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.


No posts on Sat 30th

29 November, 2019

AG Barr on the invasions of Presidential powers by the other two branches of government

The recent speech by AG Barr has evoked much comment from Left and Right.  But I believe there is still something more to be said of it.  The body of the speech consists of an extensive range of examples showing that the courts have assumed Presidential power.  They have given themselves powers that were never envisioned for them in the constitution

This is true for SCOTUS and also true for district courts.  As Barr sets out, the role of the district courts has hugely expanded since Trump came to office. District courts have issued NATIONAL injunctions overturning almost all of Trump's major initiatives. They do this despite having no jurisdiction to do so. They have jurisdiction over their own district only.  They have suddenly invented for themselves a national power.

So why does Trump put up with it?  Why does he not simply ignore ultra vires judgments?  There is actually a good practical reason.  Given the quite crazy policies leading Leftists are proposing these days, it is clearly desirable to block such mad policies.  And if Obama-appointed judges can block Trump decisions, Trump-appointed judges can obviously block future Democrat initiatives.

That is however a modern reason.  The basic reason is a tradition of courtesy.  Administrations have always treated court decisions as binding even when they are not.  This has always applied to SCOTUS.  Section 3(2) of the constitution does not give SCOTUS the power of judicial revew but that power has been conceded ever since 1803. Theoretically, if SCOTUS reviewed a Trump initiative and disallowed it, Trump could ignore the verdict as being ultra vires of the constitution.  After a couple of centuries of a conceded and legislated power of review that would be unthinkable but it comes down to courtesy rather than a constitutional requirement.

Presuming Trump wants to rein in the assumed jurisdictional abuses of the lower courts, there IS something he could do about it.  He could simply announce that he will not apply lower court decisions beyond their jurisdiction until they are affirmed by a national court.  Since there is only one national court, however, SCOTUS, this would effectively void almost all national verdicts from the lower courts.

That would undoubtedly raise huge objections so a further step would be needed to give lower court orders some chance of a national effect.  That could be done rather simply.  A NATIONAL court of appeal could be set up on the model of the existing circuit courts of appeal.  Any judgment that was successfully appealed to such a court would have a strong case for being respected and implemented nationally.  And if Trump were to set up such a court, he would be appointing the judges!

The proposed refusal to recognize a national jurisdiction for district courts would have the  considerable side-benefit of  putting a large crimp into Greenie lawfare.  At the momrent, Greenies use a great barrage of litigation to obstruct all sorts of projects and initiatives

Barr makes a very strong case for the judiciary having placed large unconstitutional limits on the presidency so something badly needs doing about that.  I have just outlined a relatively small change that would make a considerable step in that direction -- JR


The Left’s Revealing Overreaction to Attorney General Barr’s Landmark Speech
Watching the hysterical reaction of the radical left — such as Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post — to Attorney General William Barr’s thoughtful, well-reasoned, important speech at the Federalist Society convention on the constitutional doctrine of the unitary executive is like history repeating itself.

Liberals had the same overreaction to then-Attorney General Edwin Meese’s 1985 speech to the American Bar Association on the Constitution and originalism.

Only someone as openly partisan and ill-informed as Marcus could possibly claim that a speech explaining the historical basis of the Founders’ views on the importance of a strong executive is “angrily partisan” and “scary.” So what did Barr say that was so alarming to liberals?

First, he cited President Donald Trump’s praise of Meese as one of the “most eloquent champions for following the Constitution as written.”

Praising Meese and originalism is anathema to liberals who believe in a “living” Constitution that can be bent, twisted, and broken by ideological judges to fit their view of what an American utopia should look like, ignoring rights they don’t want (like the Second Amendment) and creating nonexistent rights they do want (like the court-created abortion “amendment” in the Bill of Rights).

But Barr’s real crime in his November speech was detailing the damage being done to the Constitution by Congress and the courts usurping presidential authority.

The American presidency, Barr said, is “one of the great, and remarkable innovations in our Constitution.” It has been “one of the most successful features of the Constitution in protecting the liberties of the American people.” The “steady encroachment on presidential authority” has “substantially weakened the functioning of the executive branch, to the detriment of the nation.”

Many historians mistakenly believe the American Revolution was a rebellion against “monarchical tyranny” and that the Founders wanted a weak executive. By that time, though, the British Parliament had “effectively neutered” the monarchy. In fact, as Barr explained, the Founders understood that their “prime antagonist was an overweening” legislature, a view strengthened by a weak executive during the American Revolution as well as under the Articles of Confederation.

Thus, said Barr, the Founders wanted a strong executive who could “act with energy, consistency, and decisiveness.” As Thomas Jefferson put it, for “the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary.” And so we have the constitutional doctrine of the unitary executive.

Barr pointed out that one of the “more amusing aspects of modern progressive polemic is the breathless attacks” on the unitary executive as if this doctrine is something new that justifies “executive power of sweeping scope.” But this is also wrong.

Not only isn’t the unitary executive a new idea, but rather than pertaining to “the breadth of presidential power,” it simply means that that the powers of the executive branch, whatever they are, “must be exercised under the president’s supervision.”

Thus, when Congress encroaches on the authority of the executive branch by vesting the “power to enforce the law in someone beyond the control of the president, it contravenes the Framers’ clear intent to vest that power in a single person, the president.” So much, says Barr, “for this supposedly nefarious theory of the unitary executive.”

Barr is deeply concerned that “there has been a steady grinding down of the executive branch’s authority” that damages the ability of the president to carry out his constitutional duties and to protect the liberty and freedom of the American people. With Trump’s election, his opponents launched what Barr called “The Resistance,” an explicit strategy to use “every tool and maneuver available to sabotage the functioning of his administration.”

The word “resistance,” points out Barr, is the word used to “describe insurgency against … an occupying military power” and it “connotes that the government is not legitimate.” Barr warns that this is “a very dangerous — indeed incendiary — notion to import into the politics of a democratic republic.”

Instead of acting as the “loyal opposition” as political opponents have done throughout our history, Trump’s opponents are “engaged in a war to cripple, by any means necessary, a duly elected government.”

This includes the Senate’s “unprecedented abuse of the advice-and-consent process” that is intended “to delay the confirmation process” so the president can’t have a “functional government.”

Congress also has “largely abdicated its core function of legislating on the most pressing issues facing” our country. Even when it does legislate, it punts “the most difficult and critical issues” by “broad delegations to a modern administrative state that they increasingly seek to insulate from presidential control.”

All this gives Congress the time to “drown the executive branch with ‘oversight’ demands for testimony and documents.” Barr acknowledges congressional oversight authority but says that the “sheer volume” of investigations today is meant to “incapacitate the executive branch,” something members of Congress brag about.

Congress also is now dismissive of the long-recognized doctrine of executive privilege, falsely labeling “good faith attempts to protect executive branch equities” as “obstruction of justice.”

Barr doesn’t just take Congress to task — he also goes after the judicial branch. In fact, he says that the federal courts are “the prime source of the erosion of separation-of-power principles” and “executive branch authority.” The steady encroachment by judges “has substantially undercut the functioning of the presidency.”

By appointing themselves “the ultimate arbiter of separation of powers disputes between Congress and executive,” they are “preempting the political process” and usurping presidential authority in areas that are “considered at the core of presidential power.”

That includes substituting their judgments for the president’s in areas “that only a few decades ago would have been unimaginable — such as matters involving national security or foreign affairs.”

The travel ban case is a good example of that, says Barr, where the lower courts ignored an “explicit legislative grant of authority” to the president, as “well as his constitutional national security role.”

An “especially troubling aspect” of this expanded judicial power is the courts now looking into the “subjective motivation behind governmental action,” something the Supreme Court has traditionally refused to do. Judicial review in the past has focused on executive action, not executive motive.

Barr charges that the courts are now acting “like amateur psychiatrists attempting to discern an executive official’s ‘real motive’ — often after ordering invasive discovery in the executive branch’s privileged decision-making process.” The attorney general says that has “no more foundation in the law than a subpoena to a court to try to determine a judge’s real motive for issuing its decision.”

All of this has been made much worse by another “judicial innovation” — the nationwide injunction, which has “no foundation” in the law and “radically” inflates the otherwise limited power of district court judges.

More than 40 have been issued during the Trump administration, compared to only two against the Obama administration. As a result, “virtually every major policy of the Trump administration has been subjected to immediate freezing by the lower courts.” No other president in our history has been “subjected to such sustained efforts to” stop his policy agenda. These injunctions “disrupt the political process.”

This also happened in the George W. Bush administration, according to Barr, when the Supreme Court, after 9/11, “set itself up as the ultimate arbiter and superintendent of military decisions inherent in prosecuting a military conflict.”

The high court has wrongly taken “the rules that govern our domestic criminal justice process” and “superimposed them on the Nation’s activities when it is engaged in armed conflict with foreign enemies.” This runs “roughshod” over the Constitution and the role played by the president as the commander in chief.

Barr points out the absurdity of the idea that the Constitution, intended to protect the rights of the American people, confers “rights” on our foreign enemies.

Barr charges that the president’s opponents constantly accuse him of “waging a war on the rule of law” and “shredding” the Constitution. But when Barr asks them to explain what they are referring to, all he gets are “vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the travel ban.”

It is the left that is actually shredding constitutional norms and “undermining” the rule of law with its “scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘resistance’ against this administration” says Barr.

Unfortunately, “so-called progressives treat politics as their religion” and their “holy mission” is to “use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.” They are willing “to use any means necessary” to achieve those ends, posing a danger to our freedom and liberties.

Fortunately, conservatives don’t think that way because they don’t “seek an earthly paradise.” They are “interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing.” Thus, conservatives “have more scruple over their political tactics and rarely feel the ends justify the means.”

Barr ends his speech with a call to “not allow the passions of the moment to cause us to permanently disfigure the genius of our constitutional structure.”

Over our history, it has been the presidency that has “provided the leadership, consistency, energy, and perseverance that allowed us to surmount” the challenges we have faced as a nation. It “has brought to our republic a dynamism and effectiveness that other democracies have lacked.”

This was, without doubt, the most important speech given by an attorney general since Meese put us back on the road to restoring the original understanding of the Constitution in 1985.

Barr encapsulated the severe damage being done to the remarkable and extraordinary experiment in self-rule that the Framers of the Constitution created in that long, hot summer of 1787. That damage has been going on for decades, but it has accelerated exponentially during the Trump administration.

Progressive activists and the president’s opponents in Congress, the judiciary, and inside the executive branch itself are so intent on destroying Trump that they are willing to burn down our republic to do it.



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

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


28 November, 2019

The Hatred that Fuels Impeachment

We are in new territory now. Hating a president is equivalent to finding him guilty of supposed high crimes. Impeachment is a casual affair. Hearsay is as valid as direct testimony.

Neither the NeverTrump Right nor the Progressive Left has yet offered a coherent defense of their de facto, three-year-long singular effort to delegitimize and ultimately remove Trump from office before the 2020 election.

We are now in the midst of a systematic effort to impeach a president on the basis of a thought crime. Trump’s purported quid pro quo sin was issuing a temporary hold on military assistance to Ukraine that supposedly transcended legitimate worries about rampant corruption—to include specifically investigating the suspicious behavior of a corrupt Ukrainian oil company and the compromised relationship of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son around it.

The anti-Trump writ is that it is impeachable even to delay to the Ukrainians lethal military assistance while citing the need to investigate the corruption of Ukrainians, including the career of Hunter Biden, whose father, the former vice president and “point man” on Ukraine, is now running for president.

Supposedly irrelevant to this inquiry is the prior policy of denying military aid to Ukraine, intervening in Ukrainian politics to fire a prosecutor by threatening a cutoff of even nonmilitary aid, and ignoring that the vice president’s son served as a lucrative functionary with a corrupt Ukrainian company while his father was adjudicating U.S. aid to Ukraine.

So why this disconnect? The reason is not “Ukraine,” merely the latest iteration in a long series of efforts, but rather existential hatred.

“Conservative” NeverTrump Disdain

The NeverTrumpers’ position, although rarely articulated, seems fairly clear.

Whereas Trump has promoted most of the agenda they had touted over a lifetime (economic growth, near-full employment, conservative justices, tax reduction and reform, deregulation, pro-oil and natural gas production, secure borders, pro-Israel foreign policy, opposition to accords like the Paris Climate Accord and Iran Deal, increased defense spending, etc.), they nonetheless seek to abort his presidency on other grounds.

Apparently, Trump’s perceived checkered personal history, supposed outrageous behavior, and occasional unorthodox take on issues such as Chinese policy and tariffs all justify his removal from office. Thus, his personal flaws and apostasy from free-market orthodoxy are so egregious that they nullify any good that has come about from Trump’s successful implementation of many conservative policies for which such critics otherwise had fought long and hard in the past.

NeverTrumpers also believe that Trump’s very appearance, his outrageous orange tan, dyed comb-over, odd ties, Queens accent, reality TV background, and vernacular and occasionally vulgar speech certainly are disqualifying traits. He does not present the sober, judicious, and restrained image that past Republican banner-carriers such as George H.W. Bush or Mitt Romney conveyed.

Whereas most past Republican grandees married into or inherited substantial money, none showed the visible scars and scabs of a lifetime’s frantic effort to expand their legacies by rough-and-tumble, wheeler-dealer, boom-or-bust frenzied business.

Progressive Loathing

The furor of the Left that fuels serial efforts to end the Trump presidency before the 2020 election is at times similar to NeverTrumpism—at least it is in that they argue Trump’s comportment and behavior should earn repulsion and justify his removal.

Both anti-Trump schools believe that Trump is such a brazen affront to the office of the presidency that rare methods are justified to remove him, including but not limited to past efforts to warp the Electoral College, to invoke the emoluments clause, the Logan Act and the 25th Amendment, to empower the Mueller investigation, and ultimately the effort to impeach Trump on grounds of “quid pro quo,” “bribery,” or “obstruction” in reference to Ukraine.

But the Left’s antipathy is also different.

In addition to these aesthetic reasons, it seeks Trump’s removal because of, not in spite of, his administration’s record and policies. That is, according to a variety of barometers, the Left considers Trump to be the most conservative, and thus the most threatening, president since Ronald Reagan. He has not just sought to undo Barack Obama’s political legacy, in many cases he has been successful—on illegal immigration, energy policy, abortion, taxes, foreign policy, and a host of cultural and social issues.

Trump also adds insult to injury in that he also has used many of Obama’s own methods to enact what self-styled progressives regard as regressive policies, especially free and unfettered use of executive orders and a similar masterful use of the bully pulpit.

If ex-reality TV star Trump lacks the teleprompted cadences of Obama, his sharp repartee and rally rhetoric are as or often more effective. Obama sometimes baited enemies like Fox News host Sean Hannity and had the government surveille Associated Press reporters; Trump matches such combativeness instead with ad hominem references to his media critics.

The Left also differs again from the NeverTrump Right on the perceived dangers posed by Trump’s unorthodox behavior. The Left fears and hates Trump’s character and persona for a variety of reasons, including the fact that his earthiness earns a large audience of middle Americans—many of them formerly blue-collar Democratic voters in critical swing districts and states.

Unlike a Romney or McCain, Trump’s earthy populism and not quite orthodox Republicanism are aimed at working people in general, and increasingly to minorities in particular. In other words, Trump is the first Republican in recent years who seeks not just to win an election from a Democratic rival, but to weaken the political foundations of the current Democratic hold on power in general.

Progressives also grasp that Trump has also ended the Republican Marquess of Queensbury rules of restraint that had helped Democrats in the past, especially in the 2008 and 2016 elections.

The combative Trump instead adopted prior “war room” protocols of liberal scrappers like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and seems to prefer winning ugly than losing nobly. NeverTrumpers share this repugnance at Trump’s politicking, but not because it might erode Democratic support. They are angrier because it is a style that neither conveys proper coastal conservatism nor reflects good breeding, education, and ZIP-code manners—and it appeals to deplorable voters, whom John McCain once called the “crazies,” and whom the establishment Republicans do not really want in their static party.

The Left also feels that Trump’s combativeness is holistic. His push-backs are not just issue-orientated. Instead, he seeks to oppose the entire progressive project in a way not seen before, ranging from weighing in on almost anything from Colin Kaepernick to railing against “fake news” and replying to celebrity tweets.

Trump is a sleepless anti-progressive in all cultural, economic, social, and political spheres. He earns an ethereal hatred from progressives for not just being against, but also eager to oppose fanatically, almost every conceivable aspect of their world view.

There are inconsistencies and incoherencies in all these anti-Trump views.

First, there is a high bar—indeed no contemporary precedent—for attempting to remove a modern president in his first term with a presidential election less than a year away, without bipartisan and popular majority support, and without a special prosecutor’s findings of illegal or even unethical behavior.

Such an unusual gambit requires some standard of prior presidential behavior that is constant across time and space—immune from the interplay of changing politics and technologies, such as the use of the Internet and social media, or the different codes, behaviors, and protocols of the current national media.

So far, we have heard none.

By that I mean, did Trump’s pre-presidential escapades with Stormy Daniels reach the levels of John F. Kennedy’s or Bill Clinton’s presidential frolicking with young female staffers, aides, or political associates in the White House itself?

Do his business deals while in office reach the level of egregiousness of Lyndon Johnson’s profiteering? Was Trump carrying on an affair with the help of his daughter as an intermediary in the fashion of Franklin Roosevelt? Is his use of profanity or crudity as bothersome as Harry Truman’s?

If the Internet, social media, and a 90 percent hostile press existed in those eras, would the above had faced scrutiny analogous to that now shown Trump?

Or compare Trump’s current three years with the tenure of his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama.

Was Trump caught in public on a hot mic finalizing a quid pro quo arrangement akin to the one Barack Obama summarized with outgoing President Dimitri Medvedev that soon led to Vladimir Putin giving the American president needed helpful “space” during his reelection bid in order to win U.S. abandonment of Eastern European missile defense? Was that a “bribe” in which Obama diminished U.S. security interests in robust missile defense to the benefit of his own reelection campaign? Did Trump forbid all lethal military aid to Ukraine in order not to aggravate Putin—as Obama did?

Has Trump conducted government surveillance on suspected leakers, such as Associated Press journalist critics or a Fox reporter? Had he, would he be impeached? Has he weaponized the IRS to use its vast power to deny nonprofit status to perceived hostile left-wing groups in the climate of an upcoming campaign? Are the current directors, respectively, of the Trump Administration’s Office of National Intelligence, CIA, and FBI now peddling an opposition research dossier on Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), paid for with Trump campaign money and compiled by a hired British foreign national, who in turn drew on bought Russian rumors and gossip?

I could go on. But the point is that no one yet has convincingly argued that Trump’s behavior in office does not meet the standard of successful presidents such John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton (neither of whom was removed from office). Do we wish to criminalize politicking as a substitute for elections?

The Foundations of Trump Hatred

In sum, what explains the decision to end the Trump presidency in a way we have not removed prior presidents?

* First, the media is now not just 90 percent anti-Trump in its coverage, but has but merged with the Democratic Party in its activism. Most egregiously it reports anti-Trump rumor and gossip as fact, explaining why so many reporters have been forced to apologize, been fired, been reassigned, or disgraced for peddling false stories.

* Second, NeverTrumpers are orphaned from 90 percent of the Republican Party who voted and will vote again for Trump. They know they are often played as useful idiots by progressives who otherwise want nothing to do with them, and will not wish to have anything to do with them, even as apostates, in the post-Trump era.

They have crossed the proverbial Rubicon and must know that they have no constituency left and cannot go back. They are tottering on their coastal perches, alienated from all their accustomed conservative loci of influence, power, and prestige. So they go even further for broke: either Trump is disgraced and removed from office and they are redeemed in “I told you so” fashion, or they will continue to become marginalized, as embittered and lonely scolds in the twilight of their careers.

* Third, the Left was intoxicated on Obama’s two terms of progressive transformation. Progressives really believed “demography is destiny.” Obama supposedly had created a new 51 percent constituency of lockstep gays, blacks, Latinos, Asian, women, youth, and immigrants who together outnumbered the embittered and vanishing clingers, deplorables, irredeemables, and dregs. Voting entirely on the basis of shared race or gender or orientation was considered the new pillar of identity politics.

Then Trump won. And he won after every liberal outlet in the nation (and a few conservative ones, too) had mocked his candidacy and assured their constituencies he had less than a 10 percent chance of winning the election.

Worse, Trump did not prove to be a Manhattan liberal wolf in election-era conservative sheep’s clothing, as the Never Trumpers warned he would. Instead Trump governed as a hardcore conservative. He singlehandedly halted the envisioned 16-year Obama-Clinton regnum, a likely 7-2 left-wing Supreme Court, and hoped-for permanent legislative supermajorities—and the dream that the United States would soon become one larger version of California.

* Fourth and finally, there is currently a full-fledged progressive assault on the Constitution. It supersedes even efforts to curtail the Second Amendment and stifle protected free speech by slandering it as “hate speech” and thus not protected by the First Amendment.

Almost all the Democratic candidates have called for jettisoning the Electoral College. Many states have sought to force their legislatures to have electors vote in accordance with the national popular vote. The 25th Amendment is now viewed as an excuse to demonize, emasculate, and maybe remove a president without an election.

Many of the Democratic candidates have endorsed the once infamous “court-packing” schemes of FDR to stack the Supreme Court with liberal justices in a way impossible under the current century-and-a-half protocols of judicial appointments.

A Brave New World

In this wider context, impeachment is rebooted as no longer a rare gambit, but a sort of parliamentary vote of no confidence, analogous to a European government. When Democrats lose elections, they can now immediately talk of impeachment first, and find the supposed crimes later. Democrats are not fearful of institutionalizing impeachment without cause. Indeed, they welcome its normalization in times of Republican presidencies.

The common denominator in all this frenzy hatred?

None of the haters cares that unemployment is at near record lows, the stock market at record highs, economic growth steady, inflation and interest rates low, minority employment at all-time levels—or that there is a looming shared need to address entitlements and deficit sooner than later.

None care that for three years, there has been a nonstop effort from within and outside government to end the Trump presidency, or at least to sabotage it along the lines outlined by the anonymous New York Times op-ed writer, the whistleblower lawyer Mark Zaid, or departing Department of Defense official Evelyn Farkas, or as bragged about by #TheResistance.”

We are in new territory now. Hating a president is equivalent to finding him guilty of supposed high crimes. Impeachment is a casual affair. Hearsay is as valid as direct testimony.

We are now living in a brave new American world never envisioned by the Founders.



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

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


27 November, 2019

Michael Bloomberg’s obnoxious suppression of his own journalists would shame even Putin, proves Trump is right about fake news, and makes him unfit to be President

Piers Morgan

Thirty years ago this month, New York financial data tycoon Michael Bloomberg telephoned Wall Street Journal writer Matthew Winkler and asked: ‘What would it take to get into the news business?’

Knowing that Bloomberg had no experience in journalism, Winkler presented him with a hypothetical ethical dilemma:

‘You have just published a story that says the chairman of your biggest customer has taken $5 million from the corporate till,’ he said. ‘He is with his secretary at a Rio de Janeiro resort, and the secretary’s spurned boyfriend calls to tip you off. You get an independent verification that the story is true. Then the phone rings. The customer’s public-relations person says, “Kill the story or we will return all the terminals we currently rent from you.’”

Winkler then asked Bloomberg a simple question: ‘What would you do?”

Bloomberg didn’t hesitate. ‘Go with the story!’ he replied.

Winkler later cited this as the ‘deciding moment’ he chose to help Bloomberg build a news organization.

It was an inspired decision. Bloomberg News is now one of the biggest and most powerful news agencies on the planet.

It boasts 2,300 journalists in 72 countries and 146 bureaus worldwide and has developed a reputation for important impartial journalism.

In the past four years, it has intensively reported on, and aggressively investigated, first Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and now his presidency – the vast majority of its Trump coverage being negative.

Like many US mainstream media organizations, Bloomberg News quickly realized that relentless Trump-bashing is a big money-spinner.

But behind this clear editorial strategy lies an intriguing personal back-story. Until Trump ran for president in 2015, he and Michael Bloomberg were good friends.

The two most famous billionaires in New York played golf together, frequently rubbed shoulders on the same elite Manhattan social scene, and worked professionally on common projects – most notably when Trump delivered a luxury golf course on a discarded municipal waste site in the Bronx, enabling Bloomberg to take credit for it just before he left office as New York mayor.

‘If there is anybody who has changed this city, it is Donald Trump,’ said Mayor Bloomberg, delightedly. ‘He has done an amazing thing and this is another part of it!’

Then Trump announced he was running for the White House, and Bloomberg very quickly turned against his friend – enraged by his views on everything from guns to climate change, and what he saw as Trump’s ‘offensive’ lack of civility.

He later described Trump’s run as ‘the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember, preying on people’s prejudices and fears.’

Trump, predictably, responded in kind, tweeting: ‘Little Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster!’

At the heart of their relationship lies billionaire ego.

As their mutual friend, Republican congressman Peter King, told the New York Times: ‘One New York billionaire thinks he is better than another New York billionaire. I can see Mike resenting the fact he is not getting the recognition Donald Trump gets. Each guy thinks he is smarter than the other.’

I met them both together when I was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2008 and Bloomberg turned up with Trump in midtown Manhattan to assess my hotdog selling skills.

The swaggering rivalry between them, albeit cordial at the time, was palpable. In a city of big dogs, pun intended, these were arguably the two biggest, though Bloomberg is substantially richer than Trump.

Now, if Bloomberg wins the Democrat nomination – and it’s a very big ‘if’ - they may be pitted against each other in the 2020 Election.

In announcing his decision to enter the race, Bloomberg said: ‘I’m running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America. We cannot afford four more years of President Trump’s reckless and unethical actions. He represents an existential threat to our country and our values. If he wins another term, we may never recover from the damage.’

Bloomberg is thus positioning himself as the ‘good billionaire’ on a mission to save America from the bad billionaire.

Yet, just how good IS he?

For example, Bloomberg has a history of making unsavory comments denigrating women. A 1990 booklet of quotations attributed to him included this observation: ‘If women wanted to be appreciated for their brains, they’d go to the library instead of Bloomingdale’s.’

And a suggestion, during a pitch to sell Bloomberg terminals, that his computers could ‘do anything’ including the ability to perform oral sex on the user, which, he said, would ‘put…a lot of you girls out of business.’

At a Christmas party in 2012, he pointed to a woman in a tight dress and said, ‘look at the ass on her.’

He was also reported to have said in a 1998 deposition, taken during a case where a saleswoman accused a Bloomberg manager of raping her, that he would only believe a rape claim if there was an ‘unimpeachable third-party witness.’

And he was accused by a Bloomberg female employee of saying ‘kill it’ when she told him she was pregnant, a claim he denied.

Bloomberg has also been accused of racism. He recently issued a grovelling apology for his controversial ‘stop-and-search’ policy as New York Mayor that a federal judge determined in 2013 violated the constitutional rights of racial minorities.

He operated a very contentious policy of surveillance of Muslim Americans, a dictatorial crackdown of Occupy Wall Street protestors, and he presided over a huge spike in homelessness, sparked by massively increased income inequality and lack of affordable housing. So Bloomberg’s critics, led by Trump, will have plenty of ammunition against the self-styled savior.

And that’s before we get to the fact that he’s changed his party allegiance when it’s suited him, switching from Democrat to Republican to Independent.

But it’s what Bloomberg did yesterday that should give most serious cause for concern.

In this era of ‘FAKE NEWS!’, and hyper-partisan media coverage, many were curious to see how Bloomberg News would handle the confirmation that their owner was running for president.

The answer is absolutely atrociously. In an astonishing email to staff, Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Mickelthwait, revealed the news agency won’t ‘investigate’ Bloomberg, or any of his Democratic rivals. But it WILL continue to obsessively investigate President Trump.

‘We will continue our tradition of not investigating Mike (and his family and foundation),’ said Mickelthwait, ‘and we will extend the same policy to his rivals in the Democratic primaries. We cannot treat Mike’s democratic competitors differently to him.’

Yet they will treat President Trump differently. He alone will be exposed to the full investigative scrutiny of Bloomberg’s 2,700 journalists.

I had to read this memo several times to ensure I hadn’t misunderstood it. I hadn’t.

Bloomberg News is also suspending its opinion section’s editorial board, because most of them are joining his campaign!

It’s hard to imagine a more egregious abuse of a major news organization owner’s power than for the owner to ban his own journalists from investigating him as he runs for president but continues to dig dirt on his opponent.

As former Bloomberg Businessweek editor and Washington bureau chief Megan Murphy said on Twitter: ‘It is truly staggering that *any* editor would put their name on a memo that bars an army of unbelievably talented reporters and editors from covering massive, crucial aspects of one of the defining aspects of our time.’

She added: ‘I was presented with a near identical “memo” during his 2016 flirtation and I was very clear that I would quit the second it ever saw the light of day.’

Murphy also cited comparisons to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos who owns the Washington Post. ‘Can you imagine if Bezos decided to run, the Washington Post telling reporters it a) wouldn’t do hard reporting on Bezos and b) wouldn’t do hard reporting on any other candidates either. It’s absolutely unimaginable (thank god).'

Exactly. It’s an absolute disgrace that Michael Bloomberg’s very first act as presidential candidate is to order a blanket ban on ANY investigative reporting on him or any Democrat candidate. It’s even more of a disgrace that he’s ordered his journalists to ONLY carry on digging for dirt on President Trump.

Ironically, this is just the kind of extreme media bias that Trump has persistently ranted about since winning the White House, and will creature a ‘fake’ picture of news in this 2020 campaign.

Bloomberg’s shameful self-protective censorship is also the exact opposite of the pledge he made to Matthew Winkler when he persuaded him to launch Bloomberg News.

It means that if Bloomberg journalists discover their boss has taken $5m from the corporate till and is with his secretary at a Rio de Janeiro resort, the response from Bloomberg to their request to publish it will be: ‘DON’T go with the story!’

Michael Bloomberg’s been very vocal about the need to stop Vladimir Putin interfering with US elections, yet here is the same Michael Bloomberg pulling a disgustingly cynical stunt to suppress journalism that even Putin might hesitate to pull, and that frankly should disqualify him from becoming President.

Bloomberg News just ceased to be a news organization and became a dictator’s puppet. Shame on him for doing this, and shame on any of his journalists who accept it.



H.R. 3: The "No New Cures Ever" Act

In the coming weeks, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) priority drug pricing bill, H.R. 3, is expected to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives. Make no mistake -- this is a socialist piece of legislation. Unfortunately, with the way the Democratic Party is trending and its major candidates for the presidency in 2020 endorsing increasingly big-government policies, H.R. 3 is almost guaranteed to pass the chamber.

For example, Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) recently-released plan for Medicare for All includes price controls based on those in H.R. 3, by creating a maximum price based on prices in foreign countries, and, in turn, bringing the inefficiencies of those foreign countries’ healthcare systems to the United States.

While it is dubbed the “Lower Drug Costs Now" Act, H.R. 3 would be more aptly named the “No New Cures Ever" Act. By imposing government-mandated price controls in the drug marketplace, companies that invest in creating life-saving drugs would be largely unable to make any type of profit required to continue such investment.

The bill is so extreme in its socialistic price controls that even proponents of single-payer healthcare recognize the disastrous effects that policies like those in H.R. 3 would have on our healthcare system. In an interview about Sen. Warren’s plan, Emory University’s health expert Kenneth Thorpe said that such drug pricing policies “would be the end of any type of research and development and innovation in this country.”

This would be tragic for patients in America. Studies have shown that if lung cancer patients in the United States had the same level of access to treatment as patients in the defined reference nations for pricing, the survival rate in the U.S. would be significantly lower than it is now. It is foolish to think that we can seek to copy the prices of other nations and not take on any of the risks or downfalls associated with them.

As Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, put it so well, “The government price controls that she is proposing will make drugs scarce, limiting Americans’ access to the medicine they need. But the most alarming effect of Speaker Pelosi’s legislation is that it will destroy the incentives that make America the center of drug innovation for the world. By destroying the incentives for future investment in research and development, Speaker Pelosi’s plan will slow down the search for future cures.”

Interestingly enough, he is in full agreement with House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who said of Pelosi’s proposal, “Her latest socialist plan wouldn’t help lower the cost of prescription drugs and would hurt patients in the process.”

It isn’t often that the House Freedom Caucus and Republican leadership are as fully in agreement on something as they are on the harmful effects of H.R. 3, and certainly, these two almost never agree together with somebody who actually supports single-payer healthcare like Thorpe.

The warning signs are aplenty. When H.R. 3 hits the floor, members must not forget that they represent the American people, who only stand to be severely harmed by this latest socialist scheme.



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

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


26 November, 2019

Life in hard-Left San Francisco

San Francisco's excrement problem is worse than ever. A new study found that the city by the bay fielded 28,315 calls about human and animal waste piling up on the streets from 2017 to 2018, an increase of 35 percent.

The figures were compiled after a review of calls to San Francisco's 311 line, according to the report by RentHop, an online apartment search company.

The worsening situation comes as San Francisco poop complaints have steadily risen about 80 percent since 2011, RentHop reports.

San Francisco can partly blame its love affair with pets. The dog-friendly city has around 120,000 canines, according to San Francisco Animal Care & Control.

The rest can be attributed to some 7,000 homeless persons, in a city that's lacking enough shelters and services to help them, says RentHop.

The problem has even prompted San Francisco to send out a 'poop patrol', armed with street washers to hose away the waste.

'It's a serious public health concern,' said Richard Tarlov, owner of the Canyon Market in the San Francisco's Glen Park section, where the city had 61 complaints of the neighborhood getting pooped on by either human or beast in 2018, up from just 20 complaints the previous year.

Tarlov, in an interview with KRON, called the city's excrement woes a problem also for public relations, tourism and convention hosting. 'Frankly it's embarrassing', he told the news outlet.

The dirtiest neighborhoods are at the heart of San Francisco, with its Tenderloin neighborhood winning the 'poopiest neighborhood' contest three years in a row, says RentHop.

Tenderloin saw 8,644 incidents of either human or animal excrement per square mile in 2017, 7,722 in 2018, and 6,887 so far in 2019.



Leftmedia Pulls More Fake 'Kids in Cages' News

"A Nov. 18 story headlined 'U.S. has world's highest rate of children in detention — U.N. study' is withdrawn," Reuters reports. "The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015." Agence France-Presse and National Public Radio likewise scrubbed stories about this. And the Associated Press explained in its retraction, "The story quoted an independent expert working with the U.N. human rights office saying that over 100,000 children are currently being held. But that figure refers to the total number of U.S. child detentions for the year 2015."

Other than that, the story was accurate!

These stories initially made it past the vaunted fact-checkers solely because they were meant to vilify the Trump administration over immigration detentions. They fit the leftist narrative of Trump's "xenophobic and racist" immigration policies. Of course, that was untenable because the data was collected during the Obama administration.

In fact, there are roughly 6,500 minors detained in the U.S. at the moment, and over the past year, the Trump administration has detained less than 70,000 kids at any point or duration. Again, 100,000 was the cumulative total for all of 2015. Hope 'n' Change and all that.

Moreover, says the Washington Examiner's Becket Adams, "That '100,000' figure should have never made it past the editing process, let alone launch a handful of headlines declaring the U.S. the leader in detained children. That figure requires not just shoddy math but also a total suspension of disbelief regarding what goes on in the darker, more tyrannical corners of the world. To say the U.S. is a world leader in detained minors would mean that America is being measured against all countries, including China, Russia, and North Korea. If you believe U.N. investigators have reliable figures from any of those countries, then, oh boy, have I got a bridge to sell you." China is currently detaining as many as two million Uighurs. Think maybe some of them are children?

We've seen this movie before. Back in the summer 2018, when outrage over the Trump administration's detention polices was at its peak, the media hyped pictures of kids in cages that were actually taken during Obama's regime, all to make Trump look bad. Fake news often happens because of Trump Derangement Syndrome.



Democratic candidates stupid or in denial about wealth tax

You may recall, a number of years ago an admiral was testifying before Congress about the need to put more military personnel on an island in the Pacific. A congressman, in all seriousness (perhaps after having a bad night), asked the admiral if he was concerned that the island in question might “tip over and capsize” with all of the additional people on it. Others, who are not that foolish, deny they have an alcohol or drug problem when it is obvious that they do. And now there are presidential candidates who claim it is possible to have massive tax and spending increases without making most people worse off rather than better off.

The evidence shows that at some point the burden of more government spending and regulation becomes so great that the economy slows and real income growth, despite the increase in government transfer payments, is much lower than it would be with smaller government. The United States and most other countries are beyond that point.

Likewise, each tax has a rate beyond which tax revenue and the general welfare fall over time (the Laffer Curve effect). The revenue- and welfare-maximizing tax rates are a function of the form of tax and time. For instance, the capital gains tax revenue depends on the willingness of people to realize capital gains by selling an asset such as real estate or stocks. If the rate is perceived as being too high, fewer people sell assets, and the government often receives less revenue rather than more.

The Reagan Treasury Department did a study to try to determine the optimum capital gains rate and concluded it was approximately 15 percent. Many studies in the years since have shown similar results. Current capital gains tax rates — federal plus state — are higher than the optimum; so, if our political leaders were more rational, they would cut the rate to bring in more revenue. Yet, most of the presidential candidates have proposed increasing the capital gains tax rate with the totally false claim (ignoring all of the empirical evidence) that it will bring in more revenue.

Most of the candidates have also proposed increasing the income tax rate on “the rich.” One great advantage of actually being rich is that one can often determine both the form and place of their compensation, unlike the less well off. That is why every time and every place politicians have tried to increase tax revenue by taxing the rich at very high rates, it always fails to bring in the promised revenue. This experiment has been tried in dozens of countries, including the United States, over the last century; yet the political and media class are in denial. The maximum individual tax rate under President Carter was 70 percent; and under President Reagan, it was finally lowered to 28 percent. Yet, tax revenues were higher under the 28 percent rate than under the 70 percent rate because the economy grew so much faster with the lower tax rates.

Elizabeth Warren and some of the other candidates want to put in a “wealth tax” to pay for their multi-trillion-dollar spending schemes. Other than the fact that the wealth tax is unconstitutional, unadministrable and destined to fail, as did the other attempts to impose wealth taxes in various countries — it is a fine idea in the minds of those who have lost touch with reality.

A person’s “wealth” is not fixed — it is variable. Rich people do not keep their wealth in a pile of gold coins in a safety deposit box, but instead normally have numerous investments in many different places. Most of these investments create jobs for others. As the late great Jack Kemp used to say, “How many truck drivers do you have if there are no trucks?” Wealthy people supply the trucks, the factories, the stores, and all of things and places where people find good-paying jobs. Those who would tax the “wealth” (in reality, productive capital formation) are job destroyers, if the truth were told.

If a wealth tax is placed on stock holdings, the wealthy will hold fewer stocks, driving down the price and new investment. If a wealth tax is placed on private businesses (many of them family owned), the owners are likely to move part of their assets elsewhere and the government’s tax base will shrink year by year. If the government puts a wealth tax on luxury second homes — the wealthy will sell again, driving down the price and the tax base, and perhaps choose to buy or rent in low-tax jurisdictions around the world.

Ah, but Elizabeth Warren has an answer to capital flight — a 40 percent exit tax. The old Soviet Union had exit taxes, which most people correctly considered evil. Clearly, she sees the American people as tax slaves to serve the interest of the government class. The American Founders believed government was a necessary evil and therefore should be kept to a minimum to protect liberty, property and person.



Christmas in the Swamp: The Top Ten Bad Policies in the Continuing Resolution

This week, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that funds the federal government through Friday, December 20. In recent years, funding the federal government has become an exercise in governing by crisis. Everyone in Congress knows these deadlines exist, but congressional leadership uses them to force members to vote for either CRs or omnibus spending bills packed with other legislative items that have nothing to do with funding the government. If members don’t vote for these bills, leadership says, the government will shut down.

The current CR is a bad deal because it sets up a Christmas for the Swamp, leaving taxpayers with a lump of coal in their stockings. This is not a theoretical notion. In March 2018, Congress passed a 2,232-page omnibus spending bill that included several other bills that had nothing to do with funding the federal government. Why? Because it was one of the few opportunities to legislate all year. Leadership added the legislation that they knew would get the votes they need to pass the bill and relied on the fear of a government shutdown to coax others into voting for something that they may have otherwise opposed.

Although the current CR isn’t quite as loaded as the March 2018 omnibus, it still includes several things that are bad for Americans. Below are the top ten bad provisions included in the CR that Congress passed this week:

Only extends spending to December 20 of this year, setting us up for yet another massive omnibus spending package with who-knows-what in it. Congress knows that Americans stop paying attention to politics during the holidays, and leadership will use that to their advantage to leave plenty of goodies under the Christmas tree for lobbyists and special interests.

Waives the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, eliminating any accountability in Congress for increasing spending. Under the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, if Congress increases spending without offsets, it sets up automatic mandatory spending cuts at the end of the year. By waiving this requirement, Congress is only continuing to worsen the budgetary outlook, adding more red ink to a deficit that is already expected to exceed $1 trillion.

Repeals $7.6 billion recission in highway funds that was scheduled to come into effect in 2020. Was used to offset projected costs of the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. $5.4 billion would have been straight recissions of unauthorized funds, while $2.2 billion would have been taken from funding already allocated to states. Because of a technicality of the federal budget process, this won’t even be counted as a spending increase by the government.
Extends the authorization of government mass surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act for three months with zero reforms.

Delays scheduled cuts to Medicaid hospital reimbursements until December 20. These cuts were scheduled under ObamaCare as part of gradually shifting more of the burden of its Medicaid expansion onto the states over time. The states are naturally lobbying hard to make sure those scheduled cuts never happen so they can continue to shift the costs of their bad decision to expand a broken program onto other states’ taxpayers.

Renews the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s (PCORI) funding until December 20. PCORI is the rationing board under ObamaCare that was often referred to as the “death panel” because of its task to decide how to allocate (or not allocate) Medicare funding to reduce costs.

Continues the last CR’s extensions of the expiring National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), again avoiding a needed debate on reforming or eliminating this problematic program

Reauthorizes U.S. Export-Import Bank, the reauthorization of which FreedomWorks has continually opposed. The Export-Import Bank is the face of cronyism and is used by corporations that can easily get private financing for taxpayer-backed loans and subsidies.

Adds in an extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), one of the primary federal direct welfare programs. Once again, this is ducking the need to evaluate and reform the program on its own.

Although all of the individual changes above seem to incur fairly small costs on their own (inasmuch as millions or billions of dollars can be called small costs when it’s coming out of our wallets), the CBO has estimated that this CR authorizes a further $77 billion in new mandatory spending over the next ten years.

As one can see, the CR that Congress passed this week is pretty bad for those of us who believe in limited government and individual liberty, but it’s just a precursor of what’s to come only days before Christmas when Americans are preparing for the holiday with their families. If we don’t speak out now and put members in an uncomfortable position, the budget deficit will only get worse and taxpayers will continue to lose while lobbyists and special interests feast on Christmas.



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

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


25 November, 2019

The huge hole in Donald Trump’s impeachment hearing

Moves to impeach Donald Trump have divided America, and one factor at the heart of the issue is set to decide what happens to the US president.

After two weeks of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump, there is a mountain of evidence that analysts say is now beyond dispute.

Trump explicitly ordered US government officials to work with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on matters related to Ukraine, a country deeply dependent on Washington’s help to fend off Russian aggression.

The president pushed Ukraine to launch investigations into political rivals, leaning on a discredited conspiracy theory his own advisers disputed. And both American and Ukrainian officials feared Trump froze a much-needed package of military aid until Kiev announced it was launching those probes.

Those facts were confirmed by a dozen witnesses, mostly career government officials who have served both Democratic and Republican administrations. They relied on emails, text messages and contemporaneous notes to back up their recollections from the past year.

Stitched together, their hours of televised testimony paint a portrait of an American president willing to leverage his powerful office to push a foreign government for personal political help. That alone has many Democrats on the brink of voting to impeach Trump before the end of the year, potentially pushing towards a trial in the Senate.

Yet the witness accounts left one prominent hole that offered a lifeline for Trump and his Republican allies.

None of the witnesses could personally attest that Trump directly conditioned the release of $US400 million ($A589 million) in military aid on a Ukrainian announcement of investigations into former vice-president Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

Some Republicans suggested that even if that link could be made, it would not be enough for them to support impeaching Trump and removing him from office. And without that link, the president’s wall of support among GOP politicians seems formidable.



'Coup' Concerns Suddenly Don't Seem So Far-Fetched

For most of the last three years, Donald Trump's critics have scoffed at supposed "conspiracy theories" that claimed a "deep state" of bureaucrats were aborting the Trump presidency. We have been told the word "coup" is hyperbole that reveals the paranoid minds of Trump supporters.

Yet oddly, many people brag that they are proud members of a deep state and occasionally boast about the idea of a coup.

Recently, former acting CIA chief John McLaughlin proclaimed in a public forum, "Thank God for the deep state." Former CIA director John Brennan agreed and praised the "deep state people" for their opposition to Trump.

Far from denying the danger of an unelected careerist bureaucracy that seeks to overturn presidential policies, New York Times columnists have praised its efforts to nullify the Trump agenda.

On the first day of the impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called his initial two witnesses, career State Department diplomats William Taylor, Jr. and George Kent. Far from providing damning evidence of criminal presidential behavior, Taylor and Kent mostly confined themselves to three topics: their own sterling resumes, their lack of any firsthand knowledge of incriminating Trump action, and their poorly hidden disgust with the manner and substance of Trump's foreign policy.

Oddly, both had little clue that their demeanor and thinly disguised self-importance were a perfect example of why Trump got elected -- to come up with new ideas antithetical to the conventional wisdom of unelected career bureaucrats.

Taylor and Kent announced that they are simply high-minded civil servants who serve the presidential administrations of both parties without bias.

But by nature, the huge federal bureaucracy counts on bigger government and more taxes to feed it. So naturally, the bureaucracy is usually more sympathetic to big-government progressives than to small-government conservatives.

Taylor and Kent cited their anguish with Trump's foreign policy toward Ukraine -- namely that it did not go through official channels and was too unsympathetic to Ukraine and too friendly to Russia. If so, one might have thought the anguished bureaucrats would have similarly gone public during the Obama administration.

After all, Vice President Joe Biden took over the Obama administration's Ukrainian policy at a time when his son Hunter was knee-deep in Ukrainian affairs. As a consultant for a Ukrainian natural gas company, Hunter Biden made a reported $80,000 a month without expertise in either the energy business in particular or Ukraine in general.

Also, Trump's policies have been more anti-Russian and pro-Ukrainian than those of the Obama administration. Trump armed the Ukrainians; Obama did not. Trump imposed new sanctions against Russia, used force against Russian mercenaries in Syria, beefed up NATO defenses, pulled the U.S. out an asymmetrical missile treaty with Russia, and pumped more oil and gas to lower world prices -- much to the chagrin of oil-exporting Russia.

In contrast, Obama was the architect of "reset" with Russia that reached its nadir in a hot mic exchange in which Obama offered a quid pro quo, vowing more flexibility on issues such as U.S.-sponsored missile defense in Eastern Europe in exchange for Russia giving Obama "space" to concentrate on his re-election.

Trump's critics have also radically changed their spin on "coups." To them, "coup" is no longer a dirty word trafficked in by right-wing conspiracists. Instead, it has been normalized as a possibly legitimate means of aborting the Trump presidency.

Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the Ukraine whistleblower, boasted in two recently discovered tweets of ongoing efforts to stage a coup to remove Trump.

"#coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow," Zaid tweeted in January 2017. Later the same month, he tweeted: "#coup has started. As one falls, two more will take their place."

Retired Admiral William H. McRaven recently wrote an op-ed for The New York Times all but calling for Trump's ouster -- "the sooner the better."

No sooner had Trump been elected than Rosa Brooks, a former Defense Department official during the Obama administration, wrote an essay for Foreign Policy magazine discussing theoretical ways to remove Trump before the 2020 election, among them a scenario involving a military coup.

In September 2018, The New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous White House official who boasted of supposedly widescale efforts inside the Trump administration to nullify its operations and subvert presidential directives.

Such efforts to oppose Trump are often self-described as "The Resistance," a reference to the underground French fighters resisting the Nazis in World War II.

Trump's opponents often have praised the deep state precisely because unelected career officials are seen as the most effective way to sabotage and stymie his agenda.

A "coup" is no longer proof of right-wing paranoia, but increasingly a part of the general progressive discourse of resistance to Trump.

In these upside-down times, patriotism is being redefined as removing a president before a constitutionally-mandated election.



Billionaires fund left-wing ‘resisters’ and schemers to abolish the electoral college, same-day registration and oppose voter ID

For years, Democrats have argued that they will soon have a permanent majority due to the country’s demographic changes. However, liberal billionaires, like George Soros and John and Laura Arnold, are not content to wait. To speed things along, they support left-wing organizations that constantly scheme to find ways to undermine the integrity of our elections and boost Democrats’ chances of winning.

To begin with, Soros and the Arnolds support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Brennan Center for Justice. The ACLU has a long and sordid history of proudly defending the indefensible. These days, it brags that it has sued the Trump Administration more than 100 times. The Brennan Center was founded by former clerks for liberal U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan; the Center is now run by a senior official in the Clinton Administration. In the early days of the Trump Administration, the Center was recognized as part of the “Resistance Network.”

Both the ACLU and the Brennan Center oppose voter ID laws. While these left-wing organizations do everything they can to make it easier to commit voter fraud, a 2016 Gallup poll shows just how out-of-touch they are on voter ID laws. Gallup found that 80% of voters support ID laws, including 95% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats, 83% of independents, 81% of whites, and 77% of nonwhites. Furthermore, although the ACLU and the Brennan Center claim that voter ID laws disenfranchise minority voters, they disregard evidence that shows that these laws do not suppress minority voter turnout.

Of course, there is much more to these group’s agendas than just blocking voter ID laws. For example, the ACLU opposes efforts to clean up voter rolls that would reduce chances of voter fraud. Not to be outdone, the Brennan Center supports having at least two full weeks of early voting (including nights and weekends), allowing people to register and vote on the same day, and having the government automatically register voters.

Why is it that the ACLU is so desperate to ensure that voter rolls are filled with dead people and those registered in multiple states? Good government? Doubtful. What the ACLU refuses to recognize is that, while some efforts to maintain the integrity of our elections might inconvenience some voters from time to time, the broader voting public has a right to expect that the government is taking reasonable steps to ensure that only those eligible to vote are allowed to do so. After all, no in their right mind wants their vote cancelled out by a non-citizen or someone who votes twice.

Despite the Brennan Center’s claims, there is very little justification for weeks of early voting. If a voter cannot find any time to vote on Election Day during the 12 or so hours that polls are open and cannot submit an absentee ballot, many would reasonably conclude that that voter is not sufficiently motivated to vote. In addition, despite liberal groups’ advocacy for early voting, the evidence suggests early voting does not increase turnout – and could even result in lower turnout. Early voting does, however, increase work for county workers, increase costs for taxpayers, and increase work for volunteers handing out sample ballots to voters.

Soros and the Arnolds, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, support FairVote. FairVote is run by Rob Richie, a former campaign staffer for a liberal Democrat Congresswoman. FairVote supports same-day registration and voting, automatic voter registration, and even allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote.

All three of these organizations, the ACLU, the Brennan Center, and FairVote, support the National Popular Vote interstate compact. Under this scheme, states with 270 electoral votes would agree to cast their electoral votes for whichever candidate wins the popular vote regardless of whether that candidate actually won the states giving that candidate their votes. Although a number of states have signed on, this end-run around the Constitution may well be unconstitutional and could even spark a constitutional crisis.

When Soros and the Arnolds are not funding the abortion industry, trying to impose a carbon tax, or trying to erode your Second Amendment rights, they are trying to rig our elections. This is why we need more conservative donors and activists – as well as more cooperation between right-leaning organizations – to push back on these fronts.




NOTHING TO SEE HERE... Ukraine widens criminal investigation into Biden-connected Burisma (The Daily Wire)

SPEAKING OF CORRUPTION: DNA test of love child confirms Hunter Biden cheated on his dead brother's widow (PJ Media)

FEDS TOO SLOW TO RESPOND: Senate report: U.S. taxpayers have unwittingly funded China's economy and military for decades (The Daily Wire)

TIP OF THE ICEBERG: DOJ inspector general finds "numerous issues" with FBI management of secret sources (Washington Examiner)

RAINBOW MAFIA: Illinois school district gives transgender students unrestricted access to bathrooms (The Daily Signal)

MIND-BOGGLING: Children are being locked away, alone and terrified, in schools across Illinois. Often, it's against the law. (Chicago Tribune)

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT: Jussie Smollett files suit against Chicago for "malicious prosecution" (National Review)

POLICY: A pro-growth alternative to the Left's tax-hike agenda (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Setting the record straight on the value of U.S. military aid to Ukraine (The Daily Signal)


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

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


24 November, 2019

The retirement savings crisis sweeping the world

The basic problem of super-low interest rates is not going to go away.  First Obama and now Trump have issued vast amounts of new U.S. dollars.  And the greenback is the world's reserve currency.  So the world is awash with money. So much so that banks are close to giving it away.  They don't charge much to the people they lend it to.  But those charges are the source of retirement income for many. 

So putting your retirement savings into a bank is a mug's game.  You will get less interest on it than the rate of inflation.  Far from providing an income, your savings will wither away.

So many retirees put their money into superannuation and other funds, which do promise an income.  But the superannuation funds are stretched too.  No matter what they invest in, they are not getting much return either. 

There are two things they can do about that:  Invest in riskier schemes or cut benefits.  A lot of funds are doing both.  Risky investments are a huge peril, however.  There is a history of them sending funds broke.  How would you cope if your fund went broke and your income dried up altogether?  That has happened in saner times so it is even more likely now.

So what to do?  I think that careful investment on the stock exchange is the best solution for most people.  Good stocks still return their average dividends of about 4% each year so that puts most people about where they thought they were.

So why do the funds not invest solely in stocks?  They do invest but they are always looking for growth and safe stocks tend not to grow much.  But if you are already retired that may not matter much.  If your income is OK but grows only slowly, it still may be enough for you.  It is a heap better than losing the lot -- which can happen with growth stocks.

I may add that I do put my money where my mouth is.  About half my money is in real estate but the other half is in the stock exchange.  I buy stocks with about a 4% return and that gives me a good income plus a stable value for my portfolio.

Stockmarket experts despise such simple investments as mine but I have the last laugh.  During the last big crash in 2008, the smarties bombed badly while the value of my portfolio barely budged and my 4% income also went on as usual.  I guess it is evil of me but I was much amused at the time when lots of hot-shot investors lost the lot

Jan-Pieter Jansen, a 77-year-old retiree from the Netherlands, had high hopes for a worry-free retirement after having saved diligently into a pension during his working life.

But Mr Jansen, a former manager in the metal industry, has been forced to reappraise his plans after receiving notice from his retirement scheme, one of the Netherland’s biggest industry-sector funds, of plans to cut his pension by up to 10 per cent. Understandably, the news has hit like a sledgehammer.

“This is causing me a lot of stress,” says Mr Jansen, who retired 17 years ago and hoped to use his pension pot to treat his grandchildren and afford good hotels on holidays. “The cuts to my pension will mean thousands of euros less that I can spend on the family, and the holidays we like. I’m very angry that this is happening after I saved for so long.”

Mr Jansen is not alone in experiencing pension pain. Tens of millions more pensioners and savers around the world are facing the same retirement insecurity as Mr Jansen, as plunging interest rates since the financial crisis wreak havoc on the funding of schemes. As average life expectancy increases, pensions have become a defining political issue in countries as diverse as Russia, Japan and Brazil.

General Electric, the US industrial conglomerate, recently announced that it is joining a growing list of companies that are ending guaranteed “final salary” style pension schemes, affecting around 20,000 of its employees. In the UK, tens of thousands of university academics are preparing to take strike action over steep rises in their pension contributions.

A common factor in this global pension upheaval has been suppressed bond yields.

Bonds have historically provided a simple match for the cash flows needed to be paid out to the members of retirement schemes such as Mr Jansen’s. But decades of declining bond yields have made it far harder for pension funds to buy an income for their members, pushing them more into equities and other riskier, untraded investments, such as real estate and private equity.

Buoyant financial markets have so far ensured robust investment gains for pension plans on their existing holdings. Yet given their long-term liabilities, the dimming outlook for future gains is causing anguish.

“Their house is on fire,” says Alex Veroude, chief investment officer for the US at Insight Investment, which manages money on behalf of many pension funds. “And rates can and probably will go lower from here. Even if the house is on fire, it’s still only the first floor. We think it can hit the second and third floor as well.”

This is not merely a danger to individuals like Mr Jansen who may see their pensions cut — it could also have a wider impact on the economy. If people set aside more money for retirement, it may hamper economic growth by reducing consumption — the opposite of the intention of central banks when they cut rates. The Swedish Riksbank hinted obliquely at this when it recently signalled it would lift interest rates back to zero by the end of the year, saying that “if negative nominal interest rates are perceived as a more permanent state, the behaviour of agents may change and negative effects may arise.”

There may even be more systemic consequences. Last month the IMF warned in its annual report on global financial stability that the rush by pension funds into “illiquid” assets will hamstring “the traditional role they play in stabilising markets during periods of stress”, as they will have less money available to scoop up bargains.

The push into more unorthodox investment strategies is worrying some in the industry, who warn that they could exacerbate market downturns. “We’re seeing some really unusual behaviour, and we’ll see some payback,” says Con Michalakis, chief investment officer of Statewide, an Australian pension plan. “The trillion dollar question is when? I’ve been doing this for long enough not to want to predict when it will happen.”

When Christopher Ailman studied for a degree in business economics at the University of California in the late 1970s, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was ratcheting up interest rates, sending bond yields spiralling higher. Soon after he graduated in 1980 the 10-year Treasury yield hit a record of nearly 16 per cent — and the concept of sub-zero yields seemed preposterous.

“At school my textbooks said that there was no such thing as negative interest rates,” says Mr Ailman, now chief investment officer at Calstrs, the $238bn Californian teachers’ pension plan. “But here we are.”

In the wake of the financial crisis, many central banks deployed unconventional new tools to reinvigorate the global economy once interest rates hit zero. At first this primarily meant massive, multitrillion dollar bond-buying programmes, but in 2009 Sweden became the first central bank to experiment with negative interest rates.

It was later followed by Japan and the rest of Europe, with the desperate scramble for bonds pushing yields lower. Growing concerns over the health of the global economy, a subdued inflation outlook and expectations of even easier monetary policy have now pushed the pile of negative-yielding debt to about $13tn.

Pension plans invest in a broad array of asset classes, but with many stock markets at or near record highs, the prospect of gains are dimming across the board. AQR Capital Management estimates that the classic 60-40 balanced equity-bond fund might return as little as 2.9 per cent on average a year after inflation over the next decade, compared with an average of 5 per cent since 1900.

“Higher prices are simply pulling forward ever more future return to the present,” says Andrew Sheets, a strategist at Morgan Stanley. “That’s great for today’s asset owners, especially those close to retirement. It is much less good for anyone trying to save, invest or manage well into the future, who face an increasingly barren return landscape.”

The tumble in bond yields is particularly problematic for “defined benefit” pension plans, which promise members a specific payout. They use high-grade bond yields to calculate the value of their future liabilities, and every small move downwards deepens their funding challenges.

A one percentage point fall in long-term interest rates will increase liabilities of a typical pension scheme by around 20 per cent, but the value of their assets would only go up by about 10 per cent, estimates Ros Altmann, a former UK pensions minister. “Clearly, then, scheme funding will deteriorate and employers will need to increase funding,” she adds.

Many UK pension schemes are now using sophisticated “liability driven investment” strategies, hedging against the impact of lower rates on their liabilities. This has slowly started to catch on in Europe and the US as well.

But those schemes that have not taken steps to guard against interest rate risk now face huge increases in their deficits, and are having to make difficult decisions about how to bridge the funding gap.

Across the western world pension fund managers face similar challenges. The industry outlook is now as grim as it has ever been in Peter Damgaard Jensen’s two-decade stint at the top of PKA, a Danish pension fund.

“In some countries the pension system cannot survive if things don’t change,” he warns. “They either have to pay in more or cut benefits.”

In the Netherlands, the government has come under pressure to change retirement system rules so schemes can effectively shrink deficits, blown out by negative bond yields. With European bond yields hitting record lows in August, funding ratios — a measure of how much money a pension plan has compared with its liabilities — have collapsed to around 90 per cent, according to Anna Grebenchtchikova, a Dutch pensions expert. “The 90 per cent funding ratio means that benefit cuts are likely unless interest rates and/or equity markets rise substantially before the end of the year,” she says. “Consequently, many opposition parties and organisations for the elderly have called for a relaxation of the rules.”

One such fund is Stichting Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, the second-biggest Dutch pension fund. While it generated €39bn of investment gains in the first nine months of this year, falling yields have forced it to set aside an extra €54bn to meet current and future demands from pension holders. It now warns it might have to cut benefits for the first time in its half-century history.

“To avert a reduction, we urgently need help from politicians in The Hague,” Peter Borgdorff, PFZW’s director, wrote in a blog post earlier this month. “The clock is ticking.”

To counteract the fading outlook for returns from mainstream bonds and equity markets, many pension plans are ratcheting up their investments in “alternative” or “private” assets, such as private equity, real estate, venture capital, infrastructure and untraded loans.

For long-term investors who can accept the illiquidity in return for the promise of higher returns, this makes sense. A housing project or toll road can produce a bond-like, steady income stream. Yet with almost every institutional investor exploring this avenue, it has led to froth in “private markets”.

“There are some dangers,” says Mr Damgaard Jensen. “It can create bubbles when people go into new areas. They’re not the cheapest asset classes to go into. And there are a lot of fees. Often the only people that get rich are the fund managers. And you have to make sure you can hold on as it’s hard to sell.”

These private market investments involve allocating money to private equity or real estate funds, which will be “called” when their managers want to make a big acquisition. But this could reduce how much money pension funds have available. The IMF estimates that pension plans have doubled their allocations to illiquid assets over the past 10 years, and for about a fifth of funds these capital commitments amount to more than half their liquid assets.

“Given higher liquidity risks, pension funds will probably have to set aside more of their liquid assets to cover potential outflows during and after periods of stress, especially if market funding becomes more expensive,” the IMF said in its Global Financial Stability Report. “This would make it more difficult for them to buy assets traded at distressed price levels, limiting their ability to invest counter cyclically and thus play a stabilising role during periods of market stress.”

Faced with a continued subdued outlook for investment returns, fund managers face the unpalatable prospect of inflicting further pain by asking for bigger contributions from pension members and employers, imposing benefit cuts, or closing their schemes.

Baroness Altmann believes intervention is needed to limit the impact of pension pain spreading to the wider economy, as businesses divert cash from investment into paying more money to plug retirement scheme deficits.

“Government and regulators should be planning to help those pension schemes and their sponsors who may never be able to afford full annuity buyout, without becoming insolvent,” she says. “The development of a regime for ‘winding down’ rather than ‘winding up’, which does not require annuity purchase and which would see pensions paid out of a pooled fund of assets, would be more likely to deliver higher pensions overall.”

Without intervention, there are also wider risks to society as more workers could be shunted out of company-backed guaranteed schemes and into arrangements where their pension is at the mercy of the stock market.

“In 20 years we may find ourselves with a real global crisis where we haven’t saved enough money for retirement,” says Calstrs’ Mr Ailman. “Returns can fluctuate, but longevity has been extended dramatically . . . We just have to explain to millennials that their parents might have to move back in with them.”



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

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


22 November, 2019

Leftist Violence to Crush Dissent Undermines Rights

The very definition of rights is under assault by the Left. The consequences will be dire.

One of the most dangerous realities of America today is that the American people — blessed with unimaginable freedom and prosperity thanks to the revolutionary idea of our Founding Fathers that rights are granted not by government but by God — are disastrously uninformed as to what natural rights are and are not.

Even as the world watches heartbreaking scenes from Venezuela and Hong Kong, where oppressive socialist/communist regimes beat, imprison, and kill their own citizens for peacefully protesting the already oppressive activities of those regimes, America is teeming with foolish progressives demanding we turn to socialism to solve our problems, real or perceived.

Our Constitution established a list of “negative” rights; things government is prohibited from depriving citizens of without due process. For example, the First Amendment protects the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning government for a redress of grievances. The Second Amendment protects our right of self-defense, the Fourth our right to personal property. And so on.

In each case, the right is protected simply by having government leave us alone. In fact, of all the rights protected by the Constitution, the only one requiring a positive action by another citizen is the right to a trial by a jury, for which jurors are compensated.

To leftist Democrats, everything they want is a “right”.

Democrats have long claimed healthcare, primary education, and retirement security as human rights. Now, with calls for “free” college, they claim secondary education is a right as well. In fact, the list of “rights” declared by progressives is dizzying — paid vacation, paid maternity leave, contraception, high-speed internet, a “living” wage, affordable housing, and more.

Before dropping out, former Democrat presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke even declared that a short commute is a universal right, tweeting, “Living close to work shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich… It’s a right for everyone.”

Take note of the fact that every single one of the progressives’ “rights” requires the time, wealth, property, or intellect of another person, regardless of the recipients’ ability to pay.

The last we checked, compelling one person to work for the benefit of another, especially without compensation, is the definition of slavery.

In a speech last week to the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention, Attorney General William Barr explained why this dichotomy puts conservatives at a distinct disadvantage when defending against the attacks of the political Left. He explained:

"This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. … In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the State to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

Conservatives, on the other hand, do not seek an earthly paradise. We are interested in preserving over the long run the proper balance of freedom and order necessary for healthy development of natural civil society and individual human flourishing. … This means that we naturally test the propriety and wisdom of action under a Rule of Law standard. The essence of this standard is to ask what the overall impact on society over the long run if the action we are taking, or principle we are applying in a given circumstance, was universalized — that is, would it be good for society over the long haul if this was done in all like circumstances?"

Over the last three years, we’ve witnessed the attempted coup by progressive Democrats and deep-state operatives to remove Donald Trump, the duly elected president of the United States, using manufactured evidence to frame him for colluding with our Russian enemies. After that failed, they now seek to impeach him over disagreements in foreign policy regarding Ukraine.

Then there are the more militant, violent factions of the Left, like antifa and Black Lives Matter. These groups have taken to the streets, rioting, dragging people from their cars and beating them, assaulting elderly people, and viciously beating reporters who covered their criminal behavior.

It is a tragic irony that, even as leftists demand a cornucopia of new “rights” at taxpayer expense, they are actively and often violently suppressing actual, enumerated constitutional rights. Leftists are relentless in their efforts to repeal the Second Amendment through gun control. They suppress free speech through “speech codes” that constrain utterances to only those expressions approved by the politically correct mob.

And when that fails, they turn to threats of violence, shouting down opponents, doxxing, disrupting speeches, firebombing, and physical violence.

Ironically, and completely lacking in self-awareness, American progressives demand more government even as they warn that the president is a despotic tyrant.

A stable, just society cannot long survive such lawlessness and violence. Americans must understand that if the rights of one are violated, the rights of all are violated.

No longer can Americans of good will stand idly by and allow the mob to crush those they oppose. We must defend our rights now or lose them forever.



Runaway Health Insurance Costs Under the Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was supposed to make the cost of health insurance more affordable by slowing the rising trend of increases in health insurance costs. The controversial law was passed in 2010 on a strict party line vote, with nearly all Democrats in favor and all Republicans opposed.

The law went into effect in 2013 and by now we all know the story. Instead of bending the cost curve downward, as promised by then-President Obama in 2010, health insurance costs spiked sharply upward when the law took effect in 2014 and then continued to increase through the remainder of President Obama’s tenure in office.

That trend changed only after 2018, as several modest reforms introduced by the Trump administration slowed that exponential rate of growth.

The average annual premium and deductible data comes from the private health insurance firm eHealth for the years 2008-2017 and 2018-2019. As of this writing, average cost data for the health insurance policies that Americans buy for coverage in 2020 should become available in several months.

The failure of the ACA to restrain the growth of the cost of health insurance was not a surprise. The Independent Institute’s senior fellow John C. Goodman predicted the Affordable Care Act would fail to restrain the rate of growth of the cost of health insurance coverage for Americans shortly after it became law in 2010. The government’s intervention sharply increased its cost instead.

All this has become relevant again today because many of the leading candidates now running for president in 2020 are calling for an even more radical and costly expansion of government control over health care in the United States without addressing any of the factors that led to the runaway health insurance costs that occurred because of the Affordable Care Act.

All of these presidential primary candidates supported the passage of the Affordable Care Act. If nothing else, their support for an even more intrusive government intervention in American health care is a tacit admission the ACA is a failure.



Wealthy Warren and Sanders Attack Wealthy

Socialist candidates arrogantly claim government is responsible for people's wealth.

Taking a cue from Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” pronouncement, Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released a new ad seeking to justifying her planned wealth tax. In the ad, Warren bloviates, “You built a great fortune? Good for you. I guarantee you built it at least in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate, getting your goods to market on roads all of us paid to build.” Ah, the socialist fallacy of government being the ultimate source for everything, including people’s wealth.

On the back of her fraudulent claim that an increased tax on wealthy Americans will fully fund her $52 trillion Medicare for All plan, Warren is also leveling a wealth tax on top of that. Just how many millionaires and billionaires does Warren believe exist in America? And why is she entitled to redistribute their money?

Part of the reason the economy is doing so well today is because Republicans cut taxes, which has proven to fuel economic growth with more jobs and higher wages. The only credit that can honestly be given to the government is that it got out of the way. Warren wants to hit the brakes on the economy out of spite, claiming that millionaires and billionaires don’t deserve to own or control their own fortunes.

Warren’s fellow socialist Bernie Sanders sees things the same way, with his call for an 8% tax on the richest Americans. Ironically, when Sanders was asked about a government-instituted mandatory firearms “buyback” program, he stated, “A mandatory buyback is essentially confiscation, which I think is unconstitutional. It means that I’m going to walk into your house and take something whether you like it or not. I don’t think that stands up to constitutional scrutiny.” Well said, Bernie. Now how about applying that same sound logic to the government’s taking of people’s hard-earned money simply because they have more than others?

Both Warren and Sanders see individuals as vassals of the government, rather than the government as beholden to the people. The government owes its existence to the people, not the people to the government. The Founders declared Americans’ rights to be inalienable precisely because they recognized those rights come from God and not from government. The government does not grant rights; rather it is tasked with recognizing them and defending them.

Socialists like Warren and Sanders advocate flipping the whole system on its head, and they point to wealth disparity as the sole justification for such a radical and foolish endeavor. Using the politics of envy, they condemn the wealthy and successful for the “sin” of industriousness. How dare the wealthy be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labors!




TAX RETURNS ON HOLD: Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts puts hold on release of Trump tax returns (The Resurgent)

JUNK CARE FOR ALL: Elizabeth Warren relies on rationing in Medicare for All plan; cost-cutting measures would likely lead to long wait-times, limited care (The Washington Free Beacon)

NEVER MIND: Elizabeth Warren gives up on Medicare for All: By planning to pass single-payer in year three of her presidency, she's acknowledging it will never happen at all (Reason)

CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CONTINUED: Ilhan Omar funneled another $150,000 to alleged lover's consulting group (New York Post)

WOLVES AMONG SHEEP: Nearly 80,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients have prior arrest records (National Review)

MIGRATION GATEWAY: Tough Trump asylum policy prompts migrants to enter U.S. and then flee to Canada (Washington Examiner)

"I WANT THEM TO KNOW HOW": Utah police training teachers for active shootings (Washington Examiner)

STOPGAP FUNDING BILL: House votes to avoid government shutdown for a month, sending funding bill to Senate (CNBC)

EPSTEIN PROBE: FBI looking into possibility that "criminal enterprise" was involved in Jeffrey Epstein's death (National Review)

GESTURES: Senate passes bill in support of Hong Kong protesters (UPI)

PUSHBACK: Navy seeks to eject four, including sailor championed by Trump, from elite SEALs (NBC News)

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: ISIS rebuilds in Syria after Turkish incursion and U.S. drawdown, Pentagon watchdog says (NBC News)

BALTIMORE MAYOR CHARGED: Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh charged with fraud, faces up to 20 years in prison (National Review)

DIVINE INTERVENTION: Sixteen-year-old girl arrested before attack on predominantly black Georgia church (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

IRAN DISSENT: Iran imposes "largest Internet shutdown ever" as protests spread (National Review)

POLICY: How Medicare for All would make most families poorer (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: Trump admin is right to reapply sanctions to Iran's uranium enrichment (The Federalist)

BLIND PROGRESSIVES: Don’t care about Hong Kong or anti-Semitism but consider themselves to be the most caring, moral and progressive generation ever, committed to combating injustice, stamping out racism and saving the planet (London Telegraph)


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

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


21 November, 2019

Does the Left Hate America?

Whenever leftists are charged with not loving or even with hating America, they respond angrily, labeling the question absurd, mean-spirited and an example of right-wing McCarthyism.

But there can be little doubt that the left has no love for America, just as there can be little doubt that liberals and conservatives love America. Love of America is one of the many dividing lines between liberalism and leftism. (For a description of six differences between liberalism and leftism, please see my PragerU video "Left or Liberal?")

Here are six reasons to believe the left hates America:

1. No one denies that the international left -- the left in Europe, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere -- hates America. Therefore, in order to argue that American leftists do not hate America, one would have to argue that on one of the most fundamental principles of international leftism -- hatred of America -- American leftists differ with fellow leftists around the world: All the world's left hates the U.S., but the American left loves it.

This, of course, makes no sense. Leftists around the world agree on every important issue. Why, then, would they differ with regard to America? Has any leftist at The New York Times, for example, written one column critical of the international left's anti-Americanism?

2. Leftists want to "fundamentally transform" the United States. Five days before the 2008 presidential election, candidate Barack Obama told a huge audience in Columbia, Missouri, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America."

More recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that she plans to "fundamentally transform our government," that America needs "big, structural change" and that her proposed Accountable Capitalism Act would bring about "fundamental change."

Likewise, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said earlier this year, "We're going to try to transform the United States of America," and last month he said, "This campaign is about fundamental change."

Examples are legion.

So, here's a question: How can one claim to love what one wishes to fundamentally transform?

The answer is obvious: It isn't possible.

If a man were to confide to you that he wants to fundamentally transform his wife, would you assume he loves his wife? If a woman were to tell you she wants to fundamentally transform her husband, would you assume she loves him? Of course not.

3. Leftists have contempt for the American flag.

I am unaware of a single left-wing individual or organization that has condemned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand for the flag during the playing or singing of the national anthem that precedes NFL games. To the contrary, on the left, he is universally regarded as a hero. Indeed, Nike anointed him as one, making him its brand model.

Leftists might respond that Kaepernick's public refusal to stand for the flag and national anthem says nothing about his love for America, as it is only a form of protest against racial injustice. But that is nonsense. Would leftists argue that anyone who publicly refuses to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day really loves Dr. King?

4. Leftists routinely describe America as racist, sexist, xenophobic, imperialist, genocidal, homophobic, obsessed with money and morally inferior to most Western European countries. No moral person could love such a place. As one person commenting on a Paul Krugman column wrote, "Does loving your country mean you love or ignore the fact that we destroyed Iraq, shot down an Iranian commercial airliner, and waged a brutal war in Asia for reasons that today make no sense?"

5. America is the most successful country in world history -- while being the most committed to capitalism and remaining the most religious of all the industrialized democracies. To the extent that America is great, that means two of the institutions the left most loathes -- Christianity and capitalism -- are also great.

6. Love is, among other things, an emotion. So, here is a question about leftists' emotions: Do any leftists get the chills when the national anthem is played or when they see the American flag waving as the anthem is played? Given their rhetoric, it is most unlikely. Yet, every person I know who loves America does get a chill at such moments. Do leftists, as opposed to some liberals and conservatives, display the flag on any national holiday? How many leftists even own a flag?

Finally, if leftists do not love America, what do they love?

According to their own rhetoric, they love the planet -- Mother Earth, as they frequently refer to it. And they love animals.

They really love power, and they claim to love material equality.

They don't love Western culture -- and they now dismiss praise for it as a euphemism for white supremacy.

Interestingly, while they often claim to love humanity, many don't seem to love people. They give less charity and volunteer less time to the downtrodden than conservatives, for example. They have much less interest in having children and making families. They are far more likely than conservatives to cut off relations with friends or relatives with whom they differ politically. And if they really loved people, they would love capitalism because only capitalism has lifted billions of people from poverty.

But most of all, they love ... themselves.



Those Shaming Amazon about Bangladeshi Factories Should Be Ashamed of Themselves

It’s difficult to muster a lot of sympathy for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, reportedly the world’s richest individual, whose divorce this summer from his wife of 25 years cost him an estimated $38 billion. But recent attacks on Bezos and Amazon for selling clothing made in Bangladesh are ill-informed and unfair.

The controversy began in October when a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that Amazon sells clothes from Bangladeshi factories that other retailers have blacklisted for poor safety records. Amazon’s critics ignore that the blacklisting these factories denies Bangladeshi garment workers the opportunity to earn a living.

Concerns about the safety of Bangladeshi garment factories stem from the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed more than 1,100 workers. In the aftermath of the collapse, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh was established to promote factory safety and monitor compliance with safety agreements. The accord now includes more than 1,600 factories employing more than 2 million Bangladeshi workers.

Far more Bangladeshi firms, however, are not party to safety agreements under the accord. According to the International Labor Organization, there are more than 5,000 garment factories in Bangladesh; one study estimates there may be as many as 8,000 factories if subcontractors are counted. The 3,400 to 6,400 firms that aren’t part of the accord also employ about 2 million garment workers.

Last February, I participated in a panel discussion at the University of Denver alongside Joris Oldenziel, the accord’s deputy director for implementation. Understandably, perhaps, Oldenziel believes all Bangladeshi factories should have to live up to the accord’s safety standards. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal report implied that Amazon was harming workers by sourcing from factories blacklisted by the accord. Both are wrong.

With a per capita annual income of just over $1,500, poverty is widespread in Bangladesh. Factory work, even in unsafe factories, is a big step up for workers compared to subsistence agriculture, household services, or most other available alternatives. As I pointed out in my book, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, even the workers at garment factories that U.S. activists protest and label as harmful “sweatshops,” on average, earn far more than the “less than $2 a day” the vast majority of Bangladeshis were earning at the time of my analysis in 2010.

Better safety is not free, and companies respond to increased costs by shifting production to cheaper labor from other parts of the world or by investing in machinery and other automated processes that reduce employment. Forcing all companies to meet accord safety standards, either by passing new safety laws or by shaming companies like Amazon, jeopardizes jobs that provide millions of Bangladeshis the opportunity to escape extreme poverty.

When the overall pay is low, workers prefer the vast majority of their compensation to come in the form of wages, rather than safety expenditures or other benefits. That’s because they are in a struggle just to feed and clothe their families.

When productivity rises, so does total worker compensation. And as workers become wealthier, they demand more of their compensation in the form of safety and benefits. This process is underway in Bangladesh, and the accord is part of it.

Today, about only 10% of the employed population in Bangladesh is living on less than $1.90 per day. As productivity and compensation have risen, safety has also improved. The accord provides credible information on factory safety standards—or the lack thereof—giving workers more information to choose where they want to work.

The factories participating in the accord are disproportionately the larger firms with higher revenues. To force accord safety standards on smaller firms, where many of the poorer and less productive Bangladeshi workers are employed, would result in job losses for those who need jobs the most.

Sustainable safety improvements come through the market’s process of economic development. Amazon and other U.S. companies sourcing from accord factories, unlisted factories, and blacklisted factories are part of this process. If we care about the welfare of Bangladeshi workers, we need to continue to let the process play out.



The Bolivian ‘Coup’ that Wasn’t

Claiming to be the victim of a coup, former Bolivian president Evo Morales has been granted political asylum by Mexico, where he and his allies will continue to push the fiction that he was forced out by Bolivia’s powerful oligarchy.

Morales’s claim stands truth on its head. In fact, it was Morales who tried to engineer a coup—and not for the first time—by rigging the Oct. 20 presidential election.

Morales came to power at the beginning of 2006 after two previously elected presidents were toppled by Morales-led mobs. As is customary among those embracing “21st century socialism,” Morales then convened a constitutional assembly, the main purpose of which was to rubber-stamp his proposal to amend the constitution to allow the president to seek a second term, something the previous constitution expressly banned. Not surprisingly, the constitution was rewritten and Morales was reelected in 2009.

That, too, wasn’t enough for Morales. So he turned to Bolivia’s constitutional tribunal—the court in charge of protecting the constitution—to extend his rule even further. And to no one’s surprise, the court decreed in 2013 that he could stand for a third term, ruling that his first term didn’t really count since the country had been “refounded” in 2009 when the new constitution was adopted.

Morales then began to plot against the constitution’s two-term limit, with his cronies in the legislature approving a referendum that would put the two-term limit to a vote. When the vote was held in 2016, to Morales’s shock, the people rejected the proposal.

But Morales couldn’t take no for an answer. His constitutional tribunal decided he had a “human right” to be reelected. In perfect theater-of-the-absurd style, Morales and his stooges invoked Article 23 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, which states that citizens have a right “to vote and to be elected in genuine periodic elections.” So, once again, Morales stood for reelection.

Only this time things didn’t go so well. When it became clear that Morales wouldn’t win the needed majority and instead would have to face off against former president Carlos Mesa in a “mano a mano” contest Morales was likely to lose, the vote counting system mysteriously crashed. Twenty-four hours later, it miraculously recovered—and lo and behold Morales all of a sudden had a better-than-10-point lead, enough to avoid a runoff.

The electoral fraud triggered massive protests that eventually forced the government to accept an international audit by monitors from the Organization of American States. The monitors concluded that widespread irregularities had taken place and that it was “statistically unlikely” that Morales won the election.

Which brings us to the present mess. After the massive protests turned violent, with several police garrisons stepping in to protect the public from paramilitary thugs loyal to Morales, the head of the military, a longtime ally of the president, “suggested” that Morales stand down.

The general’s stance might have been imprudent, but it had nothing to do with a classic military takeover—so common in Latin America. Instead, it was a decision by the military leadership to steer Bolivia away from a bloodbath, which likely would have occurred if they had rejected the will of the people in support of Morales’s attempt to extend his tenure through a rigged election.

This is what led Morales to claim he was the victim of a coup. Since Morales’s vice president, a close ally, also resigned, as did the head of the senate, who was next in line to take over, this puts the new president of the legislative assembly in charge until new elections are held and the reins of power are handed over to Morales’s duly elected successor.

As I write, the chaos continues, as one might expect given the harm Morales has done to his country’s constitution and institutions, the violence his thugs have instigated and the fury his critics feel after he attempted to steal the presidential election.

But let us be clear: There has been no coup in Bolivia except the one Morales tried to engineer.



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

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


20 November, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard condemns the Democratic party

What she condemns is a description of them.  She sounds a lot like Ronald Reagan.  She would be a real threat to Trump but what she wants is not what the Donks want so she could never be nominated by them.  She believes in love. They are consumed by hate

By Michael van der Galien

I've got to admit: I only respect and like two Democrats running for president. The first is Marianne Williamson. The second (and more prominent candidate at the moment, since she's polling at a couple of percent nowadays) is Tulsi Gabbard.

Tulsi is has served in Iraq and Afghanistan. She's a lefty, but she's honest and upfront about it. More than anything, though, she fears no one, not even her party's own godfathers and godmothers. Heck, she has all but declared war on Hillary Clinton. That takes balls.

However, sadly for Tulsi, she has one major problem. A weakness that she won't be able to overcome.

No, I'm not talking about her age or lack of experience. Trump had never held office before he became president, so hey, everything goes nowadays. No, Tulsi's problem is... that she's simply a decent human being.

"You know, sometimes politicians who are stuck in Washington, and don't take the time to get out, don't get out to where real people live and play and work, they lose touch with the reality of where the heartbeat of our country is," she told a crowd at a recent campaign rally. "The heartbeat of our country, it's certainly not in Washington, D.C. The heartbeat of our country is in rooms like this. In communities like yours all across this country, standing up and saying it is time now for our voices to be heard."

"It has gone on for so long that self-serving politicians in Washington and the richest, and the most powerful, and the most elite among us, have been in control and have been in power, and they have left us behind."

OK, so far so good, but that's where it all went wrong:

"The problem is our politics has been so poisoned and tainted for so long by those who are only interested in their own political power, their selfish interests or lining their pockets, and using fear and hatred and bigotry to divide us for their own personal gain that they don't know what this looks like. They don't understand what the power of the people feels like. They think that they have the power but they have forgotten that really, the power lies within our hands."
And she made it even worse:

"When we come together and stand united, not motivated by fear, not motivated by hatred, not motivated by racism or bigotry, but motivated by love. Motivated by love. Motivated by love for our country and for each other and for our planet and for our future. When we stand united in this love, there is no obstacle we cannot overcome."

Of course, the problem is that everything she says she doesn't want to be is exactly what the Democratic Party represents. This is the party that tells Trump voters that they're just angry white people, smelly Walmart shoppers and a basket of deplorables. This is the party that tells African Americans that they have to vote for Democrats or else they're Uncle Toms. This is the party that has started an impeachment procedure against the democratically elected president simply because he (and his voters!) don't share their views. This is the party that smears anyone who mildly suggests that perhaps -- perhaps! -- unborn life deserves some protection at some point.

In short, the Democratic Party is the party of hatred, racism, and bigotry. There's literally no chance of someone like Tulsi -- decent, unifying, brave -- winning that party's nomination.



Brooklyn: Man Arrested for Egging Synagogue Turns Out Not to Be a White Supremacist

But names like his are readily found in Pakistan

The New York Post reported Thursday that “a teenager who threw an egg at a Brooklyn synagogue and chucked another one at a woman in Borough Park has been arrested on a number of hate crime charges, police said.”

This took place in a neighborhood where many Orthodox Jews live. The young activist’s name turns out to be Mohib Hoque, and he was “hit with three counts of hate crime assault, three counts of hate crime aggravated harassment, three counts of hate crime harassment and hate crime reckless endangerment.”

Mohib Hoque. A white supremacist, perhaps? An avid consumer of “far-right” news analysis?

Anti-Semitic attacks have sharply increased in the U.S., and virtually the entire political and media establishment has agreed that this is attributable to the rise of “white supremacists” and the “far-right.”

One problem with this claim is that actual white supremacists are a minuscule band of losers; another is that the same political and media establishment attaches the label “far-right” to virtually everyone who dissents from the Leftist agenda. And a third difficulty with the mainstream view is that it ignores the increasing hostility toward Israel and Jews in general on the Left, and the deeply ingrained anti-Semitism of one of the Left’s protected groups, Muslims – as a recent incident in New York City indicates.

Young Mohib Hoque “allegedly chucked an egg at a 38-year-old woman who was walking on 38th Street near 14th Avenue at about 6 p.m,” and then “about 15 minutes later, Hoque allegedly threw another egg at a wall of nearby Congregation Bnei Torah Sanz.”

None of Hoque’s behavior is really surprising to those who are aware of what Islam’s core text, the Qur’an, says about Jews. Most people assume that any hostility any Muslim may have toward Jews is motivated by the alleged mistreatment of “Palestinians” by Israel. That mistreatment, however, is largely the work of “Palestinian” propaganda mills that fabricate Israeli atrocities on a large scale, and is also in some cases a result of the practice of Hamas and Islamic Jihad of basing operations in civilian areas so that they can use retaliatory actions as a basis for more victimhood propaganda.

While it may be that Hoque actually believes some of this propaganda and it moved him to express his hatred and contempt for the synagogue, the Muslim animus toward Jews is much more deeply rooted than most people realize. The Qur’an depicts the Jews as inveterately evil and bent on destroying the well-being of the Muslims. They are the strongest of all people in enmity toward the Muslims (5:82); they fabricate things and falsely ascribe them to Allah (2:79; 3:75, 3:181); they claim that Allah’s power is limited (5:64); they love to listen to lies (5:41); they disobey Allah and never observe his commands (5:13). They are disputing and quarreling (2:247); hiding the truth and misleading people (3:78); staging rebellion against the prophets and rejecting their guidance (2:55); being hypocritical (2:14, 2:44); giving preference to their own interests over the teachings of Muhammad (2:87); wishing evil for people and trying to mislead them (2:109); feeling pain when others are happy or fortunate (3:120); being arrogant about their being Allah’s beloved people (5:18); devouring people’s wealth by subterfuge (4:161); slandering the true religion and being cursed by Allah (4:46); killing the prophets (2:61); being merciless and heartless (2:74); never keeping their promises or fulfilling their words (2:100); being unrestrained in committing sins (5:79); being cowardly (59:13-14); being miserly (4:53); being transformed into apes and pigs for breaking the Sabbath (2:63-65; 5:59-60; 7:166); and more. They are under Allah’s curse (9:30), and Muslims should wage war against them and subjugate them under Islamic hegemony (9:29).

These aren’t just random verses tucked away in a dusty book that everyone has forgotten. The Qur’an is at the very center of Islamic culture and life, and has exerted its influence upon Islamic culture to such an extent that even many Muslims who don’t read it regularly and aren’t familiar with its contents share its hatred of Jews – in many Muslim-majority areas, that hatred is in the air.

The names of many of the perpetrators of anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City are not realized. If they were, it is likely that there would be more names such as that of Mohib Hoque than New York authorities are willing to admit.



USCIS: Nearly 80,000 DACA Recipients Have Arrest Records

With the question of the constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program before the Supreme Court, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a study showing that nearly 80,000 DACA recipients have arrest records ranging from immigration violations to rape and murder.

The study should add fuel to the fire if Congress were to try and make DACA recipients legal.

Before jumping to conclusions, both sides should consider what exactly the USCIS studied.

Fox News:

The data released Saturday by  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows only arrests or apprehensions for a criminal offense or an immigration-related civil offense and does not take into account whether there was a conviction, acquittal, dismissal or a lessening of charges.

This is important when giving weight to the study and judging its relevance. Getting arrested doesn't make you a felon and given the kinds of offenses that the overwhelming number of DACA recipients were arrested for, it certainly doesn't make one a violent or dangerous criminal.

But perhaps recipients of DACA should be subject to more scrutiny.

The report finds that of the nearly 889,000 applicants for the DACA program, 110,000 had arrest records. Of the more than 765,000 approved for DACA, 79,398 had arrest records. Of that number, 67,861 were arrested before their most recent DACA approval, while 15,903 were arrested after their most recent approval.

The offenses incurred by DACA requestors who were arrested before their most recent approval include battery (3,421), assault (3,308), burglary, breaking and entering (1,471), rape (62), murder (15) and theft or larceny (7,926). The largest population arrested were suspected of driving-related offenses excluding DUIs (23,305) and immigration-related offenses (12,968.)

USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli, well known for his anti-DACA views, issued a statement:

“As DACA continues to be the subject of both public discourse and ongoing litigation, USCIS remains committed to ensuring transparency and that the American people are informed about those receiving DACA,” USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.

“This agency is obligated to continue accepting DACA requests from illegal aliens as a direct result of the previous administration’s decision to circumvent the laws as passed by Congress. We hope this data provides a better sense of the reality of those granted the privilege of a temporary deferral of removal action and work authorization under DACA,” he said.

The "reality" is that the Supreme Court is likely to find the program unconstitutional. But there is a strong sense in Congress on both sides of the aisle, that punishing someone who was brought here illegally by their illegal parents, shouldn't have to suffer the consequences.

I'm sure that part of that deal will be to prevent violent convicted felons from being allowed to stay in the country. But what about the others? Should drunk drivers be deported? Should a previous civil immigration violation be a reason to kick an otherwise law-abiding illegal out of the country?

These are questions for Congress as the issue of DACA once again comes before it.




LANDMARK SCUFFLE: Trump asks Supreme Court to let him keep his tax returns secret, setting up a landmark fight (CNBC)

TRADE PROGRESS: Nancy Pelosi says finalized trade deal with Mexico and Canada "imminent" (National Review)

BACKGROUND HERE: Federal judge rules U.S.-born "ISIS bride" not an American citizen, U.S. not required to repatriate her (National Review)

AWKWARD: U.S. manufacturing group hacked by China as trade talks intensified (Reuters)

IRON FIST: Hong Kong violence continues to escalate as China's Xi Jinping makes strongest statement yet (Hot Air)

POLICY: Don't reauthorize the Export-Import Bank — defund it (Washington Examiner)

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards hangs on to his Louisiana seat; however, Republicans procure a supermajority in the state senate (Vox)

"WE'RE ABSOLUTELY GOING TO MAKE MISTAKES HERE": Twitter rolls out ban on political ads covering candidates, elections, and legislation (National Review)

DISASTROUS: Elizabeth Warren's tax plan would hit some with rates over 100% (The Daily Wire)

LAGGING BEHIND: Immigration jails in Trump era are packed, but deportations are fewer than in Obama's (The Washington Post)

TRANSPARENCY: Trump's team delivers a big win for patients by making health costs clearer (Washington Examiner)

AN INDICATOR THAT TRUMP WILL PERSEVERE: As impeachment fizzles, the stock market soars (The Federalist)

SHAPING WHAT YOU SEE: How Google interferes with its search algorithms and changes your results (The Wall Street Journal)

POLICY: Improving surface transportation through federalism (The Heritage Foundation)


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

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


19 November, 2019

UK: Why Boris will win

One of the strange things about General Election campaigns is that you can never really predict what will capture the public imagination.

Day after day, the nation's politicians trudge up and down the country, and most people barely even notice they're there. And then, quite suddenly, a stray remark seizes the nation's attention and can never be wiped away.

Two years ago, for example, Theresa May travelled the land intoning her terrible mantra about strong and stable leadership, and nobody cared. Then she told an interviewer that the worst thing she'd ever done as a girl was to run through a field of wheat, and everybody remembered it.

For Boris Johnson, that moment came during his mock-spontaneous campaign video, released online a few days ago. In case you haven't seen it, the Prime Minister is interviewed wandering around his campaign headquarters, making a cup of tea and greeting random staff members.

He talks about wanting to get Brexit done, and about liking Marmite. Then comes the remark that, in the public mind at least, seems to sum him up.

What, asks the interviewer, has surprised him most about being Prime Minister?

The biggest shock, he says, is that he can no longer have a takeaway. The other day, he adds, 'I couldn't actually get a Thai curry to deliver to Number 10 because of the security problems'.

Classic Boris, you might think. The kind of man who's desperate to get stuck into a decent curry. A man who likes the Rolling Stones and forgets to take out his teabag before pouring in the milk. A man of the people.

Of course, there's more to it than that. You can bet that every line in that campaign video was carefully scripted, right down to the last syllable. As recent months have shown, Johnson is a very canny, even ruthless, operator and he knew exactly what message he was sending.

Indeed, his critics — some of them inside his own party — claim the whole thing is an act. They point to his upper middle-class background, his classical education at Eton and Oxford, his plummy accent, his membership of the Bullingdon Club, even his air of carefully manicured dishevelment, and see an Establishment figure in populist clothing.

But that takeaway line resonated because it matches what the public already think. For in Johnson, many working-class voters do see a man of the people, to an extent unmatched by any Tory leader in living memory.

The very fact that so many people automatically refer to him as 'Boris' is very telling. Even that campaign video begins with the interviewer, in a strong Estuary accent, greeting him with the words: 'Hi Boris, all right?'

Even when he went to South Yorkshire, meeting residents who were angry that the official response to the floods had not been quicker, people automatically called him by his first name. 'You've took your time, Boris, haven't you?' said one heckler.

Afterwards, the Mail's man in Yorkshire, Chris Brooke, noted that even diehard Labour supporters, who thought he should have done more to help the flood victims, invariably called him 'Boris', not 'Prime Minister'. And although they might not be his biggest fans, many were pleased to shake his hand and even sit down for a cup of tea.

Nobody called Mrs May 'Theresa'. Nobody bumping into her predecessors called David Cameron 'Dave' or Michael Howard 'Mike'.

The last Conservative leader to whom ordinary voters referred by her first name was Margaret Thatcher — 'Maggie'. And she was the last Tory leader who strongly appealed to ambitious working-class voters, not least because she sold them their council houses.

Yet according to the latest polling data, Johnson's appeal to working-class voters is even stronger than Mrs Thatcher's in the early 1980s.

A ComRes poll this week, for example, found that fully 43 per cent of skilled and semi-skilled manual workers — those people at the bottom of the social pyramid — are planning to vote Conservative, up from just 35 per cent in 2017.

A YouGov poll, meanwhile, found that among all working-class voters, the Tories are on 47 per cent, a staggering 20 per cent ahead of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

This picture might change on Election Day, of course, but I doubt it. Every last bit of evidence suggests that the Tories are far more popular than Labour among working-class voters, turning the time-honoured stereotypes of British politics on their head.

Not all of this, mind you, is down to Johnson. Contrary to Labour gibes that the Tories have never been anything more than the party of the rich, they have typically attracted between a quarter and a third of the working-class vote.

But in the past few years, there has been a marked surge in the Tories' working-class support. Some 38 per cent of working-class Britons voted Tory in 2017, the Party's strongest showing since 1979.

One of the central factors, obviously, is Brexit. Some political scientists believe Brexit has shattered the old political alignment, with millions of voters abandoning old haunts for new homes.

For the Conservatives, the obvious downside is their abandonment by affluent urban Remainers who might once have been regular Tory voters. In 2017, for example, they lost Canterbury, a classic leafy, middle-class university city, for the first time since 1835.

Or take Oxford West and Abingdon, which is positively stuffed with PhDs. The Tories won it in 2010 and 2015, but lost it two years ago to Lib Dem Layla Moran, almost entirely thanks to Brexit.

But the Tory calculation is that they can afford to lose seats like this if they pick up more working-class constituencies in the North and Midlands. They have high hopes, for example, of winning the veteran Dennis Skinner's seat in Bolsover, where as recently as 2005 they came third with just 17 per cent of the vote.

To capture Bolsover would be extraordinary indeed, but it is part of a pattern. The Tories' route to victory depends on success in the North, where they hope Labour voters' frustrations with the Brexit impasse, fury at the metropolitan political class and utter contempt for Jeremy Corbyn will outweigh decades of tribal loyalty.

This is where the Boris factor comes in. To paraphrase the old Heineken advert, Johnson refreshes the parts other Tory leaders cannot reach — in particular, the declining towns of Northern England.

Obviously Brexit, again, is part of the story, since the Prime Minister was the front man for the Leave campaign. Even his inability to get Britain out on October 31 — or, as he promised, to 'die in a ditch' if he failed — has not hurt him among most Leave voters.

There are other issues. Nobody doubts that Johnson, who wrote a book about Churchill, quoted Rudyard Kipling when he visited Burma and criticised Barack Obama for disliking the British Empire, is a patriot to his fingertips.

And given that Corbyn has consistently supported Britain's enemies, sympathised with the IRA and even talked of dismantling the Armed Forces, it is hardly surprising that so many patriotic Labour voters are planning to jump ship.

But there is more to it than Brexit, or even an anti- Corbyn backlash. The truth, as almost everybody in politics grudgingly admits, is that Johnson has the X Factor.

Six years ago, novelist Jonathan Coe wrote a remarkably prescient essay arguing that the key moment in Johnson's rise was his first appearance on the BBC One panel show Have I Got News For You. For Coe, very far from being a Boris fan, this was the moment the future Prime Minister cemented his public image as a 'loveable, self-mocking buffoon', an everyman rather than an Etonian.

He made people laugh, but he laughed at himself, too, pretending to be stupider than he actually was. And although the audience knew exactly what he was doing, they laughed nonetheless.

In an age of robotic, bland politicians, frightened of looking silly or saying anything controversial, that made him stand out.

Even his outspoken newspaper articles cemented his reputation as a free spirit, who refused to be shackled by the po-faced, politically correct thought police.

By and large, Johnson has stuck to that relentlessly good-humoured, self-deprecating formula. His most celebrated moment as London Mayor, for example, came when he celebrated Britain's first gold medal in the 2012 Olympics by taking to a zip-wire, which got stuck, leaving him dangling ludicrously while clutching two Union Jacks.

Trapped in his harness, a safety helmet jammed on his blond mop, he looked absurd — and that, in a sense, was the point. He was not afraid to look ridiculous; rather, he embraced it. It was later alleged that this was a deliberate stunt.

As a result, people have always felt comfortable with him. There is nothing starchy or censorious about him: quite the reverse. Among many voters his frankly disreputable private life probably works in his favour. People rarely enjoy the company of saints, but never mind meeting another sinner.



Attorney General Barr Shreds The Political Left During Federalist Society Speech

On Friday, Attorney General William P. Barr delivered the 19th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture at the Federalist Society's 2019 National Lawyers Convention.

The most significant part of the speech, to me, was when Barr slammed the political left for their endless attacks on Trump, and their bogus narrative that Trump is subverting the Constitution.

One of the ironies of today is that those who oppose this President constantly accuse this Administration of “shredding” constitutional norms and waging a war on the rule of law. When I ask my friends on the other side, what exactly are you referring to? I get vacuous stares, followed by sputtering about the Travel Ban or some such thing. While the President has certainly thrown out the traditional Beltway playbook, he was upfront about that beforehand, and the people voted for him. What I am talking about today are fundamental constitutional precepts.

The fact is that this Administration’s policy initiatives and proposed rules, including the Travel Ban, have transgressed neither constitutional, nor traditional, norms, and have been amply supported by the law and patiently litigated through the Court system to vindication.

Indeed, measures undertaken by this Administration seem a bit tame when compared to some of the unprecedented steps taken by the Obama Administration’s aggressive exercises of executive power – such as, under its DACA program, refusing to enforce broad swathes of immigration law.

Barr also specifically called out the resistance.

The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of “Resistance” against this Administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law. This highlights a basic disadvantage that conservatives have always had in contesting the political issues of the day. It was adverted to by the old, curmudgeonly Federalist, Fisher Ames, in an essay during the early years of the Republic.
Oh, but he wasn't done there:

In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion.  Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection.  Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end.  They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications.  They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.

I strongly encourage you to watch (or read) the whole thing. After eight years of having partisan radicals running the show and turning the Department of Justice into a political weapon for Barack Obama, it's refreshing to see we have an advocate for the Constitution and the rule of law again.

Naturally, some on the left were triggered by this. As would be expected. They were spoiled by the corruption of the Obama years when Democrats were above the law and constitutionality was based on the whim of Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and Loretta Lynch, not the actual Constitution. It's clear from Barr's speech that he's on the side of the Constitution and rule of law, and that makes the left very afraid.



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

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


18 November, 2019

County Seizes Michigan Man's Home After He Underpays Taxes by $8.41

Halloween may have passed, but here is a horror story about the government using its power to tax as a means of seizing private property, then making a profit for itself. Michigan's Oakland County basically stole an elderly man's house and flipped it for a profit.


An 83-year-old retired engineer in Michigan underpaid his property taxes by $8.41. In response, Oakland County seized his property, auctioned it off to settle the debt, and pocketed nearly $24,500 in excess revenue from the sale.
Under Michigan law, it was all legal. And hardly uncommon.

Uri Rafaeli, who lost his property and all the equity associated with it, is just one of thousands of people to be victimized by Michigan's uniquely aggressive property tax statute.

This is yet another example of a law being passed with good intentions but soon turning into a nightmare when power-hungry officials pervert it:

The law, passed in 1999 in an attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation of abandoned properties, empowers county treasurers to act as debt collectors. In the process, it creates a perverse incentive by allowing treasurers' offices to retain excess revenue raised by seizing and selling properties with delinquent taxes—even when the amount owed is minuscule, and even when the homes aren't abandoned or blighted at all.

Reagan's immortal words about the government helping come to mind, with this being one of the more nightmarish examples of a bureaucracy running roughshod over the citizens.

This Reason article is quite lengthy but good. It goes into detail about Rafaeli's horrifying tale, as well as providing other examples of Oakland County's property confiscation racket.

The law may be filling the county coffers, but it doesn't seem to be doing what it was originally intended to do:

The county's aggressive home equity forfeiture scheme seems to be part of the problem. Over a two year period between 2017 and 2018, volunteers working with the Quicken Loan Community Fund, a Detroit-based nonprofit connected to the mortgage company, interviewed more than 60,000 property owners who owed taxes to the city. Most were aware that they owed taxes, but did not have accurate information about the process or the potential consequences.

Worse, the survey found that aggressive use of home equity forfeiture was leaving the city with more vacant properties, not fewer.

Perhaps the stated intention was merely a misdirection ploy. Avowed bureaucracy cynics like myself might say that the law is working exactly as intended.



NY Times: ‘Tidal Wave’ of Mass Immigration Hands Virginia to Democrats

Last week, Democrats took control of Virginia’s House of Delegates and the State Senate. Now, the Democrats hold power over the state’s legislature, the governor’s seat and the lieutenant governor’s seat — the first time since 1993 that this has occurred.

The New York Times now admits that four to five decades of mass immigration — where about 1.2 million legal immigrants are admitted to the United States every year — has shifted Virginia into a blue state:

Not long ago, this rolling green stretch of Northern Virginia was farmland. Most people who could vote had grown up here. And when they did, they usually chose Republicans.

The fields of Loudoun County are disappearing. In their place is row upon row of cookie-cutter townhouses, clipped lawns and cul-de-sacs — a suburban landscape for as far as the eye can see. Unlike three decades ago, the residents are often from other places, like India and Korea. And when they vote, it is often for Democrats....

“It’s a totally different world,” said Charles Poland, 85, a retired history professor whose family has lived in Loudoun County for four generations. His family farm is now dotted with subdivisions filled with four and five-bedroom homes that sell for $750,000. The family legacy is a road named Poland. “If my parents came back today, they wouldn’t recognize the place. The changes came like a tidal wave.” [Emphasis added]

As Breitbart News analyzed, Virginia’s foreign-born population has boomed over the last few decades. In 1990, Virginia was home to less than 312,000 foreign-born residents. Today, there are close to 1.1 million, almost four times what the population was three decades before.

In 2019, 1-in-10 Virginia residents are foreign-born. In 1990, only about 1-in-28 residents were born outside the U.S.

A 38-year-old immigrant from India interviewed by the New York Times explained that he voted for Democrats in the recent Virginia election because he supports gun control measures, calling it the “most pressing issue” for him.

Under current legal immigration levels, the U.S. is on track to import about 15 million new foreign-born voters in the next two decades. Those 15 million new foreign-born voters include about eight million who will arrive in the country through chain migration, whereby newly naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.

Republicans’ electoral prospects are only expected to get worse because of historically high legal immigration levels, according to research by Axios and the Atlantic.

Ronald Brownstein, senior editor for the Atlantic, noted this year that nearly 90 percent of House congressional districts with a foreign-born population above the national average were won by Democrats. This means that every congressional district with a foreign-born population exceeding roughly 14 percent had a 90 percent chance of being controlled by Democrats and only a ten percent chance of electing a Republican.

The impact of legal immigration levels was evident in the 2016 election despite President Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton. Among native-born Americans, Trump won 49 percent to Clinton’s 45 percent, according to exit polling data. Among foreign-born residents, Clinton dominated against Trump, garnering 64 percent of the immigrant population’s vote compared to Trump’s mere 31 percent.



Mandatory Shortages
Governments create problems. Then they complain about them.

“A public health crisis exists,” says Kentucky’s government, citing a report that found “a shortage of ambulance providers.”

Local TV stations report on “people waiting hours for medical transportation.” “Six-year-old Kyler Truesdell fell off his motorcycle,” reported Channel 12 news. “The local hospital told (his mother) he should be transported to Cincinnati Children’s to check for internal injuries.” But there was no ambulance available. Kyler had to wait two hours.

Yet Kyler’s cousin, Hannah Howe, runs an ambulance service in Ohio, just a few minutes away. “We would’ve (taken him) for free,” she says in my new video. “But it would’ve been illegal.”

It would be illegal because of something called certificate of need (CON) laws.

Kentucky and three other states require businesses to get a CON certificate before they are allowed to run an ambulance service. Certificates go only to businesses that bureaucrats deem “necessary.”

CON laws are supposed to prevent “oversupply” of essential services like, well, ambulances. If there are “too many” ambulance companies, some might cut corners or go out of business. Then patients would suffer, say the bureaucrats.

Of course, Kentucky patients already suffer, waiting.

It raises the question: If there’s demand, then who are politicians to say that a business is unnecessary?

Phillip Truesdell, Hannah’s father, often takes patients to hospitals in Kentucky, “I drop them off (but) I can’t go back and get them!” he told me. “Who gives the big man the right to say, ‘You can’t work here’?!”


Phillip and Hannah applied for a CON certificate and waited 11 months for a response. Then they learned that their application was being protested by existing ambulance providers. Of course it was. Businesses don’t like competition.

“We go to court, these three ambulance services showed up,” recounts Howe. “They hammered her, treated her like she was a criminal,” says Truesdell. “Do you know what you’re going to do to this company?! … To this town?!”

“It wasn’t anything to do with us being physically able to do it. (They) just came through like the big dog not trying to let anybody else on the porch,” says Howe.

Three other ambulance companies also applied for permission to operate in Kentucky. They were rejected, too.

Truesdell and Howe were lucky to find the Pacific Legal Foundation, a law firm that fights for Americans’ right to earn a living. Pacific Legal lawyer Anastasia Boden explains: “Traditionally we allow consumers to decide what’s necessary. Existing operators are never going to say more businesses are necessary.”

One Kentucky ambulance provider who opposed the new applications sent me a statement that says “saturating a community with more EMS agencies than it can … support (leads) all agencies to become watered down.”

Boden replies: “That’s just absurd. We now recognize that competition leads to efficient outcomes.”

It’s not just ambulance companies and people waiting for ambulances who are hurt by CON laws. Thirty-five states demand that businesses such as medical imaging companies, hospitals and even moving companies get CON certificates before they are allowed to open.

Boden warns: “Once you get these laws on the books, it’s very hard to get them off. Monopolies like their monopoly. This started back in the ‘70s with the federal government.”

But the feds, amazingly, wised up and repealed the mandate in 1987, saying things like, “CON laws raise considerable competitive concerns (and) consumers benefit from lower prices when provider markets are more competitive.”

Unfortunately, politicians in Kentucky and many other states haven’t wised up.

When Virginia tried to abolish its CON law, local hospitals spent $200,000 on ads claiming competition will force hospitals to close. Somehow, hospitals operate just fine in states without CON laws. But the Virginia scare campaign worked. The state still has a CON law.

In health care, and all fields, it’s better to see what competition can do rather than letting the government and its cronies decide what to allow.




SO SERIOUS: NBCNews.com swoons over drag queen at impeachment circus hearings (NewsBusters)

REHEARING REJECTED: U.S. appeals court again backs House request for Trump tax documents (Reuters)

NO CONFIDENCE: Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announces Democrat presidential bid (Associated Press)

"UNCONSTITUTIONAL BIDDING": Federal government can't just allow 3D gunmaking software to proliferate without a license, federal judge declares (Reason)

BIG BROTHER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders pitch Green New Deal bill for public housing (The Washington Post)

CLOSING IN: China holding "in-depth" talks with U.S. on interim trade deal (Reuters)

CONSEQUENCES: Trump administration proposes employment restrictions for asylum seekers who enter U.S. illegally (National Review)

CHILDREN EXPLOITED: More than 600 children "recycled" by migrant smugglers at border (The Washington Times)

HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: FBI's "lone wolf" report says domestic terrorists are rarely isolated (NBC News)

POLICY: How LGBTQ education is gaining in tax-funded schools, from pre-K on up (RealClearInvestigations)


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

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


17 November, 2019

Method in Leftist madness

Michael Novak's comments below date from 2006 but are still powerfully relevant

Conventional wisdom seems to say that the Left has gone around the bend, is jumping off cliffs, is stark raving mad.

But there is a method in the madness of the Left. There has always been a method in it. The Left is not engaged in an “argument,” it is engaged in a revolution in the name of all that is just and right and good. Therefore, it does not aim to out-argue its opponents, but to shame them, to drive them from the field in ignominy, to make them figures of ridicule, moral indignation, and revulsion.

Go back and read your Lenin. Revisit the show trials. The point is that no one dares defend such bad people. (This tactic works. Think twice before defending Bush on a college campus. How much indignation can you bear?)

Better yet, watch Ted Kennedy in action. His attacks on Judge Alito, like his earlier attacks on Judge Bork, were not intended as arguments, and certainly showed little regard for fact. They were all bluster, moral indignation, character assassination, ridicule, ostracism. If words could kill, his were the words of an assassin.

This leftist tactic has worked for over one hundred years, because there are not many people who can stand unafraid before it. Most do not want to attract attention to themselves, lest its indignation and vituperation and moral ridicule be turned loose upon them. The tirades in which these words are launched—Senator Kennedy’s neck muscles bulge, his flesh turns bright red, his voice rises ever higher so as to forbid anybody–anybody–from interrupting him—are meant to enforce acquiescence, not consent. They are meant to intimidate, not to present an argument. They are meant to reduce to subservience all who are obliged to listen, even friends and associates (however embarrassed they might be).

Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin had mastered this Leninist trick himself, and turned it upon the Left. His every tonality and accent dripped ridicule and moral disdain.

It is a method that can be learned by anyone. But Lenin was the first to put it in handbooks and train hundreds of agitators, organizers, cells, and units to use it.

Playing tapes of Senator McCarthy in some of his famous hearings and Senator Kennedy in the recent judiciary hearings would, I believe, be quite instructive as to the method.

But why does this method work? As a method of last resort, it has the merit of intimidating good people into silence. It strikes fear into most hearts. Ridicule and moral opprobrium, and manifestations of sheer hatred for one’s very being, are not easy to bear, especially for conscientious and upright and morally sensitive people. Such persons, like Mrs. Alito, feel like bursting into tears. Those near them feel powerless and weak, unable to help, unable to make appeal.

Moreover, hatred spreads. Once the speaker licenses moral ridicule toward the accused, and destroys in him any semblance of moral character, truthfulness, or decency, on what ground will such a person stand? What shred of dignity is left to cover him? Such a person is unfit to be seen in the company of better people—the intention is to banish him. Don’t even consider him! Reject him! Cast him out!

To say that Senator Kennedy has become a bully is not enough. He is a destroyer of the moral dignity of persons.

When I was a boy, Democrats dominated everything. But Democrats since 1952 have held the White House only fitfully. They have lost the Senate. They have lost the House. They have lost the Supreme Court (which, although it is supposed to be independent of politics, was reconfigured to become the major motor of progressive reform). They have lost religious people, once their main base of support. They are losing popular appeal.

But by turning back to their Old Left handbooks, the Democratic leadership has found the acids that destroy opposition. Even though the nation is in a deadly war, they constantly attack the credibility and truthfulness of the President, ridicule him, call him names, morally assassinate him. That acid seeps through society.

As to building a better country, there is not much in this method to commend it. But for destroying the moral standing of the other side, it has had proven effect for many decades. It is not crazy for Democrats to conclude that, having lost so much, they have little more to lose.

And even if it is crazy, there is method in it. Canonical method, approved method.

In a democracy, alas, destroying the “in” power sometimes is sufficient for boosting the electoral success of the “outs.”



Donald Trump pardons three soldiers in war crimes cases despite swamp opposition

US President Donald Trump pardoned three armed services members who were accused or convicted of war crimes on Friday.

Trump reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL who was acquitted of murder, but convicted on a lesser charge in a war crimes case this summer.

'There are no words to describe how grateful my family and I are to our President - Donald J Trump for his intervention and decision', Gallagher said in a social media post after his demotion was reversed.

The president also ordered the release of Clint Lorance, a former army lieutenant who had been convicted of murder for ordering soldiers under his command to open fire on three unarmed Afgan men, including two who died.

And Trump cancelled murder charges against Major Mathew L. Golsteyn, an Army Special Forces officer whose trial was set to begin next month.

Trump personally called the three men after granting the pardons, which defied rulings made by military leaders seeking to punish the service members.

All three also had been favorites among conservatives who see them as heroes who should not have been prosecuted. Trump, when the White House was considering intervening in Golsteyn's case, commented at the time, 'We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill'!

In explaining his decision to clear the three service members on Friday, the White House released a statement saying 'The president, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted'.

'For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country', the statement explains.

'These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, 'when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight''.



Elizabeth Warren has been light on detail for funding Medicare for All — until now. So do the numbers add up?

The senator has yoked herself to Medicare for All—a single-payer system free at the point of service proposed by her competitor, Bernie Sanders. Unlike Mr Sanders, though, she dodged questions on whether taxes on the middle class would rise to pay the $3.4trn in added annual costs. On November 1st she released a detailed financing plan “without increasing middle-class taxes one penny.” Other candidates, she declared, should put forward similarly detailed plans or “concede that they think it’s more important to protect the eye-popping profits of private insurers and drug companies and the immense fortunes of the top 1% and giant corporations.”

The details explain both the initial reticence and the subsequent defensiveness. The underlying sums strain credulity, requiring heroic assumptions on cost reductions and budgetary gymnastics on rev-enue-raising. This mars Ms Warren’s wonkish reputation. It may placate voters for the primary, but would surely damage her in a general election against President Donald Trump, if she gets that far.

Start with the spending. Over the next ten years Americans are expected to spend $52trn on health care. Under a generous single-payer system, spending would increase by $7trn, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute, a left-leaning thinktank, which serves as the starting point of the campaign’s calculations. Through a number of steps, Ms Warren whittles this difference down to zero. She argues that national health spending would remain 1 constant, even though more people would be covered (eg, the 28m citizens and undocumented migrants without insurance) and the use of medical services would increase were they free.

Among her modifications of the Urban Institute’s numbers are lower administrative costs (2.3% of overall spending, compared with Urban’s 6%). Ms Warren’s plan assumes a slower rate of growth in health costs (3.9% versus Urban’s 4.5%) and less generous payments to hospitals for services (110% of current Medicare reimbursement rates versus Urban’s 115%). Added to this are targets for reducing spending on drugs—by 30% on generics and 70% on branded medicines—enforced by the threat of large excise taxes, the possibility of overriding patents and the option of having the government produce drugs itself. Given the resistance to such a plan from doctors, insurers, drug companies and hospitals, this would be hard to pull off.

Even with these steps, and the redirection of all existing public spending on health care, Ms Warren has a $20.5trn budgetary hole. Filling it is made harder by her insistence that taxes on the middle class will not increase. Currently employers shoulder a significant portion of healthcare costs. Under Ms Warren’s plan, the same cheques would be redirected to the federal government. In practice this would be a tax on employment, which seems likely to hurt middle-class Americans. It would also increase the relative cost of hiring lowwage workers, hurting the people Ms Warren most wants to help.

She finds some money from the kind of conjuring promised by less rigorous campaigns, like better tax enforcement (which provides $2.3trn), comprehensive immigration reform (providing $400bn) and the elimination of the fund that pays for the defence department’s Middle East operations (another $800bn). After all that, she is still short by $6.8trn.

To make up the shortfall, Ms Warren plans to add levies on large firms and rich Americans—beyond those she has already proposed. On top of the repeal of Mr Trump’s tax cuts and a new 7% charge on corporate profits, she would eliminate the ability of businesses to immediately write down depreciating capital; she would also impose a minimum tax of 35% on their foreign earnings. A new financial transactions tax of 0.1% would be placed on sales of shares and bonds, wrecking the business of high-frequency traders (perhaps a plus from Ms Warren’s point of view). The country’s 40 biggest banks would pay an annual fee of 0.15% on “covered liabilities” (liabilities minus federally insured deposits). The wealth tax has been revised upwards too. Fortunes above $1bn would be charged a 6% annual levy. A Warren presidency could cost Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, $26bn over a single term. Nor could he escape by shedding his American citizenship. Ms Warren has proposed an “exit tax” of 40% on the net worth of billionaires to head off that threat.

These contortions are all the result of past decisions. Despite her earlier, more pragmatic instincts on health care, Ms Warren adopted two nearly incompatible pledges: to deliver Mr Sanders’ version of single-payer health care—more generous than that of Britain or Canada—but without any premiums or deductibles and without raising taxes on the vast majority of Americans. Because her evasiveness on funding was attracting criticism from her more moderate competitors, like Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden, Ms Warren released this plan, which seems to assume that anyone outside the top 1% of earners counts as middle class. During the primary election, the strategy could work. She can credibly answer her opponents’ claims by repeating her quasi-official catchphrase, “I have a plan for that”. Primary voters may shrug off the entire episode.

A general-election contest with Mr Trump would be a different matter. There was reasonable speculation that Ms Warren’s woolliness on health care was a tactical move, enabling her to strike a more centrist pose on securing the Democratic nomination. That option now looks closed off. The new plan opens her up to all manner of attack from Mr Trump, even though his own health plan is ill-defined, beyond a so-far unsuccessful drive to repeal Obamacare, and his record on health—2m more Americans are uninsured than when he came to office—is dreadful.

Going into an election promising to discontinue the health insurance of the 178m Americans who have private plans through their employers seems mad. “Democrats now have a 30-point advantage over Donald Trump on health care,” says Jim Kessler of Third Way, a centre-left think-tank. “If that gap narrows—and it will narrow if Democrats are for Medicare for All: it could narrow to zero—he gets re-elected.” According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-policy think-tank, 51% of Americans support Medicare for All while 47% oppose it. But when various objections to the programme are made—such as the elimination of private health insurance, and the possibility of increased taxes and queues for treatment—support drops to below 40%. As a policy, Warrencare might be described as negligent. Politically it looks more like malpractice.



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

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


15 November, 2019

The Donks don't like their own candidates much either

From the Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — In less than three months, Democrats begin voting for their presidential nominee in Iowa, and the sound you hear is panic — among some donors and party elites, at least, who are privately pushing for a savior to enter the race.

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and billionaire Michael Bloomberg are weighing jumping in at this late stage, hoping they can top a Democratic field that has been led by former vice president Joe Biden. A top adviser to Bloomberg said the former New York City mayor is “increasingly concerned” no one in the current field can beat President Trump, while Patrick has also commented that Biden’s support looks shaky.

And on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton told the BBC that “many, many, many people” are placing “enormous pressure” on her to enter the race. Although she said that “as of this moment” a run “is absolutely not in my plans,” Clinton didn’t rule out the possibility.

The last minute will-he-or-won’t-he dance reflects a larger unease among some in the party over the four candidates at the top of the field — Biden, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — and the reality that any last-minute contender needs to decide by Friday to get on the ballot in New Hampshire.

Privately, donors and party insiders wring their hands about the field’s chances of beating Trump.

“I’ve had senior people say, ‘I just don’t know what we’re going to do,’ ” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “People say Biden’s too old and washed up, Warren’s too far to the left, Buttigieg will end up losing swing states because he’s inexperienced. . . . They’ll go through the list of all the candidates and say, ‘Clearly they can’t win.’ ”

Democrats who have weathered their party’s ritual preelection freak-outs for decades are warning their peers that the five-alarm response is not necessary.

Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who ran for president in 2004, said that while some are worried about whether “Joe could pull it off,” given questions about his stamina and lackluster fund-raising, it’s too late for an outsider to jump in and provide an alternative.

“We’re still a little bit in the early speculation stage,” he said, regarding Biden’s chances. “What we’re not in, though, is the let’s-join-the-race-now stage.”

Biden supporter Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, said he tries to calm panicked Democrats by pointing out that in averages of head-to-head national polls, the top candidates in the running beat Trump.

“Is it the strongest field in the world? No, there isn’t a Barack Obama or a JFK in the race,” Rendell said. “But is it a good field? I believe it is, and every one of them is beating Trump head to head.”

But the 2020 race, which has attracted a historic number of Democratic candidates, marks the first time since 2004 that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is not on the ballot, scrambling expectations among party insiders and leaving many without a compass.

“Why is anybody surprised this is messy?” said Vince Frillici, who was national finance director for former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd when he ran for the nomination in 2008.

The political environment is uniquely unsettled. In 2016, Trump upended all the leading predictions to win the election, while a populist Sanders detonated them as well with his strong showing against Clinton in the primary. That changed political landscape, if anything, makes it harder for pundits and party insiders to guess which candidate has the best chance of beating Trump. And many top Democrats feel that defeating Trump is an existential necessity for the nation, making the stakes feel even higher than usual.

Taken together, it’s a recipe for panic. “It makes Democrats, who are rather nervous by nature, shake visibly this year,” Sabato said.

But polling data suggests that rank-and-file Democratic voters are not longing for new contenders to examine in this historically large (to the point of overwhelming) field of 16 remaining candidates.

A recent Monmouth University poll found that 74 percent of Democratic primary voters are satisfied with the slate of candidates, compared to just 16 percent who said they want different choices. Several candidates — including Sanders and Warren — have also attracted crowds of thousands of fans, and racked up hundreds of thousands of grass-roots donors, suggesting enthusiasm for their bids.

That has some allies of Warren and Sanders wondering if the desire for a “white knight” is less about concern that the two progressives can’t win if Biden stalls out and more about fears that they can. Both candidates have proposed much higher taxes on wealthy people — including the rich donors that Democrats have cultivated for the past three decades — to fund larger domestic programs.

“They’re pushing new candidates to get in because they feel that they don’t want to part with any part of their fortunes,” said California Representative Ro Khanna, a cochair of Sanders’ campaign.

Adam Green, whose liberal political action committee backs Warren, said “corporate elites” would rather have a “a placeholder like Joe Biden than someone who will actually address inequality like Elizabeth Warren.”

“If Joe Biden can’t get the job done,” Green said, “then they’re looking for some others who might get in.”

But if Patrick and Bloomberg are banking on Biden floundering during the first few primary contests, allowing them to swoop in and take the reins, Biden’s allies suggest they may be wasting their time.

“I think he’s relying on the conventional wisdom that Biden might fade, but I don’t think he is going to,” Rendell said of Bloomberg. He pointed out that Biden has remained at the top of the national polls since he got in the race more than six months ago, even as other candidates have surpassed him in some early states.

“If Ronald Reagan got elected twice, Joe Biden has more than enough stamina to be a successful candidate,” he added of the 76-year-old former vice president.

Historically, donors and pundits have not had an impressive track record picking the “safest” candidate in a general election, others note. Bill Clinton was widely viewed as a loser early in the 1992 race, and Obama at first was seen as too risky to back in the ’08 primary.

“Hillary Clinton, I think she would have been a great president, but she was unquestionably the preferred choice among the donor set and Manhattan donor types and we know how that turned out,” said Brian Fallon, a former top aide to Clinton.

“I don’t think these people that are intrigued by a Bloomberg candidacy or maybe trying to cheer on Deval Patrick are necessarily good at picking people when it comes to how the general elections end up,” he added.



Illegal immigration down 63.5 percent from peak in May after U.S.-Mexico deal, proof that Trump’s tariff threat worked

Apprehensions on the southern border fell for the fourth consecutive month to 52,546 in September from a peak of 144,116 in May, a 63.5 percent drop, reflecting a major slowdown in migration according to the latest data from Customs and Border Patrol — and it all proves that President Donald’s tariffs are working.

The progress comes after the June 7 deal between President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that avoided Trump’s threatened tariffs on May 30 that would have been 5 percent starting on June 10, 10 percent on July 1 and then up to 25 percent by October.

At the time, Trump wrote on Twitter, “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied… at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.”

Then the deal was cut days later, which included a Mexican military deployment to interdict the oncoming migrant caravan from Central America, as well as provision for asylum seekers to wait out pending hearings in Mexico without being allowed to cross into the U.S.

According to the text of the joint agreement, “Mexico will take unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration, to include the deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border. Mexico is also taking decisive action to dismantle human smuggling and trafficking organizations as well as their illicit financial and transportation networks.”

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

If the agreement in itself immediately proved that Trump could negotiate such an agreement, and that Mexico was willing to participate given the proper inducements, it is the substantial downturn in migration now that shows that it might be sticking.

Critics at the time said it couldn’t be done.

At the time, the Wall Street Journal editorial board on May 31 had predicted, “The first problem here is that Mr. Trump is blaming Mexico for a mess it can’t solve… Perhaps it could better control its border with Guatemala, but the caravans north are often led by gangs that know how to bribe or avoid police.”

The Council on Foreign Relations on June 5 stated, “President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico can’t staunch the flow of people from his neighbors to the south.”

But that was wrong. Way, way wrong. Apparently Mexico could do a lot more than it was letting on, including by deploying its military and enforcing agreements to protect asylum seekers.

And all it took was a little pressure from Trump, who had already shown that he was willing to wield tariffs against the much larger Chinese economy. They took him to heart, and now the number of migrants is plummeting.

Without the tariffs, nobody would have been talking. And without President Trump, nobody would have even tried.




THE HOT SEAT: House Republicans will call Hunter Biden to testify publicly as their top impeachment witness (National Review)

TAKING MATTERS INTO ITS OWN HANDS? Report: Ukraine's military aid was finally released by the State Department, days before Trump claims he released it (Hot Air)

NOT SO KEEN ON SOCIALISM: Elizabeth Warren plays to nearly empty hall (The Daily Wire)

JETTISONING THE SWAMP: Rep. Peter King is one of several Republicans — four senators and 17 other House members — who have announced plans to not seek reelection (Fox News)

PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE: "It wasn't me": Alleged ABC whistleblower denies leaking video (The Daily Caller)

DEMOCRAT LACKEYS: Facebook and YouTube block spread of supposed whistleblower's name and photo — even though Adam Schiff's committee published the man's name last week (The Washington Post)

SYRIA CONTINGENCY: U.S. will leave up to 600 troops in northeastern Syria to prevent ISIS resurgence, top general says (The Washington Post)

TONE DEAF: Giant, climate-killing mural of Greta Thunberg now graces environmentally hazardous downtown San Francisco (The Daily Wire)

"WE WILL SPARE NO EFFORT": Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire (Associated Press)

POLICY: The Berlin Wall is gone, but its lessons remain (National Review)

POLICY: Why Democrats are wrong about income inequality in the United States (The Federalist)

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM? Hillary Clinton continues to fuel speculation that she will run in 2020 — or perhaps it's the many, many, many voices in her head urging it (The Daily Wire)

DEATH BY DEFICIT: Study: Elizabeth Warren plan would hike deficit $15 trillion, create "soaring demand" for healthcare (The Washington Free Beacon)

WARRANT REQUIRED: U.S. court rules against warrantless searches of phones, laptops of international travelers (NBC News)

FOR THE RECORD: Man who slashed "Baby Trump" balloon: "First time" leftists are "mad about chopping up a baby" (The Daily Wire)

POLICY: Three major reforms NATO needs to keep from collapsing (The Federalist)

POLICY: Smart government focuses on essentials: reviving family and business formation (Issues & Insights)


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

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


14 November, 2019

Justices Should Reject Criminal Alien’s Appeal of Deportation Order

Hans von Spakovsky

If the Supreme Court rules against the government, it could keep thousands of dangerous aliens who have committed serious crimes, such as aggravated assault and using a weapon to commit a felony, in the U.S.

The Supreme Court on Nov. 4 heard oral arguments in an immigration case that could have a dramatic impact on how many criminal aliens plaguing our communities finally get deported.

The case, Barton v. Barr, is complicated, in large part because the statutes involved are vague and subject to various interpretations.

That prompted Justice Stephen Breyer to comment during oral arguments that “it wasn’t a genius who drafted this.” But the decision that will be made by the court in interpreting these immigration laws will affect the lives and safety of Americans.

Under federal immigration law, a permanent resident alien who is here legally is “removable” if he is “inadmissible.”  That is to say, he should never have been admitted in the first place because he met one of the factors listed in the statute (8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)), such as posing “a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others.”

A permanent resident alien is also removable if he is “deportable” under another statute (8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)), which lists a series of disqualifying offenses, including violations of any “law of the United States.”

The attorney general has the discretion to cancel the removal of such an alien, but to be eligible for such cancellation, the alien has to show not only that he is statutorily eligible for such relief from the attorney general, but that he also deserves such favorable treatment.

The statutory requirement is that the alien has been “lawfully admitted for permanent residence for not less than 5 years”; has “resided” in the country “continuously for 7 years after having been admitted”; and that he has not been “convicted of any aggravated felony.”

What is at issue in the Barton case is the “stop-time rule.”  The stop-time rule outlined in 8 U.S.C. § 1229b(d)(1) says that an alien’s “period of continuous residence” in the U.S. is “deemed to end” if the alien has committed any offense that makes him “inadmissible” or “removable.”

In other words, an alien has to be crime-free under the law during the seven-year period of continuous residence. That’s not asking very much of a would-be citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Andre Martello Barton is a Jamaican who was admitted to the U.S. on a tourist visa in May 1989. In 1992, he was granted permanent resident alien status.  Four years later, in 1996, he was convicted in state court on three counts of aggravated assault, as well as first-degree criminal damage to property and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.  This was followed up by more convictions in 2007 and 2008 for drug offenses.

In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security finally sought to remove Barton, and an immigration judge agreed that he could be removed because of his drug and weapon convictions.

When Barton applied for cancellation of his removal, the DHS argued he wasn’t statutorily eligible because he didn’t meet the seven-year continuous residence requirement due to his convictions for aggravated assault in 1996.

The DHS said the “stop-time” rule meant that his period of continuous residence ended in 1996, when he committed the aggravated assaults and firearms offenses.

Barton appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In what amounts to a highly technical argument about the wording in the applicable immigration statutes, Barton claimed that since he was not currently seeking admission to the U.S., he couldn’t be “rendered” inadmissible through the stop-time rule.

Barton also argues that the 1996 convictions did not trigger the stop-time rule because it is not referenced in Section 1182(a)(2) of the statute, and that he was convicted in July 1996, after the seven-year anniversary of his initial admission as a tourist.

The Court of Appeals rejected Barton’s arguments, and he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court should rule against Barton, too. As the 11th Circuit said, the stop-time rule’s “plain language forecloses” the interpretation that Barton and his lawyers are trying to push.

Further, if the Supreme Court rules against the government, it could keep thousands of dangerous aliens who have committed serious crimes, such as aggravated assault and using a weapon to commit a felony, in the U.S.  

Congress obviously wanted criminal aliens like Barton, who endanger our communities, removed from the country. Although the statutes in play here may not have been written by “a genius” (or even a decent legal writer), their intent is clear.

A ruling for Barton would not just violate the text of federal immigration law, but the congressional intent behind those particular statutes.



Don Jr. Tells Jeanine Pirro: The Establishment Hates Trump Because He Proves They're Useless

Appearing on Judge Jeanine Pirro's show on Fox News, Donald J. Trump Jr. explained why the establishment left (and a large part of the establishment right!) hates his father, President Donald J. Trump, so much. In short: the president, who came in as an outsider, is doing such an amazing job that the establishment just can't tolerate him. He must be removed, if for no other reason than because he clearly proves that professional politicians are extremely overrated... and perhaps even detrimental to America's economy.

"Listen, I think he is tackling the establishment. The establishment in this country has gotten into high levels of power. There has been no accountability, frankly, on either side for far too long. And that's why you see... that's why you see the nonsense with Hunter Biden, that's why you see the stuff going on now where Adam Schiff can be judge, jury, executioner. And Donald Trump, because he is an outsider has yet to have any of the same rights that any citizen in the United States would have right now. He's an affront to what they've built up."

The ruling class, Don Jr. went on to say, has taken care of itself "for far too long. Trump came in and said, 'I'm going to blow all that up.' He did it." And not only did he do just that, he "has done it with accomplishment, he has done it with record unemployment numbers, he has done it with incredible record start-up numbers for new businesses... He has done everything that incompetent politicians have not been able to do in decades. And he has done it in a record amount of time."

"That is the scariest thing in the world for that ruling class because they're starting to realize, and the American People are starting to realize, that they serve no actual purpose for the American People."

Don Jr. is 100 percent correct. Not only is the establishment useless -- which is something the establishment itself must have known for years -- but President Trump's achievements prove it for all to see. This is a major problem for the establishment. If they are no longer considered necessary, how are they going to hang on to power? Sure, they're rich and powerful, but if the American people stand up and decide to get rid of them, they're done for.

And that makes it even more necessary for Trump to win reelection next year.



Judge Rules Against Merit-Based Immigration

Should immigrants be able to provide for themselves? Not if Democrats succeed.

Remember ObamaCare? Remember the act that was passed on Christmas Eve without a single Republican vote? Remember when Nancy Pelosi famously asserted Democrats had to pass it so Americans “find out what’s in it?” Remember what Americans “found” is that despite the former president’s promises that one could keep one’s health insurance if one liked it — more accurately known as the 2013 Lie of the Year — one would be required to purchase health insurance, or face a fairly substantial fine for failing to do so?

How times have changed, courtesy of U.S. District Judge Michael Simon, an Obama appointee. On Nov. 2 in Portland, Oregon, Simon issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Trump administration initiative that requires immigrants to prove they will have health insurance or can pay for medical care before they can get visas aimed at giving them permanent legal status. “Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” Simon wrote.

Irreparable harm for whom? Trump invoked executive authority last month with regard to those requirements, as part of the administration’s efforts to transition to a merit-based immigrant system—as in one that would not further harm Americans. “The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants who come lawfully in search of brighter futures. We must continue that tradition while also addressing the challenges facing our healthcare system, including protecting both it and the American taxpayer from the burdens of uncompensated care,” Trump stated in the proclamation. “Continuing to allow entry into the United States of certain immigrants who lack health insurance or the demonstrated ability to pay for their healthcare would be detrimental to these interests.”

In other words, those seeking permanent residency shouldn’t have immediate access to America’s welfare state. In a nation burdened by $23 trillion of national debt — driven in large part by welfare state mandates — such a requirement would seem to be a no-brainer. The administration made that clear when it noted that subsidized healthcare plans still available on ObamaCare exchanges would not qualify as insurance.

A study by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI) reveals why: Only 57% of U.S. immigrants had private health insurance in 2017, and America still welcomes 1.1 million legal immigrants to our nation on an annual basis.

It should be further explained that this order was not issued ex post facto. It would have applied to immigrants living abroad, not those already here. Moreover, refugees, asylum-seekers, and children would have remained unaffected.

None of it mattered to Judge Simon. The temporary restraining order blocks the policy’s implementation for 28 days, and another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 22.

Unsurprisingly, the move was celebrated by those who apparently believe self-sufficiency should not be an integral part of immigration reform. “Countless thousands across the country can breathe a sigh of relief today because the court recognized the urgent and irreparable harm that would have been inflicted” (without the hold), Jesse Bless, director of federal litigation at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a statement.

Justice Action Center senior attorney Esther Sung, who litigated the case brought by seven U.S. citizens and a nonprofit organization, echoed those sentiments. “We’re very grateful that the court recognized the need to block the health care ban immediately,” she stated. “The ban would separate families and cut two-thirds of green-card-based immigration starting tonight, were the ban not stopped.”

That two-out-of-three immigrants seeking green cards can’t afford their own health insurance is a testament to the agenda of those who believe America should abiding the standards of immigrants, instead of immigrants abiding the standards of America.

Unsurprisingly, Simon is only the latest Obama-appointed federal jurist on a self-aggrandizing mission to undermine this administration’s effort to end the nation’s immigration crisis. On a single day last September 27, three Obama-appointed judges also did their best to thwart the administration’s efforts. In California, Judge Dolly Gee of the Federal District Court in Los Angeles issued a preliminary ruling banning the administration’s attempt to detain migrant families for longer than 20 days; U.S. District Court Judge Andre Birrote Jr. issued a permanent injunction blocking Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from relying solely on the databases when issuing detainers; and Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a nationwide preliminary injunction barring the administration from using a fast-track deportation process aimed at illegals who illegally entered the nation in the last two years.

And last Tuesday, Judge John Kronstadt of the United States District Court in Los Angeles — yet another Obama appointee — ruled that America must provide mental-health services to families “traumatized” by being separated at the border. “This is truly groundbreaking,” said dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Erwin Chemerinsky.

It’s also quite telling. Kronstadt was appointed in 2011 — meaning he sat mute when the Obama administration was separating families at the border.

Thus, some separations are more equal — and much more political — than others. Especially when the media make a big deal out of them on one hand and, on the other, either completely ignore the issue, insist the Obama administration was more “virtuous” because they didn’t do it as often — or simply lie about who was housing children in cages.

All of these judicial rulings are part of the Left’s coordinated effort to maintain a globalist status quo aimed at reducing the nation-state to irrelevancy. Meanwhile, keep in mind last week’s cartel-driven massacre of a Mormon family, including eight-month-old twins — along with the arrest of a suspect in possession of two bound hostages, four semiautomatic rifles, ammunition and a bullet-proofed SUV. That followed closely on the heels of a Mexican military defeat at the hands of a drug cartel, as well as last Wednesday’s brazen daylight assassination of a cop involved in that operation. Americans must deal with drug overdoses that now kill more Americans per year than car accidents, over-taxed school systems and healthcare facilities, wholly unnecessary crimes, and the ongoing bipartisan attempts by our elites to expand the foreign-born workforce at the expense of American workers.

Above all, Americans must abide the reality that Democrats are working hard to make sure the definition of merit-based immigration is bastardized to the point of absurdity. And in a testament to that effort, Elizabeth Warren says she’s “open to suspending deportations.” And Bernie Sanders promises that his immigration “reform” plan will included the admittance of “at least 50,000” immigrants “displaced by climate change.” And that’s just the start. Sanders’s campaign website states, “By 2050, an estimated 200 million people will be displaced by climate change. Bernie will lead the international community in combating this crisis and America will do its part to welcome those who are forced from their homes by climate change.”

No doubt Democrats will demand that everyone of them will be eligible for subsidized healthcare — and that they’ll find a judge to abet their ambitions.

“Fundamental transformation” demands nothing less.



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

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


13 November, 2019

Three Cheers for Refugee Reduction

Michelle Malkin
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump approved a new annual refugee cap of 18,000, the lowest since the U.S. program began in 1980. The reduction follows news that America took a pause last month and refused to admit any new refugees. On economic, public safety and national security grounds, this is a very good thing for the 325 million people already in our country. But you wouldn’t know it from the grim headlines and hysterical condemnations by globalist zealots and media sympathizers.

CNN International led the open borders funeral procession last week, with a report decrying, “No refugees will be resettled in the US in October, leaving hundreds in limbo around the world.” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., hyperventilated that “Donald Trump is trying to destroy the very heart of this nation. I won’t let him.” Social justice group CARE bemoaned this “dark moment in our nation’s history.” Human Rights First complained that Trump’s proposal is “crippling the United States’ status as a global leader in refugee resettlement.”

Heaven forbid citizens in a sovereign nation have an effective say in who comes here, from where and how many. Is one refugee-less month in America such a catastrophe? Calm down, Chicken Littles. Get some perspective.

It is most certainly true that America has a legacy of embracing people from around the world fleeing persecution and war. After World War II, the U.S. helped lead efforts to assist 650,000 displaced Europeans who had fled in fear, were expelled and were victims of Nazi crimes and terror. Congress passed the 1948 Displaced Persons Act to accommodate them. Five years later, the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 aided refugees from Italy and East Germany escaping Communist regimes, adding another 250,000 refugees over four years. In the 1950s and 1960s, we welcomed Hungarians, Cubans and Czechoslovakians also escaping Communist oppression. In the 1970s, we opened our doors to an estimated 300,000 political refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Refugee Act of 1980 created the Office of Refugee Resettlement and office of U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and raised the annual ceiling of admissions to 50,000.

Under Obama, that number soared to nearly 100,000 annually. The idea that we’ve abandoned our humanitarian leadership role because of this refugee resettlement reduction is ludicrous. Overall, since 1975, the U.S. has resettled more than 3 million refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. still accepted more refugees than any other country in both 2017 and 2018. On top of that, America forked over nearly $1.6 billion to support the U.N.‘s refugee resettlement campaign. Moreover, America remains the largest single country provider of humanitarian assistance worldwide. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance was more than $8 billion in fiscal year 2017, covering food, shelter, health care and access to clean water for millions.

That’s enough.

Past refugee admissions don’t lock America into those same levels now or in the future. America’s constitutional duty is to Americans first (“ourselves and our posterity”). The truth is that we’ve been generous to a ruinous, open borders fault. Last year, the Federation for American Immigration Reform tallied refugee resettlement costs to taxpayers at nearly $9 billion over five years.

In my adopted home state of Colorado, a new University of Colorado Boulder study acknowledged that refugees are often “trapped in chronic poverty” after resettlement subsidies dry up and are unable to lift themselves out of dependency on government aid such as public housing, Medicaid and food stamps. Federal statistics show that nearly half of all refugee households receive cash welfare. Chain migration perpetuates the cycle of poverty.

A tiny cabal of government contractors, mostly religious groups cloaking their profit-seeking in compassion and Scripture, perpetuates the refugee resettlement racket. Openly hostile to American sovereignty, these people spread their tax-subsidized syndicate’s wealth to a vast network of subcontractors, often tied to billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundations, which promote global governance and unfettered migration espoused by the United Nations, European Union and Vatican. These special interests have systematically blurred the lines between legitimate refugees seeking asylum from oppression and economic migrants from Central America clamoring for higher wages or better welfare benefits. They’re indifferent to the national security risks of absorbing large numbers of Muslims whose adherence to repressive sharia and religious jihad is utterly incompatible with our constitutional principles.

Mass migration champions have stretched the definition of refugee so thin that “climate change refugees” seeking relief from uninhabitable environments are now a phenomenon. Nuts. Doesn’t America have enough residents in need of shelter and support? If we let in millions of “climate change refugees,” where do Americans seek refuge when they render our climate uninhabitable?

Only a complete moratorium on immigration would give America the break it needs to regain control of our system. Trump’s refugee reduction is not an apocalypse. It’s a long overdue respite from the world’s wretched refuse that deserves cheers, not jeers.



Trump economy is really experiencing a middle-class boom -- this data doesn't lie

Steve Moore:

Heritage Foundation senior economist Steve Moore addresses the current concerns over a U.S. economic recession.

I recently wrote op-eds that ran in the Wall Street Journal and on these pages that showed median household incomes under Donald Trump have soared from $61,000 to an all-time high of $66,000 in less than three years into the Trump presidency. This is tremendous news and documents substantial middle-class prosperity in Trump’s first three years in office.

The $5,003 rise in middle-class incomes is especially impressive given that incomes only rose by $1,200 in the seven years under Obama — after the recession ended.

If the media, liberal think tanks and Democrats in Congress were truly concerned about the economic well-being of “hard-working families,” as Elizabeth Warren likes to say, they would have cheered to the rafters this amazing news of rising incomes for nearly all groups.

Instead, the left has chosen to either ignore this story altogether or to denounce these findings, which come from the gold standard of economic data, the U.S. Census Bureau.

This hostility to the good news was no doubt triggered by President Trump’s ebullient reaction. He has repeatedly tweeted out the numbers on middle class income gains and is now reciting these statistics in nearly every speech.

This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

The income numbers are prima facie evidence that not only the rich, but the majority of middle-income households have benefited financially from the Trump economic boom. This same data also undermines the other riff from the Elizabeth Warren crowd, which is that the Trump economic boom is merely a continuation of the Obama trend. The income gains are four times higher under Trump in less than half the number of years in office.

Sure enough, the left and the media are now engaged in a wholesale campaign to discredit the good news on family incomes. Pundits have accused Trump of using phony numbers. The Washington Post recently ran a piece entitled: "Here's How Donald Trump Inflated His Economic Record."

In one Washington Post piece, the reporter sneers of Trump's "rambling distortions" and complains: "Trump's numbers appear to have originated in a pair of columns from the Heritage Foundation's Steve Moore, who used research from a private firm called Sentier Research."

Stop right there. Yes, it is true the data comes from Sentier Research -- a private firm. But what is not ever mentioned in the article is that the data come from the Census Bureau’s "Current Population Survey," which is the gold standard of economic data.

The two Sentier statisticians who analyzed the Census data are probably the most knowledgeable people in the country on this income data. Gordon Green was the chief of the income bureau at Census for more than a decade, and his colleagues at Sentier helped build the economic model Census uses to this day.

They have worked at the income division of the Census Bureau for a combined 40 years. They are scrupulously nonpartisan, and no one has ever challenged their integrity.

"We just report the data," says Gordon Green of Sentier.

Sentier Research has been well-respected by journalists for years. But, apparently, the Sentier numbers become unreliable when they point to good news under Trump.

In my analysis on these numbers, I have openly admitted these monthly data are a first rough estimate of what is happening with incomes over time -- just as the jobs numbers are. They catch the trends over time.

Three years into the Trump presidency there is no calamity and there is no recession. Trump is right to recite real and legitimate data that substantiates the on-going middle-class boom in America today. It isn't Trump, but his accusers who are engaged in "rambling distortions" and who deserve Pinnochio noses.



Coolidge and FDR were right about government workers and unions

by Jeff Jacoby

WHEN BOSTON police officers declared an illegal strike in September 1919, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge condemned the men for "desertion of duty," and upheld the decision of the commissioner of police to fire the strikers and hire replacements. "There is no right to strike against the public safety," he declared, "by anybody, anywhere, any time."

Coolidge's resolute stand made him a national hero overnight. In November he was reelected in a landslide. A year later he was Warren Harding's running mate on the GOP national ticket, and won election to the White House in his own right in 1924.

The principle that public employees cannot go on strike, and that there is no right to collective bargaining in the public sector, was once endorsed across the political spectrum. "A policeman has no more right to belong to a union than a soldier or a sailor," editorialized The New York Times during the Boston strike. For decades, that was the mainstream Democratic view, too. "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," President Franklin D. Roosevelt affirmed in 1937. He recognized that government is not just another employer, and that empowering labor unions to negotiate with public officials is an invitation to abuse. Ronald Reagan, an FDR admirer and the only labor union leader to become president, upheld that principle in 1981, when he fired 11,000 air-traffic controllers who refused to end an illegal strike — and earned strong public approval for his decision.

How things have changed. Labor unions and collective bargaining in the public sector are now routine, and when public employees walk off the job politicians rush to praise them.

In Chicago, teachers have been on strike since Oct.17, leaving 350,000 students and their parents in the lurch. In Dedham, Mass., teachers went on strike last week, forcing the town to close schools on Friday. Public school teachers have also walked off the job recently in Park County, Col. and Murphysboro, Ill. Yet far from condemning the teachers unions and their members for abandoning their public jobs, elected officials shower them with acclaim.

Notwithstanding the immense disruption the teachers' walkout has inflicted on Chicago, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and other leading Democrats have gone out of their way to encourage the strikers and endorse their demands. In Massachusetts as in most states, government employees are legally barred from striking. Dedham's scofflaw teachers faced no criticism from the Bay State's political bigfeet, however. Both US senators came out in support of the strikers, and Representative Joe Kennedy III showed up at the Dedham picket line with coffee and doughnuts. "In me, you have an ally, you have a champion," he gushed.

Lost in all this adulation is the reason strikes by government workers are against the law: Unlike job actions in the private sector, strikes in the public sector are not economic weapons deployed against private management. They are political weapons deployed to bring distress upon innocent third parties.

When 46,000 United Auto Workers recently went on strike against General Motors, their goal wasn't to heap misery on the nation's car buyers. It was to win a larger share of GM's healthy profits through improved pay and benefits. As with any private sector strike, both labor and management faced the discipline of the market. The longer the strike lasted, the more business GM lost and the more paychecks union members went without. In the private sector, there are limits to the concessions labor can demand. Companies need profits to survive, and outrageous labor costs can cause a company to lose sales, eliminate jobs, or, if worse comes to worst, go out of business.

But such checks and balances don't exist when government workers go on strike.

It isn't management that gets squeezed when teachers, air-traffic controllers, or trash collectors walk off the job. It's ordinary citizens. Striking government employees don't seek economic equity from cash-laden corporate management; they seek to make the public miserable, and thereby increase political pressure on public officials to accede to the union's demands.

Strikes in the public sector have nothing to do with getting management to share its wealth, and everything to do with extracting more money from taxpayers who are deprived of bargaining power in the process. Everybody wants more money and more lavish benefits, but the compensation of government employees is a matter of public policy. That policy should be crafted openly, as other government policies are. It shouldn't be held hostage to pressure from lawbreaking employees, and no government official should be required to negotiate with special interest lobbies — which is what public-sector unions amount to — in setting the terms and conditions of government employment.

FDR, Reagan, and Coolidge were right, even if it is unfashionable to say so: Public workers have no right to strike, and collective bargaining should have no place in government employment. The system we live with now is rigged — rigged against taxpayers and against democratic fairness. If only we had political leaders unafraid to say 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  (Personal).  My annual picture page is here 


12 November, 2019

New York vs. Trump's Taxes

He loses a court battle over his returns, but he's also leaving the Empire State for Florida. 

Donald Trump’s tax returns have long been a point of contention between him and those who are bent on taking him out. To be sure, he probably has some taxing questions he’d rather not publicly answer, which is why he reneged on his campaign promise to follow the traditional practice of presidential candidates by releasing them. But he also has every right to keep those returns concealed. Except that’s not what another court has ruled.

“The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that President Trump’s accounting firm must hand over eight years of corporate tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, upholding a subpoena for the documents submitted by the D.A. earlier this year,” reports National Review. Trump plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court, but NBC News notes, “Past Supreme Court rulings have upheld subpoenas directed at presidents, and this time the local prosecutors are seeking documents from the Trump Organization and Trump’s accountants — not directly from the president himself.”

We’ve warned about the danger Trump faces in New York, because what prosecutors are looking for is evidence that Trump violated campaign-finance law related to his (alleged) affairs and hush-money payoffs to Playboy model Karen McDougal and porn star Stormy Daniels. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced to three years in prison for violating campaign-finance law with payments made to Daniels. The government of New York has politically targeted Trump, but he provided the opening.

Speaking of taxes and New York, the president announced last week that he’s leaving the Empire State to make his permanent residence in the Sunshine State instead. Florida has no income tax, compared to New York’s onerous high taxes. And, Trump noted, “Despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse. I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned.”

He’s not alone. New York loses more people each year than any other state, and its high taxes are the primary reason. According to a Bloomberg story in August, “New York leads all U.S. metro areas as the largest net loser with 277 people moving every day — more than double the exodus of 132 just one year ago.” Trump is right that few have been treated worse than he has, but that doesn’t mean New York treats anyone all that well. When a dollar goes so much further in Florida, why wouldn’t a New Yorker move?



White Suburban Women: Get Over Trump’s Rough Edges, America Needs Him

If you believe the latest polls, you have to believe that President Trump is in trouble with women voters, particularly white suburban college-educated (WSCE) women voters. Trump's polling deficits with this segment of the electorate predate the House impeachment, but the Democrats' politically motivated impeachment circus is sure to make matters worse for a president who needs this necessary demographic to help him win a second term.

Question: What are these women thinking?

If they voted for Trump in 2016 and are thinking of not doing so in 2020, or, are thinking of voting for Trump for the first time in 2020 but are troubled by his combative style, bellicose rhetoric, past life, or overall character, they must reassess and think again.

We’re not talking here about confirmed leftist Democrat women who would rather date Louis C.K. than vote for Donald Trump. We’re talking about a wide swath of Independent, GOP, and open-minded traditionalist Democrat women who might be winnable by Trump, but who are reportedly so turned off by the president’s tone, his scorched-earth retaliatory mode, or what his alleged past dalliances with women may say about his character, that they may either stay home or vote for the eventual Democratic Party candidate.

Here’s one pre-impeachment [September] analysis of the aggregate bottom line from Jonathan Easley at The Hill:

But recent polling indicates that the same white female voters who propelled Trump to victory in 2016 might send him to defeat in 2020 if current trends hold. A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday [in September] found Trump trailing the top five Democratic contenders by between 9 points and 16 points overall, with each leading the president by 23 points or more among all women.

Cue the standard disclaimer about polling. Trump campaign spokespeople have legitimately stressed that polls are often weighted in favor of Democrats. Trump 2020 senior campaign adviser Lara Trump made the case on Fox News last Wednesday that there is a “hidden” factor in the polling data about women who fully intend to vote for the president but who are reluctant to admit it to pollsters. Rush Limbaugh spoke on his Wednesday show about how the polls “always include more women.”  Naysayers argue that even given the presumably weighted polls, the deficits Trump apparently has with WSCE women indicate that any hidden vote would have to be abnormally large.

Let’s assume then for the sake of discussion that these naysayers are correct, that Trump does face a potentially game-changing gender gap with this segment of the electorate. Since these women are college-educated and have presumably elevated themselves to a middle-class, upper-middle-class, or affluent standard of living, they should be smart enough to figure a few things out.

We’ve got a great economy going in the United States. The stock markets and concomitant 401Ks are routinely soaring—despite a few dips—to all-time heights. Unemployment numbers for blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities are at historic lows. For Trump’s theoretically endangered voting bloc, women, you have to go back decades to find lower unemployment numbers.

The husbands, sons, and daughters of WSCE women are getting hired — and are working and advancing — in an employment marketplace that is expanding. Such a marketplace puts more economic power in the hands of the workforce at all strata. Corporations and businesses large and small are operating in a regulatory environment stripped by the Trump administration of cumbersome and unnecessary strictures that limit their ability to compete and grow.

Though the U.S. military retains a cannily deployed presence in the Middle East’s war-torn quagmires, increasingly, the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and husbands of WSCE women are called upon less and less to place themselves in harm’s way in connection with conflicts for which no vital American interest can be ascertained.

On immigration, though Trump has been challenged and/or ruled against on virtually every one of his proposals or executive orders aimed at preserving the sovereign border, he continues the fight to implement sane immigration policies, more so than any political leader in recent history.

These citations only scratch the surface of the positive governance Trump’s election has delivered to the American people. Thus, the argument for why the nation’s intelligent and freedom-loving WSCE women must reassess any misgivings they have about Trump’s character or style is replete with reasons to vote Trump 2020. Though such women may find the president to be something less than the polished gentleman statesmen they might prefer, at what price would such a "proper" style and traditionally connected presidency come?

These women, who make up the distaff backbone of the middle and upper classes that have so prospered during Trump’s term, must look hard at the reprehensible predations of the Deep State on our nation. They must weigh the implications of such a rogue bureaucratic state going forward under any administration. The assertion that a majority of these woman are in alignment with the un-American goals of individuals like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Peter Strzok et al. is specious, to say the least.

Educated women need only consider the war hawks in President Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex to decide whether to place the national future in the hands of ideologically mercenary lobbyists and strategists who never met a bloody, endless foreign misadventure they wouldn’t sacrifice our fighting men and women to.

On immigration, WSCE women need only countenance the plans of the open-borders Democrats to understand how their family’s economic outlook would be clouded by an influx of cheap, unassimilated non-citizen labor. They need to confront the reality of increased terror and crime risks associated with the porous border that would certainly become more porous should someone like Senator Elizabeth Warren get elected.

Let’s step back and take a look at the downside WSCE women are struggling with from the standpoint of their support or lack thereof for the president.

Allegations about marital infidelity, about women like Stormy Daniels, credible or not, don’t help. Before he became president, Trump confided to Billy Bush some less-than-savory “locker room” details. In the first 2016 presidential debate, he countered Megyn Kelly’s inane Rosie O’Donnell question with the statement that there was “blood coming out of [Kelly’s] wherever.” Post-election, Trump punched down to the bottom of the barrel after strident Trump critics Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski tried to crash an election party. Trump tweeted that Mika was “bleeding badly from a facelift.”

The New York Times weighed in on the Brzezinski incident with a sweeping statement that precisely illustrates the issue at hand:

The tweets ended five months of relative silence from the president on the volatile subject of gender, reintroducing a political vulnerability: his history of demeaning women for their age, appearance and mental capacity.
Rough stuff, and it must be admitted even by Trump supporters that a great many women, most women, especially college-educated women of a certain pedigree, abhor such locker room banter and “fight club-level” political discourse. Many men do, too.

Other women, more down-to-earth women of any socioeconomic status, take in stride Trump’s street-level counterpunches and misogynistic haymakers aimed at women he believes are being egregiously unfair to him.

And so, we must say to WSCE women across America: Think of your sons and daughters and the nation they must thrive and hopefully prosper in. Think of your grandchildren and the nation they will grow up in. How will your community fare under Democratic socialism? How will your faith-based community fare? Think of the homeland and Constitution that a winning majority of citizens still cherish.

The next time Mr. Trump makes a statement or draws an allusion that WSCE women find off-putting, or even reprehensible, they might want to channel some of the pragmatic realism shown by women whose support for Trump has been and remains unwavering. They have shown down-to-earth wisdom about what matters. They know how to process the rough edges of a man like Donald Trump.

They know what’s best for our country.




PERJURY? Obama's Ukraine ambassador allegedly lied under oath in impeachment inquiry, congressman suggests (The Daily Wire)

CHASING AFTER OLD SEAT: Fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces run for Senate — while affirming Trump (Fox News)

WEAK FIELD: Mike Bloomberg is preparing to enter the Democrat presidential primary (CNBC)

DELVING DEEPER: Republican senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson call on the State Department to release documents pertaining to Hunter Biden and Burisma (National Review)

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? Bernie Sanders proposes to break up ICE and halt deportations in immigration plan (The Washington Times)

POLICY: Hold the shame — red meat is not bad for you or climate change (USA Today)

TARIFFS BEING PHASED OUT: China says it has agreed with U.S. to gradually cancel tariffs, which should help to ameliorate the $38 billion consumer price tag (Reuters)

"FAKE OUTRAGE": Rand Paul blocks Senate resolution backing protection for whistleblowers (The Hill)

PREPARE THE POPCORN: Impeachment going public: Hearings next week for all to see (Associated Press)

FRENEMIES SCHEDULED TO MEET: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit White House next week (Washington Examiner)

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM QUASHED: Federal judge strikes down rule allowing clinicians to object to abortions for moral or religious reasons (NBC News)

MORE TIME FOR INDOCTRINATION: Kamala Harris proposes a 10-hour school day (The Daily Wire)

INDEFENSIBLE: A Michigan man underpaid his property taxes by $8.41. The county seized his property, sold it — and kept the profits. (Reason)

ALIEN SURGE: Illegal-immigrant population inside U.S. surged 550,000 in 2019 (Washington Examiner)

EATING CROW: DOJ charges two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia (National Review)


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

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


11 November, 2019

The Right made Trump President but the Left will keep him there

Joe Hildebrand:

It has long been predicted that the left will eat itself but even the most diehard right-wing optimist could never have foreseen the giant human centipede now munching its way across the globe.

The past few weeks alone have proven there is no violation of New Left orthodoxy too great or too small, nor too surreal or hypocritical, to escape the tsunami of shit-filled silt that consumes all in its path and converts it into the selfsame excrement that sucked it in.

Barack Obama, a global bastion for the left the world over, has declared he is over the left – or at least the now-dominant part of it that seems to mistake social media outrage for social change.

Obama is without doubt one of the most highly intelligent and decent US presidents ever to hold office. Certainly his administration had many flaws, the greatest of which was a tragic and fatal policy failure in Syria, but he is certainly not stupid and he is certainly not conservative.

This is what he had to say: “This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

He went on to further define what he called this “danger”.

“There is this sense sometimes of ‘the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people, and that’s enough … Like if I tweet or hashtag about how you didn’t do something right or used the wrong verb. Then, I can sit back and feel pretty good about myself because, ‘Man, you see how woke I was? I called you out.’ You know, that’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said.

And of course instead of bringing about any change, all the woke Twitter activists got outraged about how unwoke Obama turned out to be.

North of the border, Justin Trudeau also got a taste of what we might now call the Leunig Lesson. The insufferably smug Canadian prime minister, whose most famous quote was telling everybody what year it was, was all but undone at the last election after it emerged he had a shoe polish fetish that would put Al Jolson to shame.

The Trudeau blackface scandal led to him being dubbed “the prime minstrel” and forced his party into minority government, even though there was not a shred of evidence his stupid antics had an iota of malice or racism behind them.

Indeed, in the perfect proof that identity politics is one giant circle jerk, it was the Conservatives who leaked the photos knowing that it would detonate Trudeau’s bourgeois left-wing base.

And there are countless other examples of left-wing cannibalism across the planet, from [British] Jeremy Corbyn’s cheerless combination of socialism and anti-Semitism to [Australian] Bill Shorten’s allies threatening internal warfare if the failed ALP leader is blamed for failing the ALP.

Meanwhile groups of activists like Extinction Rebellion have managed to turn the popular mainstream cause of climate change action into a Pythonesque sideshow that has managed to piss off just about everyone with paid employment and access to soap.

Even the climate strikers have abandoned the climate supergluers.

So how well is the hard left’s Frankensteinian campaign to purge all but the clinically brain dead going when it comes to their stated objective of beating the right?

About as well as you’d think. In the UK Boris Johnson is odds on to romp home in the general election, with a double-digit lead over Labour and simply double the vote of the Liberal-Democrats. There hasn’t been a surer bet outside of Biff’s Sports Almanac in Back to the Future 2.

Meanwhile Donald Trump, widely derided as the dumbest president in US history and subject to every judicial, special and impeachable inquiry you can imagine, is uncannily positioned to pull off another surprise victory.

In the six vital swing states that delivered Trump his poll-defying win – Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina – Trump is well in the hunt. Polling conducted and published by The New York Times – hardly a Trump cheer squad – shows there is only one Democratic candidate ahead of the Donald in these key electoral college battlegrounds.

That candidate is Joe Biden, a man who – despite seeming to be under the constant influence of an aneurysm – has some kind of connection with middle-American voters and is probably the Democrats’ best chance of beating Trump.

And, of course, as dictated by the laws of the left, Biden’s primary support is slipping and at this stage the momentum is with Elizabeth Warren for the Democratic nomination.

Unsurprisingly, this is the best possible outcome for Trump, according to the same Times poll. It shows Biden beating Trump in four out of six states – including the Florida mother lode – tied in Michigan and down by 2 points in North Carolina.

But up against Warren, the same poll shows Trump ahead by 6 points in Michigan and 4 points in Florida, 3 in North Carolina, even money in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and behind in Arizona by only 2 points.

In short, the candidate least likely to beat Trump is the Democrats’ new favourite.

This is entirely emblematic of the new disease that has overrun progressive politics. It is a culture that promotes ideological puritanism over electoral pragmatism and will happily consign itself to defeat again and again with all the resolve of a kamikaze pilot.

The right made Donald Trump president but the left will keep him there. And they will continue to keep conservative governments in power until they learn how to listen to mainstream middle and working-class people instead of constantly condemning them for not agreeing with every last wailing woke warrior.



Boris Johnson tipped to win big at UK election, according to new poll

Boris Johnson could win a massive 96-seat Conservatives majority as Jeremy Corbyn faces an election wipe-out, a major new poll has revealed.

The Sun reports that a recent poll sees Mr Johnson returning to parliament with 373 MPs – 75 more than the 298 won in 2015.  Researchers estimate a 60 per cent chance of an overall Conservative majority – and just 12 per cent for Labour.

Though the vote share for Conservatives is actually projected to fall from 43.6 to 38.2 per cent, research by Electoral Calculus suggests Tories will sweep up lost Labour votes and therefore gain more seats overall. Major Labour losses are expected across all parts of England, Scotland and Wales.

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is predicted to receive 10 per cent of the vote but will not win any seats.

The Liberal Democrats would see their vote share almost doubling from 7.6 to 15.9 per cent. A number of high-profile Tory, Labour, Independent candidates have joined the party in the last year, ballooning their numbers from 12 to 20. The resurgent party would inflate further to 25 under the predictions for December 12.

The figures used by Electoral Calculus were collated from opinion polls taken from October 25 to November 4 in a sample of 15,917 people.

According to the Telegraph, Andy Cook, chief executive of the Centre for Social Justice said: “We’re serving up evidence that low-income Britons make up a big voting bloc in our swing seats. The party leaders need to win them over and, on this evidence, they have a mountain to climb.



Clinton Throws Cold Water on Elizabeth Warren

We keep wondering if Hillary is preparing to jump into the Democrat presidential field.

At the New York Times DealBook Conference on Wednesday, Hillary Clinton criticized Democrat presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s $52 trillion Medicare for All plan as being unrealistic. “I don’t believe we should be in the midst of a big disruption while we are trying to get to 100% coverage and deal with costs and face some tough issues about competitiveness and other kinds of innovation in healthcare,” Clinton argued.

However, Clinton acknowledged that she was fully in agreement with Warren’s aim of government-run healthcare, as she asserted that Medicare for All was the “right goal.” Clinton merely believes that an incremental approach toward the government takeover of Americans’ healthcare is more politically feasible than Warren’s blatant socialist power grab. As with Barack Obama’s lecture about “cancel culture” or Nancy Pelosi’s warning about Democrats moving too far left, Clinton’s criticism rings hollow. Remember, this is the woman who got the healthcare ball rolling in 1993 with her proposal of HillaryCare.

But Clinton’s criticism of Warren didn’t stop with Medicare for All, as she then conveyed disapproval of Warren’s planned wealth tax. “I just don’t understand how that could work,” Clinton noted. “I don’t see other examples anywhere else in the world where it has actually worked over a long period of time.” Clinton then argued, “If you were going to do a wealth tax and it was on assets … how you would value it is, I think, complicated to start with. But, assuming you can get some system of evaluation, people would literally have to sell assets to pay the tax on the assets that they owned before the wealth tax was levied. That would be incredibly disruptive, so I think there are other ways to raise the revenues.”

Why is Clinton now coming out against Warren? Is she still contemplating jumping into the Democrat primary? Possibly. With Joe Biden — the only leading non-hardcore leftist in the crowded field of Democrats — limping along amidst growing questions surrounding his involvement with Ukraine, Clinton may see an opening to exploit. If Hillary did jump in, it might spell the end for Biden, leaving her with the support of moderate Democrats. With socialist Democrats split between Warren and Bernie Sanders, Clinton may see a path for winning the nomination. It still would be a long shot, but not as long as many assume.



Stop Blaming the One Percent

A study debunks the fundamental assumptions advanced by Sanders and Warren.

It’s been a popular theory for decades, gaining steam over the last few years with the Occupy Wall Street movement and through the presidential campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: The wealthy take more than their share and, as a consequence, exert excessive control on government, making the problem of income and wealth inequality even worse.

Recently, however, Chris Edwards and Ryan Bourne, who both write for the libertarian-leaning CATO Institute, made a punching bag out of the Sanders/Warren theory of income and wealth inequality being bad. Instead, they counter with the facts: The problem isn’t nearly as bad as leftist hype portrays, hasn’t increased at nearly the pace many believe is occurring, and to the extent it exists is made worse by the very types of programs and philosophies favored by the socialist Left.

In his analysis of the Cato findings, the Washington Examiner’s Brad Polumbo adds, “Clearly, Sanders’ socialist proposals would just make economic inequality worse. In fact, that’s what has happened in some of the countries he often points to as examples.”

The lengthy white paper by the Cato’s economist duo points to six different reasons the socialist axiom of wealth inequality doesn’t hold water, beginning with the inaccurate assumptions of economist Thomas Piketty, whose error-riddled book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is heralded as a bible by those who subscribe to the inequality theory. The Cato pair point out that Piketty and his cohorts missed a significant piece of the puzzle by relying so much on data from income-tax returns. This misses up to 40% of real income, argue Edwards and Bourne. Also missing: the “wealth” individuals hold with their Social Security and Medicare benefits — benefits that do more for the less well-to-do than the wealthy. Yet Social Security and Medicare also sustain the problem because they serve as a disincentive for those who need to save for retirement.

Another root cause of wealth inequality is a problem most acknowledge, but few take concrete steps to address: cronyism in government. While Edwards and Bourne acknowledge the problem is far worse in other nations where graft is king, the prospect of rent-seeking and other techniques to artificially expand markets and limit competition contribute to the inequality, even in America.

But the best and most cheering reason the “income inequality” crowd is all wet: Wealth in our nation is generally earned, not inherited. Only a small fraction of the “one percent” inherited their fortunes; instead, the large majority made their wealth by working hard and taking the risk to start a small business, creating their own market in many cases. Contrary to popular belief, those who inherited their wealth eventually fall off the “wealthiest people” charts because many huge fortunes are split several ways, and seldom do heirs have the drive to start again on building a fortune.

So rather than leveling the playing field at a low level of prosperity by taxing the wealthy until it hurts, perhaps the better approach is doing our best to encourage entrepreneurship and allowing more value to be added to our resources, such as through fair trade. While that doesn’t make for a system leftists would consider fair, we have no doubt there are many fortunes to be made in America — that is, unless Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and a host of other Democrats would take over and make being wealthy akin to committing a crime.

We already have the public shaming of wealthy people as society succumbs to the mantra that all rich people are evil, ignoring that those pillars of society often make the nonprofit world go ‘round. Wealth creation is the right model, not a stunted system built on envy fomented by wealthy Democrats.



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

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


10 November, 2019

Leftist inversion of reality on Trump

The critique below by  David Limbaugh is of a "moderate" Leftist source but moderation seems to have taken a big flight from reality. As Limbaugh shows, Leftist Paul Waldman cannot see that reality is just the opposite of what he asserts. He cannot even see the deluge of criticism and attack that has been aimed at Trump.

Limbaugh is very cutting in displaying how Waldman repeatedly inverts reality but the Left will not read it. They cannot afford to.  Even if they did read it would leave them  unmoved.  They need to believe their lies so are beyond the reach of reason. They live in an unbreachable fortress of fantasy.

Their tendency to fly straight past the facts is very disturbing.  It means that the policies they enact will fly right past reality too

The American Prospect's Paul Waldman gives us an earful about President Trump and how Trump is destroying everything that's good and decent in America. Let me share some of his words, which speak for themselves -- but I'll speak for them, too.

"The impending impeachment of Donald Trump brings with it the possibility of something that has been in short supply over the last three years: accountability," Waldman writes. "At last, you may think, we can use a constitutional process to proclaim at last that This Is Not OK." Waldman goes on to acknowledge that Trump probably won't be held to account after all, because though the House will likely impeach him, the Senate will vote against removing him from office.

What strikes me is Waldman's unchecked assertion that Trump's accountability "has been in short supply." He wholly ignores that Democrats have been feverishly pursuing Trump since he announced his candidacy. For two years, they've prosecuted a bogus case on Trump "colluding" with Russia, guaranteeing they had unimpeachable evidence.

They were lying, and their would-be savior, special counsel Robert Mueller, produced no evidence of collusion. Accountability? Why haven't the Democrats had to answer for their wasting taxpayers' time and money over this lie? Neither they nor their legacy media co-conspirators have uttered one syllable of apology to the American people, let alone President Trump, for dragging us through this nightmare.

Instead, they immediately pivoted to Ukraine. Here we go again -- but this time, it's really serious. What is this, the fourth impeachment attempt? Why not? We now know from released transcripts that they've been planning this coup from the jump. We already knew it, but we've got the smoking gun. Will they be held to account for their election and post-election interference? Of course not, unless their constituents vote them out of office for abuse of power.

Waldman continues: "This is one of the products of Trump's time in office: the contamination of our emotional lives. Trump has made us feel dread, despair, disillusionment, and a dozen other awful emotions whose grip it feels impossible to escape. And even if he loses in 2020 then slinks back to Mar-a-Lago to spend his days regaling his dwindling number of sycophants with tales of his matchless presidency, we'll continue to live with the effects for years or even decades to come."

I don't know whom Waldman purports to speak for, but millions of Americans would find his words repugnant. Trump doesn't make us feel dread and despair. Bullish on America and fighting leftist insanity and political correctness, he invigorates our patriotic instincts. His policies have stimulated robust economic growth, which is hardly cause for despair.

Waldman details "the unceasing parade of horrors emanating from the Oval Office," citing the usual litany of Trump's alleged sins -- his oh-so-offensive tweets, his racism and his cruelty. It's just so exhausting for poor Waldman. He writes: "And how many times have you found yourself almost involuntarily talking with friends or family about some awful thing Trump did or said, only to have someone stop and say, 'Oh god, let's just not talk about him for a while. I can't take it."

What's exhausting is the ceaseless leftist noise machine railing against Trump. Leftists need to remove the smudges from their mirrors and see that they are projecting. They are the ones who have been vicious and hateful toward Trump from the beginning. They have wrongly accused him -- and his supporters (half of Americans) -- of racism and cruelty. They have contempt for all his supporters. Yet has Trump called them Nazis? Racists?

If you don't believe me, read Waldman's elaboration: "For many the mere fact that Trump could win in 2016 (even if he got three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton) was reason enough to lose faith in their country in a fundamental way. Eight years before they had convinced themselves that Barack Obama's election meant America could be the place they wanted it to be: inclusive, tolerant, progressive, hopeful. Trump came along and told them that America was not that place."

What? Precisely the opposite is true. Progressives are the antithesis of inclusion, tolerance and hope. They are intolerant of opposing viewpoints, and they readily use the power of government and social media giants to suppress conservative speech and religious liberty. They bully conservatives out of restaurants and college campuses. They are anything but hopeful. Former President Obama's team told us the days of 3% growth were over. President Trump rejected the naysaying and gave us an economic boom, fulfilling his campaign promises and restoring hope.

The rest of Waldman's piece is even more desperate and bitter, but space constraints preclude further dissection. I'll just leave you with his closing paragraph, which encapsulates his TDS: "There may yet be more to come, if nothing else in the form of an election defeat next year. But it's hard to escape the gnawing feeling that nothing we can do to Trump will ever make up for what he has done to us."

To the contrary, Trump has done nothing to them, but they have done plenty to him. And he's done plenty for us -- specifically standing athwart the extreme left's crusade to fundamentally and permanently transform America into a nation our framers wouldn't recognize.

Thank you, President Trump, for standing up for America and those who still believe in it.



The Left-Right Divide Is About Reality Itself

Dennis Prager
The left-right divide in America is, unfortunately, unbridgeable. There are three reasons.

First, we are divided by our vision of what we want America to be. The right believes the founders’ vision was brilliant and moral, that bourgeois middle-class values are superior to alternative value systems; that rights come from God, not man; and that the state must be as small as possible. The left (not liberals) shares none of those values.

Second, we are divided by the means we use to achieve our vision. Given their different ends, left and right obviously differ on what means to use to achieve their ends.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, there is a reality-perception divide. Left and right have different perceptions of reality.

I have been aware of this for many years, but it was dramatically brought home last week when I was a guest on “Real Time With Bill Maher.” Given that the other two guests on the panel and more or less the entire studio audience were on the left, their reactions to what I said proved my point.

For example, I said that though there are, of course, racists in the United States, America is the least racist multiethnic and multiracial country in the world.

I was booed.

I said the United States military has brought so much liberty to the world it deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

I was booed.

Clearly, there is an unbridgeable divide in the way we perceive the reality of the American military’s role in the world.

I said that it turned out the Russia-Trump campaign collusion never happened.

I was booed.

There is an unbridgeable divide in the way left and right perceive this reality.

I said the Trump-Ukrainian president phone transcript did not show a quid pro quo.

I was booed, and one of the other panelists said it actually showed “extortion.”

This, too, constitutes an unbridgeable divide between the way left and right view reality.

I said John Brennan, the former CIA director, has voted communist. (He has admitted that he voted for the Communist Party USA presidential candidate Gus Hall in 1976.) I was dismissed as having made something up. Bill Maher sarcastically responded that he didn’t recall Mao having been on any ballot.

And I said that people on the left say men can menstruate.

For that, I was not merely booed; I was laughed at by the panel, Maher and the audience.

Anyone can Google this and learn that I was entirely right. Just type “can men menstruate.” One of the first results will be from the popular left-wing website The Daily Beast: “Yes, Men Can Have Periods and We Need to Talk About Them,” reads one of its headlines. “How is this possible?” you might ask. Well, if a woman declares herself to be a man, then “a man” can have a period. In fact, last month, Procter & Gamble announced that it will remove the female Venus symbol from its Always line of menstrual products. After all, not only women menstruate.

The irony is that as soon as most progressives become aware that LGBTQ groups say that men menstruate, they will say that men menstruate. And that will be another differing perception of reality.

On each of these issues — all the issues for which I was booed — right and left have different perceptions of reality. That — even more so than differing values — makes the left-right divide unbridgeable. When you cannot agree on what is real, there is no possible bridging of the gulf.

The left believes the president colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. The reality is that there was no collusion. This is the conclusion of the Mueller report, but still, the left doesn’t accept it.

The left is certain President Trump said the neo-Nazis are “very fine people” when referring to the protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. The right is certain the president didn’t say there are good neo-Nazis any more than he said there are good “antifa” members. When he said there were “very fine people on both sides,” he was referring to those demonstrating on behalf of keeping Confederate statues and those opposed. See “The Charlottesville Lie” by CNN analyst Steve Cortes.

The left believes socialism is economically superior to capitalism. But the reality is that only capitalism has lifted billions of people out of poverty. This is, therefore, not an opinion divide — “You prefer capitalism. I prefer socialism” — but a reality divide.

The reason this is so frightening is that it means one side has lost its grip on reality. If half of this country cannot distinguish truth from falsehood, that is not a good sign for the nation’s future. On that point, ironically, left and right can agree.



Pelosi's Empty Warning to Her Party

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a message for Democrats: Rein in the unbridled run to the left. However, much like Barack Obama's hypocritical lecture on "cancel culture," Pelosi's message rings hollow because of her sizable role in Democrats' dramatic leftward shift.

"What works in San Francisco does not necessarily work in Michigan," the San Francisco Democrat said. Pelosi offered a rebuttal to "progressives" like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren hawking socialist policies, saying, "As a left-wing San Francisco liberal I can say to these people: 'What are you thinking?'" She insists many in her party are "unhappy with me for not being a socialist."

"Remember November," she added. "You must win the Electoral College."

A few thoughts. First, Pelosi is the (arguably reluctant) leader of the impeachment coup attempt, a charade she attempted to legitimize with the veneer of guiding process rules — passed on a party-line vote. Impeaching a duly elected president over what amounts to general derangement over his victory is about as left-wing as it gets.

Second, Pelosi perhaps realizes that Medicare for All isn't popular with the overall American electorate, but she rammed ObamaCare through Congress on a party-line vote a decade ago. As we have long argued, ObamaCare was designed as a beachhead for single-payer government healthcare. That it took only a few years before Democrat presidential candidates were pushing for single-payer is, to the far Left, a feature of ObamaCare, not a bug. Pelosi cannot claim ignorance of that strategy, however restrained she publicly claims to be.

The same goes for climate change. Pelosi may deride "the green dream, or whatever they call it," but her party insists "the science is settled" that humans are destroying the planet and drastic measures are needed.

Third, was her comment about the Electoral College what Leftmedia types would call a "dog whistle"? In other words, Democrats have been grumbling loudly about — and seeking to subvert — the Electoral College ever since Donald Trump lost the popular vote but won the presidency, as did George W. Bush in 2000. Pelosi just gave them a subtle reminder of their frustrations.

Finally, if Democrats wish to be the center-left party, perhaps their leader shouldn't be a self-described San Francisco liberal. Pelosi may be more power broker than political ideologue, but she's no moderate. Indeed, she is a big reason why her party has charged as hard and fast as possible toward socialism, so forgive us if we take the lectures on moderation with a big grain of salt.



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

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


8 November, 2019

Conservatives Are Happier, More Generous Than Liberals

Another study confirms that leftists are the angry, unhappy, and stingy ones.

Lefty author and radio personality Garrison Keillor captured the popular view (at least according to Hollywood and the media) of the differences between liberals and conservatives, claiming, “Liberalism is the politics of kindness,” standing for “tolerance, magnanimity, community spirit, [and] the defense of the weak against the powerful.”

Conservatives, Keillor claims on the other hand, are people who “stand for tax cuts, and further tax cuts, annual tax cuts,” and then they “use their refund to buy a gun and an attack dog” to keep people away who are not like them.

Or, as Obama put it, these are the people who are “bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.”

As it turns out, that is the exact opposite of the truth.

Last year, the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal published the findings of a study by University of Southern California researcher David Newman. He analyzed the happiness of 50,000 people from 16 countries over a 40-year period.

What Newman’s team discovered is that conservatives are consistently and significantly happier than their liberal counterparts, and the more conservative a person is, the happier they are. Social conservatives are even happier than just fiscal conservatives, and both are much happier than liberals. Why? Because “there is some unique aspect of political conservatism that provides people with meaning and purpose in life.”

This was true for conservatives “at all reporting periods (global, daily, and momentary).” In other words, conservatives tend to be happy as a general rule, and not just when things are going well for them. That is extremely significant. It means their happiness is related to who they are inside, rather than being a reaction to their circumstances.

Of study participants, 52% of conservatives were “completely satisfied” with their family lives, compared to just 41% of liberals and moderates. Conservatives were also significantly more likely to believe marriage is “essential in creating and maintaining strong families,” and overwhelmingly more likely to be married (62% vs. 39%).

Considering the vast data on how marriage greatly increases overall happiness and well-being, economic stability, improved physical and mental health, and life expectancy, this is a game-changer.

In 2012, the Journal of Research in Personality analyzed four studies on happiness, and found “conservatives expressed greater personal agency (e.g., personal control, responsibility), more positive outlook (e.g., optimism, self-worth), more transcendent moral beliefs (e.g., greater religiosity, greater moral clarity, less tolerance of transgressions), and a generalized belief in fairness, and these differences accounted for the happiness gap.”

In the U.S., where leftists gravitate toward the Democrat Party and conservatives to the Republican Party, these mindsets and ideologies are clearly manifest in their messaging. As one writer put it, “Republicans … preach the message of limited government, responsibility and self-reliance, while Democrats … preach a message of victimhood and entitlement. … The former is empowering and the latter is debilitating, tending only to provoke feelings of resentment, anger, and helplessness.”

This supports the findings of a Pew Research Center study showing that Republicans maintain higher levels of happiness across all income levels, so it’s not just those evil, rich Republicans swimming in their pools of cash who are happy.

Additionally, conservative Republicans are nearly twice as likely to be “very happy” as liberal Democrats (47% to 28%), and regular church attenders were nearly twice as likely to be very happy as those who rarely or never attend.

Conservative, Christian Republicans are also far more generous than their liberal Democrat counterparts, regardless of income level. And for those who think religious conservatives only donate to charity to get the tax write-off (which makes no sense because you don’t get a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes), religious conservatives also donate more of their time (which could be spent making more money) to charity than liberal Democrats. In the 2012 election, 17 of the most generous states voted for Mitt Romney, while 15 of the least charitable 17 went for Barack Obama.

If you are a liberal Democrat, these findings probably offend you. You may think this is “fake news” and recall the widely broadcasted study that supposedly found Republicans have more psychopathic traits than Democrats. Numerous liberals/Democrats pointed to the study as proof that conservatism and religiosity are manifestations of mental illness.

Yet while this study’s findings were headline news when the report was issued, the retraction a short time later was barely mentioned. Go figure.

After being called out, researchers were forced to admit they screwed up the calculations, and the results were just the opposite of what they claimed: “The descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed.” In other words, the data showed that it was liberals, not conservatives, who were most likely to be associated with psychoticism.

Of course, common sense and personal observation will confirm this. It is not conservative, Christian Republicans who are rioting and assaulting those who disagree with them, or fire-bombing cars, smashing store windows, and showing up at private homes and threatening families and terrifying children. That would be “progressive” Democrats, who feel their violence is justified by their morally superior cause.

So if you find yourself unhappy, aimless, and without purpose, there is an easy fix — don a MAGA hat and head to church!



Retired Army Officer Remembers Lt. Col. Vindman as Partisan Democrat Who Ridiculed America

Vindman is all the Donks have got in support of their Ukraine theory

A retired Army officer who worked with Democrat “star witness” Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in Grafenwoher, Germany, claims Vindman “really talked up” President Barack Obama and ridiculed America and Americans in front of Russian military officers.

In an eye-opening thread on Twitter last week, retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Jim Hickman said that he “verbally reprimanded” Vindman after he heard some of his derisive remarks for himself. “Do not let the uniform fool you,” Hickman wrote. “He is a political activist in uniform.”

Hickman’s former boss at the Joint Multinational Simulation Center in Grafenwoehr has since gone on the record to corroborate his story.

Hickman, 52, says he’s a disabled wounded warrior who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who received numerous medals, including the Purple Heart.

The retired officer said that Vindman, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Ukraine, made fun of the United States to the point that it made other soldiers “uncomfortable.” For example, Hickman told American Greatness that he heard Vindman call Americans “rednecks” —a word that needed to be translated for the Russians. He said they all had a big laugh at America’s expense.

Vindman’s former boss, NSC Senior Director for European Affairs Tim Morrison, threw cold water on Vindman’s claims in his own testimony later in the week, saying he didn’t have concerns that “anything illegal was discussed” in the phone call.  Morrison also testified that Ukrainian officials were not even aware that military funding had been delayed by the Trump Administration until late August 2019, more than a month after the Trump-Zelensky call.

Thomas Lasch, Hickman’s boss at the time, corroborated his story on Twitter.

Lasch vouched for Hickman in a second tweet: “Everyone on this thread should know that Jim Hickman’s patriotism and honesty is unparalleled. He is one of my personal heroes.” He added: “This is not about Trump! This is about an officer [LTC Vindman] that is disloyal to the United States of America.”



Lefty Pundits to Democratic Presidential Field: 'You're Losers!'

What is it that lefty pundits can see that Democratic presidential candidates -- with all their highly-paid teams of election experts -- can't?

How to win an election, apparently.

Over on the far left, New York magazine's Jonathan Chait writes that the latest battleground states poll shows that Democrats are living "in a fantasy world." Chait starts off praising the Democratic 2018 House contenders for wading "into hostile territory" to flip 40 House districts, using a "formula centered on narrowing their target profile by avoiding controversial positions, and focusing obsessively on Republican weaknesses." Party affiliation aside, Chait is right -- that's how you flip seats, Dem or Rep. But he worries, where I'd be jubilant, that the "Democratic presidential field has largely abandoned that model." Chait goes on:

"A new batch of swing state polls from the New York Times ought to deliver a bracing shock to Democrats. The polls find that, in six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive. He trails Joe Biden there by the narrowest of margins, and leads Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Normally, it is a mistake to overreact to the findings of a single poll. In general, an outlier result should only marginally nudge our preexisting understanding of where public opinion stands. This case is different."

Indeed. As Chait is forced to conclude, "if you’ve been relying on national polls for your picture of the race, you’re probably living in la-la land."

Meanwhile, a bit less left of Chait, Jay Caruso looked at the same polls and came to a similar conclusion. Writing for the UK's Independent, Caruso argues that "Democrats are over-correcting for 2020 — and they can't beat Trump that way."

Caruso notes that Obama-to-Trump voters who threw the Rust Belt to Trump in 2016 "may not want to go all in with Sanders’ or Warren's big spending plans, which include Medicare-for-All." He adds, "While PA, MI, and WI are no longer the manufacturing powerhouses they were 40 or 50 years ago, they still employ a decent number of union workers who have great healthcare benefits through their employers."

Not that I'm getting cocky about Trump's chances next November or anything, but I didn't need a fancy New York Times poll to tell me that the Dem field had moved too far to the left. All I needed to see was a show of hands.




UKRAINE PROSECUTOR FIRED: Ukraine to fire Kostiantyn Kulyk, the prosecutor at center of Biden gas-company controversy (National Review)

"IT WAS WRONG AND IMPROPER": AOC settles lawsuit after blocking critic on Twitter — yet continues to block prominent conservative women (The Washington Times)

MAGA: Washington Nationals' Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman show support for Trump during World Series White House visit (The Daily Caller)

TRADE NEGOTIATIONS: China presses Trump for more tariff rollbacks in "phase one" trade deal (Reuters)

BULL MARKET: Dow hits record as stock-market rally extends into fifth week (Associated Press)

UNITED WE STAND: Mitch McConnell says Senate trial "would not lead to a removal" of Trump if held today (USA Today)

NO SANCTUARY: Tucson voters overwhelmingly reject sanctuary-city measure (Fox News)

EXPANDED OPERATION: Trump OKs wider Syria oil mission, raising legal questions (Associated Press)

BACKFIRE: New Zealand's gun confiscation shaping up to be a massive failure (Bearing Arms)

POLICY: It's time for the U.S. to wage war on Mexican drug cartels (The Federalist)

THE PROBE THAT NEVER ENDS: First batch of Mueller-probe interview notes involving Rick Gates, Steve Bannon, and Michael Cohen have been released (The Daily Caller

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: Obama-appointed judge blocks healthcare rule for immigrants (The Daily Caller)

PUBLIC DEFIANCE: Iran announces new nuke-deal violations during commemoration of 1979 U.S. embassy seizure (Fox News)

SEPARATING WHEAT FROM CHAFF: Thousands of migrants sent back to Mexico under Trump policy have given up their asylum claims (Fox News)

POLICY: How the Left is weaponizing cancel culture to politicize children's books (The Federalist)


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

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


7 November, 2019

The diseased Leftist mind

Like all other human beings, the modern liberal reveals his true character, including his madness, in what he values and devalues, in what he articulates with passion. Of special interest, however, are the many values about which the modern liberal mind is not passionate: his agenda does not insist that the individual is the ultimate economic, social and political unit; it does not idealize individual liberty and the structure of law and order essential to it; it does not defend the basic rights of property and contract; it does not aspire to ideals of authentic autonomy and mutuality; it does not preach an ethic of self-reliance and self-determination; it does not praise courage, forbearance or resilience; it does not celebrate the ethics of consent or the blessings of voluntary cooperation. It does not advocate moral rectitude or understand the critical role of morality in human relating. The liberal agenda does not comprehend an identity of competence, appreciate its importance, or analyze the developmental conditions and social institutions that promote its achievement. The liberal agenda does not understand or recognize personal sovereignty or impose strict limits on coercion by the state. It does not celebrate the genuine altruism of private charity. It does not learn history's lessons on the evils of collectivism.

What the liberal mind is passionate about is a world filled with pity, sorrow, neediness, misfortune, poverty, suspicion, mistrust, anger, exploitation, discrimination, victimization, alienation and injustice. Those who occupy this world are "workers," "minorities," "the little guy," "women," and the "unemployed." They are poor, weak, sick, wronged, cheated, oppressed, disenfranchised, exploited and victimized. They bear no responsibility for their problems. None of their agonies are attributable to faults or failings of their own: not to poor choices, bad habits, faulty judgment, wishful thinking, lack of ambition, low frustration tolerance, mental illness or defects in character. None of the victims' plight is caused by failure to plan for the future or learn from experience. Instead, the "root causes" of all this pain lie in faulty social conditions: poverty, disease, war, ignorance, unemployment, racial prejudice, ethnic and gender discrimination, modern technology, capitalism, globalization and imperialism. In the radical liberal mind, this suffering is inflicted on the innocent by various predators and persecutors: "Big Business," "Big Corporations," "greedy capitalists," U.S. Imperialists," "the oppressors," "the rich," "the wealthy," "the powerful" and "the selfish."

The liberal cure for this endless malaise is a very large authoritarian government that regulates and manages society through a cradle to grave agenda of redistributive caretaking. It is a government everywhere doing everything for everyone. The liberal motto is "In Government We Trust." To rescue the people from their troubled lives, the agenda recommends denial of personal responsibility, encourages self-pity and other-pity, fosters government dependency, promotes sexual indulgence, rationalizes violence, excuses financial obligation, justifies theft, ignores rudeness, prescribes complaining and blaming, denigrates marriage and the family, legalizes all abortion, defies religious and social tradition, declares inequality unjust, and rebels against the duties of citizenship. Through multiple entitlements to unearned goods, services and social status, the liberal politician promises to ensure everyone's material welfare, provide for everyone's healthcare, protect everyone's self-esteem, correct everyone's social and political disadvantage, educate every citizen, and eliminate all class distinctions.

With liberal intellectuals sharing the glory, the liberal politician is the hero in this melodrama. He takes credit for providing his constituents with whatever they want or need even though he has not produced by his own effort any of the goods, services or status transferred to them but has instead taken them from others by force.

It should be apparent by now that these social policies and the passions that drive them contradict all that is rational in human relating, and they are therefore irrational in themselves. But the faulty conceptions that lie behind these passions cannot be viewed as mere cognitive slippage. The degree of modern liberalism's irrationality far exceeds any misunderstanding that can be attributed to faulty fact gathering or logical error. Indeed, under careful scrutiny, liberalism's distortions of the normal ability to reason can only be understood as the product of psychopathology. So extravagant are the patterns of thinking, emoting, behaving and relating that characterize the liberal mind that its relentless protests and demands become understandable only as disorders of the psyche. The modern liberal mind, its distorted perceptions and its destructive agenda are the product of disturbed personalities.

As is the case in all personality disturbance, defects of this type represent serious failures in development processes. The nature of these failures is detailed below. Among their consequences are the liberal mind's relentless efforts to misrepresent human nature and to deny certain indispensable requirements for human relating. In his efforts to construct a grand collectivist utopia-to live what Jacques Barzun has called "the unconditioned life" in which "everybody should be safe and at ease in a hundred ways"-the radical liberal attempts to actualize in the real world an idealized fiction that will mitigate all hardship and heal all wounds. (Barzun 2000). He acts out this fiction, essentially a Marxist morality play, in various theaters of human relatedness, most often on the world's economic, social and political stages. But the play repeatedly folds. Over the course of the Twentieth Century, the radical liberal's attempts to create a brave new socialist world have invariably failed. At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century his attempts continue to fail in the stagnant economies, moral decay and social turmoil now widespread in Europe. An increasingly bankrupt welfare society is putting the U.S. on track for the same fate if liberalism is not cured there. Because the liberal agenda's principles violate the rules of ordered liberty, his most determined efforts to realize its visionary fantasies must inevitably fall short. Yet, despite all the evidence against it, the modern liberal mind believes his agenda is good social science. It is, in fact, bad science fiction. He persists in this agenda despite its madness.


The above was written in 2006 by Dr. Lyle H. Rossiter, Jr.,a forensic psychiatrist.  It still makes a strong case today


Amy Klobuchar for sanity

A Leftist view

If Democrats want to win, and most do, they should give the senator from Minnesota a look

If you were among the 8m people who watched this month’s Democratic primary debate in Ohio, you might think Democrats are chiefly concerned about health care or foreign policy. To hear Joe Biden, you might even suppose taxes on people “clipping coupons in the stockmarket” is something their voters care about. But you would be wrong. Poll after poll suggests most Democrats are overridingly concerned to defeat Donald Trump. And they are willing to select whichever primary candidate they think likeliest to do that. While this has given rise to an arcane debate on the left about whether “electability” is even a thing (left-wingers, who win few elections, say it is not), Democratic voters might consider that one of their primary candidates already has a history of pegging back Mr Trump’s electoral gains. That is Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota—whom Lexington recently joined aboard her shiny new “Amy for America” bus in eastern Iowa.

Brisk, diminutive, with a line in self-deprecating humour—and another in comfortable cardigans and shoes—the 59-year-old politician offered herself to the small crowds of Midwesterners awaiting her as one of their own. The title of her autobiography—“The Senator Next Door” —“might have been written for Iowa!” she joshes in Cedar Rapids. She can see Iowa from her front porch in Minneapolis, she says in Sigourney, a flyspeck of coffee and antique shops amid vast acres of corn country.

She can see Canada from it, too, she adds, in a quick pop at Sarah Palin, between listing her centre-left policies. Ms Klobuchar is for making Medicare more available but not free for all. She is for expanding access to public college, but not free four-year degrees. She is for banning assault weapons but not forcibly buying back the millions in private hands. Midwesterners like their politics unthreatening, realistic and with a touch of humour to smooth over areas of disagreement, she believes. The facts back her up. Some of the Democrats’ biggest gains in last year’s mid-terms were made in the Midwest by pragmatic candidates who argued, as she does, that “to be progressive you have to make progress”. She also has a record of outperforming her party in Minnesota by wooing independents and moderate Republicans. Last year she won reelection by 24 points in a state Hillary Clinton won by two.

That was one of the most stunning results of the 2016 election. Minnesota last went for a Republican presidential candidate in 1972. That Mr Trump came so close to breaching such a strong section of the erstwhile Democratic “blue wall” encapsulated his strategy of sweeping up ageing white Midwesterners. It gave him narrow wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (which is Midwestern in part), and will again be his likeliest route to victory next year. If he can hang on to even one of those states, or crack Minnesota, he will probably win re-election. If he loses them, he probably won’t. Trump-averse Democrats should therefore ask themselves this question: Who can win the Midwest? And if they do they will find Ms Klobuchar—who would beat Mr Trump in Minnesota by 17 points, according to the latest polling—ready with a half-decent joke. “We’re going to build a blue wall around those states and make Donald Trump pay for it!”

Then why is she not doing better in the polls? The Economist’s aggregate puts her on only 2%. She points to the early stage of the race, the congested field and greater name-recognition for the front-runners. A pithier response would be: Mr Biden. The former vice-president has dominated the primary’s moderate lane despite his familiar shortcomings as a campaigner and more recent doubts about his mental acuity. Having decided he would be likeliest to beat Trump, his supporters have been forgiving. Yet Mr Biden’s seat-blocking candidacy has made it hard for lesser-known though perhaps more compelling moderates to get attention. It persuaded Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio not to enter the race, has put paid to Governor Steve Bullock of Montana and pushed Senator Kamala Harris further to the left than she otherwise might have gone. Given Mr Biden’s weakness, true left-wingers such as Elizabeth Warren have meanwhile had a free run at framing the debate.

Yet Mr Biden may now be in trouble. Ms Warren has overhauled him, his fundraising is in crisis and the likeliest-looking moderate alternatives—Ms Klobuchar and another Midwesterner, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana—have some momentum. After both piled into Ms Warren in Ohio, they were rewarded with a gusher of donations that might previously have gone to Mr Biden.

Minnesota nice enough

Mr Buttigieg appears better placed to take advantage; he is brilliant, a fresh face and has a big lead on Ms Klobuchar in fundraising and a smaller one in the polls. Yet for risk-averse Democrats he has two potential handicaps. He has never won an election outside South Bend. He also has hardly any support from African-Americans —and as an openly gay man dogged by poor race relations in his home city, he may struggle to woo them.

Ms Klobuchar is also imperfect. Her charisma is more apparent in Sigourney than on the national stage. And she has a reputation for being not terribly “Minnesota nice” to her staffers. Yet that should not matter against Mr Trump—a one-man Democratic turnout machine with the highest staff turnover of any modern president. And Ms Klobuchar has three strengths. She has an electoral record to scare Mr Trump. She appears relatively inoffensive to left-wingers, while hewing as close to the centre as her party’s leftward drift allows. (Her platform, which includes a promise of a $15 minimum wage, is notably to the left of Mrs Clinton’s.)

In straightforward Midwestern style, she also seems to know who she is—unlike Mr Buttigieg, Ms Harris and even Ms Warren, all of whom can seem torn between leftist idealism and reality. “I’m a dose of sanity,” she says. “If you’re tired of the noise and the nonsense, tired of the extremes, you’ve got a home with me.” Anxious Democrats might yet consider that to be good enough.



We need a superhero to fix America's problems

The mess is great

We are failing to see a cancer in America that's metastasizing and threatens us all.  Those on the right of the political spectrum recognize and yearn for a cure, while others on the left embrace with their distorted vision a socialistic goal they believe will ensure the betterment of society.  This philosophical chasm has resulted in a dangerous paralysis.

From a conservative viewpoint, this division prevents any chance of eradication of the root cause of a growing societal threat.  It's the cancer found in most of our major cities, especially those with Democrat mayors and sanctuary declarations.  The symptoms are clear: disrespect for the rule of law, disdain for law enforcement, no moral obligation of residents to play by the rules, and the increasing entitlement mentality for free stuff.  This cancer is eating away at our nation.

While America proudly clings to its technological advancements, there's little to be proud of when it comes to the social ills plaguing our large metropolitan areas — homelessness, substandard housing, crime, racial strife, disenchantment with our political system, and lack of hope that the future will be better, to name a few.  Who's to blame?  One might start with the mayors of Detroit decades ago who practiced broad-daylight graft and corruption, stealing from residents of all colors.

One might also surmise that this pattern for theft has been the playbook for today's officeholders, especially Democrats, who rule large cities for their own greed without regard for the welfare of their citizenry or fear of legal retribution.  Making unachievable campaign promises, denigrating the character of political opponents, and doing little to improve the urban quality of life have worked well for the Left while filling the coffers of those in charge.  San Francisco, a primary example of a once beautiful, safe city that attracts thousands of tourists each year, has become a symbolic outhouse overrun by homeless, drug-addicted dropouts.  And all of this in the backyard of the speaker of the House of Representatives, who believes that fabricating impeachment charges against President Trump far exceeds the importance of enhancing the lives of her own constituents.

How will this blight, not only for the Bay Area, but for other cities as well, get resolved?  It won't until the voters in these cities understand how the incumbent politicians are leading residents astray.  The difficulty is finding a way to counter the political machines and force them from office.  Term limits, if enacted, would help, but the very people impacted are the ones who must initiate the change of congressional terms.  The chances are slim.  It's similar to the old adage of hiring the fox to guard the henhouse.  The chickens will suffer identical consequences to what many helpless, cowering electorates are currently experiencing when rotely pulling the voting machine lever every two years.

The country's only salvation from ruin may be in the timely discovery of a cure for political myopia.  Unfortunately, it will be impossible for this cure to be technology-based.  It's going to take a political superhero.



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

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


6 November, 2019

Liberals Beyond Stupid

Read the excerpt from an article by Ray Kraft below.  It sets out well a problem that conservatives constantly encounter:  Why are Leftists so unreachable by reason? You can point out holes in their arguments but they are unmoved.  And some of their claims are entirely out of touch with reality. "All men are equal", being the prime example of that.  And they can change positions on a dime -- as Mr. Obama did: In the Senate he was against gay marriage. As president he was for it.

I think I can explain why they are like that.  Freud understood. Sometimes people NEED false beliefs to make them happy with themselves and with life.  Not everyone can face reality head-on. The use of mind-altering dugs is proof of that.  Even in prehistoric times they brewed beer.  Men have always needed to blunt the harsh impact of reality.  Some of us can come down from delusions and finally face the real world and others can do that only partially or not at all.

And the Leftist has a particularly strong need that he has to cope with.  He is a born-angry person; Born-miserable; Born unhappy. And the happiness research is very clear:  You are largely born with your level of happiness/unhappiness. Some things can lift you up and some things can drag you down but it is transient.  You soon revert to your chronic level of unhappiness.

The Leftist could take anger management classes or prayerfully approach the wisdom of Christ but he does not do that.  He does what Freud called displacement.  He explains his anger as caused by something outside himself  -- as caused by "injustice", for instance.  But the world is awash with injustice.  Just the fact that 50% of the population is of below average IQ is a huge injustice. So conservatives just accept that while doing what little they realistically can do to ameliorate problems.

But the Leftist does not want to solve any problem.  He wants to mentally bathe and luxuriate in problems.  Even if some problem is solved, there will always be more problems.  He needs injustices to explain to himself why he is so angry.  So he sees himself as living in a world of evil, conniving people.  "I'm not mad. There really are lots of bad people out there" is his message to himself.

And as Freud pointed out, such false beliefs tend to be deeply entrenched. The defensive person cannot afford to let go of his false beliefs.  Lose too much of his protective belief system and he will have to face his own unfortunate nature head-on.  He would have to face the reality that there are no sufficient grounds for his unhappiness.

So, in a word, the Leftist NEEDS his angry beliefs.  He cannot afford to let go of them.  Compared to his needs, logic and reason is a very weak force

I am coming to suspect that liberalism may be a genetic defect, or at least a congenital defect, because in the correspondence I get froms libs I observe that most of them are completely unable to grasp even the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason, and also completely unable to grasp the idea that they are not grasping the most rudimentary concepts of logic and reason.

I am not sure that it is merely beyond their will, I am coming to suspect it is beyond their ability.

Those who are able to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become conservative and Republican, while those who are unable to think more or less rationally and logically tend to become liberal and Democrat.

Which makes the Democratic party (as it is today) by definition the party of illogic and unreason, the party of emotionalism rampant.

This may have something to do with the fact that Logic, as a subject, is no longer taught in most schools.

The libs who are not thinking coherently always think (or feel) that they are thinking coherently, no matter how clearly and cogently one points out that they are not. They are apparently unable to recognize (much less understand, or analyze) the inconsistencies and non sequiturs in their own thinking -

For instance, if one points out that the observed one degree of global atmospheric warming over the last century (per the IPCC report) is hardly conclusive proof of catastrophic runaway global warming, and probably within the margin of measuring error (!) the response is Yes! There is Global Warming! Didn't you see Al Gore's movie?! . . . so there really is Global Warming, Toto, I guess, even if we can't actually see it.

Yes, some glaciers are melting, but the fact that glaciers have been melting for the last ten or fifteen thousand years since the beginning of the end of the last ice age is an uncomprehended, or incomprehensible, idea, that cannot possibly have any relevance at all to the faith and doctrine of Global Warming!



Anglosphere governance is the Gold Standard


Assuming Britain finally manages to edge its way out of the EU, it will look for other affiliations. The obvious one is with the core Anglosphere of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. At first sight, this looks like a model driven by mere nostalgia. Not so: the governance of the Anglosphere is the best in the world, in terms of assuring the happiness and prosperity of its citizens. Thus, a loosely associated Anglosphere can serve as a global model.

The concept of global association of the Anglosphere countries was first postulated by James C. Bennett in his 2004 book “The Anglosphere Challenge.” At that time it appeared quixotic. Britain was locked into an ever closer European Union with countries clearly outside the Anglosphere, the United States was becoming increasingly ethnically diverse and moving away from its founding model, while Canada, Australia and New Zealand were surely too small and insignificant to be more than bit-players in the future world. Overall, the world was becoming increasingly globalist, economically and politically, so nation states seemed anachronisms as modern communications bound the world together in an ever-improving, increasingly democratic whole.

For both positive and negative reasons, the Anglosphere has become more real, and should be taken seriously. The seemingly inevitable process of democratic globalization has gone into reverse. The dream of global government came closer and was revealed to be an authoritarian nightmare. The EU has shown itself both economically feeble and increasingly reminiscent of the centrally planned economies of pre-1991 Eastern Europe. China, far from becoming more democratic as it became richer, has become more authoritarian and an increasing threat to the interests of its neighbors and the world.

On the other hand, the Anglosphere has become more real, not less. Canada and Australia have grown rapidly in population, so they are no longer mere appendages of the largest Anglosphere members, but weighty participants in their own right. The United States, having flirted with Wilsonian attempts to dominate the world and globalist attempts to immerse itself in supranational governance, has reasserted its independence and its unique national personality. Britain, much to everybody’s surprise, has voted to leave the European Union and, if it indeed emerges, can reclaim its place as a substantial mid-range world power with a unique policy approach. In a hostile and dangerous world, the Anglosphere countries will increasingly be drawn to work together, as they already do in intelligence collection through the Five Eyes system.

For several reasons, the Anglosphere countries represent a “Gold Standard” in global governance. Most important, all the Anglosphere countries except New Zealand operate “first past the post” (FPTP) electoral systems, in which the winner in each constituency needs only a plurality of votes. The United States also operates such a system on a state-by-state basis for its Presidential elections. New Zealand operated its electoral system on this basis until 1996, when it switched to a mixture of FPTP and proportional representation.

The effect of FPTP is to suppress the representation of minor parties, preventing the legislature from becoming fissiparous. Accordingly, nearly all governments in an FPTP system are formed through decisions of the electorate, and not by horse-trading between political groups after the election has ended.

Contrast this with proportional representation systems as used in most continental European countries. Here, there are several major parties, and governments are formed by negotiation between the parties to put together a majority after the election has ended. This has two effects. First, shifts in public opinion have almost no impact on the composition of governments; a group can have a very good election, increasing its representation substantially, and still be left out of government if other parties combine against it. Second, new parties with views outside the mainstream are often ostracized by traditional parties, with “grand coalitions” being formed to exclude them even when they gain a substantial percentage of the vote.

Thus, voters with policy priorities not represented among centrist governing parties are essentially disfranchised, leading to their further alienation. Apart from being undemocratic, this is highly dangerous; it was the principal mechanism by which the Nazi party took power in Germany in 1930-33. In FPTP countries, one or other of the main parties has every incentive to pick up an issue on which a substantial part of the electorate feels strongly and act upon it, as evidenced by the election of President Trump in 2016 on the issues of opposing heavy low-skill immigration and opposing globalization.

As countries grow larger (or amalgamate into larger units) the need for FPTP becomes greater. New Zealand, with a population of only 4.8 million and only 120 members of its House of Representatives, can rest assured that its elected representatives will be sufficiently close to the electorate and to each other that political changes can be accommodated, even with a partly proportional system (the populist nationalist New Zealand First party holds the balance of power and has in the past allied with both major parties).

Conversely the European Union, with a population of 512 million in 28 countries, 751 MEPs and no effective union-wide political parties, is an extreme case of a proportional representation system in which the same centrist parties are always in power by coalition with each other, voters’ opinion is completely ignored, and MEPs elected by populist voters are determinedly shunned by the groups that run the parliament. It is thus a wholly undemocratic and very dangerous government system, leading in practice to rule by a self-selecting cadre of unelected anti-democratic bureaucrats. George Soros’ Open Society in Eastern Europe has attempted to reproduce the governance of the EU rather than of the Anglosphere; it is thus the enemy of true openness and democracy.

It is not surprising that Anglosphere political systems are more representative, less dangerous and more economically successful; they all descend from the systems put in place by the immensely successful generation of statesmen that contained William Pitt the younger, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool and the U.S. Founding Fathers. That generation of statesmen were repelled by the violence and irrationality of the French Revolution, so established systems in their own countries that allowed the maximum freedom while discouraging violent upheaval. Through their intelligent, benign governance, they also gave full rein to the emerging forces of industrialization that were in the long run to enrich their people beyond all imagination.

Even before 1789, the British and U.S. systems had shown themselves more flexible than that of France, for example. In the late 17th century, both Britain and France were believers in Thomas Mun’s theory that successful statesmen try to accumulate “treasure” by exporting more than they import. However, the French application of this principle, by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, involved import substitution, making the French economy uncompetitive, while the British version involved colonization and developing addictive export crops of sugar and tobacco, which could be taxed to produce revenue. Then in the years to 1720 France followed the Keynesian madman John Law into dumping its people’s savings into notes of a bankrupt bank, while the British restricted themselves to stock market speculation, a less damaging activity when it went wrong.

Outside Europe, there have been a few examples of fine governance that did not follow European models. Song dynasty China, for example, was undoubtedly the world’s best run society of the 11th and 12th Centuries, with a mandarinate selected on merit through open examinations. While that society did not lend itself to entrepreneurship or technological innovation, it was by far the most satisfactory home for ordinary people before the Renaissance, including Greece and Rome. Alas, it succumbed to Mongol conquest, and subsequent iterations of Chinese governance have been greatly inferior, more tyrannical and even less capable of dealing with innovation. China’s current regime, while economically fairly successful (though nowhere near as successful as it claims) is hopelessly repressive and a major threat both to its people’s liberty and that of its neighbors.

Even Anglosphere countries have seen their political systems degraded since their apogee in 1800-25. The German invention of socialism was avoided in the United States (until now) but badly affected the other Anglosphere countries, making their economies far more sluggish than they needed to be, and working against the small government with light, transparent regulation that epitomizes the Anglosphere tradition. In the United States, Democrats, Whigs, Republicans and Progressives replaced the wholly admirable Federalists. In Britain, the Whigs forced through their gerrymandering 1832 Reform Act after which the Tories, heirs to the finest traditions of government, engaged in pre-emptive surrender to the left for the next 150 years, until Margaret Thatcher brought at least a temporary halt to the decline.

Thus, the traditions of Anglosphere government are now not so clearly superior as they might be. Nevertheless, non-Anglosphere countries such as India that have adopted an Anglosphere political structure have seen some success in recent years as they have developed two viable political parties that can alternate in power and around which political forces can gather. It is however still unclear whether this healthy political structure can overcome India’s “permit raj” bureaucracy that is EU-like in its density and opacity. Counterexamples like Argentina, with one dominant party of the left and perpetual economic decline, will also encourage their neighbors to move in an Anglospheric direction.

Now Brexit offers Britain an opportunity to work with other countries of similar political traditions. Federation is not an option — Britain has seen enough of the disadvantages of that in the last 46 years and will not want to repeat them. But a loose trade and political backscratching agreement, which allows each of the parties to gain benefits from the capabilities of the others, is an attractive way forward. The eventual structure will not be an Empire, but if carefully designed it can gain for all parties concerned many of the advantages and few of the disadvantages of that much-maligned entity.




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

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


5 November, 2019

Belief in magic thrives in the modern world

"California," argues Victor Davis Hanson, is "becoming pre-modern" despite ballooning government solutions. Like fictional pre-modern societies, it is becoming a two-tier society; a landscape of fantastical castles amid a sea of peasants. It is as if the technologically sophisticated components of the Golden State were creating its shadow of poor, homeless, drug-addicted and unskilled populations.

Huge global wealth in high-tech, finance, trade and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves. The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced , pay exorbitant power bills and deal with shoddy infrastructure -- all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.

Yet in some respects, not only California but the whole global world is morphing into a similar two-tier arrangement. This may be driven by something called knowledge inequality. The processes by which a society produced its goods and governed itself were once common knowledge to a large percentage of the population. But they are not now.

Relative technological simplicity and cultural homogeneity made knowledge equality easier. This, in turn, facilitated rational governance. At the time of the American Revolution, the knowledge of what was possible and affordable was within the grasp even of a farmer or workman. However today -- and California may be an extreme example -- society is reliant on processes only a tiny few understand. Under these circumstances public policy and even economics become recondite.

Annie Lowrey of The Atlantic writes that "California is becoming unlivable" and suggests solving the wildfire/electricity outage problem by banning development. "One solution ... is to build more dense housing in urban areas ... California isn’t doing enough to discourage building in fire-prone areas." Yet regulation is what caused the problem in the first place.

The bulk of wildfire destruction in California happens in the Wildlife Urban Interface (WUI) ... Although much of the WUI is naturally vulnerable to fire, human behavior is primarily to blame for the destruction. People start more than nine in 10 fires ... If building in the WUI is so dangerous, why do it? In part because building new housing is so very difficult in many urban regions in California, due to opposition from existing homeowners and strict building codes.

Is California Becoming Premodern?

Knowledge inequality makes "magical" solutions inevitable because an ever-smaller fraction of the public know how things work or are paid for. Healthcare woes? Medicare for All. Housing crisis? Make affordable housing a "right." Students choking under loans? Write it off. Graduates without literacy or numeracy? Teach Woke Math.

Fix the wildfires by tightly regulating development sounds like a solution. Following Arthur C. Clarke's famous adage that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic," many things are now solved by linguistic legerdemain. Ever since, Apollo politicians have been invoking associative magic as political spells:

"Nothing is impossible in this age of miracles. If we can put a man on the Moon, we surely are capable of seeing that our temporary surplus agricultural products are placed in many hungry stomachs of the world.” ...

Nixon’s Democratic opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, used the phrase in his standard stump speech: “If we can put a man on the Moon, certainly we can afford to put man on his feet on Earth.”

Sending a spacecraft to the lunar surface and solving homelessness might be different problems, but with a few similes and metaphors, they can be "magically" connected and thus solved. Associative magic is especially strong in Bernie Sanders, who uses it to solve housing. "This is the richest country in the history of the world. No one in America should be homeless." With it, he can set salaries. "In the richest country in the world, our teachers should be the best-paid, not among the worst-paid." The same magic can pay for healthcare: "In the richest country in the world, it is obscene that millions of people are pushed into poverty and insolvency because they had the bad luck of getting sick and needing to see a doctor."

There's no objection to magic because many people, especially in or from the Third World, are surrounded by found marvels like cell phones, machine learning, GPS, CRISPR therapies, etc. They are used to things that simply work -- though none but the sages know how. Immigrants can be forgiven for thinking, as they wander in their misery through the technological wonders of California, why the magi have simply not waved their wands and created the same level of comfort for them. In a world of magic, what's one more spell, because that's all it takes, right? It must be because -- and the politicians never tire of telling them -- the wizards are selfish and holding back.

The difference between science and magic, noted Chaz Orzell, is that in the world of sorcery some people are born with amazing powers. Wealth does not come from the application of truths external to humanity but rather from birth powers, celebrity, or beauty.

The primary distinction between these magic systems and science is that magic relies on inborn talent in a way that science doesn't-- science and the products thereof will work for anyone, but only certain special people are able to do magic ... magic ... is fundamentally not amenable to scientific investigation-- something not bound by easily discoverable rules.

In such a world the solution to every problem is redistribution. To effect this political parties ceaselessly put up magical people as candidates whose powers derive from certain associative properties. Nobody runs anymore on the strength of competence but because they are gay, lesbian, disabled, a person of color, or imbued with some other property. Only with this talisman can they approach the tower of capitalism to demand more of who abides within.

In 1926 the French sociologist Lucien Levy-Bruhl wrote: "The primitive mind does not differentiate the supernatural from reality, but rather uses 'mystical participation' to manipulate the world. According to Levy-Bruhl, moreover, the primitive mind doesn't address contradictions." Except for the wizards we are, most of us, primitives now.

In an ironic sort of way, the more technologically advanced a society becomes the more medieval and superstitious its governance can become. Then we will truly become pre-modern, supplanting nuclear power plants with windmills and electricity with candles. Perhaps the biggest problem of the 21st century will not be income, but knowledge inequality.



California’s Disastrous State Illustrates Limits of Progressivism

Victor Davis Hanson

More than 2 million Californians recently were left without power after the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric—which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year—preemptively shut down transmission lines in fear that they might spark fires during periods of high autumn winds.

Consumers blame the state for not cleaning up dead trees and brush, along with the utility companies for not updating their ossified equipment. The power companies in turn fault the state for so overregulating utilities that they had no resources to modernize their grids.

Californians know that having tens of thousands of homeless in their major cities is untenable. In some places, municipal sidewalks have become open sewers of garbage, used needles, rodents, and infectious diseases.

Yet no one dares question progressive orthodoxy by enforcing drug and vagrancy laws, moving the homeless out of cities to suburban or rural facilities, or increasing the number of mental hospitals.

Taxpayers in California, whose basket of sales, gasoline, and income taxes is the highest in the nation, quietly seethe while immobile on antiquated freeways that are crowded, dangerous, and under nonstop makeshift repair.

Gas prices of $4 to $5 a gallon—the result of high taxes, hyper-regulation, and green mandates—add insult to the injury of stalled commuters. Gas tax increases ostensibly intended to fund freeway expansion and repair continue to be diverted to the state’s failing high-speed rail project.

Residents shrug that the state’s public schools are among the weakest in the nation, often ranking in the bottom quadrant in standardized test scores. Elites publicly oppose charter schools, but often put their own kids in private academies.

Californians know that to venture into a typical municipal emergency room is to descend into a modern Dante’s Inferno. Medical facilities are overcrowded. They can be as unpleasant as they are bankrupting to the vanishing middle class that must face exorbitant charges to bring in an injured or sick child.

No one would dare to connect the crumbling infrastructure, poor schools, and failing public health care with the non-enforcement of immigration laws, which has led to a massive influx of undocumented immigrants from the poorest regions of the world, who often arrive without fluency in English or a high school education.

Stores are occasionally hit by swarming looters. Such Wild West criminals know how to keep their thefts under $950, ensuring that such “misdemeanors” do not warrant police attention. California’s permissive laws have decriminalized thefts and break-ins. The result is that San Francisco now has the highest property crime rate per capita in the nation.

Has California become premodern?

Millions of fed-up middle-class taxpayers have fled the state. Their presence as a stabilizing influence is sorely missed. About one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients live in California. Millions of poor newcomers require enormously expensive state health, housing, education, legal, and law enforcement services.

California is now a one-party state. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. Only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats are held by Republicans. The result is that there is no credible check on a mostly coastal majority.

Huge global wealth in high-tech, finance, trade, and academia poured into the coastal corridor, creating a new nobility with unprecedented riches. Unfortunately, the new aristocracy adopted mindsets antithetical to the general welfare of Californians living outside their coastal enclaves.

The nobodies have struggled to buy high-priced gas, pay exorbitant power bills, and deal with shoddy infrastructure—all of which resulted from the policies of the distant somebodies.

California’s three most powerful politicians—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Gov. Gavin Newsom—are all multimillionaires. Their lives, homes, and privileges bear no resemblance to those of other Californians living with the consequences of their misguided policies and agendas.

The state’s elite took revolving-door entries and exits for granted. They assumed that California was so naturally rich, beautiful, and well endowed that there would always be thousands of newcomers who would queue up for the weather, the shore, the mountains, and the hip culture.

Yet California is nearing the logical limits of progressive adventurism in policy and politics.

Residents carefully plan long highway trips as if they were ancient explorers charting dangerous routes. Tourists warily enter downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco as if visiting a politically unstable nation.

Insatiable state tax collectors and agencies are viewed by the public as if they were corrupt officials of Third World countries seeking bribes. Californians flip their switches unsure of whether the lights will go on. Many are careful about what they say, terrified of progressive thought police who seem more worried about critics than criminals.

Our resolute ancestors took a century to turn a wilderness into California. Our irresolute generation in just a decade or two has been turning California into a wilderness.



U.S. economic growth continues, recession pundits proven wrong again

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement reacting to the latest GDP numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing a 1.9 percent inflation-adjusted increase in economic growth in the third quarter of 2019:

“The Recessionistas have been proven wrong yet again as the economy continues to sustainably grow in the third quarter by 1.9 percent. While this growth rate is not spectacular, it’s not horrible either and in view of the perpetually wrong economic pundits’ gloom and doom prognostications, it should be viewed as a repudiation of those who attempted to talk down the Trump economy.

“Fewer Americans are unemployed right now than at any time since 2000, and the unemployment rate is lower than at any time in the past 50 years. Americans are working, wages are on the rise, and the only people unhappy are the Never Trumpers and those with Trump derangement syndrome who are perpetually mad.”




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

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


4 November, 2019

Media-Democrat Tantrum a Fear Response

In 1776, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing that their actions would be viewed as treason by the prevailing power. 

Fast-forward a mere 240 years. A group of corrupt and craven people gathered in secret to once again consider radical actions.  But, unlike the Declaration's signers, they were the prevailing power and intended to remain so, fully confident in their complete control of government, the media, the Judiciary, academia, entertainment, and nearly every form of cultural power.

They feared no consequences.  It was simply inconceivable to them that with so many hands on the scales, they could possibly lose an election.

And then they did.  All of their treasonous misdeeds that were supposed to not only be covered up, but rewarded by the queen of corruption were suddenly a real vulnerability.  They weren't just shattered by the election loss.  They were genuinely afraid.

But they weren't defenseless.  They had lost the presidency and did not control Congress, but they still controlled the other pillars of power.  So they doubled down on lawlessness and planned a coup under the most ridiculous pretenses, knowing that an administration under siege would be much less likely to uncover and expose their villainy.

I believe that the active intervention of Admiral Mike Rogers, the then-director of the National Security Agency, may have prevented its success.

Their efforts certainly delayed any day of reckoning, and the jury is still out on whether that reckoning can still come in this country where the Left has such control of the bureaucracy and media.

But President Donald Trump is a rare politician.  Despite all the churn and seditious efforts, he remained the happy warrior, never losing sight of the importance of uncovering the origins of the coup attempt.  And, in the appointment of William Barr as attorney general, he finally had the right guy, a kindred spirit with the moral courage to ignore the noise and see it through.

That brings us to today. The media-Democrat establishment is increasingly reacting like a cornered feral beast.

The Schiff show secret impeachment hearings, the Nancy Pelosi decision to move forward on impeachment procedures, the media meltdown over President Trump's success in sending Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to justice, and the increasing comical chorus of calls for William Barr to recuse himself can all be understood as a collective Democrat fear response.

They are pushing their poker chips to the center of the table in a last desperate attempt to discredit the real investigation that is proceeding methodically and relentlessly forward: U.S. attorney John Durham's now criminal probe into alleged misconduct at the Justice Department.  The leftist noise is going to only get louder.

It is no coincidence that after this news came out, Adam Schiff amped up his lies, phones in every defense attorney office in Washington lit up like a Christmas tree, and the media screeds became even more of a parody.

It is within this environment that the Washington Post ran one of the most appalling headlines of all time.  How dare President Trump ruthlessly kill an austere religious scholar, and one with such beautiful wire-rimmed glasses?

The full media are in one of the craziest spin cycles on record as they desperately try to drown out any favorable news for the president.  Every shred of positive news damages their desperate discrediting effort.

This is why the media quickly pivoted to gleefully reporting that government bureaucrats and D.C. elitists booed President Trump at the Washington Nationals baseball game shortly after he oversaw the elimination of the world's most wanted terrorist.

Sometimes, it really does feel as if Trump is playing 4-D chess — or perhaps a more apt description would be that his opponents are playing hangman against themselves.

He could not have better scripted a display of out-of-touch Washington anti-American elitism.  A person is known even more by his enemies than by his friends, and Trump has made all the right ones.

It is also within this environment that Nancy Pelosi is moving forward on impeachment procedures.  This is not a step she wanted to take.  Her preference was to bleed this impeachment façade out behind closed doors, where Democrats could slowly drip out hand-selected soundbites between now and the 2020 election.  Pelosi did not want to actually vote on impeachment, when her more vulnerable members would need to go on record.  Even worse, she does not want to send this to the Senate, where she knows there are not the twenty Pierre Delectos she would need.  Democrats would lose control of the narrative.

But the secret tribunal effort is already losing steam, thanks to the Republicans successfully drawing attention to what is going on.

With the I.G. report and investigations looming over their heads like a guillotine blade, Pelosi took the plunge.

The media-Democrat establishment has a limited window to keep public interest in their own false investigation, which they are trying to time to do the most damage to the credibility of the real investigation unfolding.

If Republicans had tried to hold a secret partisan trial of President Barack Obama, swooning reporters would have chained themselves in front of the door and screamed about democracy dying in darkness in their most self-righteous Tom Hanks voices.  Republican villainy would have been the only story on the news until they backed down in shame.

Media bias comes in many forms, but one of the most effective forms is in their ability to frame stories.  There is an entire cottage industry in "Republicans pounce" stories to frame even terrible Democrat news as somehow harmful to Republicans.  But to frame this story the way the media want to frame it, they needed help.

This is why we now have dueling investigations, one a complete façade and the other deadly serious.  There is no secret in how these will be covered by the media.  The fraud impeachment circus will be treated with full gravity and seriousness, while what might be the most important investigation in U.S. history will be treated as political payback.

But this is an investigation that is essential to restoring faith in the republic.  There is so much we already know.  We know that a decorated Soldier, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, was set up in an obscene miscarriage of justice by corrupt and evil FBI agents.  We know that the appointed leadership of nearly every intelligence agency illegally spied on and attempted to remove a duly elected president.

The inconvenient fact for the Left is that a secret group of plotters at the highest level of government, perhaps including the then-president himself, committed some of the most outrageous crimes in U.S. history that threatened to forever destroy constitutional governance.

That decision set in motion the news and drama that we hear today.  And every single media-Democrat resource is being thrown into the fight to prevent and discredit the justice they fear is coming ever closer.



Poll: Most Americans Oppose Reparations for Slavery

Few Americans are in favor of giving reparations to descendants of enslaved black people in the United States, a poll shows, even as the idea has gained momentum among Democratic presidential contenders.

Only 29% of Americans say the government should pay cash reparations, according to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.

But the poll reveals a large divide between Americans of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Most black Americans, 74%, favor reparations, compared with 15% of white Americans. Among Hispanics, 44% favor reparations.

Interestingly, the percentage of whites who support the U.S. government apologizing for slavery is just 35 percent. 77 percent of blacks support an apology.

Younger people are far more likely to support an apology or reparations. 45 percent of those 18-29 think we should pay the descendants of slaves while 60 percent feel the government should apologize.

Those kids are the children of parents who mostly oppose reparations. The radicalization of America's children by schools is now complete. The issue of reparations was a radical, fringe idea 15 years ago. It has been brought into the mainstream by a far-left school curriculum that stresses "social justice" instead of critical thinking.

If they had learned anything about critical thinking, they'd know that the is impossible to quantify and a nightmare to administer. Who gets what? Do African immigrants that have been in the U.S. for a few years get any? And how "black" do you have to be. One quarter? One eighth?

And then there's the question of "justice." Former Clinton aide Stuart Eizanstat, who negotiated a Holocaust settlement, thinks reparations are a bad idea.

But reparations in the form of cash payments for descendants of slaves are not the way to right this grievous wrong. I write this having spent decades of my life negotiating more than $17 billion in reparations for Holocaust survivors. What I learned as chief negotiator for both the U.S. government, across several presidential administrations, and for the Jewish Claims Conference, a group representing Holocaust survivors in compensation negotiations with the post-war German government, is that reparations are complicated, contentious and messy, and work best when the crime was recent and the direct victims are still alive.

Based on my experience, I believe that trying to repay descendants of slaves could end up causing more problems than reparations would seek to solve, and that there are better ways to end racial disparities.

It is likely that reparations will become an important issue in the coming presidential elections as candidates look to get support of black voters by promising the undeliverable. But at bottom, reparations are a massive transfer of wealth, confiscated from the innocent that, as Eizenstat suggests, would cause more problems than they would solve.



Demonizing Police & Trump's Crime Commission

Over the weekend, Biden and Sanders intentionally stoked racial discord and hatred of the police.

Over the weekend, a number of presidential candidates attended the Second Step Presidential Justice Forum at Benedict College, a historically black college in South Carolina.

Former Vice President Joe Biden was asked by one of the attendees, “If I were your daughter, what advice would you give me the next time I am stopped by the police?” Biden responded, “If you were my daughter, you’d be a Caucasian girl and you wouldn’t be pulled over.”

Translation: The police are discriminating against young black people, and they never pull over young white people for speeding, drunk driving, or any other issues.

Not to be outdone, Sen. Bernie Sanders took it to whole other level with this response to the same question: “I would respect what [the police] are doing so that you don’t get shot in the back of the head.”

This is now the difference between a moderate and a radical in the Democrat Party. Both Biden and Sanders are intentionally stoking racial discord and hatred of the police. Biden does it by suggesting that police are discriminating against blacks, while Sanders does it by suggesting that cops are deliberately executing blacks.

Biden and Sanders should be ashamed of themselves. Their disgusting comments come at a time when there is a surge in police suicides.

Again, I must ask independents, reasonable Democrats, and my Never-Trump friends: Exactly how are either of these men and today’s Democrat Party supposed to bring America together?

While leading Democrats were demonizing the police and stoking racial divisions, President Trump on Monday addressed the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago. The president told his audience:

You don’t hear it enough: You do an incredible job … and the people of this country love you… Every day of my presidency, I will be your greatest and most loyal champion.

The president also announced that he was issuing an executive order establishing a commission to examine “some of the systemic challenges that burden law enforcement.” It is the first serious review of the criminal justice system in decades.

Among the many issues the commission will study, I was pleased to see this one: “The need to promote public respect for the law and law enforcement officers.” Perhaps Colin Kaepernick, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders will learn something!

What a striking contrast! Democrats are fanning the flames of racial tension while the president is trying to come up with ideas to make minority communities safer.



A wardog indeed


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

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


3 November, 2019

Conservative caution

The most distinctive thing about the Left/Right clash in the world today is liberty-loving conservatives versus an authoritarian Left. 

Authoritarianism goes to the heart of Leftism.  What Leftists believe and advocate is constantly changing but a belief that they have a right to tell others what to do never changes. They want to make us do things we do not want to do and stop us doing things we would normally do.  The extreme authoritarians of C20 (Stalin, Hitler, Mao) were all extreme socialists and socialists elsewhere are constrained only by what they can get away with. To get their jollies, socialists in a democracy have to invent stories that will convince a large slice of the population that restricting their liberty will do some good. Global warming is a great story of that kind, hence its total resistance to disproof. The black heart of Leftism is a furious hunger for power and domination over other people but authoritarianism is the everyday manifestation of that

So what is the heart of conservatism?  Is it a love of liberty?  Any libertarian will dispute that.  Unlike libertarians, conservatives do permit some infringements on individual liberty -- with taxation being the prime example of that. Taxation is unavoidably authoritarian.  It is ultimately enforced on unwilling people by police and the courts.  So why do conservatives resist the authoritarian initiatives of the Left?  What makes the difference between a good law and a bad law to conservatives?  The difference is obviously one of degree but what is the criterion that guides what is acceptable and what is not?

Throughout history, conservatives have always been seen as more cautious and that is what I see as the deep level of conservatism.  It is caution that limits what laws will be accepted and which will not be.  Leftist laws are deliberately aimed at being destructive in some way -- despite their alleged benefits.  The vast costs imposed by the global warming myth are an example of such destruction.  And it generally takes little for thinking people to foresee the destructive impact of Leftist laws.  So cautious conservatives reject such laws.  Conservative caution leads conservatives to resist initiatives that will destroy their society in various ways. Conservative caution means that conservatives value stability in their world. Stability is safety. If something must be changed, there has to be good evidence that it will be beneficial on the whole.

So we come to an objection to that account.  A reader has written to say that caution is an insufficient explanation for what conservatives do and value.  His email follows. It was written in response to my claim that a cautious disposition was more basic than the Heritage list of conservative principles:

1) "The Heritage Foundation list of of conservative principles would be met with broad agreement by the people who founded the American Republic, yet they were violent revolutionaries. They had radical ideas, not the least of which was that ordinary people should be free to conduct their lives as they saw fit. The vast majority of mankind for the vast majority of human history lived under significant constraints by church and state and most people thought that is the way it should be.

2). In my opinion because America was founded on limited government, private property, rule of law and individual freedom, conservatives often appear seeking to preserve the status quo or go back in time. Yet if America started as an unlimited monarchy I think many people who count themselves as conservatives would be liberals (in the old sense, arguing for more individual liberty) even though that would be disrupting the way things were and are.

3). Voltaire would find a lot to agree with in the list of conservative principles and he was a great disrupter.  The conservative you describe seems more to me like Confucius who lived in a time of social decline and sought to preserve past glories and stability no matter the political content."

My Reply:

1).  I have long maintained something that is anathema to most American conservatives.  I won't go over the whole grounds for it here but it seems clear to me that the war of independence was in most ways a typically Leftist revolution.  You really just have to read the Declaration of Independence to see that.  It starts out with the flowery language that most people know but the body is a series of complaints that the king has inhibited the powers of the colonial legislators. He has limited what they can enact and has on occasions overruled them.

The revolutionaries wanted the King's powers for themselves and they had to tell a good story to get that. The colonial grandees had to tell a story good enough to get ordinary Americans to take up arms on their behalf.  They did that by convincing people that they would give the ordinary man more rights than the King did.  Not everyone was convinced.  New York, for instance, was almost wholly against the revolutionaries.  But the  revolutionary promises were lapped up by enough people to win the day.  Lenin, Hitler and Mao also came to power via great promises to their people

The difference between the American revolutionaries and the European socialists was that the Americans were led by grandees who already had their own well-established parliaments and legal systems so, rather than wanting to upend everything, they just wanted to remove constraints on their existing powers and authority. Which they did. So there is a sense in which the American revolution was a conservative revolution -- in that it reinforced the existing American power structure rather than overturning it.  There was substantial stability in the arrangements before and after the war.

The revolutionaries did in fact claim that their revolution was a conservative one -- in that the list of rights and privileges that they offered did have substantial continuity with traditional English liberties as understood by Burke and others.  They claimed that the King was not respecting those liberties and they, the revolutionaries, were restoring those liberties

And note that the Mayflower founders were communists.  They based their communism on religion rather than politics but they were such fanatical communists that a third of them had to starve before they reverted to traditional ways. So the thinking they left to their successors was heavily laden with Leftist suspicion of the status quo and belief in their own righteousness.

So it is no surprise that the American revolutionaries were typical Leftists in many ways.  That the high-flown radical  principles that brought them to power have since become widely admired does not detract from their origin as war propaganda.

So my reply to point 1 is to agree that the revolutionaries were neither cautious nor conservative.  The conservatives, mostly from New York, were defeated in that war.

2).  The second point above is undoubtedly correct.  Conservatives have never felt unable to resist restrictions on their liberty.  Having other people in power over you is dangerous and it is perfectly cautious to want to reduce dangers.

3). It flows from point 2 that conservatism is not necessarily passive.  It can be active and strong in defence of its liberties.  And indeed it needs to be.  Leftist energies never seem to tire so conservatives have to act constantly to resist that.  Stability needs to be continually fought for.

Readers who are interested in continuing the discussion about  the Leftist influence throughout American history will find a serial discussion of that here, here and here, including some substantial disagreements with me.


Polls Suggest Impeachment Will Help Trump Reelection in Swing States

Democrats took a tremendous gamble by formally voting for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Thursday. While polls suggest Americans support the inquiry, the general public is divided on whether or not Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Those in key swing states are more likely to oppose impeachment and removal, suggesting that the impeachment battle may help Trump's reelection in 2020.

"We’ve known for a long time that everybody in California and New York want Trump to be impeached, they’ve wanted that since the day he came into office," an anonymous Trump campaign official told The Hill. "But in these states where the election is really going to be fought, we’re seeing that voters oppose impeachment, and there’s an intensity to that opposition."

Indeed, a New York Times/Siena College poll released Wednesday showed that voters in six key swing states oppose impeaching and removing President Trump, 52 percent to 44 percent.

Most voters in Arizona (52 percent to 45 percent), Florida (53 percent to 42 percent), Michigan (51 percent to 42 percent), North Carolina (53 percent to 43 percent), Pennsylvania (52 percent to 45 percent), and Wisconsin (51 percent to 45 percent) say they oppose Congress's potential removal of Trump from office.

Most voters in those states also support the impeachment inquiry, however — though by smaller margins.

Other polling found that even the inquiry is unpopular in some swing states. Last week, a Marquette University Law School survey of Wisconsin found 49 percent of voters oppose the inquiry while 46 percent support it. Most voters (51 percent) also opposed removing Trump from office, while 44 percent supported it. Independents proved colder to impeachment and to the inquiry, with only 33 percent supporting Trump's removal and 35 percent supporting the Congressional investigation.

Trump won Wisconsin by a mere 23,000 votes — out of roughly 3 million. Late-breaking undecided voters went his way on Election Day.

In New Hampshire, a state Hillary Clinton won by fewer than 3,000 votes — out of roughly 700,000 — impeachment is similarly unpopular. Most voters oppose removing Trump (51 percent to 42 percent), according to a CNN-University of New Hampshire poll.

Respondents also oppose impeachment and removal in Arizona, a state Trump won by 3.6 percent but which Democrats have targeted for pick-up. Fifty percent of Arizona residents oppose "impeaching Donald Trump," while 44 percent support it, according to a recent Emerson College poll.

Impeachment is a two-step process, and no president in U.S. history has been impeached and removed by Congress. The House of Representatives opens the process, with a bare majority of representatives required to impeach a president, opening the case up for a trial in the U.S. Senate. Only the Senate can remove the president, and that requires a two-thirds majority — extremely unlikely with the current Republican majority.

Polling on the issue can center on three separate issues: whether the House should open the impeachment inquiry; whether the House should vote to impeach Trump; and whether the Senate should vote to remove him.

Sadly, due to America's stark partisan divide on the president, many Democrats and liberals have long wanted to remove Trump and were merely seeking an excuse to do so.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was correct when she said, "Impeachment is a very serious matter. If it happens it has to be a bipartisan initiative." On Thursday, not a single Republican voted for the impeachment inquiry, while two Democrats voted against it.

As The New York Times's Nate Cohn reported, different polls have come to different conclusions about the nationwide sentiment on removing Trump from office. Trump criticized a Fox News poll showing 51 percent supporting removal and only 43 percent opposing it, while a Wall Street Journal survey found 49 percent opposed to removal and 43 percent supporting it.

Cohn drew attention to the group of swing-state voters who support the inquiry but oppose removing Trump. This 7 percent of voters skew younger (33 percent are 18 to 34) and independent (nearly half). A majority of them (51 percent) said Trump's conduct is typical of most politicians — and indeed, Senate Democrats also pressured Ukraine to investigate their political opponent, Trump himself. Cohn noted that these voters "hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him."

Because Democrats have called for Trump's impeachment since shortly after his inauguration, a jaded view of this latest push is warranted.

While Trump may be tainted with scandal if the House votes to impeach him, he will also be able to decry the blatantly partisan nature of the push to remove him from office. The Senate is extremely unlikely to remove him, and the impeachment charade may actually help the president in the swing states he needs to win for reelection.

This impeachment battle could backfire on the Democrats, badly.




BOLTON SUMMONED: Former national security advisor John Bolton summoned to testify in House impeachment inquiry (Associated Press)

"WEAPONIZED IMPEACHMENT": Nancy Pelosi targeted in ethics complaint filed by 40 conservative groups (Fox News)

MYSTERY SOLVED: "The co-chairman of a Turkish-American advocacy group with close ties to Ankara contributed $1,500 last month to the campaign for Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is under fire this week over votes she cast supporting Turkish government positions." (The Daily Caller)

NO MORE ADS: Twitter bans political ads ahead of 2020 election (Associated Press)

MIND-BOGGLING: Police blew up an innocent man's house in search of an armed shoplifter. Too bad, court rules. (The Washington Post)

JOB GROWTH PREVAILS: October job creation comes in at 128,000, easily topping estimates even with GM auto strike (CNBC)

COUNTERING THE NARRATIVE: Latest impeachment witness contradicts Alexander Vindman's claim that key details were left out of Ukraine call transcript (National Review)

"I HAVE BEEN TREATED VERY BADLY": Trump makes Florida his primary residence, but says New York will "have a special place in my heart" (Fox News)

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Trump admin again gives Iran green light to conduct sensitive nuclear work (The Washington Free Beacon)

NUCLEAR OVERTURES: North Korea launches missile test, prompting escalation fears (U.S. News & World Report)

AID BLOCKED: U.S. withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon (Reuters)

POLICY: States can use funny math on Medicaid expansion economic claims (The Heartland Institute)

BETO BEATEN:  "Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke has announced he is ending his presidential campaign. “Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully,” O’Rourke wrote (Medium)


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

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


1 November, 2019

The J Street Democrats

Ben Shapiro
This week, four of the top candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro and Bernie Sanders — gathered at the J Street Conference to explain why the United States ought to pressure the state of Israel to make concessions to terrorists, why the Obama administration was correct to appease the Iranian regime and why American Jews ought to value the opinions of Bernie Sanders over those of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the future of Jewish safety. Two other top Democrats — Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden — sent video messages in support of the group.

By contrast, when the American Israel Public Affairs Committee held its annual conference in March, not a single Democratic presidential candidate showed up. The Democrats are, by and large, simply too ashamed to stand with an actual pro-Israel group, although prominent congressional leaders still show up to mouth nostrums about bipartisan support for Israel.

But the heart of the Democratic Party has moved against Israel. That’s because Israel is economically successful, while its enemies are not; Israel is liberal, while its enemies are not; Israel is the tip of the spear of Western civilization in an area known for its tribalism and brutality. This means that according to the radical left, Israel is an exploitative country hell-bent on domination, despite its lack of territorial ambition — Israel has signed over large swaths of land won through military victory to geopolitical enemies, and offered much more repeatedly.

So the Democrats built up and gave credence to J Street, a Trojan horse group dedicated to undermining American support for Israel and justifying left-wing hatred of the Jewish state. J Street was founded by Clinton operative Jeremy Ben-Ami and Israeli far-left political figure Daniel Levy in late 2007. One of its chief sources of funding — a source obscured in the early years by its founders — was anti-Israel radical George Soros.

The media quickly began treating J Street as a legitimate representative of mainstream Jewish opinion on Israel, and so did Democrats, particularly in the anti-Israel Obama administration: Rather than having to deal with those troublesome actually pro-Israel voices at AIPAC, it was easier to bring in a few ringers from J Street to pretend that advocating for negotiations with Hamas represented an acceptable opinion in the pro-Israel community.

And those sorts of positions routinely crop up at J Street. J Street repeatedly urged the Obama administration to abstain from anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations. Proponents of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement have found comfort at their events. J Street was an adamant backer of Barack Obama’s Iran deal when the pro-Israel community unanimously opposed it. J Street has refused to condemn a government deal between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and has even undermined Israeli self-defense in conflicts with Hamas. On campus, J Street regularly hosts groups dedicated to smearing the Israel Defense Forces.

So it was no wonder that Bernie Sanders arrived at the J Street conference and quickly suggested aid to Israel be redirected to the Gaza Strip, run by Hamas, to the cheers of attendees. It was no surprise when Buttigieg suggested that the Iran deal correctly ignored Iran’s terrorist funding and ballistic missile testing, while also suggesting that America reconsider aid to Israel if Israel continues to build in disputed areas of Judea and Samaria. It was no shock when Julian Castro pledged to open an embassy in East Jerusalem for the Palestinians — despite the fact that no solution has been negotiated with regard to the final status of Jerusalem.

Leaders in the Democratic Party may maintain that their anti-Israel turn is due to Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who understand Israeli politics know better. There is wide consensus in Israel that no negotiation can be expected with Hamas, Islamic jihadis or the Palestinian Authority; those negotiations have ended in blood too many times. Absent a peace partner, there can be no peace. Democrats must know this. But they’d prefer to blind themselves to that knowledge — and use J Street to cover their tracks.



More Laws Equal Less Justice

There are way too many laws on the books, making unsuspecting Americans into "criminals."

Most Americans are law-abiding citizens, or so they think. Yet they would be shocked to discover they are likely criminals, since the average American commits three felonies per day!

In their defense, the vast majority of these “criminals” have no idea they are breaking the law. How could they? When the federal government can’t even provide an accurate count of how many statutes and regulations carrying criminal penalties are on the books, how can the average American possibly know?

The current best estimate is that there are more than 300,000 laws and regulations carrying criminal penalties. Three. Hundred. Thousand. As Professor John Baker once said, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.”

Thanks to Congress and its habit of passing laws with little or no requirement for mens rea (a consciousness of guilt, meaning the person knows that what they are doing is wrong), it is literally impossible for any American to know whether some action they take is violating the law.

This is wrong on many levels.

One, it creates anger and contempt for the law. James Madison warned of this in Federalist 62, declaring “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be to-morrow.”

Second, it is immoral to deprive a man of life, liberty, or property for an activity that he was not even aware was a crime. Yet it happens every single day in America.

For example, most Americans know (even if only from watching crime dramas) that bank deposits of $10,000 or more have to be reported to the IRS. This is supposed to be a tool to crack down on tax evasion, drug dealing, and money laundering. But did you know you can be fined and go to jail for making deposits of less than $10,000 as well?

Lyndon McLellan didn’t, and he paid the price … literally.

McLellan is the owner of L&M Convenience Mart, a small mom-and-pop convenience store in poor, rural North Carolina. The very nature of the business means most of his customers paid in cash for the gas, drinks, home-cooked food, cigarettes, and other goods they purchased. Each day he worked long hours to make a success of a business where long hours and low profit margins are the norm.

McLellan worked nearly every day since 2001, rarely taking a vacation, often running the register, sweeping floors, and cooking food from open to close. Every few days McLellan’s niece would deposit a few thousand dollars with his bank. After more than a dozen years of hard work, the IRS came in one day and seized his bank account, which amounted to just $107,702 — less than what many American families make in a single year.

The reason?

The IRS accused McLellan of “structuring” violations — intentionally making deposits of less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. Lyndon pleaded his innocence, and pointed out that he had vendors to pay, which he could not do if his bank account was frozen. If he could not pay his vendors, then they would stop providing goods and his store would be forced to close. Even after his accountant meticulously matched receipts with deposits to show that the money was legitimate, the government dismissed the evidence.

Luckily, the Institute for Justice took on his case, and after several years McLellan prevailed in court. He was eventually able to get his money back — though the government initially tried to keep the money even after the charges were dismissed.

Sadly, this is just one of countless cases that keep our courtrooms and prisons packed, even when the “crime” is simply a transgression of a statute that as often as not makes no sense, prevents no crime, and protects no victim. Consider Barbara Horst, the Ohio grandmother charged with a felony for having 14 scrap tires in her truck, when the legal limit was 10.

Thanks to these miscarriages of justice, innocent Americans are becoming criminals faster than ever, even though violent crime and property crimes have been steadily dropping for years.

Though a rising number of prosecutors are pushing back on the criminalization of victimless crimes (or disproportionate punishment for minor offenses), it still leaves the average American at risk of prosecution for unwittingly committing a crime, the only hope of escape being a lucky draw of a reasonable prosecutor. The Institute for Justice does fantastic work, but they can only take on a handful of cases each year.

Our laws should be simple and easily understood by people of average intelligence. They should deprive citizens of liberty or property only as punishment and restitution for depriving others of the same. The more laws we have on the books, the less likely we are to see justice prevail, and the more likely we are to see the laws used by those in power to oppress the innocent.

So the next time you hear someone say, “There ought to be a law,” just remember — the next Lyndon McLellan or Barbara Horst could be you.



NSC testimony reveals deep state arrogance

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman that he was “uncomfortable” with President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky:

“Leaked testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman to the House Intelligence Committee is shocking in its revelation on three critical points. First and foremost, a career NSC employee somehow believes that his policy preferences supersede those of the elected President of the United States. This reveals the ongoing deep state battle where unelected bureaucrats resist the constitutional powers vested in the President with full belief that they have moral authority. One simple question to Vindman: Who the heck elected you?

The second troubling aspect of his testimony is that he clearly believes that the Democrats would engage in partisan retribution against the Ukraine government as a result of their help in getting to the bottom of the origins of the Russiagate scandal and any potential findings of corruption against former Vice President Joe Biden. Ironically, this is exactly what the Democrats falsely say they are impeaching Trump over, saying that exposing 2016 interference by Ukraine is in itself interference.

Third, as an officer in the U.S. military Vindman appears to be violating the military code of conduct that allows for disobedience of an unlawful order but does not allow testifying to the legislative branch in opposition to a presidential national security policy that he was uniquely privy to.

“It no wonder that the President of the United States cut out career foreign service and national security council personnel from decision-making related to Ukraine and presumably elsewhere in the world. And it begs the question as to what value any of these resister bureaucrats provide when the President cannot include them in the decision-making process due to their infidelity to their constitutional and legal duties. At this point, it is reasonable to question whether the entirety of the National Security Council should be required to submit their resignations and reapply for their jobs if they believe they can actually inform and in good faith implement the President’s policies.”




TEMPORARY HIATUS: DC Circuit halts disclosure of Mueller grand-jury materials to consider an emergency appeal (The Daily Caller)

SWAMP LEAKAGE: State Department launches investigation into "deep state" targeting Trump's top Iran official (The Washington Free Beacon)

SILENCE SPEAKS VOLUMES: House passes Armenian genocide measure — no thanks to Ilhan Omar (CNSNews.com)

HYPOCRISY: Elizabeth Warren pledges to crack down on school choice, despite sending her own son to elite private school (The Daily Caller)

WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? The NCAA will allow athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness in a major shift for the organization (CNBC)

THE LAST STRAW: China dumped 27% more trash into the ocean in 2018 (New York Post)

MORE TO THE STORY? Forensic investigator: Jeffrey Epstein's autopsy more consistent with homicide (National Review)

BABY, IT'S WOKE OUTSIDE: John Legend and Kelly Clarkson remake "Baby, It's Cold Outside" after critics said it promoted date rape (CBS News)

POLICY: The needless trauma of active-shooter drills (National Review)

POLICY: Baghdadi is dead. But we're no closer to victory in the "forever war." (American Enterprise Institute)

HUMOR: Texas luring jobs away from California with promises of electricity (The Babylon Bee)


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

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


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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

Social justice is injustice. What is just about taking money off people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it? You can call it many things but justice it is not

But it is the aim of all Leftist governments to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it

At the most basic (psychological) level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. Conservatives don't think the world is perfect but they can happily live with it. And both those attitudes are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

The fundamental aim of Leftist policy in a democracy is to deliver dismay and disruption into the lives other people -- whom they regard as "complacent" -- and they are good at achieving that.

As usual, however, it is actually they who are complacent, with a conviction of the rightness and virtue of their own beliefs that merges into arrogance. They regard anyone who disagrees with them with contempt.

Leftists are wolves in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

Because they claim to have all the answers to society's ills, Communists often seem "cool" to young people

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

American conservatives have to struggle to hold their country together against Leftist attempts to destroy it. Maduro's Venezuela is a graphic example of how extremely destructive socialism in government can be

The standard response from Marxist apologists for Stalin and other Communist dictators is to say you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. To which Orwell retorted, ‘Where’s the omelette?’

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

"The tendency of liberals is to create bodies of men and women — of all classes — detached from tradition, alienated from religion, and susceptible to mass suggestion — mob rule. And a mob will be no less a mob if it is well fed, well clothed, well housed, and well disciplined." —T.S. Eliot

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others" -- Cicero. See here

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

ABOUT: Postings here from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

Let's now have some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

'Gay Pride' parades: You know you live in a great country when "oppressed" people have big, colorful parades.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

"Those who see hate everywhere think they're looking thru a window when actually they're looking at a mirror"

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they (under the chairmanship of Ulric Neisser) have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Revolutionary terrorists in Russia killed Tsar Alexander II in 1881 (after three prior assassination attempts). Alexander II was a great reformer who abolished serfdom one year before the US abolished slavery. If his democratic and economic reforms had continued, Russia may have been much less radical politically a couple of decades later, when Nicholas II was overthrown.

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Some rare Leftist realism: "God forbid if the rich leave" NY Governor Cuomo February 04, 2019

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

"Foreign aid is the process by which money is taken from poor people in rich countries and given to rich people in poor countries." -- Peter Bauer

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

Some personal background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

In my teenage years, however, I was fortunate to be immersed (literally) in a very fundamentalist Christian religion. And the heavy Bible study I did at that time left me with lessons for life that have stood me in good stead ever since

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

A real army story here

It's amusing that my army service gives me honour among conservatives but contempt from Leftists. I don't weep at all about the latter. I am still in touch with some of the fine people I served with over 50 years ago. The army is like that

This is just a bit of romanticism but I do have permanently located by the head of my bed a genuine century-old British army cavalry sword. It is still a real weapon. I was not in the cavalry but I see that sword as a symbol of many things. I want it to be beside my bed when I die

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

And something that was perceptive comes from the same chapter. Hitler said that the doctrines of the interwar Social Democrats (mainstream leftists) of Vienna were "comprised of egotism and hate". Not much has changed

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
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To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
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Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
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