using the same time frame as his standard, Cillizza says, "There are 13 states that have gone for the GOP presidential nominee in each of the last six elections. But they only total 102 electorate votes. That means the eventual nominee has to find, at least, 168 more electoral votes to get to 270. Which is a hell of a lot harder than finding 28 electoral votes.”

November is a political lifetime away, and a lot will happen between now and then. Will Clinton be indicted for mishandling classified information? Will Trump lose the lawsuit against Trump University? Will two badly fractured parties unite behind their respective nominees?

Republican primary voters have made their choice. We think it was a poor one, but we also don’t underestimate Trump’s ability to overcome all the negatives and, against all odds, win in November.



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

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


5 May, 2016

Prison for Goldman Sachs executives?

Finance is full of gray areas, and getting fuller of them. Over-expansive monetary policy, pursued in the U.S. since 1995 and with fanaticism since 2008, makes those gray areas blacker, larger and more dangerous. This is not some new discovery; the Cantillon Effect, discovered by Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon (1680s-1734) after the failure of the 1716-20 Mississippi Scheme, postulated that expansionary monetary policy constitutes a transfer of money away from old money to new, encouraging financial wrong-doing and worsening wealth inequality. The evil effect of funny money is as clear now as it was in 1720, and Goldman Sachs in its funny-money incarnation is merely today’s equivalent of the get-rich-quick brokers jostling each other on the Rue Quincampoix.

One gray area in finance is insider trading, the one financial crime which the SEC prosecutes with fanaticism, throwing quite small malefactors into jail for lengthy terms. In many senses, insider trading, which was not illegal in Britain until 1980, is a victimless crime. Only very infrequently are the losers from insider trading activities aware of any losses; they have bought securities freely based on the knowledge available to them at the time.

In any case, there are more valuable forms of insider information than advance knowledge of the next quarter’s earnings or an upcoming takeover. The entire specialist system on the New York Stock Exchange relied for its profitability on knowledge of the order flow in the stocks concerned, which the specialist needed to do his job, but which also gave him a major informational advantage over those who came to him to execute trades. Being a specialist was a very profitable business, and it’s difficult to imagine a non-machine stock exchange without specialists or jobbers with inside information of the order flow, which of course they trade on.

Trading desks that have a substantial market share in foreign exchange, bonds and other financial instruments similarly have "inside” information superior to that of their clients, and make money therefrom. That was why the derivatives market grew so rapidly; it was only moderately beneficial to end users, and probably a net detriment to portfolio investors, but it provided a huge stream of income to the brokerage community, because it gave them more opportunities for trading on insider knowledge. Similarly, "fast trading” rests for its profitability on knowing the market order flow a millisecond or two before your competitors; again, this is insider information, and trading on it should on a strict reading of the regulations be illegal and, by SEC precedents, punished with jail sentences.

There are many other gray areas in finance, most of which are highly profitable to the brokerage community. The barrier between gray and white is basically represented by the phrase "caveat emptor,” requiring participants to be vigilant against scams and rip-offs; that between gray and black is formed by transactions that can reasonably be characterized as outright fraud.

The $5 billion Goldman settlement in January related to Goldman Sachs sales of subprime mortgage packages to investors in 2006, on which it appears that Goldman’s own investigations had determined that some of the mortgages were very likely fraudulent, a fact not disclosed in the offering documents. That appears to me to cross the line from gray to black in the world of investment banking. If Goldman knew the statements they were making to investors about the mortgages were untrue, they had a duty to amend those statements, otherwise the offering document would have been fraudulent.

I write here as a journalist with only the sketchiest knowledge of the various transactions involved; it’s possible there were extenuating circumstances. However, if in fact the offering documents relating to the securities offered were inaccurate, and Goldman, the issuing bank, knew them to be so, then the transaction was fraudulent. At that point it crosses the line from grey to black. A $5 billion fine, the cost of which falls on the Goldman Sachs shareholders of 2016, not on those of 2006, and not on the executives who carried out the transactions and only to a limited extent on Goldman Sachs top management, is not the appropriate punishment. For fraud, involving large financial sums, prison sentences are the appropriate punishment, as are doled out for the much less economically heinous crimes involving insider trading.

Similarly, the "Abacus” transaction, in which the junior Goldman trader "Fabulous Fab” Tourre arranged to defraud German banks on a set of mortgage collateralized debt obligations in the interest of another Goldman client, involved only civil penalties, again paid primarily by Goldman Sachs shareholders. Fraud is a serious criminal offense, allowing which makes the capitalist system impossible to operate. Criminal penalties, probably including imprisonment, should have been imposed both on Tourre and on those up his chain of command who authorized and encouraged him to carry out the offense. Regulatory bureaucrats who get jollies and bonuses for extracting large amounts of money from Wall Street banks are imposing penalties that, being paid by shareholders, are no deterrent at all to the senior management of the institutions involved.

There are several other substantial examples of Goldman Sachs malfeasance, where proper ethical controls should have blown a whistle and where legal penalties should have been imposed on the executives involved and their superiors. The 2.8 billion euros loan to Greece in 2001 disguised as a cross-currency swap, thereby allowing Greece to evade the Maastricht Criteria for euro membership, has cost both the Greek people and the whole world hundreds of billions of dollars. Imprisonment should have followed, both for the Greek officials responsible for the transaction and for the Goldman Sachs executives who enabled it. Also the $300 million fee on a $3 billion bond issue for 1MDB, a public sector entity of an A-rated sovereign credit, was direct robbery of the Malaysian people and should again have resulted in jail for all concerned.

It is very clear that Wall Street investment banking is a business where the regulators need to force some prison sentences from time to time, with job losses right up the chain of command, in order to shove the business back towards the white side of gray. In the case of Goldman Sachs, this deterrent effect has been altogether missed – CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein is still, extraordinarily, in the job he assumed in May 2006. There were not even any huge losses inflicted on Goldman Sachs during the crisis, because the $13 billion of credit losses which Goldman incurred on its AIG credit default swaps (most of which represented profits from betting against the market in which they were simultaneously issuing securities to investors) when the AIG CDS business failed were bailed out by the $185 billion provided to AIG by taxpayers.

The real difficulty is that investment banking needs to clean up its act, returning its ethical standards to those of 40 years ago and reducing the remuneration of investment bankers, especially on the trading desk, to more manageable levels, thereby raising the profitability of the business to a level that more properly reflects the risks involved. Probably there also needs to be some substantial downsizing of the investment banking business, and exit of overcapitalized firms like Barclays and Deutsche Bank that are no good at it. At the same time, as in Britain, the regulators need to "ring fence” deposits that are acquired using the FDIC $100,000 guarantee to which Goldman Sachs as a bank is now entitled. If Goldman wants to use that guarantee to attract deposits and go into the credit card business, they are welcome to try, but should do so in an entity entirely separate from the gambling casino that is their trading desk.

Investment banking used to be an economically useful business with high ethical standards and modest but comfortable returns. It needs to get back to that, losing most of the casino, losing the excessive remuneration and above all losing the tendency to defraud clients, which is not an economically useful occupation.



Collectivism: America’s Greatest Disease

Men vs. Women;  Heterosexuals vs. Homosexuals; Theists vs. Atheists; Blacks vs. Whites.

What do these battles have in common? They are all predicated on the belief that you can judge the character of each individual based upon a collectivized label. Clearly not all men are the same, and neither are all women, but that doesn’t stop politicians and pundits from acting as if they can apply a singular lifestyle prescription to each individual based upon their gender. The ‘I know what’s best for you’ mentality of both liberals and conservatives has driven the American people to form tribes based around hollow perceptions of mass identity. Feminists believe that women should aspire to rise to the highest levels of business. Reactionary anti-feminists argue that the ‘natural’ place for women is in the home. The truth of the matter is that these generalized examinations of the nature of women are based on the false idea that human beings are bound to a certain role based upon collective identity.

Humanity is full of variation. It is a crime to stifle that variation in the pursuit of political power. American politics is a game of force. Whomever controls the government can force everyone to adapt to their personal value system. The easiest way to obtain the power of force is to collectivize. Our mob rule political system has driven us to abandon our individuality in pursuit of a shred of our values. That is in fact all that is left once the game is over. When we subscribe to tribalism in government, we abandon all hope for a free society. After all, the foundation of freedom is individual liberty. People should be free to decide what is best for them. They should not be forced into a role prescribed by the government or society. They shouldn’t be left with just a shred of the life that they wish to pursue.

Most of the tribalist battles that we see forced upon us are nothing but distractions. So many of the social conflicts in American society are the result of meaningless labels devised to sell books, amass power, and keep us all in tidy cages. Sheryl Sandberg thinks women should ‘lean in’. Suzanne Venker thinks men should be the providers. I think both should mind their own business. Of course, minding one’s own business never sold many books.

White, black, believer, and atheist. Sure, these words have meaning, but from a social standpoint they don’t carry nearly as much weight as we have convinced ourselves. When you pierce the heart of society, you will find that there are only two labels which truly matter: individualist or collectivist. You have a choice to decide whether you want to define your life and be an individual, or whether you want to subscribe to a prepackaged role and join a mindless collective.

Shared interests are fine, and forming clubs can be a very healthy activity. However, when we begin to focus entirely on the collective rather than the individuals within society, we begin to lose focus on reality. Remember, someone may be an atheist but that doesn’t mean that they are waging a war of Christmas, and someone may wave a Confederate flag but that doesn’t mean they hate blacks. There is nothing wrong with being an atheist or owning a Confederate flag, it is however wrong to force others to subscribe to your identity. The difference between individualism and collectivism is the difference between flying a Confederate flag in your front yard, and forcing your neighbor to fly one as well. It’s time to move beyond collectivism in American society and focus on the only thing that matters: the individual.



The eating of humble pie is about to begin

British PM  should 'reach out and apologise' to Donald Trump, his adviser says

David Cameron should apologise for his description of Donald Trump as "divisive, stupid and wrong", according to an adviser to the US presidential hopeful.

George Papadopoulos said it would be "wise" for the Prime Minister to "reach out in a more positive manner" to the Republican front-runner.

Mr Cameron was trenchant in his criticism of Mr Trump last December, when Parliament debated a petition to ban him from the UK over his call for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".

The PM told the House of Commons he opposed a travel ban on Mr Trump, but added: "I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong. If he came to visit our country I think he would unite us all against him."

Mr Papadopoulos, an adviser to the property tycoon and reality TV star, told The Times: "First we need an invitation. Of course if the United Kingdom extended an invitation it would be a tremendous show of unity and a wonderful spectacle.

"That invitation has not yet been extended ... but if it is it would be received in a positive way."

Asked if Mr Trump would forgive Mr Cameron's comments, Mr Papadopoulos told the newspaper: "I can't speak directly for him but it would seem that if Prime Minister Cameron is serious about reaching out, not only to Mr Trump's advisers but to the man himself, an apology or some sort of retraction should happen.

"To see Mr Cameron come out as the most vocal opponent was uncalled for. Considering that we believe that the UK-US relationship should be a cornerstone, not just of Nato policy but elsewhere, it would be wise for him to reach out in a more positive manner to Mr Trump."



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

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


4 May, 2016

Trump may seem Crazy but he has Sensible Foreign Policy Views

Despite Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s reality show candidacy, his recent foreign policy speech put forth a realistic view of the world and a largely credible foreign policy to deal with it. Continuing his poke at the political establishment, the maverick candidate proposed a viable alternative to the bi-partisan foreign policy consensus, which uses unneeded and profligate military interventions overseas as the primary U.S. foreign policy tool.

As opposed to the interventionist, neo-conservatism of the Bush administration and the equally meddling liberal hawkishness of Hillary Clinton, Trump got back to basics and let Americans citizens know that his foreign policy would safeguard American national interests first—not those of foreign countries, including providing for their security while they freeload.

He laudably said that military intervention would be used only as a last resort, after diplomacy and economic sanctions were used—and even the latter would be used sparingly.

Rather than using military power in a vain attempt to export democracy by force into foreign countries that are unreceptive to it, as the United States did in Iraq and Libya, Trump said that the United States should promote its values through leading by example. This policy is smarter because democracy better takes root when people in a country accept it willingly rather than having it shoved down their throats at gunpoint. In only four out of 18 attempts since 1900 has the forcible U.S. export of democracy succeeded.

Echoing the more traditional, less interventionist, and much more effective U.S. foreign policy that was the norm before the Cold War began, and which has been long forgotten, Trump said that the United States would "not go in search of enemies.” This restrained foreign policy served the United States well from its birth in the late 1700s to 1947—when it began to police the world—because the country has been gifted geographically to be far away from the world’s conflict zones.

To make his case for a more restrained U.S. foreign policy, Trump convincingly noted the twin foreign policy disasters of the Bush and Obama administrations in trying to export democracy using military power and nation building—in Iraq and Libya—that have instead caused chaos in the Middle East and allowed the terror group ISIS to fill the vacuum. He noted that he had opposed Bush’s Iraq War from the start, because the invasion would destabilize the Middle East and strengthen the Islamist regime in Iran, both of which occurred.

Although Trump has been excessively critical of China in trade and economic matters, he expressed a desire to work with that country if it worked with the United States. The United States should try to have better relations with a nuclear-armed nation that is rising in economic and military power and political influence. As for Russia, he saw a common interest in fighting Islamist terrorism and believes that the United States and Russia could ease their strained relations. In both cases, he wants to seek common ground, correctly saying that neither country needed to be a U.S. adversary. One needn’t fully trust these two nuclear-weapon states or agree with their domestic political systems to appreciate their need for a security buffer zone in their respective regions and the need to work with them on specific issues when it is in U.S. national interest to do so.

Finally, Trump realizes a central problem in U.S. foreign policy: U.S. resources have been overextended in policing the world and providing for the defense of wealthy allies that need to do more for their own security. He threatened that if these countries didn’t do more, the United States should let them defend themselves. Trump realizes that unless the United States threatens to do less, these allies will never increase spending on their own defense. Also, he recognizes something that much of the U.S. foreign policy elite gives short shrift—long-term U.S. security requires more emphasis on the health of the American economy.

Despite Trump’s usual campaign bluster, his foreign policy views are largely well argued and based on knowledge of and stark admission of numerous past instances of excessive and failed military meddling overseas.



Peggy Noonan on The Donald (excerpt)

In my continuing quest to define aspects of Mr. Trump’s rise, to my own satisfaction, I offer what was said this week in a talk with a small group of political activists, all of whom back him. One was about to begin approaching various powerful and influential Republicans who did not support him, and make the case. I told her I’d been thinking that maybe Mr. Trump’s appeal is simple: What Trump supporters believe, what they perceive as they watch him, is that he is on America’s side.

And that comes as a great relief to them, because they believe that for 16 years Presidents Bush and Obama were largely about ideologies. They seemed not so much on America’s side as on the side of abstract notions about justice and the needs of the world. Mr. Obama’s ideological notions are leftist, and indeed he is a hero of the international left. He is about international climate-change agreements, and leftist views of gender, race and income equality. Mr. Bush’s White House was driven by a different ideology — neoconservatism, democratizing, nation building, defeating evil in the world, privatizing Social Security. But it was all ideology.

Then Mr. Trump comes and in his statements radiate the idea that he’s not at all interested in ideology, only in making America great again — through border security and tough trade policy, etc. He’s saying he’s on America’s side, period.

And because people are so happy to hear this after 16 years, because it seems right to them, they give him a pass on his lack of experience in elective office and the daily realities of national politics. They accept him even though he is a casino developer and brander who became famous on reality TV.

They forgive it all. Not only because they’re tired of bad policy but because they’re tired of ideology.

You could see this aspect of Trumpism — I’m about America, end of story — in his much-discussed foreign-policy speech this week. I have found pretty much everything said about it to be true

He certainly jumbles up the categories. Bobby Knight, introducing him at a rally in Evansville, Ind., on Thursday, said that Mr. Trump is not a Republican or a Democrat. The crowd seemed to like that a lot.

Those conservative writers and thinkers who have for nine months warned the base that Mr. Trump is not a conservative should consider the idea that a large portion of the Republican base no longer sees itself as conservative, at least as that term has been defined the past 15 years by Washington writers and thinkers.



The Wall Street Journal Duped!

Am I the only one who noticed this thing? I was away on vacation and unable to post when this came to my attention. Please help me to embarrass the WSJ- Send this out and post it anywhere you can!

The cover of last Friday’s Wall Street Journal had this ridiculous example of Islamic Fauxtographic Journalism:

This is another classic example of Islamic "fauxtography”. The picture is so obviously staged that I feel embarrassed for the photo editor who selected it. To imagine that a toddler could be pulled out of the wreckage alive is fanciful enough but, okay, miracles do happen. But look again. How could the grimy "rescue worker” possibly have dug the baby out of the rubble. The kid doesn’t have a spot on his clean white tee shirt and socks. And don’t tell me that the dust on the rescue worker is light colored and wouldn’t show, I’ve raised six kids and I know that a white tee shirt shows everything! That kid’s mother must have known he would be starring in the latest promo shots for the Jihad and put him in a brand new outfit. Anyway, the child’s pants are dark blue and nothing shows there either. That’s without even asking, "how could he have escaped being trapped by all that falling masonry with nary a nick or cut on his big, round, pink head?

The truth is, there is a well documented and very sad history of this kind of "journalism” albeit most has been directed at vilifying Israel and the US. Pallywood and fauxtography have a long history. I’ve written about it before by PBS here .  Perhaps the most infamous example was the filming of the non-death of Mohammed al Durah that was exploited to touch off the emotional reaction that fed into the first intefada. It includes some of the most pathetic ruses ever swallowed by a media hungry for images and emotions. My favorite (I wrote about it here) was the Iraqi woman who was photographed during the battle for Sadr City holding up two bullets that she claimed an American soldier fired at her home. Unfortunately for her, and the media stooges who reprinted the picture, the bullets she brandished were live rounds, still shiny and unfired in there brass cartridges. So what did he do, lady, throw them at you?

The whole thing would be funny were it not so dangerous. Western media pipeline this stuff all the time - right from the cesspools of Jihadi propaganda to the living rooms of The West- no filter at all. Until stuff like this gets identified and ridiculed, it will keep on twisting the public debate and anesthetizing the survival instincts of our culture.

If you had no other clue to the falsity of the picture of the "rescue", all you had to do was look at its provenance. Agence France, by way of a Jihadi photographer- Just like much of the propaganda from the middle east (including the al Durah affair by Charles Enderlin), funneled through French media by Arab/Islamic photographerss on the ground... Oh, by the way, the bullet lady came by way of Agence France too.


You have to be clever to lie convincingly and Arabs are dim bulbs -- as the above shows


Florida Hotel Firm Gives Workers Amazing, Low-Cost Healthcare

Rosen Hotels & Resorts is best known for putting up tourists at its seven hotels in central Florida, but the hospitality company deserves to become even better known for its remarkable health plan: It covers almost everything for its 2,724 employees, yet it spends about 40 percent less per worker than the national average. According to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman, the hotel’s achievement is due to the singular vision of its president and founder, Harris Rosen.

Although Rosen manages to provide comprehensive coverage and keep down costs at the same time, what’s especially remarkable are the health benefits the company’s policies have delivered: 93 to 95 percent of enrollees follow through on getting their prescriptions refilled, compared to only 25 to 30 percent nationwide; its employees’ cancellation rate for medical appointments is almost one-tenth the national average; and when Rosen’s workers require hospital stays, they require an average of two fewer days than non-employee patients using the same facilities. On top of all this, Rosen’s employees tend to be older and have poorer health than the general population.

What’s the "secret” to Rosen’s success? Three components seem especially important: Rosen health director Kenneth Aldridge closely monitors employees’ medical test results and quickly phones those at risk for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, encouraging them to stay on top of their treatments. Rosen also makes sure that workers can easily get to a treatment facility, via its 12,000 square foot medical center. In addition, the company’s hiring policy precludes smokers and conducts random drug tests to ensure compliance. "What Rosen does is obviously doable – in a company with fewer than 3,000 employees, in a reasonably concentrated geographic area,” Goodman writes. "Can other employers do the same? I don’t know. But if they find time to get to Orlando, Harris Rosen will give them an earful of his thoughts.”



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

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


3 May, 2016

The Surprising Weakness of Invincible Institutions

Richard Fernandez (of "Belmont Club" fame) is always an interesting thinker and he makes a case below for expecting all tyrannies to collapse under their own weight eventually -- including the tyranny of America's Leftist-led bureaucratic state.  He gives various examples of it happening rather suddenly and unexpectedly but omits the very best example of that -- perhaps because he thinks we know all that already.  I am referring to the quite sudden implosion of the Soviet state.  What always seemed to be a powerful and solid entity suddenly just melted down. 

The unanswered question, however, is how long it will take for a tyranny to crumble. The Soviet beast blighted people's lives for 70 years and the personal dictatorships of Tito in Yugoslavia, Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal lasted for the lifetimes of the tyrants concerned. 

Just an excerpt below as the article is rather long

Winston Churchill memorably predicted the end of the German East Asia Squadron when it slipped out of Tsing-tao harbor under Admiral Maximilian von Spee. "He was a cut flower in a vase, fair to see yet bound to die."  Winston knew that the Spee's s squadron however imposing and bravely led had no means of support.  Sooner or later it would come to grief, which it duly did.

The same calculation must apply to the giant bureaucracies that pretend to rule the world.  At first glance there is nothing seemingly more formidable than the interlocking shield wall of public institutions and public sector unions. One writer argued that JFK was "the real killer of Laquan McDonald" because he first authorized public employee unions and "police unions make it impossible to get rid of bad-apple cops".  Camelot had created a Frankenstein monster able to run roughshod over everything.

Yet it's a monster which just can't seem to do much.  For example the Washington Metro, the pride of the nation's capital, is collapsing.  Once "it was a rail system of the future. Then, reality set in."  Perhaps the most telling indicator of fundamental weakness is the public pension crisis.  A study by the Hoover Institution covering 97% of all state and local governments found that politicians have little or no ability to meet their pension promises.

Most state and local governments in the United States offer retirement bene?ts to their employees in the form of guaranteed pensions. To fund these promises, the governments contribute taxpayer money to public systems. Even under states’ own disclosures and optimistic assumptions about future investment returns, assets in the pension systems will be insuf?cient to pay for the pensions of current public employees and retirees. Taxpayer resources will eventually have to make up the difference. ... In aggregate, the 564 state and local systems in the United States covered in this study reported $1.191 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities (net pension liabilities) under GASB 67 in FY 2014. ...

What is in fact going on is that the governments are borrowing from workers and promising to repay that debt when they retire.

How do bureaucracies get so big they can't pay themselves? Assertions that it "can't possible happen" are refuted by history in instances ranging from Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries in 1536, which turned thousands of clergy starving into the streets to recent examples like the collapse of Soviet pensions or the debasement of the Greek pension system.

In each of these cases the impossible happened, just as it's happening in Venezuela, where Joel Hirst describes the collapse of a whole system. "I never expected to witness the slow suicide of a country, a civilization. I suppose nobody does."

More HERE 

Venezuela is the socialist object lesson of our generation

Venezuela’s largest bill, the 100-bolivar note, today barely pays for a loose cigarette at a street kiosk.

Even a year ago when we were there, when the worst of the inflation hadn’t yet kicked in, we had to take wads of cash in duffle bags just to buy lunch. Preparing for a day’s shopping felt like doing a drug deal as you counted out dozens or even hundreds of notes just to buy a jacket or shirt.

It breaks my heart to know that this is an entirely man-made tragedy, with desperate people turning to crime, prostitution, violence, and dying of preventable disease and if something doesn’t change soon, malnutrition.

I spoke on the lessons of what I saw in Venezuela at last years Australian Libertarian Society conference, and said then that it was only a matter of time before there would be blood in the streets. The locals we spoke to told us they expected open warfare and blood running the gutters before the next presidential elections. On the current trajectory, they’re not far wrong.

The military are bought-and-paid-for Chavistas, now loyal to President Maduro, and they’ve shown already their willingness to use deadly force against anyone guilty of protesting against the government. The people are disarmed, apart from the drug traffickers and the like, and so when the pay cheques to the military stop, and that will have to happen soon given that the government can’t even afford to keep printing money… then those guns will be used by the military to take food, money, and whatever else they want from the disarmed public.

Watch and learn. Socialism doesn’t lead to equality, peace, prosperity, or unicorns frolicking in the garden with rainbows coming out their asses. Socialism impoverishes an entire nation, hitting the poorest people the hardest. It leads first to where Greece is, then if you continue it leads to Venezuela, then if you persist with the madness you’ll soon arrive at North Korea.

Socialism leads to totalitarianism as the government continuously clamps down on anything and everything in a desperate attempt to keep a doomed-to-fail system working. There is no other trajectory for socialism to take.



Black Power, A Done Deal

A couple of people recently have drawn my attention to the 2014 article below by Fred Reed. It does make a striking  point

It is curious that blacks, the least educated thirteen percent of the population, the least productive, most criminal, and most dependent on governmental charity, should dominate national politics. Yet they do. Virtually everything revolves around what blacks want, demand, do, or can’t do. Their power seems without limit.

Courses of instruction in the schools, academic rigor, codes of dress, rules regarding unceasing obscenity, all must be set to suit them, as must be examinations for promotion in fire departments, the military, and police forces. Blacks must be admitted to universities for which they are not remotely qualified, where departments of Black Studies must be established to please them. Corporate work forces, federal departments, and elite high-schools must be judged not on whether they perform their functions but on whether they have the right number of blacks.

Do laws requiring identification to vote threaten to end multiple voting? The laws must go. Do blacks not like Confederate flags? Adieu, flags. Does Huckleberry Finn go down the Mississippi with the Nigger Jim, or Conrad write The Nigger of the Narcissus? These must be banned or expurgated to please blacks who haven’t read them or, usually, heard of them. Do we want to prevent people coming from regions infested with Ebola from entering the United States? We cannot. It would offend blacks.

We must never, ever say or do anything that might upset them, as virtually everything does. It is positively astonishing. One expects the rich and smart to have disproportionate power. But America is dominated from the slums.

One might think that a single set of laws should apply to all citizens, and that things should be done without regard to race, creed, color, sex, or national origin, and that all should have the same rights and responsibilities. It is not so.

The dominance of the media by blacks is impressive. If a white shoots a black to defend himself, it becomes national news for weeks, or months, and riots follow, but when blacks engage in their unending racial attacks on whites, the media demurely look the other way. The attackers are never black. They are "teens.” Reporters who say otherwise are likely to be fired. In effect, the thirteen percent censor the national press.

Much of their mastery has become so deeply engrained as no longer to be noticed. There is the DC Bob. In the bars and restaurants of Washington, a man weary of an incompetent affirmative-action hire in his office will, before commenting to a friend, lean forward, lower his voice, and look furtively over both shoulders to see whether anyone might overhear: The DC Bob. People don’t even know that they are doing this.

Defensive behavior by whites has become nearly universal. A sort of Masonic recognition-ritual occurs among white people recently introduced in social gatherings. Is the other person, for want of better terms, a liberal or a realist? Dare one speak?  One of them will say something mildly skeptical about, say, Jesse Jackson. The other rolls his eyes in shared disgust. The secret handshake.  Or, if the listener is politically correct, the bait is not taken. In either case, blacks dominate political conversation.

So extreme is the power to control speech and even thought that politicians have to avoid mentioning watermelons, that neighborhoods of high crime must delicately be called "sketchy” instead of "black,” though all understand what is meant.

The avoidance of racial reference is not an even-handed if despotic attempt to oppose racism since, as we all know, blacks freely apply any derogatory wording they choose to whites. In short, they rule. Which is amazing.

The dominance extends to children. When in junior high one of my daughters brought home a science handout with common chemical terms badly misspelled. "Is your teacher black?” I said without thinking. "Daaaaaaady!” she said in anguish, having made the connection but knowing that she shouldn’t have. Blacks control what you can say to your own children in your own home. And of course if I had gone to the school and demanded that the teacher be fired, it would have been evidence of my depravity and probable KKK membership.

The word "unbelievable” has lost all force.  Things that ought to be unbelievable, and once were, have become routine.  Still, there it was: Don’t expect a junior-high teacher to have the level of literacy I had in the fourth grade. Instead, make it dangerous to notice her stupidity.

This is not new, and it hasn’t changed. In 1981, in a piece for Harper’s, I wrote:

"The bald, statistically verifiable truth is that the teachers' colleges, probably on ideological grounds, have produced an incredible proportion of incompetent black teachers. Evidence of this appears periodically, as, for example, in the results of a competency test given to applicants for teaching positions in Pinellas County, Florida (which includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater), cited in Time, June 16, 1980. To pass this grueling examination, an applicant had to be able to read at the tenth-grade level and do arithmetic at the eighth-grade level. Though they all held B.A.'s, 25 percent of the whites and 79 percent of the blacks failed. Similar statistics exist for other places.”s

 Nothing has changed.

Blacks now control the presidency and thus, most importantly, the Attorney Generalship. In this the staggering political power of blacks is most evident. Obama was elected because he was black: an equally unqualified and negligible white pol would have had no chance. He is now fiercely pushing the most profound transformation of America ever attempted, by opening the floodgates to immigration from the south. To effect this end he apparently will simply ignore Congress. The people will not be consulted.

It is hard to imagine why he does it except from racism, from a desire to get even with whites by enrolling their country in the Third World. A short-sighted policy, yes, since Hispanics do not like blacks and will soon be more powerful—but that will come a bit later.

Note that self-inflicted problems of blacks consume inordinate amounts of public and governmental attention, even though only blacks can solve them. I might say, "should solve them,” since they never have and we all know they won’t. Yet we hear about them endlessly.

Are blacks in Chicago killing each other in large numbers? The solution might be to stop doing it, might it not? While I do not wish these young dead, I can do nothing to stop them, and it is not my problem. Are black children growing up illiterate? This gives me no pleasure, and I have various reasons both selfish and moral to wish it were not so. But perhaps the solution is for their parents, or parent, to see that they do their homework, or even to teach them. I cannot do this for them, and it isn’t my problem.

Why do I have to hear, endlessly, about the "achievement gap”? Whether of genetic or cultural origin, it seems as immutable as Avogadro’s number, and I can do nothing about it.  I raise my children. They need to raise theirs.

 They rule. It is astonishing.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- about antisemitism in the British Labour party. Apparently the British Left have rediscovered the Haavara Agreement -- with much chortling.


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

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


2 May, 2016

Vladimir Putin likes The Donald

The wise-heads are afraid of THIS?  Is this why they call Trump dangerous?  This is surely a triumph for peace.  If Trump had been a Democrat, the Left would be celebrating this

U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump has found himself an unlikely supporter in the form of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

A foreign policy speech made by Mr Trump on 27 April, in which the Republican candidate spoke about his hopes for an improvement in U.S.-Russian relations, was well received in Russia, CNN reported, with people in Moscow praising his attitude.

"I believe an easing of tensions and improved relations with Russia, from a position of strength only, is possible,” Trump said during his speech.

The Russian president said at his annual press conference back in December: "He is saying that he wants to move to a different level of relations with Russia, to a closer, deeper one. How can we not welcome that? Of course, we welcome that.”

He described also described Mr Trump as a ‘flamboyant’ and ‘outstanding’ man, and appeared keen to work with the Republican frontrunner in future.

For his part, Mr Trump has previously returned the compliment, stating: "I will get along - I think - with Putin, and I will get along with others, and we will have a much more stable world. I would talk to him.

Mr Putin and Mr Trump’s latest bout of mutual appreciation comes amid increasingly tense relations between the US and Russia, in a week that saw a Russian jet barrel roll over a U.S. plane above the Baltic Sea in what the US described as an ‘aggressive’ move.



The reason people like Trump

Two Australian academics give their analysis.  There's something in what they say

People just seem to get Donald Trump.  And while he’s obviously intelligent enough to build an empire, people understand him because he’s actually kind of basic and just uncomplicated.

A Melbourne academic has been looking into why people are serious about electing Trump as the next president and he has found it’s because society speaks his language, we get his dumbed-down policies and got to know him from the comfort of our couches as he fired people off The Apprentice reality show.

Trump is involving more people in politics, because he cuts through the jargon.

In an article for Pursuit, Melbourne University School of Social and Political Sciences academic Dr Raymond Orr, said we lived in a simplified and dramatised society that was fuelled by technology and he blames reality television for giving Trump a serious shot at the presidency.

Dr Orr said people have seen Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice, as a serious application for America’s top job.

Trump can get down on the same level as society, and Dr Orr said his campaign was tailored to people using technologies like social media, where his message could be dumbed-down.

The academic said screen time could blur our sense of reality and Trump’s television show made people feel like they knew him personally.

The academic believes as things on our screens creep into our loungerooms, people begin to treat them as part of their lives and harbour a certain connection to them. Therefore he believes a society that has so much screen time is more susceptible to Trump’s "brash and concept-free message”.

Melbourne University Department of Management and Marketing academic Dr Marcus Phipps wrote on Pursuit that Trump was an unlikely frontrunner and one who broke every rule of a conservative presidential candidate.

"He has been critical of religious leaders, most notably having an argument with the Pope,” Dr Phipps said. "He has even questioned the military record of war hero and former Republican nominee John McCain stating that ‘I like people who weren’t captured’.”

Trump has made many controversial comments, he accused Mexican immigrants of being rapists who were bringing drugs and crime into America and has shocked some with his pro-gun stance.

Dr Phipps said Trump’s campaign should have fallen over ages ago, but instead it kept on strengthening.  He believes it’s because Trump is an "authentic” politician.

"Trump is not scripted," Dr Phipps said.  "It is hard to believe that anyone who openly criticises the Pope and John McCain’s military record has a team of script writers behind him.

"Trump is not stylised. The candidate’s hair alone proves that he is not image obsessed.”

Dr Phipps said Trump was an unfiltered politician and one who appealed to lazy voters.  Watching Trump’s campaign could be similar to watching a reality show.

Dr Orr said the substance of campaigns had become superficial with politicians attacking other politicians sometimes more often than sharing policies.

Dr Orr said Trump’s simple and hurried messages fitted in perfectly with society’s addiction to new media.



Regulations Are the Ties That Bind

It might not have its own government, citizens or flag, but the world’s fourth largest economy has become a force — and a threat — to be reckoned with. What constitutes this mysterious economic might? None other than the $4 trillion in federal regulations imposed by the U.S. government. You read that correctly. If the cost of government regulations were its own country, it would boast the fourth-largest GDP in the world — bigger than the economies of Germany, France, Brazil, Russia, Italy, and the United Kingdom. And it’s just a couple of hundred billion away from matching the entire federal budget.

This bombshell comes courtesy of a new study by the Mercatus Center, which analyzed data from 1977 through 2012 to discover the cumulative costs of regulations (or, more accurately, taxes by a different name). While most studies of the economic impact of regulations have focused on select industries and/or specific regulations, the Mercatus study looked at data across 22 industries.

The picture ain’t pretty.

The study found that regulations, "by distorting the investment choices that lead to innovation, [have] created a considerable drag on the economy, amounting to an average reduction in the annual growth rate of the US gross domestic product (GDP) of 0.8 percent.”

In plain English, if regulations had remained steady at 1980 levels, our economy would have been 25% — or $4 trillion — larger in 2012 than it was. This represents a whopping $13,000 loss per person in just one year. All to ensure every aspect of our lives is compliant with Uncle Sam’s Big Government Guidebook.

Unfortunately, President Ronald Reagan wasn’t joking when he quipped, "Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Just how many regulations are we talking about? As of December 2015, more than 81,000 pages-worth of federal rules, proposed rules and notices. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), these pages included 3,378 final rules and regulations, of which 545 affect small businesses. And this didn’t count 2,334 proposed rules.

Regulations have become such a behemoth that CEI created tenthousandcommandments.com, which looks at "the other national debt — the cost of regulation.” (In case you’re wondering, as of last week, 2016 already has 1,001 new federal rules.)

Not surprisingly, the regulatory landscape only grew worse under Obama. As Investor’s Business Daily notes, Obama’s administration foisted 172 "economically significant” regulations on Americans in his first term, and 200 more since, thus far outpacing both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And Obama’s rules include things like, oh, the government takeover of the health care industry and the EPA’s coal-killing carbon emissions rules.

It’s little wonder our annual GDP growth has been sluggish at best. So sluggish that in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics called slower GDP growth "the new normal.” GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016 was a woeful 0.5%, the weakest in two years. (It was an anemic 1.4% in the previous quarter.) And Obama is on track to be the only president in U.S. history without a single year of 3% growth on his watch — he’ll be doing well to average 1.55%.

Remember those wondrous numbers while Obama’s sycophants at The New York Times' feature their puff piece in which he "weighs his economic legacy.”

"I actually compare our economic performance to how, historically, countries that have wrenching financial crises perform,” Obama mused. "By that measure, we probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history.” Go back and read the aforementioned numbers and see if you agree that he "managed this better.”

What’s the solution? For one thing, eliminating thousands of pages of federal regulations. It’s straightforward but hardly palatable to the government elites who believe they’re most qualified to run your life.

Frighteningly, the alternative is the continued growth of the regulatory nation that keeps our economy in chains.



English has a big lack of words for "State"

Is it perhaps an Anglo-Saxon dislike of government that makes it difficult for us to make immediately clear statements about government? The old Sapir-Whorf codability hypothesis would certainly suggest that.

For instance, we don't have a separate word for an intermediate level of government, a State government. In the English-speaking world -- The USA, Canada, Australia -- such forms of government are common and important: Governments running Texas, California, Alberta, Ontario, Queensland and Victoria, for instance.
So a self-governing nation can be called a state but so can one part of that nation.

Germans are much better off. They can use Staat, Reich, Land and Nation. A State government, for instance is a "Land" government in Germany, while the nation is a "Reich".

And "Reich" is both an extremely useful German word and one that CANNOT adequately be translated into English. That deficit gets a bit embarrassing when we try to translate what the people of China call their nation. The best we can do is to translate it as: "Middle Kingdom". But that is absurd. China is NOT a kingdom. In German, by contrast, "Mittelreich" is a perfectly adequate translation.

I use German words quite a bit. It would probably help if more German words became better known. We use heaps of French words, so why not?

Germans of course don't have it all their way. They don't, for instance, have a good word for "pink". They usually translate it as "rosa" or "nelke". But both those words are names for flowers and both flowers can of course have a variety of colors. Who can forget the yellow rose of Texas, for instance? So Germans should probably adopt our word. Maybe some do.

But A BIG gap in German is that they have no word for "happy". Does that tell us something? Maybe. The nearest word to happy that they have is "gluecklich", but that just means "lucky. Many years ago I was talking to an old German Jewish refugee who had narrowly escaped Hitler. I asked him if he was happy. He knew I understood a bit of German so he said: "Gluecklich I am but happy I am not". He knew he was lucky to escape but missed the high culture of Germany. And he needed two languages to say that concisely

So let us have more linguistic borrowing! -- JR


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

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


1 May, 2016

Canada’s Great Leap Forward

Feel the ecstasy of the Leftist writer below as Canada prepares to emulate Chairman Mao. And they even refer to the policy set as a "Leap". Yet another demonstration that the Left don't remotely understand economics.  That the policies described would be very impoverishing is not considered.  It's just dreams, divorced from reality.  But the policies concerned would be very disruptive and Leftists like that.  It is probably the real reason behind the "Leap".  Mao's version was certainly very disruptive.  The consolation is that, if implemented, the associated disasters will get Pretty Boy thrown out on his ear at the next Federal election

In early 2015, 60 representatives from Canada’s Indigenous rights, environmental, social and food justice, labour and faith-based movements met to draft a progressive vision for Canada’s future. The idea came from a belief that "now is the moment for a transformative agenda to come from outside electoral politics, to build a wave of popular support that will put real pressure on the Federal Liberal government.”

The result is the Leap Manifesto.

The manifesto, described as "a call for a Canada based on caring for the Earth and one another”, makes 15 demands. It starts with respect for "the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land” and full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It urges the shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030, a 100 per cent clean economy by 2050, and commits to no new long-term fossil fuel extraction projects.

Other demands include community control of clean energy systems, investment in public infrastructure, high speed rail and affordable public transport, resources for workers in carbon-intensive jobs, and a localised ecological agriculture system.

It also advocates an end to damaging free trade deals, welcoming refugees and migrants, expanding low-carbon professions like caregiving, teaching, social work, the arts and public interest media, a universal basic income and removing corporate money from political campaigns.

These proposals would be fully funded by an end to fossil fuel subsidies, financial transaction taxes, increased resource royalties, increased corporate and high income taxes, a progressive carbon tax and cuts to military spending.

To me, this sounds like a common sense list of good public policy. It would rein in the cowboy extractivism of fossil fuel companies, end the toxic relationship between polluters and politicians, offer masses of good clean energy jobs, deliver justice to the most vulnerable parts of our population and secure a sustainable future for human beings on a liveable planet.

To the establishment complex of banks, government, industry, think tanks and the corporate media, a common sense plan to avoid climate catastrophe is actually an INSANE RADICAL MARXIST AGENDA TO RUIN THE ECONOMY.

The Leap Manifesto has made quite a splash since its release during the Canadian federal election campaign in September 2015, pretty much dividing opinion along these lines.

Thus far 200 organisations, 40,000 Canadians and numerous celebrities (celebrities!!!) have backed the manifesto while the media has hysterically dismissed the document as "economic madness”, a "prescription for economic ruin” and my personal favourite, "another step towards re-enacting the Bolshevik revolution”.

The great strength of the manifesto is its grassroots origins and political independence.

As a "People’s Platform”, it’s not limited by the constant compromises of electoral politics but can still make waves in Parliament. The Green Party of Canada have highlighted similarities between their own platform and the Leap Manifesto. The National Democratic Party (NDP), who were the favourites for the 2015 election until they were outflanked by Justin Trudeau’s disgusting handsomeness, passed a resolution at their convention earlier this month to support the Leap Manifesto and debate its principles at the grassroots level over the next two years. They lost their leader, Tom Mulcair, partly due to his unconvincing and shifting positions on key aspects of the manifesto.

A majority of voters from the Greens, NDP and governing Liberal Party support the Leap.



The White Working-Class Meltdown in the U.S.

They are the ones least able to protect themselves from perverse government politcies -- e.g. when a less qualified black gets a job they should have got -- or an illegal offers to work for less than the legal minimum wage

During an era of headline-grabbing advances in medicine, the United States is experiencing a health cataclysm.

The latest straw in the wind is last week’s report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that life expectancy for white women declined slightly from 2013 to 2014.

Other studies indicate rising death rates for a white working class that is in a slow-motion economic and social meltdown. Self-destructive behaviors are outpacing medical advances against killers like heart disease and cancer. Hopelessness may not be a condition studied by epidemiologists, but it is cutting a swath through a segment of white America.

A paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences late last year highlighted the bleak American exceptionalism of this crisis. It focused on middle-aged whites. In the 20 years prior to 1998, their mortality rate fell about 2 percent a year, in keeping with the trend toward lower mortality in other advanced countries. Then the rates diverged. Rates kept declining in countries like France and Britain. They begin increasing for middle-aged whites in the United States.

The slide in the wrong direction was driven by drug and alcohol poisoning, chronic liver diseases and suicide. In 1999, middle-aged blacks had higher rates of poisoning than whites; by 2013, rates were higher for whites. Overall, mortality rates for middle-aged blacks and Hispanics have declined since 1999, as they have increased for whites.

The trend among whites breaks down neatly by levels of education. The mortality rate for middle-aged whites with a high-school degree or less has jumped since 1999; the rate for middle-aged whites with some college but not a degree stayed roughly flat; the rate for middle-aged whites with a college degree or more dropped. If there is such a thing as white privilege, no one has told less-educated whites.

The most direct indicator of rising distress is that the suicide rate in the United States is at a roughly 30-year high, according to new figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The rate increased for white middle-aged women by 80 percent from 1999-2014. Although the data wasn’t analyzed by education level, researchers believe it tracks with other findings about increased working-class mortality.

It is not just the middle-aged. The New York Times analyzed death certificates earlier this year. The good news is that the gap in death rates between young-adult blacks and whites is closing fast; the bad news is that soaring death rates for whites account for much of the change.

The Times found that the cohort of whites aged 25-34 is the first to have higher death rates than the generation before it since the Vietnam War, and the trend is particularly pronounced among the less-educated. The rate of drug overdoses among young whites quintupled from 1999-2014.

The white working class is dying from the effects of a long-running alienation from the mainstream of American life. As one researcher told the Times, "they are not in stable relationships, they don’t have jobs, they have children they can’t feed and clothe, and they have no support network.” It is a formula for loneliness, stress and despair.

The Washington Post recently wrote a compelling portrait of a woman in rural Oklahoma who died at age 54 of cirrhosis of the liver. It was a tale of joblessness, of martial breakdown, of alcohol abuse, of repeated heartbreak, until she was "sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She drank herself to death. At her funeral, the Post reporter noted the plots of friends and relatives who had died at ages 46, 52 and 37.

The authors of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper say middle-aged whites may be a "lost generation.” That is depressing enough, but there is no guarantee only one generation will be lost.



A Superior Vision

Walter E. Williams

Last month, I celebrated the beginning of my 81st year of life. For nearly half that time, I have been writing a nationally syndicated column on many topics generating reader responses that go from supportive to quite ugly. So I thought a column making my vision, values and views explicit might settle some of the controversy.

My initial premise, when looking at all human issues, is that each of us owns himself. I am my private property, and you are your private property. If you agree with that premise, then certain human actions are moral and others immoral. The reason murder is immoral is that it violates private property. Similarly, rape and theft are immoral, for they, too, violate private property. Most Americans will agree that murder and rape violate people’s property rights and are hence immoral. But there may not be so much agreement about theft. Let’s look at it.

Theft is when a person’s property is taken from him — through stealth, force, intimidation, threats or coercion — and given to another to whom it does not belong. If a person took your property — even to help another person who is in need — it would be called theft. Suppose three people agreed to that taking. Would it be deemed theft? What if 100,000 or several hundred million people agreed to do so? Would that be deemed theft? Another way to ask these questions is: Does a consensus establish morality?

Self-ownership can offer solutions to many seemingly moral/ethical dilemmas. One is the sale of human organs. There is a severe shortage of organs for transplantation. Most people in need of an organ die or become very ill while they await an organ donation. Many more organs would become available if there were a market for them. Through the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984, Congress has made organ sales illegal. Congress clearly has the power to prevent organ sales, but does it have a right? The answer to that question comes by asking: Who owns your organs? One test of ownership is whether you have the right to sell something. In the case of organs, if it is Congress that owns our organs, then we have no right to sell them. That would be stealing from Congress.

People have the right to take chances with their own lives. People do not have a right to take chances with the lives of others. That is why laws that mandate that cars have brakes are consistent with liberty and seat belt laws are not. You might say, "Aha, Williams, we’ve got you there because if you don’t wear a seat belt and you have an accident and turn into a vegetable, society is burdened with taking care of you!” That’s not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism. Nobody should be forced to take care of me for any reason. If government assumes the job of taking care of us, then Congress can control just about every aspect of our lives. When I was a rebellious teenager, my mother frequently told me, "As long as you’re living in my house and I’m paying the bills, you’re going to do as I say.” That kind of thinking is OK for children, but not for emancipated adults.

I have only touched the surface of ideas of self-ownership. The immorality associated with violation of the principle of self-ownership lies at the root of problems that could lead to our doom as a great nation. In fiscal 2015, total government spending — federal, state and local — was about $6.41 trillion. That’s about 36 percent of our gross domestic product. The federal government spent $3.69 trillion. At least two-thirds of that spending can be described as government’s taking the property of one American and giving it to another. That’s our moral tragedy: We’ve become a nation of people endeavoring to live at the expense of others — in a word, a nation of thieves.



In 2015, 19,000 Criminal Illegal Immigrants Were Released From Custody

More than 19,000 criminal illegal immigrants were released from custody in 2015, according to new figures disclosed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The 19,723 criminal releases—as the government refers to them—represent a 35 percent decrease from fiscal year 2014.

The phrase "criminal releases” can apply to a wide range of crimes, including traffic violations—such as driving without a license—to more serious offenses like sexual assault, rape, and murder. Their crimes include misdemeanors and felonies.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for less immigration, the 19,723 criminal releases had a total of 64,197 convictions among them. More than 200 of those were homicide convictions. Most are traffic offenders.

More HERE 


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

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



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So the essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

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

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often theories fail badly.

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a 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.


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
IQ Compendium
Queensland Police
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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)

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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
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