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

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

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

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


31 May, 2019

Twitter is working with academic researchers to decide whether it should ban white supremacists from its platform

There seems to be no agreed definition of white supremacy. Does it include immigration critics and patriots?  It seems to on many occasions.  The only definition that fits all the cases seems to be anyone who disagrees with the Left.

But even if a reasonable definition of white supremacism can be devised,  it is supported only by a few isolated individuals.  It has no substantial organization -- unlike Islamic supremacism or Leftist supremacism.  A supremacist wants to rule the world so is in principle obnoxious.  If it is going to ban anything, Twitter should ban Islamic supremacism and Leftist supremacism. White supremacism is the least of the world's supremacism problems

Twitter says it's looking into whether or not white supremacists should be allowed on its platform, amid increasing calls for a crackdown on extremist content.

The social media giant is examining how white nationalists and supremacists use its platform to help it decide whether the groups should be banned, or if they should be allowed to continue to post so that other users can debate them, according to Motherboard.  

It comes as Twitter has faced criticism over the plethora of extremist content shared on its site and the fact that it has taken few measures to curb hateful rhetoric.

Researchers are looking at what roles Twitter plays in making conversations around white nationalism and white supremacy worse or better.  From there, it hopes to have a better idea of whether or not banning these groups would be the right move.

'Is it the right approach to deplatform these individuals? Is the right approach to try and engage with these individuals? How should we be thinking about this? What actually works?' Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of trust and safety, told Motherboard.

Last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Gadde met with President Donald Trump to discuss the 'health of public conversations on the site.

Twitter has become notorious for its characteristically slow responses to pressing problems on the site, such as abuse, trolls and hateful content. 

For that reason, many aren't surprised by the company's decision to look into the issue of white supremacists and white nationalism several years after these kinds of content started to become amplified on Twitter.

'The idea that they are looking at this matter seriously now as opposed to the past indicates the callousness with which they've approached this issue on their platform,' Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, told Motherboard.

Similarly, Heidi Beirich, director of the intelligence project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Motherboard it has been proven that white supremacists continue to thrive on Twitter.

'Twitter has David Duke on there; Twitter has Richard Spencer,' she told Motherboard. 'They have some of the biggest ideologues of white supremacy and people whose ideas have inspired terrorist attacks on their site, and it's outrageous.'

Twitter has taken some steps to crack down on extremism, joining Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, LinkedIn and others last year in banning right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show from its platform.

In other ways, Twitter and several social media platforms have yet to fully reckon with the amount of extremist content on their platforms.

YouTube has also become a popular destination for white nationalism and supremacy, but it has so far refused to ban either forms of content from its site.

So far, the only major social media platform to take a stand against white nationalism and white separatism is Facebook, which banned those kinds of posts in March. 

Posts that include statements like 'I am a proud white nationalist' and 'Immigration is tearing this country apart' will immediately be banned.

If a user tries to publish a post around these themes, they'll instead be redirected to a nonprofit called Life After Hate, which helps individuals involved in these extremist groups exit them safely.



Leftist political violence in Czechia too

Lubos Motl writes:

Ladislav Jakl, the life-long secretary of ex-president Klaus, was brutally attacked in the Prague subway on Saturday

He was sitting in the subway, approaching Square of the Republic, Yellow Line B, and playing with his phone. Suddenly two attackers came and one screamed: "You are that Jakl, from SPD". SPD is the "nationalist" party - I voted for it on Friday for the first time but it could also be the last time, it's not really my cup of tea in the long run.

Jakl wasn't a leader of SPD, he was just nominated by SPD for Senate (failed) and a Public TV Commission (he's there).

Jakl has had a sleepless night due to pain, a physician ruled out internal injury, so he's just cosmetically impaired on his head and shoulder. He ended on the floor. The attackers left the car on the next stop.

I know Jakl in person. In particular, in late 2014, we shared the slot for a lecture on the climate in Southern Bohemia. I had the more scientific part, he had the more social one. His talk about the climate panic was wise and wonderful.

Just to make you sure that the political violence by the "liberals" doesn't avoid Czechia and climate skeptics are likely to be victims.

Via email


Millennial Attitudes Are Out of Sync with Economic Realities

These days, young Americans are a pessimistic bunch. Earlier this month, Deloitte released its 2019 Millennial Survey, taking a snapshot of public opinion among more than 13,000 Millennials and over 3,000 Gen Z respondents in the United States and beyond.

What did Deloitte find? In a word, pessimism. As the company put it, “Optimism, trust reach troubling low levels.” In other words, young America is a “generation disturbed.”

While many factors fuel my generation’s pessimism, economic uncertainty tops the list. Nearly half of all respondents believe that the changing nature of work will make it more difficult to find or change jobs, while another 70 percent believe they may lack the skills required to thrive in the modern workplace. Meanwhile, barely one-quarter of respondents expect economic conditions in their respective countries to improve over the next year—down from 45 percent a year ago.

Given the changing labor market, much of that uncertainty is justifiable. But there’s more: Young Americans are more skeptical of the business community than ever before, with many perceiving corporate America as a problem facing our country and not a potential solution to many of its shortcomings. According to Deloitte’s research, only 55 percent of Millennials see businesses as having a positive impact on society, compared to 61 percent in 2018.

That’s right: Barely half of all Millennials see businesses as “having a positive impact on society.” Think about that for a second.

Laura Banks, a Millennial cited in the Deloitte report, put it this way: “We have less trust in employers because so many of our parents did lose their jobs, and they had been loyal to companies.”

Indeed, globalization is not an entirely positive experience. While yielding many benefits, the outsourcing of American supply chains to continents like Africa and Asia has resulted in disrupted industries, shuttered factories, and countless lost jobs.

But entirely ignoring the merits of globalization and vilifying the business community as a “negative impact” is quite a leap. In fact, to denigrate the private sector is intellectually irresponsible, considering that private enterprise is primarily responsible for the economic prosperity that we see today.

The numbers bear it out. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the totality of U.S. industry—public and private—combines to account for more than $36 trillion in gross economic output. Of those industries, the private sector alone accounts for nearly $33 trillion of that output—over 90 percent of the U.S. economy.

Economic output translates to job creation, and vice versa. As of April 2019, the private sector employed more than 128 million working Americans. The government (federal, state, and local), on the other hand, put fewer than 23 million Americans to work. These are jobs that would be impossible to finance without the productive capacity of private enterprise.

Here’s another way to look at it: In terms of job creation, the private sector is about five times more powerful than its public counterpart, which is financially dependent on the free market.

Without it, the U.S. economy would simply fall apart. Moreover, it would pale in comparison to the global competitors that have sought to replicate America’s success for decades. Despite the never-ending talk of American decline, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) accounts for roughly a quarter of the world’s GDP. In fact, America’s share of global GDP is on par with those of China, Japan, and Germany combined.

Because of its productive and innovative private sector, the U.S. economy is without precedent, and is the most prosperous economy in the history of civilization. And our economy remains the global standard, as it was for much of the 20th century.

Ironically, young Americans have a lot to do with that. After all, Millennials represent the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. By next year, the Millennial generation is projected to make up 50 percent of the workforce, populating all levels of the corporate ladder.

And there are plenty of reasons for Millennials—and all Americans—to be optimistic. Our economy continues to expand, hitting a robust 3.2 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2019. The U.S. unemployment rate has dropped below four percent, and the unemployment rate for the least-skilled workers is outperforming its average to a greater extent than for higher-skilled employees.

In the last four decades, real GDP per person has increased from about $28,000 to more than $55,000, and 60 percent of today’s 30-year-olds are better off than their parents at the same age (when adjusting for family size). Upward mobility may not be guaranteed, but it is still commonplace.

And yet, young America remains pessimistic. While some of that pessimism can indeed be justified, much is totally unfounded, considering America’s socioeconomic status in the world.

Is there room to criticize the business community? Yes. Is our free-market economic system perfect? Of course not. There is always room for improvement.

But to suggest the business community has anything but a “positive impact on society”—in its totality—is to plead ignorance. Quite frankly, our business leaders deserve better.



Why the British loathe The Donald

To our elite, Trump is the wrong kind of rich person.

Now, Trump is an offensive guy, and he has said some truly nasty stuff. But that doesn’t quite explain why he can bring London’s middle classes on to the streets at the drop of a hat. Yes, he has been turned, quite effectively, into a symbol of all that is wrong with the world. But I wonder if there’s something peculiarly British about the fury he elicits here. I reckon it’s got something to do with snobbery. Trump may have been born rich, become a reality-TV star, and is now the most powerful man in the world, but under our class system he is still a person to be looked down upon.

In The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell writes about his private-school education and his younger years as ‘an odious little snob’. As a child of the ‘lower-upper-middle class’, he learned to loathe those above him as much as those below him. ‘I despised anyone who was not describable as a “gentleman”, but also I hated the hoggishly rich, especially those who had grown rich too recently.’ That is Trump to a tee. He’s the wrong kind of rich. The new rich. The beauty-pageant rich. The flashy rich. This is why – prior to politics – he was beloved by so many rappers. And this is why he is so loathed by the British bourgeoisie.

The US, of course, has inherited much of that snobbery. Witness the way the death of the supposedly ‘genteel’ New England aristocrat George Bush Sr became another opportunity to knock Trump for being brash and uncouth. Or the constant unflattering comparisons between the professorial, new-class Obamas and the tacky, new-money Trumps. But there is still something distinct about the British revulsion at The Donald. Not least because ‘don’t give him a state visit – he’ll embarrass our queen!’ is an argument now being made by nominal left-liberals.

Regardless, this rage against Trump is also not just about him, on either side of the pond. It’s about the people who voted for him because they were fed up of the people now slating him. It’s about the people ‘stupid’ enough to fall for this orange charlatan. One moment in Fire and Fury – the much-disputed, probably fictionalised account of the Trump White House by Michael Wolff – provides an instructive anecdote. Trump is asked by an Eastern European model what ‘white trash’ is. ‘They’re people just like me, only they’re poor’, was his (alleged) response.

That’s what the anger and the double standards and the blimp are really about. And deep down, the protesters know it.



Federal Agency Blames Diversity, Ignores Cause of Deadly 2017 Amtrak Derailment

Must not blame the driver.  That would upset the union

On December 18, 2017, in Dupont, Washington, if an Amtrak engineer had negotiated a curve at the proper speed of 30 miles per hour instead of 78 mph, the deadly derailment that claimed three lives and injured 57 would not have occurred. Two and a half years later, that wasn’t how the federal National Transportation Safety Board saw it.

As Fox News reports, “instead of blaming the engineer, the NTSB cast a wide net that included the various agencies that constructed and operated the line.” The federal board excoriated the Seattle-area Sound Transit agency for “not sufficiently mitigating the danger of the sharp bend.” Amtrak was to blame for “not better training the engineer.” The NTSB blamed the Washington State Department of Transportation for “not ensuring the route was safe before green-lighting a passenger train.” The NTSB also blamed and the Federal Railroad Administration for “using rail cars beneath regulatory standards.”

Relatives of the victims might wonder how all this was allowed to proceed without supervision from the FTSB and other state, local and federal agencies. None of the alleged lapses cancel the blame of the engineer, who hit the curve at more than twice the speed limit. So when NTSB Robert Sumwalt said the accident could have prevented, he was confirming a stranglehold on the obvious. Trouble is, if this is an “institutional problem,” as some regulators claimed, then no person is to blame. Amtrak employees are members of government employee unions, a highly protected class, so no surprise that the NTSB even fails to name the engineer.

As this case confirms, the NTSB is basically a historian of accidents and contributes little if anything to public safety. The Trump administration should mark the NTSB for deep cuts and take a hard look at Amtrak as well. In typical style, Amtrak failed to name the faulty engineer or indicate whether he had been fired or what he might be doing now. But as Amtrak said in a statement, “We remain deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries due to this tragic event.”



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

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


30 May, 2019

Expanded or "positive" rights lead directly to authoritarian government -- and that can be very bad

If someone has a "right" to be fed, someone has to be given a duty to feed him.  But what if he refuses that duty?  Coercion is the next step

Liberalism is, after all, based on the idea that individual liberty is the highest political virtue – and who doesn’t love liberty? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ These were the words that created the United States of America, and ultimately the global liberal order.

But over time the kinds of liberties demanded by liberals have evolved and expanded. They have shifted from a historical focus on ‘negative’ freedoms toward a contemporary focus on ‘positive’ rights. The philosophical construction of the concept of liberty is contentious and convoluted, but there is an obvious and intuitive difference between the simple freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the US Constitution (freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and the press) and the expansive rights promised by Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (rights to food, clothing, housing, medical care, social services, unemployment insurance and social security).

Political philosophers may be able to derive one from the other, but ordinary people will understand that there is a basic qualitative difference, even if the line between the two is sometimes blurred. Nothing in philosophy is ever simple, but simply put, the freedom to pursue happiness is something very different from the right to be happy. Political liberalism has evolved over nearly three centuries from a philosophy of safeguarding freedoms into a philosophy of demanding rights.

There have been good reasons for this shift. Liberals have come to realise that freedoms on their own are not always sustainable. People sometimes vote to relinquish their freedoms. Very often people use their freedoms to enslave others. Freedom may be just as likely to be used irresponsibly as it is to be used responsibly. Thus the mainstream of liberal opinion has come to the view that the protection of basic human rights, especially the protection of minority rights, is an indispensable prerequisite for the maintenance of individual freedom.

To some extent this is true. But the principle that some human rights must be ensured prompts the question of which ones. Someone has to decide, and if that decision preempts democratic decision-making, then clearly the decision cannot be left up to the people. In fact, among liberal political scientists, the whole idea that the people should define the scope of basic human rights is now sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all.

Mainstream liberals have reasoned that the delineation of the set of human rights that are necessary for the maintenance of individual freedom can only be properly performed by experts. Those experts, the experts in human rights, are by definition educated professionals like academics, lawyers, judges, journalists, civil servants, social workers, medical doctors and lobbyists. By virtue of dedicated study and professional practice they have made themselves the legitimate authorities on the subject. And they truly are the legitimate authorities on the subject. When you want an authority on chemistry, you consult a chemist. When you want an authority on human rights, you consult a human-rights lawyer.

The whole idea that the people should define the scope of human rights is now often sneeringly referred to as ‘majoritarian’ democracy, qualified as if it were no kind of democracy at all

The problem is that politics is a unique field of human activity. Authoritarianism in chemistry may be unproblematic, even desirable. Authoritarianism in politics is dangerous, even when the authorities themselves are above reproach. In the contemporary liberal worldview, certain policies are mandatory, others are beyond the pale, and only the experts can tell which is which. Liberal democracy thus requires the obedience of the voters (or at least the citizens) to expert authority. The people are the passive recipients of those rights the experts deem them to possess. As the domain of rights expands, experts end up making more and more of the decisions – or at least more of the decisions that matter – in an ever-increasing number of the most important aspects of public life: economic policy, criminal justice, what’s taught in schools, who’s allowed to enter the country, what diseases will be cured, even (in many cases) who will have the opportunity to run for elective office. In these areas and more, experts arrogate to themselves the authority to adjudicate competing claims for public resources and private benefits. As society evolves, the areas reserved to expert adjudication seem only to expand. In the course of normal politics, previously depoliticised policy domains rarely return to the realm of democratic determination.

The new authoritarianism of the 21st century has nothing to do with the Trump presidency. It is neither a right-wing authoritarianism, nor a nationalist authoritarianism, nor even a conservative authoritarianism. The new authoritarianism of the 21st century is, paradoxically, a liberal authoritarianism.



Trump’s campaign manager has a plan to punish twitter

Brad Parscale is reportedly nudging his boss to join Twitter competitor and far-right hub Parler.

Donald Trump’s beef with social-media giants is well-documented—just last month, he brought Twitter C.E.O. Jack Dorsey to the White House to whine about the dip in his following that’s supposedly due to anti-conservative bias. Yet despite his gripes, and the gripes of his far-right allies over the de-platforming of people like Alex Jones, Twitter has remained the president’s megaphone of choice. That’s in part because no platform rivals the reach of Twitter, where Trump can broadcast his every thought to millions of people in seconds. But a new report suggests the president’s aides are pushing him to lend his online clout to a Twitter competitor, raising the specter of a social-media ecosystem that’s even more deeply polarized.

According to Politico, Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is weighing setting up a presidential account on Parler, a Twitter-style site that controversial conservatives, exiled from larger platforms and leery of censorship, have begun to adopt. “It’s something [Parscale is] aware of and is checking out,” a Trump campaign official said of Parler, which has attracted right-wing notables like Milo Yiannopoulos and Candace Owens. (Owens herself endorsed the idea: “Donald Trump should just switch social media platforms altogether because everyone will follow him,”she told Politico.) Per the campaign official, there’s currently no plan to “make a big move to the platform.” But Parscale and Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a Trump ally, have both created Parler accounts and started posting on the site.

The president and his allies have complained increasingly loudly about the supposed “shadow-banning” of conservatives on social media. “Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!” Trump tweeted in December without a hint of irony. “When is Twitter going to allow the very popular Conservative Voices that it has so viciously shut down, back into the OPEN?” he demanded more recently. If Trump were to migrate to Parler, or at least include it in his daily rage-posting, it would certainly attract a great deal of attention to the upstart platform, and would likely increase its usership. It could also worsen polarization, creating a scenario in which Democrats and Republicans don’t merely talk over one another online, but occupy different digital spaces entirely.



Privately-Funded Group Builds El Paso Border Wall, Closing ‘Ridiculously Large Gap’ Used by Smugglers

“We Build The Wall,” a privately-funded organization, announced Monday it has built the country’s first border wall on private land.

Kris Kobach, former Kansas secretary of state, told Fox and Friends the new wall in El Paso, Texas fills a half-mile gap in the existing border, which was constantly exploited by illegal aliens and drug smugglers:

“This is the first time in American history that a private organization called ‘We Build The Wall’ - this is the first time any organization has built border wall on private land. And, it’s happening right here in the El Paso area and it’s not just any piece of land. This piece of land is right where the El Paso wall that separates El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, where that wall ends, there’s been a half-mile gap between the existing wall and Mount Cristo Rey.

“And, it was a ridiculously large gap that the smuggling of both people and drugs would go through.”

Kobach said the organization worked non-stop over the past weekend in order to give the nation a Memorial Day present:

“The wall has been going up over the weekend. We’ve been working 24/7 over the holiday weekend to give America a present on this Memorial Day.”

Rather than using the “garden-variety” steel employed by government wall-builders, which has a useful life of 25 years, “This is all weathering steel that lasts 75 years,” Kobach said.

And, even though the average donation to We Build The Wall is only $67, the privately-funded organization is set to begin building its second stretch of wall, Kobach added.

As Independent Journal Review reports, We Build The Wall was founded by a veteran and is dependent on private donations to fund its wall construction projects:

“We Build The Wall was founded by triple amputee veteran Brian Kolfage who saw a way to build fill in the gaps in the border with funding construction through private donations. Kobach pointed out that the specific gap they were closing up had been used to smuggle drugs as well.”



The Real Inclusive Approach to Immigrants

Some people make better immigrants than others -- but the Left cannot admit that as it clashes with their idiotic belief that all men are equal

Is President Donald Trump’s call for patriotic assimilation, which is a part of his immigration package, a step toward totalitarianism and fascism? These are the hyperbolic claims made in a contentious op-ed by Fabiola Santiago, a columnist at the Miami Herald.

Santiago highlighted my own work in this field, citing a 2016 paper. While ordinarily I don’t react to criticism, especially when over the top, in this case a response makes it possible to elucidate some points.

For starters, she’s wrong.

As it is often the case with those whose proposals actually lead to a reduction in our freedoms, Santiago wraps her argument as a rousing defense of liberty: Assimilation would mean “the end of the romantic notion that we are a free people who can speak as we like, feel as we feel, be who we are, without fear of government reprisals,” she writes.

Let me make three points about this.

First, the survival of political liberty and a political community depends on a shared culture and the habits of character that protect it.

Second, the leading thinkers of the multiculturalism Santiago defends no longer even pretend to be on the side of political liberty.

And third, the comparison she draws between America and totalitarian Cuba gets things exactly backward.

Let’s start with the survival of political liberty. Some cultural traits and habits are necessary to self-rule, and others undermine it. A government charged with protecting our freedoms must promote the former and discourage the latter.

Thrift, self-reliance, a strong work ethic, perseverance, volunteerism, and moderation are qualities that make a population free and prosperous. These also are virtues long associated with America, a nation ahistorically free and prosperous. They must be instilled and practiced. They don’t come in the bloodstream.

A statist, bureaucratic mindset that does not prize the right to private property, the right to freedom of speech and conscience, or the belief that all humans are born free and equal, would on the other hand render our society less free. Immigrants who come freighted with these habits of mind must be invited to forget them and take up new ones.

And indeed, immigrants from countries with these cultural habits always have faced pressure, from the American government and civil society alike, to leave them behind and adopt new ones.

A prime example is the wave of German immigrants who came to America in the 1800s, economically due to the dislocation of industrialization and politically because of the failure of revolutions in 1848. Culturally, many had statist proclivities that were unknown among most Americans.

In 1854, their political leaders in Kentucky adopted a “Platform of the Free Germans of Louisville” that had radical anti-property notions.

One of these notions read that “to occupy nature, the soil, as exclusive property, this no individual has the right to do.” Another said that “labor has an incontestable claim to the value of its product” and if “the capitalist” did not agree, then the government “has to interfere” to secure this right. A third called for the government to pay for instruction in German to the children of immigrants.

That same year, German immigrants in Richmond, Virginia, passed a similar platform calling for these same rollbacks of freedom and adding funds for a German-language university. The Virginia platform also called for a government takeover of the railroads, taxation of church lands, and abolishment of religious schools.

The Americans of the day decided pretty quickly to protect their way of life and compel the new German immigrants to adopt the American worldview, not import their own, thank you very much. The immigrant was not obliged to give up his beer and wiener, which were adopted into the national cuisine. We should all be thankful for all aspects of that arrangement today.

The process worked. By the 1880s, the German-born Wisconsin Congressman Richard Guenther was rallying crowds with these words: “After passing through the crucible of naturalization we are no longer Germans; we are Americans. … America first, last, and all the time. America against Germany; America against the world; America right or wrong; always America.”

The multiculturalism that Santiago defends is at odds with the liberty she purports to advocate, which brings us to our second point.

Santiago—who seems never to be have considered the allure of understatement—maintains that patriotic assimilation “and all the nationalist jargon that comes with it—is the concoction of right-wing think tanks that detest multiculturalism.”

“What Trump proposes,” she writes, “has the markings of the type of domination we fought against in World War II: Fascism.”

A fondness for multiculturalism seems nearly always to go hand in hand with an attachment to cosmopolitanism, or the belief that we are all citizens of the world, with loyalty first to all human beings rather than our own nation. They are both the opposite of assimilation.

Thus, contra Guenther’s hardy call for “America against the world,” Santiago seems oddly vexed that Trump’s call for merit-based immigration would “gut countries of their best minds”—as if they were compelled to come to America. (Doesn’t she care about their self-determination?)

But cosmopolitan aspirations, writes my Heritage Foundation colleague Arthur Milikh, “lack the power to constrain and tutor strong natural proclivities toward anger, pride, and selfishness” and it is the restraint of passions such as these that produce civility and the ability to govern oneself.

So it’s no surprise that the purveyors of multiculturalism no longer hide their disdain for natural rights. Progressive academics from Catharine A. MacKinnon to Louis Michael Seidman, Frederick Schauer, and Kathleen M. Sullivan all have come out against free speech because, in the words of MacKinnon, the First Amendment “has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists.”

As the most famous textbook on multiculturalism, “Critical Race Theory, an Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, puts it, critical race theorists “are suspicious of another liberal mainstay, namely rights” because they “believe that moral and legal rights are apt to do the right holder much less good than we like to think.”

These beliefs already have been put into practice, with foreseeable consequences, in Cuba, an unfortunate country that Santiago appears not to understand very well, though I gather she was born there.

Before the revolution’s triumph in 1959, Cuba’s culture had accrued organically, going back to the colonization of the island in 1511 and the founding of Havana in 1519. The Cuban revolution has gone out of its way to eradicate this culture and destroy even its physical manifestations, which is why Havana’s once stately architecture has been purposely left to putrefy.

Cuba’s innate traditions prior to Year Zero are thus rendered by the revolution as corrupt and immoral, a narrative that the international left is only too happy to propagate. In the place of this culture, the revolution has imposed through force a fabricated one.

It is this process that a return to American norms would hope to arrest in this country.

An invitation to assimilate to practices that produce freedom and solidarity and have been part of the American character for centuries—truly the inclusive approach—would be a last-ditch attempt to return America to its organic traditions.



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

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


29 May, 2019

DESPERATION: After Failing On Collusion And Obstruction, Democrats Unveil New ‘Get Trump’ policy

They really are out of ideas. The claim that Trump is mentally unfit goes right back to his 2016 campaign.  I have looked at several of the claims e.g here and here and here and show how shallow they are

I was amused by the claim below that Trump had a very strict father.  That is in fact a boilerplate Leftist claim about conservatives generally but the speaker gives no evidence of it in Trump's case. To me, Trump's behaviour has all the hallmarks  of a very permissive upbringing -- which was the fashion during his childhood in the 40s and '50s -- Dr. Spock and all that

It's probably just old age in her case but Pelosi's mental meanderings  suggest that she is the one who is unfit for office.  There is a video of her going about which compiles many instances of her slurring her words and stuttering.

Democrats spent the past two years claiming they had proof that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to win the election and obstructed justice to block Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

After Mueller’s report clearly stated there is no evidence of collusion or obstruction, Democrats have unveiled a new “get Trump” plan.

Now, Democrats are claiming that Trump is not “mentally fit” for office and must be impeached.

Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I pray for the President of the United States.” When asked if she was concerned about Trump’s mental state, Pelosi answered, “I am.”

Pelosi implied to reporters that Trump had mental issues, said she was “praying” for the president, and suggested that his family ought to “stage an intervention.”

This paved the way for Democrats to now claim that Trump should be impeached because he has “mental issues.”

Last week, Howard Stern spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper to discuss Trump’s mental health and said:

From what I know of Donald and his relationship with his father, it sounds traumatic. It sounds like the father was very domineering.

The father expected a lot of him. And the father, I don’t know, there was military school. You know, you read these drips and drabs and you go wow. I can assure you he’s been traumatized because, you know, Donald, you know, his level of narcissism is so strong.

He has trouble with empathy. We know that. And I wish he’d go into psychotherapy.

During an interview on Friday with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin pushed the same talking point:

“Today, the 25th Amendment has come back into focus because of the extraordinary events that took place in the White House.”

“Speaker Pelosi showed her compassionate side when she said there should be a family intervention. Unfortunately, some conditions are way beyond the capacity of a family intervention to address. This might be far more serious. Professor Bandi Lee, the psychiatrist up at Yale Medical School, had a group do a mental health analysis of the special counsel’s report and they came back and said basically, the president is failing at every level of basic mental and cognitive health.”

“He cannot take in information successfully, he cannot process information successfully, he cannot engage in decision-making without bias, distortion, impulsivity, impetuosity. And he cannot keep himself and others free from danger, which I guess are like the basic minimal requisites of mental health and they’re saying it’s missing in that case. So, the constitution has a mechanism for this. The 25th Amendment.”

After Mueller’s report clearly stated there is no evidence of collusion or obstruction, it is more than clear that Trump’s “deteriorating mental health” is the new plan Democrats will use to push impeachment.



Foolish impeachment talk

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has a bold warning for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and she won’t like this one bit.

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday” with host Chris Wallace, Graham warned that if Pelosi tries to impeach President Donald Trump, her political career will likely be over. “She knows that impeachment would be political suicide because there’s no reason to impeach the president,” Graham said.

The South Carolina Republican went on to warn that Pelosi will lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives and possibly her job if she pushes impeachment.

“She’s trying to keep the party intact. If she goes down the impeachment road, Republicans take back the House, we keep the Senate, President Trump gets reelected, but her job is very much at risk,” Graham said.

“So what I think is going to happen here – I think that she’s going to be driven towards impeachment. If she goes down that road, it will be suicide for the Democratic Party,” he added.

Later in the interview, Graham went nuclear on Wallace for trying to paint him as a hypocrite on impeachment.

Wallace played a clip of Graham from the late 1990s, where he called for the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton after it was revealed he lied to Congress and the special counsel about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“It is your job to supply us with the things we need to provide oversight over you,” Graham said in the video.

“Why is it an impeachable offense for Clinton or Nixon back then to ignore congressional subpoenas, but it’s okay for President Trump to do now?” Wallace asked.

Wallace was clearly trying a “gotcha question” with Graham, but it backfired on him.

Graham set the record straight and explained how his comments about Clinton from 20 years ago aren’t comparable to Trump today.

“Mueller is the final word on this for me,” Graham said. “If Clinton had stiffed Ken Starr, that’s different. What [Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY)] is doing is trying to destroy the president and his family.”

“If I were the president, I’d fight back against this political revenge coming out of the House,” Sen. Graham said.

“Mueller was the man of the law. Mueller was an independent voice that we all trusted to be fair. I don’t trust House Democrats to be fair,” he said.

To Graham’s point, Attorney General William Barr put the final nail in the collusion coffin and said that Robert Mueller found no evidence that Trump, his campaign, or any American colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

The president has been completely vindicated after the two-year Russia witch hunt.



Ex-CNN Contributors Drop MASSIVE Truth Bomb: ‘Hate Trump’ Network ‘Openly Despises Conservatives’

Former CNN contributors are coming out to reveal the truth about the far-left network that serves as the communications wing of the Democrat Party. For the American people to have a hunch is one thing, but to hear it from the mouths of multiple horses is another beast altogether.

According to several former contributors to the cable news network, CNN has increasingly become the anti-conservative, “hate Trump” network that allows only Republicans critical of the president on their airwaves and has systematically “squeezed out” conservative voices.

“Most of us got squeezed out involuntarily,” former CNN contributor and former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) told Mediaite. “I was there for 2 years and was certainly willing to continue. It was clear to me in the end that the Republicans they prefer are anti-Trump Republicans.”

Mediaite also spoke with former CNN analyst Stephen Moore, who echoed Kingston’s sentiments about the network’s apparent preference for anti-Trump Republicans, noting that one of the few Republicans they feature is former Ohio Gov. and vocal Trump critic John Kasich.

“CNN is the hate Trump network,” said Moore. “They just trash Trump every single hour of every single day. All they’ve talked about for two years is the Muller report and how bad does it make them look now that it proved nothing?”

Another former CNN contributor that has not been shy about voicing complaints about CNN’s “obvious” bias is talk radio host Buck Sexton, who told Mediate that the network now “openly despises conservatives who are pro-Trump.”

For instance:

President Trump defended his now infamous Charlottesville comments. His exact words from 2017, per Real Clear Politics:

“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group – excuse me, excuse me, I saw the same pictures you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of, to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.”

After another question at that press conference, Trump became even more explicit:

“I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and white nationalists because they should be condemned totally.”

Enter CNN’s Jim Acosta, who got torched for lying:

Trump defends his “very fine people” comments on Charlottesville: “People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.” Fact check: There were many neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Fact check this: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

That’s what @realDonaldTrump said that day and you were standing 10 feet away from him. You do your network proud.

Yellow Journalism

*  Trump openly condemned the neo-Nazis & white supremacists
*  called them “criminals and thugs”
*  said “racism is evil”
*  said those responsible would be “held fully accountable”

This is brazen revision of history that would make the Katyn murderers proud.



Trump Overrules Congress, Uses Emergency Powers To Push Through MAJOR Deal

No hope of co-operation from the Democrat Lower house

President Donald Trump is overruling Congress and attempting to use emergency powers to push through a major deal in the Middle East.

According to The Hill, the Trump administration has invoked an emergency provision of the law to immediately finalize an $8.1 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies without getting a measure passed in Congress.

With Iran’s continued threats and hostility towards the United States, the president is attempting to provide more weapons to America’s allies in the Middle East.

The Trump administration also announced on Friday that 1,500 U.S. troops will be deployed to the Middle East to protect American forces and personnel already there from any potential attacks from Iran.

The package — which is composed of more than 20 separate deals and is valued at $8.1 billion — includes precision guided munitions, bombs, ammunition, and aircraft maintenance support.

The arms are being sold to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with the UAE then transferring some to Jordan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Friday saying the 22 arms sales are needed to “help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“Delaying this shipment could cause degraded systems and a lack of necessary parts and maintenance that could create severe airworthiness and interoperability concerns for our key partners, during a time of increasing regional volatility,” Pompeo said.

He added: “These national security concerns have been exacerbated by many months of congressional delay in addressing these critical requirements, and have called into doubt our reliability as a provider of defense capabilities, opening opportunities for U.S. adversaries to exploit.”

Pompeo added that using the emergency provision is intended as a “one-time event.”

“Section 36 is a long-recognized authority and has been utilized by at least four previous administrations since 1979, including Presidents Reagan and Carter,” he said. “This specific measure does not alter our long-standing arms transfer review process with Congress. I look forward to continuing to work with Congress to develop prudent measures to advance and protect U.S. national security interests in the region.”

Notices posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency website show the approvals include sales to the Saudis for surveillance aircraft support and maintenance of Saudi aircraft, and to the Emiratis for 20,004 precision guided munitions kits, 331 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 20 RQ-21A Blackjack drones.



Liberal Activist Judge Gets SUSPENDED For Six Months, And It’s All Because Of President Trump

A Utah judge has been suspended for six months without pay after he made a series of critical statements about President Donald Trump online and in his courtroom over the past few years.

The Utah Supreme Court filed its court ruling this past week on Judge Michael Kwan’s actions.

Kwan, who has served as a justice court judge in Taylorsville for 20 years, was cited for “improper use of judicial authority and his inappropriate political commentary,” the latter often involving President Trump.

The court noted multiple times when Kwan had provided political comments that criticized Trump, as a presidential candidate in 2016 and as president on his Facebook page and in court.

Three days after the 2016 election, Kwan wrote on Facebook, “Think I’ll go to the shelter to adopt a cat before the President-Elect grabs them all” — a reference to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump was heard bragging about grabbing women’s genitals without consent.

Almost a month after Trump’s inauguration, Kwan said “welcome to the beginning of the fascist takeover” and questioned whether Congressional Republicans would be “the American Reichstag,” this time referring to the political body of Nazi Germany.



Democrat policies breed disease

Thousands of lives may be at risk this summer in Los Angeles and politicians could be to blame, according to one famous TV doctor.... “I want to give you a prediction here. There will be a major infectious disease epidemic this summer in Los Angeles.”

Pinsky described to Kilmeade what he believes to be the almost medieval conditions in the City of Angels and compared local politicians to Nero, the infamous Roman Emperor who allegedly fiddled while his nation burned.

“We have tens and tens of thousands of people living in tents. Horrible conditions. Sanitation. Rats have taken over the city. We’re the only city in the country, Los Angeles, without a rodent control program. We have multiple rodent-borne, flea-borne illnesses, plague, typhus. We’re gonna have louse-borne illness. If measles breaks into that population, we have tuberculosis exploding. Literally, our politicians are like Nero. It’s worse than Nero,” Pinsky said.



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

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


28 May, 2019

We’re Not the Same Under the Skin

Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, and it makes a difference

“We need black blood.” I didn’t know what to say to this, not least because it had been said by the head of donor services at England’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant. The interview was for a book I was writing on blood, and his statement shocked me. Surely we’re all the same under the skin?

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairman of the American Red Cross, Norman H. Davis, admitted that segregating blood was “a matter of tradition and sentiment rather than of science,” but didn’t stop doing it until 1950. Louisiana banned the segregation of blood only in 1972.

But the Red Cross was wrong: While no one is suggesting forced segregation of blood bags, it’s now scientifically established that blood can be racially or ethnically specific.

Most people know about the eight major blood groups: A, B, AB and O, each of which can be positive or negative (the Rh factor). These are determined by genes, and what group you are depends on what combination of proteins and sugars — antigens — are on the outside of your red blood cells. The International Society of Blood Transfusion lists 360 known antigens, but the combinations are infinitely more. Many have no bearing on routine blood transfusion, though all were discovered because they caused a problem with compatibility.

A successful blood transfusion relies on sameness. If incoming blood has an antigen that you lack, your body can react badly to it. In extremely rare cases, the reaction can be fatal; and even if not, it can tax the immune system in people who are already weakened by their condition. Also, you will make an antibody, a sort of immune storm trooper, to better recognize the same antigen next time. Patients who need regular blood transfusions — those who have sickle cell disease, thalassemia or leukemia, for example — may face an ever decreasing pool of suitable blood because they keep creating antibodies.

Wouldn’t it be easier if all our blood was the same? Blame bugs. Much of the variance “has been driven by evolutionary selection by bacteria, malaria and parasites,” says Connie Westhoff, executive scientific director at the National Center for Blood Group Genomics at the New York Blood Center. If malaria finds its way into the bloodstream via a particular antigen, that antigen may change to defend itself, leading to different blood types. Cholera thrives better on intestinal cells derived from O-type stem cells, but O is also more protective against malaria. For many complicated reasons, only 27 percent of Asians have type A, but 40 percent of Caucasians do. Type B is found more commonly in Asia than Europe.

This works not just with blood types. Sickle cell trait is now known to protect against malaria, which is why sickle cell, a painful and debilitating disease caused by malformed blood cells, is found frequently — but not only — in people with African heritage, because malaria thrives in Africa.

This past winter, the case of a little girl named Zainab Mughal in South Florida illustrated all this complexity perfectly. Zainab, who is now 3, has neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer, and her treatment — chemotherapy and stem cell transplants — means she will need blood.

But she also has rare blood. She belongs to the fewer than 1 percent of the population missing an antigen that makes her blood some of the rarest in the world. She lacks both the antigens Indian B and Big E. Via appeals to the American Rare Donor Program, and then the International Rare Donor Panel in England, Zainab’s local blood banker, One Blood, found five donors with the same extremely rare type.

It was a tall order: The Indian B antigen is lacking in the blood of Iranians, Pakistanis and Indians, so donors had to have both parents from these populations. Two donors live in the United States, two in Britain and one in Australia.

Publicity about Zainab’s case, though it was extreme in its rarity, helped raise awareness.

Yet it is a difficult message: that our blood is different. When it comes to finding stem cells for bone marrow transplants, the search also has to be discriminatory. This time the issue is HLA, the human leukocyte antigens present in white blood cells.

“The reason why ethnicity comes into the picture,” says Dr. Abeer Madbouly, a senior scientist at Be the Match, a program run by the National Marrow Donor Program, the largest stem cell donor registry in the world, “is that HLA encodes the immune system, and the immune system goes through particular conditions based on where you are.” Depending on the threat, each population will develop particular sets of HLA types. In a diverse population like that of the United States, finding a matched donor becomes more challenging.

“Let’s say you have someone with African roots and someone from Asian descent coming together, and then they have an offspring of mixed ethnicities,” Dr. Madbouly says. “You have an African HLA and an HLA type common in Asian areas coming together to form a new type of HLA that is not common in either.” Though Be the Match added nearly two million donors to its registry last year, only 30 percent were what Dr. Madbouly calls “diverse.” That’s not enough.

Zainab’s situation is rare. What concerns blood bankers is a more common condition caused by uncommon blood. Sickle cell disease is predominantly found in African- Americans, and thalassemia among South Asians, and both conditions require precisely matched blood. But there is a shortfall between ethnic minority patients who need blood, and ethnic minority donors. In New York, Caucasians are 35 percent of the population but 58 percent of donors. Twenty-eight percent of New Yorkers are African-American but only 8 percent of donors, and that’s after five years of outreach by the New York Blood Center with its PreciseMatch campaign.

Even so, there was trouble when the Blood Center began in 2009 to offer the option to “self-declare” ethnicity on its donor forms. This was efficient: Without a budget to precisely screen every donation, they could home in on antigens known to be specific to certain populations. At first staff members were upset. “We didn’t educate the staff,” Dr. Westhoff says, “to know that we weren’t segregating the blood just to be segregating. We were doing it to send all the African-American units to the sickle program children because they were doing much better with blood that came from this same ethnic group.”

Disquiet was inevitable given sensitivity about whether race is skin-deep and whether differences should be highlighted. But the startling truth about blood is that acknowledging its differences can tip the balance between life and death for people who need it.

Blood bankers are reluctant to talk about why some communities are keener to donate than others, but read some of the “myths about blood donation” that they regularly publish and a picture emerges: Blood donation doesn’t make you put on weight. Nor does it affect your sex drive (though you shouldn’t do vigorous exercise within 24 hours). It is not against Islamic law or tradition. One of the most common reasons people who don’t donate give is that no one has asked them.

Cases like Zainab’s help reach these populations: Many of the 25,000 people who emailed in wanting to help were first-time donors. But as Susan Forbes of One Blood says, “The goal is for them to make it a habit and come back, and help boost the blood supply wherever they live.”



Don't knock NATO
Jeff Jacoby

THIS SEASON marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest feats of statesmanship since the end of the Cold War: the opening of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It was in the spring of 1999 that Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic became the first of the nations from behind the Iron Curtain to join the Atlantic alliance. Seven more nations joined in 2004, and another three since then.

NATO today comprises 29 countries in Europe and North America. Much has gone wrong in the world over the past two decades. The enlargement of NATO is one hugely important thing that went right.

That is not the received wisdom, however. Elite academics and pundits have been denouncing the expansion of NATO ever since the idea was first broached.

Enlarging the alliance would be "a dreadful, potentially catastrophic idea," the Cato Institute's Ted Galen Carpenter warned at the time, calling it a 1990s "equivalent of the Treaty of Versailles, which sowed the seeds of revenge and an enormously destructive war." The Federation of American Scientists decried NATO expansion as "a Pandora's box" that would needlessly provoke Russia. Foreign-affairs sage George Kennan condemned it as "a fateful error." Opposition to NATO's eastward growth has flourished on the isolationist right and the pro-Russia left. So-called "realist" scholars blame it for Vladimir Putin's aggression against Ukraine. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman derides the expansion of NATO as "one of the dumbest things we've ever done."

But the naysayers are wrong.

NATO was founded 70 years ago in the turbulent aftermath of World War II. With the Soviet Union ruthlessly imposing totalitarian police states on half the European continent, the new allies were intent on keeping Europe's other half free and at peace. In the famous formulation of its first secretary general, NATO was created to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down" — and it did. Under America's nuclear umbrella, Western Europe remained safe from Soviet violence throughout the Cold War. Just three years after its birth, NATO began to expand, admitting Greece and Turkey in 1952, West Germany in 1955, and Spain in 1982. With each new accession, the zone of European stability and democratic freedom widened, and Moscow's scope for aggressiveness was reduced.

The end of the Cold War consigned Soviet communism to the ash-heap of history, but it didn't render NATO obsolete — far from it. It was as necessary as ever to "keep the Russians out," and newly liberated Eastern European nations lobbied to join the alliance. Writing in the March issue of Foreign Affairs, historian M. E. Sarotte described how leaders of the fledgling democratic governments in Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague first began talking about NATO membership within months of the end of communist rule in 1989, and how they earnestly pressed the matter with Bill Clinton after he became president in 1993.

"In our values and spirit, we are part of Western Europe," the Czech president (and former political prisoner) Vaclav Havel told Clinton. Lech Walesa, Poland's democratic hero, put the stakes bluntly: "We are all afraid of Russia," he said. "If Russia again adopts an aggressive foreign policy, that aggression will be directed to Ukraine and Poland."

If that was true for former members of the Warsaw Pact, it was even truer for the Baltic countries. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia had been forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, and desperately feared what Russia might do in the future to reassert its hegemony. When they broke free at last from the Kremlin and knocked on NATO's door, should the allies have turned them away?

Critics routinely claim that Russia was bound to feel endangered by NATO's expansion, but that turns reality on its head. NATO never threatened Russia. It was the threat of Russia's aggression that led most of its former satrapies into the arms of the alliance. Moscow may bristle, but a bigger NATO has kept it at bay. Russia has not dared to attack or invade any NATO member. Contrast that with its violent assaults on Ukraine and Georgia, which are not NATO allies.

After winning the Cold War, America might have pulled out and gone home. But just as NATO expansion continued to "keep the Russians out," it continued to "keep the Americans in," deeply invested in maintaining European peace and stability. Under US leadership, NATO provided the space for a new, post-Soviet normalcy to take hold. Within NATO's borders, peace has reigned for 70 years. Germany, once such a hateful menace, abandoned its murderous, militaristic ways. Liberal democracy has not triumphed everywhere in Europe — Hungary under Viktor Orban and, especially, Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan have grown alarmingly authoritarian. But the day is long past when half the continent could be terrorized, or plunged into war, by totalitarian superpowers.

That would never have happened had it not been for NATO. Seventy years after its creation, the Atlantic alliance remains one of the towering achievements of modern statecraft, with a membership that is bigger, and therefore better, than ever.



Pence Tells West Point Grads To Expect To See Combat

Vice President Mike Pence told the most diverse graduating class in the history of the U.S. Military Academy on Saturday that the world is “a dangerous place” and they should expect to see combat. “Some of you will join the fight against radical Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq,” he said.

Pence congratulated the West Point graduates on behalf of President Donald Trump, and told them, “As you accept the mantle of leadership I promise you, your commander in chief will always have your back. President Donald Trump is the best friend the men and women of our armed forces will ever have.”

More than 980 cadets became US. Army second lieutenants in the ceremony at West Point’s football stadium.

Pence noted that Trump has proposed a $750 billion defense budget for 2020 and said the United States “is once again embracing our role as the leader of the free world.”

“It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life,” Pence said. “You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen. Some of you may even be called upon to serve in this hemisphere.”

Pence spoke as the U.S. plans to send another 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration describes as threats from Iran; as the longest war in U.S. history churns on in Afghanistan; and as Washington considers its options amid political upheaval in Venezuela. The administration is also depending more heavily on the military to deter migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

The class was the most diverse in West Point’s history, and Pence said he wanted to acknowledge “the historic milestones that we’re marking today.”

The 2019 cadets included 34 black women and 223 women, both all-time highs since the first female cadets graduated in 1980. The academy graduated its 5,000th woman Saturday.

The 110 African Americans who graduated were double the number from 2013.

Pence said the graduates also included the academy’s 1,000th Jewish cadet.

Pence did not serve in the military but noted that his late father served with the Army in the Korean War.

“And as I stand before you today here at West Point I can’t help but think that First Lt. Edward J. Pence, looking down from glory, is finally impressed with his third son,” Pence said. “So thank you for the honor.”

The ceremony was Pence’s second visit to West Point and his first as commencement speaker.



Trump sees 'great progress' in trade negotiations with Japan

President Trump said on Sunday that "great progress" is being made in trade negotiations with Japan.

The president focused on agriculture and beef in a tweet sent during his trip to Japan, adding, however, that "much will wait until after" the nation’s elections in July.

"Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed - Death Wish!" he added in another post.

Speaking to a reception of Japanese business leaders Saturday evening, Trump said the relationship between the U.S. and Japan "has never been stronger" and called it an "exciting time" for commerce between the two countries.

“You're doing fantastically well. I was looking very closely on the ride over at some of the numbers being produced in Japan, and you're doing great,” he said, according to a White House transcript of the president's remarks.

“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years, but that's OK. Maybe that's why you like us so much. But we'll get it a little bit more fair, I think. I think we'll do that,” he added, noting that Japan is ordering a “great deal” of U.S. military equipment. Trump also mentioned last week’s reopening of Japanese markets to U.S. beef exports.

“We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months,” he said.

Trump's visit to Japan also included a number of ceremonial events, including a round of golf Sunday morning with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump on Sunday also attended a sumo tournament, where he awarded a "United States President’s Cup" trophy to the champion.



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

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


27 May, 2019

Media Forced to Cover FBI Lovebirds Story

A message from Phelim McAleer

Well it has just been unbelievable - we have had a great launch with amazing media coverage of our FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers project. We have supporters like you to thank for the current success of this project.

Politico has called the show, which stars Young Superman Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson, “Hamilton for the Make America Great Again crowd.” That isn’t such a bad analogy. Should we get T-shirts made with this inscription?

The Hollywood Reporter states that the play, which we are also filming, will put Trump's campaign and presidency under the spotlight. That’s what we are hoping will happen. When we release the film online, you won't believe what was going on behind the scenes, with law enforcement personnel boasting in texts to one another that they were subverting the democratic process.

USA Today also says that the focus of the play is on Trump. That is half right since the focus of the play is on revealing the truth about those who tried to end the Trump campaign and presidency.

This is only part of the coverage this story has received, but the great thing about these reports is that the mainstream media are forced to cover the story that they really, really want to ignore. FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers is a verbatim play consisting entirely of the text messages between FBI agents Page and Strzok and their answers when questioned in private by a Congressional panel. We have the transcript of that grilling and the play has no added drama - it is just their own words verbatim.

As Dean Cain said: “I look forward to playing Peter Strzok as written by Peter Strzok.”

What is especially infuriating is that Deadline Hollywood saw us writing about the death threat to actors and their audience of this production, and the only thing they thought was noteworthy was that we were “fundraising” of it. This is crazy!

Someone has threatened to burn alive actors and their audience, and Deadline Hollywood thinks this is a non story and doesn't reach out to us or to industry people to get them to condemn it. Instead, they believe that the people who received the death threat are the ones who should be condemned.

This is why it so important that the FBI Lovebirds project goes ahead. The truth is that we are slightly behind where we would like to be at this stage in fundraising. We should be 35% funded and we have just hit 26%. We did get off to a good start but undoubtedly things will slow down over the Memorial Day weekend. We want to continue to expose the lies that are being told and continue to force the media to cover this story, even in their own twisted way. Without the proper funding, we won't be able to properly film and promote the project and release it to a wide audience.

So please, give what you can. If you have already donated, think about giving again. Would you also do us a favor? If you share this link - www.fbilovebirds.com - with just 5 others and they donate the same as you, this project could be funded within hours. This would be a phenomenon that the media could not stay quiet about.

Via email


Nancy Pelosi, profile in courage? Hardly

by Jeff Jacoby

I WONDER SOMETIMES whether officials at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, which presents the annual Profile in Courage Award, have ever read Profiles in Courage. In his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1956 book, then-Senator John Kennedy described eight US senators who upheld an unpopular political position with fortitude, even though it meant defying their party or allies and jeopardizing their careers.

Recipients of the Profile in Courage Award are supposed to epitomize the kind of political fearlessness that JFK extolled. But while some have indeed been exemplars of conscience who put the public good ahead of their own political safety, others definitely have not. At times the award has served as a kind of consolation prize for haughty liberals whose disdainful manner alienated their constituents. At other times it has amounted to little more than a lifetime achievement prize for famous Democrats, such as Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi became the newest Profile in Courage honoree. She received the award, according to the JFK Library, for shepherding passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and for "leading the [Democratic] effort to retake the majority" in the House of Representatives in 2018. Those accomplishments, impressive as they were, had nothing to do with political bravery. They attest to Pelosi's legislative and electoral acumen, not her moral grit. The Affordable Care Act was the top priority of a Democratic president and the Democrats who controlled Congress; it took no heroism to push it into law. As for quarterbacking her party's efforts to win more House seats — that's what party leaders are expected to do. No courage required.

Yet when Pelosi found herself in a situation where political courage was required, she showed none.

Just a few months ago, the House was roiled by the anti-Semitism of freshman Representative Ilhan Omar. In public comments, the Minnesota Democrat perpetuated the ugly stereotypes that Jewish money dominates American policymaking and that pro-Israel Jews in Congress are motivated by "allegiance to a foreign country." That outraged respected party veterans, who introduced a resolution condemning such anti-Jewish bigotry. But the measure triggered an uproar from far-left Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus, who rallied around Omar and demanded that the resolution be watered down into a bland condemnation of all forms of hatred.

That was when the speaker of the House could have shown real mettle and insisted that Democrats repudiate the anti-Semitism in their ranks. Instead, she caved to the extremists. The strong resolution was spiked, and Pelosi lamely excused Omar on the grounds that she hadn't understood the "full weight" of her slurs.

But if Pelosi doesn't fit the description of a profile in courage, there are others who do.

When Senator Susan Collins of Maine decided last October to support Brett Kavanaugh's elevation to the Supreme Court, she knew well that "her vote will haunt her politically for the remainder of her career," as The New York Times put it. The pressure on Collins to oppose Kavanaugh was noisy, public, and abusive. A crowdfunding campaign raised millions of dollars for a future campaign to unseat Collins if she didn't vote no. Her office was inundated with profane and threatening messages.

The House speaker is a Democrat, a liberal, a safe incumbent, and a powerful politician. Those don't add up to a profile in courage.

Undeterred, Collins cast the crucial vote for Kavanaugh, carefully explaining her reasons in a speech on the Senate floor.

Now that's what JFK would have called a profile in courage.



Profile of a Hater: Rep. Ilhan Omar

What should have been an inspiring story turned sour due to her own bitter hatred.

At one time, hers was an inspiring story: A young child is plucked from a Kenyan refugee camp four years after having escaped the strife in her home country of Somalia, and she and her family ultimately arrive in the U.S. before her 11th birthday. Instead, the feel-good tale of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been sullied by her oft-documented anti-Semitism and her seeming ungratefulness for such good fortune. In fact, only her family’s wealth, prominence, and privilege allowed her such an opportunity, all while she rails against the “privilege” of others.

Now 37 years old, Omar’s rapid political rise tells part of the story, while then-candidate Donald Trump told another part on a 2016 campaign visit to Minneapolis: “[We] have seen firsthand the problems with faulty refugee vetting,” he said, “with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state, without your knowledge, without your support or approval.” Among those refugees was Omar, who was just about to be formally elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, having won the Democrat-Farmer-Labor (DFL) primary over a 44-year incumbent legislator who fell victim to the changing demographics in a district that includes a Minneapolis neighborhood known as “Little Mogadishu.”

The area Omar now represents in Congress was formerly the district of Muslim convert Rep. Keith Ellison, yet it also hosts about half of Minnesota’s modest Jewish population. Not surprisingly, then, Omar’s anti-Semitic statements, as well as those expressing support for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel were front and center during the campaign to succeed Ellison. While Omar denied backing BDS at a town hall event, Powerline blogger (and Minneapolis attorney) Scott Johnson put it succinctly: “Omar knows precisely what she is doing. She lies baldly and without conscience.” Ultimately, Omar got the DFL endorsement, which was tantamount to victory in her D+26 district.

To play devil’s advocate, perhaps there’s some truth to Omar’s claims that Republicans “spread misinformation about how refugee resettlement works.” She claims the current setup gives states “leverage” over knowing how many refugees they would get. That said, surely Omar doesn’t believe that “ignorance is really pervasive in many parts of this country,” does she? Or is she referring to the Left, which routinely traffics in half-truths and demagoguery?

Regardless, Omar lets the mask slip when, referring to recent pro-life legislation passed in Alabama and Georgia, she says, “If [the Religious Right] cared about or were concerned about children, they would be concerned about the children that are being detained and those that are dying in camps across our borders, or the children who are languishing in hunger and facing homelessness.” Setting aside the swipe at the pro-life movement, wouldn’t it be preferable if those children weren’t put in the position of being detained in the first place?

What Congress now has in Omar is an ardent leftist in a somewhat unique package: the first Somali-American elected to Congress and one of the first two Islamic women to serve. So that’s why, this week, she celebrated the “honor to preside over the House Floor” as speaker pro tempore. Far from any kind of real rebuke for her bile, she’s rewarded.

But her anti-American tendencies are evident when she talks to her political peers. Speaking to Benjamin Wallace-Wells of The New Yorker as part of a glowing article on Omar’s political rise, she told him, “We have values and ideals of prosperity and equality and protecting human dignity. All of these things are part of the American value system.”

So far, so good — until this: “But in actuality we have mass incarceration. We have people who literally are sleeping outside in sub-zero weather. We have all kinds of atrocities. We are caging children at our borders. We have police officers who are shooting unarmed black men. So we have practices that really do not live up to the values and the ideas that are very much part of our DNA.”

Omar goes on to say that her first impressions of America were romanticized, but then reality hit her hard. Writes Wallace-Wells, “It explained the reaction she had when, four years later, her family was accepted into the United States. In the camp, they had been shown films of pristine, quiet American suburbs. Omar arrived in busy, dirty New York in 1992, and asked her father why there was so much trash everywhere and people sleeping outside. He said not to worry, that this was not the end of their trip. ‘I didn’t imagine this was also a land of homeless people,’ she said.”

Ilhan Omar is a very fortunate woman in two respects, even though she doesn’t seem thankful for the first and hasn’t yet realized the blessing of the second. First, as a “feminist with a hijab,” she’s been given opportunities that are denied to millions of women in Islam-dominated nations. But second, since fellow freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sucking up nearly all the oxygen in the room, Omar’s vile and outlandish statements aren’t part of the public conscience yet. And this is perhaps Omar’s biggest blessing to date.


CBS News Encourages Physical Assaults Against Political Right

With its embrace of the left’s milkshake assaults on politicians, CBS News has joined CNN’s campaign to encourage violence against the political right.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was just the latest right-leaning politician attacked with a milkshake over the weekend, and as my colleague James Delingpole points out, there is nothing funny or harmless about these assaults.

“Once you start suggesting that physical assaults of any kind are acceptable then you are legitimising violence. And violence has a nasty habit of escalating,” Delingpole writes, and that is exactly correct. The right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose, and hurling a milkshake at someone is a physical assault. Period.

Even if it does not escalate beyond the milkshake, you are still throwing a physical object at someone, which at worst could injure them and at best vandalizes their property in the form of their clothes.

Physical assault is an extremely easy and moral line to draw, and we all know the media would hit Defcon 1 if a Barack Obama or Elizabeth Warren was ever hit with a milkshake. Nevertheless…

Here is CBS News openly encouraging physical assaults against their political enemies on the right:

"Protesters in Britain have weaponized the milk shake. In the latest of a series of attacks on right-wing politicians, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage was doused with a milkshake yesterday. That was actually salted caramel if anyone is wondering.

[Laughter.] He was campaigning. These attacks have come to be known as milk shaking. Now, this follows egging. It follows pieing, punching. I don’t know. I’m sure it feels great. I’m sure people love the feeling. Pictures fly around the world. Put some of that energy into campaigning and maybe the people you don’t want to be in office won’t be in office."

That is not some talking head cracking wise, that is a so-called journalist, Tony Dokoupil, who co-hosts CBS This Morning.

This is yet another example of how the corrupt establishment media want to create an Animal Farm Affirmative Action world where the left enjoy more civil rights than the right.

When the right says something the media do not like, it is violence, racism, and dangerous. When the left does actually assaults someone, it is “great.”

The political elite, academia, the news media, Hollywood, and our tech lords are all abusing their power to grant the left the civil right to say and do whatever they like — including violence (see: Antifa).

Meanwhile, the right is silenced and slapped with scarlet letters over terms and traditional beliefs; for refusing to call a biological man a woman, for  opposing abortion and gay marriage, for using the term “illegal alien” as opposed to the Orwellian mush that is “undocumented immigrant.”

We are censored, blacklisted, de-platformed, and disappeared over ideas and words, while the left engages in actual violence and is applauded for it.

And now you have CBS News joining CNN in legitimizing, condoning, and encouraging physical assaults, but only against one class of people, the unprotected class.

Now ask me again why the political elite, the news media, tech lords, academia, and Hollywood are so desperate to take away our Second Amendment civil right to own a firearm…

So far there have been more than 330 documented hate crimes against Trump supporters. CNN and CBS consider that only a good start.



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

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


26 May, 2019

Lessons from history in support of Trump

Primarily Australian and German lessons

To this day it is widely accepted in Australia that R.G. (Bob) Menzies (later Sir Robert Menzies) was our greatest Prime Minister. He was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total. He ran Australia in the '50s and most of the '60s in what many now look back upon as a golden age. (I do. I was there). There was great embarrassment if unemployment exceeded 2% and life was generally tranquil, though Communist unions did their best to make trouble.

Doing nothing can be a good policy

But when people say what a great man Bob was, a common response was:  "But what did he DO?"  And that is a hard question to answer.  Whenever people came to Bob and suggested something that the government should do,  Bob would reply:  "But if we do that, that will create another problem here".  So Bob would send the suggestions away, saying that the best thing to do was nothing. 

People are always calling on the politicians to do something so it takes great political talent to do nothing.  And doing nothing means that the size of the government stays pretty small -- unlike what mostly happens today when the government never ceases to expand.

So Bob's talent was to let the people of the nation create any change they desired, with little or no government interference.  If enough people backed the change it would happen.  If it had little backing it would not happen.  So prosperity and quality of life increased almost entirely through private initiatives.

So the torrent of legislation to which all governments subject us was a comparative trickle under Menzies. He generally resisted the urge to meddle. And under him Australia was peaceful, calm and secure -- with unemployment negligible and living standards steadily rising. Contracts were enforced, criminals were punished and taxation was a fraction of what it is now. There was welfare for those who really needed it

Bob was however of Scottish origins and he inherited the great Scottish reverence for education.  So he saw it as a real problem that poor families could not send their children to university.  So, for once, he DID something about that. He instituted a scheme where the Federal government would send to university all children from poor families who had scored in the top third of High School grades.  The government not only paid the tuition fees but even gave the kid a living allowance.  It was called the Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme and I was one of its beneficiaries.

 So Australian conservatives today only have to remember the world of Menzies in the 1950s and 1960s to realize that their ideal of a much smaller and fairer government is far from an impossible dream.

"Honest" Frank Nicklin

But Bob was rare even among conservative politicians for his ability to do next to nothing.

So let me mention another such rarity: "Honest" Frank Nicklin.  Would you believe a politician with the nickname "Honest"?  In WWI he was a war hero and after the war he was a banana farmer.  In 1957, he became the Premier of my home state of Queensland and ran Queensland for around 10 years in the 60s.  Frank was by all accounts a very nice man:  A pre-Reagan Reagan.  He got on well with the bureaucracy and even the unions.  So life in Queensland was very tranquil in his time.

How Frank did it can perhaps be gleaned from the words of a unionist who had just gone to see him with some request.  He was asked afterwards what had happened with his request.  He answered:  "Mr. Nicklin can say No in the nicest possible way"!

But, like Bob Menzies Frank did do something:  He spent a lot on upgrading the infrastructure -- roads and bridges etc.


And then we come to an example that older Americans will know about: Ike.

Ike didn't like to rock boats and mainly just wanted to let people get on with their own lives.  He kept the government low-key and tried to reduce government financial deficits.  But he too did SOMETHING.  Like Frank Nicklin, he spent a lot on building up infrastructure -- a big network of high quality interstate highways.  That network is in rather bad repair these days but if all the money wasted on the global warming myth had been spent the way the three men above operated, there would be no such problem today.

But it is wrong to say that conservatives favour the status quo.  Conservative-run legislatures legislate as energetically as any  but mostly that is just to undo the damage caused by previous Leftist policies.  It is Leftist changes that they oppose, not all change.  But, as we see above, even the three champion conservative leaders did also make positive changes: carefully considered changes that generated broad consensus

Trump looks to be going down a similar road.  He is mainly unwinding Obama-era initiatives rather than launch initiatives of his own.  But he too has the one big thing he wants to accomplish:  The Wall

East Germany and the virtue of stability

But the  Communist State of East Germany (the DDR or Deutsche Demokratische Republik) also has something to tell us about change. The regime is now long gone but its demise is particularly instructive.

When the Gorbachev reforms in Russia allowed it, thousands of East Germans breached the Berlin wall, leading to the downfall of the East German regime and a peaceful takeover of the Eastern lands by the West Germans in 1990.

Easterners had not generally foreseen any negative consequences of reunion but some soon emerged. In particular, the businesses and industries of the East were not remotely competitive with their Western counterparts and rapidly went broke.  This led to very high levels of unemployment and economic depression generally in the East and there very soon emerged among some people "Ostalgie" -- a longing for the old Communist regime, a longing that continues among some to this day

What Easterners miss from the old regime was stability, particularly stability of employment, but they also missed the orderly and predictable availability of goods and services as well.  You didn't have to compete for anything.  All was provided, albeit at a low level. So there was a brotherly feeling among Easterners and that is missed by some too.

So it is clear that some of the aspects of extreme socialism were and are appreciated by some people. The entire developed world does have a degree of socialism (welfare measures etc.) so there is clearly something basic in the appeal of socialism.

The great discovery of 18th and 19th century Britain, however, was that individualism was also beneficial -- particularly for generating wealth.  Money talked and it talked loudly.  Britain did have its socialist system (Workhouses, poorhouses, church schools etc) but they left plenty of room for individual enterprise.  And the rest is history, as they say.  In the developing, mostly European, world of the 19th century, Britain became the model and socialism took a back seat to individual enterprise because of its obvious advantages

So an obvious question is whether capitalism can deliver some of the things that socialists like.  The extensive welfare provisions already in existence already go some way towards that but is there more that we can do without wrecking our successful economic model.

East Germany gives us the clue.  The one thing that "Ossis" particularly liked was stability, the absence of change.  In particular they liked economic stability -- confidence that you would have a job tomorrow and that the job is easy to do.

That is in fact a thoroughly conservative wish.  Stability and an absence of change are good conservative values.  So where have we gone wrong?  Why did it take a Communist state to put conservative values into practice?  The answer is that all of life is a tradeoff.  Only feminists think you can have it all. And we have traded too much for economic liberty.  East Germany was poorer but more secure and relaxed and that tradeoff suited many people.

Menzies and tariffs

And there is a robust Anglo-Saxon democracy with all the traditional liberties that did offer something like East German tradeoffs.  Again we come to Australia in the 1950s under the long running Prime Ministership of the very conservative R.G.  Menzies.

Australia was very autarkic at that time.  It made its own cars and kitchen appliances plus much else.  Some goods were imported, chiefly from Britain, but Australian manufacturers were encouraged and were readily given tariff protection.  If you made toasters in Australia you did not have to worry about overseas competition.  A nice little tariff would protect you.

So businesses and their employees could relax.  Their factory would just keep running year after year.  The workers could plan their savings and their holidays with no fear that their job would suddenly vanish due to a new competitor entering the market and selling the product at a cheaper price.

And under that system there was very little unemployment. Anyone who wanted one could get a job.  Unemployment was always under 2%.  It was a crisis if it seemed likely to rise to 2%.  There is nowhere like that in the world today.

So Australia at that time was a capitalistic economy with East German characteristics.  Despite its tariffs, Australia was in the '50s one of the most prosperous places in the world. 

Australia is a major primary producer so there was often steak on the dinner table, most houses had a substantial backyard where you could grow most of your fruit and vegetables if you were so inclined, you could get on a steam train and go interstate to visit family and friends at vacation time, there was always the family car for local trips, the newspapers had lots of interesting news, particularly from overseas,  you could hear all the latest songs on the radio, the ladies had pretty dresses and even in small towns there were several bars where one could drink cold beer after a hard day's work.  What else is there?

But that is lost today.  Australia is now a normal nation with few tariffs and unemployment around 5%.  And you can buy things for pocket change that once would have been a serious hit on the budget.

Trump's tariffs

But there is hope. Trump  too looks like going down something like the Menzies road.  American unemployment has sunk to levels way below anything expected. So Trump has got an amazingly successful recipe for American prosperity.  Whatever he has been doing must be given great credit for creating a multitude of new jobs

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

So it is clear that free trade alone is not enough for prosperity in the real world we have at the present.  You actually have to sponsor jobs -- by protections if necessary -- in order to get good job growth.  There was striking evidence of that in the 19th century -- when American industry prospered mightily behind high tariff walls. 

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

Logical that may be but the Menzies precedent offers hope that Trump's success with jobs will NOT be ephemeral

Robert Menzies was a very conservative man. So what were his economic policies?  They were very protectionist and focused on creating and preserving Australian jobs. And Menzies stuck to his high tariff policies for the whole of his long Prime Ministership. So that sounds a lot like Trump's policies, does it not?  So what was unemployment like in the Menzies era?  It was almost always UNDER 2%.  It was regarded as a political crisis if it looked like it would go over 2%.  Frictional unemployment barely existed.

So the lesson is clear:  Maximum jobs requires some protection of industry.  Both Trump and Menzies have demonstrated that.  It could be called the "Trump/Menzies Rule": That there is a trade-off between tariffs and unemployment such that as tariffs go up unemployment goes down.  And the Australian precedent says that we can even hope for 2% under Trump.  How good is that?

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

Trump has an economics degree from the Wharton school so he knows the downside of tariffs.  He knows that his tariffs are impoverishing to a degree but he also knows that stability is a neglected but important value. Money is not everything. It is unlikely that America will ever come near to East Germany in an offering of stability but Mr Trump is rebalancing American priorities in that direction, which should make America a better place overall.


Trump, Barr fight back against judicial tyranny of nationwide injunctions

This is a "Harry Reid" issue, where Democrats fail to think ahead.  If this egregious practice is not stopped now,  it will be open for Trump judges to block all the actions of a future Democrat administration.  That could be good

We are facing a constitutional crisis. Through the use of nationwide injunctions, a group of liberal federal district judges are fighting to maintain Obama era policies until President Donald Trump leaves office.

And now, President Donald Trump is fighting back as his administration seeks a case to be brought in federal court against the practice.

These judges’ actions are an attack on our system of government undermining the value of voting and the public’s trust in the impartiality of the judicial branch. These injunctions must be halted, either by the Supreme Court or by legislation.

Nationwide injunctions, which are also called universal or national injunctions, are issued by federal district judges and prohibit the federal government from enforcing laws or policies against anyone, not just the plaintiffs in the case.

There have now been 37 nationwide injunctions issued against the Trump Administration, which is significantly more than were issued in the entire 20th century. In contrast, there were only two nationwide injunctions during the first two years of the Obama Administration; and there were no nationwide injunctions issued during the first 175 years of our Republic.

Recently, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr gave a speech attacking nationwide injunctions, saying that the bar for getting one from a district judge is too low: “When Congress passes a statute or the President implements a policy that is challenged in multiple courts, the Government has to run the table — we must win every case.  The challengers, however, must find only one district judge — out of an available 600 — willing to enter a nationwide injunction. One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”

And this is bad for democracy, Barr said, “Nationwide injunctions undermine the democratic process, depart from history and tradition, violate constitutional principles, and impede sound judicial administration, all at the cost of public confidence in our institutions and particularly in our courts as apolitical decision-makers dispassionately applying objective law.”

Barr is not the first prominent conservative to take aim at these injunctions. Barr’s predecessor, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has also denounced the injunctions. Sessions stated, “Increasingly, we are seeing individual federal district judges go beyond the parties before the court to give injunctions or orders that block the entire federal government from enforcing a law or policy throughout the country…. This trend must stop. We have a government to run. The Constitution does not grant to a single district judge the power to veto executive branch actions with respect to parties not before the court. Nor does it provide the judiciary with authority to conduct oversight of or review policy of the executive branch. These abuses of judicial power are contrary to law…”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has indicated his skepticism of the legitimacy of the injunctions. Thomas wrote, “These [universal] injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch. I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions… They appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on … the power of Article III courts.”

Elections must have consequences. Members of Congress and Presidents are elected to set and implement federal laws and policies; and unelected, unaccountable lower court judges must not be allowed to obstruct the policies of the elected branches of the government indefinitely. The Supreme Court will soon weigh in on nationwide injunctions and make it clear to district court judges that they have no authority to issue these injunctions.

If the Court fails to do so, then it will fall to Congress to enact legislation to end these acts of judicial tyranny once and for all.



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

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


24 May, 2019

Trump's patience finally runs out

I doubt that any national leader ever has endured such a torrent of abuse and accusations as Trump has. So it is no surprise that he has eventually become fed up with it.  He has so far been a miracle of patience but everything has its limits.

The Democrats have only one serious policy: Get Trump.  It suits their hate filled minds.  Rage and hate are what moves them.  So their attacks on Trump come naturally to them.  They could -- and probably will -- keep it up for the next five years of Trump's presidency.  They are in their element.  If they weren't attacking Trump, they would be attacking someone else or something else

US President Donald Trump has angrily lashed out at Democratic leaders' claims he is engaged in a "cover-up".

"I don't do cover-ups," the Republican president said in an unscheduled briefing from the White House.

His remarks came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met fellow Democrats to discuss impeaching the president.

Mr Trump is fighting congressional inquiries by ignoring subpoenas, withholding documents and blocking testimony by current and ex-advisers.

What did President Trump say?
The president spoke minutes after cutting short a planned meeting with the two top Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.

The trio were due to discuss spending on ageing US roads and bridges, a rare possible area of agreement between the White House and its political antagonists.

But Mr Trump abruptly left the discussion with House of Representatives leader Mrs Pelosi and her Senate counterpart Chuck Schumer after barely five minutes.

The president then appeared in the Rose Garden to make a surprise statement, condemning "phoney investigations" by Democrats.

Mr Trump also charged his political opponents with "abuse" and railed against their invoking of "the big i word" - impeachment.

According to CBS News, Mr Trump walked into the meeting with Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer and did not shake either's hand or sit down.

An unnamed source familiar with the encounter said Mr Trump upbraided the House speaker for her "terrible" allegation earlier in the day about a cover-up.

The president demanded Democrats end their investigations against him, or he would not discuss anything else, then abruptly left the room.



The coverup accusations that finally riled Trump:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) emerged from a meeting with her fellow Democrats Wednesday morning, telling reporters "we were exchanging information and points of view" on the various investigations focusing on all things Trump.

"Would you believe that it's important to follow the facts?" Pelosi said on her way to a meeting with President Trump.

"We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up -- in a cover-up. And that was the nature of the meeting."

At that closed-door meeting, no fewer than five Democrat committee chairs -- Elijah Cummings (Oversight and Reform), Maxine Waters (House Financial Services), Adam Schiff (Intelligence), Richard Neal (Ways and Means) and Jerry Nadler (Judiciary) gave presentations, which Pelosi called "impressive."

Pelosi has tried to quell growing calls from Democrats to start impeachment proceedings, but it's not clear that she's succeeding.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News Wednesday morning he thinks Democrats have already started those impeachment proceedings: "They just won't formally declare it," he said.

There are secret memorandums of understanding, secret MOUs, between the various chairmen on how they will coordinate their attack on the president. I mean, they're basically contracts --you're going to do this, we're do this. We're going to share certain information. A coordinated effort to take down the president.

So I think they've already started. They won't formally declare it. I think at some point they will probably do it. The American people know it's not justified, the American people know it's not going to succeed. But I don't think the Democrats can help themselves.

Remember, after all in the very first day of congress they introduced articles of impeachment, Congressman Blumenaur did. So they've been determined to get here -- I think they've already started; they just haven't formally stated that that's what they're up to.

Jordan said there's nothing Republicans can do to appease the "ridiculous" Democrat requests for the president's tax returns, bank records, White House documents and witnesses appearances before the committees:

"So this is the Democrats -- so much focus on taking down the president and not any type of focus on doing what's best for the country. I think this is where they're going to go. So I don't know what we can do to satisfy that. They're bound and determined to do things we've never seen before."



Spendthrift policies encourage socialism

Socialism is the subject of much talk in the United States, fueled by would-be Democratic presidential candidates who lean toward some version of that socioeconomic model—and polls in which many voters sympathize with that view.

As someone who has witnessed varieties of socialism in Latin America and Europe, I think the real danger in the United States is not the ideological radicalization of the Democratic Party, the political conversion of millions of Americans, or the emergence of a viable socialist party on a national scale. Rather, the real danger is the impact that the country’s intractable structural problems could have on people’s idea of how capitalism works.

We have already seen how the financial crisis of 2008, the government’s ensuing rescue of major corporations, the prolonged recession, and the temporary dislocations brought about by globalization have fueled illiberal populism, right and left, in recent years. Many people blame market capitalism for the failure, a decade ago, of a system in which government intervention—specifically, a politically engineered credit boom—played a much bigger role than free enterprise. Given that the last 10 years have seen a major boost to financial assets and corporations (again, through monetary easing and other interventionism) while part of the middle class was painfully reducing its debts, it is likely that the next crisis and recession will reinforce the notion that what is failing is the free market.

We have learned that the U.S. budget deficit grew 15 percent in the first half of fiscal 2019: between October and March, expenses exceeded revenue by almost $700 billion. Contrary to widespread perceptions, the reason had little to do with tax cuts and revenue—which actually grew 1 percent while spending grew 5 percent.

The Treasury has released its 2018 financial report, and it isn’t pretty. Although in recent years the government’s primary deficit (not counting the servicing of the debt) has tended to go down and growing interest payments seemed to be the main problem, projections indicate that both are now headed in the wrong direction. The crux of the matter is the unsustainable commitments the U.S. government has made and refuses to pare down. We tend to talk of the U.S. debt as equivalent to 100 percent of GDP, but that proportion will be dwarfed in the not-too-distant future if nothing changes soon. The debt will double in less than three decades if we leave out government-sponsored entities—such as Freddie Mac; if we include them (which, of course, we should), the doubling will occur much sooner.

The Treasury has also calculated the net present value of future liabilities (essentially Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to more realistically estimate the debt. If we take that into account, we are talking about five times GDP.

Various studies have projected expenditures to exceed revenues in one of the Social Security trust funds as soon as 2022, and one of the Medicare trust funds has been running a deficit for several years; it will likely be depleted by 2029.

By way of consolation, the United States is not alone. The net present value of pension liabilities amounts to several times GDP in many European countries (more than three times in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy). None of this has anything to do with the free-enterprise capitalist system—quite the opposite. But the populist and, dare I say, socialist zeitgeist in which this crisis of government is taking place will push millions of people to lose faith in markets as the prime drivers of prosperity and social mobility when these imbalances come to a head and produce the inevitable financial and economic disruptions; that is, unless a consensus develops among decisionmakers about the urgent need to attack the statist root of the problem.



The Insanity of the Push for Rent Control

One popular definition of insanity is: doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result. Decades of evidence show that rent controls are a bad idea, yet several Californian cities maintain their rent-control ordinances. A new proposal working its way through the legislature would double down on this insanity by implementing it statewide.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, introduced AB1482 to limit annual rent increases to 5 percentage points above the rate of change in the consumer price index or a maximum of 10 percent, whichever is lower. Gov. Gavin Newsom signaled his support for the bill after it cleared the legislature’s Housing and Community Development Committee by stating “The California Dream is in peril if our state doesn’t act to address the housing affordability crisis” and thanking the committee for passing the “renter protection” bill.

If this bill becomes law, California will be the second state, following Oregon, to implement statewide rent control. Oregon recently approved an ordinance to limit rent increases to 7 percentage points above the rate of inflation.

Despite high housing costs on the west coast, the renewed political support for rent control is surprising. After reaching peak popularity in the 1970s, the number of rent-control ordinances has declined nationally ever since. The most common statewide laws regarding rents prohibit local jurisdictions from controlling rents. Thirty-five states have such preemptions.

Even California policymakers, in a rare bout of sanity, weakened local rent controls with the Costa-Hawkins Act in 1995. The act allows landlords in cities with rent controls to return rents to market rates after a tenant voluntarily vacates or is legally evicted, and eliminates rent controls for single-family homes and units built after 1995.

The nationwide retreat of rent control was consistent with the thrust of decades of economic research, and the new controls fly in the face of that research. Economists have compiled a long list of theoretical arguments and empirical evidence showing the destructive consequences of rent control.

As Matthew Brown summarized in my book Housing America, these destructive effects include “shortages of apartments for rent, decreases in quality and lack of maintenance, decreased construction of new apartments, long waiting times and high search costs [to find apartments], discrimination, homelessness, abandoned buildings, and labor market inefficiencies.”

A 2009 article surveying the vast theoretical and empirical scholarly literature agreed with an 1985 assessment that “the economics profession has reached a rare consensus: Rent control creates many more problems than it solves.” When polled, more than 92% of economists agreed with the statement “A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available.”

Rent control is an issue on which the econ-101 textbooks, the opinions of the vast majority of economists, and the current scholarly research all point in the same direction. In 1982 economist Thomas Hazlett observed that “economists have been notoriously thorough in convincing themselves of the destructive effects of rent control and notoriously inept at convincing anyone else.” For a while the economists had apparently convinced the vast majority of policymakers nationwide. Unfortunately, insane politicians in California and Oregon seem to have forgotten what everyone else has learned.

Rent control will only make California’s housing problems worse. If politicians really wanted to promote affordability, they would remove urban-growth boundaries and other restrictions that limit the housing supply. That would do more to promote affordability than passing destructive rent-control laws.



Averting a War With Iran: Despite Leftmedia hyperventilating, the Trump administration is making some good moves   

With the exception of Russia and China, Iran is arguably the biggest threat faced by the United States. In some ways, Iran is an even bigger threat — and that’s despite the fact that both Russia and China have substantial strategic nuclear arsenals. That makes resolving the latest tension points with Iran a good thing.

It all started with warnings from the intelligence community about a possible Iranian threat. Contingency plans were drawn up, but signs that a major war was the plan were absent. What is more likely is that the United States was trying to deter Iran from doing something stupid — simply by reminding the mullahs that we have them badly outgunned.

Prior to this past December, we didn’t really need to rattle sabers much, mostly because the presence of then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis alone sufficed as deterrent. The prospect of his wrath was far scarier than that of a Khaleesi gone mad with a dragon. Without Mattis as a behavioral motivator, it means we have to be a little more, shall we say, blunt.

Iran is a country that may need more blunt behavioral motivation than most potentially hostile entities. This regime has routinely voiced its intention to wipe Israel off the map, an action and endeavor that necessarily would entail a new Holocaust — albeit one to which Israel would not meekly submit. Iran has a long track record of supporting terrorists, including those responsible for the devastating attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Contrary to the rantings of those like Bernie Sanders, America is not provoking Iran; Iran’s been carrying out hostile actions against us — especially via proxies. Iran’s assistance has been directly tied to the deaths of American troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their Houthi stooges fired missiles at the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) on multiple occasions.

We at The Patriot Post have noted this track record before, particularly in defending President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional effort to force the United States to stop backing the Saudis. The need to stick by the Saudis cannot be understated, given the track record of Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Thankfully, Trump has been willing to put America’s interest first, including denying the F-35 to the Erdogan regime.

Re-directing Turkey’s F-35s to Israel would be a nice way to help address the Iranian threat. So is continuing to support the Saudis. While Mohammed bin Sultan allegedly ordered the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, he’s also openly recognized that Israel has a right to exist and is making some steps toward respecting women’s rights as well — in other words, changes in the right direction.

Nobody wants what would be a costly war with Iran. Thankfully, that seems to have been averted. And Trump’s warning will hopefully be heeded, although the irrational and genocidal theocrats of Tehran will probably be back to their antics when they think they can get away with it.



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

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


23 May, 2019

Trump: 'You Do Have a Military-Industrial Complex. They Do Like War.'

The threat of an official end to Iran sounds to me like a threat to use nukes

President Trump, speaking about hostile foreign powers, Iran especially, told Fox News that if he can solve tensions economically, he prefers that to a military solution.

But he said he's up against a military-industrial complex in Washington that wants to keep the wars going:

Well, I'm the one that talks about these wars that are 19 years (long), and people are just there. And don't kid yourself, you do have a military industrial complex. They do like war.

You know, In Syria with the caliphate, so I wipe out 100% of the caliphate that doesn't mean you're not going to have these crazy people going around, blowing up stores and blowing up things, these are seriously ill people...But I wiped out 100 percent of the caliphate.

I said, I want to bring our troops back home -- the place went crazy. They want to keep-- you have people here in Washington, they never want to leave. I said, you know what I'll do, I'll leave a couple hundred soldiers behind, but if it was up to them they'd bring thousands of soldiers in.

Someday people will explain it, but you do have a group, and they call it the military-industrial complex.

They never want to leave, they always want to fight. No. I don't want to fight, but you do have situations like Iran. You can't let them have nuclear weapons. You just can't let that happen.

President Trump made the remarks last week in an interview with Fox News's Steve Hilton. The interview aired on Sunday night.

On Sunday evening, following reports that an Iranian-backed militia may have fired the rocket that landed near the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Trump tweeted: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!"



CheOC, Omar and Tlaib, Oh My!

It is almost as if the Democrats want to lose the 2020 presidential election.

Most of their front-runners and all who currently serve as federal election officials eagerly signed onto Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ — hereafter “CheOC” — Green New Deal legislation and embraced her warning that the world only has twelve years left before the ravages of global warming become unstoppable.

Now, the thoughtful and serious CheOC tweeted on Mother’s Day, “This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ‘fact check’ it. Like the ‘world ending in 12 years’ thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal. But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows.”

To be fair, nobody thought she meant the world would vanish after 12 years but her hard deadline, again, was to act before climate change became irreversible. That was the impetus for the radical change contained in the Green New Deal and embraced by its supporters.

Of course, the radical solutions proposed in her released and rapidly pulled back fact sheet around her proposal which included murdering all the cows in America and ending domestic airline travel along with the internal combustion engine were justified by the short time frame for action. The Ocasio-Cortez recanting of the hard deadline effectively saws the limb off on those eager to embrace the hot new thing in D.C. and actually gives aid and comfort to former Vice President Joe Biden who favors the slower approach that CheOC still eschews.

And in case you missed it, the duo of Representatives Ilyan Omar and Rashida Tlaib seem to thrive on rolling rhetorical hand grenades under the DNC building.

Rep. Omar, who has come under constant scrutiny for her outrageous comments about Israel, compounded her verbal dismantling of Democrat legitimacy when an October 2017 tweet of hers was uncovered where she tweeted, “In his selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan.

The revelation of the tweet by then Minnesota state Representative Omar, a Somali refugee who fled with her family from the very warlords and violence that the U.S. troops were seeking to overcome as they tried to deliver food supplies to a starving population, was stunning as it brought into stark reality that those very refugees who Americans generously welcomed to our country, actually are being taught to hate us within their ethnic enclaves.

And Representative Tlaib of Michigan refusing to be outdone, spoke of the German Nazi Holocaust that murdered six million Jewish people,

“There’s always kind of a calming feeling, I tell folks, when I think of the Holocaust, and the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the fact that it was my ancestors — Palestinians — who lost their land and some lost their lives, their livelihood, their human dignity, their existence in many ways, have been wiped out, and some people’s passports.”

Tlaib continued, “And, just all of it was in the name of trying to create a safe haven for Jews, post-the Holocaust, post-the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews across the world at that time. And, I love the fact that it was my ancestors that provided that, right, in many ways, but they did it in a way that took their human dignity away and it was forced on them.”

So in a period of two weeks, CheOC (besides discovering what a garbage disposal is in a shock video) walked away from the 12 year timeline of doom that is the predicate for her legislative prescription that would destroy the U.S. economic system, Rep. Omar is discovered to have dismissed the sacrifices of American fighting men immortalized in the movie Blackhawk Down, and Rep. Tlaib revealed that thinking of the Holocaust calms her.

It is no wonder that their fellow freshmen Democrats who represent districts that have historically leaned Republican or which President Trump won in 2016 have begun to scramble to distinguish themselves from the terrible trio.

And the fact that House Democrats have failed to rein in CheOC, Omar and Tlaib serves as proof to swing voters in America of the party’s far leftward lurch.

A white flag decision which makes one wonder whether Democrats are conceding a second term for Donald Trump, and an inevitable GOP House takeover in 2021.



No, AOC is not the new normal and young people are not socialists

The Atlantic article last week on young voters painted a gloomy picture for conservatives, claiming that a majority of Generation Z — young people born after the mid-nineties — hold far-left views in alignment with those of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The authors rely on the 2019 Harvard Youth Poll to make the claim that Generation Z surpasses the Millennial generation in their appetite for socialism, and that young people are driving the American policy agenda to the left.

The data, which the Institute of Politics at Harvard generously provided to the public, blatantly contradicts these claims. Instead, the data shows an increasing share of young Americans identify as moderates, liberal identity has been declining steadily for over ten years, and young people largely reject Ocasio-Cortez’s key proposals, including her ‘Green New Deal’ and 70 percent income tax plan. In reality, a majority of Generation Zers are political moderates who support America First policies on issues like illegal immigration and foreign wars, and are critical of big-government policies that they fear could negatively impact economic growth. What’s more, the share of young people today who identify as liberals has declined by a staggering 41 percent since 2008, while the share of young moderates has more than doubled over the past 11 years, according to publicly available Harvard IOP polls.

Let’s start with the one of the far-left’s most prized proposals: radically overhauling transportation systems and buildings to address climate change. This is a no-brainer, given everything we’ve seen in the media lately, we all know young people are the champions of combating climate change through draconian government intervention without a second thought, right? Wrong. Despite the pollsters going so far as to label the proposals plucked directly from Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as ‘the bold action we need’, less than a third of young people agreed with them (31 percent). A full 33 percent said the ideas might be good but were worried about the economic impact, 21 percent didn’t know, and 12 percent stated the ideas were too radical to even consider. A combined 66 percent of young people either didn’t support the proposals, had reservations, or weren’t sure how they felt about them, as shown below. That’s a pretty resounding rejection of the Green New Deal from a constituency that the mainstream media would have us believe is enthusiastically driving the agenda.

What about income inequality, another policy area where socialist champions like Ocasio-Cortez allegedly lead the nation’s youth in demanding wealth redistribution and government intervention? Surely, young people can at least embrace the socialist ideal of levying a 70 percent income tax on the highest earners, and enacting a $15 minimum wage. Not by a long shot. The Harvard poll gave young people every opportunity to enthusiastically embrace these proposals, once again labeling them as ‘bold action’, but less than a quarter of young people agreed. Just 24 percent embraced the proposals, while 31 percent expressed concerns about, shocker, the economic impact. Meanwhile 21 percent outright rejected a 70 percent income tax and $15 minimum wage, and an equal share admitted they weren’t sure what to think. A net 73 percent of young people either had reservations, outright rejected, or weren’t sure about these two core elements of leftist economic solutions.

All rright, so maybe Ocasio-Cortez’s “bold” proposals are a little ahead of her time even for the vast majority of 18 to 29-year-old Americans, but can we at least admit that over time, young voters are shifting to left? Again, no. While Millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996 — were arguably the most progressive generation, these voters are now in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. As the Millennial population has aged, their views have remained relatively liberal compared to older generations, but the views of Generation Z are stalling, if not outright reversing, the liberal youth cycle.

Look no further than the Harvard Youth Poll from 2008 which showed a full 46 percent of young people considered themselves liberal or liberal-leaning, while 19 percent considered themselves moderate, and 35 percent considered themselves conservative or conservative-leaning. Keep in mind a majority of those respondents are now in their thirties, and compare those numbers to the latest Harvard Youth Poll.

Just 27 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds now consider themselves liberal — a 41 percent decline in liberal affiliation since 2008. Meanwhile, the share of young people who now consider themselves moderate has more than doubled, from 19 percent in 2008 to 45 percent in 2019. That is an increase of 58 percent. Read that again: the share of young people who say they are moderate has more than doubled since 2008, and the share of young people who say they are liberal has declined by well over a third over the same time period. The share of young people who say they are conservative has declined modestly, from 35 percent in 2008 to 26 percent in 2019.

Conclusion? No, Generation Zers are not more liberal than Millennials were. In fact, today’s 18 to 29-year-olds are significantly more likely to identify as moderates than in the past, and Ocasio-Cortez’s most radical proposals on income inequality and the Green New Deal earn abysmal support from young Americans. The overwhelming majority of Generation Zers reject radicalism, and express economic concerns when presented with socialist policies, despite pollsters using terms like “bold” to goad them into agreement.



The Labor Department’s Harwood Grant Program Should Be Eliminated

Every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the U.S. Department of Labor awards grants to unions and union-affiliated organizations through the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program. Although the Harwood grant program is supposed to train and educate “workers and employers on workplace safety and health hazards, responsibilities and rights,” it is little more than a union giveaway program. Due to the chronically low number of trainees, the dubious training quality, the unwillingness of wealthy grantees to assist with funding their own training programs, the ample availability of safety training, and amount of federal resources needed to manage the program, Congress should honor the Trump Administration’s request and eliminate the Harwood grant program.

In spite of all of the advantages that many Harwood grantees have, including years of experience dealing with safety hazards, training, and government grants, they regularly fail to meet their own goals. Some grantees boast in their applications about the number of union members they have, the number of employees at friendly companies or institutions who “need” training, or the extent of their shop steward network; yet, time after time, they request a contract extension to allow more time to meet their goals. What makes this situation even more perplexing is that trainees are sometimes even paid by their employers to attend training and that goals are often modest, such as training a few hundred people over the course of a year.

Training provided by the Harwood grant program seems unremarkable. Many of the training sessions are short, lasting just 30 to 60 minutes, and much of the training is also provided by trainees who may only have a small amount of formal training on a topic. Additionally, the information taught at these training sessions is largely from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), OSHA, or other OSHA grantees; sometimes grantees even apply for another grant to train on a topic they have previously covered.

Harwood grants are often awarded to connected, multi-million dollar organizations, yet these grantees typically contribute little or no money to fund their own training programs. Furthermore, there does not appear to be any effort to seek funding from state or local governments or charitable foundations to help cover the cost of these training programs. Nonetheless, grantees tend to receive grant, after grant, after grant. While grantees contribute little or nothing to funding these training programs, grantees or affiliated organizations often spend large sums of money on political expenditures and lobbying.

Instead of committing to help fund their own training programs, grantees routinely request funding for employees’ health insurance and pensions; some even seek money for rent and utilities. In addition, as the grant applications show, some grantees are requesting taxpayer funds to subsidize the six-figure salaries and benefits of their executives.

Safety training is, and should be, easily accessible. There are many sources of training, such as colleges, trade associations, state governments, and the U.S. Department of Labor. A large amount of safety training programs are available online. Furthermore, businesses should take responsibility for training their own employees. With recent tax and regulatory cuts, businesses should be better able to afford to pay for training that meets the exact needs of their employees. Additionally, unions should be knowledgeable about the safety hazards facing their industries or professions and should gladly offer safety training to their members or to potential members.

Managing the Harwood grant program requires a lot of government resources. For example, OSHA holds orientation meetings for grantees, conducts on-site financial reviews, and conducts field observation of training classes. In one case, an OSHA employee, who had scheduled a training observation meeting, emailed the grantee to ask, “Are you sure about the two hour Susan Harwood Grant Training on Machinery and Machine Guarding for workers at Eii Inc?” [1] The OSHA employee also included text from the Eii Inc. website which stated that the company had received the OSHA Star Voluntary Protection Programs Award, which recognizes “excellence in occupational safety and health protection.”

For all these reasons, Congress should eliminate the Harwood grant program. Failing that, Congress should further restrict the grants, including requiring matching non-federal investment in these training programs. If the training these grantees provide is truly needed, then they should either be able to provide significant funding themselves or find a foundation or a wealthy donor willing to contribute.



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

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


22 May, 2019

Absurdity of Candidates Promising ‘Free’ Goodies, and Modern Monetary Theory

Below is an orthodox analysis of government spending but Obama's big spending without inflation has thrown that into doubt.  Trump is just following the Obama precedent to see where it leads. Modern monetary theory claims to account for the new reality but it is not much of a theory. Prudence as advocated below would be wise but we are basically in uncharted waters now

As the campaign in the 2020 presidential race heats up, so do the promises, with each new candidate vying for who can offer voters the most goodies.

But goodies don’t come cheap. Many of the promises being thrown around could prove quite expensive to implement. The implications for the economy should be obvious.

Experts in fiscal policy can’t help pondering some important questions:

Should the federal government create additional fiat currency to directly finance government spending and then issue government bonds or raise taxes if this newly created currency begins to stoke inflation?

Should Congress enable the Treasury to unilaterally change tax policy to prevent inflation stemming from this spending largesse and to manage the business cycle?

Can politicians actually be entrusted to allow the unpopular decisions (spending reductions or tax increases) required to prevent potentially disastrous inflationary consequences of fiat currency expansion?

Should the trillions of dollars of government debt be viewed as public asset—as something we as the public merely owe ourselves?

For proponents of modern monetary theory, the answer to all of the above is “yes.” This defiance of economic and political reality rivals the absurdity of the Flat Earth Society’s rejection of geographic reality.

The fact is, fiat currency represents value; it doesn’t create value. An increase in the supply of fiat currency without a corresponding decrease in the scarcity of resources leads to the price of those resources increasing—i.e., inflation.

The Federal Reserve printing presses cannot magically transform digital bytes into sparkling treasure. Alchemy makes for great fiction, but dismal public policy.

The absolute value of every existing unit of currency declines, harming consumers and investors. Such government-induced inflation also siphons wealth from the holdings of savers to the federal government as the real worth of accumulated savings declines.

In ages past, kings and emperors required commercial transactions be conducted using coinage from the sovereign mint. In order to enrich the Crown without resorting to outright taxation, the mint would debase coinage by diluting gold and silver with cheaper metals, such as bronze and copper. Economic and political mayhem often followed.

Churning out paper and digital fiat currency is far easier than the metal debasement of yesteryear. The results become disastrous even more quickly.

Look at Venezuela’s current 80,000% annual inflation, the destruction of the German mark in World War II, Zimbabwe’s 1,730% annual inflation in 2007, or Argentina’s 1,100% annual inflation in the 1980s. In fact, from 1980-2005, two dozen nations experienced bouts of hyperinflation of at least 1,000% over a one-year period.

Rudyard Kipling’s warning of false economics prophets stated it well: “[W]e were promised abundance for all, by robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; but, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy.”

As economist Henry Hazlitt explained, “[Inflation] unbalances, reduces, and misdirects production. It leads to unemployment and to malemployment.”

Regardless of the demonstrable harm, governments struggle to deny themselves the attainment of temporary political gain through manipulation of the money supply.

Here in the United States, our own central bank has pursued a nearly constant—albeit less grossly negligent— inflationary course over the past century. The most recent episodes of distortionary activity include multitrillion-dollar purchases of government debt and mortgage securities.

To prevent this newly created money from flooding the economy—and stoking inflation—the Federal Reserve began paying banks to hold excess reserves in the Fed’s digital vault. Banks obliged.

Although this prevented massive inflation, the monetary experimentation resulted in relatively less funds available to other sectors, likely contributing to the historically slow recovery following the Great Recession.

To their credit, modern monetary theorists acknowledge the inflation risk of newly created fiat currency funding government spending. But even if their proposals to issue government debt and hike taxes successfully staved off inflation, the bottom line remains: As government gobbles up more of the economy, less wealth is left in the hands of the populace.

There is no free lunch. We will pay either through the visible burden of direct taxation, the hidden tax of inflation, or higher borrowing costs (as the government competes with businesses for available capital).

Such realities might not make for a great stump speech, but facing them squarely now can save us a lot of headaches down the road.



A nihilist-Driven Birth Dearth:  Four straight years of a declining birth rate reflects the Left's effects on Americans

According to provisional data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America’s birth rates hit a 32-year low in 2018. The data on more than 99% of America’s birth records indicates there were 3.788 million children born last year, marking the lowest total since 1986.

The CDC also noted that this is the fourth straight year of declines. That’s because slight gains made by women in their late 30s and early 40s, were more than offset by record-low birth rates for women in their teens and 20s. More ominously, the total fertility rate also hit a record low of 1.728 births per woman — meaning there aren’t enough babies being born to maintain current population levels.

Why does this matter? “A country’s birthrate is among the most important measures of demographic health,” columnist Ariana Eunjung Cha explains. “The number needs to be within a certain range, called the ‘replacement level,’ to keep a population stable so that it neither grows nor shrinks. If too low, there’s a danger that we wouldn’t be able to replace the aging workforce and have enough tax revenue to keep the economy stable.”

Those who responded to the report cited obstacles to child-bearing that included a lack of child care and parental leave, high insurance costs and job instability, as well as a lack of other policies to help younger adults cope with student-loan debt and housing costs.

University of Southern California demographer Dowell Myers believes those obstacles reflect an overall feeling of hopelessness. “The birthrate is a barometer of despair,” Myers asserts, explaining that people don’t have children unless they’re optimistic about the future.

No doubt, but quite likely something more insidious is in play here. Previous generations of Americans have coped with similarly pressing problems, yet continued to have children and raise families.

So what’s changed? While the opposite of optimism is pessimism, the bet here is young Americans have heartily embraced nihilism: Traditional values and beliefs are unfounded, and existence itself is both senseless and useless.

That’s not hard to understand, since they’ve been fed a steady diet of nihilism beginning as early as kindergarten. That’s where they begin learning that America is an inherently flawed, hopelessly bigoted nation in need of “fundamental transformation.” Transformation that wholly embraces the nihilistic dogma that men are “toxic,” whites are “privileged,” minorities and women are “victims,” gender is “fluid,” Christians are “bitter clingers,” the rich are “greedy and selfish,” certain speech is “hateful,” and social justice must transcend the Rule of Law.

More telling, as one moves up the educational ladder, the level of infantilism increases, as students become coddled by “trigger warnings,” attuned to “micro aggressions” and comfortable with safe spaces — replete with Play-Doh, therapy dogs, and coloring books.

Unfortunately for many young Americans, it’s a seamless transition from their “helicopter parents,” who are firmly convinced that even the slightest dent in their child’s self-esteem has the makings of life-long catastrophe — especially in a world where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. This one-two punch has produced a generation of Millennials that considers itself the most stressed generation in history.

Thus, growing up — as in the primary prerequisite for responsible child-bearing — is to be feared.

Yet the most nihilist agenda force-fed to America’s youth is global warming. “It is not an easy time for people to feel hopeful, with the effects of global warming no longer theoretical, projections becoming more dire and governmental action lagging,” The New York Times reports. “And while few, if any, studies have examined how large a role climate change plays in people’s childbearing decisions, it loomed large in interviews with more than a dozen people ages 18 to 43.”

Those interviewees felt “saddled with painful ethical questions that previous generations did not have to confront,” the Times adds.

Really? Wholly inaccurate doom-and-gloom predictions have been an integral part of the leftist agenda for decades. In 1970, Nobel laureate and Harvard biology professor George Wald insisted the world “will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” The same year Population Bomb author Paul Erlich declared that the “death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next 10 years.” Erlich further insisted “all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.”

In 1975, British science writer Nigel Calder warned that the world will endure a new ice age, a threat that “must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.”

And who can possibly forget the pronouncements of Al Gore and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who predicted the end of polar ice caps by 2014, and the end of the civilized world itself in 12 years, respectively?

Independent Women’s Forum senior policy analyst Patrice Onwuka views such rhetoric as counterproductive. “I would love to see a national campaign that says, ‘If you want to have kids, you should,’” she stated. “What we should not be hearing particularly from the far left is, ‘No, don’t have children right now because they are going to die in 12 years.’ And unfortunately, that’s what is picking up steam.”

What else is counterproductive? The Left’s ongoing love affair with abortion on demand right up to — and on occasion, beyond — the moment of birth. Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973, this nation has endured 60 million abortions.

Coupled with declining birth rates, that genocidal level of carnage ought to elicit a slew of proposals regarding ways to incentivize child-rearing and the moral responsibility necessary to undertake it properly. Instead, exactly like the EU, America’s Ruling Class has a “better” idea: incentivize a wholesale invasion of the nation by illegal aliens, coupled with it unsupportable levels of legal immigration — and tell Americans it’s all for their own “demographic good.”

What are they really saying? Americans must sell out their culture, customs, language, and borders to maintain the solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

Does it get more cynical? The Trump administration has announced a comprehensive plan to deal with illegals, but every sentient American knows it’s a non-starter, because every sentient American knows that when each party had two years of unassailable control of Congress and the White House, the border remained wide open, and visas continued being overstayed with impunity. Moreover, the cap on H-1B visas for legal immigrants has already been filled — for the year 2020.

“Getting married, raising families, staying in one place, still working with our hands, and postponing gratification may be seen as boring and out of date,” writes Victor Davis Hanson. “But nearly 2,000 years later, all of that is what still keeps civilization alive.”

Not without hope. And for an American Left that embraces the institutionalization of victimhood and the grievance culture that sustains it, the choice between keeping civilization alive and “saving the planet” is becoming irreconcilable.

That’s the essence of nihilism. And unless Americans become willing to reject the intellectual and moral bankruptcy that sustains it, expect the “birth dearth” to continue.



Anti-Semitism Must Be Defeated at Home and Abroad

Israel is under attack—both in its own homeland and in ours.

One week, The New York Times runs an anti-Semitic cartoon. The next week, Hamas launches 600 rocket attacks against Israel.

These are merely some of the more recent occurrences in an ongoing effort by the global anti-Israel community—which now includes members of our own Congress—to delegitimize and destroy one of our most reliable allies and to bolster a terrorist regime that harms Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Israel’s opponents employ a host of double standards. Hamas attempts to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible through indiscriminate rocket attacks, yet international outrage is directed at Israel’s precision strikes—in self-defense—against military targets that seek to minimize civilian casualties.

But just imagine if the situation were reversed, if Israel’s enemies were the ones who held a decisive military advantage. Hamas would without a doubt destroy Israel if only they had the capability, but Israel time and again has shown exceptional restraint in seeking peace.

When President Donald Trump rightly followed through on our longstanding commitment to move the U.S Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the anti-Israel community insisted that Israel be the only nation on earth denied the right to determine its own capital. 

The United Nations falsely accuses Israel of human rights violations while ignoring actual human rights violations committed by nations like Cuba, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, all of which sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Here in the United States, anti-Semitic attacks, including at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and last month at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California, have led to a growing unease among Jewish communities.

Even in Congress, anti-Semitic statements have become a regular occurrence, with members such as Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., characterizing Jews in Israel as using money and hypnotism to control world leaders—slurs that have centuries-old anti-Semitic roots.     

House leadership recently had the opportunity to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, yet lacked the courage to stand up to these vocal anti-Semitic members, opting instead to pass a vaguely worded resolution against “hatred” in general.

Just this week, in an attempt to smear Israel, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., made the wildly inaccurate claim that Palestinians provided “safe haven” to Jewish refugees, when in fact Palestinian leaders (including the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini) allied themselves with Hitler and attempted to bar entry to those fleeing persecution.

Ever since, terrorist groups like Hamas have waged violence against Israel, with the recent rocket attacks being only the latest instance. And to do this day, the Palestinian Authority compensates many who are imprisoned for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens, along with many families of terrorists who died committing such acts.

But what the blame-Israel-first crowd refuses to acknowledge is that Hamas is responsible not just for violence against Israel, but for victimizing Palestinians themselves. The terrorist organization has not allowed legitimate elections to take place since it took over Gaza in 2007. And the Palestinian people have paid dearly—both materially and with their lives—for multiple wars started by Hamas against Israel.

In fact, hundreds of fed-up Gaza residents recently protested their government’s actions, and were fired on by Hamas forces.

Hamas also consistently misuses funds that could be used to benefit the Palestinian people, instead choosing to fund terrorism. Hamas spent $90 million to build tunnels for use in terrorist attacks—money that could have funded thousands of homes or hundreds of medical clinics.

And if that weren’t enough to demonstrate Hamas’ true priorities, consider that they routinely use Palestinian residents as human shields, firing rockets at Israel from schools, mosques, and hospitals in order to maximize their own civilian casualties and win international sympathy when Israel responds in self-defense.



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

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


21 May, 2019

Congress Passes Dangerous HR 5 to legalize discrimination in America

The so-called “Equality Act” legalizes religious discrimination, and obliterates parents’ rights

Under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed HR 5 (236-173-23), a bill that would legalize religious bigotry in America, and threatens every ministry, business, and family in the United States.

“This legislation represents the greatest threat to people of faith in ministry and the marketplace today,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values. “Not only does HR 5 eliminate existing religious protections, it tells women, children and people of faith that they are second-class citizens.”

HR 5 is a Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity bill that, among other problems:

Requires biological men be allowed in women’s restrooms, locker rooms, and showers if they claim they identify as women.

Requires boys be allowed to play in girls’ sports in public schools if they claim they identify as women.

Forces women’s homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters to allow biological men who claim to identify as women to bathe and bunk with women.

Allows state government to remove children from parents’ custody who don’t consent to dangerous conversion/hormone therapy.

Forces doctors to participate in “gender transition” surgeries and procedures.

Requires businesses to participate in same-sex weddings, even if the wedding violates their religious beliefs.

Requires faith-based ministries to abandon their statements of faith in hiring practices.

Via email


Socialism is neither a fair nor 'progressive' political philosophy

While politicians, pundits and college professors heap praise upon the supposed benefits of socialism, the reality is unfortunately all too clear for Venezuelans. Years of economic mismanagement and political instability that led to mass shortages of food, medicine and other necessities has culminated in recent weeks to rioting in the streets and an ongoing, violent political tug-of-war over the nation’s leadership.

And while socialism remains unpopular among most Americans (especially non-coastal elites), there can be no doubt that socialism seems to be enjoying a resurgence among many members of the millennial generation.

How can we explain this, especially given recent events in Venezuela?

What do college students even mean when they use the word “socialism”? Do they mean basic economic fairness or increased spending on social programs, or do they mean the system that runs counter to basic human nature (and basic economics) and has failed every single time it has ever been attempted?

How does one go about refuting socialism when its proponents themselves appear unclear on what it is they actually are advocating? “Socialism” becomes whatever policy proposals progressives happen to prefer at any given moment.

Maybe a better approach would be to start with what socialism is not:

Socialism is not new: Despite the social media savvy or slick rhetoric of many of the new socialists, socialism in no way is a new or “progressive” political philosophy or approach to government. In fact, varieties of socialism were directly responsible for the deaths and misery of millions throughout the 20th century.

Socialism is not working in Europe: This is one of the favorite tropes paraded by the new socialists: “Look at Sweden! They are socialist and thriving.” However, Sweden is not socialist. Instead, Sweden’s recent prosperity is the result of free-market deregulation. If you want to see how socialism works in actual practice, check out Venezuela.

Socialism is not more fair or just: How much wealth is “too much”? How much independence should we have when making our own economic decisions? Why is that a matter for the government to decide? “Soaking the rich” by arbitrarily deciding who has too much wealth is not only not fair, it doesn’t make sense. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos have done more to improve the lives of millions throughout the world through investment and the provision of valuable goods and services than any government bureau could ever dream of. We should want more millionaires and billionaires in America, not fewer.  

Socialism is not superior to capitalism: Capitalism is the best system thus far discovered by mankind to most effectively provide quality goods and services to society, at competitive prices, all the while lifting the maximum number of people out of poverty. And all through voluntary exchange without the need for coercion by the government or other entities.

Socialism is not better for the individual: One indisputable fact we can take from the 20th century is that socialism does not lead to greater freedom or dignity for the individual. Socialism, by its very nature, requires force. Pursuant to the good of society you will be told how much of your money you can keep, what you can buy and what you can do. Or else. This is not freedom; it is tyranny. What matters is the actual proven results of public policies, not the supposedly good intentions of those who enact them.

In the end, the only reason the new “democratic” socialists (because voting for tyrants to take your rights is so much better than their just doing it directly) have the ability to decry the alleged injustices and inhumanity of capitalism is the wealth, development and material comfort capitalism has provided for them.

When you are starving or struggling to survive, you don’t have a lot of time to complain.

But sipping their lattes from corporate coffee shops, tweeting from their iPhones while wearing designer clothing from head to toe, the new socialists may appear either disingenuous or downright dumb.

But most are likely just ignorant.

The remedy to this affliction isn’t to call them names or question their motives. Instead, we should strive to help them understand the economic and political realities they seem to disregard so that we can work together towards a brighter, more prosperous future here in our own country.



Resist price controls on prescription drugs

President Trump has made great strides in dismantling the big-government legacy of his predecessor, Barack Obama. Historic tax cuts, dozens of regulations cut for every new one implemented, and two conservative Supreme Court justices, to name a few.

President Trump’s free-market reforms have proven wildly successful. The economy is growing, and consumer confidence is at historically high levels. This progress makes it even more disappointing to see the White House considering price controls on prescription drugs.

The White House is considering a proposal created by the Department of Health and Human Services to control U.S. prescription drug prices called the International Pricing Index (IPI). This system would determine how much to pay for drugs under Medicare Part B — including vaccines and cancer medications — based on their costs in other countries, including those with socialized health care systems. At the same time, Republican Sens. Scott Hawley and Rick Scott have introduced similarly ill-conceived legislation in Congress.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. It would be incorrect to assume other countries have lower prescription drug costs because the markets naturally decided so. The International Pricing Index would be aggregating the drug prices of nations that have already artificially lowered drug prices.

You can’t get something for nothing. The government cannot mandate lower drug prices and expect no consequences in the market. In fact, we have already seen the dangers of price controls in other sectors of the economy, from wages to housing. They interfere with supply and demand, causing waste and shortages.

The prescription drug market would be next. Currently, the United States leads the world in medical research and innovation. Drug makers set prices that allow them to recover the high costs of inventing these new drugs, testing them and satisfying the regulations required to bring them to market. If they cannot afford the costs of inventing new lifesaving drugs, they simply won’t invent them anymore.

Who knows what lifesaving medications and treatments would have been invented if drug companies had the resources to pursue them? The missed opportunities would be devastating. Price controls may feel like a win against Big Pharma, but ultimately, American families who need these future treatments will be the ones who lose the most.

Prescription drug price controls attempt to combat the “global freeloading” of socialist countries by becoming more like them. They alleviate the competition between the United States and other countries by making America less great.

Ironically, the International Price Index is a product of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI), which is turning a blind eye to the damage price controls would have on pharmaceutical innovation. The CMMI was created and placed under the umbrella of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) when Obamacare was passed.

That’s right — price controls would not only fail to advance the fight against Obamacare, they would be enforced through Obamacare. It’s a bit of a mixed signal, considering President Trump himself has supported the challenges to Obamacare in the courts.

President Trump’s economic success has been a result of reducing government intervention and allowing the markets to operate naturally. Price controls would be a complete about-face from this winning economic strategy.

The Department of Health and Human Services has no business making economic decisions on behalf of the American people. Congress makes laws, and agencies help enforce them, not the other way around. Implementing price controls on pharmaceuticals exceeds the bounds of what the CMMI is allowed to do under law, and doing so would be a step backwards in the fight for a restrained executive branch.

Governing by executive overreach was a hallmark of the Obama administration to achieve policy wins by circumventing the legislative process. If President Trump falls into the same trap, he would be no better than the previous administration.

In President Trump’s 2019 State of the Union speech, he told the American people, “America was founded on liberty and independence. Not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free.”

Now, HHS Secretary Alex Azar and big-government Republicans like Rick Scott and Josh Hawley are trying to convince him to break that promise, one price control at a time. Heading into the 2020 election, President Trump must renew his resolve that America will never be a socialist country, and he can start by resisting socialist price controls on prescription drugs.



The catastrophic costs of socialist policies

At every turn, Democrats want to restrict consumer choice and businesses’ ability to turn a profit. Instead, they hope to replace free markets with state-mandated controls, decided by their hand-picked crew of bureaucrats in Washington.

Frighteningly enough, we now have elected officials from one of the two major American parties calling openly for state control of resources. They’re either ignorant of or are turning a blind eye towards the failures of socialism in the history of the 20th century, as well as the disasters brought on by socialism in the present day. One need look no further than Venezuela to see a real-time example of socialism-induced catastrophe.

President Trump was right to rebuke socialism in his State of the Union address. This sets the stage for 2020 at a time when economic growth has raised the standard of living for all Americans. Tax cuts, deregulation and free markets have lifted Americans out of poverty. Socialism would put an end to the country’s economic growth and widespread prosperity.

The Green New Deal, Medicare-for-all, and 70 percent income tax rates will not benefit Americans. These socialist policies rest on coercion by the state and would leave Americans with less money, fewer choices, and a lower standard of living. They’ll also wreck the budget.

The Green New Deal alone would come with an insane $8.3 to $12.3 trillion price tag over ten years. On the low end, The Green New Deal is even more expensive than what we pay for Medicare annually. On the high end, the Green New Deal is as expensive as Social Security.

Medicare-for-all ultimately seeks to abolish private health insurance and would put us on a fast track toward placing all Americans on government-run health insurance. No longer would Americans be able to switch providers to get a better deal. There would be only one deal  -- you, locked into whatever some bureaucrat decides is best for you.

At the same time, wait times at hospitals increase and drug supplies become scarce under government-run health care. Premiums and deductibles would skyrocket at a faster rate than during Obamacare. Just like the Green New Deal, the expected cost of Medicare-for-all is astronomical at $32 trillion over 10 years. Sensing a trend here?

With the dent these proposals put in economic growth, how could we ever afford them? Even with individual marginal tax rates on high-income earners exceeding 90 percent in the 1950s, individual income tax revenue did not exceed 7.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at any point during the decade. Individual income tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 8.3 percent in 2018, and the highest marginal income tax rate was 37 percent.

The Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all would inhibit economic growth, while higher taxes wouldn’t even raise tax revenues to fund the programs. The entire socialist economic model doesn’t work. Wealthy societies and free markets are the key to healthy people and prosperity.

Democrats’ socialist proposals fail to accomplish what their supporters claim -- all at a hefty price. Even worse, they concentrate power in a centralized government bureaucracy unaccountable to the people.



San Francisco Homelessness Rises 17% After City Spends $300 Million Annually to Solve Problem

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that homelessness in the Golden City has risen by 17% since 2017 as more and more people live in their vehicles and as the city spends hundreds of millions of taxpayer money in an attempt to solve the problem.

The report released Thursday shows that studies "indicate at least 1,153 more homeless people are in the streets compared with two years ago, when the federal tally set the total number at 6,858." The number, 8,011, was determined using federal guidelines. According to the paper, this number is actually most likely much lower than the city's own estimation set to be released in July which uses different standards for homelessness.

Accordingly, "The number of people living in cars, RVs and other vehicles has risen by 45% since the last one-night count was taken two years ago."

“I’m really disappointed in these numbers,” said Jeff Kositsky, head of the city Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing told the Chronicle. “I can make no excuses. These numbers are bad, and we have to own that.

San Francisco holds the most homeless people in the state of California, but overall California has an astonishing 24% of the nation's homeless population.

San Francisco Mayor Breed says the answer to the problem, despite spending $300 million each year, is simply more spending. The somewhat recently elected mayor is calling for help from regional and federal resources. "We need more resources from the federal and state governments for housing, period, and we need to build housing faster. S.F. can’t do it alone," she told the paper.

“There’s not just one thing that’s going to fix this,” she added. “I know this count will discourage a lot of people, but it’s important to remember where we were last year. Last year you saw a lot of big tent camps — like at 13th Street, and now we have a beautiful Navigation Center (shelter) there. We’ve helped 1,200 people out of homelessness since I came into office. We have made progress.”



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

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


20 May, 2019

Trump celebrates the Federal election win by Australia's conservatives

Donald Trump has called PM Scott Morrison to re-affirm the importance and strength of the US-Australia alliance after the Coalition’s surprise victory last night.

“President Donald J Trump spoke this evening wth Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia. The President congratulated the Prime Minister on his coalition’s victory,’ the White House said.

“The two leaders reaffirmed the critical importance of the long-standing alliance and friendship between the United States and Australia, and they pledged to continue their close cooperation on shared priorities.”

Earlier, Mr Trump and the White House welcomed Mr Morrison’s victory in the election, with the president tweeting “Congratulations to Scott on a GREAT WIN.’

More HERE  


Socialist mindset: Nationalize and infantilize

What’s the difference between the average big-government liberal and a full-fledged socialist?

Socialists sometimes comprehend the devastating effect regulation has on private enterprise — and for them, that’s half the point of regulation.

Socialists also don’t try as hard as ordinary liberals to hide the fact that they don’t trust you to make decisions for yourself.

Socialists Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are trumpeting a new proposal, the Loan Shark Prevention Act. It would ban lending at effective interest rates, including all fees, greater than 15%.

On Twitter, Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, touted this as an extension of his home state’s price controls on credit. “In Vermont, the payday loan industry doesn’t exist,” Sanders bragged, “because interest rates on small dollar loans are capped at 18%.”

We’re glad he put it that way, for this is a proposed control on the price of credit, and too many advocates of price controls speak as if they are making the thing more affordable. In fact, as Sanders acknowledged, price controls make the thing in question unavailable.

Tell short-term lenders they can’t charge interest according to risk, and they will not suddenly start charging a lower rate. They'll stop selling or lending altogether. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez seem to understand that their rule would have this effect.

Ocasio-Cortez suggests perfidy on the part of financiers. “Big banks won’t service poor communities unless they make a killing off them,” she explained on Twitter on Thursday. “That’s why they charge predatory rates.”

Wrong again, Ocasio-Cortez! When lenders charge high rates, it’s not to “make a killing,” it’s to make a profit and thus stay in business. If a lender charges rates disproportional to the risk of default and operational costs, a competing lender would charge lower rates and scoop up the business and profit. Sure enough, payday lenders' profit margins seem to be perfectly ordinary, in a range between 5% to 10%, according to estimates.

Price controls on credit simply means no credit for borrowers with low incomes or who are a high risk for some other reason.

The "big banks," criticized by the New York Democratic congresswoman, backed out of short-term lending because of regulatory pressure from the Obama administration. More regulation generally means less competition, which leads to the higher prices that socialists say they are fighting.

For them, it's a happily virtuous cycle. Regulations drive up prices, and they respond by imposing price caps. When these drive companies away, they declare a shortage. To overcome this supposed “market failure,” they propose that the government take over the industry — full-fledged socialism.

Sure enough, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have an idea: Let Uncle Sam enter the short-term lending business. Ocasio-Cortez says she’s “pairing” price controls with a proposal for “postal banking.” They want Uncle Sam to be the payday lender. The federal state should replace private enterprise, they argue. That’s why they’re called socialists.

The other premise behind these policies is that the government ought to treat adults as if they were children. Banning interest rates above 15% says to a person who is willing to pay $7 to borrow $500 for a month (an annual rate of 16.8%): You’re just wrong to do that; it's not good for you; we're banning it.

Treating adults like children and having the state replace private industry are bad ideas. It is, in a literal sense, un-American. The country was founded on the premise that people should be free to govern themselves and take responsibility for the consequences.

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are relatively honest about their terrible ideas, but they're still terrible ideas.



Trump Gets Another Judge on the Ninth Circuit Over Democrat Objections

President Trump has been remaking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, shifting further and further to the right. On Wednesday he got another victory with the confirmation of Kenneth Lee in a 52-45 vote. And Democrats are really miffed about this one.

Lee's confirmation came despite neither Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, nor Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential contender, returning a blue slip on his nomination.
The blue-slip rule — a precedent upheld by Senate tradition — has historically allowed a home-state senator to stop a lower-court nominee by refusing to return the blue slip to the Judiciary Committee. How strictly the precedent is upheld is decided by the committee chairman, and enforcement has varied depending on who wields the gavel.

So don't let headlines and rhetoric fool you, there is no longstanding precedent that negative blue slips could stop a nominee from being considered. Democrats just wanted to use them for that purpose.



Tlaib's antisemitic hate elicits stunning support from Democrats

The Left gets into Jew-hate overdrive.

Just when we thought the Democratic Party could stoop no lower into Corbynism, we are treated to comments made by Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), which were stunningly breathtaking in terms of their sheer mendacity and revisionism. In a podcast interview with Yahoo’s Skullduggery, Tlaib noted that she always has a calming feeling when thinking of the Holocaust because it was her Palestinian ancestors who provided safe haven for the Jewish survivors of post-Holocaust Europe. Then she lamented about the high cost her ancestors endured because of their alleged benevolence toward the Jews, and cited the loss of their homes, land, livelihood and human dignity as examples.

Tlaib, who is an avid supporter of the anti-Semitic BDS crew, ended her revisionist version of history by hoping for a one-state solution. This is a pernicious euphemism for flooding Israel with millions of hostile Palestinian “refugees” and their descendants, and is a common refrain for those wishing for Israel’s destruction.

Tlaib’s lies were so outrageous and revisionist that it’s difficult to believe that her interviewers allowed them to go unchallenged but unchallenged they went. Perhaps their lack of challenge was a function of ignorance or perhaps something more nefarious was at play; either way, it is incumbent on those interested in furthering the truth to rebut these fabrications whenever they rear their ugly heads.

We begin to deconstruct Tlaib’s grotesque lies and distortions by first addressing her ridiculous claim that her Palestinian ancestors provided Jews with safe haven. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. With a few notable exceptions, Palestinian Arabs were vociferously hostile to their Jewish neighbors. In 1920-21, 1929 and 1936, Palestinian Arabs initiated violent, large-scale riots against Jews often culminating in wholesale slaughter of civilians. The most notable of these was the 1929 Hebron massacre where 59 Jews, men women and children, were murdered by their Muslim neighbors. Many more were seriously wounded, and women were raped. A common refrain by Muslim rioters during these violent outbursts was “Falastin bladna wa al yahud clabna,” which translates to “Palestine our land, the Jews our dogs.”

These anti-Jewish riots were instigated and orchestrated by the Muslims’ chief spiritual leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Husseini was deeply anti-Semitic and fostered excellent relations with Hitler and his chief SS henchman, Heinrich Himmler. Husseini was on Hitler’s payroll, received a lavish Nazi salary and conspired with Himmler to form the Waffen SS Handschar battalion, an all Muslim battalion whose thugs wore fezzes emblazoned with Nazi insignias. The battalion played an active role in murdering Jews who resided in the Balkans. After World War II, some joined the armed ranks of their Palestinian kinsmen in an effort to continue Hitler’s genocidal aims.

The Palestinian nexus with Nazism did not end with Husseini. Several prominent Palestinian figures, whose only commonality with the Nationalist Socialist Party was their shared hatred of the Jewish people, forged deep bonds with the Nazis. Among them was Fawzi Kaoukji, who commanded Arab terror gangs during the 1936 riots. Kaoukji spent most of World War II in Nazi Germany acting as a propaganda tool for Hitler. Following the war, Kaoukji commanded the so-called Arab Liberation Army, whose forces, intent on destroying the nascent state of Israel, tried but failed to overrun Jewish communities in Galilee. Another insidious character was Hassan Samaleh, a Palestinian Arab terror commander who also spent much of the war years in Germany performing the Nazi’s bidding. In addition, during the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab side recruited numerous mercenary ex-Nazis to fight for their cause.

In many ways, Tlaib’s comments represent a form of Holocaust revisionism as well for she completely whitewashes the role Palestinian leaders played in eradicating European Jewry. The 1936 Arab riots led directly to the issuance of the infamous 1939 White Paper by the British Mandatory authorities. In an attempt to placate the Muslims and curtail their violence, the British curbed Jewish immigration to just 75,000 souls over a five-year period; this at a time when Jews were desperately trying to leave Europe for safer shores but were instead, cruelly turned away. The dreadful fates of the passengers aboard the MS St. Louis and MV Struma represent direct products of perfidious British policies, which were prompted by Palestinian terror and violence.

Tlaib’s ancestors, the so-called champions of safe haven for the Jews, rejected outright the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, sparking a conflict which resulted in their defeat. Far from benevolence, the Palestinians exhibited hate, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in the extreme, and likely would have perpetrated mass ethnic cleansing and a second Holocaust had they won the war. The anti-Semitic attitudes exhibited by the Palestinians in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s are no different than they are today.

Tlaib’s shockingly anti-Semitic comments were rightly condemned by President Trump, the GOP, and Jewish groups. As for the Democrats, after a period of disgraceful silence, they shockingly but unsurprisingly rallied behind the freshman lawmaker. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer claimed that Tlaib’s words were taken out of context and in a grotesque form of moral inversion demanded that Trump and the GOP issue an apology to Tlaib. As for Tlaib, she accused her critics of engaging in “Islamophobia.” It’s the old, tired story of the victimizer playing the victim card.

This stunningly shameful reaction by Democratic Party heads demonstrably shows us how the Democrats are hedging on the issue of anti-Semitism and galloping further and further to the Left. Fear of alienating the radical left-wing of the Democratic Party has muzzled centrist Democrats. But this level of cravenness represents a double-edged sword for the Democrats. Voters who were once card-carrying Democrats and loyal to a fault now watch in dismay and horror as the malignant cancer of anti-Semitism takes root within the Party they once called home. In 2020, Democrats will pay the price for their hedging and cravenness.



Trump plans to release thousands of migrants in two Democratic strongholds, Florida officials say

Florida officials are raising alarm and pressing for details about the purported intention of the Trump administration to send hundreds of immigrants a week to two heavily Democratic counties in South Florida.

Customs and Border Protection has not publicly disclosed its plans. But a partial picture of a new approach to managing a record influx of immigrants at the southern border came into view on Thursday based on the accounts of local leaders in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Even allies of the president were nonplussed. The state's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, joined federal lawmakers from Florida - Republicans and Democrats alike - in questioning the apparent effort to foist the immigration and asylum burden on two local jurisdictions without equipping them with the resources to house, feed, educate, and protect new arrivals.

``We want a better plan from our federal government,'' said Palm Beach County's mayor, Mack Bernard, a Haitian-born Democrat, at a news conference. ``We are not a border state.''

As arrests at the border continue to increase - threatening to derail the immigration agenda that has formed the cornerstone of President Trump's domestic policy - South Florida officials said they have been told to expect the arrival twice a week of 135 asylum seekers, rerouted from the El Paso area. That is equivalent to about 1,000 people per month, divided between the two counties.

Law enforcement officials who were briefed on the plans said the arrivals were set to begin within the next two weeks and that no end date had been set. They said they still hoped federal authorities would reverse course.

Neither Border Protection nor its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, returned a request for comment.

The alarm was sounded by officials in Florida on the same day that Trump publicly appealed to Congress to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, primarily by prioritizing the skills of newcomers. The trepidation, however, came in response to developments behind the scenes, several weeks after Trump embraced a strategy of filling sanctuary cities with immigrants who lack papers. He called the proposition, rejected by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as inappropriate, his ``sick idea.''

Broward and Palm Beach Counties lie next to one another on the state's Atlantic coast. Neither has sanctuary status limiting cooperation with immigration authorities, a status that would be outlawed under a measure recently advanced by the state Legislature.

But the counties are among Florida's most reliably Democratic jurisdictions, leading the president's critics to speculate that he was setting his punitive program into motion.

``The blatant politics, sending them to the two most Democratic Counties in the state of Florida, is ridiculous,'' Gary Farmer, a Democratic state senator representing part of Broward County, told Politico. ``You can't make this stuff up.''

Each of the counties has a sizable Hispanic population, though not as large as in Miami-Dade, which is the state's most populous county. Miami-Dade is also a center of the state's Republican-aligned Cuban voting bloc, which delivered for Trump in 2016.

The swath of South Florida comprising Broward and Palm Beach counties is host to a number of Border Patrol stations, including one in West Palm Beach where authorities said the migrants would be processed, given a notice to appear and then released.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a news conference on Thursday that he had been informed of the plans earlier this week by a Border Patrol chief based in Miami. Bradshaw said the migrants were characterized to him as ``family units.''

Having conveyed his concerns to members of Florida's congressional delegation, the law enforcement officer said he had called acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to raise objections to what he knew of the approach.

``No accommodations for shelter or a place to live,'' Bradshaw said. ``Just no real plan on what's going to happen to these 500 people every month that's going to come to Palm Beach County and be released into our community.''

The sheriff said he was worried about the criminal backgrounds of the immigrants, as well as about the ability of public and charitable institutions to cope with the new arrivals. ``We think it's a danger to this community,'' he said.



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

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


19 May, 2019

The scientific allergy to the truth

It is amazing to me how scientists and other academics so often prefer self-serving myths to reality -- despite the truth being in plain sight. I encountered that repeatedly during my research career in the late 20th century. 

The biggest example of that pig-headedness in recent times is the absurd global warming theory.  A majority of scientists seem to accept it as truth despite the evidence being so conclusively against it.  Its central claim -- that CO2 in the atmosphere warms the earth -- is starkly contradicted by the "grand hiatus" from 1945 to 1975-- when over a 30 year period, CO2 levels leapt while temperature levels remained flat.  That huge disconfirmation would be fatal to a truly scientific theory.

And from 1950 to the present day, academic psychologists are determined to believe that conservatives are in some way mentally defective.  Psychiatrists, for instance, have never ceased "diagnosing" Mr Trump as mentally defective in some way, with NYC "shrink" Bandy Lee in the vanguard.

But perhaps the most extraordinary belief of academic psychologists -- going all the way back to 1950 --is the still frequent claim that conservatives are the "authoritarians" of the world, despite the immeasurably largest example of authoritarianism in C20 being the ghastly Soviet system.  Were the Soviets conservative?

And the old bit of Soviet disinformation to the effect that the National socialist ideology of Hitler's Germany was "Rightist" is still generally believed -- despite the fact that all of Hitler's major doctrines (antisemitism, eugenics, close government control of industry etc.) were characteristic of the Left in Hitler's day.

So it must come as no great surprise that a recent great  breakthrough in historical scholarship should be greeted with academic disbelief. The Voynich manuscript (MS) has at last been convincingly and extensively deciphered. The MS was a vast work by medieval standards, with copious illustrations that should have given a highroad into the meaning of the text

But no-one could "crack" the meaning of the text.  It appeared to be an alphabet of some sort but nobody knew how the letters sounded so their meaning remained unknown.  Generations of scholars, cryptographers and computer experts had tried to "crack" the code involved, with nothing emerging that made sense of more than a few lines of the MS.

Than along came Gerard Cheshire, a young English linguist who claimed to have deciphered the whole thing after only 2 weeks of work -- by making some very simple assumptions.  That was an enormous slight on the reputations of all the big names who had gone before him so was bound to be disbelieved.  And it has been.  Scholar after scholar has rubbished Cheshire's work.

Cheshire first circulated his findings in 2017 so he is aware of the criticisms of his work and has replied to them.  But the criticisms are not at all fatal to his findings. Cheshire foolishly claimed that the pidgin Latin in which the MS was written was widely used in Europe. That is unlikely but not necessary to his argument.  I would claim that it was a form of pidgin Latin that was used either in Italy or in Aragon, as Aragon dominated some parts of Italy in the Middle Ages.  That the Pidgin Latin of Aragon might have absorbed some words from other pidgins of the times surely poses no difficulty.

A more serious criticism is that Cheshire's translations are to a degree speculative.  They are.  But that is normal in philology. Words change both their meanings and their forms over time and getting back to the particular meaning at a particular time is no easy matter.  So all language reconstructions are to a degree speculative.  There is even debate over the correct translation of some parts of Beowulf, which is written in Old English and is generally well-understood. And let us not forget the difficulties of translating even modern German words into modern English words adequately

But the journal article (linked below) is the best evidence for Cheshire's claims. I wonder how many critics have actually read through the vast academic journal article concerned. I have.  And I find it most impressive.  Cheshire repeatedly shows that his interpretation of the "alphabet" used in the MS makes sense.  He shows that the words produced by it are Latinate -- similar to other evolved versions of Latin. 

Once he has transformed the MS words into our familiar Latin alphabet, however, he sometimes has to speculate on the meaning of the word at that particular time and place.  And he makes a good fist of that.  And he does that over and over again.  And it is that repeated success that is so convicing. It shows that he has got the key to getting it right.  If he were wrong he might get a few lucky hits but showing that his system works over and over again throughout the MS could only come from his understanding of the MS being correct.

So why are so many academics rubbishing his work?  Jealousy, basically. That he did so easily what they agonizingly failed to do is a big blow to their self-esteem.  And they want to avoid that blow by disbelieving it.  Freud called it defensiveness. JR


Trump immigration plan secures border, emphasizes merit, limits chain migration and puts America first

By Robert Romano

President Donald Trump on May 16 unveiled his immigration reform plan that would secure the border, place an emphasis on merit-based migration and limit family chain migration.

These changes are long overdue and come after more than 50 years since immigration has been meaningfully addressed by Congress.

On border security, Trump proposed using customs and border fees to create, in the President’s words, a “permanent and self-sustaining border security trust fund” that in the future could be used to make improvements and expand the wall, without the need for Congress to get involved with annual appropriations.

This would deal with normal wear and tear on border barriers that have gone into disrepair and give an administration the flexibility needed to react quickly when the drug cartels and gangs shift the routes they are pursuing to smuggle heroin and other drugs across the U.S. border.

Trump said, “Everyone agrees that the physical infrastructure on the border and the ports of entry is gravely underfunded and woefully inadequate.”

The President also reported on progress being made to build the wall by the Army Corps of Engineers, saying, “we should have close to 400 miles built by the end of next year, and probably even more than that.  It’s going up very rapidly.”

On human trafficking, the President proposed addressing current law and the Flores decision that incentivizes children to be smuggled into the U.S., saying, “Current law and federal court rulings encourage criminal organizations to smuggle children across the border.  The tragic result is that 65 percent of all border-crossers this year were either minors or adults traveling with minors.  Our plan will change the law to stop the flood of child smuggling and to humanely reunite unaccompanied children with their families back home — and rapidly. “

Trump also promised to rein in bogus asylum claims. According to Justice Department data through 2016, up to 43 percent of asylum seekers depending on the year never make their court appearances after they are released, with tens of thousands simply disappearing into the woodwork every year. In 2016 alone, 34,193 cases were completed in abstentia and ordered to be deported because the alien had not shown up in court.

In addition, only about 10 percent of those whose credible fear claims are initially granted are actually given asylum, according to the White House.

An order from Attorney General William Barr to immigration judges addresses that in part by blocking some of those making asylum claims from being released on bond while their proceedings are ongoing.

Said Trump of the problem, “legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims — these are frivolous claims — to gain admission into our country… My plan expedites relief for legitimate asylum seekers by screening out the meritless claims.”

Trump also said that it was time to restrict the family chain migration system and shift towards a merit-based system depending on the economic needs of the nation. Trump noted of the 1.1 million new permanent legal residents admitted every year, “Currently, 66 percent of legal immigrants come here on the basis of random chance.  They’re admitted solely because they have a relative in the United States.  And it doesn’t really matter who that relative is.  Another 21 percent of immigrants are issued either by random lottery, or because they are fortunate enough to be selected for humanitarian relief.”

In other words, about 87 percent of those coming to the U.S. are not based on economic needs but upon familial relations or luck of the draw, and only 12 percent explicitly come for work. Trump proposes increasing work-based immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent and reducing familial immigration to just immediate families and visa lotteries commensurately.

Trump underscored the problem that we are turning away doctors and other highly educated persons because they choose to follow the law, and the law provides no room for them to stay: “Under the senseless rules of the current system, we’re not able to give preference to a doctor, a researcher, a student who graduated number one in his class from the finest colleges in the world — anybody… Some of the most skilled students at our world-class universities are going back home because they have no relatives to sponsor them here in the United States.”

The plan met with support by Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, who said, “The framework laid out by the President today is a smart way forward and it is important that Democrats support it and securing the border in a humane way, build a merit-based system and move away from family chain migration. Any attempts to add amnesty or other poison pill provisions would be an admission that Democrats are unwilling to work on basic issues of common ground on securing the border, reforming our broken system and treating immigrants humanely.”

In other words, the President’s plan puts America first — and it’s about time.



Trump Takes a Promising First Step to Resolving Our Balkanization Crisis

Progressive naysayers will want to denounce immediately President Donald Trump’s call for an immigration approach that “instills the spirit of America into any human heart.” They should resist the temptation. If they truly love inclusion as much as they say they do, clearly this is the right path.

That is not to say that every part of the Americanizing portion in the new immigration policy the president outlined from the Rose Garden on Thursday was airtight. But by adding patriotic assimilation to the policy mix of the new approach, the president took an important first step in the right direction.

Trump was returning to a hallowed American tradition that goes back to the Founders, was kept alive by Abraham Lincoln, fed by Progressives such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and was personified by Ronald Reagan. All of them advocated assimilation among immigrants and took pride in America’s unique ability to achieve it.

So when Trump opened his remarks by saying, “Out of many people, from many places, we have forged a nation under God,” he was not “breaking norms” as his critics so often charge him with, but returning the country to the norm that has existed for centuries.

Only in the past two or three decades have far leftist critical race theorists and street activists attempted to plant the notion that assimilation was anything but desirable or even beautiful.

Where the policy misses the mark somewhat is by making a civics test a requirement for an immigration visa. “To promote integration, assimilation, and national unity, future immigrants will be required to learn English and to pass a civics exam prior to admission,” the president said.

These are generally not bad things in themselves, but by making a demonstration of an active interest in patriotic assimilation one of the requirements of immigration, the plan left itself open to system-gaming and, worse, could fail entirely to advance the agenda of Americanization.

Anyone can study George Washington’s Farewell Address or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the National Mall. They may even mean it, and intend to immigrate to America with hopes of joining the mainstream, becoming American and succeeding in life.

Doubtless, this is what now happens with the majority. Nobody in his right mind immigrates anywhere in the hope of becoming an aggrieved, “marginalized” victim. Our grievance studies professors may have laid the foundation of a victimhood culture in America, but in most of the rest of the world, being a victim is a degraded status.

The problem is that once they come in, having passed a civics test or not, immigrants (and the native born as well) would still come under pressure to respond to the incentives to balkanize that our system currently continuously provides.

That includes everything from the constant messages our children receive K-12 about diversity being “our strength,” the constant pressure in university to withdraw to the imaginary oppressed group into which the system has consigned you, ending in a segregated graduation ceremony, and their continuation in the corporate world.

A recent report at The College Fix found that 71% of colleges surveyed “have some version of an ethnically separate graduation.”

There is also, then, the very real advantages that people at all stages of their lives receive from “ticking the box” and producing a victimhood narrative. These include racial preferences in university admissions, government contracts, housing, etc.

It is farcical that, alone among the millions that have come to America in previous immigrant waves, today’s immigrants can be declared victims as soon as they set foot on U.S. soil. That endows them to the fruits of compensatory justice upon entry.

It is that entire system that must be dismantled before we go back to a policy that “strengthens our culture, our tradition, and our values” that the president envisioned. There are steps—from ending the incentives of racial preferences to returning to cultural instruction in schools—that should be worked into the immigration plan.

Cultural knowledge promotes an egalitarian society and reduces economic inequality. The children of the rich already come equipped with it.

This 2016 paper, “Patriotic Assimilation is an Indispensable Condition in a Land of Immigrants,” helps explain the background and proposed next steps.

In a late 1988 speech, Reagan remarked, “You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk. Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.”

Trump is right to try to give us this gift again.



America Deserves Spygate Answers

AG Barr has tasked John Durham with digging into the misuse of intel assets against Trump.  

Attorney General William Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. That’s a good thing, as is the inclusion of the heads of both the CIA (Gina Haspel) and FBI (Christopher Wray), along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Given that Robert Mueller’s report cleared President Donald Trump of collusion, investigating the investigators is also a very necessary thing. No wonder Democrats are panicking.

Why? Because the considerable resources of the United States intelligence community and federal law-enforcement agencies were turned on the political opponents of those in power before the 2016 election. As Barr put it last month, “Yes, I think spying did occur.” This is the sort of thing we’d expect from the likes of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, and, of course, Vladimir Putin in Russia. In America, such abuse should raise grave concerns … even if the administration had a good reason for doing so, which it clearly didn’t.

Case in point: In 2007, Charles Stimson, a DOD official in George W. Bush’s administration, criticized the Gitmo Bar — a name for the attorneys representing the terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay — and suggested that clients of those firms should make them choose between representing al-Qaida or corporate retainers. He was run out of office for that “offense,” even though the Gitmo Bar provided al-Qaida with far more than Jane Fonda gave the North Vietnamese.

Imagine if the Bush administration had turned the FBI on the Gitmo Bar the way Barack Obama’s administration turned the FBI on the Trump campaign. Does anyone think that MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post would be giving those investigators the same deference they demanded on Mueller’s behalf? If you believe that, we at The Patriot Post have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

We need answers. We needed answers about other problematic actions in the past, like Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of the Tea Party, and the targeting of journalists Sharyl Attkisson and James Rogan over their reporting, to name a few of Obama’s “non-scandals.” Of course, we never got those answers. All we got were whitewashes.

With the end of the Mueller probe, we now need to know what prompted the FBI’s actions before, during, and after the 2016 election. What evidence was used to justify spying on the opposition party’s presidential campaign? Why did investigators choose the techniques they chose? Were the omissions in the FISA applications honest mistakes, or was something more sinister involved? And what was behind the “unmasking” of American citizens caught up in surveillance?

Many conservatives have been understandably skeptical of the FBI’s conduct. If there were honest mistakes, let’s reveal them and make changes so they’re not repeated. And if there were deliberate abuses, let’s punish those responsible.

After all, it’s worth remembering that Donald Trump’s only “crime” was running against — and defeating — Hillary Clinton for the presidency of 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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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


17 May, 2019

Tariffs -- The Taxes That Made America Great

Patrick J. Buchanan over-eggs the pudding below.  He writes as if tariffs are uniformly desirable.  They are not.  Tariffs are always a tradeoff.  You sacrifice low prices in Wal-mart for some other objective -- maintaining defence related industries at home, for instance.  Economists have always recognized that.  Buchanan is not the bearer of some new revelation.  If your defence relies heavily on cutting edge aerospace industries, for instance, it is reasonable and proper to ensure that the products it uses are available at home.

That is in fact an area where successive administrations have been remiss.  Rare earth minerals are vital in modern electronic devices.  So what is the main source of them at the moment?  China!  How crazy can you get?  America has plenty of such minerals in the ground so it is only a matter of the miners being able to make a buck getting them out of the ground for all America's needs in that area to be produced locally.  A tariff on the import of such minerals from China would achieve that objective.

Mr Trump has articulated very clearly why and how he uses tariffs -- which he in fact does sparingly.  He wants fairer trade wich China -- so that they stop trying to keep American goods such as motor vehicles out while their goods come freely into America.  His second objective is to avoid the social disruption that happens when a whole industry suddenly dies -- which has happened at various places in the mid-West.  He wants transitions to be gradual rather than sudden so that the people affected have time to adjust.

Both those objectives are perfectly rational and no surprise to the economics profession.  The important thing is that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in levying tariffs.  Mr Trump has a crystal clear idea of that.  Levying tariffs willy-nilly would be a great folly.  The historical tariffs Buchanan talks about fall into the well-known "infant industry" exception to free trade.  Old hat among economists

As his limo carried him to work at the White House Monday, Larry Kudlow could not have been pleased with the headline in The Washington Post: "Kudlow Contradicts Trump on Tariffs."

The story began: "National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow acknowledged Sunday that American consumers end up paying for the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports, contradicting President Trump's repeated inaccurate claim that the Chinese foot the bill."

A free trade evangelical, Kudlow had conceded on Fox News that consumers pay the tariffs on products made abroad that they purchase here in the U.S. Yet that is by no means the whole story.

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.

If you choose not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods made in other nations or the USA, then you do not pay the tariff.

China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China's economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would flee in panic from the Middle Kingdom.

Tariffs were the taxes that made America great. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party's path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.

The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, "the encouragement and protection of manufactures." It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

After the War of 1812, President Madison, backed by Henry Clay and John Calhoun and ex-Presidents Jefferson and Adams, enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked.

Tariffs financed Mr. Lincoln's War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer "has no right or claim to equality with our own. ... He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties."

That is economic patriotism, putting America and Americans first.

The Fordney-McCumber Tariff gave Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge the revenue to offset the slashing of Wilson's income taxes, igniting that most dynamic of decades — the Roaring '20s.

That the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused the Depression of the 1930s is a New Deal myth in which America's schoolchildren have been indoctrinated for decades.

The Depression began with the crash of the stock market in 1929, nine months before Smoot-Hawley became law. The real villain: The Federal Reserve, which failed to replenish that third of the money supply that had been wiped out by thousands of bank failures.

Milton Friedman taught us that.

A tariff is a tax, but its purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.

The principle involved in a tariff is the same as that used by U.S. colleges and universities that charge foreign students higher tuition than their American counterparts.

What patriot would consign the economic independence of his country to the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith in a system crafted by intellectuals whose allegiance is to an ideology, not a people?

What great nation did free traders ever build?

Free trade is the policy of fading and failing powers, past their prime. In the half-century following passage of the Corn Laws, the British showed the folly of free trade.

They began the second half of the 19th century with an economy twice that of the USA and ended it with an economy half of ours, and equaled by a Germany, which had, under Bismarck, adopted what was known as the American System.

Of the nations that have risen to economic preeminence in recent centuries — the British before 1850, the United States between 1789 and 1914, post-war Japan, China in recent decades — how many did so through free trade? None. All practiced economic nationalism.



On China, president Trump is working for America — not big business

Will Washington do what’s in the interest of the nation or what’s in the short-term interest of Wall Street and a small number of businesses? That’s the central question in our trade relations with China.

The Trump administration has chosen to do what’s in the national interest.

Twenty years ago, Congress voted to establish permanent normal trade relations with China, giving the communist regime in Beijing the same preferential trade treatment we accord our best allies, Western industrial democracies such as Great Britain and Germany.

In doing so, Washington gave multinational corporations the long-term certainty they needed to make massive investments in the People’s Republic of China and replace well-paid American workers with poorly paid Chinese workers by moving factories from Michigan to Shenzen.

The late Sen. Jesse Helms, arch-conservative from North Carolina, opposed the measure.

Helms told his fellow senators, “There’s no question that giving permanent most favored nation trade status to China may advance the business interests of various sectors of the U.S. corporate community, but the Senate, amidst all the high pressure tactics, must not confuse business interests with the national interest of the American people.”

His warning was prescient.

Unfortunately, Washington didn’t take it, and instead confused business interests with the national interest.

Policymakers convinced themselves that as China grew more prosperous it would become a democratic, free market ally of the U.S.

It hardened into an article of faith that what’s good for China is good for America. Vice President Joe Biden voiced that sentiment perfectly when he said, “It is overwhelmingly in our interest that China prosper.”

As global corporations left heartland America where they were born and grew up to relocate to China, corporate profits soared while the Americans they left behind sank into unemployment, depression, alcoholism and drug addiction.

And the companies who did business in China became China’s lobbyists in Washington.

These companies, fearing reprisals from China’s all-powerful communist party bosses if they spoke up, asked Washington to remain silent while Beijing hacked our computers, stole our government, military and trade secrets, and reneged on promises to open its market.

Putting business interests before national interest, Wall Street and Washington consultants made fortunes for themselves arranging business deals in, with, or on behalf of China even as the Chinese Communist Party built a world-class military, persecuted people of faith and widened its espionage and influence operations inside the U.S.

Now China is doing openly what it long did behind closed doors:  ask American businesses to push Beijing’s party line in Washington.

Narrow self-interest and fear of Beijing’s commissars motivates the import lobby and other business entities who ask President Trump to immediately drop tariffs on China’s illegally subsidized imports and make a deal, any deal, with China now now now.

Keep that in mind when you see critics of the administration’s policies wringing their hands and gnashing their teeth about “the impact tariffs have on consumers.”

These critics showed no concern when American producers — the working men and women of this country — were stripped of their jobs and their ability to earn a living and support a family and were reduced to simply consumers on the welfare rolls.

These critics who voice faux concern over “consumers pay the price of tariffs” ignore the facts and the evidence. In fact, inflation is virtually flat.  The evidence shows outsourcing jobs to China has caused a drop in Americans’ disposable income that more than offsets any illusory gain from nominally cheaper imported goods.



Russia Calls On Pompeo For A Reboot: “Let’s try, and see what happens…”

The Donks have made a demon out of Russia for their own anti-Trump purposes but there is no reason why the administration should follow suit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday it was time for Moscow and Washington to put aside years of mistrust and find a way to work together constructively.

Pompeo is in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks with his Russian counterpart, and later on Tuesday will also hold consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ties between the two countries have been poisoned by allegations – denied by Moscow – that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and by differences over Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Ukraine.

“We see that there are suspicions and prejudices,” Lavrov told Pompeo at the start of their talks.

“This hinders both your security and our security and causes concern around the world. We think it is time to build a new and more constructive matrix for our relations,” Lavrov said.

“We are ready to do that if our U.S. colleagues are ready to reciprocate. …Let’s try, and see what happens.”

Pompeo’s visit represents the first high-level contact between Moscow and Washington since U.S. Special Counsel Robert Muller submitted a report examining the nature of Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

His inquiry had cast a pall over U.S.-Russian relations, and Russian officials had expressed hope that Washington would have more scope to build friendlier relations with Moscow once it was out of the way.

Responding to Lavrov’s opening remarks, Pompeo said: “I’m here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship. We have differences and each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people.”

“But it’s not destined that we’re adversaries on all issues and I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests and continue to build out strong relationships, at least on those particular issues,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo identified counter-terrorism and combatting nuclear proliferation as two areas where Moscow and Washington could find common ground.



Ken Blackwell: The President’s Promises, Made and Kept

During the 2016 election, President Trump made plenty of campaign promises, as does any candidate. But this president has done what his predecessors often fail to accomplish: he has kept his promises.

Perhaps the president’s most important accomplishment so far is his restoration of the judicial branch—a big reason many otherwise wary voters supported him in 2016. You probably already know about his two appointees to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who are poised to make sure that the Constitution isn’t a rubber stamp for progressive policy preferences but a document whose meaning endures over time. But those justices are only the beginning: the Senate has confirmed more than one hundred judges to lower court positions in both the United States Circuit Courts and the Federal Court of Appeals.

Of course, refreshing our third branch of government isn’t the only success Trump has under his belt. We shouldn’t forget the phenomenal trade policies Trump has instituted, nor the agreements he’s renegotiating. Trump has revised NAFTA and implemented the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a better trade deal that strengthens America’s job-creating ability. President Trump has also renegotiated trade agreements with South Korea to protect American companies. And while previous presidents have talked tough on China, Trump is backing his talk up with action. This administration has made aggressive moves to stop the trade abuses we suffer from China and finally level the playing field. Trump just raised the tariffs on China from 10 percent to 25 percent, a measure that will curb our trade deficit with the communist nation. Thanks to these measures, the U.S. trade deficit fell to an eight-month low in February.

The controversial Paris Accords weren’t technically an economic agreement, but President Obama’s decision to sign on with this environmental agreement—a treaty in all but name—would have had serious economic repercussions. The accords are supposed to keep the global rise of temperature under two degrees Celsius, in part by participating nations pledging $100 billion a year to developing countries. But at what cost? The Heritage Foundation projected that the Accords would reduce the GDP $2.5 trillion by 2035. That is a high price to pay for very little promise of success in green energy and environmental restoration. Some of the chief polluters in the world are India and China, yet they would not have suffered under the same rigid sanctions as the United States if we signed the Paris Accords. President Trump was wise to get us out of this bad deal.

In the meantime, he teamed up with the GOP-controlled Congress to give a great deal to American taxpayers in the form of sweeping tax cuts. There was a vicious campaign by the left to smear the tax cuts, but even The New York Times had to admit that Americans of all income levels kept more of their hard-earned cash last year. For example, CBS News reports that there are now one million more job openings than unemployed persons. This growth and hiring ability are thanks to more money being available for businesses.

The Trump Administration and Republican leaders in the House and Senate should be congratulated for their accomplishments so far—though of course, there is plenty more work to be done. Consider the courts: despite the enormous success of the Trump administration to this point, there are still 159 current and known future vacancies. President Trump has already nominated 59 individuals to fill those seats, and the Senate should be working around the clock to make sure all their nominees are confirmed, despite the obstruction coming from the left.

And make no mistake: Democrats will find new ways to obstruct, even with their dreams of collusion and obstruction being dissolved with the Mueller Report. President Trump didn’t let that distraction block his promises to restore the judiciary, put America first, and rejuvenate the economy—and we can expect him to keep more promises in the years ahead.



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

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


16 May, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren: ‘Fox News Is a Hate-for-Profit Racket That Gives a Megaphone to Racists’

It would be more accurate to say that Elizabeth Warren is a hate-filled rager who gives a megaphone to the race-obsessed Left.  Leftists judge others by themselves

“Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) declared Tuesday in her explanation of why she turned down an invitation to one of the network’s town hall events.

In a series of tweets, Sen. Harris attacked Fox News, accusing the network of promoting the “life and death consequences” of racism and conspiracy theorists:

“Fox News is a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists—it’s designed to turn us against each other, risking life and death consequences, to provide cover for the corruption that’s rotting our government and hollowing out our middle class.”



Democrats are already plotting to raise your taxes after 2020

In spring 2015, 18 months before the 2016 elections, the tax reform legislation of 2017 was taking shape. Virtually every Republican candidate was talking about fixing the broken tax code with pro-growth tax reforms which reduced tax rates and broadened the base. After winning the White House and maintaining control of the House and the Senate, Republicans enacted their tax reform plan within their first year.

Now, in spring 2019, 18 months before the 2020 elections, the tax increase bill of 2021 is taking shape.

Virtually every Democratic presidential candidate is talking about undoing the 2017 tax reform and raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations, and a long list of specific tax increases is under serious consideration.

As a result, the largest tax increase ever enacted could happen if the Democrats win the White House, retain the House, and regain control of the Senate.

Every taxpayer should start preparing now for the possibility of these tax increases, and more importantly, begin making the case for how damaging these tax increases would be to the economy, our financial markets, and economic prosperity.

The following is a brief summary of the actual tax increases proposed by Democratic presidential candidates and members of the House and Senate, and which will be ready for enactment in 2021.

Individual Taxes: Congressional Democrats (Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, and others) have proposed a repeal of the individual tax cuts enacted in 2017, a massive tax increase for millions of middle-class taxpayers, a return to a top tax rate of 39.6%, and a 5% surtax on top of that. Several House members (Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts) have called for a 70% top rate, while another one (Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota) wants a top rate of 90%. Other members have proposed sharply higher payroll taxes to fund new government spending programs.

As if this is not enough, a number of presidential candidates (Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.) have proposed a new wealth tax, to be levied every year on some Americans' assets and property. Once in place, it will almost certainly be expanded every year to cover more people.

Corporate Taxes: Many Democrats want to repeal the corporate tax reductions enacted in 2017, raising the corporate tax rate back to 35%, close to the highest rate in the world. Others are pushing for raising the 21% rate to 28%. One candidate (Elizabeth Warren) wants to go even further, imposing a new 7% tax on corporate profits above $100 million, a tax that would hit 1,200 businesses and surely result in job losses and price increases.

Investment Taxes: In addition to raising the top individual and corporate tax rates, which would reduce saving and investment, many legislators and candidates also want to tax capital gains as ordinary income, raising the maximum rate to more than 40%. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has gone even further, proposing to tax, at the new higher rate, unrealized capital gains annually, rather than when sold. Wyden and many others also want to tax capital gains at death.

In addition to taxing capital gains, numerous candidates (Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren) and House and Senate members (Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii) want to impose a tax on stock and bond transactions. This financial transaction tax would hit workers' pension plans and the retirement savings of millions of middle-class families.

Estate Taxes: A number of proposals have been advanced to raise estate taxes. One proposal from Sanders would reduce the estate tax exemption from $11 million to $3.5 million, which would hit family farms and small businesses, and raise the top estate tax rate to 77%.

Tax increase proponents say these tax increases will only hit the wealthy and big corporations, claims which resonate with many voters. But to raise the revenue needed to pay for the many new promised spending programs, the actual tax increases will need to be broad based and hit every taxpayer in the country.

Over the next 18 months, voters need to hear how these tax increases will damage the economy and their economic future and well being. These tax increases will reduce take-home pay, destroy millions of jobs, harm financial markets, and reduce the saving and investment needed to keep the economy growing. If these tax increases are enacted, our roaring economy, with higher than 3% growth and the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, will come to a crashing halt.



Bernie Sanders Thinks Medicare for All Would Solve America's Health Care Problems. It Would Make Them Worse

There is a crisis in the nation's health care system. But that crisis is Medicare itself—the program as it exists today.

In an op-ed for USA Today, Sanders says the current status quo is an "economic and medical emergency for millions of Americans." The solution, he argues, is to expand Medicare, the health coverage program for seniors, into a national, government-run health care program, because Medicare "guarantees coverage."

But that guarantee only goes so far—and we may discover its limits sooner rather than later.

In 2026, Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund is expected to become depleted, according to a report last month from the program's actuaries. Initially, it will bring in enough money to pay for about 89 percent of its expenditures. Over the next 20 years, that figure will dip down as low as 78 percent.

Insolvency doesn't mean the program shuts down entirely. But what it does mean is that in less than a decade, the program won't be able to pay all of its bills. When that happens, the program's supposed guarantee won't mean much at all. Health care for millions will be in jeopardy because of the federal government's consistently poor fiscal management.

People who rely on the program may not be able to access the care they need or may face much longer wait times. Benefits might end up being scaled back, or practically unavailable even if they are theoretically guaranteed. Alternatively, Congress could raise taxes to finance the program's full costs. Higher taxes, reduced benefits, longer lines, or some combination of the above: When a shortfall hits, those are the primary options.

Sanders' call for Medicare for All, in other words, ignores the longstanding problems with Medicare itself. His advocacy for single payer is almost entirely unresponsive to the longstanding fiscal challenges of the federal government's largest health care program, which, despite their predictability and inevitability, have proven stubbornly difficult to solve. If anything, Medicare for All would increase the scale of those problems, and put care for millions more people on the line in the process.

Under Sanders' vision of Medicare for All, private health insurance as we know it today would be outlawed. That doesn't just mean no competition. It means no alternative and no escape. So if the program struggles to meet its obligations, and care suffers as a result, there's essentially nowhere else to turn. Sanders would trap every American in a system that would almost certainly struggle with financing from the outset.

That's because Sanders, it's clear, has no idea how to pay for the program he has in mind. His proposal is vastly more generous than comparable universal coverage programs run by other countries. Multiple estimates have found that it would add about $32 trillion to the federal tab over a decade, even under generous assumptions. Yet Sanders has never proposed a specific financing mechanism to offset the massive increase in government spending his single-payer plan would entail.

Nor has he answered numerous other practical, necessary questions that designing and implementing single payer would entail: How exactly would health care providers be paid? What would happen when the expansion of coverage increased demand for health care services—especially if provider payments are simultaneously cut?

American health care has real problems; it's expensive, bureaucratic, and inequitable. But decades of government intervention has, if anything, only made these problems worse—if not created them in the first place. The tax break for employer-sponsored insurance in the aftermath of World War II locked people into job-based coverage and encouraged the purchase of ever-more expensive plans, insulating individuals from the cost of their decisions. The creation of Medicare (and to a lesser extent Medicaid) rapidly funneled huge amounts of federal funding into the hospital system and coincided with decades of increased national spending on health care. Federal health care programs now represent what is arguably the nation's largest long-term fiscal challenge.

But now the long term is almost here. And instead of addressing the deep and difficult problems that persist the current system, Sanders and his followers appear to have only one answer, which is to keep doing the same thing, but more of it. Sanders-style Medicare for All isn't the solution to our health care crisis—it's just a much bigger, much harder to solve version of the same crisis we already face.



Socialism Is Not About Compassion; It’s About Control

Charlie Daniels

What I write here is admittedly theoretical, an opinion cultivated by trying to figure out the end game of those who seem dead set on turning America into a socialist nation, and, at least in my opinion, wittingly or unwittingly, serve a cause that is neither being acknowledged or admitted to. It is but a shadowy end game that lurks in the enclaves of international politics and intrigue.

Obama told America that the manufacturing jobs that had exited America would never come back. Yet he has been proven wrong. I have a hard time believing that an urbane, well-educated president who was privy to international economics and intelligence wouldn’t know what it would take to bring those jobs back to America and was naive enough to actually believe what he said, especially since his successor has made great strides in that direction in two short years.

Could Obama have meant that he didn’t want the jobs to come back, and if so, why not?

We’ll explore that possibility a little further on, but let me lay a little more groundwork here.

What has happened in every instance around the world when the people have either chosen or been forced to accept a socialist government?

Without going through the mechanics of the causes, I think we all know, they all turn into totalitarian, dictatorships with the hand full of elites in control, living in luxury while the masses suffer the results of a system that was doomed to fail from the day it was adopted.

The government controls everything, from the allocation of jobs and education to medical care, military conscription and distribution of food.

Nothing takes place without official permission, which causes almost total dependence on the government. Nobody gets a say in who leads the country except the ones who already lead it, and political dissension and protests are not allowed. Any dissidents can expect a midnight knock on the door.

In America’s case, if a socialist should be elected and had support in Congress, the transition would not come in one fell swoop. It would happen in increments.

How many people are on entitlements? How many people are already totally dependent on government for everything?

Now, having established the fact that millions of Americans have no income, food, housing, medical care or any of the other necessities of life without government assistance, let’s move on.

What if the government stopped sending the monthly check citing the violation of some arcane and meaningless statute, and what would the desperate recipients be willing to do to start the flow of money again?

Answer: almost anything. They may agree to live where they’re told, send their kids to whatever school they’re told, etc.

Now, admittedly, entitlements don’t affect all citizens, and they do not give the government total control over the whole population. But let’s take health care as an example.

What if the only way to see a doctor or have needed treatment was through a government bureaucrat who looked at you like a side of beef, having no medical training and no compassion and was only capable of dispensing “take a number, take a seat”-type attention to your medical problems.

What happens then? You and your loved ones are at the mercy of a cold machine of government entity with an “if you don’t like it, you can lump it” attitude. So you have no choice but to get in line and hope for the best.

How about the price of gasoline and electric power?

What if the sitting House and Senate members were to pass a law that a president can stay in office for twenty years and a packed Supreme Court would uphold it?

The point I’m making here, with a modicum of facetiousness, is that you cannot go down the road to socialism without giving greater power to the government, actually total power, because the whole idea of socialism is giving everything to the government and letting them dole it out as they see fit – putting massive power into the hands of unscrupulous people who have proven they are not above corruption or playing favorites.

They abuse the power they have now. What would they do with this kind of control?

And what would you do if you woke up one day and found out that the president – with unanimous approval from both houses of Congress – had joined a world organization of nations with their headquarters in, shall we say, Brussels?

The answer is: you’d scream and holler, but there’d be little else you could do because you’ve given control of your life and your country to a cabal of globalists in D.C. who slipped in through the back door, their hands full of shiny gifts and promises of free healthcare, free college, guaranteed wages, a cradle to grave carefree utopian life with nothing to worry about but breathing.

Do you think this couldn’t happen in these United States?

What could the people of Russia have done if Stalin, Khrushchev, or Putin for that matter, had joined such a world organization? They’d have no way to fight back, no recourse, and the same is true of China and any other communist dictatorship.

A totally in control government can do anything it wants to, and if they decide to be part of a one world government, the disenfranchised, disarmed public could do little but complain.

Global government is not just a theory, it a very real threat to every free person on the planet, and the United States of America, with its passion for personal freedom and individualism is a fifty-pound fly in their ointment.

If you look at it from the point of view of someone who didn’t much like this nation the way it is and thought the only way to make it better is an all-powerful monolithic government, and who also knows that the fewer jobs there are, the more government dependence there is. Is it possible Obama just didn’t want those jobs to come back?

As we all know, Hillary was a shoe in for the 2016 election, and she was merely a continuation of the initiatives the Obama administration put into place.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

I know it’s a lot to think about, but if you love America, I would advise you to do some digging and make your own decision about these things.



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

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


15 May, 2019

The flat world that never happened

Thomas Friedman’s 2005 “The World is Flat” postulated a world growing ever closer together, with diminishing barriers both trade and political and a gradual move towards at least elements of world government. With all due respect to Mr. Friedman, this never happened, and does not appear likely to. The questions that arise are: Why not? and Where are we going instead?

“The World is Flat” appeared plausible in the decade after 2005, which is all you can ask a successful book to do, but it was always based on an illusion. After the collapse of Communism in 1991, it had appeared that there were no major divisions between the world’s major powers, so one could envisage the world converging on a kind of lowest-common-denominator social democracy (one could envisage the world converging on truly free capitalism as well, but only if one were completely delusional!)

If the world’s major powers were indeed converging on social democracy, then there would seem little reason why their economies should not converge as well. The “Washington Consensus” a kind of social democrat version of the free market with supposedly benign governments guiding the market so that everybody got gradually richer, could in the Friedman view gradually allow the world to “globalize” with no trade barriers, benignly run large corporations with good governance managing the economy, under the overall control of benign governments, who would set the “ground rules” by international consensus. Living standards would converge worldwide, and over time more and more of the functions of government could be taken over by international bodies, theoretically selected by national governments, but staffed with all-knowing, benign bureaucrats.

For anyone who believes in individual freedom, it was a ghastly prospect. It was also completely contrary to human nature, not allowing at all for the human failings of the Platonic guardians who ran the international bureaucracies. But New York Times writers like Friedman don’t believe in freedom and have very little understanding of human nature.

Make no mistake, there are still powerful forces pushing us towards this dystopia. Google and Facebook, for example, are near-monopolies in their spheres, and their management appears infected with the Thomas Friedman way of thinking. Since their worldview offers no place for dissent from itself, those companies will continue doing everything in their power to prevent contrary voices from emerging. They are instruments of a failed globalist police state, just as the labor camps were instruments of the Soviet tyranny.



Fake Bombshell: Trump Admitted Losses a Decade Ago

Trump Freely Admits in Old Video: 'I Was Billions of Dollars in Debt' About 13 Years Ago

A promotional video put out by President Trump years ago throws cold water on the New York Times' exclusive "bombshell" report about Trump's taxes showing "staggering" business losses of more than $1 billion from 1985 through 1994.

In the video, Trump freely admitted that he was "billions of dollars in debt" during that time period.

"I'm Donald Trump and I'm the largest real estate developer in New York. I own buildings all over the place, model agencies, the Miss Universe Pageant, jetliners, golf courses, casinos, and private resorts like Mar-a-Lago -- one of the most spectacular estates anywhere in the world," the bombastic billionaire boasted. "But it wasn't always so easy. About thirteen years ago, I was seriously in trouble. I was billions of dollars in debt. But I fought back and I won -- big league!" he declared.

The big story in the Times in October 1995, in fact, was that Trump was the "Comeback King":

"Though there are still four years to go in the 90's, business and government leaders in New York honored Donald J. Trump yesterday for pulling off what they called "the comeback of the decade." Mr. Trump, the developer who came to epitomize opulent wealth during the 80's before tumbling into deep financial trouble, has managed to erase much of his debt and is moving ahead with major projects at a time other developers are idling."

On Fox and Friends Wednesday morning, Newt Gingrich blasted the hypocrisy of politicians and reporters who are pushing the alleged bombshell.

"It would be fun, for example, to challenge the owner of the New York Times to release all of his tax returns and find out how many loopholes and shelters the New York Times and the family have taken over the last forty or fifty years," he said. "It would be fascinating to have Nancy Pelosi release her family tax returns, find out how many different things they've done because they're pretty rich," he added.

Gingrich pointed out that Trump was "a very serious businessman" who always had the best lawyers and accountants, suggesting that the methods he used to avoid paying taxes were above board.



Socialized medicine update

Compensation paid out for harm and deaths caused by NHS delays and blunders has doubled in five years, an investigation reveals.

Patients groups said the increase in negligence payouts was “extremely worrying” - warning that lives are being lost because of a steep rise in waits for appointments, diagnosis and treatment.

Official figures reveal that in 2017/18 the NHS paid out £655 million in compensation for such cases - an increase from £327 million in 2013/14.

In total, 1,789 patients, or their bereaved families, received payouts in 2017/18, a rise from 1,406 cases in 2013/14.



Capitalism Will Save Us -- If Only We Let It

“With all thy getting, get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)

HARDLY A DAY goes by without some eminence from business or finance proclaiming with furrowed brow and seeming sorrow that capitalism is in crisis and must be overhauled if it is to survive and not be replaced with some variant of socialism. Inequality, climate change, obscene levels of corporate profits, stagnant wages, soaring healthcare costs, crushing levels of student debt, rampant Wall Street greed, high-tech monsters and much more are all laid at the feet of an allegedly heartless, unresponsive capitalistic system.

It ain't so. Contrary to all this highbrow hand-wringing, the problem is bad government policies and, worse, a fundamental misunderstanding of free markets. It's time for a reality check regarding this much-maligned system.

Capitalism, free enterprise, free markets--whatever you label our system--is moral because one succeeds by meeting the needs and wants of other people. An entrepreneur tries to discern needs people don't know they have until a product or service is introduced to the market. Think Steve Jobs and the iPhone and iPad. Businesspeople try to persuade you to buy what they offer. Unless the government gets involved, there is no coercion. Countless people are trying to come up with ways to make everyone's lives better. If they succeed, they might (gasp!) get rich, but we are all better off.

Ever more sophisticated supply chains rise up, which work precisely because no tsar or central planner is in charge.

Government mistakes--not inherent flaws in free markets--are at the root of every economic crisis in modern times.

The Great Depression was triggered by the draconian Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which imposed higher taxes on thousands of import items, triggering a global trade war that devastated economies. This felony was compounded when countries--Germany, Britain and the U.S. were the worst offenders--substantially raised taxes in the teeth of a sharp downturn.

The terrible inflation of the 1970s was the result of the Federal Reserve and other central banks repeatedly printing too much money. The crisis of 2008–09 sprang from the U.S. deliberately weakening the dollar, which set off a flight to hard assets such as housing.

High taxes are growth-killers.

 Taxes are a burden. Countries that keep the burden light do better than those that don't. After it recovered from WWII, Europe had growth rates comparable to or even better than those of the U.S. But in the 1970s the weight of taxation became heavier and heavier with the imposition of VATs and higher effective income tax rates. Result: microscopic paces of expansion.

Every time the U.S. has enacted big tax cuts, its economy has blossomed. The economy's post-Obama pickup came from the 2017 tax reduction and deregulation.

Excessive regulations hurt.

 Regulatory expert Philip Howard cites a typical example: An upstate New York apple orchard is subject to 5,000 rules from 17 different programs. Regulations cost the U.S. some $2 trillion a year. On average, a manufacturer pays $2,000 to $4,000 in annual taxes per worker; its regulatory burden is $20,000 to $35,000. Is it any wonder that manufacturing has suffered until recently?

Don't blame student debt on free enterprise.

 Government is the villain. With the best intentions Washington created programs to help people pay for college, primarily Pell Grants and student loans. Studies from the New York Fed and others confirm that the more money colleges collected via these schemes, the more students were charged.

High-priced healthcare is not a failure of capitalism.

 Free markets are the solution here, not more government control. Ours is a third-party healthcare system: government (primarily Medicare and Medicaid), insurance companies and large employers, not consumers. Hospitals' revenues depend on how well they negotiate with third parties, not on how well they please their patients. What a drug company charges for a medicine is far smaller than what you see reflected on a hospital bill. A big chunk of the price charged goes to pay pharmaceutical benefit managers. Discovering in advance what a procedure might cost is a Herculean effort.

In normal markets, if you make an advance in productivity, competitors will likely follow suit quickly. Not so in healthcare or higher ed.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma posts all of its prices online. It has topflight surgeons; its overhead is low, by industry standards; and the cost of an operation is a fraction of that charged at traditional hospitals and clinics because patients pay the entire amount in advance. (Prices are higher if a patient wants the center to file their insurance claim.) Yet it has few imitators. Why? Because there is no consumer market. Since third parties foot most of the bill, most patients have no incentive to compare quality and prices, and would be hard put to do so even if they wanted to.

Take electronic records. Every dry cleaner and gas station has had them for 20 years. But not healthcare providers: There was no competitive advantage. Then Washington decided to mandate them but did so destructively, in a manner worthy of the defunct Soviet Union.

Purdue University president Mitch Daniels has frozen tuitions since he took office in 2013. He has enacted numerous efficiencies, so that to attend this prestigious institution a student today pays less than a student did six years ago. By the way, Daniels has boosted the number of Purdue's tenured professors.

But just as with the case of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma and other hospitals, there's no stampede of colleges and universities urgently following Purdue's example.

Free markets reduce poverty.

 Real incomes per person have risen over 50-fold since we achieved independence. Before the Industrial Revolution, which capitalism made possible, individual incomes in the world grew imperceptibly. Today, despite all the economic policy mistakes, poverty is plummeting. Over the past 20 years, 1 billion people have escaped abject poverty.

Free markets always turn scarcity into abundance, today's luxuries into tomorrow's common products.

 Among countless examples is the handheld phone. The first cellphone of the early 1980s--which could only make calls--was as large as a shoe box, weighed as much as a brick, had barely an hour of battery life and cost $3,995. Today there are billions of cellphones, and most have the capability that a supercomputer had a couple of decades ago.

The same happy phenomenon of getting more for less would happen in healthcare if certain free-market reforms were enacted, such as nationwide shopping for medical insurance and removing restrictions on medical savings accounts.


Wages, until recently, had stagnated since the financial crisis of 2008, and they hadn't been improving much in the decade before then. Once again, the problem was faulty government actions.

Investment is the sine qua non for progress, and more investment takes place when money has a stable value. Until the 1970s the dollar had been fixed to gold, and the U.S. economy had grown as no other nation's ever had before. But since then our average growth has declined 25% or more. And guess what: Income growth hasn't been as robust as when we were on the gold standard, either.

Another factor: relentlessly rising medical costs. Employer-provided insurance counts as part of an employee's compensation. Even though compensation has risen, the cash part has lagged. Not helping, either, has been the surge in federal payroll taxes, labeled "FICA" on your paycheck stub. With a regime of low taxes, a trustworthy dollar and a patient-oriented healthcare system, cash wages would rise very nicely.

Profits are essential.

 They are moral. Without them, the economy stagnates and regresses. The economist Joseph Schumpeter famously coined the phrase "creative destruction." Vibrant economies need enormous amounts of new capital to move forward. Change constantly destroys old capital--look at what the internet did to the value of legacy newspaper and magazine publishers--which must be replaced. Capital is needed to finance startups (most fail) and expansions as well as the productivity improvements of existing businesses. Capital comes from profits and savings. In that sense profit is a cost of doing business.

More and more young people want to work for outfits that are not "just" business.

This is one of the great virtues of capitalism: The system seamlessly adjusts to people's wants and expectations. Wise companies quickly pick up and respond to these changes. Forbes has written frequently about these companies and the individuals pioneering their efforts.

Some people in business do bad, amoral or unethical things.

 Yes, they do, but that's not something unique to capitalism. People were guilty of bad behavior long before Adam Smith penned his capitalist classic, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, in 1776. Moreover, in an open, free-market and democratic system, the bad ones are usually flushed out, unlike in authoritarian or socialist regimes.

Socialism never works.

It always leads to blood, tyranny and tears, as can be seen today in Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea and in the recent past in the Soviet Union, Maoist China and communist Cambodia (where, in less than four years, the regime slaughtered more than one fourth of the population).

What about the "socialism" of Scandinavia and Europe?

 They are not socialist in the sense that the government owns and runs the economy. Many of these countries have elaborate welfare programs, restrictive labor laws and overtaxation. But all this is beginning to change.

What self-styled American socialists overlook is that countries like Sweden have been scaling back government. Sweden has been cutting taxes. It has no inheritance tax, and it allows school choice, which is anathema to Bernie Sanders and his ilk. As for the rest of the EU, the average rate of economic growth since the crisis of 2008 has been minuscule, less than half that of the U.S.

More to the point, capitalism creates the wealth that makes welfare states possible. That's why more and more Europeans are looking at pro-capitalist reforms, such as low taxes, to gin up their economies.



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

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


14 May, 2019

Statins DAMAGE your heart

The slow unwinding of a fraud continues

Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms

Harumi Okuyama et al.


In contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, we present a perspective that statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and ‘heme A’, and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification. Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress peroxidative stress. An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestive heart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated.

Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, Volume 8, 2015 - Issue 2


NEW BOOK: Lynn, R. & Becker, D. (2019). "The Intelligence of Nations" London: Ulster Institute for Social Research. ISBN 97809930000157. £20

It has generally been assumed by economists and sociologists that all peoples in the world have the same intelligence. Now a new study shows that this is far from the case and that there are large differences in the IQs of different peoples and that these differences explain a number of economic and social phenomena.

Richard Lynn, a Cambridge educated psychologist and former professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, and David Becker, a political scientist at Chemnitz University in Germany, have collected the IQs for virtually all nations in the world. Their results show that IQs range from the highest of 106 in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan, closely followed by Hong Kong (105), China (104) and South Korea (102) to the lowest in Nepal (43), Sierra Leone (45), Guatemala (48), Nicaragua (53), Gambia (53), Ghana (58) and South Sudan (59). Analysed by regions, IQs are highest in North East Asia at 105, followed by Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand at 100, falling in Southern Europe to 94 in Italy, 93 in Spain and Portugal, and 91 in Greece and Malta.  IQs fall further to 84 in North Africa and South Asia, and finally to 70 in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the Americas IQs are the highest at 99 in Canada, 97 in the United States and 96 in Argentina and are in the 80s in most of Latin America, e.g. 88 in Chile and Mexico, and 83 in Venezuela and Colombia, while (as noted above) to the very low IQs of 53 in Nicaragua and 48 in Guatemala.

Lynn and Becker claim that differences in national IQs are resposible for much of the disparities in wealth between different peoples. This problem has been discussed since the eighteenth century when it was analysed by Adam Smith in his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), in which he argued that the principal factors responsible for national wealth were specialisation and the division of labour, the skills of the population and free markets. From this time up to the present day, numerous theories have been proposed by economists and sociologists to explain why some nations are so rich and others are so poor.

Lynn and Becker argue that it is well established that IQs are a major determinant of earnings among individuals. As most parents know, siblings generally differ in their IQs and it has been found that the sibling with the higher IQ normally achieves a higher income. They argue that higher intelligence brings higher earnings because intelligence is the ability to learn effectively and to solve problems. People with high intelligence lean to acquire more productive skills and can solve more problems than those with low intelligence. Lynn and Becker argue that the same is true for nations.They argue that the intelligence of the populations together with strong market economies are the two major determinants of national differences in per capita incomes. They regard an additonal factors as the possession of natural resources, especially oil and minerals.

Lynn and Becker also show that national IQs contribute to the explanation of national differences in economic growth in the decades following the end of World War Two. In particular the high IQs of the North East Asians contributed to rapid economic growth of Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore and, more recently, of China after it had thown of the constaints of communism and adopted a market economy. Conversely, the low IQs in sub-Saharan Africa contributed to the explanation of its low economic growth and continuing poverty.

Lynn and Becker argue that national IQs explain a number of other economic and social phenomena. National IQs explain much of the differences in educational attainment, intellectual achievements such as innnovative patents and Nobel prizes, political institutions (e.g. democracy and a market economy), happiness, health and nutrition. They also argue that low national IQs explain greater belief in religion, higher rates of crime and higher fertility. They argue that because of the higher fertility in low nations, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, the IQ of the world is declining.

Lynn and Becker discuss the causes of national differences in intelligence. They show that these are strongly associated with the colder environments of Europe and Northeast Asia and argue that highter intelligence evolved in the European and Northeast Asian peoples to survive in these colder latitudes during the last ice age that lasted from around 28,000 years ago to around 12,000 years ago. They show that the European and Northeast Asian peoples evolved large brain size to accommodate their greater intelligence.

Lynn and Becker conclude by discussing the future of national IQs. They argue that the IQs in Europe, the United States and Canada will decline as a result of the low fertility of women graduates with high IQs because many of these are not having children. This is because many of them spend their twenties advancing their careers and then find they are not able to have children, are unable to find a partner with whom to have them or do not want to have them. They have been educated out of their biological function. IQs in Europe will also decline as a result of the immigration of peoples with low IQs from Africa and South Asia. IQs in the United States and Canada will also decline as a result of the immigration of peoples with low IQs from Latin America. They argue that Donald Trump's wall along the southern border with Mexico will not be effective in preventing continuing Latin American immigration. They argue that intelligence will continue to increase in China and that as the IQs in Europe and the United States declines, China will emerge as the world's superpower in the second half of the twenty-first century.

Via email


The importance of standing up to China


Appearing on Lou Dobbs' Fox Business Network show on Monday, former White House Chief Strategist and (also former) Breitbart boss Steve Bannon said that yesterday was the single most important day of Donald Trump's presidency. The reason? He stood up to China.

"I happen to think that today [Monday] was the most important day of Donald Trump's presidency," Bannon told Dobbs. "He's president of the United States because of the rejection of working-class people and middle-class people, about the managed decline of our country at the hands of people like Hillary Clinton. The Clinton global initiative, the whole Clinton apparatus. These globalists and elitists were very comfortable with the managed decline, particularly vis-a-vis the rise of China. And Donald Trump confronted that, particularly in the upper Midwest. This is the reason he won states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. People understand [...] the factories went to China, the jobs went to China, and the opioids came in. So I think that Trump understands that tariffs are more than taxes. They're more about self-empowerment of the working class."

Not only does Trump understand this, Bannon said, but he also explained it very well. "Today he said that [...] 'I'm not going to do this, you're not gonna come back and retrade us. I'm going to hit you with the tariffs.' And I think this is a very big week in American economic history," he added.

In this regard, Bannon explained, it's important to keep in mind that the pressure on Trump to be soft on China has been enormous. "The IR department of the Chinese Communist Party, the Investors Relations department, is Wall Street, the lobbyists of corporate America. The pressure on President Trump has been relentless, and it's all the Fear Project."

Project Fear, he went on, is that we're being told that "if you don't actually get a deal that's just about buying more soya beans, you're going to have a collapse of the stock market and economic catastrophe. President Trump has stood up against that. President Trump says, 'No! This is an economic war.' We're going to have fundamental, structural change in the state capitalism that China has. China has this system of state capitalism. We are going to get changes on forced technology transfers, subsidies to state-owned industries, intellectual property... These are deep issues."

What's more, Bannon said, these moves by Trump aren't aimed at the Chinese people, but at their authoritarian rulers, who use their power and influence to enrich themselves, their family and their friends, while the average Chinese citizen continues to struggle (and is forced to keep his mouth shut about political issues -- or else).

In other words, American lobbyists and Wall Street investors -- who are putting pressure on Trump -- are actually helping an enemy of the American and of the Chinese people, namely the Chinese Communist Party.

Although I'm naturally inclined to argue against imposing tariffs -- this stems from my belief in the free market system: international free trade has proven to be good for everybody -- my views have evolved over the last few years.

First of all, Trump has shown that the threat of imposing or increasing tariffs is a very powerful negotiating tool. So making clear you'd never do so immediately sets you back. Trading "partners" have to at least believe you may do something with tariffs.

Secondly, it's been made increasingly clear that the United States has been treated unfairly by its supposed "partners" for years. Other countries impose tariffs on American products -- there's a reason you see almost no American cars in Europe -- but when the U.S. talks about doing the same, they cry foul and pretend to be all about free trade. That's not how this is supposed to work. Either both parties don't use tariffs, or they both do. If European and Asian countries want their products to be exported to the U.S. without extra added costs, they'll have to return the favor. Until today, they haven't done so.

So, it does make perfect sense for Trump to a) threaten with an increase of tariffs and b) to actually follow through on his threats if America's "partners" don't change their policies.



Strong support in North Carolina for term limits on congress

U.S. Term Limits (USTL) praises Sandy Smith, North Carolina candidate for U.S. Senate, for signing the pledge to term limit Congress. Smith is challenging incumbent and co-sponsor Senator Thom Tillis who also signed the U.S. Term Limits pledge.

Congressional term limits are an extremely popular reform among special election candidates. To date, there have been twelve candidates in the North Carolina congressional district 03 race who signed the pledge. Candidates Tim Harris, Dana Outlaw, Phil Law, Jeff Moore, state representative Phil Shepard (HD-15), Gary Ceres, Col. Francis De Luca, Chimer David Clark Jr., Dr. Kevin Baiko, Dr. Joan Perry, Mike Payment and Celeste Cairns have all committed their support.

In the NC congressional district 9 race, five candidates have pledged, if elected, to cosponsor a congressional term limits amendment. They are Stony Rushing, Stevie Rivenbark, Matthew Ridenhour, Leigh Brown and State Senator Dan Bishop.

Currently, U.S. Term Limits has nearly 70 pledge signers in Congress. USTL President Philip Blumel commented on the extremely popular support saying, “These pledges show that there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians.

The U.S. Term Limits amendment pledge is provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads, “I pledge that as a member of Congress, I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.” The U.S. Term Limits constitutional amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz (SJR1) and the U.S. House by Representative Francis Rooney (HJR20).

Blumel noted, “We have seen a dramatic increase in supporters wanting term limits on Congress. More than 82% of Americans have rejected the career politician model and want to replace it with citizen leadership. The way to achieve that goal is through congressional term limits.”

According to the latest nationwide poll on term limits conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, conducted in January 2018, term limits enjoy wide bipartisan support. McLaughlin’s analysis states, “Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 82% of voters approve of a Constitutional Amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress.”



Fewer Manufacturing Jobs, and More Millionaires

A recent study by market research group New World Wealth revealed that 108,000 millionaires “migrated across borders” in 2018. Australia, the United States, Canada and Switzerland were the biggest recipients of the well-to-do, while Turkey, India, Russia and China were the biggest losers. We emphasize losers simply because nothing harms a country more than the loss of financial and human capital. 

This rates discussion in consideration of the well-worn pledge made by members of the political class to “bring back” jobs. Manufacturing jobs are a particularly popular political promise, but if our leaders are really interested in helping their constituents, they would instead commit themselves to relentless recruitment of the world’s millionaires and billionaires. Yes, you read that right. We’re saying politicians should go against type court the rich. Please read on.

Fairly explicit in the migration of the world’s prosperous is a desire among those with means to protect their wealth from the grasping hands of politicians. Translated, the country they choose is likely to be where they put the lion’s share of their millions and billions to work. That all economic opportunity is a certain consequence of investment speaks to how essential are the world’s much-demonized ‘1 percenters’ to economic growth.

The rich and superrich uniquely possess the unspent wealth without which there is no progress. Contrary to what they teach in high school and college economics classes, consumption doesn’t drive economic growth. If it did, Peru would be as prosperous as the United States. Peruvians have consumptive desires similar to ours, but they consume less than we do precisely because they produce exponentially fewer goods and services than we do. Behind all consumption is production first. The investment that the rich provide is the driver of ever-increasing production.

Very notable about the rich is that they don’t solely bring financial capital with them. Many, and realistically most, bring much more valuable commercial capabilities that are a magnet for investment.

If anyone doubts the above assertion, they need only ask themselves what would happen if Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to respectively move to Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit. Each would bring much more than his multi-billion dollar net worth. To be clear, billions worth of investment would follow these most enterprising of entrepreneurs, but even more important for the growth of the now-struggling cities would be the human capital that would follow Bezos, Thiel and Zuckerberg to these somewhat “forgotten” locales.

Seemingly lost in all the political and media hype about cities supposedly harmed by factory closures is that the loss of a factory could never consign a city to also-ran status. If it could, New York and Los Angeles would be the most economically devastated places in the United States.

Indeed, one hundred years ago New York (#1) and Los Angeles (#4) listed among the top manufacturing hubs in the U.S. And while the factories and the jobs formerly within them are gone, each city thrives precisely because it’s a magnet for the mega-talented individuals whose wealth and talent powers progress, and that exists as a lure for millions of ambitious people from around the United States and around the world. Other cities like Austin, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and Seattle can similarly claim strivers from all over. That so many people aren’t from the cities mentioned speaks to why they’re booming.  Economies are made up of people, and people generally migrate to where the rich and enterprising already live and work. That’s where the opportunity is.

That’s why the desire among politicians to hide their affinity for the rich and superrich strikes us as so odd. Why would they do that? Where the rich locate their wealth and talent is nearly always where the economic growth is. Voters can handle this truth, and more realistically they’re living this truth. That’s why the populations of the cities populated by so many millionaires and billionaires continue to grow.

It’s time for politicians to catch their rhetoric and actions up to economic realities. Taking nothing away from labor unions and factories, their arrival into a city or town won’t result in booming growth. But the arrival of millionaires and billionaires surely will. Looking ahead, we’ll know that politicians are truly serious about prosperity when they start their campaigns not in a union hall or pizza joint, but in the office of a billionaire.



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

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


13 May, 2019

Here we go again: Trump is insane!

Bandy Lee is leading the charge again.  She never gives up.

She is a NYC "shrink" (psychiatrist) so is an expert at attributing motives that may or may not be there.  And Mr Trump is giving her frabjous joy, as we see in her article below. 

Psychologists are generally rather contemptuous of psychiatrists on the grounds that their conclusions are only weakly based on evidence.  And I am one of those critics.  As a social psychologist (I have many articles in the Journal of Social Psychology) I am quite amazed at Dr. Lee's apparent ignorance of the demand characteristics of the situation under which her "evidence" was produced.

Let me describe it.  Robert Mueller was running a show which was devoted to finding "dirt" on Donald J. Trump.  And all the media were proclaiming that the whole thing was a lay down misere and that Mr Trump would soon be booted from office. What would you do if you were interrogated by Mr Mueller in that situation? 

You would engage in what is colloquially called "ass-covering".  You would portray Mr Trump in as bad a light as you could without actually lying.  So you would be one of the good guys if Trump fell. You wouldn't lie outright in case Trump survived and came to get you. You would generalize, exaggerate, interpret and "forget" things like context. 

And an awareness of that situation makes plausible what Mr Trump said about the Mueller report: That it is a pack of lies.  Since Trump was right and the media were wrong about his Russia connection, should we not take the word of the one man who has demonstrably come out clean from all the accusations?  I do.  Dr Lee is building her castle on sand, on fiction, to be precise.  Her continuing poorly-founded interest in Mr Trump's mental health seems rather obsessional, and hence not fully sane

Concerns about Donald Trump’s fitness for the office of president arose during the campaign and continue to this day. But now, in the Mueller report, we have an abundance of new evidence that sheds light on these concerns. What makes this a unique opportunity is the quality and relevance of the data: They are derived from multiple sources both friendly and opposed to the president, were obtained under oath, and show us how the president conducted himself in the eyes of those who worked directly with him while in office.

While we were concerned enough to put our initial cautions in a public-service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” each additional piece of evidence has substantiated the correctness of that assessment over time. Now, the Mueller report elevates this assessment to new levels. Here is just a small sampling:

“The president’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders.” (Vol. II, p. 158)

The pattern that emerges of the president is one of rash, short-sighted decision-making, without consideration of consequences. He is protected only by actions on the part of former FBI director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn, and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who, in effect, shield the president from himself by refusing or failing to follow his directions. Reckless, impulsive moves that are self-destructive, despite the intention of self-protection, are characteristic of dangerous impairment. They impede Trump’s capacity to prioritize national security.

“The president asked [former chief of staff Reince] Priebus to reach out to [former national security adviser Michael] Flynn and let him know that the president still cared about him.” (Vol. II, p. 43)

“[Former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort told [Manafort’s former business partner Rick] Gates that he had talked to the president’s personal counsel and they were ‘going to take care of us.’ ” (Vol. II, p. 123)

“[Attorney Robert] Costello told Cohen the conversation was ‘very, very positive . . . you are loved’ . . . you have friends in high places.’ ” (Vol. II, p. 147)

The president reveals that he operates from a different logic than the rule of law, or commonly held principles, in a manner that is manipulative and incompatible with democracy. His seditious manner and encouragement of similar subversion of institutions is closely connected to a view of the world as a threatening place where he must fight for himself and buttress his support. This is a paranoid stance that can quickly turn into violence when a paranoid person is feeling cornered, as corroborated by the president’s later attacks and threats against Cohen when the latter started cooperating with the special counsel. This is a dangerous mindset.

“According to notes written by [Jody] Hunt [chief of staff to then-attorney general Jeff Sessions], when Sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said, ‘Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f-----d.’ [Former communications director Hope] Hicks saw the president shortly after Sessions departed and described the president as being extremely upset. . . . [S]he had only seen the president like that one other time, when the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out during the campaign.’’ (Vol. II, pp. 78-79)

These episodes demonstrate not only a lack of control over emotions but preoccupation with threats to the self. There is no room for consideration of national plans or policies, or his own role in bringing about his predicament and how he might change, but instead a singular focus on how he is a victim of circumstance and his familiar whining about unfairness.

This mindset can easily turn into rage reactions; it is commonly found in violent offenders in the criminal justice system, who perpetually consider themselves victims under attack, even as they perpetrate violence against others, often without provocation. In this manner, a “victim mentality” and paranoia are symptoms that carry a high risk of violence.

“We noted, among other things, that the president stated on more than 30 occasions that he ‘does not recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an ‘independent recollection’ of information called for by the questions. Other answers were ‘incomplete or imprecise.’ ” (Vol. II, p. C-1)

This response is from a president who, in public rallies, rarely lacks certainty, no matter how false his assertions and claims that he has “the world’s greatest memory” and “one of the great memories of all time.” His lack of recall is particularly meaningful in the context of his unprecedented mendacity, which alone is dangerous and divisive for the country. Whether he truly does not remember or is totally fabricating, either is pathological and highly dangerous in someone who has command over the largest military in the world and over thousands of nuclear weapons.

The Mueller report details numerous lies by the president, perhaps most clearly regarding his handling of the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower (Vol II, p. 98ff). First he denied knowing about the meeting, then described it as only about adoption, then denied crafting his son’s response, and then, in his formal response to Mueller, conceded that it was he who dictated the press release. Lying per se is not especially remarkable. Coupled with the other characteristics noted here, however, lying becomes a part of a pervasive, compelling, reflexive pattern of distraught gut reactions for handling challenges by misleading, manipulating, and blocking others’ access to the truth. Rather than being seen as bona fide alternatives, challenges are perceived as personal threats and responded to in a dangerous, no-holds-barred manner.

“ ‘Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the special counsel.’ McGahn recalled the president telling him ‘Mueller has to go’ and ‘Call me back when you do it.’ ” (Vol. II, p. 86)

This incident merits singling out not only because of its egregiousness, but also because of its foolishness. In a post-Nixon era, and especially after the experience of firing Comey, a rational, non-impulsive person with reality-based decision-making would hesitate before pursuing this path. Congruent with his reasons for firing Comey, “to take the pressure off,” he apparently believed he could use all the powers at his disposal to have his way, and almost delusionally expected impunity. Such a mindset of false beliefs in freedom from consequences is extremely dangerous when coupled with power and is great cause for alarm in the US presidency.

As mental health professionals, we are able to offer our understanding of behavior when it reflects profound impairment. The psychological nature of the president’s impairments is thoroughly revealed in the Mueller report. The report has documented the president as willful, enormously self-absorbed, ruthlessly exploitative, threatened, and delusionally heedless of the consequences of his impulsive actions. His dangerousness constitutes a national crisis.


When Reality Bucks Certain Democratic Wishes and Dreams
“We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.”

That was New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, making a prediction on Election Night in 2016 about what we could expect under President Trump.

Month after month, however, Mr. Krugman’s crystal ball has proven untrustworthy. But surely vindication would come sooner or later, right?

After all, Mr. Krugman’s not just any columnist. He’s a Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He won the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

And he wasn’t alone in predicting gloom and doom under Mr. Trump. Many other liberal economists foresaw catastrophe on the horizon.

Fast forward to the latest monthly employment numbers, though, and you find reality simply refuses to play along with their hopes er, prognosis.

Again, we got some stellar figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In April, the economy created some 263,000 jobs, even better than the already impressive 213,000 jobs per month that has been created on average over the last year. We’re now up to 103 straight months of job creation.

The unemployment rate is at 3.6 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been in almost 50 years. You’d have to go back to the days of the first moon landing to get an employment rate this good. It’s 3.1 percent for adult women — the lowest since 1953 — and 4.1 percent for Hispanics, which is the lowest it’s ever been.

Wages, meanwhile, continue to grow, especially for those on the lower end of the economic scale. “The recent wage gains have been largest for those who need it most,” writes tax expert Adam Michel. “For the last six months, wage growth for production and non-supervisory workers outpaced the average for the entire economy.”

The continued good news has left a number of economic watchers more than a bit confounded. “The labor market the United States is experiencing right now wasn’t supposed to be possible,” writes Neil Irwin in The New York Times.

If the conventional wisdom proved correct, for example, we’d been experiencing some serious inflation right now. Three years ago, the Federal Reserve was predicting 4.8 percent unemployment in 2019, with 2 percent inflation. Instead, of course, the jobless figure is a full 1.2 percentage points lower, and inflation is only 1.6 percent over the last year.

Some liberals insist that Mr. Trump doesn’t deserve the credit — that what we’re seeing is simply a continuation of good economic news that began before Mr. Trump took office.

True, the job market had been improving for a while before he became president. But, Mr. Irwin writes, “After more than two years of the Trump administration, warnings that trade wars and erratic management style would throw the economy off course have proved wrong so far, and tax cuts and deregulation are most likely part of the reason for the strong growth rates in 2018 and the beginning of 2019.”

But even as we savor the benefits of a strong economy (and enjoy how wrong the naysayers have once again proved themselves to be), this is no time to stand pat. Lawmakers need to keep tax rates and tariffs low. They can start by doing two things above all else.

One, make the 2017 tax cut permanent. The cut has been doing some good work, but key provisions are set to expire after 2025. The economy will do even better once employers and businesses know the cut won’t be going away.

Second, tame out-of-control spending. Politicians once took their responsibility to be sensible stewards of the national purse seriously, but profligacy has since become a way of life on both sides of the aisle. The tremendous amount of debt we’re accumulating will saddle future generations with higher taxes and less opportunity.

And if we don’t attack this problem when our economy is so strong, when will we? So let’s act — and shore up the tremendous gains we’ve seen so far.



Discrimination Isn’t the Only Thing Causing Inequality

Walter E. Williams   

Last week’s column discussed Thomas Sowell’s newest book “Discrimination and Disparities,” which is an enlarged and revised edition of an earlier version. In this review, I am going to focus on one of his richest chapters titled “Social Visions and Human Consequences.”

Sowell challenges the seemingly invincible fallacy “that group outcomes in human endeavors would tend to be equal, or at least comparable or random, if there were no biased interventions, on the one hand, nor genetic deficiencies, on the other.”

But disparate impact statistics carries the day among academicians, lawyers, and courts as evidence of discrimination.

Sowell gives the example of blacks, who make up close to 70% of NFL and AFL players in professional football. Blacks are greatly overrepresented among star players but almost nonexistent among field goal kickers and punters. Probably the only reason why lawsuits are not brought against team owners is that the same people hire running backs and field goal kickers.

One wonders whether anyone has considered the possibility that professional black players do not want to be punters and field goal kickers?

Different social classes raise their children differently. Studies have shown that children whose parents are professional heard more words per hour than children whose families are on welfare. Studies show that professional parents used “more words and more different words … more multiclause sentences, more past and future verb tenses. … The ratio of affirmative words to negative words was six to one with parents who had professional occupation.”

By contrast, families on welfare used discouraging words more than 2 to 1: words such as “Don’t,” “Stop,” “Quit,” and “Shut up.”

Sowell sarcastically asks, are we to believe that children raised in such different ways, many years before they reach an employer, a college admissions office, or crime scene are the same in capabilities, orientation, and limitations?

Social justice warriors ignore many differences that have little or nothing to do with discrimination but have an enormous impact on outcomes. Age is one of those factors.

Median age differences between groups, sometimes of a decade or two, will have an enormous impact on observed group outcomes. The median age for American Jews is slightly over 50 years old and that of Latinos is 28.

Just on median age alone, would one be surprised at significant group income disparity and other differences related to age?

Sowell says that a single inconspicuous difference in circumstance can make a huge historical difference in human outcomes.

During the 1840s, Ireland experienced a potato famine. Potatoes were the principle food of the Irish. That famine led to the deaths of a million people and caused 2 million to flee. The same variety of potato that was grown in Ireland was also grown in the U.S. with no crop failure.

The source of Ireland’s crop failure has been traced to a fertilizer used on both sides of the Atlantic. The difference was that fertilizer contained a fungus that thrived in the mild and moist climate of Ireland but did not in the hot, dry climate of Idaho and other potato growing areas of the U.S. That one small difference caused massive human tragedy.

A study of National Merit Scholarship finalists found that firstborn children were finalists far more often than their younger siblings. In the U.S. and other countries such as Britain and Germany, the firstborns’ IQs were higher than their siblings. Among medical students, a high proportion are firstborn.

Sowell asks that if equality of outcomes don’t exist among people with the same parents, raised in the same household, why would one expect equality of outcomes elsewhere?

Morally neutral factors such as crop failures, birth order, geographic setting, and demographic or cultural differences are among the reasons why economic and social outcomes fail to fit the preconceived notions of “experts.”

The bottom line about Sowell’s new book, “Discrimination and Disparities,” is that it contains a wealth of data and analysis that turns much of the thinking of politicians, academicians, legal experts, and judges into pure, unadulterated mush.



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

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


12 May, 2019

The war on Barr
Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr’s indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election. Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned. But only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr’s summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr’s synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr’s summation can be found on the internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions.

Again, there have been few criticisms that Barr was wrong on his interpretation that there was no collusion and not enough evidence to indict on obstruction of justice.

But now Democrats are calling for Barr to resign or be impeached for not regurgitating the unproven allegations against Trump. In other words, Barr acted too much like a federal prosecutor rather than a tabloid reporter trafficking in allegations that did not amount to criminal conduct.

The besmirching of Barr’s conduct is surreal. He certainly has not done anything even remotely approximating the conduct of former President Obama’s two attorneys general.

Has Barr dubbed himself the president’s “wingman” or called America a “nation of cowards,” as did former Attorney General Eric Holder?

Has Barr’s Department of Justice monitored reporters’ communications or ordered surveillance of a television journalist? Has Barr used a government jet to take his family to the Belmont Stakes horse race, as did Holder?

Has Barr met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of a person his Justice Department was investigating, as did former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had such a meeting with Bill Clinton?

The Mueller report ignored the likely illegal origins of the Christopher Steele dossier, the insertion of an FBI informant into the Trump campaign, the unlawful leaking of documents, and the conflicted testimonies of former high-level intelligence officials.

All of those things were potential felonies. All in some way yielded information that Mueller drew on in his investigation. Yet Mueller never recommended a single indictment of any of the Obama-era officials who likely broke laws.

Mueller was instead fixated on possible collusion with Russia. But it is a crime to knowingly hire a foreign national to work on a presidential campaign — in other words, to “collude.” That is exactly what the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee did when they paid British subject Christopher Steele to smear Trump.

Did Mueller argue that the possible crimes of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and other former government officials — lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, deceiving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, planting an informant into a political campaign, unmasking and leaking the identities of individuals under surveillance — were only peripheral to his investigation?

Not really. After all, Mueller indicted Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone and others for crimes that had nothing to do with collusion and were far less serious than the improper behavior of top Obama administration bureaucrats.

So what really explains the furor now directed at Barr?

One, progressives are terrified that a number of Trump’s critics — Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe — may soon be indicted. They apparently seek to preempt such indictments by attacking Barr, a seemingly no-nonsense prosecutor who will likely follow up on any criminal referrals from any inspector general that reach his desk.

Two, the 2020 progressive agenda — whether defined as the Green New Deal, a wealth tax, Medicare for All or open borders — will not compete well with Trump’s currently booming economy. Impeaching Trump for collusion and obstruction is seen by progressives as the best (or perhaps only) way to return to power. That effort so far is failing, causing even more hysteria.

Three, the Mueller investigation is over, finished after 22 months, $34 million and a 448-page, two-volume report.

There will be no indictments of Trump for either collusion or the obstruction of justice during the investigation of that non-crime. So now what?

Since late 2015, Trump, as the supposed Russian puppet or the Machiavellian obstructer of justice, was nightly cable-TV news fare. Now, such fantasies are shattered. But progressives are not willing to let the Mueller investigation rest in peace and move on with their lives.

Perhaps they feel in the political sense that there is nothing to move on to. And they are probably right.



Democrats and their phony "constitutional crisis."

"Not one of the six Democrats granted access to what amounts to 99.9 percent of volume II of the Mueller report, which details the president's behavior as it relates to obstruction of justice, have taken the opportunity to examine it," writes National Review's Jack Crowe. But according to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), there's a "constitutional crisis" after President Donald Trump, at the request of the Justice Department, asserted executive privilege to protect Attorney General William Barr from being held in contempt of Congress. Undeterred, Democrats maintained their vacuous assertion that Barr is hiding something and voted to hold him in contempt anyway.

Spare us the hand-wringing over constitutional fidelity and the Rule of Law. This is nothing more than pure Democrat political theater meant to advance their manufactured faux scandal. Nadler peddles a myth when claiming that Barr is "not being truthful with Congress." How has Barr not been truthful? In fact, the AG went above and beyond the requirements of law in order to get as much of Robert Mueller's report to the American public as is legally possible. Anyone can get a copy, and key Democrats even have access to all but a few lines of redacted material.

But that's not enough for Democrats. Their demand is that Barr break the law by presenting the report fully unredacted. As Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation explains, "Unless Congress's request for Rule 6(e) grand jury material falls squarely into one of the statutory or court-created exceptions, the attorney general — any attorney general — is prohibited from disclosing that material to Congress. And the congressional request doesn't fit any of the exceptions."

Why are Democrats making this demand, since Mueller's team, which consisted of mostly Democrat lawyers, determined after nearly two years of investigation that no crime was committed? Because, as Mark Alexander notes, "It's not about the substance of the Mueller report. It's about keeping the fake narrative alive." Democrats will not be satisfied with anything short of removing Trump. So, if there is a "constitutional crisis," it's not coming from Trump and the executive branch.

Nadler's claim that the executive branch has somehow overstepped the Constitution's delineation of powers is a charge that is nonsense on its face. Using the term "co-equal," Nadler and the Democrats act like that means the executive branch is fully answerable to the legislative branch's every petty demand. Clearly, Democrats believe their political position and interests are "more equal" than Trump's.

Recall that it was the same Jerry Nadler who back in 2012 touted that he "just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG [Eric] Holder in contempt." When it was a Democrat sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Nadler was singing a completely different tune. But it's 2019 and Trump is president...

The truth is, Democrats know that there is no "smoking gun" to be found in any of the redacted portions of the Mueller report. They just want an excuse to claim that Barr is engaged in "obstruction." And they're trying to tar Barr as a biased Trump stooge who is so politically compromised that he cannot be trusted as the nation's number-one lawman. The real play? Self-protection. As Victor Davis Hanson observes, "Progressives are terrified that a number of Trump's critics — Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe — may soon be indicted. They apparently seek to preempt such indictments by attacking Barr, a seemingly no-nonsense prosecutor who will likely follow up on any criminal referrals from any inspector general that reach his desk." Those coup co-conspirators pose the real constitutional crisis.



What The New York Times Left Out Of Trump Tax Story: It Changes Everything

Trump in fact survived the 1988 property slump better than many others

Donald Trump must have breathed a sigh of relief as 1995 drew to a close. The epic crash of New York City (NYC) real estate, which had battered Trump’s investments and left many of his fellow real estate investors clinging to any lifeline of solvency, was finally over. Prices of New York City real estate, which had fallen in each of the previous five years, had finally started to rise.

Breitbart Reports:

Apartment rental prices fell by 15 percent during the slump that had begun in 1988. The prices of co-ops and condos were down by nearly twice that much. Manhattan homes fell by 32.9 percent between 1989 and 1996, according to a study by the Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy. In Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen — that westside stretch where Trump had invested so much in a plan to turn an old railyard into a new neighborhood — home prices fell 40.4 percent.

The giant Canadian real estate company Olympia & York had declared bankruptcy. At one point, it had been the largest landlord in New York. By 1992, it had fired its bankers from J.P. Morgan and hired Felix G. Rohatyn, the guy who had saved New York City itself from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s. In the end, it would be swallowed up by its creditors, vanishing into the ash heap of history.

Banks were getting crushed. New Jersey’s largest savings association was seized by federal regulators after real estate losses. Wall Street was scrambling, with real-estate king Goldman Sachs suddenly finding it could not raise money from investors for real estate projects

“Even Goldman, which has dominated the business on Wall Street, is telling many of its real estate bankers to look for new jobs,” a news story noted in 1991.

Trump had made it through the worst period in New York City real estate in living memory while bigger, deeper-pocketed rivals had failed — a sigh of relief, at least.

Yet according to the New York Times story detailing glimpses at Trump’s finances from “tax transcripts” of his filings from 1985 to 1994, Trump’s personal financial losses during the New York City real estate crisis somehow mark him as a failure rather than someone who persevered through an economic story.

From the Times:

Mr. Trump was propelled to the presidency, in part, by a self-spun narrative of business success and of setbacks triumphantly overcome. He has attributed his first run of reversals and bankruptcies to the recession that took hold in 1990. But 10 years of tax information obtained by The New York Times paints a different, and far bleaker, picture of his deal-making abilities and financial condition.

The story goes on to describe how Trump reported negative income — meaning he lost money — every year from 1985 until 1994, the years for which the Times obtained tax transcripts. The big losses, however, come the years from 1990 through 1994, with 1990 and 1991 showing up as the worst. In other words, the Times story shows that Trump’s business of real estate investing in and around New York City suffered massive losses in the years when New York City real estate crashed.

The Times story on Trump’s taxes does not include the condition of the New York City real estate market in those years, although every link to data in this article (saving the Furman Center study) is to articles in the New York Times.

This is not the first time the Times has declared Trump a business failure. In 1991, when the losses the New York Times reported on this week were mounting, Times columnist Floyd Norris declared that Trump’s financial troubles meant “the Trump aura will never be the same.”

“For Mr. Trump, Fed easing might not help that much. Bankers may not be fast learners, but they do catch on. For him, the era of easy credit is unlikely to ever return,” Norris wrote in 1990.

As it turns out, that announcement of the financial death of Trump was as exaggerated as claims made decades later that Trump could not possibly win the 2016 presidential election.



More Leftist murderers

It's in their DNA  -- check the Communists

Earlier this week, two teenagers perpetrated a premeditated mass shooting at their charter school in suburban Denver.  They murdered one of their classmates, a hero who rushed his killer in an effort to stop the slaughter, and wounded eight more.  As authorities investigate the motives behind this horrific crime, we've learned new details about at least one alleged assailant's political views.  He resented gay-"hating" Christians, and shared pro-Obama and anti-Trump material on social media.  Via the Washington Examiner (redactions mine):

The social media posts by a suspect in the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting in Colorado included opposition to "Christians who hate gays," criticism of President Trump, and support for the left-wing Occupy Democrats...On his now-deleted Facebook account, [the alleged shooter], 18, posted: "You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn’t do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that. But all they get out of it is ‘ewwwwww gays.'"The other suspect in the shooting, which left one dead and seven wounded, has been identified as in court documents as [the other alleged shooter], a 16-year-old female who identifies as a transgender male and prefers to be called Alec...In 2016, Erickson shared a video of late-night host Seth Meyers criticizing President Donald Trump prior to the 2016 election, and had shared an Occupy Democrats post that praised President Barack Obama.

An Occupy Democrats meme he posted also criticized Fox News.  When anyone associated with any element of the right -- even the extreme alt-right fringe -- commits an act of violence these days, many in the media rush to blame President Trump, or at least tie his rhetoric to a cultural 'climate' in which such despicable acts take place.  As I've written about repeatedly, I find such arguments abhorrent.  Deranged and evil people are responsible for their crimes, not politicians or mainstream political ideologies. I stand by that view.  But much of the press seems to be rather selective in applying standards on this front.  Indeed, the suspected shooter's apparent leftism has hardly generated any major coverage at all.  If he were a MAGA hat-wearing, 'build the wall'-chanting teenager, do you think that information would have been reported far more prominently?  Don't bother; it's a rhetorical question.

We're just a few short news cycles removed from lefties lecturing conservatives about their supposed "incitement" against Rep. Ilhan Omar, assailing critics of her bigotry and ignorance for allegedly making her unsafe.  In this Colorado case, we have a young man whose brain was apparently full of left-wing ideas, including the notion that Christians 'hate' gay people.  He then decided to team up with a classmate to shoot as many people he could at his high school.  Is it time for liberals to tone down their rhetoric and incitement?  After all, people are getting shot.  Whether or not his true motives were even remotely political (the Congressional baseball shooter was undoubtedly driven by intense partisan animus) is almost immaterial.  Harsh words of criticism, even against bona fide bigotry, can have dangerous ripple effects, and might even put people in physical peril, right?  That was the lesson from the Left on Omar.  It was the "climate of hate" lesson from the Left on Giffords. 

Indeed, it's a recurring theme whenever the facts appear to fit a certain narrative (even if they actually don't).  Based on their own standards, shouldn't we be having a national conversation about left-wing rhetoric, debating the extent to which Democratic leaders and liberal influencers may have contributed to an overall environment that allows hate to fester and boil over? 



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

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


10 May, 2019

Shock: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Trump Admin on Asylum Policy

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the Trump administration can continue to send Central American migrants back to Mexico while their requests for asylum in the U.S. are adjudicated. The three-judge panel struck down a lower court's preliminary injunction blocking the policy, allowing it to continue on a temporary basis while the court considers broader issues in the case.

The decision from the San Francisco-based appeals court was a surprise victory for the White House, as the administration has lost in several other immigration-related rulings from the left-leaning court in the past.

Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, an appointee of former President Ronald Reagan, authored the 11-page opinion and wrote that the administration was likely to succeed on legal challenges to the policy under federal immigration and regulatory law.
O'Scannlain also said the Homeland Security Department could face harm if a federal court order freezes one of its enforcement tools.

"DHS is likely to suffer irreparable harm absent a stay because the preliminary injunction takes off the table one of the few congressionally authorized measures available to process the approximately 2,000 migrants who are currently arriving at the nation’s southern border on a daily basis," he wrote.

The two liberal judges — Obama and Clinton appointees — also backed the decision to allow the policy to stay in effect, but criticized DHS’s implementation of it in individual opinions.

"The government is wrong," Judge William Fletcher wrote, arguing that existing federal statute prevented DHS from sending the asylum seekers back to Mexico. "Not just arguably wrong, but clearly and flagrantly wrong."

Judge Paul Watford, an Obama nominee, wrote in his opinion that he believes the administration’s treatment of asylum-seekers is in violation of the U.S.’s obligation to not return those migrants to countries where they could face persecution.
He pointed to DHS guidelines that state that immigration officers ask applicants who are being returned to Mexico if they fear persecution or torture in the nation only if the migrants say so themselves first.

The judges did agree that migrants would not be facing certain injury if returned to Mexico.

"The plaintiffs fear substantial injury upon return to Mexico, but the likelihood of harm is reduced somewhat by the Mexican government’s commitment to honor its international-law obligations and to grant humanitarian status and work permits to individuals returned," the judges concluded.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who departed from the Trump administration last month, first announced the policy in late December.

"Aliens trying to game the system to get into our country illegally will no longer be able to disappear into the United States,” Nielsen said when she introduced the policy.



Survey: 29% of Black Democratic Female Likely Voters Favorable or Neutral on Trump

A new survey of black Democratic women likely to vote in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries showed that 29% of them "had a favorable or neutral opinion of Donald Trump," which is a "much different picture than the one portrayed in most media," said VoterLabs.

VoterLabs conducted the survey of 689 black Democratic female voters likely to vote in the primaries between April 19 and April 24. This was before Joe Biden announced he was entering the race.

As reported, "29% of respondents had a favorable or neutral opinion of Donald Trump," said VoterLabs. "Of those polled 16% responded that they 'really like him' or 'he’s okay,' with an additional almost 13% unsure or undecided, a much different picture than the one portrayed in most media."

“Trump’s numbers with black Democratic women show that his populist message still resonates with many," said Walter Kawecki, the founder and CEO of VoterLabs. "Given that [Bernie] Sanders also has a heavily populist message, and is currently enjoying strong support in this community, Trump’s numbers shouldn’t be that surprising.

“It’s also important to remember that Hillary Clinton badly underperformed with this group in 2016," he said. "Turnout among black Democratic women dropped from around 68% in 2008 and 70% in 2012, to about 64% in 2016."

"I think the take away here is that, to avoid a repeat of 2016, an emotionally resonant populist appeal, delivered in a way voters deem authentic, will be key to turning out this crucial Democratic constituency," said Walter Kawecki.

“The 2020 presidential contest may well hinge on whether black Democratic women turn out or stay home," he added.  "Failure to maximize turnout among this potentially pivotal segment of the Democratic coalition could prove disastrous for the party's nominee."

"Trump’s numbers show that Democrats should take this seriously," said Kawecki.



Senate Dem Campaign Committee’s Poll Shows People Favor Future Justices Like Kavanaugh over Ginsburg

Some amusing foot-shooting

A poll by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asking whether people would prefer more Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Brett Kavanaugh seems to have backfired.

The poll itself asked: “Do you want more Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg or do you want more like Brett Kavanaugh?”

The poll results, which were posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon and later deleted, showed 71 percent of respondents chose Kavanaugh over Ginsburg, who only got 29 percent of the vote.

The poll had two days of voting left before it was taken down.

The Washington Examiner reports that the poll had “just shy of 160,000 votes” when it was taken down.



Poorest Americans Are Benefiting Most From Strong Economy

It’s hard to escape the good economic news these days.

New reports show that in the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. economy grew by 3.2%, outpacing expectations by almost a full percentage point. In the month of April, unemployment fell to a 50-year low of 3.6%. Businesses continue to add hundreds of thousands of jobs month after month.

The sustained good economic news is in no small part thanks to last year’s tax cuts, and President Donald Trump’s work to cut unnecessary regulations that made it too costly to hire new workers or grow businesses.

The old cliché is that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That’s correct, but it misses the full scope of what a strong and growing economy does for the poorest among us. It is actually the poor, those who have been historically disenfranchised, people with disabilities, and lower-skilled workers who benefit the most from rising economic tides.

Let’s look at the details.

In April, the unemployment rate for Americans with a high school degree fell to the lowest rates since before the Great Recession. Unemployment for workers with disabilities fell from 8% to 6.3% over the last 12 months, the lowest level since the measure began in 2008.

Hispanic unemployment is the lowest it has been since 1973 (also when the measure began). Black unemployment remains close to historic lows, climbing slightly since the end of 2018.

One could hardly wish for a better trend. This economy is working for every class of American.

When the economy is strong and unemployment rates are consistently low, two things happen. First, job openings pull workers off the sidelines and into the workforce. People who had been so discouraged that they stopped looking for work start getting jobs again. That’s what we’re seeing. New York Times reporter Ben Casselman noted that more than 70% of new hires last month “weren’t actively looking for work, but got jobs anyway.”

Second, employers raise wages in order to keep good talent and attract new workers to fill job openings. And that’s happening, too. Until recently, wage growth had lagged behind expectations. Not anymore.

Following the 2017 tax cuts, the growth rate for average hourly earnings began to tick up, and over the past year, average hourly earnings rose by 3.2%. That’s a raise of roughly $1,400 in a year’s take-home pay. Before 2018, wage growth hadn’t reached 3% since 2009.

The recent wage gains have been largest for those who need it most. For the last six months, wage growth for production and non-supervisory workers outpaced the average for the entire economy.

In the past year, wage growth was 6.6% for the 10th percentile of workers with the lowest incomes, according to the Annual Report of the Council of Economic Advisers. That’s double the 3.3% growth rate for workers at the top of the income distribution.

As poorer workers continue to benefit the most from the strong economy, we will see trends in wage inequality go down. By one measure, we have already “seen some narrowing of inequality, measured as wages at the top relative to the bottom,” as reported by Obama administration economist Jason Furman.

The American people seem to be internalizing all the good news. Job satisfaction and consumer confidence are high. Workers have the highest job satisfaction since 2005, and satisfaction improved faster for lower-income households in the most recent data.

Thanks to the strong economy, Americans who aren’t happy at their current work are voluntarily leaving their jobs for better opportunities at the highest rate since 2000, when the measure started.

In addition, consumer confidence remains high after surging to an 18-year peak last fall, signaling that Americans are confident in the economy. Retirees are also more confident about their retirement security and ability to live comfortably on their savings, reporting the highest retirement confidence numbers since the early 1990s.

For now, American workers are enjoying the benefits of pro-growth policies. But there is still more that Washington can do to ensure this economic expansion continues. The most pressing example is Congress’ unwillingness to cut federal spending, which has driven our debt to dangerous levels that are already dragging down our economy below where we should be.

If spending isn’t brought under control, our ballooning deficits could lead to higher taxes on current and future generations.

Right now, the powers of good policy are buoying the U.S. economy and workers. If our representatives in Washington can manage to keep taxes low and rein in federal spending, the future can be even brighter.   



Ronald McDonalds at the Helm

Leftist Clown Justin Trudeau Follows in the Footsteps of Obama


Over the last year, I’ve met a growing number of fellow Canadians who have begun to yearn for a Donald to lead the country. They have belatedly recognized that they have a Ronald McDonald at the helm in Justin Trudeau, whose antics may delight children but who is quite incapable in any adult capacity.

Most recently, our dear leader in sensitive trade talks with the Japanese prime minister referred to the country as China. We recall that Trudeau wished the Canadian Olympic team in Seoul, South Korea, best of luck in Pyongyang, North Korea. We learn from an interview in The New York Times that Canada has no core identity—not how a sober statesman speaks of his country. This is the man who, as the beneficiary of a family trust fund, never had to run a household out of his own earnings, could say “The budget will balance itself,” while leading the country into astronomical debt. According to his way of thinking, the Boston Marathon bombers needed to be sympathetically understood, since they must have felt “completely excluded.” He sought a gender-balanced cabinet “because it’s 2015.” This is the zany who on a diplomatic visit to India can affect Bollywood and dress in a ceremonial costume to the bemusement of his hosts.

This is the man chronically embroiled in scandals after promising administrative transparency. This is the man who appointed as his attorney general a Kwak’wala woman who wants to break up the country—and who, in an instance of poetic justice, later accused him of bullying and malfeasance. This is the man who has no shame about his servile Muslim vote-pandering, switching into another exotic costume and praying at the Jamea Masjid mosque in Surrey, British Columbia.

Trudeau also visited the Al-Sunnah Al-Nabawiah mosque in  his Quebec riding, undeterred by its Al-Qaeda ties. He saw no discrepancy in later wearing Eid Mubarak socks at a Pride parade. The inappropriateness is startling. This is the man who cannot utter a non-scripted sentence without painfully stumbling over his phatics, who believes that the term “mankind” should be replaced by “peoplekind,” forgets to mention Alberta in his list of provinces during a Canada Day speech, and greets the Belgian royal family with German flags. And this is the man who was praised for his sincerity, intelligence, and well-stocked library by editor and journalist Jonathan Kay in an obsequious article for The Walrus. One wonders who is the greater embarrassment, a risible prime minister or a groveling journalist, our Liberal political establishment or the media conglomerate which serves it.

The string of capers and inanities beggars belief and seems pretty well endless. Ronald McTrudeau, however, is clearly no anomaly among the majority of Western leaders and deserves some degree of sympathy from his detractors, who claim to be embarrassed by his repeated harlequinades and imbecilities. He was and is in good company.

We recall that former President McBama was also regularly praised for his superior intelligence and poise, though he could be incoherent off-teleprompter. This was a president who famously thought that the union consisted of fifty-seven or possibly fifty-eight states, that Austrians spoke Austrian, that a corpsman was a corpse-man, that Israel was a strong friend of Israel, that the Falklands (Malvinas in Spanish) were the Maldives, that Hawaii was in Asia, and so on. This was a man who in his Cairo address got his historical calendar wrong by several hundred years and stated, ludicrously, that Islam had always been part of the American story—true in a sense if one considers Jefferson’s and Madison’s wars between 1801 and 1816 against the Barbary pirates. This was a president who doubled the national debt, regarded America as unexceptional, and could bow and scrape before a Saudi monarch. This was the man who chose as his vice president a sorry individual whose trail of gaffes is legendary and whose political legacy is catastrophic. This was the man who never met a scandal he didn’t covertly fall in love with—after promising transparency. This was the man who empowered and subsidized the nation’s most implacable enemy, favoring Iran as his Canadian sidekick favored China. Both were enamored of Castro’s Cuba.

The similarities are quite remarkable. McBama was no less a clown than McTrudeau, who is simply a lesser Canadian version of his American counterpart. They can both be found cavorting in the political simulacrum of the Golden Arches. Tucker Carlson said of our national numbskull, “Trudeau doesn’t get the credit he deserves for being a buffoon.” This is equally true of America’s dandiprat-in-chief, the former McPresident, whose passion for ice cream supersedes his passion for America.

There is nothing unique about these two. They are typical leftist leaders—you find them in England, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand (it’s a long list)—whose clownish nature is pro forma, whose lauded charm is meretricious, whose ignorance is off the charts, and whose policy enactments belong in the Theater of the Absurd or an Italian farce—were it not for the devastation they cause. A sorcerer’s apprentice at the levers of power is a recipe for social, political and economic disaster. As in Goethe’s poem, only a “master” can undo the damage unleashed by a goofball. Once there was a Ronald of stature at the helm, a masterful leader. Our current leaders on the left are Ronalds of a very different stamp, mere lightheaded apprentices.

The primary appeal of these unfinished specimens is to an infantile culture that cannot differentiate between responsibility and entertainment, dedication and performance, between a furrow on the brow and a crease in the pant leg. Unfortunately, many regard Donald Trump as a spoilsport who has come to puncture the enchantment and ruin the frivolous diversion from things as they are.

I don’t intend to diminish Ronald McDonald, who is justly beloved by actual kids. It is the two “Ronalds” examined here, representative of leftist Western leaders in general—if rather more preposterous—who commit an injustice by cloning his behavior in the political forum. The restaurant chain needs a “Ronald” to appeal to its clientele. The political world is in desperate need of a “Donald”—a Trump, a Netanyahu, an Orbán, a Wilders, a Salvini—if we can expect to enjoy what a nation has to offer.



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

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


9 May, 2019

Conservative critics of Trump's tariffs are WRONG

The received economic wisdom that has come down to us from David Ricardo onwards is that tariffs are uniformly impoverishing overall. And those who understand comparative advantage and the various theories involved can usually see only minor holes and exceptions in that theory. And it is true that in a fully free-trade world the theory would be 100% correct.  But we don't live in that world, nor are we likely to

Some critics allow that Trump's tariffs are reasonable as a temporary measure -- designed to coerce other nations to adopt freer trade policies.  That is certainly the headline aim of the tariffs and is sufficiently persuasive to most conservative commentators for them to adopt a "wait and see" posture.

But I believe that there is a warrant for tariffs of a PERMANENT nature.  And it is not a million miles away from popular thinking, as distinct from economists' thinking. 

My hypothesis is that there is a trade-off between tariffs and unemployment such that as tariffs go up unemployment goes down. That sounds a crazy connection but it has been true since even before Trump's inauguration.  As soon as his election win was announced, Trump started to talk tariffs and almost immediately employment began to look up.  And what do we see now after more than 2 years of Trump? An almost unbelievable low of 3.6% unemployment.  Around the same time half way through the Obama administration, the figure was 8%.

You have to go back to the postwar boom under Ike to get much better than 3.6% --  and unemployment at that time was materially affected by the many workers who had been taken out of the workforce through death, disease and injury in WWII.  War is a heck of a bad way to maximize employment but it does have that effect.

So in the Trump administration, we do seem to have have a continuing demonstration that a tough tariff regime has led to reduced unemployment.

But is it all coincidence?  Obama diehards say that the low unemployment is a continuing effect of what Obama did -- though they can't name any mechanism for that.

One possible pointer to it not being a coincidence is the huge prospering of America behind the high tariff walls of the 19th century.  The tariffs were arguably the real cause of the civil war but despite that setback America developed rapidly from its primary-producing beginnings and was soon in a position not inferior to the major European powers.

So was unemployment low then?  We have no reliable figures to test that but the rate of industrial expansion strongly suggests that it was.  Millions of jobs were created.

So I think we now have two points of evidence in favour of my hypothesis.  But there is another example that is really stark.  What would you say to unemployment levels in an affluent society that stayed BELOW 2%?  Impossible?  It's not.  That is the situation that prevailed in Australia under Robert Menzies during the 1950s -- an era often remembered by those who were there (I was) as a golden age.

And guess what?  It was also an era of heavy protective tariffs.  There was a deliberate will to have everything possible made in Australia.  And if it could not reasonably be made in Australia, it could always be obtained from Britain.

That sounds all rather quaint to modern ears but the policy was underpinned by memories of wartime shortages.  During WWII, many things could simply NOT be imported.  Australia is a long way from anywhere else and so there was large scope for cargo-ships to be sunk by hostile powers.  So making as much as you could locally seemed not only obvious but urgent.

So the high tariff policy was not motivated  by an attack on unemployment but it did have that effect.

Now WHY would high tariffs cause minimal unemployment?  It's obvious psychologically.  If a businessman has a firm assurance that he will not be allowed to go broke by the sudden presence of cheaper goods from overseas, he will feel very easy in his mind about setting up shop.  He will feel confident that his investment in new manufacturing businesses will pay. And so all sorts of profitable businesses sprang up in Australia and searched for workers to staff them. There were jobs galore on offer and most people had a choice of what sort of job they wanted to do.  I remember myself the ease I had in finding jobs.

So that is the theory:  Tariffs stimulate business confidence and confident businessmen go on a hiring spree in their keenness to make money

It remains true that tariffs increase prices but the tradeoff of having most workers working is surely an at least equal compensation.  Dollars and cents are not the whole of personal or national welfare.

And the effect of the dollars and cents should not be exaggerated.  Despite its tariffs, Australia was in the '50s one of the most prosperous places in the world.  Australia is a major primary producer so there was often steak on the dinner table, most houses had a substantial backyard where you could grow most of your fruit and vegetables if you were so inclined, you could get on a steam train and go interstate to visit family and friends at vacation time, there was always the family car for local trips, the newspapers had lots of interesting news, particularly from overseas,  you could hear all the latest songs on the radio, the ladies all had pretty dresses and even in small towns there were several bars where one could drink cold beer after a hard day's work.  What else is there? -- JR


Donald Trump trade deal high risk but hold promise of historic win

Donald Trump’s decision to suddenly ramp up pressure on China over a trade deal is high risk — just look at the plunges on Wall Street today — but it also holds the promise of an historic victory for his presidency.

This is a pivotal moment for Trump and for his prospects of re-election in 2020.

If Trump can pressure China in the coming weeks to sign a deal which substantially reduces its unfair trading practices he will have done an immense favour not just to the US but to Australia and the world.

It would be a signature foreign policy legacy that he could take to the polls next year and say he kept his word about securing a better long-term trade deal on China.

Trump’s crash or crash-through style is often criticised but it is hard to imagine another US president who would have the courage to take on China so boldly at this moment in its history.

Of course there is still a genuine risk that this could backfire badly.

In the short term it appears likely that the US will follow through on its threat to increase tariffs on $US200 billion of Chinese goods on Friday in a move which is likely to invoke retaliatory tariffs from China. This is what spooked the markets today with Wall Street’s Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by more than 500 points.

A long-term collapse in negotiations would lead to further escalation in the tariff wars between the superpowers at a high cost to China’s growth, to US consumers and farmers and also to skittish world markets which are watching this tussle nervously.

There is also a danger of an anaemic middle outcome, where Trump persuades China to purchase more US goods — and so reduce the trade deficit — but take little structural action on its unfair trading practices. That would be a poor return for the destabilisation caused by the year-long trade war and would expose Trump to criticism at home from Democrats and from US businesses.

But Trump’s actions this week — in suddenly and unexpectedly calling China out for what his chief trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer says was an attempt to renege on commitments made in previous talks — suggests that the president is pushing hard for a more meaningful trade deal.

The US wants China to stop stealing intellectual property, end cyber-theft of US technology, curtail subsidies to state-owned companies and end other forms of discrimination against foreign firms doing business with Beijing.

It was encouraging that the sticking point this week related to structural trade issues including the US push for China to stop compelling US companies to surrender their trade secrets to do business in China.

China’s pushback makes it clear that it is being driven hard by Trump’s negotiators to do something it does not want to do and has never done previously on trade.

But Trump was never going to extract meaningful trade reform from China by being an appeaser or making polite complaints. Yes tariffs have been a blunt instrument but there is no doubt that they have brought China to the table.

Trump is a gambler by nature but he appears to have made a key calculation that the US rather than China holds the stronger hand in this game right now.

Trump was buoyed by robust US economic data last week which showed GDP surging past forecasts, rising 3.2 per cent on an annualised basis while unemployment dropped to a 49 year low.

The president reportedly saw these figures as evidence that the trade war was having little overall impact on the US economy and that he could afford to leverage China further to secure a better long term deal.

By contrast, China’s growth is slowing and the slowdown has been made worse by US tariffs which hurt Chinese manufacturers and consumer confidence.

Economists estimate that an ongoing trade war with the US could cut China’s economic growth rate by between 1.6 to 2 percentage points over the next 12 months.

Under this scenario, there appears to be more pressure on China to seek a quick resolution to the trade dispute than there is on the White House.

Trump needs to be careful not to overplay this strong hand. China is unlikely to accept any final deal that makes president Xi lose face. But Xi appears to have misread the willingness of this populist president to take China on. This is a big moment and a big gamble but Trump deserves praise for putting the US into a position where an historic win is now possible.



Clever men are more fertile and have more children than others

This is very strong data and is more evidence that IQ is an index of general biological fitness

Clever men are more fertile and have more children than others, research has found.

The findings suggest that those with higher IQs are considered more attractive by women. In addition, being intelligent leads to status in society and more wealth - extra factors as to why eggheads are considered ‘a catch’.

The research overturns previous findings - that larger families are the preserve of people who are not blessed with higher IQs.

University of Stockholm scientists looked at a database of IQ scores of all Swedish men born between 1951 and 1967.

The IQ tests were used for conscription to the army’s national service and covered more than 779,000 men.

They then followed up how many children each man went on to have.

The scientists writing in the Royal Society Journal Proceedings B said: ‘We find a positive relationship between intelligence scores and fertility, and this pattern is consistent across the cohorts we study.’ They added: ‘Men with the lowest categories of IQ scores have the fewest children.’

The researchers said they controlled for additional factors such as levels of education and parental background. They said: ‘After such adjustments we find a stronger positive relationship between IQ and fertility.’

To assess the impact of family background, the researchers compared how many children brothers had.

They found that a brother with the lowest category of cognitive ability would have 0.58 fewer children compared to a brother with an IQ of 100, the average IQ level, while men with the highest category had 0.14 more children than someone of the average ability.

While it may sound comical to talk about an extra child’ or ‘14 per cent of a child’, across a whole population, this would mean thousands of extra children born to more intelligent people thousands fewer to the less intelligent.

The researchers said that earlier research on the subject had been flawed as, unlike the Swedish survey, they were not based on a whole population, but instead school classes or samples.

The authors say that possible explanations are that having a low IQ score is closely linked to poor health in childhood, which may be the reason why people with lower scores have fewer children.

They added: ‘The positive relationship between intelligence and fertility is probably explained by men with higher cognitive ability having higher status and more resources, and the fact that high cognitive ability is an attractive trait in the partner market.’

They said the trend emerging in Sweden is likely to be seen elsewhere: ‘We think that a plausible future scenario is that many societies will see the re-emergence of a positive association between high intelligence as well as other dimensions and correlates of status-and fertility.’



Trump Pardons Former Army First Lieutenant Convicted Of Murdering A Suspected Al-Qaeda Terrorist

Another excellent pardon

President Donald Trump issued a full pardon Monday to former Army First Lieutenant Michael Behenna, who served five years in prison after being convicted of murdering a suspected Al-Qaeda terrorist.

In May 2008, Behenna was questioning Ali Mansur Mohamed, a suspected terrorist who had allegedly been involved in an IED attack that killed two U.S. soldiers. The interrogation ended when Behenna fired two rounds into the terrorist — which the 1st Lt. claimed was in self-defense after Mansur lunged for his pistol.

A military court convicted Behenna of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone in 2009. The prosecution said Behenna was not acting in self-defense, but in retaliation for the deaths of his fellow soldiers, and killed Mansur while returning him to his hometown.

In a statement released Monday announcing the pardon, the White House noted that Behenna’s 25-year sentence was greatly reduced following certain concerns about the case. Behenna was released from prison on parole in 2014.

“After judgment, however, the U.S. Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Mr. Behenna’s claim of self-defense. Additionally, the Army Clemency and Parole Board reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible in 2014—just 5 years into his sentence.”

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has repeatedly petitioned the White House for clemency, writing to Attorney General Bill Barr last month that Behenna’s conviction was predicated on improper procedure by prosecutors.

The White House cited Hunter’s support in its announcement, adding, “while serving his sentence, Mr. Behenna was a model prisoner. In light of these facts, Mr. Behenna is entirely deserving of this Grant of Executive Clemency.”

Some of Trump’s other high-profile pardons include Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff.

In March 2018, the president pardoned Kristian Saucier, a Navy sailor who served a year in prison for taking photos of classified areas of a submarine.



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

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


8 May, 2019

Why the Leftist obsession with the penis?

'It is a peculiar fact' stated Engels a few months after Marx died, 'that with every great revolutionary movement the question of 'free love' comes to the foreground'.' By the mid- to late-nineteenth century it was clear to advocates and opponents alike that many socialists shared a propensity to reject the institution of the family in favour of 'free love', if not in practice, at least as an ideal -- SOURCE  

The Leftist obsession with the penis generally flies just under the radar but it can be detected as far back as Karl Marx.  Most politically-informed people are aware that Karl was against the family, on the grounds that it was a conservatizing influence (which it is). 

Marx could hardly have overlooked, however, a side-effect of a ban on the family.  It left the penis high and dry -- as it were.  There was nowhere for it to go outside the family.  Morals were very strict at the time about extra-marital sex.  There were of course abundant prostitutes in the 19th century but use of them was illegal, disgraceful and threatened syphilis.  All that was left for the penis was Mrs Hand and her five daughters.

Marx was himself married -- to Jenny von Westphalen, with whom he   had seven children.  Jenny was of an aristocratic family so Karl would have been well aware that it was common for wealthy men of the era to take a mistress -- so that would have been the liberation of the penis he envisaged for those who did not marry.  David Lloyd George, a Prime Minister of the UK during WWI, had a mistress (Frances Stevenson) for many years -- officially just his secretary of course

And in the 1920s and 30s "understood" homosexuality emerged.  Heavily Leftist British artists and intellectuals knew that they could not safely "come out" -- they could be prosecuted for it -- but nonetheless managed to create a general understanding that homosexuality was not only OK but rather "smart" -- J.M. Keynes, Lytton Strachey and the Bloomsberries generally.  The movie "Brideshead revisited" conveys that era very well.  You are never quite sure that the main character was queer.  So that was a rather clear example of a Leftist obsession with the penis.

And in the famous '60s, of course, there evolved a Leftist devotion to "free love", which had little to do with love.  It could more accurately be referred to as "penis liberation".  I was there.  I remember it well.  They say that if you remember the '60s, you weren't there.  But that refers to drug and alcohol abuse and I was teetotal throughout the 60s, incredible as that may seem.  Conservatives really are different. I was not totally abstemious about the other delights on offer, however. 

That was also of course an era of huge student demonstrations against "the war" (in Vietnam) and a total rejection of all conventional morality.  Fortunately, Christians held the fort and civilization survived.

And then in the '70s and '80s Leftists waged an unsystematic but extensive campaign to legalize homosexuality, which eventually succeeded.  At last the penis could do its thing without the burden of reproduction or the threat of prosecution.  The ban on homosexual marriage lasted right into the 21st century, however, but that too was eventually ground down.  Use of the penis just for pleasure became at last respectable.

So what was left after that series of victories?  Where could Leftists go next in their devotion to the penis? One might have thought that the war was over but a new campaign began with great ferocity:  A campaign to "liberate" extreme sexual abnormality.  Now one person could enjoy not only the delights of the penis but also the delights of femininity.  "Transgenders" became the icons of modernity and liberation.  Some individuals went too far and cut their penis off but they generally regretted it. And in a pinnacle of penis devotion, some mentally ill women were encouraged to have surgery which would "give" them a penis.  Freud claimed that women suffered from "penis envy" but he never foresaw that in his writings.

And any criticism of the various abnormalities concerned was ruthlessly crushed, with criminal penalties threatened in some jurisdictions.  So that is where we are now.  Who knows what Leftist devotion to the penis will bring forth next?

So why?  It's all just a case of self-indulgence.  Leftists believe that "There's no such thing as right and wrong" so why not?  Leftists reject all moral and prudential restraints so their only task is to destroy such restraints on their own behaviour.  And that fits in with their overall program of destroying existing society as a whole.

Leftists, of course claim that they are acting out of compassion but there is not the slightest compassion evident when they attack in various ways people who believe in Biblical morality.  They don't even show tolerance then, let alone compassion. Listen to almost anything they say about Donald J. Trump and the resultant outpouring of hate will convince you that hate drives them, not compassion -- JR.


Time to End Hospitals’ Right to Blank Check for Emergency Care

Emergency medical care is an exception to the general principle of market exchange, whereby services are voluntarily bought and sold, with sellers competing on price. Under federal law, hospitals are required to treat patients that arrive needing emergency medical treatment, regardless of their ability to pay—but allowed to subsequently charge whatever they wish.

In recent years, medical providers have increasingly exploited this arrangement by threatening exorbitant charges for out-of-network emergency care in order to force insurers to agree to generous reimbursement terms across the board. Patients have frequently been caught in the crossfire, and forced to pay large “surprise bills” for emergency care by hospitals or doctors who remain out of network.

Emergency care is necessarily an unfree market, but it is a small and discrete part of healthcare, accounting for less than 7 percent of hospital spending. Ending the right of providers to fill in a blank check for emergency medical procedures would directly help some of the most vulnerable patients, who are being subject to exorbitant bills. But it would also prevent providers from leveraging this exceptional situation to undermine price competition for the bulk of hospital services.

The seemingly narrow issue of payment for out-of-network emergency care therefore has broader significance. The rising cost of healthcare is often discussed as a general phenomenon afflicting medical services, but the problem is primarily a matter of medical costs and expenditures most closely tied to hospital care.

According to a recent study in Health Affairs, whereas between 2007 and 2014 inpatient hospital prices increased by 42 percent and outpatient hospital prices rose by 25 percent, inpatient physician prices increased by 18 percent, and outpatient physician fees increased by only 6 percent. Over the same period, while many expensive new drugs have become available, the price index for existing drugs increased by only 2 percent.

Much attention has been paid to the responsibility of hospital mergers for this trend, but prices at hospitals with local monopolies average only 12 percent more than those at facilities with four or more local competitors. By contrast, prices for equivalent services can be three times higher at different facilities within the same hospital market.

What gives hospitals such pricing power, if it isn’t just market share? A major factor is the current billing rules for emergency care.

Congress enacted the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) to require hospitals to treat and stabilize the condition of patients arriving at emergency departments, regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay. Yet, this legislation imposed no limit on the amount that hospitals and clinicians could then bill patients for the care they received—even if treatment began while they were unconscious.

The main constraint on hospital prices is normally the ability of insurers to steer patients to in-network facilities with which they have negotiated better rates. Yet this constraint is all but absent for emergency-care situations in which patients must often seek treatment at the nearest possible facility. Knowing that patients will expect their insurers to cover emergency-care costs, hospitals have increasingly used the threat of exorbitant out-of-network bills for emergency care to negotiate more generous reimbursement arrangements (high fees without constraints on volumes) for in-network elective care.

A similar dynamic has become clear among clinicians who frequently treat emergency patients. According to a recent Brookings Institution study, whereas physicians in general contract with insurers at an average of 128 percent of Medicare rates, those in specialties able to impose out-of-network emergency bills are able to drive a harder bargain: with emergency physicians billing an average of 306 percent and anesthesiologists billing 344 percent of Medicare rates. This has yielded a phenomenon known as “surprise billing,” where out-of-network providers of emergency care bill enormous amounts in excess of charges covered by insurers—leaving individuals to pay the balance. Most shockingly, this may even happen for out-of-network clinicians practicing at in-network hospitals.

As a solution to this specific problem, scholars from the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute recently recommended prohibiting clinicians from independently billing for emergency, ancillary, and hospitalist services—a reform which would make hospitals responsible for paying them and collecting reimbursement by affiliating with insurance networks. As the patient has little say over which emergency-care physicians, anesthesiologists, or pathologists will bill for services incident to their care, and hospitals have control over who operates within their walls, such a proposed reform makes a lot of sense.

Yet a broader reform is required to remedy the incentive for hospitals to themselves threaten emergency-care patients with exorbitant charges. Various legislative proposals regulating out-of-network bills for emergency care were introduced in the last Congress, and congressional staff have been working to develop reforms which could pass this year.

One prominent idea is an approach that has already been employed by some states—to subject out-of-network rates for emergency care to independent arbitration. This seems appealing because it does not appear overly prescriptive or rigid; but it is really just a form of buck-passing rather than an actual solution. Instead of having legislators weigh trade-offs in consultation with insurers, hospitals, patient groups, and research organizations, it would simply require judges with no healthcare staff, expertise, or relationships with effected stakeholders to improvise consequential decisions with complex unintended consequences. The administrative costs of appealing fees could be substantial, and under the pressure of interest-group lobbying, such an arrangement may inadvertently lead to payments drifting upwards.

A similar danger is involved in proposals to establish default out-of-network rates based on averages or percentiles of in-network rates: Hospitals may be able to inflate their permitted out-of-network reimbursements by manipulating in-network payment arrangements.

The best approach is rather to cap the rates that hospitals are allowed to charge for various out-of-network emergency-care services at a specified proportion of Medicare rates. Scholars at the Brookings Institution have recommended a tight cap of 125 percent of Medicare rates, under the belief that this could immediately improve insurers’ negotiating power with respect to reimbursements over elective care, and hence substantially drive down hospital costs.

Yet, such a cap would likely decimate hospital revenues overnight, and is therefore likely to be impractical. Nonetheless, a looser cap of 150 percent of Medicare rates (or higher for some specialties) would serve to protect patients from surprise bills greatly in excess of charges covered by their insurer, while preventing hospitals making use of the threat of out-of-network price gouging to cripple the ability of insurers to negotiate reasonable in-network payment arrangements.

A cap limited to out-of-network fees for emergency care could hardly be more different in spirit from proposed single-payer or all-payer reforms, which propose to effectively set a comprehensive floor on payment rates for all medical services—elective as well as emergency; in-network as well of out-of-network.

By eliminating hospitals’ default right to fill in a blank check for emergency care (whose provision is already mandated by federal law) a cap on out-of-network emergency charges would in no way restrict market forces from shaping the delivery of elective care (which accounts for over 93 percent of hospital spending). Providers could still insist on their preferred reimbursement arrangements before agreeing to deliver elective care, and insurers could still negotiate discounts from preferred networks of providers. Nor would such a cap restrict the freedom of hospitals and insurers to agree to better terms of contract to pay for emergency care in-network.

In fact, restoring balance to the default arrangement for out-of-network emergency care could encourage more reasonable payment agreements more broadly—by preventing hospitals from threatening exorbitant out-of-network bills to drive up reimbursement rates and veto cost-controls in payment arrangements across the board.



Free of the Mueller probe, President Trump can finally engage in vital nuclear arms talks with Russia, China and others

It is no coincidence that not until after Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned in his final report to Attorney General William Barr finding no conspiracy or coordination by the Trump campaign with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election that President Donald Trump is now free to act as a president would in engaging in nuclear arms talks with Russia, China and other great powers.

On May 3, speaking with reporters prior to a meeting with Slovak Republic Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, Trump said he had a discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin about nuclear arms in response to a question about the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) that expires in 2021.

“We’re talking about a nuclear agreement where we make less and they make less, and maybe even where we get rid of some of the tremendous firepower that we have right now,” Trump said.

While the Russian collusion probe by the Justice Department and intelligence agencies, beginning in 2016 and not wrapping until March 2019 — which ultimately found that Trump was no Russian agent after all and had nothing to do with the hack of the DNC and John Podesta emails or putting them on Wikileaks —continued on, nuclear arms agreements around the world have been fraying.

The Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia was terminated. Denuclearization talks with North Korea have stalled.

And there’s no question that one of the biggest reasons has been because President Trump’s ability to negotiate was hampered by the ongoing investigation by Mueller. Foreign leaders could hedge that perhaps Trump was a lame duck who might be removed from office soon.

The effort to sabotage the President and his ability to engage in foreign policy by his own security services has unquestionably made the world a more dangerous place.

Now, clear of any charges, Trump is free to negotiate.

Which is good, especially on nuclear arms control. With thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at one another, we need to have a president who can communicate with his counterparts.

Trump also mentioned including China in a new agreement. Which, if you want to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists like Islamic State or al Qaeda, or simply to have agreements that are accountable to everyone, you need cooperation among the world’s nuclear powers — all of them. In that context, including China and other nuclear powers should be welcomed. The biggest problem with the INF Treaty was that it did nothing to bind other countries. So, this could be a worthwhile endeavor.

Trump said, “We’re spending billions of dollars on nuclear weapons, numbers like we’ve never spent before. We need that, but they are also — and China is, frankly, also — we discussed the possibility of a three-way deal instead of a two-way deal.  And China — I’ve already spoken to them; they very much would like to be a part of that deal. In fact, during the trade talks, we started talking about that. They were excited about that. Maybe even more excited than about trade. But they felt very strongly about it.”

Trump continued, “So I think we’re going to probably start up something very shortly between Russia and ourselves, maybe to start off.  And I think China will be added down the road.  We’ll be talking about nonproliferation.  We’ll be talking about a nuclear deal of some kind.  And I think it will be a very comprehensive one.”

In talking, the worst thing that can happen is that we’re not able to come to a full agreement, but dialogue is still better than continuing on the current escalation cycle without communicating. Only the most virulent warmonger ready to start World War III over the DNC emails would find fault here.

And here’s the thing, with New START expiring in Feb. 2021 with the option to extend to 2026, Trump, and only Trump can really do anything about it. There will be a matter of weeks after the next inauguration for a new president to perhaps come to a deal, but careful negotiations can take months and years. Extending is okay but improving and strengthening the agreement and extending the scope to non-signatories should be a focus.

Either way, the groundwork needs to be laid right now. There is too much at stake.

Stopping nuclear arms proliferation is not a partisan issue. It is an area of policy that affects every living being on this planet, and is where President Trump could really use the voices of both parties to help deescalate the new Cold War we are in. It’s time to let the President be the President and work with his counterparts on nuclear security issues — for all of our sakes.



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

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


7 May, 2019

Lost someone to Fox News? Science says they may be addicted to anger

Linda Rodriguez McRobbie has an article in the Boston Globe under the above heading.  It is a long article but it is mainly an account of how anger works physiologically.  No evidence at all is offered to justify the claim that Fox news listeners are particularly angry. 

She has just one case study of a man who became more angry after listening to Rush Limnaugh.  But you can "prove" anything from one case

I reproduce below her few paragraohs that have some possible relevance to her contention. In the third paragraph she makes  a case that Americans are angrier than they were but quite overlooks that all the anger may be coming from Leftist hatred of Donald J. Trump.

The lack of self-insight among Leftists is truly crashing. Amid the daily outbursts of fury from the Leftist media at everything the President says or does, the mentally blind Ms McRobbie overlooks all that and in a perfect display of projection says that it is CONSERVATIVES who are characterized by anger. 

Conservatives direct reasoned arguments and some mockery at Leftists but that constitutes "hate" appparently.  NO criticism of Leftism is allowed. Linda's article proves only how heavily she is beset by the usual Leftist defence mechanisms of projection, compartmentalization and denial.  But I suppose that I am being "angry" in saying that.

While all partisan news outlets follow the emotionally exploitative playbook, Sobieraj says, right-wing outlets have so far deployed it with more success — talk radio is around 90 percent conservative. Rage disrupts logical thought, reducing complex issues to black and white answers: build the wall, lock her up, make it great. However, the polemical nature of right-wing rhetoric may be pushing people on the left to react accordingly.

When anger addicts find a medium that resonates with them, they may not recognize how emotionally affected they are by the fiery rhetoric. “It doesn’t sound like outrage when you agree with it,” says Sobieraj. “It sounds like someone truth-telling and so it feels great — that’s why this content is successful.”

Inundated by extreme viewpoints designed to stoke emotions, Americans may be feeling more threatened, and therefore, more irate. A 2016 Esquire/NBC survey found that half of all Americans were angrier than they had been the year before; 31 percent of respondents were enraged by something in the news a few times a day, while 37 percent were angry once a day. Meanwhile, acts of road rage involving firearms have more than doubled since 2014, according to The Trace.

More HERE 


Israeli army poised to invade as air strikes continue

US President Donald Trump has tweeted out an ominous threat to Gaza militants after they launched a deadly rocket attack on Israel.

Gaza militants fired hundreds of rockets into southern Israel on Sunday, killing at least four Israelis and bringing life to a standstill across the region in the bloodiest fighting since a 2014 war.

At least 66 other people have been wounded.

As Israel pounded Gaza with air strikes, the Palestinian death toll rose to 23, including two pregnant women and two babies.

Spokesman for the Israeli army, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricu, said it had struck over 250 sites in Gaza, according to the Independent.

The bloodshed marked the first Israeli fatalities from rocket fire since the 2014 war.

With Palestinian militants threatening to send rockets deeper into Israel and Israeli reinforcements massing near the Gaza frontier, the fighting showed no signs of slowing down.

US President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind Israel, warning militants of the “misery” they would endure if they continued their attack.

“Once again, Israel faces a barrage of deadly rocket attacks by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. We support Israel 100% in its defence of its citizens,” President Trump tweeted.

“To the Gazan people — these terrorist acts against Israel will bring you nothing but more misery. END the violence and work towards peace — it can happen!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spent most of the day huddled with his Security Cabinet. Late Sunday, the Cabinet instructed the army to “continue its attacks and to stand by” for further orders.

Israel also claimed to have killed a Hamas commander involved in transferring Iranian funds to the group.

Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction, have fought three wars since Hamas violently seized control of Gaza from Western-backed Palestinian forces in 2007.

They have fought numerous smaller battles, most recently two rounds in March.

While lulls in fighting used to last for months or even years, these flare-ups have grown increasingly frequent as a desperate Hamas, weakened by a crippling Egyptian-Israeli blockade imposed 12 years ago, seeks to put pressure on Israel to ease the closure.

The blockade has ravaged Gaza’s economy, and a year of Hamas-led protests along the Israeli frontier has yielded no tangible benefits.

In March, Hamas faced several days of street protests over the dire conditions.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement late Sunday that the militant group was “not interested in a new war.” He signalled readiness to “return to the state of calm” if Israel stopped its attacks “and immediately starts implementing understandings about a dignified life.”

With little to lose, Hamas appears to be trying to step up pressure on Netanyahu at a time when the Israeli leader is vulnerable on several fronts.

Fresh off an election victory, Netanyahu is now engaged in negotiations with his hard-line political partners on forming a governing coalition.

If fighting drags on, the normally cautious Netanyahu could be weakened in his negotiations as his partners push for a tougher response.

Meanwhile, Israel said it was suspending fuel deliveries to Gaza. Diesel, including Qatari-donated fuel for Gaza’s only power plant, had continued to enter despite the escalation. Gaza’s lone power station said it was turning off one of its three turbines, worsening chronic power shortages.

Later this week, Israel marks Memorial Day, one of the most solemn days of the year, and its festive Independence Day.

Next week, Israel is to host the Eurovision song contest. Prolonged fighting could overshadow these important occasions and deter foreign tourists.

The arrival of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins Monday, does not seem to be deterring Hamas.

But the group is also taking a big risk if it pushes too hard. During the 50-day war in 2014, Israel killed over 2,200 Palestinians, over half of them civilians, according to U.N. tallies, and caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure.

While Hamas is eager to burnish its credentials as a resistance group, the Gazan public has little stomach for another devastating war.

“Hamas is the change seeker,” said retired Brig. Gen. Assaf Orion, a former head of the Israeli military general staff’s strategic division. “Hamas needs to make its calculus, balancing its hope for improvement against its fear of escalation.”

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Israelis have “every right to defend themselves.” He expressed hope that the recent ceasefire could be restored.

Previous rounds of fighting have all ended in informal Egyptian-mediated truces in which Israel pledged to ease the blockade while militants promised to halt rocket fire.

On Friday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded by snipers from Islamic Jihad, a smaller Iranian-backed militant group that often cooperates with Hamas but sometimes acts independently. Israel responded by killing two Palestinian militants, leading to intense rocket barrages and retaliatory Israeli air strikes beginning Saturday.

By Sunday, the Israeli military said militants had fired over 600 rockets, with the vast majority falling in open areas or intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket- defence system. But more than 30 rockets managed to strike urban areas, the army said.

The Israeli military said it struck 250 targets in Gaza, including weapons storage, attack tunnels and rocket launching and production facilities. It also deployed tanks and infantry forces to the Gaza frontier, and put another brigade on standby.

“We have been given orders to prepare for a number of days of fighting under current conditions,” said Lt. Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman. Palestinian medical officials reported 23 dead, including at least eight militants hit in targeted air strikes. At least four civilians, including two pregnant women and two babies, were also among the dead.



US deploying forces in bold warning to Iran

The United States is deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a clear message to Iran that any attack on US interests or its allies will be met with “unrelenting force”, US national security adviser John Bolton says.

Amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran, Bolton said the decision was “in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings”.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said in a statement. It marked the latest in a series of moves by President Donald Trump’s administration against Iran in recent weeks.

Washington has said it will stop waivers for countries buying Iranian oil, in an attempt to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It has also blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Trump administration’s efforts to impose political and economic isolation on Tehran began last year when it unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal it and other world powers negotiated with Iran in 2015.

“The United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakeable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force,” Bolton said.

Bolton, who has spearheaded an increasingly hawkish US policy on Iran, did not provide any other details.

A US official said the forces “have been ordered to the region as a deterrence to what has been seen as potential preparations by Iranian forces and its proxies that may indicate possible attacks on U.S. forces in the region.” The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States was not expecting any imminent attack on U.S. forces.



US Economy Add 263,000 New Jobs: Unemployment Hits 50-year Low

The U.S economy added 263,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department reported Friday, blowing past expectations.

The unemployment rate also dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.6 percent, the lowest jobless rate since 1969, driven in part by a 0.2-point decline in the labor force participation rate to 62.8 percent.



So-Called "Experts" Are Wrong Again on the Trump Economy

Remember a few months back, when the so-called experts in the room warned us that the partial government shutdown would ruin the economy? Boy, were they wrong.

The markets were supposed to falter and economic growth was bound to slow, with President Trump’s “Libertarian Experiment” resulting in a recession. Fast forward a few months later, and we find that the only “problem” with these predictions was that U.S. GDP instead grew 3.2 percent.

This is not the first time that the talking heads and respected economists have totally missed the mark when trying to make predictions about the Trump economy. How many times will it take before the likes of Paul Krugman admit that they have been wrong all along? I’m not holding my breath.

Friday’s report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that U.S. GDP grew 3.2 percent in quarter one of 2019, compared to the forecasted 2.1 percent. To put it in the president’s vernacular, this is “[h]uge,” especially when you take into account that the partial government shutdown was supposed to be a massive drag on economic growth.

The superb quarter one GDP numbers tell us that a few things are at play. For starters, the Keynesian system of government transfers and dabbling in the economy isn’t the real driver of economic growth. But because most talking heads do not subscribe to supply-side theory, we see how they could be so concerned with how a partially functioning government would negatively impact the economy. Contrary to their assertions, government spending isn’t necessary for economic growth, as proven by quarter one’s GDP growth.

Instead, free market policies that involve cutting taxes and red tape are shown to work much better. A “hands-off” approach to economic policy means that even when Washington can’t get its act together, everyday Americans continue to prosper. This should be a no-brainer. American workers and small business owners seem to understand it, so why can’t the Beltway insiders? This is the sort of perilous hubris that contributed to President Trump’s election in the first place, and will likely tee-up his re-election in 2020.

Apparently, the U.S. economy will grow at a robust pace even in the midst of a government shutdown, which if you live within the Beltway bubble was supposedly akin to living in a dystopian parallel universe. Obviously the rest of America, especially those pesky fly-over states, paid no heed to the doom and gloom predictions. Main Street America continues to thrive, unemployment remains low and consumer confidence remains at an all time high.

Thanks to Mr. Trump and the GOP’s pro-growth agenda, and despite the partial government shutdown, Americans from every demographic are finding success in today’s economy. With more than 2.6 million African-American-owned businesses in the United States today, the past two years have been a boon for African-American entrepreneurship like never before. This is the result of free market approaches, initiatives and platforms that come not from government, but from individuals.

At the same time, the past two years have been extremely good for women in the workforce and the economy. More than half of the jobs created since January 2018 have gone to women, and women’s unemployment is down to 3.8 percent. Pro-growth economic policies have benefited Americans of all stripes more than any government program ever could. The narrative that pro-growth policies only benefit the wealthy and advantaged is collapsing, fast.

Democrats and their friends in the media would do well to recognize that hands-off, pro-growth policies, rather than big government and identity politics, are the keys to enabling all Americans to prosper. The dire predictions made by pundits during the government shutdown have not come to pass and we have instead continued to see robust economic growth. Friday’s report should serve as a reminder not to trust everything that’s been written or said, especially if it’s “expert opinion.”



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

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


6 May, 2019

Donald Trump says Kim Jong-un will not interfere with economic potential of North Korea

I have long said that economics was Mr Kim's motive in wanting change.  With hugely prosperous China to his North and hugely prosperous South Korea to his South, he has got to be envious.  And in both cases a market economy has brought that prosperity.  So he wants to set that up for North Korea.  I see from the report below that Mr Trump has a similar analysis

Trump has said that Kim Jong-un would not do anything to jeopardise a deal with the US after North Korea allegedly test-fired missiles.

US President Donald Trump has reiterated his confidence a deal will be reached with North Korea as the South called on its neighbour to “stop acts that escalate military tension on the Korean Peninsula”.

North Korea fired several “unidentified short-range projectiles” into the sea off its east coast on Saturday. South Korean military initially described it as a missile launch but subsequently gave it a more vague description.

The South Korean military said it was conducting joint analysis with the US of the latest launches. Experts say the projectiles appeared to come from multiple rocket launchers, and were not ballistic missiles.

In a Twitter message on Saturday morning, Mr Trump said he was still confident he could reach a deal with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“I believe that Kim Jong-un fully realises the great economic potential of North Korea, & will do nothing to interfere or end it,” Mr Trump wrote. “He also knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me. Deal will happen!”

Talks stalled after a second summit between Kim and Trump in Hanoi in February failed to produce a deal to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Analysts suspect the flurry of military activity by Pyongyang was an attempt to exert pressure on the US to give ground in negotiations.

Trump raised the issue of North Korea during a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump told Putin several times “the need and importance of Russia stepping up and continuing to put pressure on North Korea to denuclearise”.

During a summit with Putin in late April, North Korea’s Kim said peace and security on the Korean peninsula depended on the US, warning that a state of hostility could easily return, according to North Korean media.



1,860 unconstitutional FDA rules

Will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) change its rule-making practices when it learns that 98 percent of its regulations since 2001 were unconstitutional? That’s the figure we uncovered in a comprehensive study examining 2,952 Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations issued during a 17-year period.

If a federal agency enforces even one invalid rule against Americans, it breaches the public trust and the rule of law. Enforcing 100 invalid rules would constitute an unprecedented threat to democratic principles from a lawless agency. What we found at FDA dwarfs those figures. From early 2001 to early 2018, FDA issued 1,860 unconstitutional rules.

Though we didn’t know the full scale of the problem, we broke the news of FDA’s unconstitutional rule-making practices a year ago with our lawsuit challenging the FDA’s “deeming rule.” That regulation made vaping product retailers subject to the same requirements as cigarette manufacturers under the Tobacco Control Act. We explained that the deeming rule was not just bad policy, it also was illegal: a career civil-service employee named Leslie Kux signed and issued that rule, even though she had no constitutional authority to do so.

Because Kux was never nominated by the president, confirmed by the Senate, nor hired by the HHS secretary pursuant to a congressional authorization, she could not be an “officer of the United States” as the Constitution defines that term. Career employees such as Kux (who worked at the FDA for 30 years) fill vital staff roles in federal agencies, but they are not democratically accountable for significant policy decisions. Kux’s exercise of rule-making power — the power to issue final regulations that are binding on citizens — was an impermissible end-run around the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which allows only officers to exercise such coercive governmental power.

The deeming rule litigation is ongoing. Tellingly, the FDA demonstrated its fear that the rule is in jeopardy this month by seeking to cure the constitutional problem with a letter from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb two days before he left office, purporting to “ratify” the rule Kux illegally issued three years ago. The FDA still refuses to acknowledge its past violations of law; Gottlieb denied there was any problem to cure in his litigation-induced letter, but his unusual action speaks louder than his denial. What’s worse, FDA has not altered its unconstitutional practice of career employee rule-making.

We were curious just how common that practice is. In the study released today, Pacific Legal Foundation looked at every rule issued by HHS agencies from Jan. 20, 2001, through the first year of the Trump administration. Among this database of 2,952 rules, we found that 71 percent were unconstitutional, the great majority of which were issued by career staff.

The primary culprit at HHS is FDA. Since 98 percent of FDA rules were unconstitutional (all of those were issued by career employees), and FDA issues so many rules, FDA’s illegal practices skew HHS totals. For FDA rules, the signature of the Senate-confirmed FDA commissioner or HHS secretary is the rare exception. Instead of taking responsibility for the vast majority of FDA rules, the constitutional officers left final rule-making decisions to what some have dubbed “the deep state.”

The study by Angela Erickson and one of us also determined that the employee-issued rules at FDA were not just insignificant ones — 25 unconstitutional FDA rules during the study period each had economic impacts of $100 million or more. Besides the deeming rule, the unconstitutional FDA rules include a counterproductive rule governing skim milk labels, an important (and beneficial) rule regarding the approval of generic drugs, and many more.

Interestingly, other components of HHS have not shown the same disregard for the Constitution, or at least not at the same level. For example, 75 percent of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ rules were issued by a Senate-confirmed officer, and most were countersigned by the HHS secretary. An even higher percentage of CMS’s substantive rules were constitutionally issued.

Overall, only 2 percent of HHS’s substantive unconstitutional rules were issued by agencies outside the FDA. Compliance with the Constitution clearly is not too much to ask, and it does not bring the process of issuing important regulations to a halt. Instead, it ensures that Senate-confirmed officers are accountable for — and make the final decision regarding — rules that bind the public, as the people who ratified the Constitution insisted.

How could such a blatant violation of the Constitution go unnoticed for so long? An FDA commissioner in 1991 didn’t want the responsibility or distraction that issuing rules imposed and delegated that task to FDA career staff. Once the bureaucracy took over, no one ever thought hard enough about whether that was constitutional. In a similar vein, the Supreme Court ruled last year in Lucia v. S.E.C. that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had been violating the Appointments Clause for decades in selecting its administrative law judges.

Ignorance or negligence is how such failures start, but stubbornness and imperious attitudes keep them going. At FDA, Leslie Kux and her career employee successor keep issuing rules, putting new regulations in continued legal jeopardy.

Like the SEC violation, the problem we uncovered at HHS will not go away if left to the career staff illegally wielding power. The longer agencies allow rule-making to continue deep within the bureaucracy, the more rules (good and bad) are jeopardized. Other lawsuits surely will follow ours, yet responsible elected officials should not wait for courts to force action. After all, employee rule-making is not merely a legal problem. Regardless of its constitutionality, it’s a monumental lapse in democratic accountability.

Agency heads should act promptly to ensure that future rules are signed by Senate-confirmed officers. Congress should assert its prerogative to prohibit delegations of rule-making power from Senate-confirmed officers to employees. And President Trump, with a stroke of his pen, could order that all rules issued in his administration are signed by Senate-confirmed officers.

The current administration committed to reducing the regulatory burden, and numerous members of Congress from both parties share this goal. For these reform-minded leaders, ending the unconstitutional practice of employee rule-making should be a top priority.



Clinton Projection Syndrome
Hillary Clinton recently editorialized about the second volume of special counsel Robert Mueller’s massive report. She concluded of the report’s assorted testimonies and inside White House gossip concerning President Trump’s words and actions that “any other person engaged in those acts would certainly have been indicted.”

Psychologists might call her claims “projection.” That is the well-known psychological malady of attributing bad behavior to others as a means of exonerating one’s own similar, if not often even worse, sins.

After 22 months of investigation and $34 million spent, the Mueller report concluded that there was no Trump-Russia collusion — the main focus of the investigation — even though that unfounded allegation dominated print and televised media’s speculative headlines for the last two years.

While Mueller’s report addressed various allegations of Trump’s other roguery, the special counsel did not recommend that the president be indicted for obstruction of justice in what Mueller had just concluded was not a crime of collusion.

What Mueller strangely did do — and what most federal prosecutors do not do — was cite all the allegedly questionable behavior of a target who has just been de facto exonerated by not being indicted.

What Mueller did not do was explain that much of the evidence he found useful was clearly a product of unethical and illegal behavior. In the case of the false charge of “collusion,” the irony was rich.

Russians likely fed salacious but untrue allegations about Trump to ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was being paid in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to find dirt on Trump.

The Russians rightly assumed that Steele would lap up their fantasies, seed them among Trump-hating officials in the Barack Obama administration and thereby cause hysteria during the election, the transition and, eventually, the Trump presidency.

Russia succeeded in sowing such chaos, thanks ultimately to Clinton, who likely had broken federal laws by using a British national and, by extension, Russian sources to warp an election. Without the fallacious Steele dossier, the entire Russian collusion hoax never would have taken off.

Without Steele’s skullduggery, there likely would have been no Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court-approved surveillance of Trump aide Carter Page. There might have been no FBI plants inserted into the Trump campaign. There might have been no subsequent leaking to the press of classified documents to prompt a Trump collusion investigation.

Given the Steele travesty and other past scandals, it is inexplicable that Clinton has not been indicted.

Her lawlessness first made headlines 25 years ago, when she admitted that her cattle futures broker had defied odds of one in 31 trillion by investing $1,000 from her trading account and returning a profit of nearly $100,000. Clinton failed to report about $6,500 in profits to the IRS. She initially lied about her investment windfall by claiming she made the wagers herself. She even fantastically alleged that she mastered cattle futures trading by reading financial newspapers.

To paraphrase Clinton herself, anyone else would have been indicted for far less.

The reason that foreign oligarchs are no longer donating millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, and that Bill Clinton is not being offered $500,000 for speaking appearances in Moscow, is simply because Hillary Clinton is not secretary of state. She is no longer in a public position to hector her colleagues into approving pro-Russian commercial deals, such as the one that gave Russian interests access to North American uranium.

As secretary of state, Clinton also sidestepped the law by setting up a home-brewed email server. She transmitted classified documents over this insecure route and lied about it. And she destroyed some 30,000 emails that were in effect under subpoena. Anyone else would have been indicted for far less.

In truth, Clinton was at the heart of the entire Russian collusion hoax. Even after the election, she kept fueling it to blame Russia-Trump conspiracies for her stunning defeat in 2016. Unable to acknowledge her own culpability as a weak and uninspiring candidate, Clinton formally joined the post-election “resistance” and began whining about collusion. That excuse seemed preferable to explaining why she blew a huge lead and lost despite favorable media coverage and superior funding.

For much of her professional life, Hillary Clinton had acted above and beyond the law on the assumption that as the wife of a governor, as first lady of the United States, as a senator from New York, as secretary of state and as a two-time candidate for the presidency, she could ignore the law without worry over the consequences.

For Clinton now to project that the president should be indicted suggests she is worried about her own potential indictment. And she is rightly concerned that for the first time in 40 years, neither she nor her husband is serving in government or running for some office, and therefore could be held accountable.



Socialists like Bernie Sanders tell us that “the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.”

That’s a lie. Yes, rich people got absurdly rich. Last year, says Oxfam, “the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased (by) $2.5 billion a day.”

I say, so what? The poor did not get poorer. Bernie’s wrong about that. The poor are much better off.

“As we’ve increased the number of billionaires around the world, extreme poverty has shrunk,” says former investment banker Carol Roth in my video about inequality.

She is right. Over the past 30 years, more than a billion people climbed out of extreme poverty. Thanks to capitalism, more than a billion people no longer struggle to survive on a few pennies a day.

Bernie is correct when he says that the wealth gap between rich and poor grew. In America over the last 40 years, the richest people got 200 percent richer, while poor Americans got just 32 percent richer. But again, so what?

Gaining 32 percent is a very good thing (all these numbers are adjusted for inflation). Everyone’s better off, despite the improvement not being even. It never is.

Now the myth: The media claim in America there’s “a lack of income mobility” — that people born poor are likely to stay poor.

Some do. It’s true that people with rich parents have a big advantage. But it’s a myth that Americans are locked into their economic class.

Economists at Harvard and Berkeley crunched the numbers and found most people born to the richest fifth of Americans fell out of that bracket within 20 years.

Likewise, most born to the poorest fifth climb to a higher quintile. Some make it all the way to the top. In fact, says Roth, “3 out of 4 Americans will hit that top 20 percent at some point in their lifetime.”

You see America’s income mobility on the Forbes richest list. Most of the billionaires are self-made. They didn’t inherit money. They created their wealth.

Still, the very rich are ridiculously rich. The Forbes billionaires have more money than the bottom 64 percent of the U.S. population.

“Unfair!” say the progressives. “It doesn’t matter if nearly everyone got richer, income inequality itself is a huge problem.  It’s “threatening to tear us apart!” says New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

It might, if people come to believe that inequality itself is evil. But one question: Why is that true?

Progressives like to point out that in Scandinavian countries, people say they are happier than Americans. Scandinavians have more equal incomes than Americans. But that proves nothing. Incomes are more equal in Afghanistan, too. Incomes are more equal when everyone is poor.

Forget money for a moment and think about how impossible it would be to make everyone equal.

I’ll never sing as well as Adele or play basketball like LeBron. The best athletes, singers, dancers, etc., are just physically different. I’ll never be as self-confident as Donald Trump or as verbally smooth as AOC.

“There’s inequality in everything. There’s inequality in free time, inequality in parents. I don’t have any parents or grandparents,” says Roth. “I have two kidneys. There are people out there who need one, don’t have one that functions. Should the government take my kidney because somebody else needs it?”

I suggest to her that some people having so much more than others is just inherently unfair.

“Life is unfair!” she replied. “Unfair is good. Unfair is a feature. It’s not a bug!”

Certainly, it’s wrong if government makes rules that create inequality. Racist laws forbidding some ethnic groups to do business where they please, or restricting where they live, are evil. So are government subsidies to rich people and well-connected corporations.

But allowing people to be different from one another, to employ their unique talents and succeed or fail by them, to rise as high as the market will bear — that’s an important part of freedom.

We won’t all end up in the same place, but most of us will be more prosperous than if government decided our limits.

And we will be freer.



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

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


5 May, 2019

The Death of Patriotism

The modern-day Left are NOT patriotic.  They were once, right up to JFK -- at a time when the ills of the world could be blamed on "the bosses".  But in a post-industrial society that no longer makes much sense. Most of the workforce were once employed in large industries such as mines and factories but such businesses now account for only a small fraction of the workforce so blaming a bad situation for the workers on a small clique of distant plutocrats just does not connect with the concerns of many voters these days.  The average employer these days is a small businessman who works alongside his employees so any faults can be attributed to him personally rather than to some large abstraction.

In that situation new villains had to be found to satisfy leftist hatreds and ego needs.  But there was no obvious single whipping boy.  The faults in society seemed to be all over the place.  So it was the society as a whole that seemed faulty.  Blaming "society" was an old Communist war-cry anyway so that cry became mainstream. Leftists generally began to hate society as a whole.  And the only society of interest to most American Leftists was American society.  So America as a whole became the new Leftist whipping boy.  America as a whole came to be hated.

But hating America is the direct opposite of patriotism.  So the best Leftists can usually rise to is to say they are loyal to "what America could become", which only a Leftist could call patriotism.  It commits the Leftist to nothing.

But patriotism is a widely felt sentiment among Americans so the Leftist cannot get too far out of tune with that or he will get totally marginalized and disregarded.  So he has to pretend to be patriotic.  Hence the occasional challenge from Leftsts:  "Are you questioning my patriotsm?".  The proper answer to that is: Yes.

Recently, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar received strong pushback for comments she made at a fundraiser for CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). Omar said the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack was “some people did something.”

Those words alone could be taken out of the context of her speech at the CAIR fundraiser. Omar stated that CAIR was founded after 9/11 to protect Muslims in this country from any backlash as a result of the attack. It was actually founded in 1994 and has a very troubled past, including with former board members indicted for sponsoring terrorism.

I’m sure there were a few racist idiots who were unkind to (those they thought were) Muslims after 9/11. I’m sure that hateful words were exchanged. Is that the same as nearly 3,000 Americans perishing in the flames of the World Trade Center Towers or the Pentagon or in a field in Pennsylvania? Seems like quite a stretch to me.

Omar can’t seem to help herself when it comes to criticizing this country (a country that took in her and her family as refugees fleeing war-torn Somalia), our president, and especially Jews. But when her comments start generating backlash from conservatives, she wraps herself in the flag and says, “You can’t question my patriotism!”

Patriotism: “The quality of being patriotic, devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.”

That seems to be a reoccurring trend in our country, especially from those on the far Left. Whenever they are criticized for remarks they make that portray our country as evil and a horrible place to live, they play the PATRIOT CARD. They respond by saying, “You can’t question my patriotism.” Omar just joins the ranks of a number of politicians (Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi come to mind) and media talkingheads who slap down anybody who calls them out for their slander and misrepresentation of what I believe is the greatest country on earth.

If this nation is so evil, then why did Omar’s family come here instead of the safe haven of say, Iran or Syria or any other Muslim nation, where she wouldn’t get her hijab in a bind every time she gets criticized for shooting off her mouth? I’m sure if she lived in Tehran, she could say anything she wanted without consequences. Why come here? Why do tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from south of the border continue to flood this country? Hasn’t word reached their home countries that we are bad and you don’t want to come here?

I believe we do have the right to question the patriotism of those who trash our country. I put my life on the line to defend this country and nearly lost it many years ago in the jungles of Vietnam. I have been back to Vietnam many times since the war. They do not have true freedom because our politicians abandoned them. South Korea is free today because we stayed.

Congresswoman Omar, I do question your patriotism because of your actions to undermine the freedoms we have in this nation. I believe every American can question your alleged patriotism and anyone else who would do harm to my country. Your ACTIONS speak much louder than your lame excuses.

True patriots are watching and we will call out anyone who acts in a manner that could be harmful to our nation.



The Left’s Hate Campaigns Against Trump Nominees

These are tough times if you are a big-government, economic liberal. Since President Trump has taken office, unemployment rates have remained below 4%, hiring among African Americans are at their highest levels in decades, our energy and manufacturing sectors are booming, and employers are scrambling to fill millions of job vacancies by offering competitive salaries.

So what can the frustrated liberal do if he wants to criticize the president’s economic policies? He personally vilifies the people the president wants on his team to further improve our economy, protect American jobs, and generate greater wealth for all.

Enter Stephen Moore, who has been named as a potential nominee by President Trump to serve on the Board of the Federal Reserve. As soon as Moore’s name was floated, he was savaged by the liberal press—and not for his economic knowledge or his views of domestic monetary policy—but via personal attacks on him and his family. 

Ruthless attacks on Mr. Moore by the Washington Post and several other news outlets included descriptions of Moore’s relationship with his ex-wife and their children. In a completely predictable move, The New York Times, CNN and other news outlets condemned Moore’s humorous columns, written more than a decade ago, as sexist.

These personal attacks on Mr. Moore sadly replicate the same failed strategy of personal slander aimed at Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and most of the president’s cabinet members. We have clearly reached a troubling point in American politics in which Republican presidential nominees are no longer reviewed based on the quality of their credentials (Moore’s are sterling) or the merits of their ideas (ditto), but are squeezed through a gauntlet of brutal, vicious attacks on their personal lives, reputations, and actions dating back as far as 10 years.

Newsweek saw fit to quote TV comedian John Oliver’s scathing criticism of Moore in its coverage. So odd how Oliver, a man whose knowledge of banking and finance likely ends with his checking account routing number, is elevated to “analyst” by Newsweek. Why? Because Oliver served up his usual, caustic foment against conservatives, a tired narrative the liberal press loves to drive.

CNBC at least attempted to assess Moore based on his qualifications—but that criticism came in the form of its “Flash Fed Survey” of 48 respondents. Yes, 48 people. Most of these “fund managers, economists, and strategists” said Moore just wasn’t qualified. Sure, let’s cherry-pick four dozen people who will give CNBC the survey results it wants and then post the biased trash as an honest review of sentiment toward Moore’s qualifications?  What a complete joke.

Why do Democrats hate Stephen Moore? Moore is a bright mind in Washington with years of economic policy research, analysis, and commentary on his resume. He is a former senior economist on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, he has offered economic analysis and advice to two presidential administrations. He is an outspoken, free-market conservative, one who has criticized the Federal Reserve’s actions in the past.

The Federal Reserve is immensely powerful. It regulates our nation’s banks, controls the interest rates banks charge each other, as well as interest rates on loans made to private banks. Stephen Moore could serve the president and the nation in a variety of ways.

As qualified as Mr. Moore is to join the Federal Reserve Board, I selfishly believe he would better serve the conservative movement and the Trump administration by staying out of government agency work and be a qualified voice for Trump’s economic policies. Moore ably explains to the American people how the president’s economic agenda promotes job growth and prosperity for working families. I can think of no better champion for the president’s re-election than Stephen Moore. 


Progressives just can’t quit the individual mandate

Since Congress effectively ended the unpopular requirement that all Americans obtain health coverage by zeroing out the fine for noncompliance as of the first of this year, three states and the District of Columbia have enacted mandates of their own. The mandate that Massachusetts imposed in 2006 is now back in force. And at least seven other states are considering similar measures.

If they succeed, one-quarter of the U.S. population will again have to choose between paying for costly insurance that’s of little value to them — and a burdensome fine.

Rather than resurrect Obamacare’s most hated provision, blue-state politicians should focus on making insurance more affordable for their constituents.

It’s hard to conclude that Obamacare’s individual mandate was anything but a failure. In 2017, three years after the mandate went into effect, more than 27 million people went without coverage.

They opted not to purchase coverage largely because it was too expensive. Between 2013 — the year before most of Obamacare’s rules went into effect — and 2017, average annual individual health insurance premiums doubled, from $2,784 to $5,712.

Those rate increases should’ve been obvious, in hindsight. Obamacare’s litany of rules practically order insurers to raise premiums. The law requires insurers to sell health insurance to everyone regardless of their current health status or demographic risk. They can’t charge sick patients more than healthy ones. And they can’t charge the old any more than three times what they charge the young — even though claims costs for the old tend to be five times those of the young.

To cover the cost of caring for the sick, insurance companies had to raise rates across the board.

Obamacare also requires all plans to cover 10 “essential health benefits.” Some people may not want or need some of the benefits — like maternity and pediatric care. But providing comprehensive coverage is expensive for insurers — and they’ve ratcheted up rates accordingly.

Obamacare’s supporters hoped the mandate would draw relatively young and healthy people into the insurance pool to help offset the cost of caring for the aged and infirm. But many people — in the neighborhood of 6 million — chose to pay the fine for being uninsured.

A surprising number of them, about 80 percent, made less than $50,000 a year. For these folks, expensive Obamacare coverage just wasn’t worth its high cost. Blue-state leaders have learned nothing from all this recent history. New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia have all re-imposed individual mandates on their residents. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed doing the same, as have both chambers of the state legislature. In Maryland, a bill that would reinstate the mandate has more than 80 cosponsors. Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington are all considering re-imposing the mandate, too.

If their residents wanted expensive Obamacare-approved coverage, they’d buy it. A new mandate doesn’t address their core concern — affordability.

Fortunately, the Trump administration is taking that concern seriously by expanding access to short-term health plans. These policies don’t have to comply with Obamacare’s cost-inflating rules and regulations. They can last up to a year, and insurers can renew them for up to three years.

Consequently, they’re much cheaper. Premiums for short-term plans average about $124 a month — 70 percent less than the unsubsidized cost of a plan for sale on one of Obamacare’s exchanges.

Several blue states have derided these affordable short-term plans as “junk insurance” — and limit or ban their sale. The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Democratic leaders, meanwhile, just announced an investigation into the plans and companies, alleging that the insurers and brokers that sell short-term policies are misleading consumers.

Americans have rejected Obamacare’s coercive, one-size-fits-all approach. They want more affordable health insurance, not more mandates. Unfortunately, if they live in a blue state, their leaders aren’t interested in helping them.


Mueller report; The AG sets the record straight in a Senate hearing, while Democrats call for his head

Just when one may have thought Democrats couldn’t possibly get any more obtuse, they decided to go after Attorney General William Barr, claiming he “hid” information from Robert Mueller’s investigation report after he has literally done the opposite. Recall that Barr, in an unprecedented move due to the high level of interest for full transparency, released to the public Mueller’s entire 400-page report, minimally redacted to comply with rules regarding privacy and national security.

The release of Mueller’s report came only a few weeks after Barr’s four-page summary of it in which he correctly concluded that Mueller’s team found no evidence that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia (the whole impetuous for the creation of the special counsel in the first place) and that Mueller left undecided the question as to whether President Donald Trump had engaged in obstruction of justice. Barr determined that there was not sufficient evidence to support a charge of obstruction and therefore declared the case closed. These are the facts, but it is apparent that those afflicted with Trump Derangement Syndrome reject the facts if they don’t support their feelings.

This reality was on full display even before Barr appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, with The Washington Post conveniently obtaining a “leaked” letter from the Mueller team advancing the narrative that Barr was engaged in a “coverup.” The assertion was asinine on its face, as it ignored the fact that Barr had released the full Mueller report. Furthermore, an unredacted version of the report was made available to senior members of Congress, but thus far only three have bothered to read it, and all three are Republicans. In other words, for all their squawking about a nonexistent “coverup” and lack of transparency, not a single Democrat has taken the opportunity to examine the unredacted report.

Following the five-hour hearing in which Barr handled himself ably and professionally, answering quite sufficiently all questions put to him, Democrats called for his resignation and even suggested his impeachment. Why? We all know the answer by now — Trump Derangement Syndrome. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared, “He lied to Congress. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.”

The truth is, since Barr followed the facts rather than the anti-Trump narrative, he must be rejected. But what has gotten the Democrats and their Leftmedia cohorts most up in arms was Barr’s effective undercutting of the obstruction narrative.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) demanded to know why Barr didn’t find Trump guilty of obstruction over his instructions to former White House Counsel Don McGahn to get rid of Mueller. Barr noted the context of the situation: “There is a distinction between saying to someone, ‘Go fire him. Go fire Mueller,’ and saying, ‘Have him removed based on conflict.’” Feinstein, seemingly confused, asked what the difference was. Barr answered, “If you remove someone for a conflict of interest, there would presumably be another person [brought in as special counsel].”

Barr then deftly debunked the Democrats’ entire obstruction narrative, stating, “If the president is being falsely accused, which the evidence now suggests, the accusations against him were false and he knew they were false, and he felt that this investigation was unfair, propelled by his political opponents, and was hampering his ability to govern. … That is not a corrupt motive for replacing an independent counsel.”

Exactly. But that won’t stop Democrats from churning this for another 18 months.



Poll: Fewer Low-Income Americans ‘Struggling’ Financially Since Trump Took Office

More Americans say their financial situation has improved since President Donald Trump took office, and fewer low-income Americans report that they are “struggling” to make ends meet, a new Monmouth University Poll finds.

The national survey of 801 American adults (18 and older), conducted April 11-15, 2019, asked:

“Thinking about your current financial situation, would you say you are struggling to remain where you are financially, basically stable in your current financial situation, or is your financial situation improving?”

Those saying their financial situation is improving has risen from 20% in January, 2017 to 23% in April 2018 to 25% in April of this year, Monmouth reports:

“The number who say they are struggling has gone down since Trump took office (from 29% in January 2017 and 24% in April 2018) while the number who say their situation is improving has risen slightly (from 20% in January 2017 and 23% in April 2018). The number who say there has been no change in their financial situation has remained fairly stable (51% in both 2017 and 2018).”

Financial hardship among low-income Americans has recorded a sizeable 14-point decline, as those earning less than $50,000 a year who say they are “struggling” has fallen to 32% in the current survey, down from 46% in January of 2017:

“Those earning less than $50,000 a year are less likely to say that they are struggling now (32%) than said the same either one year ago (41%) or two years ago (46%). However, lower income residents continue to struggle more than those earning $50,000 to $100,000 (13%) or more than $100,000 (7%).”

Pres. Trump was inaugurated into office on January 20, 2017.



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

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


3 May, 2019

Hooray! Trump Changes Course On Decommissioning Aircraft Carrier Harry S. Truman

In a big conflict you need numbers and even an old ship is better than no ship.  Reagan took four WWII battleships out of mothballs for service in the Middle East and elsewhere so that shows you what can be done

President Trump on Wednesday said he is overturning the military’s plan to decommission the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, promising it will be updated “at the fraction of the cost of a new one” instead.

“I am overriding the Decommission Order of the magnificent aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, built in 1998 (fairly new), and considered one of the largest and finest in the world,” the president tweeted. “It will be updated at a fraction of the cost of a new one (which also are being built)!”

VP Mike Pence delivered the welcome message for the Truman’s crew when he visited the ship pierside at Naval Station Norfolk.

“I met with the president at the White House this morning, and I told him I was going to be with all of you here on the deck of the Truman,” Pence told the crew. “And as I stand before you today, I know that the future of this aircraft carrier is the subject of some budget discussions in Washington, D.C.”

“President Donald Trump asked me to deliver a message to each and every one of you on the deck of the USS Truman: We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman,” Pence said to thunderous applause.

“The USS Harry S. Truman is going to be ‘giving ‘em hell’ for many more years to come.”

The Pentagon, under pressure from the White House, had proposed retiring the carrier in 2024, about halfway through its normal useful life.



Trump, Pelosi, Schumer Agree to Spend Additional $2 Trillion on Infrastructure

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with President Donald Trump at the White House today, after which Pelosi and Schumer said it was a "very productive" and "very constructive" meeting in which they agreed with Trump to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure. Schumer added that they had started a "little low" but the "president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing."

"[I]t was a very constructive meeting," Schumer, flanked by Pelosi, told reporters outside the White House.  "It's clear that both the White House and all of us want to get something done on infrastructure in a big and bold way. And there was goodwill in this meeting. And that was different than some of the other meetings that we've had, which is a very good thing."

"We agreed on a number, which was very, very good," he said. "Two trillion for infrastructure. Originally, we had started a little low. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. And that is a very good thing."

"We agreed that infrastructure is crucial to the future of America," he said.  "We agreed it creates jobs. We agreed it keeps us competitive. We agreed that for 25 years this kind of a big, bold bill that we could pass would make America a better place. This is not just a one-year or a two-year [project]."

Speaker Pelosi said, "It's about jobs, jobs, jobs. It's about promoting commerce. It's about cleaning air, clean water. It's a, therefore, a public health issue. It's a quality of life issue, getting people out of their cars, not being on the roads so much. And, in every way, it's a safety issue. So we're very excited about the conversation that we had with the president to advance an agenda of that kind."

Both Schumer and Pelosi stressed that the initiative would include broadband, making sure that it is available to every home in America.

"Obviously the roads and the bridges and the highways, obviously water, but also a big emphasis on broadband, that every American home, we believe, needs broadband, an emphasis on the power grid so we can bring clean energy from one end of the country to the other, and several other issues," said Schumer.

As for how Democrat-led investigations of Trump might jeopardize the passage of a major infrastructure bill, Schumer said, "In previous meetings, the president has said, if these investigations continue, I can't work with you. He didn't bring it up. And so we're going -- I believe we can do both at once."

"We can come up with some good ideas on infrastructure, and we want to hear his ideas on funding," said Schumer.  "That's going to be the crucial point in my opinion. And the House and the Senate can proceed in its oversight responsibilities. The two are not mutually exclusive, and we were glad he didn't make it that way."



Democrats face new civil war in primary fight

The bell has rung on round two of the Democratic Party’s civil war.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential primary sets the stage for another knock-down, drag-out fight between the establishment wing of the party and the ascendant left, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

That showdown threatens to tear open old wounds the party suffered in the bitter 2016 primary contest between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Party leaders have tried to move on from that divisive episode, but deep wells of suspicion and distrust remain between mainstream Democrats and the left.

"The civil war that started in 2016 never ended," said one veteran Democratic hand. "It’s still going on."

The 2016 primary contest left liberals fuming at what they viewed as establishment interference in the race, underscored by the hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails that showed favoritism toward Clinton.

And some mainstream Democrats are unnerved by what they view as a group of left-wing interlopers, online brawlers and sore losers trying to take over the party.

The same fight played out in 2017, when party officials elected Tom Perez to be the next DNC chairman. Perez, who was backed by Biden, narrowly defeated Sanders’s preferred candidate, former Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.). That race similarly cut along establishment and grass-roots lines.

Now liberals are on the lookout for any whiff of malfeasance and warning party insiders that they’re playing with fire if they meddle in the 2020 primary.

"If I were in charge of the DNC or Joe Biden’s campaign or any other entity associated with the traditional Democratic Party, I would be going out of my way to embrace the new energy on the left and these anti-establishment forces," said Robert Reich, former President Clinton’s Labor secretary and a leading progressive thinker.

"I hope the establishment wing understands how dangerous it would be to attack Bernie Sanders or anybody else who they may feel represents the left wing of the party. That would be a really stupid thing to do," he added.

The left has won a slew of victories in the years since Sanders’s primary defeat.

There have been changes at the DNC to limit the power of superdelegates, the party officials who propelled Clinton to victory in 2016. A robust debate schedule will ensure that voters are exposed to the full field of candidates.

And many of Sanders’s once-fringe ideas have gone mainstream in the Democratic Party.

"Bernie Sanders has already defined the soul of the party if you look at the current conversation on health care, college tuition, foreign policy and wealth inequality," said Jonathan Tasini, a progressive writer. "That debate is over if the party looks at what voters thirst for."

But many on the left feel like outsiders in the Democratic Party. They’re still worried about officials exerting influence over the primary, particularly if there is a contested convention, which seems likelier this year with the massive field of candidates splitting votes.

"A lot of people still feel burned," said Jacob Limon, who was the Texas state director for Sanders’s 2016 campaign. "We corrected a lot of the imbalances, like the unfair superdelegates dynamic, but there are still a lot of raw feelings around that and a sense that you absolutely cannot burn the grass roots again."

Biden is trying to avoid the perception that he’s the anointed establishment candidate. In an interview on ABC’s "The View," Biden said that he specifically asked former President Obama not to endorse him in the primary.

"I didn’t want it to look like he’s putting his thumb on the scale here," Biden said. "I’m going to do this based on who I am, not by the president going out and saying, 'This is the guy you should be with.'"

But many centrist Democrats are just as worried about how the left will approach the primary contest.

They’re frustrated by Sanders’s steadfast refusal to officially join the Democratic Party and worried by what they view as his team of political assassins. And they wonder whether Sanders’s supporters will accept the outcome of the primary and turn out to vote for the nominee in the general election if Sanders falls short again.

"There is a 'Bernie-or-bust' coalition, and they have no allegiance to the party," said the Democratic strategist. "They don’t care about campaign infrastructure or winning up and down the ballot. They’re just concerned about bullshit litmus tests and defending their guy no matter what and pretending that everyone else is a member of the big bad establishment."

Liberal groups have torn into Biden since he launched his campaign, casting him as a relic of the "old guard" and an establishment figure beholden to corporate interests.

The Sanders campaign swiped at Biden for holding a fundraiser at the home of a lobbyist. The Justice Democrats, a liberal group started by former Sanders campaign aides, tore into the former vice president, saying he "stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today."

"The level of nastiness we see here is completely up to Sanders and his camp," said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist.

"Joe Biden is an optimistic guy. I can’t think of a sunnier or more unifying person. The way he communicates is in stark contrast to Sen. Sanders, who unfortunately tends to campaign in a language of grievances, conspiracies and victimhood. It’s my hope that Sen. Sanders campaigns on his own merits and policies, but so far his surrogates and he have engaged in the same old attacks. No other Democrat is doing that. Sanders is the one that sets the tone for his campaign here," he added.

Still, some Democrats are optimistic that the party will come together in the end no matter the outcome.

"In 2016, the question was, do you want Bernie or Hillary?" said Howard Gutman, a former Obama administration ambassador. "The circumstances couldn’t be more different this time around. We have a broad array of strong candidates from the entire Democratic family, and the only issue is, how do we beat Donald Trump? That’s the great unifier."



Florida Legislature Votes to End Sanctuary Cities

Naturally, leftists are apoplectic about this effort to actually enforce the law.   

The Florida state legislature has taken a stand against the American Left’s penchant for selective law enforcement. Last Wednesday, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities that harbor illegal aliens and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The vote was 69-47 along party lines. On Friday, the state Senate passed its version of the ban by a 22-18 margin. Negotiations between the House and Senate will now commence until an identical bill can be sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.

Barring major changes, the law prohibits local governments from ignoring detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and requires them to hold suspected illegals in jail until the feds can take them into custody. A failure to do so could precipitate fines of up to $5,000 per day. The House version of the bill would also allow lawsuits to be filed against local governments for personal injuries or wrongful deaths tied to sanctuary policies, and suspend or remove government employees or elected officials who refuse to enforce immigration laws.

That very welcome part of the statute stands in stark contrast to the immunity that shields many sanctuary-city officials, most recently upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That panel refused to allow the family of Kate Steinle to sue the city of San Francisco after their daughter was killed by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a seven-time convicted felon who had been deported five times. Despite ICE’s request for a detainer, former San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Zarate, who was ultimately convicted of a firearms charge, but acquitted of murdering Steinle. Following that stunning verdict, Ellen Canale, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, made it clear the death of an innocent citizen at the hands of an illegal alien felon wouldn’t alter the status quo one iota. “San Francisco is and always will be a sanctuary city,” she asserted.

Florida is on the verge of preventing similar outrages and, unsurprisingly, Democrats and their leftists allies are apoplectic. Prior to the bill’s passage there were protests staged at the Capitol, and district offices were besieged by sit-ins. The ACLU issued a “Florida Travel Alert,” warning that “Florida residents, citizens and non-citizens, and travelers could face risks of being racially profiled and being detained without probable cause.”

Or, illegal aliens who have no business being in Florida could be detained, prosecuted, and ultimately deported in accordance with federal immigration law.

The Left also played the economics card. The American Business Immigration Coalition sent a letter to the state’s elected officials declaring that “anti-immigrant” legislation will “inflict long-lasting damage to the state of Florida” to the tune of “an annual loss of $121.4M in taxes and $3.5B in GDP, threatening the economic prosperity and safety of all Floridians.”

The letter also trotted out the same tiresome talking points the Left has long used to justify wholesale law-breaking. It stated that the bill “gives traffickers another tool to terrorize and enslave their victims,” that the agricultural industry will be “devastated,” and that both the “documented and undocumented are less likely to commit a crime than native-born citizens.”

Traffickers can only “enslave” those willing to sneak across the border, which remains wide open because a purposefully do-nothing Congress beholden to the globalist agenda allows it — and because the hundreds of sanctuary cities across the nation further incentivize that contemptible reality. That the state’s agricultural industry that would be “devastated” without illegal workers is an argument eerily similar to the one made by pre-Civil War southern plantation owners who claimed to need slave labor to remain economically viable. And if there’s a more bankrupt argument than the insidious notion that Americans should abide a “reasonable” number of wholly avoidable crimes — including murder and rape — solely to accommodate leftist desires to “fundamentally transform” America, one is hard-pressed to imagine what it is.

Yet another propaganda point was disseminated by The Washington Post. “While the definition of sanctuary cities varies, most analysts say Florida does not have any,” the paper asserts.

If that’s the case, then this bill won’t pose any problem.

But that’s not the case, and no one made that clearer than Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, who told a Spanish-language radio station that he’d rather be thrown out of the police department than follow the proposed law. “I don’t care if you have papers or don’t have papers, where you came from, or who your parents are,” Colina said. “That’s not my job. My job is to make sure everyone in this city is safe.”

No, a police chief’s job is to enforce the Rule of Law — period. Perhaps Gov. DeSantis, who has already successfully suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel for his colossal failure of leadership in the Parkland atrocity, will address Colina’s defiance — along with that of every other similarly recalcitrant law-enforcement official — in a similarly no-nonsense manner.

Neptune Beach Republican Cord Byrd, who sponsored the House initiative, spoke to the real issues in play here. “We are more than just a job center. We are a nation of citizens governed by law,” he said. Sen. Joe Gruters, sponsor of the Senate legislation and chairman of the Florida Republican Party, echoed those sentiments. “This bill is about public safety and making sure we remove the criminal element of illegals that are here,” he said. “The president has a laser focus on the failures of Washington in terms of immigration policy, and I think that has made this effort easier.”

Those failures are monumental. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 775,000 illegals reside in Florida, and more than 20% of students attending Florida schools have at least one parent who is an illegal alien.

Yet those figures are likely low-ball estimates. On Nov. 28, 2018, Pew stated that the number of illegals in the U.S. declined to 10.7 million as of 2016.

That a Yale-MIT study pegged the number closer to 22 million? That ICE is currently holding 50,223 migrants, one of the highest total numbers on record? That the pace of illegal border crossings in 2019 alone is approaching 1.2 million?

The globalist agenda must be served, even if it requires rank propaganda, overt lying, or outright law-breaking to do so.



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

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


2 May, 2019

Government shutdowns don’t harm the economy. Is there a lesson there?

The U.S. economy grew at an inflation-adjusted 3.2 percent annualized in the first quarter of 2019, putting it on track to get to 3 percent for the year for the first time since 2005, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The startling data undoubtedly caught official Washington, D.C. by surprise, who had been gleefully predicting that the partial government shutdown earlier this year would cause a slowdown particularly to government contractors who, unlike federal employees, were not awarded backpay after the shutdown ended.

Unfortunately for the establishment punditry, whatever effect slower spending might have had was more than offset by the strength of the Trump economy.

The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that the partial shutdown cost the U.S. economy $3 billion of output in the fourth quarter of 2018, and $8 billion of output in the first quarter of 2019, respectively.

But it did not matter.

Most of that came out of $245 million of government contracts a day not paid out during the shutdown. Again, federal employees who were furloughed during that time have already been awarded back pay, including for the last week of 2018, the output of which has been moved into the first quarter of 2019.

Because government spending is factored into the GDP, and the reduction was actually $8.1 billion, amounts to approximately 0.16 percent according to the Bureau, or 0.17 percent annualized that came out of the first quarter GDP’s growth rate.

So, instead of 3.2 percent (really, 3.17 percent rounded up), the economy might have grown at 3.34 percent in the first quarter without the government shutdown.

But that does not matter, either. It will be made up for in the second quarter and beyond as government contractor spending “grows” by $8 billion back to its normal level. As the CBO report noted, “In subsequent quarters, GDP will be temporarily higher than it would have been in the absence of a shutdown.”



Generic Insulin Now Available After Nearly One Hundred Years of Regulatory Protection From Competition

A lesson to be learned

Diabetes is arguably the biggest epidemic of the twenty-first century. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 million Americans are diabetic or prediabetic. If left unmanaged, diabetes is fatal and can result in serious health complications, including nerve damage, heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and damage to extremities requiring amputation.

For an increasing number of people with diabetes, regular insulin injections are indispensable for managing their condition. Tragically, insulin in the United States is alarmingly expensive, taking a financial toll on many who need it to prolong their lives. A recent CBS News article reports finding “horror stories every day” of diabetics reducing and rationing their insulin doses, risking long-term complications or falling into a diabetic coma.

Fortunately, these stories may now be a thing of the past.

Drug producer Eli Lilly and Company recently released Lispro, the first ever generic insulin to enter the U.S. market. Lispro is available in pen or vial form and lists for $137.35 per vial (or $265.20 for a pack of five pens), half the price of Humalog, its brand-name alternative. Generic insulin provides much-needed financial relief. As Eli Lilly and Company CEO and Chairman Dave Ricks noted in a statement, “We don’t want anyone to ration or skip doses of insulin due to affordability. And no one should pay the full Humalog retail price.”

But many are still upset that a generic alternative is still expensive and is coming so late. Ben Wakana, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Patients For Affordable Drugs, echoes the frustrations of many when he expressed, “Charging nearly $140 for a vial of insulin—a drug that was invented almost a century ago—is still too high.”

He has a point. Insulin has been available to treat diabetes since 1922. The first generic insulin was approved just a few weeks ago. Why?

Unlike pharmaceuticals, which enjoy 20 years of patent protection from competition, insulin is classified as a biological compound. Under the FDA’s regulatory system, producers can extend patents for biological compounds by slightly modifying their product components. This possibility creates an incentive for insulin producers to alter their products rather than releasing generic drugs and competing by offering patients lower prices.

As my coauthors and I note in an article published in the Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, insulin has been adapted to enter the bloodstream quicker, to last longer by using different preservatives, and has also been extracted from different animals since first becoming available to patients. Many of these changes offered little medicinal benefits but protected producers from generic competitors. The result is that three insulin producers encompassed 99 percent of the market for nearly one hundred years.

Offering a generic alternative for insulin is a much-welcomed addition to the diabetic care market. I expect this change to prolong and save many lives, which is certainly worth celebrating. However, the development of insulin in the United States also provides a cautionary tale of how devastating the misaligned incentives created by poorly designed regulations can be for patients.

It’s been a costly and long-lasting mistake. Let’s hope we learn from it.



FedGov: A Check-Writing, Wealth Redistribution Machine

When you think of all the ways that the U.S. government spends money, which of its functions do you think tops the list?

USA Today‘s John Merline reviewed several decades of the U.S. government’s annual budgets, including the latest budget proposal from President Trump, and has arrived at an inescapable conclusion:

What is the government’s primary function? If you look at the debates that rage each year when the president’s budget comes out, you’d think it was defense spending. Or food stamps. Or cancer research. Or student loans....

But if you look beyond the headlines at the actual budget document, you learn that those are all squabbles over crumbs. Today, the one thing the federal government does above all else is write checks. Lots of checks. Nearly $3.2 trillion worth of checks. Each and every year.

Buried in a separate volume of the annual budget are “Historical Tables,” which provide rich detail on how the government has spent taxpayers’ money going back as far as 1789. Three of these tables track “payment for individuals,” defined as “federal government spending programs designed to transfer income (in cash or in kind) to individuals or families.” It doesn’t include things like salaries paid to federal workers or services rendered.

According to the Trump budget, the government will hand out $2.6 trillion—that’s trillion with a “t”—directly to individuals or paid for services on their behalf this year. An additional $568 billion will go out as “grants to states,” which then pay the money in the same way.

In other words, 70 percent of everything the federal government will spend this year will amount to writing checks to benefit individuals. That’s up from 28 percent in 1968 and 50 percent in 1991. At $3.2 trillion, these federal money transfers will equal the entire economies of Canada and Mexico combined.

Even more perversely, much of that money is simply recycled through the U.S. government’s coffers as an intergenerational transfer from today’s middle and upper class income earners to the former middle and upper class income earners of the retired population.

For all practical purposes, the U.S. government is little more than “a check-writing, redistribution machine that costs trillions”—one that Merline observes is horribly inefficient because in practice, “much of what the federal government does today is rob Peter to pay...Peter.”

Only a politician or a bureaucrat would ever want more of such a nonsensical system!



Trump Wants to Speed Up Asylum Adjudications and Impose Fees

President Donald Trump on Monday announced that his latest plan to secure the border and "restore integrity" to the immigration system focuses on asylum-seekers.

In a presidential memorandum, President Trump directed Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan to do the following:

-- Propose regulations to ensure that all asylum applications adjudicated in immigration court are finalized within 180 days. (Many of the hundreds of thousands of people claiming asylum at the Southwest border are coming to the United States for economic opportunity, which is not grounds for asylum. The huge influx has produced an immigration backlog of some 800,000 cases.)

-- Propose regulations setting a fee for an asylum application, not to exceed the costs of adjudicating the application; and impose a fee for work permits for the period that the asylum claim is pending.

-- Propose regulations to bar asylum seekers who entered the country illegally from receiving work permits until they receive the court's permission to stay here; and to ensure immediate revocation of work permits for aliens who are denied asylum or become subject to a final order of removal.

The memo also directs the Homeland Security Secretary to "reprioritize the assignment of immigration officers," as the Secretary deems necessary, to improve adjudications of credible and reasonable fear claims; to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws; and to ensure compliance with the law by those aliens who have final orders of removal.

Trump tweeted about his latest attempt to stem the mass influx of foreigners, mostly Central Americans, who are flowing over the border in numbers not seen for years -- more than 100,000 inadmissible aliens encountered in March alone.

“If the Democrats don’t give us the votes to change our weak, ineffective and dangerous Immigration Laws, we must fight hard for these votes in the 2020 Election!” Trump tweeted on Monday.

In a second tweet, he wrote: “The Coyotes and Drug Cartels are in total control of the Mexico side of the Southern Border. They have labs nearby where they make drugs to sell into the U.S. Mexico, one of the most dangerous country’s in the world, must eradicate this problem now. Also, stop the MARCH to U.S.”



Biden Plays the Race Card

As he debated with himself whether to enter the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, Joe Biden knew he had a problem.

As a senator from Delaware in the '70s, he had bashed busing to achieve racial balance in public schools as stupid and racist.

As chairman of Senate Judiciary in the hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991, Biden had been dismissive of the charges by Anita Hill that the future justice had sexually harassed her.

In 1994, Biden had steered to passage a tough anti-crime bill that led to a dramatic increase in the prison population.

Crime went down as U.S. prisons filled up, but Biden's bill came to be seen by many African Americans as discriminatory.

What to do? Acting on the adage that your best defense is a good offense, Biden decided to tear into President Donald Trump — for giving aid and comfort to white racists.

His announcement video began with footage of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, highlighting Trump's remark, after the brawl that left a female protestor dead, that there were "very fine people on both sides."

"With those words," said Biden, "the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I realized that the threat to this nation was unlike any I had seen in my lifetime."

Cut it out, Joe. This is just not credible. Even he cannot believe Trump had in mind the neo-Nazis and Klansman chanting, "Jews will not replace us!" when Trump said there were "fine people" on both sides.

If this were truly a road-to-Damascus moment for Biden, calling forth a new resolve to remove so morally obtuse a resident of the Oval Office, why did he have to agonize so long before getting in the race?

And was Charlottesville, a riot involving Klansmen, neo-Nazis and radicals, really a "threat to this nation" unlike any Biden had seen in a lifetime that covers the Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, the riots in 100 cities after Martin Luther King's assassination and Sept. 11?

Even the anti-Trump media seemed skeptical. Their first interviews after Biden's announcement were not about Charlottesville but why it took so long to call Anita Hill to apologize.

Yet there is an unstated message in the Biden video. It is this:

With the economy firing on all eight cylinders, and the drive for impeachment losing steam, a new strategy is emerging — to take Trump down by stuffing him in a box with white supremacists.

The strategy is not original. It was tried, but backfired on Hillary Clinton when she called Trump supporters "deplorables ... racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic ... bigots."

This didn't sit well with some white folks in Wisconsin, Michigan and Middle Pennsylvania.

Yet the never-Trumpers seem to think it could work this time.

After Saturday's attack on the Passover service in Poway, California, which took a woman's life, Trump denounced the atrocity, expressed his condolences, called Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, who had been wounded, and consoled him for 15 minutes.

"Nevertheless," wrote The Washington Post Monday in a front-page headline, "President's words push race to fore of campaign."

"The rise of white nationalist violence during Trump's tenure is emerging as an issue," said the Post, because Trump "previously played down the threat posed by white nationalism (and) ... also has a long history of anti-Muslim remarks."

The article should be taken seriously. For the Post is not only an enemy of Trump but a powerful institutional ally of the left. And during presidential campaigns, it doubles as an oppo research and attack arm of the Democratic Party.

"Violence, Hate Crimes Emerge as 2020 Issues" declared the inside headline on the Post story. The Post is not talking about customary crimes of violence in America or D.C. — robbery, rape, assault, battery, murder — a disproportionate share of which are committed by minorities of color.

The crimes that interest the Post are those committed by white males against minorities, which can be used to flesh out the picture of America that preexists in the mind of the left, if not in the real world.

Yet it does appear that issues of race, tribe and identity are becoming an obsession in our politics. This weekend, The New York Times faced charges of anti-Semitism for a cartoon of a blind Trump in a skullcap being led by a seeing-eye dog with the face of "Bibi" Netanyahu, who had a Star of David on his collar.

Recoiling under fire, the Times pulled the cartoon and apologized.

On Monday, Rev. Al Sharpton met with "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg. Subject of discussion: Reparations for slavery, which ended more than a century before the mayor was born.

"All is race," wrote Disraeli in his novel "Tancred." "There is no other truth."



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

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


1 May, 2019  

A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently:  Our political divisions aren’t red versus blue, but fixed versus fluid

The above is a heading that clever young Ezra Klein put up on his site late last year.  It looks like Ezra's political science degree from UCLA did not include any psychology.  Otherwise he would have realized that there is nothing new in his theory.  It is in fact an old dodge that Leftists have been using at least since 1950.  I have done a lot of research on it.

What it boils down to is what we in Australia would tend to call a "switcheroo".  You don't change the facts. You just stick another label on them -- even if you have to make up a new name for the purpose.  The 1950 group led by Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno invented the label "intolerant of ambiguity to characterize conservatives while Leftists were "flexible"

Of course the Left is flexible.  They have been for a long time  -- super-flexible. When Hitler invaded Poland, he did so with Communist Russia as an ally.  And American Communists (longshoremen particularly) were vocal supporters of Hitler at that time. They saw Nazism as a fraternal socialist system -- which was in fact pretty right.  But when Hitler invaded Russia, American Communists didn't miss a beat.  They immediately became Anti-Nazi.  Very flexible.  "No principles" would be another way of putting it

And they do 180 degree turns all the time.  When Mr Obama began his presidency he was an outspoken opponent of homosexual marriage.  When the wind among Leftists began to blow in the opposite direction, however, his views promptly "evolved" to the opposite.

And when Bill Clinton failed to win a majority of the popular vote in his win of the presidency, that was fine and dandy.  It wasn't even an issue. But when Donald J. Trump also failed to win a popular majority that was and is an outrage that can only be fixed by a change in the constitution -- which mandates an electoral college.

And Leftists actually tell us that they have no principles.  They repeatedly tell us in any debate where they look like losing that "There is no such thing as right and wrong".  That's the ultimate in "flexibility".  Anything goes.  And they are even flexible about that.  Some things ARE wrong if they say so.  Racism and Donald J. Trump for instance.  Their flexibility is so great as to lead them into self-contradiction, which is about as mentally inadequate as you can get.  Only Freudian compartmentalizion enables it.

Meanwhile we silly old conservatives try to arrive at realistic and internally consistent policies.  How rigid, inflexible and intolerant of ambiguity we are!  The authors below call the divide  a  “fixed” versus “fluid” worldview but it's the same old relabelling of the chronic Leftist illogicality and inconsistency versus the conservative push for order and rationality. 

In their illogicality we can often recognize all the old Freudian defense mechanisms: denial, projection, compartmentalization. Leftists use them all in their desperation to avoid recognizing how reality constantly contradicts their theories. They need those theories to justify their hatred of the world about them. In their need to think socialism makes sense, they are even sticking with Maduro at the moment.  Freudian denial, of course.

Their only loyalty is to their hatreds and socialism is hatred of the normal human way of doing things -- where you have to work for what you get.  That hate is the driving Leftist motive has  been thrown into sharp relief by the arrival in politics of Donald J. Trump.  He has elicited an unending orgasm of hate from them

“Of the many factors that make up your worldview, one is more fundamental than any other in determining which side of the divide you gravitate toward: your perception of how dangerous the world is. Fear is perhaps our most primal instinct, after all, so it’s only logical that people’s level of fearfulness informs their outlook on life.”

That’s political scientists Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, writing in their book Prius or Pickup, which marshals a massive trove of survey data and experimental evidence to argue that the roots of our political divides run so deep that they make us almost incomprehensible to one another. Our political divisions, they say, aren’t about policy disagreements, or even demographics. They’re about something more ancient in how we view the world.

Hetherington and Weiler call these worldviews, which express themselves in everything from policy preferences to parenting styles, “fixed” versus “fluid.” The fixed worldview “describes people who are warier of social and cultural change and hence more set in their ways, more suspicious of outsiders, and more comfortable with the familiar and predictable.” People with a fluid worldview, by contrast, “support changing social and cultural norms, are excited by things that are new and novel, and are open to, and welcoming of, people who look and sound different.”

What’s happened in recent decades, they argue, is that politics in general, and our political parties in particular, have reorganized around these worldviews, adding a new, and arguably irreconcilable, difference into our political divisions. That difference is visible in everything from what we think to where we live to how we shop, but it’s particularly apparent in how hard it is for us to understand how the other side views the world.



Synagogue Shooters Have Trump Hatred in Common

The evil psychopaths who shot up the synagogues in Poway and Pittsburgh undoubtedly share a number of traits in common, but prominent among them is unremitting hatred of Donald Trump. The Poway shooter put it — how shall we say it — in succinct terms, calling the president a "Zionist, Anti-White, Traitorous, C*cksucker." His Pittsburgh doppelgänger was almost as disgusting.

Despicable as they are, these two creatures can't really be accused of Trump Derangement Syndrome, because, unlike many in mainstream media, they are at least somewhat correct in their assessment. Trump is pro-Israel, indeed likely the most pro-Israel president since Truman, who defied his own State Department to recognize the Jewish state.

Come to think of it, Trump probably defied his State Department too, or a good part of it, in actually moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (rather than just promising to do so as other presidential candidates have) and then throwing recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel into the bargain. Both of these actions were, according to the "experts," supposed to set the Middle East ablaze. Nothing of the sort happened. All this while Trump was absurdly accused of anti-Semitism by the heavy breathers in our media, before and after his election.

But back to the repellent Poway/Pittsburgh duo. What can we do about such people and do they constitute a serious new movement on the right, or the anti-Trump right, whatever that is? The answer to the second question is simple: No. Groups like the Klan barely exist anymore, nor are they being founded in any significant way as we speak. People like this are pathetic copy cats of each other, but not a lot more. The United States is not, at heart, an anti-Semitic country, nor is it a racist country, despite what Maxine Waters et al. may want to drill into us at every opportunity. We are a nation of mostly pretty decent people.

Unfortunately, however, there are some crazy lone wolves out there and, unfortunately too, there always will be, just as there will be in every country. It's the luck of the human draw. The best we can do about them is to apply common sense. We can make sure our schools, religious institutions, etc., are well-guarded by trained personnel, including legally armed citizens under the Second Amendment, and have the best intelligence we can get about these crazies to stop them before they act. If we see something, we say something. We won't be entirely successful at this, sadly, and such events will continue to occur. But we can do our best.

The greater danger to our country, however, is not the actions of these demented lone wolves who are, in essence, equal opportunity lunatics. The Poway guy evidently tried to burn down a mosque. The two are psychological second cousins to the homicidal maniac who shot up the Charleston church. Same pathology, different religions. But beyond their murderous outbursts, these people are essentially powerless in the culture at large. They are despised and rightly so. They accomplish nothing.

What is dangerous to the culture at large is the obvious growth of anti-Semitism in the upper reaches of our society, in the academy, politics, and the media, the people who supposedly should know better, the people who have real influence. And I'm not just talking about the obvious — the new members of Congress already famous for their anti-Semitic statements and tweets. The international edition of the New York Times just published a cartoon that would have been welcome on the pages of Der Stürmer. And needless to say, Trump was involved, the president transmogrified into a rapacious Jew in a skullcap being led on a leash by the prime minister of Israel. How nauseating. How abhorrent.



"The Guardian" says:

Trump’s record on white nationalism under new scrutiny after synagogue shooting

Donald Trump, who last month said he did not believe white nationalism was a growing threat, on Saturday condemned the synagogue shooting in California. Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images
The Trump administration faced fresh scrutiny on Sunday over the president’s fraught record on white nationalism in the wake of a suspected hate crime at a synagogue in California on Saturday, which left one woman dead and three injured.

Trump unequivocally condemned the shooting, telling a rally on Saturday evening in Wisconsin: “Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded, and stands in solidarity with the Jewish community. We forcefully condemn the evil of anti-Semitism and hate, which must be defeated.”

But the president stated last month, following a hate-inspired mass shooting that left 50 Muslim worshipers dead in Christchurch, New Zealand, that he did not believe white nationalism presented a growing threat.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump told reporters in March.


Above is the idiotic headline and opening in The Guardian of 29th., immediately after the recent synagogue shooting at Poway, CA.  It was a blatant attempt to to blame Trump for the shooting -- before anything was known of the shooter's motives.  The usual Leftist leaping to conclusions. 

There has however been little subsequent reporting about the shooting.  Why?  Because we now know that the shooter DESPISED  Trump.  He was a Leftist!  So a news blanket must be thrown over the whole matter.  The Left have been the main home of antsemitism since Karl Marx, as anyone who has read his
Zur Judenfrage will be aware.  Hitler was simply being a good Leftist of his day in hating Jews


Rabbi Thanks Trump for His Words of 'Comfort and Consolation'

At a Sunday afternoon news conference, an emotional Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein thanked President Donald Trump for his words of "comfort and consolation" following the shooting on Saturday at a synagogue near San Diego.

"I see a sight that is indescribable," Goldstein said, as he described the act of evil on the final day of Passover: "Here is a young man with a rifle, pointing right at me. And I look at him. He has sunglasses on. I couldn't see his eyes. I couldn't see his soul. I froze."

A parishioner, 60-year-old Lori Gilbert-Kaye, died as she put herself between the 19-year-old gunman and the rabbi.

"As I was in my house, I received a personal phone call from our President Donald Trump," the rabbi told a news conference.

I was amazed to answer the phone and (hear) the secretary of the White House is calling. And he spent close to 10-15 minutes with me on the phone. It's the first time I have ever spoken to a president of the United States of America.

He shared with me condolences on behalf of the United States of America. And we spoke about the moment of silence. And he spoke about the love of peace and Judaism and Israel. And he was just so comforting, and I'm really grateful to our president for taking the time and making that effort to share with us his comfort and consolation.



Heavily armed men escort migrants across US border, surveillance video shows

New government video obtained by Fox News shows heavily armed men at the U.S.-Mexico border escorting a migrant mother and son into the United States. Border Patrol officials told Fox News this is an unusual event and express concern that it will become a more regular occurrence – possibly leading to violence.

U.S. Border Patrol surveillance cameras caught the armed smugglers escort the migrant family at 10 p.m. Saturday near the town of Lukeville in the southwest corner of Arizona.

The video shows four to five men in full tactical gear and masks -- carrying long guns and AK-47 assault rifles – escort a Guatemalan woman and her 8-year-old child under a vehicle barrier. The armed escorts turned back across the border. The woman and child turned themselves into border agents, who responded to the incursion.

The area is almost identical to where last week agents apprehended 399 Guatemalan immigrants who arrived in several buses just a 100 yards from the border. The area contains no pedestrian fence and is adjacent to the busy Highway 2 in Sonora, Mexico.

Their nighttime entry under the cover of darkness contrasts with the bold daytime illegal crossings that have become common since migrants realized the U.S. is seemingly powerless to prevent “catch and release.” It also took advantage of forces spread thin along the border due to the surge of Central American unaccompanied children and families. Recently, border patrol cameras have captured video of cartel-operated drones monitoring their movement.

Roughly a dozen agents responded when camera operators noticed the incursion Saturday night. The mother and son remain in government custody.

The breach underscores what officials have been telling an indifferent Congress for months about being overwhelmed by the surge of asylum seekers crossing the border.

Border officials said the incident represents how criminal organizations are behind the lucrative surge of Central American immigrants. Guatemalans are paying roughly $7,000 to smugglers for transport from their home to the U.S. border.

“This is highly unusual and highly concerning to the agency,” said a border official who briefed Fox News. “These armed individuals along the border represent an escalation of tactics. This is not mom and dad and kids deciding to head to the border. This is a no kidding, orchestrated effort to bring individuals to the US.  It is not just the numbers. It’s who is running this enterprise.”



Robert E. Lee Is a U.S. Citizen, Thanks to Joe Biden


If you've paid any attention to Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. during his 45 years of desiccated public service, you weren't suprised that he launched his 2020 presidential campaign with a huge load of malarkey. He's Biden, so of course he lies. He told a real howler about President Trump's reaction to the 2017 murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, and Biden's enablers in the media let him get away with it because they hate a lie unless it comes from a Democrat. Trump never said Nazis and white nationalists are "fine people," and in fact he explicitly condemned them. He was talking about people who respect Robert E. Lee as a historical figure and don't want to tear down statues of him. Personally, I couldn't care less if you melted down every Robert E. Lee statue ever made, but I understand the argument. Recognizing Lee's place in history isn't an endorsement of slavery. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," and all that.

I knew Biden was lying, but I didn't realize he was also being a huge hypocrite. He's done more to restore Robert E. Lee's reputation than any other 2020 candidate. Mike Brest, Daily Caller:

"Former Vice President Joe Biden was a part of the 94th Congress that voted to restore Confederate General Robert E. Lee's citizenship over 100 years after his death, and yet Biden attacked President Donald Trump’s support of the general in his campaign announcement video earlier this week...

While many have began criticizing the dead former Confederate leader, in 1975 the Senate, which included freshman Democratic Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, unanimously approved the reinstatement of General Robert E. Lee’s citizenship to the U.S....

Independent Virginia Sen. Harry F. Byrd spearheaded the push for reinstating Lee’s citizenship posthumously, and it passed through both chambers after the House, voting 407 to 10 in favor of the reinstatement on July 23, 1975."

The media and other Democrats are screaming at Trump for saying Robert E. Lee deserves to be remembered as a military tactician. But at least Trump never helped restore Lee's U.S. citizenship.



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

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


Home (Index page)

Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

The fundamental aim of all Leftist policy is to disrupt the lives of their fellow citizens -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- as much as possible

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

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 (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)