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

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

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31 October, 2016

Do cranberries prevent burny pees?

There has been popular support for cranberries helping with urinary tract infections for a very long time.  But the research findings have been uneven. There has therefore been a wish for studies which would settle the question for once and for all. The abstract of the latest study is below. 

It is undoubtedly a well-conducted study and a contemporaneous review has used it as something of a final nail in the coffin of clinical use of cranberry juice.

I wish to prise that nail out of the coffin, in part because I have personally found cranberry juice to be very efficacious. It doesn't happen often but, if I get a twinge of UTI, I rapidly belt a couple of mouthfuls of supermarket cranberry juice into me and the problem disappears.

So why is my experience different from what we read in the report below?  Several reasons.  For a start, I am not a sick and elderly woman living in a Connecticut nursing home.  More importantly, however, I take the juice as a cure, not as a preventive.  Its effects could wear off if you take it all the time.  Cranberries may not be able to prevent UTI but they could cure it.

I am also concerned that most of the studies administer the stuff in capsule form rather than as a drink. As a much-published academic researcher myself, I know exactly why they do that.  It enables standardization and replicability.  But what if the scientific precautions damage the effect?  What if capsules are not a good way of delivering the power of the cranberry?  To put it in academic terms, what if the finding is an artifact of the experimental method? What if capsules have processed all the goodness out of the cranberries? Health researchers are loud and frequent in condemning processed food generally, so how come cranberry capsules get a pass?

So it is my conclusion that most of the studies, including the one below, have been incautious despite themselves and have not examined the question adequately.  Drink up your cranberry juice!

Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Manisha Juthani-Mehta et al.


Importance:  Bacteriuria plus pyuria is highly prevalent among older women living in nursing homes. Cranberry capsules are an understudied, nonantimicrobial prevention strategy used in this population.

Objective:  To test the effect of 2 oral cranberry capsules once a day on presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria among women residing in nursing homes.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled efficacy trial with stratification by nursing home and involving 185 English-speaking women aged 65 years or older, with or without bacteriuria plus pyuria at baseline, residing in 21 nursing homes located within 50 miles (80 km) of New Haven, Connecticut (August 24, 2012-October 26, 2015).

Interventions:  Two oral cranberry capsules, each capsule containing 36 mg of the active ingredient proanthocyanidin (ie, 72 mg total, equivalent to 20 ounces of cranberry juice) vs placebo administered once a day in 92 treatment and 93 control group participants.

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Presence of bacteriuria (ie, at least 105 colony-forming units [CFUs] per milliliter of 1 or 2 microorganisms in urine culture) plus pyuria (ie, any number of white blood cells on urinalysis) assessed every 2 months over the 1-year study surveillance; any positive finding was considered to meet the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were symptomatic urinary tract infection (UTI), all-cause death, all-cause hospitalization, all multidrug antibiotic–resistant organisms, antibiotics administered for suspected UTI, and total antimicrobial administration.

Results  Of the 185 randomized study participants (mean age, 86.4 years [SD, 8.2], 90.3% white, 31.4% with bacteriuria plus pyuria at baseline), 147 completed the study. Overall adherence was 80.1%. Unadjusted results showed the presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria in 25.5% (95% CI, 18.6%-33.9%) of the treatment group and in 29.5% (95% CI, 22.2%-37.9%) of the control group. The adjusted generalized estimating equations model that accounted for missing data and covariates showed no significant difference in the presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria between the treatment group vs the control group (29.1% vs 29.0%; OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.61-1.66; P?=?.98). There were no significant differences in number of symptomatic UTIs (10 episodes in the treatment group vs 12 in the control group), rates of death (17 vs 16 deaths; 20.4 vs 19.1 deaths/100 person-years; rate ratio [RR], 1.07; 95% CI, 0.54-2.12), hospitalization (33 vs 50 admissions; 39.7 vs 59.6 hospitalizations/100 person-years; RR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.32-1.40), bacteriuria associated with multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli (9 vs 24 episodes; 10.8 vs 28.6 episodes/100 person-years; RR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.10-1.46), antibiotics administered for suspected UTIs (692 vs 909 antibiotic days; 8.3 vs 10.8 antibiotic days/person-year; RR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.44-1.33), or total antimicrobial utilization (1415 vs 1883 antimicrobial days; 17.0 vs 22.4 antimicrobial days/person-year; RR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.46-1.25).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Among older women residing in nursing homes, administration of cranberry capsules vs placebo resulted in no significant difference in presence of bacteriuria plus pyuria over 1 year.

JAMA. Published online October 27, 2016. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16141


Health law tax penalty? I’ll take it, millions say

The architects of the Affordable Care Act thought they had a blunt instrument to force people — even young and healthy ones — to buy insurance through the law’s online marketplaces: a tax penalty for those who remain uninsured.

It has not worked all that well, and that is at least partly to blame for soaring premiums next year on some of the health law’s insurance exchanges.

The full weight of the penalty will not be felt until April, when those who have avoided buying insurance will face penalties of around $700 a person or more. But even then that might not be enough: For the young and healthy who are badly needed to make the exchanges work, it is sometimes cheaper to pay the Internal Revenue Service than an insurance company charging large premiums, with huge deductibles.

“In my experience, the penalty has not been large enough to motivate people to sign up for insurance,” said Christine Speidel, a tax lawyer at Vermont Legal Aid.

Some people do sign up, especially those with low incomes who receive the most generous subsidies, Speidel said. But others, she said, find that they cannot afford insurance, even with subsidies, so “they grudgingly take the penalty.”

The IRS says that 8.1 million returns included penalty payments for people who went without insurance in 2014, the first year in which most people were required to have coverage. A preliminary report on the latest tax-filing season, tabulating data through April of this year, said that 5.6 million returns included penalties averaging $442 per return for people uninsured in 2015.

With the health law’s fourth open-enrollment season beginning Tuesday, consumers are anxiously weighing their options.

William H. Weber, 51, a business consultant in Atlanta, said he paid $1,400 a month this year for a Humana health plan that covered him and his wife and two children. Premiums will increase 60 percent next year, Weber said, and he does not see alternative policies that would be less expensive. So he said he was seriously considering dropping insurance and paying the penalty.

“We may roll the dice next year, go without insurance and hope we have no major medical emergencies,” Weber said. “The penalty would be less than two months of premiums.” (He said that he did not qualify for a subsidy because his income was too high, but that his son, a barista in New York City, had a great plan with a subsidy.)

Iris I. Burnell, the manager of a Jackson Hewitt Tax Service office on Capitol Hill, said she met this week with a client in his late 50s who has several part-time jobs and wants to buy insurance on the exchanges. But, she said, “he’s finding that the costs are prohibitive on a monthly basis, so he has resigned himself to the fact that he will have to suffer the penalty.”

When Congress was writing the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, lawmakers tried to balance carrots and sticks: subsidies to induce people to buy insurance and tax penalties “to ensure compliance,” in the words of the Senate Finance Committee.

But the requirement for people to carry insurance is one of the most unpopular provisions of the law, and the Obama administration has been cautious in enforcing it. The IRS portrays the decision to go without insurance as a permissible option, not as a violation of federal law.

The law “requires you and each member of your family to have qualifying health care coverage (called minimum essential coverage), qualify for a coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your federal income tax return,” the tax agency says on its website.

Some consumers who buy insurance on the exchanges still feel vulnerable. Deductibles are so high, they say, that the insurance seems useless. So some feel that whether they send hundreds of dollars to the IRS or thousands to an insurance company, they are essentially paying something for nothing.

Obama administration officials say that perception is wrong. Even people with high deductibles have protection against catastrophic costs, they say, and many insurance plans cover common health care services before consumers meet their deductibles. In addition, even when consumers pay most or all of a hospital bill, they often get the benefit of discounts negotiated by their insurers.

The health law authorized certain exemptions from the coverage requirement, and the Obama administration has expanded that list through rules and policy directives. More than 12 million taxpayers claimed one or more coverage exemptions last year because, for instance, they were homeless, had received a shut-off notice from a utility company, or were experiencing other hardships.

“The penalty for violating the individual mandate has not been very effective,” said Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the tax history project at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit publisher of tax information. “If it were effective, we would have higher enrollment, and the population buying policies in the insurance exchange would be healthier and younger.”

Americans have decades of experience with tax deductions and other tax breaks aimed at encouraging various types of behavior, as well as “sin taxes” intended to discourage other kinds of behavior, Thorndike said. But, he said: “It is highly unusual for the federal government to use tax penalties to encourage affirmative behavior. That’s a hard sell.”



Jury acquits Bundy family

The Bundy brothers have been acquitted of federal conspiracy charges after leading a 41-day standoff at a rural Oregon wildlife refuge that grabbed national attention.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, as well as five additional defendants, were found not guilty  of conspiracy to impede federal officers and possession of firearms in a federal facility.

David Fry, Jeff Banta, Shawna Cox, Kenneth Medenback and Neil Wampler were also exonerated.  

The decision, unveiled in federal court in Portland on Thursday, is a blow to the US government, which had aggressively prosecuted the right-wing activists who led an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January and February.

The courtroom erupted into chaos on Thursday as Ammon Bundy's attorney Marcus Mumford demanded that his client be immediately released from prison.

US Marshals tackled Mumford to the ground, used a stun gun on him several times and arrested him.

Both Bundy brothers will remain behind bars due to charges they face in Nevada stemming from an armed standoff at their father Cliven's ranch in 2014, US District Judge Anna Brown told the courtroom.

The group took over the bird sanctuary in remote southeastern Oregon on January 2. following a protest to the prison sentences handed down to Dwight and Steven Hammond, two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

The Bundy brothers and their supporters demanded the government free the father and son and relinquish control of public lands to local officials.

Ammon Bundy gave frequent news conferences and the group used social media in a mostly unsuccessful effort to get others to join them.

He used the protest to shine national attention on the Bundy's family long fight against federal land ownership and restrictions on ranching meant to help protect the environment.

The government, which controls much of the land in the West, says it tries to balance industry, recreation and wildlife concerns to benefit all.

Armed occupiers were allowed to come and go for the first several weeks of the protest as authorities tried to avoid bloodshed seen in past standoffs.

But it all came to a head on January 26, when the Bundy brothers and other key figures in the protest were arrested in a traffic stop outside the refuge, where police fatally shot occupation spokesman Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum. 

More HERE 

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


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

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


30 October, 2016

An analysis of the Trump message

It seems possible that the past record of Trump with regard to women will lose him enough of the female vote for him to lose the election.  But, regardless of that, he has identified a huge section of the population that previously had no voice.  And they are not going to go away. There will be an ongoing desire to get the allegiance of such a huge voter bloc.  Both the GOP and the Donks will feel under huge pressure to move in a Trumpian direction.

So what is the Trump message?  It would not be a bad analysis to say that Trump simply speaks common sense but since common sense is not all that common these days, we need to dig deeper. 

Everyone who has heard Trump has a view on what Trump's message is and there have already been many attempts to summarize it in writing.  There has however been a recent very extensive attempt to analyse the phenomenon by a respected conservative intellectual, Dr. William Voegeli.  I reproduce part of it below. But even the excerpt below is lengthy so let me assist time-poor people by attempting a summary:

He says that Trump speaks for many in believing that governments so far have been doing more harm that good and have in particular endangered the safety and security of ordinary Americans.  Many see rightly that they could be the next victim of a Jihadi attack and blame the government for not preventing the many such attacks that have occurred recently.  If the government cannot safeguard its citizens, what is it for?

He accepts that Trump is calling on tribal instincts:  Those who feel that they are Americans first of all rather than being primarily some other sub-group or intellectual clique. And, much as the Left deplore it, that feeling among a very large part of the electorate is not going to go away. The Left call it racism, which just antagonizes the people concerned.

He also says that the refusal by the political establishment to see Muslims as a threat is borderline insane and perceived as that by most of the electorate.  Trump is the only major figure who speaks any kind of sanity on the matter.

On political correctness he agrees with Trump that it has gone too far but to some extent excuses it as being well intentioned.  He has drunk the Kool-aid about Leftists being idealists.  Idealists who practiced mass slaughter in revolutionary France, in Soviet Russia and in Mao's China?  My submission is that hatred of the society around them is the only consistent explanation of what Leftists do.

But the point remains that Americans are being extensively dictated to in the name of assumptions that they do not entirely share and any criticism of that is vastly refreshing to many Americans - who do not like being dictated to.  So a bonfire of political correctness would be widely welcomed.

“We are screwing things up.” This is the subtext of the entire Trump campaign. Or, as the Atlantic’s David Frum describes its core message, “We are governed by idiots.” Moreover, the Trump movement is propelled by the fear that the idiots aren’t just screwing up the usual things, such as solvency, but the people’s security and the nation’s sovereignty.

The test of whether a government merits the people’s support, according to the Declaration of Independence, is whether it is “likely to effect their safety and happiness.” People are increasingly skeptical about government’s increasingly expansive promises to help make us happier, however, as shown by the consistently low approval ratings for Obamacare. Nor is there much to show for all the politicians’ talk about bringing back good jobs at good wages. Rendering our increasingly divided society a gorgeous mosaic hasn’t been a raging success, either.

But at least, people have a right to feel, government could do its most basic job and enhance our safety. Surely, in exchange for all the taxes we pay and forms we fill out, government can make life decidedly more peaceful than the state of nature. Elections analyst Henry Olsen reports that Trump’s support “skyrocketed” to “a position of dominance” against his Republican rivals after he responded to last year’s terrorist attacks in France and California by calling for, as his campaign put it, “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Olsen writes:

Trump voters believe they are threatened by Islamic terrorism. If Muslims come to America, they think, Americans will be more likely to die. Trump’s proposed ban seems to them to be common sense: The first duty of a national government is to protect its citizens from foreign threats. One must not underestimate how important the proposed ban is to Trump’s voters and to his appeal.

In the 15 years since 9/11, the United States government has done many things intended to thwart terrorism. Yet whether the security enhancements, if any, are commensurate with the high price the nation has paid is doubtful. In Afghanistan, America embarked on what has proven to be its longest war. No one can state with confidence how or when it will end, or explain the basis on which we could say we have accomplished our objectives. The war and subsequent occupation in Iraq—badly conceived, justified, managed, and terminated—poisoned American politics and destabilized rather than democratized the Middle East. The Arab Spring, likewise, raised hopes for a turn to liberal democracy, but resulted only in compounding the region’s tragic dilemma: only through authoritarianism can it stave off fanaticism. Al-Qaeda gave rise to ISIS, a group even more lunatic and lethal, which has engaged in pornographic brutality in the Middle East while directing or inspiring mass murder in Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando, and Nice.

Donald Trump, by contrast, has campaigned from the outset against the job both parties have done in protecting Americans from terrorists. He secured the Republican nomination against a field of 16 candidates described last summer by George F. Will as “the most impressive since 1980, and perhaps the most talent-rich since the party first had a presidential nominee, in 1856.”

Trump has described his axial foreign policy precept as “America First.” Detractors fastened on the formulation as either obtuse about the term’s provenance, or a signal that he, like Charles Lindbergh 80 years ago, would fuse isolationism with nonchalance towards dictators who abused populations other than ours. But take away its historical echoes, which are probably inaudible to both Trump and his voters, and putting America first strikes many people as an entirely sensible commitment to expect from an American president.

The P.C. Shuffle

Several writers, including this journal’s editor, have explained Trump’s ascent as a reaction to political correctness. The idea is that Trump’s apparent incapacity to say anything other than what’s on his mind at any given moment appeals to voters fed up with proliferating rules about how to avoid giving offense.

But it is important to consider the question in relation to the dangers posed by terrorism. The salient feature of political correctness is hostility to free speech and, more generally, the idea of inalienable rights. Its most prominent manifestations include campus speech codes, hypersensitive reactions to “microaggressions,” and the vindictive denial of due process to faculty and students accused of sexual harassment or assault.

This zeal to restrict civil liberties is not free-floating, however, but serves the political goal of repudiating appalling injustices of the past by securing a very different future, one immeasurably more equitable and admirable. This project is, in the main, defined by identity politics, the belief that groups that have been abused and humiliated must assert themselves and be accorded abundant compensatory respect. The companion belief is that those sharing the demographic profile of the perpetrators of abuse and humiliation—above all, straight white males—must atone and defer. Merely refraining from abusing and humiliating members of groups previously victimized isn’t enough: they still enjoy privileges derived from “the system of murder and exploitation that benefits some of us at the expense of others,” in the words of one penitent, Emily Pothast, a Seattle-based writer and musician.

“The current politically correct response cripples our ability to talk and to think and act clearly,” Trump said after the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando. “If we don’t get tough, and if we don’t get smart and fast, we’re not going to have our country anymore. There will be nothing, absolutely nothing, left.”

Legions of commentators and political opponents dismissed that speech as still more hyperbole from The Donald. But Trump’s startling success in the GOP race has much to do with the feeling that identity politics has indeed left Americans less safe from terrorism than we need and deserve to be. Consider the term “Islamophobia,” defined by the Council on American-Islamic Relations as the “closed-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims.” The Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley, gives this account, more expansive, tendentious, and explicitly P.C.:

Islamophobia is a contrived fear or prejudice fomented by the existing Eurocentric and Orientalist global power structure. It is directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat through the maintenance and extension of existing disparities in economic, political, social and cultural relations, while rationalizing the necessity to deploy violence as a tool to achieve “civilizational rehab” of the target communities (Muslim or otherwise). Islamophobia reintroduces and reaffirms a global racial structure through which resource distribution disparities are maintained and extended.

Note that Islamophobia is contrived regardless of whether the Muslim threat is real or merely perceived, which means that a vigorous response to any such threat is, by definition, prejudiced and irrational. “This is why,” the late Christopher Hitchens wrote, “the fake term Islamophobia is so dangerous: It insinuates that any reservations about Islam must ipso facto be ‘phobic.’” The reality, he insisted, is that in the purported “gorgeous mosaic of religious pluralism, it’s easy enough to find mosque Web sites and DVDs that peddle the most disgusting attacks on Jews, Hindus, Christians, unbelievers, and other Muslims—to say nothing of insane diatribes about women and homosexuals.”

Taking Sides

When Trump says political correctness cripples our ability to think, talk, and act against terrorism, he’s signaling that our response to terrorism is severely compromised by Islamophobia-phobia—the closed-minded, contrived, overwrought, unwarranted, misdirected, counterproductive fear that accurate threat assessments and adequate self-defense might hurt a Muslim’s feelings. “Public sentiment is everything,” said Lincoln of a republic’s political life, which means that those who mold public sentiment are more powerful than legislators and judges, because they make “statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.” Our molders of public sentiment have made citizens more worried about accusations of bigotry than they are determined to report possible terrorism. A man working near the San Bernardino shooter’s home, according to one news account, “said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area” before the attack, “but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.”

By word and example, a diffident government encourages a diffident citizenry. Days after the San Bernardino killings, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a meeting of the group Muslim Advocates that her “greatest fear as a prosecutor” is that terrorist attacks will inflame anti-Muslim sentiment, leading to rhetoric that “will be accompanied by acts of violence.” Strange that a law-enforcement official’s greatest fear would correspond to something other than the greatest threat. Fifteen years after 9/11, the violent anti-Muslim backlash is an outrage permanently on the verge of taking place, while bombings and shootings by Islamic zealots remain mere realities.

Equally strange is the Department of Homeland Security’s policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing visa applicants’ social media postings. The possibility of finding information that indicates terrorist intentions was, apparently, outweighed by fear of “a civil liberties backlash and ‘bad public relations’ for the Obama administration,” according to ABC News. In the absence of such reviews, the government took three weeks to approve a fiancée visa application for Tashfeen Malik, who became one of the San Bernardino shooters, “despite what the FBI said were extensive social media messages about jihad and martyrdom.”

Us and Them

The oldest, most fundamental political question is Us and Them. Many people want to write a new chapter in human history, where nationality figures trivially in that distinction. On the right, economics—trade, specialization, growth, prosperity—should render Us and Them obsolete and irrelevant. “America should be a destination for hard-working immigrants from all over the world,” according to a 2015 press release from “top national Republican donors.” Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan contends that we discard cant in favor of wisdom when we come to understand that our “so-called ‘fellow Americans’ are mere strangers with no special claim on [our] time or affection.” On the left, social justice—tolerance, empathy, diversity, inclusion, renouncing and dismantling the Eurocentric structures of power and privilege—will promote comity, respect, and fairness among the earth’s 7 billion inhabitants, erasing tensions and distinctions among people of different colors, creeds, regions, and lifestyles.

The older sensibility about Us and Them, however, refuses to admit its own obsolescence. America is a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. We must honor the proposition, since the republic rests on the conviction that no one is good enough to govern another without that other’s consent. But it is equally important to defend and cherish the nation, the vessel that bears and sustains the experiment in self-government. The Declaration of Independence begins with the assertion that it has become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands that have connected them with another. Americans are a people, not just people, and not just any or all people who embrace the idea of human equality and its political implications. The preamble of the Constitution offers six reasons for establishing the new frame of government, the concluding one being “to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” This aspiration does not require indifference or antipathy to any or all others, nor to their posterity. But it does make clear, again, that We are not Them, and we may justifiably prefer our safety and happiness to theirs when conflicts between the two arise.

Consigning patriotic attachment to the dustbin of history ignores stubborn moral and anthropological realities, as recently described by columnist Megan McArdle:

Somehow, over the last half-century, Western elites managed to convince themselves that nationalism was not real. Perhaps it had been real in the past, like cholera and telegraph machines, but now that we were smarter and more modern, it would be forgotten in the due course of time as better ideas supplanted it.

That now seems hopelessly naïve. People do care more about people who are like them—who speak their language, eat their food, share their customs and values. And when elites try to ignore those sentiments—or banish them by declaring that they are simply racist—this doesn’t make the sentiments go away. It makes the non-elites suspect the elites of disloyalty. For though elites may find something vaguely horrifying about saying that you care more about people who are like you than you do about people who are culturally or geographically further away, the rest of the population is outraged by the never-stated corollary: that the elites running things feel no greater moral obligation to their fellow countrymen than they do to some random stranger in another country.

Our political leaders’ vigilance and competence must encompass not just their organizational skills, but their capacity to grasp the malevolence of those who want to kill our citizens and shatter our way of life. Officials who, instead, traffic in sentimental blather about how we’re all brothers under the skin, awaiting the call of freedom that comes to every human mind and soul, are busy rejecting the understanding it is most important for them to possess. Our dangers will increase by an order of magnitude if Islamic terrorists succeed in their long quest to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The murder of tens of thousands of civilians in a single attack will make admonitions like Loretta Lynch’s after the Paris massacres—“we cannot be ruled by fear”—seem even more blithe, obtuse, and stupid.

Given his manifest, widely discussed defects as a prospective president and as a human, the rise of Donald Trump cannot be read as anything other than a vote of no confidence in the political class that has guided our anti-terrorism policies over the past 15 years. Those who believe that problem to be America’s most pressing are right to fear that Trump’s flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies and distortions, will do more harm than good to the cause of anti-terrorism, just as Joseph McCarthy did to the cause of anti-Communism. This danger makes it all the more important to satisfy the people’s urgent demand: leaders and policies that don’t squander, for the sake of secondary considerations, the moral and practical resources we need to thwart terrorists. In opposing Islamic terrorism, as in any other critical endeavor, the main thing is to make sure the main thing is always the main thing. Trump’s voters feel that he, like them, is unequivocally committed to this imperative. About his political opponents, they feel no such confidence.

More HERE 


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

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


28 October, 2016

My Little Girl Almost Became a Human Sacrifice!

Yaacov ben Moshe

Back in the early eighties my young family and I lived next door to an Iranian family. They were nice, friendly people. Hamid (not his real name) was a physician who was just starting out in his own practice. His wife, Haideh, also Iranian born, was a mathematician. She taught at a local college. We moved in to our brand new houses just months apart and shared the rigors of nurturing lawns where there had been only bulldozer tracks. We cooperated in the planting of trees and shrubs to define the empty expanses between our new homes. We borrowed tools from each other. Hamid and I played tennis often and even discussed the possibility of building a tennis court in the flat spot where our lots met. Our children played together and his son, Amir and my daughter Amy became very close friends. The two of them were barely more than toddlers when they first met but were soon talking about getting married the way little ones sometimes do when they find a close companion of the opposite sex.

The next summer, they went back to Iran to visit with their families. We were afraid for our friends. We knew the country was in turmoil. They were gone for several weeks. For much of that time my Amy’s days were occupied with day camp but she still missed her friend. They finally returned a week before school.

It was a sunny Sunday morning and Amy went out right after breakfast and met Amir in his backyard. We watched as they began to play and turned away to read the Sunday paper. We were surprised when Amy came back inside a short while later. She walked by us with her head down and started up the stairs to her room. We had expected to have to call her in for lunch so it was odd that she came back so early. I called after her and asked her what was wrong. She told me how little 5-year-old Amir had matter-of-factly informed my innocent 5-year-old daughter that because she is a Jew it is his duty to kill her.

I went right over to talk with my friend and neighbor. Hamid was deeply embarrassed. He hastened to explain that: “Over there, the radio and TV were full of that kind of thing - you simply couldn’t avoid it.” He assumed that Amir had heard this kind of thing on the radio or TV because no one in his family believed such things. He was sure, he told me, that now that Amir was back here he would soon forget it. He assured me that he would talk with Amir and was sure that the boy didn’t even understand what he was saying.

I could see how distressed he was and told him that I understood and that I appreciated his concern. We looked at each other and shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder. I was sure that it would not change things between our families.

Remember that this was twenty years before September 11, 2001, and just shortly after the fall of the Shah.  Before they had left, I had wondered vaguely if his kids were going to be exposed to anti-American rhetoric and how that would sit with them. But what manner of “rhetoric”. This had never entered my mind. The raw, murderous Jew hatred was an utter shock. Back then many of us believed the myth of the benevolent ancient caliphates and the benign toleration of “Dhimmis” under Muslim rule. After all, I mused, Iran was at war with Iraq. And Israel had recently bombed the Osirac reactor thereby preventing Iraq from developing nuclear weapons…

In the light of everything that has transpired since then, it may seem hopelessly naïve of me but I was amazed that what had surfaced first from this child’s sojourn in his homeland was the immediacy of the violent impulse. As I lay awake in bed that night, I found I couldn’t get the event out of my mind. The idea that a child could have such an impulse was staggering by itself. What kind of madness had he been exposed too? What hellish clatter of hatred and fear was there in the streets and media over there that could move a five year old say such a thing?

I had seen the pictures on the nightly news reports on the recently ended hostage ordeal. The impression was of dense, agitated crowds of shirt-sleeved young men with posters and bullhorns. For all that it was fascinating, the violent rhetoric was often reported untranslated and the alien animus seemed unconnected to me personally. It now began to creep in upon me that our news media were not showing us the whole picture- that they were hiding the things that were the deadliest and most disturbing.

I had watched the news with the detachment of one who had every confidence that it had nothing to do with me. Now, as I lay awake, I could see- it was very personal. It was frightening, it was unfamiliar, it was hateful and I had no idea how big or how close it was. I understood then that I had no real information about it- that is the moment that I began to realize that our media and our leaders were not being straight with us.

I lay awake that night thinking, picturing the sweating, rioting crowds in the streets of Tehran and imagining their squawking radios and televisions. The morning before, I had thought that all I had to do was talk to my neighbor about this thing. Now I saw clearly that this was very big and very ugly- beyond reach of a friendly neighborhood talk. I got out of bed and looked out the window toward their house, bathed in pale moonlight. The calm late summer night was filled with a new shadow- the specter of an evil that had once seemed far away and theoretical and was suddenly present and breathing quietly in the deep shadows of that soft night. I walked down the hall and looked into Amy’s room. Her soft brown curls shone in the moonlight and she stirred and sighed.

I wandered back to my bed and lay down. What kind of culture, I wondered, puts ideas like this into the mind of a little boys? How was it, even with parents like my friends Hamid and Haideh, the racket and stink of genocidal hatred could so easily stick to him and be carried so quietly and so deep into the heart of our safe little suburban neighborhood.

And what kind of culture leaves its own citizens so uninformed and unprotected as we are?

Only now, more than thirty years later, I see what is most frightening about what happened to my family. It was never truly about Islam. It is that I could never have anticipated or defended against this threat because, as a liberal I was blinded by the “The Narrative”. The modern liberal/progressive movement with its high priests in the media and its Royal lineage of progressive leaders, starting with Eugene McCarthy and culminating in Carter, Obama, Kerry, and Clinton, intentionally advocates that we agree to be defenseless against the cultural and behavioral dangers that we face. It was my internalization of Political correctness that prevented me from understanding the role of Islam. It was multiculturalism that blocked my ability to see that not all cultures are equal or peaceful. It was “diversity” that encouraged me to want to accept alien cultural influence as beneficial. And it was , “social justice” that encouraged me to want to ignore obvious dangers.

Political Correctness, multiculturalism, diversity and social justice are, after all. intellectual constructs. They are purposefully meant to disarm us- to divorce us from reality and make it impossible to question “The Narrative”.

The horrors of this “narrative” are all around us; and we are paralyzed. The intellectual barricades that have been constructed around it to keep it from collapsing are, by now, embedded deep in us. All the while the attacks of an unforgiving reality are killing and maiming innocent people. Our media don’t show us the blood- just the dry body count- and they don’t dwell on that. Nor do they talk about who the murderers and rapists really are. The soft, neutered and incomplete reporting of the media that prevent us from even identifying the threat, let alone address it. Worst of all, our leaders distract us, turning the public reaction into debates about “gun violence”, “religious tolerance” and “profiling”.

For many years, the victims were mostly far away. Israelis killed in bombings, shootings and knifings were somehow acceptable losses. The Narrative told us this was bad but “understandable”.  Once in a while the violence would break through to us as when Pan AM flight 93 was brought down over Lockerbie with with hundreds of Americans on board or the Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon. But those too were far away and somehow portrayed as “tragedies” instead of the atrocities they were. Then 3,000 died on 9/11 and The media acolytes of The Narrative obfuscated more aggressively. They mewled, “Why do They Hate Us?” and answered their own questions with bromides about economic conditions and job opportunities.

Still the bodies pile up, and they no longer far away. They are here. They are torn, bloody bodies of unarmed service men and women cut down on a military base, two Coptic Christian men beheaded in their car, a whole family literally shredded by a hail of explosion-propelled nails and ball bearings on the streets of Boston. One minute they were standing there cheering the marathon; the next, they were blown down and torn to shreds. The 8 year old son, suddenly legless, lying on the cold cement, bled-out from his massive wounds with his eyes open, pleading for help. There are so many, we forget them as the next wave of murder materializes.

So, I am left to wonder if, the next time I read about a young Muslim man whose parents came here when he was a child, shooting people at a mall, or planting pressure-cooker bombs in public places or slaughtering gay people in a nightclub, or stabbing random passers-by if his name will turn out to be Amir. So far so good- at least for me- the names have been Hassan, Tsarnaev, Farook, Mateen, Arcan Cetin and so many others I can’t even count.

I feel as if in a nightmare with some rude beast bearing down on me, coming for my family, devouring my community undermining my nation- and they don’t see it! I can’t move, can't scream, can’t even speak! And even if I could, no one would hear or understand.

I share this personal story in the hope that you, my reader, will understand and help us wake up from this nightmare. Hillary Clinton ignored the peril to her own employees in Benghazi in order to support The Narrative and help Barak Obama get re-elected. In that sense, she is personally guilty of sacrificing four human beings, one of them a man she called a friend in order to support this morally bankrupt, intellectual fantasy. She did not give Ambassador Stevens the security he requested and wherever the “stand down” order came from, she had to have been part of that decision.

Human Sacrifice is the only way The Narrative survives and more innocents are fed to this hungry monster every day. To name a few:

Each and every death by Islamic terror

The victims of street violence in the inner cities that have been wasted by the sickness of the liberal welfare and poverty  bureaucracy.

The living infants murdered in “live birth abortions”

The veterans betrayed by the VA medical establishment who die waiting for care

They are all offered up to support The Narrative and The Narrative is Hillary.

For all his human shortcomings, Trump is our only hope to stop, or at least begin to break down The Narrative. It is his very impulsiveness that gives me this faith. He speaks the truth about what he sees. He is not cowed by the opinions and fears of others, He believes in confronting reality- and dealing with it head on.

Can there be any doubt that if that little boy had found a gun, or taken a knife or used one of the gardening tools instead of talking first, that the only news about the death or maiming of my daughter that would have reached the rest of the world (or my, former, liberal self!) would have been a bemused and vague report of a tragedy? Enough of calling atrocities “tragedies”! Have we not had altogether too much of the liberal agenda and the progressive narrative and the sacrifices they require of us?

A vote for Hillary is a vote to make The Narrative stronger and even more opaque. A vote for Trump is a vote to breach its defenses, to make reality our guide and, yes, to Make America Great Again.



Watch the Persuasion Battle

By Scott Adams, author of the Dilbert comics

If you want to watch the persuasion game-within-the-game, follow me on Twitter @ScottAdamsSays. Here’s the situation so you know what to look for.

1. Yesterday I announced my endorsement of Trump, primarily as a protest to the bullying culture of Clinton supporters. I don’t like bullies. And I don’t like that Clinton is turning citizens against each other. (My political preferences don’t align with any of the candidates.)

Yes, Trump is a bully, but he’s offering to provide that service on behalf of the country. When leaders do it, we call it leadership. (Think LBJ or Steve Jobs.) Trump isn’t encouraging his supporters to bully Clinton supporters. But Clinton has painted Trump and his supporters as Nazi-like deplorables, and that creates moral cover for the bullying you see all over the country against Trump supporters. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to bully a Nazi, would it? That’s the dangerous situation Clinton has created.

2. My anti-bullying message must have raised a flag somewhere in the Clinton campaign machinery. That means it hit a nerve and is seen as a persuasion reframing they don’t want to risk.

3. Huffington Post, Salon, Daily Kos and other liberal outlets “coincidentally” ran hit pieces on me on the same day. That’s a sign of media coordination with the Clinton campaign. (Or a big coincidence.)

4. Hordes of either paid or volunteer Twitter trolls descended on me with two specific types of attacks. The similarity of the attacks suggests central coordination. One attack involves insults about the Dilbert comic (an attack on my income) and the other is a coordinated attack to suggest I am literally insane or off my meds (to decrease my credibility).

You’re also supposed to think I’m crazy for seeing these “coincidences” as coordinated attacks. You’ll probably see this blog post retweeted as evidence of my further spiral into madness. The same happened when I noted that Twitter was shadowbanning me for talking about Trump. Shadowbanning is real, and well-documented in my case and others, but it sounds preposterous, so it is easy to frame me as crazy. Expect more of that.

The takeaway here is that my message about Clinton supporters being bullies is effective persuasion. Otherwise I would be ignored. This reframing is a kill shot because the bullies themselves are philosophically opposed to bullies. Once they realize they have been persuaded by Clinton’s campaign to become the thing they hate, the spell will be broken. And they won’t show up to vote.



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

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


27 October, 2016

Give Thanks To Donald Trump, Because We Could Do A Lot Worse (And Probably Will)

A view from the Left.  What he fears actually sounds hopeful from a conservative viewpoint. He thinks Trumpism will outlive Trump

Some years ago I defended a film that included a portrayal of Hitler where, at times, the man seemed human. I argued that if we insisted on demonizing such figures to the extent of caricature, we would never recognize the threat when it appeared, as it usually does, with a human face.

That’s the glory of Trump. He arrived onstage already as a caricature with pitchfork in hand, horns on head and breathing smoke. Even more remarkable in this age of spin, there has been no ambiguity, no shift. The man positively insists on staying in character.

And that’s the danger of Trump. It is all too easy to see him for what he is. The persona of the man shocks and awes and alienates. Targets don’t come much larger. If the Democrats and Clintons can’t win this election then the barbarians are well and truly inside the gates, and the Dark Ages upon us.

Unfortunately, the man will be defeated not because what he stands for has been weighed and rejected, but because the man himself is unsellable. The resentments and perception of disenfranchisement that are clearly felt by a very large number of Americans remain smouldering away. A Trump defeat resulting from his personality is more likely to increase rather than resolve the polarization of the USA. Arguably, a Trump defeat may well be more dangerous than a Trump victory.

Trump has been shown to be lazy, doesn’t like dealing with detail and doesn’t have any fixed policies. In all likelihood, a President Trump would strut the stage but leave core decisions to the professionals. He’d blather on in his usual way to cover policy reversals on promises but there is a fair chance that his actual administration, while chaotic, would largely be pragmatic. Admittedly with Trump, you never know….

The media is full of commentary claiming that the GOP is in crisis and broken. I think they are wrong. The senior Republicans are not abandoning ship, they are abandoning Trump. Already they are preparing the battle plan for a one term President Clinton. The focus is now on preserving as many Republican representatives as they can to launch the counter attack.

They have learnt from the Trump debacle and they have learnt that extreme right policies are marketable. It is sobering to acknowledge that a policy platform like that of Trump could come as close as it has to winning the Presidency.

Compare Trump to Ted Cruz. Cruz is an ultra-conservative Protestant fundamentalist with commitment to an extremist agenda. He genuinely believes in that agenda and is driven by it.

In power, he’d want it implemented without compromise. Already he is re-building his base and is reported to be dutifully taking part in telephone campaigning on behalf of Trump. Just enough to show he is a good Party loyalist, not enough to be tainted.

President Cruz will have policies and self-righteous conviction that are much more to be feared than the ramshackle posturing of a President Trump.

Both the Republicans and the Democrats might look at the Australian experience. The Australian female PM was hit with media/shock jock abuse on an unprecedented scale. What was thrown at Gillard was small beer compared to the floodgates that will open on President Hillary Clinton.

Gillard enjoyed a wave of popular support when she became PM. Clinton is widely unpopular to begin with, and her previous record has issues that will make her vulnerable from the outset.

Now add the bitterness of the Trump supporters and then consider the traditional Republican media and supporters who have abandoned Trump. The pressure will be immediate and unrelenting. Rumours and innuendo, the inevitable slips, President Clinton can expect a very rough ride indeed.

It won’t just be President Hillary Clinton on the receiving end. She will be identified with policies from the previous President such as Obamacare. The storm awaiting President Clinton will sweep over those policies as well.

A resurgent GOP President after a one term Clinton Presidency will be confident in pushing policies much further to the right. In Australia, that backlash was tempered by the division of power in the upper house. In the USA, the current Republican emphasis on retaining seats rather than Trump is likely to mean there will be no such restrictions on an incoming President with an agenda like Cruz.

In the short term, the left should be grateful to Trump. He’ll defeat himself on personality grounds. The extent of his success however shows that Clinton would probably have been defeated by a more orthodox Republican candidate.

The long-term consequences of Trump are another matter. Next time the same policies won’t have the horns and pitchfork to alarm the voters.



The Real Problem With Leftmedia Bias

The news media has been referred to as the "Fourth Estate" for a long time. Thomas Carlyle, in his book "On Heroes and Hero Worship," attributes the origin of the term to 18th century English statesman Sir Edmund Burke: "Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all." Burke believed the Fourth Estate to be far more important than the others because its job was informing the public of what Parliament was up to.

The high regard for the Fourth Estate carried over to the colonies. When the United States was formed, the work of what we now commonly refer to as the news media warranted protections in the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment provides: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press."

After all, the press's function was viewed as essential to the Republic. It protected the purveyors of important information from those who prefer their activities to not receive wide dissemination, and who might use the courts or other means to keep important information from being made public.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe."

However, while the Constitution can protect the media from those who dislike it by guaranteeing its freedom to tell all it knows, it does not have the ability to enforce integrity, honesty and fairness on the media. Those qualities are expected to be organizational and personal, ingrained in news providers and students of journalism, who should be taught and adopt the ethics of journalism and practice them always.

It was also Jefferson who said, " Newspapers ... serve as chimnies to carry off noxious vapors and smoke."

People in certain positions in our society have the job and the duty to play it straight down the middle, without allowing whatever personal feelings they may have to enter into the performance of their job. Among these are referees and other sports officials; judges in legal proceedings and other adjudicatory activities; and the news media — the people who provide the public with the critical information necessary to make informed decisions.

The mechanisms for defending news reporting remain intact, but sadly the same cannot be said for the ethical imperatives of news reporting, as is demonstrated daily in the national media. The most glaring example of this lack of ethics and integrity is the coverage of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vs. that of Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

One of many examples arose during the final presidential debate. When asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace if he would pledge to accept the results of the election, Trump's answer was influenced by his oft-stated belief that the election system has many flaws, and he said, "I will look at it at the time." Clinton feigned dismay, declaring that Trump is "undermining the pillar of our democracy," the peaceful transfer of power.

Well, no, he was not. Given the free pass Clinton got from the FBI, voter fraud across the country and a compliant Clinton Media Machine, who can blame him for wanting to wait until the election is over before deciding whether it was handled fairly? But Clinton's position on that issue is much more highly favored by the media than Trump's, so guess what the major news outlets told the world?

Things like this bolster Trump's claims that the news media are biased against him, and a new Quinnipiac University poll finds agreement among a majority of those polled. Some 55% of likely voters agree the press is biased against Trump.

Just one small example. Earlier this month, Trump said some American soldiers "can't handle" the horrors of war, which causes their PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). This statement was then distorted to suggest Trump disdains those who suffer PTSD.

This farcical misinterpretation was identified by Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, no great friend of Trump, who said: "The bias that is in the media. What he is saying is that some people, for whatever reason, and we really don't understand why, suffer from PTSD, and others don't."

The news media's reaction to Trump's PTSD comment appears to be the reaction of someone with an IQ south of 70, but we know that most media types are not stupid: Lack of intelligence is not the problem; bias is the problem.

The media's yearlong thinly disguised disdain for Trump has erupted into open contempt, and the collapse and disgracing of a critical component of our society is now inarguable. Attempting to justify this flagrant abandonment of professional ethics, New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg wrote in August that journalists have a responsibility to abandon all pretense of objectivity. "If you view a Trump presidency as something that's potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that," he declared. "That's uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I've ever known, and by normal standards, untenable."

Some reporters, editors and producers regard Trump as so bad and Clinton as so good that normal standards no longer apply, and journalistic ethics that once were sacrosanct and provided a substantial measure of balance and fairness in news reporting have become obstacles to a media agenda.

One of the worst possible situations is when the source of critical public information abandons neutrality and takes sides. Like widespread corruption in government, widespread corruption in the information system is deadly to Liberty.



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

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


26 October, 2016

Government Sides With Unions Over Businesses — Again

If you don't show up for work and are permanently replaced can your employer get in trouble? According to the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the answer is yes.

In a case currently pending before the NLRB, General Counsel Richard F. Griffin Jr. is asking for yet another round of restrictions on how employers do business. Not content to be simply meddling with employer handbooks, how they control their email systems, and trying to turn every employer in the land into joint employers, he is now trying to make it impossible for employers to hire permanent replacement employees when employees go on strike.

There is a common sense rule that an employer may replace employees who refuse to show up to work. This has some limitations, but generally permanent replacement employees may be hired to do the work of those who go on strike.

In the case at issue here, the administrative law judge found that because the employer did not tell the union that permanent replacement employees would be hired until after all the positions of the strikers had been filled, the employer acted with an illicit motive, an "independent unlawful purpose." That the union would not realize this is unimaginable.

The judge also pointed to a "Non-Union Philosophy" that the employer had in its handbook, which simply states that the employer will use legal methods "to prevent any outside, third party, who is potentially adversarial, such as a union from intervening or interrupting the one-on-one communications or operational freedoms that we currently enjoy with our associates." An employer's desire to be union-free is something that is well within their rights, but this was apparently interpreted by the judge as evidence of an illegal purpose.

After the striking employers were replaced, the employees all got together and decided that they no longer wanted to be represented by a union. After notifying the employer of this, the employer withdrew recognition of the union as the representative of the employees. It likely did this because it would generally be unlawful for an employer to bargain with a union unless that union is in fact the representative of the employees.

As argued for by Griffin, the judge found that the employer violated the law in both hiring permanent replacement employees and then listening to the employees when they decided that they didn't want a union.

The general counsel's flippant disregard of the need for employers to be able to maintain operations, and for that for employees who express a desire for anything other than forced collective bargaining is on full display here.

Griffin has asked the Board to overrule existing precedent and to hold that the hiring of permanent replacement employees is inherently destructive of the right to strike. He also desires a requirement that an employer must furnish a "substantial business justification that outweighs the harm to employee rights."

The notion here is founded upon a belief that permanently replacement being "inherently destructive," "bears 'its own indicia' of unlawful intent." What the General Counsel is saying is that the employer is presumed guilty of violating the law and that the burden is first upon them to prove otherwise. This would make the hiring of replacement employees next to impossible to legally accomplish.

The matter has been briefed and we are now awaiting a decision from the Board. Given the Board's current composition, a decision that favors the union is likely. As the Board currently has two of its five member positions open, the nominees to the Board from the next president will either shift the Board back to the center, or further cement the current rampage against anything that looks favorable to employers. Let us hope that it is the former.



Crooked Hillary

Months before WikiLeaks began the drip of emails currently being published from email accounts of various members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff and Leftmedia enablers, a Rasmussen poll revealed most think the former secretary of state should be indicted criminally by the FBI. Back in July this year, when Director James Comey demonstrated he’s a “dirty cop” by abandoning all protocol in handling the Clinton bathroom closet server and the handling of classified government material, it was clearer than ever that powerful people like Clinton receive preferential treatment when they break the law.

So for those who still believe in justice and law enforcement, not just the arbitrary application of the law under this banana republic administration, we provide a roundup of the latest Hillary evidence. Not only have the Obama Justice Department and FBI been politicized to protect certain anointed folks on the Left, but the existence of true journalism is now extinct with nothing more than a complicit, sold-out gaggle of communications mouth-pieces running behind their masters. Thus, it’s likely some of this information from the 17,000 leaked communications is truly “news” to you.

First, Clinton not only took money from foreign interests that harbor terrorists and are often at cross-purposes with our nation, but Hillary’s campaign mobilized lobbyists as money bundlers who also work for Colombia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Egypt and Libya, just to mention a few governments. Hillary’s team debated ending this practice and pursuing ethics in fundraising, but wondered “how much money we’re throwing away.” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, won out, saying, “I’m ok just taking the money and dealing with any attacks.”

Yeah, never let any worry about the appearance or the actual acts of illegality slow the flow of campaign cash. Hillary’s an equal opportunity broker to sell out America and our own interests.

Over the weekend, Mook was dismissive: “There’s never been any evidence of any pay-to-play [at the Clinton Foundation] at all.” Destroying evidence is not the same as there not being any.

Second, the team whose slogan is “I’m With Her” certainly learned quickly from their master. In May 2016 emails, a fake job posting for the Trump organization told interested applicants of the job requirements: no weight gain, open “public humiliation” if one does gain weight, a proficiency in lying about age and the willingness to evaluate co-workers' “hotness” for the “boss’s gratification.” The ad concludes with the warning that the boss, obviously Trump, “may greet you with a kiss on the lips or grope you under the meeting table.”

Remember, the fake job posting was referenced in emails five months before any of those allegations were made. Interesting choice of words, in light of the sudden parade of Trump accusers using much of the exact same disgusting language.

Other emails disclosed not only the advanced sharing of at least one question in a town hall meeting during this debate cycle by CNN-contracted pundit Donna Brazile directly to Hillary, but communications openly brag about the collusion with what we call the presstitutes. An email dating back to the original Hillary for President campaign in 2007 from MoveOn.org director Tom Mattzie to John Podesta reveals the Clinton cult was planting questions among these parrots of the media “testing expected attacks by Republicans” to gauge public opinion.

Of several other areas of revelation, two remain that should continue to cause any voter to abandon this stranger to the truth, Hillary Clinton.

On quite a few issues, Hillary is simply dishonest, at best. Emails leaked have included just a few nuggets showing that:

Madame Secretary believes Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding the Islamic State. That didn’t stop her accepting contributions.
Both Bill and Hill were “supporters” of the Defense of Marriage Act until it became for more politically beneficial to change course.

There’s an acknowledgement even among liberal economists that a $15/hour minimum wage “would result in job loss,” but Hillary supports it anyway because she needs Bernie Sanders' voters.
Hillary’s previous opposition to legalization of marijuana needs “a scrub” to match her much-needed audience of Millennials.

One final theme of WikiLeaks emails involves Barack Obama. Recently, the documents show that not only is Hillary a liar but so is Obama. Despite the outgoing president’s ridiculous declaration that he learned of Hillary’s private server and email only through news reports, he had been regularly in exchange with Hillary in her official capacity as secretary of state on her homebrew server. The U.S. president participated in misconduct with Hillary Clinton, period, and then he lied about it.

Back in 2008, the Clinton campaign organized meetings and lawyers due to the belief that “the Obama forces flooded the caucuses with ineligible voters.” Yes, these are the same despicable politicians hyperventilating at the possibility the Trump campaign might challenge their traditions of voter fraud regularly employed by Democrats.

But the emails involving Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race show exactly where much of the “oppositional research” originated that this president and the Democrats want to blame on the Republicans. Here’s a quick sampling:

Obama would personally negotiate with leaders of terrorist nations like Iran and North Korea without preconditions
Obama’s father was a Muslim and Obama grew up among Muslims in the world’s most populous Islamic country

Obama supports giving drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants
Obama described his former use of cocaine as using “a little blow.”

There’s surely more — it is the Clintons, after all. But no matter what comes out about her security lapses or corruption, Hillary Clinton is always going to first blame the Russians and then lie about everything.



Creepy clown gets some well-deserved treatment

A clown has been run over by a group of teenagers after the creepy masked prankster knocked one of them to the ground with a wooden plank.

In a shocking video uploaded to Facebook on Friday the Australian teenager is seen confronting the clown, who whacks him over the head with a wooden object.

In a panic one of the victim's friends drives their car straight into the clown.

The teenagers had been driving around for hours looking for clowns, when at midnight they heard word of one lurking near an old factory.

They spot the clown brandishing a wooden plank, and one of the teenagers decides to get out of the car to talk to them.

'Oh s*** hes got a stick,' one of the boys says. 'What's he gonna do?' says the teenager as he walks closer to the clown.

The clown then lifts the stick and hits the boy across the face.

He falls to the ground and in a crazed panic the victim's friend drives into the clown.

The video ends as the teens walk up to the clown, who they find lying in a pool of blood.



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

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


25 October, 2016

Why I Now Feel Compelled To Vote For Trump

Derek Hunter

Last time a Clinton was on the ballot, I voted for Ross Perot. My vote didn’t deny Bob Dole the White House, but I confess I felt a smug sense of satisfaction in “refusing to settle.” I sure showed them, didn’t I?

I haven’t been as vocal as other “Never Trump” writers, but neither have I hidden my dislike or tempered my criticism. In a field of 17 Republican candidates, Donald Trump wouldn’t have been my 18th choice. I’m still not a fan. But they didn’t just ask me; they asked everyone. And more of everyone chose Donald Trump.

I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. For countless reasons I’ve covered over the last year, I dug in my heels and proudly basked in my self-satisfaction. I still defended Trump in this column and on social mediawhen he was wrongly attacked by the left and the media, but I was steadfast in my opposition to the man.

So what changed?

Not Trump. He still gives rambling speeches with little focus and spends far too much time defending himself against insignificant slights when he should be focusing on policy (though his ethics reform proposal is excellent and will irritate all the people in Washington who need to be irritated).

Hillary hasn’t changed either. At least not in who she is – a corrupt, self-serving liar willing to do or say anything to win and/or sell out to the highest bidder. There isn’t enough Saudi Arabian money in the Clinton Foundation to get me to vote for someone who got rich off “public service” and a “commitment to helping the poor.”

No, what’s changed is me. Not through introspection and reflection, but through watching the sickening display of activism perpetrated by a covert army with press credentials.

Bias has always been a factor in journalism. It’s nearly impossible to remove. Humans have their thoughts, and keeping them out of your work is difficult. But 2016 saw the remaining veneer of credibility, thin as it was, stripped away and set on fire.

More than anything, I can’t sit idly by and allow these perpetrators of fraud to celebrate and leak tears of joy like they did when they helped elect Barack Obama in 2008. I have to know I weighed in not only in writing but in the voting booth.

The media needs to be destroyed. And although voting for Trump won’t do it, it’s something. Essentially, I am voting for Trump because of the people who don’t want me to, and I believe I must register my disgust with Hillary Clinton.

I am not of the mindset that any vote not for Trump is a vote for Hillary, but a vote for Trump is a vote against Hillary. And I need to vote against Hillary. I need to vote against the media.

After the last debate, when no outlet “fact checked” Hillary’s lie that her opposition to the Heller decision had anything to do with children, or her lie that the State Department didn’t lose $6 billion under her leadership, I couldn’t hold out any longer.

A Trump administration at least will include people I trust in positions that matter. I don’t know if they will be able to hold him completely in check, but I know a Clinton administration will include people who have been her co-conspirators in corruption, and there won’t even be a media to hold her accountable.

The Wikileaks emails have exposed an arrogant cabal of misery profiteers who hold everyone, even their fellow travelers deemed not pure enough, in contempt. These bigots who’ve made their fortune from government service should be kept as far away from the levers of power as the car keys should be kept from anyone named Kennedy on a Friday night. My one vote against it will not be enough, but it’s all I can do and I have to do all I can do.

I won’t stop being critical of Trump when he deserves it; I won’t pretend someone is handing out flowers when they’re shoveling BS. But I’d rather have BS shoveled out of a president than our tax dollars shoveled to a president’s friends and political allies.

The Project Vertias videos exposed a corrupt political machine journalists would have been proud to expose in the past. The Wikileaks emails pulled back the curtain on why that didn’t happen – journalists are in on it. I can’t pretend otherwise, and I have no choice but to oppose it.

This isn’t a call to arms for “Never Trumpers” to follow suit; this is a choice I had to make for myself after much reflection. I wouldn’t presume to tell others how to act any more than I would accept the same from someone else. I would encourage them to consider what awaits the country should Hillary win. If they can’t vote against her by voting for him, at least spend these last two weeks of the election directing their ire toward Clinton.

Although most are principled, far too many “Never Trump” conservatives spend more of their time attacking him than pointing out her corruption. I get it – in him, you see the fight you’ve been a part of being betrayed, and that leaves a mark.

I’m not saying you should support him, but you shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of opposing her. If, or when, Hillary Clinton takes the oath of office, she needs to have as little support as possible. Frankly, she needs to be damaged. The mainstream media won’t do it; they’re in on it.

This is my choice, what I must do. Each person has to come to this decision on their own terms. And the fact remains there simply aren’t enough “Never Trump” Republicans to make up Trump’s current deficit, and that’s on him. But I know what I’ve been wrestling with these past few weeks is not unique to me. And I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot sit around knowing there was something else I could have done to oppose Hillary Clinton and I didn’t do it.

A simple protest vote for a third party or a write-in of my favorite comic book character might feel good for a moment. It might even give me a sense of moral superiority that lasts until her first executive order damaging something I hold dear – or her first Supreme Court nominee. But the sting that will follow will far outlive that temporary satisfaction.

I oppose much of what Donald Trump has said, but I oppose everything Hillary Clinton has done and wants to do. And what someone says, no matter how objectionable, is less important than what someone does, especially when it’s so objectionable. A personal moral victory won’t suffice when the stakes are so high. As such, I am compelled to vote against Hillary by voting for the only candidate with any chance whatsoever of beating her – Donald Trump.



Have we misjudged Canada?

Below are some Leftist complaints that sound more like praise to conservatives

What comes to mind about Canada? A progressive wonderland of polite manners and majestic moose? What America might be if it evolved a little? That place you’ll move to if Trump wins?

If that’s what you think, that’s fine by us. In fact, it’s our brand: not America. The nice guys. Dull, kind and harmless. That’s how we like to be thought of.

But it’s mooseshit. We are not the country you think we are. We never have been.

These days, Canada is the second-largest arms exporter to the Middle East. Our Alberta oil sands produce more carbon emissions each year than the entire state of California. Our intelligence agency is allowed to act on information obtained through torture. And a lot of French Canadians are into blackface comedy.

Little of this is widely known, because we happen to share a border with America. When your next-door neighbour is a billionaire celebrity genius with automatic weapons and an undying need for attention, you can get away with all sorts of stuff. It’s nice to be thought of as the world’s nice guys. And it’s useful – it obscures a lot of dirt.

Last year, Canadians almost came to terms with the lie in our branding. After a decade of the rightwing Harper government, with its pro-oil, anti-science and anti-Muslim ideas, it had become difficult to maintain our sense of smug superiority. Add to that the global coverage of crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford (since deceased), and the maple leaf flag patch sewn to our metaphorical backpack was coming loose at the seams.

In this disillusionment, there was opportunity. If we wanted to reclaim our reputation as a just and caring and helpful society, perhaps we could try behaving like one. During our 2015 election, everything from electoral and environmental reform to international peacekeeping was put back on the table, and we dared to open our eyes (just a peek) to the neglected, remote indigenous communities where suicide rates are shockingly high and access to untainted drinking water is shamefully low. There was a sense that Canada was ready to grow up and forge a national identity based on what we do, not on who we aren’t.

Instead, we elected Justin Trudeau, a social media savant who has positioned himself, and by extension Canada, as a sunny chaser to the world’s bitter news. Trudeau is the political equivalent of a YouTube puppy video. After your daily barrage of Trump and terror, you can settle your jangled nerves with his comforting memes.

Each week, Trudeau feeds the news cycle a new sharable moment, and our Facebook feeds are overwhelmed with shots of the adorable young statesman cuddling pandas and hugging refugees and getting accidentally photographed in the wild with his top off, twice.

For international audiences, the Justin moment has been a harmless diversion. For Canadians, it’s a dangerous distraction. Canadians care far more about what Americans think of us than we do about Canadian politics. Little wonder that things remain so grim.

Despite Trudeau’s progressive branding, Canada is right where Stephen Harper left us. It’s been a year since the election, and we’re still selling arms to Saudi Arabia, still cutting $36bn from healthcare and still basing our economy on fossil fuel extraction, and running roughshod over indigenous rights to do so.

Too much maple syrup will make anyone sick, and I thought Trudeau’s honeymoon was finally over when, sensing a hot meme, he knelt down to offer a three-year-old Prince George a high-five. But the royal toddler left our common prime minister hanging – and to me it seemed the spell was broken. But it wasn’t. A few weeks later, right as he was backtracking on a campaign promise for electoral reform, Trudeau’s approval rating hit 64%.

Canada’s moment would likely have lapsed by now if not for the American election. The comparison of Trump v Trudeau is just too rich for the press to resist. Canada has a dashing Disney prince for a ruler, and the US is considering this guy? The Washington Post dubbed Trudeau “the anti-Trump”. Every idle threat to move to Canada if Trump wins has been treated as a major news event by the Canadian press.

(A note to my fellow Canadians on that: when an American says that they’ll move to Canada if Trump wins, it’s like when the head cheerleader tells the arrogant quarterback that he’s so conceited, she’d sooner date Urkel. Urkel may swoon to hear his name coming from a pretty girl’s lips. But it’s not really a compliment, and she’s never really going to date him.)

Last week an opportunistic Canadian ad firm sent America a shit-eating YouTube sympathy card, in which a handful of pasty Canadians assured their beleaguered neighbors that despite you-know-who, we still think America’s great! The passive aggressive subtext is of course that we also think we’re a little bit better.

But we’re not. And for that, I’m sorry.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about British and European problems


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

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


24 October, 2016

A Frightening Preview of Hillary's America: Dark and unaccountable

Hillary Clinton, of all people, summed up this debate and this election best:  "What kind of country are we going to be?"

The Evita of Arkansas is a compulsive liar who has never told the truth in her life. But this time around she was right. This election does not come down to the personalities. It comes down to the kind of country we are going to have. And in the third debate, the one that took a break from the petty haranguing of media lackeys like Lester Holt and Martha Raddatz, the issues took center stage.

The core issue came into focus with the very first question asked by Chris Wallace. Wallace asked Hillary and Trump if their vision for the Supreme Court was based on the Constitution or not. Hillary launched into a spiel about a Supreme Court that would stand for class warfare and gay rights. The only time she mentioned the Constitution was when she insisted that the Senate was constitutionally obligated to confirm Obama's nominee. That is her vision of the Constitution; a document that grants her power to reshape the country without regard to the Founders or any previously existing rights or freedoms.

It fell to Trump to speak of justices who would "interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted". And that is the core issue. Personalities and politicians come and go. Today's trending topic has been forgotten a day later. Outrages explode like fireworks and then fizzle out.

The weapons of mass distraction have been deployed and detonated. They keep going off in blasts of media gunpowder to divert our attention from whether we will live under the Constitution or under the Hillary. Will we have the rights and freedom bound into the Constitution or corruption justified with cant about the need to defend the oppressed by giving unlimited power to the oppressors.

The final debate finally focused on the issues. Instead of leading with the scandals, it asked about gun control, amnesty and open borders. It asked what kind of country are we going to be?

And, are we going to be a country at all or an open border weeping undocumented migrants destroying what's left of the middle class as the masterminds rob the country blind while preaching piously to us about all the poor Syrians, Mexicans and LGBT youth they want to protect?

Americans have had a preview of the country that Hillary Clinton would create under Obama. They received yet another preview of it at a final debate in which Hillary echoed Obama's Orwellian language in which endless spending was dubbed "investing" and in which government would save the middle class by regulating and taxing it out of existence for the greater good of the officially oppressed.

Hillary Clinton promised free college and cradle to grave education that would be debt free. Americans would be the ones plummeting deeper and deeper into debt to pay for degrees in gender studies. She promised viewers pie in the sky to be paid for by higher taxes on the rich. But as Trump pointed out, that's the class that her donors come from. Did Warren Buffett and George Soros invest all that money into her victory just to pay higher taxes? Did they do it right after they bought the Brooklyn Bridge?

Or will Americans buy the bridge believing Hillary's promise that she "will not add a penny to the debt"?

The only way Hillary can hope to do that is to appoint Bernie Madoff to be her Treasury Secretary.

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump wrangled over tax hikes or tax cuts, the debate is whether crooks like the Clintons should have a massive pot of taxpayer money to "invest" into their donors.

But beneath it is the same big question; do we live under the Constitution or under the Hillary?

In Hillary Country, just like in Obama Country, there are always more "investments" to make and you had better pay your "fair share". There are always special identity group interests that need money. There are always more regulations, taxes, fines and fees. And it's all for the children.

The ones that Hillary will grimace at when the cameras are on her and nudge away with the point of her shoe when the little red light turns off.

But there is no lie that Hillary Clinton will not tell and no lie that her pet media fact checkers will not back her up on. Obama doubled the national debt and yet Hillary insists that, "We're actually on the path to eliminating the national debt". That might be true only insofar as we're approaching the point that no one will lend us any money. We're headed toward a $20 trillion national debt.

And Hillary's plans won't add a penny to the national debt. They'll add hundreds of trillions of pennies.

Hillary talked of bringing "our country together" and not "pitting of people one against the other" and instead "we celebrate our diversity". If she does half as good a job as Obama, these celebrations of diversity will climax with race riots across America. How exactly does Hillary plan to unite with the "deplorables" of the country? How has Hillary united anyone in the country except in disdain?

Hillary Clinton's entire campaign pitch is based on demonizing Trump and his supporters. She believes that if she convinces enough voters that Trump is the devil, they may hold their noses and accept the return of the corrupt Clinton dynasty and everything that it represents. That gamble is what we are seeing on the news. It is what we heard at the debate. Hillary cannot win on her own merits.

She warned at the final debate of the "dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system". It's hard to imagine a bigger source of dark, accountable money than a foundation being used as an international slush fund that has been beyond unaccountable.

But it's Hillary's vision of government that is dark and unaccountable. From the beginning of the debate, she made it clear that she does not wish to be accountable to the Constitution. Her email cover up made it painfully clear that she does not want to be accountable to the American people. Instead Hillary would like everyone in the country to be accountable to her. A mass of regulations and enforcers will force everyone to be accountable to the dark and unaccountable force in the White House.

"It really does come down to what kind of country we are going to have," Hillary repeated.

It does indeed. Americans have had a preview of the kind of country that Hillary would bring into being.



Corruption and Collusion

Modern journalists have little in common with those I was privileged to know when I was a copyboy at NBC News in Washington in the ‘60s.

Today’s “journalists” will disagree, but as numerous surveys have shown, the public trust in what is collectively called the media has sunk to an all-time low. Only the media think they don’t have to change and can continue to sell a product more and more people refuse to buy.

WikiLeaks dumps of Clinton campaign emails with reporters should contain enough proof for any reasonable person that big media is in the tank for her.

In what may be unprecedented, The New York Times allowed Hillary to edit her own quotes.

John Harwood, chief Washington correspondent for CNBC, showered praise on Hillary in emails to her campaign chief John Podesta.

Clinton staffers discussed which emails to release and which to delete. She has claimed the deleted emails were personal, not work related.

A Chapman University survey has found the top fear of American voters is corruption in government. If true, why do so many intend to vote for Hillary, perhaps the most corrupt politician ever to seek the presidency?

The WikiLeaks documents also expose Hillary’s private vs. public contradictory statements on several subjects.

The Washington Examiner reports these include transcripts of paid speeches she has tried to keep secret. Three years ago, Hillary told an audience at a luncheon for the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago Vanguard that the flow of Syrian refugees into Jordan had put Jordan’s security at risk.

About the thousands of Syrians pouring into Jordan, she said, “…they can’t possibly vet all those refugees so they don’t know if, you know, jihadists are coming in along with legitimate refugees.”

She wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. by many times the current rate. If they pose a security threat to Jordan, why wouldn’t they pose a threat to America? Even FBI director James Comey says he can’t guarantee proper vetting for so many refugees and other immigrants, many of whom lack the most rudimentary forms of identification and verifiable work history.

During the second presidential debate, Hillary expressed support for a no-fly zone over parts of Syria to help stem the humanitarian crisis. But, in a paid speech for Goldman Sachs in June 2013, she indicated she was skeptical about whether such a strategy would work.

“To have a no-fly zone,” she said then, “you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas, so our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians. So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”

There is much more, including private praise for Wall Street and big banks that paid her six figures for speeches with little content, but public criticism and promises to exert more government control over them if she is elected.

In a West Palm Beach, Florida, speech last Thursday, Donald Trump honed his attack against the media, the establishment and the Clintons: “The establishment and their media neighbors wield control over this nation. … Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, rapist, xenophobe, and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family … (and) your reputation. They will lie (and) do whatever is necessary.

"The Clintons are criminals … and the establishment that protects them has engaged in a massive cover-up of widespread criminal activity at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation in order to keep the Clintons in power. Never in history have we seen such a cover-up as this.”




A new undercover investigation by James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC coordinated with liberal organizations to use a tactic called “bird-dogging” to purposely incite violence at Donald Trump rallies:

In the video, Democratic activists Robert Creamer and Scott Foval reveal their strategy to create a sense of “anarchy” in and around Donald Trump events over the course of the campaign. Foval tells an undercover operative: “One of the things we do is we stage very authentic grassroots protests right in their faces at their own events. Like, we infiltrate.”

“So the term bird dogging: You put people in the line, at the front which means that they have to get there at six in the morning because they have to get in front at the rally, so that when Trump comes down the rope line, they’re the ones asking him the question in front of the reporter, because they’re pre-placed there,” explains Foval. “To funnel that kind of operation, you have to start back with people two weeks ahead of time and train them how to ask questions. You have to train them to bird dog.”

And what kind of people are they training to carry out this infiltration? The elderly and mentally ill:

One event specifically mentioned by the Democratic operatives to have been ‘bird-dogged’ was the September incident in North Carolina where a 69-year-old woman was supposedly assaulted by a Trump supporter. In reality, the woman was “trained” by Foval as part of his operation. “She was one of our activists,” he says.

“I’m saying we have mentally ill people, that we pay to do shit, make no mistake,” says Foval in the video. “Over the last twenty years, I’ve paid off a few homeless guys to do some crazy stuff, and I’ve also taken them for dinner, and I’ve also made sure they had a hotel, and a shower. And I put them in a program. Like I’ve done that.

But the reality is, a lot of people especially our union guys. A lot of our union guys…they’ll do whatever you want. They’re rock and roll. When I need to get something done in Arkansas, the first guy I call is the head of the AFL-CIO down there, because he will say, ‘What do you need?’ And I will say, I need a guy who will do this, this and this. And they find that guy. And that guy will be like, Hell yeah, let’s do it.”

“It doesn’t matter what the friggin’ legal and ethics people say, we need to win this motherfucker,” Foval also said.

Foval also says in the video that Republicans have a certain “level of adherence to rules” that keeps them from resorting to such filthy tactics. But liberals aren’t above it at all.

Oh — he also says Clinton absolutely knows this is happening



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

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


23 October, 2016

The Left and the Masses

The greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general and the poor in particular. That is also their greatest fraud. It even fools many leftists themselves.

One of the most recent efforts of the left is the spread of laws and policies that forbid employers from asking job applicants whether they have been arrested or imprisoned. This is said to be to help ex-cons get a job after they have served their time, and ex-cons are often either poor or black, or both.

First of all, many of the left’s policies to help blacks are disproportionately aimed at helping those blacks who have done the wrong thing — and whose victims are disproportionately those blacks who have been trying to do the right thing. In the case of this ban on asking job applicants whether they have criminal backgrounds, the only criterion seems to be whether it sounds good or makes the left feel good about themselves.

Hard evidence as to what actual consequences to expect beforehand, or hard evidence as to its actual consequences afterwards, seems to have had very little role in this political crusade.

An empirical study some years ago examined the hiring practices of companies that did a background check on all the employees they hired. It found that such companies hired more blacks than companies which did not follow that unusual practice.

Why? This goes back to decision-making by human beings in general, with many kinds of decisions in general. Since we seldom have all the facts, we are often forced to rely on generalizing when making our decisions.

Many employers, aware of higher rates of imprisonment among blacks, are less likely to hire blacks whose individual backgrounds are unknown to them. But those particular employers who investigate everyone’s background before hiring them do not have to rely on such generalizations.

The fact that these latter kinds of employers hired more blacks suggests that racial animosity is not the key factor, since blacks are still blacks, whether they have a criminal past or not. But the political left is so heavily invested in blaming racism that mere facts are unlikely to change their minds.

Just as those on the left were not moved by hard evidence before they promoted laws and policies that forbad employers to ask about job applicants' criminal records, so they have remained unmoved by more recent studies showing that the hiring of blacks has been reduced in the wake of such laws and policies.

Moreover, the left is so invested in the idea that they are helping the disadvantaged that they seldom bother to check the actual consequences of what they are doing, whether that is something as specific as banning questions about criminal behavior or something as general as promoting the welfare state.

In the vision of the left, the welfare state is supposed to be a step forward, in the direction of “social justice.” Tons of painful evidence, from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, that the welfare state has in fact been a step backward toward barbarism — among low-income whites in England and ghetto blacks in the United States — does not make a dent in the beliefs of the left.

The left’s infatuation with minimum wage laws has likewise been impervious to factual evidence that the spread and escalation of minimum wages have been followed by far higher rates of unemployment among young blacks, to levels some multiple of what they were before — and to a racial gap in unemployment among the young that is likewise some multiple of what it was before.

Those who doubt this need only turn to the data on page 42 of “Race and Economics” by Walter Williams, or to the diagram on page 98 of “The Unheavenly City,” written by Edward Banfield back in 1968. The facts have been available for a long time.

Surely the intelligentsia of the left have access to empirical evidence and the wit to understand such evidence. But the real question is whether they have the stomach to face the prospect that their crusades have hurt the very people they claim to be helping.

Examining hard evidence would mean gambling a whole vision of the world — and of their own role in that world — on a single throw of the dice, which is what looking at hard evidence amounts to. The path of least resistance is to continue going through life feeling good about themselves, while leaving havoc in their wake.



Trump the Statesman

Could Donald Trump help lead the nation back to constitutional government? Or is he the uneducated, boorish, ego-maniacal boob that his critics say he is?

I start with Trump’s courage, unquestionably a virtue of the statesman. In his 1978 Harvard speech, Alexander Solzhenitsyn accused the leaders of the Western world of a lack of civic courage. They were unwilling, he said, to stand up to their enemies. Trump has shown civic courage again and again. He alone among prominent politicians is willing to name the actual source of terrorist violence against Americans (Muslim immigrants) and propose sensible policies to stop that source (restrictions on immigration from countries associated with Muslim terrorism). Trump alone is willing to tell the truth about the collapse of the rule of law in cities with large black populations—namely, lack of adequate enforcement of laws punishing crimes against person and property.

Trump shows personal courage as well. I don’t know of a single American statesman in the past century, unless it’s Reagan, who could have stood up to the nonstop stream of vitriol, hatred, ostracism, accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, you name it, that Trump has been showered with over the past 15 months. What a man!

Prudence is another virtue of statesmanship. Who has been more prudent than Trump in pursuing the presidency? With the entire Republican establishment united against him, he made statements that were criticized again and again as imprudent. Yet Trump kept getting stronger. He is within a few points of Hillary Clinton, and sometimes ahead, in the polls. He has been criticized endlessly for his supposed gaffes, every one of which was expected to finally end his quest for the presidency. But what were most of these “gaffes” but telling the truth again and again about the important questions facing America—about the obvious bias of Judge Gonzalo Curiel; about the crime many illegal immigrants import; about the danger of Islamic immigration; about the shameful failure to provide law enforcement in black areas; and about the massive bipartisan failures in foreign policy over the past 25 years.

Prudence is about winning, but above all it is about winning on behalf of the right goals. What is the purpose of government in the American Founding? Answer: government is instituted “for the security and protection of the community as such, and to enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights” (Pennsylvania Constitution, 1776). Government’s job is to protect citizens—all citizens, not just women and minorities—against harm from fellow citizens and from abroad. It is about the common good of all Americans. What candidate since Reagan has understood this better than Trump?

Trump says we need to restrict Muslim immigration because it is dangerous to the life and property of Americans. He says we need to enforce criminal law because blacks aren’t getting the protection they deserve. He says we need a right to bear arms for self-protection. He says we need Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia, a constitutional originalist. He says “a nation without borders is not a nation at all. We must have a wall. The rule of law matters.” He wants an immigration policy that protects Americans from terrorist acts and benefits American workers. All of this is exactly in line with the founders’ approach.

And yet it is widely believed that Trump is ignorant of the purpose of the Constitution and the idea of justice in the founding! He doesn’t need lectures on natural rights from absurd parodies of statesmanship like Paul Ryan and Ben Sasse. He gets it without knowing anything about these increasingly empty natural rights slogans, which, as any thoughtful observer must admit, are no longer understood in their original sense. Obama and Hillary Clinton love to praise natural rights. Yet they have no idea of what they are and how government secures them.

Is Trump’s trade policy prudent? He believes that the purpose of trade policy is to protect and benefit Americans. The first substantive law ever passed by Congress says taxes on imports are “necessary for … the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” In other words, trade rules must serve the good of national prosperity and national defense. How can a country defend itself in a future war if its trade policy leads to outsourcing of steel production and widespread unemployment of both skilled and unskilled American workers?

After the War of 1812 had demonstrated the need for America to be economically independent of Europe, Jefferson abandoned his earlier utopian dream of America as a nation of farmers. He now became a strong advocate of manufacturing: “He, therefore, who is now against domestic manufacture, must be for reducing us either to dependence on . . . foreign nations, or to be clothed in skins, and to live like wild beasts in dens and caverns. I am not one of these; experience has taught me that manufactures are now as necessary to our independence as to our comfort.”

Why is Trump the only prominent politician since Reagan to understand that obvious political truth? The Founders got it, but Trump is routinely denounced for his failure to embrace “free” trade.

What is the purpose of foreign policy? Is it to save the world and the environment, to promote gay rights and feminism, as Obama and Hillary Clinton believe? No. In the Constitution, foreign policy is supposed to “secure the blessings of liberty for OURSELVES and our posterity.” Nothing else! What politician since Reagan understands that besides Trump? Why should our troops be stationed in 150 countries around the world? The Cold War is over. Trump proposes to restore the kind of foreign policy recommended by John Quincy Adams, who warned against roaming around the world “in search of monsters to destroy.”

If Trump could return America to a sane foreign policy operating within the natural rights parameters of the founders, it would be a victory of moderation and justice over the destructive arrogance of American power that has unleashed so much misery on the world since 1989. Those, too, are virtues of statesmanship.

The Clintons, together with the Bushes and Obama, have had a death grip on the presidency since 1989. On October 9, for the first time ever, the full depths of the evil, corrupt, greedy, and criminal Clinton “marriage” were exposed to the public. In front of the whole nation, with Bill Clinton’s rape victims in the audience, the Clintons were subjected to the public humiliation they have so long richly deserved but which no other Republican has ever had the courage to visit on them.

And yet scores of Republican and “conservative” leaders become frantic over 11-year-old  private conversation.. Did Plutarch agonize about whether his heroes cheated on their wives or made boastful remarks about the women they had bedded or wished to bed? Was Hamilton’s reputation forever destroyed when his tawdry adulterous affair with another man’s wife was discovered? No. His picture continues to grace the $10 bill and his legacy is celebrated on Broadway.

Liberals have flooded our culture with porn, obscenity, trashiness everywhere you look, and millions of female readers of Fifty Shades of Grey have fantasized about being treated cruelly by a powerful male lover. During Clinton’s presidency in the 90s, we were lectured about the need to follow the example of France and get over our Puritanical preoccupation with sex. But when Trump says a few crude and boastful words, establishment adults everywhere are faux-fainting in dismay.

There really is a bipartisan ruling class. Angelo Codevilla and John Marini are right. Trump is the only man since Reagan to challenge it. Conservatism Inc., which is part of that ruling class (they get the scraps from the table after their betters finish dining), therefore turns its back on him, gleefully pointing and sputtering “I told you so” over every Trump comment or action that hints of racism, sexism, or homophobia. These “conservatives” are in effect working night and day for a Hillary victory. Good job, conservatives!

Trump has shown throughout his career that he knows how to get things done. He does it by working with competent subordinates who have the appropriate expert knowledge in their respective fields. He is good at hiring, and he is good at firing. Has a single presidential candidate since 1987 had that kind of success in their pre-presidential past? And yet many say Trump is unprepared for the presidency, and Hillary is ready to go—a woman who has failed at everything she has put her hand to, except to get promoted to ever higher offices and get rich by corruption and crime. What delusion!

I don’t know why conservatives are unable to grasp these simple truths. It can’t be only self-interest. I’ll fall back on Nietzsche’s explanation, because I have nothing better: in all modern politics, one hears “a hoarse, groaning, genuine note of self-contempt. It is part of that darkening and uglification of [the West] which has now been going on for a hundred years…. The man of ‘modern ideas,’ that proud ape, is immoderately dissatisfied with himself: that is certain.”

Thus the instinctive revulsion of every “respectable” person in America at the specter of Trump as president. One wonders whether it is animated by a hatred of life itself. As Nietzsche also says, “man would rather will nothingness than not will at all,” and man cannot bring himself to will if he thinks there is nothing higher, purer, and nobler to aspire to. Trump wants America to live, not die.



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

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


21 October, 2016

NOTE:  Once again, my normal posting time has come, only to find me  under the influence of both health and cable problems.  The cable problems seem by now to have been banished but too late for me to read much. There is a fair chance that I might be back in normal action by this time tomorrow.

My health problem is a post operative infection in the wound site -- most probably golden staph.  I am on 300 mg of clindamycin 6 hourly so that should help. I can control the pain with di-gesic pretty well but I have to be cautious about sepsis so my next recourse may have to be a vancomycin drip.

Either the infection or the remedies seem to be making me very drowsy so I sleep for long periods, which is probably a good thing on the whole.

20 October, 2016

The arrogance of anger

The Left are chronically angry.  There is always something in the world that is not right and must be changed IMMEDIATELY if possible. Each Leftist probably has his own little wellspring of  anger and some may be dispositionally angry: Nothing may suit him.  He is in a permanent state of upset and disquiet.  The things that Leftists usually say they are angry about --  inequality, racism etc. -- are probably just convenient hooks to hang his expressions of anger on but there always seems to be some real, genuine anger motivating him. Often it is just that  he is not getting the recognition and praise that he thinks he deserves.

And that anger explains many things about the Leftist. It explains his impetuosity for starters. "Pass a law" is his recipe for fixing everything.  Finding the source of the problem he identifies and devising solutions that might work given time are alien ideas to him. The slow build that leads to permanent structures and systems is not for him.

The anger also explains the arrogance of Leftists and their pretence to elitism. Anger never considers that it might be in the wrong.  It always feels itself to be in the right.  It has no self-doubt. If Leftists really were an intellectual elite there might be some reason to regard them as wise governors but any ability they do have is nullified by their anger and urgency to change no matter what.  And that is why Leftist policies always have unfortunate side effects.  They may confer some benefit but also do a lot of harm.

The "Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare) is a classic example of that.  For the great majority of Americans it has made health insurance LESS affordable.  It was just not well thought out because it had to be enacted URGENTLY.

And for most Leftists, no parade of facts and logic will wean him off his poorly-considered beliefs.  The habitual anger of the Leftist is hard to give up, because wanting to feel/be right is part of human nature.  From the basic physical survival drive, through to intellectual and moral issues we like to be right.

That confidence in one's own rightness is however thoroughly deplorable in the Christian tradition.  As it says in  Luke 18:

"He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed[a] thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I like that scripture and believe that it forms part of my personal values.  The Pharisees there are directly analogous to the modern-day Left, who think that they know it all and are confident in their own righteousness.  So it is no wonder that Leftists hate Christianity.  Christ condemned them.  Leftists much prefer the arrogant religion of Mohammed.


One way to reduce regulations? Give states the power to reject them

The current session of Congress, much like the ones that preceded it, has been filled with gridlock, recycled policy debates and little progress on the challenges facing our nation.

But on the day the House adjourned until November, a ray of hope emerged: A resolution to combat the regulatory state and revive federalism was introduced. There may be hope after all for the republic.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced H.J. Res. 100 on Sept. 28. This simple and elegant resolution would amend the Constitution "to give States the authority to repeal a Federal rule or regulation when ratified by the legislatures of two-thirds of the several States." The states could repeal "any Presidential Executive order, rule, regulation, other regulatory action, or administrative ruling issued by a department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States."

The amendment would help redress the massive power grab by the federal government at the expense of the states that has continued nearly unabated since the administration of President Woodrow Wilson. This trend is contrary to the notions of our constitutional republic. As James Madison wrote in Federalist Number 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

This balance has been turned on its head primarily by the rise of the regulatory state and federal rule-making. This regime involves Congress handing over authority to bureaucrats to issue regulations and rules that impact nearly every area of our lives, from education and transportation, to the financial sector and the environment.

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute has explained, regulations cost our economy $1.885 trillion in 2015, and the cost of complying with regulations is higher than what the IRS will likely take in from individual and corporate taxes in 2015. About the only way citizens can impact the regulatory state is through the notice and comment period, when they can object to or support proposed regulations before they become law.

The regulatory state has spawned a bureaucratic bouillabaisse of rules: major rules, significant rules, economically significant rules, rules issued under good cause, interim final rules and direct final rules. Consequently, a body of law has developed around the regulatory state: the Administrative Procedure Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act, Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and the Congressional Review Act. Some of these laws have attempted to gain control of the leviathan that the regulatory state was destined to become.

But the flood of regulations continues.

Enter Bishop's resolution. H.J. Res. 100 would give state legislatures —legislative institutions that are very close to the people — the ability to repeal regulations that, in their view, are harmful or burdensome. Citizens of states will be able to lobby their state representatives more easily than lobbying Congress. That will in turn allow states to claw back their powers by undoing regulatory actions that undermine their authority and the economy.

When Washington gets too big and bullies the states, the constitutional amendment proposed by H.J.Res. 100 would be a resource the states can utilize to check a federal government that is more zealous about promoting the regulatory state, executive orders and administrative rulings, than the guarantee of the 10th Amendment.

A recent article in The Washington Post highlighted a study by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg about bureaucrats in Washington. The article explained that:          

For their part, the bureaucrats are aware that they're not average Americans. In fact, respondents to the survey tended to overestimate the distance between their own opinions and those of the general public. More often than not, they misjudged how the public felt about federal spending on various programs, such as education or social security or defense.

Bachner and Ginsberg call this phenomenon the fallacy of "false uniqueness." They interpret it as a sign that many public servants have internalized a sense of superiority. Perhaps, as they write, "officials and policy community members simply cannot imagine that average citizens would have the information or intellectual capacity needed to see the world as it is seen from the exalted heights of official Washington."

These bureaucrats and their views are the inevitable outcome of a federal government that prioritizes bureaucratic fiefdoms at the expense of states and makes rolling back regulations about as onerous as possible. H.J. Res. 100 would redress the grievances of citizens who know that their federal government has assumed a degree of control over the states that is forbidden by the Constitution.

Amending the Constitution should be done deliberately, thoughtfully, and for the most important of reasons. H.J.Res. 100 satisfies these requirements and then some. Its debate and passage by Congress and two-thirds of the states will go a long way to help restore the balance between the people and those who govern on their behalf.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would


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

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


19 October, 2016

The Democratic party has abandoned the working class

If it ever really stood for them

DRY FORK, W. Va. THIS ROCK-HARD, remote mountain redoubt, where generations of the brawny and the brave stripped the forests for timber and traveled deep into mines for coal, used to constitute an impregnable Democratic fortress. For 14 of the 17 elections since Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed his New Deal, Democrats won easy victories in presidential elections in this state.

But with the new century, a new political reality has unfolded here, perhaps best viewed as a tale of two governors from faraway Massachusetts.

Michael S. Dukakis, the Democrats’ 1988 presidential nominee, won the state by 5 percentage points. Mitt Romney — the Republicans’ presidential nominee 24 years later and a figure with no plausible personal or cultural affinity with voters here — won all 55 counties in the state in the last election, taking West Virginia’s five electoral votes by a landslide 27 percentage points.

Yet the GOP has swept the state the past four presidential elections, and Hillary Clinton’s prospects are so dim that she probably won’t bother to campaign here. Even as Donald Trump’s national poll numbers cratered after a disastrous first debate and the leak of an explosive video, the Republican nominee’s grip on West Virginia appeared firm.

"I never worried about West Virginia," said Dukakis. "It is working-class America, but now we’ve just kind of basically said: Well, it’s a red state."

American political parties are always in transition. This year, Trump has revealed deep cracks in the traditional Republican coalition and gone to war with party leaders. Yet while the Democrats are more united behind their 2016 nominee, they’re arguably more divided over their party’s vision and future. And if Trump self-destructs and delivers the White House to them, Democrats should contain their glee, because their victory will have only delayed their day of reckoning.

The Democratic Party’s core identity, far predating its embrace of various civil rights movements, is as the defender of rank-and-file workers. Yet today’s Democrats are caught in a political scissors: the emergence of a new professional class that is progressive on social issues but, according to Michael Haselswerdt, a political scientist at Canisius College in Buffalo, “Their progressivism is moving them away from working-class voters, and the weakness of the labor movement is only accelerating that."

For politicians and campaign operatives who for a generation or more have been working for the Democrats — or against them — the party’s growing dependence on the prosperous and well-educated is disorienting.

"This is a very different Democratic Party than the one we ran against in the 1980s," said Sig Rogich, the Las Vegas publicist who created advertisements both for George H.W. Bush and for Ronald Reagan, including the iconic "Morning in America" spot.

Are the Democrats the party of working people anymore or is their future with college-educated professionals? Can a party whose 2016 nominee raised money at fund-raisers for the wealthy this summer at the rate of $150,000 an hour lay claim to being the protector of labor and its dwindling union workforce? Can the Democrats marry their identity as the party of government with the "outsider" profile that voters seem to embrace with such fervor? Does a party that draws its strength from the richest and the poorest places in America have any logical rationale? Is a party of working women, minorities, and university liberals poised for a bright future — or an electoral disaster?

These questions, and more, bedevil a party that is completing two terms in the White House but that is in the minority in both houses on Capitol Hill, holds barely a third of the nation’s governor’s chairs, and can’t seem to get its less upscale, or its younger, voters to turn out for nonpresidential elections. Hence this question, perhaps the most devastating one of all: Have the Democrats replaced the Republicans as the party of the social, cultural, and economic elite?

"I’ve been in groups of workers, who used to be so closely aligned with the Democrats, where I’m more welcome than a Democrat would be," said Senator Rob Portman, a Republican running for reelection in the swing state of Ohio. "The Democrats have become a little more elitist, less in touch with the life experiences of middle-class Americans, and more attuned to the college-educated, urban-dwelling segment."

Portman is hardly impartial. But is he wrong?

NOT SINCE THE party’s serial White House losses in the 1980s have the Democrats been engaged in such a searing, searching examination of their prospects and identity. For followers of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, it’s obvious which way the party should go. "It is very clear that not only is the Democratic Party moving in a more progressive position, the American people are," Sanders said in an interview. His insurgent candidacy bedeviled Clinton all winter and spring, nudging the eventual nominee to the left. "Simply having a megaphone — talking to almost a million and a half people — gave the public a different perspective," Sanders added, "and they said, ‘I think this guy is right.’ Political leaders started listening."

He has a point. Now hardly any mainstream politicians besides President Obama are outspoken proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that had the strong support of, among many others, Clinton herself. A year ago, Democrats were talking about raising the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, to $10.10 an hour; now the conversation almost invariably speaks of a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

"More and more politicians — Democrats and some Republicans — are realizing that we cannot sustain the income and wealth gap," Sanders said in the interview. "I think our campaign had an impact on the country."

The debate about the future of the party has been kept out of public view as party leaders rallied around Hillary Clinton to fight off the Sanders rebellion and has been dampened down by the urgency of defeating Trump. But it is simmering below the surface and surely will emerge into public view, when the party confronts how progressive a freshly elected administration Clinton is assembling might be — or when the party asks how it can recover from a defeat at the hands of a force like Trump.

Many Democrats — not only the legions who rallied behind the Sanders banner but others as well — believe their heritage as sentinels of workers’ interests is at risk.

"I thought we could pull the party back into the model that was the basis of the party since Andrew Jackson: You take care of working people," said former senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who ran a brief presidential campaign earlier this year. "But it’s gone the other way. White working people outside of unions think the Democratic Party doesn’t like them."

If some Democrats look back longingly to Jackson, or at least to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, others point out how Bill Clinton modernized the party in 1992 by tugging it to the center and redeeming its hopes after losing five of the six elections between 1968 and 1988.

Will Marshall, president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute, which was created in the wake of the Dukakis defeat, points to how much stronger right-wing populism is than left-wing populism — the Tea Party versus, say, Occupy. He believes the party’s emphasis should be on college-educated suburban moderates. "The swing voters who hold the balance of power in key battleground states aren’t particularly angry and don’t see the economy as rigged against them," he said. "They give priority to growth over fairness and are more inclined to help US businesses succeed than to punish them."

In this version of the story, moving beyond traditional constituencies such as organized labor freed the Democrats from impulses that kept them from sculpting a modern liberalism. As a result, according to this thinking, they have relinquished the support of generations-old Democratic families in pursuit of support from college-educated suburban whites, as well as racial and ethnic minorities — growing demographic groups that, polls show, are relatively confident that the future will be brighter.

By this logic, the party is on the precipice of a promising new start, liberated from its past and poised to prevail in large measure because it lost the struggle to retain places like West Virginia.

"For years, we were in the fight for the guy in the truck with a gun rack," said James Carville, the veteran Democratic strategist. "We lost those guys, by a rate of 80 to 20. Dukakis carried them, Hillary won’t. The best thing that happened to us is that we lost that war."

YET WITHIN THE party, there’s considerable resistance to this view. It is inconceivable that, say, after Lyndon B. Johnson’s reelection in 1964 a high-profile group of Democrats would make demands and assemble lists of acceptable administration appointees such as the one Senator Elizabeth Warren and her allies developed late last month. In remarks at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Massachusetts Democrat belittled the customary Washington appointees who speak of progressive policies "coupled with a sigh, a knowing glance, and the twiddling of thumbs until it’s time for the next swing through the revolving door, serving government and then going back to the very same industries they regulate."

The Warren viewpoint — plus her twin convictions that federal regulators should aggressively protect consumers and that Washington’s ties with Wall Street are too close — were among the main currents that ran through the Bernie Sanders campaign, and they have special appeal to the younger voters who, early this autumn, the Clinton camp determined were essential if she is to win the White House.

That conclusion spawned a remarkable recent offensive, including a candidate op-ed, the mobilization of surrogates such as Sanders himself, and an appearance at a climate-change event with former vice president Al Gore Tuesday, all aimed at younger voters, a demographic group that doesn’t customarily vote as often as its elders — and that has shown a persistent reluctance to see Clinton as an ally or even as an appealing choice. According to transcripts released this month by WikiLeaks, Clinton praised global trade at events sponsored by Wall Street institutions. Those comments seem unremarkable to a well-heeled Democratic donor class. But for the young progressives on whom the party depends to knock on doors every other November, they’re a betrayal.

"Bernie’s candidacy demonstrated that the energy in the Democratic Party is around a very progressive agenda," argues Tad Devine, who spent a lifetime in conventional Democratic politics before leading the Sanders campaign. "The party right now is powered in large part by young people, minorities, and women, particularly single women. These people want a very progressive set of policies."

Even the most establishment-oriented Democrats agree. "Now we have a more ‘left’ Democratic Party — more diverse, watching government in action after so much inaction," said William Daley, son and brother of important Chicago mayors and the former campaign manager for the Al Gore.

That is precisely the Democratic Party that regular Republicans see as their emerging opponents, though the contours and the inclinations of the post-Trump GOP are impossible to predict, except to say that they will be different if Trump wins.

"Today’s Democrats don’t want change around the edges," said Frank I. Luntz, a top GOP strategist who is sitting out this year’s election. "They’re much closer to the democratic socialists of Europe. Bernie Sanders is to the left of [former British prime minister] Tony Blair. He may have lost the election, but he won the platform, and you now hear much more about higher taxes and free stuff and more regulation."

Part of the Democrats’ problem is its identification with Washington activism in an era when Washington is in disrepute. "The degraded political culture we have hasn’t helped the Democrats," said Ira Shapiro, author of the 2012 book "The Last Great Senate," which celebrates the achievements of the last generation of Senate lawmakers, many of them prominent Democrats. "But it is especially difficult for Democrats because they believe in government."

The Democrats are at odds with liberals who think they have watered down their commitment to progressive policies and drifted out of touch with their traditional constituencies. At the same time, they are at odds with conservatives who regard them as so liberal — and, inevitably, so beguiled by what they deride as "politically correct" views — that they are out of touch with mainstream Americans.

Listen to Patrick J. Buchanan, an aide to both Nixon and Reagan and a two-time presidential candidate: "The McGovernization of the party that began in 1968 — that social, cultural viewpoint — became rooted deeply into the Democratic Party. Clinton brought it back to the center in 1992, but the center of gravity in the party now has moved to the left."

Now listen to Todd Gitlin, a former Students for a Democratic Society president who now is a Columbia University sociologist: "If the Democratic Party in [my student days] had the profile it has today I would have looked askance at it. I would have thought that it was not a bridge to the future. The Trump people have a right to say they have been betrayed. Nobody has given a [expletive] about them in the Democratic Party."

Either way, today’s Democrats have changed perhaps as much or more than the Republicans since the 1970s. "The party has been taken over by professionals," said Gitlin. "The startling thing is that the Democrats are hardly competing for the people that Trump is claiming."

Even with all these tensions swirling around the party, hardly anyone thinks the Democrats are on the verge of political oblivion, in part because the Republicans are in upheaval as well — and may have made a dangerous demographic bet.

Writing in the journal of the American Academy of Political and Social Science this fall, the political scientists Gary C. Jacobson of the University of California San Diego, argued that among younger Americans the Democrats have a distinct edge.

"Not many people in a generation that is ethnically diverse and comfortable with diversity, worried about a warming planet, supportive of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, sympathetic to undocumented immigrants, and historically low in religious affiliation are likely to see themselves fitting into the current Republican coalition," he wrote.

Yet even the possibility that an army of smartphone-wielding millennials will come to the Democrats’ rescue doesn’t sit well with some longtime party leaders. Two former presidential nominees worry that their party has come unmoored from its past — and are deeply troubled that Trump has claimed some of the Democrats’ natural constituents.

"We have badly neglected the work we should have been doing for blue-collar working folks, especially men," said Dukakis, who now teaches at Northeastern University. "There’s no excuse for that. These are our people. They have no business voting Republican. But you have got to take care of people and pay attention to them."

Former vice president Walter Mondale, who lost in a landslide to Reagan in 1984, agrees, and he blames the Democrats’ problems in part on the party’s infatuation with metrics and with Internet communication.

"We had an established community of Democrats, volunteers activists," Mondale said of the Democrats of the mid to late 20th century. "We communicated with each other by phone, by mail, and by meeting. We kept lists, and we organized that way. Increasingly people live their public and political lives on their devices. That’s how they do their politics. People in politics don’t have the personal contacts they once had, and that has created a gap between Democrats and the people we got into politics to serve."

Overall the emergence of a new generation of voters, new technology, and new media has transformed the political landscape, making it unrecognizable to established politicians and rendering it confusing if not alienating to millennials.

"The polarization, the lack of engagement with people with views other than yours, the crudity in politics today — all that has changed our politics," said David Demarest, who was the communications director in the George H.W. Bush White House. "And that has affected the Democrats and Republicans alike. It has cost the Republicans who still value civility, and on the Democratic side it has detracted from serious conversations they care about. All of our politics seems to be in transition."

The civil war within Trump’s Republican Party is, to be sure, getting most of the attention. But as upscale professionals and working-class voters vie for influence within each of two evenly matched parties, there’s plenty of identity crisis to go around.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly about the correlates of ring finger length


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

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


18 October, 2016

So who are the Nazis here?

This is very reminiscent of the actions of Hitler's brownshirts in the 1930s.  Strange that no Democrat premises have been attacked!

A Republican party headquarters in North Carolina was firebombed and an adjacent building was vandalized with the words: 'Nazi Republicans leave town or else.'

One state GOP official called the attack in Hillsborough, Orange County an act of 'political terrorism', the Charlotte Observer reported.

A bottle, filled with flammable substance, was thrown into a window during the night, setting off a fire that scorched the interior of the building before the blaze burned itself out, police said.

Photos from the interior showed damaged yard signs bearing the names of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, along with other politicians.

With three weeks left until election day, Mayor Tom Stevens acknowledged the significance of the attack, saying: 'This highly disturbing act goes far beyond vandalizing property.

'It willfully threatens our community’s safety, and its hateful message undermines decency, respect and integrity in civic participation.'

The GOP headquarters is located in the strip mall Shops at Daniel Boone, with the graffiti left outside Balloons Above Orange a few doors down.

The owner of the balloon shop, Bennie Sparrow, was on her way to church this morning when she saw the 'hateful' message scrawled along the side of her business.

While she has 'no idea' who could be behind the attack, she believes her shop was targeted because it is a 'good billboard to aim towards the Republicans'.

She told the Dailymail.com: 'I'm not afraid to go into work tomorrow but I don't feel quite as secure as I did before. This is the world we live in.'

Police have not been able to estimate the total value of the damages, but executive director of the state's GOP, Dallas Woodhouse, said the office was 'a total loss'.

Woodhouse later issued a statement that said: 'Whether you are Republican, Democrat or Independent, all Americans should be outraged by this hate-filled and violent attack against our democracy.

'Whether the bomb was meant to kill, destroy property or intimidate voters, everyone in this country should be free to express their political viewpoints without fear for their own safety.

'We will be requesting additional security at all Republican Party offices and events between now and Election Day to ensure the safety of our activists, volunteers, and supporters.'

The state's Democratic Party Chair Patsy Keever said: 'I’m appalled that this would happen, certainly we don’t need violence for any reason.

'Clearly this is outrageous that anybody would do this kind of destruction to either party’s buildings or people.'

North Carolina is considered a swing state with polls leaning towards Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Orange County, which includes the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, is overwhelmingly left-leaning. 

A police investigation with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is ongoing. 



WikiLeaks Exposes Workings of an American 'Nomenklatura'

The nomenklatura (literally "name list") was one of the indispensable components of the former Soviet Union.  It was indeed a literal list of those—almost always devout Communist Party loyalists—who would receive the favors of the state while the proletariat, those supposed "dictators" of the new paradise, lived in squalor and waited in bread lines.

This list was so meticulously kept Stalin was known as "Comrade Filing Cabinet." You were either on it or off.  And those who fell off, for whatever causes, real or imagined, were usually headed for the Gulag. The nomenklatura kept everyone in line.

In my book—I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already—I devote a chapter to the rise of a far more subtle and less overtly totalitarian American nomenklatura, one that may be more effective and enduring in the long run (and thus ultimately more threatening to democracy).

WikiLeaks, in its downloads of the "PodestaEmails," in essence confirms the existence of this American list – who is on and who is off—and reveals its workings in remarkable detail.  More downloads are on the way. But what we have already has gone a long way to demonstrating how the people of this country have been lied to and deceived for the preservation of this nomenklatura and its power. We owe Julian Assange and his cohorts a debt.

Most evident from their downloads is the unremitting, almost incestual, alliance between elites (read: Democratic Party leadership) and the press, those who are informing us of what we are supposed to think.  The myriad emails between New York Times reporter and CNBC anchor John Harwood and Clinton campaign manager John Podesta would approach the risible were they not so disturbing by implication. Presidential debate moderator Harwood, putatively a journalist, actually acts as an advisor to Podesta in them, warning the campaign manager of the dangers of a potential Ben Carson candidacy and even bragging to him about having tripped up Donald Trump at a debate.

But the presidential debate moderator is far from alone in his fealty to the ways and means of the nomenklatura. The New York Times and the Boston Globe—the emails show, as if we hadn't guessed already—colluded with the Clinton campaign.

But the level of collusion goes much deeper than press and politicians. The Department of Justice itself—the emails also reveal—was in private communication with the Clinton people during the investigation of the Hillary Clinton homebrew server, warning her campaign in advance of a State Department release of emails. Everybody was colluding!

Is anyone surprised at this, at best, legally dubious activity? Probably not at this point. But this underscores the fearlessness of the nomenklatura in transgressing the law in defense of their policy goals and positions.  Certain of their own rectitude, they can do no wrong, even if it is wrong.

They are able to do this through a profound moral narcissism that convinces them that they, not the American people, "know best." It's a home-grown version of "the ends justify the means," making the American nomenklatura an inherently totalitarian movement, although more subtle, as I note above, in its actions.

The rise of Donald Trump is in great measure a reaction to the pervasive power of this nomenklatura. But Trump, with his all-too-apparent personality flaws and shallow political knowledge, has not been, thus far, a successful opponent of these elites.  Still, he has demonstrated courage not common in political candidates and opened a door that is unlikely to close easily.  It remains for future leaders, perhaps emerging from the people themselves, to overcome this nomenklatura and help us retain or reclaim our democratic republic.



Obama, Media Go Quiet on Historic Mideast Catastrophe

While the press was focused on the Hillary-Trump debate, Iranian-backed rebels fired two missiles at the USS Mason off Yemen. The Associated Press describes the incident:

The Navy says the missile launch Sunday night landed in the water before getting near the USS Mason.

Lt. Ian McConnaughey, a Navy spokesman, said Monday it's unclear if the Mason was specifically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction.

The missile launches comes after an Emirati ship was targeted several days ago by missiles apparently fired by Shiite rebels in Yemen known as Houthis and their allies.

The unsuccessful strike on the Mason follows the destruction of the HSV-2 Swift, a logistics vessel operated by the UAE capable of 45 knots, by two anti-ship missiles -- probably the C-801 or C-802. The USS Mason was part of a three-ship flotilla dispatched to the area after the Swift had been gutted:

The U.S. Navy has dispatched to the strait two destroyers, the USS Mason and USS Nitze, and the USS Ponce -- the last of these a floating staging ship which includes a complement of special operations forces.

“Sending the warships to the area is a message that the primary goal of the Navy is to ensure that shipping continues unimpeded in the strait and the vicinity,” said a U.S. defense official.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is in charge of Tehran’s extraterritorial military activities, is believed to be arming the Houthis with missiles and rockets, including a variant of the Zelzal-3 artillery rocket that was unveiled in August and stationed near the Saudi border.

The war in Yemen has been steadily escalating in the shadow of headline-grabbing events in Aleppo and Mosul. Recently a Saudi air strike which killed 140 people and wounded as many as 350 more briefly seized the spotlight:

In one of the deadliest attacks of the country’s civil war, which Saudi Arabia entered in March 2015, airstrikes on Saturday hit a funeral hall packed with thousands of mourners in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sana’a.

The outcry forced the Obama administration to publicly distance itself from Riyadh:

The US, like the UK, supplies arms to Saudi Arabia and practical military advice, even though the precise extent of that advice is disputed.

White House national security council spokesman Ned Simon said: “We are deeply disturbed by reports of [the] airstrike on a funeral hall in Yemen, which, if confirmed, would continue the troubling series of attacks striking Yemeni civilians. US security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank cheque."

It is one of several scenes of an entire drama, almost a parallel universe which exists outside the 2016 spectacle which has captured the American public's imagination. Events epochal to those whom they directly concern and important by any objective standard are foreshortened by false perspective into tiny insignificant occurrences happening long ago and far away.

The striking thing is how this administration is bequeathing a comprehensive catastrophe to the next president almost without anyone, least of all the semi-retired chief executive, paying more than cursory attention.

Even most of the provocative saber-rattling from Moscow barely makes it above the fold. Only yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of aggression without raising so much as a ripple on Twitter.

How did an administration which came to office headed by a Child of the World promising to "build bridges" with other cultures, that styled itself as brimming with "smart" foreign policy experts, finish up in an almost comical state of parochialism?

Why, rather than bestriding the globe, has it withdrawn in outlook, buttoned up like a tank, viewing the outside world only through the narrowest of slits, driving in little circles from talk show to talk show?

In his final months, President Obama's world has become paradoxically both very large yet very small: large in terms of real-world risk exposure, but small in alternatives politically open to it.

Max Fisher tries to explain the shrinkage in scope and loss of prestige in a New York Times think piece by ascribing American bewilderment to such grand historical causes as the loss of faith in its own exceptionalism arising from the trauma of George Bush's campaign in Iraq. But this smacks of self-exculpation.

The simplest explanation for the huddled final days of the administration? They have been burned, and they want no more of that unpleasant experience.

The "smartest people" on the planet found they were not quite as clever as they thought.

They should not have been surprised. Over the last decade presidential hopefuls have come from the ranks of thinkers without much experience in governance or the wider world. They knew all the answers -- in theory -- but none in practice. Individuals who spent all their adult lives learning how to raise money, craft talking points, perfect stances before the camera, fund opposition research, and recruit surrogates found that special skills did not travel so well in the wider world.

The election of 2016, by coming down to an actual choice between two candidates who no one particularly seems to want, has emphasized the unnatural limits from which political leadership is drawn. The system is not nearly so diverse as Bill Buckley's sample of "first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory" -- it is much more cramped, artificial, and parochial. The idea that a nation with a third of billion people could only come up with these two people to lead it is almost absurd.

Far from being cursed with the burden of exceptionalism, America is really weighed down by mediocrity and a lack of flexibility. It is trapped in the world because it is trapped in Washington. If there is one metaphor which might describe the commotion of 2016, it is that we are watching an attempted jailbreak.



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

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


17 October, 2016

Why Republicans have lost so often

Republicans wrote the book on losing. Democrats wrote the book on playing for keeps

Scot Faulkner

Republicans always seem to fight the wrong battle, the wrong way, at the wrong time. Republicans inevitably break ranks at the first sign of trouble. Republicans shoot their wounded, even if the injury is just a cut or sprain.

Democrats never break ranks. Democrats lock arms and deny, dismiss, defy and defend, no matter what. Democrats will always rescue one of their own – no matter the odds, or how gravely wounded, or how despicable or criminal the offense.

The “hot mic” tape of Donald Trump’s boorish “locker room” talk now dominates the 2016 Presidential Campaign, stealing attention away from critically important issues. It’s a safe bet the Democrats, and their media allies, have a stockpile of embarrassing Trump material ready to roll out in the coming weeks.

Trump and his supporters are confronting asymmetrical warfare. His offensive words are considered more damning than any of Hillary Clinton’s actual actions, misdeeds and derelictions of duty.

But then the Democrats have always played dirty. In 1980, Speaker Tip O’Neil withheld a Washington, DC police report on conservative Congressman Bob Bauman’s sexuality for eighteen months, in order to release it five weeks before Election Day. Its timing was designed for maximum damage with minimum recovery time, since Republican voters were more likely to punish immorality.

Democrats want to win at all costs. Democrats want to gain, maintain, and above all expand their power.  Democrats never waiver from these goals. Democrat spokespeople coordinate their talking points and stay on message. They tackle anyone who tries to lift the curtain on truth. They destroy anyone who challenges the liberal Democrat hold on government.

Perhaps the most infamous and extreme example from the Democrat “win at all costs” playbook is covering up Ted Kennedy’s misdeeds. On July 18, 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy killed 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne in a tragic car accident on Chappaquiddick Island near Martha’s Vineyard.

Liberals in politics and media suppressed the incident by ignoring Kennedy’s multiple lies and inconsistencies. Kennedy went on being a liberal icon. The media continued to dismiss and minimize Kopechne’s death, and Kennedy’s countless sexual affairs.

Then, earlier this year, in the propaganda film about Clarence Thomas’ confirmation, Hollywood portrayed Kennedy as a defender of abused women.

The other side of the Democrats’ playbook is character assassination of Republicans. In 2012, they and the media portrayed Mitt Romney as a callous, clueless elitist. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) actually bragged that he had blatantly lied when he accused Romney of not paying taxes, boasting “It worked, didn’t it? Romney lost!”  Honesty, decency and facts never get in the way of a good Democrat attack.

Over the past few months, Democrats have never talked about the substance of leaks that were so damaging to Hillary Clinton. In lock-step, Democrats immediately attacked the veracity of the leaked material, while the Obama Administration blamed the leaks’ source on Russia. By the time the truth of the leaked statements was demonstrated, the media had moved onto to other things.

In 2012, “bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive” was the mantra that defied the facts. The Benghazi attack was drowned out with the bogus claim that “a video caused a spontaneous protest at the embassy.” Debate “moderator” Candy Crowley did her duty and maintained the lie, by throwing a body block against Mitt Romney in the second Presidential Debate – when she claimed that President Obama had said it was a “terrorist attack,” when he had said no such thing.

“In 2016, America is safer and more prosperous than ever” is another phony Democrat mantra. Every terrorist attack on American soil is stifled or obscured with bogus alternative motives and explanations. Economic reports are “cooked” or spun. Nothing must stand in the way of Obama’s Third Term.

Some Republicans, and many in the conservative media, do their best to counter the Democrat onslaught.  However, they are constantly crippled by numerous Republicans who turn tail and run when the first shots are fired in anger.

During Bill Clinton’s Presidency, Republicans bungled their investigation of Chinese campaign donations to Clinton in exchange for trade concessions and ownership of part of the Port of Los Angeles. That was treason by the Clintons and gross incompetence by the Republicans.

Instead of focusing on this, though, Republicans impeached Clinton on sexual issues and his countless lies. And even then, despite overwhelming evidence, five Republicans voted “not guilty” on perjury and ten voted “not guilty” on obstruction of justice.

Republicans further bungled impeachment by self-immolating over their own sexual affairs, including the resignation of Congressman Bob Livingston on the cusp of his becoming Speaker. Republicans had hoped to shame Clinton into resigning or at least confessing. They forgot that Democrats have no shame; and if they didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards.

Simply put, too many Republicans are more focused on remaining part of the Washington Establishment, than on cleaning up the festering cesspool. But the 2016 stakes are enormous.

A Clinton Presidency means, for at least a generation, the Supreme Court will be turned over to activist liberal justices who will vivisect the Constitution in the name of reshaping society. It means open borders and open immigration, overwhelming America’s culture with Islamic fundamentalism and welfare for Third World refugees.

A Clinton Presidency means expansion of government spending and regulatory control beyond even Obama’s wildest dreams. If Republicans stand accused of wanting to control what Americans do in the privacy of their bedrooms, Democrats are clearly intent on imposing centralized control over everything Americans do outside their bedrooms.

A Clinton Presidency also means continued disarray in American foreign policy and continued decline in America’s ability to defend itself and its allies. A Clinton Presidency means increasingly bolder confrontations of the West by Radical Islamists, Iran, Russia and China.

A Trump loss will tear the Republican Party apart. Establishment and Faith-based factions will annihilate each other with “I told you so” arguments for Bush or Cruz or Rubio.

Democrats will laugh as they prepare a Texas Castro brother (Julian or Joaquin) to take the presidency in 2024, using the slogan “Time for a Hispanic!” from the same playbook that employed “Time for an African American!” and “Time for a woman!”

It is only a few precious weeks before Americans choose their path. Is there enough time for Republicans to wake-up?



Clinton staffer caught on camera: I could grab co-worker’s a** and not get fired

Surely by now you’ve heard the indefensible, lewd comments Donald Trump made about actress Arianne Zucker and former “Access Hollywood” co-host Nancy O’Dell back in 2005. The mainstream media is currently crucifying him for it, while hypocritically ignoring Bill Clinton’s past transgressions.

Enter Project Veritas. Clinton staffer Wylie Mao was caught on undercover camera criticizing the campaign’s low bar of conduct, proclaiming that he’d have to grab his co-worker’s ass twice before getting fired:

“I think that the bar of acceptable conduct on this campaign is pretty, pretty, low,” he said. He then turned to a group of women sitting at his table saying, “In order for me to be fired I’d probably have to grab Emma’s ass like twice…”

A journalist for O’Keefe’s group is then seen confronting Wylie outside of a Hillary office.

“I’d just like to ask you a little bit about the sexual conduct going on with the Hillary campaign. Is the bar pretty low?” asked the Project Veritas reporter.

“Sorry guys, can you go inside? Wylie, can you go inside?” said a Hillary campaign staffer.

“Did you say you’d have to grab Emma’s ass twice to get reprimanded?” asked the Project Veritas reporter one last time before Wylie headed inside a Clinton field office without saying anything.

Apparently Democrats joke about casual sexual assault too. They just don’t get lambasted for it.

Mao and another Clinton staffer named Trevor Lafauci also boasted how they could get away with tearing up Republican voter registration forms.

The hypocrisy of this election — and American politics in general — is truly astounding.



Hillary Clinton: ‘My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders’

“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”

That was Hillary Clinton in a paid speech to Brazil-based Banco Itau in 2013, now released by WikiLeaks, saying that her dream is the entire Western hemisphere without borders, open trade and a single economy.

In other words, let them eat NAFTA. She really is Marie Clintonette. Clinton’s dream is a de facto end to American sovereignty, where capital continues to flow overseas while hundreds of millions of people who want to move to America would be given a free pass. It is an unbelievable statement from somebody who at that point knew she would be running for president in 2016. A statement, not of U.S. interests, but global interests.

In this speech, Clinton revealed what she really thinks about the critical issue increasing U.S. participation in trade deals once she’s talking with the corporate interests involved: “I think we have to have a concerted plan to increase trade already under the current circumstances… There is so much more we can do, there is a lot of low hanging fruit but businesses on both sides have to make it a priority and it’s not for governments to do but governments can either make it easy or make it hard and we have to resist, protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade and I would like to see this get much more attention and be not just a policy for a year under president X or president Y but a consistent one.”

Got that, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan? Clinton doesn’t think the U.S. has outsourced enough industrial production, jobs and wealth to foreign economies. She wants to double down on trade, end borders and finish off what’s left of the U.S. economy.



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

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


16 October, 2016

Comparison of 1980 and 2016: Carter-Reagan versus Clinton-Trump

A CBS News poll from mid-September found that 55 percent of Americans want “big changes,” while 43 percent want “some changes”; just two percent think things are fine the way they are. We need hardly add the  observation: If 98 percent of the voters are favoring “change,” it will be hard for this not to be a “change” election.

Then the CBS poll asked: Which candidate can be trusted to change Washington? The answer: 47 percent trust Trump to do it, 20 percent trust Clinton to do it.  In other words, Trump owns the “change” issue by a whopping 27-point margin. In a “change” year, that’s the stuff of landslides—as was 1980.

So today, when I see the polls showing Trump behind, I just smile: If the voters mean it when they say that they want change, well, then, they will get change—whether or not the pollsters can see it coming.

Meanwhile, the larger context of the times back then argued strongly for change—drastic change. At home, we were suffering from severe inflation and rising unemployment. At the same time, abroad, the Carter administration suffered the daily indignity of the Iranian hostage crisis.  And elsewhere, Carter haplessly confronted the strategic challenges of the Soviet-aided communist victory in Nicaragua and the Russians’ outright invasion of Afghanistan.

So it was little wonder that, according to a Gallup poll, satisfaction with the condition of the country hit a rock-bottom 12 percent in the summer of 1979, and it stayed down in the teens all through 1980.

Yet for all that dissatisfaction, for almost the whole of 1980, it was no certainty that the voters would choose Reagan over Carter. After all, much like Trump today, Reagan was loathed by the media, and that depressed his numbers—or so we thought.

The Media vs. Republicans: The Song Remains the Same

Moreover, back then, there was no alternative media, and so what we now think of as the Main Stream Media was just…the media. You know, as in the broadcast networks, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. These outlets might not seem that important today—it’s perfectly possible to get all the news one wants without ever visiting a legacy site, and the LA Times is one of many newspapers to have gone through bankruptcy—and yet in those days, the longstanding media outlets were seemingly all-powerful.

So on every morning at Reagan campaign HQ, top people had already read a hard-copy version of The New York Times or The Washington Post; a little later, the same people would receive the clips—a thick batch of photocopies of news articles mailed or faxed from around the country. And at 6:30 pm, and again at 7 pm, everything would stop, because we all had to see how the campaign was playing on the nightly newscasts, which in those days were watched by most of the country.

Of course, we usually gritted our teeth as we watched, because the TV reporters, like the print reporters, despised Reagan; almost all of them regarded him as a crazy, maybe even senile, cowboy who would get us not only into a depression, but also into World War Three. (Carter, in their mind, was a well-intentioned failure; that was hardly a ringing endorsement, to be sure, but in the journalistic mind, Carter’s weakness paled compared to Reagan’s menace.)

So with Reagan being savaged every morning and every evening, it wasn’t surprising that our polling was dismal.  A Gallup Poll from early January, for example, showed Carter leading Reagan by a nearly two-to-one margin, 62 percent to 33 percent.

That was the paradox: The American people knew that things were going badly, but the media kept insisting that there was no alternative other than to vote for Carter.

Four More Years?  Really??

Meanwhile, back in 1980, the big issue was the condition of the country. On July 17, in his acceptance speech to the Republican national convention in Detroit, Reagan finally had his opportunity to speak to the bulk of the American electorate, unfiltered by the media. And in the course of making his overall case for change, he deftly jabbed at Carter:

    Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, “Well done?” Can anyone compare the state of our economy when the Carter Administration took office with where we are today and say, “Keep up the good work?” Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, “Let’s have four more years of this?”

Thus with the whole country watching, Reagan framed the key issue: Carter equaled “more of the same”; Reagan equaled “change.”

For his part, Carter had no new ideas for the future; he was truly the more-of-the-same candidate.  In addition, he didn’t have much of a record to run on, and he knew that, too.  So his plan, instead, was to demolish Reagan—just as Hillary today is attempting to demolish Trump.  In his August 14, 1980 acceptance speech to the Democratic national convention in New York, Carter ripped into his challenger and all Republicans:

    In their fantasy America, all problems have simple solutions—simple and wrong.  It’s a make-believe world, a world of good guys and bad guys, where some politicians shoot first and ask questions later.  No hard choices, no sacrifice, no tough decisions—it sounds too good to be true, and it is.

For a while, this strategy of ripping up Reagan appeared to be working. Gallup records that in early August, Carter was ahead of Reagan by sixteen points, 45:29. For purposes of comparison, we can note that on August 9 of this year, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Clinton was ten points ahead of Trump.

Yet back in 1980, for all the reasons noted, the country wanted change. And so by mid-August, Reagan had pulled to within a single point of Carter, and the two candidates stayed neck-and-neck all through September.

So if we might skip ahead 36 years, that’s almost exactly where we are today: According to the RealClearPolitics average, as of October 10, Clinton is 4.5 points ahead of Trump in the four-way race. So we might recall: Clinton is almost exactly where Carter was at this time, 36 years ago.

The last Gallup poll of the 1980 campaign showed Reagan up three points, 47:44; although as noted earlier, he ended up winning by ten points. To put that another way, although Gallup called the election correctly, it was still off by seven points—and that’s something to keep in mind as the 2016 election nears.

Indeed, we can all step back and ask: This November, will the country vote to renew its commitment to the sort of laxity that enables foreign terrorists to enter the country, even as others take to the streets to loot and burn? If the voters do reward chaos, it will contradict all historical precedent.

That’s the challenge to Hillary: Like Carter before her, she knows better than to run on overt “four more years” agenda, and so, instead, she figures that she must knock Trump out of the box with negative attacks—and coordinate her barrage, of course, with the MSM.

And in defense of her tactics, we might ask: What else can she do? She is trying, of course, to run on the Obama record—offering her presidency, in effect, as his third term. But does that really seem like a winning message?

However, she can’t run on her record, because, as Trump says to great effect, her 30 years in public life about to “all talk, no action.”

And she can’t run on Bill Clinton’s record for many reasons, starting with the fact the trade deals he championed are now in disrepute, and ending, as we have seen, with the sudden re-emergence of his own past sexual indiscretions—and have we mentioned the Clinton Foundation?

Finally, she can’t run on the Democratic platform published in Philadelphia; that was the most left-wing major-party platform in history—does she really want to get into a discussion of open borders in a time such as this?

No, not a one of those options are attractive for her. Thus she is left with just one last option—attack.

So now our comparison of 1980 and 2016 must end—we have to let the election play out. Quite possibly, just as was the lone Carter-Reagan presidential debate in ‘80, the next Clinton-Trump debate, to be held on October 19, will be decisive. Yes, Trump is behind, but as we have seen, in a “change” year, if the challenger can make himself seem acceptable to undecided voters, then the tide of change will sweep him into the White House.

And we also know this: Since Hillary can’t run on her record, can’t run on her vision for the future, and certainly can’t run on her own personal probity, then, like Carter before her, she has only one choice: Attack. That’s what she did Sunday night in St. Louis, that’s what all her campaign surrogates are doing and will be doing, and, of course, that’s what the MSM is and will be doing.




Today’s news is dominated by claims that years ago, Donald Trump made crude comments about women, or inappropriately touched women, or intruded into a women’s dressing room, and so on. Gone from the campaign are such issues as the economy, Obamacare, national security and immigration. As Election Day approaches, the news is all Trump scandals, all the time.

Some will say–I may have said–that Republican primary voters asked for it by nominating a man with obvious personal vulnerabilities, instead of a more upright (and more electable) Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Ted Cruz or whoever.

But what’s a Republican to do? Last cycle, we nominated the ultimate Boy Scout: Mitt Romney. Whatever you think of Romney from a policy perspective, he is as admirable a man as you will ever meet. To find a presidential candidate of better moral character, you probably have to go back to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Romney never said a rude word about a woman in his life.

So what happened? Did Romney and the GOP get credit in the press for the candidates’s outstanding character? No. Romney, who helped to create tens of thousands of jobs at Bain Capital, was denounced as a “vulture capitalist” and blamed, absurdly, for one woman’s developing cancer. The Washington Post made a front page story of the fact that 50 years earlier, when he was in high school, he and others had cut a classmate’s hair. Oh, and Romney was a racist, too. Does anyone remember why? I don’t.

The cycle before that, GOP voters nominated John McCain. McCain is a great patriot, a man of extraordinary character and courage who survived years of torture and abuse as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Did the liberal media give Republicans credit for nominating such a hero? No. The New York Times, to its everlasting shame, peddled a false rumor that McCain had an affair with a lobbyist. (Bill Clinton would have done that before breakfast.) It also berated McCain for failing to release his medical records–which, actually, he did, unlike Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

The Left’s permanent smear campaign against conservatives doesn’t just extend to Republican presidential candidates. Recall how the Democrat/media complex treated the Tea Party. Prominent House Democrats lied, disgracefully: they claimed, falsely, that Tea Party activists at a protest in Washington had hurled racial insults at black Democrats like John Lewis. The press ate it up. They printed the Democrats’ lies as facts, and to this day reporters and editors have never corrected the libel, even though a $100,000 prize to anyone who could substantiate the Democrats’ lies went unclaimed.

What’s the point? I’m not really sure. I certainly am not in favor of nominating candidates of poor or marginal character. But the hypocrisy of the liberal media is galling. In this election cycle, lewd comments made decades ago are apparently of earth-shattering importance. Really? Where was that standard when Bill Clinton was running for office? Or John Kennedy? Or Lyndon Johnson? And how about Barack Obama and Joe Biden? Has anyone actually investigated to see what they might have said about women over the last thirty years?

What is the point of nominating someone of extraordinary moral stature, like Mitt Romney, if the political press will not only unanimously refuse to acknowledge the fact, but worse, join in a campaign of deception to smear Romney in the eyes of voters?

These days there is lots of gnashing of teeth over the decline of our political culture. And it surely has declined, as manifested in the current presidential campaign. But one must ask, why has that happened? It seems to me that the media’s permanent smear campaign against the Republican Party, waged cycle after cycle regardless of the actual merits of Republican nominees, is the largest part of the answer.



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

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


14 October, 2016

Republican voters, evangelicals rally around Trump as Congressmen cower

In the midst of a major battle, you do not abandon your post.

That is the message Republican voters, evangelical leaders and conservatives have for Republican establishment leaders in Washington, D.C. who were tripping over themselves to abandon Donald Trump in the wake of the embarrassing decade-old hot mic video of him bragging about his sexual exploits and coming on to married women.

A flash poll by Politico/Morning Consult found what anybody who remembers the failed Bill Clinton impeachment effort, wherein he lied under oath about having sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which is that nobody actually cares about the sexual exploits of rich and powerful men.

74 percent of Republican voters in the poll said they thought that party officials should stand by Trump despite the video revelations. Just 13 percent said they should abandon him. In the meantime, a coalition of prominent evangelical Christian leaders rallied behind Trump, including Tony Perkins, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., who appeared willing to look past Trump’s past indiscretions.

Perkins told BuzzFeed News in an email: “My personal support for Donald Trump has never been based upon shared values, it is based upon shared concerns about issues such as: justices on the Supreme Court that ignore the constitution, America’s continued vulnerability to Islamic terrorists and the systematic attack on religious liberty that we’ve seen in the last 7 1/2 years.”

Republicans and conservatives rallying around Trump came after a miasma of elected Republican leaders in Congress dumped support for Trump: Sen. John Thune (R-N.D.) called for Trump to withdraw from the race, along with Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and many others. My own local Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) threw Trump under the bus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to support Trump. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) cancelled a scheduled event with Trump in Wisconsin.

Oh sure, they say they want Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence to somehow step in, ignoring the fact that it’s basically impossible for anybody but Trump to appear on every state’s ballot, meaning, as noted by national radio host Mark Levin on Monday, that it would result in Republicans and Pence losing in a “massive landslide.”

Apparently, they’d rather lose the White House for four to eight years to Hillary Clinton — and all the consequences that come with that — than to keep fighting. Even as their own voters are rallying to Trump.

Apparently these “leaders” have no idea what animates their own followers. Ryan was booed by some at his event, with some Trump supporters chanting “shame, shame” after the event as he left the stage. Trump campaign manager Kelly Ann Conway chastised Ryan on CBS This Morning on Sunday, saying, “Speaker Ryan of course took to the stage in Wisconsin at his event and faced some boos from the crowd because those who were expecting to see Donald Trump tell us that many of us don’t want to support him and we’re going to take the case directly to their voter.”



I’m a young African-American and I’m voting Trump

I IDENTIFY myself as the colour red. Which means I’m looking forward to Friday, January 20, 2017.

If you don’t know what day that is I will fill you in. That is the day Mr Trump will be sworn in as our president for the next four years. So for all of us who have put in time volunteering, researching our facts, and preparing mentally for that day, we will be very proud to say where we stood from day one.

My name is ShoMore I. DeNiro, I am a 23-year-old African-American woman and I proudly support Donald Trump.

Over the weekend there was a lot of focus on Mr Trump’s comments about women while he was recording a TV program in 2005. As a woman I don’t like his very vulgar comments at all, but it was a private conversation over 10 years ago, and I know this is just locker room talk for some men.

Nobody should be surprised that Trump said this, he has no filter at times, but I still agree with everything he says politically. In fact former President Bill Clinton has done worse while he was President and lied under oath. So no this latest news doesn’t change my vote for Donald Trump at all.

I reside in Canfield, Ohio, which is part of the Youngstown area. If you are familiar with this area, then you would know how “blue” this state can be. Being a Trump supporter in this area is tough, especially if you are African-American. I go to a college that is predominantly African-American.

I wear my “Trump/Pence Make America Great Again” shirt proudly! I know what will be great for our country.
ShoMore (left) isn’t afraid to be a loud and proud Trump supporter.

People have the tendency to ask why? What is wrong with you? How can you vote for him and you’re black? Why not? Nothing is wrong with me. I am voting for him because I am African-American!

I come from two strong working American parents who have strongly installed in my mind that nothing is for free, especially if you want to go somewhere and be great!

Here are my main for reasons for voting for Trump in a countdown.


That includes me and so many others that I know. We want our jobs back. We want a fulltime job with great benefits. Being a young adult this is important. We spend so many years going to school to get that extra education to master our soon to be career. For what? Not to find one?


The man has over 500 companies! He knows how to make something great. Who else can receive money from their father and actually turn it into way more than what they received? To the point where he could pay it back and nothing was lost. He understands what would be a great loss, and what wouldn’t be. He has done business with so many different countries. I am positive he will do well for Americans.


As a young lady this should empower women. Young girls are always saying they want to be a princess, but wouldn’t you want to be a young woman with goals you have achieved? You do not have to wear big puffy dresses to be great. Ivanka has a family and still works hard and shows true dedication. She motivates a lot of young women and girls out here.


He is tough, bold, and cannot be bought! I cannot say that for the other former presidents and candidates. President Obama and his wife are support a lady who in 2008 they said was not fit to be president! Now they want the us to vote for her?

Donald Trump stands for what he says and doesn’t back down. To African-Americans he said, “What do you have to lose?”. Absolutely nothing! So many blacks complain about not being able to find a job, being laid off, or even the first to be fired on jobs. They say that their children are not getting a great education in their schools. Yet, they want to elect another democrat?

People thought what he said was harsh, but it’s what Americans need to hear. He’s not going to back down, because someone doesn’t like what he says.

It is so sad that people actually still vote for a liar and a manipulator. To be truthfully honest, when it comes to the negative feedback the Hillary supporters are the worst.
Donald Trump campaigning in Ohio in August. Picture: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images/AFP

Not too long ago my friends and I from Student for Trump got together and did a quiet protest when former President Bill Clinton was in town. We received the finger multiple times, were told they didn’t like us (even though they knew nothing about us), and that we were uneducated. Which is quite absurd. We are very educated. That is mainly the reason that we will vote for Trump, because we have done our research and we support what he believes in.

I’ve had incidents where a girl and I almost got ran over at the Youngstown McDonald’s after leaving Trump’s Foreign Policy Event. Why? Because we were for Mr Trump.

People ask me “are you fine with him building that wall?” Hecks yes! I would even help. That wall is to protect us Americans. Secure our safety not only for us, but for our friends, and families.

If everyone would just listen and stop being so biased for a second, they would see that Trump is doing absolutely nothing but trying to keep us safe. He wants to bring back the values and morals we use to have in our country.

When he says, “Make America Great Again” that means with our education. One time America was at the top with education, now it has sunk. He is also discussing our jobs. We use to have jobs here and the unemployment rate wasn’t where it is now. Most importantly he wants to bring security to families. Which means taking jobs off our enemies, and building that wall!

This is a great election and I am so proud to be volunteering for this campaign and meeting wonderful people who are just as passionate about politics and our country as I am. I hope that on November 8, 2016 everyone has done their research completely. I am the colour red and I want to help by voting Donald Trump to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!



Hillary lied in debate about not bragging, laughing about getting child rapist off the hook

It is one thing for a politician to lie, it is completely different for Hillary Clinton to lie to the face of the rape victim she laughed at repeatedly. During the town hall style second presidential debate, Kathy Shelton who was raped at the age of 12 sat in the audience as Clinton pretended the mid-1980s tape of her laughing about the securing the release of Shelton’s rapist in 1975 did not exist. Unfortunately for Clinton, it does exist. And it is the reason many females cannot accept her as our leader, let alone the entire nation’s.

During the second presidential debate Trump brought up crippling stories regarding the Clintons, particularly discussing Hillary Clintons aforementioned tape where she is heard laughing about Shelton’s rape case, Clintons response, “Well, first, let me start by saying that so much of what he’s just said is not right.”

But Trump is right, and we have known that for two years.

In June of 2014, the Washington Free Beacon unearthed an interview between reported Roy Reed and Clinton captured on tape and available through the Special Collections Department of the University of Arkansas Libraries. The tape clearly has Clinton bragging about the case, blocking evidence and laughing about her defendant’s crime, at one point she jokes, “I had him take a polygraph, which he passed, which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs.” Her laughter is audible.

Clinton admitted that she believed her client committed the crime and vigorously defended him anyway. As a lawyer this is Clinton’s job, what is disgraceful is lying to the country in front of the victim, mocking her plight, and then continually acting as an advocate for women’s protection.

However, Kathy Shelton is no longer that 12-year-old girl and she made her position on Clinton very strong.

On Oct. 9, 2016 Shelton’s tweets spoke volumes about Clinton. Shelton wrote, “I don’t care if Trump said gross things. I care that Hillary Clinton lied, terrorized, & mocked me, defending my rapist,” “Hillary Clinton is a cold-hearted liar. The lies she told about me, 12 yr old rape victim, traumatized me nearly as much as the rape itself,” and “No little girl should suffer violent rape like I did… But no grown woman should attack that little girl like Hillary Clinton did.”

Most devastatingly, she called for the support and justice she did not receive when she was 12, tweeting, “At 12 I was one of the first women Hillary Clinton destroyed, but I wasn’t the last. Please put an end to this woman’s career of abusing us.”



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

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


13 October, 2016

Words Versus Deeds

Donald Trump’s gutter talk about women shows yet again that he is bad news. The problem is that Hillary Clinton is far worse.

Women have a right to be offended by Trump’s words. But women have suffered a far worse fate from Secretary Clinton’s and President Obama’s actions. Pulling American troops out of Iraq, despite military advice to the contrary, led to the sudden rise of ISIS and their seizing of many women and young girls as sex slaves.

A message from one of these women urged the bombing of ISIS. She said she would rather be dead than live the life of a sex slave. Some women who tried to commit suicide and failed have been tortured for trying.

Meanwhile, President Obama tried to downplay ISIS with flippant words, by calling them the junior varsity. His half-hearted, foot-dragging military response has allowed ISIS to parade before the world as triumphant conquerors, appealing to disgruntled people in Western countries to carry out terrorist attacks in support of their cause.

That is a lot worse than some stupid and gross words by Donald Trump, which even he has had to repudiate. Make no mistake about it. Neither party has a good candidate for President. The choice is between bad and disastrous.

Are women more in danger from Trump’s words or Hillary’s actions? Are Americans in general more in danger from Trump’s shallowness on issues or Hillary’s ruthless grabs for money and power – a track record that goes all the way back to the days when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas?

Mrs. Clinton’s own announced agenda attacks the very foundation of American Constitutional government, on which Americans' own freedom depends. She has already said that she will appoint Supreme Court justices who will specifically overturn a recent Supreme Court decision, “Citizens United versus FEC.”

That decision said that both corporations and labor unions have freedom of speech, including the right to contribute money toward political campaigns.

Hillary Clinton’s determination to pick judicial appointees on the basis of their willingness to overturn that decision is a more brazen extension of the political left’s other attempts to stifle the free speech of those who oppose their agenda.

Demands that various advocacy organizations reveal the names of all their donors are an obvious attempt to scare off those donors, with harassment by everyone from vandals to rioters to the Internal Revenue Service and other government bureaucrats.

Without the right to free speech, none of the other rights is safe. Government officials can get away with all sorts of abuses, if others are not free to talk about those abuses.

Despite Hillary Clinton’s claims to be a champion for black people, her political agenda threatens the education of black children, the employment of black adults and the physical safety of black communities.

Mrs. Clinton is on the side of the teachers' unions that want to stop the expansion of charter schools, even though these are among the very few places where black children can get a quality education to prepare them for a better future. Here, as with other issues, her public statements are contradicted by her actions.

No law has done more damage to the employment prospects of young blacks than the federal minimum wage law. But nothing is easier, or more popular, than for some politician to raise the minimum wage – despite the fact that unemployment rates among black young people have skyrocketed to several times what they were before.

You don’t get any wage at all when you are unemployed. And if you are young and unemployed, you don’t get any job experience to help you rise up the ladder, when you don’t get on the ladder.

As for safety in the black community, Hillary Clinton has allied herself with those who demonize the police. The net result has been a sharp increase in the number of blacks killed by other blacks, as criminal elements take control of the streets when the police are not allowed to. Do you choose a President by talk – or by actions and consequences?



It Wasn't Donald Trump Who...

It wasn't Donald Trump who for personal convenience as secretary of state flouted the rules and long-established procedures, taking the unprecedented step of evading the official secure government email system in favor of a private email server for government business, including classified information. And it wasn't Donald who then had the server scrubbed, destroying thousands of messages that were not only government property, but evidence, and then couldn't provide a credible reasons for any of it.

It wasn't Donald Trump whose possible-criminal situation caused untold irregularities in the operation of the State Department, the FBI and the Justice Department. Those included a "chance" meeting on an airport tarmac between the prime suspect's husband and the attorney general of the United States, putting dozens of public servants in the position to destroy their credibility and trustworthiness to save a presidential candidate's backside.

It wasn't Donald Trump whose vast experience in government in the U.S. Senate and the State Department resulted in neglecting dozens of requests for increased security prior to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. That attack resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans. And it wasn't Trump who then blamed an obscure Internet video for a clear terrorist attack, resulting in jailing the video's producer.

And it wasn't Donald Trump whose frequent profanity-laced tirades insulted and denigrated Secret Service agents and White House staffers.

But that was a long time ago, and since all of that was a long time ago, it probably isn't relevant that it also wasn't Donald Trump who worked for the congressional committee investigating the Watergate cover-up many years ago, and was fired for lying.

It was Donald Trump who took some money from his father, invested it in businesses and created hotels, casinos, golf courses and television shows. Some of his creations didn't work out, as is not uncommon in the world of business. Luminaries such as Henry Ford, Walt Disney, F.W. Woolworth, Albert Einstein and Bill Gates also sometimes failed.

It was Donald Trump who claimed business losses of nearly a billion dollars on tax returns many years ago, probably cancelling an equal amount of income over several years, using provisions in the tax code to reduce taxable income, just as most every American who pays taxes does through deductions for such things as dependents, mortgage interest and charitable giving.

For taking legal tax deductions Trump has attracted mountains of criticism from his betters, who somehow twist this into meaning he doesn't care about the country, or the military and dozens of other things. But the thousands of people who work in his businesses do pay taxes, and that is significant.

And, yes, it was Donald Trump who managed to anger his primary opponents and many Americans with his petulant personal attacks against those who opposed and challenged him. His crass manner leaves much to be desired, and his locker room vulgarity, spoken in private 11 years ago, justifiably repulsed anyone not blinded by partisanship. But if some rapper had used those same words as lyrics, it'd be #1 on Billboard.

Apparently, it's a more serious offense to say things that offend someone than to put national interests at risk, to lose $6 billion of State Department funds and generally fail to competently run the agency you've been entrusted to run, and then go on to make millions giving $250,000 secret-content speeches to Wall Street banks that you publicly criticize. By virtue of merely having been elected a U.S. senator and appointed as a cabinet secretary, you are thus qualified to be president, even if the "best" you did in those positions was inconsequential or, too often, harmful.

Strangely, people are more offended by Trump's words than Hillary's vicious attacks on her hubby's numerous sexual victims and conquests, her position on coal mining and the Supreme Court, and her comments supporting open borders, spoken in a private $250,000 speech.

Trump is a crass bully with an authoritarian streak. Clinton's hubris already put national security at risk, and she will continue Obama's dangerous, destructive, and unconstitutional policies. Thus is our choice.



Trump Will Win the National Battle for Legitimacy

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN (Whom I have always found to be an unusually insightful commentator -- JR)

The referee should have stopped it in the tenth. Punching at will, Donald Trump said, "Hillary used the power of her office to make $250 million. Why not put some money in? You made a lot of it while you were secretary of State? Why aren't you putting money into your own campaign? Just curious." Reeling and against the ropes, Clinton gasped that she supported ... the Second Amendment. It was a brilliant rhetorical device: under the rubric of campaign financing, Trump slipped in an allegation that Clinton corruptly enriched herself by using the power of her office for personal gain--and Clinton didn't even respond. That's a win by a knockout.

That's the decisive issue of the campaign: the corrupt machinations of a ruling elite that considers itself above the law, and the rage of the American people against the oligarchical ruling class that has pulled the ladder up behind it. Trump's bombshell below Clinton's waterline came at the end of the debate, well prepared by jabs at Clinton's erased emails and Bill's rapes. Trump used the "J" word--that is, jail. That was perhaps the evening's most important moment. This is not an election fought over competing policies but a struggle for legitimacy. A very large portion of the electorate (how large a portion we will discover next month) believes that its government is no longer legitimate, and that it has become the instrument of an entrenched rent-seeking oligarchy.

By and large, I agree with this reading. "America's economy is corrupt, cartelized and anti-competitive," I wrote in August. It is typical of rent-seeking that Lockheed Martin's stock price has tripled during the past three years, and payment to its top management team has risen from $12 million a year to over $60 million a year, while Lockheed Martin's F-35 languishes in cost overruns and deployment delays. Produce a lemon and get rich: that's Washington. It is not a trivial matter, or unrepresentative of our national condition, that the FBI director who declined to prosecute Mrs. Clinton for mishandling of classified material just returned to government from a stint at Lockheed Martin, where he was paid $6 million for a single year's service. I don't know whether FBI Director Comey is corrupt. But it looks and smells terrible.

That's why it was so important for Trump to talk about jail time for his opponent. If things had not gotten to the point where former top officials well might belong in jail, Trump wouldn't be there in the first place. The Republican voters chose a reckless, independently wealthy, vulgar, rough-edged outsider precisely because they believe that the system is corrupt. They are right to so believe; if the voters knew a tenth of what I know about it, they would march on Washington with pitchforks.

Panicky GOP Leaders Should Come Home after Trump Wins Debate #2
The whole weekend news cycle centered around Trump's potty-mouth tape, which will count for exactly nothing in the final tally. No-one who has followed Donald Trump in public media for the past thirty years expected anything less from the great vulgarian. We are stuck with Trump precisely because the Republican establishment imploded over Iraq and the economy.

I assumed that Trump's diffidence during the first debate amounted to profiling his opponent. No-one would remember what was said in the first debate come the general election, and Trump appeared to be probing and watching Clinton's responses. This time he has bloodied her. Whether there is more to come--a thermonuclear revelation of some kind--I have no idea. But given Trump's experience in the entertainment business, we can assume that the really nasty stuff will come out later.

Whoever wins, a very large part of the electorate--perhaps more than a third--will believe that the government lacks legitimacy. We have not had circumstances like this since the Civil War. If Trump loses, his voters will blame a corrupt oligarchy and its allied media for electing a criminal to the White House; if Clinton loses, the minority constituencies of the Democratic Party will respond as if the Klu Klux Klan had taken over Washington. There has never been anything like this in the past century and a half of American history, and it is thankless to predict the outcome. Nonetheless I will: Trump will crush it. Clinton, the major media, the pollsters, and the mainstream Republican Party have badly misread the insurrectionist mood of the electorate.



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

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


12 October, 2016

Mary Matalin: ‘We Have a Republican Nominee Who Has a Private Conversation about Sex He’s Not Getting and the Party Abandons Him’

The Donks and their media servants are trying to make mountains out of a molehill

Republican strategist Mary Matalin said during a roundtable discussion Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that the Democratic Party stood behind President Bill Clinton during his sex scandal with a White House intern but the Republican Party is abandoning GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for a “private conversation about sex he’s not getting.”

“So here we have -- this is a difference between the parties. We have a Democrat who acts with his intern in the White House and the party rallies around him. We have a Republican nominee who has a private conversation about sex he's not getting and the party abandons him,” said Matalin, referring to President Bill Clinton and Trump, respectively.

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said Trump’s brand was “seriously damaged” by videotaped remarks he made in 2005 that surfaced over the weekend, where Trump is heard bragging about kissing and groping women.

Dowd compared it to the aftermath of golfer Tiger Woods when news came out about Woods’ marital infidelity.

“This is Hurricane Donald this weekend as a category 5 when you look at this, and I think we're going to look at the aftermath of this. I was thinking about the effect that this could have. To me this is akin to Tiger Woods in the Escalade hitting the fire hydrant in 2009. And ever since that, point his career was basically careened,” Dowd said.

When asked what Trump can do, Matalin said, “Well, he can do more of what he's been doing, but I disagree with that, and I would say something similar that we have seen in our 200 years is New Hampshire, 1992, Monica Lewinsky in the White House.

“So here we have -- this is a difference between the parties. We have a Democrat who acts with his intern in the White House and the party rallies around him. We have a Republican nominee who has a private conversation about sex he's not getting and the party abandons him,” she said.

“But that's what I'm talking about. What's unprecedented here is not just the tape it's the reaction over the last 48 hours,” host George Stephanopoulos said.

“Well, it says something about the party. It says something good about the party. It says something that is aggravating to conservatives out there of how the party does not stick with their nominee. He wasn't my first, second or 16th choice, but he's the guy,” Matalin said.

“Well, I think this tells you a couple things. One is a terrible thing. I can't defend it and do not plan to. But I'm not sure that -- I would have a little different view than Matt because unlike Tiger Woods there are big tidal forces underneath this debate. This election, ultimately, is not about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, both who have huge negatives,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos said.

“Donald Trump, should be -- some of the things he said and done, if he hadn't done those, he might be 10 points ahead,” Castellanos said.

“What are those big tidal forces? This country is headed in the wrong direction. The ISIS JV team has turned into an NBA pro team. The economy is stagnant and people's lives feel like they're being wasted. Guess what, they're voting for change,” Castellanos added.

“First of all, this isn't just words. This isn't boys will be boys. This is somebody celebrating sexual predation, right. And in the 1990s, as Mary just mentioned, the Republicans went out of their way saying that a sexual predator shouldn't be in the White House,” Dowd said.

“And he was reelected,” Castellanos said about Bill Clinton.

“Wait a second. I'm talking about hypocrisy, hypocrisy, and now in 2016, Republicans are making the argument -- some Republicans are making the argument that it's OK to put a sexual predator back in the White House,” Dowd said.

“Sexual predator? Big talker. Locker room talker,” Matalin said.



An Independent Voter Explains How "The Trump Tape" Scandal 'Changed' His Mind

While the mainstream media does its best to make "The Trump Tapes" the biggest thing since, well the last thing they thought would 'kill' Trump, it appears that Republican voters (not the politicians themselves) are indifferent and unsurprised.

Of course, the lifelong Democrets, Washington establishmentarians, and Hillary sycophants are also indifferent and unsurprised: their vote is known from day one.

Which leaves The Independents, such as Zero Hedge reader LetThemEatRand, who earlier opined:

"This whole thing has pretty much taken me off the fence of deciding whether to vote 3rd party or stay home.  Seeing the incredible push by all of the DC power-brokers to have Trump withdraw over this has convinced me that it's not an act.  TPTB really are scared of him and desperately want Hillary to win.

That's good enough to convince me to vote for Trump.  I wonder if any others like me who didn't really buy the hype had a similar reaction.  I would guess yes"



Taxpayers Face Penalties That Discourage Work

News about taxes are almost never good. Here’s more bad news. Many Americans sacrifice far more to the federal government than they realize. Seniors who see their nominal incomes rise, for example, can suffer a loss of Social Security benefits that exceeds the explicit taxes they pay on any extra income. This new finding—laid out in great detail and announced last month by Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff and his colleagues—has major consequences for the incentive to work. If more seniors understood how such penalties operated, many would stop trying to raise their incomes, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow John C. Goodman.

A senior making $85,000 who increases her income to $86,000, for example, could see her annual Medicare Part B premiums increase by a whopping $534.40, Goodman explains. The reason? Medicare premiums were never indexed to inflation. Thus, the penalty hits more people than was originally intended. Social Security benefits and earnings suffer a similar problem. Kotlikoff and company have derived a new statistic—called the lifetime net marginal tax rate—that factors in the loss related to future taxes and future entitlement benefits. At the worst extreme, Goodman writes, “workers can lose 95 cents out of each dollar they earn just in the current year.”

It goes without saying that entitlement penalties inflict great harm on seniors’ pocketbooks. Ironically, such disincentives to earning extra income also harm the public purse. “If we abolished the [Social Security] earnings penalty, the government would probably be a net winner,” Goodman writes. “Seniors would work more and earn more, and the other taxes they pay would more than make up for any short-term revenue loss.”



The sad truth about constitutions

In the United States of America (though not in many other countries) it is difficult to amend the formal, written Constitution. No doubt that difficulty helps to explain why such great efforts have always been made not to amend it but to reinterpret its unchanged provisions, in many cases to such a great extent that its plain meaning has been turned completely on its head (e.g., authority to regulate interstate commerce ultimately becoming a limitless grant of congressional power to regulate practically everything). Notice also the immense attention given to presidential appointments to the Supreme Court. If the justices did only what a Buchanan-type court is supposed to do, their identities would scarcely matter. Yet, because the High Court has increasingly become a law-making body in its own right, its membership may matter a great deal and therefore incite tremendous political controversy and conflict. Hardly anything illustrates better the degree to which the constitutional and normal-political levels are not separate and apart, but essentially one and the same.

The longing for fundamental, semi-permanent constitutional constraints has a long history, and Buchanan’s contributions only capped those of many previous deep jurisprudential thinkers. But, alas, people in their daily grasping for power and pelf cannot be kept penned within such institutional fences. They and their political representatives will—as they have throughout U.S. history—leap over or burst through such would-be containments. Constitutional constraints have been especially flimsy during times of national emergency. I have written about this aspect of the matter since the early 1980s; my book Crisis and Leviathan, among many other works, deals with it at considerable length.

This relationship might occur to someone walking along in the shallow water of a sandy beach. Often one puts his feet down on a seemingly solid surface. Yet, as soon as a wave washes over the area, the sand slips from beneath one’s feet, and one must take steps to keep from being undermined and upset in the surf. Likewise, a constitution may seem to provide a solid, durable foundation for the conduct of workaday political affairs, but the sensation is misleading. As soon as a real or imagined crisis occurs, the constitution’s seemingly solid foundation is washed away, and political actors take new steps to gain their objectives unconstrained by any stronger or more enduring restraints. Indeed, many such opportunists understand this relation well and prepare themselves to exploit a crisis to the maximum when one conveniently comes along—another matter on which I have written repeatedly.

In his parable of the wise and foolish builders, recounted in the Book of Matthew, chap. 7, Jesus refers to “a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” The parable might well be applied also in the field of constitutional political economy. Constitutions have inspired much hope among political philosophers and ordinary people. Sad to say, they have never held the potential to restrain the leviathan that many people expected or hoped they would hold. It is very hard to restrain determined political actors with mere parchment barriers. Indeed, it is pretty much impossible. Unless the constitution is soundly framed and written in the hearts of many influential people in society, it has little capacity to restrain people’s political grasping and folly.



Government Smacks Job Seekers with One-Two Punch

Finding a job in California is difficult but government makes it tougher still, according to Jobs For Californians: Strategies to Ease Occupational Licensing Barriers, a new report from the state’s Little Hoover Commission. “One out of every five Californians must receive permission from the government to work,” Commission Chair and former assemblyman Pedro Nava explains, down from one in 20 sixty years ago. This government barrier wields particular impact on those educated and trained outside of California, on veterans and on military spouses.

In California, the report notes, manicurists must complete at least 400 hours of classwork and training then take written and practical exams offered only in the cities of Fairfield and Glendale. The licensing board assigns the dates and if candidates can’t make it that day, “their candidacy is terminated, they lose their application fee and they must begin the application process all over again.”

As Nava explains, “when government limits the supply of providers, the cost of services goes up,” and those of “limited means” have a harder time accessing those services. Therefore “occupational licensing hurts those at the bottom of the economic ladder twice,” by imposing “significant costs on them should they try to enter a licensed occupation” and by “pricing the services provided by licensed professionals out of reach.” As Jobs for Californians explains, it’s actually worse.

Occupational regulations amount to “rent-seeking,” an attempt to gain influence “without contributing to productivity.” The licensing rules “serve to keep competitors out of the industry.” The rules also keep government employees in highly paid but essentially useless jobs. That is why, as the report notes, “when the Legislature eliminated the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology in 1997, Senator Richard Polanco resurrected it with legislation in 2002.” This board, one of the largest in the country, now boasts 94 employees and a budget of more than $17 million. Taxpayers should count that as pure waste.

“Getting government out of the way of people finding good jobs is a bipartisan issue,” Pedro Nava told Adam Ashton of the Sacramento Bee. Good luck with that. On all fronts, California legislators want to keep government in the way.



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

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


11 October, 2016

Harry Reid's petty politics block giving sick 'right to try' treatments

"If they saw what it does to somebody who was a healthy mom with a good career and great friends, and then all of a sudden this different path you can’t come back from, they would all say, 'what can I do to help?'"

That’s what Trickett Wendler, a mother of three young children, told a Milwaukee-based news station in February 2015, roughly a month before she succumbed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Also called "Lou Gehrig's disease," after the legendary New York Yankees first baseman, ALS is a terrible, debilitating neurological disease that cuts short the lives of those it ravages. Sadly, there is no cure.

Wendler knew her time would be cut short, but she bravely fought for every breath, for her loving husband and children. "At this point in time," she said, "I know I’m drawing closer to the end."

Recently, the Senate was presented with the opportunity to help those like Trickett Wendler.

The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act would allow patients with terminal illnesses to try investigational treatments when no other options are available. The bipartisan legislation, which offers a hope to terminally ill patients and families, is championed by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) blocked the legislation from receiving a vote.

Supposedly, Reid had procedural disagreements. He complained that it didn’t receive a committee hearing. In fact, right to try was the subject of a September 22 hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Johnson.

Yet Reid’s objection was also grounded in disgusting partisan politics. Not only did he falsely claim that right to try wasn’t heard in committee, Reid also had the audacity to complain about Senate Republicans not rubber-stamping President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

But on right to try — as is often the case — Congress is lagging behind the states.

Thirty-two states have passed right to try laws. The list includes traditionally Republican states like Alabama and Texas, the Democratic strongholds of Oregon and Illinois, as well as purple states like New Hampshire and Nevada. Even California’s Democratic governor signed right to try legislation into law in late-September.

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval process for experimental drugs and treatments is a long and costly process, and terminally ill patients simply don’t have time to wait on bureaucracy disguised as “consumer protection.”

It’s true that the FDA does allow clinical trials for some experimental drugs and treatments that are going through the approval process, but only three percent of terminally ill patients participate in these trials.

The Trickett Wendler Right to Try Act keeps the federal government from prohibiting the production and prescription of experimental drugs that have cleared the first phase of the FDA approval process. In addition to protecting patients under treatment, the bill clears manufacturers and prescribers from any potential liability.

Right to try may not be the answer for all those who are terminally ill, but the glimmer of hope it offers by cutting through FDA bureaucracy simply can’t be understated. As Wendler’s daughter, Tealyn, recently said, "We don't have time and we don't have years to wait."

"It feels like you're stuck like the government is in charge of your life," the 12-year-old explained, "and they haven't been in your shoes either."

Just days before her death, Trickett Wendler offered a glimpse of what it’s like to be in her shoes:

"It’s gotten really scary, especially at night. Sometimes I'll wake up gasping for air, so I think I’m getting close — so I wanted you to know. I hope my story has a lasting impression that helps others because I pray to God that this disease never happens to them because ALS doesn’t care who you are."

Trickett Wendler’s words matter more than mine ever will. I hope Harry Reid will learn about her story and stop putting petty partisan politics ahead of good public policy.



Obamacare Rate Hikes: Incompetence or Sabotage?

By Newt Gingrich

Most Americans have seen the headlines about skyrocketing health-care premiums and insurers fleeing the individual marketplace—but few people understand why these things are happening. When you learn the story behind the trends, however, it’s hard not to wonder whether the Obama administration is deliberately sabotaging Obamacare.

The idea seems absurd until you examine how badly CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has administered a critical part of the law, the so-called premium stabilization programs. These programs were supposed to help the individual marketplace adjust to Obamacare’s new rules, and prevent the market from entering a “death spiral” of increasing premiums and fewer choices.

In other words, these were very important programs to get right. Unfortunately, the administration has botched almost all of them.

The Temporary Risk Corridors program, for example, was supposed to insulate insurers from the uncertainty they faced when setting rates in this new, unpredictable market. Insurers who set their premiums too low would have most of their losses subsidized by insurers who set them too high.

Repeatedly, CMS assured us that this program would be budget-neutral. Then, it suggested that taxpayer dollars could cover any deficits. Congress reacted to this bait-and-switch by inserting language into the appropriations bill expressly forbidding CMS from using taxpayer money for this purpose – essentially requiring CMS to live by its word.

Sure enough, the program ended 2014 with $2.5 billion more in insurer claims than in insurer collections. By law, CMS is required to pay the entirety of these claims to insurers, so it announced last month that the entire 2015 insurer collection will be used to pay off the 2014 balance with no money allocated for 2015 insurer losses. That means the 2016 insurer collection – the final year of the program -- will almost certainly fall short of paying what CMS owes to cover insurers’ losses in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Unfortunately, that means that the deficit will most likely be passed along to us, the American people, in the form of large increases in premiums. Of course, this is precisely the result the program was designed to avoid.

This lack of payment from the Temporary Risk Corridors program had a ripple effect that caused a different premium stabilization program to become deadly to many small insurers.

The Permanent Risk Adjustment program was created to reduce insurers’ incentives to take health status into account when enrolling individuals. The program makes an assessment of the health status of each insurer’s customer pool, and plans with healthier populations pay into the program while those with sicker populations receive money from it.

This sounds simple enough, but in practice it hasn’t been so easy. Larger, more established insurers with more developed specialty networks tend to attract much sicker customers than smaller ones. So smaller, less established insurers end up with relatively very large required payments under the program.

This should have been anticipated and manageable by these smaller insurers. However, when taken in combination with massive risk corridor shortfalls (insurers only received 12.6 percent of their claims in 2014), the risk adjustment program ended up impacting them much more than they anticipated.

These losses drove many of these smaller insurers off the exchanges.

The ultimate result is fewer plans to choose from in the individual marketplace. Residents of roughly one-third of the counties in the United States have only one insurance option on the exchanges. And again, this is precisely the result the program was supposed to prevent.

Finally, the Temporary Reinsurance Program was designed to reduce and stabilize premiums in the individual marketplace. Insurers were required to cut their premiums in the individual marketplace from 2014 through 2016 in anticipation of receiving reinsurance payouts to make up for any losses. Those payouts were to be financed through a fee on all payers -- individual, small group, large group, union plans, and self-insured – in order to subsidize the losses insurers were likely to face in the individual marketplace.

The program was also designed to be budget-neutral, with one added wrinkle. Out of the $25 billion that was supposed to be collected during the three-year life of the program, $5 billion was to be deposited in the U.S. Treasury to pay for an unrelated program.

Perhaps predictably, however, CMS did a poor job of assessing and collecting the funds. Only $9.7 billion of the required $12 billion was collected for 2014 (about 20 percent short). Only $6.4 billion of the required $8 billion was collected for 2015 (again, about 20 percent short).

The total collection for 2016 enrollment has not yet been completed, but the formula CMS used to determine how much insurers would have to contribute to the reinsurance fund seems to have been based on the same faulty formula that caused the 2014 and 2015 collections to come up 20 percent short.

It is tempting to blame this under-collection on incompetence—except for one significant detail. CMS issued its final rules for 2016 enrollment in March of 2015, several months after it had collected the vast majority of the 2014 funds. Officials knew the formula they were using was wrong, but stuck with it for the 2016 collections anyway, guaranteeing failure.

As a result, not only have insurers received less money than budgeted to recoup the losses they sustained from lowering their premiums, but the U.S. Treasury has only received $500 million of the $5 billion it is owed.

Assuming the 2016 collection falls 20 percent short again, CMS will owe about $8.5 billion to insurers and the U.S. Treasury combined, with only about $4 billion available to pay it.

Again, this means American taxpayers will bear the burden, either in the form of more debt to be paid for with higher taxes, or in higher insurance premiums to make up for the losses.

In short, all three of the premium stabilization programs that were supposed to make Obamacare workable were administered by CMS in a way that helped drive insurers from the  individual market and caused premiums to increase dramatically—at the risk of being repetitive, the exact opposite of these programs’ purpose.

Whether intentional or not, the conclusion is inescapable: President Obama’s Department of Health & Human Services has pushed the individual market into a death spiral.  Insurers are fleeing the marketplace and premiums are expected to spike dramatically (the average proposed increase for 2017 is 24 percent).

So as Hillary Clinton and other Democrats propose more big government health-care as solutions to the crisis that big government health-care created, ask yourself if this was their intent all along.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- mainly on racial matters


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

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


10 October, 2016

Obama’s New Death Tax Threatens Family Farms and Businesses

Rep. Warren Davidson   

We all knew President Barack Obama’s lame-duck presidency would be bad, but for the millions of Americans who work at family farms and businesses, it’s about to get a lot worse.

As Heritage Foundation tax expert Curtis Dubay wrote at The Daily Signal, Obama is trying to sneak in a tax hike in his twilight days. His Treasury Department unveiled midnight regulations that effectively would increase the death tax to 30 or 40 percent.

If Obama channeled his desire and creativity in raising taxes into cutting spending, we probably would have a budget surplus by now.

In this case, the president’s creativity involves tinkering with well-established “valuation discounts” that families use to calculate their death tax liability.

These valuation discounts are one reason family businesses have been able to accurately calculate the burden of the estate tax—popularly known as the death tax—so the business or farm itself can be passed from generation to generation.

If these valuation discounts didn’t exist, then every time an owner died, a business essentially would have to overvalue itself, and thus be subject to a higher effective tax bill than the law intends. Farms especially are affected by this issue, and the estate tax generally, because it is a lot harder to sell off 40 percent of your farm than 40 percent of stocks or other assets.

If that’s not too much of a burden, imagine being a partial owner of one of these farms.

If you own one-tenth of your grandfather’s farm, you don’t have enough say in the future of the business to decide whether you want to sell off the farm or pay the 40 percent tax to keep it.

Such partial owners are faced with a choice: Either sell off your share for much less than it is worth or pay the government 40 percent of its value. For family-owned businesses, built with the blood, sweat, and tears of ancestors, this is an immoral choice for the government to force on people.

This issue affects workers, too. In cutting costs and selling assets to pay the IRS, many family businesses facing a tragic death and an ensuing death tax are forced to downsize.

For the economy as a whole, this means that millions of people who work for small businesses could lose their jobs, just because the Internal Revenue Service wants an added piece of the action if a business owner dies.

What’s good for the economy is when businesses grow and innovate. They shouldn’t have to plan to liquidate their assets to pay the IRS bill whenever an owner dies.

Democrats are floating a plan for a 65 percent death tax in order to “level the playing field.” This is no more than socialist planning by elites to confiscate property from hardworking Americans to pay for failed government programs and spending that won’t improve standards of living.

For the mega-rich who have enough money to structure their assets, this works just fine. For hardworking Americans who put everything they own into creating jobs and building their business, this is not an option.

Regardless of the bad economics behind the death tax, the Obama administration is going about it in the wrong way.

Deciding tax policy is a power enumerated solely for Congress. This is something that should be decided in the open with a robust public debate. The Founding Fathers believed this too, which is why they gave Congress, and the House in particular (the “people’s House”), the power to initiate tax laws.

If Congress doesn’t do anything, this will mean an even greater increase of out-of-control executive authority.

That is why I introduced legislation, the Protect Family Farms and Businesses Act, to halt the Obama administration’s backdoor tax increase. It would prohibit the administration’s new rule, or any like it, from going into effect.

The bill already has more than 20 co-sponsors and the support of more than 100 organizations.

Too much is on the line for too many for Congress to stand idle. The jobs of millions of Americans are at stake.



Stopping Another Obamacare Bailout

When President Barack Obama made his case to the American people for Obamacare, he promised that it would both lower health insurance premiums and not add to the national debt.

Neither has been true.

One way Obamacare has been adding to the deficit is through illegal bailouts of insurance companies operating Obamacare plans through the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Government Accountability Office highlighted one bailout scheme last week when it released a report finding that since 2014, HHS has been illegally sending billions of “reinsurance” fees to insurance companies instead of sending those dollars to the United States Treasury where they belong.

But that isn’t the only way the Obama administration is plotting to illegally funnel your money to insurance companies.

A separate “risk corridor” program also promised Obamacare insurance companies a safety net if their customers used an unexpectedly high amount of health care. The way it was supposed to work was that those plans with low medical costs would pay into a fund and plans with high medical costs would take out of the fund. In theory, the fund was supposed to be deficit neutral.

But in reality far more plans experienced higher costs than they anticipated, leaving HHS with billions in claims from insurance companies but no way to pay them. The Obama administration has asked Congress to appropriate money to bail out these insurance companies, but Congress has rightly refused.

So now HHS is getting creative. On Sept. 9, HHS issued a memorandum addressing suits filed by insurance companies in federal court demanding risk corridor payments. HHS wrote that, “as in all cases where there is litigation risk, we are open to discussing resolution of those claims,” and that “we are willing to begin such discussions at any time.”

This language appears to suggest that HHS may be trying to illegally funnel money to Obamacare insurers through the Department of Justice’s Judgment Fund. In other words, since Congress has not appropriated money for nonbudget neutral risk corridor payments, HHS will just invite insurance companies to sue, and then the DOJ can pay the bill instead.

Last week, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; and I wrote a letter to the DOJ and HHS to make sure that doesn’t happen. Our letter notes that the Congressional Research Service has already found that the Judgment Fund may not be used to settle risk corridor claims and asks HHS to identify how it plans to pay the risk corridor settlements mentioned in their Sept. 9 letter.



A Taxing Situation

What would you think of an individual or a company that earned a pre-tax profit of $29.9 million in one year, paid nothing in taxes and still received a $3.5 million refund?

Am I speaking of Donald Trump? No, it is The New York Times Company. Forbes magazine studied the newspaper’s 2014 annual report, in which the company explained: “The effective tax rate for 2014 was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.”

In other words the Times took advantage of tax laws that only good tax attorneys understand and in doing so was no different than Donald Trump. The Times, which obtained Trump’s supposedly confidential tax returns, made a big deal out of the Republican presidential candidate’s use of loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

Democrats are trying to make this part of their “fair share” scenario when, in fact, they are making the argument Republicans have been making for years for tax reform, which Trump has promised to do if he’s elected president.

The federal government is taking in record amounts of tax revenue, but is approaching a $20 trillion debt. The problem, noted Ronald Reagan, is not that the American people are taxed too little, but that their government spends too much.

No one is saying that Trump’s deductions were illegal, but that doesn’t matter to Democrats. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted on Monday, “The left is committed to defeating Mr. Trump by whatever means possible, as many believe this end justifies any means, much as progressives have justified the Edward Snowden leaks despite the damage to national security.”

Leaking sealed or private documents is not a new strategy for Democrats. When Barack Obama was a candidate in the Democratic Senate primary in Illinois, the sealed divorce papers of his opponent, Jack Ryan, were shamelessly used to help defeat the “family values” Republican. Had that dirty trick not been used, Obama might never have been a senator, much less president.

Does anyone expect an IRS or Justice Department investigation into who leaked Trump’s tax records? Unlikely. FBI Director James Comey’s refusal to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton for her deliberate mishandling of classified information seems to prove that the Obama administration is little more than an arm of her presidential campaign.

The left’s narrative — stated and implied — is that everything government does is good, and so it is only right that taxpayers pay increasing amounts of taxes no matter how irresponsible government is in spending them. In this thinking, government has replaced God and taxes have replaced the collection plate, which at least amasses voluntary contributions.

Politicians mostly like the tax code the way it is because they can tweak it in exchange for campaign contributions from lobbyists. For the rest of us, the tax code is a foreign language impossible for most to understand. Even the IRS doesn’t fully understand it. If you call the IRS for advice and the advice they give you is wrong, you can still be subject to penalties and interest.

Republicans in high tax states and at the federal level should use the left’s “smoking gun” on Trump’s taxes as a weapon to demand tax reform. Flat and fair taxes have been suggested. Anything is better than the current system. Real tax reform would ensure that Trump paid some taxes, though they would likely be lower for him than for everyone else who pays them.

After that, maybe the conversation can shift to the real problem: government spending.



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

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


9 October, 2016

Federal censorship alive and well

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has decided to remain a step behind the changing technological world, likely so that they can still have a place in our government. After an FEC meeting and vote it has been decided that the organization would continue its censorship of Internet based websites, radio, streamed movies and even books. Effectively allowing the organization to maintain control over a significant portion of modern American media.

An amendment submitted to the FEC on Sept. 29, 2016 by Commissioner Lee Goodman specifically aimed at modernizing exemptions to FEC regulation in accordance with technological changes in the 21 century was struck down by Democrats led by Ann Ravel, who called the attempt “pitiful.”

Ravel won based on a split 3-3 decision, meaning the law would stand as is without an expansion of the “press exemption” which currently states that “a media entity’s costs for carrying news stories, commentary and editorials are not considered ‘contributions’ or ‘expenditures.’”

With Goodman’s proposal online blogs, documentaries, satellite radio and books would be free of FEC regulation and suppression. As Goodman defends, this would clarify the law without changing it. Why?

Because it would follow the framers’ intention within the First Amendment of the Constitution where freedom of press is explicitly outlined. They did not mean the “press” as some elite cadre of journalists, they meant the printing press, as explained by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh in his 2011 paper on the topic, “The Freedom…of the Press, from 1791 to 1868 to Now:  Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or the Press as a Technology?”

“Through-out American history, the dominant understanding of the Free Press Clause (and its state constitutional analogs) has followed the press-as-technology model. This was likely the original meaning of the First Amendment. It was pretty certainly the understanding when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. It was the largely unchallenged orthodoxy until about 1970,” Volokh writes.

Volokh continues, “Since 1970, a few lower court decisions have adopted the press-as-industry model. But this has been a distinctly minority view. Supreme Court majority opinions have continued to provide equal treatment to speakers without regard to whether they are members of the press as industry. And while several opinions have noted that the question remains open, the bulk of the precedents point towards equal treatment for all speakers — or at least to equal treatment for all who use mass communications technologies, whether or not they are members of the press as industry.”

The freedom of the press so often interlocks with freedom of speech, but the press, which can be used by anyone, obviously protects an individual right that cannot be abridged.

That is, whether the writer is working in a blog, through a video published online for streaming, or writing an e-novel, they deserve the protections of the First Amendment.

However, if this was upheld and regulations were not applicable to these groups of people the FEC might not have a reason to exist. The group would be unable to moderate the “contributions” and “expenditures” of any members of media in order to submit to the freedom of the press, forcing the FEC’s power to shrink significantly.

The current restrictions to freedom of the press contemplated by the FEC keep freedoms locked in an archaic, pre-constitutional time where today’s technology simply did not exist, and uses that as a justification for censorship. With Ravel’s debate remarks and Twitter attacks on the Washington Examiner and the Daily Caller for daring to report on Goodman’s amendment, it seems the “pitiful” right leaning media would be the first to be moderated by these unelected bureaucrats.



When you hear them scream, Mr. Trump, you know you’ve hit the mark

By Bill Wilson

The level of vitriol and sheer hysteria coming from the various outlets of the establishment press is the best indicator possible that Donald Trump’s message of American sovereignty and the restoration of constitutional government are getting through to the American people. The apologists and paid-mouthpieces of the self-appointed elite are in a near frenzy in a desperate attempt to block Trump and the legion of supporters he has attracted.

While partisan devotion can often result in overstatement and hyper-ventilated rhetoric, something is different this year. The political and media establishment have become far more vicious. They have dropped any pretense of impartiality, they openly brag about their willingness to break the law in order to score a few points against Team Trump. And the degree to which they throw away what little credibility they still have with the diminishing number of people who even bother to listen or read them is breath-taking.

All of this begs the question, why? Why risk everything on one election? Why impale yourself on lies, criminal behavior and outright deceit on an historic scale? The answer gets mentioned every now and again, always in passing or in some oblique reference; never head on and openly direct. The establishment and their hirelings in the media are afraid that the election of Donald Trump would, in the words of the Washington Post, “bring about the end of the era of American global leadership that began in 1945.”

So, what exactly are they talking about here? The Post and the herd of similar outlets are referring to the movement toward a world government enshrined in the Temple on Turtle Bay, the United Nations. They are talking about the end of independent nations, what Ann-Marie Slaughter — a devoted Hillary Clinton zealot — has called the “global administrative state.”  And, they are referring to the corporatist economic model that pumps trillions of dollars into a handful of international banks and corporations that are free from any government rules or regulation.

All of this and more is in fact on the line. When Trump denounces bogus “trade” deals, he is exposing the true nature of the corporatist economy; an economy that deindustrializes America and then tells the displaced workers to train their foreign replacements. It is an economy designed to build the capacity and wealth of foreigners at the expense of the United States.  “But, the overall levels of income are great and we get all those cheap goods,” the so-called free traders exclaim. This macro-level of income, of course obscures the fact that virtually all the gains have gone to the top of the economic pyramid and that middle America is dying before their eyes. And those cheap goods? Is it really better that we can buy a dishwasher or flat screen TV for less when the true price does not include the devastation inflicted on thousands of towns and communities across the nation? Does it really end up costing less; or, are the true costs hidden in drug overdose statistics, depressed real estate values and countless broken lives.

When Trump questions military alliances that were built in a different era and asks if the rationale is still valuable to the United States, the left and the media shriek in horror. But in point of fact many of those alliances have become little more than shakedown operations; con-games where American treasure and American lives get plundered so rich European and Asian nations can continue to prosper. Defense of the United States has become in a real sense secondary to defense of the “system” built up since 1945, a system of world entanglement and outright theft of American assets.

And, when Trump — like so many now in Europe — attacks the “open borders” lunacy of the global elites, the shop-worn insult of “racist” gets hurled. But it is not racist or wrong to want to defend the borders of our nation, it is for us as a people to decide who comes in and who does not. It is the most basic and fundamental right of a sovereign nation. But that, of course, is the whole point. The elites and their running dogs in the press don’t want sovereign nations, especially a sovereign United States. Trump exposes that and they hate him for it.

Trade policy that benefits American workers, policies seeking peace and not perpetual war, and a strong sovereign nation — these are the principles that outlets like the Washington Post and the New York Times cannot abide.  These so-called press outlets embrace the world vision of those that would destroy nations, that would give the owners of capital complete control while workers and communities are pressed down into eve deeper debt-slavery.  They are the drooling zombies of the “administrative state” that denies the people any rights independent of what some body of unelected “experts” grants them. They are, in every meaning of the term, propaganda pushers of tyranny.

So when the press howls, screams, insults, demeans and sneers, remember — it is a sign of their fear, fear that the American people have caught on to their con and that their day of reckoning is near.



The 'Quiet Catastrophe' of Men Choosing to Not Seek Work

The “quiet catastrophe” is particularly dismaying because it is so quiet, without social turmoil or even debate. It is this: After 88 consecutive months of the economic expansion that began in June 2009, a smaller percentage of American males in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are working than were working near the end of the Great Depression in 1940, when the unemployment rate was above 14 percent. If the labor force participation rate were as high today as it was as recently as 2000, nearly 10 million more Americans would have jobs.

The work rate for adult men has plunged 13 percentage points in a half-century. This “work deficit” of “Great Depression-scale underutilization” of male potential workers is the subject of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new monograph “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” which explores the economic and moral causes and consequences of this:

Since 1948, the proportion of men 20 and older without paid work has more than doubled, to almost 32 percent. This “eerie and radical transformation” — men creating an “alternative lifestyle to the age-old male quest for a paying job” — is largely voluntary. Men who have chosen to not seek work are two and a half times more numerous than men that government statistics count as unemployed because they are seeking jobs.

What Eberstadt calls a “normative sea change” has made it a “viable option” for “sturdy men,” who are neither working nor looking for work, to choose “to sit on the economic sidelines, living off the toil or bounty of others.” Only about 15 percent of men 25 to 54 who worked not at all in 2014 said they were unemployed because they could not find work.

For 50 years, the number of men in that age cohort who are neither working nor looking for work has grown nearly four times faster than the number who are working or seeking work. And the pace of this has been “almost totally uninfluenced by the business cycle.” The “economically inactive” have eclipsed the unemployed, as government statistics measure them, as “the main category of men without jobs.” Those statistics were created before government policy and social attitudes made it possible to be economically inactive.

Eberstadt does not say that government assistance causes this, but obviously it finances it. To some extent, however, this is a distinction without a difference. In a 2012 monograph, Eberstadt noted that in 1960 there were 134 workers for every one officially certified as disabled; by 2010 there were just over 16. Between January 2010 and December 2011, while the economy produced 1.73 million nonfarm jobs, almost half as many workers became disability recipients. This, even though work is less stressful and the workplace is safer than ever.

Largely because of government benefits and support by other family members, nonworking men 25 to 54 have household expenditures a third higher than the average of those in the bottom income quintile. Hence, Eberstadt says, they “appear to be better off than tens of millions of other Americans today, including the millions of single mothers who are either working or seeking work.”

America’s economy is not less robust, and its welfare provisions not more generous, than those of the 22 other affluent nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Yet America ranks 22nd, ahead of only Italy, in 25 to 54 male labor force participation. Eberstadt calls this “unwelcome ‘American Exceptionalism.’”

In 1965, even high school dropouts were more likely to be in the workforce than is the 25 to 54 male today. And, Eberstadt notes, “the collapse of work for modern America’s men happened despite considerable upgrades in educational attainment.” The collapse has coincided with a retreat from marriage (“the proportion of never-married men was over three times higher in 2015 than 1965”), which suggests a broader infantilization. As does the use to which the voluntarily idle put their time — for example, watching TV and movies 5.5 hours daily, two hours more than men who are counted as unemployed because they are seeking work.

Eberstadt, noting that the 1996 welfare reform “brought millions of single mothers off welfare and into the workforce,” suggests that policy innovations that alter incentives can reverse the “social emasculation” of millions of idle men. Perhaps. Reversing social regression is more difficult than causing it. One manifestation of regression, Donald Trump, is perhaps perverse evidence that some of his army of angry men are at least healthily unhappy about the loss of meaning, self-esteem and masculinity that is a consequence of chosen and protracted idleness.



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

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


7 October, 2016

Philadelphia keeps felons, illegal immigrants and other ineligibles on voter rolls

We don’t need to wait until November to wonder if illegal voters will be casting ballots, thanks to a 2016 Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) report on the city of Philadelphia we already know that this will be happening and has been happening. The report shows that not only are illegal immigrants casting ballots but thousands of felons remain on voter rolls as well, even though they are ineligible to vote.

Usually getting into the voter system via motor voter, in many cases legal and illegal immigrants would check the box indicating that they were not citizens, yet continued to fill out the registration form and their registration was processed. In other cases, illegal immigrants would simply check “yes” to their citizenship status and with no other question of citizenship their form would be processed.

Registered illegal voters are also not removed from voter rolls unless they request their removal.  The immigrant is expected to contact local government offices of their illicit status and request a removal, often after years of illegal voting.

In 2015, only 23 registered voters canceled their registration due to lack of citizenship, 30 percent had voted in past elections and 13 percent had been on the rolls for over 10 years. With data since 2013, each year illegal immigrants have been proven to have voted illegally.

The problem, according to the report, “The report only details aliens who requested to be removed from the rolls. No procedure exists to systematically scan voter rolls to detect aliens and election officials do not use data from the federal SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) database to scan for illegal registrations by non-citizens.”

With no executive oversight, nearly anyone can vote in this state, and any other state which does not have voter registration laws in place.

Similarly, felons, who have legally lost their right to vote, are not removed from voter registration rolls unless they request that the state cancel their registration. Leaving the responsibility for law and order to the felon.

Nationally the federal government has attempted to curb this power, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 clarifies the constitutional requirement of citizenship and demands acknowledgment of this provision by the voter. The act states that, “The voter registration application must state each voter eligibility requirement (including citizenship), contain an attestation that the applicant meets each requirement, state the penalties provided by law for submission of a false voter registration application and require the signature of the applicant under penalty of perjury.”

While this forces individuals to be aware of the possible prosecution, cities like Philadelphia who simply do not enforce the law provide no deterrent against illegal voting.

The PILF report notes, “The City does nothing to actively prevent or discover noncitizen registration. Worse, the system is failing to respond to aliens participating illegally in our elections as law enforcement officials have not vigorously prosecuted this voter fraud. Make no mistake, when an alien registers to vote, it is voter fraud. It’s also a federal felony.”

While legislation such as the Help America to Vote Act of 2002 requires states maintain computerized states voter registration lists and make a reasonable effort to purge those lists of illegible voters, states only need to purge of voters who are deceased or move out of state. Allowing them to neglect felons and illegal immigrants.

When states such as Kansas and Texas then make statewide attempts to abide by this law to the fullest extent and impose voter identification laws, these laws are now routinely being shot down in courts. Continually allowing states to disregard federal law.

The Constitution outlines that only citizens can vote in national elections. And many states further bar felons from voting. The federal government has attempted to reinforce this with the Help America to Vote Act, however, without a binding agreement which holds states accountable for the election fraud within their municipalities the law goes unenforced.

When the state leaders do not care about maintaining fair and honest elections, voters cannot be expected to have the same moral authority for their country. A potential solution could be with state legislatures requiring that ineligible non-citizens and felons be periodically purged from voter rolls, because right now there appears to be nothing in place at the state-level to protect the voter franchise.



How Trump could purge illegal immigrants and other non-citizens from voter rolls

More than 1,000 illegal immigrants are registered to vote in Virginia, a new report released by the Virginia Voters Alliance based on data compiled by the Public Interest Legal Foundation finds.

The report took a sample from just eight different municipalities, emphasizing that there were likely more elsewhere in the state: “The problem is most certainly exponentially worse because we have no data regarding aliens on the registration rolls for the other 125 Virginia localities. Even in this small sample, when the voting history of this small sample of alien registrants is examined, nearly 200 verified ballots were cast before they were removed from the rolls.”

That’s a problem because under 18 U.S. Code § 611, it is illegal for any alien, legal or illegal, to vote in elections. That could carry a maximum of one year in prison.

It is also illegal under 18 U.S. Code § 1015 to for any alien, legal or illegal, to register to vote: “Whoever knowingly makes any false statement or claim that he is a citizen of the United States in order to register to vote or to vote in any Federal, State, or local election (including an initiative, recall, or referendum) — shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

So, why don’t states simply purge immigrant and illegal immigrants from the voter rolls?

Probably the biggest reason is nothing compels them to do so, nor is the data readily accessible to assist them.

Take the Help America to Vote Act of 2002, which although it requires every state to maintain a computerized statewide voter registration list and make reasonable efforts to purge those lists of ineligible voters, the only two criteria it lists for removal are if the person dies, or he or she moves out of the state.

States have attempted to implement voter identification laws with proof of citizenship requirements of their own but with uneven results. When Indiana implemented its voter identification law, the Supreme Court upheld it in 2008.

But when Texas put in place a very similar law it was overturned by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals as a violation of the 14th Amendment. And when Kansas attempted to put in place a proof of citizenship requirement in order to register to vote on the state application — the federal version of the form has no such requirement — a federal district judge shot that down, too.

In the meantime, while much attention is focused on proof of citizenship identification requirements, very few efforts are being put towards the task of actually purging voter rolls of non-citizens.

Donald Trump has promised to tackle the issue of illegal immigration as a central plank of his platform. Should he win the election in November, he might also wish to address the critical issue of non-citizen voting. But how?

For starters, since as noted above it is already illegal for non-citizens to either vote or register to vote, and under 18 U.S. Code § 371 it is illegal for two or more persons to conspire to break any federal law, a new administration could force states to purge their rolls by providing them a verifiable list of eligible and ineligible voters in every state using existing birth, immigration, naturalization, marriage and state motor vehicle records.

The federal government could then issue a regulation based on those laws and utilizing that data to compel states to purge voter rolls of ineligible non-citizens. And then if the states refuse, they would then be participating in a criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud and state officials could be prosecuted and imprisoned for each count — one for every non-citizen voter they refused to purge from the records.

I venture to guess those state voter rolls would be cleaned up in a jiffy.

The issue boils down to maintaining integrity in our electoral processes, and to ensure our democracy cannot be overtaken by foreigners outside the franchise. And by creating a very real penalty when laws against non-citizen voting are violated.

Only citizens should vote, and perhaps, for the first time, a Trump administration could make sure that’s the case. All Mr. Trump would have to do is enforce existing laws.



When Bureaucrats Edit the Facts of Islamist Terrorism to Fit Obama’s Narrative

In the early morning hours of June 12, an armed terrorist named Omar Mateen opened fire in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The next morning, Americans awoke to the news that 49 people had been murdered—the largest such massacre in American history.

This heinous act left Americans, as well as the Orlando community, grieving and searching for answers. But for several days after the shooting, the Justice Department knowingly curtailed the release of information about the shooter’s motives.

Even when it relates to terrorism, the government must be careful not to hide the truth from the American public. This is especially so when the government’s intent is not to protect citizens’ national security interests, but rather to further the political preferences of those in power.

That is why my organization, Cause of Action Institute, has begun an investigation into the Obama administration’s decision to censor the facts of the Orlando shooting.

It was more than a week later, on June 20, that the FBI released a partial transcript of a 911 call made by gunman Mateen during his rampage. The problem: The transcript was heavily redacted and omitted crucial phrases linking Mateen to ISIS.

For example, when the 911 dispatcher asked Mateen for his name, the FBI originally reported that Mateen stated: “My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]” and “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].”

In reality, Mateen explicitly declared his allegiance to ISIS. He stated:

My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State” and “I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch attempted to justify this censorship, saying it was done “to avoid revictimizing those people that went through this horror.” But that explanation seems highly unlikely in light of other, similar actions by the Obama administration.

For example, since 2011, the administration has led a controversial effort to remove any and all mentions of Islamic ideology from training manuals for law enforcement.

Just days before the Orlando attack, on June 6, the Department of Homeland Security released a report advising law enforcement to use “the right lexicon” when dealing with “issues of violent extremism.” The report recommended eliminating “religiously charged terminology” and cautioned against the use of words such as “jihad” and “sharia.”

Taken together, the evidence indicates that the Obama administration is not giving the American public an accurate picture of terrorist-related activities because those events may contradict the administration’s political preferences and worldview.

But the government’s stated goal of word-policing does not outweigh the public’s right to know what is happening in their communities.

In the case of Orlando, the government doesn’t have the right to hide the attacker’s self-proclaimed affiliation. The statements made by Mateen on June 12 are facts. He spoke those words the morning of his attack on the Pulse nightclub.

The American public is entitled to know the facts as they occurred—not as retold, manipulated, or erased by Washington bureaucrats.

That is why Cause of Action Institute has filed requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain details from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Justice Department regarding the decision to redact the transcript as well as the administration’s policies on censoring law enforcement.

The FBI responded to our request, asserting broad law enforcement privileges, ostensibly to protect an ongoing criminal investigation. Our requests, however, relate only to the FBI’s censorship policies, not the investigation.

Even after the Justice Department endured intense criticism from many corners, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and First Amendment advocates, the FBI to date has released only the transcript of one of several calls Mateen placed the morning of the attack. There remain more than 28 minutes of recorded calls that have not been heard by the public.

As Thomas Jefferson commented: “A properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate.”

Unelected officials in Washington should not be in the business of censoring the facts of a terrorist attack. The American public can handle the truth, even when it doesn’t fit the Obama administration’s interpretation of what is politically correct.



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

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


6 October, 2016

Why Are Private Health Insurers Losing Money on Obamacare?

Health economist Dr. Uwe Reinhardt writes in a major medical journal that Obamacare seems to have unsolvable contradictions

The report last week (http://wapo.st/2bvbkiQ) that Aetna, one of the major US health insurance companies, would leave most of the health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 follows similar accounts the media that Anthem (http://on.wsj.com/2atMJ00), Aetna (http://on.wsj.com/2aP0F2Z), and other large private health insurers are contemplating withdrawing from the so-called ACA marketplace. The companies say the reason behind these actions is they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on the business coming to them from these exchanges. To make up for the losses, some insurers, though by no means all, have quoted premium increases in excess of 25% for 2017 (http://kaiserf.am/1tubOxk).

This development seems puzzling, as it comes in an era of historically low growth in total national health spending. The latest estimates published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which provides estimates of current and projected national health spending, indicate that spending growth at only 4.8% in 2016 and project health care spending growth to be only 5.8% per year for the decade 2015-2025 (http://bit.ly/2a0z3Gt).

Furthermore, as a report published by the Urban Institute notes (http://rwjf.ws/1JZlO4E), even in 2010, the year the ACA became law, its impact on total national health spending was estimated to be an increase in annual spending of only 2.5% above what would have been spent anyway. In addition, the report also notes that the CMS now projects that total US national health spending during 2014-2019 will be $2.5 trillion lower than projections made in 2010.

Why, then, in the face of these historically low growth rates, have premiums on the ACA health-insurance exchanges for 2017 increased at such high rates?

The core of the answer to this question can be read in the chart below, showing the highly skewed distribution of per capita health spending across the US population. The phenomenon is known as the “80-20 rule,” indicating that 20% of any large insured populations tends to account for 80% of all health care spending on that population.

Individuals in the high spending categories typically have multiple health problems requiring expensive treatments. A question that has troubled US health policy for decades has been what kind of health care these individuals with multiple conditions should receive and who should pay for it, assuming that only few very well-to-do US residents could afford to purchase their health care with their own resources. Here, it is helpful to remember that the US median disposable family income is only about $54 000, (http://bit.ly/1MEBpsh) not even enough to cover the annual cost of some effective specialty drugs.

The contributions individuals make out of their paychecks toward employer-sponsored health insurance are community rated, which means that they are the same for all employees of the firm, regardless of their health status and even age. With the ACA, the Obama administration sought to provide the same deal for US individuals purchasing health insurance in the individual market.

For health insurers, however, this approach can be called an unnatural act, because it forces them knowingly to issue policies to very ill people at premiums evidently far below these individuals’ likely claims on the insurer’s overall risk pool. Actuaries and health policy analysts understand that this approach can work only if all individuals, healthy and ill, are mandated to purchase coverage for a defined, basic package of benefits, at the community-rated premium—thereby forcing young and healthy individuals to subsidize with their premiums the health care of individuals with medical conditions in the insurer’s risk pool.

However, for purely political reasons, the ACA mandate for all person in the United States to be insured was rather weak, leading many younger or healthier individuals simply to forgo purchasing health insurance and paying the relatively low fines for doing so. Over time, this practice naturally will drive up the community-rated premiums, inducing even greater numbers of young and healthy individuals to forgo insurance coverage, leaving private insurers with ever-more expensive risk pools.

The result of this adverse risk selection (the scenario in which sicker-than-average people purchase insurance while young and healthy people do not) has been that some private health insurers underpriced their policies on the ACA exchanges, perhaps to gain market share early on or because they simply did not anticipate quite the adverse risk selection that occurred.

It is hard to see a way out of this dilemma, given the current political climate. The task is doubly difficult in the United States, because the health care system is structured to yield prices for health care products and services that are twice as high or higher than the prices of identical items in other countries, driving US per capita health spending also to be twice as high as in many other developed countries (http://bit.ly/2bjD9PR). Thus, it is much more expensive in the United States than in other countries to provide health care to all residents, especially those who are ill and poor.

If health care costs in the United States were lower, most people would probably agree that ill, low-income citizens should receive the needed health care that is available to better-off individuals. The problem is that our health system is in danger of pricing kindness out of our souls.



How Hillary plays the class warfare card

By Stephen Moore

Hillary Clinton keeps bashing the Trump tax plan as “Trumped up trickle down economics.” This class warfare card has become the standard and tired response to every Republican tax plan reform for 30 years. No wonder we haven’t cleaned out the stables of the tax code since the Reagan era. Democrats have no interest.

Hillary’s claim is that the plan will blow a hole in the debt (which is rich coming from someone who worked for an administration that nearly doubled the debt in eight years) and that the benefits all go to the rich. She also says it will cost jobs and could even “cause a recession.”

I worked on devising the Trump tax plan with economists Larry Kudlow, Sam Clovis and others, so I know a little bit about the costs and the benefits. It’s an amazing ideology which says that letting businesses keep more of their own money will cause the economy to capsize and other horrors, but a $1.5 trillion tax hike on businesses and investors will, as Hillary promises, create jobs. Yes, and injecting Elmer’s glue into your veins is a good way to prevent a heart attack.

Let’s start with her claim that the plan will cost $5 trillion. That’s wrong. When taking into account the higher economic growth from the lower tax rates on businesses and workers, the plan’s “cost” is about half that size. The Tax Foundation finds the plan will raise the GDP growth rate by almost one percentage point over a decade, and that means lots of jobs and additional tax revenue for the government. The best way to balance the budget is to put Americans back to work.

The $2.5 trillion “cost” of the tax cut can and will easily be made up by cutting government spending. Over the next decade the government is expected to spend almost $50 trillion. Surely with sound business-like leadership, we can save 5 cents on the dollar.

Next, she says that tax cuts have never worked to revive the economy. We believe that cutting taxes for 26 million small businesses will be a huge incentive for more hiring and expansion by businesses that are now taxed at as high as 40 percent. The American Enterprise Institute finds that the biggest beneficiary of a business tax cut is the American worker, whose wages will go up from more capital spending. If a trucking company goes from 50 trucks to 75, that’s 25 more truckers it will need to hire.

Hillary needs a tax cut history lesson. “Supply side” tax rates were at the heart of the Reagan economic plan in the 1980s. The Reagan expansion with lower taxes was twice as powerful as the anemic Obama recovery with higher taxes and more government spending. The difference in the two recoveries is near $3 trillion in lost output. Similarly, the John F. Kennedy tax cuts got us five and six percent growth. JFK was right: the best way to raise revenues is to “cut tax rates now.” Even Hillary’s husband Bill Clinton agreed to a capital gains tax cut which led to a gusher of new federal revenues.

Next, Hillary claims that only the rich like Donald Trump will benefit from this “Trumped up” tax plan. She obviously hasn’t read the tax plan. By design, the tax rate reductions for the rich are offset almost dollar for dollar by the loss of $250 billion a year in tax deductions for rich people. So the overall tax burden of most millionaires and billionaires is not changed. Almost all of the benefit in dollar terms from the tax plan goes to the middle class (and owners of small businesses). We think they deserve a break a decade that has wiped out financial savings of the middle class. With Obamacare premiums rising by 10 to 30 percent in many states this year, families need the tax cut desperately.

The table shows that the Trump tax plan causes a rise of after-tax income by about $4,000 for the average middle class household, while the Hillary plan shrinks incomes.

What Hillary isn’t telling you is that she and her liberal friends are against tax cuts, because they want to spend the money on free everything. This includes the silliest idea of all time: hundreds of billions for 500 million solar panels. Get ready for a cascade of dozens of new Solyndras. How much money is going to go to Elon Musk from this corporate welfare giveaway. It could be in the tens of billions of dollars.

So just who’s policies benefit the rich and the political class?

Hillary is offering the American people trickle-down government.

When has that ever worked?



Judicial Watch Targeted for Exposing Corruption

Just how effective is Judicial Watch in extracting information buried by the Obama administration? We need only look at how the White House has tried to quash its efforts for a clue. On Thursday the General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General published a November 2015 audit on its website, “Letter to Senator Johnson About GSA’s FOIA Process,” that criticizes the agency for, among other things, violating Freedom of Information Act protocols regarding a GSA video enquiry in June 2012.

The report says “GSA had granted Judicial Watch press status in the past,” which should have made it exempt from fees. In this case, however, JW was “denied the fee waiver request.” Moreover, the clearly orchestrated obfuscation is linked directly to the White House. The report says the Office of General Counsel “received an email containing guidance for determining Judicial Watch was not a media requestor. In the email, captioned ‘Judicial Watch Found Not A Media Requester,’ the sender, Elliot Mincberg, advised he had gathered this information at the request of GSA’s White House Liaison, Gregory Mercher.”

Judicial Watch eventually prevailed, though it took nearly a year for the videos to be released and the parties were forced into a settlement. JW president Tom Fitton says, “It’s outrageous but not surprising. Welcome to our world. This is what we put up with all the time from the agencies.”

The Washington Times importantly notes: “President Obama promised an era of transparency when it came to open records requests under the Freedom of Information Act, which is the chief way for Americans to pry loose data from the federal government. Despite the president’s exhortations, the government is increasingly fighting requests, forcing the public to file lawsuits to look at information.” Just image how much worse this administration’s cover-ups would be without JW’s unparalleled work in exposing them. It’s not just the IRS targeting conservative groups.



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

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


5 October, 2016

The Politics of 'The Shallows'

What ails American democracy? Too much information and too little thought

What impact has the modern media environment had on the 2016 campaign? I know that’s a boring sentence, but journalists and politicians talk about it a lot, journalists uneasily and politicians with frustration. The 24/7 news cycle and the million multiplying platforms with their escalating demands — for pictures, video, sound, the immediate hot take — exhaust politicians and staff, and media people too. Everyone is tired, and chronically tired people live, perilously, on the Edge of Stupid. More important, modern media realities make everything intellectually thinner, shallower. Everything moves fast; we talk not of the scandal of the day but the scandal of the hour, reducing a great event, a presidential campaign, into an endless river of gaffes.

The need to say something becomes the tendency to say anything. It makes everything dumber, grosser, less important.

This year I am seeing something, especially among the young of politics and journalism. They have received most of what they know about political history through screens. They are college graduates, they’re in their 20s or 30s, they’re bright and ambitious, but they have seen the movie and not read the book. They’ve heard the sound bite but not read the speech. Their understanding of history, even recent history, is superficial. They grew up in the internet age and have filled their brainspace with information that came in the form of pictures and sounds. They learned through sensation, not through books, which demand something deeper from your brain. Reading forces you to imagine, question, ponder, reflect. It provides a deeper understanding of political figures and events.

Watching a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis shows you a drama. Reading about it shows you a dilemma. The book makes you imagine the color, sound, tone and tension, the logic of events: It makes your brain do work. A movie is received passively: You sit back, see, hear. Books demand and reward. When you read them your knowledge base deepens and expands. In time that depth comes to inform your work, sometimes in ways of which you’re not fully conscious.

In the past 18 months I talked to three young presidential candidates — people running for president, real grown-ups — who, it was clear to me by the end of our conversations, had, in their understanding of modern American political history, seen the movie and not read the book. Two of them, I’ve come to know, can recite whole pages of dialogue from movies. (It is interesting to me that the movies our politicians have most memorized are “The Godfather” Parts I and II.)

Everyone in politics is getting much of what they know through the internet, through Google searches and Wikipedia. They can give you a certain sense of things but are by nature quick and shallow reads that link to other quick and shallow reads. Sometimes subjects are treated in a tendentious manner, reflecting the biases or limited knowledge of the writer.

If you get your information mostly through the Web, you’ll get stuck in “The Shallows,” which is the name of a book by Nicholas Carr about what the internet is doing to our brains. Media, he reminds us, are not just channels of information: “They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought.” The internet is chipping away at our “capacity for concentration and contemplation.” “Once I was a scuba driver in the sea of words,” writes Mr. Carr. “Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

If you can’t read deeply you will not be able to think deeply. If you can’t think deeply you will not be able to lead well, or report well.

There is another aspect of this year’s media environment, and it would be wrong not to speak it. It is that the mainstream media appear to have decided Donald Trump is so uniquely a threat to democracy, so appalling as a political figure, such a break with wholesome political tradition, that they are justified in showing, day by day, not only opposition but utter antagonism toward him. That surely has some impact on what Kellyanne Conway calls “undercover Trump voters.” They know what polite people think of them; they know their support carries a social stigma. Last week I saw a CNN daytime anchor fairly levitate with anger as she reported on Mr. Trump; I thought she was going to have an out-of-body experience and start floating over the shiny glass desk. She surely knew she’d pay no price for her shown disdain, and might gain Twitter followers.

Guys, this isn’t helping. Tell the story, ask the questions, trust the people, give it to them straight, report both sides. It’s the most constructive thing you could do right now, when any constructive act comes as a real relief.

In a country whose institutions are in such fragile shape, mainstream media very much among them, it does no good for its members to damage further their own reputations for fairness, probity, judgment. Books will be written about this, though I’m not sure they’ll read them.

As to Monday’s debate, Hillary Clinton won. The story leading up to it was that she was frail, her health bad. Instead she was vibrant, confident, smiling and present. Sometimes when Mrs. Clinton speaks you sense she’s operating at a level of distraction, reviewing her performance in real time or thinking about dinner. Here her mind was on the mission. She did not fall into the hectoring cadence that is a harassment to the ear. She said nothing remotely interesting.

Mr. Trump’s job was to leave you able to imagine him as president. You could have, but it would be a grumpy, grouchy president with thin skin.

Neither quite got across the idea that they were in it for America and not themselves.

When you are a politician leaving the debate stage you always know if you won. You can feel it. You know when it worked and when it didn’t. You ask everyone, “How’d I do?” but you know the answer. And you’re happy. What you get after such a victory is the whoosh. The whoosh is the wind at your back that gives the spring to your step. You get the jolly look and your laugh is a real laugh and not an enactment, and all this makes you better at the next stop, which makes the crowd cheer louder, and then you really know you’ve got the whoosh.

The whoosh can carry you for days or weeks, until there’s a reversal of some kind. Then you lose the sense of magical good fortune and peerless personal performance and the audience senses it, gets quieter, and suddenly the whoosh is gone.

But right now Mrs. Clinton has it.

She’ll probably overplay her hand. That’s what she does. Her sense of her own destiny blinds her to her tendency toward misjudgment. She’ll call Trump supporters a bucket of baneful baddies.

Since the debate Mr. Trump is angry and is going straight into junkyard dog mode, which won’t work well.

This tells me the next week or so she’s on the upalator and he’s on the downalator. After that, we’ll see.



Entertainment as Indoctrination

In October 2008, when presidential candidate Barack Obama declared, "We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America," few had the imagination of how radically dramatic and devastating that would prove to be. Just a few days ago, Bernie Sanders joined Hillary Clinton at her rally to woo the impressionable youth with the right to vote with the familiar rhetorical posit, "Is everybody here ready to transform America? You've come to the right place."

Clearly, "progressive" means the ever-progressing destruction of traditional American values. This includes fundamentally transforming family, church and synagogue, neighborhood, schools, marriage, authentic Liberty and, sadly, even the truth. And the Left regularly chastises the Right for not going along with this "tolerance." Such chastisement comes from Saul Alinsky's Rule # 5: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

For example, we'll look at two TV shows that show how our entertainment industry seeks to affect the outcome of redefining marriage and a sense of self.

Brent Bozell and Tim Graham offered the case in point in their analysis of the ABC TV show, "Modern Family." The gents framed up what we've long called entertainment as indoctrination quite nicely by walking readers through the liberal success of portraying same-sex marriage as commonplace. Despite about 500,000 same-sex marriages as reported by USA Today in June this year, compared to the more than 60 million traditional marriages reported in 2015, a 1% occurrence has been defined as commonplace on TV.

Until the 1970s, entertainment mirrored our society. Today, entertainment works to chisel away at the bedrock of morality, decency and even commonsense, to have society model its sad display of everything from excessive sexuality and objectifying women to the outright disdain for manhood.

The writers of "Modern Family" weren't satisfied with portraying same-sex marriage as common, so they're now introducing a transgender character — and a child, no less.

In their scrutiny, Bozell and Graham noted the Disney-owned ABC, along with many other hard Left activists who dominate the entertainment industry, is exposed as a cultural deconstructionist with an agenda not to entertain but to indoctrinate. An eight-year-old Atlanta actor selected to "play" the transgender boy will allegedly press the homosexual characters of the show to examine if their tolerance is elastic enough. Translation: The new normal is not only same-sex marriage but the further reaches of gender disorientation pathology.

"Modern Family" doesn't stand alone. Arguably more insidious is ABC's "Once Upon a Time," because it's a show marketed to families. The show features fairy tale characters transported into our world, and it's a clever jumble of Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen, along with Rumpelstiltskin, Hook, Robin Hood and the Wicked Witch of the West, to name a few. Most of the fun is harmless. Except when it's not.

In an episode that originally aired this April, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz shared a romantic storyline with Little Red Riding Hood, ending with "true love's kiss" breaking a sleeping spell. In an interview with "Entertainment Weekly," the co-creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz lay out the lesbian-themed story plainly and clearly: It was "just another example of how in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love. Our goal is to make it as we see it in the real world, just as normal and as a part of everyday life as it should be."

It's the embodiment of the Left's "love wins" slogan. They weren't winning by claiming rights, so they had to change strategies. Once it became about love, they had a winning formula. Unsuspecting families watching "Once Upon a Time" find themselves identifying and sympathizing with two lesbian characters who are simply following their hearts. What could be so wrong with that?

Every single day this battle for the minds of our children and culture at large is being waged. And, sadly, the militant Left is winning. They're winning by portraying falsehoods as reality, even if it is fairy tale based. They're winning by creating emotional narratives around a weakness in our society — the confidence in one's own identity.

The last few generations of our children have been exposed and trained up with the philosophy that self-esteem is the most critical element in the success of child-rearing and development. We now have millions of youth and young adults who believe they are, indeed, very important. So important that they should have free college tuition. They are entitled to a safe space where their "gender identity" is fluid and must be validated by everyone around them. And "love" — however they define it today — is an end in itself.

In using the term "culture," we connote it to be the anthropological composition of accepted values, habits, knowledge, beliefs and behaviors that are manifested in arts and entertainment, families, religions, government, business, the media and "journalism" and educational systems. Our culture has been inarguably changed over the years with these seven entities being weaponized to create a culture, instead of reflecting a society.

Let's for a moment view "culture" in the sense of an artificial medium rich with nutrients and resources in a controlled environment that feed organisms devoted to replication. Once this culture of like-minded creatures has colonized sufficiently and are introduced into a host environment — the aforementioned venues — the insult begins and the host can and will be overwhelmed.

What's the cure? Not more of the same!



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

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


4 October, 2016

Why I am not a Communist

The excerpt below is taken from a 1956 book by Bertrand Russell.  Russell was an English aristocrat, a brilliant analytical philosopher and a failed educationist but is best known as a peacenik: He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament after WWII. It is his philosophical acuity that we see below

In relation to any political doctrine there are two questions to be asked: (1) Are its theoretical tenets true? (2) Is its practical policy likely to increase human happiness? For my part, I think the theoretical tenets of Communism are false, and I think its practical maxims are such as to produce an immeasurable increase of human misery.

The theoretical doctrines of Communism are for the most part derived from Marx. My objections to Marx are of two sorts: one, that he was muddle-headed; and the other, that his thinking was almost entirely inspired by hatred. The doctrine of surplus value, which is supposed to demonstrate the exploitation of wage-earners under capitalism, is arrived at: (a) by surreptitiously accepting Malthus’s doctrine of population, which Marx and all his disciples explicitly repudiate; (b) by applying Ricardo’s theory of value to wages, but not to the prices of manufactured articles. He is entirely satisfied with the result, not because it is in accordance with the facts or because it is logically coherent, but because it is calculated to rouse fury in wage-earners. Marx’s doctrine that all historical events have been motivated by class conflicts is a rash and untrue extension to world history of certain features prominent in England and France a hundred years ago. His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology. His theoretical errors, however, would not have mattered so much but for the fact that, like Tertullian and Carlyle, his chief desire was to see his enemies punished, and he cared little what happened to his friends in the process.

Marx’s doctrine was bad enough, but the developments which it underwent under Lenin and Stalin made it much worse. Marx had taught that there would be a revolutionary transitional period following the victory of the proletariat in a civil war and that during this period the proletariat, in accordance with the usual practice after a civil war, would deprive its vanquished enemies of political power. This period was to be that of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It should not be forgotten that in Marx’s prophetic vision the victory of the proletariat was to come after it had grown to be the vast majority of the population. The dictatorship of the proletariat therefore as conceived by Marx was not essentially anti-democratic. In the Russia of 1917, however, the proletariat was a small percentage of the population, the great majority being peasants. it was decreed that the Bolshevik party was the class-conscious part of the proletariat, and that a small committee of its leaders was the class-conscious part of the Bolshevik party. The dictatorship of the proletariat thus came to be the dictatorship of a small committee, and ultimately of one man – Stalin. As the sole class-conscious proletarian, Stalin condemned millions of peasants to death by starvation and millions of others to forced labour in concentration camps. He even went so far as to decree that the laws of heredity are henceforth to be different from what they used to be, and that the germ-plasm is to obey Soviet decrees but that that reactionary priest Mendel. I am completely at a loss to understand how it came about that some people who are both humane and intelligent could find something to admire in the vast slave camp produced by Stalin.

I have always disagreed with Marx. My first hostile criticism of him was published in 1896. But my objections to modern Communism go deeper than my objections to Marx. It is the abandonment of democracy that I find particularly disastrous. A minority resting its powers upon the activities of secret police is bound to be cruel, oppressive and obscuarantist. The dangers of the irresponsible power cane to be generally recognized during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but those who have forgotten all that was painfully learnt during the days of absolute monarchy, and have gone back to what was worst in the middle ages under the curious delusion that they were in the vanguard of progress.

More HERE 



Hillary Clinton says she believes in community policing. At the first Presidential debate she defended the practice in major cities by claiming “crime has continued to drop, including murders.”

First, violent crime in major cities is not on the decline and second, she immediately discusses limiting community control over policing.  Here is the real Clinton fact check:

The FBI 2015 violent crime analysis actually says that “In 2015, the estimated number of murders in the nation was 15,696. This was a 10.8 percent increase from the 2014 estimate, a 7.1 percent increase from the 2011 figure.” While Clinton lead the audience to believe violent crime was decreasing, in reality the worst kinds are still on the rise.

Clintons misguidance on violent crime is much worse than just that though, in 2016 the problem will only grow with major cities still being neglected.

The Brennan Center for Justice analyzed current violent crime trends predict a 13.1 percent rise this year in murders, leading to a projected 31.5 percent increase from 2014 to 2016. The center writes that half of the additional murders taking place can be attributed to Baltimore, Chicago, and Houston.

Half of the total violent crime increases is driven by just two cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, writing “Based on this data, the authors conclude there is no evidence of a national murder wave, yet increases in these select cities are indeed a serious problem.”

Clinton is correct, community policing is a necessity. Yet her and the Obama administration have removed all power from local police to the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department and transformed a problem for individual cities into a national epidemic which a national solution cannot cure.

After describing the misleading statistics on crime reduction Clinton attacks police for perpetuating racially based policing and makes claims of systematic racism in the criminal justice system. Her answer? Remove power from the communities she claimed would be so effective at reducing crime.

President Obama has already begun this process through sue and settle lawsuits and consent decrees President Obama has allowed federal authority to take over major police departments across the country is places like Miami, Fla., Los Angeles, Calif., Ferguson, Mo., and Chicago, Ill. These are all cities with alarmingly high and increasing murder rates. Is more federal regulation helping?

Los Angeles has been under federal review for over a year, equal to the amount of time their murder rate has been climbing steadily.

Violent crime is not only getting worse, but its worst form, murder, is becoming a normalcy in major cities throughout the country. While Clinton hails the success of local police, she also seems to be choking them of their ability to serve their own people. Once again Clinton thinks Washington bureaucrats can lead the American people better than the individuals in their own community, this time better than the individuals who took an oath to protect their own neighbors.



The 'New Elite' vs. Donald Trump's Nationalism

Nick Cohen warns in the Guardian that the "new elite" for so long unchallenged is now facing its self-generated Nemesis: "the often demagogic and always deceitful nationalism ... of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and Vladimir Putin."  He explains that while part of the blame must lie with orthodox leftists  "who respond to the challenge of argument by screaming for the police to arrest the politically incorrect or for universities to ban speakers," things have gone altogether too far in the other direction to ignore. "Only true liberalism can thwart the demagogues" now he writes.  Otherwise the upstarts might gain power and treat the globalist elites exactly the way they treated others.

The strategy of "by any means necessary" appeals to the militants confident they possess the truth and are on the "right side of history."  For them the rules are made to be broken. They could cheat because history gave them license to.  "By any means necessary is a translation of a phrase used by the French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre in his play Dirty Hands. It entered the popular civil rights culture through a speech given by Malcolm X at the Organization of Afro-American Unity Founding Rally on June 28, 1964. It is generally considered to leave open all available tactics for the desired ends, including violence."

The problem is that the strategy works when only one side employs it.  When both sides employ it equally, they become locked in a race to the bottom. Thomas More in Robert Bolt's play "A Man for All Seasons" observed that the advantages of cheating were transitory if they ruined the whole mutually beneficial system.  In one scene, More's associates advise him to move illegally against his enemies and he refuses, arguing that by shredding the law he would in fact be depriving himself of its protection.

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

The game theory equivalent of Thomas More's dictum is the familiar incentive to cheat in a duopoly.  Two firms -- or political parties -- that find themselves in a situation where their combined total take is at the maximum can still be tempted to cheat even though that results in the total shrinkage of the pie because they are temporarily better off cheating.  One cheats and then the other responds.  They give up a good thing for chimerical "gains." They kill the goose for the sake of one more golden egg.

A short-sighted leadership will continue to cheat until both sides reach the bottom, which ironically is a stable condition because neither side has the incentive to cheat any further. Like a rock that falls to the bottom of the hill, it quits rolling and finally stops. This is arguably what is happening to American politics right now.  The Obama administration's attempts to gain a permanent majority and enlarge their constituencies at the expense of their political rivals have brought forth a symmetrical response. You lie, they lie.  You insult, they insult.  You take donations from foreigners, they take compliments of foreigners.  Suddenly they are faced with rivals just as contemptuous of the rules as themselves.

Anne Applebaum asks which deplorable historical figure Donald Trump most resembles: suppose the answer is Hillary Clinton? This is really the problem with the email scandal, the Iran cash payments, the use of the IRS for political purposes, the declaration of sanctuary cities, and the legitimization of a private email server/foundation open to foreign donors.  That was all cute until, as Nick Cohen pointed out, liberalism's opponents threatened to do similarly outrageous things.

That worries him and he wants it to stop. What Cohen fails to grasp is that the dynamic cannot automatically be reversed by "true liberalism" simply calling for a time out on authoritarianism and everyone going back to square one.  Square one's been trampled underfoot.  The whole chessboard has been altered with a new and irregular pattern. A deadly race to the bottom has been initiated and driven by an unleashed incentive to cheat which will require a real effort to undo.

This explains the curious absence of real policy debate in the 2016 elections.  Neither side seems to care if America's global standing falls or if they elect a crook or a clown because the game has changed.  It's no longer about enlarging the pie.  It's about maximizing the crumbs.

The damage done by weakening the Constitution, which Ezra Klein once described as "not a clear document ... written 100 years ago," is immense.   The real tragedy is they didn't even realize how potentially damaging it was.  Like Thomas More's tree, it kept the fierce winds from blowing unhindered. "And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"


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


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

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


3 October, 2016


We are nigh all familiar with the maxim: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I also like it in its original form – in the original French: “The saying is thought to have originated with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who wrote (c. 1150), ‘L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs.’ ‘Hell is full of good wishes or desires.’”

Because it shows that not only do good intentions lay your road to Hell – they ensure you get there. Where you and your intentions can plot and plan for all eternity.

And nigh everyone gets this – save for Leftists. And unfortunately for the rest of us, their attempts at good intentions – via government – drag all of us down to Hell right along with them.

Which is ironic. Because what Utopian Leftists are attempting – is to create a Heaven on Earth. Oops.

Good intentions lead to Hell – because this ain’t Heaven. And here on Earth, Reality always, inexorably inserts itself – and disrupts and destroys even the best of intentions.

Exhibit A: New York state.

“‘The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) earlier Monday passed a new set of standards that by 2030 is supposed to ensure that half of New York’s energy needs are met by renewable methods, ranging from solar and wind, as well as hydro and nuclear power.’”

An intended environmentalist heaven. Except:

“As of 2015, New York only generated 11% of its energy via renewables. A tally it has taken them decades – and tens of billions of subsidy dollars – to attain. And now they have mandated a nearly 500% increase – in only fifteen years. Predicated, again, upon energy sources that require massive, ongoing government cash infusions – and in most instances take more energy to produce than they provide.”

Heaven ain’t a place on Earth. And denial ain’t just a river in Egypt:

“Since the energy mandate was approved, (New York Governor Andrew) Cuomo’s energy regulators have been dismissive of any cost concerns.”

New York’s government continues to lay the pavers. And Reality once again rears its head.

Behold “Green Overload” – a study of the government’s environmental mandate. Conducted and written by New York’s Empire Center – a Reality-based free market think tank.

As is always the case, the good intentions look good – but the resulting Hell ain’t pretty:

“1. High Cost—While the governor and the PSC have portrayed the financial impact on ratepayers as minimal, the Clean Energy Standard is likely to add nearly $3.4 billion to New York utility bills in just the next five years.

“2. Questionable Feasibility—The 50 by 30 mandate will require the expansion of solar- and wind-generated power production on a massive and unprecedented scale—without providing needed improvements to an already strained electric transmission system. The PSC also failed to consider the added conventional generating capacity needed to back up renewables when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

“3. Low Impact—The overarching goal of the Clean Energy Standard is to fight projected global warming, but the standard will have a barely discernible impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), reductions in carbon emissions from New York power generators could be offset by an increase in emissions in eight other RGGI states.

“Given the questions that continue to surround the new renewable mandate, the adoption of the Clean Energy Standard should spark a real debate on the means and ends of energy policy in New York. If the standard is not repealed or at least significantly revised within the next few years, it could wreak havoc on electricity markets in New York while making the state’s energy costs even higher and less competitive in comparison with national norms.”

Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

New York’s government is – with its good intentions – building an eight-lane superhighway to Hell. And flying down it – with the top down.

The Empire Center is providing them with a well-researched, comprehensive “Dead End Dead Ahead” sign. The latest in a long line of such warnings.  Will New York take heed – and turn around? Or continue down their self-laid road to ruin?



Hundreds of Noncitizens on Voting Rolls in Swing State of Virginia

The 2012 presidential race in Virginia was decided by just 3 percentage points, as was the next year’s race for governor. In both 2005 and 2013, fewer than 1,000 votes decided contests for Virginia attorney general.

Against this backdrop, watchdog groups have pushed local election officials in seven Virginia jurisdictions to reveal hundreds of noncitizens who are registered to vote. So far, they have found more than 550.

Every ineligible voter on the rolls could end up being an eligible vote that cancels out the vote of other, eligible voters,” @PILFoundation says.

Potentially more could be found on the voters rolls, as the Public Interest Legal Foundation pursues a total of 20 counties and cities in the Old Dominion—a sampling of its 95 counties and 38 independent cities.

However, leaders of the group say the Virginia State Board of Elections has resisted release of information on ineligible voters.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation represents the Virginia Voters Alliance in a lawsuit filed earlier this year against the city of Alexandria. The city prompted its suspicion after the alliance  determined that more people were registered to vote in the city than eligible voters who lived there, said Noel Johnson, litigation counsel for the legal foundation.

“These records that we are trying to get should all be available through the National Voter Registration Act,” Johnson told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Every ineligible voter on the rolls could end up being an eligible vote that cancels out the vote of other, eligible voters. So these are high stakes.”

In most cases, Johnson said, counties respond by saying the Virginia State Board of Elections informed them not to provide information about noncitizens who are registered to vote.

Alexandria General Registrar Anna Leider, who is in charge of elections and voter registration there, said the city’s reading of Census Bureau information showed the number of voting-age adults surpassed the number of registered voters. So, city officials disagreed with the Virginia Voters Alliance on that point, she said.

“We provided them with all of the information they have requested,” Leider told The Daily Signal in a phone interview, referring to the alliance.

In Alexandria, election officials have removed 70 noncitizens from the voter rolls since January 2012, Leider said.

Separate from the Alexandria lawsuit, the legal foundation obtained voter information from seven of the 20 counties it is investigating.

Of the data available, the largest number of noncitizens registered to vote was in Prince William County, about 400 since 2011, before officials removed them from the rolls, Johnson said.

Other jurisdictions providing information to the Public Interest Legal Foundation were the city of Fairfax and the counties of Bedford, Hanover, Roanoke, and Stafford, which combined had about 150 noncitizens registered to vote.

Virginia has moved from being a reliably Republican state in presidential elections to twice voting for President Barack Obama. This shift has prompted Democrats and Republicans to contest it as a swing state.

In June, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia, who was appointed by resident Bill Clinton, dismissed the Virginia Voters Alliance lawsuit against Alexandria.

The lawsuit argued that Leider, the registrar, violated the National Voter Registration Act by not releasing records about city procedures for maintaining voter rolls, which the group said should be available for public inspection under the federal voter registration law. The alliance also asked that the rolls be cleaned up, in compliance with that law.

Martin Mash, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Elections, the agency supervised by the Board of Elections, at first told The Daily Signal that the department wouldn’t comment on pending litigation.

When The Daily Signal noted that the lawsuit had been dismissed, Mash again declined to comment. He referred questions on the matter to the office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, which did not respond to phone and email inquiries. Herring is a Democrat.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation also has sought to know if these noncitizens voted in past elections, but said local governments haven’t provided the information.

“That is not done for any canceled voter registration, not for deceased [voters], not for people who have moved out of the state,” Leider said. “Past activity is not something we routinely check.”

It is a federal crime and a violation of Virginia law for noncitizens to vote.

The federal penalty for an ineligible voter found to have cast a vote could be a fine or imprisonment for no more than one year. Under Virginia law, it is a Class 6 felony for an ineligible voter to vote, punishable by not less than one year of imprisonment and not more than five years

“We have had conversations with the [Alexandria] commonwealth’s attorney, but those conversations are between us and the commonwealth’s attorney,” Leider said.

In Virginia, a commonwealth’s attorney is equivalent to a district attorney or local prosecutor.

The federal voter registration law requires state and local election officials to “make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation, is a former member of both the election board in Fairfax County, Virginia, and the Federal Election Commission.

“Not a single one of those noncitizens, who committed a felony under federal law, has been prosecuted,” von Spakovsky said at a forum on voter fraud at The Heritage Foundation, referring to the findings of the legal foundation. “In fact, there is no indication that any of this information was ever turned over to law enforcement officials for investigation or prosecution.”

Von Spakovsky recently wrote that the Virginia State Board of Elections was engaged in a “cover-up”:

Numerous other Virginia counties have refused to provide this information to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, apparently based on instructions from the State Board of Elections and individuals working for the state Department of Elections, which the board supervises. This is what a cover-up directed by state election officials looks like. They are trying to hide hundreds, if not thousands, of instances of voter fraud that occurred on their watch.

If thousands of aliens are registered or actually voting, it would obviously undermine the national narrative that voter fraud is a myth. This would be particularly disturbing in a state like Virginia, in which statewide elections for attorney general have been decided by fewer than 1,000 votes in the last decade.



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

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


2 October, 2016

A "caring" society

I was talking to a Leftist lady recently.  I guess I was lucky to be able to do that.  Leftists won't normally talk to conservatives.  We have a habit of mentioning inconvenient facts that challenge their beliefs and they are very attached to their beliefs.

And one thing she said gave me a quiet chuckle.  She said what she wanted was a "caring society".  That would mark her out as a good and wise person among her fellow Leftists but she obviously had no idea how that sounds to conservatives.  There IS no caring society, there never has been and never will be.  There are some caring individuals but that is all.

So what conservatives hear is that the Leftist wants to FORCE people to be caring.  Conservatives have no difficulty at all in expanding the phrase into what is really meant by it. It is an advocacy of tyranny and authoritarianism. To conservatives it has a whiff of Robespierre, Stalin and Hitler:  Not desirable company.  So the lady I spoke to presented herself very badly to my conservative ears -- quite contrary to her intentions. But it's very rare for Leftists to have much self-insight.

I did however put it to her that what she wanted was to take money off people who have earned it and give it to people who have not earned it.  I asked her was that fair?  She conceded that it was not fair but rapidly recovered. No self-insight into her authoritarian inclinations emerged.  That she is a perfumed would-be dictator did not seem to be obvious to her.  Or maybe  tyrants are fine by her. If so, she's got no morality at all -- just Leftist fake righteousness


Trump Right on Trade Predators

Is America still a serious nation? Consider. While U.S. elites were denouncing Donald Trump as unfit to serve for having compared Miss Universe 1996 to "Miss Piggy" of "The Muppets," the World Trade Organization was validating the principal plank of his platform.

America's allies are cheating and robbing her blind on trade.

According to the WTO, Britain, France, Spain, Germany and the EU pumped $22 billion in illegal subsidies into Airbus to swindle Boeing out of the sale of 375 commercial jets.

Subsidies to the A320 caused lost sales of 271 Boeing 737s, writes journalist Alan Boyle. Subsidies for planes in the twin-aisle market cost the sale of 50 Boeing 767s, 777s and 787s. And subsidies to the A380 cost Boeing the sale of 54 747s. These represent crippling losses for Boeing, a crown jewel of U.S. manufacturing and a critical component of our national defense.

Earlier, writes Boyle, the WTO ruled that, "without the subsidies, Airbus would not have existed ... and there would be no Airbus aircraft on the market."

In "The Great Betrayal" in 1998, I noted that in its first 25 years the socialist cartel called Airbus Industrie "sold 770 planes to 102 airlines but did not make a penny of profit."

Richard Evans of British Aerospace explained: "Airbus is going to attack the Americans, including Boeing, until they bleed and scream." And another executive said, "If Airbus has to give away planes, we will do it."

When Europe's taxpayers objected to the $26 billion in subsidies Airbus had gotten by 1990, German aerospace coordinator Erich Riedl was dismissive, "We don't care about criticism from small-minded pencil-pushers."

This is the voice of economic nationalism. Where is ours?

After this latest WTO ruling validating Boeing's claims against Airbus, the Financial Times is babbling of the need for "free and fair" trade, warning against a trade war.

But is "trade war" not a fair description of what our NATO allies have been doing to us by subsidizing the cartel that helped bring down Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas and now seeks to bring down Boeing?

Our companies built the planes that saved Europe in World War II and sheltered her in the Cold War. And Europe has been trying to kill those American companies.

Yet even as Europeans collude and cheat to capture America's markets in passenger jets, Boeing itself, wrote Eamonn Fingleton in 2014, has been "consciously cooperating in its own demise."

By Boeing's own figures, writes Fingleton, in the building of its 787 Dreamliner, the world's most advanced commercial jet, the "Japanese account for a stunning 35 percent of the 787's overall manufacture, and that may be an underestimate."

"Much of the rest of the plane is also made abroad ... in Italy, Germany, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom."

The Dreamliner "flies on Mitsubishi wings. These are no ordinary wings: they constitute the first extensive use of carbon fiber in the wings of a full-size passenger plane. In the view of many experts, by outsourcing the wings Boeing has crossed a red line."

Mitsubishi, recall, built the Zero, the premier fighter plane in the Pacific in the early years of World War II.

In a related matter, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit in July and August approached $60 billion each month, heading for a trade deficit in goods in 2016 of another $700 billion.

For an advanced economy like the United States, such deficits are milestones of national decline. We have been running them now for 40 years. But in the era of U.S. economic supremacy from 1870 to 1970, we always ran an annual trade surplus, selling far more abroad than Americans bought from abroad.

In the U.S. trade picture, even in the darkest of times, the brightest of categories has been commercial aircraft.

But to watch how we allow NATO allies we defend and protect getting away with decades of colluding and cheating, and then to watch Boeing transfer technology and outsource critical manufacturing to rivals like Japan, one must conclude that not only is the industrial decline of the United States inevitable, but America's elites do not care.

As for our corporate chieftains, they seem accepting of what is coming when they are gone, so long as the salary increases, stock prices and options, severance packages, and profits remain high.

By increasingly relying upon foreign nations for our national needs, and by outsourcing production, we are outsourcing America's future.

After Munich in 1938, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax visited Italy to wean Mussolini away from Hitler. The Italian dictator observed his guests closely and remarked to his foreign minister:

"These men are not made of the same stuff as the Francis Drakes and the other magnificent adventurers who created the empire. These, after all, are the tired sons of a long line of rich men, and they will lose their empire."

If the present regime is not replaced, something like that will be said of this generation of Americans.



Report: 4X As Many Native, Low-Skilled Men Not Participating in Workforce Than Immigrant Counterparts

A report by public policy analyst Jason Richwine about the effects of low-skilled immigrants on the U.S. native worker with the same skill set revealed that four times as many of those natives have dropped out of the workforce.

“Among natives without a high school degree, the fraction who were neither working nor looking for work rose from 26 percent in 1992 to 35 percent in 2015,” the report states. “Over the same period, the fraction of their immigrant counterparts who were out of the labor force actually declined from 12 percent to 8 percent.”

The report, Immigrants Replace Low-Skill U.S.-Born in the Workforce, focuses on men ages 25 to 54 and concluded: “The United States has been a magnet for low-skill immigration even as low-skill natives have worked less and less. This does not necessarily imply that immigrants push out natives from the workforce, but it does mean that immigrants replace natives, causing economic and social distress in the communities most affected.

“As natives leave the workforce – whether because of competition from immigrants, insufficient wages, overreliance on welfare, distaste for manual labor, or some other reason – employers turn increasingly to immigrants.”

At a panel discussion about Richwine’s report, hosted earlier this week by the Center for Immigration Studies at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., experts called for a temporary halt to the flow of low-skilled immigrants into the United States.

Charles Murray, a political scientist and the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said that while he has always seen the advantages of a global economy, he has come to the recent conclusion that the United States must make its citizens a priority when it comes to immigration policy, specifically the influx of low-skilled immigrants.

“I want to shut down low-skill immigration for a while,” Murray said, calling it a “grand experiment.”

“And I want to shut it down – and I say for a while because it may not work,” Murray said. “It may not work. The notion is this: We will have no good way of knowing how employers will respond until the spigot is cut off.”

“We will have no really good way of knowing the extent to which you will get feedback loops that will un-demoralize a lot of the people who are out of the labor force,” Murray said, adding that if these men were no longer competing with immigrants they may be more likely to seek employment.

“There will always be low-skilled people,” said Amy Wax, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School whose work addresses issues in social welfare law and policy, as well as the relationship of the family, the workplace, and labor markets.

“They will always be there, just like the poor will always be there,” Wax said. “And by bringing in sort of fresh replacement troops – I am completely in favor of shutting down low-skilled immigration – the elites really are operating in bad faith.”

“They are essentially saying: ‘We don’t care about these people and we are not willing to give them a fair chance, perhaps at the cost of paying higher prices,’” said Wax.

“There are going to be some changes that will have to be made in society,” she said. “But, you know, we love the cheap labor.”

“It’s great for us,” she said. “But it is not great for our society in the long term.”

Other findings of the report include:

 *   Native-born high school dropouts worked an average of 1,391 hours (the equivalent of about 35 full-time weeks) per year between 2003 and 2015, while immigrant dropouts worked 1,955 hours (or 49 full-time weeks) per year.

 *   Native-born dropouts have seen their work time decline from 41 equivalent full-time weeks in the 2003-2005 period to 32 weeks in 2012-2015, while immigrant dropouts declined only from 52 weeks to 50 weeks.

 *   While natives fell from 56 percent of the nation's high school dropouts to 52 percent, their share of the labor performed by all dropouts declined much faster — from 50 percent in the 2003-2005 period to 40 percent in 2012-2015.

 *   Among men with more than a high school degree, there are no significant differences in work time between immigrants and natives.



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

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



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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party.

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So the essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it.

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

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

"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.

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.


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they have had to concede that sort of gap (one SD) in black vs. white average IQ. 11-year olds can do a lot of things but they also have their limits and there are times when such limits need to be allowed for.

The association between high IQ and long life is overwhelmingly genetic: "In the combined sample the genetic contribution to the covariance was 95%"

The Dark Ages were not dark

Judged by his deeds, Abraham Lincoln was one of the bloodiest villains ever to walk the Earth. See here. And: America's uncivil war was caused by trade protectionism. The slavery issue was just camouflage, as Abraham Lincoln himself admitted. See also here

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ? Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." --?Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


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To be continued ....
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