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

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

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

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28 September, 2018

A small hiatus

I last went on vacation in the year 2004 so I have begun to feel that I should get out more.  So I have decided to take two or three short breaks in the months ahead.  I will therefore be getting on a train later today for a 7 hour trip to see my gorgeous sister.  To have a great sister but rarely see her is crazy.  And the trip will be on a very modern fast train so the travel alone should be interesting.  I will be away for only a few days and will be unlikely to do any blogging while I am away.  I will however be taking a computer with me so if there is a big drama happening I might put up something.

On my 2004 away I spent a whole morning reading Centesimus annus, a Papal encyclical that had just at that time been issued by John Paul II.  I am not expecting to find anything worth reading on this trip from Pope Francis, however.


Do you have the 'D-factor'? Study finds psychopaths, narcissists, sadists and others all share a 'dark core' of humanity

This is interesting work but it suffers from a sampling shortcut that is all too common these days.  It uses online respondents.  But people who answer online questionnaires do differ quite markedly from the general population. In particular, they tend to give the researcher what he expects. Such people seem to be similar in their thinking to psychology professors!  And in this case you can therefore reasonably expect that the intercorrelations between the various "dark" traits will be high. On re-presenting the same questions to a more representative sample of the general population, much lower correlations would be expected.

And that matters.  As it is, the authors have a reasonable claim to have shown a unitary trait of personality that is similar to IQ -- which is the unitary trait of problem-solving ability.  But the IQ concept becomes useful because the intercorrelations between the various aspects of it are quite high.  Are the correlations within the "D" factor also high?  In the research so far presented they are pretty good and a person's score on it would be broadly informative. But is a similar degree of homogeneity to be found in the general population?  It won't be.  But just how high or low remains to be seen.  I am not terribly optimistic

More information on the research so far is available here

From sadism to psychopathy and even spitefulness, the traits that show the more sinister sides of humanity all share a common ‘dark core.’ And, if you have one of these tendencies, you just might have some of the others, too.

While traits such as egoism might not seem as extreme as something such as psychopathy, a new study has found a link between all of these so-called dark personality traits and the general tendency to put one’s own interests first.

In many cases, these people also seem to take pleasure in causing others pain.

In the new study from the University of Copenhagen, researchers have defined the common denominator of all dark traits. Dubbed the D-factor, the experts say it underlies the darker side of human personality.

This includes psychopathy, narcissism, Machiavellianism, the 'dark triad,’ and a slew of others such as egoism, sadism, and spitefulness.

The ‘D-factor,’ which links all of these tendencies, addresses that person’s propensity to disregard or provoke others’ hardship to meet their own goals or interests. This is typically coupled with beliefs that serve as justification, the researchers note.

The new work follows previous research led roughly 100 years ago by Charles Spearman, which first showed that high levels of one type of intelligence often ties into these traits as well.

‘In the same way, the dark aspects of human personality also have a common denominator, which means that – similar to intelligence – one can say that they are all an expression of the same dispositional tendency,’ says Ingo Zettler, Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen.



Trump chips away at liberal U.S. appeals court majorities

Aided by fellow Republicans in the Senate, President Donald Trump is rapidly filling vacancies on U.S. appeals courts, moving some that had liberal majorities closer to conservative control in an ideological shift that could benefit his administration.

These 13 courts wield considerable power, usually providing the last word on rulings appealed from lower courts on disputes involving federal law.

Their rulings can be challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, but most such appeals are turned away because the top court typically hears fewer than 100 cases annually. Eleven of the courts handle cases from specific multi-state regions, one handles cases from Washington, D.C., while another specializes in patent cases.

Presidents can reshape the federal judiciary with their appointments and seek to appoint judges they believe share their ideological leanings. Republicans typically strive to pick conservatives while Democrats generally aim to appoint liberals, all subject to Senate confirmation.

Although there are no guarantees a judge will rule the way a president might like, the number of Republican and Democratic appointees is generally an indicator of an appeals court’s conservative-liberal balance.

With the Republican-led Senate rapidly considering and confirming many of his judicial nominees, Trump already has appointed 26 appeals court judges. That is more than any other president in the first two years of a presidency, according to Russell Wheeler, a scholar at the Brookings Institution think tank, although he points out that there are more appellate judges now than in the past.

Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, appointed 55 in eight years as president.

Only four of the 13 federal appeals courts currently have more Republican-appointed judges than Democratic selections.

The two appellate courts closest to shifting to Republican-appointed majorities are the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump already has made three appointments to the 11th Circuit, leaving it with a 6-6 split between Democratic and Republican appointees. The 3rd Circuit, to which Trump has made one appointment, now has a 7-5 Democratic-appointee majority, with two vacancies for Trump to fill.

Should further vacancies open up on those courts, Trump’s appointees would tip the ideological balance.

The ideological “flipping” of a judicial circuit, where cases typically are decided by panels of three judges, can have a direct impact on how cases are decided and new legal precedents established. Cases before circuit courts span a wide range of issues, from hot-button topics such as abortion, gay rights and the death penalty to voting rights, regulatory and business disputes, employment law and the environment.

Trump pledged as a candidate in 2016 to appoint conservatives to the bench. So far, he has largely kept his promise.

Many of Trump’s judicial nominees have close ties to the Federalist Society conservative legal group, which organizes networking events and conferences for lawyers and law students.

Trump inherited a large number of vacancies, in part because the Senate - controlled by Republicans since 2015 - refused to act on some of Obama’s nominees.

There are currently 13 appeals court vacancies, six of them with pending nominees picked by Trump, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Both the 11th Circuit and 3rd Circuit have major cases pending in which Trump appointees could make their mark.

An 11th Circuit three-judge panel on July 25 revived a civil rights lawsuit challenging the state of Alabama’s move to prevent the city of Birmingham from increasing the minimum wage. Alabama has asked for a rehearing, which would be heard by the entire 12-judge 11th Circuit if the request is granted.

In the 3rd Circuit, the Trump administration has appealed a lower court decision blocking the Justice Department from cutting off grants to Philadelphia over so-called sanctuary city policies limiting local cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.

When Obama took office in 2009 after Republican President George W. Bush’s eight years in office, the courts were tilted heavily toward Republican appointees, with only one having a majority of Democratic appointees. When Obama left office in 2017 after his own two four-year terms, nine of the 13 regional courts had majority Democratic-appointees.

Leonard Leo, who took leave from his role as executive vice president of the Federalist Society to advise the White House on judicial nominations, said there is “tremendous desirability to flipping circuits that are majority liberal activists.” But Leo said that “every White House is subject to the vagaries of when a judge decides to retire.”

Flipping courts that have solid Democratic-appointee majorities will be difficult for Trump. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has seven vacancies and Trump has already filled one. Even if Trump fills all of them, Democratic-appointees would still hold a 16-13 majority.

Trump and conservative allies have criticized the 9th Circuit for high-profile rulings against his administration including over the legality of the president’s ban on people entering the United States from certain Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court, with its conservative majority restored by Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch last year, in June upheld the travel ban policy.

A circuit court vacancy is created when a judge takes a form of semi-retirement known as “senior status.”

“You have to have a wave of Democratic-appointed judges taking senior status for Trump to have any hope of flipping the 9th Circuit,” University of Pittsburgh School of Law professor Arthur Hellman said.



U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin economic growth.

The economy so far appears to be weathering an escalating trade war between the United States and China as well as tensions with other trade partners, including Canada, the European Union and Mexico, which have rattled financial markets.



Despite Obamacare, healthcare spending is spiraling out of control

Former President Barack Obama promised the Affordable Care Act would bend "the cost curve and [start] to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government." But his pledge has gone unfulfilled – patients and taxpayers are spending record amounts on healthcare.

This year, total healthcare spending will increase 5.3 percent, according to a recent estimate from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That's after spending rose by 4.6 percent last year to total $3.5 trillion.

Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid deserves part of the blame for this inflated tab.

Starting in 2014, Obamacare enabled states to expand Medicaid to able-bodied, childless adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government offered to pay 100 percent of the initial expansion costs and 90 percent of the costs in 2020 and beyond. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand the program. Nationally, Medicaid rolls have grown from 56.5 million people in 2013 to 73.3 million in 2018.

Obamacare's architects hoped that expanding Medicaid would curb healthcare spending. They reasoned that newly insured people would no longer visit the emergency room to obtain treatment for minor ailments. Instead, they'd visit cost-effective providers such as family doctors.

But doling out "free" health insurance hasn't reduced patients' reliance on emergency rooms. In California, the total number of ER visits increased 10 percent in the two years following the expansion.

In fact, Medicaid has been shown to increase people's use of emergency services. In 2008, Oregon expanded Medicaid via a random lottery. Researchers concluded that the partial expansion "increased hospitalizations, emergency-department visits, outpatient visits, prescription-drug use, and preventive-care use" among the new enrollees. However, it "had no statistically significant effect on physical health outcomes."

Medicaid is notorious for delivering poor value to patients at a high cost to taxpayers. It's not at all surprising that expanding the program to millions more people has caused healthcare spending to soar.

Despite Obamacare's failure, numerous Democrats, including Obama, are endorsing a "Medicare for all" plan that would put the federal government entirely in charge of healthcare. Luckily, President Trump has announced his opposition to the proposal. The failure of Medicaid expansion should be enough for any sensible person to realize it's a terrible idea.



The Dangerous Consequences of Calling Sovereignty and Patriotism ‘Dog Whistles’

“Patriotism” and “sovereignty” are now dirty words. That’s what one Washington Post editor said in response to President Donald Trump’s United Nations speech on Tuesday.

“America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” Trump said during the speech.

Trump also said: “We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.”

Karen Attiah, The Washington Post’s global opinions editor, responded angrily. "Chilling to hear Trump use “sovereignty” and “patriotism” as dogwhistles in his #UNGA speech. Gives rhetorical ammunition for the nationalistic parties around the world who want to keep immigrants and refugees out."

It’s incredible to see these once unchallenged concepts, embraced by Americans across the political spectrum, now turned into something ugly and worthy of condemnation.

In many ways, the protection of our liberty stems from national sovereignty, a fact boldly stated in the Declaration of Independence. The just powers of government derive from the “consent of the governed,” not a vague global system.

“We the people of the United States” is more than a slogan. It defines the American way of life, declaring that the people are sovereign as a national unit, under a federal system.

In America, the people rule. If not, then who? Kings? Limitless international bodies? To denounce the idea of sovereignty is to attack America as she has always understood herself—certainly, the constitutional government that has provided the basis for our liberty for over two centuries.

The very fact that concepts like sovereignty and patriotism are no longer universally accepted shows the current challenge placed before Americans and other peoples in 2018. As our national identity and attachment breaks down, what is left in its wake?

Being a “citizen of the world” will never suffice. Placing power in the hands of an international elite is hardly conducive to upholding the interests and the rights of the people, no matter what nation they live in.

As President Theodore Roosevelt noted in his famous “Man in the Arena” speech, citizens of the world hardly make good citizens and neighbors. “The man who says that he does not care to be a citizen of any one country, because he is the citizen of the world, is in fact usually an exceedingly undesirable citizen of whatever corner of the world he happens at the moment to be in,” Roosevelt said.

The loss of patriotism and national sovereignty hardly leads to a free and peaceful brotherhood of man. Instead it leaves a void, a lack of attachment that leads to unseemly or tyrannical ends.

Identity politics emerges from this void. People rally to their ethnic tribe rather than their country or their unique political and historical traditions. It’s no wonder we’ve seen the rise of the hard left and the alt-right, who both feed off of the breakdown of genuine patriotism.

If we want to make sure that America remains a great and united country in the future, we must do a better job of defending our way of life, as Trump did in his U.N. speech.

This starts by doing a better job of educating young people about what our country is about and defending the foundational ideas that made America great to begin with.

Informed patriotism is what we want, as President Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address to the nation.

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 THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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


27 September, 2018

The Palpable, Existential Danger Among Us

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process has exposed the Democrats for the threat to the American constitutional republic they are.
On Monday, Brett Kavanaugh, the distinguished federal appeals court judge nominated by President Trump to fill the open Supreme Court judgeship the confirmation of which has become perhaps the ugliest, most nakedly political horror show in American history, went with his wife to an interview with Fox News’ Martha McCallum.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” Kavanaugh had said following a weekend in which one allegation against him, that he sexually assaulted a woman named Christine Blasey Ford, fell apart when all four of the witnesses she named to corroborate her accusations rebutted her claim. “The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats against my family will not drive me out. The character assassination will not succeed.”

Kavanaugh was right, at least he should have been. But when the Ford allegations died, up came a New Yorker piece outlining another fish story, in which a woman named Deborah Ramirez alleged that Kavanaugh, as a freshman at Yale, had dropped his pants and displayed his 19-year-old manhood to her during a drunken debauch of a drinking party at the school’s dormitory. The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer offered the story almost apologetically; after the requisite clickbait headlines and lede, it spent the second half of its text largely admitting Ramirez’ story lacked any corroboration to speak of and even went so far as to recognize that Ramirez herself wasn’t sure Kavanaugh was the expositionist in question.

And no sooner did the Ramirez gambit meet with a tepid response even from the partisan Democrat legacy media than the “creepy porn lawyer” Michael Avenatti resurfaced. No sooner than his 15 minutes of fame coming from his rather chaotic and not-quite-dignified performance as Stormy Daniels’ ineffective legal counsel were mercifully over, Avenatti conjured himself back into the headlines with a new client who now alleges Kavanaugh was a gang-rape specialist in his youth.

Bear in mind this is a distinguished jurist who had endured no less than SIX background investigations by the FBI which uncovered none of these scurrilous allegations; if there was a pattern of sexual misbehavior by Brett Kavanaugh our premier investigative agency would surely have uncovered it. No red flags turned up — not until a bunch of partisan Democrat political operatives desperate to prevent a doctrinaire constitutionalist judge from taking Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote seat on the Supreme Court decided to pull out all the stops in pursuit of that agenda. In the face of these merciless smears Kavanaugh is forced to confess the kind of sexual truths which, in our current society, are socially disqualifying more than just embarrassing, just to discredit a characterization as a sexual predator concocted purely out of partisan political avarice.

What these people have done to Kavanaugh isn’t the usual Washington political antics — and that says much. After all, it’s still very much in the national memory what Democrats in the Senate tried to do to Clarence Thomas, and what they did to Robert Bork. In the case of Bork the Democrats, led by the serial sexual abuser Ted Kennedy, whose drunken extramarital antics included an actual body count, focused on Bork’s recognized opposition to infanticide as a primary justification for defeating his nomination — and had the numbers to do so. Lacking such numbers a few years later, the Democrats went deeper on Thomas, finding a middling university professor named Anita Hill who had worked with the judge in the federal bureaucracy to spin yarns about his supposed ribald behavior in the workplace. Thomas’s response was forceful and convincing, enough to put him on the Court and banish the Anita Hill imbroglio to partisan quarters of discussion for the next 25 years.

Which is what Kavanaugh’s Fox News interview was aimed at doing. But in the interview Kavanaugh lacked the fire of Thomas, who scalded his tormentors for the “high-tech lynching of uppity blacks” they had planned. Instead, he refuted the allegations of his sexual misdeeds by claiming he spent his high school and early college years as a virgin, a contention which was by turns believable, and tragic.

I don’t want to know Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual history. And if you do, there is something egregiously wrong with you. It’s quite obvious Kavanaugh himself is no more comfortable with the discussion of that information than any of us are, but he’s forced to bear his soul to achieve the pinnacle of his life’s work.

And this is disgusting on a scale we may never have experienced in modern American history — for which one side in our politics is responsible.

What consequences do we impose on the Democrat Party for stooping to this level? Let’s understand that this isn’t just about Brett Kavanaugh — though if it’s restricted to him the events of the past week are destructive and outrageous enough. Who will consent to running for office now? Who will stand for a federal appointment confirmable by the Senate?

Who will be willing to crawl through the mile of rancid sewer-pipe that is the American political process just to achieve a government job?

The answer is the one the Democrats want it to be. Namely, that no conservative will tolerate what Kavanaugh is fighting through. In the future, as National Review’s Andrew McCarthy said, our options will be restricted to polite progressives or the Democrats’ pet RINO’s, if not the hard-core socialists and cultural Marxists the Left would like to impose on us. There is a stark choice — either to go gently into this good night of American dissolution, or fight. Hard. Now.

And this is where this fall’s midterm elections come in.

Here is my interpretation of what’s happening, and my expectation of what’s coming in the next few days — this entire Kavanaugh business comes down to two numbers: 11 and 51.

It takes 11 members of the 21-member Senate Judiciary Committee to move the Kavanaugh nomination to the Senate floor, and there are 11 Republicans on the committee. Only one of those 11 — Arizona’s Jeff Flake, who has embraced the NeverTrump conceit as his personal approval ratings have descended to hellish levels — appears to be problematic for Kavanaugh’s nomination. And only three Republicans on the Senate floor are questionable Kavanaugh votes.

But Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley has to insure he has Flake’s vote before he can move forward, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to insure he has the Flakes, Susan Collinses, and Lisa Murkowskis before he can hold a floor vote. It’s not yet time to declare the Republican establishment weak and ineffectual on the Kavanaugh confirmation; this isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be.

However, time is running out — and this is the Republicans’ Super Bowl. They sold their voters the idea that if we gave them the House, Senate, and White House, things would finally be made right from the frightening abuses of the Obama years, and we delivered. Republican voters tolerated the poor performances of Senators like Bob Corker, John McCain, Collins, and Murkowski on the assurance that where it came to judicial appointments they would be a marked positive difference from the Democrat alternatives, and in Trump’s case we were told that whether his history was that of a conservative or not, he’d clearly present America with better judges than Hillary Clinton would.

Well, so far Trump, who couldn’t run on what a demonstrated conservative he is, has been immaculate in nominating conservatives to the federal bench. And if the Republican Senate, populated by a gaggle of swamp creatures who for decades have feasted at the expense and adulation of Republican and conservative organizations, can’t confirm Kavanaugh, well…

Let’s remember that Kavanaugh, as sterling as his reputation as a jurist might be, is the very epitome of an establishment Republican. In fact, we can say that he might be the single most salutary example of an establishment Republican in Washington — someone who, on balance, Trump conservatives can appreciate alongside the old Bush guard, and even the more sober-minded liberal (note, liberal, rather than progressive, because increasingly there’s a difference which can’t be ignored) Democrats can concede is qualified for the Supreme Court. If the GOP establishment can’t see Kavanaugh’s nomination as a hill to die on, then may everlasting shame — and electoral apocalypse — fall upon their heads.

It won’t come to that, because it can’t. This week will see Kavanaugh dragged through the Senate into the Supreme Court, whether his dignity survives intact or no. And when it happens, it will be gut-check time for the Republican voter base six weeks from the 2018 midterm elections.

It’s been said, and of course it’s true, that should Kavanaugh’s nomination fail there is zero justification for Republican voters to bother showing up to head off the much-ballyhooed “blue wave” the media is so hard at work trying to gin up in November. Those voters put Trump in the White House as a signal that the corrupt Hillary Clinton-led Washington in-crowd was unacceptable, and if the soft coup signaled by the Mueller investigation hasn’t been enough to infuriate them into reprising their 2016 efforts the Kavanaugh confirmation process should certainly do the job.

Because what the current circus — complete with Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife being assaulted in a Washington restaurant over the Kavanaugh nomination — shows is that today’s Democrats will stop at nothing to achieve political power. There is no limiting principle to those people, just as there was no limiting principle to the Left’s aims in Cuba, Nicaragua, Chile, Venezuela, or Grenada. If Kavanaugh isn’t a wake-up call dictating to America that they must be rebuked at the ballot box, we don’t want to see the next iteration and what might be necessary to preserve our society against the threat it presents.

That might not even be an electoral question. It might be something we do not wish to contemplate. It’s clear, by the actions of the other side, that they’re more than willing to transcend normal politics to have power over us — and that means every single one of our votes must be counted in November.



Philadelphia Will Dismantle Its Asset Forfeiture Program and Pay $3 Million to Victims

Four years after Philadelphia police seized the home of Markela and Chris Sourovelis for a minor drug crime committed by their son, the city has agreed to almost completely dismantle its controversial civil asset forfeiture program and pay $3 million to its victims.

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm, announced today that the city had agreed to a settlement in a federal civil rights class-action lawsuit challenging its forfeiture program.

"For too long, Philadelphia treated its citizens like ATMs, ensnaring thousands of people in a system designed to strip people of their property and their rights," Darpana Sheth, a senior attorney at the institute, said in a press release. "No more. Today's groundbreaking agreement will end years of abuse and create a fund to compensate innocent owners."

The Institute for Justice filed the suit in 2014 on behalf of the Sourovelises, a couple whose house was seized without warning after their son was caught selling $40 worth of drugs outside. The same day the Sourovelises dropped their son off for court-ordered rehab treatment, they returned to find police had locked them out of their own home, even though there was no evidence they were aware of the drug activity.

The lawsuit alleged that the city was seizing 300 to 500 homes a year, violating residents' constitutional rights and creating an illegal profit incentive, since forfeiture revenue directly funds police and district attorney budgets.

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can seize property—cash, cars, and even houses—suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is not charged with a crime.

Law enforcement groups say such laws are a vital tool because they let them disrupt organized crime by cutting off the flow of illicit proceeds. Civil liberties groups reply that the practice has far too little due process for innocent property owners and far too many perverse profit incentives for the police. Those incentives often lead law enforcement to target everyday people rather than cartel bosses.

As I wrote in 2014, reporting on the daily happenings inside Philadelphia's asset forfeiture court:

Philadelphia hauled in $64 million in seized property over the last decade, according to an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer. That's more than Brooklyn and Los Angeles combined. Not only does Philadelphia take in more than other cities, but the average seizure is significantly more petty. A City Paper review of 100 cases from 2011 and 2012 found the median amount of cash seized by the District Attorney was only $178.

A 2015 report by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union found that almost a third of cash forfeiture cases in Philadelphia involved money owned by people who had not been found guilty of a crime. In one of the worst examples, police seized $2,000 from an 87-year-old pensioner after finding two joints (her husband, a retired dock worker, smoked marijuana to relieve his chronic arthritis) in their apartment.

Residents caught in the asset forfeiture machine had to repeatedly appear for hearings in Room 478, a small "courtroom" in the upper floors of Philadelphia City Hall. The hearings were run by prosecutors. No judge was present, and defendants were not afforded court-appointed lawyers. If a defendant missed a hearing, their property could be summarily taken.

Philadelphia dropped its forfeiture case against the Sourevelises after their plight drew national media attention, but last year a federal judge allowed the Institute for Justice's suit to proceed as a class action. The city also put stricter rules into place for when houses could be seized and voluntarily stopped using forfeiture funds to pay the salary of police and prosecutors.

Under the terms of the settlement, codified in two binding consent decrees, Philadelphia will no longer seek property forfeitures for simple drug possession and will stop seizing petty amounts of cash without accompanying arrests or evidence in a criminal case. It will also put judges in charge of forfeiture hearings, will streamline the hearing process, and will ban the Philadelphia district attorney and Philadelphia Police Department from using forfeiture revenue to fund their payroll.

The city will disburse the $3 million settlement fund to qualifying members of the class action based on the circumstances of their case. A Philadelphia resident whose property was forfeited but was never convicted of a related crime, for example, will receive 100 percent of the value of the property.

Last June, the Pennsylvania legislature passed modest reforms of state asset forfeiture laws. The reforms increased the reporting requirements for asset forfeiture, raised the burden of proof necessary to seize property, and codified Philadelphia's new procedures for seizing homes into law. More than half of all U.S. states have passed some form of asset forfeiture reform in recent years, and in July a federal judge declared Albuquerque's asset forfeiture program unconstitutional.

"I'm glad that there is finally a measure of justice for people like me who did nothing wrong but still found themselves fighting to keep what was rightly theirs," Chris Sourovelis said in a press release. "No one in Philadelphia should ever have to go through the nightmare my family faced."



The key point in Trump's U.N. speech

The actual point of his speech was encapsulated in his use of one key word — “globalism”.

The term “globalist” can be traced back to the 1940s, but has gradually seeped back into the public discourse over the last couple of years.

It was a favourite of the alt-right — Steve Bannon, for example, is a big fan — and is now apparently part of the president’s vocabulary.

“America will always choose independence and co-operation over global governance, control and domination,” he said.

“We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable global bureaucracy. America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism. And we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.”

In his 2016 inauguration speech, Mr Trump famously declared his foreign policy would put “America first”. He doubled down on that message in front of the General Assembly.

“The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid. But few give anything to us,” he said.

“We will examine what is working, what is not working, and whether the countries who receive our dollars and our protection also have our interests at heart.

“Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share.”

The United Nations is full of people who believe in countries working together for the common good. Mr Trump thinks each country is better off focusing on itself.

That’s a perfectly reasonable and coherent worldview, but it marks a radical departure from the words of other American presidents, who generally embraced America’s responsibility, as the world’s richest and most powerful nation, to lift up its neighbours.

Mr Obama’s collegial approach to foreign policy failed miserably when Syria descended into a horrifying civil war on his watch. And we all know what Mr Bush’s enthusiasm for international intervention led to.



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

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


26 September, 2018


By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

As President Trump imposes tariffs on China and elsewhere, much dark muttering is heard from the media and conventional economists about Smoot-Hawley and the 1930s. They are too gloomy.

Three developments in the last few decades have made it sensible to look again at this question. First, the inexorable growth of welfare states in every Western country, together with the increase in life expectancy, has destabilized budgets, making them impossible to balance. As a result, public debt which in the United States had fallen steadily since the end of World War II until 2000, has turned up again sharply and is inexorably increasing. The Obama administration and its overseas contemporaries, with their sluggish economic growth and phony Keynesian rationales for wasting money, have everywhere except Germany turned a difficult problem into an impossible one. Public debt levels everywhere except Germany are heading relentlessly upwards and will within the next decade reach historically unprecedented levels in the United States and several other countries.

The EU’s solution to this problem is an ever-escalating level of VAT. This effectively acts as a tariff, since exports are free from the tax while imports are subject to it. Thus, EU and British sanctimony about free trade is sheer hypocrisy. However, it also subjects domestic consumers to the VAT levy on items produced domestically as well as overseas, producing a highly regressive tax system that bears especially heavily on poorer consumers.

A second change since Smoot-Hawley is the spread of manufacturing capabilities to far more countries. Back in the 1930s, most products could only be produced in advanced economies that had undergone full industrialization. Other economies, often part of a colonial system, were mostly producers of agricultural and mine output, while importing industrial products. Only in a few sectors, such as textiles, was the industrialization process sufficiently cheap and simple to allow textile industries to develop even in poor countries.

Today there are over 100 different countries from which many products can be sourced, and the major centers of manufacturing capability have moved to emerging markets with lower labor costs. Consequently, trade has infinitely many routes it can take to achieve its objectives, and a tariff that blocks sourcing in one country still leaves a vast array of other sourcing possibilities open to the importer.

The third and most important change since the 1930s is the invention of computers, and more particularly the possibility of intelligent software that can track the trade barriers existing at any instant, calculate the optimal source for the components of a particular consignment of goods, then place sourcing and shipping orders to ensure that those goods are produced and delivered to where they are needed. 

With the changes that have happened since the 1930s, the outcome of a tariff escalation today would be very different to that of Smoot-Hawley. At that time, if there was a high tariff against a particular import, there were few alternative sources of the item, and little ability to find out what the possibilities were. With intelligent software (which may still need to be designed for this specific purpose but is undoubtedly feasible with today’s technology) it will today be possible to find all the alternative sources of an item as well as the possibilities for substitutions of other items from other sources. Thus, an interlocking network of tariffs today need not be anything like as trade-destroying as was Smoot-Hawley. It will simply result in new routes being found for the global sourcing process that has grown up in the last few decades.

Tariffs today would thus kill much less trade than equivalent tariffs did in the 1930s and would have a correspondingly smaller adverse effect on the efficiency of the global economic system. Since more trade would remain after the tariffs, they would produce more revenue for the Federal budget, thus helping to balance it. Even a modest 10% tariff averaged over the current $3 trillion of U.S. imports would produce $300 billion of additional annual revenue for the federal budget, not enough to balance it but enough to make a sizeable hole in the deficit.

In addition, a world of tariffs would divert a considerable amount of trade towards domestic production, thus moving the U.S. closer to a balanced payments position and producing additional revenue from the people employed in the domestic production. Overall, with a substantial tariff, the U.S. tax system would be balanced between domestic production and international trade.

To the extent that tariffs deterred international trade which would otherwise take place, the lower domestic taxation and higher domestic production would encourage economic activity elsewhere. By ensuring that a higher percentage of world output was manufactured closer to where it was consumed, a tariff system would increase (not decrease as is conventionally asserted) the efficiency of the world economy. Global sourcing may have got easier, but it is still expensive, inefficient, time-consuming and prone to fraud.

Contrary to free-tradist thinking, the overall effect of a balanced and moderate set of international tariffs should not depress global GDP, indeed it should increase it because of the greater balance in the world’s fiscal system. There will no longer be corporate tax havens, because the tariff arrangements with such havens will generally be onerous, but there will be tariff havens, which have tariff arrangements that allow goods to move exceptionally cheaply between the different trading blocs.

When the “North American Free Trade Agreement” includes Canadian quotas on milk imports and a 218% average duty on dairy imports beyond those quotas, it is not truly a free trade agreement at all, as Richard Cobden would have understood it. Likewise, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership’s imposition of $70 billion in U.S. intellectual property protection, far exceeding the free trade effect of the agreement, indicated that TPP was little more than a handout to the Hollywood and Silicon Valley lobbies. Quotas are essentially infinite tariffs; they block trade far more than ordinary tariffs, while intellectual property protections are impediments to trade, not enablers of it. All such quotas, bounties and trade regulations are sources of inefficiency that produce no revenue (or, in the case of bounties, consume revenue) and block economic activity. They should be swept away.

The regime under which we have been working is not one of free trade and has been grossly mis-sold as such. For fiscal and other reasons, we will be far better off with a world trading system that includes revenue-generating tariffs, which can be optimized and dealt with by high-quality software.  The world will be a happier place with less regulation, no bounties or quotas, and with openly disclosed tariffs, set at a moderate level. 

More HERE 


America's Totalitarians

Today's leftists believe it is their solemn duty to take the country back even if our republic is destroyed

“We had to destroy the village in order to save it” was a quote popularized during the Vietnam War. Today’s Democrats, along with their allies in Hollywood, academia, Big Tech, and media, believe it is their solemn duty to take the country back from the “dregs of society” and their “ally in the White House,” even if our republic is destroyed.

And they’re increasingly embracing totalitarianism as the means to their end.

“I don’t use the ‘T’-word lightly,” writes columnist Sohrab Ahmari. “I’ve spent years pushing back against those who fling it about in free societies like ours. But totalitarianism doesn’t require cartoonish, 1984-style secret police and Big Brother. The classical definition is a society where everything — ethical norms and moral principles and truth itself — is subjugated to political ends.”

Political ends Democrats are willing to trash the Constitution to achieve. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mark Warner (D-VA), and Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are demanding that the intelligence community, the FBI, and the Justice Department defy President Donald Trump’s order to release unredacted documents to Congress until they are vetted by the so-called Gang of Eight, calling it a “brazen abuse of power.” Former CIA Director John Brennan insisted deep-state officials — unelected and publicly unaccountable officials — were obligated to “push back” against the order as well.

Congress has lawfully subpoenaed the documents, yet a defiant deep state has refused to release them for months, citing “national security concerns.” Those concerns have already been debunked on two separate occasions, including the wiretap warrant applications presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that ultimately revealed the warrant to spy on Carter Page was based on the Hillary Clinton/DNC-funded Steele dossier. Moreover, redactions made by the FBI removed critical exchanges such as this: Lisa Page: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Peter Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

Trump initially ordered “immediate declassification,” but now wants the inspector general to review documents on an “expedited basis,” due to concerns about how it would impact the Russia investigation. Yet in a tweet he noted that he can still “declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me — and everyone!”

Indeed. The 2018 election is “not going to be just about economic growth and running on the economy,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) explains. “It’s going be about what the other side did to play dirty, to dirty up a campaign … by corrupting the FBI and the DOJ. That is important for the American people to know as we have to deliver that message going into October.”

Who’s going to deliver it? The New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein secretly proposed recording Trump’s Oval Office conversations and discussed the idea of Cabinet officials removing him via the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein insists he was joking. Times reporter Adam Goldman says otherwise.

The far bigger story? Rosenstein’s statements were reportedly corroborated in memos written by Andrew McCabe and given to Robert Mueller and kept at the FBI, according to the Times. Yet they were kept from Inspector General Michael Horowitz — while he conducted his investigation of McCabe? If Horowitz is corrupt, “expedited basis” becomes a meaningless term with regard to deep-state corruption impacting the midterm election.

Unfortunately, our law-enforcement agencies aren’t the only government departments where rank partisanship — bordering on sedition — exists. Last week Project Veritas released a trio of damning videos. One featured State Department employee and Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) member Stuart Karaffa bragging about drafting DSA communications at work, and stating his mission with regard to Trump administration policies. “Resist everything … Every level. F—k s—t up,” he declared.

The second video showed DOJ paralegal and DSA member Allison Hrabar, part of the DSA group that harassed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a DC restaurant, bragging about using the department’s Lexis Nexis account to access home addresses of government officials DSA sought as protest targets. DOJ employee Jessica Schubel, former chief of staff for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is also shown discussing her efforts to resist the administration as well.

In the third video, Government Accountability Office auditor and DSA member Natarajan Subramanian admits he breaks rules “every day.” He boasted, “If you’re in an executive branch agency, you can slow-ball things to a degree.”

Three of these subversives expressed one common belief best stated by Karaffa: “I have nothing to lose. It’s impossible to fire federal employees.”

The DOJ, the State Department, and the GAO are conducting investigations, but if history is any indication, Karaffa’s right. At best it takes on average from 170 to 370 days to fire a government employee according to the GAO. Appeals can drag the process out for years.

Columnist James Simpson optimistically notes there are bills being contemplated in both chambers of Congress that would “greatly streamline the process for firing employees who are poor performers, insubordinate, or otherwise engaged in misconduct.” Will they pass?

Perhaps Simpson hasn’t noticed that some of the nation’s worst government employees are members of Congress.

In fact, it’s impossible to imagine how much lower Democrats can sink than their Stalin-esque treatment of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanugh, or how much more spineless Republicans can get acquiescing to their contemptuously orchestrated delay. Sentient Americans know this spectacle has nothing to do with Kavanaugh or the increasingly dubious charges leveled against him. “From abortion to gay marriage, plus a host of less titillating issues, modern liberalism has lived by the Court,” Ahmari explains. “And liberals fear their cause will die by the Court.”

Thus, force-feeding their agenda to the American public — by any means necessary — has become the American Left’s modus operandi. Can’t win elections? Insist Russian collusion was to blame and demand an investigation, call voter ID requirements “racist,” or simply grant illegals the right to vote. Don’t like the current administration’s foreign policy? Undermine it, like John Kerry is doing with Iran. Can’t persuade an American public to embrace your ideology? Have your progressive tech allies censor opposing viewpoints or manipulate searches; transform college campuses and public schools into citadels of progressive indoctrination that breed contempt for the nation’s history, traditions, Constitution and its exceptionalism; and turn everything from entertainment venues to corporate business operations into platforms for progressive virtue-signaling.

It’s become clear that virtually every aspect of modern-day progressivism is driven by the same despicable delusions that have animated every totalitarian movement since the dawn of time:

Our cause is “noble” and thus, the ends justify the means.

The 2018 election will likely be one of the most clarifying moments in the nation’s history. Either an American Left whose “win by any means necessary,” Constitution-crushing proclivities — never more exposed than right now — will be rejected by the electorate, or the number of Americans poisoned by a corrupt education system has reached critical mass, and a majority of voters will embrace totalitarianism, destroying America in order to “save” it. Save from whom?




Yale Study: Twice as Many Undocumented Immigrants as Previously Thought in U.S.

A new Yale study has concluded that the population of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is close to double the generally accepted estimate.

The population of undocumented immigrants is widely thought to be around 11.3 million. But the study, which was conducted by three Yale-affiliated researchers, indicates that the total may be more than 22 million. Even the authors were surprised by their findings.

“Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,” said one of the study’s authors, Edward Kaplan, a professor of operations research at the Yale School of Management. “Instead of a number which was smaller, we got a number that was 50 percent higher. That caused us to scratch our heads.”

“There’s a number that everybody quotes, but when you actually dig down and say, ‘What is it based on?’ You find it’s based on one very specific survey and possibly an approach that has some difficulties. So we went in and just took a very different approach,” said another of the study’s authors, Jonathan Feinstein, a professor of Economics and Management.

To arrive at their estimate, the authors used operational data such as deportations and visa overstays as well as demographic data such as death rates and immigration rates.

“We combined these data using a demographic model that follows a very simple logic,” Kaplan said. “The population today is equal to the initial population plus everyone who came in minus everyone who went out. It’s that simple.”

“The analysis we’ve done can be thought of as estimating the size of a hidden population,” he added. “People who are undocumented immigrants are not walking around with labels on their foreheads. . . . There are very few numbers we can point to and say, ‘This is carved in stone.'”

The researchers said their goal in crunching the numbers was not a political one.

“We wouldn’t want people to walk away from this research thinking that suddenly there’s a large influx happening now,” Feinstein commented. “It’s really something that happened in the past and maybe was not properly counted or documented.”



A dash of reality from Britain's "Daily Telegraph"

A history lesson for those who would smear the moderate Right: the Nazis were socialists

By Norman Tebbit

The [Leftist] New Statesman magazine has become rather unsettled in recent weeks about what it describes, on the front page on September 14, as "the far Right wing rising again", and "the return of fascism".

Those headlines were printed across the cover picture of a huge Nazi rally of steel helmeted men. There was not much inside to back up the scary front cover.

Indeed, inside the cover story had the headline "The Dark European Stain" but the author, Thomas Meany, seemed to pour cold water over it all.



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

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


25 September, 2018

Experts warn the next recession will be 'worse than the Great Depression' and predict it will hit US within two years

This is just scare talk designed to get its authors publicity.  Prophecies are almost always wrong and this one is based on conventional economic thinking.  But conventional economic thinking failed already in the Obama years. Obama spent vastly  more than he raised in taxes (around $9 trillion), which should have set off roaring inflation -- except it didn't -- no-one knows exactly why. 

And Trump's tariffs should have led to a depressed economy -- except that they didn't.

And if the worse comes to the worse, Trump may be bold enough to declare a debt jubilee, which would really rev up the economy, with Wall St and China the big losers -- whom no-one would mourn. I have covered the issues of a jubilee previously

The next recession could put the 2008 financial crash to shame if two experts' predictions about the worldwide debt of $247trillion are correct.

Expected to hit the United States within the next two years, the impact has been compared to the severe worldwide economic crisis which started 1929 and last until 1939.

'We won't be able to call it a recession, it's going to be worse than the Great Depression,' economic commentator Peter Schiff, told the New York Post. 'The US economy is in so much worse shape than it was a decade ago.'

Economic commentator Peter Schiff (left in 2013) and Murray Gunn (right) head of global research at Elliott Wave International believe the next crisis will be worse than 2008

It means by the time President Donald Trump's first term should come to a close, the country – which saw debt more than double to $21trillion over a decade - could be a dire situation.

This is despite the lowest unemployment rate in a generation, tax cuts for businesses and the Dow hitting record highs.

Low wages are thought to be a factor in the slowing down of economic recovery.

'Obviously, there is a whole lot of optimism — but there is a very good chance the US economy is in recession within the next two years,' Schiff continued. 'This is already the second-longest economic expansion in history.'

The Post reports that he was wrong in the past when he said the US Federal Reserve would 'fail in its roundabout quantitative easing campaign to 'reflate' housing and stocks in the wake of the financial crisis'.

However another expert supports his prediction that the economy is more trouble than we realize.

'Should the [US] economy start to shrink, and our analysis suggests that it will, the high nominal levels of debt will instantly become a very big issue,' Murray Gunn, head of global research at Elliott Wave International warned.

He notes that household debt in America currently outdoes what is was in 2008 and is around $13.3trillion.

As part of that mortgage lending is near what was it was 10 years ago at more than $9trillion.

Student loans have more than doubled compare to a decade ago, going from $611billion to around $1.5trillion today.

Auto loans have also outdone the 2008 figure at $1.25trillion and credit card balances are akin to what was just before the big crash.

They blamed central bankers using cheap money financial free economies for the reason global debt is now $247 trillion compared to $177trillion in 2008.

'We think the major economies are on the cusp of this turning into the worst recession we have seen in 10 years,' Gun said about the debt that's two-and-a-half times the size of the world's economy.

'People will look to central banks to help them out, but the authorities will be found wanting,' Gunn continued.

'Our prediction is that central banks will go from being feted for 'saving the world' in 2008 to being vilified for being impotent in the coming deflationary crash.'



Donald Trump to deny permanent resident permits for migrants seeking public aid

Immigrants who rely on public benefits for food, housing and medical care could be denied green cards under new rules put forth by the Trump administration that would effectively limit family-based "chain migration," as the president calls it.

The administration said at the weekend that the rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security would affect about 382,000 people a year, but opponents have said it could have a far greater chilling effect, leading current green card holders to stop using public benefits for fear of being deported.

"Those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the new rule would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers."

The rule is one of several efforts by the Trump administration to further restrict legal immigration, including limits on those seeking green cards to immigrate to the US and those already in the country on temporary visas trying to adjust their status to stay permanently.

It does not need to be approved by Congress but faces a 60-day public review once published in the Federal Register in coming weeks. "After DHS carefully considers public comments received on the proposed rule, DHS plans to issue a final public charge rule that will include an effective date," the agency said.

Immigrant advocates and congressional Democrats have already vowed to fight the rule, and political observers said it could become a factor in upcoming midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

"I see the Trump administration's hostility towards immigrants as part of a strategy of mass distraction to keep the focus on fomenting outrage directed at Latinos while keeping the focus off of the corruption and graft that are gripping the White House and the GOP," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement.

"Self-sufficiency has been a basic principle of United States immigration law since this country's earliest immigration statutes," the nearly 500-page proposal states, insisting that "the availability of public benefits not constitute an incentive for immigration."

Under federal law, those seeking green cards must prove they will not be a burden to the state, or a "public charge." But the administration's new public charge rule would require immigration officials to give added weight to an applicant's potential dependency on public assistance.



Kavanaugh Has Found 1982 Calendar, Detailed Entries Help Clear His Name

The last-minute attempt to derail Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice has just hit a serious snag.

Facing damaging but almost completely unsubstantiated claims that he acted improperly with a girl back when he was a teenager, the conservative nominee has dug into his personal archives to defend himself.

Up until now, the vague accusations made by Christine Blasey Ford had only resulted in a “he said, she said” stalemate. Liberals insisted that Blasey Ford’s story of a bad encounter at a drunken party be believed, while conservatives have pointed out that the nearly 40-year-old claim is impossible to verify.

Finally, Kavanaugh has presented tangible evidence that the accusation doesn’t hold up.

On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the judge has found old calendars from the period when the unproven groping allegedly took place — and they appear to support his claim that the incident didn’t happen.

“Kavanaugh has calendars from the summer of 1982 that he plans to hand over to the Senate Judiciary Committee that do not show a party consistent with the description of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford,” explained The Times.

“The calendar pages from June, July and August 1982, which were examined by The New York Times, show that Judge Kavanaugh was out of town much of the summer at the beach or away with his parents,” the newspaper continued.

“When he was at home, the calendars list his basketball games, movie outings, football workouts and college interviews. A few parties are mentioned but include names of friends other than those identified by Dr. Blasey.”

Here is perhaps the biggest nail in the coffin for Blasey Ford’s already-flimsy story: The calendar contains entries for parties, but none of the names included in those entries match the names Blasey Ford listed.

That any names were included in his calendar entries for parties shows Kavanaugh was remarkably thorough about recording his social schedule.

That fact is yet another point in favor of Kavanaugh and against his accuser. The woman behind the claim has admitted that she can recall almost nothing specific about the incident, including its location, time, or other people involved.

The few names brought up by Blasey Ford have refuted her story and indicated that they don’t remember a party with both her and Kavanaugh.

“Mr. (Mike) Judge has told the Judiciary Committee that he remembered no such incident and had never seen Judge Kavanaugh behave in such a way,” explained The Times, referring to one alleged witness of the drunken party.

“The only other two people identified as being in the house at the time, but not the bedroom, have also said in recent days that they did not recall the incident. Patrick J. Smyth said he did not remember such a party or see any improper conduct by Judge Kavanaugh.”

“Leland Keyser, a former classmate of Dr. Blasey’s at Holton-Arms, said she did not know Judge Kavanugh or remember being at a party with him,” stated the newspaper.

Accusations of this type are of course serious, and conducting due diligence is part of the vetting process for anyone nominated for a powerful position.

There comes a point, however, when weak and impossible to prove allegations need to be put to rest. Blasey Ford may genuinely believe that something like the incident she described did happen; she may be telling the truth about a teenage trauma affecting her for decades, too.

The problem is that there is zero evidence it was Brett Kavanaugh who did what she claims, and no way short of a time machine to prove her accusations.

By all accounts, Kavanaugh has been a responsible and thoughtful family man and legal scholar for the entirety of his adult life — and that record needs to stand far above one person’s increasingly shaky claim.



Trump Jr. Unleashes in Rare Op-Ed: Democrats Are Now the Party of Lawlessness and Anarchy

In an opinion piece published by The Denver Post on Friday, President Donald Trump’s oldest son dove right into his vigorous criticism of the current state of the Democrat Party — and he made the point crystal clear.

“In their efforts to appeal to the extreme left-wing elements in their base, the Democrats are becoming the party of lawlessness and anarchy,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote in a bold opening statement.

Trump Jr. pointed to the demonstrations of protest by Democrats at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“While radical Democrat ‘activists’ attempted to derail the proceedings — over 200 were arrested during the course of the hearing — Senate Democrats put on their own protest from the rostrum, marked by a complete disregard for law, order, and basic decency,” he continued.

“While it might shock Americans to see their elected officials behave this way, it’s not surprising from Democrats,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the unofficial motto of the Democrat Party now appears to be ‘attack and subvert the laws of the land whenever and wherever possible.’”

Trump Jr. went on to say that it is this sentiment that has become the basis of the Democratic party platform.

On this point, he indicated Democrats’ embrace of open borders and sanctuary cities.

“Not only do Democrats consistently support illegal aliens and look for every possible opportunity to give them citizenship (and let them vote in elections), but they also openly enable violent criminal illegal aliens through their support of sanctuary cities.

“For years, Democrats have opposed Republican efforts to crack down on sanctuary jurisdictions — cities and countries in Democrat control that refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and willingly release illegal alien criminals onto our streets.”

He went on to call out some high-profile Democrats — like Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand — who are pushing to get rid of ICE.

Trump Jr. cited the Obama presidency as a time when Democrats’ hostility towards law enforcement flourished. Now, that open hostility is reaching politicial opponents, Trump Jr. wrote.

“Being pro-illegal immigration and anti-police is bad enough, but the Democrats have also begun to implicitly, and sometimes even explicitly, endorse violence against Republicans in pursuit of their political agenda,” he wrote.

The younger Trump said that Democrats don’t just ignore violence from their side, but actually encourage it.

He brought up Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California, who has recently spoken of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a “knock off the first, and go after the second” scenario.

He also mentioned Rep. Keith Ellison, deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who in January tweeted a picture of himself holding the book “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” which Trump Jr. called “the bible for the violent domestic terrorist group that shares the book’s name.”

(The fact that a man who apparently admires a book like that is running for attorney general in Minnesota — the chief law enforcement officer in the state — should give even Democrats pause.)

Trump Jr. then noted CNN host Chris Cuomo, who defended antifa thugs in August by claiming that,  “All punches are not equal morally,” and that “Fighting hate is right and in a clash between hate and those who oppose, those who oppose it are on the side of right.”

That might sound good on television, but as Trump Jr. wrote, tolerance for violence tends to create more violence.

“The problem with Cuomo’s interpretation, as we’ve seen through numerous college campus protests — and the recent phenomenon of mainstream conservatives like Dennis Prager being censored on social media websites — is that anyone who doesn’t support the radical agenda of the left-wing is slandered as hateful by Democrats and their extreme liberal base,” Trump Jr. wrote.

“Therefore, in their minds, it becomes morally justified to punch even the most mild-mannered and moderate conservative in the face.”

His father, Trump Jr. wrote, chooses instead to put Americans first by protecting the U.S from criminal illegal aliens, giving law enforcement the support it needs to carry out its duties well, and by enforcing the protection of free speech.

“Donald Trump and the Republican Party stand for law, order, and safety. The Democrats stand for lawlessness, disorder, and anarchy,” Trump Jr. concluded. “The choice this November could not be more clear — the people will pick law and order.”

Let’s hope that Americans can rally behind this message so that we can start undoing the culture of disorder which has been so visible recently.

And that will start with voting in November — and getting other Trump supporters to the polls, too.



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

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


24 September, 2018

How Government Leakers, Media Have Waged War On Trump

For two years, top-level officials within our nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies and their allies in Congress have systematically targeted President Trump and his associates for destruction.

They have done so by colluding with the media to selectively and illegally leak classified and sensitive information from numerous investigations into Trump-Russia. Their motive seems pretty clear: overturn the results of an election via impeachment as if we lived in some “Banana Republic.” And having visited over 110 countries and six continents as a retired Naval Officer, I know a Banana Republic when I see one.

Some unelected bureaucrats collaborated with former British Intelligence agent Christopher Steele as he compiled political opposition research for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton Campaign and DNC, via Perkins Coie law firm.

Others launched FBI surveillance of Trump Campaign members based on rumor and innuendo from foreign sources like Steele and former Australian Ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Downer.

The #Resistance went to the very top.

    Peter Strzok was the No. 2 official in the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Division and a key player in both investigations of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server and the Trump Campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. His FBI lover Lisa Page was the legal counsel to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The most recently revealed Strzok-Page text discusses a “media leak strategy with DOJ.”  And how their sister intelligence agencies were “leaking like mad.” Despite denials from Strzok’s lawyer that he was trying to prevent leaks, his actual texts and timeline from April 2017 belie that claim.

    Former FBI Director James Comey admittedly passed sensitive memos about meetings with President Trump to a friend to leak to the New York Times in order to help generate a Special Counsel appointment. He was successful.

    Former CIA Director John Brennan reportedly leaked sensitive information from the Steele Dossier to then-Sen. Harry Reid, who promptly disclosed it to the public.

    Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, the No. 4 official at the DOJ, continued to feed information to FBI leaders from his longtime friend Steele, even after the FBI officially cut ties with him  Ohr’s wife Nellie, a Russian expert, even worked for Fusion GPS to probe Trump.

Most of the leaks targeted Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, two members of the National Security Advisory Committee. And most of those breaking news scoops appeared in either the Washington Post or New York Times. But it didn’t stop there.

As the former Trump campaign director of national security and the person who supervised the committee to which Page and Papadopoulos were assigned, I have also been the victim of leaks.

For example, in late Summer 2017, the very next day after my Special Counsel four-hour closed testimony, Rosalind Helderman from the Washington Post telephoned out of the blue saying she heard the special counsel was interested in a specific topic that had come up. Coincidence?

I immediately called the FBI Agents who conducted my interview warning of severe consequences if there were any more leaks — if that’s what had happened. They swore it was not them personally, and they’d relay my concerns to their supervisor.

Also in Summer 2017, when the House Intelligence Committee postponed my allegedly private testimony, two reporters from CNN and ABC called asking if it was true that I had canceled for unknown reasons. Pure character assassination attempt designed to make a national news story out of nothing.

Reporters who have repeatedly received and published leaks stemming from the Trump-Russia investigations, like The New York Times’ Ali Watkins, and Roz Helderman, both of whom regularly targeted Page and Papadopoulos, should be compelled to testify before Congress, or any other criminal or civil trials, and reveal the identity of their sources.

Leaking information from Trump-Russia investigations is not a victimless act. Aside from fueling impeachment calls against President Trump and damaging the lives of innocent people who have been swept up in investigations and lost their jobs (and who have yet to be accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever), they have cost millions of dollars in personal legal bills to defend ourselves and reputations.

The DOJ inspector general and Congress must hold the leakers and complicit co-conspirators in the media accountable. Failure to act swiftly and decisively guarantees the further erosion of the rule of law and democratic principles as defined by the Constitution. America must never truly become a Banana Republic.



FY 2018 Refugee Admissions: 70.8 Percent Christians; 15.4 Percent Muslims

The difference between a Muslim president and a Christian one

The proportion of Christians to Muslims among refugees from around the world admitted to the United States has changed significantly in FY 2018, with Christians comprising seven in ten new arrivals, and Muslims fewer than two in ten.

With ten days of the fiscal year to go, a total of 21,561 refugees have been resettled since October 1 last year, of whom 15,278 (70.8 percent) are Christians and 3,333 (15.4 percent) are Muslims, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

In FY 2017 by contrast, 47.2 percent of the 53,716 refugees admitted to the U.S. by both the Obama administration (during roughly the first one-third of the year) and the Trump administrations (during roughly the remaining two-thirds of the year) were Christians, and 42.1 percent were Muslims.

(Of the 53,716 refugees resettled in FY 2017, 56 percent arrived during the Obama administration and 44 percent during the Trump administration.)

And in FY 2016, 44.5 percent of the 84,994 refugees resettled in the U.S. by the Obama administration were Christians and 45.7 percent were Muslims. That was the first time in a decade that the total refugee intake from around the world included more Muslims than Christians.

The Christian refugees include large contingents of Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostalists from the Democratic Republic of Congo – which alone accounts for almost 39 percent of the total number of refugees resettled in the U.S.

There are also sizeable numbers of Baptists from Ukraine, Orthodox Christians from Eritrea, and Christians (no denomination specified) from Burma.

Muslim refugees comprise 2,016 individuals identified simply as Muslim, with Burma (857) and the DRC (324) accounting for the largest groups; 655 Shi’ites, including 504 from Afghanistan; and 486 Sunnis, with Afghans again making up the largest number (226).

The U.S. has also admitted 173 Ahmadiyya – all from Pakistan, a country whose constitution does not recognize Ahmadis as Muslims, and whose penal code criminalizes Ahmadi worship.


In recent years the makeup of Syrian refugees in particular became a sensitive issue, both because of overall security concerns but also because so few of those admitted were Christians.

That was the case despite the Obama administration’s determination in 2016 that ISIS’ atrocities against Christians, Yazidis and other religious minorities in areas under its control amounted to genocide.

The disparity was especially stark in FY 2016, when of a total of 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted – accounting for 1.8 percent of all refugees admitted that year – 12,486 (99.2 percent) were Muslims and 68 (0.5 percent) were Christians, including Orthodox, Greek Orthodox and Catholic.

Although Muslims do significantly outnumber Christians in Syria, the Christian minority nonetheless made up around 10 percent of the total population when the civil war began in 2011.

In FY 2017, the U.S. resettled 6,549 Syrian refugees, or 12.2 percent of all refugees admitted that year. Of those Syrians, 6,405 (97.8 percent) were Muslims and 113 (1.7 percent) were Christians.

In FY 2018, however, of 60 Syrian refugees admitted – just 0.27 percent of all refugees admitted this year – 40 (66.6 percent) are Sunni Muslims and 20 (33.3 percent) are Christians.

The skewed figures during the Obama administration prompted some Republican lawmakers to call for non-Muslim minorities to be prioritized but the administration rejected the appeals, with President Obama saying prioritizing non-Muslims would amount to a “religious test.”

President Trump came into office vowing to prioritize Christian refugees.

Although his policies have seen a sharp drop in the overall number of refugees admitted to the U.S., the shift in the Christian-Muslim ratio has been marked.



How George Washington Warned Us About Tribalism and Disunity

Sept. 19 is the 222nd anniversary of the publication of President George Washington’s Farewell Address. Appearing in newspapers nationwide, it announced Washington’s intention to retire from public life after his second term.

For most of American history, the Farewell Address was required reading in grade schools across the nation and was continually invoked in the public discourse.

Yet in recent decades, the address has faded into obscurity. That’s a shame, as it is a treasure trove of wisdom from the man who did the most to create our country—who knew, as well as anyone else, what it took to create a modern, large-scale republic.

After all, it was Washington who led the nation through the War of Independence, oversaw the drafting of the Constitution, and served as its first president. Washington addressed the document specifically to the American people—not just to policymakers—and recommended that they give his advice their “frequent review.”

The Farewell Address is mostly known for its warnings against political parties and entangling alliances during the nation’s youth. Certainly, Washington made those points, and offered practical advice on a wide array of other subjects. They include making permanent the powers of the federal government, obeying the Constitution, being sensible in public spending, accepting the necessity of taxes, and cultivating peace with other nations insofar as this was possible.

Wise though these recommendations may be, they underscore deeper philosophical arguments. To reduce the document to mere policy prescriptions misses the point. Besides, not all of them were meant to last forever.

Washington published his address when the United States was an infant nation, surrounded by European superpowers. His recommendations were intended “to gain time to our country … to progress … to that degree of strength … to give it … command of its own fortunes.”

Although Washington advised cultivating peace for a time, he envisioned an America that one day could “choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.” America would have greater freedom in due time. Policies would change as circumstances change.

If that’s the case, what can we today gain from reading his valedictory message? The answer lies in something Washington knew very well—something that hasn’t changed since 1796: human nature.

Washington strongly believed in the depravity of mankind. He identified a “love of power … which predominates in the human heart.” In his eyes, man could be “ambitious and unprincipled,” but even worse, he is “designing”—in other words, deceitful and scheming. Man often hides his depravity under the veneer of virtue and love of country. Washington described men as “cunning” and called for the American people to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

If man is corrupt, it only follows that nations are as well. Washington believed nations not only seek their own interests, but often trample over the rights of other nations. This is why he warned us about “the insidious wiles of foreign influence” and counseled that “there can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation.”

In other words, Washington warned that America’s opponents, both foreign and domestic, would pose as its advocates—they would use deception in their efforts to promote an alternative agenda. Specifically, he called Americans to suspect the motives and patriotism of their fellow citizens who:

Reject the national government. “Distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken [the union’s] bands.”
Promote narrow interests at the expense of the nation’s interest as a whole: “[Parties are] often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community.”
Undermine religion and morality: “In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars [religion and morality].”
These were the hallmarks of America’s domestic adversaries: a rejection of the authority of the national government and the role of religion in society, and an obsession with narrow interests.

During Washington’s time, narrow interests often centered on geographical affiliations. Today, they often center on one’s racial or ethnic background or income level. Division along these lines has led to a toxic identity politics that demotes national identity while elevating lesser sub-identities—to the detriment of national unity. Washington likely could not have fathomed this sort of identity-based division, yet he warned that narrowly defined views in general would negate the national interest if pursued without compromise.

Not only was man corrupt, but he was also frail and prone to error. Washington argued that some citizens might believe they are serving America’s best interest while actually undermining it. He described these citizens as “deluded … tools and dupes” under “infatuation”—the very victims of those who practiced deception.

These two observations—the depravity and frailty of man—form Washington’s first core message: that America has real enemies, both foreign and domestic, some of whom are unaware of their pernicious effects on the country.

While Washington founded a nation based on humanity’s highest ideals—liberty and equality—he believed that America must reject naïve idealism about human nature, and not put too much faith in the good will of other countries.

Washington’s second core message focused on how America might survive in a world full of treachery. He unabashedly promoted America’s interest above that of other nations, referring to it 21 times in his address. Observers today will often critique this emphasis on the national interest as being devoid of morality—as if virtue and patriotism were mutually exclusive. After all, didn’t Washington decry the tendency of nations to pursue their own interests at the expense of the rights other nations?

While it is true that interest is often derived from selfish motives, Washington argued this need not always be the case. It is possible to promote one’s interest with respect for other nations’ interests and in support of a greater moral cause. After all, he advised the American people to “observe good faith and justice toward all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” He hoped America would conduct itself “as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.”

Washington believed a nation could pursue its interest legitimately, under the restraint of justice and morality, while also being prepared for war. In addition, promoting American strength and prosperity, he believed, would ultimately prove the viability of republican government to the world and give America “the glory of recommending it to … every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” It would increase liberty’s appeal to a global audience and, therefore, benefit mankind.

This message serves as an antidote to those who dispute the morality of national self-interest or believe America is obligated to pursue the well-being of other lands and peoples over its own.

The father of our country envisioned an America that was prosperous, generous, and in command of its own destiny. He foresaw “a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation” giving “to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.” He hoped that America would one day live up to its highest ideals and conduct its affairs in an exceptionally just way.

To secure this future, however, Washington counseled Americans to reject the dreamy idealism about foreign nations and their intentions—an idealism that those dedicated to liberty and equality can find enticing.

He also warned us to be vigilant against both overt and covert enemies in our midst, and he trusted the American people—not just their representatives or bureaucrats—with this vigilance. His message speaks not only to us, but to all men and women who desire to establish and perpetuate a republic: Do not be naïve about human nature, for your adversaries (whether foreign or domestic, intentional or unintentional) will often appear as your friends.

Only with this in mind can an aspiring republic do what it has every right to do and ought to do: advance its own interests and, therefore, those of men and women everywhere who desire liberty.

In this era of uncertainty and division, we may do well to set apart Washington’s advice, as he hoped, for our “frequent review.”



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

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


23 September, 2018

The "ethnocentrism" fraud

Most  psychologists are Left-leaning, and leftists have an enormous talent for seeing only what they want to see, so we can be sure that psychological theories will show Leftists in a good light and conservatives in a bad light. 

And, as we know only too well, race is a central Leftist obsession. They never stop talking about race and racism. American Leftists in the days of the Ku Klux Klan were very anti-black.  The Klansmen were Democrats, as were segregationists Orval Forbus and George Wallace. 

But when the atrocities of Hitler made anti-minority thinking odious, the Left abandoned that orientation, though it hung on in the South for a while.  So what did the Left do when anti black attitudes became unfashionable?  Did they abandon all talk of race and focus on something else. No way!  With "affirmative action" and so on they did a rapid about-turn and became anti-white. They just love simple formulas and categorizing all sorts of different people in terms of race was too sweeping a formula for them to let go

And Leftist psychologists made it even simpler.  They invented the concept of "ethnocentrism" -- which was a claim that you disliked "outgroups" because you were strongly attached to your own "ingroup".  So all patriots were suspect racists.  The Left hate patriots because the Left want to tear society down while patriots want to preserve it. 

So it was an enormously convenient simplification if white racism could be traced to patriots. Leftists routinely accuse conservatives of simplistic thinking but if you want to know what Leftists are like, just look at what they say about conservatives.

And all that came out in 1950 in the form of a big book called "The authoritarian personality" under the lead authorship of prominent Marxist theoretician Theodor Adorno. Adorno et al. had to allow that some patriotism could be OK but it was under a cloud generally.

But the ethnocentrism theory is false. Leftist psychologists just assumed it.  The only "proof" they had for it was that they could find some aggressive expressions of patriotism and some aggressive expressions of racism which correlated with one another among freshman students -- forming a reliable "scale". But at no time did they try to sample normal expressions of patriotism and normal expressions of racial attitudes and see if those two types of attitude were correlated * 

So I did that. I did it repeatedly in fact.  And I always used proper general population samples, not available groups of students. And I always got the same result:  Patriotism and racism were unrelated. Some patriots disliked blacks but roughly equal numbers of patriots did not dislike blacks.  You could not predict from knowing a person's degree of patriotism what he would think of blacks

So far in  my writings I have been content to point that out as it decisively explodes the central Leftist explanation for racism.  But I now think I can go further.  I think I can explain WHY Leftists cling to that falsehood.  They believe it because that is the way they think. They judge others by themselves. They hate the achievements of whites and they also hate patriots.  It is THEY who are ethnocentric -- but in a negative way.  They are generally hostile.  And that goes all the way back to Karl Marx.  Marx hated everybody, including his own mother.  It's in part his unwaveringly hostile tone that makes him an enjoyable study to the Left.

Instead of loving their ingroup Leftists hate it and they also hate those who thwart their goal of "fundamentally transforming" their country -- to use Obama's phrase of 2008. Attitudes to an ingroup and attitudes to what they see as an outgroup are strongly correlated among Leftists. Knowing what Leftists say about whites will enable you to make an almost CERTAIN prediction of their attitudes towards patriots. The whole affair is yet another example of my dictum that if you want to know what Leftists are like psychologically, just look at what they say about conservatives. Monolithic thinking is a trait of the Left, not of the Right.

The tendency of people to see their own faults in others is what Freud called "projection". And the Left are great projectors. They hate just about everybody so they think that conservatives do too. They even see patriotism as a form of hate. And many conservative writers these days have woken up to that and often now identify  Leftist accusations as projection. A good example is to be found in the recent utterances of Hillary Clinton.  Most of what she has been saying about Donald Trump would be much more apt as a description of her.  I put up an article recently that gave some examples of that.

Her claim that Trump is attacking democracy is a particular howler. Who is attacking democracy?  It wouldn't be the people who refuse to accept as legitimate and proper the result of a properly conducted democratic election in 2016, would it?  It wouldn't be the people who are doing their level best to unwind the result of that election would it? It wouldn't be the collective sore losers of the Left, would it?

REFERENCE: Adorno,T.W., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D.J. & Sanford, R.N. (1950) The authoritarian personality. New York: Harper.

* It is however of considerable interest that anthropologist Elizabeth Cashdan used  published  codes  and  data  collected for the standard cross-cultural sample of 186 societies to look at both ethnic loyalty and xenophobia.  She concludes: "If interethnic hostility is the flip side of intraethnic loyalty, the two should be strongly correlated and have the same determinants. Neither is the case".


Project Veritas Catches Deep State Redhanded
We’ve long known that unelected leftist bureaucrats embedded in the bowels of the federal government have been lawlessly targeting conservatives and abusing their power to thwart the agenda of duly elected Republican policymakers. The proof keeps pouring in.

The Obama administration’s IRS deliberately discriminated against conservative groups in their applications for tax-exempt status. This isn’t an empty partisan allegation from an imaginary “right-wing conspiracy.” In 2013, an IRS official admitted scrutinizing groups with right wing identifying names, such as “Tea Party” and “patriots.” An inspector general’s report that year confirmed this nefarious practice.

At least two groups of cases were settled in 2017 with the IRS agreeing to a “substantial financial settlement” in one and expressing “its sincere apology” in another. This is the kind of tyrannical behavior that liberals used to care about.

In a case involving the Linchpins of Liberty and some 40 other conservative organizations, the IRS confessed that it used “heighted scrutiny and inordinate delays” and required unnecessary information in its review of applications for tax-exemptions.

In the NorCal Tea Party Patriots case, involving more than 400 groups, plaintiffs contended the IRS used their tax information for improper purposes.

I know opponents of President Donald Trump roll their eyes in ridicule at the mere suggestion of a deep state committed to undermining Trump’s agenda. That’s the stuff of paranoid conspiracy theorists or unhinged Trumpublican tribalists, they say. Well, James O'Keefe, and his Project Veritas, has shown, again, that there is a “there” there.

O'Keefe recently released secret videotapes in which some of these boorish bureaucrats brazenly admit their chicanery, and even brag about it. On Tuesday, Project Veritas released the first of its tapes unmasking these proud pinheads boasting of sabotaging the Trump agenda. The video features State Department employee Stuart Karaffa, a smarmy, self-proclaimed socialist using his government position to resist official Trump administration policies. Karaffa is a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, bless his heart.

He admits to drafting DSA communications at his worksite. “I’m careful about it,” says Karaffa. “I don’t leave a paper trail, like I leave emails, and like any press s-— that comes up, I leave that until after 5:30. But as soon as 5:31 hits, got my, like, draft messages ready to send out.” Precious.

Karaffa’s arrogance is astounding. He says he doesn’t believe he’ll be caught and punished, saying, “Maybe someday I’ll go to board of elections jail, probably not.” But what comes next is way worse and ought to infuriate all federal taxpayers. “I have nothing to lose,” he adds. “It’s impossible to fire federal employees.” He also expresses confidence that none of his superiors will detect his conflicts of interest even though he openly discloses them on his required forms. “Somebody just rubber stamps and it goes forward … I don’t know if (the ethics officer is) is all there. He’s so checked out.” Well, that’s comforting.

Most outrageous was Karaffa’s description of his objective toward the administration’s official policies: “Resist everything … Every level. F— s— up.”

In the second released video, Project Veritas exposes Department of Justice paralegal Allison Hrabar reportedly using government hardware and software as part of her socialist activism, and Jessica Schubel, former chief of staff for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration, attempting to thwart Trump’s agenda.

Hrabar, also a member of Metro DC DSA, was supposedly one of those who chased Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen from a D.C.-area restaurant. That was beyond despicable. Hrabar allegedly uses the LexisNexis search engine on her work computer to find home addresses for DSA protests, such as that of D.C. lobbyist Jeremy Wiley. She reportedly ran his license plate to help locate his home. Hrabar smugly brags that as an employee of the DOJ, “We can’t, like, get fired.”

Hrabar also reveals that one of her DSA colleagues, who works in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, slows down the process to help people stay on food stamps longer.

Schubel admits on the tape to the existence of “a little resistance movement” within the federal government, and says that her friends at the Department of Health and Human Services give her confidential information before it is officially released. “Yeah. It’s kind of like the Nixon, deep throat-type of thing,” she gloats. She further admits, “There’s a lot of talk about how we can, like, resist from inside (the Justice Department).”

Isn’t it cute when leftists virtue signal their feigned concern for the integrity of our democratic process? When you hear a leftist complaining about interference with our elections — or corruption of “our democracy” — just remember that they are ends-justifies-the-means progressives who care not a whit about lawful elections, only advancing their agenda.

With their persistent lawlessness and overreach, the mavens of the “resistance” have awakened a sleeping giant in grassroots conservatives throughout the nation, and they will come to regret it.



Four Characteristics of the Liberal Mind that Are Destroying Society

Conservatives often blame liberals for the breakdown in society today. After all, liberals challenged an order that existed and replaced it with a situation that is now unraveling.

This unraveling can be traced to the efforts of liberal activists to influence legislation and elections and to liberal control of the media that shape the debate.

The fragmented and polarized state of society is proof that something has gone terribly wrong.

Defining the Liberal Mindset

However, it is not only the activism that has caused the social decay of institutions, manners and communities. It is a mindset that determines the course of their action. Understanding the characteristics of the liberal mind helps people grasp the nature of the crisis. 

This is not easy to do since liberal thought can be defined by its lack of definition and love of ambiguity Such characteristics might also be shocking because they cross party lines and include people from all walks of life. The premises of this mindset come from the classical liberal philosophy that is widely accepted by everyone. Only when these premises are taken to their final consequences, do the harmful effects become evident. The damage is now everywhere.

A Gradualist Progression Away from the Truth

One characteristic of the liberal mind is its gradualist progression away from the objective truth. In its early stages, the liberal mind does not deny the existence of objective truth outright. Instead, liberals deplore its rigidity. Instead, they offer half-truths that mitigate the hard-hearted attitudes of conservatives, smoothing the slide into error. The liberal mind likewise does not initially embrace error but is drawn toward and harbors sympathy for it.

Thus, the liberals might defend private property, but support excessive taxation on those who have large properties. They would oppose crime but propose leniency for felons because of imagined injustices they might have suffered. 

The liberal mind is constantly looking for half-truths to appear more compassionate and kind.

Searching for Conclusions that Please

A second characteristic of the liberal mind is that it does not seek objective and external truths that explain reality. Liberals seek instead only those conclusions that please them. They search for perspectives that fit their temperaments, lifestyles and ways of being. These are the thoughts that guide their lives.

This liberal mind is perfectly expressed by the famous Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey which stated: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

A Distorted Vision of Freedom

The liberal mind gives rise to a mode of action which is easily defined. The foundation of liberal action is a distorted vision of freedom that consists of doing only what one wants to do.

Thus, liberal action tends to be relativistic and subjective, following the whims of the individual. It can be imaginative and fantasy-driven when a person takes the action to its final consequences.

Liberal action is also characterized by a spirit of doubt toward that which does not correspond to personal whims. Such doubt, however, is never directed toward that which does not please liberal whims.

A Dislike of Rules and Laws

The final characteristic of the liberal mind is a dislike of rules and laws. Law by definition is restrictive.

Law consists of those reasonable precepts coming from a competent authority to which all must conform for the sake of the common good. Rules and laws upset the liberal mind, which feels attacked by them. 

Thus, liberals dislike anything that imposes restraint such as laws, manners or morals. In more advanced stages, even the restrictive nature of clothing or grammar can irritate the sensibilities of the liberal mindset.

This explains the liberal hostility to the Church and traditional notions of religion. God is the First Lawgiver and punishes those who sin against His Commandments. The liberal mind prefers a god for whom nothing is a sin. This god is one of the liberals own making. In their view, he radiates compassion, not justice. 

A Common Trait

While these four psychological characteristics differ, they do have a common trait. They all are self-centered.

What governs liberal minds and actions are the dictates of each individual’s ideas, tastes and desires. The individual is the center of everything. Each person determines right and wrong, truth and error.

The Descent to Anarchy

Up to this point, the liberal order has survived because it lived off of the firm foundations of a Christian moral order. The moral influence of the Church, natural law and other institutions served to temper the disordered ideas, tastes and desires of individuals. The adverse effects of the liberal mind were mitigated by its gradualism. As long as the most extreme liberal elements stayed in the zone of half-truths, society could absorb their destructive influence.

The problem today is that half-truths now dominate and error is pushing the envelope ever closer to chaos. The liberal mind naturally leads to anarchy when taken to its final consequences. It admits no authority other than its own. It will accept no law nor respect any institution that encroaches upon the individual “right” to do whatever one wants.

Everyone wonders why the nation is polarized and fragmented. As social bonds decay, there is no unifying principle in society save that of self-centeredness. Everyone becomes increasingly isolated, lonely and frustrated.

In the words of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, the world becomes “nothing but a meeting place for individual wills, each with its own set of attitudes and preferences and who understand that world solely as an arena for the achievement of their own satisfaction, who interpret reality as a series of opportunities for their enjoyment.”



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

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


21 September, 2018

Behind Trump's China Tariffs

Thomas Gallatin below says ending the North Korean nuclear threat and establishing fair trade are Trump's goals. That's fair enough.  But he also says Trump is intent on squashing China's ambitions of global influence, which is much more dubious. That would be too nebulous a goal for Trump.  He goes for quick, concrete results.  Trump himself says that he wants to stop China's theft of U.S. intellectual property.  He would like, for instance, for China to purchase more than one copy of Windows 10. 

I can't see Trump getting that.  You would have to change the entire way China does business.  So the question is what he will settle for.  An almost total free trade between China and the USA could be it.  Both the American and Chinese economies are at effective full employment so neither Trump nor Xi is under much pressure to back down -- so the whole thing will probably go on for a while yet

With President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday of an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, the specter of an all-out trade war increasingly looms. China was quick to vow $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs. But Trump only doubled down, declaring on Tuesday, “China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted.” (We’ve previously warned of exactly this kind of electoral manipulation by China.) He then threatened to add another $267 billion in tariffs, raising the total to $517 billion — which essentially covers all of China’s U.S. exports — should Beijing follow through with its own retaliatory tariffs.

There is no question Trump’s tariffs will do further damage to an already hurting Chinese economy, but U.S. business will also increasingly feel the hit. Such is the harmful nature of tariffs and why free trade is preferable for sustaining business growth and a healthy economy. However, Trump has several important issues in view here beyond the immediate concern for the nation’s current economic welfare.

Almost like clock-work, every time Trump presses China, he gets results with Beijing’s nuclear puppet, North Korea. On Tuesday, it was reported that Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow outside inspectors to visit the country’s missile-test sites and that he is open to decommissioning its nuclear enrichment facility at Yongbyon. After meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim reiterated his desire to work “toward a peaceful peninsula without nuclear weapons or nuclear threat.” This is welcome news, though we note it with a healthy dose of skepticism. There is clearly still a long way to go, but few can reasonably argue that this is going in the wrong direction. This concession by Kim has Beijing written all over it.

But ending the North Korean threat is not Trump’s only aim. He is countering China’s active attempts to gain the upper hand in global economics. Investor’s Business Daily reports, “As part of its 10-year Made In China 2025 initiative, also known as CM2025, China hopes to gain global technological and market dominance in 11 key technologies.” Beijing’s goal is especially problematic because China has consistently and persistently violated international trade rules. In other words, the Chinese are not and never have been interested in fair play or truly free trade.

Trump’s ultimate aim is to force China into forgoing its efforts to control world markets. As IBD notes, “Nothing short of China abandoning its export-driven model for extending its economic domination of Asia and its CM2025 plan to dominate world markets — at the expense of the U.S. — will satisfy Trump. For free trade to work, it requires both parties to play by the rules. So far, China has failed to do so.”

So now it’s become a high-stakes game of chicken. Will China’s economic downturn push Beijing to blink first? Or will Trump’s play backfire on his booming economy?



Clinton, Trump and Authoritarianism

Still holding on to ‘16 as long as she can, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is out with a new, expanded version of her campaign memoir, “What Happened.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reports that the book “has a big new caboose” with much additional verbiage about “what has happened in the past year.” The big new literary caboose features claims of a Trumpian assault on our constitutional norms, but is bound to raise new questions about Mrs. Clinton’s own commitment to such norms.

Last night the former Secretary of State appeared on Ms. Maddow’s program and seems to have made news by warning that our duly elected President might exercise his authority to fire some of his un-elected subordinates. Mrs. Clinton spoke about Trump supporters:

"I don`t think that those people really fully appreciate what is potentially possible under this presidency. What I worry about, Rachel, is that after this election, this president`s going to wholesale fire people. That`s my prediction for tonight... if we don`t have one or both houses of Congress in place, he will be even more uncontrollable and unaccountable. He will fire people in the White House. He will fire people in his administration who he thinks are crossing him, questioning him, undermining him."

She may not be calling Trump voters “deplorables” any more—at least not publicly. Now she’s simply suggesting that they didn’t know what they were doing when they selected the President. Mrs. Clinton then elaborated on her view of the way presidential power is constrained:

"... the president is close to being uncontrollable. There are people still in there who by their own admission are trying to hold on to prevent even worse things from happening, and at some point, the American public has to say, number one, I may disagree with Democrats, I may disagree with the direction of this administration, but one thing I believe in is we have to have checks and balances. That`s why we have to vote for Democrats in November."

The constitutional scholars in the crowd may by this point be thanking their lucky stars that America did not end up with a President operating under the belief that she is accountable to the authority of her staff. As a federal judge named Brett Kavanaugh has noted, the President does not enjoy some of the executive authority under our Constitution, but all of it. It’s also disturbing that Mrs. Clinton seems to hold the mistaken belief that constitutional checks and balances only exist when people vote for Democrats.

Regardless of her confusion about the structure of the American republic, she nonetheless writes confidently about what she casts as a constant attack on the U.S. political system. Ms. Maddow shared a passage from Mrs. Clinton’s revised memoir:

"The corruption of the Trump administration is breathtaking. Our democratic institutions and traditions are under assault every day. There may not be tanks in the streets and the administration`s malevolence may be constrained by now by its incompetence, but make no mistake, our democracy is in crisis."

Mrs. Clinton shared more of the story in last night’s interview:

"I do say in the afterword that I, like every other American, hope for the best, wanted to give our new President the benefit of the doubt. But the actions that we have seen coming from the White House and this Administration, in the nearly two years since the election, have raised all kinds of signal flares, alarm bells about what is happening to our democracy. And put aside partisanship and all of the ideological concerns, we have to defend the fundamental values and ideals of the American democracy."

It’s unclear at one point Mrs. Clinton wanted to give our new President the benefit of the doubt, given that she endorsed the protests against him that occurred on his first full day in office in January of 2017. As for the alleged assaults against American institutions, she said last night:

"Well what I`m worried about is that these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this Administration with this President, left unchecked, could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we`ve never imagined possible here."

That certainly sounds scary—greater destruction to our democratic institutions than we’ve even imagined! Given this commentary from the former secretary of State, Ms. Maddow naturally asked about impeachment:

MADDOW: Do you have thoughts on that about whether or not that`s something that Democrats should put on the table right away if they get control of Congress?

CLINTON: I think there should be a much broader agenda and I know it`s difficult to imagine having the Congress work on so many issues at the same time. Because it does require a level of organization and follow-through that is hard and I know that having been there. If there is evidence that comes up about high crimes and misdemeanors, yes, it should be followed through on but there are so many other things that need to be addressed.

If you look at what this Administration has done with respect to regulations on everything from asbestos to pesticides to labor concerns. This is going to begin to really have adverse consequences on many Americans."

So, there`s a role for the Congress to play in saying, “No, stop. We`re not going to ignore the evidence. We are not going to live in a fact-free universe. You, Administrator X need to come up here and justify what you`ve done for two years.”

There’s an uncontrollable would-be authoritarian in the Oval Office attacking the foundations of the American republic and the solution is to hold hearings on labor and environmental regulations?

Mrs. Clinton doesn’t really believe such nonsense. She knows that the Trump “authoritarian” argument is built on ill-considered Trump comments rather than concrete Trump actions and that American institutions have been holding up just fine. She also knows that only one major-party presidential nominee in 2016 sought the authority to limit the first two amendments to the Constitution. And it wasn’t Donald Trump.



Lessons From Income Data: Study, Work, Family, Persistence

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases new data on income trends in the American population that reinforce certain traditional lessons about life — which may be why liberals do not talk about this data much.

Are there any patterns in the lives of those who do — and do not — succeed financially in the United States? Yes.

For example, people who stay in school longer and graduate tend to earn more money than people who do not.

Table PINC-03, which the Census Bureau released last week, categorizes Americans 25 and older by their "educational attainment" and their "total money earnings" in 2017.

Those with a "less than 9th grade" education made the least. They had median earnings of $23,849.

Those who went to high school but did not graduate had median earnings of $25,237. Those who graduated from high school but did not attend college had median earnings of $32,320. Those who attended some college but did not earn a degree had median earnings of $36,633. Those who earned an associate degree had median earnings of $40,322.

Those who earned a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $53,882; a master's, $70,358; a doctorate, $94,854; and a professional degree, $100,276.

The pattern is obvious: A higher degree tends to pave the way to a higher income.

In Table HINC-01, the Census Bureau presents household income categorized by "selected characteristics" of the household. One of these is whether — and how much — the householder works.

In households where the householder did not work at all in 2017, the median income was $32,178. In households where the householder worked 50 weeks or more at a part-time job, the median income was $56,510. But in households where the householder worked a full-time job for 50 weeks or more, the median income was $86,590.

The obvious pattern: The more you work, the more you earn.

The Census Bureau also looks at household income by family structure.

Nonfamily households had a median income of $36,650 in 2017. Women householders with no spouse present had a median income of $41,703. Male householders with no spouse present had a median income of $60,843. But traditional married-couple families had a median income of $90,386.

The obvious pattern: Married Americans tend to earn more than unmarried Americans.

Table HINC-04 in the Census Bureau data indicates that family income also varies depending on the presence of children in the home.

Married couple families with no children under 18 had a median income of $84,944, while married couple families with children under 18 had a median income of $97,964.

When work, marriage and children are combined, according to the Census Bureau Table FINC-04, median income goes even higher. In married couple families where both the husband and wife work full-time year-round, the median income was $127,718 in 2017.

If the married couple working full-time year-round had one child between 6 and 17 years old, their median income was $131,271. If they had two or more children in that age bracket, their median income was $133,921.

The lesson: Raising children may cost money, but it inspires traditional married couples to make money.

The Census Bureau also reports that younger people generally do not make as much money as middle-aged people. They must persist and work for a while before they hit their earning peak.

Married-couple families in which the householder is 24 to 34 have a median income of $80,381, according to Table FINC-02. That rose to $101,682 when the householder was 35 to 44 and peaked at $112,407 when the householder was 45 to 54.

In the current American population, those who finished school, worked, married, had children and persisted in work, marriage and child rearing are likely to be independent and self-sufficient.

Liberal American politicians often argue that the best way to help those with lower incomes is to use the power of government to redistribute wealth from those with higher incomes.

A more effective strategy would be to restore throughout this country the values that history — and Census Bureau data — demonstrates motivate a free and independent people.



Bob Woodward: I Looked For Two Years...There's No Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion

Bob Woodward is out with Fear, a comprehensive insight into the inner workings and machinations of the Trump White House. CNN and MSNBC loved it, especially all the gossip about the infighting, calling the president names, the lack of respect, and the supposed chaos that reigns within the halls of the Trump White House.

Yes, while the liberal media is blathering about this book, they would definitely miss, or ignore, this tidbit: he found zero evidence of Russian collusion. Here’s the transcript courtesy of Real Clear Politics

Hugh Hewitt: So let’s set aside the Comey firing, which as a Constitutional law professor, no one will ever persuade me can be obstruction. And Rod Rosenstein has laid out reasons why even if those weren’t the president’s reasons. Set aside the Comey firing. Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?

Bob Woodward: I did not, and of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard. And so you know, there we are. We’re going to see what Mueller has, and Dowd may be right. He has something that Dowd and the president don’t know about, a secret witness or somebody who has changed their testimony. As you know, that often happens, and that can break open or turn a case.

HH: But you’ve seen no collusion?

BW: I have not.

Okay—the man who took down Nixon, who tracked a campaign donation to a slush fund within the Committee to Re-Elect The President, said there’s no evidence of collusion, which has been a pervasive theme in this clown show investigation. Wood ward found zilch—and he probably would have found it by now. Any investigative body would have found something to link the Trump team to the Kremlin if this shoddy allegation and liberal coping exercise were true; it’s not. There’s zero evidence of collusion. It’s time for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to wrap it up. Also, Democrats—brace yourselves—your antics over this whole episode will help Trump clinch a second term. Bravo!



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

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


20 September, 2018

Where the rot began -- in the "Progressive" era

Some history that should not be forgotten

The Constitution of the United States has been abandoned wholly in theory and partially in practice by liberals. This is the result of the progressive movement that arose at the beginning of the 20th century, roughly 1880-1920. Because of this, today, the purpose and scope of the national government has drifted dramatically from the thinking of the American Founders.

While progressives differed on some matters they did have a coherent theory. The aims of progressives and their theory required the rejection of the political theory of the American founding.

Progressives intended and partially succeeded in extending the scope and purpose of the federal government. Why? The answer is simple: First, from the progressive perspective, the limited government established by the Founders was outdated. Second, the social and economic ills of modern society required action. Third, history had progressed to such an extent that a powerful central government no longer posed the threat to life, liberty, and property it did in 1776.

Progressives saw the constitutional limited government of the Founders as a barrier to much-needed progress. Progressives thought that the rise of big corporations and the Industrial Revolution required more extensive government regulation. They desired to move away from the enumerated powers, separation of powers, and federalism of the Constitution to a more active government. The move from the thinking of the Founding Fathers can be seen in several ways.

First, the rejection of natural rights theory, the idea that all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights governments are instituted to protect. The end of government, after all, is the establishment of justice.

Second, progressives held to the idea of historical contingency over the constancy of human nature. Progressives held that the social and economic conditions had changed so greatly that the regime of the Founders was inadequate to address the situation.

Third, due to historical progress, government was no longer the threat it was perceived to be by the Founders but could be instead entrusted with increased power to meet the needs of a new era.

Progressives argued that the Constitution is a product of its time, designed to defend against the issues of the day. This stands in contrast to the Founders’ view that it was intended to instantiate the abstract truths applicable to all men at all times found in the Declaration of Independence.

Their aim was to make the national government a dynamic agent, directly responsive to changing social conditions. Practical parts of achieving this was the initiative, referendum, open primary, and passage of the 17th Amendment that brought about the direct election of senators.

Furthermore, progressives shifted how the executive office is viewed and the duties he assumes. For progressives, the executive would provide the unity of direction their movement required.

The product of progressivism, the current administrative state violates the Constitution in three distinct ways. First, the principle of non-delegation. Only Congress has been vested by the Constitution with legislative authority. Instead, agencies now legislate — creating laws and regulations. Second, the combination of functions within an agency violates the separation of powers. Agencies have been given the ability to legislate, adjudicate, and enforce their own rules. Third, the principle of the unitary executive. The administrators of the law should be accountable to the elected president. However, independent agencies violate this principle.

Progressives intended to separate politics from administration. At the same time, they were attempting to make the system more democratic. They tried to shield bureaucrats from political influence under the theory that well-educated, idealistic, and well-paid men would be able to be objective and politically neutral. This separation violates the consent of the governed. Americans do not elect the vast majority of bureaucrats who have a greater influence upon their lives than most politicians.

The administrative state has had doleful effects upon the national government: centralized bureaucracy, irresponsibility of Congress, and the compliance of the judiciary in bowing before administrators and their expertise.

Because of the administrative state, Americans are faced with a grave problem: Elections no longer change the character of government. The nature of the administrative state is insidious and is a different answer than that of the Founders to the political question of who should rule. Despite Republican elections in the past, little has been achieved to change the direction of the government. This led to dissatisfaction among the people and is perhaps best summarized in the phrase “drain the swamp.” The reaction of Washington bureaucrats to the election of Donald Trump, duly elected in accordance with the Constitution by the people, has shown the depth of this problem.

As Americans go to cast their vote in elections this November they should consider whether those they vote for and the party they are a part of support in practice the rule of the people or the rule of experts. It is time for Americans to choose men and women who will support the Trump administration’s goal of making the government accountable to the people who elect them and whose taxes pay their salary.



Governor Moonbeam cements his place as a member of the vicious left

California Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown threatened President Donald Trump on Monday, calling him a “saboteur” before snapping and saying, “Something’s got to happen to this guy, because if we don’t get rid of him, he’s going to undermine America and even the world.”

During an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Brown was asked about Hurricane Florence rocking the East Coast and Trump denying climate change.

When asked for his response, Brown went on an unhinged diatribe and called the president a liar.

    “First, I want to say that it’s really extraordinary that the president can deny science like that, but he’s done so many other terr—what’s the word, I don’t even have an adjective. It’s bad, and how we counteract it is with a climate summit, with normal people respecting the truth, and communicating that with other normal people, and combating the President of the United States in what are lies, distortions, and quite frankly, bizarre behavior.”

Mitchell then mentioned that Trump pulled the U.S. from he Paris climate change agreement earlier this year, asking Brown if that will essentially lead to the end of the world.

Brown again took the bait from the left-wing host and called Trump an “enabler of climate negligence” and said the president is a “saboteur.”

    “Trump is an enabler. We often hear the term ‘enabler.’ He’s an enabler of climate negligence and climate avoidance. So that’s what’s bad about it. So we have to make sure that all these other countries, whether it’s Russia, or Poland, or South America, Brazil, whatever the heck it is, everybody’s gotta step up, and the President of the United States should be the cheerleader, the exemplar, and instead, he’s the saboteur.”

Mitchell rounded out the interview by giving Brown a third chance to attack Trump, asking him about conflicting reports from Puerto Rico about the death toll from last year’s hurricane.

    “Well, the problem is, we never had a president who was engaged in this kind of behavior. I mean he’s not telling the truth; he keeps changing his mind; he’s sabotaging the world order in many respects. So it’s unprecedented, it’s dangerous, and hopefully this election is going to send a strong message to the country; the Democrats will win and then Trump — well, something’s got to happen to this guy, because if we don’t get rid of him, he’s going to undermine America and even the world.”

Brown is correct that something is going to happen to Trump — he’s going to easily win re-election in 2020 because the Democratic Party continues to push far-left, radical, and dangerous policies that a majority of Americans do not support.

Brown’s comments are indicative of how scared the Left truly is of Trump; where they cannot offer better ideas or solutions, so they just threaten and smear him.

Brown’s comments are very troubling, and he should not be allowed to threaten the president of the United States without facing any reprimand.



Census Bureau: Hispanic Household Income Hits Record High

The median household income for U.S. households in which the
householder is Hispanic hit a record high of $50,486 in 2017, according to the Census Bureau’s annual income report, which was released last week.

“[W]e can confirm that real median household income was higher in 2017 than in any prior year for which we have data,” the Census Bureau told CNSNews.com in specific reference to Hispanic household income.

The $50,486 Hispanic median household income in 2017 (as reported in Table A-1 of the Census Bureau report) was an increase of $1,786—or 3.7 percent--from the Hispanic median household income in 2016, which was $48,700 in constant 2017 dollars.

In its report—“Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017”—the Census Bureau cautioned on making historical comparisons between the report’s overall median household income numbers for years before and after 2013 because of changes the Census Bureau made in its survey in 2014.

“Although 2017 [overall] median household income appears to be the highest median household income ever reported from the CPS ASEC, comparisons to estimates prior to 2013 must be made with caution as the income questions were redesigned in the 2014 CPS ASEC (for income in 2013),” said the report.

However, in response to an inquiry from CNSNews.com as to whether the Hispanic median household income for 2017 was in fact a record, the Census Bureau confirmed that it was.

When the Census Bureau redesigned the survey in 2014, it ran what it called a “split panel” test to determine how the redesign impacted the numbers.

“To better understand how the survey changes would affect income estimates, the 2014 CPS ASEC used a split-panel design,” the report said. “In the split-panel design, about 70 percent of the sample was randomly selected to receive the traditional income questions, which matched those administered prior to 2014. The other 30 percent of the sample received the redesigned questions.”

In response to CNSNews.com’s inquiry as to whether Hispanic median household income had set a record in 2017, the Census Bureau confirmed that Hispanic income did not come out higher because of the redesign and that, therefore, the 2017 Hispanic median household income number was in fact a record.

“For Hispanics, income was not higher in the redesign than in the traditional sample in our split panel test,” the Census Bureau said. “Because of this, we can confirm that real median household income was higher in 2017 than in any prior year for which we have data.”



Administration Sets Record-Low Refugee Admission Ceiling; Will Prioritize Asylum Applications of Those Already in the US

The Trump administration has proposed a refugee admission ceiling for fiscal year 2019 of 30,000 – which would be the lowest ceiling set by an administration since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980 – but is arguing that that number should be viewed in the context of broader humanitarian programs.

Specifically, the administration says it wants to prioritize helping displaced people closer to their home countries, and to focus also on addressing a backlog of more than 800,000 individuals already in the United States with pending asylum cases.

In the coming fiscal year, therefore, it proposes to admit up to 30,000 refugees but also process more than 280,000 asylum-seekers already in the U.S., Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the State Department on Monday.

The proposed 30,000 refugee admission ceiling compares to one of 45,000 in FY 2018, which was itself a record low in the almost four decades since the Refugee Act’s passage.

As of Monday – with just 13 days of the fiscal year to go – the actual number of admissions in FY 2018 stands at just 20,918, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

That is by far the lowest number of admissions since 1980: The next smallest number was in FY 2002, when 27,131 refugees were resettled (61 percent fewer than that year’s ceiling of 70,000 – a disparity attributed to security concerns after 9/11.)

In comments seen as an attempt to preempt anticipated criticism, Pompeo said the refugee admission ceiling should not be viewed in isolation. “Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of America’s commitment to vulnerable people around the world,” he said. “This would be wrong.”

Pompeo said other countries highlight their assistance both to refugees and asylum-seekers – and the U.S. should do the same.

“This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, leading to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense.”

“In consideration of both U.S. national security interests and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country.”

International law defines a refugee as someone who has fled his or her home country and is unable or unwilling to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.

An asylum-seeker is someone seeking international protection but whose claim has not been finalized. Not all asylum-seeker are recognized and resettled as refugees.

As Pompeo observed, other countries that take in sizeable numbers of displaced people usually cite both refugee and asylum seeker admissions.

For instance the European Union’s statistical agency Eurostat reports that the 28 member-states resettled just 23,925 refugees in total in calendar year 2017, but during the same period also made positive decisions on asylum applications for 538,120 individuals.

Pompeo said that since 2000, more than 1.5 million people have been admitted as refugees or granted asylum in the United States.

“Since 2001, the U.S. has permanently admitted 4.1 million total lawful permanent residents from refugee-producing nations.”

Hundreds of thousands of people had received temporary or permanent humanitarian protection under other immigration categories, such as victims of human trafficking and special immigrant juveniles.

The total U.S. humanitarian assistance worldwide in FY 2017 was more than $8 billion, “more than any other country.”

‘Defective’ vetting

Pompeo said the 30,000 refugee admission ceiling for the fiscal year starting October 1 “reflects our commitment to protect the most vulnerable around the world while prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of the American people, as President Trump has directed.”

He stressed the importance of security vetting for applicants, “to prevent the entry of those who might do harm to our country.”

Previous vetting procedures have been shown to be “defective,” he said, pointing to the admission this year of a foreign national who was later found to be a member of ISIS, along with others who had criminal backgrounds.

Pompeo said the more than 68 million people forcibly displaced worldwide were far more than could ever be resettled or granted asylum status in host countries each year.

It was critical to make it clear that U.S. support for the most vulnerable extends well beyond the U.S. immigration system.

He said the U.S. was maintaining its “enduring humanitarian commitments, by working to assist refugees and other displaced people as close to their home countries as possible, thereby increasing the number of displaced people who receive aid and protection.”

The U.S. will prioritize efforts to enable the safe and voluntary return of refugees to their countries of origin, “if and when conditions permit – a solution most refugees prefer”

“The best way to help most people is to promote burden-sharing with partners and allies, to work to end conflicts that drive displacement in the first place, and to target the application of foreign aid in a smarter way.”

Pompeo said the focus on helping refugees overseas also allows the U.S. to maximize its resources. “We can house, feed and provide medical care for hundreds of thousands more refugees closer to their homes, and do so more rapidly than we could possibly do here in the United States.”

He said the “improved refugee policy” of the Trump administration serves the U.S. national interest and expands its ability to help the needy around the world.

“We will continue to assist the world’s most vulnerable while never losing sight of our first duty – serving the American people.”

“We are, and continue to be, the most generous nation in the world.”



Leftists see only the bits they want to see


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

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


19 September, 2018

Angry old lady amps up the abuse of Trump: 'Our democracy is in crisis'

She sure is a sore loser.  Her attack is just character assassination of a man who is wildly popular with around half of the American population, combined with a selection of wildly misrepresented "facts".  She speaks, for instance of Trump's  “unspeakable cruelty” in the way he was processing illegal alien families. But she omits to note that Trump did not invent those procedures.  He inherited them from the Obama administration.  Is she accusing Obama of “unspeakable cruelty”?  Could be fun if so

And exactly who is attacking democracy?  It wouldn't be the people who refuse to accept as legitimate and proper the result of a properly conducted democratic election, would it?  It wouldn't be the collective sore losers of the Left, would it?

The whole screech is a vivid example of how little contact Leftists have with reality.  Virtually nothing she says is real

Hillary Clinton has unleashed a blazing attack on Donald Trump, accusing the man who beat her in 2016 in the race for the White House of cruelty, negligence, corruption, dishonesty, racism and malevolence that have combined to put democracy in America into crisis.

In an afterword to the new paperback edition of her book on her 2016 presidential election defeat, What Happened, Clinton makes her most excoriating takedown yet of Trump’s character and actions since he took office. The essay, published on Monday by the Atlantic, accuses the sitting president of undermining basic democratic values and positioning himself as a tyrant.

In unconstrained language, Clinton charges her former presidential rival with a raft of traits she suggests is anathema to the healthy workings of democracy. He has shown “unspeakable cruelty” over family separation at the Mexican border; “monstrous neglect” of Puerto Rico that led to almost 3,000 deaths; and of “breathtaking corruption” involving his administration’s conflicts of interest and ethics violations.

“Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track,” she writes, concluding that “right now, our democracy is in crisis … There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts – for now – by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege.”

More HERE 


At last: Trump orders Russia probe documents declassified

Let the fun begin!

President Trump on Monday ordered the declassification of FISA court documents and Justice Department text messages related to the Russia probe.

The House and Senate intelligence committees have been seeking the FISA documents, warrant applications that could shed light on how the FBI in 2016 justified spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign official.

He ordered the declassification of 19 pages of the application to the secret FISA court that approves surveillance on U.S. citizens, all FBI reports of interviews with Justice Department official Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation, and all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all FISA applications regarding Mr. Page.

Mr. Trump also directed the Department of Justice and FBI to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation from the key players in the genesis of the probe of Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin.

Those players include former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI official Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Mr. Ohr.



Breakdown: Obama Stutters, Mentions Self 79 Times at Rally

I’ve always been stunned that Donald Trump is the first president the media’s called a narcissist. Without opining on whether or not our 45th head of state is obsessed with himself, I can say with absolute certainty that our 44th president definitely was.

Barack Obama loves him some Barack Obama. We saw this numerous times during his presidency, including most odiously at a memorial service for five slain Dallas police officers which the president turned into an advertisement for himself.

The former president is back on the campaign trail, and he’s not missing any opportunities to talk about his favorite subject.

Take a speech in Cleveland, where the president mentioned himself repeatedly. He also had an odd habit of stuttering — something the American Mirror noticed when they put together a video of the president’s remarks.

Obama was in Ohio in support of Richard Cordray, the Democrats’ candidate for governor there, as well as lieutenant governor candidate Betty Sutton.

“Let, let, let, let, let me just say these, these are friends of mine,” Obama told the audience of Cordray and Sutton. “I admit I am biased.”

Well, okay, fair enough. Everyone is entitled to mention themselves once or twice during a speech, particularly if they’ve been president.

However, he kept on saying that they were both a “friend of mine” and that “I have worked with them.” Of Cordray, he noted that the candidate “had my back even when some of you couldn’t pronounce my name.”

Yep, we’re still going with that quip in 2018. I understand that Obama’s a dad, but that doesn’t give him a pass on constantly making culturally loaded dad jokes.

Hecklers, too, were about him: “I always miss having at least one heckler up in here,” he said. “I can never really hear what they’re saying, but I appreciate the exercise of free speech.”

And in the “truer words were never spoken” category: “I know that sometimes, when I was president, even when I was a candidate, folks would say, ‘Barack, you’re talking too long.’

‘You’re like too professorial, you’re explaining stuff too much,’” he said. I think that was the excuse they may have given him, but that probably wasn’t the reason that he was being called out for talking too long.

The real answer probably has to do with how often Obama likes to pontificate on himself. As the American Mirror pointed out about the stuttering Cleveland address, “Obama talked about himself 79 times during the roughly 40 minute speech, saying ‘I’ 66 times, ‘Me’ 5 times, ‘My’ 5 times, and ‘Mine’ 3 times.”

That sounds about right. During his big speech at the University of Illinois, he mentioned himself over 100 times during the 64-minute address. At least that time, he was accepting an award dedicated to him. This time he was actually campaigning for other candidates. When you’re doing that, it helps if the focus is on them. It also helps if you don’t stammer through it.



'No evidence' having high levels of bad cholesterol causes heart disease, claim 17 cardiologists as they call on doctors to 'abandon' statins

The great statin hoax is slowly becoming unglued

Researchers have warned statins - cholesterol-busting drugs - offer no protection to millions of people and doctors should 'abandon' them.

The findings add fuel to the ever-growing, controversial row over statins, as cardiologists continue to disagree on whether the cheap pills have any benefit.

Experts do agree that for people who already have a high heart risk - particularly those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke - statins are proven lifesavers, slashing the chance of a second attack.

High levels of LDL-C, known as bad cholesterol, has been considered a major cause of heart disease - the world's leading killer - for at least 50 years.

But the new study, based on data of around 1.3 million patients, suggests doling out statins as a main form of treatment for heart disease is of 'doubtful benefit

A team of 17 physicians from across the world discovered high LDL-C levels were unrelated to a higher risk of heart disease in the general population.

This also remained true for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic condition that causes them to have abnormal levels of LDL-C.

The study, published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, also found no link between high levels of LDL-C and atherosclerosis.

This is despite medical literature stating fatty deposits that clog arteries - known medically as atherosclerosis - are made up of cholesterol.

And heart attack patients were shown to have lower than normal cholesterol levels of LDL-C.

Professor Sherif Sultan, one of the authors, told The Irish Times the 'strongest finding' was elderly people with high levels of LDL-C live the longest.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP who works in Macclesfield and author of The Great Cholesterol Con, was one of the researchers involved.

The remaining scientists, who delved into the data of previous trials, hailed from the US, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, France and Japan.

Up to six million adults in Britain currently take statins to lower their cholesterol levels and thereby reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

But many doctors and patients are worried about their long-term harms and they have been linked to diabetes, muscular pain and memory loss.

Scores are are uneasy with what they describe as the 'overmedicalisation' of the middle-aged, which sees statins doled out 'just in case' patients have heart problems in later life.

Supporters on the other hand, including the health watchdog Nice, say the pills should be prescribed more widely to prevent thousands of early deaths.

An array of evidence has already shown statins to be very effective at preventing heart attacks and strokes in patients who have already had one.  

Writing in the journal, they wrote: 'We suggest clinicians should abandon the use of statins and PCSK-9 inhibitors.'

PCSK9 inhibitors are a relatively new class of cholesterol lowering treatments, which studies have shown are just as effective at cutting levels of LDL-C as statins.

Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist who wasn't involved in the study, told MailOnline the evidence is mounting against the use of statins. He said: 'Having reviewed the totality of the evidence, in my view the only people that should be offered statins are those with established heart disease risk.'

Dr Malhotra, an avid supporter of ditching statins and eating healthily, added that a 'very small minority of patients' with FH may also benefit from receiving statins.

He said: 'For everyone else, the tens of millions taking the drug worldwide who don't fall into these categories, they should know statins won't help them live one day longer.'

It comes after a major study in the British Medical Journal concluded last week that giving statins to elderly people in good health could be a waste of time.

The Spanish research of 47,000 over-75s found no evidence that statins make any difference to low-risk patients, despite health officials' attempts to get more people taking them.



What Should Conservatives Do About Silicon Valley?

Existing laws cover much of what's going on. All it takes is the will to enforce them.

There’s a huge debate going on about Silicon Valley on the right side of the political spectrum. Social media companies and other tech giants are clearly taking sides on political disputes — against conservative outlets. This has led to a few calls for government regulation of the tech giants in the name of protecting free speech.

On the one hand, Silicon Valley has become very powerful. Apple is worth more than $1 trillion in market cap, with Google not far behind. Facebook and Twitter have immense reach across the world. Apple or Google software is on nearly every smartphone. But conservatives have long supported the free market and are rightly suspicious of government regulation, especially when it comes to abusive enforcement.

But there are some lines that should be enforced. A free market requires competition, and both Apple and Google have already flexed their muscles in an anti-competitive direction. A year ago, Google banned Gab.ai, a competitor to Twitter that stood for free speech, on the grounds that it promoted hate speech. Apple had already done so in December 2016, citing those same grounds.

Thus, it may be a case of anti-competitive collusion. The exclusion of Gab.ai on the spurious grounds of “hate speech” goes further than Microsoft ever did in the “browser wars” of the 1990s, and that company had to fight the Clinton-era Justice Department to remain intact after it won a pretty fair competition over Netscape. Incidentally, Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, itself was passed by Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, over the years. Gab.ai is another case where the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department can and should step in.

In a similar vein, the November 2016 tape of a Google staff meeting raises legitimate questions about the company, as does Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s admission that conservatives don’t feel safe speaking out at his company.

Under Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code, an interactive computer service is immune from liability for information provided by other users. On the flip side of that, once a site starts blocking content or taking on any editorial role, it becomes liable for defamation claims. This is something that could be looked into as well — if the principles of a free and open debate won’t convince these companies to not censor conservative voices, perhaps the potential of legal liability for defamation that comes with losing Section 230 immunity will.

There is another avenue as well — one that may be unconventional, and given some free speech implications, more controversial. Social media companies proclaim they support free speech for all. But then some conservative groups, like Prager University on YouTube, are demonetized or censored for “hate speech.”

Meanwhile, as conservatives have their funds cut off for making conservative arguments, flagrant abuse against conservative figures is permitted or slowly rebuked. When CJ Pearson was called the N-word for standing up for American troops, Twitter took days to act, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch likewise put up with heinous abuse that went unpunished for days. That’s if the companies bother to act at all. The unequal application of abuse policies may warrant a closer look by the Federal Trade Commission for unfair or deceptive trade practices. Every business should be held to those laws.

Here’s the thing — we don’t need new regulations or laws to deal with Silicon Valley’s recent actions. Existing laws cover much of what’s going on. All it takes is the will to enforce them, not only to ensure even-handed application of company policies, but also to create the conditions for a fair competition for alternative viewpoints.



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

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


18 September, 2018

This economy is definitely not Obama’s recovery

By Stephen Moore

Trump better take advantage of Obama's underwhelming return
Barack Obama is trying to take credit for the booming economy under President Trump. “When you hear how great the economy is doing right now,” Obama said on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates a few days ago, “let’s just remember when this recovery started.”

By this logic, the Kingston Trio laid the groundwork for the Beatles.

But the contrast in economic performance between the two presidents is undeniable. Obama’s multitrillion-dollar spend-and-borrow policies produced 2 percent growth. In his final year, Obama handed off to Trump an economy that was limping at 1.6 percent.

After only 18 months in office, Trump has elevated growth to 3 percent on an annual rate and the latest projections are that the growth rate for the second and third quarter (which ends Sept. 30) will be over 4 percent. One might say all it took to get the economy really crackling was getting Obama out of office.

Obama is right that this has been a long recovery — beginning in June 2009. But the real economic boom started almost the day after the election in 2016 with the surge in small business, investor and consumer confidence.

No one on the left, least of all Obama, thought this was remotely possible.

Two years ago, Obama famously ridiculed Trump’s campaign promise of faster growth and a comeback in manufacturing jobs by saying this could only happen if Trump was waving “a magic wand.” Obama’s first chief economist, Larry Summers, proclaimed to the world that 2 percent was the best we could hope for. Other liberal economists were so disdainful of Trump’s tax cuts, deregulation and energy development that they predicted Trump would crash the world economy and the stock market.

It’s a little early to be declaring Trump’s policies a “miracle,” as Trump has boasted. All we can say is whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

And that Obama’s economic experiment of Keynesian economics on steroids was a profound disappointment. It began with the $830 billion stimulus plan, and then cash-for-clunkers, bailouts, ObamaCare, tax hikes on the rich, minimum-wage hikes and a wave of financial and economic regulations. All told, the national debt nearly doubled in eight years.

Meanwhile, the Obama recovery was remarkably flimsy. In 2015, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress found that compared to the eight previous post-recession events, “the Obama recovery was the weakest on record.”

The recovery was so shallow that had Obama merely achieved a normal pace of recovery, personal income in 2014 would have been $3,200 higher. If the economy had matched the Reagan trajectory, GDP in 2016 would have been almost $3 trillion larger (equivalent to the combined GDP of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania).

Even as measured by the left’s favorite metric, “economic fairness,” the policies failed. The index of income inequality rose nearly every year under Obama.

While Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington, DC, Wall Street and the energy states did spectacularly well (thanks to shale oil and gas), in the Rust Belt regions of the country — from upstate New York to Ohio and Wisconsin, West Virginia and Kentucky — family incomes remained flat at best. On the campaign trail, I often asked folks in small towns across the Midwest about the Obama recovery, and their response was: What recovery?

Trump didn’t just run against Hillary Clinton and her closet overflowing with scandals, but the meager Obama economy as well. He ran against the runaway costs of ObamaCare. He ran against the regulatory assault, the tax hikes, unpopular trade deals and climate-change fanaticism. He ran against hopelessness, against opioid addiction, the $10 trillion rise in the national debt and income stagnation.

One time during the campaign, Larry Kudlow, Steve Miller and I held an impromptu discussion with Trump about economic strategy. Miller summarized the game plan to Trump succinctly: “Donald, just look at all the things that Obama has done on the economy over the past eight years, and then do just the opposite.”

Trump has done pretty much just that — which explains why the Trump boom is an everyday reminder of the Obamanomics failure.



Trump To Test Emergency Alert System This Week And Some Are Already Freaking Out

I love this story

The batty members of The Resistance are putting on their tinfoil hats once again after it was reported that President Trump would be testing the new national emergency alert system this Thursday.

Any user of a modern cell phone is probably already familiar with the feature in which authorities are able to push through severe weather warnings as well as the AMBER Alerts that are sent out when a child goes missing and the new system which is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gives the president a way to communicate with the entire nation in a time of national emergency.

The system was authorized by Congress and implemented under Barack Obama but has never undergone a real national live test.

That test is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

All major wireless firms and more than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the new Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program that allows for presidential alerts, FEMA wrote in a Thursday statement.

“The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency,” FEMA said in a statement.

Compatible cell phones will receive a text message that reads “Presidential Alert” and “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The EAS is also used with radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers, the agency said.

The WEA system is already used to warn the public about missing children, dangerous weather and other vital information, FEMA said.

The national test of the presidential alerts will use the same tone and vibration associated with other WEA alerts such as tornado warnings or Amber Alerts.

It makes sense right? It should, at least to sane people whose frontal lobes haven’t been turned into mush by the insane paranoia and hysterical overreaction by many to a lost election.

The moonbat fever swamps are absolutely boiling over on Twitter

It will only get crazier as the big day approaches and the lunatics get more restive.



Almost Half of Venezuela’s Stores Close After Socialists Win Huge Min Wage Hike

The already-rocky Venezuelan economy is nearer to collapse after President Nicolás Maduro raised the nation’s minimum wage by 3,500 percent, triggering runaway inflation and mass closings of Venezuelan businesses.

Nearly 40 percent of all Venezuelan stores have closed, some forever, according the National Council of Commerce and Services of Venezuela. “It is a perfect storm,” said María Carolina Uzcátegui, president of the council, according to the Miami Herald. “These decisions are leading many business people to say, ‘No, I can’t do it any more.’”

She said government edicts require businesses to sell below cost while employee salaries are skyrocketing. “We have inspections, and they force us to sell at last month’s prices,” she said. “That takes money away from the business because of the hyperinflation, when you can’t even sell at yesterday’s prices because you lose money.”

She said arguing with the government is a one-way trip to prison.

“And anyone who protests against these measures runs the risk of going to jail, without the right to appeal, without the right to anything, simply because the official whose turn it was to inspect the store just felt like arresting you. He did it, and that’s all,” she said.

Inflation is nothing new to Venezuela. The August rate set a new national record as 225 percent, and the current estimate is that inflation for 2017 will hit a rate of 1 million percent, The Washington Post reported.

Ricardo Cusanno, vice president of Fedecamaras, the main business federation in Venezuela, called the government economic policies “the worst of all possible worlds.”

“Maduro raised the (minimum) salary, which was necessary, but announced a series of punitive measures that create no incentive for investment and no trust, and are set to decrease production.”

Maduro has promised to right the nation’s economy, but it keeps getting worse.

“I have never seen an economic plan fail so miserably so fast,” said Victor Maldonado, former director of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, who said over the past 20 years, 75 percent of the country’s private companies closed. “Of the 140,000 left, I’m afraid that we’ll count by thousands the ones that will close after these measures,” he said.

Economist Orlando Ochoa said the system conspires against small businesses.

“The government sector has the monopoly on imports, the currency market is dysfunctional and there’s hyperinflation,” said Ochoa. “So, if salaries are increased by decree, and the commercial and industrial sectors cannot sell their products because of these problems, and on top of that because of electricity blackouts, infrastructure problems and the loss of qualified personnel, which is leaving the country, then it’s easy to understand that many may prefer to close.”

Francisco Ibarra, director of the Econometrica company, said the wage increase was not a standalone action, but the straw that broke the backs of many companies.

“If you already have a demand that has been falling across all Venezuelan sectors, and you have this kind of increase in salary, and then you don’t have any way of adding these costs to the prices, and you also don’t have access to bank financing, and the company already was not generating significant profits, it’s obvious then that what’s happening is that the company is dying,” said Ibarra.

Venezuela’s crisis is so bad that people are abandoning their beloved pets. Unable to afford dog food, families are sending their pets to shelters or onto the street.

As the economy teeters, talk of military action is rife.  Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro on Friday said military action might be the only way to end Maduro’s socialist “dictatorship.”

“With respect to a military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro’s regime, I don’t think any option should be ruled out,” Almagro said, according to ABC.

“What Nicolas Maduro’s regime is perpetrating are crimes against humanity, the violation of the human rights and the suffering of people that is inducing an exodus. Diplomatic actions should be the first priority but we shouldn’t rule out any action.”



Cruz Reveals Why Texas Senate Race Is So Close – ‘The Far Left Have Lost Their Minds’

Sen. Ted Cruz is making the rounds in Texas to persuade voters to give him another term in the Senate and says that the people working hardest against him are not the ones with sense, but with dollars.

“We’ve got a race on our hands,” Cruz said, according to Fox News. “If you’re a wealthy liberal sitting in New York City or Massachusetts or San Francisco right now and you could defeat one Republican in the country, it’d be me, that’s why the money is flowing in here.”

In fact, Democrat candidate Beto O’Rourke just tapped New York City wallets for his campaign with a Wednesday fundraiser that charged $500 just to get in the door, CNBC reported.

Donations from outside of Texas are one reason O’Rourke has around $14 million to spend as the campaign winds down while Cruz has $9.3 million, Fox News reported.

Cruz has no illusions about what he is up against. “Despite the fact that he is hard, hard left, he’s the number one Democratic fundraiser in the country, and he is outraising our campaign substantially,” Cruz said.

“With the election of Donald Trump, the far left has lost their minds,” he continued. “The extreme left, they are energized, they’re angry and they have a lot of hatred for President Trump.”

Cruz noted that liberal gushing over O’Rourke never gets to what matters: the issues. “Their favorite adjective is Kennedyesque,” Cruz said. “They all talk about his hair and his teeth, they talk about no substance, nothing about his record, they don’t talk about his being open to abolishing ICE; they don’t talk about his wanting to impeach the president.”

The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Cruz leading O’Rourke 44.5 percent to 41.3 percent. All of the latest polls show Cruz leading, with margins that vary from one to six percentage points.

Although the race may be close, in one community there is no contest. The Reno City Council passed a resolution against kneeling during the national anthem and criticized O’Rourke for his support of anti-anthem protests by NFL players.

“The City Council has declared that it is disrespectful toward, and dishonors the sacrifice of our veterans, service members, and first responders of the United States of America to kneel during the National Anthem, a time during which all should stand to recognize and honor the sacrifice they have made to our country,” the resolution stated, according to a report from McClatchy DC.

“Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it,” O’Rourke said. “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place.” The Reno City Council labeled that perspective as “false.”

“The Reno City Council considers kneeling during the National Anthem of the United States of America not only un-American but to be one of the highest forms of disrespect anyone can show to the sacrifice and service of our country’s military members, veterans and first responders,” the resolution said.



EPIC FAIL: $52,000 Curtains In New York Times Hit Piece Were Bought By Obama Regime

The New York Times continues to show just how abysmal that “journalism” has become in the modern era with a production line of fake news, anonymously sourced hit pieces and outright smear campaigns.

Thursday’s bombshell tale about those $52,000 curtains in U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s apartment was all three rolled into one big smelly ball of BS from the “gray lady” that has gone from the nation’s “paper of record” to the toilet paper of record.

The original title of the article was “Nikki Haley’s View of New York is Priceless. Her Curtains? $52,701” and even though it was noted that the extravagant expense for the mechanized curtains was approved by the smug Obama regime which like the NYT believed there was no way that Hillary would lose the election, it was buried deep in the piece with the misleading headline fingering Haley.

The curtains were likely intended for Samantha Power who would have been a good bet to have retained her job had Mrs. Clinton not choked like a dog in the Rust Belt.

Hours after posting an online smear of Ambassador Nikki Haley, The New York Times on Friday afternoon corrected the article to make it clear she had nothing to do with the decision to spend $52,000 on mechanized curtains in her official New York residence. Hours of criticism had left the Gray Lady no other choice.



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

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


17 September, 2018

“The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist. We must take a lesson from Hitler”

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was the beginning of the Democrat 2020 primaries, and the winner was the Senate Democrat who yelled the worst possible thing.

That was Senator Cory Booker.

Unlike some Senate Dems, Booker didn’t just confine his attack to Brett Kavanaugh, a mild-mannered man widely beloved by both the Democrats and Republicans who worked with him, he went for broke.

The Founding Fathers were racist geniuses, Booker insisted. Their constitution was flawed. Originalism, interpreting the Constitution as it was written, rather than whatever social justice activist the Dems had managed to plant on the bench, is going to be racist and sexist, because its authors were deplorables.

“Native Americans were referred to as savages, women weren’t referred to at all, African Americans were referred to as fractions of human beings. As one civil-rights activist used to say ‘constitutu, constitu, I can only say three-fifths of the word,’” Booker bloviated.

Who is this “civil rights activist”? A violent racist who had called Adolf Hitler “the greatest white man”.

You can see why Booker might have hesitated a bit when using him to bolster his claim that the Founding Fathers of this country were flawed racist sexist men. Even though, unlike Booker’s civil rights hero, they didn’t admire Hitler or call for the mass murder of Jews.

Senator Cory Booker doesn’t yawn without first rehearsing it before three staff members and two consultants to extract the maximum amount of pathos from each fake gesture. He had been regularly delivering the same attack on the Constitution as a stump speech. You can find Senator Cory Booker bleating the same basic remarks last March at SXSW before a much friendlier lefty audience.

“Look, our founding documents are saturated?—?unfortunately?—?are scene with replete through them, these examples all those darker strains of human nature,” Booker held forth at SXSW. “Native Americans are referred to as savages, women aren’t referred to at all. Blacks are, you know Stokely Carmichael used to say, constitute constitute I can only say three fifths of the word.”

Booker appeared to have also quoted Carmichael in June of last year and again in July of this year.

There are examples going back several years, with Booker saying, “Stokely Carmichael said it best: we are the leaders we’ve been looking for.”

In a July interview this year, his Stokelyite attack on the Constitution was even harsher. “Yeah, if you read the Declaration of Independence now, you see the Native Americans referred to as “savages.” And women are clearly, by their omission, a second-class citizenry. Stokely Carmichael — I love how he used to always say, ‘Constitu-, constitu- — I can only say three-fifths of the word.’”

But the sneering line about the Constitution isn’t Stokely’s most famous quote.

Two others are way ahead of it: “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist we must take a lesson from Hitler” and “The only position for women in SNCC is prone."

Anti-Semitism has become socially acceptable among Democrats, but the party that sent in activists to scream that Brett Kavanaugh was a horrible sexist and a sexual harasser by association is okay with Stokely’s sexism and Booker’s admiration of him. The left’s standards, like its vision, are all double.

Stokely Carmichael, better known as Kwame Ture, was a leftist bigot who had called for racist violence.

Black Panther Mark Essex burst into a New Orleans hotel, shouting, “I want the whites!” He murdered a young honeymooning couple, hotel guests and staff members, and a number of police officers. Stokely Carmichael praised Essex, saying, “We should study and learn from the actions of Brother Essex. We should understand that Brother Essex carried our struggle to its next quantitative level, the level of science.”

Carmichael had also declared, “I’ve never admired a white man, but the greatest of them, to my mind, was Hitler.”

"Go home and get your guns," Carmichael had urged after Martin Luther King’s death, "When the white man comes he is coming to kill you. I don't want any black blood in the street.”

"We are preparing groups of urban guerrillas for our defense in the cities," he warned in Communist Cuba. "It is going to be a fight to the death."

Stokely Carmichael burned through the SNCC and moved on the Black Panthers, but his violent hatred of white people proved to be too much even for the black nationalist hate group. But Booker’s hero nurtured a particular hatred of Jews. And his anti-Semitic threats led to actual anti-Semitic attacks.

Nor did Carmichael have any objection to that.

“Zionist pigs have been harassing us everywhere,” he warned at the University of Maryland, “And when this anger rises, will snap our fingers and finish them off." It was 1990.

Senator Booker has repeatedly quoted a violent racist. At the Kavanaugh hearing, he cited an attack on the legitimacy of our founding documents from an advocate of a socialist black nationalist revolution through mass murder, a supporter of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi and assorted murderous dictators.

And yet there’s nothing extraordinary about it.

Carmichael’s anti-Semitism had been defended in the past by Rep. Keith Ellison, the number two man at the DNC and Dem nominee for Minnesota Attorney General. He was attended by Rep. Maxine Waters.

Americans are treated to non-stop lectures about racism from top lefties like Cory Booker. But they are the ones who are the most in need of those hectoring lectures about the evils of racism.

When former president Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton and Eric Holder, a top DOJ official in both administrations, have been caught hanging around with Farrakhan, there’s a racism problem.

When Senator Booker casually quotes a violent anti-Semitic racist, there’s a serious racism problem.

It’s a problem of black racism. And until it’s taken seriously, there are no other conversations about racism worth having. When the top figures in the Democrat party are okay with anti-Semitism and racism, then their political faction and its media apparatus has no right to lecture on racism.

In October 2016, Booker tweeted a photo commemorating Farrakhan's Million Man March. "May the unity and spirit of the march continue to live on," he wrote, over a photo of a marcher brandishing a poster that included Louis Farrakhan. No complex interpretation of hand gestures is needed here.

Farrakhan, like Stokely Carmichael, is a racist and anti-Semite who admires Hitler. And he’s a pal of presidents and politicians. Including the men who lecture us on how racist the Founding Fathers were.

There is a deep racist and anti-Semitic disease in the leadership of the Democrats. As Senator Cory Booker brings his hatred for the Jewish State to the Senate, he should be asked whether he agrees with his hero, “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist we must take a lesson from Hitler”.



Taco Bell employee fired for refusing to serve English-speaking customer

America's future?

A Spanish-speaking Taco Bell employee in Florida was let go by the fast food chain after a video circulating on social media this week showed her refusing to serve an English-speaking customer.

The video shows the employee at the restaurant’s Hialeah location appearing to become annoyed when customer Alexandria Montgomery tried placing her order in English, the Miami Herald reported.

After getting nowhere, Montgomery asks to speak with a manager.

The employee, who identifies herself in the video as Luisa, replies in Spanish: “She is in her house sleeping,” in a dismissive tone before saying “Honey, I have a car behind you," and closing the window.

She then threatens to call the police. “Can you move, please? I have an order behind you," she says. “There is no one who speaks English. This is Hialeah, I’m sorry.” Hialeah is located north of Miami International Airport and is predominantly Latino.

“I’m trying to order and she’s telling me I can’t order because she doesn’t speak English. Who’s wrong?,” Montgomery responded.

The video shows two other Taco Bell employees coming to the drive-thru window, but neither helps Montgomery place her order.

The customer ultimately leaves without making a purchase. No other employees in the restaurant at the time spoke English, the employee said.

“This incident happened Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m.,” Montgomery told El Nuevo Herald. “I contacted the manager and after explaining to her what happened all she did was apologize and say 'thank you,' and the call was disconnected.”

In a statement, Taco Bell said, “This individual no longer works for the brand.” A spokesperson told the EL Nuevo Herald that “this does not meet our customer service expectations” and “We have worked quickly to resolve with the customer to ensure this doesn’t happen again

Montgomery’s Facebook post garnered over 4,000 comments as of Friday. Most were in support of her.

“Hialeah is still part of Florida and, as far as I remember, correct me if I’m wrong, Florida is part of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, it’s a country where English is the language we speak. This is a shame for the Hispanic / Latino community," commented a Facebook user.

I’m sorry here in America we speak English! You can speak any kind of language you want but if you want to live here, I’d expect you to at least learn our language,” another wrote.

According to the 2010 census, around 89 percent of Hialeah residents speak Spanish as their first or second language and more than 94 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino.



It’s against Facebook’s “community standards” to try to stop Jihadist attacks on Americans

Facebook's Unholy Alliance masters are, without doubt, accelerating their totalitarian suffocation of free thought and expression. it is no surprise, therefore, that Frontpage's editor, and host of The Glazov Gang, was suspended from Facebook for 30 days yesterday, on September 11, after posting his article, 9 Steps to Successfully Counter Jihad. Glazov believed that the article was more relevant and urgent than ever due to the skyrocketing Jihadist stabbings in Europe -- and to the 17th anniversary of 9/11 that was approaching the next day.

But it appears that daring to give suggestions on how our civilization can stop Jihadist attacks and another 9/11 is against Facebook’s ‘community standards’. Frontpage's editor posted a screenshot of the reprimand that Facebook sent him and then tweeted about it. (See Below).

The article itself outlined nine ways in which Jihad can best be countered. The steps include:

1. Label the Enemy and Make a Threat Assessment, 3. Stop “Partnering” With Muslim Brotherhood Front Groups, and 5. Launch Our Own Counter-propaganda Campaign.”

Glazov's advice also involves the promotion of supporting moderate Muslims -- a move that is, clearly, horrifying to Facebook's masters and therefore also violates their "community standards."

No doubt, Glazov's consistent campaigning on behalf of Muslim women and girls in his efforts to protect them from FGM, Honor Killings and other Sharia barbarities, has gained him the anger and hatred of Facebook's guardians -- who are clearly on the side of the Sharia enforcers and oppressors of Muslim women and girls.

Glazov is no stranger to censorship on social media -- especially of the insane variety. In April earlier this year, he was suspended from Facebook for posting screenshots of a Muslim's threat to him on the platform.

Then, in May, his Twitter account was temporarily suspended and he was forced to delete tweets he posted which directly quoted Islamic religious texts. His account was suspended for violating Twitter’s rules relating to “hateful conduct.”

It is "hateful conduct", apparently, to reference what Islamic texts themselves say. Indeed,  Frontpage's editor had simply referred to Sahih Bukhari’s texts discussing Mohammed’s marriage to Aisha when she was six years old (7.62.88) and to Qur'anic Suras that mandate the Hijab for women (24:31; 33:59) and sanction sexual slavery (4:3; 33:50).

Glazov has also attempted to write to Facebook to ask what it is specifically that violates Facebook's "community standards" when a person gives advice on how to best defend American lives from Jihad. But when he tries to send his inquiry, a Facebook announcement appears telling him that his "request" cannot be processed. It appears, therefore, that when you are languishing in the Facebook Gulag, not only are you imprisoned without understanding why, but there is also no way and no one to ask about your fate.

Islamic blasphemy laws are here -- and coming to a neighborhood near you.



Trudeau wants to change Canadian laws to accommodate Muslim crimes

“This fall the Liberals are bringing forward Bill C75, which will change the range of penalties for a long list of serious crimes in Canada.” The three that are enumerated here all involve Islam: someone who abducts a 13-year-old girl will not face prison. This will give free rein to Muslim rape gangs. So will the relaxation of penalties for human trafficking. Then there will also be relaxed penalties for participating in a terrorist group. Trudeau seems to be paving the way for making Canada into a sharia state. These are the first steps toward accepting Islamic law.

“Dangerous Changes Coming to our Justice System,” by Ted Falk, MySteinbach, September 9, 2018 (thanks to Armaros):

Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Government want to change our criminal justice system again. This latest move shows just how soft on crime this government really is.

This fall the Liberals are bringing forward Bill C75, which will change the range of penalties for a long list of serious crimes in Canada.

For example, let’s say someone is convicted of abducting a 13 year old girl? Once he’s convicted, straight to prison right? Not necessarily. Under Justin Trudeau’s new proposed sentencing changes, a judge will now be allowed to consider the sentence as a summary conviction, instead of an indictable offence.

Summary conviction means that rather than serving jail time, a simple fine could be imposed. If that happens, the offender is right back out on the streets.

Or, let’s say someone is convicted of benefiting from human trafficking? Surely that person will go to prison, right? Again, not necessarily under this new legislation. A fine would now be an option for this offence.

A third example – A person is convicted of participating in a terrorist group. Just like the first two examples, I think everyone can agree that jail time is appropriate. However, if the new Liberal legislation is passed, judges again will have the ability to impose a fine on these offenders as well….



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

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


15 September, 2018

All people who shout "Allahu Akbar" while attacking people are mentally ill

That tired old coverup is trotted out yet again below to explain the latest attack.  "No, no, it's not terrorism" we are expected to believe.  They are probably just Presbyterians having a bad day, I suppose. The fact remains however that they are Islamically-motivated attacks and it is about time these puerile attempts to pretend otherwise were abandoned. There have been three attacks in France this week by men described by police as mentally disturbed

A motorist injured two people when he drove into a crowd shouting “Allahu akbar” in the southern French city of Nîmes in the early hours of this morning.

The man was overpowered by members of the public and arrested after his white Peugeot hit security barriers. He had aimed at a café terrace at 1am.

The barriers were in place to prevent such attacks and prevented greater casualties, local security officers said. The two people injured were not in serious condition.

Local prosecutors said that the man was suffering from “relative mental confusion” and had been taken to hospital. The anti-terrorism police were not involved in the investigation at this stage, they said. The man was not known to police for suspected radicalisation.



TVA: Deception, Theft, and the Golden Rule
Oftentimes in life, the values we claim to hold are tested in ways that may not always be apparent. But when those tests come, it may reveal that the values we lay claim to are often not the ones we put into practice. (Sadly, I know this to be true in my life all too often, when I’m honest enough to acknowledge it.)

This truth has been playing out in our community for the last couple weeks in a way that perhaps you’ve never fully considered. The issue at hand is an effort by TVA to “appropriate” private land for its “greater” use. For those who are not familiar, TVA is a nearly 90-year-old federal agency that provides electricity to nine million customers across seven states and operates annually with a multibillion-dollar budget.

The controversy involves TVA seeking to extend an electrical service line across the land of a personal friend and local businessman, Greg Vital. Amongst Greg’s many business holdings is farmland in Georgetown, Tennessee, which is home to his buffalo operation.

What is unknown by many is the fact that TVA purchased a parcel of land over a year ago. TVA’s plan at the time targeted Mr. Vital’s property as the route to extend its power lines to reach its newly purchased parcel. But only in the last couple weeks did TVA finally inform the public, including Mr. Vital, of its plans to appropriate his land for its proposed project.

If ever there was a David vs. Goliath battle, this is it.

At a public meeting this last week, I had the opportunity to meet with several TVA representatives to ask questions as well as express my objections to the manner in which they had contrived their plans. While the TVA reps were pleasant, it was clear that they were less than forthcoming with some of their answers.

The concept of eminent domain is one that most Americans are familiar with, but it’s likely the majority of us have seldom been confronted with such a threat. To have an entity that is all-powerful, both economically and politically, confront the little guy, simply because he owns something it wants, is an intimidating and often overwhelming struggle. But in such battles, Goliath is typically the victor and David more often than not walks away with a few stones in his pocket.

Most of us know the Golden Rule, and we would likely claim it as a guiding force in our lives.

“Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”

But there is sadly another rule that involves gold as well. It’s this one:

“He who has the gold, rules.”

These two “Golden Rules” are clashing head-to-head in the TVA controversy at hand.

Back to the meeting this last week. As I was pressing the TVA folks about their proposed project, the Golden Rule, as taught by Jesus, popped into my mind. So I asked them a simple question: “Are you a Christian?”

They replied “Yes.”

I then asked them if they believed in the Golden Rule as taught by Jesus, which teaches to treat others the way they wanted to be treated.

“Yes” was again their answer.

So I then asked, “Well, if you believe in the Golden Rule, does it only apply in your personal life? Or do you also believe it is a principle we should practice in our professional lives as well? Would you want someone to treat you the way you are proposing to treat Mr. Vital?”

Silence met my answer. I don’t know if the silence was because they truly did not know the answer, or if it was the reality that the rule they claimed to embrace was being violated by the agency for which they worked.

As I pressed them further, I asked them if they would ever consider going onto their neighbor’s land with the intent of taking a portion of his land for their own personal use, particularly if that neighbor objected. Their answer was an obvious “NO,” and it illustrated how at odds their personal beliefs were with the TVA plan they were supporting and leading.

It would be easy to blame this controversy on a multi-lettered government agency. But the truth is government agencies are made up of individuals. Each individual has his or her own set of values. If our values are deeply rooted, then they should surface in every area of our lives. So when we see the strategy of “appropriating” the property of others via eminent domain (another word for theft), and then that strategy is hidden for over a year (another word for deception), one must wonder what values drive the TVA employees who are overseeing and approving of such strategies. Can they profess their personal dedication to the Golden Rule, integrity, and transparency, while ignoring or contradicting those values professionally?

There’s a story in the Old Testament that deals with eminent domain and it involves King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. This husband and wife pair were two evil peas in a pod and they regularly defied God and His values throughout their lives. One day Ahab wanted to purchase a plot of land from a local farmer. But the man did not want to sell it. So Ahab’s wife used the most extreme kind of eminent domain. Jezebel had the farmer killed and then gave his land to her husband, King Ahab. Ahab got what he wanted while the citizen not only lost his land but also his life. But that very day God pronounced a fateful judgement on both Ahab and Jezebel. (Read I Kings 21.)

Of course, no one is accusing TVA of threatening an American citizen with loss of life. But there is no question that TVA is conniving to take the personal property of an American citizen.

America’s forefathers each pledged their “lives, fortunes and sacred honor” to defend the values of liberty and personal property. When a government agency uses eminent domain, secrecy, and deception to secure private land from an unwilling party, there is no greater threat to the values for which our founding fathers fought.

I’ve often heard it said by critics of biblical conservatives that they should check their values at the doors when they leave their church or personal residence. But this debacle at TVA should teach us otherwise. If we claim certain values are deeply rooted convictions, then they should flow over into every area of our lives. Otherwise these values are merely preferences and have little affect in guiding our behavior in all scenarios.

So time will tell which Golden Rule prevails in the “TVA vs. Vital” matter. Will it be the rule taught by Jesus, or the one too many of the elite of our world love to impose on their neighbors — the power of force and intimidation to gain what the one with the gold desires?



‘Socialist’ Ocasio-Cortez Wears $3,500 Outfit For Embarrassing Photo With Construction Workers

Leaders  in socialist countries always live high on the hog while everybody else struggles to get by

Socialists claim to want the everybody to get everything, but only after they get what they want first.

New York Democratic candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claims to be “for the people,” yet the 29-year-old socialist recently posed for a photo with construction workers while wearing a $3,500 outfit.

In a photo shoot for Interview Magazine, Ocasio-Cortez was pictured wearing a $1,990 Gabriela Hearst blazer, Gabriela Hearst pants that cost $890,  and a pair of fancy Manolo Blahnik shoes that run for $625.

Wow, that’s some expensive taste for a socialist.

The story scorched across Reddit, where a slew of users unloaded on the socialist for being a complete hypocrite. Here are a few responses from Reddit users:

“I’ve never met a socialist who had the faintest idea of redistributing a penny of their own money. They’re all about taking all the time.”

“As a barmaid she took all $500 of the tips after a holiday night at the bar, stiffing the waitresses with only $50. She is only a socialist if she can take as much as she wants and leave the scraps for everyone else.”

“No, she’s a real socialist. This is what socialism is. You tell the people that they deserve more, and those stinky ‘rich’ people aren’t paying their fair share. Then you join the ranks of the elite, bu[y] expensive clothes, lake houses, Audis, etc., and you’re set. This is socialism. This is literally what it is.”

Friday’s catastrophically embarrassing photo and outfit combo is hardly the first time the socialist candidate has come under fire for bizarre comments and controversial actions.

Last month, she was excoriated online for accusing Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro of being sexist and “catcalling” her when he offered to donate $10,000 to her campaign or a charity if she debated him.

Prior to that, she claimed the Democratic Party deserves credit for the 1969 lunar landing. At that time, President Richard Nixon was in office, and he was a Republican.

Before that, she randomly argued that her “Medicare For All” idea — which studies show will cost $218 trillion over 30 years — would be a great idea of America.

Last month, she claimed to be a “girl from the Bronx,” but was exposed for growing up in a wealthy New York City suburb.

In a previous interview, she stuttered herself into embarrassment on ABC’s “The View” when asked to explain the difference between socialism and being a Democrat. She had nothing.

Her inability to answer basic questions about policy warrants scrutiny, as the ideas she wants to implement would literally bankrupt America over time. She shouldn’t make so many embarrassing comments if she doesn’t want to be criticized.

And now, the socialist is wearing $3,500 outfits and smiling for the camera as if she is better than everyone else.



The Dalai Lama: REFUGEES Should Return ‘To Their Homelands’

During a press conference in Sweden The Dalai Lama said: ““Europe belongs to the Europeans”, maintaining that refugees should be repatriated so they can rebuild their homelands.

“Receive them, help them, educate them… but ultimately they should develop their own country,” said the 83-year-old Tibetan.

“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he added, stressing that countries like Germany and Sweden should make clear that refugees must “return to their homelands and rebuild them”.

He was Visiting the country to celebrate the 80th anniversary of its international anti-poverty efforts just three days after Sweden’s general election in which the Sweden Democrats — a party known for its opposition to mass migration — gained a record share of the vote.

Breitbart Reported:

Speaking in the multicultural city of Malmö, where nearly half of residents are of foreign background, with Iraqis making up the largest single group, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism said Sweden is seen as “a peaceful, generally prosperous country” with a relatively small gap between rich and poor.

“Spontaneously”, reports Norrköpings Tidningar, the Dalai Lama then “moved on to talk about one of the biggest issues in the Swedish election — the reception of refugees”.

Noting that a large number of immigrants have settled in Europe from the Middle East and elsewhere, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning spiritual leader said it was good for nations to help “a refugee really facing danger against their life”.

“Receive them, help them, educate them… but ultimately they should develop their own country,” said the 83-year-old Tibetan.

“I think Europe belongs to the Europeans,” he added, stressing that countries like Germany and Sweden should make clear that refugees must “return to their homelands and rebuild them”.

The Dalai’s comments are not the first time the Buddhist icon has commented on migration politics in Europe, previously emphasising the importance of maintaining the continent as a homeland for its native people’s “from a moral point of view too.”


UPDATE:  Some on the Left are now calling the Dalai "Far Right" -- showing how rigid and super-simplistic their minds are.  Quite childish, in fact


A Federal Court Just Limited Your First Amendment Right to Freely Associate

The 9th circus again

Should you be forced to disclose your charitable donations to the government? Is it an invasion of your privacy and a violation of your First Amendment rights if the government requires nonprofit membership organizations that you join and contribute to—such as the NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Right to Life Committee, or Americans for Prosperity—to send your name to the government?

Unfortunately, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sees nothing wrong with such invasive mandates in a dubious decision that threatens the ability of Americans to support the causes and organizations they believe in that are an integral part of how our democracy works.

On Sept. 11, in Americans for Prosperity v. Becerra, the 9th Circuit threw out an injunction issued by a district court and reinstated a California law that requires nonprofit organizations soliciting donations in the state to disclose to the state attorney general all of their members who have donated more than $5,000—regardless of whether they are even residents of California.

The plaintiffs, Americans for Prosperity Foundation and the Thomas More Law Center, were both found in violation of California’s mandatory disclosure provision.

Many have questioned the right of the IRS to ask for such donor information, since it is not needed for tax purposes. In fact, the Trump administration has recognized that, and in July, the IRS announced that it will no longer require many nonprofits to file Schedule B forms.

Would you donate to a nonprofit whose donors are reviewed by California’s attorney general, especially an extreme partisan such as Harris, now a Democratic senator from California, or current state Attorney General Xavier Becerra?

Would you donate to a nonprofit if your name could potentially be released to the public, making you subject to harassment, intimidation, and potential economic harm through your job or business?

This was a bad decision by the 9th Circuit that hopefully will be appealed and overturned.

More HERE 


Obama wisdom


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

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


14 September, 2018

George W. Bush Decides To Help Save The Senate, House

Notoriously silent since leaving office, W. dipped his toe back in the political arena as his brother, former Florida Governor Jeb! Bush ran for the 2016 GOP nomination for the presidential race. He went on the record admitting that he left the top race on the 2016 general election ballot blank and he made a veiled reference to Trump in a 2017 speech. Now, however, as top Republicans get a bit edgy about the impending (maybe) blue tsunami or wave or ripple, Bush is hitting the campaign trail to raise some money.

“While he prefers to consider himself retired from politics, President Bush recognizes how important it is to keep the Senate and decided to help a few key candidates,” said Freddy Ford, a Bush spokesman.

This morning he did a closed-door event for Rep. Will Hurd who is in a district that swings back and forth between parties. Trump lost Hurd’s district in the 2016 election. Then Friday Bush heads to Florida for two events benefitting Governor Rick Scott now running against Democrat Senator Bill Nelson. Next week he will be in Fort Worth for North Dakota candidate Kevin Cramer, challenging current Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp. And the last event announced is in Dallas for Texas Rep. Pete Sessions.

The district Sessions represents is the one in which Bush lives and also home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. It is a race that the Democrats had in their sights when the national party originally listed seven or so districts for flipping in 2018.

George W. Bush has drawn criticism among Texas Republicans since leaving office and essentially turning his back on Republicans trying to change course from the eight disastrous years of Barack Obama. While it is admirable for former presidents to remain on the sidelines and not criticize the current president – as Barack Obama did last weekend – it is quite another matter when he admits not supporting the party’s nominee for President. In this case, Trump won and Jeb! flamed out very early in the primary process. The Bushes, like many of us (yes, especially me) didn’t understand the full extent of the dissatisfaction most Americans felt towards standard candidates from both parties. The voters were looking for something completely different and that is why both Trump and Bernie Sanders rose in popularity. Yes, Bernie is a career politician but he was able to capture the imagination of the new direction of the Democrat Party as it lurches towards socialist dreams.



Brent Bozell: Corrupt Democrats Are Not 'News'

When seeking to demonstrate the degree to which the "objective" news media act like Democratic partisans, the best place to start is scandals, as in "Have you heard all about the latest Republican scandal?" versus "What Democrat scandal?"

On Aug. 8, Republican congressman Chris Collins of the Buffalo, New York, suburbs was indicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI.  ABC, CBS and NBC played this story to the hilt, with 18 minutes and 24 seconds of coverage in just the first 24 hours, according to the Media Research Center. CBS devoted the most coverage, pounding away for 7 minutes and 6 seconds. ABC came in second, offering 5 minutes and 41 seconds, and NBC was right behind, with 5 minutes and 37 seconds.

On Aug. 21, prosecutors indicted California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter on charges of wire fraud and campaign finance violations. The morning and evening newscasts on ABC and CBS spent a total of 4 minutes and 44 seconds covering the story in the first 36 hours. In contrast with Collins, Hunter was "lucky" that there was breaking anti-Trump news — the conviction of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea of former longtime Trump confidante and lawyer Michael Cohen to charges of campaign finance violations.

It thrilled the networks that these two men, Collins and Hunter, were the first congressional endorsers of Donald Trump for president. That multiplied the "newsworthiness" for them.

Now wait a minute! Why, that's such a loaded, unsubstantiated conclusion!

Except it isn't. Look what happens when a Democrat is indicted. And tried. And convicted. And sentenced.

These very same three networks, these champions of public integrity, were bored to tears by the indictment and trial of former Democratic Congressman Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia. During the year and a half between his 2015 indictment and 2016 conviction and sentencing for misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening programs offered a measly 68 seconds of "news."

In other words: Collins received 16 times as much coverage as Fattah in just one day. But wait. It gets worse.

There's former Rep. Corrine Brown of Florida, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2016 for using an alleged children's charity called One Door for Education as a personal slush fund for herself and several aides. She used it for more than $300,000 in personal expenses, including tickets for NFL games and a luxury box for a Beyonce concert. "Brazen barely describes it," the judge, Timothy Corrigan, said of Brown's sham charity. Never heard of her? There's a reason.

Network coverage: Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Both Fattah and Brown were members of the Congressional Black Caucus and were defeated in 2016 primaries by other black Democrats after the national whisper of their indictments. Both had been in Congress for two decades and faced no serious general-election opposition for most of that time.

There are other House Republican scandals the networks have noticed since Fattah and Brown. On Dec. 13, 2016, NBC's "Today" featured a nearly two-minute-long report on former GOP congressman Aaron Schock's arraignment on corruption charges in federal court.

Even after they leave office, Republicans garner more attention than incumbent Democrats.

On Oct. 5, 2017, when pro-life Republican Congressman Tim Murphy from Pennsylvania resigned after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported he had urged his mistress to get an abortion (she wasn't actually pregnant), all three broadcast evening shows ran reports on it. It added up to more than 6 1/2 minutes of coverage in the morning and evening, and almost 5 minutes of it aired on NBC.

Think of this, and then feel free to laugh at NBC's Chuck Todd, who proclaimed on Sunday's "Meet the Press" that charges of a liberal bias in the media are an old Roger Ailes tactic "not based in much fact."



Kavanaugh hearing antics showed Dems’ contempt of Congress

Democrats like to pillory President Trump for destroying American institutions and breaking the norms of conduct. Yet, during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Democrats blatantly and flippantly violated Senate norms, rules and traditions — and inflicted in the process considerable damage on the institution.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) interrupted the very first sentence of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) opening statement. Protesters constantly interrupted questions asked by senators of both parties, as well as Kavanaugh’s answers; they were challenged only by Republican senators. But even in this chaotic atmosphere, Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) decision to violate the committee’s confidentiality agreement with the executive branch, pursuant to which the committee received documents that otherwise would have been withheld, was particularly egregious.

On Wednesday night, Booker asked Kavanaugh about an email exchange dating to the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. He quoted a committee confidential document — that is, a document that no senator had the authority to make public, and which Kavanaugh did not have in front of him.

Early Thursday, to ensure that  Kavanaugh and the American public would be able to see the emails for themselves, Grassley worked with the Department of Justice and former President George W. Bush’s attorney to release several committee confidential documents, including the one Booker had quoted. They were taken off the “committee confidential” roster at 4 a.m.

Despite the accommodation extended to him by Grassley and the Trump administration, Booker proceeded to engage in a display of remarkable grandstanding. On Thursday morning, he announced he would release the documents marked committee confidential. “This is about the closest I’ll ever have in my life to an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment,” he said — even though the documents had already been released.

Booker’s performance is stunning, in large part because he could have had the emails released well in advance of the hearing. As Grassley often made clear, senators were given the opportunity to request the public release of documents that were initially marked committee confidential, but only Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) did so. It seems that Booker decided to put his presidential ambitions ahead of Senate protocol and transparency.

Booker’s flouting of committee confidential protocol is more than a violation of the Senate rules. What he did is also truly destructive for the legitimacy of the Senate itself, given the fact that the documents at issue were provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee based on an assurance to the executive that they would be treated in accordance with certain procedures. Given this precedent, this administration and its successors will be much more reluctant to provide documents to the Senate based upon assurances that they will remain confidential, thereby impairing the Senate’s oversight and legislative functions.

All of this underscores the low esteem in which the Senate Democrats hold their own institution. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the email string that precipitated all of this sound and fury does not contain anything particularly dramatic or support what Booker implied: rather than seeming like someone who approved of racial profiling, even in the tense post-9/11 days, Kavanaugh makes clear that he “favor[s] effective security measures that are race-neutral.”

In marked contrast to the poor behavior of some senators, the nominee behaved with remarkable patience and thoughtfulness. Kavanaugh answered questions fully, effectively and fairly, while showing himself to be a fair and impartial judge. He declined to answer questions about cases that might come before the court and he avoided being brought into current political debates; doing either of those things would have undermined his appearance of impartiality. In so doing, he followed what is known as the Ginsburg Standard.

As Andrew Grossman and I recently argued in The Wall Street Journal, all judicial nominees must follow the rule, invoked by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation hearing in 1993: “A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecasts, no hints, for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case — it would display disdain for the entire judicial process.” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) once called this approach a “grand tradition,” and Kavanaugh upheld it by declining to answer questions about issues that might come before him, including abortion.

Meanwhile, Harris sought to pull Kavanagh into a political discussion of last year’s Charlottesville, Va., riots, and attempted to probe his view of how President Trump handled the situation. Kavanaugh responded, “I am not here to assess comments made in the political arena, because the risk is I'll be drawn into the political arena.” With this answer, he again echoed Ginsburg, who refrained from answering political questions that were “not relevant to the job for which you are considering me, which is the job of a judge.”

Booker’s action has injured the Senate as an institution and merits an appropriate institutional response. Indeed, only the Senate has the constitutional authority to deal with this matter and, with this power, comes responsibility. Under Supreme Court precedent, Gravel v. United States (1972), Booker’s actions were clearly covered by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause. Gravel, which involved the senator who made public during a committee hearing the top secret “Pentagon Papers,” teaches that senators are not subject to executive branch investigative or prosecutorial action in these circumstances, leaving the Senate as the only entity that is empowered to take any disciplinary action.

Whatever the nature of Booker’s action or his justification for it might be, the Senate is entitled to censure him, and that censure itself is immune from judicial review, as the D.C. Circuit made clear in Rangel v. Boehner (2015). There, a House member challenged his censure, and the court ruled that the judiciary had no power to inquire into congressional disciplinary actions because of the immunity conferred by the Speech and Debate Clause.

Kavanaugh showed respect for the Senate, the judiciary and the hearing itself. The same cannot be said for many of the senators asking him questions.



Construction of California’s Stonehenge Costing $3.1 Million Per Day

Historian Victor Davis Hanson coined a great nickname for California’s Bullet Train construction project, calling it “California’s Stonehenge.” The project is proving to be a very costly monument to the ego of state politicians.

How costly? California’s high-speed rail project is back in the news thanks to the Los Angeles Times‘ Ralph Vartabedian’s reporting on the ever-escalating cost of the troubled project, where the construction bills are now topping $3.1 million per day:

The California bullet train project has cost state taxpayers an average $3.1 million a day over the last year—a construction spending rate higher than that for the Bay Bridge, Boston’s Big Dig or any U.S. transportation project in recent history.

But still it’s not enough, planners say. Yikes! How much would be enough for the planners?

In order to hit its 2033 deadline and $77-billion budget, the California High Speed Rail Authority will have to increase daily spending by up to nine times over the next four years or risk putting the already-delayed system further behind.

If that seems crazy, that’s because it is. At least, according to some professional civil engineers.

“That burn rate is ludicrous,” said civil engineer James Moore, director of USC’s transportation engineering program. “It is so far outside standard experience that it doesn’t make sense to assume it will occur.”

I would never doubt the ability of politicians determined to spend money at rates that have never before been achieved for an infrastructure project. Right now, California is trying to build the easiest part of its already-scaled back high-speed rail system, over flat land with relatively few obstacles, and it is costing California’s taxpayers over $3.1 million per day. Just imagine how big the daily bills will become once they get to the modestly difficult parts of the construction, or to the parts that will be technically challenging.

But if they cannot, all they would need is to further delay the completion date of California’s bullet train project beyond the 13 years that it has already been delayed. Or cut back the amount of track they will build even more than the 123 miles that they’ve already subtracted from the original plan in transforming it into the current scheme.

Or both. No matter what, until the project is permanently canceled, the one thing that can be guaranteed is that its cost will grow even higher than the $77 billion it is slated to cost California taxpayers today.



Democrat "generosity"


Stalin is alive and well in Britain

Hate-filled British Labour Party heavyweight John McDonnell incites harassment of Tory MPs. "I want to be in a position where no Tory MP can show their face in public without being threatened with direct action. They are social criminals & we will try them for their crimes."


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

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


13 September, 2018

Only dummies use drugs

Forgive the over-simplified heading above.  I have clearly been reading too much journalism. What the article below shows is that illegal drug use is greatest in people who did poorly at school. Sadly, the authors are better at using complicated statistics than they are at thinking.  The BIG determinant of academic achievement is IQ, and yet they do not even mention IQ, let alone control for it.  They have wasted their efforts by that omission.  Low IQ would have caused both the low academic achievement and drug abuse.  The study tells us NOTHING new and skips over what was actually going on.  Sad and pathetic

Academic Achievement and Drug Abuse Risk Assessed Using Instrumental Variable Analysis and Co-relative Designs

Kenneth S. Kendler et al.


Importance:  Low academic achievement (AA) in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased substance use. Empirical evidence, using longitudinal epidemiologic data, may provide support for interventions to improve AA as a means to reduce risk of drug abuse (DA).

Objective:  To clarify the nature of the association between adolescent AA and risk of DA by using instrumental variable and co-relative analysis designs.

Design, Setting, and Participants:  This study, assessing nationwide data from individuals born in Sweden between 1971 and 1982, used instrumental variable and co-relative analyses of the association between AA and DA. The instrument was month of birth. Co-relative analyses were conducted in pairs of cousins (263?222 pairs), full siblings (154?295), and monozygotic twins (1623) discordant for AA, with raw results fitted to a genetic model. The AA-DA association was modeled using Cox regression. Data analysis was conducted from October 2017 to January 2018.

Exposures:  Academic achievement assessed at 16 years of age (for instrumental variable analyses), and estimated discordance in AA in pairs of monozygotic twins (for co-relative analyses).

Main Outcomes and Measures:  Drug abuse registration in national medical, criminal, or pharmacy registries.

Results:  This instrumental variable analysis included 934?462 participants (478?341 males and 456?121 females) with a mean (SD) age of 34.7 (4.3) years at a mean follow-up of 19 years. Earlier month of birth was associated with a linear effect on AA, with the regression coefficient per month equaling ?0.0225 SDs (95% CI, ?0.0231 to ?0.0219). Controlling for AA, month of birth had no association with risk of DA (hazard ratio [HR], 1.000; 95% CI, 0.997-1.004). Lower AA had a significant association with risk of subsequent DA registration (HR per SD, 2.33; 95% CI, 2.30-2.35). Instrumental variable analysis produced a substantial but modestly attenuated association (HR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.75-2.33). Controlling for modest associations between month of birth and parental educational status and DA risk reduced the association to a HR of 1.92 (95% CI, 1.67-2.22). The genetic model applied to the results of co-relative analyses fitted the observed data well and estimated the AA-DA association in monozygotic twins discordant for AA to equal a HR of 1.79 (95% CI, 1.64-1.92).

Conclusions and Relevance:  Two different methodological approaches with divergent assumptions both produced results consistent with the hypothesis that the significant association observed between AA at 16 years of age and risk of DA into middle adulthood may be causal. These results provide empirical support for efforts to improve AA as a means to reduce risk of DA.



WH Economic Adviser Explains Why Obama Can’t Take Credit for Recent Economic Boom

Kevin Hassett, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, dispelled the notion that former President Barack Obama can claim credit for the recent U.S. economic boom that has occurred during the Trump administration.

“One of the hypotheses that’s been floating around about the economy lately is that the strong economy that we’re seeing is just a continuation of recent trends. And, you know, since we're the nerds at the White House, we decided that this is a testable hypothesis. And so what we can do is we can go out and we can estimate recent trends -- that is, trends that ran in the economy up to the point of the last election -- and then compare the latest data to the recent trends,” he said.

Hassett showed several slides illustrating economic factors like small business optimism, business investment, structures, and equipment investment. Small business optimism, he illustrated, is at near record high, second only to July 1983.

“And so, I think that if you look at this chart, you can see that the first thing is small-business optimism. The middle chart is the percent reporting now as a good time to expand. The last one is the percent expecting higher real sales in six months. I think if you look at any of those, you'd say, ‘Gee, that doesn't really look like the continuation of a recent trend,’” he said.

Business investment is up more than $300 billion over the trend, Hassett noted.

“And I think that if anyone were to assert that the capital spending boom that we're seeing right now was a continuation of the trend that President Trump inherited, then, well, you know, they wouldn't get a high grade in graduate school for that assertion.

Capital goods orders and shipments are up sharply, Hassett illustrated.

“Durable goods orders, capital goods orders -- it's a key part of the economy, and it's one of the factors that we look at most closely because it characterizes, basically, the good-paying jobs, the jobs that affects normal Americans -- blue-collar Americans,” he said.

“And the first chart is core capital goods orders, and the second chart is core capital goods shipments, and if you look at it, the blue again shows a clear downward trajectory and billions of dollars, and then that trajectory reversed itself completely when President Trump was elected. If you were going to assert that the current good news is just the extension of a recent trend, then you'd just simply be factually incorrect,” Hassett said.

Business conditions have also improved sharply, Hassett noted in his chart presentation. Furthermore, new business applications have surged.

“Now, one of the things that I can remember at the American Enterprise Institute talking a lot about before I came in here was the fact that entrepreneurship in America was falling off, and one of the ways we can measure entrepreneurship is that, if you start a new business, that you have to apply for an ID number -- a tax ID number -- for your business,” he said.

“And so, in this chart, we've plotted the EIN applications for new businesses, and if you look at the blue line, they were heading up because we were at a recovery, but there's clear upward trajectory way above the trend at the end,” Hassett said.

Furthermore, he said, prime-age workers are re-entering the labor force and finding jobs, as illustrated by his chart presentation. There’s also improvement in blue collar jobs, Hassett noted. Additionally, blue collar jobs grew 3.3 percent in the year through July, the fastest pace since 1984.

“The next chart is prime-age workers re-entering the labor force, and again, if you look at the trend, one of the things people said when we put out our growth forecast that said that we'd have 3 percent growth was we said that President Trump's policies are going to bring factories back to the U.S., give you the capital spending boom that you saw in the previous chart, and that was going to bring people back into the labor force at precisely the right time,” Hassett said.

“Once again, you can see that there's clear break in the trend, and so, if you see a break in the trend in the capital spending, the new plant formation that gives blue-collar workers their jobs ... then maybe we see a break in the trend in blue-collar workers employment as well, and so this is employment for people in goods-producing industries,” he said.

“If you look, again, at the blue part on the left, you can see that there's a clear downward trend going on in the growth rate of that for President Obama, and then a clear inflection timed almost precisely, once again, at the election. And the notion, again, that somebody might defensively attempt to assert that this is a continuation of the trend is almost laughable if you look at this chart and, you know, look at the rest of them,” Hassett said.

His final chart showed that the growth of private nonresidential fixed investment Is well above projections. It illustrated what the Congressional Budget Office predicted would happen with capital spending back in 2017, what the CBO said in April 2018, and then what actually happened.

“And so, I would assert that if you look at the collective body of evidence, the notion that what we're seeing right now is just a continuation of recent trends is not super defensible,” Hassett said.

“And I think that -- I know that we're in a political time and passions are high, but, as geeky economists, one of the things we have to do is think ahead to what historians will think when they look back at this time,” he said.

“And I can promise you that economic historians will 100 percent accept the fact that there was an inflection at the election of Donald Trump, and that a whole bunch of data items started heading north. They will, of course, argue for a long time about why that happened,” Hassett said.

“In fact, we provided estimates at the time last fall that said that capital spending this year would go up about 11 percent because of the tax cuts. So far, in the first half of the year, capital spending is up 10 percent, and so you don't have to really reach far for a theory of what happened,” he said.

“President Trump deregulated the economy; we've talked about how that affects growth. The tax cuts have had exactly the predicted effect on the economy that's brought businesses back to the U.S., factories back to the U.S., and created jobs for ordinary Americans. It’s clear in the data that there's been a trend break,” Hassett added.



Doctor Shortages Explode Thanks To ObamaCare — Who Could Have Predicted That?

A year before ObamaCare became law, an IBD/TIPP Poll warned that it would lead to doctor shortages because many would quit or retire early. New evidence shows that our warnings were dead on.

A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges projects doctor shortages of up to 121,300 within the next 12 years. That's a 16% increase from their forecast just last year.

Not only are medical schools having trouble attracting doctors (New York University plans to offer free tuition to its med students), but current physicians are cutting back on patient visits, retiring early or switching careers.

An article in a recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings says that nearly one in five doctors plan to switch to part-time clinical hours, 27% plan to leave their current practice, and 9% plan to get an administrative job or switch careers entirely.

Another survey found that nearly two-thirds of doctors feel burned out, depressed or both.

This is already having a significant effect on patient access to doctors. A Merritt Hawkins survey of doctors in 15 metro areas found that "average new-patient physician appointment wait times have increased significantly. The average wait time for a physician appointment for the 15 large metro markets surveyed is 24.1 days, up 30% from 2014. "

Getting a new-patient appointment with a family physician, for example, went from an average 19 days in 2014 to almost 30 days in 2017. To get an appointment for a heart checkup with a cardiologist, wait times climbed from seven days in 2009 to 21 days in 2017. For a well-woman exam with an OB/GYN, they went from 17 days to 26 over those years.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Eight years ago, IBD/TIPP surveyed 1,376 practicing physicians across the country, asking them what they thought about the health reform bill Democrats had been putting together.

The survey found that a surprisingly large share of doctors, 45%, "would consider leaving their practice or taking an early retirement" if Congress passed what ended up as ObamaCare. (To read more about ObamaCare, click here.)

The survey generated plenty of attention — most of it from Democrats and the mainstream media who desperately wanted to get ObamaCare enacted. They viciously attacked the survey, calling it "shoddy," "out of whack," "ludicrous," "not trustworthy," "shabby" and "garbage."

Turns out it was the critics of the poll who were shoddy, out of whack and not trustworthy.

Subsequent surveys proved the IBD/TIPP poll right, including one taken in 2015 by the Mayo Clinic that found 54% of doctors suffering burnout, and a 2016 survey that found just over half say they participate in ObamaCare plans.

Obama Mandates and Doctor Shortages

One of the big drivers of doctor exits, by the way, is the Obama administration's "electronic health records" mandate, which was supposed to vastly improve the quality and efficiency of care.

It's had the opposite effect. A Mayo Clinic survey found that the EHR mandate is reducing efficiency, increasing costs and paperwork hassles, and pushing more doctors to quit or retire early.

A Harris Poll found that 59% of doctors say the current EHR system foisted on them by the Obama administration needs "a complete overhaul," and 40% say it imposes more challenges than benefits.

ObamaCare continued what had been a long and sorry trend in health care. Government-imposed rules designed to fix some problem in the system instead generated mountains of new administrative work.

The result has been that while the number of physicians in the country has climbed modestly over the past three decades, the number of health care administrators exploded.

Driving doctors out of the medical profession and exacerbating doctor shortages was not what Obama promised when he started "reforming" health care. But it is what his heavy-handed government interventions are producing. Don't say we didn't warn you.



The U.S. economy is a gift that keeps on giving

Appalachian Power recently announced utility rate cuts for more than 500,000 Americans. The West Virginia-based energy provider estimates the total rate reduction will come out to roughly $50 million, meaning customers’ monthly bills will decrease about six percent for the average residential account.

What explains the drop? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December. Because of its lower federal tax bill, Appalachian Power can afford to slash rates and pass along its tax savings to working Americans who desperately need financial relief.

This story is playing out all across the country. Because of federal tax cuts, more than 665 U.S. employers can afford to help the Middle Class American workers in the form of pay raises, 401(k) increases, bonuses, and other employee benefits. Job creators are also taking advantage of their beefed-up budgets to expand hiring, extending career opportunities to thousands upon thousands of Americans who couldn’t find them years ago.

Appalachian Power’s utility rate reductions comprise only the tip of the iceberg. Wal-Mart issued a $1,000 bonus to employees. Apple will use its tax savings to hire 20,000 new employees, while Kraft Heinz plans to put $1.3 billion toward pre-funding of worker retirement benefit plans. New York-based M&T Bank Corporation focused on bumping up employee paychecks, increasing its base wage from $14 to $16 an hour.

And don’t forget the Republican tax bill’s positive impact on small business, which remains America’s most important employer. The United States is home to more than 30 million small businesses, which employ nearly 60 million workers—half of our private-sector workforce. In fact, small businesses account for 99.9 percent of all U.S. employers.

When they succeed, the U.S. economy flourishes. And they are succeeding!

Because of lower rates and increased deductions, job creators—large and small—now have more resources to invest in business expansion and job creation, bringing undeniable economic prosperity to local communities. The list of tax cut beneficiaries certainly includes America’s largest corporations, but it would be foolish to overlook the likes of neighborhood diners and community banks.

Take it from me: I’m a small business owner. As the president and CEO of Joseph’s Lite Cookies in Florida, I run a family-owned, sugar-free cookie business. We bake more than 12 million sugar-free cookies a day. And thanks to the tax cuts, we’re now experimenting with new product lines including sugar-free pancake syrup.

For years, I sent as much as 50 percent of my business income to the government—federal, state, and local. As the owner of a pass-through small business, my business income was taxed as personal income at the top federal rate of 39.6 percent, on top of the state and local tax burden.

But the future is now brighter—because of our tax savings. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I not only awarded four-figure raises to key employees, but also purchased new computer systems and created new product packaging for international expansion.

The bottom line is this: When you help job creators, you are helping those who depend on them—not millionaires and billionaires, but everyday Americans in need of a leg up. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.



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

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


12 September, 2018

US threatens to sanction Hague war crimes judges

The United States has said it will sanction, arrest and prosecute judges of the International Criminal Court if they charge Americans who served in Afghanistan with war crimes.

John Bolton, President Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, also vowed to punish any foreign government that helped the court to hold Americans or Israelis to account for alleged war crimes including torture.

He repeated a State Department announcement from earlier yesterday shutting the Palestine Liberation Organisation office in Washington, effectively the Palestinian embassy, as punishment for its calls for Israel to be investigated by the court in the Hague.

Judges are considering whether to open formal investigations into alleged war crimes by Israel in Gaza and Americans in Afghanistan.

“The United States will use any means necessary, including force, to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Mr Bolton told the right-wing Federalist Society.

He proposed banning the court’s judges and prosecutors from entering the US, sanctioning any funds they had in the country and pursuing them through the American courts. He also called on the US to negotiate binding agreements with allies prohibiting them from surrendering Americans to the Hague and warned countries co-operating with the court that they could find American aid funds and military assistance cut off as a result.

Mr Bolton added that the US would let the court “die on its own”.



Trump administration orders closure of PLO office in Washington

The Trump administration on Monday ordered the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, saying that the PLO “has not taken steps to advance the start of direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.”

The closure was announced by the State Department shortly before White House national security adviser John Bolton, in his first major policy speech, threatened U.S. punishment for individuals and countries that cooperate with the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians have lodged complaints against Israel.

“The United States supports a direct and robust peace process,” Bolton said, “and we will not allow the ICC, or any other organization, to constrain Israel’s right to self-defense.”

The PLO is recognized by most of the world as the “legitimate representative” of Palestinians. Its office in Washington — while not recognized as an embassy, since there is no recognition of a Palestinian state — is one of the few Palestinian vehicles for communication with the levers of U.S. power. It has survived repeated political and legislative calls to shut it down, across decades of unsuccessful U.S. efforts to forge a peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.

But Monday’s order to shutter it within 30 days comes amid the Trump administration’s systematic chipping way at the core tenets of Palestinian aspirations for any negotiations and its ramping up of financial pressure on the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank.

Late last year, President Trump declared U.S. recognition of the contested city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This year, the State Department canceled most U.S. aid funding to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Late last month, in a move that effectively dismissed any Palestinian right of return to contested land, the administration called for a redefinition of Palestinian refu­gee status and said the United States — long the largest individual donor — would no longer fund the U.N. refu­gee aid program. Israel rejects any “right of return,” and considers the demand a main stumbling block to peace.

Last week, the administration said it would withdraw $25 million in support for six East Jerusalem hospitals that are primarily used by Palestinians. Largely church-run, they traditionally serve as the main providers of care for those referred for treatment not available in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Palestinians say those measures are designed to lay the groundwork for a yet-to-be-revealed U.S. peace proposal that they charge is already rigged in Israel’s favor. Since the Jerusalem announcement, they have refused to meet with U.S. negotiators, led by White House senior aide and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

In its statement justifying the PLO closure, the State Department said that far from cooperating, “the PLO has condemned a U.S. peace plan they have not yet seen and refused to engage with the U.S. government with respect to peace efforts and otherwise.” Although Trump has often declared “progress” in the secretive compiling of what Kushner and others have said would be a “comprehensive” plan, its release has repeatedly been delayed.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the measure the continuation of a policy of “collective punishment” by the administration. “These people have decided to stand on the wrong side of history by protecting war criminals and destroying the two-state solution,” he said.

The United States, he said, is not “part of the peace process” and does not even have the right to “sit in the room” during any negotiations. Erekat dismissed U.S. officials such as David Friedman, the ambassador to Israel, as a “group of settlers” pursuing a right-wing Israeli agenda.

Numerous Palestinian officials have said that the United States can no longer be an “honest broker” for peace. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, described Monday’s action as a form of “crude and vicious blackmail” and “clear proof of American collusion with Israel’s occupation.”

The White House has been “very upfront throughout the process and the fact that we want to see peace, we want to have those conversations, we want to help broker that deal,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Certainly, we have a great deal of support with our friend and ally in Israel. But again, we are as committed today as we’ve ever been to the peace process.”

The announcement is likely to be widely welcomed by the Israeli government, which was on holiday Monday to mark Rosh Hashanah.



The myth of a New Nazism

In June, former UK prime minister and Labour leader Tony Blair warned that today’s rising tide of populism risked ‘a return to the 1930s’. He is far from alone in drawing such an analogy. Over the past two years, since the election of Donald Trump in the US, and the Brexit vote in the UK, a flurry of op-eds, endless political speeches and countless books have all made a similar claim: that just as the institutions of liberal democracy nurtured, and then fell to, Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party, so too might our institutions nurture and fall to contemporary fascists in populist clothing.

Yet just how accurate is this analogy? It certainly does a service for those seeking to delegitimise the Trump or Brexit votes, but does it do a disservice to history? To answer these questions, we decided to speak to associate professor of history Udi Greenberg, author of the superb The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War, and, with Daniel Bessner, co-author of the essay ‘The Weimar Analogy’.

spiked review: Do you think the Weimar analogy – that, effectively, today’s populists are yesterday’s fascists – obscures the historical specificity of the rise of Nazis?

Udi Greenberg: Every analogy has its limits, but that doesn’t mean analogies can’t be useful. The question is how we use it and to what purpose, and I think the usage of the Weimar analogy for our specific moment is more distracting than helpful. That is in part because the differences between the fall of the Weimar Republic and the populist surge today far outweigh the similarities.

For a start, the collapse of the Weimar Republic happened in the midst of the worst economic crisis of the 20th century, when a third of the potential workforce was unemployed. Nothing on the scale of that economic calamity is happening today. Yes, the rise of populism is still tied to important economic transformations that have happened in the past two decades, but these do not amount to anything of the order of the Great Depression.

The analogy between today and the rise of the Nazis obscures far more than it illuminates

The Weimar Republic also fell because the fascist movement used mass violence on the streets and decimated democratic and socialist, left-wing political forces. We have not seen anything similar to that today. Even the despicable violent march of white supremacists in Charlottesville in Virginia last summer, which rightfully drew so much media attention, was nothing like the violence that erupted in the streets of Germany and other European countries in the 1930s.

So it seems to me the analogy between today and the rise of the Nazis obscures far more than it illuminates.

review: Did the intense class conflict of the 1920s and 1930s not also play a considerable role? Bolshevism, in light of the Russian Revolution, was considered a real threat, certainly in light of the Munich Soviet of 1918-19. There was so much to frighten certain sections of German society towards the National Socialists.

Greenberg: That is very accurate. The politics of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe were defined perhaps more than anything by anti-Communism, by a fear of a potential popular Communist uprising, the fear of a violent transformation of society along the lines of the Soviet model. Nothing of this kind is really in operation today in our political culture. The rise of fascism was an explicitly right-wing response to the rise of militant Communism. And that makes it very, very different from the rise of populism today.

Finally, in terms of the historical specificity of the rise of the Nazis, political life in the 1920s and 1930s was shaped by the experience of mass war. Entire nations and whole generations experienced war firsthand. The formative experience of almost all the leaders of fascist movements in Germany and elsewhere was fighting as soldiers in the First World War. The leaders of populist movements today do not have any experience of military conflict. War is not an important experience for them. It is a very distant memory, if indeed it is a memory at all in our political culture today.

review: There was also the sense then that war, and not just in the context of German nationalism, was almost a spiritually rejuvenating process, wasn’t there?

Greenberg: Indeed, fascist theory glorified war as a transcendental, spiritual experience that transformed the soul. Fascists and semi-fascist art celebrated the experience of war. War was a major trope in fascist ideology, even in its depiction of a future classless society, in which the working class and the middle class worked together just as they had done during the First World War. This is something that is very foreign to the rhetoric or experiences of, say, Viktor Orban or Donald Trump, neither of whom has served in combat (or in the case of Trump, in the military at all).

review: What do you make of the argument that democracy was experienced almost as foreign imposition on the authoritarian body of German nationalism? After all, Germany’s transformation into a modern nation state in the second half of the 19th century was undertaken by Otto von Bismarck, a Prussian junker and monarchist, who famously declared ‘I am not a democrat’.

Greenberg: There is a long and very important debate among historians about how deep or shallow democratic culture was in German politics in the 1920s and 1930s. For a long time many assumed that because Germany was founded by a conservative militarist who co-opted nationalist and democratic sentiments in the 19th century, its democracy was therefore weak and easy to topple. But over the past couple of decades, an important group of scholars has challenged this narrative, arguing that Germany did in fact have a very vibrant democratic political life, with meaningful elections and parliamentary debates. And that in the late 19th century and early 20th century, people voted in very high numbers for parties that competed fairly peaceably with one another before and after the First World War. As a result, parliament became more and more important as time progressed. It is one of the reasons why, after the First World War, when the German monarchy collapsed, the expectation among Germans was that it would be replaced by a republic, not a military dictatorship. And that was because German citizens had been socialised into democratic norms, and took it for granted that that was the next step for politics.

The politics of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe were defined more than anything by anti-Communism

In some ways, scholars of this school argue that what truly made democracy in Germany so weak was that it was very polarised throughout the 1920s. The fascists and the Nazis were able to appropriate democratic language, gestures and ideas for what we would see as very undemocratic ends. So, for example, the leaders of the Nazi party all came from very humble backgrounds. They were not military generals or aristocrats. Hitler himself spoke with a working-class German accent. So much of the Nazis’ appeal rested on their claim to be the real democracy, the force that was really giving the people control over politics in a way that was dramatically different from the Prussian aristocrats and militarists of the 19th century.

So there is an ongoing debate as to how important the militarist foundations of the German state was versus how robustly democratic it was. This democratic culture, and its appropriation by the Nazis, is key to understanding the rise of fascism.

review: But that is not to say that the Nazis rose to power because of democracy, is it?

Greenberg: No. As historians know, the Nazis never actually managed to win a majority in free and open elections. The largest share of the vote they ever received, in 1932, was about a third. The reason they were able to secure power was because of the active support of conservatives, the aristocrats and militarists, who sided with them in parliament, and, most importantly, because they were using mass violence and intimidation, exiling and murdering their opponents. This is how they came to power, through ruling-class support and force, not because of free and democratic elections.

review: What is interesting about the ‘Weimar Analogy’ piece is that you were both able to bring out a far more telling analogy between then and now, and that is in the response to the rise of fascism, and the response to today’s populist revolt.

Greenberg: Yes, what prompted Professor Bessner and me to write this piece was that the over-reliance on the fascist analogy would lead us down the same path taken by pro-democratic and anti-fascist thinkers in the 1940s, like Hans Spier and Karl Loewenstein, both of whom fled Germany to the US in the 1930s. They came to the conclusion that fascism proved that democracy could not be trusted. And that for democracy to survive, the state had to curtail some freedoms.

This line of thinking, this idea of militant democracy, which proved very influential in the US, led to the creation of very undemocratic, unaccountable institutions like the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council in the US. It was an ideological tendency that also led to the dramatic limiting of political horizons in postwar Europe.

Most famously, in West Germany for example, the Supreme Court outlawed the Communist Party in 1956. And although the Communists were not a significant force in West Germany, the logic of militant democracy – and the West German Supreme Court used this very term when outlawing the Communists – rendered certain political visions illegitimate, and banished them from political discourse. And this created very elitist and what we would call anti-democratic institutions and norms in the 1940s and 1950s.

Anti-fascist political theorists in the 1940s and 1950s claimed that in order to achieve stable democracy you need to limit people’s involvement in politics

This does not mean to say that everyone who invokes the Weimar or Nazi analogy immediately ends up an anti-democrat, but Professor Bessner and me worry that we could eventually end up in a similar place. We are both scholars of the Cold War, and we both studied how political theorists in the 1940s and 1950s claimed that in order to achieve stable democracy you need to limit political activism and people’s involvement in politics. And we were worried that the same logic might lead us in the same direction today.

In our view, the right, progressive response to the contemporary moment should be a doubling down in our commitment to democracy, limiting technocracy and increasing democratic and grassroots involvement in politics.

review: Yet it does seem that the predominant response to the populist moment, certainly in left-wing and liberal circles in both the US and the UK, has been to make a stronger appeal to technocracy, to a rule by expertise.

Greenberg: That is true for some, certainly. It has actually been developing since at least the 1990s, with the so-called left moving more and more in the direction of technocracy, and trying to achieve progress through technocracy, rather than through more popular control of the economy. And I think that is born of a deep disappointment with the masses, and a belief that the masses cannot be trusted to make the right economic decisions. And that tendency developed and deepened right through to the Obama administration, which was very much defined by technocracy.

The reason this recent development on the left stood out for us was that too many on the left today make the same argument as the militant democrats – both contend that technocracy is the best means to preserve democracy. So, if the masses are not to be trusted, then you have to transfer as much power as possible into the hands of technocrats, who know what’s good for the masses, who will make the right call. And you have to shield technocrats from democratic accountability precisely to make those calls.

We have seen this logic operating in the past two decades among centrist politicians, and political elites more generally. And we were worried that the rise of populism on the right will further exacerbate and intensify this technocratic way of thinking. We believe that the left should adopt a very different model of thinking. In some ways, we believe that the logic of militant democracy and technocracy is precisely what led us to where we are now.

review: How difficult will it be for the left to embrace what used to be its own radical democratic heritage, given the extent to which it has turned away from, and often against, the masses?

Greenberg: It’s certainly not going to be easy, but democracy has never been easy. Each generation of political theorists and activists has to reimagine and rethink democracy, and chart new opportunities and possibilities. I believe the crisis of the past few years, and the rise of the radical right in Europe and the US is also an opportunity to do precisely that — to rethink the possibilities of the left. To think of its past, of what it got right, and what it got wrong, and maybe chart new possibilities. We already see it happening in grassroots politics in Britain and in the US, and we can only hope it continues to go in this direction.



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

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


11 September, 2018

Voltaren (diclofenac) gives you heart attacks -- or does it?

Alternative U.S. brand names: Cambia, Cataflam, Zipsor, Zorvolex.

Between 1970 and 1990, I spent 20 years energetically involved in psychological research, with over 200 papers published in the academic journals to show for it eventually.  I stopped doing it and turned to studies of history instead when I became convinced that I was just about the only one doing serious psychological research.  I concluded that almost all of my colleagues were just playing clever games.  They were routinely failing to take the basic methodological precautions -- such as random sampling -- that that would enable their results to have any degree of generalizability. 

Now many years later that conclusion has been resoundingly confirmed by the "replication crisis" -- the finding that up to 70% of the findings from psychological research failed to show up again when the relevant research was repeated, which was a complete blow to any claims of generalizability for the research findings concerned.

From quite early on, however, I had always had an interest in medical research.  I assumed that with the stakes being higher there the level of caution in the research would be better.  I even contributed a few papers to the medical literature myself.  And from 2005 to 2014  I ran a blog that took critical looks at the latest medical research.  I again found what I had found in psychological research -- a great lack of the precautions which would give you any confidence in the findings.  In fact, psychological research seemed more robust, in that larger effect sizes were generally demonstrated.  The tiniest effect in medical research seems to generate vast claims.  And the replication crisis has hit medical research too -- confirming that most medical findings are not representative of reality either.

And I am afraid that the latest piece of research (below) that I look at is just as hopeless. The authors did a lot of work and had available an excellent body of data but they took almost no methodological precautions whatever.  For epidemiological research to be assigned any confidence, alternative explanations for its correlations have to be ruled out.  That can never be conclusively done but reasonable confidence can be reached.  And at a minimum, the Big Five personality variables have to be controlled for plus the big seven demographic variables (Race, sex, age, education, income, IQ and self-assigned social class).  Any one of those factors can intrude into the findings. 

Needless to say, I know of NOT ONE piece of medical research which has used all those controls.  One might have hoped that many studies would at least have incorporated controls for the big two demographics -- Income (where poverty has wide-ranging negative effect on health) and IQ (where high IQ has wide-ranging positive effects on health).  I know of only one study where those two variable were considered -- as part of a wide range of demographic variables. That study found that IQ accounted for more of the variance than all of the rest of the demographics put together.  So the importance of basic controls is beyond dispute.

The study below is also epidemiological.  It is an "emulated trial design" so displayed some caution but is almost totally lacking in real controls.  And, as such, one or more pesky "third" factors could have intruded into the results. The authors seem to have been so excited by the wonderful statistics made available to them by the authoritarian Danish state, that they abandoned basic caution.  Not even demographic controls seem to have been applied. 

The issue with this study, as with many epidemiological studies, is to ask WHO it was who fell into the target group.  WHY did some people take Voltaren while other people took other drugs?  What put people into the category of Voltaren users?  Were they, for instance, poor people?  The study authors are silent on such questions.  Had they showed a reasonable level of research caution, they would at least have looked at the demographics for Voltaren use.  Had they found that Voltaren users were mostly poor people, we could have concluded that the study was just one of many which routinely show poor people to have worse health.  The absence of such information means, I am sorry to say, that the results are uninterpretable.

I know nothing about how Voltaren is perceived in Denmark and who takes it.  My only stay in Denmark lasted only for a matter of hours.  But I can offer an hypothesis for what lay behind the study results below based on my knowledge of how Voltaren is perceived in Australia, where I happily live. 

And a crucial (and correct) thing that everybody tells you here  is that you cannot use Voltaren for much more than a week without risking an upset stomach.  And so good middle class people like me observe that warning. If we take it at all we take it only briefly.  But medical warnings often go in one ear and out the other, particularly -- you guessed it -- among poor people.  So I guess that Voltaren is used at some sort of conventional rate by incautious people, whereas more cautious (smarter?) people use other drugs.

So I suspect that the bad health outcomes in Voltaren users reflect the characteristics of its users rather than the characteristics of the drug.  There is no way of separating the two interpretations

Diclofenac use and cardiovascular risks: series of nationwide cohort studies

Morten Schmidt et al.


Objective: To examine the cardiovascular risks of diclofenac initiation compared with initiation of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, initiation of paracetamol, and no initiation.

Design: Series of 252 nationwide cohort studies, each mimicking the strict design criteria of a clinical trial (emulated trial design).

Setting: Danish, nationwide, population based health registries (1996-2016).

Participants: Individuals eligible for inclusion were all adults without malignancy; schizophrenia; dementia; or cardiovascular, kidney, liver, or ulcer diseases (that is, with low baseline risk). The study included 1?370?832 diclofenac initiators, 3?878?454 ibuprofen initiators, 291?490 naproxen initiators, 764?781 healthcare seeking paracetamol initiators matched by propensity score, and 1?303?209 healthcare seeking non-initiators also matched by propensity score.

Main outcome measures: Cox proportional hazards regression was used to compute the intention to treat hazard ratio (as a measure of the incidence rate ratio) of major adverse cardiovascular events within 30 days of initiation.

Results: The adverse event rate among diclofenac initiators increased by 50% compared with non-initiators (incidence rate ratio 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.4 to 1.7), 20% compared with paracetamol or ibuprofen initiators (both 1.2, 1.1 to 1.3), and 30% compared with naproxen initiators (1.3, 1.1 to 1.5). The event rate for diclofenac initiators increased for each component of the combined endpoint (1.2 (1.1 to 1.4) for atrial fibrillation/flutter, 1.6 (1.3 to 2.0) for ischaemic stroke, 1.7 (1.4 to 2.0) for heart failure, 1.9 (1.6 to 2.2) for myocardial infarction, and 1.7 (1.4 to 2.1) for cardiac death) as well as for low doses of diclofenac, compared with non-initiators. Although the relative risk of major adverse cardiovascular events was highest in individuals with low or moderate baseline risk (that is, diabetes mellitus), the absolute risk was highest in individuals with high baseline risk (that is, previous myocardial infarction or heart failure). Diclofenac initiation also increased the risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding at 30 days, by approximately 4.5-fold compared with no initiation, 2.5-fold compared with initiation of ibuprofen or paracetamol, and to a similar extent as naproxen initiation.

Conclusions: Diclofenac poses a cardiovascular health risk compared with non-use, paracetamol use, and use of other traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.



Leftism as a Secular Religion

Dennis Prager

One of the most important books of the 20th century—it remains a best-seller 59 years after it was first published—is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Marx saw man’s primary drive as economic, and Freud saw it as sex. But Frankl believed—correctly, in my opinion—that the greatest drive of man is meaning.

One can be poor and chaste and still be happy. But one cannot be bereft of meaning and be happy—no matter how rich or how sexually fulfilled one may be.

The greatest provider of meaning for the vast majority of human beings has been religion. In the West, Christianity (and on a smaller scale, Judaism) provided nearly all people with the Bible, a divine or divinely inspired text to guide their lives; a religious community; answers to life’s fundamental questions; and, above all, meaning: A good God governs the universe; death does not end everything; and human beings were purposefully created.

In addition, Christianity gave Christians a project: Spread the Good News, and bring the world to Christ. And Judaism gave Jews a project: Live by God’s laws of ethics and holiness and be “a light unto the nations.”

All this has disappeared for most Westerners. The Bible is regarded as myth, silly at best, malicious at worst—there is no God, certainly not the morality-giving and judging God of the Bible; there is no afterlife; human beings are a purposeless coincidence with no more intrinsic purpose than anything else in the universe. In short: This is all there is.

So, if the need for meaning is the greatest of all human needs and that which supplied meaning no longer does, what are millions of Westerners supposed to do?

The answer is obvious: Find meaning elsewhere. But where? Church won’t provide it. Nor will marriage and family—increasingly, secular individuals in the West eschew marriage, and even more do not have children. It turns out, to the surprise of many, that marriage and children are religious values, not human instincts.

In the West today, love and marriage (and children) go together like a horse and a carriage for faithful Catholics, Orthodox Jews, religious Mormons, and evangelical Protestants—not for the secular. I know many religious families with more than four children; I do not know one secular family with more than four children (and the odds are you don’t either).

The answer to the great dearth of meaning left by the death of biblical religion in the West is secular religion. The first two great secular substitutes were communism and Nazism. The first provided hundreds of millions of people with meaning; the latter provided most Germans and Austrians with meaning.

In particular, both ideologies provided the intellectual class with meaning. No groups believed in communism and Nazism more than intellectuals. Like everyone else, secular intellectuals need meaning, and when this need was combined with intellectuals’ love of ideas (especially new ideas—”new” is almost erotic in the power of its appeal to secular intellectuals), communism and Nazism became potent ideologies.

With the fall of communism and the awareness of the extent of the communist mass murder (about 100 million noncombatants) and mass enslavement (virtually all individuals in communist countries—except for Communist Party leaders—are essentially enslaved), communism, or at least the word “communism,” fell into disrepute.

So, what were secular intellectuals to do once communism became “the god that failed”?

The answer was to create another left-wing secular religion. And that is what leftism is: a secular meaning-giver to supplant Christianity. Left-wing religious expressions include Marxism, communism, socialism, feminism, and environmentalism.

Leftism’s guiding principles—notwithstanding the principles of those Christians and Jews who claim to be religious yet hold leftist views—are the antitheses of Judaism and Christianity’s guiding principles.

Judaism and Christianity hold that people are not basically good. Leftism holds that people are basically good. Therefore, Judaism and Christianity believe evil comes from human nature, and leftism believes evil comes from capitalism, religion, the nation-state (i.e. nationalism), corporations, the patriarchy, and virtually every other traditional value.

Judaism and Christianity hold that utopia on Earth is impossible—it will only come in God’s good time as a Messianic age or in the afterlife. Leftism holds that utopia is to be created here on Earth—and as soon as possible. That is why leftists find America so contemptible. They do not compare it to other nations but to a utopian ideal—a society with no inequality, no racism, no differences between the sexes (indeed, no sexes), and no greed in which everything important is obtained free.

Judaism and Christianity believe God and the Bible are to instruct us on how to live a good life and how the heart is the last place to look for moral guidance. Leftists have contempt for anyone who is guided by the Bible and its God, and substitute the heart and feelings for divine instruction.

There may be a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam, but the biggest clash of civilizations is between the West and the left.



Democrat-led cities now "Third world"

AGEING and defunct infrastructure in some of America’s cities has lead to a lack of basic services, leaving residents in what some have described as “third world” conditions.

About 50,000 Detroit public school students across 106 schools will start the school year this week without access to flowing drinking water from taps and bubblers after the discovery of elevated levels of lead or copper in the water supply.

It is the latest setback in the state of Michigan which is already dealing with the consequences of contaminated tap water in Flint and other communities.

With the taps turned off, Detroit students and staff will be relying on bottled water that will cost about US$200,000 over two months, after which the district will probably seek bids for a longer-term contract, said Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti.

Given the problems in other parts of the state, some students have long avoided the public water fountains. “There has been an undertone of not trusting the water to begin with,” Mr Vitti told The Associated Press.

The old plumbing and water infrastructure is decaying, becoming dangerous and local cash-strapped governments are struggling to find a solution.

Detroit is not the first major school district to switch to bottled water. The 49,000 student district in Portland, Oregon, turned off its fixtures in 2016 after a scandal over high levels of lead in the water at almost every school — a problem that took two years to fix.

Water at most schools in the 80,000-student Baltimore districts have been shut off for more than a decade.

Last year, Detroit mother LeeAndria Hardison, 39, saw brown water coming from fountains at the school attended by her teenage son.  “I’ve been sending water to school every day with his name on it — five bottles of water in a cooling pack,” she said. “He was only allowed to drink that water.”

The entities that provide and distribute Detroit’s drinking water — the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department — said it meets and surpasses federal and state standards, and the district’s problems are due to ageing plumbing.

In response to a Reuters story about the water crisis in Detroit, one US resident whose Twitter profile describes her as living in Nashville, expressed dismay at her country. “WTF is wrong with country? We give tax cuts to the rich that explode the deficit & in Detroit we have kids in schools with no water. We are becoming a third world country. The greed is mind boggling,” she wrote on Twitter.

She is far from the only one to make the third world comparison.  Actor Alyssa Milano shared a Washington Post story about Detroit schools turning off their potentially dangerous water and was met with comments of equal anger from social media users.

“Corrupt and incompetent Democratic leadership for generations has turned the city of Detroit into a third world sh**hole,” replied a man from Ohio.

In Flint, Michigan, residents have been dealing with the issue of toxic water for more than four years.

The consequences of the problem are laid bare in a new book by journalist Anna Clark titled The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy. “America is built on lead. Networks of ageing pipes made from the bluish-grey metal bring water into millions of US homes,” she wrote. “But when lead, a poison to the nervous system, gets into drinking water — as happened in Flint, Michigan — the heavy metal can cause irreparable harm.”

In the US, only eight states require lead-in-water testing in schools and Michigan is not among them.

Stephanie Chang, a Detroit Democrat, said the inaction is disappointing given the serious health consequences of being exposed to lead. “It only makes sense to test water on a regular basis in our schools and in childcare centres and in other places where there are vulnerable populations,” she said.



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

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


10 September, 2018

Obama bureaucrat critiques Trump health care

Once you get past the introductory Trump abuse (which I omit below), Donald M. Berwick makes an intelligently-stated case to the effect that American health care has been damaged by actions of the Trump administration. Like all Leftist writing, however his leaves out half the story.

He is probably right in saying that the administration has been hasty in winding back some aspects of Obamacare but he does not ask why.  His default explanation appears to be that the Trump adminstration is evil, a typically brainless Leftist claim.  What he takes no account of is that the Donks rammed through the ACA legislation with not one skerrick of bipartisan consultation or support.  They treated the GOP and its reservations as beneath contempt.  What did they expect of that?  What they now have to live with is the GOP treating their baby with contempt. It's not Christian but in the real world contempt breeds contempt. Conservatives often do turn the other cheek to Leftist attacks on them but the Left cannot expect that to go on forever.

And in his third point he says :"Modern health care, for all of its flaws, espouses and generally tries to act on science as its guide. Much of the US public is not so sure. The reasons for that doubt lie beyond the scope of this essay, but the effects on public debate and political positioning are strong"

He is right about that but again he glides over the causes of it.  The current "replication crisis" in medical and psychological research found that up to 70% of research findings were "unreplicable" or "wrong" in layman's terms.  What are people supposed to make of that?

And then, on top of that, we have the vast global warming hoax that goes on despite scientific findings against it purely on the basis that "the experts say so".  Throughout the world, the conservative side of politics mostly thinks global warming is a lot of hokum.  How can you expect respect for science in that situation?  It is thoroughly deplorable that science has become so disrespected but it is not conservatives who have created that disrespect.

His final point is that the intervention of government is needed to ensure proper healthcare for all.  He is probably unaware that libertarians challenge that.  In the Victorian era very good health insurance was available to the worker -- though friendly societies.  Most occupations had a body associated with a particular occupation to which they could subscribe for a modest sum.  And if the subscriber got sick he could go to the society doctor and get treated for free.

But there were always some feckless people who did not contribute and their plight caused a gradual intrusion into the issue by way of government hospitals being set up which would treat the uninsured.  And that binary system continues to this day in most countries.

In Australia, where I live, the contrast between the two systems is stark.  As with all "free" hospital systems, care is rationed in non-monetary ways, principally by waiting lists -- so much so that some people die while waiting. In my State (Queensland) there are in some cases even waiting lists to get on waiting lists.  There was one notorious case in Queensland where a man waited seven years for a cataract operation, during which time he could not see well enough to read and TV was rather mysterious too.  The impact on his life of such poor "care" was obviously severe.

But 40% of the Australian population is privately insured, despite the availability of the "free" system. They have heard many reports of what the free system is like.  And they get private care as good as anything in the world.  When I needed a cataract removed, I had private insurance so waited barely a week for an appointment to a private eye hospital and my treatment was brilliant. I experienced minimal discomfort both during and after the procedure.  And when I got a sudden and very painful attack of kidney stones I was on the operating table same day  -- and paid zero "deductibles". So there is an alternative to government healthcare and and it makes government healthcare look prehistoric.

But what about the 60% of Australians who do not take out private insurance?  Health insurance is very cheap in Australia -- from as little as $150 per month -- so even people in humble employment  can afford it.  Many people on low incomes choose to spend that $150 on beer and cigarettes instead but that is their choice.  They get the "free" government care.  And the Australian system is well settled and accepted. It is not a political football, as it is in the USA.  Any propositions to change it are greeted with widespread outrage.

So Dr Berwick would do well to broaden his horizons. Government healthcare is and always will be inferior healthcare.  It is best avoided.  Working on ways to get more people into private health insurance is the logical course to pursue.  Obamacare theoretically did that but in practice it has de-insured many -- with rocketing premiums and stratospheric deductibles.

When I served as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services, hardly a day passed—and never a week—without a direct request or instruction from a congressional office or White House official bearing on clinically relevant decisions, such as coverage for a new technology, payment levels for a care sector, interpretation of a Medicaid regulation, classification of a hospital as “rural” or “critical access,” measurement and reporting of quality, or, most famously, coverage for physician counseling on end-of-life care options. The private lobbyists were equally relentless, pleading their cases, usually for more money, directly or, more often, indirectly through congressional offices.

The politicization of decisions affecting clinical care was not confined to one political party. Conservative members of Congress pressed against almost every implementation detail of the ACA, with nary a single opening for rational, authentic inquiry about facts and logic. As quickly as they could, Republicans slashed the ACA investments in preventive care and services. Political opponents of President Obama promulgated uninformed and frankly ridiculous accusations about my agenda and beliefs as CMS Administrator but almost never engaged in any serious conversation about how to protect and improve the health of patients.

But also, one of the most liberal members of the Senate accompanied me to his technology-rich state in part to meet with a bevy of executives of medical equipment manufacturers, who explained the value of their products—in effect, a trade show for an agency head hosted by a US senator.

Purists might ask simply to “get politics out of health care.” That would be nice, but it is quixotic. Today, federal and state governments fund about 50% of all US health care (65% if coverage of government employees and various tax breaks are included).4 That proportion has increased from 31% in 1965.5 It would be inconceivable—indeed, irresponsible—for that level of public investment in any enterprise not to fall under government oversight, and, in a democracy, with such oversight authority come political pressures.

With government in the picture, politics has at least 4 on-ramps to health care.

First, and biggest, is money. Health care comprises almost one-fifth of the US economy. A nation that values entrepreneurship and protects private profits cannot expect that those motives will fail to engage the enormous financial opportunities through every possible channel of influence. The fragmentation of ownership, governance, and oversight of US health care makes it possible for a vast industry of political pressuring to flourish. With the US commitment, so far, to an enormously complex system of health care payment and provision comes the opportunity for every single organization with an economic stake in health care, whether motivated by private interest or public interest, to find multiple pressure points for influence.

Second is doctrine. The Federalists and Republicans at the birth of the nation became viciously divided as to the proper role of states and the central government. The North and the South became divided, and eventually fought a war, over attitudes toward slavery. Today, public discourse is also riven into factions according to deeply held beliefs about matters no less fundamental than human nature, individual responsibility, and the role of compassion in public affairs. Health care is an inevitable battlefield for that contention. The disputes take shape over laws, regulations, judicial decisions, and other governmental actions about assertions that reflect those underlying doctrines: assertions that health care is a human right; that richer people ought, through government, to help poorer people; that the rights of women should prevail over those of the unborn; and that health status is as much a collective responsibility as an individual one.

Third is trust in science and institutions. Modern health care, for all of its flaws, espouses and generally tries to act on science as its guide. Much of the US public is not so sure.6 The reasons for that doubt lie beyond the scope of this essay, but the effects on public debate and political positioning are strong. The current administration in Washington, exploiting public doubt, has in many scientific sectors, including medicine, weakened the commitment of agencies to use scientific evidence in exercising their duties.7 This has chilled action and research on such topics as environmental threats to health, US Food and Drug Administration guidance, and reports on risks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.8 Weakening science through political action ultimately weakens care and harms patients.

Fourth, and finally, politics enters health care though attitudes toward solidarity. The commitment to mutuality—that government exists as a mechanism for acting on responsibilities for one another—is as deeply embedded in most other western democracies as it is fragile in the United States. The basic credo of physicians—to put the interests of patients before their own—at its best reflects a form of solidarity: that those who are fortunate are duty-bound to help those who are less fortunate. Opponents in Washington criticized me for making the assertion that in a civilized nation, the pursuit of health as a human right must be to some extent redistributional because poverty and ill health are correlated. That that logic could be questioned depends not on data—the data are incontrovertible—but rather on the degree of belief in the concept that ultimately, the nation is of one people, responsible in some measure for each other’s well-being, especially with respect to misfortunes not of a person’s own making. Government, and therefore politics, is the avenue for the expression or the negation of that sense of solidarity.

Physicians who want politics out of health care are going to be disappointed. If they value the principles to which they pledged as healers, then they ignore politics at their peril and their patients’. The sidelines are safe places for neither.



The NYT article: Are Trump's enemies proving his conspiracy theories TRUE?

He always said dark forces were out to get him... now, after revelations of a ‘resistance’ inside the White House, the BBC's JON SOPEL asks if the President has a point

This treacherous article concludes with the self-justification that he or she is part of the ‘quiet resistance’ putting ‘country first’. But listen to an alternative argument. The country went to the polls. Nearly 63 million Americans voted for Trump, and by the rules of the electoral college he was the duly elected President.

And furthermore, no one can say he’s not doing what he promised. Renegotiating trade deals, tougher immigration laws, confronting North Korea, cutting taxes, exiting the Iran nuclear deal, winding back regulations, are exactly what he promised during the campaign.

As Sarah Sanders noted, while it may not always be pretty, Trump’s economic policies are paying dividends, with 200,000 new jobs created, salaries growing at their fastest rate in nine years, and unemployment at a historic low of 3.9 per cent.

So what legitimacy does the writer have in declaring that he or she is the guardian of US democracy? For better or worse, the ballot box is where elections are decided and in November 2016 the American people spoke.

More HERE 


Hate in Politics Today Goes Beyond Anything This Nation Has Ever Experienced

Charlie Daniels

To anybody who will admit the truth, the animosity and downright hate that exists in the political arena goes way past anything this nation has ever experienced before. The vitriol has grown to the point that party power comes before patriotism for many of these jaded partisans, to the point they will fight tooth and nail to defeat things that would be beneficial for the country just because it’s the opposing party’s idea.

They’d literally rather do harm to the people they are sworn to serve than lose any political ground. They develop hyperbolic phrases, “tax cuts for the rich, throw Grandma off the cliff” resorting to kindergarten claptrap, trying to inflate the situation into dire warnings of impending doom to intimidate and terrify the electorate.

The Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department have all been politicized, federal officials have been granted sweeping powers which is reminiscent of the motto of Lavrentiy Beria, head of Russian secret police under Joseph Stalin, “Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

We have two standards of justice in America now, as one side is being exposed to the most painstaking, needle in a haystack scrutiny, while the other side is being ignored, even exonerated, while anybody with enough gray matter to walk through a door without bumping his head knows that there’s way too much smoke in the Hillary camp not to be some fire somewhere.

The politicians who defend open borders, at least in my opinion, couldn’t care less about the illegals they so gallantly defend. They just look at them as future voters. Their ideas are so far afield, they can’t win in that arena, so the coordinated complaints against a wall that would go a long way toward preventing illegal border crossing of people, drugs, and no telling what else, is nothing more than importing a loyal political base.

All the passionate appeals from the Democrats about “separating children from their parents” is shouted from the rooftops by people who care not a whit about the millions of unborn children separated from their mother’s womb and from a chance at breathing every year.

If Donald Trump is guilty of treason, collusion with our enemies or any other offense that is detrimental to this nation, I want him tried for it.

Conversely, how can paying a foreign intelligence agent for a dossier filled with cloudy, unverified information, using it and laying the groundwork for the FISA court warrant to mount surveillance on American citizens not be worthy of further investigation?

And how can destroying thousands of documents that have been subpoenaed by Congress not be a crime?

And why has a former CIA Director – who was actually caught on television lying to a congressional committee – not been prosecuted?

Why has the Russian acquisition of America’s uranium under Obama-Clinton not been thoroughly investigated?

And why has Obama’s blocking of the records of Holder’s part in the Fast and Furious debacle not been unsealed?

Andrew America “was never that great” Cuomo, Obama, Hillary Clinton and the preponderance of the progressive elite are globalists. They think America needs to be overhauled, our wealth passed around and our military power blunted.

Before Trump, America, along with practically every other industrialized nation on earth was merrily tripping down the primrose path to globalism. Hillary’s election was to be the lynchpin, the long-awaited consolidation of power, the open borders and legalization of millions of illegal immigrant voters, the appointment of Supreme Court judges that would take care of any little details, that for one reason or another should fall through the legislative cracks.

The cock assuredness of a landslide Hillary victory made some people careless to the point that they left some loose ends, made some glaring mistakes, but never mind, when Hillary got in, there were no worries, everything would be buried so deep it would never be found.

Along comes brash, outspoken, abrasive, unafraid Donald Trump, and the corks went back in the champagne bottles, the balloons were not released, and the strategy hurriedly went from celebration to CYA and bring down this president before he can get the economy hopping, build up the military, move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, banish silly business-killing regulations and attract businesses back to American shores.

The proverbial square peg had inserted itself into the round hole, demanding that we put America first and threw a monkey wrench into globalist aspirations for the foreseeable future.

The resurgence of American manufacturing businesses, tax cuts, fewer regulations, a strong military and an “America First” attitude does not foster globalism.

Being a Bible-believing Christian, I hate globalism with a passion.

Globalism is the kingdom of the antichrist, and it happens when the nations of the world hand their sovereignty and power over to a person, masquerading as an angel of light, who seems to have all the answers to the world’s problems, but is actually the embodiment of evil.

That is the ultimate act of mankind putting their trust in other men rather than Almighty God.

That’s when the term “hell to pay” becomes a reality.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.



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

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


9 September, 2018

President Trump’s Washington: The cliff-hanger that never ends

The above headline is from the Leftist "Boston Globe".  It gave me a laugh.  It's true that Trump stirs the waters every day.  Most days when I get up of a morning in Australia I just google "Trump" to start my day off well. When I see what he has been doing while I was asleep (Australia is in a time zone about half a day ahead of America) I am very often rewarded to read of some fresh outrage he has perpetrated on the Left.  So the "Globe" journalist is right. Trump does keep upsetting the Left more or less daily.  But exactly those things that bother the Left amuse me.  It is great to see Leftist pretensions punctured

The thing that has got the Left on tenterhooks now is the famous letter in the NYT, allegedly from a Trump insider.  Like Trump himself, I am not sure the writer actually exists.  It could be Soviet style disinformation -- a story that sounds true but was all made up for propaganda purposes.

But if it is genuine I am not sure that it need bother anyone. I have read the article and what it describes is in fact rather normal.  A President always has a lot of advisers to keep him on the strait and narrow.  Public policy decisions can have huge implications and you need a range of professionals on hand to make sure that the consequences of the decision are what you really want.  And there is no doubt that Trump needs such advice.  He us NOT a policy wonk nor is he an experienced politician.  What the excoriated article describes is pretty much what I would have expected.  The only novelty is to have it all decribed so frankly

I gather that the more famous shows from British TV do get a run in America so I imagine that some people reading this will be familiar with the "Yes, Prime Minister" series.  Margaret Thatcher regarded it as so true to life that she used to cancel cabinet meetings so all her ministers could watch it.  And what it describes is precisely a Prime Minister's advisers trying to protect an inexperienced Prime Minister from foolish moves. It is, if you like, prophetic of Trump.  Or, more likely, it was the inspiration behind the NYT article.

I have no idea how upset Trump really is about the article but I think he could well dismiss it as a good example of open government.  He could even present it as showing that everything that he does is carefully checked by expert advisers

Every week is remarkable. Practically every day is bizarre. So how to describe days that are even more remarkably and bizarrely unprecedented than the last?

Surreal barely hints at the mind-bending dramatic spectacle of Donald Trump’s Washington this week.

It’s as if the reality television show that has consumed the nation’s capital for 20 months is working its way toward a jaw-dropping season finale, but the tension is never relieved. It’s the cliffhanger that won’t end.

The latest installment features a modern-day whodunit wrapped around the core of a constitutional crisis in the executive branch. Trump himself, in a tweet Wednesday night, penned what could be the title page: TREASON?

A parade of top officials came forward Thursday to deny that they were the authors of a scathing, anonymous op-ed in The New York Times that essentially called the president a national security risk. The denials landed amid a frenzy of speculation about the identity of the author.

Who wrote the anonymous Times op-ed? Here are some prime suspects
Here’s a brief look at some of the highest-level officials in the administration who might have a motive or an inclination to write the letter.

“Our office is above such amateur acts,” said a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence.

“It’s not mine,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters while traveling in India.

“It is laughable to think this could come from the secretary,” said a spokesman for Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

etc, etc, etc

But even with a range of other issues in front of them, few could get away from the speculation about who wrote the Times column.

“It probably won’t take long for us to find out who wrote it,” said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi. “The vice president — that was my first thought. . . . Could have been Coats, Pompeo. They denied they wrote it. By process of elimination, you come down to the butler.”

More HERE 


Obama re-emerges

I have just read right through Obama's "get out the vote" speech which clearly targets Trump.  Like most Leftist writing it shows zero attempt at balance.  It just presents everything in the  light most favourable to the Left. There is no room for "yes but"  in Leftist writing.  So, if you take everything as read, it all sounds very convincing. 

I will just take one instance. He says that Trump is using fear and anger.  What an extreme denial of the facts!  There is certainly an avalanche of fear and anger in American politics today -- but it is coming from the Left towards Trump and his supporters. Nothing is coming from conservatives that is remotely like that.  So we see immediately how one-eyed Obama is.  His speech is largely composed of vague generalizations but sometimes even that does not rescue it from absurdity.

It's an absolutely typical Leftist bit of projection -- seeing in others what is true of yourself.  I have always said that if you want to find what is true of Leftists, just look at what they say about conservatives -- and this is a superb example of that.

So all that I can think Obama might be referring to is Trump's attempts to limit illegal immigration.  But is that motivated by fear?  The thing that pops up most in conservative news feeds is the frequent vicious crimes committed by illegals.   So yes.  Conservatives are angry about that but why wouldn't they be?  It could be a member of your family next. Surely we SHOULD get angry when innocent women get raped and murdered. 

So again you see in that an example of how the Left only ever tell half the story.  Obama says conservatives are angry but fails to say why.  When we look at why they are angry we see that his condemnation of anger is in fact evil.  Does he really think it is OK to rape and murder? 

Leftists do have a history of protecting criminals.  Look at the way Leftists in California tried to prevent the execution of the ghastly "Tookie" Williams.  The way that brute just wiped out weak little Asians seems to have been OK by them.  So it looks like Obama is in that category.  He isn't bothered by rape and murder either. He again displays his form as a psychopath.


Trump's Moves on NATO, NAFTA Were Needed

The anonymous op-ed author complains about Trump's policies, but it was time for a change.

The anonymous New York Times op-ed from a “senior administration official” has generated a lot of heat, but it does seem overblown. Among that author’s complaints is how President Donald Trump is dealing with NATO and NAFTA. So what’s the real scoop behind Trump’s purportedly “dangerous” threat to pull out of the alliance and the trade agreement?

Let’s start by acknowledging that we have these powerful trade chips only because this president is willing to question how the status quo benefits America. As for NATO, its purpose was to deter aggression from the Warsaw Pact (really the Soviet Union and a collection of puppet states). Since the fall of the USSR, the alliance’s defenses have badly dwindled. This order of battle (it’s a Word document) shows just how numerically superior the NATO military was in 1989.

Today, the forces NATO can send are fewer in numbers, and there are significant problems with readiness. Then there’s the factor of Russia having geopolitical kompromat on some of our NATO allies. No wonder Trump has been delivering some tough messages to Canada and Germany for their lack of readiness. How bad is it? Germany’s “green” jet fuel grounded its fleet of Tornado attack jets, and Canada needed to borrow a replenishment oiler from Chile.

This type of nonsense is what President Trump is dealing with. The previous strategy of nicely asking allies to address the growing decline of NATO simply failed. Even our closest allies, like the United Kingdom, were dropping capabilities left and right. It was time to hit them with a figurative two-by-four.

The same applied to NAFTA. Mexico and Canada had been ripping off American workers in some areas, notably in the production of automobiles. Trump used the threat of an American pullout to get Mexico to come to the table to renegotiate NAFTA. Now, he’s using hardball to get Canada to rethink its barriers for dairy products, among other things.

This isn’t to say that playing hardball is coming without figurative casualties. On the contrary — standing up for oneself often involves short-term pain, whether the opponent is a schoolyard bully or a trading partner.

Those who think Trump is reckless should take a look at how Ronald Reagan handled arms control. He was willing to go for the complete elimination of a class of nuclear weapons, but when the Soviets wouldn’t negotiate in good faith, he improved our nation’s nuclear arsenal. Eventually, the Soviets caved and negotiated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (which they are now cheating on) and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Back then, there was a lot of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that Reagan would start a global thermonuclear war. Much of it was from Democrats and what was then the establishment Republicans. Thirty years from now, it’s a good bet that Donald Trump, like Reagan before him, will have proven his critics wrong.



U.S. weekly jobless claims drop to near 49-year low

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment aid fell to near a 49-year low last week and private payrolls rose steadily in August, pointing to sustained labor market strength that should continue to underpin economic growth.

A man carrying a stack of job listings listens to a discussion at the One Stop employment center in San Francisco, California, August 12, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
The economy so far appears to be weathering an escalating trade war between the United States and China as well as tensions with other trade partners, including Canada, the European Union and Mexico, which have rattled financial markets.

This likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates this month for the third time this year.

“The economy is in overdrive with jobless claims at lows not seen since the 1960s, and this gives the Fed the green light to raise interest rates later this month and take away some of the economy’s punch,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

The Labor Department said on Thursday initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 203,000 for the week ended Sept. 1, the lowest level since December 1969.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 214,000 in the latest week. The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 2,750 last week to 209,500, also the lowest level since December 1969.

Though there have been reports of some companies either planning job cuts or laying off workers because of uncertainty caused by the Trump administration’s protectionist trade policy, that has not yet been reflected in the claims data.

Economists say given labor market tightness, employers were reluctant to lay off workers. The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment.

U.S. stocks were trading mixed after the data while prices of U.S. Treasuries were slightly higher. The dollar was lower against a basket of currencies.



The Party Of Free Stuff And Illegal Aliens Is Not The Workingman’s Friend

Democrats once passed themselves off as the party of the working guy; pro-union, pro-American manufacturing, pro-infrastructure and anti-communist, but today’s Democratic Party looks nothing like the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy.

In the age of Donald Trump Democrats have become, not the party of the American working man, but the party  Trump companies come backof free stuff and illegal aliens.

Leading Democrats, such as Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have called for the abolition of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency – which would in effect open America’s borders to the entire world.

Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders has long-advocated debt-free college and the Democrats’ marquee congressional candidate, New York Democratic-Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made free college and Medicare for all hallmarks of her campaign.

Just this week the Democratic Party in Florida nominated Far Left Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for Governor.

Gillum, an outspokenly progressive African-American, is the candidate of Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and Far-Left billionaire Tom Steyer, founder of the “Need to Impeach” super PAC.

According to reporting by The New Yorker’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells, Gillum’s campaign platform calls for a steep corporate-tax increase to pay for a billion-dollar boost in public-education spending, a repeal of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Medicare for all, and a fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage, abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the impeachment of the President.

On the national level Democrats have put stopping “climate change” ahead of jobs for coal miners – once the bedrock of the Democratic Party in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

And they’ve joined “Not In My Backyard” wealthy urban elites and back-to-nature whackos in campaigning against the Keystone XL pipeline and other infrastructure projects that would bring thousands of jobs to people working in the welding, construction, pipeline operations and other trades.

Perhaps worst of all, Democrats have become the party of the illegal aliens and unlimited immigration that has suppressed the wages and destroyed the quality of life for millions of America’s working families.

As Karen Zeigler and Steven A. Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies noted in a 2015 paper, “Government data show that since 2000 all of the net gain in the number of working-age (16 to 65) people holding a job has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal).”

This is remarkable, concluded Zeigler and Camarota, “given that native-born Americans accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the total working-age population.”

Now here’s the key takeaway from Zeigler and Camarota’s study: “Though there has been some recovery from the Great Recession, there were still fewer working-age natives holding a job in the first quarter of 2014 than in 2000, while the number of immigrants with a job was 5.7 million above the 2000 level.” (Emphasis ours)

According to research by Forbes contributor Chuck Jones, in the first half of this year, there have been 174,000 manufacturing jobs added to the US economy. This is almost as many as any full year over the past decade and should easily surpass any added during Obama’s administration as the economy recovered from the Great Recession.

CNBC analyzed the cumulative job growth in each industry since the president's November 2016 election to help gauge which industries are growing at the fastest pace.

At the top of the list, jobs in the mining and logging industry are up 13.5 percent since the election, well above the gains in construction and transportation, which made second and third place, respectively. Job growth in oil and gas extraction — which are included in the category — typically provide a boost to the headline number.

In the No. 2 spot, the construction industry is one of the hottest in the American economy in terms of employment and has been explicitly cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as an area of better-than-average growth.

Jobs in the trucking industry have climbed 4.6 percent since Trump's election.

This Labor Day, as TV commentators and newspaper editors cast about for heroes of the American labor movement to honor they should forget Samuel Gompers (the first and longest-serving president of the American Federation of Labor) John L. Lewis (early leader of the United Mine Workers and a founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations) Walter Reuther (United Autoworkers President and leading liberal Democrat of the post-WWII era) or Eugene V. Debs (labor leader and Socialist candidate for President) and honor President Donald J. Trump for putting Americans back to work.



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

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


7 September, 2018

Democrats don’t believe in democracy

The comments below are all too accurate.  Were it not for the fact that the military is always conservative, we would probably have had a Leftist coup of some sort by now

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Donald Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. There’s a pattern here.

The Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time a federal judge issues an order saying the president of the United States can’t scratch his own back without the judge’s say so, that’s the civil war.

If Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the president can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has “discretion” to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the “discretion” to reverse him. That’s how the game is played. That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary Clinton take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win did.

Have no doubt. We are in a civil war. This war is between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.

Author unknown


Federal Judge Reinforces Ruling-Class Privilege

For decades, government employee unions had been confiscating money from non-members and using it for political causes the non-members oppose. The U.S. Supreme Court put a stop to that in the recent Janus decision. Now a federal district court judge has made firing federal employees a more difficult matter.

On August 26, a Saturday, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson blocked provisions of three recent executive orders she claims “undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively.” The executive orders were aimed at promoting more efficient government and making it easier to remove employees for poor performance or misconduct. At present, it takes between six months and a year, or much longer. As we noted, John Beale of the EPA claimed to work for the CIA, but he performed little if any work for nearly 20 years. His ruse went undiscovered and EPA bosses gave Beale retention bonuses and continued to pay his salary after he had retired.

Other examples of poor performance and misconduct would include the federal employees and managers who let hundreds of veterans drop dead while awaiting care at a Phoenix VA facility. In 2013 IRS employees handed out $3.6 billion in fraudulent tax refunds and IRS bosses responded with $62.5 million in bonuses. No reports of anybody being fired.

True to form, the National Treasury Employees Union praised Judge Jackson’s action to make dismissal of federal employees more difficult.

This has nothing to do with collective bargaining. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, an Obama appointee once on that president’s short list for the Supreme Court, has set back the cause of government accountability, struck a blow against taxpayers, and reinforced the privileges of overpaid and pampered federal employees.



Amidst the Demo circus around Kavanaugh, Sasse gives a civics lesson

In the midst of a Democrat-created circus intent on obstructing as much of the Senate's confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as possible, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) offered a timely rebuke and an insightful civics lesson.

In just under 12 minutes, Sasse outlined the constitutional roles of the three branches of government and followed that by explaining why the confirmation of judicial nominees has become so politicized — something the Founders never intended. Sasse diagnoses the root of the problem as the legislative branch having abdicated its constitutional power to career-minded, unelected bureaucrats within the executive branch agencies:

The real reason, at the end of the day, that this institution punts most of its power to executive branch agencies is because it is a convenient way for legislators to be able to avoid taking responsibility for controversial and often unpopular decisions. If people want to get reelected over and over and over again, and that's your highest goal — if your biggest long-term thought around here is about your own incumbency — then actually giving away your power is a pretty good strategy. ... And so, at the end of the day, a lot of the power delegation that happens from this branch is because the Congress has decided to self-neuter.

Sasse then eloquently noted how this abdication of power by Congress has ultimately undermined the voting power of every American citizen:

The important thing isn't whether Congress has lame jobs; the important thing is that when Congress neuters itself and gives power to an unaccountable fourth branch of government, it means the people are cut out of the process.

So, ultimately when the Congress is neutered, when the administrative state grows, when there is this fourth branch of government, it makes it harder and harder for the concerns of citizens to be represented and articulated by people, that the people know they have power over. All the power, or almost all the power, right now happens offstage. And that leaves a lot of people wondering, "Who's looking out for me?"

He then concluded by boiling down the only truly legitimate thing senators need to consider for deciding on Kavanaugh:

So the question we have before us today is not what did Brett Kavanaugh think 11 years ago on some policy matter. The question before us is whether or not he has the temperament and the character to take his policy views and political preferences and put them in a box marked "irrelevant" and set it aside every morning when he puts on the black robe. The question is, "Does he have the character and temperament to do that?" If you don't think he does, vote no. But if you think he does, stop the charades. Because, at the end of the day, I think all of us know that Brett Kavanaugh understands that his job isn't to rewrite laws as he wishes they were. He understands that he's not being interviewed to be a super legislator. He understands that his job isn't to seek popularity. His job is to be fair and dispassionate. It is not to exercise empathy. It is to follow written laws.

Ultimately, Sasse accurately articulated what really matters. The rest of the antics in the Senate yesterday were just the sideshow



With Jon Kyl, a ‘steady, respected hand’ back in the Senate, could Obamacare repeal and replace be back on the table?

Former Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has been appointed by Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey to replace the late John McCain. With the new appointment comes a new opportunity for Republicans to complete one of their key 2016 campaign promises: To repeal and replace Obamacare before the 2018 midterms.

In 2017, despite promising to do so if elected and working for months on end, Congressional Republicans failed to pass legislation that would do away with the 2010 health care law signed into law by former President Barack Obama.

One piece of legislation to repeal key elements of the law failed by one vote in the Senate, the so-called “skinny” repeal. One of the missing votes was McCain’s whose rejection came as a shock to many observers.

Other legislation by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) failed later in Sept. 2017 with Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and again, McCain, opposed.

Since that time, Republicans lost the Alabama Senate seat, trimming their majority to a slim 51 to 49. If there were any vote to repeal and replace Obamacare on budget reconciliation, Republicans could only afford to lose one senator.

Senator Kyl could be a different story from McCain. Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning in a statement called him a “a steady, respected hand in the Senate who has the respect of his colleagues.”

So too might Senator Paul, if his objections to the prior Graham-Cassidy bill could quickly be taken into consideration and Republicans could rally together around a new consensus for repealing and replacing the health care law.

One thing is clear from the GOP’s standpoint, it’s worth taking a chance. Health care remains a primary concern for American voters headed to polls, and the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare remains one of Republicans’ and independents’ greatest disappointments with the current Republican-led Congress.

However, turning a new leaf, and bringing up the bill again — even if it means staying in Washington, D.C. in October — could provide the last, best chance to work on the legislation. The outcome of the midterms remains uncertain. Even if Republicans were to keep the Senate but lose the House, all possibility of working on one of their signature legislative promise would evaporate until at least 2021.

Reinstating the budget reconciliation procedure might take a bit of parliamentary juggling. Congress has already passed its budget for the fiscal year, but presumably, it could be amended via the same procedure before Sept. 30. Which is why there isn’t a moment to lose.

Senator Kyl’s first order of business, besides confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, should be sitting down with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Paul to see if something can be worked out on Obamacare before the elections to reset public perception of Congress as one that keeps its promises — before it is too late.



Destructive Leftist envy again

Another attempt to drive marginal workers out of the workforce.  Goodbye jobs for single mothers and others who need welfare payments.  Amazon will simply no longer hire them if this bill goes through

Sen. Bernie Sanders' criticism of Amazon peaked Wednesday as he and Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced legislation to tax corporations for every dollar that their low-wage workers receive in government health-care benefits or food stamps.

The bill, pointedly called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies, or BEZOS, Act, is aimed at shaming companies like Amazon and Walmart, whose workers rely on public assistance.

For months, Sanders has targeted Amazon, juxtaposing the wealth of CEO Jeff Bezos with reports that Amazon warehouse workers are paid less than industry averages and rely on food stamps.

"Our legislation gives large, profitable employers a choice: Pay workers a living wage or pay for the public assistance programs their low-wage employees are forced to depend upon," Sanders said of the proposed law.

For example, if an Amazon worker received $2,000 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $2,000 to cover that cost.

Amazon has previously called the Vermont independent's claims about working conditions in its fulfillment centers "inaccurate and misleading" and a spokesperson declined to further comment on the bill.



Why does the Left incessantly libel Republicans and conservatives as racists?

Dennis Prager gives a simple answer

The answers are as vile as they are obvious.

First, the left fears that unless blacks continue to believe Republicans are racists, they will not overwhelmingly vote Democrat. And if they don't, Democrats will not regain the White House for the foreseeable future. The same holds true for depicting Republicans and conservatives as women haters. There is no better way to persuade college-indoctrinated women to vote Democrat. And the same holds true for Latinos — Republicans must be continuously labeled "white supremacists" and "xenophobes" or they, too, may not reliably vote Democrat.

Second, though most intellectuals are on the left, the intellectual foundation of left-wing beliefs is unbelievably weak. Leftism is almost entirely emotion-based. That's another reason the left smears conservatives and tries wherever possible to prevent conservatives from speaking in the university, on the internet and by the many big businesses in the hands of people on the left: Since leftists cannot debate conservatives, they have to smear them.

America is the least-racist multiracial, multiethnic nation in world history. The left's constant need to locate racism where it doesn't exist is proof of this.




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

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


6 September, 2018

The Leftist trust in coercion again

Democrats began obstructing Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing less than five seconds into it on Monday, and several protestors were physically removed by police for aggressively trying to shut it down.

According to The Washington Examiner, Democrats and liberal protestors made the hearing so contentious that Kavanaugh’s young daughters —  Margaret, 13, and Elizabeth, 10 — were rushed out of the hearing on Capitol Hill.

The Examiner reports that a source said the two girls were rushed out by their mother, Ashley Kavanaugh, “as the hearing got ‘hot.'” It was very heated with Democrats and protestors losing their minds over the thought of Kavanaugh serving on the Supreme Court. “It was very unpleasant for young children,” said the source.

Democrats literally began the hearing by interrupting Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, less than five seconds into the hearing, largely refusing to allow him to even begin the confirmation process.

The hearing began at 9 a.m. ET, and Democrat committee members spent the first few hours grandstanding about how Kavanaugh — President Donald Trump’s pick to serve on the Supreme Court — will end the world.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., kicked it off by raising objections to the committee receiving over 400,000 documents relating to Kavanaugh’s work with past administrations, claiming that “was not enough.”

“We cannot possibly move forward,” Harris theatrically claimed, likely using the hearing ahead of her potential 2020 Democratic presidential run.

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., jumped in soon after, and was also rude to Grassley by demanding he be given time to voice his concerns about Kavanaugh.

After every single Democrat interrupted Grassley and another protestor was kicked out every 15 minutes or so, Grassley knocked Democrats for using the hearing as a political stunt to create drama.

“We have said for a long period of time that we were going to proceed on this very day and I think we ought to give the American people the opportunity to hear whether judge Kavanaugh should be on the Supreme Court or not.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, defended Grassley, and ripped Democrats for their childish antics. “Democrats would be held in contempt of court if they behaved that way in a court of law. We have rules in the Senate. We have norms for decorum. Everybody as you pointed out will get a chance to have their say.”

It’s unfathomable and downright disturbing that Democrats and their ilk were so raucous and hostile on Tuesday that Kavanaugh’s own children had to leave the room over concerns that the protestors may get so hostile that they wouldn’t be safe.

Liberals are so determined to oppose Trump that they are unbothered by intimidating and making children feel unsafe at their father’s confirmation hearing. That is unacceptable, many would agree, and should never be tolerated.



Arizona Governor Announces Replacement for John McCain

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey named former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl as the late Sen. John McCain’s replacement on Tuesday.

Kyl served with McCain in the Senate from 1995 to Jan. 2013 before his retirement. Sen. Jeff Flake succeeded him. Kyl, 76, was the GOP minority whip before leaving office, which is the second-highest position in the Republican conference, the Arizona Republic reported.

Ducey made the announcement at a press conference from the Arizona capitol in Phoenix. “There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Sen. Jon Kyl,” Ducey said.

“I am deeply grateful to Sen. Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents #Arizona in the U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served,” Ducey tweeted.
Kyl has agreed to serve out the remainder of the current session of Congress, which will conclude in December.

The governor expressed the hope that Kyl will stay on through the special election to fill McCain’s seat, which will take place in 2020. That election will be to fulfill the last two years of McCain’s term, which ends in 2022.

McCain’s wife, Cindy, expressed support for Ducey’s choice tweeting, “Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John’s. It’s a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona.”

Most recently, Kyl has been serving in the role of “sherpa” by guiding Trump’s Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh through the confirmation process in the Senate.



Obama Prepares For The Campaign Trail, But Some Democrats Want Him To Back Off

Former President Barack Obama is preparing to stump for various Democrats as midterm elections near while some members of the party running for reelection are telling him to keep his distance.

Democratic Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota worry a surrogate like Obama could distract from focusing on their Republican opponents. Obama himself is keeping a wide berth from endorsing national campaigns in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.

“We’re not going to use any surrogates. Surrogates are fine but we don’t need them,” Tester told The Hill on Saturday.

Heitkamp was even more curt, saying “nope, no” to questions about the possibility of Obama visiting North Dakota. “He threatened to campaign against me once so I don’t think he’s coming out there,” she said.

Obama endorsed Richard Cordray’s campaign for governor in Ohio, for instance, but he has not yet endorsed Sen. Sherrod Brown’s reelection campaign. Brown frequently paints himself as a Trump opponent but a senator who will nonetheless work with the president on certain issues.

The senator’s Republican opponent, Rep. Jim Renacci, meanwhile is trying to depict Brown as a bitter political partisan obstructionist who is out of step for a state that supported Trump in the 2016 election.

Obama gave Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey similar treatment. The former president announced his support for two Keystone State House candidates, Madeleine Dean and Susan Wild, but left Casey off his list.

One Democratic strategist told reporters that the list of endorsements is a strategy designed to allow Trump to create foils.

“Both of those senators are doing well their respective states and they don’t exactly need Obama’s seal of approval. In fact, it might do more harm than good,” the strategist said. “Obama is still popular with certain folks in those states but he’s not exactly popular with some others.”



Sweden’s Universal Healthcare System Goes the Way of All Others

Sweden’s Universal Healthcare System Goes the Way of All Others
Proponents of socialized medicine like to remind Americans that the United States spends more per capita on healthcare than any other industrialized nation without necessarily getting the best results. Instead, they suggest emulating European welfare states with their national healthcare systems.

According to a report from Agence France-Presse, however, one of the crown jewels of the welfare state, Sweden, spends extravagantly on healthcare yet finds its prized universal healthcare system succumbing to the same forces that have doomed all other such programs, with waiting lists growing ever longer and doctors, nurses, and hospitals becoming ever scarcer.

Swedes, on average, pay over half their income in taxes, and their government’s healthcare spending is the third highest in the European Union. And what do they get for it?

AFP writes:

Swedish law stipulates patients should wait no more than 90 days to undergo surgery or see a specialist. Yet every third patient waits longer, according to government figures.

Patients must also see a general practitioner within seven days, the second-longest deadline in Europe after Portugal (15 days).

Try as they might, politicians cannot legislate away the law of supply and demand. With healthcare seemingly free, people tend to use more of it than necessary, driving costs up while failing to increase the supply of care. (In a free market, by contrast, higher prices would induce consumers to reduce their consumption and producers to increase their production, bringing prices back down.)

Thus, even the government’s seemingly modest goals for timely care, known as the “Healthcare Guarantee,” go unmet. As insurance executive Kent Andersson told the European news site The Local, “The Healthcare Guarantee isn’t a guarantee.”

Twenty-three-year-old Asia Nader, for instance, told AFP that she had to wait a year for surgery to repair a hole in her heart. A dental patient said he had to wait six months for a checkup. Prostate-cancer patients wait 120 days on average for surgery, but in one county the wait was as high as 217 days. Patients wait four hours on average to be seen in the emergency rooms of Stockholm’s major hospitals.

When patients do get to see doctors, they “complain about not being able to see their own regular general practitioner — and the ensuing lack of continuity — as a growing number of doctors and nurses are temporary hires employed by staffing companies,” notes AFP. Official numbers — which may understate the problem — suggest that 80 percent of the healthcare system is short of nurses.

Some hospitals are closing, while even new ones aren’t able to keep up with demand, reports AFP:

In Solleftea, the premier’s northern hometown with nearly 20,000 residents, the only maternity ward was shut down last year to save money.

With the closest maternity ward now 200 kilometers (125 miles) away, midwives offer parents-to-be classes on how to deliver babies in cars — which some have since done….

Frustrations peaked this year when it emerged that the bill for Stockholm’s over-budget state-of-the-art New Karolinska Hospital would tick in at 61.4 billion kronor (5.8 billion euros, $6.7 billion) — the most expensive hospital in the world.

And yet patients have had to be transferred to other overcrowded hospitals because some of the facilities are unusable.

Add to that the aging population and the recent influx of immigrants, and the cracks in the socialist edifice are becoming impossible to ignore, much to the chagrin of Sweden’s leftists. Lisa Pelling, chief analyst at progressive think tank Arena Ide, told AFP that Swedes’ lack of confidence in politicians’ ability to solve the healthcare system’s problems creates “a risk their faith in the welfare state will be eroded.”

Of course, governing parties, rather than admit socialism’s failure, are simply trying their same old tactics. The Social Democrats, who currently control the government, are promising to fix the system by spending even more money on it. Their main opponents, the Moderates, want to patch the system their own way by rewarding counties for reducing queues, a mandate that “critics say … just encourages doctors to prioritize easily-solved cases,” observes AFP.

There is only one sure way to fix the healthcare system in Sweden or any other country: Get the government out of the way and let the free market reign.





Illegal immigrants who exploited Motor Voter to register in North Carolina still on rolls

Elvis David Fullerton has voted in 16 elections in North Carolina dating back nearly two decades. The only problem, authorities say, is he’s not a citizen and never should have been on the voter rolls, much less allowed to step into a polling booth to cast a ballot.

Mr. Fullerton, who is still a citizen of Grenada, is one of 19 North Carolinians the federal government indicted last month on charges of illegal voting. Yet even now, his name remains on the state’s rolls in Wake County, and local officials say there’s not much they can do about it.

“At this time I’ve not been made aware of any formal source to remove anybody,” said Gary Sims, elections board director in Wake, where five of the 19, including Mr. Fullerton, were registered. Three of them are still on his rolls.

Mr. Sims said an indictment or sworn affidavit isn’t even enough for him to begin an investigation, saying he needs a notification from an “official or formal source.”

Yet the indictments, which got only cursory attention nationally, do offer unprecedented insight into the contours of illegal voting in the U.S.

The first clear conclusion is that most non-citizens who sign up to vote appear to do so at motor vehicle bureaus. Of the 18 accused voters for which The Washington Times was able to find state records, all of them registered at North Carolina DMVs.

And of those 18, 13 were registered as Democrats, four as Republicans and one unaffiliated with a party. While a small sample, that does suggest Democrats may be benefitting more from illegal non-citizen voting than Republicans.

Mr. Sims, the elections official in Wake County, said he can’t begin a review of people the federal government says are voting illegally until a more “verifiable” source comes forward.

He said his main role in registration is to make sure people fill out their information correctly, and he said he relies on checks to clear his rolls of people who moved out of the area, or who have passed away. But Mr. Sims acknowledged none of those checks would catch non-citizens. “That really is managed by the North Carolina state Board of Elections,” he said.

Perhaps it’s time local officials take a more proactive approach, said Logan Churchwell at the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which has done pioneering work in tracking down non-citizens on voting rolls, and which uncovered many of the names still registered in North Carolina last month.

“These are registrants facing federal indictments for election crimes. In the face of new law enforcement efforts, the standard operating procedure may not always apply,” Mr. Churchwell said.

He also said the fact that all of the registrants were listed as having signed up at motor vehicle bureaus pointed clearly at a flaw in the system: the Clinton-era National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the Motor Voter law, because it requires states to push voter registration on people who show up to conduct business at DMVs.

Non-citizens can easily sign up, either by accident or on purpose, and as Mr. Sims pointed out, there are no easy ways to skim them out of the pool.

“Incidents like this demonstrate why we need to put Motor Voter back on the table for reform — all of it,” Mr. Churchwell said. “Maintenance stagnation breeds voter roll bloat and can only harm confidence in the system as a result.”

The PILF released a report last week tracking 13 cities and counties with sanctuary policies, and counted more than 3,000 non-citizens who’ve been stripped from their voting rolls in recent years.

Those are usually people who either self-reported or were flagged as illegal voters, and it doesn’t capture the potentially hundreds of thousands of others who have not outed their unauthorized voting behavior, analysts said.

Federal officials declined to say how the 19 people in North Carolina came to their attention.

The court-appointed lawyer for Mr. Fullerton didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

Others among the 19 include Alessandro Cannizzaro, an Italian, was granted legal permanent residence in the U.S. in 1985, and applied for citizenship in 2003 — but was denied four years later. Still, in 2008 he swore he was a citizen when he registered to vote in Wake County, and did in fact cast ballots in 2008, 2012 and 2016, according to state records.

His name has been dropped from the voter rolls.

Yet another of the 19, Ramon Esteban Paez-Jerez, of the Dominican Republic, was ordered deported in 1988 but never showed up for his deportation. Instead he adopted a fake identity and managed to win citizenship under that name in 1999, prosecutors said.

The government didn’t divulge the fake identity in court documents, and The Times was unable to track his voting history — though prosecutors said he, too, was registered in Wake County.

Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the state elections board, said the indictments presented “somewhat of a unique situation” to officials. “We do not have a regular voter list maintenance process to identify and remove non-U.S. citizens from the voter rolls, at least partly because there is no comprehensive citizenship database to rely upon,” he said.



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

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


5 September, 2018

Babies conceived via IVF are SIX TIMES more likely to have high blood pressure as teenagers (?)

As the father of an adult son conceived via IVF, I have some personal interest in this study.  On looking at it in detail, however, I doubt that the results are much cause for concern.  The "sample" size is small, there was apparently no attempt at random sampling and the average differences found are very slight. 

Additionally, I cannot see that they have excluded the effects observed as being due to differences in the mothers rather than differences in the method of conception.  The authors claim to have controlled for differences in the mothers but it is not clear to me how to do that.  Mothers who have to resort to IVF would usually have subtle health differences that could have non-obvious effects.  The cause of infertility is quite often rather mysterious but it is there. 

And the father cannot be omitted from consideration either. It can often be the father who is infertile (has a low sperm count or deficient sperm motility) and that could have complex ramifications.  The father may have broader health problems that are passed on genetically. I presume the authors were careful enough to leave out conceptions due to ICSI, which is a whole different ballgame (no pun intended).

Those objections do however have the character of denying that any research into the method of conception is possible and I do not want to claim that so let us look again at the other problems in the study.  The sample size is not impossibly small but it very much at the low end of what we expect in delivering stable results.  And that doubt is sharpened when we look at the average differences in BP. 120/71, compared to 116/69, is a trivial difference and founding it on a small sample  makes it a trivial finding.

And the criterion for high blood pressure is very severe: more than 130/80.  In normal clinical practice that would count as being within the normal range.

And the lack of random sampling in assembling the study population is a very large lacuna.  Unless you have some evidence that your sample is representative you cannot validly generalize from it.  Hoping or assuming that it is representative reduces the study to a work of faith, not a work of science

So the study is interesting but far from conclusive.  I append the journal abstract

Thousands of children born each year by IVF could be at risk of serious heart problems in later life, a study suggests.

Scientists found signs of 'premature vascular aging' in children as young as 11 who had been conceived as a result of fertility treatment.

And by the age of 16 IVF children were six times more likely to have high blood pressure - a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

The scientists believe how embryos are fertilised and manipulated before they are implanted into a woman's uterus may cause small genetic changes that affect a baby's heart and circulatory system.

They warn that the soaring use of IVF 'may have come at a price' for many children, who could suffer cardiovascular disease as a result.

Children conceived via IVF have higher blood pressure readings

Researchers from University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland, tracked 54 seemingly healthy children who had been born via IVF, and compared them to 43 children born naturally.

They found at age 11 and 12 the IVF children had a 25 per cent narrower brachial artery - the major blood vessel in the arm - and their arteries had thicker walls.

The team then tracked the children for five years. At the age of 16 and 17 the IVF children were far more likely to have developed high blood pressure. They had an average blood pressure of 120/71, compared to 116/69 for the teenagers who had been conceived naturally.

Crucially, eight of those conceived via IVF had developed 'hypertension' - the medical term for high blood pressure, involving a reading of more than 130/80. Only one of the teenagers conceived naturally had hypertension.

The study bolsters the results of previous research which found mice born to IVF had heart problems.


Association of Assisted Reproductive Technologies With Arterial Hypertension During Adolescence

Théo A.Meister MD et al.


Background: Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have been shown to induce premature vascular aging in apparently healthy children. In mice, ART-induced premature vascular aging evolves into arterial hypertension. Given the young age of the human ART group, long-term sequelae of ART-induced alterations of the cardiovascular phenotype are unknown.

Objectives: This study hypothesized that vascular alterations persist in adolescents and young adults conceived by ART and that arterial hypertension possibly represents the first detectable clinically relevant endpoint in this group.

Methods: Five years after the initial assessment, the study investigators reassessed vascular function and performed 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (BP) monitoring (ABPM) in 54 young, apparently healthy participants conceived through ART and 43 age- and sex-matched controls.

Results: Premature vascular aging persisted in ART-conceived subjects, as evidenced by a roughly 25% impairment of flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery (p < 0.001) and increased pulse-wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness. Most importantly, ABPM values (systolic BP, 119.8 ± 9.1 mm Hg vs. 115.7 ± 7.0 mm Hg, p = 0.03; diastolic BP, 71.4 ± 6.1 mm Hg vs. 69.1 ± 4.2 mm Hg, p = 0.02 ART vs. control) and BP variability were markedly higher in ART-conceived subjects than in control subjects. Eight of the 52 ART participants, but only 1 of the 43 control participants (p = 0.041 ART vs. controls) fulfilled ABPM criteria of arterial hypertension (>130/80 mm Hg and/or >95th percentile).

Conclusions: ART-induced premature vascular aging persists in apparently healthy adolescents and young adults without any other detectable classical cardiovascular risk factors and progresses to arterial hypertension. (Vascular Dysfunction in Offspring of Assisted Reproduction Technologies; NCT00837642.)
Central Illustratio

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 72, Issue 11, 11 September 2018, Pages 1267-1274


The ACLU Stirs Against Cuomo

The New York Democrat is targeting the NRA, but gun rights have perhaps an unlikely ally.

Good news has emerged in the ongoing legal battle of New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s abuse of financial regulations to target the National Rifle Association. The American Civil Liberties Union has joined the fight — and it is siding with free speech.

We have noted the ACLU’s silence on select issues of free speech in the past, and Cuomo was prominently cited. We’re glad to update the record, but this is something that should have been done when Cuomo made the threats. The good news is that the ACLU doesn’t want the case dismissed, which means a favorable ruling could come. The bad news: The ACLU has taken a limited step, only supporting discovery, not the actual objective itself.

The fact is, though, once it goes to discovery, we’re likely to see the evidence that what the NRA claims is being done is actually happening. It’s a fair bet that when the NRA filed its suit, the corporate partners who ended relationships in the face of Cuomo’s intimidation campaign left behind some evidence.

Cuomo’s unapologetic attitude — all but daring somebody to do something about his campaign — will also likely have trickled down, and some aides will have stuff in their emails. This will, in a court of law, make it hard for any jury to find in the governor’s favor.

The fact is, even an injunction and a favorable jury verdict will not completely undo the harm that has been done. Even if the consent decrees for Chubb and Lockton are voided, those companies may not come back — because even with the vindication, the process has become punishment for having the temerity to oppose the Left, just as the “John Doe” investigations were used by leftist prosecutors in Wisconsin against allies of Scott Walker, and just as the IRS was used to stifle the Tea Party.

That said, the ACLU probably didn’t just act on principle. Recently, Louisiana told Citigroup and Bank of America not to bother trying to take part in financing a round of road construction due to the banks’ participation in a push for corporate gun control. In the ACLU’s release, it specifically stated that Cuomo’s actions could be replicated for use against Planned Parenthood or the Communist Party. The ACLU’s decision came eight days after Louisiana’s announcement and was part of a Friday news dump.

So while we can be grateful the ACLU is standing to stop government retaliation against those who exercise their First (and Second) Amendment rights, we also must not kid ourselves. Our constitutional rights are at grave risk.



Walter E. Williams: Immigrants and Disease

The Immigration and Nationality Act mandates that all immigrants and refugees undergo a medical screening examination to determine whether they have an inadmissible health condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has technical instructions for medical examination of prospective immigrants in their home countries before they are permitted to enter the U.S. They are screened for communicable and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, polio, measles, mumps and HIV. They are also tested for syphilis, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases. The CDC also has medical screening guidelines for refugees. These screenings are usually performed 30 to 90 days after refugees arrive in the United States.

But what about people who enter our country illegally? The CDC specifically cites the possibility of the cross-border movement of HIV, measles, pertussis, rubella, rabies, hepatitis A, influenza, tuberculosis, shigellosis and syphilis. Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent in South Texas, warned: "What's coming over into the U.S. could harm everyone. We are starting to see scabies, chickenpox, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and different viruses." Some of the youngsters illegally entering our country are known to be carrying lice and suffering from various illnesses. Because there have been no medical examinations of undocumented immigrants, we have no idea how many are carrying infectious diseases that might endanger American children when these immigrants enter schools across our nation.

According to the CDC, in most industrialized countries, the number of cases of tuberculosis and the number of deaths caused by TB steadily declined during the 100 years prior to the mid-1980s. Since the '80s, immigrants have reversed this downward trend in countries that have had substantial levels of immigration from areas where the disease is prevalent. In 2002, the CDC said: “Today, the proportion of immigrants among persons reported as having TB exceeds 50 percent in several European countries, including Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. A similar proportion has been predicted for the United States.” The number of active TB cases among American-born citizens declined from an estimated 17,725 in 1986 to 3,201 in 2015. That was an 80 percent drop. Data reported to the National Tuberculosis Surveillance System show that the TB incidence among foreign-born people in the United States (15.1 cases per 100,000) is approximately 13 times the incidence among U.S.-born people (1.2 cases per 100,000). Those statistics refer to immigrants who are legally in the U.S. There is no way for us to know the incidence of tuberculosis and other diseases carried by those who are in our country illegally and hence not subject to medical examination.

This public health issue is ignored by all those Americans championing sanctuary cities. The public health issue is also ignored by Americans clamoring for open borders, and that includes many of my libertarian friends. By the way, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, when masses of European immigrants were trying to enter our country, those with dangerous diseases were turned back from Ellis Island. Americans hadn't "progressed" to the point of thinking that anyone in the world has a legal right to live in America. Neither did they think that it was cruel or racist to take measures to prevent our fellow Americans from catching diseases from foreigners.

But aside from diseases, there is the greater threat of welcoming to our shores people who have utter contempt for Western values and want to import anti-Western values to our country, such as genital mutilation, honor killings and the oppression of women. Many libertarian types make the argument that we would benefit from open borders when it comes to both people and goods. That vision ignores the important fact that when we import, say, tomatoes from Mexico, as opposed to people, to the U.S., they are not going to demand that we supply them with welfare benefits.

The bottom line is that we Americans have a right to decide who enters our country and under what conditions. If we forgo that right, we cease to be a sovereign nation. But that may not be important to some Americans.



Democrats Are Leaving Their Party in Droves. Conservatives Should Pay Attention

Two thousand years ago, St. Paul found himself blinded by a bright light on the road to Damascus. The dramatic experience led him to stop persecuting his opponents and to take up new beliefs.

Today, many former leftists are taking their first steps on their own road to Damascus, and the right is not doing nearly enough to capitalize on this unprecedented mass exit from the left.

It all began just a few short weeks ago when gay New York hairdresser Brandon Straka posted a hard-hitting video explaining why he is no longer a Democrat or a liberal. Since then, his #WalkAway Campaign Facebook group has attracted more than 172,000 members. A multitude of videos from other WalkAways have been posted online.

Make no mistake, the left has been greatly rattled by all this. The left’s treatment of the #WalkAway Campaign mirrors the way it reacted to the Tea Party movement. First, it ignored it, hoping it would go away. Then it moved on to minimizing and attempting ridicule, which it has done with #WalkAway. Steven Colbert and others claimed that the #WalkAway Campaign is just run by Russian bots.

Having seen that fail, the next step was to try to co-opt it with its own movement.

Bill Scher wrote a piece in Politico inviting Republicans to become Democrats. The suggestion is that Never Trumpers should walk away from the GOP, get themselves elected as delegates to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, and thereby prevent the Democratic Party from going full-blown socialist.

Nearly every WalkAway has a unique reason for leaving the Democratic Party. Some of the most common reasons I’ve encountered are:

The Democrat Party rejects Christian values.

Liberal rhetoric on helping the poor does not match up with reality. For instance, Democrat-run Los Angeles now has 55,000 homeless people living on the streets.

The left frequently denounces the armed services, law enforcement, and the American flag. Many military veterans are outraged by this.

There are countless others. But the wellspring of the #WalkAway movement has less to do with policy than with the realization that Democrats and the left invariably use despicable methods to achieve their goals, and without remorse. To the left, winning is all that matters.

Consider these words from one WalkAway, Rebecca Meli, who posted on Facebook:

The left only cares about pitting us against each other to keep control and keeping people dependent on them. … This movement has gone right to my core. To have the privilege of watching people think for themselves and recognize the deceitful practices of the left and the manipulation of minorities has been like an awakening.

Another WalkAway, Amanda Velásquez, wrote:

I am tired of the narrative, tired of people who don’t let you speak even if you have proof of what you are talking about, they attack you and label you as racist, closed-minded, and so on.

Many WalkAways have said it was easier to come out as gay than to come out as a conservative or libertarian. Many have even lost friends and been ostracized by family members because they decided to leave the Democrat Party.

One man, Vlad, who grew up in communist Poland, posted a YouTube video in which he compared the methods of today’s American left to the old communist government in his home country.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for conservatives, and it is not likely to come our way again in our lifetimes. Many of these WalkAways come from surprising demographics—gay people, ethnic minorities, and others.

The left worked these communities hard in amassing its power, and it is incumbent on the right to reach out to these same individuals. With the left inching ever closer to total victory, the right cannot afford to shun those who are like-minded just because they previously found themselves on opposite sides of a debate. This is a golden opportunity.

The bright light has shone. The WalkAways are on the move. We at Potomac Tea Party are doing our part to affirm their courageous personal decisions.

What will you do to get other former Democrats to Damascus?



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

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


4 September, 2018

Witch Hunts Over Substance

The fix is in. Congressional Democrats have no legislative agenda to run on for the 2018 midterm elections, so they’ve made a hobby out of Republican witch-hunts instead.

In lieu of discussing any policy reforms of substance, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is urging progressives to make the general theme of “ethics” a rallying cry on the campaign trail. She recently accused the Trump administration of "brazen corruption, cronyism and incompetence," and patted her fellow progressives on the back for working to “restore dignity to our democracy and give power back to the people.”

Now I’ve witnessed some impressive displays of cognitive dissonance during my years in Washington, but this one is truly special.

This is the same former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who tried to gloss over the secret details of Obamacare by telling Americans they had to “pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.”

It’s the same former Speaker Pelosi who stood idly by as Obama-era treasury secretary Timothy Geithner lived rent-free in a JPMorgan top executive’s $3.5 million townhouse while overseeing the TARP bailout in 2008. (By the way, JPMorgan ended up receiving $25 billion in federal rescue funds.)

During her speakership, Pelosi herself requested nearly $200 million of luxury private jets to allow Democrat lawmakers and high-level bureaucrats to travel in style. You didn’t hear the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency criticizing Pelosi’s carbon footprint ambitions, probably because they were busy spending $92.4 million to purchase, rent, install, and store high-end office furniture from 2005-2015.

The Democratic Party doesn’t want to keep D.C. honest. When it comes to corruption, they are the worst offenders in Washington. Rep. Pelosi and House Democrats are simply using the concept of corruption as a political strategy to get themselves in a position of power to impeach President Trump.

The only way to truly “drain the Swamp” is to make government smaller. We must reduce the opportunities for truly corrupt politicians like Rep. Nancy Pelosi to pick winners and losers at the expense of the rest of us.

It’s time to take a stand. The American people aren’t being heard by their government because the game is rigged. Washington isn’t broken. It’s “fixed.”



David Horowitz Freedom Center Declares Victory Over Censorship Attempt

The David Horowitz Freedom Center won a major battle on Friday afternoon, defeating well-financed leftwing groups trying to run it out of business and suffocate free speech in our country.

Here is what happened.  Last Tuesday the Freedom Center was informed by WorldPay, which handles its online donations, that Mastercard would no longer complete transactions for the Freedom Center because it had been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and a similarly leftist organization called Color of Change.org. This is what we were told by MasterCard: “The organization Color of Change has published an updated website named bloodmoney.org and within it has listed a number of merchants that purport to accept Mastercard and have content which is hateful in nature. .. [and] which may be advocating for violence. We have identified the sites below as belonging to your institution…”

Just as in Alice in Wonderland: the verdict before the trial. The Freedom Center was judged guilty of “hate crimes” without a chance to protest and its online fundraising was blocked.  Because on line fundraising is the lifeblood of our organization, this was an existential threat to our future.  We were mobilizing for a costly legal proceeding against Mastercard when, on Friday afternoon, four days after the attempt to destroy us, WorldPay and MasterCard backed down and informed us they were restoring our online services and donations.

Why this reversal? We believe it was due to the massive support we received across the Internet when the story broke, starting with Breitbart and immediately picked up by the Drudge Report. Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, OAN, The Daily Caller, Ricochet, Crowder, Gateway Pundit, Volnation, Canada Free Press and a host of other sites, who correctly reported this attack on us as an attack on freedom of speech itself and a calculated effort by networked organizations of the left to pressure corporations like Mastercard and Visa to collaborate in their determined effort to erase conservatism from our national political dialogue.

One thing we know for sure is that despite this defeat, the left will keep up the pressure and the same thing will happen again—if not to the Freedom Center then to other conservative organizations and individuals.  This effort to shut down conservatism’s ability to raise the funds that make its voice heard was not the result of an arbitrary decision by some politically correct middle manager at Mastercard.  It was a decision at the highest corporate levels and the result of an elaborate and carefully designed campaign by leftist to silence conservative voices on the Internet and therefore in America’s national dialogue. This campaign is masterminded by two George Soros-funded organizations-- Media Matters, which has waged a holy war against conservatives in the media for two decades, and The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has managed to get itself taken seriously as an authority on “hate speech” and “hate groups” by a credulous and collaborative mainstream press.  Thus a sort of tape loop has been created in which the SPLC stigmatizes these groups by featuring them on its “hate maps,” associating  them with “neo fascism” and “racism” and putting them on the equivalent of Joseph McCarthy’s subversives list which the mainstream media then obligingly uses in its reporting and activist organizations like Color of Change and bloodmoney.org in lobbying corporations such as Mastercard and social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

There is a method in the madness of this Soros-funded network.  Its constituent parts collaborate in transforming the reasonable policy differences that are actually the health of a democracy into dire examples  of racial hostility and hatred. Thus conservative concerns for federal immigration laws and secure borders become anti-immigrant bigotry and hateful racism. Thus the Freedom Center’s campaign against anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas university groups makes it not only a “hate group,”  according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, but its eponymous CEO  “the Godfather of the anti-Muslim movement in America.”  When these slanders are magnified by the reporting of a liberal press, it is little wonder a corporation like Mastercard feels like it might be next as a target who enables hate speech, and joins the fray.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has gotten away with this hatred masquerading as anti-hate for far too long. The SPLC recently paid a $3.4 million settlement to Majid Nawaz, a devout Muslim and also a fierce critic of Islamic terrorism after it labeled him an “anti-Muslim extremist.”  All the other dozens of conservative groups similarly slandered should be developing their own legal defense funds to go after this reckless and mendacious organization and its enemies list.  The David Horowitz Freedom Center certainly is.

While the Freedom Center is glad to have won this recent battle against the left’s effort to shut it down, as we’ve noted we believe the threat to free speech is greater than our particular case and also very much far from over. The enemies of free speech may have been rebuffed this time, but they feel that they have the winning hand and will continue to play it until America has become a one party state of the politically correct with conservative views ruthlessly suppressed.  Our own Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org  still has two of his funding pages shut down by MasterCard.  Just this past week, David Horowitz’s Twitter page was locked down for the better part of a day, until a direct appeal to Twitter ceo Jack Dorsey reversed the ban. Prager U. was suddenly disappeared from Facebook until protests cause it to relent. Alex Jones and InfoWars are still residing in the darkness imposed by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The censorship powers of Social Media are awesome and historically unprecedented. When they are amplified by the arbitrary financial power of corporations such as Mastercard and Visa, the result is a leviathan willing and able to  crush our basic freedoms and constitutional guarantees without a moment’s remorse. What those of us who care about free speech must do now is form a coalition across party lines and ideologies in defense of free speech. Freed speech is the most basic freedom we have because all our other freedoms are dependent on it. We may disagree with our coalition partners about everything under the sun, except this.

The right to dissent and to disagree is what separates us from countries in which civil wars and coup d’etats are commonplace. Private corporations cannot be the arbiters of free speech.  Ben Wizner, the head of the ACLU’s Free Speech and Technology Project, said exactly that only this week. His sentiment was repeated word for word by the conservative Federalist site. Liberty Counsel is organizing a coalition of 60 mainly religious organizations who have been slandered as “hate groups” by the venomous SPLC (SPLC: Hate Machine). We must contact our representatives and call for a Congressional investigation of the war the left has launched on our freedom to dissent and disagree. If we cannot preserve freedom of conscience and freedom of speech, we cannot defend any of our freedoms, and we will have lost everything.



Bolton Confirms That the U.S. Will Defund UN Human Rights Office

National Security Advisor John Bolton on Thursday reaffirmed that the administration’s withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council is being accompanied by an end to U.S. funding for the world body’s human rights office. U.S. taxpayers have long paid the largest share.

Bolton told the Associated Press in Geneva that the U.S. will defund the HRC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), by reducing by the relevant amount the sum that it pays into the regular U.N. operating budget.

CNSNews.com reported on the defunding decision in June, on the same day Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley announced President Trump’s decision to exit the HRC.

Based on gross national income and other factors, U.S. taxpayers account for 22 percent of the regular U.N. budget in “assessed contributions.” From that budget, the OHCHR/HRC draws a little more than 40 percent of its own budget (44 percent in 2017, 45 percent in 2016, 46 percent in 2015).

The rest of the OHCHR/HRC budget is met by “voluntary contributions” by member-states, and some non-governmental sponsors.

Apart from paying more than one-fifth of the regular U.N. budget, the U.S. has also traditionally topped the list of countries when it comes to the amount of those voluntary contributions.

This year, however, U.S. voluntary contributions to the OHCHR have already shown a sharp downward trend – $1 million for the first seven months of 2018, compared to $20.16 million in 2017, $17.05 million in 2016 and $16.25 million in 2015.

As a percentage of the total received in voluntary contribution, the U.S. has this year accounted for just 0.1 percent, compared to 14.1 percent last year, 13.1 percent in 2016 and 12.9 percent in 2015.

For the 2018-2019 biennium the OHCHR will receive $201.6 million from the U.N. regular budget, or about $100.8 million for each year. The defunding decision will therefore save American taxpayers roughly $22.1 million per year in assessed contributions, in addition to the amount already saved in voluntary contributions.

Haley said in June that the decision to leave the HRC followed unsuccessful efforts to fix problems including the presence of rights-abusers in its ranks and a skewed focus on Israel.

She stressed the administration will continue to promote human rights outside that forum, pointing to past U.S. initiatives in the U.N. Security Council, including a first-ever session “dedicated to the connection between human rights and peace and security” last year, and a session last January focused on human rights in Iran.

After its efforts to create a strong and effective HRC were frustrated in 2005-6, the George W. Bush administration – with Bolton as ambassador to the U.N. at the time – chose not to support or join the new body when it began operating.

President Obama reversed that policy in 2009. In overturning that decision last June, the U.S. became the first HRC member to voluntarily surrender its seat.



Progressives: The Real World vs. Neverland

"Not to know what happened before you were born is to remain forever a child," Cicero astutely observed. For many self-described progressives today, however, this seems not to be a drawback. On the contrary, like adolescents -- insisting that they are grown-ups when their parents get in the way of their fun, but then running home for all their basic needs and creature comforts -- such people seem to give no thought to the past and equally little to the future.

Many people like this are said to suffer from a "Peter Pan Syndrome": the inability or unwillingness to grow up. In thought, they seem to lean to the political left. They want the government to take on the role of parent, even if that involves maxing out the country's "credit cards," so that even for a short time, they can live beyond what they earn.

Possibly in a hurry not to concern themselves with "dreary details," they pressed for a huge health-care bill, passed in 2010, that forever changed how we receive ? or do not receive ? medical care. It seems the details of the bill were too time-consuming and complex for the world of tweets and sound bites for them to pay attention to what it actually contained. When the bill was being debated, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy."

Many of these children in adult bodies were told, and actually believed, that better health care for everyone, including an unlimited number of illegal immigrants, would be attainable at a low cost, if only the government were to run it. That Medicare and Medicaid, both of which the U.S. government currently runs -- as well as the UK's National Health Service -- are going broke does not appear to have occurred to them. So they persist in their fantasy that government-controlled health care is not an ill but a cure.

Their fantasy is not restricted to the realm of health care. Many of these children in adult bodies believe that many, if not all, major aspects of the economy would be more efficient if the government ran them. This is in spite of the fact that the facilities currently run by the government -- from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Department of Motor Vehicles -- are inefficient, unhelpful or sometimes even downright hostile -- to the people they are meant to serve.

Many children in adult bodies also seem not to know that Socialism failed in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba, and is now failing in Venezuela. Yet, illogically, they appear to believe that they themselves could make it work. The irrational wish is evidently stronger than rational arithmetic.

These victims of arrested emotional development seem to confuse good motives with good results. They want better health care for a greater number of people at a lesser cost; so they fantasize that they can achieve it without denying care to those who are too old, too sick or too expensive to receive it. They kind-heartedly want a "more equal distribution of wealth"; so they fantasize that they can maneuver it without penalizing and discouraging the productive members of society, while rewarding and encouraging the unproductive ones. Yet this is exactly what has happened wherever the redistribution of wealth was tried.

These people, like all of us, want to be liked; so they fantasize that if they treat others kindly, the behavior will be reciprocated. They refer respectfully to the unelected theocratic leader of Iran as "Supreme Leader," even as oppressed Iranian demonstrators are arrested, beaten, tortured or killed.

Although bullies -- from those who terrorize fellow students in the schoolyard, to those who commit terrorist acts against innocent people across the world -- speak the language of hatred and force, children in adult bodies persist in their fantasy that if they and their government would only project appeasement and weakness, regimes such as that in Tehran would lay down their arms and hate-filled hegemonic aims. Hence, presumably, the support among progressives for the Iran nuclear deal that former President Barack Obama pushed through, without regard to its potential cost of a fully nuclear-capable Iran to America and the rest of the world after the deal expires.

These adults still clinging hard to their wishes seem to believe that crime is caused by poverty or other societal ills, and conclude that criminals are victims of society, such as Kathryn Michelle Steinle, who was shot to death in 2015 by illegal immigrant José Inés García Zárate. Garcia Zarate, a five-time deportee and drug offender. While Steinle met a cruel and untimely death, Garcia Zarate, not only was acquitted of murder and manslaughter, but aroused sympathy on the left.

These adults who apparently do not want to grow up call those who disagree with them "fascists" or "Nazis" -- without knowing the history of either -- yet accept as gospel any statements or actions, no matter how questionable, on the part of those who agree with their romanticized positions.

Like Peter Pan, these children wish to live in Neverland – a place that, in the real word, does not exist. Fictional characters, however, have the advantage of enjoying adventures with imaginary dangers. In the real world, unfortunately, people who never grow up may enjoy themselves for a time, but sooner or later the all-too-real dangers they had ignored, like an overstretched credit card, catch up with them. By the time their future is lost to them, it will be too late to wake up or rectify the situation. This means that the adults among us who acknowledge and take on the responsibilities of adulthood must be even more vigilant in exposing fantasies as child-like and preventing these daydreamers from doing even more damage than they already have done.



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

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


3 September, 2018

Vicious Leftist hate again

I have been saying for years now that the basic motivation of the Left is hate -- hate for the world about them and hate for their own country as part of that.  They hate and want to destroy "the system" around them.  Most people probably thought that what I said was a bit much but can anybody doubt it now, after witnessing the flood of hate that the Left have poured out at Mr Trump and his supporters?  There's another instance of it below.

And it's not just a few loonies doing it.  It's across the board -- from restaurant owners to Congresscritters -- with big contributions from Hollywood, the media, the educational system and most of the bureaucracy.  Fortunately, the military is always solidly conservative or else we might have had some sort of coup or revolution by now.

It just took a real conservative to come on the scene for the masks to fall.  Mr Trump's approval among Republican voters is now above 90% so Trumpism now IS American conservatism. The weak-kneed conservatives of the GOP in the past who allowed themselves to be abashed by Leftist flim-flam have now been left behind by history.  We are now looking at a real Left-Right contest and we see that in their motivations the American Left is just as hate-fuelled and murderous as the Left has always been, from the gory French revolution with its busy guillotines, to Stalin to Hitler and to Mao.  The basic psychology of all Leftists is clearly the same.

The  Leftist claim to be tolerant and compassionate was always a mask to enable them to gain dominance over others.  Now that the dominance is being reversed, the resultant rage has caused all such pretences to  be sidelined.  The Left are now revealed as the intolerant thugs and would-be murderers that they are.  America has enemies within its ranks and, as such, conservatives are America's defenders.  They must win or America will gradually become as shackled as any communist country. It was already developing that way until Trump came along and offered liberty from it.

And it's all so predictable if you know the classic Freudian defence mechanisms.  A major such defence mechanism if you want to deny the existence of something is projection.  You claim to see in others what is really true of yourself.  And Leftists have for  years been accusing conservatives of hate at the drop of a hat.  And you don't even need to drop a hat, usually.  So to see what is true of them you just have to look at what they have long said about conservatives.  They attempt to deflect attention away from their own hate by claiming to see it in others

In speaking of Leftists, I am of course speaking of committed Leftists, not unwary people who are conned into voting for them at election time.

The Democrats have about as much chance of abolishing ICE as they do of abolishing ice — as in, the solid form of water. That would be political suicide.

What about threatening ICE agents and other immigration officers, though? I mean, not just threatening them with the loss of their job or department — I mean literally threatening them. If you’re in a safe enough district and have no respect for yourself or others, why not?

Rep. Ruben Gallego is just such a person. He’s currently the congressman for Arizona’s 7th District, a comfortably Democrat parcel of that desert state where he carries about 135 percent of the vote most years. (Rough estimate.)

The district is centered in a part of Phoenix proper where Immigration and Customs Enforcement isn’t exactly the most popular entity there is. That’s why Rep. Gallego decided to do something very foolish.

His first mistake was retweeting MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. Hayes’ brand of TV journalism is so yellow you actually have to adjust the color balance on your television every time you watch his show. He doesn’t disappoint on Twitter, either:

"Citizens having their papers demanded, then confiscated and then put in detention and ordered into deportation proceedings. The historical resonances here are clear as bell".

The Washington Post story in question has to do with issuing passports to individuals whose documents the state feels are questionable. Here is what is buried several paragraphs deep in the Washington Post’s story:

“The government alleges that from the 1950s through the 1990s, some midwives and physicians along the Texas-Mexico border provided U.S. birth certificates to babies who were actually born in Mexico. In a series of federal court cases in the 1990s, several birth attendants admitted to providing fraudulent documents."

“Based on those suspicions, the State Department during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations denied passports to people who were delivered by midwives in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley. The use of midwives is a long-standing tradition in the region, in part because of the cost of hospital care.”

This did not find its way into Hayes’ tweet, for reasons which “are clear as bell.” Hayes also didn’t mention the White House’s statement, reported by Fox News, that the number of passport applications declined, for this reason, had actually gone down.

For reasons which are not “clear as bell,” Rep. Gallego thought this was an appropriate response to that tweet:

"If you are a US government official and you are deporting Americans be warned. When the worm turns you will not be safe because you were just following orders. You do not have to take part in illegal acts ordered by this President's administration"

Basically, in case you’re a Chris Hayes-watcher and didn’t get the subtext there, he’s comparing immigration and other government officials to Nazis and threatening them. Solid work there, Rep. Gallego.



Federal Judge Deals Major Blow to DACA, Sets Stage for Likely Supreme Court Showdown

The future of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program that allows the children of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States moved one step closer to a Supreme Court decision after a federal district court judge said there’s no question in his mind that the program violated federal law.

In a case brought by Texas and supported by other states, Judge Andrew Hanen of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas refused to strike down the program.

Hanen said an injunction to block the program was the wrong step because of the effect an injunction would have while the law’s ultimate fate is still being decided.

He also said that states opposing the program could not show irreparable harm in letting the program continue because they waited too long to bring their suit, Fox News reported.

“Here, the egg has been scrambled,” Hanen wrote, according to CNN. “To try to put it back in the shell with only a preliminary injunction record, and perhaps at great risk to many, does not make sense nor serve the best interests of this country.”

Hanen said the popularity of the program was not relevant, only whether it was legal.

“This court will not succumb to the temptation to set aside legal principles and to substitute its judgment in lieu of legislative action,” he wrote. “If the nation truly wants to have a DACA program, it is up to Congress to say so.”

Hanen agreed with the legal argument made by Texas that the 2012 action taken by the Obama administration to create DACA violated the Administrative Procedure Act and wrongly allows the federal government to ignore immigration law.

As such, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he expects DACA will eventually be quashed.

“We’re now very confident that DACA will soon meet the same fate as the Obama-era Deferred Action for Parents of Americans program, which the courts blocked after I led another state coalition challenging its constitutionality,” Paxton said in a statement.

“President Obama used DACA to rewrite federal law without congressional approval. Our lawsuit is vital to restoring the rule of law to our nation’s immigration system. The debate over DACA as policy is a question for lawmakers, and any solution must come from Congress, as the Constitution requires,” he said.

Hanen set up an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which is likely to be a stepping stone to the U.S. Supreme Court, where DACA’s legality could finally be decided.

The Justice Department said it supported Hanen’s decision.



Trump: Google, Facebook, Amazon in a ‘Very Antitrust Situation’

President Donald Trump warned Google, Facebook and Amazon that they are in a “very antitrust situation” in an interview Thursday, stopping short of saying he’d break them up.

“I won’t comment on the breaking up, of whether it’s that or Amazon or Facebook,” Trump said, according to Bloomberg. “As you know, many people think it is a very antitrust situation, the three of them. But I just, I won’t comment on that.”

Trump added that “conservatives have been treated very unfairly” by Google, which is owned by Alphabet. “I tell you there are some moments where we say, ‘Wow that really is bad, what they’re doing.'”

The president has been stepping up his attacks on tech giants like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter the past few weeks for their censorship of conservatives, on saying Aug. 20 that it’s “very dangerous,” The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

Trump also said they are “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” in an Aug. 18 tweet. “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah called upon the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google for antitrust and anticompetitive behavior Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

“In the past, Google has offered arguments that its conduct is procompetitive,” Hatch wrote in a news release. “But much has changed since the FTC last looked at Google’s conduct regarding search and digital advertising.”

The FTC began an investigation of Google for anticompetitive behavior, but federal authorities dropped the case in 2013 — even though the FTC Bureau of Competition recommended an antitrust lawsuit be filed against Google.



Meghan McCain Rips Trump from the Stage at Father’s Funeral

She has been taken in by the one-eyed media campaign that accused Trump of not speaking warmly enough of McCain.  Trump in fact gave the family anything they wanted for the funeral, including full military honours.  Deeds speak louder than words -- or so one would have hoped

The Arizona Republican’s daughter shared memories of her father, who she said was not deterred by his political detractors.

Without mentioning the president directly, McCain went on to include a variation of Donald Trump’s campaign slogan in describing the vision of America embraced by her father.

“The America of John McCain does not need to be made great again, because America was always great,” she said.

Trump was reportedly not invited to McCain’s funeral while his two predecessors — both of whom defeated McCain in presidential races — were among the speakers at Saturday’s event.

The grieving daughter drew what she sees as a deep distinction between her father’s service to his country and the “cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly” or the “opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege.”



Trump at 36 percent approval among African-Americans, new poll finds

Even as cable news networks debate reports of the existence of a recording of President Donald Trump using a racial slur, a new poll from Rasmussen Reports says that the president's approval rating among African-Americans is at 36 percent, nearly double his support at this time last year.

"Today's @realDonaldTrump approval ratings among black voters: 36%," Rasmussen said in a tweet. "This day last year: 19%."

That is a staggeringly high number for a man who only won 8 percent of the African-American vote in 2016.

It is even more unexpected given the president's rocky history on matters related to race, including his current nasty feud with former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who has alleged Trump said "n word" on the set of the reality-TV show "The Apprentice."

Conservatives celebrated the poll as a sign of trouble for Democrats in upcoming elections.

Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative campus group Turning Point USA, cited the poll as evidence that Trump "is breaking the Democrat party as we know it."



Candace Owens Digs Up Old Obama Quote on Immigration That Goes Viral

Conservative commentator Candace Owens found a quote in former President Barack Obama’s political manifesto “The Audacity of Hope” that appears to fly in the face of current Democratic Party orthodoxy concerning immigration.

Earlier this week, Owens quoted Obama in a tweet from “Audacity” — which was released during Obama’s 2008 presidential run: “…this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole —it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans & put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

On Sunday’s “Life, Liberty, and Levin” on Fox News, Owens praised President Donald Trump for showing the courage to act on his convictions on issues like immigration.

“I think that what he did in this country was the most necessary thing by killing political correctness,” said Owens. “We were losing this country and everyone was too politically correct to tell us we were losing this country. He stood up on a platform and he started telling the truth.”

She elaborated, “It was timely. When you look what is happening in Europe, I think that we would have suffered the same consequences that they’re suffering, if we hadn’t had someone who was tough and willing to take the hits from the media.”

Host Mark Levin asked Owens if she was referring to immigration, which she confirmed she was, but added it included other issues like Trump reaching out to the African American community and asking them point blank during the 2016 race, “What do you have to lose?” by voting for him.

In a tweet last week, Trump trolled Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to point out that the Democrat espoused views similar to his own on illegal immigration not too many years ago.

“People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally,” Schumer said a 2009 speech he gave at Georgetown University Law School. “Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple,” the New York senator emphasized during his remarks.

A Harvard-Harris poll conducted in June found that 70 percent of respondents want stricter enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws.

In addition, 63 percent of Americans agree with Trump’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals compromise that would allow legalized status in exchange for increased border security (most notably a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border), as well as an end of the visa lottery program and chain migration.

In January, Schumer came out in opposition to Trump’s plan, wanting DACA handled as a stand-alone issue.

Other findings of the Harvard-Harris survey include 61 percent agreeing with Trump that border security is inadequate.

Additionally, 76 percent said they oppose “open borders,” which some on the left wing of the Democrat Party have been accused of promoting.



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

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


2 September, 2018

The president wasn't presidential in honoring John McCain. That's precisely his strength

The recent furor over President Donald Trump’s muted response to the death of John McCain last weekend offers renewed insight into the mind of Trump, as well as evidence as to why, despite nearly universally negative coverage by the press, Trump remains as popular as ever with his base. Moreover, he’s gaining support among independents and even blacks.

Donald Trump was not elected to be presidential. America elected the real-estate tycoon/reality-TV star not because they expected the niceties, decorum, and political correctness that are the stock-in-trade of the DC establishment. He was elected to be a political neutron bomb detonated in the heart of the Swamp.

Rhetorically and stylistically, Trump is the anti-Reagan. Whereas Ronald Reagan was gracious even to his harshest critics, using a folksy humor to counter their attacks, Trump is a street-brawler with a sledge hammer who leaves no attack unanswered.

This blue-collar-billionaire style infuriates the political and Hollywood elites, but endears him to the millions of Americans in “flyover country” who are routinely mocked and dismissed by elites — which is why no scandal, real or imagined, has been able to dent his core support.

With McCain’s passing, Trump did the bare minimum to recognize the event. That’s because McCain, the epitome of the Washington establishment, loathed Trump, and the feeling was mutual.

Trump received enormous criticism for his initial response to the senator’s passing. Instead of an official statement, he merely tweeted, “My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” Respectful, not effusive, but with the history of feuding between the two, everyone read between the lines. Trump reportedly told advisers he did not want to lavish praise on McCain because everyone would recognize it was not genuine.

After all, it was McCain who infamously and spitefully to Trump cast the deciding (and promise-breaking) vote against the Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare — an effort McCain himself campaigned on. It was also McCain who said of a 2016 Trump rally in Phoenix that Trump had “fired up the crazies.” It was in response to that jab that Trump commented about liking people who “weren’t captured.”

The fires were stoked when the White House returned its flag to full staff after only a day and a half at half-mast (as per official protocol). Enormous pressure to re-lower the flag came from Republicans, veterans groups, and even Democrats like Rep. John Lewis (who now says McCain was a “warrior for peace,” a stark reversal of his 2008 comments about then-Republican presidential nominee McCain, who Lewis claimed was fostering an “atmosphere of hate” and “hostility” like the one that led to a 1963 black church bombing by white supremacists). Soon, Trump issued a proclamation re-lowering the flag to half-staff, stating, “Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.”

This is the essence of Trump: He heaps superlatives on his friends (or those he is trying to win over), while firing rhetorically brutal and often just plain nasty rebukes to his opponents.

This shunning of cultural norms and presidential courtesies has made him an easy target for his critics. Trump often creates public relations problems for himself with his relentless attacks when a kind word or an ignored slight would win points.

But Trump revels in the role of outcast and pariah. His supporters see every attack on him by the elites as evidence that he is their champion. And if they have to choose between a nice guy who gets steamrolled by the Left and a bare-knuckles brawler who conquers the deep state, well, that’s not even a close call.

After all, the media and Democrats have, since the nomination of Trump, lamented the “good old days” when Republicans nominated nice, respectable men like Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney (who couldn’t be more bland and inoffensive if he was a vanilla bean). Yet when these men ran for president, Democrats still accused them of being racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, rich (and for the rich) white guys.

At 72 years old, it is highly unlikely Trump will change. His relentless, bombastic, hard-charging personality made him one of the world’s richest and most famous men. It helped him dispatch 16 highly qualified candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential field. And it helped him achieve one of the most shocking upsets in American political history when he destroyed the Clinton political machine and won an election that, even on Election Day, many pundits and pollsters gave him less than a 10% chance of winning.

In the end, despite his abrasive style and often uncouth rhetoric, Trump has had a remarkable record of success in his first year and a half as president. So we can be appalled at his demeanor or we can accept him for what he is — a street fighter doing whatever it takes to restore American greatness.



Elizabeth Warren’s latest attempt to end capitalism

Senator Elizabeth Warren likes to paint herself as a warrior for the little guy and for those that don’t have the money to hire lobbyists in Washington D.C. That may be the image she wishes to portray to the voters ahead of the 2020 election, but her actions scream Stalinist.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The agency has jurisdiction over banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, and other financial companies in the U.S. The agency is considered “off-budget” and therefore does not answer to Congress. The agency gets its funding directly from the Federal Reserve System. The only requirement of the CFPB is to appear and report twice annually before the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committee.

Current CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney appeared before the Senate Banking Committee earlier this year lambasting the fact that there is no oversight by Congress of the agency. Mulvaney stated, “while I have to be here by statute, I don’t think I have to answer your questions.” Mulvaney then went on to beg Congress to pass legislation to rein in the unaccountable agency. Mulvaney knows he will not be the director forever and does not want unelected bureaucrats having power that elected representatives can’t even check.

Make no mistake about it, the CFPB and the lack of accountability is the brainchild of Warren. It begs the question, why would a person elected to represent the people be in favor of an agency that has no oversight?

The citizens may have gotten their answer with another piece of legislation the Senator introduced earlier this month. On August 15, Warren introduced S. 3348, the Accountable Capitalism Act.

The bill is an abomination to the word capitalism. The act will create the Office of United States Corporations within the Department of Commerce. It would be the job of this office to decide what is capitalism.

One of Warren’s principal complaints about capitalism is the return on investment. Senior officials in many companies are partially compensated with stock. For this reason, if the company does well, the stock does well, thereby ensuring officials would do what is best for the company. The Senator doesn’t like this and believes it perverts the system. The bill would incentivize officials to ignore stock prices.

What the Senator is forgetting are the profits she decries are also returned to millions of teachers, firefighters, and police officers in the form of dividends into their pensions and 401Ks. In fact, over half of America’s private sector workers are invested in the stock market through retirement plans. Is Warren trying to sabotage the private retirement market with this bill?

One of the more asinine sections of the legislation would require U.S. corporations to have the purpose of “creating a general public benefit.” Unfortunately, no one can define what general public benefit means. Because there is no definition, it would mean unelected bureaucrats would have the ability to direct whether or not a corporation could form. This would put government bureaucrats in charge of the open market. If some GS-15 doesn’t believe Product A from Company B provides a good enough public benefit, it doesn’t happen. Sounds a lot like command-and-control communism.

Senator Warren is revealing who she really is. Between the CFPB and her latest Stalinesque idea, the Senator from Massachusetts is a totalitarian that wants people to have no control over themselves. She wants government bureaucrats controlling the economy and what people do with their lives. It is a good thing Sen. Warren is trying to appeal to the communist base in the Democrat Party; this gives the people plenty of time to see what she is really about: unelected bureaucrats controlling their lives.



An excellent speech

Rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West made brand news comments about President Donald Trump on Wednesday, and the media is not going to like them it all.

During an interview with WGCI 107.5 Radio, West boldly predicted that Trump will do whatever it takes to “do the work” to be a great president for black voters.

“I know black people that voted for Trump that were scared to say out loud. Now that’s some 1984 thought-control programming shi*,” West said when asked about his support for Trump not being popular in Hollywood.

The rapper said he understands people who “would rather have a female president” and supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, but added, “I just don’t agree with it.”

When asked about Trump putting illegal alien children “in cages” and separating them from their families at the U.S. border, West reminded everyone that the president was following the same immigration practices as previous administrations.

 “That was something that was happening through a lot of different president eras — but now we’re seeing it.”

West was then asked about the historic violence in Chicago, where he is from. The rapper said former President Barack Obama had eight years to do something, and never did.

He said Trump winning the election gave black Americans the opportunity “as an entire community to see things that we weren’t seeing when Obama was in office. We as a collective wasn’t woke. Now everybody is woke.”

When asked on Wednesday if he believes Trump cares about black people, West paused and then dropped a bomb:

“I feel that he cares about the way black people feel about him, and he would like for black people to like him like they did when he was cool in the rap songs and all this. And he will do the things that are necessary to make that happen because he’s got an ego like all the rest of us, and he wants to be the greatest president, and he knows that he can’t be the greatest president without the acceptance of the black community. So it’s something he’s gonna work towards, but we’re gonna have to speak to him.”

“I got a direct line to ADIDAS. I got a direct line to the President. So, let’s see what happen with it and how I apply that to the city [of Chicago], because I’m going to apply it.”

His comments on Wednesday are eerily similar to what he said in April, when he boldly stated that “Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed,” adding, “Obama was our opioids. It made us feel like everything was good.”

Earlier this month, he also made headlines during an interview with ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

When Kimmel asked about his support for the president, West stared down the liberal host and said he wasn’t going to change his opinion on something because extreme leftists tried to bully him.

“Liberals can’t bully me,” West said, noting that he is tired of leftists like Kimmel always trying to shame and pressure him every time he voices support for Trump.

West has refused to back down for showing his support for Trump, and the rapper claiming that Trump can be the greatest president for black Americans will undoubtedly trigger the liberal media.



Trump threatens to intervene in the Justice Department: 'People are angry'

President Trump threatened Thursday night to intervene in the Justice Department if the agency fails to take action against corrupt Democrats, saying “the whole world is watching.”

Speaking at a campaign rally in Evansville, Indiana, the president told thousands of supporters that the heads of the Justice Department and FBI “have to start doing their job.” He mentioned former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was investigated but not charged for having a private email server as secretary of State.

“Look at what she’s getting away with,” Mr. Trump said. “But let’s see if she gets away with it. Let’s see. Our Justice Department and our FBI have to start doing their job and doing it right, and doing it now. People are angry.”

He added, “At some point… I will get involved and I’ll get in there if I have to. The whole world is watching, and the whole world understands exactly what is going on.”

Mr. Trump has a running feud with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and has called on him to investigate Mrs. Clinton and others.

The president has hinted strongly that he might fire Mr. Sessions after the mid-term elections.

During the event for GOP Senate candidate Mike Braun, Mr. Trump said Democrats in Washington who are resisting his agenda “are trying to undermine the verdict of our democracy.”

“The most remarkable thing about the modern Democrat Party is how truly undemocratic they really have become,” he said. “The so-called resistance is mad because their ideas have been rejected by the American people. They’re the old and corrupt globalist ruling class that squandered trillions of dollars on foreign adventures.”

He criticized previous trade deals, saying they have led to “the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of the world” out of the U.S.

“What we did to our companies and our jobs, we should be ashamed of our leadership,” Mr. Trump said. “When we pledge to work over the corruption in Washington, these are the people we’re talking about. In this election, we can’t let up. We’re going to drain the swamp. We’ve replaced failed Democrat lawmakers with America-first Republicans, and it’s happening.”

The president also pledged to crack down on social media companies that he said are censoring conservative viewpoints.

“My administration is standing up for the free speech rights of all Americans,” he said. “Look at Google, Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants. I’ve made it clear that we as a country cannot tolerate political censorship, blacklisting and rigged search results. You know it can go the other way, also. We will not let large corporations silence conservative voices. It can go the other way too someday. We’re not going let them control what we can and cannot see, read and learn from.”



Blue-Collar Optimism Soars

The economy continues to boom as Americans see their wages rise under Trump's leadership.

A new Harris Poll finds that a whopping 85% of blue-collar workers say that their lives are headed “in the right direction.” The high optimism level may have much to do with the booming economy. The latest economic numbers indicate that the surging economy shows no signs of slowing down. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department raised its estimate for second-quarter GDP growth to 4.2%, which means that annual growth for the first half of the year now is above 3%. And with all indications pointing up, it has become increasingly likely that growth for the entire year will be at 3% or better. The country hasn’t seen a year like that since 2005.

On top of the good GDP numbers is news on median household income, which is now up more than 4%. As Investor’s Business Daily reports, “Inflation-adjusted median household incomes in July hit $62,450 according to the latest release from Sentier Research. That’s the highest level since Sentier started tracking this more than 18 years ago. And if you combine Sentier’s numbers with annual Census data, median household income is at all-time highs.”

IBD continues, “More interesting is the fact that median household income has shot up more than 4% in the 19 months since Trump took office. It had been flat over the previous year and a half. Over the course of President Obama’s entire eight years in office, median household income climbed a mere 0.3%, Sentier data show.” Is it any wonder optimism is so high?

Harris also noted that 51% of blue-collar workers believe that the country as a whole is headed in the right direction, and 80% said that they are “very optimistic” about the future. 88% believed that their children would likely attain a better future than they. Needless to say, the large swaths of the country that Hillary Clinton and Democrats maligned and ignored — and then lost in 2016 — are clearly reaping the benefits of their vote. Go ahead and try convincing them that they voted for the wrong candidate.



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

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Postings from Brisbane, Australia by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.) -- former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. And now a "Deplorable"

When it comes to political incorrectness, I hit the trifecta. I talk about race, IQ and social class. I have an academic background in all three subjects but that wins me no forgiveness

At its most basic psychological level, conservatives are the contented people and Leftists are the discontented people. And both are largely dispositional, inborn -- which is why they so rarely change

As a good academic, I first define my terms: A Leftist is a person who is so dissatisfied with the way things naturally are that he/she is prepared to use force to make people behave in ways that they otherwise would not.

So an essential feature of Leftism is that they think they have the right to tell other people what to do

Leftists are the disgruntled folk. They see things in the world that are not ideal and conclude therefore that they have the right to change those things by force. Conservative explanations of why things are not ideal -- and never can be -- fall on deaf ears

Leftists aim to deliver dismay and disruption into other people's lives -- and they are good at achieving that.

Leftists are wolfs in sheep's clothing

Liberals are people who don't believe in liberty

German has a word that describes most Leftists well: "Scheinheilig" - A person who appears to be very kind, soft natured, and filled with pure goodness but behind the facade, has a vile nature. He is seemingly holy but is an unscrupulous person on the inside.

The new faith is very oppressive: Leftist orthodoxy is the new dominant religion of the Western world and it is every bit as bigoted and oppressive as Christianity was at its worst

There are two varieties of authoritarian Leftism. Fascists are soft Leftists, preaching one big happy family -- "Better together" in other words. Communists are hard Leftists, preaching class war.

Equality: The nonsensical and incoherent claim that underlies so much Leftist discourse is "all men are equal". And that is the envier's gospel. It makes not a scrap of sense and shows no contact with reality but it is something that enviers resort to as a way of soothing their envious feelings. They deny the very differences that give them so much heartburn. "Denial" was long ago identified by Freud as a maladaptive psychological defence mechanism and "All men are equal" is a prize example of that. Whatever one thinks of his theories, Freud was undoubtedly an acute observer of people and very few psychologists today would doubt the maladaptive nature of denial as described by Freud.

Socialism is the most evil malady ever to afflict the human brain. The death toll in WWII alone tells you that

You do still occasionally see some mention of the old idea that Leftist parties represent the worker. In the case of the U.S. Democrats that is long gone. Now they want to REFORM the worker. No wonder most working class Americans these days vote Republican. Democrats are the party of the minorities and the smug

We live in a country where the people own the Government and not in a country where the Government owns the people -- Churchill

The Left have a lot in common with tortoises. They have a thick mental shell that protects them from the reality of the world about them

Definition of a Socialist: Someone who wants everything you have...except your job.

Let's start with some thought-provoking graphics

Israel: A great powerhouse of the human spirit

The difference in practice

The United Nations: A great ideal but a sordid reality

Alfred Dreyfus, a reminder of French antisemitism still relevant today

Eugenio Pacelli, a righteous Gentile, a true man of God and a brilliant Pope

Leftism in one picture:

The "steamroller" above who got steamrollered by his own hubris. Spitzer is a warning of how self-destructive a vast ego can be -- and also of how destructive of others it can be.

R.I.P. Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet deposed a law-defying Marxist President at the express and desperate invitation of the Chilean parliament. Allende had just burnt the electoral rolls so it wasn't hard to see what was coming. Pinochet pioneered the free-market reforms which Reagan and Thatcher later unleashed to world-changing effect. That he used far-Leftist methods to suppress far-Leftist violence is reasonable if not ideal. The Leftist view that they should have a monopoly of violence and that others should follow the law is a total absurdity which shows only that their hate overcomes their reason

Leftist writers usually seem quite reasonable and persuasive at first glance. The problem is not what they say but what they don't say. Leftist beliefs are so counterfactual ("all men are equal", "all men are brothers" etc.) that to be a Leftist you have to have a talent for blotting out from your mind facts that don't suit you. And that is what you see in Leftist writing: A very selective view of reality. Facts that disrupt a Leftist story are simply ignored. Leftist writing is cherrypicking on a grand scale

So if ever you read something written by a Leftist that sounds totally reasonable, you have an urgent need to find out what other people say on that topic. The Leftist will almost certainly have told only half the story

We conservatives have the facts on our side, which is why Leftists never want to debate us and do their best to shut us up. It's very revealing the way they go to great lengths to suppress conservative speech at universities. Universities should be where the best and brightest Leftists are to be found but even they cannot stand the intellectual challenge that conservatism poses for them. It is clearly a great threat to them. If what we say were ridiculous or wrong, they would grab every opportunity to let us know it

A conservative does not hanker after the new; He hankers after the good. Leftists hanker after the untested

Just one thing is sufficient to tell all and sundry what an unamerican lamebrain Obama is. He pronounced an army corps as an army "corpse" Link here. Can you imagine any previous American president doing that? Many were men with significant personal experience in the armed forces in their youth.

A favorite Leftist saying sums up the whole of Leftism: "To make an omelette, you've got to break eggs". They want to change some state of affairs and don't care who or what they destroy or damage in the process. They think their alleged good intentions are sufficient to absolve them from all blame for even the most evil deeds

In practical politics, the art of Leftism is to sound good while proposing something destructive

Leftists are the "we know best" people, meaning that they are intrinsically arrogant. Matthew chapter 6 would not be for them. And arrogance leads directly into authoritarianism

Leftism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?

And note that an American President is elected to administer the law, not make it. That seems to have escaped Mr Obama

That Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian is not a new insight. It was well understood by none other than Friedrich Engels (Yes. THAT Engels). His clever short essay On authority was written as a reproof to the dreamy Anarchist Left of his day. It concludes: "A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means"

Inside Every Liberal is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out

Insight: "A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him." —Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)

Leftists think of themselves as the new nobility

Many people in literary and academic circles today who once supported Stalin and his heirs are generally held blameless and may even still be admired whereas anybody who gave the slightest hint of support for the similarly brutal Hitler regime is an utter polecat and pariah. Why? Because Hitler's enemies were "only" the Jews whereas Stalin's enemies were those the modern day Left still hates -- people who are doing well for themselves materially. Modern day Leftists understand and excuse Stalin and his supporters because Stalin's hates are their hates.

Hatred has long been a central pillar of leftist ideologies, premised as they are on trampling individual rights for the sake of a collectivist plan. Karl Marx boasted that he was “the greatest hater of the so-called positive.” In 1923, V.I. Lenin chillingly declared to the Soviet Commissars of Education, “We must teach our children to hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.” In his tract “Left-Wing Communism,” Lenin went so far as to assert that hatred was “the basis of every socialist and Communist movement.”

If you understand that Leftism is hate, everything falls into place.

The strongest way of influencing people is to convince them that you will do them some good. Leftists and con-men misuse that

Leftists believe only what they want to believe. So presenting evidence contradicting their beliefs simply enrages them. They do not learn from it

Psychological defence mechanisms such as projection play a large part in Leftist thinking and discourse. So their frantic search for evil in the words and deeds of others is easily understandable. The evil is in themselves.

Leftists who think that they can conjure up paradise out of their own limited brains are simply fools -- arrogant and dangerous fools. They essentially know nothing. Conservatives learn from the thousands of years of human brains that have preceded us -- including the Bible, the ancient Greeks and much else. The death of Socrates is, for instance, an amazing prefiguration of the intolerant 21st century. Ask any conservative stranded in academe about his freedom of speech

Thomas Sowell: “There are no solutions, only trade-offs.” Leftists don't understand that -- which is a major factor behind their simplistic thinking. They just never see the trade-offs. But implementing any Leftist idea will hit us all with the trade-offs

Chesteron's fence -- good conservative thinking

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley"[go oft astray] is a well known line from a famous poem by the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. But the next line is even wiser: "And leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy". Burns was a Leftist of sorts so he knew how often their theories fail badly.

Mostly, luck happens when opportunity meets preparation.

Most Leftist claims are simply propaganda. Those who utter such claims must know that they are not telling the whole story. Hitler described his Marxist adversaries as "lying with a virtuosity that would bend iron beams". At the risk of ad hominem shrieks, I think that image is too good to remain disused.

Conservatives adapt to the world they live in. Leftists want to change the world to suit themselves

Given their dislike of the world they live in, it would be a surprise if Leftists were patriotic and loved their own people. Prominent English Leftist politician Jack Straw probably said it best: "The English as a race are not worth saving"

In his 1888 book, The Anti-Christ Friedrich Nietzsche argues that we should treat the common man well and kindly because he is the backdrop against which the exceptional man can be seen. So Nietzsche deplores those who agitate the common man: "Whom do I hate most among the rabble of today? The socialist rabble, the chandala [outcast] apostles, who undermine the instinct, the pleasure, the worker's sense of satisfaction with his small existence—who make him envious, who teach him revenge. The source of wrong is never unequal rights but the claim of “equal” rights"

Why do conservatives respect tradition and rely on the past in many ways? Because they want to know what works and the past is the chief source of evidence on that. Leftists are more faith-based. They cling to their theories (e.g. global warming) with religious fervour, even though theories are often wrong

Thinking that you "know best" is an intrinsically precarious and foolish stance -- because nobody does. Reality is so complex and unpredictable that it can rarely be predicted far ahead. Conservatives can see that and that is why conservatives always want change to be done gradually, in a step by step way. So the Leftist often finds the things he "knows" to be out of step with reality, which challenges him and his ego. Sadly, rather than abandoning the things he "knows", he usually resorts to psychological defence mechanisms such as denial and projection. He is largely impervious to argument because he has to be. He can't afford to let reality in.

A prize example of the Leftist tendency to projection (seeing your own faults in others) is the absurd Robert "Bob" Altemeyer, an acclaimed psychologist and father of a Canadian Leftist politician. Altemeyer claims that there is no such thing as Leftist authoritarianism and that it is conservatives who are "Enemies of Freedom". That Leftists (e.g. Mrs Obama) are such enemies of freedom that they even want to dictate what people eat has apparently passed Altemeyer by. Even Stalin did not go that far. And there is the little fact that all the great authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Stalin, Hitler and Mao) were socialist. Freud saw reliance on defence mechanisms such as projection as being maladjusted. It is difficult to dispute that. Altemeyer is too illiterate to realize it but he is actually a good Hegelian. Hegel thought that "true" freedom was marching in step with a Left-led herd.

What libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was VI Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but had no clue about how to solve it.

It was Democrat John F Kennedy who cut taxes and declared that “a rising tide lifts all boats"

Leftist stupidity is a special class of stupidity. The people concerned are mostly not stupid in general but they have a character defect (mostly arrogance) that makes them impatient with complexity and unwilling to study it. So in their policies they repeatedly shoot themselves in the foot; They fail to attain their objectives. The world IS complex so a simplistic approach to it CANNOT work.

Seminal Leftist philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel said something that certainly applies to his fellow Leftists: "We learn from history that we do not learn from history". And he captured the Left in this saying too: "Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself".

"A man who is not a socialist at age 20 has no heart; A man who is still a socialist at age 30 has no head". Who said that? Most people attribute it to Winston but as far as I can tell it was first said by Georges Clemenceau, French Premier in WWI -- whose own career approximated the transition concerned. And he in turn was probably updating an earlier saying about monarchy versus Republicanism by Guizot. Other attributions here. There is in fact a normal drift from Left to Right as people get older. Both Reagan and Churchill started out as liberals

Funny how to the Leftist intelligentsia poor blacks are 'oppressed' and poor whites are 'trash'. Racism, anyone?

MESSAGE to Leftists: Even if you killed all conservatives tomorrow, you would just end up in another Soviet Union. Conservatives are all that stand between you and that dismal fate. And you may not even survive at all. Stalin killed off all the old Bolsheviks.

A Conservative manifesto from England -- The inimitable Jacob Rees-Mogg


The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)

Just the name of Hitler's political party should be sufficient to reject the claim that Hitler was "Right wing" but Leftists sometimes retort that the name "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is not informative, in that it is the name of a dismal Stalinist tyranny. But "People's Republic" is a normal name for a Communist country whereas I know of no conservative political party that calls itself a "Socialist Worker's Party". Such parties are in fact usually of the extreme Left (Trotskyite etc.)

Most people find the viciousness of the Nazis to be incomprehensible -- for instance what they did in their concentration camps. But you just have to read a little of the vileness that pours out from modern-day "liberals" in their Twitter and blog comments to understand it all very well. Leftists haven't changed. They are still boiling with hate

Hatred as a motivating force for political strategy leads to misguided ­decisions. “Hatred is blind,” as Alexandre Dumas warned, “rage carries you away; and he who pours out vengeance runs the risk of tasting a bitter draught.”

Who said this in 1968? "I am not, and never have been, a man of the right. My position was on the Left and is now in the centre of politics". It was Sir Oswald Mosley, founder and leader of the British Union of Fascists

The term "Fascism" is mostly used by the Left as a brainless term of abuse. But when they do make a serious attempt to define it, they produce very complex and elaborate definitions -- e.g. here and here. In fact, Fascism is simply extreme socialism plus nationalism. But great gyrations are needed to avoid mentioning the first part of that recipe, of course.

Three examples of Leftist racism below (much more here and here):

Jesse Owens, the African-American hero of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, said "Hitler didn't snub me – it was our president who snubbed me. The president didn't even send me a telegram." Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt never even invited the quadruple gold medal-winner to the White House

Beatrice Webb, a founder of the London School of Economics and the Fabian Society, and married to a Labour MP, mused in 1922 on whether when English children were "dying from lack of milk", one should extend "the charitable impulse" to Russian and Chinese children who, if saved this year, might anyway die next. Besides, she continued, there was "the larger question of whether those races are desirable inhabitants" and "obviously" one wouldn't "spend one's available income" on "a Central African negro".

Hugh Dalton, offered the Colonial Office during Attlee's 1945-51 Labour government, turned it down because "I had a horrid vision of pullulating, poverty stricken, diseased nigger communities, for whom one can do nothing in the short run and who, the more one tries to help them, are querulous and ungrateful."

The Zimmerman case is an excellent proof that the Left is deep-down racist

Defensible and indefensible usages of the term "racism"

The book, The authoritarian personality, authored by T.W. Adorno et al. in 1950, has been massively popular among psychologists. It claims that a set of ideas that were popular in the "Progressive"-dominated America of the prewar era were "authoritarian". Leftist regimes always are authoritarian so that claim was not a big problem. What was quite amazing however is that Adorno et al. identified such ideas as "conservative". They were in fact simply popular ideas of the day but ones that had been most heavily promoted by the Left right up until the then-recent WWII. See here for details of prewar "Progressive" thinking.

Leftist psychologists have an amusingly simplistic conception of military organizations and military men. They seem to base it on occasions they have seen troops marching together on parade rather than any real knowledge of military men and the military life. They think that military men are "rigid" -- automatons who are unable to adjust to new challenges or think for themselves. What is incomprehensible to them is that being kadaver gehorsam (to use the extreme Prussian term for following orders) actually requires great flexibility -- enough flexibility to put your own ideas and wishes aside and do something very difficult. Ask any soldier if all commands are easy to obey.

It would be very easy for me to say that I am too much of an individual for the army but I did in fact join the army and enjoy it greatly, as most men do. In my observation, ALL army men are individuals. It is just that they accept discipline in order to be militarily efficient -- which is the whole point of the exercise. But that's too complex for simplistic Leftist thinking, of course

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a war criminal. Both British and American codebreakers had cracked the Japanese naval code so FDR knew what was coming at Pearl Harbor. But for his own political reasons he warned no-one there. So responsibility for the civilian and military deaths at Pearl Harbor lies with FDR as well as with the Japanese. The huge firepower available at Pearl Harbor, both aboard ship and on land, could have largely neutered the attack. Can you imagine 8 battleships and various lesser craft firing all their AA batteries as the Japanese came in? The Japanese naval airforce would have been annihilated and the war would have been over before it began.

FDR prolonged the Depression. He certainly didn't cure it.

WWII did NOT end the Great Depression. It just concealed it. It in fact made living standards worse

FDR appointed a known KKK member, Hugo Black, to the Supreme Court

Joe McCarthy was eventually proved right after the fall of the Soviet Union. To accuse anyone of McCarthyism is to accuse them of accuracy!

The KKK was intimately associated with the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans!

High Level of Welfare Use by Legal and Illegal Immigrants in the USA. Low skill immigrants receive 4 to 5 dollars of benefits for every dollar in taxes paid

People who mention differences in black vs. white IQ are these days almost universally howled down and subjected to the most extreme abuse. I am a psychometrician, however, so I feel obliged to defend the scientific truth of the matter: The average African adult has about the same IQ as an average white 11-year-old and African Americans (who are partly white in ancestry) average out at a mental age of 14. The American Psychological Association is generally Left-leaning but it is the world's most prestigious body of academic psychologists. And even they 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

At the beginning of the North/South War, Confederate general Robert E. Lee did not own any slaves. Union General Ulysses L. Grant did.

Was slavery already washed up by the tides of history before Lincoln took it on? Eric Williams in his book "Capitalism and Slavery" tells us: “The commercial capitalism of the eighteenth century developed the wealth of Europe by means of slavery and monopoly. But in so doing it helped to create the industrial capitalism of the nineteenth century, which turned round and destroyed the power of commercial capitalism, slavery, and all its works. Without a grasp of these economic changes the history of the period is meaningless.”

Did William Zantzinger kill poor Hattie Carroll?

Did Bismarck predict where WWI would start or was it just a "free" translation by Churchill?

Conrad Black on the Declaration of Independence

Malcolm Gladwell: "There is more of reality and wisdom in a Chinese fortune cookie than can be found anywhere in Gladwell’s pages"

Some people are born bad -- confirmed by genetics research

The dark side of American exceptionalism: America could well be seen as the land of folly. It fought two unnecessary civil wars, would have done well to keep out of two world wars, endured the extraordinary folly of Prohibition and twice elected a traitor President -- Barack Obama. That America remains a good place to be is a tribute to the energy and hard work of individual Americans.

“From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time.” ― Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution Of Liberty


The 10 "cannots" (By William J. H. Boetcker) that Leftist politicians ignore:
*You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
* You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
* You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
* You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
* You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
* You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
* And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

A good short definition of conservative: "One who wants you to keep your hand out of his pocket."

Beware of good intentions. They mostly lead to coercion

A gargantuan case of hubris, coupled with stunning level of ignorance about how the real world works, is the essence of progressivism.

The U.S. Constitution is neither "living" nor dead. It is fixed until it is amended. But amending it is the privilege of the people, not of politicians or judges

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong - Thomas Sowell

Leftists think that utopia can be coerced into existence -- so no dishonesty or brutality is beyond them in pursuit of that "noble" goal

"England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution" -- George Orwell

Was 16th century science pioneer Paracelsus a libertarian? His motto was "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest" which means "Let no man belong to another who can belong to himself."

"When using today's model of society as a rule, most of history will be found to be full of oppression, bias, and bigotry." What today's arrogant judges of history fail to realize is that they, too, will be judged. What will Americans of 100 years from now make of, say, speech codes, political correctness, and zero tolerance - to name only three? Assuming, of course, there will still be an America that we, today, would recognize. Given the rogue Federal government spy apparatus, I am not at all sure of that. -- Paul Havemann

Economist Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973): "The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office."

It's the shared hatred of the rest of us that unites Islamists and the Left.

American liberals don't love America. They despise it. All they love is their own fantasy of what America could become. They are false patriots.

The Democratic Party: Con-men elected by the ignorant and the arrogant

The Democratic Party is a strange amalgam of elites, would-be elites and minorities. No wonder their policies are so confused and irrational

Why are conservatives more at ease with religion? Because it is basic to conservatism that some things are unknowable, and religious people have to accept that too. Leftists think that they know it all and feel threatened by any exceptions to that. Thinking that you know it all is however the pride that comes before a fall.

The characteristic emotion of the Leftist is not envy. It's rage

Leftists are committed to grievance, not truth

The British Left poured out a torrent of hate for Margaret Thatcher on the occasion of her death. She rescued Britain from chaos and restored Britain's prosperity. What's not to hate about that?

Something you didn't know about Margaret Thatcher

The world's dumbest investor? Without doubt it is Uncle Sam. Nobody anywhere could rival the scale of the losses on "investments" made under the Obama administration

"Behind the honeyed but patently absurd pleas for equality is a ruthless drive for placing themselves (the elites) at the top of a new hierarchy of power" -- Murray Rothbard - Egalitarianism and the Elites (1995)

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money. -- G. Gordon Liddy

"World socialism as a whole, and all the figures associated with it, are shrouded in legend; its contradictions are forgotten or concealed; it does not respond to arguments but continually ignores them--all this stems from the mist of irrationality that surrounds socialism and from its instinctive aversion to scientific analysis... The doctrines of socialism seethe with contradictions, its theories are at constant odds with its practice, yet due to a powerful instinct these contradictions do not in the least hinder the unending propaganda of socialism. Indeed, no precise, distinct socialism even exists; instead there is only a vague, rosy notion of something noble and good, of equality, communal ownership, and justice: the advent of these things will bring instant euphoria and a social order beyond reproach." -- Solzhenitsyn

"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." -- Ecclesiastes 10:2 (NIV)

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. -- Thomas Jefferson

"Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power" -- Bertrand Russell

Evan Sayet: The Left sides "...invariably with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success." (t=5:35+ on video)

The Republicans are the gracious side of American politics. It is the Democrats who are the nasty party, the haters

Wanting to stay out of the quarrels of other nations is conservative -- but conservatives will fight if attacked or seriously endangered. Anglo/Irish statesman Lord Castlereagh (1769-1822), who led the political coalition that defeated Napoleon, was an isolationist, as were traditional American conservatives.

Some wisdom from the past: "The bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment." —George Washington, 1783

Some useful definitions:

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat. If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation. A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels. Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.
If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church. A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)
If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it. A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

There is better evidence for creation than there is for the Leftist claim that “gender” is a “social construct”. Most Leftist claims seem to be faith-based rather than founded on the facts

Leftists are classic weak characters. They dish out abuse by the bucketload but cannot take it when they get it back. Witness the Loughner hysteria.

Death taxes: You would expect a conscientious person, of whatever degree of intelligence, to reflect on the strange contradiction involved in denying people the right to unearned wealth, while supporting programs that give people unearned wealth.

America is no longer the land of the free. It is now the land of the regulated -- though it is not alone in that, of course

The Leftist motto: "I love humanity. It's just people I can't stand"

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

Envy is a strong and widespread human emotion so there has alway been widespread support for policies of economic "levelling". Both the USA and the modern-day State of Israel were founded by communists but reality taught both societies that respect for the individual gave much better outcomes than levelling ideas. Sadly, there are many people in both societies in whom hatred for others is so strong that they are incapable of respect for the individual. The destructiveness of what they support causes them to call themselves many names in different times and places but they are the backbone of the political Left

Gore Vidal: "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little". Vidal was of course a Leftist

The large number of rich Leftists suggests that, for them, envy is secondary. They are directly driven by hatred and scorn for many of the other people that they see about them. Hatred of others can be rooted in many things, not only in envy. But the haters come together as the Left. Some evidence here showing that envy is not what defines the Left

Leftists hate the world around them and want to change it: the people in it most particularly. Conservatives just want to be left alone to make their own decisions and follow their own values.

The failure of the Soviet experiment has definitely made the American Left more vicious and hate-filled than they were. The plain failure of what passed for ideas among them has enraged rather than humbled them.

Ronald Reagan famously observed that the status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” So much for the vacant Leftist claim that conservatives are simply defenders of the status quo. They think that conservatives are as lacking in principles as they are.

Was Confucius a conservative? The following saying would seem to reflect good conservative caution: "The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved."

The shallow thinkers of the Left sometimes claim that conservatives want to impose their own will on others in the matter of abortion. To make that claim is however to confuse religion with politics. Conservatives are in fact divided about their response to abortion. The REAL opposition to abortion is religious rather than political. And the church which has historically tended to support the LEFT -- the Roman Catholic church -- is the most fervent in the anti-abortion cause. Conservatives are indeed the one side of politics to have moral qualms on the issue but they tend to seek a middle road in dealing with it. Taking the issue to the point of legal prohibitions is a religious doctrine rather than a conservative one -- and the religion concerned may or may not be characteristically conservative. More on that here

Some Leftist hatred arises from the fact that they blame "society" for their own personal problems and inadequacies

The Leftist hunger for change to the society that they hate leads to a hunger for control over other people. And they will do and say anything to get that control: "Power at any price". Leftist politicians are mostly self-aggrandizing crooks who gain power by deceiving the uninformed with snake-oil promises -- power which they invariably use to destroy. Destruction is all that they are good at. Destruction is what haters do.

Leftists are consistent only in their hate. They don't have principles. How can they when "there is no such thing as right and wrong"? All they have is postures, pretend-principles that can be changed as easily as one changes one's shirt

A Leftist assumption: Making money doesn't entitle you to it, but wanting money does.

"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money." --columnist Joe Sobran (1946-2010)

Leftist policies are candy-coated rat poison that may appear appealing at first, but inevitably do a lot of damage to everyone impacted by them.

A tribute and thanks to Mary Jo Kopechne. Her death was reprehensible but she probably did more by her death that she ever would have in life: She spared the world a President Ted Kennedy. That the heap of corruption that was Ted Kennedy died peacefully in his bed is one of the clearest demonstrations that we do not live in a just world. Even Joe Stalin seems to have been smothered to death by Nikita Khrushchev

I often wonder why Leftists refer to conservatives as "wingnuts". A wingnut is a very useful device that adds versatility wherever it is used. Clearly, Leftists are not even good at abuse. Once they have accused their opponents of racism and Nazism, their cupboard is bare. Similarly, Leftists seem to think it is a devastating critique to refer to "Worldnet Daily" as "Worldnut Daily". The poverty of their argumentation is truly pitiful

The Leftist assertion that there is no such thing as right and wrong has a distinguished history. It was Pontius Pilate who said "What is truth?" (John 18:38). From a Christian viewpoint, the assertion is undoubtedly the Devil's gospel

Even in the Old Testament they knew about "Postmodernism": "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

Was Solomon the first conservative? "The hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts" -- Ecclesiastes: 9:3 (RSV). He could almost have been talking about Global Warming.

Leftist hatred of Christianity goes back as far as the massacre of the Carmelite nuns during the French revolution. Yancey has written a whole book tabulating modern Leftist hatred of Christians. It is a rival religion to Leftism.

"If one rejects laissez faire on account of man's fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action." - Ludwig von Mises

The naive scholar who searches for a consistent Leftist program will not find it. What there is consists only in the negation of the present.

Because of their need to be different from the mainstream, Leftists are very good at pretending that sow's ears are silk purses

Among intelligent people, Leftism is a character defect. Leftists HATE success in others -- which is why notably successful societies such as the USA and Israel are hated and failures such as the Palestinians can do no wrong.

A Leftist's beliefs are all designed to pander to his ego. So when you have an argument with a Leftist, you are not really discussing the facts. You are threatening his self esteem. Which is why the normal Leftist response to challenge is mere abuse.

Because of the fragility of a Leftist's ego, anything that threatens it is intolerable and provokes rage. So most Leftist blogs can be summarized in one sentence: "How DARE anybody question what I believe!". Rage and abuse substitute for an appeal to facts and reason.

Because their beliefs serve their ego rather than reality, Leftists just KNOW what is good for us. Conservatives need evidence.

Absolute certainty is the privilege of uneducated men and fanatics. -- C.J. Keyser

Hell is paved with good intentions" -- Boswell's Life of Johnson of 1775

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus


"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him" (Proverbs 26: 12). I think that sums up Leftists pretty well.

Eminent British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington is often quoted as saying: "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." It was probably in fact said by his contemporary, J.B.S. Haldane. But regardless of authorship, it could well be a conservative credo not only about the cosmos but also about human beings and human society. Mankind is too complex to be summed up by simple rules and even complex rules are only approximations with many exceptions.

Politics is the only thing Leftists know about. They know nothing of economics, history or business. Their only expertise is in promoting feelings of grievance

Socialism makes the individual the slave of the state -- capitalism frees them.

Many readers here will have noticed that what I say about Leftists sometimes sounds reminiscent of what Leftists say about conservatives. There is an excellent reason for that. Leftists are great "projectors" (people who see their own faults in others). So a good first step in finding out what is true of Leftists is to look at what they say about conservatives! They even accuse conservatives of projection (of course).

The research shows clearly that one's Left/Right stance is strongly genetically inherited but nobody knows just what specifically is inherited. What is inherited that makes people Leftist or Rightist? There is any amount of evidence that personality traits are strongly genetically inherited so my proposal is that hard-core Leftists are people who tend to let their emotions (including hatred and envy) run away with them and who are much more in need of seeing themselves as better than others -- two attributes that are probably related to one another. Such Leftists may be an evolutionary leftover from a more primitive past.

Leftists seem to believe that if someone like Al Gore says it, it must be right. They obviously have a strong need for an authority figure. The fact that the two most authoritarian regimes of the 20th century (Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia) were socialist is thus no surprise. Leftists often accuse conservatives of being "authoritarian" but that is just part of their usual "projective" strategy -- seeing in others what is really true of themselves.

"With their infernal racial set-asides, racial quotas, and race norming, liberals share many of the Klan's premises. The Klan sees the world in terms of race and ethnicity. So do liberals! Indeed, liberals and white supremacists are the only people left in America who are neurotically obsessed with race. Conservatives champion a color-blind society" -- Ann Coulter

Politicians are in general only a little above average in intelligence so the idea that they can make better decisions for us that we can make ourselves is laughable

A quote from the late Dr. Adrian Rogers: "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

"Some action that is unconstitutional has much to recommend it" -- Elena Kagan, nominated to SCOTUS by Obama

Frank Sulloway, the anti-scientist

The basic aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is an example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

Some ancient wisdom for Leftists: "Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself over wise: Why shouldest thou die before thy time?" -- Ecclesiastes 7:16

Jesse Jackson: "There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery -- then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved." There ARE important racial differences.

Some Jimmy Carter wisdom: "I think it's inevitable that there will be a lower standard of living than what everybody had always anticipated," he told advisers in 1979. "there's going to be a downward turning."

Heritage is what survives death: Very rare and hence very valuable

Big business is not your friend. As Adam Smith said: "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty or justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary

How can I accept the Communist doctrine, which sets up as its bible, above and beyond criticism, an obsolete textbook which I know not only to be scientifically erroneous but without interest or application to the modern world? How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish, exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia, who with all their faults, are the quality of life and surely carry the seeds of all human achievement? Even if we need a religion, how can we find it in the turbid rubbish of the red bookshop? It is hard for an educated, decent, intelligent son of Western Europe to find his ideals here, unless he has first suffered some strange and horrid process of conversion which has changed all his values. -- John Maynard Keynes

Some wisdom from "Bron" Waugh: "The purpose of politics is to help them [politicians] overcome these feelings of inferiority and compensate for their personal inadequacies in the pursuit of power"

"There are countless horrible things happening all over the country, and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible"

The urge to pass new laws must be seen as an illness, not much different from the urge to bite old women. Anyone suspected of suffering from it should either be treated with the appropriate pills or, if it is too late for that, elected to Parliament [or Congress, as the case may be] and paid a huge salary with endless holidays, to do nothing whatever"

"It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled"

Two lines below of a famous hymn that would be incomprehensible to Leftists today ("honor"? "right"? "freedom?" Freedom to agree with them is the only freedom they believe in)

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean

It is of course the hymn of the USMC -- still today the relentless warriors that they always were. Freedom needs a soldier

If any of the short observations above about Leftism seem wrong, note that they do not stand alone. The evidence for them is set out at great length in my MONOGRAPH on Leftism.

3 memoirs of "Supermac", a 20th century Disraeli (Aristocratic British Conservative Prime Minister -- 1957 to 1963 -- Harold Macmillan):

"It breaks my heart to see (I can't interfere or do anything at my age) what is happening in our country today - this terrible strike of the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's army and beat Hitler's army, and never gave in. Pointless, endless. We can't afford that kind of thing. And then this growing division which the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, of a comparatively prosperous south, and an ailing north and midlands. That can't go on." -- Mac on the British working class: "the best men in the world" (From his Maiden speech in the House of Lords, 13 November 1984)

"As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism"

During Macmillan's time as prime minister, average living standards steadily rose while numerous social reforms were carried out

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see." -- Arthur Schopenhauer


The Bible is an Israeli book

There is a view on both Left and Right that Jews are "too" influential. And it is true that they are more influential than their numbers would indicate. But they are exactly as influential as their IQs would indicate

To me, hostility to the Jews is a terrible tragedy. I weep for them at times. And I do literally put my money where my mouth is. I do at times send money to Israeli charities

My (Gentile) opinion of antisemitism: The Jews are the best we've got so killing them is killing us.

It’s a strange paradox when anti-Zionists argue that Jews should suffer and wander without a homeland while urging that Palestinians ought to have security and territory.

"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" -- Genesis 12:3

"O pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee" Psalm 122:6.

If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy -- Psalm 137 (NIV)

Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good. As Maxim Gorky put it: “Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more willing and capable of work than they are.” Whether driven by culture or genes—or like most behavior, an inextricable mix—the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable." -- George Gilder

To Leftist haters, all the basic rules of liberal society — rejection of hate speech, commitment to academic freedom, rooting out racism, the absolute commitment to human dignity — go out the window when the subject is Israel.

I have always liked the story of Gideon (See Judges chapters 6 to 8) and it is surely no surprise that in the present age Israel is the Gideon of nations: Few in numbers but big in power and impact.

Is the Israel Defence Force the most effective military force per capita since Genghis Khan? They probably are but they are also the most ethically advanced military force that the world has ever seen

If I were not an atheist, I would believe that God had a sense of humour. He gave his chosen people (the Jews) enormous advantages -- high intelligence and high drive -- but to keep it fair he deprived them of something hugely important too: Political sense. So Jews to this day tend very strongly to be Leftist -- even though the chief source of antisemitism for roughly the last 200 years has been the political Left!

And the other side of the coin is that Jews tend to despise conservatives and Christians. Yet American fundamentalist Christians are the bedrock of the vital American support for Israel, the ultimate bolthole for all Jews. So Jewish political irrationality seems to be a rather good example of the saying that "The LORD giveth and the LORD taketh away". There are many other examples of such perversity (or "balance"). The sometimes severe side-effects of most pharmaceutical drugs is an obvious one but there is another ethnic example too, a rather amusing one. Chinese people are in general smart and patient people but their rate of traffic accidents in China is about 10 times higher than what prevails in Western societies. They are brilliant mathematicians and fearless business entrepreneurs but at the same time bad drivers!

Conservatives, on the other hand, could be antisemitic on entirely rational grounds: Namely, the overwhelming Leftism of the Diaspora Jewish population as a whole. Because they judge the individual, however, only a tiny minority of conservative-oriented people make such general judgments. The longer Jews continue on their "stiff-necked" course, however, the more that is in danger of changing. The children of Israel have been a stiff necked people since the days of Moses, however, so they will no doubt continue to vote with their emotions rather than their reason.

I despair of the ADL. Jews have enough problems already and yet in the ADL one has a prominent Jewish organization that does its best to make itself offensive to Christians. Their Leftism is more important to them than the welfare of Jewry -- which is the exact opposite of what they ostensibly stand for! Jewish cleverness seems to vanish when politics are involved. Fortunately, Christians are true to their saviour and have loving hearts. Jewish dissatisfaction with the myopia of the ADL is outlined here. Note that Foxy was too grand to reply to it.

Fortunately for America, though, liberal Jews there are rapidly dying out through intermarriage and failure to reproduce. And the quite poisonous liberal Jews of Israel are not much better off. Judaism is slowly returning to Orthodoxy and the Orthodox tend to be conservative.

The above is good testimony to the accuracy of the basic conservative insight that almost anything in human life is too complex to be reduced to any simple rule and too complex to be reduced to any rule at all without allowance for important exceptions to the rule concerned

Amid their many virtues, one virtue is often lacking among Jews in general and Israelis in particular: Humility. And that's an antisemitic comment only if Hashem is antisemitic. From Moses on, the Hebrew prophets repeatedy accused the Israelites of being "stiff-necked" and urged them to repent. So it's no wonder that the greatest Jewish prophet of all -- Jesus -- not only urged humility but exemplified it in his life and death

"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here. For roughly two centuries now, antisemitism has, throughout the Western world, been principally associated with Leftism (including the socialist Hitler) -- as it is to this day. See here.

Karl Marx hated just about everyone. Even his father, the kindly Heinrich Marx, thought Karl was not much of a human being

Leftists call their hatred of Israel "Anti-Zionism" but Zionists are only a small minority in Israel

Some of the Leftist hatred of Israel is motivated by old-fashioned antisemitism (beliefs in Jewish "control" etc.) but most of it is just the regular Leftist hatred of success in others. And because the societies they inhabit do not give them the vast amount of recognition that their large but weak egos need, some of the most virulent haters of Israel and America live in those countries. So the hatred is the product of pathologically high self-esteem.

Their threatened egos sometimes drive Leftists into quite desperate flights from reality. For instance, they often call Israel an "Apartheid state" -- when it is in fact the Arab states that practice Apartheid -- witness the severe restrictions on Christians in Saudi Arabia. There are no such restrictions in Israel.

If the Palestinians put down their weapons, there'd be peace. If the Israelis put down their weapons, there'd be genocide.


Many people hunger and thirst after righteousness. Some find it in the hatreds of the Left. Others find it in the love of Christ. I don't hunger and thirst after righteousness at all. I hunger and thirst after truth. How old-fashioned can you get?

The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody. And I have NO investments in oil companies, mining companies or "Big Pharma"

UPDATE: Despite my (statistical) aversion to mining stocks, I have recently bought a few shares in BHP -- the world's biggest miner, I gather. I run the grave risk of becoming a speaker of famous last words for saying this but I suspect that BHP is now so big as to be largely immune from the risks that plague most mining companies. I also know of no issue affecting BHP where my writings would have any relevance. The Left seem to have a visceral hatred of miners. I have never quite figured out why.

I imagine that few of my readers will understand it, but I am an unabashed monarchist. And, as someone who was born and bred in a monarchy and who still lives there (i.e. Australia), that gives me no conflicts at all. In theory, one's respect for the monarchy does not depend on who wears the crown but the impeccable behaviour of the present Queen does of course help perpetuate that respect. Aside from my huge respect for the Queen, however, my favourite member of the Royal family is the redheaded Prince Harry. The Royal family is of course a military family and Prince Harry is a great example of that. As one of the world's most privileged people, he could well be an idle layabout but instead he loves his life in the army. When his girlfriend Chelsy ditched him because he was so often away, Prince Harry said: "I love Chelsy but the army comes first". A perfect military man! I doubt that many women would understand or approve of his attitude but perhaps my own small army background powers my approval of that attitude.

I imagine that most Americans might find this rather mad -- but I believe that a constitutional Monarchy is the best form of government presently available. Can a libertarian be a Monarchist? I think so -- and prominent British libertarian Sean Gabb seems to think so too! Long live the Queen! (And note that Australia ranks well above the USA on the Index of Economic freedom. Heh!)

The Australian flag with the Union Jack quartered in it

Throughout Europe there is an association between monarchism and conservatism. It is a little sad that American conservatives do not have access to that satisfaction. So even though Australia is much more distant from Europe (geographically) than the USA is, Australia is in some ways more of an outpost of Europe than America is! Mind you: Australia is not very atypical of its region. Australia lies just South of Asia -- and both Japan and Thailand have greatly respected monarchies. And the demise of the Cambodian monarchy was disastrous for Cambodia

Throughout the world today, possession of a U.S. or U.K. passport is greatly valued. I once shared that view. Developments in recent years have however made me profoundly grateful that I am a 5th generation Australian. My Australian passport is a door into a much less oppressive and much less messed-up place than either the USA or Britain

Following the Sotomayor precedent, I would hope that a wise older white man such as myself with the richness of that experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than someone who hasn’t lived that life.

IQ and ideology: Most academics are Left-leaning. Why? Because very bright people who have balls go into business, while very bright people with no balls go into academe. I did both with considerable success, which makes me a considerable rarity. Although I am a born academic, I have always been good with money too. My share portfolio even survived the GFC in good shape. The academics hate it that bright people with balls make more money than them.

I have no hesitation in saying that the single book which has influenced me most is the New Testament. And my Scripture blog will show that I know whereof I speak. Some might conclude that I must therefore be a very confused sort of atheist but I can assure everyone that I do not feel the least bit confused. The New Testament is a lighthouse that has illumined the thinking of all sorts of men and women and I am deeply grateful that it has shone on me.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age. Conservatism is in touch with reality. Leftism is not.

I imagine that the RD are still sending mailouts to my 1950s address

Most teenagers have sporting and movie posters on their bedroom walls. At age 14 I had a map of Taiwan on my wall.

"Remind me never to get this guy mad at me" -- Instapundit

It seems to be a common view that you cannot talk informatively about a country unless you have been there. I completely reject that view but it is nonetheless likely that some Leftist dimbulb will at some stage aver that any comments I make about politics and events in the USA should not be heeded because I am an Australian who has lived almost all his life in Australia. I am reluctant to pander to such ignorance in the era of the "global village" but for the sake of the argument I might mention that I have visited the USA 3 times -- spending enough time in Los Angeles and NYC to get to know a fair bit about those places at least. I did however get outside those places enough to realize that they are NOT America.

"Intellectual" = Leftist dreamer. I have more publications in the academic journals than almost all "public intellectuals" but I am never called an intellectual and nor would I want to be. Call me a scholar or an academic, however, and I will accept either as a just and earned appellation

A small personal note: I have always been very self-confident. I inherited it from my mother, along with my skeptical nature. So I don't need to feed my self-esteem by claiming that I am wiser than others -- which is what Leftists do.

As with conservatives generally, it bothers me not a bit to admit to large gaps in my knowledge and understanding. For instance, I don't know if the slight global warming of the 20th century will resume in the 21st, though I suspect not. And I don't know what a "healthy" diet is, if there is one. Constantly-changing official advice on the matter suggests that nobody knows

Leftists are usually just anxious little people trying to pretend that they are significant. No doubt there are some Leftists who are genuinely concerned about inequities in our society but their arrogance lies in thinking that they understand it without close enquiry

My academic background

My full name is Dr. John Joseph RAY. I am a former university teacher aged 65 at the time of writing in 2009. I was born of Australian pioneer stock in 1943 at Innisfail in the State of Queensland in Australia. I trace my ancestry wholly to the British Isles. After an early education at Innisfail State Rural School and Cairns State High School, I taught myself for matriculation. I took my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Queensland in Brisbane. I then moved to Sydney (in New South Wales, Australia) and took my M.A. in psychology from the University of Sydney in 1969 and my Ph.D. from the School of Behavioural Sciences at Macquarie University in 1974. I first tutored in psychology at Macquarie University and then taught sociology at the University of NSW. My doctorate is in psychology but I taught mainly sociology in my 14 years as a university teacher. In High Schools I taught economics. I have taught in both traditional and "progressive" (low discipline) High Schools. Fuller biographical notes here

I completed the work for my Ph.D. at the end of 1970 but the degree was not awarded until 1974 -- due to some academic nastiness from Seymour Martin Lipset and Fred Emery. A conservative or libertarian who makes it through the academic maze has to be at least twice as good as the average conformist Leftist. Fortunately, I am a born academic.

Despite my great sympathy and respect for Christianity, I am the most complete atheist you could find. I don't even believe that the word "God" is meaningful. I am not at all original in that view, of course. Such views are particularly associated with the noted German philosopher Rudolf Carnap. Unlike Carnap, however, none of my wives have committed suicide

Very occasionally in my writings I make reference to the greats of analytical philosophy such as Carnap and Wittgenstein. As philosophy is a heavily Leftist discipline however, I have long awaited an attack from some philosopher accusing me of making coat-trailing references not backed by any real philosophical erudition. I suppose it is encouraging that no such attacks have eventuated but I thought that I should perhaps forestall them anyway -- by pointing out that in my younger days I did complete three full-year courses in analytical philosophy (at 3 different universities!) and that I have had papers on mainstream analytical philosophy topics published in academic journals

As well as being an academic, I am an army man and I am pleased and proud to say that I have worn my country's uniform. Although my service in the Australian army was chiefly noted for its un-notability, I DID join voluntarily in the Vietnam era, I DID reach the rank of Sergeant, and I DID volunteer for a posting in Vietnam. So I think I may be forgiven for saying something that most army men think but which most don't say because they think it is too obvious: The profession of arms is the noblest profession of all because it is the only profession where you offer to lay down your life in performing your duties. Our men fought so that people could say and think what they like but I myself always treat military men with great respect -- respect which in my view is simply their due.

A real army story here

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and there is JUST ONE saying of Hitler's that I rather like. It may not even be original to him but it is found in chapter 2 of Mein Kampf (published in 1925): "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht". The equivalent English saying is "Difficulties exist to be overcome" and that traces back at least to the 1920s -- with attributions to Montessori and others. Hitler's metaphor is however one of smashing barriers rather than of politely hopping over them and I am myself certainly more outspoken than polite. Hitler's colloquial Southern German is notoriously difficult to translate but I think I can manage a reasonable translation of that saying: "Resistance is there not for us to capitulate to but for us to break". I am quite sure that I don't have anything like that degree of determination in my own life but it seems to me to be a good attitude in general anyway

I have used many sites to post my writings over the years and many have gone bad on me for various reasons. So if you click on a link here to my other writings you may get a "page not found" response if the link was put up some time before the present. All is not lost, however. All my writings have been reposted elsewhere. If you do strike a failed link, just take the filename (the last part of the link) and add it to the address of any of my current home pages and -- Voila! -- you should find the article concerned.

COMMENTS: I have gradually added comments facilities to all my blogs. The comments I get are interesting. They are mostly from Leftists and most consist either of abuse or mere assertions. Reasoned arguments backed up by references to supporting evidence are almost unheard of from Leftists. Needless to say, I just delete such useless comments.

You can email me here (Hotmail address). In emailing me, you can address me as "John", "Jon", "Dr. Ray" or "JR" and that will be fine -- but my preference is for "JR" -- and that preference has NOTHING to do with an American soap opera that featured a character who was referred to in that way


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism"
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
Western Heart


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Coral reef compendium.
Queensland Police
Australian Police News
Paralipomena (3)
Of Interest
Dagmar Schellenberger
My alternative Wikipedia


"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International".
"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
Paralipomena (2)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Some more useful links

Alt archives for "Dissecting Leftism" here or here
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism
Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

Bank of Queensland
Queensland Police
Australian police news
QANTAS, a dying octopus

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following:

OR: (After 2015)